Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

Brianna's Brain Pop app vocabulary was on:
- Bridges
- Asthma (Brain Pop Jr. app)
- Customary Measurement
- Submarines

In finishing up our mapping from last week, Brianna drew a floor plan of our first floor to scale

Brianna is flying through dividing fractions. She asked me "is it supposed to be this easy?!" Works for me!!

Yay! Last week of our English curriculum!

We started our Country Studies, this week was the USA

Olivia finished up her Octonauts unit

She refused to color on any Octonauts that were on the dotted lines lol

Still having issues identifying some letters, on this page it was K

Two plus two is four!
Identifying letters (we did left to right so they were more mixed up). She did better than I thought! We'll be working on "Q", "U", "Y", "R", "G" for capitals and "q", "u", "y", "b", "f", "n", "r", "g", "d", "p" and "t" for lowercase.

We've started Olivia in with 1+1+1=1's You Can Read program. So now she has declared herself "big enough to read" lol

"Reading" The Velveteen Rabbit and the Boy

Adding picture to her You Can Read page

Olivia loved this dice and graph game!

I printed these pages 2 to a page so she can have a book with all of her words that she learns

Joshua decided to do his own nature study

Country Study - USA

This week we studied the United States of America. While it was randomly selected by a name generator, I was happy with the choice as the US is our neighbour and through out the kids lives, they'll most likely, mostly need to know about the US outside of our own country.

We started by reading Exploring the United States and flipping through some other books from the library.

Peeking to find the USA
On Thursday we did our American food day. Because Americans eat foods that are either the same as or similar to what we eat, it actually took some trying to find something different! We settled on Ahola burgers (but with home made teriyaki sauce) with cheese fries (we DO eat those here, but we like them so added them to the menu lol), sweet tea (would you believe I have NEVER had iced tea made with real tea bags?!) and a chocolate cake decorated like the flag.

Decorating our flag cake

Yay! I love how it turned out!
Complete meal! It was all pretty great! The girls weren't fond of the sweet tea though
Brianna was right fascinated by Mount Rushmore. She thought it was super cool that it was a statue in a mountain! She talked about it several times over the week.

Google image
Olivia was amazed that Canada and the US shared the Rocky Mountains. At first she thought we each had a Rocky Mountains, but a quick trip to our textured globe showed her otherwise. (She then spent a while "petting" our globe LOL)

Google image

Painting our American flags

Brianna filling out the country report I made for her

Olivia's country report that I made (printed 2 to a page so she'll eventually have a book of all the countries we study)

First country complete and recorded in our passports!

Hip Homeschool Moms

We were even featured over at All Things Beautiful! Thanks for checking out our blog!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

6 Reasons I Homeschool

People often ask homeschoolers why they homeschool, here's my top reasons, for my family. This is an incomplete list as the reasons are endless, but it's a good start for me!

1. Better education. I am not a public school or teacher hater. I am a system hater. I know loads of GREAT teachers and Brianna used to go to a GREAT public school. But the system has failed those teachers and schools. Teachers can't actually teach any more. Bullying is rampant because teachers aren't allowed to discipline any more. Grades are sky high, which seems like a good thing, but it's not because kids are doing awesome in their schoolwork, it's because the current grading system does not allow zeros. If you don't do your work, it just doesn't get graded. Another niece of mine thought she'd need an out of province drivers license if she moved to Toronto (some of my readers may not know the sadness of that, we live in Ontario, this niece lives in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, Toronto is the capital of Ontario, 7 hrs away from Ottawa). I believe much more geography is needed, but at least some basic your-own-province geography would be nice!

2. Brianna actually ASKS to learn new things. School isn't a thing to be hated. Sure we learn the stuff she needs to know to succeed as an adult, but she also learns about the things that interest her, like when we spend about a month doing almost nothing but the Titanic.

3. Our lives don't revolve around the school schedule. If we want to take a week off in May for no flipping reason, we can! If the baby kept everyone up last night, it's no big deal if we don't start school til noon!

4. Homeschooling in Ontario is really easy. In a nut shell, we live in a no-reporting area and I don't have to keep a mound of paperwork to keep some politician happy.

