Monday, January 31, 2011

Apologia Astronomy Review



We finished Apologia Astronomy this month. It took one semester to complete this book.  So far I found it to be the easiest Apologia book. We are also using Zoology and Botany. If you are looking for a beginner book in the Apologia science books, Astronomy would be a great start. 

We did go through this book fairly quickly.  Kiddo has read a few books on space and knew most of the material in the book.  We did many of the projects in the book, he loves all the activities that come along with the book.  We did several other activities to go along with the reading.  We went to a planetarium, took a trip the the NASA museum in Huntsville,AL,  read other books on space, built the space station out of LEGO bricks,  watch the dvd Journey to the Stars and watched the movie Apollo 13.  We are planning a night trip to look for constellations once we have clear and warmer weather.  He wants to find Orion and Ursa Major.

As the parent/teacher I did enjoy the Astronomy book, it was written in a simple but clear matter without “dumbing” down the subject matter. The conversational tone is great for easy reading and discussions.  I like that Apologia does not over simplify the subject matter or vocabulary.  I will be keeping our Apologia books as reference books plus he likes to read them on his own time.

This is a Christian based program.  I will say I did not agree with all that is stated in the book and that is fine. This book is very New-Earth creationist.  It opened up dialogue for us to discuss different beliefs and why some believe the way they do and why we believe what we believe.  The same can be said for the Journey to the Stars DVD from NASA.  They discuss the big band theory in this dvd. We discussed many times why some believe that universe was created that way  vs. created by God.  We talked about how it is possible that God did create the universe with a big bang.  Kiddo came up with his own theory as to how God created the universe and can not wait to go to heaven to discuss it with Him. 

Kiddo truly enjoys the Apologia science books. He naturally likes science and these books further his love of learning.  When we finish Botany this summer he wants to get Human Anatomy,  I am not sure Mom is ready for that one! 


For the month of February we will be concentrating on Zoology and in March we will add Botany back in.  We started Botany last summer and as fall came, it was harder to do the activities in the book and note booking journal, so I put it up until spring.  If you are wondering why we are doing two science books this year, when I was working on our curriculum for this year, Kiddo made a convincing argument for studying two different subjects and here we are.


space station

Lego Space Station




Thursday, January 27, 2011

3 in 30 Update and February Goals

I have enjoyed being a part of such a great group.  Everyone’s encouragement has been amazing. I am looking forward to next month.

It is the end on week 4 for the 3 in 30 goals for January and here is my update.

1.  Stop drinking soda, of any kind.  I gave up soda at Christmas and I have done great with this goal.   I had 1/2 a Coke when we went to Red Robin, we had onion rings, you have to have a Coke with that!  Other than that, I have no soda. I don’t really miss it anymore. 

2. Start school before lunch.   O.k. this one still needs work.  I really want to get us on a morning schedule but the past few weeks we are having some behavioral issues and once we get past those I will go back to working on school before lunch.
3. Start Project 365  I have to say remembering to take a picture every day is hard.   I am working on it.  I have missed 2 days so I consider this a success. I plan to keep this up for the year, one month at a time.
Overall I am happy with the progress I made on the goals,  I have to say knowing I had write about my progress every week really helped to keep me going.  I look forward to next month. 

February Goals
My goals this month center around getting us ready for this spring.  My husband will be travelling overseas for several weeks and that is going to make for some changes around the house.  Not having him here to help is going to be exhausting for me (medical issue) and I am trying to get as organized and prepared as I can to make it easier.  I chose goals this month to help me get prepared and organized.
1. Deep Clean the whole house 
2. Make a 30 day menu and shopping list.  I used to cook 30 meals for 30 days all the time and I need to get back to it.
3. Blog more often   I want to work at blogging more often and  get ahead by scheduling some of my post. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


