Monday, April 29, 2013

Science & Math

We have more life! Juan's cilantro suddenly started sprouting! Because it is growing in a dome, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to review water cycles again.

 Excuse my lack of artistic abilities. The kids understood and enjoyed the lesson.
 I printed this out to hang on our refrigerator. 
 My plant is continuing to grow.
 Unfortunately there is no change on the kids' plants.

We started a new math program for Jayden.  He enjoys math very much. He is constantly thinking about numbers. He is adding, subtracting, and even multiplying them all day long. Whenever he learned a new concept we would build on it with lots of worksheets. He ended up dreading math time because he thought it was becoming boring. So instead of letting his passion for math die out, I decided we needed a new approach to math. Originally I was planning on using Math U See, but after receiving the book and reviewing it, it did not seem like a good fit for him.

I wanted to find a curriculum that explained the "how" behind the math. I also wanted a curriculum with a mastery approach so that as math gets harder, Jayden's foundation in math can help him through it. He is awesome at picking up new concepts and just going along with methods, but I want him to have a more in depth understanding of what his answers really mean. I didn't want anything with an overwhelming amount of math problems per page because Jayden doesn't like to do a page of work that has too much work on it. I also needed something that would fill in any gaps that he has in math. My final criteria was that it needed to fit the common core standards. I know that these standards are controversial (and after much research I believe it is with good reason) but we will be using them as a guide to make sure the kids are on track. After a lot of searching, Math in Focus seemed to be a perfect fit!.

MIF is broken up in half with 2A being for the first half of the year and 2B for the second part. The pages are colorful enough to not be boring, but have plenty of empty spaces so that it is not overwhelming. There are visual representations for most of the problems, which explains the concept of the lesson.

I gave Jayden the assessment test and he scored into the 2B book! I decided to still purchase 2A so that we could review earlier concepts that he learned, but this time go more in depth. I am sure that if we are focused, Jayden will be able to complete 2nd grade math in a few months.

 Some of what book 2A covers:
  • addition and subtraction of numbers up to 1,000
  • how to write out numbers in word form, standard form, and expanded form
  • multiplication
  • division
  • metric measurement
The best part is that he LOVES it. He is excited about math and always wants to start with it!

Caitlin still loves Time4Learning. Our membership there ends in June and we are contemplating whether or not we want to resubscribe. While she loves it, she also loves to sit down and work in her notebook or workbooks (when she is in the mood for school). She is still very young and is not due to enter kindergarten until September 2014. I am not sure what we will be working on during that time, but it may not be anything too structured since kindergarten is not mandatory. She is still learning to read and can read some basic words, knows her colors, numbers, alphabet, and is learning to add. I am pretty sure we will continue to just follow her lead since she is doing so fabulous.

Both kids are continuing their Spanish studies with Juan. He has taken his role quite seriously and even set up a notebook with his lesson plans. ;)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Play dates

We are really thankful for our homeschooling friends! It is nice to be able to see them again after we stayed inside for most of the winter.

We enjoyed some play time/dinner at Vanessa's.

J & C hanging out in the trampoline

Rocky & Caitlin performing a duet

Jayden hiding behind the couch shooting Vinny

We also headed over to the park this week and met up with Carolyn and Amanda and their kids this week. Before we got out of the car Jayden told me "Mom, I think parks are for little kids... like three and under. I think I will sit down and watch everyone play." I just told him that was fine, it was his choice. That boy did not sit down once apart from the 5 minutes it took him to eat his lunch!

I never realized just how close the farm is to this particular park. The kids pet and fed the animals they could reach, all of which were pretty friendly!



We have gone to the pool every day this week. I have noticed we are all much more tired when bedtime approaches. This means easier bedtimes!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We have life!!! My plant is growing!

Since we are switching Jayden to a karate school, his teacher wanted him to see what karate competitions looked like. Juan took him and had some daddy/son time while Cait and I spent time together at home.
We now have a family membership to a pool/gym. We have been going every day. We get to spend time together AND get in some exercise at the same time.

 Of course we are still plugging away at our school work.
Homeschooling isn't limited to school subjects. We also teach the kids life skills. This is an opportunity for the kids to earn money, learn responsibility, and learn necessary things.

They help me with laundry 1x a week. In exchange they are paid for their time. Their responsibility of taking the clothes out of the dryer earns them $1 each.
They do other chores that earn them money as well. Not all chores mean money though. Some things, such as cleaning their room, clearing their dishes, and helping to clean any mess they have made are all mandatory chores.

They are still young enough that they actually beg to do chores, whether or not they get paid for them! I wonder how long it will last!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Last week we visited a co-op class to see if it would be a good fit for us. I must admit, we really liked it! It was one of their last classes for the semester. Because space is limited we have to see if there are spots for us in the fall. Hopefully there will be!

They allowed Jayden & Caitlin to participate in their first period class, which is a Lego class for 7-10yr olds. (They allowed Cait to join her brother too since we were there.)

The teacher was discussing all sorts of things including mass, gravity, and the solar system. She asked each child to create something that they thought would be important if they lived on another planet. Caitlin made a park. Jayden made a jail for all of the bad guys on Mars. I wanted to scoot closer to them to take a picture of their creations but I was trying to give them space (since according to Jayden I can be embarrassing. Me? NEVER!)

Although the co-op is secular, it does take place in a church. When we got home Jayden asked me about churches and faith, since he had seen the words all over the displayed artwork.

Later on in the afternoon we headed outside to enjoy the nice weather. The kids usually have helmets on but they were up in the attic which is not a place I venture to.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I've seen improvement in Jayden's attention during karate. Deshi makes sure that the kids stay focused during class time. Jayden really loves it. I am hoping to see some more confidence building once we move him to the karate school over the summer.

After karate we attended a craft activity at a local library. The kids made sun catchers.

Last weekend was really windy so Juan bought some kites. Let's just say this did not end well and leave it at that.
Note the foggy pictures. That is because the flash bounced off of the window screen. Yes folks, I was too lazy to open the screen to get a good shot. In all actuality, I didn't want the kids to see me snapping pictures from my window. I was worried they would want to come back inside and break the silence I enjoyed for a solid hour!
 The kids enjoyed looking through slides from Jayden's microscope set.
Juan has taken on the role of teaching Spanish. They are working on colors. Here's hoping they add something besides 'cónchale' to their Spanish vocabulary!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

We love library time. It's peaceful. It's quiet. It's a time we sit and read, both together and alone. I am glad to see my children so interested in books. I have read to them almost every single day of their lives in hopes that they would enjoy books the way I do. It seems to be working!

Cait loves this rocking chair. She calls it her "granny seat"!

We finally planted the seeds. The kids were amazed at how the soil pellet doubled in size once they added the recommended amount of water. They also learned what a teaspoon is.

The seeds were really small and we had to count out six of them. We used a magnifying glass to count them. (I'm pretty sure some extras were dumped in when I wasn't looking!)



From left to right we have: Cait's Daisies, Jayden's Strawberries, Mommy's Poppies, and Daddy's Cilantro.

The kids faithfully check on their plants daily. The plants require little maintenance, thankfully. I'm pretty sure they would die otherwise since I am terrible with plants. (How have my kids managed to make it this far?) 

Speaking of my plant nurturing abilities, it looks like Cait has my "green thumb" - or lack of one. She watered them a couple of days after we planted them and I'm pretty sure she drowned them. LOL! 

Hopefully we see something sprouting soon.