Friday, 31 January 2014

Homeschool choices 2014 and our first week.

2014 has started off very smoothly! We have made the shift to Weaver from Alpha Omega Publishers. Weaver allows me to teach K - 12 with the same focus each lesson, which I am thankful for.

Weaver Box

I was impressed how the kids have taken to this new approach, so easily. Weaver uses a lots of  exploration through 'doing' and reading, which I love! I am so thankful to God for my stumbling upon it.

The greatest thing about this curriculum is that it is bible centred. It is called Weaver because it starts with the Bible and weaves other subjects from our Bible focus (social studies, history, health and safety, observation projects, language arts and creative writing).

For our other subjects we have chosen to stick with Learning Language Arts through Literature. Damon is moving into the green book, Adele is finishing the Orange book and Avril has returned to the Blue book. 

For maths Damon is continuing with Math-U-See and the girls are using Mammoth Math Light Blue Series.
The rest of this post will show you what we have been up to this week.

Gen 11: 4 City Built - The Tower of Babel.

The kids retelling the story of Babel.

Our second bible focus was Matt 7: 24 - 27, a house built on sand and a house built on the rock. Here is Avril blowing on each paper house that I built, one is on soil (had no sand) and the other on a rock (stuck down!).
Map Making:

The kids took a walk around our neighbourhood taking special note of special features and roads. They drew a map of the neighbourhood as they walked.

The next lesson on map making a couple of days later, saw the kids learning about scale ratio, legends , marking N, S, E, W and transferring their rough maps onto larger paper with their own ratio based on information from a local map.

Damon is reading a book called Where Am I? The Story of Maps and Navigation to give him some background on this topic.

Avril also had to create a map. With help she mapped her bedroom and created her own key for items in her room.


Whilst we were out walking and mapping our neighbourhood, Avril and Josef collected soil samples for our soil activities during the week.

Avril and I read some books on soil and what it contains. Then we began to investigate our samples.
Our first task was to separate our home soil into layers. So we filled a jar half way and then topped up with water, which we shook up really well. Then we left it on a shelf undisturbed until it settled.

Our next task was to see what was in our neighbourhood samples. We gathered bowls, magnifying glasses and sifters. We sifted each sample, separating the larger particles from the smaller. Then we looked closely at each sample, discussing and drawing what we found.

Avril found the expected seeds, rocks, leaves, fur, insects and so on. But Josef found some quite unusual items such as crocodiles and dragons!! lol!

What is A Geologist??

Later in the week we read Childcraft Volume 6: Our World and discovered what a geologist is. We then headed outside to test the compaction of our soil :)

Avril alos had to list what construction items we need for building a home. So we read Childcraft Annual: A Place to Live, in which we discovered how children all over the world live, plus what construction items we would need to build a home.


Damon and Adele have started their study of rocks. They started their investigations with viewing, The Geology Kitchen on You Tube.

Damon then started his science unit on Geology in Apologia General Science. As a result this afternoon we are heading to the kitchen to start growing crystals with sugar, Epsom salts and Copper Sulphate.

They have been investigating Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and how they are formed through reading library books. They also used rock identification sheets from Considering Gods Creation.

The kids had rocks which they had collected last year, so they used these to examine and investigate their types.

Adele has decided that being a geologist might be interesting. She continued her investigations on a trip out to an appointment during the week, when she grinned cheekily at me, as she produced a magnifying glass and a rock she had picked up on our walk!

During the week, thanks to LLATL, Adele also discovered an interest in poetry. She is really enjoying her poetry unit and so I offered her a book to read called, Robert Louis Stevenson: Storyteller and Adventurer.
On Friday we decided it was a good opportunity to go rock fossicking at Cedar Creek. We packed our swimmers and headed out to find some rocks. Unfortunately when we arrived the water wasn't flowing so no swimming happened. But we did have a great time hunting rocks.

Everyone found some interesting rocks. We also found lots of cow bones and teeny tiny frogs!

We then headed to Hunter Valley Gardens for a picnic, play, some icecream and some English sweets :)
The kids are always thrilled to spot any wildlife. Here is a goat and wallaby that we came across on our travels.

A photo of Galahs, that Adele rushed out to take in our backyard.

We have had a very productive and fun packed week, can't wait until next week :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Home school Happenings!

Our plan this term is to create a family garden. We are off to a great start with all of us working together to clear the garden. But now we have to decide how to build our bed, thankfully Derek is here to help us :)

Avril is learning at such an amazing rate at the moment! I am astounded at how much she has developed and how much she has progressed in herself and her lessons. Here she is learning about time with Math U See. She has had to learn to count in ones, twos, fives and tens this year and she has done it! She amazes me! She has also learned to add and subtract.

She has also come leaps and bounds with her reading! And here she is having a Lesson 50 ice cream sundae! We have been using Teach your child to read in 100 lessons. We tried this last year, but she wasn't ready then. So I tried a different approach this year using Learning Language Arts through Literature, and although this is a brilliant program, it was just too busy for us. So I decided to return to 100 lessons and it is the perfect fit for us now! And she is reading!

