Saturday, October 14, 2017

Weekly Wrap-up

This week went by so fast! Monday daddy had the day off and we didn't have co-op, so we spent the day cleaning and organizing and playing games with the kids. Nothing too exciting, but the house needed it! 

Bear has been working hard on her reading lessons but she still doesn't want to share progress with anyone. She recently switched to hooked on phonics instead of OPGTR. I prefer the latter but she wasn't a fan of it. 

Monkey has surprised me by really liking history this year. We've never been very consistent with history, she's much more a STEM kid. We've changed our plans at least once every year, trying to find something that she can find even a bit of interest in. She started with state history this year thinking she would like that, but she found it very dry. So once again, we switched up history plans. For the third time we gave ancients a go, this time using History Odyssey. She's loving it! Twice this week she asked for history before science!! I'm hoping to get through ancients in a little under a year so we can complete the 4-year cycle in three years. I have my sights on years 7 & 8 of Build Your Library, so I'd like to finish our world history tour by 7th. We'll see how it goes, I don't want to rush it if she's enjoying the rabbit trails and extra readings. 

Bear's favorite subject is math. She usually does at least two days worth of what I have planned every day. We're using Singapore Essentials and I've heard that A is closer to a review of preschool level but B picks up a lot in difficulty. So I'm fine with her going so quickly through book A; we can slow down when she gets to book B and spend more time there. 

Monkey is still really loving spelling. I'm going to adjust our schedule so we hit it twice a week instead of just once. She's doing level 3 right now since she wasn't home last year to do it and we didn't want to skip any levels with this program (AAS), but I think she'd be happier at a higher level.

Engineering fun! She loves using the engino's to build something new each week to go along with our engineering lesson. We're finishing up our unit on wheels, axels, and inclined planes. I think we're moving on to pulley's next. 

In science we're learning about Newton's laws. Here she is testing to see what happens to the lego guy when we push the car under him with and without support behind his back, and running it into a wall. 

The big blue ball has been getting a lot of attention this week! She bounced on it through her entire math worksheet and still wanted to roll around on it during science. 

Taking a break to play some Lazer Maze while I worked with Bear. We have a lot of these solo-play thinking games. They're great for a bit of a break from seat work without getting out of thinking mode for school. 

Bear likes to play them, too. This one is Rush Hour. I will do a post soon with some of our favorite thinking games.

Bear enjoys having some computer time after she's finished her work with me. She's doing either Hooked on Phonics or ABCmouse here, I'm not sure which. All the paper scattered about is because cutting up paper is her favorite thing to do while I'm working with Monkey. We're still working on picking the bits back up!

Monkey is enjoying her new theater class! This week the class learned a skit that they're going to perform for the other classes at the halloween party in a couple of weeks. They played games and practiced one of the songs for their year end play. 

We went on a field trip with our co-op. The girls learned about energy sources, leaves, solar power, and explored some pond water for life!

We went for a hike to check out all the awesome fall colors!

And I'll end with this picture that demonstrates the difficulty I have getting Monkey to sit still for lessons! She really is my monkey :) 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Our schedule

We don't worry about keeping to exact times, what we do is more of a routine. But I do like to have a schedule mapped out with times just to help me know about where we should be and to help me be realistic with time expectations.

Monkey's Schedule

Co-op day! Co-op is a pretty full day, so at most Monkey does some Beast Academy in the car on the way to or from.

Tuesday - Thursday:

9:00 - Morning time: memory work, ASL, and read alouds
10:00 - Math
10:45 - Language arts: T/Th - Writing, word roots, dictation W - Writing, spelling, cursive
11:45 - educational sites on computer
12:00 - Lunch break
1:00 - Science: T/Th - Physics W - Engineering
1:30 - History
2:00 - Quiet/read time

9:00 - read alouds
9:30 - math
10:00 - writing
10:30 - art
12:00 - lunch
1:00 - cooking, games, or whatever else they're wanting to do

OR - Friday field trip with math and writing at some point.

