Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up:Summer Learning Week 3

It is always a good week when it starts out with a trip to the Nature Center!

In Maths Ken has been working on Prime Numbers. It was revealed in our reading of the Number Devil that this was a weak area, which was probably the culprit behind her being so challenged when learning long division. I came across some fun ways to review prime numbers and we have been doing the activities. I am so glad that this was identified before we got knee deep into fractions(coming in Fall, finally due to my procrastination). DJ is doing well in the math department. He is getting a kick out the interaction of the two siblings in the Lemonade War, and I am getting a good laugh during our readings. There are some neat tricks going on in this book about promoting a Lemonade Stand. I highly recommend this book to those who are reading chapter books third grade and up. DJ loves the bold, and large print especially since just completing the Jungle Book. This book has also been giving him some division practice. 
DJ also has been learning physics and engineering the unschooled way by constructing roller coasters inspired by his first trip to the Amusement Park. I really admire the way he made this event into an educational experience. Did you know that there are actual classes for teaching physics, math, and engineering using the Amusement Park as a model? I didn't know until I was talking to my Aunt who teaches at Rutgers University about DJ's interest and she told me she is leading a group of high schoolers doing exactly what DJ is doing. Their parents are paying top dollar for this camp. Thank you DJ for following your passion! There is no way I could afford a camp like this! Another thing that we have been doing that he had no idea that I was sneaking in some learning is that we all have been timing traffic lights. He made the connection and is now trying to figure out if he can use his Lego NXT computer brick with his roller coaster. The idea for timing traffic lights was a concept shared with me by my Aunt. 

As far as My To Do List goes from last week, it is now the list I didn't do. I am going to stay accountable and get it done. I have great plans to relax while working next holiday week. That last sentence may not make sense, but I love doing homeschooling things especially when I can just focus on just that.

In Latin we learned more about Consonants and Diphthongs, they were happy to know that this lesson had stuck in their memory. DJ finally finished writing a letter to his pen pal.  Michelle did some Art Journaling.

We have three copies of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. So Michelle used one of the books to take some pages out to use as the writing for her next entry.

Michelle also had fun learning about animation too.

Ken is becoming quite a teacher. When she saw a group of elementary boys(DJ included) getting a bit antsy she redirected them by asking them if they would like to paint. She used a lesson that she saw me practice. Using a sharpie the child creates dots then connects them however they like, and then paints it. This lesson is from the book Art Labs which is geared towards ages 3-6 years old. The boys still loved it though, and responded graciously to her directions.

DJ has made a new friend! These two boys really treat each other like they known each other since birth. His new friend's father works in the same building as us. Recently he has come to work everyday with his dad and makes his way into the Studio in the afternoon. They both are madly in love with animals!

Ken made some colored salt using chalk.

We said good bye to our Lady Painted butterflies. Then found out how hard it is for the Monarch Butterfly to survive migration. Our Monarch butterfly died, but before it passed away it laid eggs. With diligent work in learning more about raising Monarch butterflies we may be blessed again to witness this miracle. Also all of the leaves that the Monarch ate as a caterpillar are growing back. Nature is so full of miracles!  I haven't downloaded the pictures of the eggs and the milkweed plant yet, but I do plan to share them.

In our history readings we covered the origin of language while learning more about the Phoenicians, how the first tools were made with references about Troy and the Odyssey. Which led us to another question Are the Gods and Goddesses real? which led our history readings to be continued.....  until research is conducted to find the answer to the question. I don't know if we are ever going to stop studying the ancients. LOL.

I am linking this post to What's New hosted by Vibrant Wanderings/


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hunting for Caterpillars and Other Things

We managed to go to the Nature Center yesterday. We were looking for caterpillars and butterflies, too many mosquitoes to look for anything else. Well except for DJ, he is always looking for tadpoles or frogs.

I printed off a Caterpillar Hunt sheet from Nature Detectives and a hunting they went.


We didn't find any caterpillars, but we had a lot of fun looking for them.

There were so many mosquitoes out, even with insect repellent on we got bit. It was hot and I was glad that we took this trip early in the morning. The kids were ready to appreciate the feeling of an air conditioned room and tackled some learning as well.

DJ had to have his own chapter math book just like Ken so we started reading The Lemonade War.

 DJ loves a good competition so I am sure this book will hold his attention.

Ken having fun with palindromes while reading The Number Devil.

Michelle spent a lot of time face painting and tried her hand at directing a play with DJ and a new friend.

There were some puppet shows too, very original I must say.




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Impromptu Geography Bee

Aunt Mai and Uncle Adell had no idea what was in store when they asked the question " What do you do with those?" referring to the geography materials. Before we knew it Ken and DJ were giving them lessons on the maps and quizzing them using the Flags of the World Puzzle. When it was all over they said "We are definitely teaching our kids how to learn this way!". They don't have any children yet, but rest assure this Future Aunt To Be will remind them when the times comes:) And it is now documented. LOL.

Our Weekly Wrap-Up: Summer Learning Week 2

We are really enjoying our history readings. "A Little History of the World" by E.H. Gombrich. This week we read four chapters that discussed prehistoric times, the wonders of the Nile Rivers, the writing of the Egyptians and the Sumerians, learned more about Mesopotamia, the children are still trying to wrap their brain around The Code of Hammurabi, and they enjoyed understanding how the days of the week were named. Lots of good history being learned just by me reading aloud. I am really loving reading this book and leaving activities to done by the kids if they have an topic that they would like to further explore. The book is perfect for their ages 9-15. Michelle is very interested in King Cheops and is digging even deeper, she wants so badly to read ahead, and at the same time is thrilled that she is able to listen to me read. I love this book and how it is written to the children in such a way that begs for their participation.


In maths DJ is doing well with two digit multiplication. He understands how the Large Bead Frame works and by Thursday he was solving the problems on his own without using the material. He also did problems using the Checkerboard and I am happy that we have it, because the Checkerboard is such a perfect material match for him, and he loves it! Ken has been doing review of multiplying decimals and a little bit of geometry work, mostly avoiding math at the same time just meeting daily expectations of math work. Next week Ken and I will start reading together a living math book in hopes that she can see that she really knows this stuff, and mostly what is going on is that she had a break from schooling, and mom needs to get some materials ready for her, she truly does well with math.

I'll share this picture of their Lego building since I don't have any pictures of their maths this week:)

The geography area definitely needs some sprucing up. Right now we have exactly the same material we had on the shelves in March. By the end of the week I could clearly see why much wasn't getting done in this area. While taking some of the material off the shelves, landmarks became featured. Landmarks are not something that I ever remember them getting too much into, but I think we will try our hand at those for the next month. I am thinking incorporating map skills as well and I know they love good old fashioned treasure hunts that are challenging. They definitely would enjoy learning more about plots and grids.
Latin is just oh so good for their souls! We have revisited some lessons, something that I am finding necessary to do with review items in general. While reviewing we are given specific time frames to complete lessons. Sometimes the review periods are long enough that if life gets in the way you don't have to scram to cover the materials. While reviewing our Latin program we kept on coasting and now we are reviewing to make sure we haven't missed any important vocabulary or grammar rules. I highly recommend Prima Latina for a Latin Program. It was just perfect for them after working with Song School Latin. DJ also has been working on writing a letter to his pen pal.

Next week we will try our hand at Art Journaling. Michelle is very interested in learning this style and I have had a lot of suggestions from people to form a class or group of some sort involving this.

In other areas we are right back to using the our " Time Line of Life"! I truly understand now why the Great Lessons are given again at the beginning of each school year. This week while we were reading about the prehistoric times they made meaningful references to the time line and especially to the the evolution of how man has developed regarding intelligence. There is no doubt in my man that we will be revisiting "The Coming of Man" the traditional Montessori way. At one point I was not trusting implementing this part of the method, but now I can clearly see how doing the Great Lessons does open the door for great works involving all subjects. It takes time and sometimes it takes a good book for interests to start exploding. In our case our current history book is igniting this flame.


Our Monarch Caterpillars are currently in the chrysalis stage. We are planning a trip to the nature center next week to search for caterpillars and possible host plants. They will be using the cameras to document their findings and then creating a non fiction story using the pictures.

The Lady Painted caterpillars are emerging. Beautiful!
The  Monarch caterpillar in its' chrysalis.

Lots of handiwork is being done.

Ken made a pencil pouch.

 DJ just loves using the Japanese Hand Saw. This is a perfect tool for the beginning woodcutter.  

The kids had fun at Michigan Adventures on Wednesday with their Aunt and Uncle and are still talking about how much fun they had. We are looking forward to going to the Nature Center, advertising new classes that will be offered at the Studio and hosting our first Birthday Party next week.

We also had fun at the park. There was a mobile zoo visiting and DJ had so much fun feeding the animals.

