Sunday, September 30, 2007

Unschooling Japan Week

After 6 weeks of structured 'school' it's time for an "Unschooling Week!" This week I want to get some serious decluttering and organizing done. Since the feeling may pass soon, I better take advantage of it! : ) I DO need to keep Miss M busy, but also don't want to have to supervise her very much this week. She actually does best if she has things to do during the day and knows what to expect! : )

One thing that has worked for us is in this situation is Modified Child-Directed Learning. I first learned about this method several years ago HERE. It's great for times when you are busy, burned out, or need a new spark in your homeschool. I find it mixes things up a bit for Miss M, and frees me to get other things done during morning hours. A win-win!

Here are Miss M's requirements this week:

DIRECTIONS - Between the hours of 8:30 and 12:30, you will be doing something from this list. Only the green boxes are required. Write times you work on each subject in the box, along with what you did. For example, under "Phy-ed" write "Tae Bo video - 11:00-11:30." You may work and organize your day in any order you wish.

See my record/planner document for this week HERE or download as a PDF

So, why a "Japan" focus? We are currently doing a modified Sonlight Year 5 (Weeks 7-9 are focused on Japan), using resources we have on hand and books picked up from the library. Miss M will likely sprinkle in some ideas from Funschooling's Japan Unit.
You could easily do something similiar with YOUR next history topic! Or, don't choose a topic at all, and just go with a basket full of great literature, activity, art, and science books.

I hope we will have a productive and fun week!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week 6: Apple Crisp Surprise

Nothing too exciting to report, but here are a few highlights and pictures from our little homeschool here at Ambleside Classical. This week we met with our homeschool co-op and had so much fun! Miss M did cartoon drawing in art, the periodic table of elements in science, and a variety of fitness activities in gym. We managed to get to Open Gymnastics and Ice Skating this week, and along with Miss M's bustling dog walking business, she got lots of phy-ed in.

New for Math!!!
I Hate Mathematics
by Marilyn Burns. Miss M has been perusing and discussing what she is reading in this book since we bought it on Tuesday. She is very excited to try some of the ideas in it, and said, "I didn't think math could be fun, Mom!" Wow. I am thrilled about this book.

Practical Life Skills
Miss M decided to put all the apples Grandma gave us to good use and bake some apple crisp. This was her very first experience baking a dish independently from start to finish. It was delicious, even though she used 3/4 cup (surprise!) of cinnamon instead of 3/4 tsp! *grin* Isn't that the best way to learn? I look forward to having her sharing more of her new-found baking skills with us! Baking can be an adventure. MMmmmm!

Composition/Cultural Studies/Visual Arts

Films: 'Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure'(IMAX), 'March of the Penguins'
Books: The Shackleton Expedition by Jil Fine
Spine Reading: World Book Encyclopedia's "Antarctica" article
Composition: Note taking, Graphic Organizers
Visual Arts: digital scrapbook design

Notes from "Antarctica" article (World Book)

Using article notes and computer software to make a scrapbook page on Antarctica's Land and Climate

Finished page!

Picture Study:
"Birth of Venus" by Boticelli
"Birth of Venus" poster from Start Exploring Masterpieces - colored with oil pastels

*note - I am unable to post the completed poster because Miss M doesn't like how it turned out :/

Memory Work:

Measure Me, Sky
by Leonora Speyer

Measure me, sky!

Tell me I reach by a song
Nearer the stars:
I have been little so long.

Weigh me, high wind!
What will your wild scales record?
Profit of pain,
Joy by the weight of a word.

Horizon, reach out!
Catch at my hands, stretch me taut,
Rim of the world:
Widen my eyes by a thought.

Sky, be my depth;
Wind, be my width and my height;
World, my heart's span:
Loneliness, wings for my flight!

Psalm 91:1-10
Math factoids

Literature Reading
Lad: A Dog by Terhune (independent reading) - finishing up this week
Eight Cousins
by Alcott (Read-aloud) - should finish early next week

Composer Study:

Schubert's 'Trout Quintet'

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Freebies

Art Print Freebie

I just found out that Ambleside Online has a new Yahoo Group with high quality PDF files of their scheduled picture studies. I just printed out "Primavera," pictured above, on inexpensive Dollar Store photo paper, and it looks great! Join the Yahoo Group to access the file.

Scrapbook Freebie

I found this beautiful digital scrapbook freebie HERE (scroll down to nearly bottom of page) that is only good until next Friday. I used it to scrap my photos from our Civil War Days photos from Friday. The purple paper looks pretty with the sepia photo!

Paper, elements and ribbon frame by {ksharonkdesigns} Stamp from unknown source. Font is "Linenstroke" by Creating Keepsakes.

Here is what an original photo looks like. I just colorized it with sepia and added a diffused glow to a couple of the larger pics. It's my one and only Photoshop Elements photo trick. LOL! I hope to learn more soon! If you know of any easier photo tutorials for beginners, please share.

