Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time to Catch Up

Wow, have I been slacking lately. At least as far a blogging is concerned. I knew it had been awhile, but I didn't realize it had been nearly 6 weeks. So here is what we've been up to.

First, my headaches are nearly non-existent. I have probably taken some ibuprofen no more than once a week. That is a huge difference from every day. I have completely cut out the allergy meds. Not only that, but the vitamins have made a huge difference in how I feel over all. I am sleeping better at night, and have more energy for the day. It is even helping some of my unexplained muscle weakness. I am trying to exercise more as well, but that is not happening as much as I would like. We made the leap and invested in a Wii, but do not yet have the Fit. If nothing else, it takes what the boys were already doing and makes it a little more active. At least we will all have nice looking right arms :)

For school, we just went through a period of restructuring (I guess you could say). Last fall, we purchased the science curriculum from Answers in Genesis. They were three books on more physical, mechanical science. I thought it would be what my son was interested in. It is a very good program, and I love the material. However, the reading was really dry and I felt it did not capture the kids' attention. We absolutely loved the Apologia Astronomy that we did last year, so I decided to go back and try another one of their books. We ordered the book Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and it arrived on Tuesday. It is as good as the Astronmy book. I am interested, and I am not a big fan of birds (not to mention the six-legged flying creatures). We started the reading yesterday. Lesson one is all about zoology, what is it, how do scientists group things, how species are named, etc. I had my 10yo journal the classifications, and then make up his own mnemonic to remember the order. The journal is another part of the restructure. Today, we did a review of what we learned yesterday. We had some friends with us today. I listed the classifications up on the board. They all worked together as a group to make up a mnemonic. They came up with: "Kids Play Catch Or Find Giant Squirrels". They remember the sentence, but I'm not sure they remember what it means. We will have to keep working on that. Then, I had each child draw a picture of a different species of bird. We then looked up the latin name for each species. It was great.

The next part of the restructure is History. Last February, we ordered Veritas Press Old Testament and Ancient Egypt study. We did a few lessons, but the problem was that there were a lot of extra books that needed to be ordered along with the curriculum, and we did not have the funds to do that at that time. Then, I had heard some great things about My Father's World. So I thought we would give that a try. That was June. We did that for a while, but it just got overwhelming for me. So around October, we sold that. We have kind of been in History limbo since. When we ordered our new books this month, I decided to order some of the books that went with the Veritas Press study, and we are going back to that. Of course, come to find out, I have still not ordered all the right books. But I am going to stick it out this time, and order some more books if I have to. I think it is a good program. And really, every program can be as good as what you make it.

Math has been a huge struggle this past year. My 10yo is learning right on schedule, but he fights it terribly. We have had some severe power struggles over doing math. At the beginning of January, I read a review about Aleks online math program. They were offering a free trial, so I took it. It was wonderful. My son had control over which lessons to choose. He was no longer fighting me about doing his math. But then came the tests. He would take the tests, and get questions wrong that I knew he knew how to do. He was repeating lessons over and over again, and not really getting anywhere. After much inner turmoil, I decided not to pay for the subscription. Last week, we had a week off due to some out of town guests. We started fresh this week back with his Saxon. So far, he has been doing very well. He has not fought me too much about doing his math, and has even done much of it independently. That is a huge leap for math kind. Just pray that this new attitude continues.

Now, my 6yo is amazing. Yesterday, he started Learning Language Arts Through Literature for 2nd grade. He is in kindergarten. He is nearly done with Saxon 1st grade math. He amazes me how quickly he learns the concepts and remembers his math facts. He is also doing a book called Language Smarts (level B) which we will probably alternate with the LLATL. The Language Smarts really focuses on phonics concepts and the roots for spelling. I think that is where I went wrong with his older brother, and why he doesn't read and spell at a 4th grade level yet. Little one is also more involved with history and science now too that he is getting older, has a longer attention span, and I know what he is capable of.

The bottom line, is that we are spending much more time on schoolwork every day, but much of it is just listening or doing fun projects. I feel really good about what we accomplished this week, and pray that I can continue this momentum. I will try to be better about posting special projects and such as well.

Oh, and we also started a little lesson for Lent. I will have to see if I can find the link to the website where we got it, because it is quite fun. There are a list of activities (one for every day of lent). We cut them out and put them in a bucket. We draw out one activity to do every day to help remind us of Easter coming and what Jesus did for us. Some of them are activities, some are Bible readings, some are singing songs. I had wanted to make a Lent lesson, but again Ash Wednesday snuck up on me before I could get it done. I really should work on it now, every day during Lent, then it will be ready for next year.

I think that's all I have for now.


Randi Sue said...

Sounds great!

Cristy said...

We're doing the same study. It has been very interesting to have some of the conversations with my kids. And some of the activities are pretty neat. Thanks for catching us up!