Amazing Homeschool Giveaway

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Don’t you just love giveaways? I know I do! We have an AMAZING giveaway for you this week. I am really excited about this one and wish that I could enter it. As homeschoolers we know that learning science in a hands on way not only makes the subject fun, but it also helps build a deeper understanding of the topic. This microscope and camera will make the day of some young scientist.  Enter the Rafflecopter below, but don’t forget to come back each day next week to find great advice from over 50 homeschoolers as part of the back to homeschool blog hop!
Giveaway - HBC and SRC

Welcome to the Back-To-Homeschool Giveaway!

A group of bloggers from Your Homeschool Blogging Connection and the Schoolhouse Review Crew have teamed up to bring you this fun homeschool giveaway. We are so excited to be giving away this awesome Microscope with the special Digital Camera that goes with it!

One winner will receive these two items – valued at $1894.99!!!

Homeschool Giveaway for Awesome Microscope and Camera!!!

OMAX 40X-2000X Lab LED Binocular Compound Microscope with Double Layer Mechanical Stage + 100 Glass Blank Slides & Covers + 100 Lens Cleaning Paper

Here are the specs on this microscope:

Total magnification: 40X-80X-100X-200X-400X-800X-1000X-2000X; Eyepieces: wide field WF10X and WF20X; Objectives: achromatic DIN 4X, 10X, 40X(S), 100X(S, Oil); Viewing head: 45 degrees inclined 360 degrees swiveling binocular; Sliding adjustable interpupillary distance: 2-3/16inch ~ 2-15/16inch(55~75mm); Ocular diopter adjustable on both eyetubes

Nosepiece: revolving quadruple; Stage: double layer X-Y mechanical stage with scales, size: 4-1/2inchx 4-15/16inch (115mm x 125mm), translation range: 2-13/16inch x 1-3/16inch (70mm x 30mm); Stage upward moving lock protects objectives and slides

Condenser: NA1.25 Abbe condenser with iris diaphragm; Illumination: transmitted (lower) LED light, intensity adjustable; Focus: Coaxial coarse and fine knobs on both sides

Full solid metal frame construction with stain resistant enamel finish; Power supply: AC/DC adapter, 7.5V/7.5W (UL approved) – Input: 100-240V; 100-piece blank glass slides with 100-piece cover slips and 50-sheet lens cleaning paper included

5-year warranty against manufacturing defects

Homeschool Giveaway for Awesome Microscope and Camera

OMAX 5.0MP Digital USB Microscope Camera with Advanced Software and Calibration Slide

Here are the specs on this Microscope Camera (It’s made to go with the microscope and hooks up to your computer!)

Image sensor: Aptina 1/2.5inch color CMOS; Resolution: 2592×1944 pixels (5.0M pixels); Pixel size: 2.2um x 2.2 um; SNR: 40.5dB; Dynamic Range 66.5dB

Frame speed: 5fps at 2592×1944, 18fps at 1280×960, 60fps at 640×480

Interface: USB 2.0; Reduction lens: 0.5X, fit to 23.2mm eyepiece tube; 0.01 mm calibration slide: 1mm/100 division; Adapters fit 30mm and 30.5mm eyepiece tubes

Compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OSX, Linux

1-year warranty against manufacturing defects

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Science Unit Studies ~ Review

Science is one of AJ’s favorite subjects. She loves any subject where she can learn new things in a hands on way. We were given the chance to review a great book, Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies. We use unit studies a lot in our homeschool, so I thought this book would be a great fit.

Funtastic Unit Studies Review

What is Science Unit Studies?

Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is a 201 page soft covered book. It is broken up into 20 chapters. The first 10 chapters are geared for ages 4 to 7 and the last 10 chapters are for ages 8 to 13. It is recommended that you teach the chapters in order, but it isn’t necessary. There are a variety of different topics covered including:

  • Senses
  • Human Body
  • Dinosaurs
  • Animals
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Health
  • Atoms and Molecules
  • Chemistry
  • Weather
  • Light and Sound
  • and more

Each unit varies, but most will take about two weeks to complete. At the beginning of the chapter you are given a list of supplies that you will need in order to do the experiments. Most of the items needed are easily found around the home, or in a regular grocery store. Some units require you to make copies of pages in the book, but there are not very many worksheets included. Hands on learning is key with this book!

The lessons are written to the teacher and give step by step directions of what to say, do, and explain to your student. It is written in simple language making it easy to teach. At the end of the chapter there is a multiple choice test to help you gage how much your child has learned.

How We Used Science Unit Studies

We were asked to complete any unit in the book. We have studied a lot of different science topics, but she hasn’t learned much about chemistry. We decided to go with Chapter 13: Atoms and Molecules.

