May 24, 2009

A Year in Review

Homeschooling "seems" to be an easier way to school. There are times I could flog myself for saying that! But for the most part hanging out on the couches reading a good book together doesn't seem all that hard. Of course, it's not all couch-work. We do have our share of desk-work, but when I consider that there are no couches in traditional classrooms I have one good reason to count my homeschooling blessings. Or at least the kids do. ;)

There is also the issue of time spent. No homeschooling family has escaped the question of how we can get by with so few hours compared to traditional schooling. The simple answer is that it takes less time to teach a couple of children to their precise level of learning, than it does to teach 25 children to one or two levels.

However, at the end of the school year I am always torn between feeling like throwing a party for the freedom of summer!!!! and stressing, because I hope we have accomplished enough this particular year.

Friday was our last day of school, and in light of my fear - did we get enough done? - I decided make a list this year. What did we accomplish anyway? I keep a record book for each of our 180 days, but I've never gone back and made one complete list at the end.

So here goes - my list for our little homeschool for the 2008-2009 school year:

Old Testament - Genesis, Daniel Ch 1-6
New Testament - Acts, John

This Country of Ours by HE Marshall, Chapters 29 - 63 (1636 to 1782)
George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster
Poor Richard by James Daugherty
Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober
Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin
Corresponded history readings with a time line
Current Events Daily

Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling
Pictures of the Day
Weekly Map Drills

Exploring Creation With Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day by Jeannie Fulbright
Nature Study



Various Poetry readings daily

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
short works:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

Lizzie: Simply Grammar

Understanding Writing, Level 4 and 5 (Descriptive writing, narrative writing, summaries, outlines.)

The Kind Moon by Sarah Teasdale
Preamble to the Constitution
Paul Revere's Ride (first 3 stanzas)
Psalm 1
Little Things by Julie Fletcher Carney
Psalm 23

Copywork / Handwriting
Daily Copywork
Lizzie and Mary: Cursive Instruction

Mitchell: TATRAS, Explode the Code
Mary: HeadSprout
Gracie: started Learn to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Explode the Code

Weekly From Copywork


Art Appreciation
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) Florentine Renaissance
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) German Romantic
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) Dutch Post-Impressionist

Composer Study
Johann Sebastain Bach (1730) (Baroque)
Franz Liszt (1855) (Early Romantic)
Gustav Mahler (1895) (Late Romantic)

Wire Sculpture
Basket Weaving
Mini Scrapbook
Soap Making
Homemade Bows and Arrows
Cooking: Cheese Making, dough making
Marshmallow Guns

The Drinking Gourd
My Grandfather's Clock
The Old Oaken Bucket

Shout to the North
All the Way My Savior Leads Me (Fanny Crosby)
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (by Bach)
Jesus Shall Reign (Isaac Watts)
A Mighty Fortress is our God (by Martin Luther) Day by Day (Karolina W. Sandell-Berg)
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

120 minutes/week Mitchell: Baseball
Ronnie, Lizzie and Britany: Soccer

Western NC Nature Reserve
Williamsburg, VA
Yorktown, VA
Jamestown, VA
WCQR 88.3 Christian Radio Station
Hands On Museum Squid Dissection and Hissing Cockroach Program
Appalachian Caverns
Tri-Cities Airport
Intercity Ballet presentation of the Nutcracker
National Gingerbread House Competition
Production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"
McCain Presidential Campaign Rally
Food City Grocery Store
Rocky Mount Living History Museum
Appalachian museum
Blueberry Picking
Bays Mountain Nature Preserve
Lizzie and Ronnie: Niagara Falls


Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
Sarah Whitcher's story by Elizabeth Yates
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz and Margot Tomes

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
The Last Battle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Little Britches series by Ralph Moody:
Little Britches
Man of the Family
Mary Emma & Company
The Fields of Home
Shaking the Nickel Bush
Dry Divide
The Home Ranch
Horse of a Different Color
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
Flushed by by Carl Hiaasen
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale turns out, we accomplish a lot! :) Big Smiles! Now I can celebrate freely!

