Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Daily List for School

In discussing how school worked and didn't work for the boys they mentioned that they liked having a daily list up to see so they knew what was coming next.

I have had this roll of Ikea paper for ages and not known what to do with it.  Now it sits up on top of the shelves we have in our school room. Behind this board is a small white board that we use for spelling and then behind that are boxes for each boy and various odds and sods.


I just roll up the paper for spelling and then drop it back down to keep crossing things off.  I must admit it helps me too as I plan out the day in large writing which is just right for my morning brain.

Best wishes
Jen

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Let's Try This Again, Shall We?

So, we have started back at school again after the hiatus with my training and recovering.

It isn't going too bad now.  I have got a very serious plan together for Language Arts, I have made a list for the Maths books the boys are working through, and I am getting some headway with my Geography plans.

In this last week I saw some great headway made by my middle two with their handwriting and spelling.  They are getting back into their maths books but really need to focus better.  And work faster!

This week and last week were one day short due to the long weekend for Easter but due to the school holidays the homeschool group activity we go to on a Wednesday won't be on so I will catch up a bit then with a full day of work instead of a half day.

I met a new family last week with one boy.  He gets on really well with my second boy.  And we all had a great time visiting them.  What else could you want if you have a kitten, a tank full of frogs, Lego everywhere, Minecraft on a network and a Wii?  Boy Heaven!!

I am slowly getting used to the midnight finishes.  My body clock keeps resisting the change but I am staying consistent so that my driving home time is an alert time.  And the boys don't mind a little play time first thing in the morning while I sleep. 

Better get to bed now though, it is almost 12.20am.

Best wishes
Jen in Qld

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Break but a Good Reason

Well, I had a break and then tried to get right back into the work but we had a few interuptions with our pamphlet delivering job.  Huge amount and it took most of 2 days to handle.  Then I had an immunology needle.  Yuk!  By the end of last week I had had enough and we went to Dreamworld for the most part of Friday. 

This week is going to be a bit light on for school work as I am doing 2 weeks of full time work training for my new job.  Yes, I got it!  So glad that someone was willing to give me, a mum with no formal qualifications of any type, and no recent work experience (7 years ago for a supermarket, and 17 years ago for an office), a go.  I think I will really like the company.  Great vibe there today.

It is going to be part time work at night for 3 nights a week.  They were able to make it so I can have the appropriate day off each week so I can still take the boys to a homeschooling group.  I can't wait to go to work tomorrow.  :-)  Now that is a good sign for a new job, isn't it?

Back to our normal program soon,

Best wishes
Jen

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week Five Wrap-up sort of!

To put it frankly not enough school happened this week.  I am a bit cranky about it.  On Monday I had two children in the middle stage of a cold so feeling miserable - no school day.  Then on Tuesday between getting my eldest to work and then me to a job interview in the middle of the day that was very long (no news yet) there was really very little time for school if I could even consider fitting it in.  On Wednesday our pamphlet delivering job took over, 16 and 11 in two different areas and another day of no school.  Thursday was ok but Friday was a dribble of a day as I am finding I really struggle with irregular meals and I have been having horrible sleep lately too, so the day just petered off.

I want this coming week to be better but it was supposed to be a break week and I am struggling mentally with the amount of work not done.

I need a proper break, a little change of scenery but with so much to do I don't know how to fit it in.

BW
Jen

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week Three and Four Wrap-up

We had a good two weeks with us gradually building up the expectations of each day's work.  I am finding that my children learn better in small chunks than one big long lesson and then move on. 

I am not sure if I am happy with this as I wonder if it is showing a lack of ability to focus for longer than 5 to 10 minutes on one topic.  I also feel that we are possibly dragging out lessons that could go a lot quicker.  :-(

I have never been very good at lots of photos but we had some great lessons in the last few weeks.  We learned about the orchestra, reviewed nouns, made funny sentences with homophones and read Aboriginal myths.

We also dug out the marrow of a whopping great big bone I got from the butcher and then boiled the bone to see what was left after the marrow dissolved.  We made lots of glove balloons after we cleaned up the marrow and blood.  By the way not all boys are interested in icky gooey stuff.  lol  Harry really didn't want to look too closely at the bone.  But on a good point I found out that he is pretty confident with, and even enjoys, reading comprehension worksheets.  This is great news as I know now he will be able to learn much more in depth material than what I can cover while keeping a 6 year old interested also.

The boys were very enthusiastic about telling me about the Aboriginal myths they knew.  I really will have to go read the one about how the birds got their colours.  Something to do with a dying bird?!

I also worked out that the younger two can work on some hands on critical thinking skill worksheets when Griffin (6) needs someone to pay him some attention and I can spend more focused time with Jackson. 

School is really starting to come together.  I can't wait to show you what my husband and I are making for our school table.  I hope the boys will really enjoy showing off some creativity with these new items.

In the meantime, I am also studying so I can get some part time work.  I will have more to juggle then. :D

Best wishes
Jen

Friday, January 30, 2015

Week Two Wrap-up

Well, if I learned anything this week was to be prepared, get a good night's sleep and be prepared.  :-)

Oh, and keep records!

The older three boys and I are competing in a times table competition.  I copy off sheets for us to do a timed test.  I am losing at times because we have a rule that the writing needs to be neat and legible.  Oops!  Source: http://www.ricgroup.com.au/product/times-table-challenge/  So far we are leap frogging each other up the charts.