The first activity had me explaining what an atom is and introduced the Periodic Table. The activity was to have the student rip a piece of aluminum foil into small pieces and to then find aluminum on the Periodic Table. AJ thought the activity was odd, and I wished that there was more explanation about the Periodic Table. The only explanation given was that it was a list of all the atoms in the world.

The second activity had AJ a little more interested. She was learning about molecules. The only way to learn about molecules is with marshmallows! She made quite a few molecules including water, carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon tetrachloride. This activity helped her to understand how atoms can come together to make molecules.

Science Unit Studies~ Learning about Molecules

The third activity had her take the molecules she had made and combine them to make crystals. They didn’t turn out too well, but I think she understood the concept. There were a few other activities to learn about crystals including looking at salt with a magnifying glass and seeing Epsom Salt dried on dark paper. Her favorite activity was growing sugar crystals.

Science Unit Studies - learn about crystals.

We have had this experiment in other science courses, but it never works. The recipe for this one worked very well. Over night we had a large piece of sugar crystal (rock candy). AJ enjoyed eating it.

The best part of science is eating your experiments!

The fourth set of activities had her learning about the characteristics of molecules. It involved putting food coloring in water to see how molecules move, putting food coloring in different temperatures of  water to see how fast molecules move based on temperature, spraying perfume to see how molecules move through the air, watching water evaporate into steam, and a few other activities.  We both felt these activities would have been great if she were younger, but that they were boring and too babyish for  7th grade.

Learning about molecules with hands on activities

The last activity was to draw different atoms. The book gave very basic information about protons, neutrons, and electrons and explained how they made up an atom. Using the sample in the book AJ drew the different atoms. She thought it was fun.

Drawing atoms

But then as I was flipping through the book I came to chapter 15 where the book explains all about electron shells. It says, “Tell your students that electrons don’t just randomly move around the nucleus of an atom, there is a pattern to their movement.” That would have been helpful to know before she drew all of those atoms! She redid the drawings and then we read a little more about atoms in chapter 15.

Learning about atoms and electrons

What We Thought About Science Unit Studies

There were a lot of hands on ideas in this book, but I really don’t feel that there is enough information to say that it would work for kids up to age 13. I think it would work well for elementary students but that middle school students would need more. Some of the activities felt redundant and at times the information in the book needed a lot more explanation.

I think it would be a great resource for those with younger kids, and those looking for basic information. AJ had fun with the study, but I don’t feel that she really learned much. It is great resource to get kids interested in science, but it needs some supplements.

Find out what others had to say by clicking the graphic below.

Funtastic Unit Studies Review
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7th Grade Curriculum

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We started 7th grade this week! AJ is officially a middle-schooler now. It seems like yesterday that I was teaching her to count and write letters, the time has sure flown by. We are making a few changes this year as I try to get her to become a little bit more independent. We are using a lot of products that I reviewed, a few I purchased used, and a few that I am making up. It may seem like a lot, but most subjects are not done daily. Some lessons are very short and others are included at her request. My main goals this year are to help her become more independent and improve her study skills, improve her writing, and to make sure she has a solid grasp on all of her major subjects. One resource that we will be using for a few different subjects is SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Here is our 7th grade Curriculum plan.

7th Grade Curriculum Plan 2015-2016

Math

We have been blessed to review quite a few online math programs over the last few months. AJ loves math and did well with all of them, but she has found a favorite – Unlock Math. We have been reviewing the pre algebra program and she will continue with it. So far it is complete enough that I don’t feel I need to supplement it at all. There is enough practice built in that I think by the time she is finished with it she will be ready for Algebra. I will have a full review in a few weeks, but if you are looking for a great way to help your student with pre algebra I would really check this out!

Science

We are going to study biology this year using Christian Kids Explore Biology. This is the first time we have used this science, but I think AJ will enjoy it. I plan on supplementing it with library books and videos from Visual Learning Systems. She loves science, so I am sure this course will go over well.

History

Last year my plan was to use Diana Warring’s history for 6th through 8th grade. We didn’t get as far along as I wanted last year, and I felt it was too much for AJ.  I think we will put off the rest of that curriculum for a few years and take a lighter approach to history this year. We are going with Home School in the Woods Middle Ages. We have been using it for a few weeks and AJ loves it! It is hands on and fun but most of the work is done for me. It will not last all year, if finances allow we will do the Renaissance and Reformation set from Home School in the Woods when we are finished. If that doesn’t work out, we will either revisit Roman History from Memoria Press or tackle the Renaissance and Reformation through unit studies. History is a little up in the air, but I know what we will be using for the first part of the year at least.

Geography

This year we will be focusing on European geography. She will be using the Geography Drawing Series. It is a simple approach that is a quick and easy part of her day.