Bear's Schedule:

Monday: Co-op

Tuesday - Thursday:
9:00 - Morning Time with Monkey
10:00 - Free play in school room
10:30 - Math, phonics, Kumon
11:15 - Free play in school room or on abcmouse
12:00 - Lunch
1:00 - Tags along with Monkey for science and history or free play
2:00 - K read alouds

9:00 - listens in to read aloud
9:30 - free play in school room
10:00 - math and phonics
10:30 - art
12:00 - lunch
1:00 - cooking, games, etc....

OR field trip

I aim for one field trip a month. We tend to leave afternoon stuff for after lunch even if we finish morning work early. That just means a longer lunch break! The most likely part of the schedule to get skipped is the first half of morning time. I really like to be starting seat work by 10 so if we have a slow morning, we skip whatever we need to of morning time. I consider 10 to be one of my "anchor points" in our schedule. Seat work starts at 10, lunch stop at 12, the rest is flexible.

Weekly Wrap-up

Wrapping up from last week because I totally dropped the ball on posting Friday. :)

Monkey is moving right along in math. She's loving Singapore and we're glad we switched. She had wanted to try Math Mammoth this year, but we quickly realized it wasn't a good fit for her. (Great program, just not for her!) She's still doing Beast Academy, too, just on the side.

Physics this year for science has been a good choice. It fits in well with doing engineering for her tech class. She's also in an animal studies class at co-op and that has been a lot of fun for her. Every week a child spin the globe and touches a spot. Over the next week they each choose an animal from that region and prepare a short presentation on it. They spend most of the class on the presentations before choosing the next. So far Monkey has reported on the Giant Panda, the NW Moose, and the Giraffe Weevil of Madagascar.

History Odyssey is a new addition over the last week. Before that Monkey was going to do Studies Weekly to do a state study. But she found it very dull and it wasn't what I really wanted to focus on anyway, so we let it go. She's enjoying studying the ancients much more than on our previous attempts at it (once in 1st and for a short bit last year when we were afterschooling). Bear is following along just without Monkey's required output.

Bear took a bit of a break from learning to read. She was getting a bit overwhelmed with it, so I let her take a small step back. We'll slowly get back to it. In the meantime she's doing great with math. I'm guessing she'll be on to 1st grade with it well before the end of the year.

Bear is enjoying tumbling but Monkey decided to take a break from it. She's now doing a theater class. She's only been once so far but she liked it. It's all singing and being dramatic, I'm sure she'll do great!!

No pictures this week, I just got a new phone and haven't yet messed with getting my pics off the old one :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our curriculum this year

Our curriculum 2017-2018

Monkey is 9 and in 4th grade this year.

Singapore Primary Math 4 US ed.
Supplementing with Beast Academy 3

Language Arts:
Spelling: All About Spelling 3 (She was in PS last year and we didn't want to skip a level. She'll be to 4 before the end of the year.)
Writing & Grammar: Essentials in Writing 4
Cursive: Zaner Bloser 4
Vocabulary: Word Roots Beginning
Reading: I read aloud daily and she reads to herself at least 30 min. I honestly don't time her reading anymore as she reads plenty on her own. As of now I'm not assigning specific books.

REAL Science Odyssey Physics
Engineering with Engino

History Odyssey Ancients

Critical Thinking:
Think Analogies
Mind Benders

Fine Arts:
Home Art Studio
Local theater class

Bear is 4 and in K this year.

Math: Singapore Essentials

Language arts:
Reading/Phonics: Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
Writing: Zaner Bloser K

Social Studies/Science/Lit:
Build Your Library K
She also tags along for Monkey's science and history.

Motor Skills/Just because she likes them ;) 
Kumon maze books
Kumon Logic, Spatial Reasoning, and Critical Thinking books
Any K level all-in-one style workbook she can get

Home Art Studio


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up

We had a great week here! I feel like we are getting into a good homeschooling rhythm much easier than prior years.

We had our first day of co-op! The girls loved their classes. Monkey is taking a lego class, acting, history with American Girl, and animal studies. Bear is doing stories, crafts, and games in a few different K classes. 

The weather was excellent so we spent a lot of time doing school outside! 

 Bear loves workbooks. This is one she's been doing just for fun. She's only had it a week and she's about two-thirds through it already!