In maths the boys all worked on a few exercises in Singapore Maths.  Griffin doesn't quite have the attention span for a lot of bookwork so I will need to remember to play more games with him.  Lots of resources available so that isn't a problem.  I am getting Jackson and Harry to do the Practice exercises after each chapter as an exam.  They will need to get 85% or better to pass and move on.  If they get less then they need to review their mistakes, look back through their previous work and then do another practice exercise.  I am also noting if the mistakes are number fact based or concept based.  If I feel it is concept based I will sit down with them one on one and go through it slowly to be sure they have it.  They can do the alternate questions they skipped the first time through that section.

Harry didn't pay attention to the +/- symbols so he ended up doing a second test. Jackson needs to do a bit more work before he gets to his first "test".  I will use the Review Tests as tests for actual marking and grading.

We did a big chunk of work on geography, labeling land forms, using a compass work sheet and then labeling an outline map of Australia with states and major landmarks.  Source: Enchanted Learning website - worth becoming a member of as the Australian content was good and I like how the work is "graded" by members.  I also used some pages from Amazing Hands on Map Activities.

 Griffin (6.5) did quite well with the compass directions.  Surprised me!

We also did two parts of Unit One in a book called English Magic.  Don't bother trying to find it.  It was published in Queensland in the 80s.  I have Year 5 which I am using with the middles, Harry (10) and Jackson (13), and the Year 6 book.  Despite it being a Qld book it isn't in the State Library and nowhere online.  :-(

Such a great book, with sections for reading comprehension, composition, poetry, word roots, punctuation and grammar, and even how to speak clearly and with correct emphasis.  lol I am having to slow it down a bit, not sure if it is because the boys missed the topics while homeschooling or due to them not getting them at school. ?!

We visited the State Library late in the week and the younger two made monster crowns and arm bands.  We also went across to the Gallery of Modern Art where we looked at two exhibitions, and did some participating too of course.  The obliteration room was fun.  Probably the only time my kids have had free reign with stickers.  ;-)  And I particularly liked the Journey to Fantastic Lands exhibition.  There was a thought provoking short film, lovely miniature displays and an interactive video that I loved watching Jackson and Griffin participating in.


You can hear me giggling at the end as I loved the way Jackson makes faces.

I also found out that they are showing a variety of movies as part of a Myths and Legends exhibition.  We will be going to see E.T. as a family and then hubby and I are going to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy over 3 weekends.  Tickets are only $9 for adults.  Not bad!

So I only recorded 2 days of work in my book but I know we did a lot more and it was a good week.  Still need to do some prep for History and Science but this week has been a break as my allergies have flared up and I will get prepared as best as I can for next week so it goes better.

Best wishes
Jen

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week One Wrap-up

Well we started back last week.  I was so over the holidays!  It had been rather extended, what with moving in Term 4 and not really being able to do much with books and materials still packed.  And starting now means that we have leeway later in the year, or we can get out the books 4 days a week and still get a lot done.  :-)

We started out nice and slow.  It has become a habit now to start with two lines of handwriting.  Jack and Harry are working on their magic "c"s as that shape is the basis of so many letters.  I am getting them to focus on consistent sizing and good shape.  I also look for holding style so that I can correct it now at the basic stage.  Yes, I know, they are much older than basic stage at almost 13 and almost 10 but it is never too late to return to basics if you find they are missing or poorly mastered.

The same two boys are also doing a timed times table focus sheet each morning.  Looks like there is work to be done there too.  I am not sure if I am being too hard on them now or if I was too soft on them when I homeschooled them earlier.

The middle two are also doing Sequential Spelling level 1.  Harry is a good speller but this will help me to see if there are any problem areas and help to know what to work on.  Jackson will probably struggle for a while but I hope to start his phonics next week.  Hopefully that helps!

All boys went on to work on their maths work.  Griffin worked with Stiles from Learning Ladder as I couldn't find his Singapore Maths book but Jack and Harry worked through as many exercises as they could in their books.  I have dropped them back a few levels to consolidate their skills.  They do only every second problem but I will get them to do the others if I can see they aren't fully understanding a concept once I reteach the topic.

Harry needs to show his working.  He works well in his head but loses it when carrying and I need to see where/when this happens.

Science was not easy to do this week.  I hadn't fully prepared all my materials.  Boy, hadn't realised how much work is needed until I wrote it all out.  :D  All good, I have a template now and it should be all go for the rest of the year.

We did manage to fit in a Geography excursion to a local library for a performance called Circular Rhythm with didgeridoos and rhythm sticks.  It was possibly for smaller kids than some of mine but it was fun and Harry got to have a go at the didgeridoo.



It was interesting to learn that didgeridoo is the English word for the instrument, not the Aboriginal word.  And we respected that women in a lot of areas do not play it.  Good little lesson for the boys on respecting other's beliefs.

The last two days of the week were so horrible for temperature and humidity that we just blobbed around.

Overall a good start to school for 2015.  I wrapped it up by buying some folding chairs for our school table from Ikea.  I couldn't sit on the old stools without feeling like it might disappear from under me.  And I learned something very important, only shop at Ikea during the week.

Looking like it will be an even better week this week so will update you when it is over.

Best wishes
Jen
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