Bible

For the first half of the year she will be working through the Teen Prasso. Once that is finished she will continue with year 1 of Bible Road Trip. Last year we got off track, but I would like for her to finish year 1 this year.

Spanish

AJ has practiced Spanish with a few different programs, but this year I wanted more. We will be using a few different resources to make a year long study. For a workbook approach we are using Instant Immersion Spanish. We are also using Fun Spanish Level 1 and a few fun apps.

Music

When we reviewed Easy Piano Basics, I was sure the novelty would wear off and she would want to quit practicing the piano in a few weeks. Surprisingly, that is not the case. She has been teaching herself songs and practicing without me saying a word! So she will continue to work through the lessons this year. She is also involved in the choir at church and has practice every week.

Art

Art has been lacking from our homeschool, so I decided that this year we were going to make more of an effort. For drawing practice she will be working through Draw and Write Through History. It will line up pretty well with our history study. For an actual art course we are going with Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool Art Cultures. It is just once a week, so I am hopeful that we will stick with it.

PE

We have never had to worry about PE since AJ was in gymnastics. Unfortunately, finances no longer allow gymnastics so we are making up our own curriculum. Until it is too cold to swim she will be working on different skills on the Red Cross skills list. She will be working her way through each level. Once it is too cold to swim she will be doing different exercise videos and practicing the skills needed to pass the California fitness test that she would take this year if she was in public school. She doesn’t have to take it, but I feel working on the skills that will be on the test will help keep us on track.

Language Arts

I left the hardest subject for last!

For writing she will be using Institute for Excellence in Writing B. It has been the first writing program to click with her.

For spelling we are sticking with Spelling You See Level F.

For grammar she will work through the Grammar Workbook – I will have a review of this soon. We will also use copywork from Homeschoolcopywork.com

For Handwriting she will finish Cursive Logic.

For Literature I am creating my own study for the Chronicles of Narnia. With each book we will learn about different literary elements. I will be sharing each study after we go through it. (That way I hope to catch any issues before I offer it to you. ) Once Narnia is finished we plan to read The Giver.

It looks like AJ will have a full year of learning! Do you have your plan for next year yet?

Free Printable Day 3 – Butterflies

Today is the third day of my 30 days of free printables. It is also AJ’s birthday, she turns 12 today. Time sure flies by!

Free Butterfly Life Cycle Worksheet, part of 30 days of free printables.

Today I am sharing a cute little printable all about the life cycle of the butterfly. AJ’s favorite subjects are math and science, so we have studied butterflies quite a few times. Here are some of our favorite resources for learning all about butterflies.

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Download your Free Butterfly Worksheet, and come back tomorrow for another free printable!

 

 

Free Printables for 30 Days

acToday is my birthday and I am turning the big 30. Today I will be at Downtown Disney with my best friend pin trading and window shopping. We don’t get to spend much time together, so I am extremely excited!

To Celebrate My 30th Birthday, I am posting a Free Printable every day for 30 days!

 

In honor of my birthday, I would like to give you all a gift. Since I am turning 30 I have decided to have a new printable everyday for 30 days, starting today! You don’t have to sign up for my newsletter or anything, although I would love if you did. Just a gift from me to you as a thank you for being a reader.

Each day will be a surprise. I have some math worksheets, science, literature studies, and just for fun pages. Some of them have already been made, but others are in progress. Most of them will be for older elementary students, but some will work for older and younger kids as well.

Do you have a topic that you would like a worksheet for? Tell me in the comments, and if it is something that I can work with, I may make it.

Now for today’s free printable………

Day  1 is Prime Panda!

A fun Free Worksheet that focuses on prime and composite numbers.

This fun worksheet takes coloring by number to the next step. It focuses on prime and composite numbers. It includes two different worksheets, one for younger kids that is a simple color by number type, and one for older kids where they have to solve equations and then color by number.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download your copy of  Prime Panda. Please do not share the link to the PDF, feel free to share this post where anyone can download their own copy.

Have a great day, and come back tomorrow for another free printable.

Find the days that have posted so far below.

Day 2 – Hey Diddle Diddle Pack

Day 3 – Butterfly

Day 4 – Temperature

Day 5 – Fantastic Mr. Fox

Day 6 – Humpty Dumpty

Day 7 – Adverbs

Day 8 – Adverbs or Adjectives

Day 9 – Memorial Day

Day 10 – Parts of Speech

Day 11 – Spelling Practice

Day 12 – Medication Check off List

Day 13 – Brain Break Cards

Day 14 – Telling Time

Day 15 – Multiplication

Day 16 – Pippi Longstocking

Day 17 – American Flag

Day 18 – Fractions

Day 19 – Books of the Bible

Day 20 – Old Testament Puzzles

Day 21 – Old Testament Puzzles Part 2

Day 22 – Sudoku

Day 23 – Sudoku

Day 24 – Northeastern States

Day 25 – Southern States

Day 26 – Super Hero Writing Prompts

Day 27 – Rocky Mountain States

Day 28 – Southwestern States

Day 29 – Pacific Coast States

Day 30 – Midwestern States

 


