Author: Kendra
• 12:00 AM
In my steadfast effort of trying to purchase my kids gifts that keep them away from electronics I stumbled upon a Lego book called Chain Reactions. I was pretty impressed with the ideas behind it & knew that at least one of my boys would build heavily off of the concepts. He's amazing like that, & his creativity with Lego Bricks seems to grow wider with each passing year.

I ended up ordering the book & decided that when it came I'd pop it up in the cupboard for a birthday gift for one of them, or an, "I really need cheering up because this has been the worst red letter day of my life!" You totally know what a red letter day is, right?! In our home we dub a day that was really rotten as a "Red Letter Day" & when they are that bad we make our best efforts to do something amazing so that we don't dwell too deeply on the ugly.

Only, I totally forgot about ordering the book & when two book packages came in the mail the other day the kids asked if they could open them so I said, "Sure!" I knew one was a missing school book, but I wasn't certain about the other. I figured I must have missed one on my list & now it was here. So imagine the look of shock on the kids faces when they ripped open the package & saw the words: LEGO.

The book comes with minimal lego presuming you'll own a few yourself to make the bigger chain reactions inside. It has instructions for making a variety of things I'd label as simple machines, & then differing ways you could use them. It even came with a few paper bits you'd need to make ramps & funnels, buckets & so forth.

Morgan made one of the bigger chain reactions:


After getting it going he's plotting ways to make it even better, of which I have no doubt he'll succeed with. In the mean time the younger one keeps asking the contraption questions like, "Will Mom let us play the Wii soon?" Funny, you know, the machine seems to give him a lot of false hope on that one!
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Author: Kendra
• 12:00 AM
 I realised after I shared how I prep for a week I left out prepping our guides for the week ahead. This year we have several guides from several companies: Winter Promise, Sonlight, & Bookshark. With WP this year we're only using the Language Arts at this time, so that guide doesn't need much prepping. I like to peek at my schedule as I copy down what pages we're doing so I know what topics will be covered, but aside from that it's very open & go.

The other two guides take a little more prep time & I generally prep them at the same time I'm putting my planning sheet for the week in my planner. It doesn't take more then five minutes to deal with either. First off, I tend to take the note sections from my guides & run off copies. My objective is not to keep a neat set for selling, nope. Rather, I use one copy to write on for one child & then use the fresh guide to write in with the next one. This allows all my notes per child to be in their own guides. I can easily reference back to a previous one if needed, but in general what I do with one child won't always be identical with the other.

Once I have those in my planner I grab a pack of highlighters & go to town. I highlight the vocabulary words in orange, retention/discussion questions in yellow, mapping & timeline information is in green, history & geography notes are in purple, read aloud notes are in yellow, & readers are in pink. I generally try to use 1 colour per thing so I need to remove one of my yellows not that I have a new blue highlighter.

Each week I just flag where we are with a post-it note & flip to it after readings are done. It doesn't matter if I was present for the reading or not. One big objective this year for the kids is to learn to retain more information then just what they find interesting in order to help them process the information & apply that knowledge to other things like tests.

We've never been big test takers here, but as Morgan gets older testing is essential for a variety of reasons. This year we're choosing to focus on test taking, in a semi-relaxed atmosphere. I have one child who gets giddy with excitement over taking a test because his confidence is sky high in the knowledge that he can & will succeed. The other one would prefer to curl up in a ball & pretend tests don't exist. This isn't because he doesn't know the information, but he struggles with the idea of failure.

In either case, discussing the information in our guides helps them process what we've heard. It can help start discussions for things we might not have otherwise thought of. This year Morgan is using Story Of The World Vols. 2-4, there are many discussion questions in the guide we're using & often those questions will prep him for the test that accompanies the chapters. As an aside, the tests are not scheduled with the curriculum we are using, they are something we've opted to add in.

Now, if you've used the notes & questions in your guide & felt overwhelmed or frustrated because maybe your kids gave one word answers or less then stellar answers, take heart. I always find that at the start of the year answers are... well, lame. In fact I'm not above saying to my kids, "That's lame." or, "I think you can do better then that."

We're at the 4 week mark in our term & when I ask the questions after readings I'm finding that the answers mirror very well the pre-printed answers. My objective is not to have children who can spout back textbook answers, but within their answers they hit very closely on what's written in my guide.

