September 21, 2010

Our Re-vamping Week

Jacob and I have had a terrible few weeks of school lately. He is off his ADHD medicine (which helps him tremendously), because it was setting off psoriasis. This is so discouraging to me! He has so much more trouble with everything when he's not getting the help of his medicine, yet the medicine causes him more trouble so he can't have it.

But we had a little meeting late last week so I could get his perspective on things and change what I needed to change in order for us to survive our school day. We started off with "I just don't like anything about it" and ended up with "I guess it's just grammar (Rod and Staff) I really don't like. Let's just keep doing the rest of it the way we've been doing it." Hmmm... I guess grammar pretty bad!! Basically, he hates having to put pencil to paper in busywork. All the rest is perfectly acceptable to him.

So I've ordered a different curriculum that will require much less writing but still allow him to learn some grammar skills. We'll pick this book up again later. But another thing that came out of our conversation was that he'd like to write on a blog! Who knew?

So we sat down a day or two later and set it all up. He chose everything about it. I'll make it private later if I see the need, but thought I'd leave it open at first for you guys to look at it. He's asked to write on it every day and seems to really enjoy it! And because it doesn't involve erasing, he's correcting his own stuff! I do have him read it out loud to see if it reads like he'd like it to (because he's very good at noticing punctuation in the written word and reading it appropriately - he corrects me when I read and don't acknowledge the comma appropriately), and we talk about how he can change things. But I'm not standing over his shoulder pointing things out.

The fun part is that he enjoys it and he's writing! He wrote one post yesterday that was a classic "narration" activity (restating what he read in order to demonstrate understanding about it - a Charlotte Mason staple) and I didn't even tell him too. He's asking to do it as opposed to the other way around.

So without further ado, "Moving at the Speed of Light."

And yes, I did laugh at the title he chose! It could not be more appropriate!

If you look at it and like it, he'd love it if you'd take a minute to leave him a comment. Quite frankly, I like that too!

September 19, 2010

Florida 2010

We once again thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Florida.  This is a trip we've done every year with my parents and sister for 6 years now, but Robert joined us for the first time this year!  We had a great time, and it was fun to have him along to experience all we've talked about for so long.

We intended to go home by way of Pensacola to visit Robert's grandparents for the weekend, but a few days into the trip, his grandfather passed away after a long illness.  We were sad to see him go, but did enjoy all the family we got to see (I was meeting some for the first time!) for the funeral. We also had to stay in a beach condo (instead of at his grandparents' house like we were planning) so we got a couple of extra days on the beach we weren't expecting!  Pensacola Beach is so beautiful! 

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the water this year, pool and gulf!  They swam like champs, and Mattie took a beating in the waves, getting up and heading right back out every time. Guess that's why she ended up with a bad case of Swimmer's Ear.  Jacob was not so adventurous, but was fine as long as he had his goggles on.  Lol!

Here are some photos of our trip.  When you get to the alien house, check out the little guy at the door!

I am. and He is.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega,"
says the Lord God, 
"the One who is,
who was,
and who is coming,
the Almighty."
Revelation 1:8

"They said with a loud voice: 
The Lamb who was slaughtered 
is worthy to receive  
power and  
riches and  
wisdom and  
strength and  
honor and  
glory and  
Revelation 5:12

September 18, 2010

Autumn Treasures!

Fall is coming!  It's coming slowly here, but I believe it's coming. :)  And in anticipation of it, we did the  Autumn Treasures Download and Go for our schooling this week.

What is a Download and Go (DNG)?  In short, it is an e-book series that blends unit studies and lapbooking all in one printable product!  You choose which activities are right for your family and you're ready to go!  They've included videos, lapbooking activities, copywork opportunities, vocabulary/spelling words, a suggested book list for additional reading, family fun activities, and more!  This is our fourth DNG (I think) and we've enjoyed them all for different reasons.

Here's what you'll explore when you jump in with Autumn Treasures:
Day 1: What is Autumn?
Day 2: Science Secrets of Autumn
Day 3: People and Places of Autumn
Day 4: Time for Tips and Treasures of Autumn
Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Autumn

I have to say, this was a different sort of school week for us, so it was good to have this unit to fit in without any preparation as we were revamping a few things, but we did a bare bones sort of week, so I didn't have anything to photograph.  And because Autumn is something we've studied seasonally for several years now, I wasn't sure if this would be anything new for us.  But I was not disappointed!  

We enjoyed:
- talking about the Earth's tilt and rotation and the connection to our seasons.
- reviewing hibernation and migration in context of the correct season.
- the science behind how and why leaves change color.

And because fall is just creeping in by way of cooler nights, we weren't able to get out and enjoy the nature walk and perfect journaling pages offered, but certainly would have if it were the right time for us!

One other great feature of these units is that there are printables/activites at Mattie's level (pre-k) and Jacob's level (4th grade), so we can enjoy it together!  Mattie loves getting to do "school" and I love having her included without any more work on my part!  (I would say the average "perfect" age for these studies is K-2nd grade.)

See how other families explored Autumn Treasures here!  And purchase it here before September 24 to enjoy the Autumn Equinox special price of 20% off!

Disclosure: I have been provided a copy of Autumn Treasure DNG free of charge in exchange for my honest review. 

September 14, 2010

Salamander Room

We finally  rowed Salamander Room!  This is a book I've wanted to do for three years, but each time it is planned the week before I go to the beach and has never actually happened.  This year I finally learned the lesson about my poor planning and was determined to get it done.  I knew Jacob would be too old for it next year.   It also fit in perfectly with our camping weekend in the Smokies!

We started the week with our field trip: salamander hunting!  Did you know the the Great Smoky Mountains are the salamander capital of the world?  Thankfully, we had Robert with us to help us catch the little slimy buggars.  I will say, I did catch one and I was quite proud of it.

Of course, Mattie was all over this.  She loves to dig in the dirt, play in the water and carry around live things some of us don't care to touch.

All of the ones we caught were Dusky Salamanders.

They must have all been at the same part in their life cycle, because they were all about 3 inches long.

It's always more fun with Daddy!

(Um, how did he get so big?)

Mattie has always tagged along for our reading time, but she's been joining us with some work lately in school. She loves to copy words, cut, color and of course, glue (things her brother would prefer to avoid at all costs).   

Jacob preferred to record his salamander info this way.  It was a report of sorts, and he did a great job on it! (Thanks for both of those printables!)

There is another FIAR blogging mom who has her kids copy the illustrations sometimes.  I've never done this before, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Jacob complained and thought his was horrible, but I think he did a great job!

I was pretty shocked at Mattie's!  I know she's no Monet or anything, but I thought she did a good job noticing the details in the illustration and making an attempt.

We finished by creating and painting clay salamanders!