Carnival of Homeschooling

Orphs of the Woodlands – Review

AJ has a great dislike for reading. She loves math, science, and history, but don’t ask her to read. On the other hand, she loves games, if those games can have an element of math and science, then we usually have a winner. I love getting lost in a story and could get stuck in a good book for hours at a time, so I have been looking for a way to help AJ gain the love of reading that I have. Enter the latest product that we were blessed to review as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, Orphs of the Woodlands. Orphs of the Woodlands is an amazing product created by Star Toaster.

An amazing Online program that has sparked my child's love of reading!

We were given a year long access to the first book, The Treasure of High Tower. The normal subscription is for 60 days and is good for up to three children. There is also the option to extend the subscription for 30 days if your child hasn’t finished the program within the first 60 days. It is an online program so you will need a good internet connection, but you should be able to use it on any browser. We used both Internet Explorer and Chrome and had no issues at all.

What is Orphs of the Woodlands?

In very simple terms, it is a online book with learning and games intertwined. But it is really so much more! When you sign in to Orphs of the Woodland you are taken to a spy job application.  The WAK underground is looking for trustworthy spies to help save the Woodlands from the Night Creatures who are destroying the Woodlands.

This is where the fun begins! Your child gets to pick an alias for the main character in the book. The main character is male, so AJ decided that her squirrel would be named Tommy. Once your application is submitted you are taken to your journal. In your journal is a 15 chapter book told from your character’s perspective. (The book is over 350 pages)

Throughout the book there are interactive learning opportunities. Vocabulary words are highlighted and when you hover over them you are given the definition, or a list of synonyms. There are quotes and Latin phrases that are highlighted as well. When those are hovered over you are given the meaning of the phrase or more information about the quote. There are portions where sound clips are included and videos as well. It is so much more than a book!

The first chapter lays out the story. It tells all about the Night Creatures, Orphs (orphaned animals), gold stars (the currency of the Woodlands),  Ivythwaite, and High Tower.

After the first chapter, (and each other chapter you read) you have to complete jobs to earn gold stars so that you can take care of your Orphs. Jobs are based off of skills learned throughout the book.

Before each “job” there is a lesson on the topic. Some of the lessons are written pages for your child to read, and others are fun videos where Professor Forp teaches you a lesson. Professor Forp is a fun character who encourages you to seek out, “New Information Daily!”

The jobs you do vary with each chapter but they include:

  • Math– covering topics such as; place value, decimals, basic algebra concepts, lines and angles, mean, median, mode, circles, and more.
  • Science – covering numerous animal facts and a few other topics.
  • Language – covering Latin, basic grammar, homonyms, and more.
  • Vocabulary – covering numerous word families.
  • Thinking Skills – covering comprehension questions and memory skills.
  • Character – covering character skills and inspirational quotes.
  • Life Skills – full of wonderful recipes from the story.
  • The Arts – covering basic art subjects like; color, design, and tessellations.

In the beginning your child earns 6 gold stars for each correct answer on a job. As they get more correct answers they move to the next level and eventually earn more gold stars for each correct answer. The trick is that if you answer a question wrong, you don’t get paid, and you don’t have a way to earn those missed stars back again.

What are the Gold Stars For?

Star Toaster Review
That is where the game part of the program comes in. Using strategy you have to decide how to spend your gold stars to best take care of your Orphs. Which land should you purchase? Should you do projects to lower the cost of taking care of your Orphs, and if so which ones? You have to be careful because if you don’t have enough stars to take care of your Orphs, then they will leave and not come back!

 How did we use it?

This program is geared for kids in grades 4 through 7, but I really think it would be good for grades 4 and up. There isn’t a set way to use it, so I had AJ work on it throughout the week for as long as she wanted. Most days she completed a chapter and the jobs for the chapter, but with some of the longer chapters she only made it halfway through the reading and we would pick it up another day. Since she dislikes reading so much I decided to use the program with her and share the reading. The book was very interesting and I enjoyed it.

If you can’t or don’t want to read with your child that is okay too. There is a parent log in where you can find out how your child is doing on the lessons. You also will receive emails from Star Toaster updating you about what your child will be learning and their progress.

Working on Star Toaster - An Amazing online program for kids in grades 4-7

The program was very easy to navigate. AJ did most of it on her own. Using the menu at the top she was able to get to the book, her job list, and her timeline with ease.  We found everything self-explanatory and easy to understand. The best part is that there are helpful videos that explain every portion of the game if you can’t figure something out.

