Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taking a Break

The blog is on a short break as we adjust to life with a new baby. Alivia Elise was born September 5th,and we're busy adjusting to a new routine.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Science Experiment - Can an Egg Bounce?

Although we are using Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory by Heart of Dakota as our main curriculum, I tweak and add on quite a bit. Fridays are our science experiment days, and we are using the book: 101 Cool Science Experiments.

The very first experiment involved seeing if we could bounce a raw egg. The experiment was very simple. All you have to do is soak one raw egg in a glass of water and one raw egg in a glass of white vinegar. The book said to leave it for 7 days and observe how it changes over the week. After 7 days, see if you can bounce it without it breaking.

Here is a pic of the 1st egg soaking in vinegar. The shell will bubble and slowly start to turn into a soft skin rather than a calcified shell.

We ended up having to do this twice because 7 days ended up being too long. One gentle throw and the egg exploded and stunk up the whole back yard. So we tried again, this time leaving the egg in the vinegar for 4 days. We had much better results. She was able to gently bounce it 5-6 times before it broke.

Here is a pic of the egg after 7 days in the vinegar. As you can see, it's virtually see through and thin. It did not bounce.

Here is a link to a video of her bouncing the 2nd egg, which was neither as soft or translucent as the 1st egg. She was a little nervous that we'd have another failure, so she starts off a little slowly.


After we conducted the experiment, she completed her science experiment notebooking sheet that I printed from somewhere online. I spent one whole night printing out different notebooking pages, and for the life of me can't remember where I located this one. I like this one because it's simple and has a place for illustrating the experiment. We are gearing up to grow some crystals soon, but that's going to take a couple of weeks from start to finish. Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Color Wheel and Color Theory Art Project

Today was our 2nd day of 2nd grade, and Tuesday is art day. Last year we did a lot of fun craft projects, but this year I'm focusing more on art theories and techniques rather than just crafting. We're learning about color theory for the first month, and I wanted to share this week's art lesson.

The first thing I did was print out a simple primary and secondary color wheel from Donna Young.org My plan was to have her color in the circles, but she said she didn't need to do that. I explained the primary color wheel first and put a big P in the center. Then we went over the secondary color wheel, and I put a big S in the center of that one. We talked about which colors, when mixed together, create another completely different color.

The second part was to create color wheel flowers using the art lesson provided over at Deep Space Sparkle. I LOVE this website and am using it almost exclusively for our lessons this year. We followed the directions provided to create our flower bases and petals. During our painting, we reviewed which primary colors created the secondary colors we needed for the petals. Once it dried, she cut and pasted her flowers together and drew some stems. Upon completion, I asked her to name the primary colors that you mix together to create the secondary colors, without looking at the color wheel as a reference. Then we went on the website and looked at the samples that other children have done. I didn't show her beforehand because I didn't want her to try to copy how the other kids did their flowers, since she's a bit of a perfectionist.

She really enjoyed this project, and I like that it covered color wheel and color theory for kids, cutting, pasting, and tracing. Happy homeschooling!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our 2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum Choices

We will be back into the swing of things starting July 23rd. We're starting a bit earlier than usual to allow for me to take time off in September to have the baby and readjust to very little sleep, which I haven't had to experience in well over six years. I know that many homeschoolers are currently shopping around trying to choose the best curriculum for this year or trying to replace something that didn't work last year. Here's our list of what we're using this year and why.

Main Curriculum:

Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory

This is the curriculum I actually purchased to use last year, but shelved it after a few weeks. It includes all of the plans for our social studies, reading, spelling, and Bible. It covers all subjects, but I am only using those three as written and being a bit more eclectic with everything else. I like the Charlotte Mason approach to learning, and Heart of Dakota implements a well-laid out lesson guide using Charlotte Mason's philosophies.

Math: Saxon 2

This is a switch over from Singapore Math. While I agree with everything everyone says about Singapore teaching mental math and how to think through math problems, my daughter needs a bit more drill than that curriculum offers. After researching tons of math programs, I decided to try Saxon this year for 2nd grade. It seems to have the repetition needed and still includes the hands-on activities that make math engaging. Whether we will stick with it or not remains to be seen. I think math is one area we may switch around a bit to make sure each year "fits" just right.

