Sunday, June 23, 2013


Not that homeschooling is EVER "done." But Science, history, handwriting without tears, and Rightstart Math is done for the school year.  And during the summer, I don't have to feel like school is mandatory.

Our last science club class was about genetics. We had a game where I gave each kid a worksheet that told him which traits their fake person had, and then they teamed up with someone else to make a new child. They rolled dice to see if they were passing down dominant or recessive traits and then drew their baby accordingly.--It kind of sounds racy, but it wasn't I can assure you.

And since I had the supplies and haven't used them all year long, I got out petri dishes and had the boys swab their mouth, sink, and toilet, to see which one will grow more bacteria.

For history, we learned about computers. We read books about their invention and about Steve Jobs. I feel a little silly, because until this lesson, I had no idea that the "i" in ipod and iPhone etc. stands for internet.  Anyway, we made our own computers.

We also talked about the information age, and we played a game where they had to run around the house to get information such as "What stuff animal is in the oven?" and then we did it again the information age way-by asking "Google-Mumma." I would just tell them the answers without them having to run around.

We also learned about pollution and green energy solutions. For our activity, we made a little pond and put our water animals inside. we then polluted it and talked about the impact that would have if it was real.  We also made solar-powered toys to talk about green energy.

At the end of the week, which just happened to be the literal beginning of summer, the homeschool association had a retirement party for Granny Wendy.  I sure love her. She has done so much for our community. The only reason she is retiring is so she can serve a mission, which she has already started. Her husband and she will be heading the new Pathways program that helps people bridge the gap between their education and getting accepted into a church school. I can't think of a better mission for this amazing woman!

We had a talent show as part of the party, and my boys went up to sing a song, but kept pushing each other to hog the mic. It was funny but embarrassing.  Oh well, fun start to summer!!!!

And now, bare with me as I reflect on this past year, and where we are at.

I think science went really well. I made little changes to the Four Year Plan, like having the 5 senses on 4 different club days. Also, each animal class had it's own day. Because of going to Idaho, I wasn't able to do everything they suggested, but really, the only thing missed was mostly learning about the workings of plants. I find this interesting (I even took an upper-course plant biology class in college) but I'm sure my group is not suffering because I skipped it.

I LOVED the dissections and microscope explorations. Maybe next time I can get fresher specimens.

I loved learning about modern history. I felt I was teaching my children things they needed to know. There were some subjects I realized I should have taught. Here are some I thought of in retrospect:

American Japanese relocation
Russia's 1917 revolution.
Latin American immigration

To fit in these topics (and anymore that I might think up) I think next time around I'll fit all the french revolution stuff in with the ancient history year.

Maxwell's Reading writing and arithmetic
Math is AWESOME! I have to say, I'm so pleased with Rightstart Math. I hardly used any external worksheets either.  They gave you quite a bit to work with. I feel that Maxwell not only can spout out correct answers, he is thinking like a mathematician. According to Alberta standards, he is ahead of the game at present. Look at a test he took:

Maxwell's writing is okay, and his reading is a year behind. I try not to freak out about this because every homeschool mom I've ever talked to that has older kids tells me not to freak out, and that everything will be okay in the end, and he will out shine any public schooled kid's reading by far. Faith.  Give me faith.  I have faith in Maxwell. I know he's smart, I just don't have that much faith in myself.  Thank goodness for Explode the Code online.

Hyrum's reading writing and arithmetic
I've been taking things slow, and because of how Hyrum is, I don't know if he's bored or if I'm going too fast! I think I will just plug on with what I'm doing during the summer.

With reading, we have been doing "20 easy Lessons." I chose this over "100 Easy Lessons" because the 100 lessons was really busy on the page, and Hyrum needs clarity and simplicity. I don't love it, but I don't hate it either. I think we're about to the point of moving over to BOB books.

In writing, Hyrum is done with Handwriting without tears! This has been a great program for him. He really learns with story and visual learning, so things like "dive down, swim up, and over" make things fun for him. He loves the stories like "make it so no trash can get in-between the humps in the letter "m." Just a chocolate chip." He's ready to journal.

