Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Spy and Phonics

So, as an expirement, you have decided to work phonnics into "I Spy." Instead of describing something's color or shape, we say the sound it starts with and the letter that sound makes. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it doesn't always work.

Lily: I spy with my little eye something that starts with juh
Me: No. Duh-ress does not start with a juh sound
J: Yes, but do you see a jacket?
Iris: No.
J: Then that doesn't ...
Iris: DRESS JACKET. Dress and Jacket RHYME!
*Here, J goes on to explain word families and that word families are words that rhyme, such as pain, stain, rain, etc.*
*sigh and face-palm*

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homeschooling and Moving

So, I'm sitting here making a list of all the things I need to get rid of and the things I should pack first when it occurs to me that we still have two months left of "school" that needs to be done. We have the materials and everything, but I'm not sure if we have the time.

If anyone out there who reads this has homeschooled their children as well as moved at the same time, how did you go about the lessons while packing and organizing? Did part of the lesson take part during packing? I could see how this could work with a kinetic learner. I could easily do drills with one of the girls while they occupied their time sticking things in boxes. But I don't have many ideas further than that. I'd like to continue with the lessons we already do. Iris has been picking up on phonics so well, I'd hate to break her stride. Even Rose has figured out greetings in all the languages. Say "Adios!" and she'll wave a goodbye.

If push comes to shove, I think instead of both parents doing the lessons at the same time, one parent packs, the other teaches, and then switch after an hour or so. The only problem I see with that is if one parent needs help, then the whole idea goes out the window.

I seriously need to figure something out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Universe

So, for science, we decided to start astronomy. Rose is currently emphasising this by singing "Twinkle Twinkle" at the top of her little 20-month-old lungs. :) We don't have cable, so use Netflix a lot for our documentaries, and we came across The Universe. It's a TV show that was aired on the History channel until Septemeber of last year, and, if you are a secular homeschooler like us, IS AWESOME.

So far, we watched the following episodes. We only watch one each day of the week, and we started them last Saturday, which is why we've watched seven instead of five. :)

101 "Secrets of the Sun" May 29, 2007 (aired: 2007-05-29)

A look at how the sun was formed and how it could potentially die; its physical composition; how it makes energy; and the nature of solar eclipses, solar flares and sunspot activity.

102 "Mars: The Red Planet" June 5, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-05)
A look at the planet Mars, the planet most similar to Earth in our solar system; an examination of Olympus Mons the largest volcano in the solar system; how NASA probes search for evidence of past life on the red planet, and what that life might have looked like.

103 "End of the Earth" June 12, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-12)
A look at end of the world scenarios involving killer asteroid or comet impact events, solar flare and gamma-ray bursts, and the plans that scientists have to potentially save the Earth from an interstellar disaster.

104 "Jupiter: The Giant Planet" June 19, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-19)
A look at the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter; its formation and composition and its mini-solar system of over 60 moons – some of which may have the potential to support extraterrestrial life.

105 "The Moon" June 26, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-26)
A look at the formation of the Moon; how it played a role in the evolution of life on Earth; and the future plans of NASA to establish a permanent base on the surface.

106 "Spaceship Earth" July 10, 2007 (aired: 2007-07-10)
A look at the planet Earth; how it was born out of a chaotic shooting gallery during the formation of the solar system; how life could have begun here; and what could ultimately cause its destruction.

107 "Mercury & Venus: The Inner Planets" July 17, 2007 (aired: 2007-07-17)
A look at the two most hostile planets in the solar system – Mercury and Venus; one gouged with craters, the other a greenhouse cauldron of toxic gases and acid rain; both scorched by their close proximity to the sun. Scientists theorize about what sort of life could evolve on these alien worlds.

We continue our work with foreign language by using a dry erase board and a dry-erase calendar. We use a calendar similar to the one shown, with a space on the left hand side usually used for notes. What we do instead is write the day of the week in the different languages we are learning. For example, today is Friday. After writing "Friday" on the notes side, it is followed by Vendredi (French), viernes (Spanish), Freitag (German), and 星期五, writen both in simplified Chinese and phonetically as Xīngqí wǔ.

On the dry erase board we have the month in all four languages (April, Avril, abril, April, 四月[Sì yuè]), the number of the day (which is based on the date), and the color of the day. We've gotten into the habit of writing on the dry erase board with the same color as the color of the day.

Nothing was really planned for history this week. Lily has been keeping track of our paper calendar and asked about the holidays listed, so she learned about Easter, Passover, and the like, with my husband in the background making stuff up. He's an atheist, and, though open-minded, he doesn't really know much about the meanings of the holidays associated to a certain relgions. So when Lily asked the meaning behind Palm Sunday, the converstaion went a lot like this:
Lily: What's Palm Sunday?

Me: It's when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem and...
J: Gave everybody high-fives. They were like, "Whassup, Jesus!" *gives self high-five*
Everyone seemed to like his explanation. He then added that Palm Sunday came after Thumbs Sunday and before Fingers Sunday. *facepalm*

Math, writing, and reading has been basic, using workbooks we bought at Target for $1 each last summer as well as our Brain Quest books and any other books we find in our personal library.

It's been a crazy week. The weather can't make up it's mind, but today was lovely, so we all went outside to play. :) Happy Earth Day! Rejoice in Nature! Hope everyone had a great week!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Secular Thursday: Sometimes, Life Just Sucks.

So I've just realized how nonexistant we have been lately. The homeschooling is still going, with Lily now learning how to write in cursive, and Iris now actually writing. We are all learning Chinese, German, French and Spanish and I have an entire curriculim for both of the older children. Things have just been full of fail.

I can't remember if I mentioned this in earlier posts or not, but my husband was laid off of work in May of last year. Almost a year later, 11 months yesterday to be exact, and he still has not been able to acquire a job. Since then I worked two part-time jobs at a measley 7.25/hr as well as going to school full time on top of helping my husband with the girls' lessons. I crashed and burned miserably, failing two classes, missing a month of homeschooling, getting fired from one job and quitting the other. I have been so brain dead this past year that I surprised my husband when I told him the only connection Mexico and Puerto Rico had were the ones who came on a boat; the Spaniards and Africans, but that the natives were Taino in Puerto Rico and Maya and Aztec in Mexico.

Sometimes, life just really sucks, and homeschooling gets thrown in there. I feel sorry for the girls because I feel like I have failed them. My husband and I have been looking for work constantly and studying for our own classes that we haven't put much detail in our lessons. Experiments and themes that would originally only take a couple of days at most, take anywhere from a week to a month. The schedule that we had been following went right out the window. Everything is a mess and I am surprised 90% of the time when my children come out with something I actually taught them this year, like Iris properly writing her name in manuscript and Lily writing hers in cursive.

I am grateful that we are relaxed in our lesson plans enough to deal with what we have been hit with. Because of our losses, we've had to make a lot of changes, such as getting on welfare (booooo!), and getting ready to sell our house. (boo again!) Within the next couple of months we will be moving out of Iowa to live with my mother-in-law in Texas. Between packing up our things, teaching my children new languages, getting my youngest to talk, and going to school myself, it feels like things are on the brink of falling apart. Days have been stressfull and I long for the days when we could easily go through our lesson plans.....oh, wait. We never easily went through our lessons, but life seemed much simpler then.....

On the bright side, Texas homeschooling laws are the best!!! <3