Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homeschool Mother's Journal: March 2014

In Our Homeschool . . .
Reading, Literature, Phonics, Writing
Alyssa completed her core Reading and Phonics curriculum a couple weeks ago. I had a feeling this would happen, because the grade level wasn't very challenging. It reviewed many basic skills she previously learned. It did help maintain an understanding of the concepts while introducing her to a few additional skills. I won't be purchasing the next level until April when it hopefully goes on sale again. We are in the market for a new reading curriculum. Any suggestions for a fluent reader and writer? We renewed our subscription to Explode the Code Online Phonics through the Homeschool Buyers Coop. Alyssa is working through Book 4 as review. I have also been giving her non-fiction reading passages to work on reading comprehension. She finds the evidence in the passage to support her answers if possible.Additionally, I give her a comprehension strategy mini lesson.

Alyssa is Reading . . . 
1.) American Girl Book Series
2.) A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
3.) Numerous Pictures Books Covering the Following Topics:
  • President's Day
  • Bible Stories
  • George Washington
  • Ireland
  • Olympics
  • St. Patrick's Day
Our Current Read Aloud Books . . . 
  • Black Beauty written by Anna Sewell
  • The Enormous Egg
  • Bible In a Year (NCV) by Tommy Nelson
  • Callie's Contest of Courage (Review Coming)
We are working our way through Confessions of a Homeschooler's Black Beauty Lapbook. Alyssa is highly motivated by this unit study. The other day during a family movie, I noticed that she had the following horse book open and was creating her own unit study.

We read 1-2 chapters a day. I changed the timeline activity into a summary activity. After each chapter, she summarizes the main events using story elements or the 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. I have definitely noticed an improvement in her writing.

Furthermore, she's been enjoying the topics chosen as copywork passages. Her handwriting pages consists of Bible scripture, St. Patrick's Day quotes, President's Day quotes, horse copywork, and more. We utilize her Draw Write Now books as well. I never thought she would enjoy drawing and writing this much!

We recently won the Isabel Writing Bundle from New Millennium Girls after attending a Facebook party. Isabel's Secret is about a girl that lives on a horse ranch. I can't wait to take a rabbit trail into this writing curriculum after we finish Black Beauty. It arrived in the mail yesterday! My daughter can't wait to get started.
Doesn't it look great! 
Alyssa will also complete her Math curriculum early. She has been diligently working on double-digit multiplication. We were at a standpoint with lesson 24, but only because the multiplication strategy was different from the one I taught her prior to the lesson. We practiced problems using worksheets and games for an additional two weeks. I also introduced her to additional multiplication strategies known as lattice and box method. She had a blast! She started Lesson 26 the other day.

Here is a shamrock multiplication activity we did for extra practice. She rolled the die four times and placed the appropriate number tile on each shamrock. Then, she solved the problem on a piece of paper. I so wish I had four 10-sided dice. In the bottom photo, she estimated her answer before solving it.

She has been learning about The Last Supper using Grapevine's sample e-lesson. She finished a very short Fruits of the Spirit devotional last week. I hope to find an Easter devotional for us to focus on in April.

She also reads in her Bible For Kids and jots down scripture that has meaning to her in her journal. She bought the journal with her won money. I also opened the page and saw a wonderful message inside the front cover. 

We are focusing on equine (horse) science. She is studying a variety of topics. We are making use of our Simple Schooling Classroom K-6 subscription which includes a Horse Unit Study. It is a bit advanced for Alyssa (Age 6), but it was her idea to use it. The exposure is helping her understand the concepts better. We are also completing several horse lapbooks and notebooking project packs. I have been picking and choosing mini books from A Learning Journey's Horse Lapbook and Hands of a Child Horse Project Pack. I found several other free resources online. We talked about the horse's diet, horse names, lifecycle, hooves, facial markings, leg markings, and more. I am sharing a picture of just a few of the mini book components we have completed. Most of these are part of the Black Beauty Lapbook.
Lapbook Components

Arts and Crafts
Alyssa enjoyed creating her shamrock trinity crafts. She also utilizes her Art DVD's for Biblical drawing lessons which uses a variety of mediums throughout the week including oil pastels, pencil, and watercolors.

