Friday, June 1, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal - June Update

In my life this past week…

We enjoyed going to two state parks and doing naturalist-led activities. On Friday, we went on an evening bird hike; on Saturday we learned geocaching in the morning and dissected an owl pellet in the afternoon; and on Monday we learned about Ojibwe dream catchers and each made one.

Olivia with a fox snake.
Now both she and Sophia want to
have a snake as a pet.

In our homeschool this week…

We're wrapping up this school year and will end today - June 1st. Then we transition to a summer schedule that includes some core subjects (e.g., reading, math, geography) as well as focus on 4-H projects and county fair participation.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

During the last week I read about using assignment sheets as part of homeschooling. I have never done this before, but think it's a good idea especially now that the girls will both be in upper elementary school. This will help them keep on task and effectively plan their day if they know what they need to learn and do.

There's a few websites that have assignment sheets that I like. The next step is to print samples off and show the girls so they can pick the one they each prefer. Here are links to the sites that have assignment sheets that may work for the girls:

- Donna Young - although these are designed for high school use, they could be used for younger grades as well.

- That Resource Site - has assignment sheets themed for girls.

If those don't work, then I'll create custom ones based on what Bright Hub recommends:

"Try creating weekly assignment sheets to help children see at a glance what they’ll be covering for the week. This encourages personal responsibility and fosters planning and organizations skills in your homeschoolers.

"To create a weekly assignment sheet, label a file with the child’s name, and create a block for each subject for the week. Don’t forget to include any extra-curricular activities or field trips on the assignment sheet to help motivate them.

"In each block, you can add the week’s assignments and projects your kids will be responsible for. It helps to add additional check boxes next to each item so the kids can check off them off as they complete them throughout the week."

I am inspired by…

Something that William Ellery Channing wrote:

To live content wit hsmall means,
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich,
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
await occasions,
hurry never -
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
growup through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Today - Olivia receives speech therapy and help with reading through the local elementary school. This is her last day for this school year.

Later we're going to a local festival in a nearby town. There's children's activities, a farmers market, and family yoga in the park.

Tomorrow we're headed back to the festival for nature activities, local farm tours/open houses (there are several CSAs in the area), craft fair, and more kids activities.

On Sunday, we'll be going to an open house at a dairy farm where there are hay rides, kids activities, lunch, and farm tours.

My favorite thing this week was…

Spending more time outside enjoying the flowers that are blooming - especially the peonies and irises (bearded, siberian, and wild).

One of the peonies that bloomed this week.

Also - even though it was work - I enjoyed what the butterfly garden looked like after I weeded half of it. Planted a few more perennials in the garden as well as some annuals for brighter color.
What’s working/not working for us…

Even though we went to activities over the Memorial Day weekend, the majority of the week has been spent at home. This has helped greatly in terms of getting homeschooling done, and not carrying things forward to the summer and/or next school year.

As I look towards the upcoming school year and planning for it, I need to remember the value of staying home and having larger blocks of time to accomplish and learn more.

Things I’m working on…

I continue to do Take a Stitch Tuesday each week in which I'm learning a new embroidery stitch. I incorporate the little stitched samplers in a journal with a written entry, gratitude list, and collage items flect what I saw and/or did during the week.

I'm working on outside chores - like trimming trees, weeding gardens, and planting flowers.

On the 27th of June, my mom will be returning home after fracturing her ankle on February 28th and having erratic blood sugar readings (due to diabetes). Her ankle is healed and blood sugar levels stabilized, so she can return home safely.

Between now and then, there's a lot of arrange in terms of home care, getting her home safer (to help prevent falls), shopping for healthy food, and planting some flower gardens and containers there to welcome her home.

I’m reading…

I have quite a few books that are by my bed that I want to read. Two that I'm currently working on are The Power of Less - The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Business and in Life by Leo Babauta. The other is A Chosen Faith by John Buehrens and Forrest Church.

I’m cooking…

As part of homeschooling, we are using the Five in a Row Cookbook. To tie in with the book Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco, we are going to make Kugel, Passover Seder Charoset, and Potato Latkes.

For the multi-disciplinary geography curriculum we're using, Eat Your Way through the U.S.A.  is the cookbook that is used. We're currently studying Iowa, so pork chops with gravy and brownies are the featured recipes. There's also a green bean and pea salad using canned beans and peas. I know no one will eat that, so we are skipping that recipe.

I’m grateful for…

There are so many programs through the state parks this summer. Almost every week there's some type of activitiy that I will take the girls to - canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, geocaching, and general nature education programs.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Bailey (the pony) with Sophia by the wild irises.
This year there are lots of patches of the irises -
more than I've ever seen before.


Amy said...

Oh what an amazing inspiration poem! :) I love it too!
Gorgeous photos! esp. the last one with the horse! Have an amazing last day of school ... and good luck on the summer session! :)

Rita said...

You guys are always so busy! Makes me tired just reading all your plans--LOL!

The girls may think having a snake is cool, but feeding them mice I didn't like at all. I used to work in pet shops for years. It was not fun to see them kill a live mouse and a thawed out frozen dead one isn't much better. And if the snake is smaller--it's baby mice! I don't mind snakes at all (non poisonous, of course) but that's why I never had one. Now--an iguana will eat crickets and a lot of fruits and veggies and cat food. That would be a better choice. ;)

Sounds like you'll have a super summer!! Can hardly wait to see pics and hear about all your travels and cooking and adventures. :)

What Remains Now said...

Sounds like you are off to a great start for the summer. I'm intrigued by The Power of Less.

Judy said...

My son would like to have a boa constrictor as a pet--but we've assured him he'll need to wait until he's on his own. LOL!