Monday, September 5, 2016

An Enlightening First Week


Whew- first week down. Now, I must admit, we did not do my schedule perfectly, BUT we did do mornings pretty closely, and that is pretty amazing.

We started math, and I'm really intrigued by Maxwell's math program this year. It's supposed to be self guided (which I didn't realize until I started it) but purely for dyslexic reading issues, I will still be involved.

It's still Rightstart, but it's very different than the other years. It's purely geometry, but with the complex thinking it requires, I'm not too worried about atrophy in other math areas.

And I will be going  over other math areas with my new MATH FLASH CARDS---I'm proud of them just so you know. I've defined 72 math terms in cute memorable ways!!! Oh yah!--check a couple of them out:

Hyrum was not impressed with his math. It was supposed to be easy stuff, just going over days weeks months. Things we've gone over a million times. But Hyrum hates that type of thing because of all the arbitrary memorization going on. He said "I'm not good with calendar stuff. I will marry and then the mom will do the calendar stuff." Haha.

We actually did do history this week. We learned about Isaac Newton and John Locke. Newton was easy because there's so much on him and we already have a few science clubs dedicated to him in our physics year.

I had to dig to find children's books about the Enlightenment, however. I got one off amazon for Locke, but It was pretty lame. This is what children's books should look like:

  • Introduce the person/subject.
  • Name just a FEW (like 3) reasons why they're so important to know about
  • share cute memorable stories that reinforce each reason
  • remind them again of the few reasons

(all of this with very endearing illustrations)

You do not need to go on and on DRYLY about background information that doesn't teach what you really need to know about the subject. Maybe later, after they really know the subject any way.

For instance, this is what a GOOD children's book about John Locke would look like:

  • John Locke-A forefather of the Enlightenment, contemporary with Newton and other enlightenment thinkers. Changed the way we see the world
  • He was a champion for religious tolerance, stressed the importance of teaching children in their youth, and taught the proper role of government.
  • CUTE Story about religious tolerance 
  • CUTE Story about children's mind being impressionable
  • CUTE Story about proper role of government
  • So, as you see, He was a champion for religious tolerance, stressed the importance of teaching children in their youth, and taught the proper role of government.

None of the other mumbo jumbo! Give kids things they can hold onto!

Yes it's interesting that he had to stop school because of the plague and that he heard the cries when they cut off the king's head, and I'm sure you could fit that in my outline, but REALLY! We need better children's writers!


So for our activity (we only did one) we did experiments on Newton's 3 laws of motion. We did all of these experiments in the physics year, but what ever. Repetition is good, right? For every action there is a reaction we used windup toys, and the boys loved that.

And although it doesn't have to do with MODERN history, we learned more history this week when we went to Fort Whoop up as a family. William said "NO! I want to go to the park, not Fort Poop up!"

But go we did. It was cute, they had us make these coal miner's lamps, and gave us a scavenger hunt to do that taught us about the founding of Lethbridge. They even gave us prizes at the end that were candy "coal" rocks. So fun.

BTW did you know Fort Whoop up was made to sell whiskey to Natives illegally? Yep pretty despicable.

For science we are studying Biology this year, which is the study of living things, so we discussed what characteristics all living things have.

As part of this, I got some water from a pond nearby and we looked at the living things in the water through a microscope. I was SO happy because there were things MOVING in the water. I was not so happy because it took forever for everyone to take their turn looking in the microscope which made antsy and bored kids, so I'm not sure how much I'll use my microscope in the future.

We have some new members in our class this year! Including new kindergarteners! Fun fun!

Speaking of living things and science, Maxwell had an amazing experience this summer that I MUST blog about. As I've said before, Maxwell had said that he wanted to explore the possibility of becoming an endangered species/zoo vet.

I promised him a behind-the-scenes experience at a zoo, and that is what he got!

My awesome friend Angela is a marine biologist. She let us shadow her one day:

First we went to see them feed and take care of orphaned baby seals. Yep. Just as amazing as it sounds.

SO CUTE! Although the way they feed them seems harsh-they stick a tube a foot down their throat and stuff them full of milk. But hey, they get better and are released into the wild, so it must work.

Then we went to the aquarium and got a backstage pass to learn more in depth what goes on there.

And then we went to release a bird that had been hurt and rehabilitated.

It was a very magical day to say the least. It was funny because Maxwell was almost as excited by all the travelling to go to all this stuff then the experience itself.

Since we were in Victoria, and we met Angela in Vancouver, we took our truck to the ferry that took us to the bus that took us to the sky train that took us to Angela's jeep. Maxwell was stoked.

Maxwell has been having a lot of learning going on lately.

He drew dragon parts on paper, took photos of it and photoshoped it together. He did this 100% on his own.

He also has been BEGGING me to teach him cursive.....heh heh heh I'm so clever.  I will tell you why: When He is twelve we will go on a trip to any temple in North America including Hawaii. But he has to get his own family temple names which means he needs to do family history which means he needs to know cursive. Heh heh heh.

We started doing family history regardless of the cursive today. Maxwell may have found my grandma's uncle's whole family, but we have to wait for a marriage certificate to come to find out.

Uhhh...yah, I don't know anything about Dustin's side. Maxwell was so proud to get his OWN account.

And also, Maxwell is building a life size R2D2 in the garage. Picture coming when he's finished.

I must say, this blog really is for me (although I like to think SOMEONE is reading it) but I've come to realize how important it is to Westwind (my school I'm a  part of.)

This is sort of what Westwind has looked like lately:

I'm serious. I feel really bad for everyone working there. Here's the issue:

There's two types of "Homeschooling."

1-"Type 620" where you're actually part of Westwind school and you're assigned a teacher who checks on you 3 times a year with a checklist of where Alberta kids should be and offers you classes and field trips and enrichment. Also you get $1400 a child in curriculum.

BUT you need to show lots of evidence that you are following curriculum that you have planned with your teacher.

2-"Type 600" where someone comes two time a year and makes sure your kids are alive and well. They give you around $830 per child in curriculum, and you can get the supplies yourself and get reimbursed. No evidence needed.

Here's the problem. Moms sign up 620 but act like it's 600. And there has been miscommunication about just how much evidence is needed, and what happens when you don't follow your part of the agreement, and now some moms are really wanting their $1400 but not want to provide evidence of curriculum, and the school needs as much evidence as they can get so the government (who is AUDITING them!) won't shut them down.

Crazy stuff, especially since a mom can sign up for 620 spend all their money at the beginning of the year and then not give any evidence at the end. How can that work?!?

And mom's don't want to be told that they're doing anything wrong because, well, it's like saying they are parenting wrong. Have you ever told a parent that they were parenting wrong? I would not suggest it.

Anyway, the teachers and the moms are all actually good friends, and so this has been personal as well as professional, and there have been many tears and frustration.

Also, the way in which we have bought our curriculum is changing drastically, and is a SUPER big frustration to moms and especially to our poor dear secretary!

Good news for me, however, that this blog (which I do regardless of Westwind) has TONS of evidence that I'm following curriculums! WHOOT!

Although I really need to have my kids turn in more writing samples....yah....uh....I'll be better this year!!!

But in the spirit of recording things that Westwind needs to know, here are some of the books we read this summer:

Yep, we are a Little House family (although I haven't told my kids about the TV show) and we finished them least twice via audio book.

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