Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Mash Up: The first week, favorite subjects, our school mascot, books we're reading.

We've made it to the end of the first week of homeschool year 2016-2017! We had a lovely week and the tentative schedule looks like it will be a decent fit for now. I blogged about Monday already so I won't rehash that here.

Tuesday went smoothly. It may have been the jellybeans! Having been around this back-to-homeschool block a number of times I know that just a little sweetness to look forward to can make all the difference. Jellybeans were passed out in threes randomly throughout the morning. People were awake on time, school began with our morning basket. We got to grammar in our morning basket loop and I pulled out a Doctor Who themed Mad Libs book. My kids love Doctor Who and so it was easy to love grammar.

We also read a chapter about an Ohio animal in Critters, Flitters, and Spitters - the trilobite. Apparently it's the state fossil and one the size of a toilet seat was found in Ohio in the early 1900s. My boys were thrilled with that fact.

Math, spelling, reading, alphabet - it all went well. I'm teaching 5 levels of math to 6 different children, which is interesting. The only new material I've never taught before is Geometry. I really love Math U See because between the teacher's manual and the dvd lessons I am confident in what and how to teach for each child!

Makayla's course work is going smoothly, and rather independently as usual. Geometry was basic definitions for things like point, line, ray, plane, congruent, similar, and collinear. Biology is discussing Darwin and his theories, writing happened with a bit of a conference because they asked her to come up with a boring and broad topic - which she found weird. History and literature were also great. We had two repairmen in to look at our dishwasher. We're waiting on a motor and still washing dishes by hand.

Wednesday our routine was scrambled around a bit because we had our first art class. Every other week or so another homeschool family comes over and we do art together. I asked kids to do chores right after breakfast instead of in the afternoon. Then they did math and one other subject - which subject varied according to their choice. Art class, visiting, and an early lunch with our friends covered 9am-12pm. We took our usual 12pm-2pm break time. At 2pm Daddy was home from work so he got to join us for our morning basket and Beowulf reading. Then we headed outside for some exercise/nature study.

Caleb wanted to write the numbers from 1-20. Not bad since I haven't taught him how to write numbers yet! Younger kids tend to pick up a lot of things just by being in the homeschool environment with older siblings.

Thursday was back to the regular routine which is my favorite kind of day. We had nowhere to be and nothing out of the ordinary on the calendar. By 5:30am three children were awake and the morning kept rolling from there. Yes, I really do have early risers. While I was feeding Tobias some breakfast at the table Caleb asked to do his school work early. I realized yesterday that he's not quite ready for sitting down and doing Math U See Alpha every day. We tend to spread Alpha out over Kindergarten and 1st grade, so today we grabbed counting bears instead. I have some activity mats for the bears with patterns to complete, games to play, and other math concepts to explore. Before I knew it my 8, 7, 5, 4, and 3 year olds were all using the counting bears and their activity mats around the table. It was fun to see the older boys in that group rediscover old favorite activities and teach their younger brothers what each activity was.

For spelling we used coins as tokens to segment words with Joseph, Emma, Daniel, and Oliver. After we made it through our words they wanted to play with coins so I began handing them random piles of coins from a jar to add up, had them compare their amounts and put them in order, make change, etc. Who knew such a simple thing would be interesting to them today?

Makayla and I worked on history together and she took her geometry test today. She had some veterinary medicine reading and homework to do and a quiz for that online - which she aced. Because she had so much for her vet class she chose to skip biology for the day and add it to Friday's work.

Today is Friday and the kids were so excited to be at the end of the week that they were buckling down to school work early. Makayla and I are still working out the best way to handle her workload. She prefers to work independently for much of it but I still need to keep my finger on the pulse of her learning. We hashed out a few things to try for next week.

The 6th grade and under kids all aced their first chapter test in math. Joseph, Emma, and Daniel are the kids I planned to use All About Spelling with this year. It turns out Oliver is going to insist he does spelling too. He's joined in every day this week. We flew through three lessons today because the concepts were ones they already understood.