May 22, 2009

Final Day of Coop For the Year

At the final Fourth-Friday Coop of the year we made Marshmallow Guns! They were pretty easy to make and the kids had a great time playing with them.

Alli had a little trouble figuring out how to use her gun. She kept sucking in her breath instead of expelling it, and her marshmallow kept flying into her mouth!

The big kids started a war. For the most part it was everyone else against Jessie!

After coop, we all stayed around for a bar-b-que. We each cooked up our own meat, and brought a side dish to share.

Then some of the kids played football.

When we finally decided to call it a day, we realized that we had been there for 8 hours or so! Of course, the kids said stuff like, "Awe! Why do we have to leave already!?"

May 20, 2009

Mama's Shawl

We've mentioned before that we are in charge of teaching and coordinating the handicraft at our coop. In September we took on the task of teaching the moms and kids of the coop to knit. Although I had taken knitting classes more than ten years prior, I had never finished a single project. It took some brushing up, a visit to grandma's house, and quite a bit of help from Britany, but in the end I got my basic facts straight and taught everyone what I had learned.

I really enjoyed knitting this time around, so I kept at it though the winter. I finished my first scarf sometime in January, and then finally this weekend, I finish my first shawl. (The weather got cold on us, which was motivating.) Anyway, everyone else in the family gets to show off their accomplishments on this blog, so I though I would too this time! :)

May 19, 2009

Current Events

During school we get on the computer to read current events, to see what's going on in the world. We look at Student News Daily, The Big Picture, and sometimes we look at Time for Kids.

Whenever we read about something online, we map the location on our map.

Story Time

by Lizzie
During story time we all do different activities. Each day we pick a new activity to do. We have a lot of choices. Britany and I normally prefer to color or stamp. Sometimes the little girls will play a computer game so they won't distract us, but it doesn't always work. Ronnie and Mary prefer to just sit and listen. Mitchell does unique things with wire and sometimes paper. It's really fun, but we do have to pay attention.

Gracie (above) and Alli (below) playing the Zoboomafoo Creature Quest ABC Animal Adventure.

Teacher's pet. ;)

Mary thinks the best thing about homeschooling is learning while on the couch. :)

Mitchell wire sculpting.

The little girls are drinking tea. Frequently in the winter we make a hot tea to drink during story time.

May 14, 2009

Natural Tunnel State Park

We started out our visit to the Natural Tunnel State Park by having a picnic lunch with friends.

Then we headed down the trail to the creek.
The ranger showed us how to find creatures in the creek.

Then we looked at what we collected.

After that we walked down the path to the Natural Tunnel. The railroad put tracks right through it.

On the other side of the canyon the railroad blasted a hole because they couldn't turn so sharp.
Then we road the chair lift up to the top again.

Lastly, we went to see the block house replica and view a short video about how settlers used block houses to protect themselves when they moved West.
It was a very fun day!

May 1, 2009

White's Mill

Ronnie - We went to White's Mill in Abington, Virginia for a field trip. We went on a hike and were shown the river and mill pond that used to power the mill. When we got back from the hike, we went inside of the mill and saw all of the milling equipment. The stones that were in the flour mill weighed over 1000 pounds and were imported from France at around 1790. We learned a lot about milling on that field trip and it was really fun.

We took a short hike up to the mill pond where we ate our lunch and visited with friends.

The mill pond is up behind Alli. The dam has broken, so the creek runs right through it.

This picture shows the broken part of the dam. Previously the water was diverted from the mill pond down a side creek to power the mill.

The little kids really enjoyed the creek. The saw lots of little black snails.

Lizzie, Alli, Mary and Gracie sitting on the front porch of the mill.

From inside the building you can look down over the mill wheel.

Mr. Price showed us three different milling machines that have been used at that mill over the last 200 years.

This picture above shows how the building was constructed.

Above is Braden standing in front of the gears that propel the old mill.

We bought some corn meal that was ground there and made corn bread the next afternoon. Our favorite!