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Archive for July, 2011

Just when I think I have a few 300 piece puzzles to keep Satori busy, she moves on to 500 piece puzzles. She even helps me with my 1000 piece ones, I think she worked more on my last one than I did. But hopefully, 500 piece puzzles will be a good size to stick with for a few more years.

Satori shouts out HI to Gramy and Grampy! (I wanted to add some some of personal post with photos of their granddaughter to offset all the boring curriculum reviews I do.)

Those pictures were taken late last night. This afternoon she started working on it again after we got back from the movies.

I think she’ll have this puzzle finished this weekend already. I was kinda hoping it would last a week or so. We went to the toystore today and there are no whimsical 500-piece puzzles with fairies or at least appealing, colorful images for young children. I did find a Ravensburger Curious Kitties one on Amazon that will arrive next week.

I also can’t keep up with enough writing journals and bare books for her! She freaked out this past week until our latest Rainbow Resource shipment arrived this afternoon with 20 more blank books. She had a list of a dozen stories she wanted to get down on paper.


Almost halfway through the summer, I thought I’d give a little update on how we’re doing. Since we school year-round, we’re going strong in July, but have had plenty of vacation days. This summer is our transition from first grade to second grade, as that’s what many of our subjects are covering. First of all, I added a new page – Second Grade Curriculum 2011-2012.

Going into second grade, we are happy to report that all of our official phonics and phonics review programs have been completed. Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading did a great job systematically going through teaching reading and Explode the Code workbooks continued on with a great review for Satori. We finished ETC last month. All that’s left is to enjoy reading!

Math is going swimmingly with Singapore Math. What a relief to find something that really works for us and that we both enjoy doing. We have plenty of extras that will challenge her – of course the Singapore IP/CWP books, and some new ones that we’ll be trying out this fall. I mention them on the curriculum page.

All About Spelling is fantastic as usual, we will be ready to start Level 5 the first of August. There are only seven total levels for this program (the 7th is not even out yet), so I’m starting to wonder what we’ll use next.

We’re finally utilizing an actual writing program every single day, and two different ones to boot! Winning With Writing was just released and we’re one of the first users. We started with Level 3 and so far it’s a cinch to get to everyday, and only takes minutes. More about that in a blog post next week. We also succumbed once again to using Writing With Ease, a more classical method of teaching writing for young children. We actually finished WWE 1 in less than one month and will move on to WWE book 2 next week. We want to be ready to start the level 5 program in a year or so. I showed her the samples and now both Satori and I are extremely motivated to do what it takes to be ready for that. Later this year, we’ll include Killgallon writing so Satori can improve her style. Main writing goal for first grade? PARAGRAPHS!

Following the classical education timeframe, we’ll also be starting both Middle Ages history and Earth & Space science next month. We’re going to use our timeline more, and I’m getting that all setup now. I finally ordered the new Pandia Press Classical Education timeline, which seems to give more space to more recent times than their old timeline does that we have. Looking forward to using it!  We’re adding another science program – My Pals Are Here science. It was painful to slowly keep purchasing all the different components to this program – I originally thought we’d just use the $3 student textbooks! But, being the perfectionist that I am, I should’ve known I would get the full program.

Ooh, Adventures in America was just released today. We’ll be starting that program asap. 🙂

MCT Language Arts has been a refreshing change of pace for us in the LA department. We’re still working through Grammar Island and have started Music of the Hemispheres poetry. We only do this a few times a week but should ramp it up more this fall. Newly released just this past 4th of July weekend is their new literature program which will be in our hot little hands any day now. More about that as we start using it.

Vocabulary is coming along nicely. We mostly use Wordly Wise 3000 (workbook and online) and have just started Book 3. Satori just loves to use new vocabulary, so this is a big priority at our house. I also am earnestly working on expanding my own vocabulary and trying to use it in conversations with her. All this work has definitely paid off. We also are using Evan Moor Word a Day, but we do one week’s worth in one day and we probably won’t continue with that program. Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop intrigues me, but I really don’t want to extend my curriculum addiction even further…

Languages… Finished Song School Latin and I had Minimus lying around which caught our eye. I figured we’d zip through that quickly just for fun. People say their children enjoy it but don’t retain much. The book says its for ages 7-10 to get exposure to Latin vocabulary, which is what SSL did nicely, so I figure we could give it a whirl. After that, Lively Latin 1 is all lined up for the fall, which will be our first serious Latin program.

I recently blogged about REAL Homeschool Spanish. We use both that and online Elementary Spanish. We haven’t done much this summer with Spanish, but for sure this fall we’ll be diving in more.