Hope your week-end found you getting refreshed spending time with God, family and a bit of your personal hobby! Have a great week!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Week 5: Field Trips and More Field Trips

I am tired. We went to not one, not two, but
three long field trips this week and I taught three co-op science classes. Silly mom that I am, we did a full load of regular school work this week instead of cutting back a bit to accommodate a busy week. Everything was a blast, but I am giving myself permission to take it a bit easy today. Live and Learn. Drink more coffee. : )

I feel as if we are finding our groove on Week 5. We are up to pretty much a full load, an Miss M is doing her lessons pretty diligently MOST days. Life is good right now and I feel content. Well, either it is contentment or utter exhaustion, but I will choose to call it the former! ; )

Trip to a local historical reenactment camp with our HS co-op friends. The highlight of the day for me was the Native American dances! They were so beautiful to watch! We went to many interactive, hands-on 'stations' through the day including: Blacksmith, Western Woman, Weaving, Wool, and Logging (complete with draft horses!)

The unthinkable happened. Miss M got 100% on her math lesson and described long division as "kinda fun." This was after weeks of struggling with it and making many, many corrections on daily work. Having to make lots of corrections on math work she has already 'done' is considered cruel and unusual punishment to Miss M. She was thrilled, as were we, to have a math correction-free day today! We celebrated with Root Beer floats, courtesy of hubby, and a showing of the old "Moby Dick" film.


Enjoyed the music for the week during breakfast: Schubert's "Trout Quintet." Continued to work on writing a personal narrative for composition, and
finished the rough draft. I am not sure if we are going to polish it or save it to choose from for a later polish, a la Bravewriter. Had a trip to the local nature center for a HS class on "Bats." It was fun and challenging. We learned so much!

Got extra table work done, since our week is so busy. Listened to and sang our Music songs of the week, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" and "Botany Bay." Miss M told me she is enjoying her book basket selection called "Lad a Dog." Has anyone read that one? Recited memory poem for the second time correctly, so she chose a new poem to memorize called "Measure Me, Sky" from
Favorite Poems Old and New. I taught 3 co-op science classes in the afternoon and the kids were great!


Miss M decided to do a Quiz Book on New Zealand. She drew her own illustrations for it, and they cracked me up. Since lamb is a favorite meat in New Zealand, check out her lamb illustration! My mom came up to visit and we all went to Civil War Days at a local historical fort. Hubby was able to join us for the afternoon, as well. We saw lots of friends there and had a blast. I love Homeschooling! Well, at least this week I do. ; )

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Perfect Day

Here are a couple of simple scrapbook pages I have finished recently!
If you're new to my blog, I made the switch to digital scrapbooking a year or so ago, and LOVE it! See more posts about it at right sidebar if you're interested. : )

This picture was taken while Miss M was exploring the different kinds of rocks in a lake we visited while on our "Up North" vacation. I just love how beautiful she looks in this photo and wanted to scrap it all by itself! I used the lovely, free Express Yourself kit from Shabby Princess and kept the page simple because I wanted the focus on the photo.

I've got one more layout for you. I just did this two page L/O of a day at a logging camp reenactment. Miss M is horse crazy and so we took tons of horse photos! Papers are from the free, vibrant Sun Porch kit from Shabby Princess. I love the distressed look of the background paper!

There you go -- a few simple pages from my album! They were fun and easy to make. For all of my layouts, I use Creating Keepsake Scrapbook Designer software.

Have a wonderful, creative week! And remember, "KEEP IT SIMPLE!"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 4 Report

Peach Melba. Great Barrier Reef. Ayers Rock. Botany Bay. School of the Air. Our week was pretty much all about the topic of (as you already guessed!) Australia! With all of it's curious creatures and interesting people, Australia holds endless fascination for Miss M. Enchantment of the World: Australia, our spine book, was packed with fun facts and beautiful photos of the Land Down Under. After studying the Aboriginal people last week, this week's focus was European exploration and colonization. Using directions in Country Report Projects for Any Country as a base, Miss M made a notebook timeline of events in Australian history. With a fun, documentary film theme, the 3-D notebook page flips up, and each event can be shown and explained one by one. I love pages with movement!

We began Composition this week using BJU's English workbook. The first assignment is a personal narrative story, and this idea was a hit with Miss M. I personally love how BJU takes a student step-by-step through the planning process a with plenty of hand-holding. Although Miss M likes to write stories, she needs help organizing her thoughts and ideas. BJU is just the ticket!

Our homeschool co-op met for the first time this week. It was a blast and always a highlight of our week. Our co-op classes include phy-ed, art, and science this year.

Some productive free time activities this week included reading about coral reefs from our library basket, listening to an unabridged audiobook of Tom Sawyer, watching the Australian movie “Silver Stallion” and earning some extra cash-ola by walking the neighbors' dogs.

On Friday we put away the books and took a field trip to World War II Day at a local historical military fort. Every station was hands-on and we stayed the whole day. I learned so much!