With math, he's about ready to start Rightstart math. In fact, I've started him on the basic concepts of recognizing groups of things as numbers without counting. He's also memorized the "Yellow is the Sun" song.

Because of this, he can now easily do simple math addition

My plans for summer:
Maxwell: Explode the code, Dick and Jane, journal, and one or two math problems
Hyrum: Bob books, journal, and one or two math problems

Not too demanding. And if we don't do it everyday, WHO CARES!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

The eye and Middle East issues

Okay people. Yes the U.S. has been done with school for a while, but here in Canada we are going strong.  One more week of full throng in this house.  One. More. Week.

For science we learned about the eye. I was so happy I had my friend's help. I'm kind of burned out of  having to prepare lessons, so I wasn't prepared when we were supposed to start. An hour later, we were on track, but hey, all the kids were having a blast running around until then. It's all good.

One of the experiments we did, was to see how the lens turns everything upside-down. It was cool. You take a lens and tracing paper and look at a window, and the scene is projected upside-down. We did lots of other things, but I was sad I didn't have an eye to dissect. I was given cow eye, but I waited until science day to dissect it, and it went bad by then.

We learned about Dessert Storm for history. It was weird how little info I could find to share with my kids. I guess history doesn't think it was important, but as a little girl, I thought the gulf war was pretty darn important.

We burned oil to commemorate the war. It took awhile to start burning, but once it did, it BURNED. I was talking to them how oil fires should never have water put on it, when Maxwell spit on it out of curiosity. It was like a fire bomb went off! Crazy.

We also learned about 9/11. We talked about how the best way to conquer terrorism is to have hope, and we wrote hopes we had for the world on helium balloons that we let go. Maxwell hoped that they flew to the president (notice he didn't say "Prime Minister?"---yah, I'm so a U.S. mom who lives in Canada. Don't worry. I'll teach myself Canada politics/history and teach it to my kids---someday.)

Hyrum was really affected by learning about 9/11. He made his own activity. Without any coaxing from me, Hyrum made a whole New York skyline and made paper airplanes and threw them at the twin towers. I know that sounds barbaric, but I really think it was some coping mechanism for him because the whole thing was way too much for his emotional heart to handle. To make it a game made it unreal. I know that might not make sense, but that's what I think happened.

Moving on to math, Maxwell was very proud of himself this week. I introduce perimeters to him, and he found it really easy. I was quite proud of him as well.

And last but not least, it was Hyrum's BIRTHDAY!  We had a superhero party designed by my sister who sells them here.  I was hoping this would be our end of year party, but it was not meant to be I guess.

See you NEXT WEEK!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Brain, Tiananmen Square, and the Berlin Wall----with cows on the side.

For science we learned about the brain.  No brain to dissect. Whimper. It's hard to get one because of mad cow disease. So we did without.  Some highlights we checking our reflexes by seeing how fast we could grab a falling pole, and seeing if we could reteach our brain by writing with something besides our right hands.

For history we learned about Tiananmen square---so sad. Scary that the Chinese leaders basically said "If we make our citizens happy and healthy, they will never riot for their freedom again." Scarier still that they were right. We made funeral wreaths for Hu since it was Hu's funeral that began the revolt.

And I have loved learning about the Berlin Wall.  Did you know that the fall of the Berlin wall was an accident? The administrators never intended to have things happen the way they did. It was pretty much the power of the press and how, if so many people believe something is true, then it is.

We acted out the Berlin Wall, but it actually distressed Hyrum out to be stuck on one side of the house. His frown is real.  Maxwell's is fake.

There was the CUTEST book about the Berlin wall that even helped Daniel understand what happened.  It's called "The Balloon Sailors."  I remember watching a movie about this story when I was little. Simple book but powerful.

A quick update on math, Maxwell is doing awesome, and he can now count any amount of money quite well. For about a week, I would have some change in my pocket and if he could count it correctly, he could keep it. Not shockingly, Maxwell LOVED this. I have stopped doing this on such a regular basis.  I would go broke!

And last but not least WE BOUGHT A COW!!! Well, we bought equal shares into three cows, a few chickens and a goat!  I love having sisters-in-law who live in the country who are willing to share with us city folk!