Friday, July 18, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 7/18/14

 Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Friday! I had a checkup with my midwife this week and got to hear the baby's heartbeat. It's one of the most precious sounds and always makes me tear up. I'm now into my second trimester. Most days, I'm feeling a little bit better and having more energy. I'm sure my family appreciates that! Lots of reasons to smile all around.

1. Alyssa: "Tyler is a trouble baby."
Me: "Sometimes he's a good boy."
Alyssa: "Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes he's sweet."
Jake: "Sometimes he's so sweet he's like a baby flower."

2. Tyler, about Jake's Lego car creation: "Awesome, Mommy! Awesome!"

3. Jake: "Tyler Joseph! Don't you dare eat my goblin!"

4. Alyssa asked Jake to read her a book. 

5. Alyssa noticed that I had goosebumps on my arm. She ran off and came back with a super hero cape. "Here, this will help you get warm." 

6. Me; after Tyler went potty one morning: "Should we get you some undies?"
Tyler, running away laughing: "No! Nakey butt!"  

7. Tyler bathed himself (and the table and the floor) in his yogurt. As I was washing him up, he smiled sweetly and said, "Gank gou, Mama." 

8. I had to change Ty's underwear since he had an accident. I showed him the new undies with a dino on the the back and jokingly told him, "The dinosaur's going to bite your butt if you pee on him." That may not have been the best idea. It took a bit of encouragement before he'd put them on. Haha, oops. The look on his face was pretty funny though.

9. I found Tyler in the kitchen eating suckers and working on opening 5 more.

10. Alyssa, reluctantly: "If God can wait a whole year, then I can wait for 10 minutes."

11. Zac, showing me his red arm: "This was an accident."
Me: "What happened?"
Zac: "Ty bit me."
Me: "How was that an accident?"
Zac: "When I started crying, he stopped."

12. Alyssa: "Mom, have you ever robbed a bank? I'm guessing no."

What made you Smile this week?

Pin It

Friday, July 11, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 7/11/14

 Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Friday! Tyler had a check-up appointment with his ENT doctor this week. Everything is perfect. The tubes are in place, his hearing is great, and he even sat still (!) and let the doctors look in his ears and preform the tests. He's come so far over the last year. He still has at least one more appointment before the whole ordeal is behind us, but we are thanking God for His grace and protection in his life.

1. Jake, eating a nectarine: "We should call these nectar-dreams, because they're so good, it's like  dream."

2. Me, looking at a mess: "What happened to this house?"
Zac: "Ty."

3. Tyler, with his hands raised: "Mommy, hold you."

4. Alyssa: "The new baby is going to be a girl. It has to be a girl--I feel it in my bones."


6. Jake: "Mom, do you think cooked goblin guts would taste good?" 

7. Alyssa, after seeing a picture of how peanuts grow: "That's weird man, that's weird." 

8. Jake: "I just did a hand-sault!"
Me: "A hand-sault?"
Jake: "Yeah, I just made it up. I started with a handstand and ended in a somersault!"

9. Jake: "Mom, you wouldn't believe how fast the week goes by." 

10. This

11. Listening to Alyssa sing, instead of read, an entire book.

12. Zac: "Who's Jake playing checkers with now?"
Me: "The computer."
Zac: "How's the computer playing? It doesn't even have any hands."

What made you Smile this week?

Pin It

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond The Page

Moving Beyond the Page is one of our favorite companies. Naturally, we were thrilled to be chosen to work with them again to review the Language Arts Package - Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Everyone's homeschooling style is different. Being a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we are blessed with many products and incorporate different types of curriculum into our day. In that sense, our homeschool could be considered eclectic. Overall though, the area of study that is close to my heart is literature-based. I believe it's important to both read and study quality literature to get a thorough education. Another type of learning that I have come to love is unit studies. Taking one topic and immersing ourselves in it has proved very rewarding and engaging.

Moving Beyond the Page is a literature-rich curriculum based on unit studies. They offer topics for preschool through middle school and leave no gaps in education as they meet state and national standards at each level. The units integrates science, social studies, and language arts through critical and creative thinking, projects, and concepts. The offer full-year curriculum and individual subjects. Each unit can be used independently, but is designed to be used concurrently with the other subjects. They can be completed in about 15 days.

The Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH unit is geared for kids ages 8-10 at the 4th-5th grade reading level. It uses the book of the same name, written by the author Robert C. O'Brien. We had never heard of the book or the author before starting this unit, but we are so glad to be introduced to them. The material is written for the student to read the book himself, but I used it instead as a family-read-aloud with my 8, 6, and 4-year-old. We love to cuddle up on the couch and read together.  

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is about a widowed mother mouse with 4 children. One young mouse, Timothy, becomes very ill right at the beginning of the spring thaw. Since the mice live in a field on a farm in the winter, Mrs. Frisby is left to worry about her son and how she can move him to their summer home, and once there, how she can keep him warm enough not to relapse back to sickness. She follows a surprising path to get help, meeting new animals along the way: a bird, an owl, and eventually, the rats of NIMH. Over time, she learns who the rats really are, why they're willing to help her, and what happened to her husband.