It was a good week, Mate!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Blue Ocean Saturday Freebie

If you've ever visited my blog, you know we are notebooking nuts. : ) Added to any subject - geography, history, science, handwriting, notebooking is a winner at our house! As a gift to you, I thought I would share a file of the Blue Ocean notebook page that Miss M used for science cop
ywork this week. This is a very open-ended page for you to print out and try for fun. The writing area could be used for copywork, list of facts, or summary of what was learned. Using Google, picture books you have laying around, or an online encyclopedia, have your child choose 1-3 images or maps to add into the blue, 'blank' area. If your child prefers, she could draw her own illustration on typing paper, cut it out, and add it as an image.

Now, if your kids prefer worksheets,
no mommy-guilt allowed. Children are all different, and it doesn't make much of a difference, as long as they are demonstrating what they've learned. Our style just happens to be more in synch with the process of creating a notebook than filling in worksheets. Go with what works!

Here is an image of of the blank page:

Click HERE to download and print as a JPEG.

This is ONE idea from my daughter (10 y.o.) for completing this notebook page (Sorry for the poor photo!):

My fifth grader did this page with
no help from me, whatsoever. Using our book basket as a resource, she was directed to research 3 topics and create a notebook page with at least two to three sentences copied about her favorite topic. Then she was directed to add at least 1 photocopied image from the same book she used to find her copywork, or to draw her own illustration. She likes making choices about specific topics chosen, and enjoys creating her notebook pages. Yet, there is enough direction for her to know what is expected of her.

Feel free to download this page and make use of it any way you like. If your child uses this notebook page, I would really appreciate it if you send me a pic!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Week 3

This is my first weekly report!!! I am so excited about this idea and love seeing what the rest of you are doing!

We were on vacation last week and we also had a 4 day week because of the holiday Monday - so this week seemed a bit lackluster to me. Maybe it was a bit of post-vacation 'letdown.' Here is what we DID get done.

Memory Folder -
Psalm 91, "Sea Shell" by Amy Lowell

Sea Shell by Amy Lowell

Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
Sing me a song, O
A song of ships, and sailor men,
And parrots, and tropical trees,
Of islands lost in the Spanish Main
Which no man ever may find again,
Of fishes and corals under the waves,
And seahorses stabled
in great green caves.
Sea Shell, Se
a Shell,
Sing of the things you know so well.

From our Book Baskets - Torches of Joy by John Dekker, The Sea and It's Marvels (World Book), Australia (Enchantment of the World series), and The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit

Current Read-Aloud - Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott - This is an absolute delight and a must-read for homeschool families!

Geography - We used
the 17" x 22" full-color topographic map (which folds up and fits right in our geography folder!), blackline map to color, "center" geography cards, and directions which are all included in Evan-Moor's Australia workbook. I love, love, love Evan-Moor products! They are so fun and easy to use. After doing the bodies of water map, Miss M chose 4 geography question cards, looked up the answers, and then made a small question-and-answer flip up book. The cover (still drying) is inspired by Australia's Aboriginal artwork.

Math -
We finally began math this week. I have to say that Christian Light Math is a real winner at our house! I actually saw something in the workbook that a math-hater like me found....well.... INTERESTING!!! Can I share? It was a lesson on checking long multiplication problems using digit sums. I thought this was a pretty cool trick. Maybe I am just dense, but I don't ever remember learning digit sums in school. See lesson below.

Science -
Not much here. We did informal reading using library basket full of books on oceans, coral reefs and volcanoes. Miss M did a copywork page with dolphin illustrations.

Music - This week we continued our composer study of Franz Schubert. For the first time, we listened to the "Classical Music for Kids" online show. What a treasure! "Take Me to Your Lieder" was a BIG hit with Miss M. She loved taking the online quizzes and insisted on doing all of them.

Copywork/Dictation - Copied a few sentences from a science-related library book and dressed it up with some illustrations from the book. See below - sorry for the glare from the page protector. : ) I love how decorative paper and a few pictures dress things up! We also did copywork/dictaion from one SL 5 Languge Arts Activity Sheet using text from "Call It Courage."

Productive Choice Time - Miss M spent several afternoons making various homemade puppets. On her own, she rigged up a puppet theater using two chairs, a broom stick, and a beach towel so she could give proper performances! Quite a resourceful girl. I have to say, the productions were brilliant! : ) One night, she acted out Eight Cousins with her puppets as Iron Chef was reading the story. Now, that was hilarious!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Somehow my fonts got messed up and I have been unable to fix or change the font sizes. Oh well - hope you don't mind. If you have any clue how to fix it, I'd appreciate it if you let me know!

And, how was your week?

Composer Corner: Franz Schubert

Schubert is our composer for fall term 2007. We usually listen to one particular song several times each week during copywork and project times. The goal is to become famiiar with, and immersed in, the work of one particular composer's style. We have also played classical music during free time, play time, art time, and tea time. Enjoy!

  • Download FREE Classical Composers Lapbook ($21.99 value) this week only at Homeschool E-Store