Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Stats Day!

So since I'm a stats geek, I'm gonna post a stats post at the end of each month. Feel free to ignore my craziness :D

Top Posts:
Weekly Wrap Up (Feb 10)
Tot School - Letter A
Tot School - Letter B

Top Referring Sites:
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Top Keyword Searches:
Food Cross Stitch Patterns (I have had this one as a top search for some time now *confused*)
Lima Bean Diagram
Reading Log

- Most of my readers are from the USA, followed by Canada, then the UK
- Most of my readers use IE (which surprised me!) followed by Firefox, then Chrome

Thanks to all my readers for providing me with constantly updating stats to oogle!

Happy Leap Day!

We did daily books and some fun Leap Year stuff!

Leap Day Snack! I had planned to put together a snack of 29 pieces of 29 different kinds of foods, but still my baking supplies running low, after tearing apart my whole kitchen, we had to give up at 26 different kinds of foods.

The girls' interview forms for their Leap Day Time Capsule. We'll also add today's newspaper, a list of current prices, some pictures and a few other things.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tot School - Letter B - Part 2

Olivia is 31 mths old

She is soooo much better at this pre-writing stuff than I thought she'd be at this age!

Her favorite color seems to be purple, it's always the first color she grabs!
Working on Life Skills - un-setting the table. She's almost shorter than the drawer, but loved putting the placemats away

Made it to Level 2 in Reading Eggs! (not surprisingly for her age, she has a very short attention span and it took a week to get through letter M, but not we're on to letter S.

Linking up with 1+1+1=1

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up x2

I totally forgot about posting my weekly wrap up last week, so here's both in one! Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Week 1

Monday - Valentine's Day activities! The girls made book marks and marshmallow pops.

Tuesday - Tanya left her school work here, so just did some worksheets at home about St. Valentine. Brianna worked on correcting punctuation and capitalization.

Wednesday - Brianna's sick, so has the day off and Tanya's work load doubled to catch up from yesterday. She's also did the English portion of the "year end" test for Gr. 3. Not surprisingly, she got 96%

Thursday - We finally got to the journal pages from the Mystery Class for last week. This time we had to find other places that we're at our same latitude and draw a picture about what it's like there. Brianna chose Bogota, Colombia and Tanya chose Baracoa, Cuba. Tanya's location picture has mysteriously disappeared :(

I later realized that *I* had screwed up and taught the girls longitude and latitude reversed! Hence the reason that the girls chose Cuba and Colombia for their sister cities. *blush* The made new pictures after this realization.

Friday - Since Tanya did so well in the Gr. 3 reading test, I had her skip right to the Gr. 4 test. Again, not surprisingly, she got 93%. We got the new photo periods for Mystery Class and I had the girls sort the graphs into Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

We also finally got a good world wall map!

Week 2

Monday: Tanya was sick so stayed home and came in Tuesday instead. Brianna worked on some work sheets and we tried out a science project. The point was to show how different food dyes in candy are more or less attracted to salt. We used different colored Skittles for the candy and a special salt to water ratio mixture.

Somehow we must have not used enough color or too much water and it didn't streak up the coffee filter paper like it was supposed to :(

Tuesday: Discovered Tanya is seriously lacking in the punctuation dept. Particularly quotation marks. However, she did very well in the fractions sheets I gave her.

Wednesday: Brianna worked on some temperature worksheets she was having issues reading the minus side of the thermometer (reading in the wrong direction as in -42C instead of -38C). Tanya did the Gr. 4 written test. She got 75%. Lisa and I both agree on the girls working on a mastery method rather than just cruising along like the public schools do. So anything with less than an 85% needs more work on. Tanya's problems with the written test, we expected - punctuation and grammar.

Thursday: Today was Brianna's turn for punctuation. She surprisingly did very good! I thought she'd miss a bunch, since we had an issue with it last year, but just a few commas here and there!

