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Archive for August 8th, 2010

I just wanted to share a new All-About-Spelling video that the company just released that shows just why this spelling program rocks and “takes the struggle out of spelling”. This delightful and humorous video perfectly demonstrates the differences between other spelling programs and AAS. It isn’t just lists to memorize. It isn’t boring. Instead, it teaches the rules in a multi-sensory way so spelling is effective and fun.

Satori would fall into Group B – Beginners, as she learned to spell right along with learning to read. We started this program at age 4, and I think it has played a huge role in giving my young daughter such a love of writing. She just loves it and so do I, which is probably why we went through the first few levels so quickly. We look forward to working on All-About-Spelling Level 3 and Level 4 this year!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

The following photos are taken for the Heart of the Matter Not Back to School Hop – it is School Room Week. This week we are to share where we do our homeschooling.

I’m going to go over the new stuff first. Satori loves to write so much that we actually made a Writing Center in our Great room just last week so she has easy access to writing materials. We’ve moved all her writing and handwriting lessons down here. We’ll have plenty of paper, blank books, note-cards, and pens/pencils for her to write with here. I’ll probably add a children’s dictionary and writing prompts/activities later this year. She’s only 5, but she’s got a great interest in writing, she’s writing a book as I took this picture, and her latest one “I love my muther” is the yellow one propped up on the right. (To view photos in original, large size, click on it.)

Close to the writing area is Satori’s new Art corner, also a highly creative space for her to have fun. We just made this a week ago, and we’re loving it! I really wanted easy access to all her colored pencils, watercolor pencils, markers, pastels and paper so she can create whenever inspiration hits. The views and fresh air are rejuvenating. Under the desk I’ve stored all our art and drawing books and curriculum. For family art activities, we have a big table that we pull out so we all can join in on the fun.

Around the corner is our Nature Nook. We have all our bird identification guides and binoculars in one place, right next to the window to our deck, where we hang all our bird feeders. We get Steller Jay’s, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds, Dark-eyed Juncos, and more here. We’re reading the Burgess Bird Book and all of our resources are here. In the orange basket are other nature identification books, journals and more.

We mostly do our schoolwork in our Learning Loft. Both Satori and Mom have their homeschool computers here. Even though we have desks and tables, we still love to sprawl out on the carpet. The white table with the red chair is a dry erase table with a paper roll/cutter built in, it comes in quite handy. I will be moving the bookshelf to the Reading Room to make some room for a larger dry erase board. I also am trying to get the Trofast shelving, you may notice I already have the Trofast bins stacked and ready. We don’t use the workbox system, but might like to try something like it this year, and the new shelf/bin unit would be perfect.

View from the other side. You can see Mom’s desk. In this desk are most of my teacher homeschool resources books. Current curriculum are stored in the two Desk Apprentices on the main table.

Closeup of the shelf.

Read-alouds are to be done in our Reading Room.

Crafts and messy stuff we do down in our basement Kraft Kitchen. In this room we’re able to store all of our craft supplies in drawers and cabinets, which is good, otherwise our cats would have a field day with feathers and yarn!

I just got some stuff from Ikea that we’ll be using to replace our art display line hangar, as well as some things to store art supplies at-hand so they’re more easy access. These aren’t up yet.

Lastly, here’s the room where I work on the Satori Smiles blog and ship out books I sold. I used to be in this office all the time back when I had a career, now I am in here as little as possible. Not shown, but in this room are all my photography and programming books. I’ll be selling many of these in the months to come to make room for more books.

For more photos of our homeschool rooms, head to our Homeschool Room page.

We actually started this several days ago, but only finished it on Friday. In our Story of the World readings, we learned more about the Phoenicians, who were famous for their purple dye. They made them from the  mucous secretions of a sea snail.

Mmmm… Instead we used an expired bag of frozen blueberries. We boiled it for an hour.

At least that’s how long you’re supposed to boil the blueberries! Mama spaced it while she was updating the blog and ended up with the house stinking like burnt blueberries! Anyone want blueberry crisp?