We also took the learning off line. There was a lesson about how to estimate the height of a tree that we tried and a lesson about PH and acidity that she did. I noticed that the lessons on homonyms helped her in her writing as well.

This is so much more than a book! We took the learning offline and explored some of the fun from the book!

 

What did we think?

We LOVED this program. It was the perfect fit for AJ! It has it all; an intriguing story where she is part of it, vocabulary words that are explained so she can understand what she is reading, fun bits of math and science sprinkled in, and a game where she gets to help others. She enjoyed trying to figure out who the good guys were and who was working with the Night Creatures. The story had  mystery and comedy while focusing on good character qualities and the value of knowledge.

She loved Professor Forp. He was funny and really explained subjects in an easy to understand way. I loved that the jobs she had to do forced her to really pay attention. At first I didn’t like that she couldn’t redo a problem if she missed it, but she only ended up missing 3 questions in all because she didn’t want to take a chance of not being able to care for her Orphs, so in actuality it was really a good thing!

AJ’s only complaint was that some of the chapters were too long. I agree that a few of the chapters were long, but I don’t think they could really be broken down any further to keep with the story.

After finishing the book AJ was actually upset! She didn’t want the program to end. The next book will be coming out soon and she really wants to read it. This program has sparked AJ’s love of reading. We finished the book, but she is reading it again because it was so much fun. When this kid willingly reads something a second time I think that speaks for its self. Star Toaster has a real winner with this product!

Star Toaster Review
If you have a reluctant reader, or a child who loves to read, you should checkout Orphs of the Woodlands ! The best part is that they are offering a free trial where you will be given access to the first 100 pages and the jobs that go with those pages. This program sparked my child’s love of reading and hope it will do the same for your child.

Star Toaster Review
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Real Life Homeschooling – Finishing Out the Week

I can’t believe that this is the final day of the real life homeschooling Blog Hop. Today I will share how we ended up finishing out the week.

We had a successful week, everything was finished and she ended up with almost an entire extra day of Spring Break.

When I looked at the spreadsheet Tuesday night I was happily surprised. AJ had finished her spelling, math,  and literature for the week. She only had Bible, Science and History left.

Tuesday night was a late one. I didn’t get to go to bed until 5am because Grandma had an accident around 1 in the morning and had to be showered and changed. I threw her sheets in the washer and then she ended up wanting breakfast. After a few hours she was tired and happily went to bed. At that point I crashed! Things like this happen quite often around here and that is one of the main reasons we don’t have a strict schedule. I didn’t end up waking up until about 11 am.

I decided to take a shower before even thinking about school work. That is until AJ walked in the bathroom and read the Bible reading for the day to me. She told me that she already finished the worksheet for it, and she was ready to work on her history next. When I got out of the shower I found her, already showered, dressed, and hair kind of done working on her history. (We are working on how to do her own hair so she will be ready when she goes to camp this summer.)

Working on History flash cards - Real Life Homeschooling

A few minutes later she was finished with her vocabulary and we went over the book of Joshua in the Kids Bible Handbook. I have to say that book has made Bible time so much easier! It breaks down what happened in each section and really helps both of us to understand the Bible.

We finished up the day by re-watching the science videos and looking through the library books on weather. At about 12:30 school was over and she was officially on Spring Break.

We had a very successful week, but it isn’t always that way. Sometimes Grandma is up all night and we don’t get any sleep, on those days school work doesn’t really get done.

You may have also noticed that there was not any art, grammar, or writing on our schedule this week. We aren’t doing a formal art program. Art is done as it fits in with science and literature, and is really focused on one week in every history unit. The history program is actually very hands on and fun, but this was the first week in the new unit where we had a lot of reading and listening to do.

We have been using copy work for grammar for the last few months. Spelling You See has taken the place of copywork for now. If we continue with it after the review period (which I am almost positive we will) then we will probably add back in some additional copy work a few times a week. We also use the daily grammar from schoolhouseteachers.com. Once we get more use to the new schedule I plan to add that back in.

Writing, the dreaded subject, wasn’t on the list because we finished the last unit in composition and I didn’t want to start a new one and then have a week off for Spring Break in the middle. I haven’t found the perfect program for writing and am looking for a way to make it more enjoyable for AJ.

A successful week where everything was accomplished!

So that was our week. She finished everything on the spreadsheet and had almost an entire extra day of Spring Break!Thanks for joining me and I hope you were given a real life look into our homeschool!