For Geography I recently discovered the Evan-Moor Daily Geography Practice books and we’re finishing up Grade 2 this month and will move on to Grade 3. We used to zoom through independent geography books (tried almost every series out there), so I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this series. There’s more parent interaction, and I didn’t think I’d be up for that for geography. But I’m really liking this series so we’ll continue with it. We do other fun stuff for geography like puzzles, games, and more.

I should have just started out saying that we are having fun with every subject. Critical Thinking/Logic is no exception. We’re burning through a bunch of Prufrock Press books, good thing they’re inexpensive! Again, we also enjoy puzzles and games for this.

As for art, we don’t get to that every week, but when we do we thoroughly enjoy ourselves.

Both mom and daughter started Getty-Dubay Italics handwriting, but I’m not sure how easy it is to just be able to convert to a new style. We’ll chug along and see how it all pans out. After being all excited learning to type/keyboard this spring, we haven’t practiced that yet this summer. I can definitely see she needs practice, so we’ll have to start that up again. I want to see her blogging on her own again!

Satori continues to write like a maniac. Last week we ran out of blank books and she started freaking out, escalating to sheer terror yesterday. We made a few homemade books, but she started up a huge list of stories she was antsy to get down on paper. We both breathed a big sigh of relief when our big Rainbow Resource order arrived this afternoon, with 20 blank books! Also in the shipment was an ITBS Grade 2 Test Prep teacher/student book. I am curious to see how she’ll do in such testing situations. For Grade 3, we have to start taking this test for Colorado state requirements, and then every other year after that. This will be nice practice for that test, which she won’t have to take until two more years.

Apologies for the long post with no pictures, this seems to be one of those rare instances.

Looking back at last year at this time, it seems we’ve made tons of progress!  We look forward to what the upcoming year brings.


Satori started learning Latin when she was five with the introductory Latin program Song School Latin by Classical Academic Press. It’s suitable for grades K-3. We used the student text book, CD, and Latin Monkey Match flashcards. The teacher’s guide is not needed, it is a copy of the student text, but with answers. This post is our goodbye to the program, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Our last lesson was completed in June.

The CD is included in the student text and offers a song or two per lesson, sung to a catchy tune like “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, “Row Your Boat” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” so they’re easy to memorize. They’re recorded in both classical and ecclesiastical pronunciations. Some say the song production isn’t musically perfect, but they’re cute and good enough for us. 🙂

We’d take two days per chapter/lesson. There are 31 lessons, with a review chapter every 3-4 chapters, making it 24 chapters with new content. Each of these chapters  introduces approximately five new vocabulary words or phrases, along with a song. We’d listen to the song first to get a more accurate pronunciation than we could figure out on our own.

The next page has her tracing the new vocabulary, using a modern italic type font. There’s a few simple little exercises like the one shown below.

The last page in the lesson typically has additional simple exercises, some having the child read and write the Latin learned. We’d do these the second day. The back of the book has an appendix with a few cut-outs used for some of the chapters, although we weren’t aware they were there until too late, so we didn’t use them.

Here’s an example from Chapter 24, learning about weather. Throughout the book there are “Grow Your English” or “Famous Latin Saying” sections that correlate the Latin vocabulary with modern day words and phrases to make the lessons more relevant.

Here are the optional Latin Monkey Match flashcards. We only used them a few times, but they’re very nice cards. The four main colors correspond to 4 sections of the book, with the English side having a picture along with the translation.

If you don’t want to splurge on the flashcards, no worries, you can download the free Song School Latin PDF coloring pages!

Satori and I enjoyed coloring some of the later chapters together while listening to the songs.

Sara from Headbanger Homeschool came up with the idea to print the coloring pages off in a small size and making your own flashcards! They look so cute and I’m impressed that they look all nicely colored. We did not color all of our pages, there were so many. Maybe if we had colored them as we went along, but I only printed them out halfway through the book.

Don’t forget to check out the Little Moments Song School Latin videos. These are super cute little videos narrated by a little boy learning Song School Latin.

On our last day, Satori wrote a little story using her Latin vocabulary. I love it that she does this kind of stuff for fun on her own.

Probably not the most coherent story she’s written, but she used a good assortment of Latin vocabulary!

Our next Latin program will be Minimus – Starting out in Latin! This program is another introductory Latin program for ages 7-10, and describes the life of a family living in Roman Britain. It features colorful cartoons in Latin and Satori is already enthralled with learning about Minimus the mus and his family.