Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 4 in Review

I've decided to try and blog what we accomplish each week.  We get to the end of the week, and I tend to focus on what we didn't do, instead of seeing what we did do.  I'll list it out this week since it's my first week, but hopefully it'll morph into something a bit more interesting over time as I find a groove.

Luke (8th) and Ezekiel (7th):

  • Finished the last two lectures in How to Become a SuperStar Student from The Teaching Company.  This series was very worthwhile (wait for a sale if you buy it, though), and I think we'll watch it again over the summer.  The boys were at least exposed to ideas on how to organize their time, take notes, and study, among other things.  They enjoyed the series.  There is a 3rd CD with 6 lectures on it for parents, but I haven't watched it yet.
  • Finished up the introduction in Art of Argument.  Studying logical fallacies during election season makes it almost too easy to find examples every day.
  • Completed about half of chapter 2 in Elementary Greek 2.  I'm pretty hands off with this, but it looks like this chapter is a review of verbs from level 1.
  • In Henle, we studied the 2nd declension masculine and neuter, and they took a quiz from the Mother of Divine Grace Henle syllabus.  We did more diagramming, which I think is a lot of fun.  They also spent a day on Lingua Latina Chapter 1, and completed a worksheet about the chapter.  This book and the worksheets are written completely in Latin, so they really have to think and apply what they're learning.  There wasn't too much grumbling, so I'll call it a success.
  • Completed chapters 7 and 8  in The Ancient Near Eastern World.  This week they studied the story of Gilgamesh and Sargon (the king of Akkad).  We're using the study guides along with these books, so they completed the corresponding study sheets for these chapters.
  • Read tablets VIII-IX in Gilgamesh, and we used the discussion questions from Omnibus I and discussed friendship, and compared the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu to the friendship of David and Jonathon from the Bible.  We're through Chapter 9 in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  We still need to discuss this, though.
  • Finished chapter 6 in Rod & Staff's Spelling 6.
  • Did lessons 6 and 7 in Rod & Staff's English 7 and read section 33 in Harvey's Elementary Grammar.
  • Analyzed and began the Classical Writing steps (Theon's 6 components & six-sentence shuffle) for The Stag and His Reflection.
  • Took Quiz 1 for The Rainbow science, and completed lessons 5 and 6, along with lab 3.  They studied curved motion, orbital motion, and wave motion.  They got a bit wet during the lab, which involved filling a cup on a string with water and spinning it in circles to see what happened.  
  • Luke completed 3 chapters in Painless Algebra, and Ezekiel completed lessons 39 & 40 in Saxon 8/7.

Jacob (5th):

  • Began chapter 2 in Latin for Children A
  • Completed worksheets 4 & 5 from Rod & Staff's English 5.
  • For math, he completed 4 pages of division practice and 2 pages of multiplication practice. He also completed chapters 2 and 3 in Life of Fred Farming.  We began Introduction to Fractions and Place Value 3 by Math Mammoth, and completed the first several pages in each of these books.  
  • Took the chapter 2 test in Rod & Staff's Spelling 5, and did lesson 3.A.
  • Read chapters 8 and 9 in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and chapters 4 and 5 in Shadow Hawk.

Micah (3rd):

  • Completed 3 Callirobics lessons.
  • Finished week 5 in Writing with Ease 2 and began week 6.  Since we're just doing it orally right now, it's going a lot more smoothly than it did last year.
  • Did lessons 5, 6, 7 & 8 in Rod & Staff's English 3.  He diagrammed his first sentences this week!
  • Read chapters 8 and 9 in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and read chapters 10-16 in More Stories from Grandma's Attic.
  • Finished the Kumon Telling Time workbook (and boy, did he rejoice!), and completed pages 57-68 in his Kumon Dollars and Cents workbook.  He also finished chapters 2 and 3 in Life of Fred Apples.  He took an assessment in Saxon Math 3 and completed lessons 55.
  • In Rod & Staff's Spelling 3, he finished lesson 2 and took his test, and completed parts A and B for lesson 3.

