Monday, August 29, 2011

August Home School Happenings

We have almost completed our first month of homeschooling. It has been surprisingly fun and I think it is actually working! The girls are still loving school (apart from a few rough days with Hope), and they are remembering what they've learned so far.
We've done a lot of review work with Grace, to make sure she is up to speed and hasn't forgotten too much over the summer, and have started a bunch of new things with Hope. Grace has (very excitedly) started reading basic sentences and Hope has been listening in on the letter/sound review, so she knows all her letters and sounds almost as well as Grace. We are working on fine motor skills- this is what has caused problems with Hope- and she is getting better. She wrote a number 2 for the first time today and was very happy about it. :)
For the first three weeks of school we studied the basics of the human body, touched on germs, and focused on the five senses. We had a lot of fun with that, playing lots of games using their senses. I also ask the girls to use one or more of their five senses to figure out answers to simple questions they ask me. I'm hoping that this will help them figure things out for themselves more and maybe not ask quite so many questions with obvious answers. We'll see if that works, but a girl can hope, right?
We've also spent the month studying the Pilgrims, their voyage to Plymouth and their life once they got to Plymouth and started a colony. I LOVE history, so this has probably been my favorite subject to teach the kids. We read for about half an hour to 45 minutes every night before bed and most of the books we read have to do with the subjects we are studying. I've found this to be a fun and easy way to reinforce and review what we've talked about during the day. 

These have been some of our favorite Pilgrim/Plymouth Plantation Resources.
"The Dreadful Smelly Colonies"
"Three Young Pilgrims"
"Samuel Eaton's Day- A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy"
"Sarah Morton's Day- A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl"
"Pilgrim Cat"-This has become an every night favorite.
"This is America Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers"- Surprisingly informational!
These are our most reviewed books on the Five Senses.
"The Magic School bus Explores the Senses"
"Me and My Senses"
Hope's first attempts at writing the letter A. Highly successful. Though I've discovered she is much more confident trying things out on the chalkboard than she is trying them out on paper.
Hope's pre-writing work. She generally acts like I just asked her to kill her favorite dog when I ask her to do this. Ha. We're also working on having a good attitude even when doing something she doesn't like doing.
Intro to the concept of a calendar. We laid out seven pretzels to start with and talked about the seven days of the week, counted them, recited the days of the week while pointing to each pretzel, then add seven more and so on and so forth until the "month" was full. Practised days of the week and counting to 31.

After we finished with the pretzel calendar (and the kids had finished eating it), we moved on to a real paper calendar. I had them color code the days of the week and we put a sticker on every day we have already finished for this month. We'll make another one every month left in the school year and add stickers as we finish days. The kids loved it.
This was a song I found on YouTube using the tune to "The Addams Family". Ha! The girls LOVE it and are learning the days of the week quickly.

 We generally have one day a week that is designated our "Library Day" and we get out books on the topics we are planning to study the following week. So far, our system seems to be working well. The kids are enjoying it and so am I, something I honestly wasn't expecting. God is so good to allow me to school my kids at home AND to allow me to enjoy it as well!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

2 Big Changes Around Here

The first and BIGGEST change is that D and I are now officially and legally ours!!!! Praise the Lord! We were finally able to adopt them on July 28, 2011. They are now asking to be called by the middle names we gave them, so we are trying to adjust to calling them Grace (the oldest) and Hope (the youngest). And they are now praying that our babies from the Congo will be ours soon too. :) It has been a great transition to a family. We've had a few rough patches, but for the most part, we are just all happy to be a forever family.
The other big change around here is that we have decided to home school this year instead of sending the kids back to the school that Grace attended last year. We started yesterday and it was great. Today was a little more difficult, but mostly because I was tired and irritable. I am now positive that this teaching thing is going to stretch me. Yikes!
The girls both LOVE doing schoolwork and beg for it the second I climb out of bed. Their favorite thing yesterday was when I pulled out the globe. We have a pack of flash cards of world landmarks and we took a few minutes to look over three of the landmarks and find their locations on the globe. Grace also wanted to know where our babies from Africa are, so we talked about that and she was amazed when she saw how far away they are. Today, we took a trip to the library to look up books on the human body, our five senses, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Steve also grabbed a few cookbooks full of recipes from around the world, so we may be trying some food from other countries as we study about them.
We received our initial approval from the U.S. Immigration to bring two children (under 2 with minimal special needs) home from the Congo. Now we just need to get on the waiting list. We are planning on having another garage sale this month, so hopefully we'll be on the list soon!