Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hello Summer!

Our formal school year is officially over.  Overall, we had a great year, and for the first time ever, we finished before June!

We finished strong, learning about the California Gold Rush in 1849.  Just a few days before studying it, I stumbled upon these little bags of "gold" at the store and couldn't resist buying them.

These chewing gum nuggets unexpectedly furthered our lesson.  Since gold is so strong and can be hammered flat, I used these nuggets as an object lesson about gold.  We all put some in our mouths and took note about how the "gold" didn't break apart, rather it flattened out.  Pretty cool, huh?
The girls got to paint on canvas on our last day.  Katie painted a tree (haven't taken a picture of hers yet), and Emily painted a hedgehog.  They both turned out very cute.

Emily made homemade chocolate chip muffins to celebrate our last day.  Very yummy!


Our last day was on Thursday, so we had Fun Day Friday and went to Kings Island.  It was a beautiful day!

Friday night, the girls were doing simple experiments on their own.  They made a mixture with vinegar to clean pennies, and put Ivory soap in the microwave to see it expand.  Katie even explained to me how it happens.  After they pulled the soap out, they crumbled it into a bowl, and now it's ready for me to use with my homemade laundry detergent.  Bonus for me! :)

We will be doing some math and language arts over the summer.  I say this every year and we've never met my goals.  But, after all these years of spending too much time in the fall reviewing, I'm going to work harder at sticking with my plan this summer.

My plan is to start My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times some time in August.  We are making some changes in math and language arts but I haven't nailed them down just yet.  I'm leaning heavily towards using Teaching Textbooks for math.  We've always used RightStart, and I still love the program.  But, it's teacher intense.  Need I say more?  I might also add Life of Fred as a supplement.

I plan to use some materials from Queen Homeschool Supplies for language arts.  I'm pretty sure we'll use the vocabulary, and maybe some copywork.  But, I haven't nailed that down yet either.

For now, we are all looking forward to summer and the warm weather it brings!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


While I was doing dishes today, I was thinking about how many times I've heard Christians (including myself) say they wish there were more good, quality shows on TV.  I had no idea why this thought even came to mind.  I really don't watch much TV myself, but I do have those veg-out moments.  God spoke to me in a very clear and real way.  And that's when I realized the meaning behind my thoughts.

God doesn't want His children to waste so many precious hours watching TV, even on "good, quality shows."  That might be like spending all of our time in church and never going out to tell the world about Jesus.  Serving Him and helping others is what God wants us to do!  If there were more good, or dare I say great shows on television, we might be more inclined to sit and watch rather than get up and do.  Let's face it, television, and other electronics, make us lazy.  I don't want to be a lazy Christian.

So, the next time I flip through channels in an unsuccessful attempt to find a quality show, I hope and pray that I remember this revelation, and will do something to serve God instead.

"If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him."  John 12:26

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reading and Copywork with McGuffey Readers

I'm so glad we finally started using the McGuffey Readers on a regular basis.  It took way too long to do this!  Since we have some reading struggles, we are taking it slowly.  So far, the results have been very positive. 

How We Use McGuffey Readers

We start off by reading a story in the book. Katie reads from the McGuffey Primer.  Although some may think she is too old (10) for the Primer, I chose it so that she would gain more confidence in reading, and give her more practice in handwriting, spelling, and grammar in a very practical way.

After she reads the story, I then have her read all the words from the word list that follows the story.  We use a separate spelling program, otherwise I would use the McGuffey word list for spelling.  Often times, words from her spelling book also appear on the McGuffey word list, so this provides great review and practice.  Once she has a good grasp on reading each word on the list, she then copies two sentences from the story and draws a picture about them.  We repeat this nearly every day until she has written the entire story.


You can modify what we do to suit children that are less or more advanced simply by reducing or increasing the amount of copywork.  The McGuffey Readers are so flexible!  If your child is not quite there yet, just work on a portion of the word list until that portion is mastered, then move on.  If your child is beyond this, you may want to move on to the next reader. 

Note: When we move on to McGuffey's First Reader, I do not plan to assign every sentence as copywork since the stories are longer.  Can you imagine how daunting that might be?    So, I plan to choose the sentences that I believe would be most beneficial, and maybe allow Katie to copy her favorite sentences as well.  I'll gage that by her level of interest, progress and time.

Katie never complains about her McGuffey assignments.  I believe she enjoys them because they are practical and creative (drawing).  Next year, we may use the McGuffey Readers for spelling rather than using a separate book.  The boxed set includes a Progressive Speller too, but I haven't put much effort into looking at it yet.  With some prayer and research, I trust that God will lead us down the right path for us.

Now, if I could just sharpen Katie's math skills, I would feel much more balanced!