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
Here are a few of the other bloggers who are participating in the blog hop, check them out!
Indy Homeschool
The Open Window-An Autism Blog
Creative Madness Mama
Hopkins Homeschool
Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Our Journey
Crystal Starr
A Little This … A Little That
For the Display of His Splendor

Real Life Homeschooling – Some Days Take a Little Longer

Today is Day 4 of the Real Life Homeschooling Blog Hop. This week I have been sharing a typical week in our life, even though each week is a little different. These posts are all based on the week before Easter, because this week is Spring Break and 5 posts about us doing nothing would be pretty boring! Here is how our third day of the week, Tuesday went.

Real Life Homeschooling - Some Days Take Longer

On Monday night I noticed that AJ wasn’t feeling too well. I soon found out that when she was with her grandma over the weekend she went swimming! The pool is not heated and it is still too cold to swim. We had just discussed this and told her that she could not go swimming a week ago, so when she woke up feeling sick I was more than a little irritated.  If the situation would have been a little different I probably would have just skipped school for the day and we would have just made it up later. But after finding out that she completely disobeyed and went in the pool knowing that she was not suppose to, I decided that she would have to just deal with school. Am I a mean mom? Maybe, but in life there are natural consequences and this was one of them.

Tuesday we were off to a slow start. We started school around 10 am. First we worked on her Bible study, and then she did her Bible reading for history.

Putting God First with Bible reading in our Homeschool!

Once she was done with her Bible reading we decided to work on spelling. She did her chunking, read the passage to me, and then asked if she could study some of the harder words for a few minutes before her final dictation. That caught me off guard! I gave her a few minutes to work on her spelling and then we started in on dictation. The dictation is suppose to be stopped after 10 minutes, but when I told her time was up she asked if we could finish. She ended up working on it for about 20 minutes, and was very proud of herself when she corrected it. There were over 100 words in the dictation and she only missed 3! Talk about a boost in confidence. I think Spelling You See is really going to be an answered prayer for us!

Spelling You See - Final Dictation.

After spelling she went and got dressed and did a few chores that she didn’t do before we started school.

Real Life Homeschooling Chores are just another part of school!

We were going to go onto science, but my leg was swelling so badly that I had to go inside and put it up. We decided to work on Star Toaster. It is this amazing reading program that uses an online story, a game, videos, and so many other exciting features to make learning fun. I have a full review coming soon, but here are the basics. She logs in and reads a chapter in the story, The Orphs of the Woodlands. Throughout the story she learns different vocabulary words, character traits, nutrition tips, and math skills. At the end of each chapter she has to do jobs (answer questions) to earn stars so that she can take care of her Orphs (orphaned animals) that she is helping. It is a really neat program and she really enjoys it. She was really into the story, so she ended up working on it for about an hour.

Working on Star Toaster - An Amazing online program for kids in grades 4-7

When I finally told her we had to move on she ended up finishing up her A+ math for the week. The first chapter was really easy, but she enjoyed it. I am crossing my fingers that the rest of the chapters will be as well done. She crossed off math for the week and noticed that the next day’s spelling was a Daily Puzzler from Schoolhouseteachers.com She loves those and asked if she could work on that next. As you can tell by the picture, she was starting to feel a little bit better.

Working of Daily Puzzlers from schoolhouseteachers.com

After crossing off spelling for the week, it was time for science. Today we were learning about clouds. I had printed off a worksheet about the different types of clouds, but I had a hard time telling them apart. (See you don’t have to know all of the answers, just how to find them!)So we decided to do a google image search and learned more about the different types of clouds.

Learning about clouds using a google image search.

After finishing the worksheet we went outside to see how many types of clouds we could name.  Sadly, it was clear as could be other than this little cloud.

Learning about clouds, and this was the only one in the sky!

AJ sketched the cloud, and then it was time to make a cloud in a bottle.

Real Life Homeschooling - Hands on Learning

She had a lot of fun with the experiment!  After science it was time to finish up history. Today she had to do the first half of her vocabulary for history. I decided to try something different with this unit, and had her make flash cards instead of just doing a worksheet. She liked it and I think that she will practice the flash cards more than she will study them in a book, time will tell though.

Real Life Homeschooling -Flashcards for history vocabulary

When the history cards were done she had to read two more chapters in Because of Winn-Dixie. She surprised me and finished the book! She even took the test and aced it! This may seem like a little thing, but this is the first book that she has EVER read by herself, that doesn’t have pictures, where she has really read it and was able to answer questions! This was HUGE!!! After working and pushing, and backing off, and getting frustrated, our hard work has paid off and she willingly finished a book!

Real Life homeschooling - Finishing her first book

She is just in the wheelchair so she can wheel around and spin while reading, she is fine!

 

I don’t know if it was the new schedule that gave her more responsibility, or the fact that she wanted to be on spring break, or if it was just a good book, but now I know she has it in her.

