Friday, December 25, 2015

Writing Pack - Leonardo Da Vinci

What better way to finish off the year with a FREEBIE!

Today I have a writing pack for Leonardo Da Vinci.

Just click to download.

Today I'll be linking up with:

I hope you will join us.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Back to the Classics 2016

Oh my!

2016 could be a very interesting year.  I thought that I might like to link up for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge.

At any rate, even though I seriously doubt my ability to have commitment to the cause, I may be able to attempt and conquer some of it.   I think that having this list is going to help me for sure.

The following is a list of all the categories.

1.  A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

My current choice: The Scarlet Letter

2.  A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

My current choice: The Great Gatsby

3.  A classic by a woman author

My current choice: Sense and Sensibility

4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

My current choice: The Imitation of Christ

5.  A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

My current choice: Don Quixote

6.  An adventure classic - can be fiction or non-fiction.

My current choice: The Hound of the Baskervilles

7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984.

My current choice:  1984 OR Prelude to Foundation 

8.  A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you're looking for ideas.

My current choice: A Study in Scarlet OR The Moonstone { so many to choose from }

9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title.  It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak HouseMain StreetThe Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

My current choice: A March on London

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

My current choice: Uncle Tom's Cabin OR The Picture of Dorian Grey

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time?  If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

My current choice: TBA because I can't remember reading a whole lot when I was in high school....... ha ha ha

12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category only.

My current choice: Selected short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald

* * * * *

And just for fun, here is what I am reading this December:

Monday, December 14, 2015

How I Fast Tracked Hannah in the Maths Department

Every now and then I get an email from a reader.  Here's one that I thought might be of interest to other readers out there who also have similar questions.

"I had a few questions (after stumbling on your great blog!) about your use of Saxon. I have a 5 and a 7 homeschooling at the moment. The seven is flying through Saxon 2 and the 5 is definitely ready for at least the first 50 lessons of Saxon 2. I have thought about speeding up/skipping a book etc. However, I don't want to overwhelm or make Math a massive challenge everyday, just a nice comfortable exciting challenge. Are you finding that your three girls easily understand the material. I couldn't believe you had your five year old doing Saxon 5/4! Does she understand the methods/concepts? How does she do on the lessons? I would like to be able to push my kids forward to something more challenging but I'm afraid of burn-out or tear filled math lessons. I would really appreciate hearing about your experience with introducing fourth/fifth grade math to such little people."

Yes, for the most part all three girls need to be able to understand the material to do the material.  These days some lessons may take a few days { 2-3 on average } to get done.  I don’t let them go to the next lesson unless they have at least 80% mastery.  Every single math lesson is graded and recorded.

In particular the now 6 year old does understand the material she is doing.  Here is the basic pathway in which we were able to fast track her:  Rod and Staff 1 – She would do a few lessons each day.  Her interest was high and the amount of sums required did not start to tire her until she had done at least 2 lessons.  Occasionally we would come back at different times to do even more.  I kept an abacus in reach, and I had also taught her how to touch math – this helped to give her computation a lot of speed.  Additionally, her ability to memorize facts enhanced her learning situation.  Then we moved into Rod and Staff 2 – She continued to do a couple of lessons each day without any problem.  After those we used Rod and Staff 3 – This is the book where she learnt her times tables and division.  I also kept a set of cards that helped her memorize multiplication and division.  { I have them on the blog for free.  Link at the bottom of email. }  I taught both concepts as closely as I could.  Once she had the swing of multiplication I introduced the division cards.   So we did the 2x and as soon as I saw she nearly had it down I threw in the division set.  Then we moved to the 3x, and so on.  I keep each set in a separate envelope.  The copious practice in Rod and Staff 3 merely leant itself to the memorizing of the facts in a timely, focused, and sequential manner.  Finally, we made the jump to Saxon 5/4.  By this time her reading had come up as well. 

During school time I give her the lesson text book and leave it with her, to do on her own.   I let her read the “new concept” for herself.  I do not require the drills or the warm ups.  She usually skips the practice too and jumps straight on in.  She has a little homemade workbook that I made in which to place her answers .  { Pages available for free on the blog. }  Afterwards I mark her work and grade it.  If it comes in under the 80% I then get out a pink slip, which is a replica of the worksheet but in pink and loose.  This is what she will re-do the lesson with.   I circle each question number that she got wrong, so it is clear which questions she’ll be working on.  We will usually wait until the next day to do the corrections -  that’s why it may take a couple of days to do a lesson.  There’s no rush.  There’s too much to do in a day to spend too many hours on math, ha ha.  Just to let you know, I purchased the Saxon Teacher CDs.  One of the best investments ever!  They are awesome and save me a lot of time when I don’t want to do the sitting.  Anyway, the following day either I or the CDs, usually the CD will walk her through each and every incorrect question from the previous days lesson.  They will be thoroughly worked through and explained so that she understands what is required and how to do the question.    Immediately after the walk through I re-give the lesson.  The entire lesson, and she does it all again.  Then I grade it and see if she got over that 80%.  As a general rule she usually does.   She may not ask me how to do a question during her white paper time.  She may only ask when the paper is pink.  Additionally, Saxon gives the lesson numbers for each question so that if she wants, she can go back and look up the lesson that the concept was taught in for a refresher.  And that is pretty much how it goes these days. 

