Monday, January 31, 2011


Today we added learning handwriting to our daily school work. Brianna is thrilled. She immediately wanted to write her name. I explained she needs to learn to form the letters then she'll be able to write her name. She did pretty good for the first day. Some wiggly letters, but not bad. She's happy this'll be part of her everyday stuff.

I can't believe the end of this week will be the end of our 2nd term! Right now we're doing 6 week terms for Brianna (and Daddy) to see how she's progressing. That means we've been at it for 12 weeks now! It seems like only a few weeks ago that we started!

She's really liking the new system we started (here and here). So far she's earned 4 stars towards her 20 for a free day, and is liking earning her electronics time each day. We've also decided that if she wants she can save her earned time and add it to the next day to make it a longer period.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

French Food for Thought

Brianna's father gave her a set of French food word magnets this weekend. All day she's been randomly standing in front of the fridge making little French food sentences. 

I wish my phone/camera/computer would cooperate together so I could post pics!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I went to my "teacher store" today (Scholar's Choice) and picked up a few workbooks. 

Since Brianna seems to be having troubles with the wordings of word problems in math I picked up a Grade 2 and Grade 3 book on daily word problems. I figure I'll start her in the Gr. 2 book simply cause then she'll be able to see the easier problems and "get" the math for it. As she progresses, the math and the wording get more difficult, but starting her where it'll be easier for her will help her understand the word problems at her level better.

I also picked up this Map Skills workbook for a bit of reading map help before we start our Canadian Geography unit. It's a Canadian map book so when it shows actual maps, it focuses on Canada, which is nice. 

I also picked up their catalog so I can drool away from the computer :D

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Week 4

I am taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge

This week I read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I've been meaning to read this series for a few years so I finally remembered to pick it up at the library.

I'll admit, it was funny. I couldn't put it down. However, the stupidity of the main character annoyed me. I mean, I realize some people actually believe the stuff she believes, but it was still kind of annoying.

I do like how she suddenly knows a whole lot about what she thought she didn't care about. And the story she leads up on does unfortunately happen in real life. 

It was definitely a fluff read, but I'll still read the rest of the series anyways.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Such A Geek

I just spent like 4 hours drooling at all the school stuff at I have a pretty impressive wish list there too!

Our Current Curriculum - Jan 2011

We school year round and don't really follow grades. We started Nov 15th 2010 in roughly the 3rd grade and will go until whenever of whatever year. In most subjects Brianna is in Gr. 3, however, her grade levels go from Gr. 1 to Gr. 5. We are working on a mastery basis so she moves on as she can and stays on certain things longer. 

French is at a grade 1 level simply because there is no such thing as French Immersion workbooks. Workbooks are either meant for French children continuing their education in French (Brianna's in the Gr. 1 level) or English children learning French (where Brianna's in the Gr 4/5 level). Since 98% of French workbooks are meant for French children, I base her in the Gr. 1 level.

So, since we don't have set grades or set school years, I figure every 6 mths or so I'll post what we are currently working on. We are currently mostly not using traditional HS items, but regular workbooks you can buy at the bookstore/teacher stores. Most subjects are supplemented by printed worksheets from various sites and of course, library books.

a mix of a fun Disney Princess spelling book and more serious, me keeping track of words she'll spelled wrong (spelling is not "important" in the rest of her work as long as she is trying to spell the best she can) and she copies, alphabetizes, puts into sentences and draws pictures of her words and on Friday we do spelling tests (she insists, I'd be happy with just working on her spelling words as above).

Currently we are studying Aboriginals before Europeans came to Canada and will be moving into the European explorers and then Canadian Pioneers. We're using, in parts, the Social Studies portion of the Complete Canadian Curriculum Grade 3 workbook. We're also using this Aboriginal People Gr. 4-6 workbook to add to the Gr. 3 portion (the books are by the same company and the Gr. 4-6 book just expands on what is in the Gr. 3 book). We're using several different library books but mainly the How Canada Became Canada series. It is meant for Gr. 6-10, but Brianna seems pretty interested none the less. For the Pioneer portion of our studies we'll be doing another series of books, once I pick them up tomorrow I'll post a link (I need the exact titles).