Overall it was a good day, but it was a long day. School lasted about 6 hours. Some days will be longer than others when your child decides to take forever, or when you dig deeper into a subject. We take each day and see how it goes. Tomorrow will be our final day in the real life homeschooling blog hop, come back to see how we finished out the week.

Check out some of the other members of the school house review crew who are participating in the blog hop!

Life at Rossmont
A Stable Beginning
Happy Little Homemaker
Joyful Hearts and Faces
Day by Day in Our World
Mama’s Coffee Shop
Delightful Learning
Double O Farms
Tales of a Homeschool Family
Home Sweet Life
A Rup Life

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
 

 

Real Life Homeschooling – A “Normal” Day

Today is day 3 in the Real Life Homeschooling Blog Hop. I am sharing the second day of our week, Monday.

I let AJ sleep in, because I slept in. I ended up sleeping through my alarm which happens a little too often. When I woke up around 9:30 this is what I found.

Working Independently on School Work

AJ was in the garage eating breakfast and working on some of her independent work for the day! She told me she wanted to get started so that she would have plenty of time to ride her bike. Maybe this new schedule really is working. She ended up reading the Bible stories for both today and tomorrow. This was part of her history work.

Next we went on to the Bible Study that we are reviewing. After reading a few verses and discussing them, she attempted to do a crossword puzzle. Unfortunately, the crossword puzzle questions and the answer squares didn’t add up. After a few minutes we decided to have her do the younger version of the crossword puzzle instead.

Next on the schedule was Spelling. Today was the dreaded day of dictation. She started out by reading the passage and chunking it. Then we covered the passage and I dictated it to her.

Chunking the passage from Spelling You See

She struggles with the dictation because one of the rules is that she can’t erase. If she spells a word wrong she has to cross it out and try again. She also doesn’t like to be timed. The dictation is only suppose to last for ten minutes, but today she was a little distracted and didn’t write very much after 10 minutes so I stopped her after 15 minutes. She did well, but I hope that we can get further along tomorrow when we do the final dictation.

Dictation with Spelling You See

After spelling we moved onto Science. Today’s lesson was about how to read a weather map. She read a little bit about weather maps and then had to answer six questions based on them. It was a quick activity that only took about 15 minutes.

Learning all about Weather Maps

I let AJ pick the next subject and she chose math. She started with her Key to Percent book and finished her two pages very quickly. Then she decided that she wanted to go ahead and finish off the book today, including the test.

Taking the final test for Key to Percent Book 1

This is where we normally get off course with our schedule. She wants to do more in a subject and we end up putting other subjects on hold. Last week we were so focused on history that we didn’t do any science. I told her that she could do as much math as she wanted, but that the other subjects had to get done too. She passed her test with 98% and wanted to start the next book, but I had to stop her there, because I didn’t want to do school work all day. Have I mentioned how much I love Key to Math?

Next up was History. She read a few verses in Joshua and then I put on the What in the World? CD for her to listen to while she colored in her What’s in the Bible? coloring book. I have found that she doesn’t pay attention unless she is doing something. She just spaces out and can’t tell me anything that has happened. Sometimes I let her play with play dough, kinetic sand, or putty. But today’s lesson fit in so well with the coloring pages so I had her color.

Coloring while listening to What in the World?

While she was listening to the CD I checked on Grandma and started preparing dinner – chicken and dumplings.

She looked at her spread sheet and realized that she forgot to do her A+ Math that we are reviewing. She logged into her account and started on lesson 6. After she did the lesson and got 100% on the after lesson questions, I realized that there were worksheets to go along with the lessons. She hadn’t completed any of the worksheets because I didn’t realize they existed. Oops! I had her do a few of the worksheets that we had missed and then it was time for lunch.

Working on A+ Math

Even with doing extra math and history, school was less that 4 hours long. I ended up running a few errands to the pharmacy and the store and then we worked on Star Toaster when I came back. When we were finished she rode her bike for over an hour. It was a very successful day!

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
 Here are 10 more amazing bloggers who are participating in the Blog Hop, check them out!

Treasuring Life’s Blessings
Double O Farms
Simple Living Mama
Fried Clams and Sweet Tea
This Sweet Life
A Net In Time
Counting Pinecones
Some Call It Natural
Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Debbie’s Homeschool Corner

See how others spend their day by checking out A Day in our Homeschool!

 

 

 

 

Real Life Homeschooling – Fitting It All In

Today is day 2 of the Real Life Homeschooling Blog Hop. (You can see day 1 here) I will be taking you through a typical homeschooling week at our house. This week we decided to do school Sunday through Wednesday. (This post is based on the week before Easter, because we are on Spring Break this week.)

Sundays are busy around here. It is our day that we do the major cleaning, so it is not the “best day” to do school, but we have to fit in school when we can. Here is how our day went.