I do not have my children write the answers down, I simply ask them aloud & they answer them aloud. With Jayden moving off on his own now this was especially important to me that we use the guides in his Core. He's new to the whole "doing so much on his own" thing & I didn't want him to even feel tempted to skip a bit here or there & attempt to "catch up" later without first discussing it with me. He went from needing a bit of coaxing to get those answers out of him in Week 1 to not only giving the appropriate answers, but expanding further. I love this, not only because it tells me he's grasped the material but this is an area the my boy can, at times, struggle in.  His abilities often outweigh his own knowledge. Meaning he's capable of reading something, but that doesn't always mean he's grasped the content.

Another thing I love about marking my guides like this is that it makes it super simple to locate exactly what we're mapping. Somedays we can have zip & then other days we can have a lot. In the newer Sonlight Guides, & Bookshark Guides, you get a lovely laminated map that expands out. Each map is labeled so the child can use mapping skills to locate places on the map. We take it a step farther & after they locate it on the small map they transfer it to the big map. My kids love geography so this is something they've been known to sulk about if it's a day with no mapping.

It just really helps me feel I'm getting the most out of our curriculum this way!
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Author: Kendra
• 12:00 PM
This week was much calmer then last, in fact it almost felt like an end of term week as we had a lot of books & projects that needed wrapping up which we dedicated our attention too.  We still have a few projects that are lingering which we'll wrap up in the coming week.

It was nice to wrap up what we did though & shelf some books we've been reading for a while! We do enjoy a slower pace with some books, but I think eventually you reach the point where you either have to wrap a book up or feel like you'll never finish reading it. 

We also enjoyed some lovely weather this past week, & endured some not quite so lovely weather too. Summer was most certainly fighting to stay while autumn was battling to arrive. Needless to say it rolled in like a lion!

We're still using the same things for Bible this week. We're into Matthew 6 with our 90 day Devotions. The kids are up to Genesis 27 or 28 this week with reading through the OT. Jayden did most of the reading to us from Genesis this week which was fun to hear. Our character trait this week was Determination. Poetry was much more interesting this week, I'm telling you last week each time I finished the kids would say, "What? I could have done better!" Which resulted in some poem quoting or making up on the spot, but this week they were happier with the selections. 

Jayden remained on reviewing his current math lesson again for another week. He's finally okay with the concept & built up the confidence so he should advance forward in the coming week. I just really wanted to be sure he had the former lesson down pat because it's such a huge lesson in the grand scheme of things.

Morgan moved forward with area & circumference of circles. Only one of those is somewhat new to him as he's previously learned the other. I was a little surprised to see frustration for him with this lesson considering that, especially as he was completely capable of explaining the formula for what he was doing! Upon checking over his work I quickly discovered it was a rough week with his SSS. It's not abnormal to have weeks where his vision issues are more exasperated then others. After a quick chat with Mr S, & knowing our boy knows his math facts & as he knew the formula, we told him to use the calculator to complete the worksheet sections we had him doing. Our boy was horrified by the thought.

The whole SSS thing is equal parts a physical problem as much as it can also be a mental hurdle at times. Physically he was struggling to convert the numbers down to paper properly, & when he did have them right he'd doubt himself & mix them up. This happens from time to time. By offering him the help of the calculator he felt slightly defeated at first that he couldn't physically overcome the burden this week. However, we assured him we wouldn't have permitted him the help if he couldn't have told us the formula or didn't know his math facts. It rallied him.

Both kids are still loving the geography. Jayden was ga-ga that he had New York this week. I have no idea why he was so keen for it, but he was. He uses the books in the pictures above to fill out the information needed on Monday; Tuesday - Thursday it's just drawing & labelling.  Morgan had 3 more European countries this week. 

New workbooks this week for LA, which they were excited about. Not that it looks like a workbook because we bought the digital format & print it ourselves, that allows us to print it on blue paper for Morgan. They covered articles this week: the words, not writing articles for the paper. Ha, now I've semi-confused myself! They both had writing this week, but have a few projects overlapping into next week. 

We wrapped up both Ancient Job books. The Archer book {bottom} we'd started last year & were reading at a lovely slow pace. We did enjoy it, but it was an absolute delight to finally wrap that book up. As it turns out, there's not a whole lot of jobs we'd like to have in the middle ages, all though if we could just try our hands at a few for a day we'd be good. You know, if we can avoid the whole Black Death thing & all.

