Monday, February 28, 2005

Fantastic February

I am summing up February since I didn't get much opportunity to BLOG in the last month or two.

Read about the American Constitution using wonderful books like If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution, A More Perfect Union: The Story of the Constitution (Maestro). We also included America Rock DVD about "The Preamble." It was a lovely month of easy history. We also learned all about George Washington using the wonderfully illustrated D'Aulaire book! We also learned about the beginning of the industrial revolution by learning abou the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney. Our "tall tall" was about Johnny Appleseed.

Read Aloud
I decided that some of the Sonlight RA's were just too boring. So, I skipped a few this month. George tried to get through Carry on Mr. Bowditch with the boys, and they bagged it after 18 out of 24 chapters, and we are fine with that. Too boring. They had faired better with Justin Morgan Had a Horse. It is the story of the beginning of Morgan horses in the US.

For fun, we listened to Bunnicula and went to a play in Salem on the book with the Alexanders and the Kinkades.

We went to Bunnicula (Salem) and Miss Nelson is Missing (with the Cowdens and Pearce Alexander in Newport). Fun to be on the "play circuit" again.

Field Trips
We went to the Science Factory in Eugene with the Kinkades and the Schaefers. My kids managed to keep themselves pretty occupied for three and half hours.

Finally dictation is working for us! The KEY: find a book they REALLY like and dictate from that. I found it in The House at Pooh Corner! It has opened up all sorts of doors. I think Hank the Cowdog books will be the dictation of choice! I have incorporated spelling and cursive handwriting practice into the whole thing too!

They are still doing a bit of Spectrum Spelling; but if they worked on their spelling for dictation, we skip it! It is so easy to teach spealling in the context of writing. I never wanted to try it before because they both hated writing so much. Maybe they are just ready now.

Hallelujah! I honestly think Michael has turned a corner, and things are clicking so much more easily. Actually, concepts have never been too hard, but his computation was always so behind that. Now, he is computing at a faster rate. Of course, Paul has always done well. Paul just finished multi-digit multiplication and is now in metric measurement. Michael just finished multiplication of fractions and is on to ratio, percentage, and proportion. I love Bob Jones Math!

Almost done with our Usborne Physics section. We are currently studying color. I will be done with the reading portion of the book. Then, we will do experiments the rest of the year with the Wizard kits and the 101 Physics experiments.

Well this has bogged down, and the boys have said they don't like it. I could have sworn they liked it when we started. I think it is a bit too detailed for kids though. We are on John Chapter 9, and I will just go through half of John this year and the other half next year. No sense in beating their heads with it. It will come in time.

Boys Group
On a positive note, the boys group bible study with the Alexander boys and John Pearson has been a huge success. George handles all of it, and they meet every other Wednesday. They discuss Proverbs and have been working on a multi-scene play. They did some star-gazing last week. Love this.

Paul continues to read Barenstein Bear books, and Michael reads a chapter of Hank the Cowdog every day. We also buddy read in history.

Physical Education
Love the fact that Michael can swim, and Paul and I have one-on-one time together while he does it. We have been walking, and this has been lovely. I love to just talk with that guy! Michael's teacher pointed out to me that he has a perfect breast stroke. He is doing laps of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. He is more than halfway through Level Seven now.

Love my Wednesday afternoons of peace, quiet, exercise, and relaxation. George takes them, and they are speaking more and more Spanish daily. Like this Mr. Campbell as the teacher.

Beverly retired, and I am sad. I hope the new coordinator is as nice as Beverly has been to us. We are enjoying this, and it has become second nature to the boys. I want service to be like this for them for their whole life.

Easy Grammar is just that: EASY! I don't even have to think about it.

Greek-Latin Roots
I am just doing those 108 roots, and I decided to make up my own cards from copying the book. It is too complicated to have them make the cards up even though it reinforces the learning, it just makes it more of a hassle and battle. I want to get through them like flash cards after we finish Easy Grammar in April.

So, that sums up my February. I have things that I am learning.

The Well-Educated Mind
I finished questions for The Great Gatsby, House of Mirth, and Mrs. Dalloway. I am reading The Trial and hope to finish it today. Nikki and I are stuck at House of Mirth because her questions are not transferring.

I read The Bounty for book club, and we George and I watched The Bounty with Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Liam Niesson. I watched Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando with the book babes. Interesting to learn about this because it is the period of history that I am studying with my boys.

Bible Study
I have been meditating deeply in James 3 and studying through the "teens" in Acts. I had opportunity to apply James 3 in the context of the Acts study. It was very good but scary.

Well, I am off to rest the rest of the afternoon. I love my life. LOVE it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

February Fifties Party

George and I went to a fifties dinner at Suburban Christian!  What fun! I went to the local beauty college and they did an updo and makeup (including false eyelashes!) for only 10 dollars!
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