Thursday, December 30, 2010

Homeschooling for Mommy

For Christmas, I asked for and got, a breadmaker. Very exciting stuff! However, not only had I never used a breadmaker before, but I had never even used yeast before! Thankfully I have a wonderful homeschool buddy, Becky, who makes nothing but fresh bread for her family and offered to come over and teach me hands on to make bread her way (which I love!).

I prepped it up and did the dough cycle in the breadmaker before she came over (she uses her breadmaker for the kneading and first rising then does the rest by hand in the oven). When we pulled the dough out of the maker it seemed a bit stiff. Turns out, I actually need to make sure the water is totally level with the measuring cup rather than just below the rim like I do for other baking. Also because of the seeming lack of water, it didn't seem to rise too much. I mean, it totally looked like bread, but not as big as the loaves I had bought from Becky.

But oh my oh my did it taste fanfreakingtastic!!! The baby wasn't terribly impressed (but then she's got a love/hate relationship with bread, sometimes she hates it, sometimes you can't get enough in her!). However, myself, Lee and Brianna ate almost the whole loaf lol 

Because of the flying through the fresh bread, I decided to try another loaf on my own. This time I did 2/3 whole wheat flour and only 1/3 white flour (Becky taught me with 1/3 ww and 2/3 white, but we prefer ww bread). I screwed up right out of the shoot lol Put all the ingredients in, turned it on, notice nothing's moving *sigh* I didn't put the spinny thing (my great terminology) back in after cleaning. So, hoping I didn't just screw up the whole thing, I dumped the stuff from the bucket into a bowl, put the spinny thing in and dumped the stuff back in the bucket. Turn it on... NOW it's working! Thankfully, even after playing with the ingredients, I didn't screw it up and it turned into a pretty loaf of bread (fully risen with the proper amount of water and such). We haven't tried it yet cause I wouldn't let anyone cut it til the first loaf was gone, but we'll try it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I'm gonna pick up some bread bags so I can freeze it as I go. I'm hoping to quickly get to the point where we don't have to buy store bought bread anymore!

BTW, welcome to my new followers!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Planning Done!

I'm all planned up for the next 2 mths. Here's a sampling over what we're covering. (All in your everyday workbooks or stuff I made up)

Math - Adding and Subtracting to 4 digits (Brianna has some issues with borrowing and carrying so I can see going quite in depth here)
Science - Animals and Winter, and the Solar System. Towards the end of my current planning we'll be covering some more "boring" topics like gravity, magnetism, levers/pulleys ect... And of course, we'll still be tracking the daily weather and graphing it for math for each month.
English - We're going to do a lot of back-to-basics stuff for the next while, nouns, verbs, adjectives, basic grammar and so forth. I'm also adding in some reading comprehension exercises since that seems to be an issue as well. We'll be starting at the Grade 2 level for that before moving to 3.
Music - a new addition to our schedule! She got a recorder for Christmas and right now is content to just blow the same note over and over (much to mine and Lee's poor ears' concern). So we're gonna start doing some basic notes and songs like Hot Crossed Buns. I'm so used to the flute now though that I hope I can remember back to my recorder days lol
History - While I'll be coming back to it in the fall briefly, we're going to spend January doing a unit on Aboriginals. Like way back. Like before white man started crowding Canada. She loves the pioneer stuff from the Little House series so I'm hoping going further back in time will spike the same interest. In February we'll be doing some family history stuff.
Spelling - On top of our weekly spelling sheets/tests I'm also adding in a small workbook I got that's spelling with the Disney Princesses. For me it'll be a time waster, for Brianna though, it'll be something exciting cause it's not a typical workbook.
French - we're continuing the French workbook I bought and the duotang her old French teacher gave us. I want to also find some printable vocabulary sheets for her for translation, but am wanting to get my real computer running again for that.
Health - We're gonna work on nutrition here. Reading nutritional labels, making wise food choices, ect....

I hope for a good next 2 mths. I'd like to see her core subject grades upped, but also remind myself that we also need more non-core stuff in the regular work.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First Term Ends, Christmas and Back to School

I've broken up our years into 6 wk periods or terms when Brianna will get a report card (she insists). That said, I obviously do grading. I found a great grading sheet, but can't remember where I got it from cause there is no site name or copyright name anywhere on the pages. I'll see if I can find it.

Here's what our first 6 wks looks like gradewise:
Math - 79%
Science - 72%
English - 82%
Geography - 73%
History - 73%
Art/Music - 83%
Phys Ed/Health - 83%
Computer - 82%
LifeSkills - 87%
Spelling - 81%
French - 82%

Now I've just got to get my printer connected to this laptop (if it even will) so I can make a paper report card for Brianna.

We took a 4 day weekend for Christmas. While we were too busy to do school anyways, it felt really weird not to be doing school on Friday and Monday. Even Brianna was asking about school. So I don't think we'll be able to take long breaks. Of course that's my fault since even when she was in PS we did homeschool during Christmas, March and summer vacations.