Jayden & I started the Ballplayers book this year to go along with his history on the Inca & Mayan nations of peoples. It was really a lovely read & tied in so beautifully with the many other books we were reading from, but wowie some of those crazy Mayan words are hard to read! My boy was most attentive to the zoo jobs, big surprise there! He also found some of the other jobs interesting, & some downright horrifying. Or maybe it was the culture itself such as being punished for wearing clothing above your station...

Jayden & I wrapped up Exploration & Conquest this week, another longer picture book written by the same authors of the many others we've read thus far this year. He gasped many times over when we flipped pages & he saw pictures of things we'd been reading in other books. In fact, at one point he snatched the book out of my hand in his excitement & went racing off to find Morgan to show him the Mayan city we'd been reading about. The picture was more of an arial view which just enthralled him.

We also wrapped up Pedro's Journal. It was an interesting read, lighter then I Sailed With Columbus & based on a real journal. Both books mentioned many of the same things which was interesting. I Sailed With Columbus was also suppose to be told by a ship's boy, all though he stayed behind with the men on an island, where as Pedro returned with Columbus & was never seen again.

I hadn't intended to start our new read aloud Myles Standish, but Jayden was very very keen & on Thursday, despite his eagerness to get to the park, jumped up & found the book on the shelf laid it down beside me & pointed out I hadn't read it yet. It's a non-fiction telling of many things that happened in that time frame & even tells a bit of the reformation. We're only halfway through the first chapter, but he loves it. I'm not surprised, he's my non-fiction reader!

He'll wrap up A Lion To Guard Us next week. He's not sure if he likes the book or not, which I'm a bit surprised about, but I think he's looking for a book with a LOT of action in it. We may take a while to find one he won't put down. He is, however, very relieved this book doesn't have another language thrown into the mix.

We had more readings in Kingfisher this week then Story Of The World, but perhaps that's because of a glitch in our guide which had us rereading a section in Kingfisher we'd previously read?! Weirdly enough I read it again anyway. We're still moving slowly through Our Island Story & enjoying it. Morgan wrapped up Otto this week & was very keen to discuss it for some time after doing so, clearly a big hit with him. We'll start 2 new books next week & finally be at a point where we aren't adding anything in aside from our daily dose of OIS.

Jayde filled in a couple of notebooking pages. They are pretty simple, but I like that he has something to mark that he's read up or wrapped up a historical figure or time period. He was suppose to write his name in Mayan this week as well, but the page has gone missing! I need to find it so he can tackle that next week.

Morgan's new timeline book arrived so he'll stick down things in there in the coming week. He's pretty excited about it. He hasn't been doing notebooking at this point, & I'm okay with it for now. I may have him write a little bit about someone from our main study when we move from one period to another. We'll see.

Both kids were together this week for science. Don't laugh, but we've, once again, shelved General Science. Mr S was as unimpressed as I have been in the past. So I quickly ordered Level 3 Chem from Noeo for Morgan & as we awaited for his own books to arrive he just joined in on Level 2. Level 2 is still jam packed with a lot of information. They had a variety of words to define & illustrate this week, & will have labs on the weekend with Mr S.

The Level 3 guide showed up late this week, but now we need the first book to show up as well. In the mean time he gleans from the Level 2 lessons & has been enjoying hearing readings from Chemical Chaos. I'm not at all worried about it as when Level 3 comes we'll just be doing the Level 2 & 3 readings together anyway.

Not pictured:

Morgan had his own reader this week; he was behind a bit because first the book wasn't available for him on blue paper & then once it was the math issue was leaving him a limp noodle without enough brain power left for reading. Giving him the math aid really helped clear that up which brought a smile back to his face.

We met up with our Home Ed group at the park this week for a play. The kids were delighted having missed our the week previous.

The boys also came along to help measure some things for Nana's new abode, she'll be moving in very close to us sometime next month if all goes well with the building process. It was lovely to check out her new place, meet a few friends that will be living in the same area with her, & help her get measurements for various upcoming needs. We also gave her a quick tour of our very tiny town so she'd know where things were within close range of her new home.