Nicholas (1st):

  • Worked through another week of Kinderbach music lessons.
  • Completed 3 Callirobics lessons.
  • Finished week 2 and did days 1 & 2 for week 3 in Writing with Ease 1.  
  • Read to me daily from Phonics Pathways and Reading Pyramids.  Completed 4 pages a day in Explode the Code 3.  Read Little Bear and Put Me in the Zoo.
  • Completed pages 53-60 in his Kumon Easy Telling Time workbook.  He also completed several pages from Miquon Orange.  In Saxon Math 2, we did lessons 7-9 and he took an assessment.

Jacob, Micah, and Nicholas:

  • Completed 4 more lessons in Dayspring's The Pilgrims Story.  They learned about the Church of England and how the Pilgrims left England.  They also learned about the Principal of Liberty of Conscience and took a quiz.
  • Completed Lessons 11-14 in the Veritas Press Self Paced Online Old Testament and Ancient Egypt course.  They're learning about Cain and Abel.

They all practiced piano regularly, attended their enrichment program, and had a gymnastics class.  We weren't able to go to Judo this week.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Nick-ism

The boys recently got new shoes.  Nicholas wore his to church on Sunday, and while we were waiting for service to start, he requested that I "unloosen" them.

"Tighten them, you mean?," I asked.

"No, I don't want them tight.  I want them unloosened."

I guess there's a difference when you're 6.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012/2013 Plans

We are three weeks into the new school year, so I figure I should post what we're using this year.  This is the first year that all the boys aren't using the same history and science, since Luke & Ezekiel needed to bump it up a notch in preparation for high school (how can it be that we're so close to high school?!?).  My mantra this year while I was planning was "Keep it Simple(er)".  The (er) is on there because I don't think schooling five can ever be simple.  I did a pretty good job not tacking on extra bits and pieces, and so far things seem to be going well.

Luke & Ezekiel (8th & 7th):
  • Math:  Saxon:  Luke is partway through Algebra 1; Ezekiel is partway through Saxon 8/7.  They'll move on to the next books once they've finished these.
  • Grammar:  Rod & Staff 7
  • Spelling:  Rod & Staff 6
  • Composition:  Classical Writing:  We're doing the Aesop & Homer in a Month course (though it will take us longer than a month).  When we finish that, we'll move along to Diogenes: Maxim
  • Logic:  Art of Argument
  • Greek:  Elementary Greek 2
  • Latin:  Henle/Lingua Latina/Visual Latin:  Yes, it looks complicated, but it's really not.  My plan is to get through the first 7 units in Henle 1, and about 1/4 of the Lingua Latina book.  I just have the boys watch any corresponding Visual Latin lessons because they love Dwayne and he's a great teacher.  
  • Literature/History/Theology:  Omnibus 1:  They aren't reading all the titles.  They'll be reading:
The Odyssey
The Last Days of Socrates
Julius Caesar
Plutarch's Lives
Chosen by God
The Holiness of God
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
The Screwtape Letters
The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books)
  • History:  The World in Ancient Times series
  • Science:  The Rainbow

Jacob (5th):
  • Math:  Rod & Staff 5, Life of Fred
  • Grammar:  Rod & Staff 5
  • Spelling:  Rod & Staff 5
  • Composition:  Writing with Skill 1
  • Latin:  Latin for Children A
  • Spanish:  PowerGlide Spanish 
  • Literature:  I don't have a lot assigned for Jacob.  I want his focus to be on math and writing this year, and I didn't want to bog him down with a lot of reading.  It's his favorite part of school though, and he keeps asking for more books, so I might add some more fiction to the list.
The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books, using the Veritas Press Comprehension Guide orally)
Shadow Hawk
The Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt
  • History:  Veritas Press Self-Paced Old Testament & Ancient Egypt course
  • Science:  Magic School Bus kits with Micah & Nicholas.  These are really too easy for him--once I see how his days are really going, I might give him a different science to do.