So now, after that short break, we're back to school. It was an ok day. The first part of her day went fine, but the second half was slow and dragging. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

We have a slower week this week as well, so hopefully I can get some planning done as after this week I only have sporadic plans done.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Hectic Week/Planning

The last week before Christmas.... gotta get last minute shopping and wrapping done, get baking done, and try to squeeze some school in. Thankfully, I'm not a masochist and planned a VERY light week school wise for this week.

Brianna's been working on (but I don't think will finish in time) her cross stitch project for Grandma. Of course, like I told her, Grandma's birthday is next month and it's not Christmas themed so she can always give it then if she's not done.

I also realized today that after next week, I have NOTHING planned curriculum wise in my planner. Well, other than some usual stuff (like graphing the weather, spelling, ect...) So I've gotta get my butt in gear on that one. So far, I have her doing some probability work after her graphing unit is done, a unit on aboriginals (like from waaaaay back when), some basic English (nouns, verbs, ect....), a science unit on hibernation, and that's about it. That takes me to about the 3rd week of Jan, and not even fully.

I've got to find some more French vocabulary (which I have a GREAT bookmark for.... on my dead computer). I've got to find more subject matter on the aboriginals unit other than just what's in her curriculum book. I've got to get something more than a week and a half's worth of math put together. And so on, and so on.... *sigh*

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We started the day with some shoveling (big surprise there!), then went off to schoolwork. The day went down hill from there *sigh* After taking more than an hour 2 write out a few sentences, it took almost an hour to do some alphabetizing (something that took less than 5 mins 2 days ago). 

That was it, we need to get away from each other! After some mutual temper tantrum time, we're back to work... at 8pm. But hey! More work has gotten done in the last 20 minutes than over a 3 hr period earlier!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homeschool Bowling

Today we had Brianna's much anticipated homeschool bowling. She's been patiently counting down the days since it was first discussed back in Nov. Today was the day!!!

We got a ride there, but mom had to go to work before it would be over, so we brought the sled to bring Olivia home. Brianna was matched with Emily and Shayna and Ryan, 2 12/13 yr old girls and a sweet little boy. Brianna's chatted with the girls several times at soccer so it was a good set up. A little hero worship going on lol

Brianna did pretty well I say for only having bowled 3 times. She did get a lot of gutter balls, but all in all bowled better than I would have lol She did technically get a strike at one point, but I understand the last pin took too long to fall so the machine didn't count it. She did get an acknowledged spare though. Olivia was amazingly well behaved considering it was naptime and no one would let her play with the balls

After, we all shared Christmas goodies in the "bar" of the alley. We brought brownies that I threw together at the last moment after being reminded that we were supposed to bring a snack to share with the group.

We also finally got to meet the mom who was supposed to drive me to the moms meeting (but ended up not being able to with her DH coming down with a case of appendicitis). She has decided to start HSing next month instead of Sept. I guess she's finally had enough with her son's school. We also discovered that Lisa, a mom down the street, is looking into HSing her kids. Brianna plays with the kids once and a while and it would certainly be nice to have kids a little more local that are HSers! 

We have no more homeschool group meetings til the new year since our next regular soccer meet would be Christmas Eve. I'm pretty sure our next one will be Jan 7th, but I have to find out. Brianna's gonna go through withdrawls!

On a school note, we had a great day school-wise today. She quickly finished up her English work, dawdled only a little through her French work and threw herself into our making of our wagon-wheel-pasta snowflakes. Very cute craft.

Mix approx 3/4-1 cup wagon wheel pasta in a bowl with a few tbs white glue. Arrange pasta pieces into snowflake shapes on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. We painted some extra glue over the completed shapes just to make sure they stuck together. Then we decorated them with glitter and left to dry. Tomorrow were gonna peel them off and spray them with a sealing glaze and hang them in the windows.

Pictures of bowling and out snowflakes to come as soon as I can get the camera working on the new laptop!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shoveling and Quick Schoolwork

We only got about 5cm of snow last night, but with the blowing snow, the driveway was drifted all over. So we put off school to get some Phys Ed in. Brianna actually did a pretty good job helping me. I thought she'd slack off a lot more, but it wasn't too bad!

Schoolwork was happily painless today. She got everything done in about an hour. We did have to skip a couple things due to lacking materials. I needed to print a few things but havn't uploaded the printer driver to the new laptop yet and the library was lacking a movie we were gonna watch.

Brianna also finally thought she had enough practice cross stitching so started on her present for Grandma. It's slow going since it's the first pattern she's ever done. I told her not to worry, if she doesn't finish it before Christmas, Grandma's birthday is next month so she can give it to her then.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Homeschooling Is So Much Better Than School!"

Brianna's opinion while we were doing a graph today. Now, of course, it could have something to do with the fact that we were graphing mini M&Ms, but I'll take it! lol

Squeezed in some Phys Ed with shoveling snow, which Brianna thinks is great. I told her just wait til it's heavy wet snow lol She thinks she'll still love it.