LEGO CLUB_edited-1
To say my son likes LEGO would be an understatement.  If he could only play with one toy ever again it would be LEGO bricks, no question.  He can spend hours playing and building creations.  He reads LEGO books, catalogs, plan his next purchase, watches LEGO TV, and plays LEGO games on the Wii.  We are LEGO people. 
I would not even begin to guess how many LEGO kits we have.  He has been playing with them since the age of 3 so we have years of collecting.  His room is decorated in a garage workshop decor (his other love cars).  To house all said cars and LEGO kits I lined one wall with Craftsman tool carts.  You know the red and black ones with 5 drawers.  We bought 3 of them and put up against the wall and then we made a top out of a piece of pine.  Here is a old picture.  We have stained the wood top and it is full of stuff now:) 
The drawers are perfect for storing LEGO bricks.  I long ago gave up keeping them together in kits so other than a box for minifigs and a box for power function pieces it is a free for all.  He likes it that way.  In the small drawer at the top he keeps the instructions and catalogs. 

We have looked for a local LEGO club here and other than one for older kids working with robots, there is not one for younger kids.  My husband and I have talked about starting one and are still thinking about it.  In the mean time though I found a LEGO club online through CurrClick.  This club is free.I have recently discovered this site and so far I am impressed.  I have purchased a few classes and we have watched a couple of live classes that had been recorded.  We joined the LEGO club and he loved it.  It is a live class via webcam, while I think an actual club local with kids would be better this is an excellent alternative.
For class they built a simple 2011 sign and learned about gravity and how it effects everything.  They then rebuilt a better sign that would stand up on a base on its on.  It was a quick easy lesson.  We look forward to more LEGO club. 

Here is the sign he made with Wolfie who is with us all the time right now.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Ever had ONE of those weeks?

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you question homeschooling, thinking about running out of the house screaming, maybe pulling your hair out?  It has been one of those weeks at our house. 
I don’t know if is the change to school in the mornings, I doubt it or this new “NO” phase my 7 year old is going through but what a week.  Our week started out with handwriting and I asked him to write his ABCs both lower and upper case.  He told me he did not remember his ABCs, I know he knows his ABCs.  Let us just say requiring him to write his letters created all kinds of tears and drama.   He cried saying, “but Mom even 7 year olds forget things”  (I tried really hard not to laugh at that).  Our whole week was like this, it was one of those weeks.
In order for me not to pull my hair our I made a few changes to our day to see if you couldn’t get a better week going.  First thing I did was get out my kitchen timer.  There is no reason at all to spend an hour doing one handwriting page or math worksheet.  He was not happy when I set up the timer and told him he had to get his page done before the buzzer went off.  He fussed and complained loudly saying,  he couldn’t get it done it time etc.  After a while though he got into the game of it, I wonder if I can finish before the timer, I am going to finish before it gets to 5 minutes left etc.  As long as it got done correctly I was fine with it, anything to get him moving and working.
Next thing I have done it break the day up.  We usually work straight through get our school work done and are finished with book work for the day.  I am working on one or two subjects and then letting him take a small 10 or 15 min. break to play, run around, or get a snack.  It is taking us so much longer to get school work done but it seems to be helping with the complaining, and the dawdling.  Did I mention dawdling drives me crazy, can not stand it. 
He generally good about school work but the last few weeks have been a test in my patience.  I hope the changes I have made will help get us back on track. I am sure I am not the only homeschooler who has had days or weeks like this.  While I love homeschooling some days are harder than others. 
Have a good week! 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

3 in 30 Week 2 Update


This week has not gone so well but I am still trying.



1.  Stop drinking soda, of any kind. I still have not had any soda this week but I have wanted one!  It has been almost 3 weeks now, you think I would be getting used to it.  I almost had a sweet tea from McDonalds but I was afraid it was a slippery slope to Coke, Dr. Pepper or even worse a cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic, LOL.

2. Start school before lunch.  Don’t even get me started, this has not been a good homeschool week.  First off kiddo has been a handful and by that I mean I was asking my husband, “ we decided to homeschool, why?”  Kiddo says he has forgotten his ABCs, I know who knows them.  So, for practice and a reminder he has been writing out the ABCs for handwriting to help “remember” them. This has lead to crying and drama, etc.  Monday was one of those pull your hair out days. I hope we will see an improvement soon.

