Saturday, September 15, 2012

Educational Review: The Last Three Weeks

Huh. Has it really been three weeks since I last posted an educational report? Really? Well, hold on to your hats because this is going to be a lot!

By far, our favorite subject these past few weeks has been history. Our friends, the Coppocks, came twice and everyone was thrilled to begin our colonial life study. We are using this unit study from Homeschool in the Woods. Take a look at their site- it's great! (This is our second time using one of their unit studies. We've used their timeline figures forever. Excellent!) I add in a TON of extra books, audio & dvds to help round out the topic. I'm also hoping to start our timeline.

The first week, our history study covered the beginning of America, specifically Jamestown & the first 13 colonies. We are all in the midst of reading & listening to more material about Jamestown. Our family read aloud is To Have and to Hold by Mary Johnston. GREAT book so far- the children beg to read more every time I come to an end of a chapter. :) The children began copying Georgia Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. We discussed archaeological digs and looked at pictures online of current digs at Washington's house. Our project was a small dig. Look what fun they had:

The second week of history focused on the colonial home- how land was cleared, homes built, barns constructed & the general work of a farm. Another rule to copy & the project this time was a barn cutout for their lapbooks. As we do this unit study, the older children will construct a lapbook. I'm letting the younger ones do bits of it but not the whole thing. Here they are:

Independent work went well (spelling, logic, handwriting, reading) but we only got 1 more chapter of Latin done over the three weeks- chapter 11 in Primer A for Benjamin & the Coppock boys and chapter 11 in Primer B for Patricia. Sigh. Meeting with the older three for writing & math was a bit tricky- we've been very busy. I am happy to report that they plugged along with some independent work in those subjects on days when I couldn't do any formal teaching. Patricia and Benjamin were excited to begin studying critical thinking with Eric- one lesson done so far. Mama is very happy to hand that subject over to Daddy! :)

I've been able to be fairly consistent with Elizabeth and Jonathan's lessons. YAHOO! I'll fold in Abigail's lessons starting next week. Elizabeth was THRILLED to begin piano lessons this past week! :) Phew- that makes five doing piano! WOW! Both Elizabeth & Jonathan finished their first math book & went on to book B. They were very excited:

We began our botany study and covered the first three lessons in The World of Plants. To teach the lesson, I gather everyone around and we read the beginner section. If there is a project or experiment, we do it together. While I help the younger three do their narrations, the older three read the regular lesson and either answer questions or do a narration page. These first few lessons have been an introduction to life science, so we discussed things like characteristics of living things, kingdoms and classification systems. No experiments yet but they did enjoy this game:

The highlight of our science study was visiting the Atlanta Botanical Gardens! :) We especially enjoyed having Eric come along. No nature journals this time. We just enjoyed looking around in the cooler temps but we'll go back lots because we joined. Thanks, Papa & Nanny for the gift membership! There are far too many pictures to post here, so I'll post them later but here are a few:

Memory time and grammar have been hit or miss and I'm seeing the negative affects. So, no more! Monday we jump back into it!!! It's just so hard to do it all. Seriously- I feel like I'm constantly evaluating what needs to be done and especially, how to do it! Life with lots of littles means you can't do it all, so I have to pray a lot for direction on what is important right now in this season of life.

In addition to our history read aloud, we were able to finish reading Johnny Tremain today. Yeah! The children enjoyed this one & they're looking forward to watching the movie. We're still working on Ten P's in a Pod. What next? Hmm...

Lastly, we've made some changes to food and exercise that we hope will be life-changing. :) (Think of this as the "health" subject in our lessons.) It's always easy to make a change for a short period of time but it's the sticking to it that's key! Eric and I are back to working out regularly- we bought an elliptical to help with that. We try to run outside too but that can be tricky with young ones. Patricia and Benjamin just began using it this week for 10 minutes. The goal is for them to do it 5-6 days a week, eventually increasing their time. Right now, they average about 3/4 of a mile. My goal right now is 5-6 days of 30 minutes. I'm averaging about 2.25-2.5 miles each time but I hope to increase that. Not too shabby for a mama who was WAY OUT OF SHAPE! Eric does a farther distance but it's not a competition. Right? ;)

We also realized that we had slipped into some bad eating habits. Back to real food with a huge priority on vegetables and fruit. Good tasting food is still a priority. Eating more raw too- we bought a awesome blender for that and now use it 3 + times a day! No more snacking late at night for Eric and I! Drinking more water. I've gotten the children involved with helping me grocery shop more (sometimes this mama likes to go alone and enjoy the peace of no talking and the organization of the grocery store). I'm also getting the children in the the kitchen to help more. Yahoo! We've all been listening to these talks and discussing what we're learning. We all feel so much better and everyone loves the smoothies- even Eric! What a shock! :) I love having him on board with all of this- it's so encouraging! Abigail doesn't love the vegetable/fruit smoothies yet but she'll come around- I'm a firm believer that you can change your preferences. She seems to be going through a detox because she's been craving sugary or starchy foods. It's been a sore reminder of how bad we had been eating. :(

Praise God for what we've been able to get done! We hope that He is glorified as seek to serve Him in our home as we raise our children. We hope we're being faithful to love and serve others.
- Heather

PS- I am hoping to list what we are using this year, truly I am! It will be under the home education tab at the top of the blog if when I ever get it done.


edeemarie said...

It looks like you had a lot of fun with history! Congrats on the health changes-it is so easy to slip into bad habits, especially after you have had a long day of homeschooling! We have a Vitamix also, and it is the one appliance in my house I couldn't live without:)

Aunti Karen said...

I am happy the here you are all healthy and looking to get healthier and that the littles are doing well in their schoolwork. can't wait to see you all in October!!

Jeanelle said...

Love the outside pictures of you and Eric and all the kids.