Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Photography Workshop

My kids are so excited about their photography workshop. They have spent the last week taking photos for their projects. And I thought I would share some...

First year of homeschool

Just a short post! I realise I have been talking about struggles I have been having this past week. I want this blog to be honest and open. I am finding my first year of homeschool brings with it lots of joy and triumph, but there are weeks when i need an attitude adjustment or my kids do. I am still learning and my kids are still adjusting! There has been trial and error with schedule, curriclum, consequences, rewards, amount of extra - curricular activity and heart matters. But you know what - all of it is worth it because I am growing in character and developing more patience, new skills and becoming less rigid! (well starting to). My children are learning to get along better, learning new skills, are more confident and free to explore their world and interests. And most importantly God is teaching us new things every day through our christ centred curriclum. We are doing it togther in Christ. In my weakness He is my strength!

A day of relearning lessons that should have already been learned!

I have to complete everything, no matter what was my attitude today! Well after relaxing and letting the kids make cupcakes before breakfast!! I think I felt like I wanted to achieve something but upset the routine so early on that I couldn't accomplish all I wanted to! I have now relearned RELAX and ENJOY!

We had a play date organised for this afternoon at the park. the kids were so excited to be catching up with their school friends. I decided it would be fun to make some cupcakes for these afternoon tea. The kids decided that they would enjoy trying to make these by themselves. And they did a great job together.

My dd 4 and ds 1 decided to join in the fun. dd4 licked the bowl and ds 1 had the first warm cake out of the oven. What a lovely breakfast!!

Dd4 and I role played Abraham and Lots conversation about parting company and living in different lands. Lot selfishly choosing what seemed like the best land, but God was faithful and gave abraham the best land. We didn't have an abundance of toy sheep so we got out the farm animals.

The two big kids got to paint their rainbows onto their backgrounds today. I should not have rushed this process and should ahve waited to do this on friday. I have learned my lesson! They look great but poor ds10 was rushing with me and didn't dry his brush resulting in his paint running. He decided it looked like rain :)He is happy, but it confirmed to me that rushing is not the way to do school. I will no longer rush school! Lesson learned!

Tuesday: Unit two day two

Today started off in a glorious way, bright sunshine, one of the warmest days we can have for ages. The kids decided that it was nice enough to start the day outside. I am sure it is not adviced that kids sit on the concrete and do english but I thought why not! It is a glorious day! She eventaully worked out she was more comfortable at the table :)

The kids begged me to make pancakes for morning tea today. But they decided that they would! And they did a wonderful job :)My ds 10 isa famous pancake chef in our home. He created the malteser pancake for us and it is divine!! Especially with icecream. Also he swapped cows milk with cocnut milk fresh from the coconut shell. I was shocked at how well these turned out! they were fluffy, soft and oh so delicious! If you ever feel the urge for pancakes buy a cocnut and give it a whirl! My dd 7 has just started learning the pancake skills from her brother.

My dd 4 and ds 1 spent the morning singing their rhyme Clippity, clippity c c c clack! with actions. This song is about Abraham and teaches them actions to go with the C sound. Avril is so excited as she points out every letter she now knows as we visit different places and at home! I am very proud of her. Today the activity was to decorate a C with string or cotton wool balls. Well I didn't have cotton wool so it was string! We headed outside and they both did their sticking.

DD 7 and Ds 10 carried on where we left off from monday, that wonderful day, where I had relaxed and we had enjoyed exploring and being creative! Today I felt a little unsettled about this! I wanted to be further ahead! And I let this drive our day! And our long phone interruption was another frustration. So the kids started their world wide flood research together. They did great, no arguments, they worked so well together. Now this is when I first answered the phone! And the kids surprised me, they decided to do a small powerpoint about Noahs Ark and the flood for me! They used animation factory to animate their powerpoint. They had animals disappearing into the ark and funny captions. It was great!

My ds 10 hated reaing home readers from school and so when i told him he had 10 days to read a book he nearly changed colour all over! But he is really enjoying HOD's recommendation for his biography. We are using HOD's drawn into the heart of reading program, which is a charcter and reading program. Both the kids surprised me with the enjoyment of their biography's. Adele is reading Amelia earheart: young air pioneer and Damon is reading Alexander hamilton: Young statesman.
We finished the day with a beautiful rainbow. Gods gift to us to bring peace to a busy day. Looking at the pictures now I can see how much fun HOD is.

Gods timing is always perfect!!

On tuesday we were reading The true story of Noahs Ark and had reached the part in the book where Noah headed to the top of the boat and prayed whilst he looked over the waters. Tuesday had been a struggle because I was unnecessarily pushing to finish no matter what the interruptions!!! And as we finished on a glorious sunny winters day, God placed two bright rainbows into the sky above our home, backed by some grey sky. It was beautiful and very exciting moment for the kids, my dh and myself. They were all jumping around looking at the rainbow and all the frustrations from the day faded away. We were all at peace again! God is good!

Learning new lessons and then forgetting!!!

I am a cluts!!Well sometimes as we all are! I am sure that I am not the first person to have done this.

I struggle with the need to complete what tasks lay ahead, no matter how large! But constantly fall short. I don't see them in baby chunks and I definately don't relax enough to know that it is ok to not always complete everything. It is not always possible! Instead I feel like I have failed and the mountain of tasks just grew bigger!!! LOL

But on monday when peace reigned in our home, I could feel the demand of this need to hurry, hurry, got to finish!!brewing inside of me, only to hear and feel a small voice say relax, enjoy, slow down. And I listened to this voice and we had an awesome day. I have been very excited about starting and using our Heart of dakota curriculum. It has many exciting tasks in it. The kids enjoy lingering on an interesting task, being creative and exploring it. And I have two smaller children. Lots of interruptions! So we spent monday enjoying the boxes that we did and I think we were left with storytime and and internet research on Noahs Ark. I felt relaxed and felt I had learned somthing new!

Then along comes tuesday!! My Ds was having a struggle this day and I felt like I was behind because we started where we left off, which was the plan! But my need to finish raged inside of me and I pushed those kids right to the end! I didn't take into consideration the long phone interruptions, and behaviour struggles during the day - we had to finish!!

And then it was wednesday! It was dd turn to have a bad day! But I am not surprised I pushed hard to get all done and this is not how my kids learn! There was no time for a laugh, an exploration, a detour, a discussion, a break, a creative moment! I had forgotten my lesson, which I thought was so well learned!

Today I look back and I think, you forgot, your poor kids!! Tomorrow after our thursday break will be different. Here is our timetable...

Monday/Friday 8.30 - 11.30 school (starting with devotions, math, language arts, spelling and handwriting, then we will continue the adventure with Heart of Dakota, allowing time to laugh, explore, discuss, detour(a little) and definately be creative.

Tues/weds 10 - 1pm this will give me an opportunity to get my housework done before school and spend quality time with the little kids.

From now on we close our books at the three hour mark and will pick up where we left off the following day. I have decded that it isn't the quantity of work you do in a day it is the quality of the adventure. I took the kids out of school so they would be free to explore and be creative, developing their interests whilst being supported through their weaknesses. Rushing them through the day is not caring or allowing them to do that. And I am sure my kids will not be whingey if I am not pushing so hard but creating an environment where they are free to enjoy their learning experiences, however long it takes!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Unit 2: Day 1 Life after the flood

Today was a fantastic day!

Ds started the day with a sore neck and a headache which he needed a heat pack for! So he rested the first 1 hour and a half of school!!! But after I watched him for a while I could see he had come good!! So he decided to join us :)

We started the day with poetry. We are looking at Robert Louis Stevenson poems. Today we started "Bed in Summer". This is a poem about a child going to bed by day in the summer and getting up to dark in the winter! My kids could really relate to this. These poems are great and the kids are really enjoying them.

