Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beginning Our Presidents Subunit

Tonight I am gearing up for a new unit: Wisdom!  Within this unit we will be studying the American presidents for four weeks and then switching gears to study the electoral process for four more weeks.  I am hoping to give you updates as I go along.

For now I wanted to share with you an awesome resource. I have this huge presidential timeline poster from C-SPAN Classroom on my kitchen wall.  I got this poster free as well as the Electoral College Map poster this summer.  I believe you still can but they need 3-5 weeks for delivery so hurry if you want one!  Either way, check out the website it is full of teacher resources and videos.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Family Read Aloud

I love family read aloud time.  I have just begun Poor Richard by James Dougherty with my younger two children.  My 16yo dd has read this one before and her high school curriculum keeps her pretty busy so she doesn't get to hang out with us during this school time read aloud but she often shows up to listen in the evenings for bedtime read aloud which is always a non-school-related book.  Currently we are reading through the Caroline years of the Little House books.

Almost every night we sit around the living room for mom to read.  This has become such a cherished activity that my younger two want to be read to more than I have time.  To solve the problem, a couple years ago my eldest began reading to them too.  Then when one child wanted her to read but not the other she pulled a separate book out for him or her to have read especially for only that one on one time.  So on a particular shelf in my living room I have a pile of books.  This is where we keep the books we are currently reading.  And it seems to get bigger and bigger.  They will each keep their current book that they are reading on their own on this shelf or sometimes on their headboards.  And we have the book Mom is reading during school, the book mom is reading at bedtime, the book 16yo is reading to both her siblings as well as each book she is currently reading to the individual siblings and I even have one there that I am reading to dd when ds doesn't want to be read to.  LOL

This time together has built such wonderful memories.  We have bonded over stories we loved and even some we didn't like at all.  My husband has come to read for us on occasion when his time allows and this is always a special treat.  Some stories have made us look at maps and others have inspired us to try cooking something new.  My children have colored while listening and other times built with blocks.  There are no restrictions as long as they are quiet and listening but most of the time they prefer to just snuggle up beside me.

It doesn't matter how old my children get or how well they can read on their own, family read aloud time will still remain.


Monday, September 3, 2012

First Day of School Success

Today is Labor Day here in the U.S. but I don't take off these silly Monday holidays.  Instead today we started school. With very little prep compared to previous summers I was a bit concerned but I decided not to sweat the small stuff.  I did a little planning this weekend and figured I would fix things as they came along.  And we had a remarkably smooth day.  In fact we even finished early (not entirely because I forgot spelling).

"Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

We began our day with Bible time and KONOS activities.  My kids had a new verse to memorize, Psalm 90:12 and we discussed what we would be studying for the next two weeks, stewardship of our time and what that means.  We spent some time "numbering our days" figuring out how old each of their great grandparents were when they died, and averaged out the numbers to get a general idea of how long they might expect to live if the Lord blesses them with long life.  Then they multiplied the average times 365 to see how many days that would be and subtracted the number of days they have already lived.  I think it was an eye opener.  Finally, I have them keeping track of how they spend their hours by keeping a log.  Tomorrow they will graph this on a pie chart and start a new log.  We'll do this every day for two weeks to complete an activity we are planning for co-op.

We finish our KONOS work and read aloud a half hour before lunch so my youngers can have some outdoor time while I help my eldest if she needs me.  After lunch I work with them individually doing language arts and math.  My son is taking typing this year and my third grader is going to learn cursive but I forgot it today so I'll be adding it into the schedule tonight.

I was surprised by how early we were finished; 1:30 for my third grade dd,  2:15 for my fifth grade son and right on time at 3 for my eleventh grade dd.  So at 1:30 I decided to write out a Ben Franklin quote for the top border of our school wall.  I made it really big and scrolled and dd8yo helped me color it in.  The best part of our day was the way we finished.  At 2:15 I told the youngers they were dismissed and they could go play but my son asked if he could play Timez Attack on the computer and my daughter asked if she could paint.  Of course I answered with a resounding, "Yes!"

"Never leave for tomorrow that which you can do today." ~ Benjamin Franklin