The kids enjoyed the book from the very beginning, but once we got to the part where NIMH is explained and why the rats depend on machines and technology, they begged me to read more each time. I admit, even I found myself wanting to know what happened next in the story. The study divides the book to be read 2 chapters a day, but we easily could have sat and read the entire thing in a day or two.

After the daily reading, there are activities that further the study. Things like journaling, plot flow chart, writing exercises, word study, character development, and discussions kept my kids busy.

Many skills are strengthen in this study:
  • Analyze, compare, and contrast printed and visual information.
  • Apply structural analysis to words.
  • Conduct research on assigned topics using books and technology..
  • Consider a character's point of view.
  • Demonstrate learning and ideas through productions and displays such as reports and murals.
  • Determine the plot, conflict, sequence of events, and resolution of a story.  
  • Draw conclusions, make generalizations, and gather support by referencing the text.
  • Identify and use the correct spelling of homonyms.
  • Use text and personal experiences to verify facts, concepts, and ideas.
  • . . . and many more!

We used the online version of the curriculum ($19.92), but there is also a physical option ($23.98). Both choices include a paperback copy of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I've admitted before that I prefer to have a paper copy in my hands, but I am quite pleased with the digital curriculum. Each day, I would pull up the study on the iPad before we'd start reading. It was very easy to follow and easy to understand. It would also keep track of the portions we had accomplished. There are worksheet that we printed to use to accompany the lessons. I truly enjoyed the convenience of the online curriculum.

After finishing the literature portion each day, we'd move on to the Work, Tools, and Simple Machines study. The science program is designed to encourage the love of learning through a hands-on inquiry-based approach. Instead of focusing on one subject for the year, they approach science in a spiraling matter and cover many aspects each year at an age-appropriate level.

In this unit, the student learns about the 6 simple machines--pulley, lever, wedge, wheel, inclined plane, and screw--and discovers how they are used in daily life. He will learn how they can be combined to form complex machines and inventions. This study is also best for ages 8-10 at the 4th-5th grade reading level.

Again, there are both online ($57.93) and physical ($61.99) options of the curriculum. Both packages an Exploration and Survival Science Kit, filled with all sorts of goodies needed to create simple machines and put them to use. We used the spiral-bound copy of the curriculum.

My kids loved learning about the simple machines, primarily because there are many hands-on activities included in the study. They are very hands-on, science-loving kids. When they get to do and see, they learn much better. They enjoyed hammering nails, disassembling cars, making screws, constructing pulleys, racing jumping beans, and discussing ancient tools. They now have a better understanding how how tools work, what can be accomplished with them, and where to find them un use all around us.  
Some of the skills included are as follows:
  • Analyze information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence.  
  • Build and use a model to solve a mechanical design problem.
  • Construct simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using tools, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.
  • Plan and implement descriptive and simple investigations which include a well-defined question, a testable hypothesis, and proper equipment.
  • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment to meet their needs.
  • . . . and more

The level of difficulty for these units was perfect for my 8-year-old. Some of the material was fun, and other parts were demanding enough to challenge him. My 6 and 4-year-old were able to participate in quite a lot of the activities, as well. I didn't have them do the most difficult writing assignments, but they did just about everything else with my help. When the materials was a bit advanced for them, I'd change it to a discussion and complete the work verbally. Not only do they learn with this curriculum, they have fun doing it.

Moving Beyond the Page has been a joy to use. It is thorough, challenging, and engaging. We will be ordering other units for sure!

Make sure to like Moving Beyond the Page on Facebook to follow along with their latest news.

Many of the other unit studies were chosen by my Crew members. Make sure to check out some of their reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer
Pin It

Wordless Wednesday 7/9/14

Pin It

Monday, July 7, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 7/4/14

 Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Monday! We had a good Fourth of July weekend: we spent time with family, the kids went swimming, and I even relaxed a little. I could totally get used to Leighton having a 3-day weekend every week. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday, too! 

1. Zac: "Mom, when I'm big, I'm gonna choose to marry you."

2. Alyssa, eating a piece of bread with sesame seeds on it: "If you plant bread, will it grow?"

3. Zac, while watching Frozen: "I don't ever want to ride on a ship in a bad storm, 'cause then you die."
Jake: "Not necessarily. The 12 disciples didn't die." 

4. Zac grabbed his toy laptop, plopped himself at the table, and said, "Now, to get some research done."

5. Jake: "Zac's hair does not taste very good."

6. Alyssa: "When Daddy was leaving, I put my hand to my heart and did this {waves hand toward the window} because it was like I was giving my heart to him."

7. Tyler was pretending to eat some play food. He closed his eyes, folded his hands, and started "praying."

8. While playing Uno with the family, I played a wild card and told Zac (who was on my team and sitting on my lap) to pick the color. I showed him the 2 cards we had left, both yellow. He excitedly shouts out, "BLUE!" because, of course, that's his favorite color.

9. Zac, with a handful of Lego mini-figs: " It's a good thing I have my trusty sidekicks with me."


11. Alyssa: "He betraded him!" (betrayed)

12. Jake, after I finished reading our book: "Mom, did ya have to leave us there? I'm so excited I could jump off a cliff!"

13. Zac, seeing the reflection of the computer in my glasses: "How did you get your eyes computered?"

What made you Smile this week?
Pin It