My alarm went off at 8:30 and I woke AJ up about 9am. She didn’t want to get up until I reminded her that she had church that night and if her work wasn’t done (As long as she puts in a decent effort she can go, even if everything isn’t finished.) she couldn’t go to church.

Homeschooling in Real Life - Fitting it all in

From about 9 to 11 she got up, ate breakfast (eggs, toast, and an apple), took a shower, and made her bed. She moves so SLOWLY in the mornings sometimes. So slowly that it drives me nuts!

From 11 to about 1:30 we cleaned. The floors were swept and mopped, everything was dusted, and then……. Grandma woke up. She had a wet diaper so we changed her and made her some breakfast. I put a Shirley Temple movie on to occupy Grandma and then supervised as AJ vacuumed the house. Then it was time for lunch. Lunch was simple, a tuna sandwich, chips, pickles, and cucumber.

At about 2pm we started school. I was afraid we wouldn’t get much finished since church was at 5:45. We do the majority of her school work in the garage.

Normally, I would let AJ pick the order of the subjects for the day, but not today. Since we were in a time crunch I decided to start off with history. This week in history we are starting a new unit all about The Children of Israel. It covers quite a few books in the Bible, from Joshua to 1 Kings. Today on the schedule was reading the article, reading a few stories in the Action Bible, and reading a few major verses in her Bible.

Homeschooling in Real Life - History

We read the article and Bible verses together and then she read a few stories in the Action Bible.

The Action Bible - A great way to help kids understand the Bible.

After history was finished, she moved onto Bible. We are reviewing a Bible Study from Heidi St. John called; Firmly Planted The Gospels Part 1 Today we read the first part of Luke 1, and discussed it.

Firmly Planted Bible Study, Luke 1

Then she worked on the vocabulary section while I put dinner on. We need to get a better dictionary, because the one we have just isn’t cutting it any more. She had to use the computer to look up most of the words, and they were basic words.

Looking up words using Dictionary.com

Next on the list was spelling. We are reviewing Spelling You See, and so far AJ loves it. I was concerned about the amount of writing at first, but she has been doing very well with it.

Spelling You See - A hands on way to practice spelling.

First she reads it to me and then she chunks the words based on the vowels. After we go over the chunking, she copies the passage.

Spelling You See - A hands on way to practice spelling.

Spelling only took about 15 minutes total. Today for some odd reason she decided to cooperate and get her work done in a timely manner.  After spelling we moved onto math.

Today’s math was in 2 parts. First she did some online math (more on that tomorrow) then she worked on her Key to Percent book. Today’s lesson was on finding percent by using what she already knew. She had to find  49% by finding both 50% and 1% and subtracting, or find 35% by adding up 25% and 10% of a number.

No need for paper, we do math on the whiteboard!

She worked her problems out on the whiteboard after I went over what she had to do. While she worked on math I folded some laundry and checked on Grandma. Then I checked Facebook and my email. A few minutes later I checked her math and she had them all correct. I love this math! Everything is step by step and she enjoys doing it.

The last major subject for the day was science. We are using Digital Science Online and are working on Weather. Today she watched the video all about weather in action and filled out a worksheet. She watched it alone while I went inside and put my foot up because I was hurting a lot.

Using Digital Science online to promote independence

When she finished science (about 25 minutes) she asked if she could do her literature at bed time. I decided we would try it and she did her PE. I had to add PE to the schedule because otherwise I tend to put it off so that she gets more book work done. In all honestly, if it wouldn’t have been on the schedule I would have skipped it. She loves to ride her bike though, and I think seeing it on the schedule actually makes her work harder.

After PE she watered the plants, and then it was time to eat a snack and go to church. She ended up finishing up everything except literature by 5:15. She says that she really likes the new schedule and if more days go like today, I will gladly take the extra time to schedule each week.

After church, at about 7:15, we ate dinner. Tonight was ham, mashed potatoes, and steamed carrots. When it was time for her to do her literature, she gave a little attitude because she wanted to watch TV.

Working on independence in Home School

After a few minutes of moaning about how she could do it tomorrow, she went in and read her book and answered the questions. She actually ended up doing both Sunday’s and Monday’s work, because, “The book was just so interesting.” I don’t know who kidnapped my child and replaced her, but I am gladly keeping this one!

Each day is different and today everything seemed to work out well. AJ cooperated with her school work, Grandma willingly stayed out of trouble, and the house was cleaned. Most days are not this smooth, but I am thankful when days like today happen.

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
 Here are 10 more blogs that are participating in the blog hop, check them out!

For This Season
Unexpected Homeschool
For Him and My Family
As We Walk Along the Road
Growing in His Glory
Homeschool Coffee Break
Daily Life
There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining
Proverbial Homemaker
ElCloud Homeschool