Friday, July 10, 2009

Homeschool Weekly Wrap Up

I like the idea of doing a weekly review of the week, so I am participating in Weird, Unsocialized homeschooler's weekly wrap up I want to try to do it each week.

This week went really well. Now, to be fair, my mother had my middle child for the week. I posted about how that changed our dynamics here. But I did try a few new things this week.

Instead of prepping each days assignments the night before, I got together all of the work for the week, copied, stapled it and put it in a folder. So my oldest (she is age 7) could choose what she wanted to work on, and for how long. I haven't had a hard time with getting her to do the work at all, but she is my shyer child who is less likely to give me her opinion and I want her to have the sense of pride that comes with "steering your own boat" as much as possible. It was amazing, what I would have planned for five days she accomplished in only three. Which taught me something of a lesson: If I give her the work, she will complete exactly what I have asked her to complete very nicely to the letter. But if I give her free reign, she excels higher than I anticipate.

The second new thing we did this week was to use wipe off whiteboards for alot of work as opposed to paper. WOW! Is this ever going to save us some money on the paper bill. This week we used it for our spelling tests, and our morning journaling, and for doodling... but SHHH, don't tell the principle.

I have also been trying to arrange our plans for the coming year. Last year was our first full year to homeschool, and I feel like we were overcommitted. We were in about three weekly commitment classes/activites. It was just too much, it kinda sucked the fun out of our homeschool because we were always rushing to get somewhere, or rushing to get home and hurry up to do our chores. Alot of these commitments want an answer as to whether we will be coming back by August. I am starting to feel very strongly that we might just drop all the outside commitments and focus more on the schooling end of things.

Have any of you experienced this? When we first started homeschooling I was concerned that the kids wouldn't get enough social interaction. Now I am worried that we are actually being distracted by TOO MANY social opportunities? Am I just a worrier who needs a topic?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


We are studying Egypt with our Story of the World Curriculum and I came up with this fun idea for an activity. Brian thought it was fun.. but kinda gruesome.

First we went the dollar store to buy our "victim". We chose a nice little walrus who we loved and petted before we ripped his guts out.

Then we made an incision at the nose, and took all the "brain" stuffing out through the nose.

Chloe really dug this part.

Then we used some of Daddy's travel sized shampoo bottles as our canocopic jars.

Emma labled the jars for us.

We cut up an old crib sheet to make the mummy wrappings and tied them.

John wanted to mummify the dog too. Run Puppy, RuN!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Poetry Unit: Week 1

Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.

Joseph Roux (1834-86), French priest, writer. Meditations of aParish Priest, pt. 1, no 76 (1886)

Poetry is one of the first forms of literature a young child comes in contact with a la Mother Goose. Pat a cake, and jump rope rhymes all become an essential part of children's lives. Poetry and its appreciation are very much in eye beholder. What appeals to one person, might not appeal to another. Usually children prefer rhyming poetry that is not overly complex.

For starters, lets go over some of the vocabulary associated with poetry.

  • Rhyme: similar in sound, or corresponding sounds.
  • Meter: the rhythmic structure of poetry

  • Limericks: 5 line rhythmic verse with a light and humorous feel. The first, second, and fifth lines rhyme and the third and fourth rhyme separately. The last line is the "punch line".
Example of a Limerick:

A flea and a fly in a flue
were caught, so what could they do?
Said the fly, "let us flee"
"let us fly" said the flea
so they flew through a flaw in the flue

Write your own Limerick:

There once was a pauper named Meg
Who accidentally broke her _________
She slipped on the __________
Not once but thrice.
Take no pity on her I ________

  • Free Verse: Usually lacks rhyme and rhythm

Winter Poem

Nikki Giovanni

once a snowflake fell

on my brow and i loved

it so much and i kissed

it and it was happy and called its cousins

and brothers and a web

of snow engulfed me then

i reached to love them all

and i squeezed them and they became

a spring rain and i stood perfectly

still and was a flower

  • Haiku: Japanese form of poetry, form is 17 syllables (5-7-5), usually with a nature theme. A Haiku must "paint" a mental image in the reader's mind.
The Rose by Donna Brock

The Red blossom bends
and drips its dew to the ground
like a tear it falls.

A Rainbow

Curving up, then down
Meeting blue sky, and green earth
Melding sun and rain

  • Light Verse: a catchall term for poetry with a more relaxed attitude
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue
And they went to sea in a sieve.
  • Narrative: a poetic narration of an event or story, usually with a plot and action, attention to detail.
Example of a narrative:


Green and slimy
Contentedly croaked he
Sitting near the well.

Flying fast past
Beyond her grasp
A ball of gold down fell.

Weepfully cried she
An open inquiry,
"Help me get my ball!"

Suddenly sprung he
Rather righteously
Over the well wall.

Victorious returned he
So ecstatic was she;
"I shall give thee a kiss!"

Smooched she and dwell
Now two croakers near the well -
A frog and his princess.

  • Alliteration: is the repetition of the initial consonant. There should be at least two repetitions in a row.
Examples of Alliteration:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

Puny puma pit their skills against zebras.
Pretty Polly picked pears for preserves.
Handsome Harry hired hundreds of hippos for Hanukkah.
Angela Abigail Applewhite ate anchovies and artichokes.
Bertha Bartholomew blew big, blue bubbles.
Clever Clifford Cutter clumisily closed the closet clasps.
Floyd Flingle flipped flat flapjacks.

Write your own Alliterations:

Doodling Daughters ____________
Studious Students_____________
Prickly Pears________________
Hattie Henderson ____________
Ida Ivy Identified _____________

Language Art: Poetry Tickles our World: Jack Prelutsky

I have decided that we will do a poetry unit. Poetry is a literary form in which language is concentrated in order to provoke an emotional response. Poetry is able to explore the meaning of words and turns of phrase in ways that prose cannot.

Poetry is often ignored, but it really does wonderful things for the student. It increases students vocabulary and their literacy. Poetry, especially poetry like Prelutsky's is silly and engaging. It is perfect if you have a reluctant reader. The pieces are short and manageable, full of opportunities for silliness and laughs.

In 2006, Prelutsky was named the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. He has created silly poems but manages to slip in some very advanced vocabulary.

The books we will be using are:

A collection of poems:
  • A Pizza the Size of the Sun
And stand alone books:
  • Behold the bold Umberllaphant
  • Its Raining Pigs and Noodles
  • My parents think I am sleeping
  • Monday's Troll
  • Awful Ogre's Awful Day
  • The Dragons are singing tonight