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Archive for June 25th, 2009

Tonight Satori decided she wanted to draw the tree of life with animals on it. I have no clue where she got this idea from, I never specifically talked about the tree of life, maybe she remembered it from a book.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

According to Satori, the above animals are: leopard, zebra, snake, sea turtle, owl, colorful lizard, alligator, and a gazelle. I love it!

Then we did a handwriting “test”, this is right before we officially go over practicing handwriting capital letters. I gave her a sheet of paper and told her to write her alphabet, no guidance provided. She got all the way to J before having to sing the alphabet to remember what’s next. As you can see, we have quite a ways to go to perfect handwriting, but I don’t think it’s bad for a preschooler!

Handwriting, dated 6/25/2009

Handwriting, dated 6/25/2009

Every month for the next few months I’ll be posting an update on her handwriting the alphabet, first in upper case, then in lower. I’m hoping we’ll see tons of progress using Handwriting Without Tears. 🙂

I promised to blog about my new online scheduling find, but I wanted to do my review justice, so it took me a few days. But here it is!

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When my husband David came on board with homeschooling Satori, he wanted to see some project management stuff. Like milestones, specifically. Satori already hit all typical preschool milestones and many of kindergarten, so I’m not sure how to set “milestones”. However, I DO fully agree to get more organized. So I embarked on the search for the perfect online scheduling program. Having been a web programmer, such a thing was right up my alley, but I had to admit, not the project I wanted to work on right now. But I knew what I wanted.

I wanted a system that had the following features:

  • Online – so I could access from any computer, or while traveling
  • Secure – uses SSL so personal info can’t be stolen
  • Catered to homeschoolers (or school in general), with features that we’ll love
  • Ability to let Satori log-in (in the future, she’s too young right now)
  • Handy Calendar – monthly and daily views
  • Was easy and simple to use
  • Was flexible!

I tried a few, but fell in love with Homeschool Skedtrack. It does all I wanted, but so, so, so much more. Best of all, it is FREE! It makes its money by sponsors and affiliate advertising.

Here’s the screen I see when I log in:

Homeschool Skedtrack

Homeschool Skedtrack

Here’s our Math Course report:

course-report-mus

The beauty of this is that I can setup all our math lessons in order, but not worry about dates. I am able to “Predict Dates”, which comes in handy, it will take our lessons sequentially, subtract the days we don’t do math, subtract weekends, holidays, vacations, full-day field trips, and present the dates that each lesson would be covered.

So when you log in, you’ll be presented with Today – Daily Schedule with all your lessons for that day. You can mark them off as you complete them.

Daily lessons

Daily lessons

For flexibility, if we have an unexpected sick day, or don’t get through an entire lesson, we simply don’t check it as Completed, and it will show up on the next available day.
To learn more, check out Homeschool Skedtrack’s website and view more sample screenshots, video tutorials, forums and more! They have forums and are very responsive to user feature requests. One request I will make is to see if I an pay something to get rid of the ads. 🙂

I realize that I haven’t updated our Prehistory Curriculum lately, and have been getting hits from random searches on our blog – like prehistoric plants, Dunkleosteus, trilobite cookies, Dimetrodon and more. 🙂 We have entered our Dinosaur study month and been enjoying just focusing on dinos. In a few weeks, we’ll be hosting a fabulous Dinosaur party, complete with dino dig, dino egg hunt, Stegosaurus cake and more! If you live near us, have a child interested in dinos, and haven’t been invited yet, let me know. 🙂

Tonight Satori and I played the Dinosaur Excavation Game. Sadly, it was a poorly designed game. It is like the game Operation, except you are to try to excavate fossils our of T-Rex. Touch the sides and he roars!

Dinosaur Excavation Game

Dinosaur Excavation Game

The reasons why we didn’t like it was because it was hard to get the fossils out. They were curved and slippery, it was easier to put them in upside-down so we could get some sort of grip. Secondly, the game stopped roaring after a dozen roars, even though I put new batteries in! (Maybe it had to do with Satori putting the excavation tool in her mouth?) The 36 Dino trivia cards were quite easy for someone into dinosaurs, which could be a good thing for a 4 year old, or a bad thing for an older child (too easy), and Satori was able to name most of the answers  before me even giving her the choices. Oh well. We ended the night playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos!