Sunday, April 29, 2012

Box Day ... Creating your own

If you've been in the homeschool world for even a minute, you've heard of Sonlight. If you've heard of Sonlight, you have probably heard of "Box Day" and the excitement it creates in families that use Sonlight. If you happen to receive the catalog from Sonlight each year, you've probably drooled over it once or twice, wanting to be those little families in the pictures who just love Sonlight. You've probably wished you could have "Box Day" at your house. You've probably thought that the grass was greener at a Sonlight house than at yours.

Now, if you are lucky, you've come to your senses before spending your life's savings. If you're lucky, you've realized that the plans you've already made are just fine. If you're lucky, you've realized that your family is having fun with the materials you have chosen, using them in the way that you have already set about using them. If you're lucky, you've realized that you don't need Sonlight to have a great year. If you're lucky, you've realized that you are those families in the catalog. Your children do love to learn. Your family already uses the best literature to teach the concepts you wanted to cover. You've realized that the simplicity of the Charlotte Mason method works. You've realized that you don't need that giant, confusing Instructor's Guide to teach your children. You've realized that reading the great literature and narrating it is enough. You've realized that copywork and dictation are enough. You've realized that your plan is just fine and you don't need to throw it all away just because it looks better in the Sonlight catalog.

Disclaimer: If you already use and love Sonlight, please do not be offended by what I have said thus far. I most certainly do not think that there is anything wrong with Sonlight. I love Sonlight. I am only speaking to those of us who have already made plans. I am speaking to those of us who doubt our own plans because of the amazing marketing that Sonlight has. If you use and love it, please trust your own instincts and know that you know best what works for your family. That is the beauty of homeschooling!

Back to what I was saying. If you're lucky, you've realized that your plans are good enough. But, "Box Day" still sounds like so much fun, doesn't it? It does to me. So, I recently went about creating my own "Box Day" of sorts. Did everything come in one box? Nope. It came over the course of many days, in many individual envelopes with the occasional box or two. But, the fun can still be had if you create the excitement. My kids were ecstatic to get new books to call their own. They were excited to see the things we would be reading in school. And, my checkbook was much more pleased with the prices you can get when you buy your books used! Plus, I'm doing my part to reduce/reuse/recycle books! I plan to have lots of "Box Days". We are building our home library and having fun with it! Here are a couple of shots of our recent "Box Day" events. :)

Happy box day ... and Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Week in Review

We have come to the end of Week 2, Term 2. We actually still need to do the "Day 4" stuff from Week 2 and we will do that on Monday, but as far as school week's go, we had a full one. We started the week off with a family field trip. You can see that here. That was lots of fun, beautiful weather, family time and history lessons to boot. We also had a field trip with our Homeschool Group on Thursday this week. We went to see an adorable Theatreworks production of Henry and Mudge at the beautiful historic theater downtown.

If you're keeping track, you realize that only left us with 3 full "school days". Hence, the need to do Day 4 stuff on Monday. :-)  Anyhoo, guess I should get down to telling you what we did.


This week we read about how God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. We read about the burning bush and Moses basically arguing with God, saying that he didn't want to go. We read about God convincing Moses that He would be with him every step of the way. We read about God showing Moses the "tricks" he could pull (you know, turning the staff into a snake and back into a staff again, turning his hand white with leprosy and back to health again and turning water into blood). We read about Moses taking his brother, Aaron with him to Pharaoh and trying to convince Pharaoh to let the people go. Of course, unless you've been under a rock (or are in no way associated with Judeo-Christian stories, and if that is the case, I apologize if I've offended you), you know that Pharaoh did not give in so easily. Anyway, out of the readings we did, the Hippie was inspired to draw the snakes. Here is a shot of Moses' snake and the Pharaoh's magicians' snakes. And, for good measure, she added a cat in the background being scared enough to jump into the air, hair raised and everything, as cats do. :) As for the copywork, she will finish that up on Monday.


This week's fairy tale was the story of Snow White and Rose Red by the Brothers Grimm. This was a cute story and reminded us of our own two girls ~ one being quiet and liking to help Momma and the other being exuberant and wanting to play outside all the time. That describes my girls quite well. Even though the fairy tales are for the Princess to draw and copy from, the Hippie was inspired to draw, so she also drew a narration for this story. The Princess will do the copywork from this story on Monday.

The Princess

The Hippie

I'm starting to wonder if I should really separate out our subjects like this in my Week in Reviews, seeing as how "language arts" happens across the curriculum on a regular basis. Either way, let me share some of the more common "Language Arts' things that took place this week.

The Hippie continued practicing her cursive this week, copying short phrases about the picture "Ofeningen Op De Gitaar" by Henriette Ronner Knip. She and I did a bit of Picture Study together, allowing her practice with oral narration and creative "writing" (She told me the story about what was happening in the picture. Next week she will write the story). She also copied the following poem:

A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can't we all be like that bird?

The Princess and I talked about types of poetry and I introduced the "Couplet" to her. As for phonics, we talked about how "ou" and "ow" can both sound like OW as in out and owl. She got plenty of practice with this concept through reading words and sentences that follow the rules as well as copying words that follow the rules. We also completed two lessons in our Delightful Reading lessons. This week we worked on the Aesop fable, "The Dogs and the Fox", learning new words and creating new words from the words learned.

Finally, she read several more Christina Rosetti poems aloud to me. I don't think she really likes to read these to me. They just don't flow like a story does. Lucky for her, she's finished with the poems and can get back to reading stories to me.

Other than above, there was a LOT of reading around these parts this week. Momma and Daddy are currently enthralled in the Hunger Games trilogy ~ Daddy is in the middle of the first book; Momma has read the first book and is in the middle of the second.

We read a bit more of Twig aloud. We have two chapters left, I believe. I have the hardest time getting around to the regular old "literature" read-alouds after reading history and Bible and nature and poetry and tales and geography and biographies and such all day. Either way, we're working on it.

As for the girls, the Hippie continued reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". She doesn't read as much of this at one time. I think that is because to her it is an "assignment". That just changes it for her, even though she likes it. Whatever. At least she's reading, right? She also read "Mary Geddy's Day", Mike Venezia's Getting to Know Mary Cassatt, Mike Venezia's Getting to Know Beethoven, "Pompeii: Buried Alive" and "The Titanic: Lost and Found". Her real joy this week, though, has been "Henry and Ribsy". She's almost finished reading it and loves it. I believe from now on, instead of "assigning" literature to her, I am going to allow her to choose the next book (from my approved choices, of course). If she feels like it was up to her, maybe she'll read more. Like the difference between "Henry and Ribsy" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Both are on my "list" for this year's readers, but since she picked up "Henry and Ribsy" on her own, she's been reading it at all times of day. The other one, she only reads the chapter I've assigned each day during "school" hours.

The Princess has been a reading machine this week. I am kicking myself for not starting a reading log for her when she first started reading whole books. At this point, I wouldn't be able to remember them all. I guess I should start now, though, Better late than never, right? Anyway, just this week, she has read:
  • Small Pig
  • The Fire Cat
  • Puss in Boots (Step into Reading, Level 3 Reader)
  • Sleeping Bootsie (Step into Reading, Level 3 Reader)
  • Little Lucy (Step into Reading, Level 3 Reader)
  • Some of Tales of Amanda Pig
  • Some of Porky and Bess
  • Some of The Perfect Pony
She's also been reading some of the books she has already read that she got for Christmas this year, a couple of Breyer readers she loves about horses. And, she has probably read more that I missed.


Not much to report here that is very interesting. We're just moving along. The Hippie moved on to Lesson 12 and the Princess completed Lesson 5. Ta-da. See. Not that interesting. :)


We read about the Bronze Age in Hillyer's "A Child's History of the World" this week. The Hippie created a little Timeline card for our wall timeline and we hung that on the wall. We also read two more chapters in "Life in the Great Ice Age". That included the story of the Tower of Babel from the Bible (we already knew this one, of course). It also included a pretty detailed account of a Woolly Mammoth Hunt. While interesting, the story was a little bit sad for my little vegetarian, animal-loving kids. But, we made it through. We also read about cave art and stone tools. It blended quite well with our Bronze Age reading. As far as retention, the girls took turns narrating as I read.


All we did this week for American History was start reading D'Aulaire's "Leif the Lucky". It really is a beautiful book! We are splitting this up over two weeks, so we didn't get very far into it. As far as the content, it was just a review of what we'd already learned from reading about Leif's father, Eric the Red. Next week, we will finish reading the book and the girls will do some copywork from it.


The focus of the week this week was the Dragonfly. We read "The Bumblebee's Mistake" from Outdoor Secrets. Even though it sounds like it would be about a Bumblebee, it was actually about the Dragonfly. We followed that up by reading "Are you a Dragon Fly?" by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries and reading the poem "A Dragon-fly" by Eleanor Farjeon. Did you know that dragon flies are born under water? They can breathe water through the end of their tail! They eat and grow, shedding their skin several times before finally coming out of the water two years later. When they finally come out of the water, they shed their skin one more time and then they grow those beautiful wings. Now they can breathe air through little holes on their bodies. Did you know that they can see all around themselves all the time? They can fly forward and backward. If you don't already love the dragon fly, you should. They eat mosquitoes. I don't know about you, but that alone makes them my friend!

Of course, there was also the usual exploration in the yard.


We read aloud several more poems by AA Milne this week. They really do have a fun feel to them. Nice, bouncy rhythm. Fun and silly kid-friendly topics. The Hippie says she likes AA Milne more than Robert Louis Stevenson. The Princess likes them both.


We read one lesson in Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography this week. It was about Galileo and about the Sun and the stars. Short and sweet.


We read chapter 5 in "Wisdom and the Millers" this week. We talked about how it isn't good to talk just to be talking. If you don't have anything good to say, it is better to just keep quiet. Idle talk will get you into trouble. When we try to fill the air just to fill it, we often find that we say something stupid or end up offending someone or hurting some one's feelings. I loved how it fit nicely with the little Owl poem that the Hippie copied:

The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can't we all be like that bird?


I think that about covers it. Maybe. I never can remember exactly by Saturday morning. I'll leave you with a few pictures I captured this week. I hope your week was lovely and inspired!

Running laps ~ another trick to get the wiggles out.

Running laps ~ another trick to get the wiggles out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Living History as a Family

I just wanted to share some pictures from our family "field trip" yesterday. Daddy is currently working a Tuesday through Saturday shift, so we get the pleasure of his company on Mondays. Thus far, Mondays have been reserved for "work" in the yard and house, but yesterday blessed us with a cool day (70s) and no humidity, so we decided to spend the day out. We loaded up the dogs, picked up some subs and headed out on our mini adventure. After a ferry ride and a short drive through the wilderness, we found ourselves on an old plantation, complete with plantation house, kitchen house, barn and the ruins of 25 original slave cabins. The day was both fun and educational. It was also thought-provoking for Mom and Dad, but I didn't harp on the gory details of slavery with the girls just yet. They know the facts, but we'll save some of the harsh realities for later. Anyway, here are some pictures from our day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...