Micah (3rd):
  • Math:  Saxon:  finish up 3 and move to 5/4, Life of Fred
  • Grammar:  Rod & Staff 3 (mostly orally)
  • Spelling:  Rod & Staff 3
  • Composition:  Writing with Ease 2 (mostly orally)
  • Literature:  Micah hates (hates!) to write.  Last year we had battle after battle over anything that involved picking up a pencil and making marks on paper.  If you've met Micah, you might understand how exhausting these battles could be.  He loves to read, though, so I made a deal with him.  I would drastically cut the amount of writing he has to do and I'd assign him a lot of reading, as long as he didn't fight me on the bit of writing he'll have to do.  This is the list I have so far (many are from the Sonlight 4-5 Readers list):
The Chronicles of Narnia  (all 7 books, using the Veritas Press Comprehension Guide orally) 
Shadow Hawk
The Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt
More Stories from Grandma's Attic
The Whipping Boy
The Children of Noisy Village
Ralph S. Mouse
Encyclopedia Brown
Marco Polo
The King's Equal
Little House on Rocky Ridge
Misty of Chincoteague
Along Came a Dog
Toothpaste Millionaire
  • History:  Veritas Press Self-Paced Old Testament & Ancient Egypt course with Jacob & Nicholas
  • Science:  Magic School Bus kits with Jacob & Nicholas
  • Penmanship:  Callirobics, moving into Draw Write Now

Nicholas (1st):
  • Math:  Saxon 2, Miquon
  • Phonics:  Explode the Code, Phonics Pathways, Reading Pathways
  • Composition:  Writing with Ease 1
  • Literature:  Again, this list is a work in progress.  I fully expect Nicholas to take off in reading this year, and I'm sure once he does he'll fly through these books and I'll need to add more.  These are from the Sonlight 1 Readers list.
The Best Trick
Green Eggs and Ham
Little Bear
Put Me in the Zoo
The Cat in the Hat
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
A Fly Went By
A Big Ball of String
The Bravest Dog Ever:  The True Story of Balto
  • History:  Veritas Press Self-Paced Old Testament & Ancient Egypt course with Jacob & Nicholas
  • Science:  Magic School Bus kits with Jacob & Micah
  • Penmanship:  Callirobics, moving into Draw Write Now

All five boys are still taking Judo and recreational Tumbling and Trampoline gymnastics.  They're also still in a one day a week enrichment program.  The older four are taking piano, and we hope to start Nicholas this year at some point.  We're also still slowly reading through the remainder of the Sonlight H books (I read these aloud).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speekee TV

Speekee is a Spanish course for young children (ages 2-10).  This review is of Speekee TV, which is an online, subscription based service.  The cost is $7.50/month, or $60/year.

Speekee TV includes 10 episodes, which is over 150 minutes of Spanish learning.  Episodes are centered around a central theme:
  • El Parque
  • El Cafe
  • La Casa
  • El Zoo
  • La Clase
  • El Mercado
  • La Estacion
  • La Playa
  • El Jardin
  • La Fiesta

Each episode is filmed using Spanish children, in a real Spanish location.  Speekee, pictured below, is a central character in the episodes.


The episodes are filmed entirely in Spanish, and make great use of songs and repetition to aid in learning.  In addition to access to the episodes and worksheets, a subscription includes access to FastTrack--Speekee TV lesson plans for homeschoolers, which utilize worksheets and printable flashcards.  You can sign up to receive one email a week for 40 weeks, and lesson plans and a link for the worksheets needed will be sent to your inbox.  It doesn't get much easier than that!

I used Speekee TV with Jacob (10), Micah (8), and Nicholas (6).  All three loved Speekee, and asked to watch it daily.  They learned some basic Spanish vocabulary, and had fun doing it.  Jacob is definitely on the upper end of the age range, and he rolled his eyes at some of the videos.  But he still enjoyed watching with his younger brothers.  The songs are catchy an really help reinforce the vocabulary being taught.

I think Speekee is probably best suited for the younger elementary student (PreK-2nd).  Even though Jacob watched along with Micah and Nicholas and enjoyed it, I probably would not purchase a subscription just for him--it really just felt too young and light for his age.  However, for the younger set I would absolutely check Speekee out; there is a 2 week free trial available so you have nothing to lose.


For more reviews of Speekee TV, go here.

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.