 Monkey is doing great building up her writing endurance. This took a while, but she finished it!

Monkey is loving engineering. We're using Engino and she's learning a lot! The instruction booklets are very thorough. We first read about the simple machine we're working with, then we do a build, and then we do 'experiments' using what we've built. Right now we're working on wheels, axels, and inclined planes. 

We spent some time baking this week. I only gave instructions, Monkey did most of the work with a bit of help from Bear. 

 Their favorite part of baking!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our School Room!

Our School Room

We are so excited about our school room this year! The kids helped pick out the theme and put it all up. Let me take you on a little tour!

Coming up to our room.

Surprise, surprise, a monkey theme! I wonder whose idea that was?!

View from the door. The black desk is where I keep my stuff. I have printer paper and binders for finished work stored here. Also all the sorted work for the rest of this semester. In the white cubbies by my desk is a lot of the stuff I use daily like teacher guides, pens, markers, stickers.... We also have our Dalek speaker for playing music!

Coming around the room this is from the corner straight on from the door. In the corner is our paper trays for construction and other paper. Under that is a lot of our art supplies. 

Continuing around the room, this is from my desk. You can see the rest of my Expedit shelving where I keep most of our things we've collected over the last few years. The green drawers are puzzles. The bookshelf you can just see off to the left is for Bear's activities that I can change out daily or weekly to keep her occupied while I work with Monkey. She usually finds things to do on her own, though!

View from the art corner. The white cubbies in the corner hold some math manipulatives, flash cards, a few puzzles, and some other odds and ends. On top is a carousel with scissors, markers, pens, and index cards. The drawers between those and Bear's shelves are Monkey's. We keep some of her workbooks in there and there is also a drawer for her to keep her projects that she works on during down time. The bottom drawer holds her weighted lap pad and a robe in case she gets cold! 

A closer look at our white board area. We use All About Spelling so the board is always kept set up for that. We still have plenty of space to use it for other things as well. The corkboard beneath is just for various things to keep pinned up. I do have a schedule in the pocket chart, but it's just a rough one that we may or may not follow! Also a space heater because this room is in the basement and it does tend to get cold in the winter. 

A better view of my expedit shelves. 
Top row: extra notebooks and folders; easy readers and other books; HoP, Rosetta Stone, and Bob books; bins holding manipulatives, small containers, and glitter; sensory bin stuff.
2nd row: Some of our books for reading this year; bin with random office supplies; the books for our evolution unit; bin with extra crafting supplies; art stuff
3rd row: Bear's stuff for this year; Monkey's stuff for this year; extra science stuff; extra math and art and some things Bear is not quite ready for; more art and craft supplies.
4th row: Math and LA; geopuzzles; science; random hands-on stuff; file folder games, anatomy game, and phonics helps.
5th row; 1st bin is mostly a junk drawer right now! 2nd has 'busy bags'; 3rd has science kits (mostly MSB); 4th has seasonal activities that I buy a year in advance when they go clearance; 5th has big containers and other random stuff we end up needing (craft stick, cotton balls, sand...)
On top is mostly art and science supplies. 

And that's our room! We like having the kids' desks in the middle. It gives us more wall space for stuff and room to move around them, but they are easy to slide off to the side if we need a lot of floor space for anything. 

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer plans!

We took the month of June off for the most part, just doing a bit of school here and there. I had not intended to take the time off, but we all needed it! We will be starting back up a light schedule next week and keeping with that until early-mid August.

So even though it's already July, here is our summer plans!

Math: Beast Academy 3b for Monkey. Singapore Essentials A for Bear

Science: Finishing up the Bubbleology lapbook from that we started in May but stopped due to weather and then our break.

Charles Darwin and Evolution study from Build Your Library. The kids are loving this one! We also started this one before our break and I'm excited to get back to it.

Read alouds: 
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - We finished this a couple weeks ago.
The Witches by Roald Dahl - current read aloud
The Caputre by Kathryn Lasky - current audio book in the car
Next up: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

We're also reading:
The Belief Book by David Mcafee
The Lion Storyteller Bedtime book
Uncle Wiggily's Story Book
Usborne See Inside The Human Body

LA: Monkey does an occasional lesson from AAS, but mostly is just reading right now.
Bear is doing phonics with OPGTR

They each also have a folder of work. Bear usually works through hers with me, though sometimes Monkey reads her instructions to her. Monkey does hers independently, usually in the car when we're not listening to an audiobook or while I am working with Bear.