5. Two words: Common Core. That crap is scary and I can't figure out math for the life of me, using it!

6. Public school does not teach even 1/4 of the life skills kids need. Most of the basic ones they used to teach, have been cut. Way too many teens can not count change as cashiers. A lot have no clue how to prepare inexpensive simple meals. Kids are often truly amazed when they discover how much what they considered "needs" costs. Ask the average just-out-of-high-schooler to unclog a toilet, how to balance a budget, how to mow a lawn, how to re-set a water heater, how to use a sewing machine, how to make a simple piece out of wood. Too many of them would have no clue. Yes, of course, I agree, it's a parent's job to teach this stuff, but a lot of it used to be taught in school.

Public school works for some families, but I'm beyond grateful that homeschooling is an option for my family.

Linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Real Life at Home and Hip Homeschool Moms

Monday, May 26, 2014

Country Studies

Today we begin Country Studies! We're going to study various countries around the world. What they eat, what they wear, what their country looks like, what their schooling looks like, ect....

We hope to eventually go through them all but here's the group we're starting with (in some random order):
- Brazil
- Chile
- Russia
- China
- Greenland
- Iceland
- England
- Ireland
- Scotland
- Australia
- South Africa
- Egypt
- Peru
- France
- Sweden
That will take us through the summer and into the fall.

We got our "passports" from FIARCircle. I have flag flash cards from Expedition Earth that I've printed 4 pages per page to make the passport stamps.

I was going to originally use these Cool Country Report from Scholastic which is really cute, but it also prints quite small. Brianna has enough trouble with writing, I didn't want to add to the problem. So I made her something similar in Word.

I found some really cute lower grade country pages for Olivia, but I'm cheap and wasn't going to pay $3+ per country. So, like Brianna's, I made my own. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll share what I made for them here.

Hip Homeschool Moms

Menu/Fitness Plan Monday

I walked 9.88 miles last week. Much happier with my miles, but still not what I *know* I can do!

My menu plans are a rough guesstimate. I don't often "feel" like what I've planned lol But this is generally what we'll eat this week.

Lemon and Dill Basa

Pot Roast

Bruchetta Chicken

Aloha Burgers with cheese fries, sweet tea and flag cake (Country Study - USA)

Brianna cooks

Out of town = fast food

Serve Yourself

Linking up with Southern Living Yankee and I'm An Organizing Junkie

Southern Living Yankee

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Year-Round Homeschooling

Otherwise known as "OMG! You make your kids do school in the summer!?"

We school year-round. That is, we don't "do" summer break. Sure we may take a few days to a week off here any there, but for the most part we school all summer.

We homeschooled through the summer even when Brianna was still in public school. Summer learning loss is very real and the results of it can be seen every September in public schools (or Aug for my American counterparts). The last year Brianna was in public school she complained daily about the amount of stuff they "taught" in school that she already knew. I brushed it off at first because we had actually moved into the following grade in some of the work we had done over the summer so I figured she had just already learned it. But then, she filled me in. They were doing stuff like counting to 100. She was in Gr. 3. She had learned to count to 100 in Kindergarten/Gr. 1. They were "learning" to add single digit numbers. They were reading through Gr. 1/2 readers. This wasn't simply review, this was over a month of dragging them back a few grades!

This is because of summer learning loss. A lot of parents leave the schooling to the teachers and don't have their kids so much as crack a book for up to 3 mths. This is not to say that they're bad parents! It's just society's norm. And the schools then have to do a month (or more) of review going up to a few years back to make up for it.

Well, I've always been known as a mean mom! So since that first summer between Kindergarten to Gr. 1, I did homeschooling with the kids. Because it was all they ever knew, they didn't complain. Sure there were certain topics that they didn't want to do, but there was never "why do I have to do school when everyone else doesn't".

Once we started homeschooling, I knew we'd be year-rounders. We do a lot more during the summer now than we did when Brianna was in public school, but still on a much lighter schedule than the rest of the year. We also do a lot more interest based stuff that I just sneak English and math into and Brianna thinks it's all great fun.

Brianna doesn't do well with very long breaks any time in the year. We school a lot more than the average homeschooling family simply because Brianna is very routine set. If we take too long of breaks or too often of breaks she tends to get her entire routine upset. So we generally do only 3-4 full weeks off per year and 6-8 long weekends (4-5 days including the weekend) per year. Otherwise, it's just a day here and there and with reason (like a race day or a set field trip).

This year, Brianna will be continuing through her math curriculum though as it's her 2nd round through it after a mix of troubles with the work itself and also not putting any effort into what she could do. But otherwise, we'll be working on our country studies, gardening, doing some household projects and other non-school "like" stuff.