Well this pretty much wrap-ups our doings of our Summer learning this week. What have you been up to this week?                

Friday, June 21, 2013

Reading Now

Sigh! The other day Ken expressed that she didn't like math!!! I thought her feelings had changed towards math, but I digress! Really she wasn't talking to me I happen to over hear the conversation. I believe it all started way back in first grade when I was homeschooling her the "school at home" way.  I wish I had found the Montessori Method when the kids were younger! Live and Learn.

Well she loves to read and I think I have found the perfect book to build up her confidence and hopefully she will lean towards math can be kinda fun.


Here is a link to a summary of the book and also suggested activities. We may or may not complete the activities, I'll be following the child.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I guess I love blogging! I have a couple of post up at my other blog that I write to detail some of the activities that are offered at the Studio. I would love if you all popped over there and joined the community. My latest post is about the wood burning activity that was pictured in last week's wrap up. You can click here and be over there in no time at all! This post is titled "Untitled" because I just couldn't think of one. I have been doing a lot of begging   requests lately and don't want to sound spammy ( is that a real word?).

Things On My to do List for the Week of June 24, 2013

I am not really a list maker kinda gal, except if you are talking about a Grocery List. Which reminds me to ask you guys this question. Have you noticed the cost of food going up? Gas is at it's all time low (exaggerating a bit) at $3.85/gallon, last week it was $4.29. With a family of four it has caused us to eat out a lot more often (maybe just an excuse:). Seriously, a pot of spaghetti cost me $22.00 last week. Talk about a poor man's meal, right? Anyways, one of the ways I like to keep myself accountable is through this blog, and as always your feedback is welcomed.

The list is not organized in a way to prioritize, but just keep me ahead of the preparations of our schooling that I can foresee ahead.

  1.  Make a binder full of map outlines using the resource that I reviewed here. This way the kids aren't scrambling to look for maps of countries that they would like to label. In protective covering it will have the map already labeled and copies without labels that they could just use to label the maps for practice or for fun. The maps also come with directions for the child to use as a guide to label the map according to their ability.
  2. Purchase Math elementary/upper elementary album from Keys of the Universe. I have been using albums that are free, or pages that have been emailed to me. This isn't going to work for us this year. They are deschooled, and ready for the real deal. I believe I read a comment or blog somewhere that someone said in order to know if Montessori is right for your children you have to stick it out for three years. Well we are into our third year, and it is working for us. So now I am ready and willing to purchase albums. Before we also used Montessori Print Shop's album's, don't let the word Primary scare you. There was plenty my kids benefited from these albums, especially since I was very new to teaching Elementary Montessori. On another note I am really getting bothered by the labels of Primary/Elementary/ Upper Elementary it is confusing and I just rather stick with identifying where my children are at the given moment, and Yes they are all over the place and I love it! Anyways most of the Albums that are available to purchase have a Table of Contents, and a sample page. I am going with Keys of the Universe because I fell in love with her Primary Theory Album that she so kindly allowed me to review, that has resulted in me not really liking the Montessori training that I am receiving, maybe one day we can talk about this! Again it is a elementary/upper elementary album and I don't foresee my children completing this cycle until they are 14/15, and if they do then Rock On! I plan on buying the other albums as well, just one at a time so it doesn't feel like I am spending a lot of money at once. In Jessica's  defense the Albums are more affordable than others available.
  3. Purchase Asia Map puzzle. Anyone selling theirs?
  4. Make Asia Continent Folder
  5. Read something for fun, besides blogs:) that is age appropriate. Last week I reread Superfudge, too funny. Maybe I won't add age appropriate because I did get things that I didn't get when I was eight years old reading the book. 
  6. Do some research work to start up a Zoology Club requested by DJ.
Just six things and if I am able to accomplish everything on my weekly to do list I will be happy, happy, happy! I challenge myself that whatever I do not complete has to go on the list the following week that I will share with you guys here.  I am praying that our school time is not limited to my lack of planning.

Do you have a To Do List? If not how do you keep on track and organized? I really would like to know, please share in the comments!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beginning Sewing

My sister in love who is visiting from Hawaii taught DJ how make a bobbin, thread the machine, and basic sewing skills.


He fell in love with sewing instantly as soon as his foot pushed the pedal.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Using Pots to Piece History Together

This summer I am really working hard to incorporate activities that we didn't get to either because we were doing something else, or the activity got pushed aside. This summer we decided to read " A Little History of The World" By E.H. Gombrich from cover to cover. Usually we take pit stops along the way and use other history readings alongside, but this time we are just using one book for our adventures in history.