In Bear's folder:
Singapore Essentials A
Developing the Early Learner
Mind Benders
Ready, Set, Go for the Code

In Monkey's folder:
Singapore Challenging Word Problems 3
Mind Benders
Zaner Bloser handwriting
Analogies for Beginners
Evan Moor The 7 Continents: Asia

Meanwhile I am getting things finalized for when we roll over to "next year" from summer work.  I will be posting sometime in the next month or so about those plans!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Weekly Wrap-up May 26

We've come to the end of another week at Seeking Squirrels! The girls have taken moving to more school time well. We're still taking it somewhat easy, nothing like a full schedule, but we're definitely doing more. I'm getting us up to a comfortable level that I would like us to maintain through the summer for the most part.

We always start with Monkey doing some math while I work on a few things with Bear. I follow her lead on this since she is still 4 and I consider school to be optional at this point. Usually, though, she is eager to work on a few things. We often do her phonics lesson at this time and some math. Sometimes we do handwriting but that's the one she's most likely to say no to! We've recently added pages from Developing the Early Learner and she's always loved doing pages from Critical Thinking Co books. Mind Benders and Can You Find Me are her favorites.

After 20-30 minutes, Bear is ready for a break so she finds something to play and Monkey and I do spelling or we all move on to science together. This week we returned to our bubbleology unit since weather was cooperating again. They had fun experimenting with vinegar and baking soda!
My little scientist was not content with just following the procedure in our unit study. She wanted to keep trying different amounts of vinegar or baking soda to find out what worked best. I was impressed with the decisions she made. She even tried not to change both things at once. She would change only the amount of one or the other in order to note the differences. She found that it wasn't always better to just add more baking soda as she thought it would be. But she had fun pouring vinegar on all the bits of baking soda left on the ground after that one! 

This week we started a unit on Evolution that we do after science or spelling. I read to them while they color in pictures for the timeline. After that we head upstairs for read-alouds. They like to swing while I read! Monkey had a bit of a rough week sensory-wise so she spent some of the time swinging in her sensory sock. Right now we are reading A Wrinkle in Time and they are both really enjoying it. 

We had a box day this week! That means we had a box arrive with new school materials! We love box days! I wish I had gotten a picture once everything was out and spread around them but I didn't think to get that this time. 

This is the Usborne book How Things Work. I got it for a unit on Physics we'll be doing sometime this fall or winter, but Monkey read half of it right out of the box!

We took the girls to the aquarium again. They do love it there and the sensory input of touching the animals is good for Monkey. Bear likes it, too, but she's a bit more hesitant with touching them and doesn't go in to the bird cage. 

All told we had a good week! Monkey has done a great job with her independent folder. I give her the folder on Monday with a handful of worksheets she can do without my help. She is expected to finish it by Friday. I do still remind her and make sure to give her time to work on it, but she knows it's up to her to finish. She has taken the responsibility seriously! Last week she finished her folder by lunch on Friday. This week she didn't quite complete it, but we kind of lost today because daddy had a medical procedure that I needed to take him to and Monkey and Bear stayed with grandma. Monkey did a couple pages in her folder while there which is more than I expected! There isn't much left so we will finish it over the weekend. We might also do the evolution lesson we missed today so we can stay on track with it. Hey, we homeschool, no need to box school into M-F business hours!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekly Wrap-up May 19th

We've had a good week here at Seeking Squirrels! The girls put on a "circus" for me for Mother's Day! 😀

We spent more time on school this week. Monkey had a good break but it was time for the structure of school days. I've spent a lot of time preparing some of our work for 4th and K and finishing the school room. It's really coming together! I'll post better pics of the room when it's finished. You can see bits of it in the pics from this week. 

Bear was quite proud of herself for writing all her numbers! She loves having her own little desk in our school room. 