We have been reading about the Arctic Tundra and looking at how layers keep animals warm. Today the kids had to copy 1 cornithians 15:39 above a drawn picture showing the layers of a musk ox's flesh. The kids really engaged in this and ds went a little further drawing a musk ox and its' baby.

We then how our first reading from Life in the Great Ice Age. Ds was excited because we have been reading about the same tribe in his extension reader about Uncovering the Mysterious Woolly Mammoth. We are learning about how tribes lived after the flood and tower of Babel. We are looking at Noahs sons and how life must have been for them, living in caves, changeable weather, hunting, other tribes..

Our project for history today was to make a collage of cool colours and a collage using warm collages. My dd4 got involvd in this one and they were all very creative.

My DD 4 had a wonderful time this morning painting a 'C' picture. We talked about what began with 'c' and then she drew some pictures, then filling them in with paint.

Monday was also our sewing day. A wonderful friend is teaching us machine sewing. We have made great progress with our cushions. A

nd I discovered that I can free hand back stitch. This is a very exciting discovery for me! And I found it very relaxing, I think I may start doing more of this! I am very grateful to our wonderful friend for teaching the kids and I new skills.

Friday, 22 July 2011

heart of dakota: Unit 1 Week 1

Well I will be updating here now more regularly. Heart of Dakota has arrived! We are using preparing for my ds 10 and my almost 8 year old dd. The week has been really bumpy, not because of HOD, but because my ds doesn't like change amd it takes a while for him to settle into a new routine.

This week we have been learning about creation up to the flood. The kids have been reading Grandpas Box by starr Meade, it is a story of the biblical redemption. The kids have really enjoyed hearing the grandpa telling stories of the war stories (the stories of God, humans and satan from the Bible)and they love how he uses his box of figures to illustrate his story. This book really writes about all the well known bible stories in a very interesting way.

Their history project this week was to make a shield of faith. The kids really enjoyed this process and my dd 4 enjoyed being involved in this creating her own also.

They have also been doing an independent history stody using draw and write through history. This week we have been following instuctions to draw creation images, trees, bushes, dinosaurs and man. Poor Adele who is arty but also a perfectionist! has found this difficult as she wants hers to look fantastic! And they do but she gets really frustrated through the process! We have also been copying truths about creation from this book.

We have started our timeline of world history from a christian worldview. The kids love this idea :)

We have found the 7 continents of the world on a globe, we have researched coats of arms and designed our own.

The kids have enjoyed reading One small square: The Arctic Tundra. This week we did an experiment to discover how layers keep animals warms. The kids had to drop atwo coins into a hotcup of water. They had to prepare two clip lock bags, one with a wad of tissue in the bottom. They placed their hot coins into these bags (one coin was wrapped in the tissue) and these bags were placed in a sink of cold water for 5 secs. The results were layers helped keep the heat in and the cold out.

My dd4 has been working through Little hands to heaven. We are slowly moving through this and she is so excited that everywhere we go we have to stop at signs to point out a, b, c, m or s!! She is very exited. My ds 1 loves being involved in the ctivities. Earlier on we were doing a sink or float activity outside. ds 1 thought it would be fun to test himself!!
Here is a photo of dd 4 writing b in chaljk in our backyard.

This term our extra curricular activities are focused on learning new skills. A friend of ours is teaching us machine sewing. We have all designed our own cushion cover and we are in the middle of making these. I will post photos when these are done.

The kids are doing a photography workshop and will do a project using their pictures to create their own original storybook. adele has decided to use her china doll and take photos of her life. Damon is documenting wildlife that he discovers on our outings. damon is our zoologist :)

A friend has also offered to teach Adele and I to play piano, so we will be strating that. Ds is continuing with guitar.

And a friend has also offered to come and teach us how to be gardeners, so I am really looking forward to this.

These are all skills I have wished to have for years. Now that we are homeschooling we are learning them together.