Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Celebrating NOT going to "regular" school

The schools started here yesterday and for the 3rd year in a row we celebrated NOT going.  Everyone makes a big deal about the first day of school (we do, but not to the extent of public/private school), so we decided to celebrate the day the other kids go and we get to stay home.  We go get milkshakes!  What a way to celebrate.  This year we took James Bond with us and we had lunch in addition to our milkshakes.  Of course we forgot the camera.  There is a train car diner just up the road from us (it's made from 2 train cars put together to make it wider) that serves American style diner food.  It's not as greasy though, so it's not completely authentic, but still, it's good and they make the best milkshakes I've ever had.  Seriously.  They use the most delicious ice cream and add milk.  And that is all!  No syrups, no extra stuff, just ice cream and milk, the way they should be.  The strawberry shakes have huge hunks of strawberries in them.  YUMMY!  I got strawberry and Indy and James Bond both got chocolate (they were made with dark chocolate ice cream.  Indy loved it.  He said he can't wait for the kids to start school next year so we can do it again!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two weeks down, thrity four to go!

Whew!  We made it through the first 2 weeks and I still have (most of) my sanity!  Huzzah!!!  I have to say it's actually gone really well.  Last week we studied the fall of Rome (which marks the beginning of the Middle Ages) and I learned things I didn't know!  Actually, I probably learned them, but forgot, so this was a nice refresher for me.  The Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to split the Empire into 2 sections,  the Western and Eastern Roman Empire come from.  The Emperor of  each half was called Augustus, and they picked a junior Emperor, called Caesar, which meant that there were a total of 4 Emperors at a time!  Crazy.  This was called the Tetrarch period.  We learned how Rome was sacked by the Gauls, the Visigoths, the Vandals and the Ostrogoths.  Indy found this very interesting.

This week we studied the Byzantine Empire, which was what was left of the Western Roman Empire.  Indy was fascinated by the Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora (who was a circus performer, actress-courtesean, though I left that out-and wool merchant before marrying Justinian, who was in the Army at the time of their marriage).  We learned all about the Justinian Laws, and Indy found them extremely interesting.  He thought some of the laws were very fair, while others weren't.  We also learned about the split of the Catholic church into the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches. 

Indy's math is done on the computer (with some writing in a workbook), but and he loooooves it.  He begs me to do math every day!  I've discovered that if I hold math off until last he'll get through his other work faster to get to his math.  I'm so clever.

Language arts is still his least favorite subject, but after the Davis therapy, it's going much better and easier.  He's actually asked me several times if he can read to me!  He's still reading simple books and I have to help him with some of the bigger words, but he wants to read and it's much easier than it was before.  Yay!

We've done 4 science labs in the last two weeks and he loves it.  We learned about atoms and molecules and how they move and how temperature affects them.  He really enjoys doing the labs, but honestly, while they're fun, I kind of dread them.  The prep and the clean up do me in. 

Indy's hands down favorite subject is languages.  He loves to do his German (on the computer) because he hears it on a daily basis.  He gets excited when he recognizes words.  Latin though, this is his absolute favorite thing.  He loves Latin.  He's learned a few basic words and likes to pepper his sentences with them.  He calls me mater (mother) at every turn.  Silly boy.  The program we're using is based around a real family that lived at the Roman Fort in Vindolanda (in northern England) during the 100's AD.  Their home has been excavated and the author of the books has included real bits of their daily life.   Indy really likes this. Roman Numerals were a huge hit with him.  He was excited because the next time we go to Rome he will be able to decipher dates on buildings.  :)   We did a quiz every day where I wrote a number on the board in Roman Numerals and he had to decipher it.  He really liked it and was quite good at it, even when I went to really high and complicated numbers.  I can see why the system of Roman Numerals fell out of favor, it takes an awful lot to write some of the numbers.  Yikes.