We're not focusing a lot on geography right now, but will be in a couple mths. We'll be starting with mapping skills (drawing/reading), then later move on to actual places. We'll again be using a portion of the Gr. 3 Complete Canadian Curriculum workbook but also Gr 1-3 Mapping Skills and possibly Gr. 1-3 Canadian Mapping.

Again, we're using the math portion of Gr. 3 Complete Canadian Curriculum, but also Math Makes Sense which was her math book from school. Topping it off is Math Basics. We will in the next couple months be adding Gr. 1-3 Market Math and Gr. 1-3 Menu Math. Our big focus at the moment is mastering addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing and adding and subtracting money.

Here we're using the English portion of the Gr. 3 Complete Canadian Curriculum and Gr. 3 English Ahead. For reading comprehension we're using this (Gr. 2) and this (Gr. 3). We also do daily writing and a minimum 30 mins of reading.

For science we're mostly doing hands-on stuff with library book supplement. We've covered weather (and we continually track weather) and are doing animals in winter now. We touch into the science portion of the Gr. 3 Complete Canadian Curriculum but it's a little on the boring side right now. Once spring comes it has an interested looking plant unit though.

We're using a combo of a duotang full of worksheets from her old French teacher and this Gr. 1 Francais 1ere annee (sorry the website is French only) workbook. Once we're done this workbook we'll be moving back to the workbooks made for English students learning French, Gr. 4 and Gr. 5. Once those are done we'll move back to the French books for French children and hopefully into Gr. 2 there.

In Art we're working on cross stitching. Brianna is great at the basic stitch and made Grandma a little framed pattern for Christmas. Now she has designed a picture for me to make a pattern of that she wants to stitch next. It's huge though, so I'm thinking it'll be a long term project with lots of other stuff in between. For Music, Brianna got a recorder for Christmas. I've just got to find the right music and finger keys for it (having a printer for this would help too...)

Phys Ed/Health: 
Other than her homeschool soccer, we're just doing fun winter stuff for Phys Ed. Generally playing in the snow, tobogganing, shoveling. Once the snow is gone, Brianna wants to do some walk/jog/running stuff. For Health we're working on general nutrition. Reading nutritional labels, picking healthy foods, comparing foods, ect... Workbooks we'll be using are Gr 1-3 Canadian Health Activities and Gr. 4-6 Canadian Health Activities.

The big thing right now is typing skills. While we're stuck on the ooooold laptop this is done via blogging. Once we get a real working computer up and running we'll be adding Garfield's Typing Pal

Life Skills: 
We're focusing a lot of kitchen safety and penpalling. It's hard on my OCD tendencies but I've been letting her do more when we're baking and I want to get her into cooking more too. She can use the microwave and toaster on her own. She wants to learn how to make bread in my breadmaker too. We have 3 penpals started right now, hopefully they take off. She's learning that writing letters to people isn't as easy as it sounds.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Need to Slooooow Down!

Brianna imagined up and decided to do a craft today by building a castle out of paper towel tubes. Great! Cute idea. Unfortunately she seems to still think she's in school and has only like 30 mins to finish a project or it'll be gone forever. The idea was great, the work was fast and sloppy. 

I wish she'd realize (and yes, I've been telling her) that she can take weeks if she wanted to do a project! Work on it some, put it on a shelf, work on it some, ect... I want her to actually want to keep things cause she did such a great job on it, rather than he not caring if it's tossed out next week. I want her to take pride in her work rather than just getting it over and done with.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Can't All Days Be Like Today?

All schoolwork was done by noon, we played a few games, baked a cake, in general had a stress free day. Oh how I wish all days were like today!

Today we started our Animals in Winter unit. Still thinking of things to add to it. Today was mostly journalling so I didn't have to think too much on that one, just ask some questions. I am currently printerless so can't print some of the cool winter lapbooks or worksheets I've found. Anyone have some crafts or anything that we can tie into our Animals in Winter unit?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Week 3

I am taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

This week (or rather, today) I read After Homeschool by Tamra B. Orr

This book looks at 15 grown homeschoolers. It talks about what they thought of homeschooling, what/where they are right now, what they plan to do with their futures. It follows many homeschooling styles, religious and secular. There's even an essay from the author's daughter.