Here is some of her writing!! Jesus loves mum and Avril, and Avril and mum love Jesus!

In science we have been looking more closely at plants. Here is a diagram the girls put together, showing the parts of a flower and what they need to live.

We have also read books about what plants need and drawn our own diagrams.

We have also witnessed how plants drink.
We also did the string experiment to watch the water moving along the string. We also used a napkin in another experiment.

We have pulled up plants with their roots. We have talked about the function of the roots and we have heard how strong they are.

We have drawn and labelled our picture simply.

We have listened to poetry about nature, the flowers, the trees, the grass and other wonderful things God made! And Adele created her own poem about a Hollyhock.

 We have read about photosynthesis. The girls have drawn a picture of the exchange between plants and humans. We have classified types of leaves.

The girls are loving their study of plants and have fascinated by our discoveries.

I don't have photos of Damon, but he has been working through chapter 1 of Ancient Civilisations and the Bible. At present he is researching the men who have searched Mt. Ararat for Noah's Ark, and their discoveries. He and I have been reading and discussing topics relevant to the beginning of Genesis.

Josef has started preschool at home :) I am so excited! He has started using Weaver Interlock. This program is centred on the Bible and draws topics straight out of there. So we start with God, which I love! Josef, like Damon, is right at the beginning of Genesis. We have been learning that we have a Father in heaven and God has given us a father on earth too. We have been learning that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were also with God in the beginning when He created the earth. And we are heading into understanding that God is three in one persons. Here he is colouring in God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit.
To illustrate God and creation. I had to find a scene of creation and photocopy one of the resource pages. This page had father and Jesus, plus baby Jesus and some pictures of creation. As I taked about Jesus and God creating the world, I stuck them on top of creation, then we added the trees and other items. then we spoke about Jesus being born on earth as a baby. I am finding the way they explain the concepts and illustrate their points amazing! the kids get it! Even my just turned 4 year old!

We started his preschool journey with two presents - one from his Father in Heaven and one from Daddy! We talked about how God has given us the world and Daddy gave him Wreck it Ralph :) I was amazed as Josef understood the lesson and appreciated both gifts!

Here he is with a collage of Dads. All Dads are different and don't look the same.
Josef was then recorded saying what he liked about Daddy and what he enjoyed doing with Daddy. And he made him a card with written what he liked about daddy inside. He was so excited about making this for his Dad. He hid it under his pillow and when his dad arrived home, he ran and got it! Here he is giving it to Derek.

We also discussed how God has created a home for us in Heaven and how Daddy works really hard to keep a home here on earth for him. Josef had to decorate a picture of Heaven with cotton wool and glitter.

We have also been focusing on the triangle. Josef has had to create it with pencils, stick different sized cut-outs on a photocopy of the same sized triangles. He had to match the size and discuss large, smaller and small. We had a shape hunt at home too, for triangles.

We have also created triangles with our bodies, sang songs relevant to our topics and read poetry and stories. We have followed instructions to move our bodies in different ways as we are asked. 

We have played God said! as we learned about truth and lies. God always tells the truth. And then Josef had to be recorded telling a truth about himself. We have done so much!

Josef and Avril made a picture of shapes and God's creation with my cookie cutters and paint. This program is so good!

In the beginning, I was considering halving a day. I thought they would be too long for Josef, but not so! He grins and smiles all the way through his activities! I feel so blessed to have found such a God centred and wonderful program. Bring on next year! The big kids are also moving into Weaver.

Onto other things! We have had a horrendous early bush fire season. We had many fires burning around us and many friends affected by them. But thanks to firemen many homes and lives were saved. Below are pictures of the sun whilst we were at swimming lessons one afternoon. The sun turned a brilliant pinky, red and the sky filled with smoke.

 My little ballerina has performed in her first ballet concert for the year, with one more to go next week. She danced so beautifully, the whole school put on a wonderful performance.

 Last month I let each child choose a meal to cook. We are still awaiting Josefs choice, set for wednesday this week of pancakes and icecream! But Damon went all out and decided to be American! He put on a feast of corndogs, southern fried chicken, salad, beignets and glazed donuts, plus snickerdoodles!

 When we first started our cooking, he was a little unsure of himself and his measurements, but after some encouragement and being left alone to get on with it for a while, he got it! He created the tastiest meal ever! His gazed donuts were the best I had ever tasted! Even better than Krispy Kreme! I had never had a corn dog, but I am now a fan and that chicken...yum! He is becoming a great cook!

 All the kids got in and gave him a hand!

 This month he says it will be a Greek meal! Can't wait to see what he makes!

 Last month we were also privileged to be able to attend a Medieval Day. The people running it were all in costume, they battled in different armour, let the kids be involved, talked about Medieval society and etiquette and displayed mounted archery and jousting, plus some other exercises. It was fascinating!

 The kids were able to be hands on with some of the items.

Even battling the Knights with pool noodles! lol!

 The ladies showed us different items that were from the Medieval era and discussed their dress, plus the etiquette of the time. The kids had to distinguish between items from modern era and the Medieval times.

 It was a really great day!