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Author: Kendra
• 10:41 AM

I get asked a lot about how I plan our weeks out in order that we accomplish so much. I always find the question a wee bit intimidating because for a start, it's not about how much a person accomplishes as much as it's about the content of what they accomplish. I can buzz through an entire schedule of stuff in a week, but if my kids walk away with no knowledge of what we learned then it was a waste of time & effort. I also suspect if you were to write out what you did each week you might discover you do/did more then you give yourself credit for. Give it a go & see!

Our planning tends to start way back over the summer holidays, if not sooner in the tail ends of the final terms of school. I keep notes in my planner all year long of what my goals & intentions for the coming school year are. This makes selecting curriculum a lot more simple. If I know I want my eldest to work on his expository writing skills then I need to pick a curriculum with that focus over creative writing. If I want a child to focus on World History then I can greatly reduce the choices out there.

From there I tend to keep a running file in Numbers/Excel which breaks our year down by terms. We tend to work in 10 week terms with 9 fully loaded academic weeks. The 10th week is left for catching up on projects or areas we've slipped behind in for any reasons. If we're on track {we're never always on track with every subject} then we use that spare time for reviews, extra projects, & so forth.

Most curriculum is based on a US 36 week school schedule & because we tend to school in 10 week sessions that's where the 9 week break down comes from. Incase you were wondering. We do occasionally end up with an 8 or 9 week only term, which is usually the last one of the year, but only if the work is completed!

This means by the time the actual planning of a week rolls around it's a painless 5 minute or less to get things on the schedule, printed, & into my planner for the week ahead. I make a planning sheet like the one above for each child. It's slipped into their section in my planner behind which I'll find all the notes from their given curriculum for the week ahead. I have a pocket at the front of each child's section which hold timeline figures or notebooking pages so they know where to easily locate them.

This year the kids asked to just have a copy of the sheet for their own planners which works too. They trim the outside box & glue it into their Lego Planners. They love the ease of this, all though there are blank places on the planners such as for filling in what math pages will be accomplished on which days of the week.

It's really that simple! Some of our lessons take longer then others, & some of our school days are also longer then others. We also only schedule a 4 day academic week, leaving our final day for catching up, socialising, outings, & so forth. Some weeks this means we do 4 solid days in a row & then go out, other weeks we might do 3 full days & 2 half-days. It simply depends upon what's on the calendar for the outings & events for the week.
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Author: Kendra
• 11:50 AM
Another school week wrapped up in our home. It was suppose to be a little quieter & calmer of a week for us, but you know I've learned that stating that out loud is like praying for patience. You'll have to endure the trials in order to obtain the desire. Needless to say we had a semi-crazy week, but the outcome was all good.

We had our biennial meeting with the state moderator in regards to homechooling, we met via Skype this time which was new for all involved. The meeting went well despite the new technology & the kids thought it pretty cool that I only made them help tidy up one area of the house instead of worrying about the whole thing. This allowed them to get their normal studies done & do chores in their normal time & fashion. A win for all of us.

We used a portion of each of these books this week. Jayden was not impressed with much of the poetry this week, he found many of the bird poems, "a little bit weird, don't you think?" We're using the 90 Days in Matthew Daily in place of the NT reading in our IG right now. We'll move back to the NT reading from the IG as soon as we finish the devotional. Through The Bible Devotions matches up well with the OT reading the kids are doing via the IG so we read the devotional that matches up to what they are reading for the week. We weren't as regular with the Memory Box this week as we normally are.

These are the lovely Character Trait books we're using. I printed out Character Traits For Kids in full before school started & we're just working through one trait a week as they are laid to follow early US history. The one behind it is Portraits Of Integrity. It's not laid out in the same fashion, but rather with character traits in alphabetical order. I was out of paper at the time so I didn't print it out in full yet, but really need to. Instead I've just printed out the trait we need each week. Last week we learned about Courage.

We progressed another 4 lessons in spelling covering some new word patterns. They had no issue with most of the words on their lists which delighted them to no end. They did have to differentiate between a couple of similar sounds that were spelled differently though so it wasn't a futile lesson by any means.

We finished the 2nd language arts workbook on grammar focus, which meant mostly a review work. They didn't due too badly with it, & it seemed a timely place for a review for them to gauge how things were going. They have 2 more workbooks to go before moving into the next level. The next level pretty much repeats what was learned in this one, but that's okay.

