Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Lapbooks

While I'm unpacking the 3 million boxes from our move (Indy IS doing school though!), I thought I'd share 2 other lapbooks we did this past year.

After the earthquake lapbook inspired by the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, we moved on to volcanoes.  This was a very involved lapbook that took about 2 weeks.  There was a lot to learn!


First fold opening:

Second fold opening showing the bottom flap (it folds down):

Inside with the flap down:

Close up of inside a volcano:

 The Ring of Fire:

Tsunami spin insert and vocab words:

When we studied Renaissance Italy, Indy became fascinated with Leonardo Da Vinci.  We took an entire week off school and learned solely about him and his fascinating life.  This too was a very involved and HUGE lapbook because there was so much to pack in.  I think we used 3 file folders stapled together.  It's quite bulky.


Inside the first flap opening:

Inside the second flap opening:

Inside the third flap opening:

Close up of his Renaissance drawing.  Inside this booklet was information that he wrote about the architecture of  the Renaissance.

Info about Leo's life:

Indy's writing backwards experiment:

I couldn't get a good photo of it, but we also included a Euro coin minted in Italy that had Leo's Vetruvian Man on the reverse of it.  In case you don't know, while Euros are all the same on the front, and accepted in any country that it part of the EU, each country mints Euros and puts something representing that particular country.   The €1 in Italy has the Vetruvian Man.  Every time we get one Indy swipes it and adds it to his stash.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum

I meant to do this post a long time ago, but I've been busy homeschooling. This year is a bit different as we got off the 4 year history cycle one year (stupid, shiny boxed curriculum!), so we're playing catch up this year and doing an abbreviated version of Early Modern and Modern history so we can get back on track next year.
This is our curriculum this year (4th grade):

SOTW 3 and 4 (abbreviated!)
SOTW Geography
Growing With Grammar 4 (♥♥♥)
Singapore My Pals Are Here Science 3/4
Teaching Textbooks 4 Math
Latin For Children Primer A
Instant Immersion German
Winter Promise Chess
100 Great Poems for Boys Spelling 4

We are also reading a lot of fun books this year.  Indy reads to me almost every day from the Pirate School series and each week we have a book that I read that ties into what we're learning about in history.
We've already changed a few things up this year.  We were using Writing With Ease (made by the same company as GWG), but both disliked it immensely.  
We're in week 7 (out of 36) and had a scheduled break after week 8, but since we're doing a big move in a few weeks, we're going to wait until that happens for our break.

Monday, September 5, 2011

4th Grade

It's hard to believe that the summer flew by so quickly.  Well, to be fair ours was only 7 weeks, but it was a very short 7 weeks.  On Aug 8th we started back and Indy entered 4th grade!  How did my baby get to the 4th grade already?
Here is is 1st day photo:

Every year on the first day we have the breakfast of his choice (chocolate chip waffles this year) and then we do an "All About Me" page.  I paste his first day photo into my template and then print it off and he fills in the answers.

Age: 9
Grade: 4
Year: 2011
Height: 58"
Weight: 82 pounds
Favorite Food: Pizza, Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite TV Show: Phineas and Ferb
Favorite Movie: Harry Potter
Favorite Subject in School: History and Science
When I Grow up I want to be: An Archaeologist

We put the paper in the front of his history notebook and then I put them in the archives at the end of the year. They'll be great to look at when he's older.

As I type this, we've been in school for 4 weeks already. He's doing great in his reading, which is a huge deal since he's dyslexic. He still stumbles a lot, but he tries so hard and is so proud of what he's accomplished.
In history we've studied from Mary, Queen of Scots to the Jamestown colony to the Mayflower and the 30 Years War (and loads of stuff in between). We've read loads of books for each subject and learned a lot. Tomorrow we start learning about Louis XIV and then on to the French Revolution. He's really excited about this as we just went to Versailles in June.
In science we've learned about classification of things and animals. He finds this really interesting.
He's doing excellent in grammar, math, Latin and German. He still enjoys Latin more than anything.
I'm so proud of how much he's retaining and how he thinks things through.
This year is a bit of a challenge due to having to take care of Han Solo, but we're making it work.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And we're done!!!

