Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Anna's 1st Test & the American Revolution

The biggest thing this week was Anna's first state mandated test. In North Carolina, besides keeping attendance and vaccination records students also have to take a yearly exam. We have debated about testing her in years past, but I'm thankful for our decision to wait until she was 7 which is when the home school becomes registered with the state.

We also decided to go with a private company where all of the staff are home schooling parents from our home schooling group;) They came recommended by friends I trust and I really think my kids are more focused in an one-on-one setting versus testing with a lot of other kids (I think my kids would have been too distracted at this age)! And everyone I have talked to from the company is very kind and easy to work with;)

The test they used was the Woodcock-Johnson III and it is an achievement test. It tests the students abilities in the basic subjects like reading, math facts, spelling, word problems and writing. I honestly am looking forward to some down time this weekend to learn more about the test:)

Anna did really well! I was so very proud of her!

And like every homeschooling momma, I take some of the results personally, an evaluation of my teaching. The results definitely showed where I am doing a good job and where I have let things "slack"! So I am trying to figure out ways to encourage the "weaker" areas that the test showed us and continue to encourage Anna in the places where she is excelling!

Thankfully though, the test gave us the confidence that home schooling is working for at least one of the kids... LOL!!  Honestly, it gave confidence about having all our kids at home and to do what we've been doing with some tweaks to fill in some of the "gaps"!

We continue to read from the Story Bible and praying for some needs in our family and community!

The kids have begun doing their own "school" before and after we school during the day. It's been sweet to hear them working on their Awana verses together! As well as Anna having the younger two copy verses from their Bibles;)

Language Arts
While I have more to write about our history and science this week, we have been liking our morning core work routine that we started last week. This week each kiddo completed spelling activities at least 4 days, 4 reading lessons (minus Anna who reads 30+ individually each day), and 3 Grammar lessons! Here are two highlights:

Lydia using the letter cards with You Can Read... I mixed up the letters of her spelling words and she had to figure out the word and arrange the cards in the correct order. She almost did it without looking at her spelling words... but she LIKED this activity, I'll have to do it again:)

Lydia and Chris liked Grammar this week; they wanted to do it every day:) There lessons were about the months of each season, their capitalization and abbreviations and making a "collage" of pictures that corresponds to the seasons. The kids mostly used magazines.... cutting, pasting and talking about snow and beaches... sounds like some fun Grammar to me;)

We completed at least 4 lessons each this week... lots of math!! Daily fact sheets, measuring, subtracting with borrowing, double plus one facts, telling time to the minute, and tally-ing:)

To help with one of the areas that Anna was weak in, the kids and I found a times Math fact practice game. The score is based on the amount of time each fact is completed, although it does record the number correct as well. I'm hoping to have this available for the kids to do a couple of times a week for the time being, once we finish our math books I'll start working on math facts with them exclusively for their math.

This week in history we finished some of the narration and library books about the Boston Tea Party. I thought I'd include our favorites, in case it might be helpful to someone else:
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak by Kay Winters

We also began studying the American Revolution... starting with Paul Revere's ride, the different opinions, the Battle of Lexington and Concord. And we talked about the Declaration of Independence as well!

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, painted by Christopher Bing (beautiful pictures that really makes this long poem enjoyable)
Corner Stones of Freedom: The Story of the Declaration of Independence by Norman Richards

We also have started reading Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes aloud! I really thought the kids weren't into it... but they really have enjoyed listening to it. Definitely a read-aloud for us right now, though, there are some words/phrases I skip over to "censor it" a bit for my younger listeners:)

This topic also lends itself to more activities that are actually do-able for us. The kids made the paper dolls of the British and the American military outfits.


The girls colored a mini picture of Paul Revere, painted a "midnight" background and glued on their little coloring!They turned out pretty cute!

Lydia's picture looks like Paul Revere saw aliens or something... LOL!!

While I'd rather read books to the kids about topics, but this week I found a PBS series made for kids about the American Revolution on Netflix instant view. The series is called Liberty's Kids and we have really, really, really liked these episodes! We are on episode #6 and the kids are eager to watch the rest... only 34 more episodes to go! I liked that they included a LOT of different views of the Revolutionary War... British, American Loyalists, American Patriots, former slaves, current slaves, extremist on both sides that acted poorly (mobs in Boston and not-so-honorable soldiers)... with any event in history the information is always presented from a certain point of view, so it was very interesting to see the different views in one series. There is a WARNing.. I think there was something that was said that I found a little tasteless and they tar-and-feathered a man. At first one of the character thinks it's funny and really excited about the "event" only to learn the truth about the victims injuries and realize it really wasn't "funny". Anna is still asking me questions about it, I can see she really understood.

Finally, the kids and I (Anna taking on most of the work) have started working on an American Revolutionary lapbook.

We are going to continue with the American Revolution next week... to finish the lapbook, some fun books AND watch more of those fun videos;)

This week we continued the "egg" experiment. We have been watching our hard-boiled eggs in vinegar and sweet tea (we didn't have dark soda). We put them into the liquids on Monday.
On Thursday we took the out for good and filled out a little chart about how the egg changed.

The shell of the vinegar egg got so thin.... like wet paper thin.
On Friday we talked about how it all applied to teeth;) And the parts of the tooth... very interesting! Chris immediately went to brush his teeth since he hadn't after eating a cookie!!

Tot in the Schoolroom
Nate stays busy!! And he's not always in his PJs every morning... one morning he was totally lacking clothes:) But he loves these fleece PJs for those cooler mornings!
He likes putting the chips in the Connect Four... good for a couple of quiet minutes;)

He got to use the shapes after brother and he sorted out all the circles??? Is he really sorting this much?

Picture of the Week
A look into a homeschooling moment at our house.


We're linking up to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and 
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Science Sunday


Elizabeth said...

You are such a great mom! You inspire me!

Bunch of Barrons said...

Glad things are going so well!

Jenny said...

This is great! The grammar lesson sounds fun. What do you use for grammar? I can't remember.

You all did some fun stuff this week. LOL about Chris running off to brush his teeth.

Kelly B said...

Jenny we use First Language Lessons 1 & 2 for the younger ones. And then I"m using level 3 for Anna. I've considered doing something different next year, but she loves Grammar, so we'll probably finish the series with Level 4... if it works why change it:)

Stefanie said...

Wonderful week!! We are huge fans of FLL. I was so sad when Bauer decided not to complete Advanced Language Lessons. We had to switch to something else this year. =o(

Popping in from pre-k corner.

Karen said...

I love the Paul Revere pictures and the egg experiments. Thanks for the fun ideas!

Homegrown Learners said...

I just loved reading about your week. I remember doing all of the Paul Revere stuff in American History with my kids... Johnny Tremain was one of our favorite books (are you using Sonlight by chance?)

I'm going to be sure and read your blog faithfully now - you seem to be very similar to me in homeschooling style and you have so many great ideas!

So glad I stopped here today (from Science Sunday)


Ticia said...

It looks like a great week. The egg experiment is such a great illustration for what happens to our teeth.

Oh, and I TOTALLY agree Liberty Kids is awesome. We read our history text book and the kids tell me ,"Mom, there's a Liberty Kids about this, we can watch that one!"

Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!