Jayden started Writing Rhetoric this week, he was so very very excited about it. The only complaint I have, thus far, is that the lines in the book for the student to write on aren't conducive with the method of handwriting we've been using. I also find that at this stage if he doesn't have the specific lines we've been using {HWOT} he's less likely to write neatly. I had him do his dictation on our HWOT paper & we cut & affixed it into the book. At the end of the week he had to rewrite a fable that we'd read with a mouse being the largest character. His new story was entitled: The Mouse & The Silverfish. Yeah, this kid totally lives in Australia & cherishes the home library. I'll share his written work later.

Morgan was suppose to use another level of Writing Rhetoric & we'd even gone so far as to purchase it.. prior to his last specialist appointment. The book requires: reading, copywork, dictation, writing. He's not suppose to do the two middle things in order to allow his brain to concentrate on the more important things like writing & reading. While we could have used the programme without those middle two areas being covered it somewhat diminishes the value of the lessons. So we decided to pull out Writing With Skill earlier then intended this year. Neither of us minded, but he decided, two days in, he'd like to start at the beginning of the book again. I was a bit surprised by the request, but agreed that starting on Monday that's what we'll do.

Yes, I'm fully aware that Rush is not short for Russia, I've even told the child that a few times this week...nor is FL short for Finland. However, I did love his sketches in geography this week! His focus was on Russia, but the objective of the curriculum is that they continue drawing & labeing previous countries/states.

Jayden is covering the New England area still & opted for an extra large drawing of some of those tiny little states. He was frustrated with drawing Vermont & New Hampshire {yes I'm aware he's got the wrong letter on top...} in their smaller fashions.

Jayden's focus in history is still on early Exploration. They've finally found land in Pedro's Journal, & we're learning what the men did once they found land. He's enjoying the new reader this week, all though was seriously put out by the way one of the characters treats the children. It was humours that when I asked him a question about the book he answered it & then flopped down in a chair & went on a long tirade about how mean this woman is because "she actually threw a dish at one of the children!"

We wrapped up Walk The World's Rim, & added another timeline figure to his notebook. He thoroughly enjoyed the book! I'm having him keep a writer's response type journal for books read this year. Nothing fancy, just a couple of sentences about the books. The ones he reads on his own use one type of report, where as the ones we read together use a differing one. He had to give an opinion or something he learned from this particular book & I was highly impressed with what he came up with.

Morgan had a lot of lovely places to add to his markable map, he was overjoyed! We mark what we read about after locating it on the map included with our guide. This year they each have their own markable map because they both love using them so much. Jayden was a little sad he only had a couple of places to mark.

Morgan's focus is coming towards the end of the middle ages, all though we still have a couple of weeks before the change into renaissance takes place. We enjoyed all of the books above as well as Our Island Story. We've finally reached the point in our studies where our books are all starting to meet together, which has been exciting to see. Morgan is listening ti Otto of The Silver Hand on his own, we listen to SOTW together per his request, & I read Kingfisher to him because there's just no way I'm copying that book on blue paper right now! We're nearly at the end of Archers & Alchemists which has been a long time coming, making it very exciting.  The Great & Terrible Quest is his current read aloud & we're absolutely loving that book.

He also had a stack of timeline figures, but his timeline book is taking it's sweet time about arriving. Alas, he coloured them in & we've tucked them away until it arrives. Maybe this coming week?

Both boys did science. Once again our attempts with General Science are short lived. It's not the topic or the depth of the book that's the problem, our boy had no issue with the lessons, it's that we as parents are just not content with some of the content. So we've moved Morgan into Chem 3 via Noeo science putting them both in the same content but on their own levels. I have no qualms with them sitting in on each others lessons & taking what they can for them.

Morgan's books & guide aren't here yet, but thankfully the samples allowed us to get started which was lovely. He also sat in on Jayde's lessons which were readings from the above book. They both had a few words to define which they did. Morgan does his via fillable notebooking pages on the computer where as Jayden's are done by hand. They both illustrate the words as desired. Labs will happen on the weekend.

And that pretty much sums up our week. We had our meeting this week when our group would normally meet so we didn't meet up with friends much to the kids horror. There was a lot of robotic programming happening, and creative play as well.