So there you have it.  Next week it's on to Charlemagne!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day of 3rd Grade and School Room Photos

School has started!!! I can't believe it. We had a short summer break, but since we take long breaks throughout the year, that was okay. To be honest, we were both kind of ready to get back into a routine. Plus, we were just bored.  Doing nothing all day sounds good, but in reality, it's kind of dull.  The first day started off with a special "Back to School Breakfast."  Indy wanted waffles, so I drug the waffle iron out from the cabinet (and dusted it off, it's been in there a long time) and whipped up a plain waffle for Indy, a blackberry waffle for James Bond (he picked a ton of delicious blackberries the other day) and a blueberry waffle for me.  Yummy!  We also had turkey bacon.  Indy was very excited by the waffles.  Probably because he doesn't get them very often.

After we cleaned up, it was time for first day photos.  Indy is a ham when it comes to photos, so getting something relatively normal takes some work.  I think we did pretty well though.  Isn't he handsome?

Then it was finally time for school!  We had a really great day.  This year we are studying Medieval history, geography of the middle ages, chemistry, math, spelling/language arts, Latin, German, and chess. It's all rather ambitious, but I think we'll do fine.  We don't do every subject every day (because we'd never finish) so that helps.  On the first day we did history, spelling, language arts (Indy's least favorite), Latin and math (which is on the computer so he loves it).  We also did some of our Davis dyslexia therapy words in clay.  He really likes to do these.  We had some issues getting Indy back into the swing of writing (he's PAINFULLY slow), but that will come back in a few days (I hope).

At dinner that night, Indy told James Bond all about his day and how awesome it was and how lucky he is to be homeschooled where he can learn fun stuff and not "regular" school where it's boring.  Hurrah!  We also verbally went over our Latin words, which impressed James Bond mightily.  :)  I think we're in for a great year.

I've never posted our school room, but thought now is as good a time as any.  Our school room is our 3rd bedroom and also doubles as our guest room (I won't be showing you that half though as it's still in the works-almost done, but not quite ready to be revealed).  Our third bedroom is really weird because it has 2 doors which makes furniture placement difficult.  One of the doors (the one we use most) leads to the hall (Indy's bedroom door is opposite) and the other door leads to our bedroom.  It's very odd considering the room we're in isn't technically the master, though it's bigger.  Indy is in the master because the bedroom we're in is close to the front door and I didn't want James Bond waking Indy up every morning at 5:30am when he goes to PT.    I've tried to make the room as functional as possible and it was set up this way most of last school year, so I guess I did okay.

Since it does double as a guest room, I didn't want to put too much cutesy school stuff up (plus, we find all that rather distracting), so I kept it to a world map, a framed wipe board (I spray painted a hideous gold frame that was 75% off at Hobby Lobby red) and found 2 beautifully framed chalk boards at Home Goods.  The bookcase as desk attachment are from my favorite place in the world, IKEA!  The chair with its back to the chalk and wipe boards is mine.  It was a hideous brown chair that someone threw out.  A coat of the same paint I used on the frame and it's as good as new.  The chair opposite came from IKEA and was already red.  It was in the Fundgrube section (scratch and dent/display models) and I picked it up for about $15, which isn't bad considering it started off at almost $65. 

Another view.  The walls are actually a very bright yellow that Indy and I both love.  I chose yellow because I read somewhere along time ago that kids learn better in yellow rooms.  I went with red accents because, well, I love red and the combination is really pretty.

This photo is much closer to showing the true color of the walls.  You can also see how we start our morning.  On the large chalk board we write the day (also in German), date, and do the weather (also in German).  Indy loves this part. I also use the space under the chalk board on the door to hang posters or charts if we need them.

I keep all the books we'll need for the week in the cubby next to my chair, which is much easier than going to the shelves in the closet every time I need something.

The guest half of the room is on the other side of the bookcase.  I used it to divide the room so we can focus on the school half and so guests don't have to stare at all our school stuff.  We use the daybed to sit together and do our reading.  There's also a black and white checked chair that I love (also a steal from the Fundgrube section at IKEA) and a TV that Indy can watch movies on and play the Wii (but the Wii is reserved only for weekends).

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about our first day back and touring our school room. I'm linking this post up to the Not Back to School Blog. Click to see other school rooms.

Not Back to School Blog Hop