Mix and match

First order of business is Spring Poppies. I had to post these for Karen Sue, who is in the Eastern--still cold, part of the country. Here is a Spring shout-out for you!

And then, this- is enough to make my heart skip a beat every single time I see them do this. It's a pretty steep drop, the photo almost does it justice. I'm sure there is a skater-term for this here skill, I just don't know what it is...
And then, I had to share a pic of Elsie...the girls regularly take over parts of Sky's garage. Nevermind that Sky built them very similar nesting boxes in the chicken coop, for actual nesting. They ignore those and lay eggs in various secret locations. Everyday is an egg hunt here, which is kind of fun.

We are enjoying bee-yuu-tee-full weather here in So. Ca- the kids are playing in roving packs outside...it's actually a roving homeschool pack, a novelty. This year the family across the street pulled their kids from school and began homeschooling- we now have 3 families homeschooling on our little street. I never dreamed we would have neighbors who homeschool- well, I hoped, but didn't really think it was so likely. I am loving it!

The puppies are hee-ah! (I keep channeling my inner Cruella Deville when I think/say that!) The litter we are waiting on was born April 1st. There were 8 puppies, 3 are girls- and we are the 3rd family on the list for a girl. 2 puppies are black, and 1 is creme colored...one family requested a black puppy, so we don't know which we will be getting. It's very exciting. I don't know which I'd prefer, and I'm afraid to have a preference..so we will just have to see what we get. I am busy reading books on puppy training, and enjoying leaving things on the floor while I can.

And, Pioneer Woman's cookbook is available for pre-order over at Amazon!!
PW, you rock.

Now, most important- I am sitting here waiting for the Fedex truck to bring me my Sonlight order. Today is box day!! I looove getting packages in the mail. I love the anticipation of hearing the UPS or Fedex truck roll to a stop in front of my house...and the hold your breath moment of "is it something for me?". I love, love, love it. It's the major reason I order anything online. I need an intervention, maybe?

So, back to my story- today is boxday, and I know that my order is coming today, thanks to the miracle of modern tracking technology...soooo, I am afraid to leave my house lest I miss the truck rolling to a stop in front of my house. Sky just offered to go to the store for me, to pick up chicken for dinner, because he knows it will kill me if I get back and the truck has come and gone.
I know, I need an intervention.

Just another day at Club Jen.

Sonlight Language Arts 2- 3rd week

So, we are trucking along with Sonlight Language Arts 2. For week 3, the kids completed
a copywork passage from "The Beginner's Bible". The next day the notes directed me to explain compound sentences and conjunctions. We were directed to find the conjunction used in the copywork passage, and the two simple sentences that the conjunction connected.

My mind took a leap from there, and I put on "Schoolhouse Rock" so we could watch the song, "Conjunction Junction". ahh, childhood memories. The kids tried to ignore me as I heartily sang along...

We actually watched the song first, and then I got out my whiteboard and taught the lesson.
Like my train-cars?
Day 3 notes directed me to teach about dialog. The example in the notes- for the story of
"The three little pigs" was a good one, I thought. The assignment for that day was for the kids to write a few dialog sentences on their student activity sheet.

Day 5 was an assignment to write a longer dialog, 6 to 8 sentences. I gave some examples, and the kids took off writing. Sadly, (I think) all of their dialogs had much shooting in them.

The hands-down favorite was Teddy's, which ended somewhat this way...

"what was that?" asked the boy. "A horse just got shot" said his father.
"Steak tonight!".

..the last line, I am ashamed to admit, was mine. I was trying to teach him the importance of wrapping it up in a meaningful way.

It is a constant war here with trying to get creative writing out of them, vs. keeping things nice.

I am glad they are not in a school, the counselor would have called me by now...

a good path

The Sonlight catalog proudly proclaims, "The way you wish you'd been taught. Guaranteed." I have to admit, when I browse through the listings of books in the catalog- I would have loved to be schooled this way. I am a book lover, and listed in the catalog, beside great history reads, I spy many favorites from my childhood.