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Author: Kendra
• 5:27 PM
It was another Science Lab Sunday around here.. the day in which Mr S rounds the kids up & all experiments from the week are performed.  Jayden had 3 this weekend, with another one from this coming week due next weekend!

I'm really loving the Noeo Science that he's using, but some weeks are very heavy on the experiment side. Not a huge issue because that's what he loves the most.

At this point all his experiments are coming from the book Adventures With Atoms & Molecules. I'm not sure if it's available elsewhere, but you can certainly obtain it from Noeo Science. We purchased ours second hand in Australia.

Jayden's experiments all echoed the molecule information we studied this week, & oddly enough one of Morgan's experiments was identical to Jayden's. Which turns out to be a great thing, because I only managed to snap one photo before I was needed elsewhere.

Jayden's first experiment was all about seeing if the molecules in essence was small enough to work through a tied balloon. His hypothesis was right in that he would be able to smell it, but his reasoning was a little skewed. We don't have vanilla essence on hand so they subbed with peppermint, he knew peppermint has a strong smell & that's what he based his idea on.

His second experiment needed food colouring. Oh how I loathe the stuff! We rarely use it aside form science stuff! We have the squeeze bottle type in there, but someone had chucked it to the top shelf of the pantry so he grabbed he bottle that opens like essence. That did not end very well for his shirt. It didn't end well for his experiment either because his drop turned into a tablespoon! I pulled out the squeeze bottles & they redid the experiment with the expected results.

Mr S is still new at this whole teaching thing without being run off by the kids. Yep, it really happened the one, & only time, he tried to sub for me. Last week he realised that teaching two kids, totally different sciences, was a challenge & I suggested he teach one at a time from the start of an experiment to the completion of the lab reports. I offered to help oversee the filling in of lab reports if needed. Mr S called one child in, they did all the experiments & then when he called the second child in I heard a roar of laughter. Yep, this time they were doing the exact same experiment! I have on idea why, but they are recording the experiment they were doing.

They did it once & then repeated it for the sole purpose of recording it. I think it was incase Morgan needed to refer back to it for data information while Mr S was at work. Last week we sent him an SOS while he was in a meeting to confirm data from our first Science Lab Sundays! It beats the time we sent him a horribly funny photo & he burst out laughing so that everyone wanted to know what was so amusing & then he got stuck sharing the photo with everyone. The office replied with an office selfie...

As for the experiment itself it was seeing if molecules move faster or slower in hot water vs cold water. Jayden presumed hot water would make them move faster, but he had no logical reason for it. Morgan, on the other hand suggested that if it's easier for him to get out of bed or do chores when he's warm vs when he's cold, then it stands to reason that molecules would move faster in warm water.

He even went so far, in his non-pictured lab report, to point out the connection between boiling water in which you can visibly see the water bouncing around which also aided him in his hypothesis. I was actually impressed with the entire theory he laid out.

Jayden only filled in one lab-report today & will complete the rest during the week. His was based on the first experiment in which he wanted to know if molecules were small enough to escape the closed wall of a balloon. He was a little disappointed that they escaped, but did not create a huge bang. In the mean time, the rest of us took pure delight in his notebooking picture. I absolutely love looking at the sketches this kid does!

Noeo Chem 2; Apologia General Science
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Author: Kendra
• 4:05 PM
Week 2 is now officially under our belts. We had a choppy week on our first week back so we were a bit nervous heading into week 2, but a quick meeting resolved most of our problems & everyone buckled down to business.

We had a few minor interruptions to the week with a Dr's appointment on Friday & a birthday on Tuesday, but we did school both days regardless. I know, I hear you, many people take off for birthdays & we have in the past but considering my kids were building with lego most of the day I figured they could listen to me read books to them at the same time.

We had an unexpected interruption on Wednesday with having to go into town & get a pair of glasses repaired & another pair adjusted to stop falling off my face. I had the kids take books with them because I knew we'd either be in & out or waiting forever. We had a mild wait, & a huge laugh listening to an elderly gentlemen attempt to explain how & why his glasses were so incredibly mangled. I'm guessing it's an often occurrence because they simply walked into the back room popped his lenses out & slipped them into new frames. Gotta love the insurance Eyelines offers on their glasses, totally worth it!