We are currently on school holidays.   So all the girls have an online account for mathsonline.  I encourage them to log in and do a single math lesson each day.  Yep, even on the weekends.  I figure if they want to use the computer for fun, they first should do a 10 min of math as a gate way.  :o)  Anyway, that is turning out to be a little gem as well.  Additionally, I have had days where I also sneak in some reading and writing too.  Not enough for them to say, “oh, we’re still doing school.”  But enough that they maintain and continue to build in the math, reading, and writing departments.  All else is mere fun.   Occasionally, because I’m a little bored myself, like yesterday, I offered Miss 6 a Saxon lesson in return for 2 little chocolates.  I also sat with her while I did most of the reading and to remind her about putting those decimals in the right columns, ha ha.  She still writes quite scruffily and those columns are very important.  We did lesson 93 – so we’re almost in the home stretch run before she jumps to Saxon 6/5, only another 27 lessons to go.  Can’t wait.  We are thinking about having a little present or celebration for her at the end of the book.  Just haven’t decided exactly what, just yet.

These days the amount of time we spend on Saxon is about the 1 hour mark.  Anything more than that I consider overtime and tardiness by the child.  Nevertheless, they remain until the lesson is completed.  Each sitting is set by the lesson and not allocated time.  I have had several days where I run a timer to check and keep them focused.   I do expect though that this amount of time will increase to the two hour mark when they hit the high school levels.   This recommendation is via the Robinson Curriculum/Saxon groups that I frequent through facebook.

Burn out and tears in my mind simply mean that the child is not ready.  To slow down a lesson just divide the questions into more manageable sections.  Or as I did with one particular child, when she struggled with the amount of questions on a page, reward a correct line with the exemption of another line if they were all correct.  So basically, if she could get a whole stack right I would let her off from having to do a line.  I don’t really recommend that practice any more but it is an option.  I just recommend dividing up the lessons so their more manageable.  At any rate, I do believe that each parent and child wiggles and jiggles the core material until they find what works for them.  It’s when we self tailor materials with our own little style that they become successful and useful. 

Practice math drills.   The quicker a child has recall, the quicker they can work the math.  Additionally, spend more time explaining particular concepts in a lesson.   

Lastly, I think math vocabulary is another very important, but usually overlooked item.  I’m still in the process of getting that added in too.  I don’t know.  So much to do, so little time.  I currently have 183 math terms all done in an interactive notebook file.  { link below }   I thought I’d like the interactive style, but not so sure now.  So while it is available for Saxon 5/4 I’m actually making a worksheet version , that can also be used as a workbook for Saxon 6/5.

I hope that helps somewhat.  Feel free to write back. :o)


Monday, December 7, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh Writing Pack

In preparation for next years Art extravaganza with Mr Van Gogh I decided to make a little writing pack to use as well.

Just click any page to download the pack.

It has various pre-writing papers to help your little writers plan their paragraph.  I'm just wondering if I should aim for older writers as well with a multi level outline?  I dunno, at any rate I've just kept it set for Grade 1 - Grade 3 range.  I figure a single paragraph is a good start there for that.

A make a scene.  The little art piece that can be attached to any of the writing pieces.  What I really, really, really wanted to do was get some of those Van Gogh coloring pages and shrink them down so that they would fit in the easel, ha ha, but yeah there's a little thing about copyrights there.  At least I can share the idea with you though.  So, just go and pick up some of his paintings in coloring form, pop them into your word documents and shrink them down.  That's what I'll probably do when the time comes.  Wondering if we might even do that with a large easel set as well.  Oooo - all the ideas.

Final writing papers.

Facts verses opinion practice.

And just in case they'd like to make a good story, a little planning page.

A letter always works great.

Finally another planning page, interactive lift the flap to help get some added details.
Today I'll be linking up with:

I hope you will join us.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Catch Up Week

We are officially on school break at the moment, but yes, I am still handing out the odd bit of schooly work for the girls.

I found a great little 'Australian Golden Project Book' - unused I might add - for the girls to read and copy some insects out of.   Copy, not trace.  :o)

I have also started putting some Art Appreciation lessons aside for next year.   I very specifically went in search of prints, coloring pages to match, and a couple of good books for reading.

Since we aren't doing much schooling these days I've also had some free time to do some laminating.

A nice little Time center { that I picked up on TpT } for half and quarter hours.

The cards below are actually designed for a word wall, but I thought they'd be super handy as flash cards.  They work to compliment the morphology spelling lists { that I picked up on TpT } that the girls are currently going through.

Each spelling unit actually comes in 3 different levels, which I think is awesome.  That makes it super easy for me to divvy up the worksheets as I know Chloe gets level 3, Phebe gets level 2, and Hannah gets level 1.  The higher the level the more words the child has to work with.

Something fun and new that the girls have become addicted to is the game 'Cluedo.'

I hope you've enjoyed a quick peek into our week.

Are you on holidays yet?

Today I'll be linking up with:

I hope you will join us.

Thanks for visiting.