Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Getting Organized

Getting more structured and getting organized seem to go hand-in-hand. So, I am here to bore you with how we organize all of our stuff. Well, all of our school stuff anyway.

We currently live in a 530 sq ft house. While we are really enjoying it (we now have a yard and a tree and it's awesome), sometimes it can be tough to figure out what to do with all our stuff.

To be honest, with me taking college classes, it's made it a lot easier to get rid of a lot of my crafting stuff. Eventually, I will need to reacquire everything, but that's the joy of using recycled materials :0)

Anyway, back to the point. We have lived in the little house for about 5 months, and we have rearranged a bunch of times since then (Jared will tell you way too many times). It's hard to figure out the best configuration even with my graph paper and furniture-to-scale cut outs.

Ok, I need to stop digressing. Here is our current set up.

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These are the first bookcases you encounter when you leave the kitchen. 

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Left bookcase from the top down
Library books
Fiction- mostly series
Drawing/Art books and winter gear
More winter gear

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Right bookcase from the top down
School books we are not using
Biographies (soon to be moved then it will be library overflow)
Horse books
Nonfiction books
Picture books

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Next to the T.V. we have
Puzzles, games and blank journals
More GAMES! 
(Ticket to Ride is our current family favorite)

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Printer and paper.
Lots of paper. 
The 'drum' box has old artwork of Emma's in it.

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From the top down:
Binders for: 
Completed school work, blank worksheets, reference sheets, and letters received
Next to the binders are reference books 
Middle shelf is home to our letter writing supplies
Bottom shelf is random stuff

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Our main school bookcase
-On the top we have a: Word Jar, basket of shells, a pot that my sister made me when she was in high school
-Under that is a skeleton hand, fun crayon holder that we made, a basket for more random stuff, the hole puncher and stapler, then next to that are some of the books we are currently reading and Emma's water bottle.
-Next shelf contains all kinds of marketing tools- pens (multiple styles and colors), pencils (ditto), markers, crayons, etc. We also have some white out, sticky notes, scissors and who knows what else on that shelf.
-Bottom shelf, left to right- This is all our current school curriculum and binders. Writing with Ease, First Language Lessons, The Story of the World, etc. Then binders- Science/Art/Music, History/Geography, Language (reading, writing, grammar and spelling), then Math. My school binders are next to Emma's

Well, that's pretty much it for our organization. Although, I do have a few photos I wanted to show you close up. 

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Next week we will start using our First Language Lesson curriculum, and I thought it would be fun if we could do some activities with words to enhance our learning (identifying nouns, verbs, etc). 

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Crayon Holders

When Emma does her map and coloring pages that go with the SOTW, she really doesn't need the ENTIRE container of crayons. So, we used a few small cans (from canned peaches) and made them into crayon holders. Yes, there are two there. It was Emma's idea to use the rest of the calendar page to decorate the bottom one. It looks pretty cool.

Well, that is how we have everything organized. I hope you enjoyed the visiting (I even vacuumed for you!). 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cave Paintings

Emma had such a great time with her cave paintings and I think they came out really good.

Before she got started, we sat down and looked through some books that had pictures of actual cave paintings. We also went to the Lascaux Cave website and "wander" through the caves virtually. (I tried to link the site, but the site isn't working now).

Anyway, here are Emma's cave paintings.

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The Cave
(located in the laundry room between the washer and dryer)

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She was excited to discover the tools used in the making of these ancient cave drawings!

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My favorite

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A hunting scene

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The complete collection. 

She really had a blast with this and I am super excited about some of the other SOTW projects that we have coming up. 

Hope you all had a fantastic week!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Getting Structured

Have you missed this face?

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Blame it on facebook. I hate facebook. Since I have been more active on facebook, I have been neglecting our blogs. And I miss the blogs. So, I am back.

Emma has been getting crazy bored lately. When I am plugging away on school stuff (or wasting time on facebook instead of doing school stuff), she is wasting away from boredom. Well, that is what she tells me anyway.

I have a solution for that (insert evil grin). School work for her!

Emma is pretty smart (could just be mama talk, but I don't think it is). I think part of the reason she is so bored lately is because her brain isn't getting challenged enough. So, starting this week, we have implemented some structured schooling for her following a classical education approach. After reading, "The Well-Trained Mind," by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, this style of education just made a lot of sense to me.

