Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Katie's Tot Trays for September


Can you believe we're wrapping up September??  Where did the time go?  Next it will be time for pumpkins!  



I wasn't sure how much Katie would be up for in September, with having surgeries on the 5th, but she's quite a trooper.


She's been enjoying the "a'mals" from our toobs.  She and Hannah have been asking to play with these quite a bit the last couple weeks. Wedgits, too.


But she most emphatically did not enjoy finger painting our autumn trees!  I was surprised at this, since water beads don't bother her.  Now that I think about it, she didn't enjoy a shaving cream activity, either.  We'll have to work on messy more.


Here, she's showing off her rainbow of new dot markers .  I finally broke down and got another set, after realizing the ones we had were bought in Santa Rosa at least a decade ago.


I've always photocopied the pages out of our dot marker books so all the kids could use them, but now with Katie being the last one, I'm tearing them out and letting her use the books up.  There are plenty of printable dot marker pages online nowadays, too, should we finally run out someday.


The pouch lids continue to be a fun diversion.  Katie has started stacking them in patterns now, too.


Saw this idea online recently and thought, "Hey, we have 10# of craft sand we're not doing anything with!"


The sand sticks to the contact paper.


The peanut gallery got into this craft.  I had to tell certain teens that Katie didn't actually need (or want!) their help.


As usual, Katie did just fine on her own.


I ended up vacuuming the table after this craft.


This activity kind of flopped.  I had grand ideas of making hair bow holders from these by gluing ribbons onto the back after they were finished coloring them.


They had fun coloring the wooden princesses from Oriental Trading Co.


But when they were done, I realized I don't especially want to see them on the wall every day for the next few years.


I know I've shared pony bead activities before, but they really are one of Katie's favorites.  I picked up some new bracelet blanks for her, which she likes.


She made several that matched, then started branching out into patterns.


She later showed me her "Cismis" one that is red and green.  I had no idea she knew those were "Christmas colors."

Hannah has one more week off before heading back to school.  The girls have started to bicker a bit, so I know Hannah will be glad to get back to class.  Katie will miss her when she's gone, though.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Our 5th Week of School


Not homeschool related, but we had a couple of medical appointments this week.  Luke went to see the ophthalmologist, who says the brown spots on his eyes are nothing to worry about.  


Hannah and I took Katie to Shriners.


Katie saw her foot doctor, who said that the time off from her night brace (due to surgery and bandages) has not caused any relapse, which is good.


We'll go back to using her night brace after her next appointment, where she will see her surgeon to check on her incisions.  I've seen her leg (will share pictures after next appointment) but I haven't seen her hand yet.


I really don't like it when I have to go deep into the parking garage because all the handicapped spots at the front are taken.  I always feel like I'm going to scrape the ceiling!


This week, the boys did Georgia O'Keefe inspired flowers in chalk at co op.


They're really having fun, and I love seeing them learn new things and interact with friends.


They're supposed to bring in frames soon, which is where this mat came from.


Still working on perspective in our home art program.  We also did some free drawing during our read aloud of The Bronze Bow.  Jack drew a Roman soldier on horseback throwing a spear at a Jewish boy near a well (not pictured).  We're all enjoying the story.


This week in history, we learned about Octavian becoming Ceasar Augustus, the first emperor of Rome.


And in science, we learned about the senses of smell and taste.


Which included a blindfolded taste test experiment.


Eli seems to think being blindfolded means impersonating a prisoner.


They tasted water, orange juice, cranberry juice, and grape juice, while blindfolded and pinching their noses.


All 3 kids correctly identified water and orange juice, but none got cranberry or grape with their noses plugged, proving that smell greatly influences taste.


After the experiment, the kids enjoyed slurping down the rest of their drinks.


We skipped a field trip this week, but that enabled us to finally catch up!  We've been behind for the last couple weeks, and I'm happy to be starting next week without any "baggage" from prior weeks.

If you missed my review of Fix It! Grammar, you might want to check it out.  We're really enjoying this program.

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Fix It! Grammar


Confession of a lousy homeschool mom:  I've sort of slacked off on English language arts the last couple of years, figuring that my editing of the kids' journal entries and other written work would be enough for them to pick up these skills organically.  Um, that hasn't actually worked out very well for us.  So when the opportunity to review Fix It! Grammar from Institute for Excellence came up, I chose to start at Level 1 with Jack and Eli, in order to give them a solid foundation to build upon.

This series of books is listed for kids in grades 3-12, which is a pretty broad spectrum.  There is a placement test you can have your child take to see which level would be the best starting place for them.  My boys are 10 and 13, and Level 1 is neither too babyish or too difficult for them.


We received the Teacher Manual and Student Book for The Nose Tree.  The Teacher Manual sells for $19, and comes with a download of the Student Book, if you want to print your own copies, making this a very affordable program.  The spiral bound Student Book sells for $15.


I love the idea behind this series!  Each day, we read one sentence from a story (our story is The Nose Tree).  One!  We define the bold vocabulary word in the sentence.  Then the boys mark the nouns with an N, the articles with an AR, and choose the correct ending punctuation for the sentence.  We've also run across some homonyms and quotation marks so far.  We go over what they've chosen, together, discussing any wrong answers, "Well, no, that's an adjective, because it describes the noun."  Then the boys copy the sentence in their notebook.  Each day we add one more sentence of the story to the page.  At the end of the book, they'll have written the whole story!  I love this!  It's like the old saying, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!"  How do you get reluctant writers to copy an entire story?  One sentence at a time!


This is Eli's story so far, copied one sentence at a time.  The weeks are set up with 4 days of work, which is helpful for families who do Fun Fridays, participate in a once a week co op, or follow other alternate schedules.  Each time I hand the boys a new week's page, Eli reads all 4 sentences to get as far into the story as he can.  He wants to just read it like a book, but I'm doling it out a week at a time to hold his interest.

Looking ahead, I can see that we're going to tackle things like pronouns, who-which clauses, verbs and more as we get deeper into the book.  At the end of the book is a Scope & Sequence which tells what concepts are introduced which week, and lists the vocabulary words bolded in each daily sentence.

The back section, separated by a glossy cardstock cover, contains a glossary and other helpful information for teachers.  There's also a set of grammar cards to be cut out of the book and separated.  Those are cream colored cardstock.


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The Fix It! Grammar series has a total of 6 volumes:  The Nose Tree, Robin Hood, Frog Prince (or Just Deserts), Little Mermaid, Chanticleer, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  I can easily see us continuing the program next year with the Robin Hood book.  This is a painless program to teach, and I'm thrilled that the boys don't fight me on it, because after all, it's only one sentence!

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