Show & Tell – May 17

School has been crazy with so many of us sick! (Every few days someone has thrown up – with a few days break between, thank goodness – for about a month now!) It’s been basically impossible to have a normal schedule during all of that. Even when we got back on one, it got disrupted a day or two later. With either me, the teacher, sick, or being nurse to a little kid, or with one of the school kids themselves sick and watching movies, keeping a strict schedule just wasn’t going to be a good idea!

So, we’ve done our best, and one way we’ve done that is to cut school down to “half-school.” I’m planning on doing a little bit of school all summer so I decided we could do half-days now and still be okay.

Emma has been doing her American History book, and since we don’t want to take that heavy book with us to Utah, she has been doing double-time on history and no science for the last 2 weeks. Yesterday she Show & Tell’ed about the Boston Tea Party. She had a demonstration table with tea cups and a blanket on the floor for the water. She asked the boys to act out what they thought the Boston Tea Party was. She had three options 1) drinking tea together, 2) a birthday party, and 3) throwing tea into the sea. First Jacob picked, and he and Jonah pretended to drink and talk to each other (in their silly fashion). Then Jonah picked throwing it into the water. And Lydia just wanted Emma to pretend to eat with her, so she did that real fast before moving on to explain the real story. Emma was tired of all the books she had, so we downloaded a few new books (yay for the Nook!). She has been reading some Ramona books we don’t have and so ones she’s never read. She especially liked how Ramona was different ages – in one she was little, and her sister was about Emma’s age. In another, Ramona was closer to Emma’s age. I’m going to have the kids keep a reading log this summer, so since we were mixing things up anyway I decided to have them start now. So Emma is writing-up a paragraph about what she reads each day. Her piano time has been optional, but she’s played most days anyway. And she told me she actually misses math, which is good to hear!

Jacob’s job has been to read out loud, as usual, and then I write up 2 or 3 questions for him to answer about what he read. He uses the book to find the words so he can spell them right. For example, I wrote “What does Keith need to feel better?” Another question was “What happened to the motorcycle?” Jacob is almost done with the Mouse and the Motorcycle. He just has one chapter left. He has really enjoyed it. Emma is talking him into reading Ramona books next. 🙂 He still tries to read too fast and skip words, but when he reads out loud and does that I notice and make sure he slows down and doesn’t skip words (or letter sounds inside those words!). His “learning book” time was studying clouds from our DK Weather book. We wanted him to be able to teach us how to recognize cloud types so we can pick them out when we are flying in the airplane to Utah. 🙂 He did a pretty good job, and now he is working on a Motorcycle book (any connection to his Beverly Cleary book? 🙂 ). He has been drawing all the pictures of the different kinds motorcycles and showed then to us at Show & Tell yesterday. We especially liked the “first ever” motorcycle picture.

Jonah has been too left-out during all of this, but he did learn a new word last week: tree! Jonah is very good at memorizing words and remembering them. I’m eager to have the Provo library again so I can check out some beginning-to-read books for him and see how he does! Yay for Libraries!

Well, I’m unfortunately off to tend another sick kid (don’t worry, it’s like a 12-hour mini-sickness, so we’ll be back to a normalish day by the end of the day I assume). Thanks for reading!


Homeschool Update May 6

Free time to sit and type at the computer isn’t in abundance, and deciding to take the time necessary to type up Show & Tell each week has proved trickier than I thought. So here is a more general update.

We’ve had sickness at our home, one kid after another, and when one kid gets to watch movies it’s really hard to keep the others focused on school. So we haven’t had our finest performance going on lately. But, they’re still progressing. Jonah now knows “and” “the” and “to” and remembers some stories from memory so he “reads” some titles of books we have. He likes it a lot. Jacob is reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle one chapter (or half chapter) a day. He reads well when he focuses (key word is “when”). I’ve been surprised how many words Beverly Cleary uses that are a bit out-of-date or just unusual, even to me. I wonder if she did that on purpose, to help kids add to their vocabulary, or if they are words that were more common when she wrote them? Jacob really likes the storyline so it motivates him to read, which is nice. I think we might go back to Magic Treehouse after this one, though. We’ll see. Emma is enjoying playing keyboard for the subject-time she gets to pick. She worked on Adam-ondi-Ahman last week and used headphones so it would be a surprise at Show & Tell. 🙂 I realized last week she was getting very sloppy and lazy with her research, though, so this week she is redoing her history work and spending twice the time on it each day. Should be a good Show & Tell this round with all that extra time! 🙂   Everyone is happy and we’re still enjoying having school at home.

This summer I am planning to do 3-subject school each day, with some flexibility worked into the schedule. I’m still deciding which subjects to do. I’m wanting to take advantage of the Provo Library being a 2 minute walk away (yay!) so I’m thinking 1) research any topic, switching to a new one each week, 2) reading any book, and keeping a reading-journal of what happened in the story each day, and 3) a few pages of a math (etc) workbook I pick up at the store as a review of what we’ve done and to keep things fresh. Not too heavy, but enough to keep them busy and take advantage of having a library again! And hopefully it’ll be fun since they can pick whatever they want to learn about and switch it every week. Oh, and of course we’ll have all those museums to visit too! Should be a fun summer!