Emma's schooling will go in 8 week cycles, just like mine does. Here is what this week looked like on paper.

Week 1

Here is a breakdown of what we will be working on.
Math- Math Mammoth- Daily. We decided to give this math curriculum a try after our internet friends over at Craft Knife talked about how much they like it. To be truthful, most of what we are doing right now with Emma is based off recommendations from Julie and her girls. So, thanks Julie for all your hard work!

Right now Emma does two math pages every day. So far, Emma is breezing through it. There are areas that we need to spend more time on, but all-in-all, she is moving right along with it.

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Yes, that is a bow hunter aiming at a horse. Hunter-Gatherers use to hunt and eat horse. 

History/Geography- Story of the World (SOTW)- 3x per week. We borrowed these audio books from the library back when we lived in Iowa and we all loved them. It wasn't until we started reading Craft Knife that I realized that the SOTW was an actually history curriculum. I finally took the plunge and bought the Mp3 download and the workbook. So far we are really enjoying it. We listen to the chapter on Monday then do a map worksheet, a coloring page, and Emma recaps what we have learned and I write it down. Then she draws a picture to go with it. Wednesdays (and really, every other day during the week), we read library books that pertain to that weeks chapter, then on Friday's we will do a project. We get to make cave paintings tomorrow! I'll try to take took pictures.

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Random photo- Field trip last week to the Paris Gibson Museum. 

Science- 1x per week. For science right now, we just had Emma choose 8 creatures from the animal kingdom. We will read about one critter per week and do activities as we see fit. She chose, woolly mammoth, piranha, painted bunting, black fox, kaprosuchus, piggy-back spider, red panda, and otter for this 8 week period.

Reading to Sydney
Reading a book to her friend Sydney.
(She records the reading then we share it with her friend via the internet). 

Reading- Daily. For those that don't know (or forgot) Emma is a bibliophile. No, that isn't a bad thing. She spends most of her day reading or listening to audio books. I have started to ask that she spend at least 30 minutes a day reading something from the library (from a specific list of books she has checked out), but for the most part, this is done without me having to say anything. If I had to guess, she probably reads at a 5th grade level or higher (if the age of the subject in her books is any indication). I will have her do one "book report" each week, but she really enjoys the sheet we use, so this assignment is more fun than work.

Part of her reading now includes poetry. I would like for her to memorize one or two poems over this 8 week period. If she can memorize (and retain for years afterwards!) this tongue twister, a poem is no problem. We are currently working on "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost. It's my favorite :0)

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I know your really just here for the pictures. 
This was our V-day desert while we played our favorite game, Ticket to Ride. 

Writing- Daily. Emma is always working on lists, so she is writing every day. We are going to start focusing more on her penmanship as well as the art of writing. We will be doing that by copying (she will copy lines from the poem she is memorizing each week), she will continue to write letters, she will write about her horse lessons. We also just ordered, Writing with Ease, to try out, but we probably won't start till week three.

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Random photo found on the camera.

Spelling/Grammer- We don't have anything planned this week or next, but in week three we will be giving, First Language Lessons, a try.

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Emma's parrot that she drew while looking at a picture. 

Art/Music- Sporadic. We have a few art guides that we will be following, but for now I am happy to let Emma do her thing with art. As for music, she really isn't super interested, so for now we will just listen to some random classical, jazz, blues, symphony, etc. CD's randomly throughout the week.

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Emma and her friend preforming their play. 

Homeschool Co-op- We started attending a weekly co-op that our friends manage and we are enjoying it. While we are not religious, we have enjoyed learning about the bible and science from a religious perspective. We have also started doing the Junior Master Horseman with a few of the other girls from the co-op, so it's really a fun day for us. Plus there are snacks and RECESS!

As I said, so far this week, Emma has really enjoyed it. I think it has helped keep me on track as well because it's day four for my classes and I have already completed all of my assignments. Usually, I am yelling at Jared and Emma to leave me alone on Sunday afternoon so I can hurry up and get the rest of my school work done. Feels good to have it done so early!

Well, I think that is more than enough for my first real post in a while. I hope all is well with everyone out there!

*As Jared has gone to bed already, I don't have anyone to proof-read this for me. So, my excuse for any bad grammar or disjointed thoughts is this- I spend all my brain power on my college classes and on Emma. You get whatever's left at the end of the day. Sorry!