We've had fun with history and after some more of Beowulf the kids have added to their notebooks again today. If you look closely you'll see all sorts of body parts and gore. Have you read Beowulf? Let's just say that my boys are quite satisfied with the hero and the fight against evil. Here's a page from another child's notebook:

We listened to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for about an hour today over lunch, pulling out coloring pages and puzzles after our muffins were eaten. We are all enjoying the book and I'm enjoying using Audible to read it for me. I read the first couple chapters but it is quite lengthy and now that I'm reading aloud more school books I wanted a break somewhere. An audio book was perfect! We will be discussing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with friends at our next Homeschool Book Club. 

{Favorite Subject of the Week}

I asked my kids today quickly what their favorite subjects were this week. I also promised a certain child I would not name names. ;) The top subjects were: Math, Literature, and Art. Math got 5 mentions, Literature got 6, and Art got 6.

{Our Homeschool Mascot}

Did you know we have a school mascot? That's right! It's a pygmy puff from Harry Potter. We named it Arnold. It was sent to us by a friend of grandma's and the kids love to pull it down from our book shelves and hold it at various times in the school day. Harry Potter is one book series we've read and listened to multiple times. It has some really great discussion points as you go along with truth, lying, good, evil, standing up for what is right, doing hard things, friendship, loyalty, and trust, but mostly it's just a really interesting world to immerse yourself in for a bit. Right now 4 different people are reading or listening to one of the books in the series again.

{Books We're Reading}

I love seeing book lists from others because I can learn of new titles or be reminded of old titles that are worth reading or rereading. I decided to share the books currently being read at my house. This list is a mix from family reading, audio books, books I'm reading as well as one or more children for discussion, and books being read by individual members of the family. I'll try to divide the list into groups. If you have any questions about a title just ask in the comments.

Family or Group Books
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
  • Critters, Flitters, and Spitters by Rick Sowash
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Individual Books
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • The One and Only Ivan by
  • The Work and the Glory 5: A Season of Joy by Gerald N. Lund
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Holy Bible
  • Chess by Claire Summerscale
  • National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia
  • National Geographic Dinopedia
  • Beatrix Potter books - The Tale of Peter Rabbit and a host of others
  • Gossie by Olivier Dunrea
  • Franklin the Turtle books by Paulette Bourgeois
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read another chapter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

{This post is linked to Weekly Wrap Up.}


  1. Popping in from the Week Wrap-Up. Nice to find a new blog with a teenager. So many homeschool blogs just seem to be about the younger set. I'm homeschooling my 15 yo. Her older siblings (all homeschooled too) are at university and beyond.

    1. It is hard to find homeschool blogs with high schoolers! I'm stretched across all the ages now from 15 on down but have found what really fits for homeschooling my kids in the younger years so I don't read too many blogs that are just about teaching younger kids. I love that you've got the perspective of several graduated and launched already. I'm going to wander your blog soon to soak up some high school. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Don't you just love the balancing act of knowing when to let go and when to hold on a bit longer? Alexis also prefers to work independently and honestly, she handles it beautifully. We've also worked out a system where we chat for about 10 minutes at the end of each "school day" about what she's doing. She also knows I'm always here to answer questions or help her understand something. I'm also her editor in chief for papers she writes. :) Of course we still do family learning for an hour every morning, which includes history. We're also this year doing Socratic discussions together. She took an online class through the center for Lit last year and loved the book discussion parts. This year we're going to be reading the same book together independently and then coming together when we're finished to discuss it, so I think that will be fun. She's excited about it, at least. :) I know this is what I've been hoping for - independent, self motivated learners who can teach themselves anything. :)

    1. Yes, that is it exactly. Finding that balance and being open to the shift in responsibility can be so awkward at times, but it is a beautiful thing to see!

  3. I love the Beowulf pages. I can just imagine how satisfying the stories are for boys. I'll have to remember this for when my boys are a little older.

    Your sweet oldest reminds me of my second daughter--not in passions but in responsibility.

    You all did so many interesting things this week. Wishing you a restful weekend for the second week ahead!

  4. So lovely to find you back blogging. I followed your old blog. Everyone is growing and blooming.
    Blessings, Dawn


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