I got the board up for All About Spelling which made Monkey happy. Spelling has definitely become a new favorite for her. She's buzzing through the lessons.  We're waiting now for the next level to get here. 

We worked a little bit on our Bubbleology lapbooks but weren't able to do much because weather did not encourage outside play this week! We caught up with some vocabulary and assembling but no new activities. 

Bear kept herself occupied in the school room while I was working with Monkey. The playroom is next door but she likes being with us. We have plenty of puzzles, games, and art supplies that she has free access to while we're in there. 

Reading their favorite Usborne books. I do love Usborne! We have a LOT of them! 

They've been setting up "school" for their stuffies every day. Sometimes they make them little books or worksheets to finish. They will pause in their work occasionally to ask one of their animals a question. 😂

Art time with Ms. V from Home Art Studio. They painted an Egyptian landscape. I meant to get a picture of the finished products, but there was a lapse since we had to wait for the paint to dry before the last step. They did that quickly after dinner and I forgot to snap a picture. 

Monkey has started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We've listened to the audio book for 1 & 2, but this is her first time reading it for herself. After she's finished reading those two, we will listen to 3 together. Unless she wants to read it which I would be fine with. Once we get to 4 I will probably have her read it to herself because I'd rather Bear be older before that one. I'm not sure yet if we'll let Monkey go on to 5 when she gets there or make her wait a little while. We'll see how she handles the end of 4. 

She wasn't feeling well on Wednesday so we brought down her little sofa but she still did some work. It's nice to have the option to keep it light when she's not up for more without losing the entire day! Homeschooling win! 

Bear has been doing really well on phonics and I think she'll be reading in no time!

Next week we'll be starting the Build Your Library evolution unit. Monkey has shown interest in the topic so we thought that would make a good summer study. Much of our work for 4th and K will be arriving over the next week so I'll also be busy getting it all prepped and ready. I plan on making a post sharing our curriculum choices and also how I'm organizing it all. We will probably not wait until the start of the traditional school year to start on new materials. There's really no need for us to wait and starting earlier will give us some wiggle room for days off later!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up May 12

It's been a busy week! The weather has been wonderful and we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors which was great for both of the girls.

Playing at the park!

On a hike with mom and dad.

We installed a couple eye hooks in our living room and hung hammocks. This has been really good for Monkey. She's able to swing or spin just about any time. She likes to hang from it with her arms hooked over while she does work in front of her, too.

It didn't take her long to discover at least a dozen ways to sit in it!

We also got a climbing rope that can be attached here or outside on their swingset. She is definitely a climber!

That one is nothing. At tumbling she can climb all the way to the top! 

More park time! This time with a friend.

 Swimming with family from out of town.

Bear has shown more interest in learning to read so we are starting in on that. We have been doing a lot of pre-reading skills and letter play, but not pushing reading until she was ready. She has started bringing me her phonics book so here we go!

Monkey has been happy for the break and has been doing really well. We started spelling this week and she did amazing. We use All About Spelling and had made it almost to the end of level 2 when she went to PS. I asked their service rep for advice on where to start and she said to review all of level 1 and 2 before picking up a couple lessons back from where we left off. Monkey nailed all of that review in one session! She remembered every single phonogram and rule!

She has definitely been a spelling-queen lately. She spells all of the time. One of her favorite games at the moment is finding words with 3 consonants in a row. She loves when she finds more. Yesterday she found a word she loved: scratch. 3 consonants, a vowel, and 3 more consonants. She thought that was awesome! I love that she just loves to find these words naturally. She doesn't want to sit down and make a boring list of them, she just spells in her head every word that pops up that sounds like it might fit what she wants. I'm going to ramp up the spelling this year and look for a spelling bee for her.

Math is going well. Monkey still loves Beast Academy and is getting more used to the idea of having to struggle through them sometimes. I give her a break if she gets too frustrated and she usually does better when coming back to it. I love how excited she gets when she figures out a difficult one. It's definitely helping her math confidence to see that she really can do it if she keeps working at it.

Next week we're picking up the pace a bit with school work. Monkey has had a nice break but I think we're ready for a bit more structure to our days. We will still be spending a lot of time outdoors and playing with friends, though!