Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pre Holiday House Keeping

We interrupt this homeschooling blog to bring you pictures of my most recent deep cleaning and organizing project...our living/dining room!

Once again I neglected to take a "before" picture, so these pics may not be very impressive to you.  They represent hours and hours of de-cluttering, deep cleaning, and rearranging, and I am happy and grateful for how it all turned out!

We had a lovely old library table in the corner of our dining room, an antique piece which is very special to me, but which has a large flat surface to collect lots and lots of things.  I wanted to reclaim the dining room and make it look like an actual dining room, so this lovely antique library table became my desk in our schoolroom and our dining room instantly felt about twice as big!  We did still need to keep one computer in this room, so I bought a 2' wide table for $22.  It takes up very little space and has no big flat surface to collect junk.  Happy!

The china hutch pictured here, another special piece of furniture to me, used to be flat against the wall but I moved it to the corner.  In the process of moving it I dusted every dish and tea cup on it, remembering the history of each one and basking in the glow of some special memories.

The adjoining living room is currently used as a music room, but I re-positioned the drum kit to make a better seating area in the corner.  We finally hung the new stuff above this couch.  Little Man helped me arrange and hang it.  He was really helpful with this whole project!

I told my husband we have to have lots of people over RIGHT NOW before it gets messy and cluttered again!  haha

This room makes me smile, and that is happy.  With us mamas it's always the little things, isn't it?  

Now, something I learned in the course of this may be better to tell your college aged daughter about the changes before she comes home for the weekend and discovers them on her own, because it's no longer "the way it's been all my life!" and that can throw her off just a bit. :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Our Week in Review

Four mornings a week we start our day with me reading a book aloud to all the boys.  I did a lot of evaluation and praying over our school year while on vacation this summer, in order to be intentional this year with those things that we deem most important.  Reading outloud is one of them.  In just a few short years we won't be able to do that anymore, so we have built it into our school day this year by putting it as the very first "official" thing after breakfast and devotions!

This week we finished Huguenot Garden, about a Christian family in France during the time of Protestant persecution, and started William Bradford Pilgrim Boy.   I love, love, love this time together with my boys, and they love it too.  Even the senior secretly enjoys it, but don't tell him I told you. ;)

Then we head to the schoolroom and do our "Morning Routine," which consists of these 5 things. The vocabulary word is a greek or latin root, and we learn all the derivatives that have since come from that root word.  The boys take turns leading morning routine.

This week Little Man and I worked on writing a report from multiple sources.  He is learning how to make an outline from each source and then "fuse" them into one outline he can use from which to write a rough draft.  He is doing GREAT.  I love being his writing teacher!

Son L is learning Latin for his high school foreign language, and the homework is quite intense.  He translates, memorizes vocabulary words, and does the exercises in his textbook nearly every day (for a class that meets in person twice a week).

He is also learning physics at home with me and his dad this year.  This was an experiment that taught velocity using an inclined plane.

And this was prepping some play dough to hold a pencil at an angle in order to measure vector.

When I was in high school I worked my hiney off (well, not really...I wish!) in physics.  It was hard for me to grasp, partly because math had not been my strong suit during those years, but in spite of how hard it was I absolutely loved it.  I am determined to re-learn it this year along with son L, so this was one morning's work for me....reading his physics textbook and intermittently watching a helpful video on the Khan Academy website.

In history this week we learned about the British colony at Jamestown, Virginia.  Ever since we visited there as a family it has held a special place in my heart!  Sons G and L studied the colony in depth, son C learned about Galileo's life and discoveries, and Little Man compared the lifestyles of the Jamestown colonists with those of the Powhatan Indians.  This afternoon we had a history discussion all together where everyone shared what they had learned with everyone else.

In spite of some challenges it was a good week of learning, and I am thankful!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

First Day of School - 2016!

Our first day of school included all our "first day" traditions, which my long time readers know means that we went out for breakfast and then we came home and made edible cookie dough maps!

This year we have, from left to right, a senior, a junior, a freshman, and a sixth grader.  Cannot BELIEVE how quickly they have all grown!  It was son G's very last "first day" of school.  I may or may not have gotten a bit teary eyed during the taking of this picture.

We were supposed to get to the year 1800 at the end of our history studies last spring, but I got bogged down during the Reformation (wanting to do it "right" and just not having the time or energy to do so) so we just started this fall where we left off last spring.  I wasn't willing to skip ahead since this will be son G's last time through this time period and it is SO important to understand how the Reformation still impacts our lives today!

So we made maps of Europe that showed areas where the Reformation had led to large Protestant populations, and areas that were still primarily Catholic.  For detailed instructions on how we make and bake our cookie dough maps, go here.

Most of the boys used different colored sprinkles to show the Protestant and Catholic areas.  Here is son C's before baking and after:

Son G's before and after.  He used icing to show the different areas!

Son L's before and after:

And last but not least, Little Man's before and after:

The cookie maps are always a huge hit, and the boys devoured them!

We did do a bit of book work on the first day, down in our basement school room.  We are trying something new this year, and that is the "phone lot" on the corner of my desk.  The boys who have phones must put their devices on little phone parking lot squares during the morning.  We are doing 3 sets of 45 minute work times, separated with 7 minute breaks in between.  During the 45 minute sets the phones must be here on their parking lot squares.  This is working really well for us so far.

 I played "preposition bingo" with Little Man (he covers the prepositions that I call out with chocolate chips, and gets to eat them later!) while son G worked on math.

This is our long and narrow schoolroom, but what a wonderful thing it is to have a dedicated schoolroom!  I love our impressive library of books, and the space we have to keep all our school related materials in a special spot.  My desk is the one with the lamp on it.


Sons G and L are taking an economics class this fall, and they must send their assignments via email to their teacher each week.  They are both taking this class very seriously and seem to be learning a lot already!

It was a good first day!