Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 9, September 21,2012

What did we do this week?  Let's just say it was a much better week than last!  I'll just get started:

In my life this week:

Last weekend, I made a simple, but yummy cake.  Marble cake, chocolate filling, buttercream icing.  What's not to love?

The boys discovered wind resistance with a grocery bag, which led to tying many bags together.  That led to me bribing them with garbage bags, which kept them busy ALL DAY LONG!  These parachutes later became gi-normous water balloons to be thrown from the top of the play set.  Genious, right?

 I've officially started the Couch to 5K program to get my behind running again.  The first two runs were tough, but the third was surprisingly easy.  Here's a link to what I'm using to help me stay injury-free.  Bring on Week 2!

What I'm cooking:  Chicken mostly. 

I made a fabulous whole wheat pizza dough this week.  It goes like this: 

2 teaspoons honey, 1 1/2 cups warm water (107°-110°F), 1 packet of active dry yeast (or 1 Tbs), 1 Tbs olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, oregano or other Italian seasonings you like, 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Pour hot water into large bowl, and mix honey in to melt and dissolve completely.  Sprinkle yeast over top of the water, and let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy (we call it happy).  Add olive oil and salt, gently mixing - you don't want to kill the yeast so no beating.  Begin adding flour, about a cup at a time, gently turning over until most of the flour is mixed in.  Sprinkle hard surface with flour and begin kneading flour into the dough.  Knead for about 10 minutes, add in seasonings and garlic powder by sprinkling a little at a time, constantly folding them into the dough.  Oil a bowl, coat dough ball with a light layer of oil, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise in a warm dark place for about an hour, (I set ours on top of the dryer and let the dryer run for about 20 minutes, but let it sit for the whole hour).  Uncover, dough should've risen to about twice its original size.  Punch down, and knead for a minute, and its ready to use!  Spread out dough, on a cookie sheet, bake at 450°F for 8-10 minutes.  Remove, top with your favorite toppings, sauce and cheese, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is all gooey and melty - Yum!  Pizza is one my kiddos favorite things to make.  This dough refrigerates wells too.

I'm thankful for:  My parents who keep worrying about me.  I don't know what its like to have adult children, but I can't imagine that I'll ever stop worrying over Spunk and Thoughtful.  My parents keep sending me work to do, (family business), when they could do some of it themselves, graciously extending me a way to earn my keep.  I also linked up to a Thankful Thursday this week.

Places we're going, and people we're seeing:
We had lunch with my parents this week, which we haven't been able to do in a few weeks.  Afterwards, they took us next door to a used bookstore, which is going out of business and bought us a handful of readers.  The boys got in the car, and promptly began reading.  YES!!  Another little stepping stone for this family....I just might have readers on my hands afterall!

At home:
We're rearranging our school room.  It seems that we'd like a little more floor space to spread out from time to time, but our table sticking out is preventing that.  I didn't have enough room to just turn the table sideways, so a whole switching around was in order.

In our homeschool this week:
Math:  Pre-algebra.  Well, that's how I see it anyway.  He's solving for the unknown, in Math-U-See, Gamma level.  X5=30.  He picked it up so quickly, missing zero on his worksheets and test!

Spelling:  We have 2 lessons left in Level 1 with All About Spelling.  We don't use this program everyday, so it is taking a while.
Nature Journal:  Squirrels.  This child belongs outside!  He loves the dirt, loves discovering little parasitic creatures inside of a newly found acorn, and he squirrel hunts in our neck of the woods.  Yes, I know.  Please understand that 50 years ago, many, MANY people squirrel hunted for their food.  Anyway, lately, he's just been sitting watching them leap from tree to tree.  Watching them with fascination as they bury acorns away for the upcoming cold season.  So he drew a scene in his journal, then I asked him to label it.  We found a picture online, printed it, and pasted it in his journal.  I asked him to write what he knew about squirrels from watching them.  Then we found library books, and I asked him to write something new that he learned from the books.  I honestly expected a list of facts.  That would be enough productive writing from Thoughtful.  However, he surprised me with sentences, mostly written in his own words.  SENTENCES!  There was no complaining about writing.  There are a lot of mis-spelled words here, but really, I don't care.  He's writing, and he's enjoying it!  He's talking about what else he can add in, and what critters he might like to write about next.

Language Arts:  He wrote the sweetest friendly letter to Gramom and Pop.  I forgot to keep a copy of it, but I'll snatch it away when she gets it in the mail.  He also had a lesson in following directions and created an elaborate paper airplane.  Language Arts is just torture, I tell ya!  And he learned what a verb is.  Tough stuff.