Friday: Tanya completed the first book report for the girls reading challenge (they have a reading list that they can choose books at their reading level or higher and write book reports for each book. When they fill the page, 25 books, they get to pick any novel they like at the book store for us to buy them). She wrote a very well written, full of detail report. I'm quite happy with it and will use it as a model if either girls slack off in the full report department.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tot School - Letter B

Olivia is 31 months

This week was super slow since most of the house was sick. I think we'll keep going with Letter B next week

Linking up with 1+1+1=1

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Handbook of Nature Study blog put out a reminder today that tomorrow is the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count! This is the first year we'll be taking part in it. Tanya will do her own count from her house and Brianna will do one here. Our houses are only about 4km from each other, but we're closer to the water, so who knows that the results will be!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Fun

We had a light day of school work today, both with Brianna's uncle stopping by and with doing some Valentine's Day activities. The girls made bookmarks (but with their names instead of the hearts cause I forgot to buy an ink pad *bad teacher*) and marshmallow pops. I know it's only the 13th, but Tanya will be mostly doing school work at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so we turned part of Valentine's Day into today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tot School - Letter A

Olivia is 30.5 mths old

Practicing her pre-writing
We took a long hiatus on concentrated schooling, both with Olivia and Brianna, due to me launching my business, moving and Christmas.

Did pretty darn well on the A!
Of course, 2 year olds don't seem to know how to stop learning lol so even with a long break in "school" she's still quite a bit ahead of where we left off!

She so loves these stickers!
Because of the fact that we stopped regular work for so long, we're starting back at the beginning. This round we're focusing on identifying capital and lower case letters and pre-writing.

Schooling in a toque :)
With a few weeks in between for random review, I estimate we'll be through the alphabet by end of Aug/start of Sept, in which we'll start all over again but this time focusing on the letter sounds and actually writing the letters.

Loving her wooden puzzles. They seem to be too easy though, so I'm needing to get some that are a little more difficult!
Olivia madly loves her schoolwork (as seen below). Her favorite item right now is (again, pictured below) the Crayola Dry-Erase Activity Center. It comes with 10 pages and 4 markers, so even when she doesn't have one of her letter of the week pages in it, it always has the ones that came with it.

She flew downstairs after a bath and grabbed her "schoolwork" as she calls it and hid beside the deep freeze so no one would see her and take it from her LOL
Pardon the crappy picture

I got a zillion free trial codes for Reading Eggs and Olivia thinks it's fun. We've never really done anything on the computer with her before so this is all fancy lol

She really liked this shape page and wanted to do it often
My hope, since she won't be in public school and having children there telling her that she should think differently, is that she'll forever keep this love of learning.

Linking up with 1+1+1=1

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Linking up with Kris on Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

This was Brianna and Olivia's first week back to scheduled school since November and my niece Tanya's first week ever!

Monday - Today was a lot of explaining how the girls' Daily Binders worked and explaining a lot of general homeschool stuff to Tanya. Other than distracting each other a little too much for my liking, they seem to be working well together! Tanya so far shows extra work needed in multiplying decimals and money.

Tuesday - Today we finally got to get all the data for all 10 Mystery Locations in our Journey North class. Most of the times were within a few hours of one another, but Location #6 had a sun set after midnight and the girls are quite excited about learning where this location it!

Wednesday - Today we played a fun money game. The girls each started out with $5 and either gained or paid out money according to the cards they drew. Both girls begged to play again and again so I guess I'll be laminating the cards!

Thursday - Thursday was a slow day as Tanya did school at home today. Tanya brought home work for today with her on Wednesday and Brianna did some more review.

Friday - We got our 2nd set of clues for Mystery Class and graphed them out. One of the side things this course teaches that I like is military or 24 hr time. They get a little side lesson on learning how to tell military time into a 12 hr clock since I'm mean and give them the sunset data in 12 hr time but the pre-written graphs are in military time.

Now I've got to do marking and get prepped for next week!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homeschooling Tanya

Background: Tanya is my niece-by-choice. Her mother, Lisa, is actually not my sister, but one of my best friends. We choose to be family.