The memory box was back in use this week. It was idle all summer & most of Term 4, so I freshened it up on the weekend & prepared it for use. We had a few things that needed working on & I knew the quickest way for that to happen was to slip them in the daily section. We're not working on any new verses or poetry right now, but we'll be adding some in soon. Our taps are looking pretty shabby these days, aren't they?

We started the year reading our 90 Devotions from Matthew book, a beautiful devotional on many levels, but especially leading up to Easter. We discussed using it annually at the start of the year for that very reason. We're not into the bunny or all that goes with it, so this is a lovely way to keep our focus.

Still working our way through Favourite Poems Old & New. We had a few really funny ones this week about chickens & ducks, but there was an equally lovely one about ducks that I kept quoting bits of until someone said if they heard the poem again they might scream.

Geography is reasonably light this year with the focus being more on recognising countries, drawing them, & labelling them. Mondays are the longest with the curriculum in which you fill in a few details. This particular week Morgan had 3 countries & Jayden had 2 states. So far they are still enjoying it, all though Morgan commented that our Atlas is out of date & doesn't have the correct population count in it for some countries anymore. Google to the recuse.

The kids are reading from the OT & made it through Genesis 11 this week. They are following a scheduled in one of our SL IGs & it's been fun to sit back & let them read to me. I was worried about Morgan coping with it due to the white pages, but he found using a light blue overlay changes the colour of the page without making it too dark. Hooray!

Morgan wrapped up some science notebook pages that were keeping us from progressing. The notebooking aspect is a bit fiddly, but more so for him as he needs to record all his answers with Dragon, print them out & then glue them into his notebook. He became frustrated with a table he was filling in because his slips of paper turned out to be too long for the available area. I wonder if Apologia ever considered an editable pdf of their nifty journal...

Jayden's still doing well with Noeo Chem 2. Lots of words to define on Tuesday, okay not heaps, but 4. He had some pretty heavy duty words, & when I read the final section to him on Friday I was able to leave gaps in what we were reading so he could fill in the missing words. I loved hearing that knowing he was grasping all that we were doing. The notebooking pages is when I made.

Tuesday someone turned 14. Where did the time go?! He was delighted with his gifts & enjoyed the well wishes he received from across the state & ocean. Even ended up with a homemade card in the mail which delighted him to no end.

The weather is iffy lately, but the guys were keen to try out the new 2-way radios to see how far apart they could be & still use them. We headed down to the beach after a bit of school on Tuesday & I told them to start walking in opposite directions. Yeah, I totally forgot the 2-ways could reach up to 25 miles apart in optimal conditions. The dog & I were scavenging in tide pools when the dog started going nuts whining at me to move on. I didn't give him much heed but when he started pacing I looked up to see what was going on & realised he was torn about which direction to go because both kids were completely out of sight for as far as I could see. I told the dog to find one child while I went off in search of the other. On the bright side, the kids were pretty impressed with how far they made it before I pulled them back in!

Adjectives, prepositions, & prepositional phrases, Oh my! The kids totally rocked grammar this week, which doesn't really surprise me as they are familiar with the parts of speech. It's left me deep in thought about which way to go when they finish up the course they are on which should happen by the end of the Term. Either way, they are still really enjoying the LA from WP & enjoyed a nifty MadLib type exercises this week.

There was a lot of robotic building happening. Jayde has never shown much interest in it before, but was really keen to pull out the Wee-Do Lego one miserable afternoon while Morgan was attempting to perfect the programming of his own robotic lego. Im not sure it was cold enough for the lama hair sweater, but we did have a really icy morning this week. Autumn is quickly approaching.

Jayde was flying along with math & suddenly hit a brick wall last week. I decided to stop right there & give him time to pause. He did fantastic on what he was needing review time with until his brother bounced into the room & informed us all that he had a few new jokes to test on us. Love the bump on Jayde's wrist? He has a bug bite that just won't heal. I finally had him put some homemade salve on it last night.

Morgan's stack of books for history this week. We've enjoyed them all thus far. The bottom is read as scheduled, just a couple of pages here & there, but we really enjoy it. Medieval Medicine & The Plague...yeah, I dunno. What we learned about the Black Plague in that book was remarkable, but the pictures, on man the pictures! Morgan could not look at them, & I confess some were downright awful. People being sick, blood letting, you get the point, right? The book is informative, but I'd preview before using. We're still working away at Arches & Alchemists, oddly enough we read about "Dr" type jobs in there too in the same week. He's loving Otto Of The Sliver Hand which he's reading on his own, or listening to I should clarify.