My quest for wagon wheel pasta is complete!!! Apparently it's a common American pasta, but a bitch to find here! I went to every store in town, including the fancy expensive grocery stores and found nothing. Even checked at Bulk Barn (which is now open weeeeee!), nothing. Finally thought to check Sharyn's Pantry, which is similar to Bulk Barn but can have more obscure items. BINGO! Got us a bag of pasta big enough to make at least 4 of our ornaments that I have planned! YAY!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ooooh! A New Site!

A friend showed me a new site I'm pretty excited about. I'm a big lover of free printables and this is the best kind of free printables sites.... it's a refresher site! Meaning every time you refresh a worksheet page, a page of new problems pops up! I haven't explored it fully, but in printing off worksheets for this friend I got 110 different pages of Grade 1 worksheets and I'm not even 1/4 of the way through the links offered for Gr. 1! YAY!

Our School Based "Reward-System"

Brianna has always been a fan of reward systems and I knew, at least at first, she'd need a little help keeping on track outside of the typical school setting.

I bought (but, yes, could have made) what looks like movie tickets. Tickets, numbered 1-6, are earned by paying attention well during school-time, doing extra reading and doing well on reviews (since recalling information learned, even just yesterday, is a tough one for Brianna). Potentially, Brianna could earn up to 18 "points" in 1 day.

Then comes the rewards. I wanted fun things that were out of the ordinary since before we'd be too busy to do that kind of thing. Also winnings that could be earned fairly soon (within a week or 2) to big things that could take a few mths to earn.

So we settled on the following rewards that Brianna is super excited about:
- 50 points, $2 added to her Tim Hortons card
- 100 points, buying a new book
- 200 points, going out for lunch
- 300 points, going to a salon to get our nails done (what Brianna is currently saving for)
- 400 points, going out to a movie
- 500 points, shopping spree! (essentially she gets $40 to spend on whatever)

We're both pretty excited about this system. The rewards are all things we've never done before and are "bigger" ticket items. She's doing well so far with almost 100 points, which surprised me since I was expecting a lot more "bad" days where less tickets would be earned.

Complete 180!

Tuesday was a horrible day for school. Wednesday was a great day for school!

Tuesday we got almost zero work done. We spent 6+ HOURS on one assignment. It was pretty simple. The question was how is dew formed. I had written out a paper about dew how dew is formed and we read a passage from a book about how dew is formed. The 6+ hr assignment? Put in your own words.... HOW DEW IS FORMED!!! Brianna's answer? I dunno *facepalm*

Fast forward to yesterday.... brilliant day! We got LOADS of work done since Tuesday's work was added to it. We did some more graphing work in her math book, we got French work done, and a HUGE project on emergency preparedness. First we wrote out the things we thought we'd need for an emergency kit for both the house and the car. Then we put together 2 emergency kits taking note of what we still need to the kits (sadly we still need lots). This was all done with smiles and full of "what do you want me to do nows". Wonderful, wonderful day!

*fingers crossed* that today is the same kind of day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas's Day

Brianna and I spent the day doing St. Nicholas activities of a sort. I was mistaken into thinking St. Nicholas' Day was St. Nicholas' birthday, but it is not. It is his feast day and the date of his death, being him birth into the eternal. So still sorta a birthday. 

So, as with all birthdays, we made a cake! Well, Brianna made a cake. It took a lot out of my OCD self to let her make it herself. Down to the mixing, pouring and putting it in the oven. It's sooooo much easier to do it myself, but as I told her, she's gotta learn how to cook/bake sometime.

We also did Christmas cards for her old schoolmates and teachers. We had been told before pulling her that we could deliver cards to the office and the teachers would distribute them. One child's card may not be delivered because it was a recess playmate and Brianna wasn't sure even what grade the girl was in, let alone her teacher's name.

We read excerpts from The Truth About Santa Claus by James Cross Giblin. While I havn't read a lot of St. Nicholas material I found this book very informative and highly recommend it. 

I think Brianna has finally realized that "Santa" isn't real but that we will still do all the fun stuff associated with Santa. I didn't come right out and tell her Santa isn't real, but we went into great discussion as to why older children shouldn't tell little ones that Santa isn't real, ect... 

I had planned to watch Miracle on 34th Street with her as well, but by the time we were done school I was beyond pooped. Hopefully we can get school out of the way quickly tomorrow so we can watch it then. It plays into the theory of believing in the magic of the season and such.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Season Begins!

We ended another rough week with a great Friday. School (other than a fun movie) was done before lunch and everyone was happy. Now if only we can get more of those days in!

I'm hoping this month will be easier simply because we'll be doing lots of fun Christmas stuff. We kick off tomorrow with St. Nicholas' Day. Well be reading of the history of Santa Claus, making Christmas cards, baking a cake, ect... I have lots of crafts and cooking/baking planned for this month, which Brianna loves.