I thought it was a great "sigh of relief" kind of read. As a new homeschooler I'm faced with too frequent doubts of if I'm doing the right thing. How is Brianna going to grow up. Is she going to be able to function in the real world without that all important piece of paper (a high school diploma). 

This book showed many children who grew up to graduate from homeschool and go on to college, or not. But not because they couldn't, but because they already carved a place in happiness for themselves or because they wanted something different in life than a degree.

It showed still-teens who were learning their place in the world. Traveling and learning still. One who said "my education will only be finished when I die." 

This is what I hope for for my children.

Reading Back

I was going through my old posts to add tags to them and came across one about meeting with Brianna's old principal. In it, I mentioned that the school would want me to fill out some paperwork, which I had assumed would be removing the school from liability if Brianna were to participate in any activities the school provided.

I never got any such paperwork! Not that it really bothers me since I haven't had the inclination to do anything with the school. I was also told they'd send me the school newsletter each month so I could stay up to date. I got December's. It's now almost February. I don't think I'm getting one for January lol Again, it doesn't really bother me. I mean, I wouldn't mind knowing when the book fairs are cause they're open to anyone, but I'm sure I can find out without a newsletter

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Can't Believe I Forgot to Post!

One of our frustrations for the week was discovering Brianna could not understand the idea of borrowing in subtraction. I explained to her that I was not mad at her for not knowing, but mad at the school for failing her. I could not believe that by Gr. 3, she had not learned borrowing (we went through the same thing towards the end of the year in Gr. 2 with carrying in addition).

I even went through the math book the school had given me when I pulled her (the very one they were using in the classroom). Sure enough, simple subtraction was right there. How is it that they are only teaching simple subtraction in GRADE 3!? I was floored. I remember learning simple subtraction in Gr. 1 and 2!

I thought it was bad enough that she couldn't tell time on an analog clock. But, rationally, I gave that the world is going digital and I'm just anally hanging on to analog. So fine, no analog clocks. But subtraction?! *sigh*


We've been working on an Aboriginals unit for the last couple weeks. Brianna loves "olden day" stuff, so it's right up her alley. She's terrible at listening to someone read and actually paying attention so we've been working on that too. 

We've found lots of good stuff (for various subjects) through the Canadian publisher Popular Books Company. We're also using the book How Canada Became Canada: Before Canada: Prehistory - 1523. The series of How Canada Became Canada is great because it goes from the book we're using now, all through Canadian History up to 1984 - Present and Modern-Day Aboriginal People. There's another series of books I plan on using later too (but I don't have any here to talk about them). I know the books above are meant for Gr. 4-6 and Gr. 6-10 but another beauty of homeschooling is working at whatever level works for that one child.

So anyways, right now we're working on the original settlers of Canada (the Aboriginals who came over on the Land Bridge) and we're gonna work our way up. Next up, the, what I consider, boring 200-300 years of a bunch of explorers coming through. Then we'll hit pioneers in Canada. This, Brianna will love. We're reading through the Little House books and she's also reading the Canadian Girl book series, both of which she loves.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Skip a Day

One of the beauties of homeschooling is being able to skip a day. Sick? No school. Tired as crap? No school. Just not feeling it? No school. Today was one of those days.

Olivia was weirdly lethargic this morning and I could barely get her moving before 10am. So morning nap was out, oh well, we'll just do school in the afternoon. Lunch passes, BAM! Massive headache. Yup, no school today. 

We'll do a couple things tomorrow, like her spelling test and science, but the rest I'll just sort in over the next week.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Earned Time

Since we had SUCH a wonderful day yesterday *sarcasm* I forgot to post about our new systems.

The folder system is working great. Makes the day totally flow better. Brianna knows exactly what she's doing, in what order. She's not happy with the order sometimes, but otherwise it's a great system.