Show & Tell: April 5

We had a very nice Show & Tell this week. (I missed the post about our “research week” and then we had Gary’s wedding, so sorry about the two-week interruption!) Jacob taught us about jet planes, using a great Level 4 Reader Book we picked up on sale a while back. Since we had just been on an airplane to and from Gary’s wedding, it was all very interesting to the kids! Jacob’s assignment this week was to be able to explain the first 10 pages to us. And he did a great job! He especially did well drawing and explaining the jet engine! They liked learning about how the wings change to take off, but the kids only remember that happening when we landed so they are excited to read more next week and see what happens in the book. 🙂 Jacob also read more of his chapter book (Kids on the Bus). When he’s done with this one I think I’m going to have him start the Mouse and the Motorcycle. I read that to him last year and he loved it. I think he’ll love being able to read it on his own!

Jonah showed us the letter of the week – Z! 🙂

We’re done with letters so this week we are starting sight words. 🙂

Emma had three subjects to show us. She worked on four songs from the Children’s Songbook! Some of them were short and she liked being able to practice them over and over to get them just right. She also liked picking out a sound for each of the songs. 🙂

Her sewing lessons have ended for this school year and will probably pick up in the fall again. (Her wonderful teacher has had some ongoing health concerns so we’re putting the lessons on hold until she’s done with some physical therapy. Then we’re off to Provo for the summer, so we’ll start up again in the fall.) But Emma is doing well with what she has learned and I’m very proud of her!

For American History, she made a map of the French-Indian war showing the battles and who won or lost. (She read about the war and the map during her research week.) I asked her to add the states in pencil so I could see where these places were on a modern map. We noticed that all the battles were to the west of the colonies.

For Science, Emma did a review of everything she has learned so far in The Way Things Work. She just finished the first unit in the book. (Yay for Emma!) She put on a show (with tickets and assigned seats!) (oh and a checklist) to demonstrate everything she has learned so far. Starting next week she gets to look through the book and pick things she wants to learn about.

All the kids are doing well and we are very proud of them!

Emma is a great researcher! I’m happy that she has become so responsible with her schoolwork. She never complains and always makes sure to stay on track, even when I’m paying most of my attention to the younger children. I’m so glad she does well with her role as the oldest! And she reads all the time – during breakfast, during breaks, before she sleeps (usually for over an hour), on the bus, etc.

Jacob is learning that if he slows down and pays attention, he does wonderful reading! If he tries to go too fast and guess what’s coming, he skips words or adds in letters and has a harder time. We keep comparing it to baseball: if you focus and keep your eye on the ball, you’ll hit the ball. So we keep telling him to “focus and pay attention” and he is doing very well. I’m anxious to see how he does with a Beverly Cleary book! I hope he loves it and starts reading more chapter books on his own.

Jonah is picking up a lot of things by watching his siblings. I’m excited to start sight words next week!

Lydia just has fun being around everyone! 🙂

Show & Tell: March 8

Every Friday afternoon we do what we call “Show and Tell.” The kids take turns teaching each other what they learned in school that week (by the way, we don’t Show & Tell their math and writing, just their afternoon subjects). As they are teaching we ask questions that help us know more of what they’ve learned, and also to see where they might need to do more studying. It’s been a fun way to end the school week and a good opportunity to practice speaking in front of other people. Every other week, Emma’s afternoon subjects involve “projects” based on what she has been researching. The week of Friday, March 8, was a “project week.” Here’s what the kids were doing this week:

Jonah learned the letter “W.” He always goes first for Show and Tell. He drew a W in the air (big and little), tried to make a W with his body, told us the sound it made, and at least 6 words that start with a W.

Emma went next. She showed us the song she had learned on the keyboard this week (Book of Mormon stories, with both hands – her first song with both hands!). She also showed us the things she had sewn that week in connection with sewing lessons (she’s working on pillowcases for her and Lydia, she made little clothes for Lydia and Jacob’s stuffed animals, and she made a blanket for Lydia).

Jacob then updated us on the story he is reading. He has been reading one chapter from a “Kids on the Bus” book each school day. Show and Tell is a chance for him show that he has understood what he has read. Emma has read all the books so she’s curious to see where he is at in the book. Jonah likes it when Jacob uses the pictures in the book to help explain the story.

Then Emma reported on her Science work. She is reading The Way Things Work section-by-section. The previous week she had read about Springs. For her project she first tried to make something into a spring and make a door that closed by itself. Unfortunately the wire from a notebook wasn’t actually a spring, so she had to try something else. She ended up making a quiz for us where we had to guess which things had a spring in them and which things didn’t. She went all over the house looking for springs to get ready to make the quiz. The boys had a lot of fun with the quiz. The one we enjoyed the most was whether or not a pillow had a spring. (We wondered how long it would take you to fall asleep if it did! 🙂 )

Jacob then reported on what he had learned in his “learning notebook.” Every day we do a routine where Jonah picks a Childcraft book (and 3 specific pages), I read it aloud, and Jacob writes about it. He has to use the book to write one sentence, and then draw one picture and label two things in the picture. This has been a good way for Jacob to begin to understand how to research something. And it’s also been a good way for Jonah and Lydia (who always tags along for it) to feel more involved in school.

This week Jacob learned about people who catch lobsters as their job, about Constantinople changing its name to Istanbul, and about different kids of gardens all over the world. (Doing school this way is also a nice way to learn quite the variety of interesting things!)

Emma finished off Show and Tell by doing a play about the Colonies. She set up cardboard labels for “Old World” and 3 sections of the Colonies (New England, Middle, and South). Then she acted out what she had learned about each area of the colonies. She showed the people in New England sewing or working as carpenters (with apprentices). She showed people coming from the Old World to the New World in a boat (made from cardboard, with a handle to hold it as she walked) to be indentured servants. She also showed people working in the plantations of the South. And she learned that people in the Middle colonies made bread that was sent to other countries!

It was a good Show and Tell session and I felt pleased with what they learned and taught this week. On to “research week” next!