Science: God's Wonderful Works by CLP, 101 Cool Science Experiments, Nature Study

God's Wonderful Works comes with HOD's curriculum, but instead of following the schedule in HOD we will be going through the text systematically. I also purchased the test booklet offered by CLP. We will be dedicating Friday to science experiment day using 101 Cool Science Experiments. Wednesday will be nature study day utilizing free nature printables I find online and her nature notebook.

Language Arts: A Reason for Handwriting T, Rod & Staff Grammar 2

This is our last year of formal handwriting lessons, and I've chosen to continue with ARFH using the T book which starts with print and finishes up teaching cursive. I like the simple lessons and how it integrates Bible verses for practice. Rod and Staff was chosen because it's the curriculum used by HOD, and I found very few negative reviews. It's simple, to the point, and seems to really teach the basics of grammar that is very much lacking in the public schools today. Spelling is integrated into the HOD curriculum, so I don't have a separate program for this subject.

Social Studies: American Pioneers and Patriots, Stories of the Pilgrims, Boys and Girls of Colonial Days

All of these texts are integrated into the HOD curriculum, and we will be following the activities and lessons as written in the lesson guide.

Reading: Various Book Titles Recommended by HOD, Explode the Code 3-4, Phonics Pathways, Reading Pathways

We are continuing with Explode the Code because it's great practice that reinforces what we learn in Phonics Pathways. We will finish up with Phonics Pathways by December, if not earlier, and with Reading Pathways shortly after that. Avlyn really took off with the phonics instruction methods of Phonics Pathways combined with the extra corresponding practice of Reading Pathways.

Art: Deep Space Sparkle Website

Deep Space Sparkle

I love this website! I spent a couple of hours browsing the site and designing up to 30 weeks worth of lessons. We are starting this year with color theory. The blog author is a public school teacher, but her website is so full of examples and organized so well that it's really rather easy to find art lessons you can use from kindergarten and up.

And that's what we're using for 2nd grade this year.You can see what other families are choosing at: School Days Gone By Link Up  Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

End of Year Wrap Up

Well we made it through our first official year of homeschooling. Although we homeschooled last year, she did go to public school for a few months. I can honestly say that I feel confident that she reached her goals and had a good solid first grade year.

Originally we started with the Heart of Dakota curriculum, but by October I had shelved it and moved onto other things. I didn't feel that we were getting all of the benefits of HOD, so we will be picking up with Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory next year. The copywork and spelling just wasn't what we needed when we first started the year. I wanted to focus on reading and math for most of first grade, and all of the extra history and scheduled story times just didn't mesh with what I wanted. Also, the emerging readers were above her grade level at the beginning of the year. Next year the first few will seem easy for her and increase in difficulty as we progress, which is exactly how I want our curriculum to go.

In January we found out that we will be having a new blessing in September. By February I was so sick that we pretty much lost about 4 weeks of school. Since my plan was always to end on June 1st, I do think she'd be a little further ahead than where she is if my morning sickness hadn't derailed us. But she finished her Spectrum Writing book, her Intro to Language Arts book, her Singapore Math book, and improved her reading level greatly from the beginning of the year. We still have about 1/4 worth of lessons left in Phonics Pathways.

We will be starting school again July 23rd. While I typically start later in August, I plan on taking a month off after the baby comes, so starting early will keep us on schedule. I fully plan on following BLHFHG from Heart of Dakota next year because I feel that she's now ready for all of the copywork and history study that makes this curriculum so popular. Whether we'll continue with it for 3rd grade is still up for debate in my head. I hope everyone had a great year.

Look for Heart of Dakota specific blogs starting next month. Until then, enjoy your summer and happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Free Laura Ingalls Wilder Unit Study

Today I stumbled across a free download for a Laura Ingalls Wilder unit study. It's available through Amazon, but you don't need a Kindle in order to download it. You can download the free Kindle app on your Iphone, Ipad, or other device and still get the unit. I downloaded it to my Iphone, and was excited to learn about the Kindle app too. Here's the link: