Friday, September 23, 2011

It's "A" wrap!

Eric is really enjoying his "school" work!  He is really discovering books are his friends and requests to read books often now (not just tractor books).  His favorite this month is "The Three Little Pigs."

He enjoys re-enacting the story with Ella, pounding on her room door. "Little pig, little pig, let me in!"  It's so cute!  Ella likes to play along too, shouting (No! No! I will never, never, never let you in, not by the hair on my piggy little chin!"  It's so fun to watch these two go back and forth reciting the book.

I often find Ella and Eric throughout the week, sitting on a chair or sofa together with a book or two.  Just reading!  Ella really enjoys sharing her favorite past time with her little brother.  It just brings so much joy to know they are sharing the love of books together.

We finally wrapped up the letter A, by making a tissue paper apple tree.

We took our time counting all our apples on the tree (math), pinching all the tissue paper to make the apples (fine motor skills), and talking about trees (science).  He had lots of fun with this project.

Ella received a "Rainy Day" project book from Chick-fil-A when she was little, which has a great recipe for making clay we can bake and paint.  Ella made lots of different shapes to paint (ladybug, snake, and a panda bear).  I decided to make the letter A for Eric to paint.

While Eric and I are often busy in the mornings, working one-one with each other Ella is working on some of her independent studies (math, handwriting, reading).  However, sometimes she breaks away from the books and picks an activity instead.

She loves to make necklaces and bracelets with these wooden beads.  It works her fine motor skills and patterning as well.  It's all in the name of learning!

Pinto beans work great for pasting!  They look like little ovals, so what better to use for outlining this big oval!

Ella is absolutely loving her "A Reason for Handwriting" workbook and often requests to do more than what I request.  The end of each lesson, she writes an entire bible verse on a handwriting sheet with a picture she enjoys coloring.  These are great for giving to friends and family.

We are starting our memory work in Europe.  Ella has learned the major rivers, countries, and cities in Europe and can easily point them out on a map.

We're moving quickly through our memory work, as some of this was review from the end of last year. We have memorized our times tables through the 8's, history sentences up to the Hundred Years war,  and so much more.  She is like a sponge and can recite and remember information quickly.  I've created a sticker chart for her, so she can track her progress and have some extra motivation to learn.  The power of a sticker is amazing.

Ella wrapped up her Math-U-See Primer book a few weeks before I anticipated.  She worked so quickly, once she saw we had new books waiting in the wings.  She was motivated!  

I had her take a placement test for Saxon Math and Math-U-See and was surprised to find out, she's an entire grade level (almost 2 grade levels) ahead.  She was two questions shy of moving into Saxon 3.  The Saxon 1 books I had already purchased just wasn't right for her.  I decided to save those for Eric and had to purchase Saxon 2 instead to review more of her math facts.  She will be flying through Math-U-See Alpha too, as we work through the math facts in this book as well.  A strong foundation and knowing her math facts will really help her later, so I decided to not skip these levels, but imagine we will move rather quickly through these books.

Ancient History and Egypt is really coming to life in "The Story of the World" series.  Ella is learning all about Egypt and the life of the Egyptians.  We even made our own little Nile River.  A little potting soil, rocks, and grass seed and *poof*...the Nile River!
The Nile River floods every year, making the ground more fertile.  So, Ella flooded her Nile every week and the grass grew around the River.  She had lots of fun watching the grass grow.  The rocks represent the Pyramids of Egypt.

Ella sporting the crown after the unification of upper and lower Egypt by Pharaoh Menes.  

The kids had lots of fun creating their own clay cuneiform tablets.  We used the same clay and bake recipe to create these little masterpieces.

Science has taken a detour as I came across a wonderful lesson plan for an upcoming movie release called, "Dolphin Tale."  The movie is about a dolphin named, "Winter."  Winter looses her tale in a crab fishing net and learns to swim with a prosthetic tail.  Through the Homeschool Movie Club we were able to catch a free preview of "Dolphin Tale."

 Ella absolutely loved the movie!  I asked what she loved about the movie and she replied rather quickly, that she loved ALL of it!  I learned there was an entire Science Curriculum put together for this movie through the same movie club and quickly downloaded it.  We have been studying dolphins, the ocean, and many other marine biology topics.  We will spend the remainder of the month on "Dolphin Tale," then continue on with our Astronomy studies.

I am learning to remain flexible in our studies.  Our lesson plans change, almost on a daily basis.  However, we are always learning and are so blessed and thankful to have this time with the kids.  We wouldn't trade it for the world!