3. Start Project 365  I was so excited to start this project and now I feel like it is work instead of something fun.  I need to change my thoughts on having a “good” photo, I don’t need a good photo, I just one that will remind of the day.  I am working on it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

3 in 30 Week 1 Update

It is the end on week 1 for the 3 in 30 goals for January and here is my update.  Is it just me or did the week fly by?

1.  Stop drinking soda, of any kind.  I have not had a sip of any soda since Dec. 25th.  My dentist was thrilled with me giving up soda. 
2. Start school before lunch.  This has been working so so,  I had dental work done on Tuesday and felt miserable on Wednesday.   We have at least started school everyday before lunch, I would like to get more done before lunch.  I will keep working on it.
3. Start Project 365  This goal is more work and harder than I thought it would be.  I don’t know if I am over thinking a photo a day or stressing over the quality of my photos.  I have taken a picture everyday since the 1st and I joined a Project 365 group on Flickr for inspiration and accountability.  I can not wait to make a photo book with my 365 photos at the end of the year.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nintendo DS Spelling Game Review

I have had a few questions about the new spelling DS game, we were using in homeschool this week.  It was brand new and we had not tried it yet, now that we have played it for a few days I have enough information for a review. 
This review is based on my 7 year old who is just starting with spelling but can read on a 5th grade level.
The spelling bee portion, which can be played with multiple players and on several levels from easy to ultimate was harder than I was expecting.  On easy it was too hard for him, there were words such as: obvious, attack, massage, frolic, etc.  These words are too difficult for my kiddo to do.  I think this portion would be great for middle school age or a child who excels at spelling.

The mini games are GREAT for all ages!  They are fun and a great way to practice spelling. The mini games are perfect for him, it gives him a fun way to work on spelling.  This of course does not replace our spelling workbook.  His favorite is the Blast Speller, the game gives you a word to spell and you have to blast the letters in order to win.  The Connector game is also fun you have to connect the letters in order to spell a word. The Mystery Game, is like Wheel of Fortune, there are missing letters you have to fill in to finish the word.  Tumbling Letters is like the game Tetris but with letters, you have to move the letters to the correct row in order to spell the word correctly.  Kiddo did not care for this game as much he said, “it moves slow.”  The other games are what you expect from a memory and search word games.

He likes the game and doesn’t mind playing it when I call it “school time”. I can see this game being used for several years with the different levels available. 
We also have Personal Trainer Math and Learn Geography for the DS, both are excellent games which are also learning games.  I will keep adding more learning games to our DS collection.
person trainer math learn geography
I keep the games in the case with all his other games, and he does get them out to play on his own, especially the math game.   I use the games for school time when we are having a rough day learning and need a break from school work for a bit.  I also use them as a reward type system, for example get this done and for math today we will play the Nintendo math game.  They also come in handy if Mom is feeling under the weather and needs a small break:)  
While they in no way replace our curriculum the games are a fun way to learn and reinforce what he has already learned.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Working on math at McDonald's with Dad, while Mom was at the dentist having a root canal.


Monday, January 3, 2011

First Day Back



The holiday break is over and time for school.  It is never easy to get back into the routine of a schedule much less a change in the schedule.  I am changing the time we do school with the new year.  We had been doing school after lunch, it worked well for us but we have some changes coming this spring and an adjustment in our schedule will be helpful. 

I have not made any changes in curriculum this semester just added a few things.   This semester we are doing a unit study and lap book on Japan.  My first lap book, I think I could easily come addicted to these, they look like so much fun to do. 

To ease back into school today I planned mostly fun easy things to do.  Today we are doing art class, start on the lap book on Japan, spelling via a new DS game along with some math and reading.  A very light and easy day to get back into the swing of things.  


first day back