This claim kept running through my mind as I weighed my options for homeschooling next year. While I have enjoyed the history program we are using-and my first aim in looking elsewhere was not a lack in the program, but a lack on my part in getting through the material at a respectable pace...I had to admit upon reflection, that my kids don't beg me to keep reading a history read aloud, and I don't have to lock up the books lest they devour them ahead of schedule. A big part of the lure of Sonlight for me, were the daydreams of children begging for one more chapter, begging to start school early, and having the dilemma of whether to put away the literature out of the kid's reach- because they would read them all ahead of schedule-or to just let them have at it.

The first week into our Sonlight language arts 2 adventure, I had one of 'those' moments..I could not find our reader for the day, "The beginner's Bible"...and I found it in Demi-Sky's bed, where he had taken it the night before to read.

The first day into our second week, I sat down to do some 'catch up' reading with Amie. She is able to read the book, but is tiring quickly. I let her quit the readings early, and so we were a few behind. She read out-loud for a respectable amount of time, and I bookmarked the page, ready to let her go. She begged to keep reading and finish the chapter. And then, she begged to keep reading and read 2 more chapters.

Demi is enjoying the extra, "intermediate" readers he is reading, along with the regular reader's schedule.

I think we are unto something.

our 1st week with Sonlight's Language Arts

We finished up our first week using Sonlight's Language Arts 2 material...and I was in love with it on the first day. I wanted to wait till I actually made it through the week before sharing my thoughts here on the blawg.

Language Arts has been very light, and not a regular thing, since my 3 youngest students were not quite reading. We are getting close to the end of Headsprout phonics, so I felt it was time to bring in some LA. I puzzled over which LA program, and then realized the answer was probably Sonlight. Kind of an out of the box thing, to order the LA portion when I am not using the rest of the program, but hey- I live life on the edge...

Soo, Sunday night I pulled out my binder and looked to see what we would be doing on Monday with our new LA and *readers... :) (It's sort of weird the way I love new books and new programs..but hey, it could be shoes or bags...)

It was just the right sort of work and lightness, we had a copywork passage (taken from the reader assignment, sigh-I love when things are inter-woven!) and then a note suggesting I write a few compound words on index cards, explain what a compound word is, and then have the student(s) put them together. They even gave me a list of words. So I did it, because it was the small kind of project I can handle....and then I tucked the cards away in my binder pocket.

The kids had a ball, and it even became a competition to see who could make the most words. Teddy was in the lead right till the end (which made me very happy because he is our struggling learner and I love moments when he can shine), and then Amie swept in and won by one word.

These are the kind of activities I love to do, it reminded me of a Montessori- education way of doing things- I love to do things like this, but I do them very sporadically because I am 1) either feeling behind in everything, 2) very busy and just forget, or 3) I don't plan ahead.
It was wonderful having it scheduled for me.

The next day we had a portion from the reader to unscramble- short and sweet! And then the next day we had a lesson on descriptive words and answered some questions about an animal they would like to write about; a pre-writing lesson. *here are Teddy and Amie hard at work on their adjectives...

Friday was the big writing assignment day, they took their list of adjectives and wrote about the animal they were describing. *Here is Demi-Sky's on the left, his student activity page for the week is on the right.

I really like that we do a little bit of work everyday, so they don't get burnt- out.
The Regular Readers-2 are just right for Amie, she reads them fluently but tires quickly with it. Demi is zooming through them and begs for more- which is perfect, because I anticipated this and ordered him the Intermediate Readers-2 schedule/study guide to add, in addition to the regular readers. Teddy is floundering a bit. He has an auditory processing disorder-and has come a long way since being pulled from public school last year, he has been doing great with phonics type readers...but the reading for this program is from The Beginners Bible, and is not limited to an easy phonics list..and he is not able to read as many pages as are scheduled.

I waited, watched and worked with him this week..and decided to go ahead and order him the Sonlight Reader's schedule for core 1. I am going to keep him with the
Language Arts 2 portion..and just hold his hand with it- because I think he needs the stretching it will give him with writing. But, I thought about it a lot, and decided that we want to foster a love of reading for him, not frustration or defeat- so the reader's for core 1 will be at a level he can triumph with. I love the fact that Sonlight has so many different reading and Language Arts levels within the different cores, it makes it easy to move the kids up and down if needed, but still keep them in the same history year...which we will be doing next year. It's decided, we are doing Sonlight complete cores next year with all the kids.

I will share more with you on planning, what the schedules are like and such, as I go along and figure it all out.

This week was a really fun week for me, Language Arts wise.