Friday, October 28, 2011

More Delight

I have indeed had the most struggle homeschooling my youngest. Sweet Baby has a streak within her that makes her very outspoken, tends to speak before she thinks and seems to enjoy pushing her mother's buttons. However, this year I have discovered the most delight of the last 4 years - our homeschooling years - in my parenting.

Last year this sweet child was unable to master math. One day she would learn about how much a dime was worth and if we did not discuss it each and every day, she would forget its value. Sometimes it took 2 weeks for her to remember the value of a coin. It was so distressing and frustrating - to both of us. Just this past week we revisited coins for the first time since May. What a delight that she remembered the penny and dime, knew what their value was and how we count them! Here she is practicing.

In addition to struggling with money, she was never able to memorize simple addition facts. Sometimes, even at the end of first grade, she would need to do her +1 facts on her hands. It frightened me and made me so sad. Well.....look at her now! In just 2 months of school my Sweet Baby has memorized her 0's, 1's, doubles, 2's and is well on her way to memorizing her doubles +1's. Here is a photo of her accomplishment as she was able to complete the flashcards.

Above anything else I'm amazed at her change in attitude. She does not grumble about math anymore (thank you Saxon!!!) and she works hard, pressing on. I am so proud of this little spitfire and so thankful that God answers prayers. I have prayed hard that he show both of us the joy that we can have in homeschooling - and he has done just that. After managing all these flashcards I told her how thankful I am that I got to see her do it, because if she was at school, I would not have shared in the moment that it all made sense to her. She looked thoughtful and said, "Mom, I still wonder what school would be like in a school building, but I'm glad I am homeschooled too."

Rising to New Heights

Sissy had a great month with American Heritage Girls. We took the Pioneer unit to a local team building company. The girls were going rock wall climbing, an d she was quite excited. Here she is getting all suited up to get ready to learn how to belay and then climb the wall.

I was shocked and excited that she was the only one out of 3 girls who not only made it a fair amount up the wall, but she made it all the way! The instructor was impressed as well because she asked her if she thought she could turn around and go backward, I was surprised to see that she was able to!

Here she is making it to the top!

I continue to be amazed at all the great things she is learning. I am really enjoying being the unit leader and getting to see what the kids are doing, their reactions to things, and growth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Discovering Seeds and Germination

The little girls are in the middle of a science experiment. They are learning about seeds, germination and what it takes to make a seed germinate. We placed seeds in 5 different jars last Monday and are watching them to see what they will do and drawing out our results.

Jar 1 - Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, set on windowsill

Jar 2 - Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, in refrigerator (cold, no warmth)

Jar 3 - Dry paper towel, 4 kidney beans, on windowsill (no water)

Jar 4- Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, set on windowsill, steel wool in jar (steel wool is supposed to eat up the oxygen in the jar)

Jar 5 - Damp paper towel, 4 kidney beans, black construction paper around jar (no light)

The girls were very excited to see that "something is happening".....

God's Design provided us a chart to record our findings on, but knowing Peanut, I knew she would prefer to draw what she saw, rather than fill out a chart, so I drew some very crude jars and made copies of them to record on. Here she is contemplating what she sees.

In addition to watching what the seeds are up to, we soaked some kidney beans and some corn seeds over the weekend. Doing this allowed the girls to dissect the beans and see what the insides look like. Here Sweet Baby is peeling off the seed coat of the kidney bean.

Believe it or not, you could actually see the first little leaves inside the bean. It was really neat. Peanut is recording what she sees on a lapbook piece from the Hands of a Child Plants lapbook. I purchase lapbooks from them whenever they have one that will go along with what we are doing for history or science and when it fits with what we are talking about, we do a lapbook piece and put it all together in the end.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Sight to Behold

I am remembering back to just 2 short years ago when Sweet Baby was ready to begin kindergarten and my misgivings about teaching her to read. I remember not feeling like I could do it and that a public school could give her a start in kindergarten with her basics and then bring her home for 1st grade. I'm so glad to say I was wrong.

For history/Bible are discussing the Old Testament prophesies of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection and then looking at the New Testament and seeing where the prophesies were fulfilled. Nothing warms my heart more than having my Sweet Baby looking up her own scriptures and then reading aloud from the Bible.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Scientific Method in Action

Sissy is diligently working through Apologia General Science and I'm so proud of her willingness to pick up her books and do her lessons. She just finished Module 2 which had her learning about the Scientific Method. Although we are doing all the experiments at our co-op, we were going to miss last week's class so she did the experiments at home.

She really enjoyed this experiment, which had her implementing the entire Scientific Method. I was supposed to make a flashlight stop working and watch her as she attempted to figure out why it was not working and make it start working again. I chose the "easiest" way to sabotage the flashlight which had me taking the batteries out and placing a small piece of paper between the connectors so it was prohibited from working.

Sissy took it apart...

Noticed the paper, came up with a hypothesis, put the flashlight back together without the paper...

And tested her hypothesis by turning it back on to see if it would work. She did a great job!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Leaves and Arches

For the first part of the year for science the little girls are doing plants. We are learning about leaves and trees right now (perfect for this time of year). A couple weeks ago we took the dog on a hike to a local park. It was a perfect day for a hike, the sun was out and the leaves are starting to change colors.

I do not think I need to say anything about this picture. Awwwww...

At home the following Monday the girls did leaf rubbings with the leaves we found. They really enjoyed that.

For history we were talking about Roman arches and aqueducts. We discussed how an arch makes structures much stronger. We built a "bridge" using a 4x6 card, some books and pennies. The 4x6 card did not hold many pennies at all before it buckled under the weight.

We added an arch under the bridge to see if it would indeed strengthen the bridge. Sure enough it did. The kids were amazed at how many more pennies the bridge could hold just by adding an arch under the bridge.