Last summer, Tanya did some summer schooling with us as she felt she needed some extra help in math. Boy did she ever. She was supposed to be going into Gr. 6 that September, but was struggling with grade 3 and 4 math. She decided right then and there that she wanted to BE homeschooled. My sister wanted Tanya to pass some expectations first and sent her back to school. I told Lisa that I would support whatever she chose, but if any time she wanted to pull Tanya, I only needed a few days to get together some assessing work.

Over the last 5 mths, Tanya continued to complain about not being helped in her problem areas and made to stay behind in areas that she excelled. When her bullying situation got worse, my sister went to the principal. However, Tanya's teacher insisted that the bully in question "would never do something like that" *roll eyes*

This progressed to the point that by Christmas, now even the TEACHER was bullying Tanya. Lisa decided, enough was enough, Tanya was going to be homeschooled. Tanya asked to go back for January in order to say goodbye to her friends.

The last week of January was the worst as the teacher was now constantly harassing Tanya about the fact that my sister "wouldn't be allowed" to homeschool. Now we live in a "no reporting" area, where the only thing we need to do is send a letter of intent each year. We reassured Tanya that she *would* be homeschooled no matter what her teacher said.

That week my sister got a phone call from the school requesting a case conference. Legally, we don't need to meet with the school, but wanted to for humour's sake and out of courtesy to the principal, whom Lisa gets along with. The day of the meeting we were informed that the school requested that CAS (Child Services/CPS) be involved. While normally this is a scare tactic pulled by the schools, thankfully in our situation, CAS was already involved in helping out with my nephew's issues and knew of and supported Lisa's choice to homeschool.

So the meeting was a bunch of "you have to do this" from the school board lady and a bunch of "here's what the LAW says" from Lisa and I. The board asked about socialization *roll eyes* and I explained that even in a town as small as ours, we have a fairly large homeschool group with many children to socialize with. When asked how we're going to stay with the curriculum for "when" she's put into public school (cause of course it's going to fail) we explained that first she needs to be assessed to see what blocks she's missing and "catch up". The board then, ever so nicely *sarcasm*, said that she could remain in school until the school board got (around to processing) the letter of intent and she could do assessment there. Um, no. This is the same school who has been giving a struggling child almost straight As.

Speaking of, I asked about how Tanya herself could complain about not understanding this and that and yet get good grades. How every report card she got said that she "needs improvement" on homework completion and independent work, yet still get good grades. The principal explained (while trying very hard not to roll his own eyes) that with the current grading system, grades are only given on completed work. Translation: a child can do really good on whatever work they actually complete and get good grades, even if they are only completing 1 of 10 pieces of work through-out the year! What great work ethics!

So we walked out of there knowing that they can't do anything to stop us from homeschooling Tanya. We even went so far as to hand deliver a 2nd letter of intent to the local branch of the school board. On Feb 8th we got word that (they finally got around to looking at the damn paper and) we're official!

Here's to a long and successful homeschooling career!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Day Back!

Today was our first official day for the year! Brianna has been mostly unschooling since she finished up her Gr. 3 work in November and it's Tanya's first day of homeschool ever.

First off I did a reading assessment on both of them and while I expected them to be "ahead" as they're both big on reading, I was surprised to find out that they are both 3 "grade levels" ahead of where they "should" be! Very impressive girls!

Then we moved onto the "Daily Binders" I made up for them. Each day they have Penmanship and Handwriting Practice, penmanship because they are both sloppy writers, handwriting to learn cursive properly. Next is a math drill to focus on speed. Right now we're doing 5 minute drills with addition and subtraction. After that they're doing Boggle Spelling. I've made up blank Boggle boards, filled them in with random letters and they have to come up with as many 3+ letter words as they can that are both real words AND spelled correctly. The more letters each word has, the more points. Who ever has the most points at the end of the week, wins a prize - this week they're working towards a glow in the dark science experiment. Then they also have vocabulary work and journal work with writing prompts. I may add more to the Daily Binder as we go.

We had a totally relaxed, slow day. We'll focus on review for Brianna and assessment with Tanya for a few weeks and slowly add in more actual curriculum. We are doing the Mystery North geography program (more in another post) as well.