Alyssa is playing songs on the piano using the grand staff. She was recently invited to play in the June piano recital. If she decides to participate, then she'll play two songs. I am impressed with how far she has come since the beginning (she started in October). She reads musical notes. She is now working far beyond my level of understanding so I can't provide any assistance during the week when she practices at home.

She is also preparing for her dance recital which happens to be in June too. It looks like June will be a busy month! One of her hip hop costumes arrived as seen below.

We are doing so much more, but I can't add it all in this one post. It would be way too long!

Music I'm Listening To . . . 
Holding On by Jamie Grace

Here is one of my morning wake up songs before Bible study time:
God Day sung by Jen Stanbro

What Alyssa is Listening To . . . 
Jamie Grace singing Beautiful Day

Blessings I'm Thankful . . .
  • God's Forgiveness, Strength, Mercy, Grace, and Answered Prayers
  • My Husband's Promotion Test Score
  • Safety and Health of Our Family and Friends
  • My Husband's Grilling Skills
  • Books We're Reading
  • Alyssa's Current Curriculum
  • Giveaway Winnings
What I'm Reading Now . . . 
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (Review Coming Soon)

What I Read . . . 
Christmas with Strategic Shopping and Strategic Shopping by Candy Foote

The Marriage You've Always Wanted by Gary Chapman

What We're Baking . . . 
We made Green Velvet Pancakes for one of our St. Patrick's breakfasts this week. The recipe came from a book I borrowed at the library called Everyday Confetti by Karen Ehman.

I just changed the liquid food color to green. I SO want to own this book! Unfortunately, the pancakes are a leaf green. I didn't find the correct green color in time. We did add a little of the correct hue to the cream cheese topping.

In Our Life This Week . . .
My husband took and passed his promotion test with a 95%. He is currently number one in rank for a promotion. Looks like he'll accomplish his goal to be a Captain for the SA Fire Department hopefully soon. A well deserved accomplishment and prayer answered.

We have been dealing with Internet issues for over a month. I keep getting a message that Safari failed, isn't responding, or isn't connected. I am still trying to figure out a solution or the cause of the problem with Apple and my Internet provider. This has been a very time consuming problem. I think we may have found a temporary solution having to do with our DNS server. This is one of the reasons why you haven't been hearing from me as much. I am behind on writing reviews and posts due to this complication, but it seems to be working properly now.

Places We Went . . .
  1. Dance was canceled during spring break week, but Alyssa still went to piano lessons.
  2. We saw another play at the Magik Theater called Skippy John Jones. It was funny. I didn't bring my camera this time so I have zero zip pictures to share with you.
  3. We went to the movies to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman as a family.
  4. We visited our friends (Pam and Andrea) for Pam's birthday last month. I love celebrating birthdays. Speaking of . . . I posted photos of my daughter's Sixth Pirate-Themed Birthday Party. I would love for you to check it out if you have a few extra moments.
  5. We took a road trip to Kerrville to visit relatives a couple weeks ago. We enjoyed playing games and dominoes while catching up.
Praying For . . . 
  • My Godmother's Health
  • Grandma Mae
  • My Family
  • Internet to Continue Working Properly
Thinking About . . . 
My niece's visit in May. I haven't seen her in a couple of years and look forward to spending quality time with her soon.

Needing To . . . 
Declutter the play room so that we can make room for a bed. I want my niece to have a place to sleep with a little privacy. I also need to start going through the garage and shed again. We are hoping to have a garage sale, but the task is overwhelming right now. 

I will link this post up at Homeschool Mother's Journal and Weekly Wrap-Up.

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