The dawdling system I know will take longer to really go into effect, but I'm liking it. Per Kassie's comment on the last post I broke it down to how much time each subject will take. But then I got to thinking. If she breaks her time on the 1st or 2nd subject of the day, so doesn't earn her star, where's the incentive to keep working? So I decided that all time leftover is earned electronics time. I don't allow very much electronics (to most families known as screen time) during the school week so Brianna likes this idea.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Week 2

Brianna and I are taking part in 52 Books in 52 Weeks

This entry is late as I am a little clueless lol

For my 2nd week I read a trilogy. The Annie's People series by Beverly Lewis. Titles: The Preacher's Daughter, The Englisher and The Brethren. The book I am reviewing is the first one. I don't want to review the other 2 as it gives too much away if anyone were interested in reading the series.

Beverly Lewis writes primarily about the Amish, based in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, who I've always been interested in. I own one of her series' and when I found another full series at the library I got excited. Unfortunately the series was in large print so that was a little hard to get used to.

In these books we meet Annie, who as you can tell from the title, is the Preacher's daughter. Back when she was 11 a penpal letter was accidently delivered to her house. She secretly wrote the address down and after delivering the letter to it's rightful owner, wrote her own letter to the other child. 

This child is Louisa. She is very much a modern Englisher who lives in Colorado. Despite their very different backgrounds they become fast friends who keep up the letters through out the years. Louisa is having problems of her own and asks to visit Annie on an extended stay. Annie of course, is thrilled to have her.

The book then takes you through the sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes loving way Annie and Louisa adapt to each other and Louisa's new surroundings. Annie introduces her to the Amish life and ways and Louisa must learn to live without modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing.

I love the book. Beverly Lewis is a great writer of the Amish. She grew up in Amish country so has first hand knowledge of a lot of what she writes. The book is well written and has an addictive way about it. I highly recommend this book and any others by this author.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Couple new things going on around here. 

First off, I was tired of hearing what am I doing today? What am I doing next? So I bought a file folder of sorts. It has 7 regular sized file compartments and an extra expandable section that can fit her larger workbooks.

Now I can put everything in order of how it's gonna be done, workbooks or worksheets included. In the case of her larger workbooks, I've put them at the back in the expandable compartment and then left a sticky note on the next file to tell her which book and which pages.

This will also make grading easier as I'll have all the books and papers I need in one spot rather than having to go through all her binders and workbooks. Then, once I'm done grading, I can load up the next day's work.

Second change is for the amount of dawdling. I came across this on a blog I follow and thought what a great idea! Of course, like most homeschoolers do, I found an idea I like and changed it around some to suit our family.

I'm going to estimate how long it should take Brianna to complete *all* of her school work, adding a bit of extra time for the random drink/bathroom breaks and set a timer towards that.

I'm not sure if I'll do an actual bingo sheet or just make it adding up to a specific amount of days. But since we already have a reward system of sorts in place I figured I needed something else as a reward for no dawdling. So I thought, what about a day off with no school once she hits that number/fills her card? She's asked me about PA/PD days like school, so I figure it'll be a hit! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homeschooling and Divorce

I have read several things the last couple days that make me realize how lucky I am.

My ex and I don't have a custody agreement at all. It's verbal. When I told him about homeschooling the only thing he had to say was could *I* handle it (being having Brianna home all the time with her current behavioural issues). He didn't question whether I had lost my mind or that there was no way I could teach her, just whether I thought I could handle it.

I'm now seeing how much problems he could have caused but didn't. He's even purchased curriculum for us and helps with Brianna's French (his family is French, I am very much not). If I'm having issues with Brianna dawdling or whatever, he speaks on my behalf to her rather than telling me just to put her back in school.

As funny as it sounds, I feel very lucky to have divorced the person I did. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Brianna is gonna start having penpals. Both as a practice writing thing but also just as a great childhood past time. So we found 2 other 8 yr old girls. One in Tennessee and one in Australia. She started writing to the American one today and will hopefully get the info to start writing to the Aussie later this week.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Start of Week 9

Today is what I'd love everyday to be! We had a GREAT day. Brianna helped with the baby in the morning so I could get coffee into me, did her work with no arguing or dawdling, did an hour of reading, ahhh.... such a great school day. I'm hoping this means it's gonna get smoother from here on out. I don't expect perfection, but an hours worth of work taking 6 hrs is not my idea of fun lol

Saturday, January 8, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Week 1

I've never done a book review or a reading challenge before, so sit by while I stumble my way through the year.....