We're reading The Great & Terrible Quest together & enjoying is very very much. We've had a really hard time putting it down, which is exactly what we needed!  Red Hugh wasn't as easy to get into & it was so nice to have something we both wanted to spend hours reading.

SOTW is also being used as scheduled in our guide. It's been fun seeing how some of the stories match up or overlap with what we're reading in Our Island Story. It's amazing, & incredibly sad at times too, what some people did in an attempt to have power & control over others.

Jayden & I enjoyed this stack of books this week. We've added in Native Homes & Ballplayers & Bone Setters. We read all of Native homes this week, he's still really smitten by the Pablo homes, we should have another week or so to go of the Ancient Jobs book. He was unimpressed that one of the lovely dishes they use to eat consisted of frogs & chillies. For my "can't handle spicy food" it was more then he wanted to think about.

Pedro's Journal & Walk The Worlds Rim are both scheduled in his core. Having said that he's so enjoyed the later that he's begged off more chapters a few days in a row. It really is a great read, & we're enjoying it muchly, I'm curious to see where it will go from where we are because the main character has some maturing to do before the book will end.

Pedro is a boy on Columbus' ship & is written in diary/journal format. It's a very quick read & reminds me a bit of the book I Sailed With Columbus but in simpler text. Pedro is more about the journey where as I Sailed... is about the entire adventure & the truth in how some of the native peoples were treated as well as some of the peoples on the boat.

We also listened to Adventure In Odyssey's For God & Country which had a story about Columbus on there as well. I was a little disappointed with the sugar coating of that version compared to the books I've mentioned above, but it was a fun story & great to hear differing perspectives of history as well.

Morgan spent a good portion of his week building this robot & then programming it to do a variety of things. At one point I heard shouts of, "Ow! Cut it out!" & wondered if the boys were having a skirmish only to walk in & discover the robot was shooting little balls at him. Apparently that wasn't exactly what he'd meant to tell it to do.

Jayden is still working on his notebooking page for the locations of the Native American Tribes. We're not filling it in in any particular order. I just tell him to select one or two each week & he colours them in & labels them. I've had to trace over his handwriting in pen because sometimes we can't see!  I did notice that generally he's picking the areas we are studying about. He'll probably work on this for another week or two. It's part of the American Story Notebooking pages available in E-Format over at Winter Promise.

Without ranting too much, all though I reserve that right considering this is my blog, I was a lot unhappy with the fact that Leif Ericson was only glossed over in the history he was doing this year. It's one reason why we added in some of the books we added in & dropped off some of the others. Either way, we read about Leif Ericson & his contribution to America's history. I pulled out the Viking notebooking page from the same pack the Native American tribe paper came from & he cracked the code & coloured in the viking.

He also add Vespucci to his timeline along with Ericson & finally Columbus. The timeline pieces for Vesupcci & Ericson were ones I printed out of our HSITW Timeline Cd, but Columbus came from his timeline pack. I was really disappointed with the {or lack of} representation of each of these men, but I'm grateful we had the books on hand to rectify the situation.

Morgan was suppose to add a few men to his own timeline book, but it hasn't arrived in the mail yet. Here's hoping it shows up bright & early Monday morning! He's pretty eager to dig into it as he has a few figures he could have added by now.

There's more...

We also continued with spelling this week, someone was delighted to be back at the top of his game with spelling again this week. He was a little annoyed with himself for getting so many wrong & not scoring his normal. It was the inspiration he needed to pick up the pace again. With Sequential Spelling it's like having a test everyday, but as the words build off of each other it's very possible to score correctly if you follow the clues & study the words you missed the day prior.

We also met up with our local group at the beach this week, or the park depending on which half you wanted to be in. It was chilly when we left our house so we didn't go with the intention of getting wet, not sure if the kids regretted that in the end of not as they were pretty hot after all those scooter tricks.

After reading in the Ancient Jobs book about working on Tapestries we looked up The Bayeux Tapestry, wow, there was a great number of facts in the book we'd read about this piece of work.

Jayden finished off his reader The Corn Grows Ripe & is tickled pink to be moving into something else which he hopes is more exciting & not just about the day to day life of living in MesoAmerican times.
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