We went outside to begin an activity that I have seen all over blog land. They had fun breaking a small pot into pieces to feel just like an Archaeologist, digging for remains of history so it can be pieced together to tell the story. 
They really enjoyed breaking those pots into pieces! 
After the pots were broken we went back inside to read the first chapter again in the book. This activity definitely lends itself to great questions and focused attention while listening to me read.

They used clay to adhere the pieces back. This activity has proven to be a close as we can get to actually going out on an Archaeological Dig with the resources that we have. They are still working on the remains and I will share with you the results when they are finished.

I will be linking this post to this week's Geography/ History Meme hosted by All Things Beautiful.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Our New Latin/Grammar Program: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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For a long time now I have been really searching for a Latin program that would be easy to implement and incorporate grammar lessons that gently challenged Ken and DJ. Now it is time for me to share with you all that we have been reviewing Prima Latina published by Memoria Press as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and we are having major success while using this program.

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For just three days a week Ken and DJ have been learning new Latin vocabulary, how to identify derivatives, incorporating English grammar lessons, and being introduced to conjugations and declensions while using Prima Latina. We received the complete set, which includes a Pronunciation Audio CD, A DVD  collection that consists of three discs that include all the lessons with a Latin teacher who happens to be the author of the program the lovely Leigh Lowe ( 9 hours), Teacher's Manual, Student Workbook( 25 lessons), and Latin Christiana I Flashcards. I was really excited to get going with this program and after watching a lesson on DVD and reading the need to know information in the Teacher's Manual we started working with this program the next day. 


The first lesson I sat right alongside with Ken and DJ, and I learned plenty. About the third lesson into it I had to work with another child and let them know that they were going to be doing Latin on their own for the day, they loved it! I loved it!  I found the DVD to be a valuable component and wouldn't dare try to implement this program without it. It made having to use the Pronunciation CD minimally. Due to a previous Latin course that we were using they were getting confused by how Leigh Lowe was pronouncing the words that she introduced. Now the kids were discovering the different pronunciations that Latin can be spoken in Classical, Ecclesiastical, Christian and Medieval. Prima Latina uses the Christian Pronunciation and the DVD and  Audio CD only teaches this way, but if you are still interested in learning Latin with Prima Latina but like the Classical pronunciation you may still use this program. Prima Latina teaches Latin from a Christian perspective so naturally all of the prayers and songs are done using the Christian pronunciation.

The lessons always includes reviews of the previous lessons and after every 5 lessons Ken and DJ learned how to say a new prayer in Latin. Ken commented on how short the instruction was and how much she still was able to remember the past activity lessons. In our case each Latin period was about 20 minutes. Using this program every other day was perfect, just enough Latin and Grammar that kept them challenged and feeling confident at the same time. 

 The flashcards have Latin on the front.
  English on the back.

They also have enjoyed learning through the songs, and appreciated the style of the workbook. They especially like that the workbook had headings for each section, this made it easy for them to follow along with their instructor. The flashcards were used daily, even though they worked on their Latin instruction for just three days a week. I did use the Teacher's Manual to help me prepare for the next upcoming lesson. Once I found out that the lessons could be done independently of me I would do the DVD lesson alone and follow along with the manual. I liked knowing what was being covered and learning Latin too. This program made me feel comfortable teaching Latin and made me want to learn before my students. Knowing what was included in the lesson, what was being done in the lesson prepared me throughout the entire lesson, which for us each lesson took about two weeks to complete. I didn't have to use the manual for answers that were included because I had instructions right at my fingertips, and a bonus no heavy binders or books to carry from one study room to another, therefore I knew the answers. My kids were starting to give me compliments on my Latin too. It just took me only one hour prepping and learning to help assist with two weeks worth of work. 

This program is targeted for grades 2-4 it was just perfect for Ken who is entering seventh grade and DJ who is entering fifth grade. I bet if I had found this program earlier they would of been capable of completing this program in their younger grades too. The grammar instruction has been awesome, in fact I have replaced our previous grammar work with this one until we get to the grammar lessons that our Montessori Grammar materials will compliment this program, I can't wait until we get there! It is going to be so much fun using these two approaches to grammar together.

The cost of the complete set of Prima Latina is $90.90, but you can buy all of the items individually as well. To read samples and watch a DVD sample of the curriculum go here.

To get a great answer to Why you should study Latin? go here.


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