We are finished with 3rd grade!  Woohoo!!!  It was quite a year, what with the pregnancy and baby and all, but we managed to get through it without losing our minds and we even finished on time!  Halleluiah! 
We actually had a good year.  We learned all about the middle ages and Renaissance and Indy's reading improved by leaps and bounds.  This was the most exciting part of the year for both of us.  The day after we finished, we took off for Paris for 4 days.  I'll be posting more about that on my main blog though.  We now have 7 weeks off before we start 4th grade.  Actually a week has already passed, so really, we just have 6 left.  Today I started pulling all the 3rd grade material out of my binders in preparation for all the new stuff.  Next year we'll be doing a condensed version of early modern and modern history so we can be back on cycle by the time we hit 5th grade and the logic stage.  While we're both anticipating a nice summer break.  We'll keep up on reading and I'll ask him questions about what we learned this past year, but for the most part, we'll just be taking it easy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homeschooling with a new baby

If you aren't a reader of my regular blog, you may not know that 6 weeks ago, I had a baby!  Yep, a big old surprise baby who is absolutely adorable.  Indy is in love with him and gave him the blog name "Han Solo."  This is them 3 days after Han Solo was born.  Aren't they precious?

I have been trying to get as much school work done as we possibly could before Han Solo was born, but of course we didn't finish the year.  Since Han Solo has been home we've done easy school, but still working hard.  It's not exactly easy considering I'm seriously lacking in sleep (I totally forgot what it was like to have to get up at night with a baby-NOT fun) and Han Solo requires so much attention.  Sadly he's not quite as easy a baby as Indy was and needs much more holding and face time.  Because of all this, our school days have changed.  Indy doesn't seem to mind though.  Our days have been starting later because after Han Solo eats around 6 or 7am, he goes back to sleep and so do I.  Indy gets up and plays in his room with Legos or his Indiana Jones action figures and usually fixes his own breakfast (man, I love that kid). I'm usually up by 9:30 and I'll give Indy some independent work to do while I hop on the treadmill (not every day, but I'm working on it) and shower.  Han Solo is generally up by the time I'm done and ready for a bottle. Indy LOVES to give him his bottle, so I set them up with the Boppy pillow (I sit next to them) and read to Indy.   Once Han Solo is done eating, I take him and burp him (Indy really wants to burp him, but I won't allow that) and then Indy reads to me. HE reads to ME!  He's reading level 4 readers, which is amazing considering he could barely read at all this time last year.   After we're done reading, I usually try to do some work that requires my assistance while Han Solo dozes in my arms.  This is hard!  Once he's asleep though, I can lay him down for a nap and Indy and I can get to the meat of his work before a late lunch (around 1pm).  After lunch Indy does his math (which is on the computer and does not require me!) and then we're done for the day.  We don't do quite as much as we did pre-Han Solo, but since we pushed so much before and it's nearly the end of our school year I'm not all that concerned.  In fact, last week we read about the Renaissance and Indy was so intrigued by Leonardo da Vinci (we read Leonardo's Horse, which is a great, short book). that we took the week off from our regular studies to spend this week reading about him.  Indy's working on a (FREE) lapbook from on Leonardo's Horse (it includes other stuff about the Renaisance too) and today experimented with writing backwards.  He thought this was loads of fun.
So, homeschooling with a new baby is challenging, but totally doable.    We'll see how doable it is when Han Solo is a toddler.  ;)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earthquake lapbook

In my previous post I mentioned that with all the media coverage of the Japan earthquake, we would start a unit study of them.  We opted to make a lapbook with our study.  Indy really enjoys making lapbooks and I do too, I just forget about them.  has loads of FREE lapbook components and information on a wealth of subjects (we started on their HUGE volcano unit week).  All of the parts of this lapbook came from them.