Math:  Adding by 9's.  He's learning by seeing that every 9 wants to be a 10.  So the 9's keep stealing 1 unit from their friends.  9+4 is seen as 9 takes 1 from his friend, the 4.  Now we have 1 ten, and 3 units, or 13.  It just makes perfect sense.  He's calculating very quickly, rather than memorizing and regurgitating facts.

Did I mention that I love Math-U-See?  You can click this link to the curriculum website, to see what all the fuss is about.  I, in no way, am compensated for any kinds of reviews.  We just love it, that's all!

Phonics and Reading:  I haven't looked at my teacher manual in 2 weeks.  I'm just letting him read whatever he wants, and we're going over digraphs daily, adding in 1 to 2 new sounds a day.  Reading is his niche, so we're going at his pace.
Language:  Complete sentences.  He's learning to pick out complete sentences.  He's written a few, but for the most part, his hand tires quickly.  He always wants to push on though.  I'm so proud of his diligence.

Nature Journal:  Spunk loves frogs and toads.  He drew a bull frog in his journal one day, with a full pond scene.  Then, we found library books.  He found the life cycle of a frog (which we've observed in the past, and I'm sure we'll have to do it again soon), and drew it in his journal.  He also drew pictures of predators and prey of the bull frog.  And look at his facts, "Some frogs are big.  Some frogs are small."  Cute!

Money:  I bought a Counting Coins workbook from Kumon. 
Right now, he's counting pennies.

In Science:  We learned about caves, with emphasis on caverns.  The kids learned all about stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  I got to teach the 3rd and 4th grade class at Co-op.  We reviewed what was covered at home, watched a very quick animated cave formation video.  And last, we made cave models. 

Materials:  a piece of clear, flat glass (I bought picture frames from the local dollar store and removed the backs), sugar cubes, spray bottle, food coloring, toothpicks, and modeling clay.

The kids each used 5-7 sugar cubes to build an area of limerock, pressed up against the glass so they can view the formation.  The cubes must touch each other, and the glass.  They each flattened a piece of modeling clay (a rolling pin helps), and covered their cubes with the clay.  Next, they poked holes in the clay to create fissures in the harder "rock."  Last, I added food coloring to the water bottle, and the kids sprayed the tops of their models, watching the rain water seep through the fissures, dissolving the sugar cubes, limerock,  and leaving a cavern.

Then they completed notebook pages showing the steps taken to create their models, and answered questions as to what happened and what each material represented.  I think it was a success.

At P.E., they learned about fencing.  They used foam swords, dipped in red paint, and fenced for 1 minute sessions.  Most of the kids loved it!  It was an active, educational exercise, and both of mine had a ball!  They asked to continue fencing when P.E. was over.

In art class, we didn't get to bring anything home.  Students began working with clay this week, learning about Haniwa, or Ancient Japanese, horse-shaped tomb markers, and building their own horses.  They'll continue this project during next week's class.  This is an image found online, that they're using as their inspiration.

I final thought, quote, or photo:

School at the park!

We met some friends at the park, encouraging all of the children along in their work, so they could play with their friends.  These are my favorite days!

This week, I'm linking up with Homeschool Mother's Journal and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  Clink the links to see others' weeks.


  1. I think it is wonderful that he is writing sentences and that math is going so well. I especially love the cave models. How clever!

    1. Thanks, Phyllis! These are giants leaps for my guy! Right now, I'm only hoping to encourage him along, not editing every piece of written work. Thanks for stopping in!

  2. It's really interesting how kids can take something simple - a plastic bag - and learn so much from it! They made not know all the physics and such behind their experiments, but it'll surely be remembered for when they DO study it! My kids spent hours the other day with paper and straw airplanes!

    That pizza looks fabulous! We're supposed to have homemade pizza this week! Perhaps I'll whip up a batch of that wheat dough!

    Love the notebooking pages Such a powerful, but simple learning tool! We use it for Science and sometimes History (depending on the year).

    Great idea about the park! We go by ourselves, but wonder if friends would like to join us before it gets too cool now!

    1. I couldn't agree more! I they know is how much fun it was. I'm hoping they'll dig back into their memories when the time comes.

      The pizza was very yummy, but it is different from traditional doughs, just a warning to ya.

      Too cool??? We don't even consider that until December, maybe. Usually more like January. :) We don't get a true winter season here in NE FL.

  3. I am going to have to try the cavern experiment here. My son will love it.

    1. Caution, its a little sticky while drying, but they learned a lot and loved to see the process of dissolving the limerock. And it didn't hurt that I gave the all a sugar cube to eat!