She has a science camp this year that is a week long. She is to the moon and back excited about that. She does "Park Leaders" Tues-Fri mornings and swims most afternoons with friends. I DO want her to enjoy her summers, especially since most of her friends are public schoolers who have the summer off. So I work around her programs/activities as much as possible. We do most of our week's schooling on Monday when there's no Park Leaders. We do a bit when she comes home for lunch. We do some after swimming (or if it rains and swimming is cancelled). We do some after the neighbourhood kids (and herself) are called home for the night. She does complain some days, but for the most part is really quite ok with it.

It may not work for everyone. Hell, I know many homeschoolers who drag their feet through May and sometimes June to just drop everything for the summer. But it's what works for us.

Hip Homeschool Moms

Monday, May 19, 2014

Victoria Day 5K

Brianna and my husband, Lee, ran a 5K this morning with the Cornwall Multisport Club. Brianna runs with them frequently, but last year, for the Labour day race, Lee joined her. The race they do on Victoria Day and Labour Day is a "chase". Here's what the CMS site says about it:

"What is a 5k Chase?  The Victoria Day 5k Chase allows for gender/age neutrality.  Your start time is based on your Age and Gender.  The first person to cross the finish line is the winner of the race.
The race [start] times were determined by using the 67% for each age group from this age grading website."

Brianna had a side stitch for most of the race, something we need to work on as that was her problem with her race 2 weeks ago.

Lee did fantastic for it being only his 2nd race since grade school. He ran the entire first lap (2.5km) and most of the 2nd.
The ended up with times of 31 minutes, 24 seconds (Lee) and 45 minutes, 59 seconds (Brianna). Lee plans to start regularly training with Brianna for short runs. I think it'll be a great bonding time!

Hip Homeschool Moms

Mean/Fitness Plan Monday

I walked 5.15 miles last week. I need to up this way more if I want to hit my goal of 500 Miles in 2014!

My menu plans are a rough guesstimate. I don't often "feel" like what I've planned lol But this is generally what we'll eat this week.


Baked chicken with mushroom and cheese sauce

Apple pork tenderloin, stuffing and mixed veggies (third week this is on the menu... maybe I should actually cook it this week)


Brianna cooks

Lemon and Dill Basa

Serve Yourself

Linking up with Southern Living Yankee and I'm An Organizing Junkie

Southern Living Yankee

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

On Monday we had a busy day. It was beautiful so Brianna parked herself outside for her regular school work.

After lunch we (mostly she) built a gate for our front porch.

Later, Brianna helped place plants in our garden when a headache prevented me from bending over

Again, she worked with my Brain Pop app for her vocabulary words. This week's videos were:
- Dams
- Comparing Prices (which led into a 30 minute chat on various ways to compare prices lol)
- Great Wall of China
- Graphs
- International Space Station

In geography, we again worked on review, this time on Canada in general. Brianna is excited to start our country of the week soon, but I figured a quick review on our home country was needed first!

Brianna's working on a unit of fractions and as much as she claims to suck at them, she's actually very good at them!

Olivia finished up her Pizza unit from 1+1+1=1 from last week.

Olivia was fantastic at putting the story strips in the right order after only reading the story twice

She loved making this graph of the family members favorite pizza toppings

Olivia's never done greater than/less than yet she picked it up no problem!

New color by letter page that 1+1+1=1 posted today

As usual, we're linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Monday, May 12, 2014

Shop Class

We wanted to build a gate at the top of our porch to keep Joshua semi-contained outside if it were raining or some other reason he couldn't go into the yard itself. Not surprisingly, Brianna wanted to help build it. Turns out, other than the hinges (I did them) and me offering some hands-off help, she did most of it herself!

Olivia was tickled with her new "blocks"

Measuring 34876 times to get the spacing even

Ooooh! Power tools!

Brianna, proud of her newly installed gate

The girls decided to add some decoration to it for Joshua

Hip Homeschool Moms

Menu/Fitness Plan Monday

I walked 3.45 miles last week. I REALLY need to up this! I did put in my garden on Sunday/today though, and that's a workout in itself!

My menu plans are a rough guesstimate. I don't often "feel" like what I've planned lol But this is generally what we'll eat this week.

Chicken in cheese and wine sauce

Muffin Melts

Apple pork tenderloin, stuffing and mixed veggies


Sloppy Joes (yeah, I know, so healthy!)

Out of Town = Fast Food

Serve Yourself

Linking up with Southern Living Yankee and I'm An Organizing Junkie

Southern Living Yankee