We didn't have enough room in the basic folder for all the components, so I added another sheet of heavy card stock to make a flap that opens and give him more room to put things.   Here it is open:

Area under the flap.  We made booklets with info on the Haiti and Japan earthquakes:

Close up of one of the components (notice the neat handwriting!):

Indy really enjoyed learning about the earthquakes and has been riveted to the news to get the latest information on what's going on in Japan.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Natural Disasters and Science

Ugh, poor Japan.  I don't know what else to say.  Every day it seems to get worse and worse.  Indy has been glued to the NEWS watching what's going on over there and started asking questions about the earthquake and tsunamis and all that they encompass.  We've been really slacking in science, so I got the bright idea to study earthquakes and volcanoes.  Is that wrong? 
We started working on an earthquake lapbook (it also includes tsunamis) this week (FREE from!) and when it is completed, we we will move on to the volcano lapbook (also FREE!).  Some part of me feels kind of weird to use a horrible event like this to kick start our sadly lacking science, but I figured we're getting loads of information on it via the news and Indy seems really interested in learning about it, so why not?

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Wow, two posts in less than a week?  What's going on?  I don't know!
In my previous post, I mentioned I was thinking of changing our Latin program and that evening I bit the bullet (or debit card as the case may be) and bought the Big Book of Lively Latin 1 download.  Holy cow!  When they say big book, they mean it.   It's seriously huge.  I've barely printed off half of it and my 1" binder is bulging.  We started working on it the next day, and guess what?  IT IS FABULOUS!  Indy loved it.  He begged to do more!  He begged to do Latin the next morning!  I have to say, it is rather fun, though I can't really pinpoint why.  I'm learning right along with him and enjoying it too.  Indy likes the worksheets (who knew?) and the audio vocabulary.  He actually asked to do the audio vocab a second time to make sure he got it.  Huzzah!  The format is engaging and not too much to handle at one time, which I think he really likes.  I only wish we'd been using this from the beginning!  The only issue we're having seems to be technical.  For some reason, on two different computer, trying 3 different browsers, the video lessons won't work.  It's very frustrating, because that's one of the reasons I wanted Lively Latin, but the company is trying to see if they can figure out why and I have to say I'm impressed with their customer service.  If you're looking for a Latin program, be sure to check this one out.  You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back in the saddle and griping about books and maybe some changes

Whew, we've had an entire month off school and now we're back!  I was worried it would be hard to get back into the routine, but we fell right back into it.  Huzzah!  This week we're learning about Robin Hood and Richard the Lion Heart (who was not a great king if you want to know the truth).  Our book of the week is Robin Hood (A Stepping Stone Book).  We've read several of the Stepping Stone Books and the more of them I read, the less I like them.  I know they are aimed at children reading them to themselves, but Indy's not at that point yet, so I have to read them to him.  They are sooooo basic in their writing and grammar.  I find it insulting to be honest.  Some of the sentences aren't even complete, but fragments.  This drives me insane.  I'm not even sure I want Indy reading them once he gets to that point.  The stories are also pretty much dumbed down and that's really irritating too.  I think I only purchased 2 other Stepping Stone Books that we haven't read yet and I'm not sure we will.  I may get different books to replace them.  Sigh.
I'm also thinking of replacing our Latin program.  Indy really, really likes Minimus (mostly because of the comic strip at the beginning of each lesson and the fact that it's based on a real family who lived in Roman Britain), and I think it's cute, but I don't have a Latin background and find it hard to teach.  I've heard a lot of good stuff about Lively Latin and like the samples I've seen online, so we may switch to this and use Minimus as a supplement once our Latin knowledge has increased.   Indy really enjoys finding words in English that are actually Latin or Latin based.  It's become like a game.  I'm glad I decided to introduce it this year.  If we can keep it up, one day he'll rock the SAT's.  :)