I am doing the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

Hush Little Babies by Don Davis
True Crime

An excerpt from the back cover reads: A killing so brutal it shocked the police and left the nation grieving. Hush Little Babies is the appalling true story of Darlie Routier, the neighborhood's most wonderful mom, who, one night, coldly, calculatingly and brutally stabbed her two sons and watched them die in a pool of their own blood....

The general story was written well. There was the usual way back history of everyone involved in the story (which bores me lol), but it's very detailed in the days leading up to the crime and the following days. While some of the people in the book seem unbelievably dumb, it is a true story so it kinda makes you wonder. 

In some ways the case seems clear cut and very obvious that the mother killed her children. But then you read some parts and it's like heeeeey, maybe she didn't. The speed that the verdict came back surprised me. But it went with the worried of several people about where the trial ended up taking place.

I wasn't too fond of the afterward by the author (who by what he wrote, you'd assume that he was the killer's best friend), but hey, it's his book right?


I totally slacked in grading this week. Normally I'm pretty good at grading every night or at least every second night. Yeah, not this week. I was 7 school days behind. *blush* Apparently I need to make myself get back into the everyday habit.

On another grading note, Brianna kept coming over to see her grades (she's in love with knowing what she got). So we had a mini lesson in doing your best when I pointed out to her that the 100% she got one day gets dragged down massively when the next day she speeds through her work without even trying and only gets 50%. She went to bed tonight saying how she's gonna do her super best on Monday :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Week in Review

I had a crap week homeschooling wise lol I haven't done any marking since last Wednesday (I really should do that). Brianna's also still lacking a report card from the first term cause my laptop sucks (I should just go to the library and print one there). 

Brianna, on the other hand, had a fairly good week.She had a bad day yesterday that involved being separated from the rest of us to do her work. But the rest of the week has been good. We actually got all work done before lunch. 

She also seemed pretty excited about the idea of the reading challenge and picked up several books from the library yesterday. Let's just home the enthusiasm remains.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

101 in 1001 Challenge

I've always hated New Year's Resolutions but I love goals and lists and challenges. Today I started 101 in 1001. This one I didn't sign up for formally (the official site is down, so I'm doing it on my own), but it looks like fun and was quite challenging to come up with my list. I was going to post my list on this and my homeschooling blog but thought it would be easier to make a separate blog for it and just link it to my existing ones.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks x2

One of the blogs I follow directed me to a reading challenge that I've decided to join. I'm also going to "highly encourage" Brianna to join (shhh.... I've already signed her up!). 

So Brianna and I are going to do the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge. We'll both track our progress on each of our blogs. I'm assuming you need to do a review of some kind for it to count, so Brianna can even count it towards English work (since a review is like a mini book report).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Daily Reading

I've implemented daily reading into our homeschool. Not something Brianna would be graded on or anything but just a requirement. Brianna loves reading. She'll tell you that. But, especially with Christmas just passing but even in general, since she's home a LOT more now she's currently in an "overwhelmed with things to do" state. Even though she loves reading, she rarely finds time for herself to stop and grab a book. 

At the beginning of our HSing journey we did a reading goal to be completed by New Years Eve. She decided that 25 books in 6 weeks was do-able. I thought she'd by far pass it since she loves reading so much. In the end, after getting so easily distracted, she only made it to 22 books read. Even she was disappointed in this. In looking at her reading log, we noticed there was a gap of NO books read for over 2 weeks.

Hence starting the required reading. I know it won't be needed forever, just until she "remembers" how much she loves to read. So today we started out our 30 minute minimum. She ended up finishing one of her books that she had been dragging through for weeks.

Today she made a goal of 30 books read by Feb 28th. Again (and especially with the required reading) I think this level is too low. Especially since she immediately asked me if she could keep reading after she hit 30. Well of COURSE!