Luckily I had more blueberries so we tried again, although we had to use our fresh, organic blueberries. At least this time we had more success. For our SOTW activity, we were to dye pasta shapes, so we dunked some in. This wheel shape pasta was the most “fun” shape I could find.

This dye looked super potent and I was a little apprehensive as we tried not to spill or splatter it!

Mistake #2: I let the pasta sit in the dye too long and they turned out almost-black. I wanted to show Satori something dyed actually purple, so I found some white yarn and we dyed that too. Perfect to make a beaded necklace!

A day after drying…

Satori beading her necklace.

Finished product! David was very lucky and got a necklace too.

The Phonenicians were famous for this royal purple dye and it fetched its weight in silver. It took 12,000 of these mollusks to extract just 1.5 grams of dye! Needless to say, it was very expensive and only elite or royalty could afford it.

Not Back to School Blog Hop
It’s time for the Heart of the Matter Not Back to School Hop, and this week it’s Curriculum Week! (Oops, I missed this week by a a few days, but since I wrote this post, I’ll just leave it.) I remember participating in some of these last year. Perfect timing too, as we’ve had a few months of trying out our new First Grade curriculum choices already, so we know how things are going to work out.

This blog post will summarize what we’ll be using for all our First Grade subjects, you can always see them at a glance on the right side of the blog. I’ve also created a First Grade Curriculum page where I can into more detail about our choices and how we plan to implement them. We do lessons Monday through Friday about 2-3 hours a day, year-long with extended breaks a few times a year.

The below schedule is what we’ll be following starting September 2010, even though we started first grade June 2010.

First Grade Curriculum 2010/2011

Reading/Phonics (we wrapped our our main program, Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, August 2010)

  • Explode the Code Workbooks 4-8, great review on everything, humorous worksheets
  • Beyond the Code – to start in September as a trial, may ditch this if we don’t like
  • Various read-alouds – both mom and Satori reading aloud to each other

Math


Spelling


Handwriting


History


Writing

Grammar

Science


Vocabulary


  • Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 1 – after this colorful (but expensive) program finishes, not sure if we’ll continue with Wordly Wise 2+ (which is not as colorful but is inexpensive), but we’ll definitely be using something. Satori loves learning vocabulary and loves the Wordly Wise K-1 curriculum!

Art

  • Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book Onefor general art
  • Meet the Masters – for artist study, just started this and love it
  • Drawing With Children – for realistic drawing
  • various art project books/websites – we really want to enjoy art this year!

Critical Thinking

Geography

My previous post I mentioned some great sources for art prints. Just this past week my Art Page-A-Day Calendar 2011 arrived and looks fantastic. Of course we’ll have to stare at the front cover for a few more months, but we’ve all looked through it and are excited about the daily images it will bring next year. This is the same publisher that makes the Brain Quest and What to Expect products by the wayl.

It comes in a plastic case with dimensions 7.4 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches. Here’s what it looks like on our window ledge for size reference.

Here’s the first photo. It isn’t all famous paintings, there is also sculptures, pottery, textiles and more. That’s fine with us, already we’ve seen some Ancient Egyptian art that we can appreciate. The images are in a square format though, so if the original image isn’t square, it may cut off some of the painting. They do show a thumbnail of the whole image in the upper corner if this occurs.

A handful of pages…

Once my 2011 calendar arrived, I loved it so much I jumped online to purchase previous years. Unfortunately, they were not the $10.87 I paid, they averaged anyway from $45 on up into the hundreds! I did manage to snag a used but unopened 2009 calendar for just $19.95. Once that was gone, I was shocked to see remaining ones go up to $999.98!

That is why I think these calendars are a great investment. After the year is up, keep them and use them for art appreciation projects. Use them for art games, flashcards, etc… Or, keep it for a few years and sell for a profit! Here’s the current listing for Art Page-A-Day calendars so you can see what they’re currently going for.