Sunday, July 31, 2011

August 1 - 7, 2011

What we are working on this week:

  • Language Arts - Hooked on Phonics: Letters A, B, C, and D review, Letter E, Get Ready for the Code: Complete letter b and begin letter m
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: Cow
  • Science - Science is Simple: We begin our unit on volume by exploring the volume of water in containers and seeing air as bubbles.
  • Music - We're abandoning the Wee Sing.  The boys just don't really care for it (and I find it grating).  Instead, we'll listen to our classical music station on Pandora while we do our schoolwork.
  • Good Books - The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh: Chapter 4
  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: Actions and Attitudes - The Ten Commandments

Oliver is still enjoying Hooked on Phonics.  When Henry and I sit down to complete his Explode the Code work, Oliver actually will grab the Hooked on Phonics workbook and push it to me.  Up to now, the only word he could say consistently was "da da."  He said "sit" the other night, randomly, but hasn't said it again.  Last week, he began saying "shoo gah" or "sugar."  I'm pretty sure he picked that up from me since that's what I call him all the time.  So, now he walks up to me when he wants something and says "shoo gah."

I'll take it.  It's progress!

Well, that was quick!

Yesterday, we saw one of the caterpillars attach itself to the underside of a chopstick.  This morning, we woke up and saw a chrysalis.  It looks like we snagged these guys right in time.

The other caterpillar is still roaming around the container and feasting on dill.  I expect it will follow its colleague into pupa-dom shortly.

This site says the pupa stage lasts about two weeks, although it also states that in late summer, the pupa will enter "diapause" and not emerge for 8 to 9 months!  I'm hoping that it will just be a two week stage so Henry can see the change without too much delay.  If we lived somewhere colder, I would put the stick with the chrysalis outside so it could wait and emerge to warmth.  However, since we apparently live in the antechamber to Hades (based on today's highs), I'm quite certain that these guys will have plenty of time to enjoy their butterfly lives before "winter" sets in.

One last interesting fact: The color of the chrysalis is determined by the color of the object to which the caterpillar attaches itself.  If it's something green, the chrysalis is green.  If it's dark, the chrysalis is brown.  Isn't that amazing?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sheep and a Haircut... Two Caterpillars!

Henry worked really hard on his sheep today, while Oliver did his best to distract him and Jane showed off her new haircut (I hated to do it, but it was so uneven!).

The results:

Last night, Matt found two rather large caterpillars devouring our parsley out in the garden.  He snagged them to show Henry and we decided to keep them.  A search soon showed that we had two black swallowtail caterpillars, caterpillars that love to eat things like dill and parsley.  Since I had just purchased some dill for a batch of lacto-fermented cucumber pickles, we were pretty much all set for their care and feeding.  I fixed up a habitat for them from an old breadbox and they are now happily ensconced in the playroom. 

I hope they make it through their whole life cycle.  One of our science lessons this year is on caterpillars and butterflies.  If these guys do their thing, it will save us having to mail off for butterfly eggs!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 25 - 31, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Language Arts - Hooked on Phonics: Letters C & D, Get Ready for the Code: Letter b
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: Sheep
  • Science - Science is Simple: Magnets attract some objects; Testing objects and making a hypothesis
  • Music - Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies: Listen to complete CD at least once.
  • Good Books - The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh: Chapter 3
  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: I am special to God who made me.
Little Man is doing pretty well with Hooked on Phonics.  His interest in the crafty parts waxes and wanes, but he really likes looking at the letters, playing the games, and watching the videos.  We will continue.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Art Lesson: Pig

From Draw Write Now, Book 1:

Three suns in the sky, but I don't think the pig minds. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hooked on Phonics vs Explode the Code

I thought it was interesting when Angelicum specified both Hooked on Phonics and Explode the Code at the preschool level.  We're on our second week of language arts now, and I'm starting to see the pros and cons of each one.

Tracing letters in sugar, from Explode the Code.
I really like the progression of Explode the Code.  The lessons began with f and spent a lot of time reviewing the f sound and words that begin with f.  There is no doubt in my mind that Henry fully understands f at this point.  Hooked on Phonics, on the other hand, seems to move through the letters pretty quickly.  It also follows an alphabetical progression to introduce letters instead of the easy-to-hard strategy of Explode the Code.

The con of Explode the Code, I think, is the strong emphasis on writing.  Henry has pretty good hand control for a kid his age, but I could see where this could be frustrating and discouraging for other children.  This is where Hooked on Phonics shines.  There is a lot of finger-tracing, coloring letters, and creating projects in the shape of letters.

Letter B craft, from Hooked on Phonics.
I'm beginning to understand why Angelicum wants both programs going at once.  The differences will allow Henry (and Oliver and Jane, down the road) to gain confidence from the parts he easily masters while still challenging him with more difficult tasks.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 18 - 24, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Language Arts - Hooked on Phonics: Letters A & B, Get Ready for the Code: Completing f and beginning b.
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: Pig
  • Science - Science is Simple: Feeling magnetic force using doughnut magnets on pencils.
  • Music - Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies: Listen to complete CD at least once.
  • Good Books - The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh: Chapter 2
  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: We see God in the world around us - Creation.
Ollie had such a grand time with the Hooked on Phonics computer lesson last week that I'm going to keep him with it this week.  While he's too little to do the workbook assignments, I think that he will benefit from reviewing the DVD lessons along with Henry.

Edit:  You know what?  Scratch that.  I think Oliver could probably do a lot of the workbook activities.  I think I'll keep him on the same pace for Hooked on Phonics and see what happens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Go! July 11 - 17, 2011

And we are off to the races!  After a break that was probably too long, we are back at work.  Henry is officially in preschool now.  I say the break was too long simply because it was a little difficult for Henry to settle down and focus on his first assignments.  What should have taken 15 minutes to complete became 45 minutes of do-overs.  However, by the end of our first lesson, he seemed to be back in the groove.

This week, we're doing four days of language arts using Get Ready for the Code and Hooked on Phonics.  We'll do one day of art using Draw Write Now's lesson on how to draw a hen.  We begin our unit on magnets from Science is Simple.  Finally, we'll discuss the Holy Trinity using our Who Am I? workbook.

Oliver is already falling in love with Hooked on Phonics.  An hour after Henry completed his assignments and ran off to play, Ollie is still sitting on my lap and laughing at the HoP DVD.  Makes me wonder who'll learn to read first!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Knit for Japan!

With the deadline for Knit for Japan in a week, I finally gave up on knitting a matching scarf for the hat I completed.  I'll console myself with the fact that I did, at least, manage to finish the hat!  I mailed it off today at the post office.

If you are a fast knitter, there's still time to knock out a hat and get it mailed out.  The info button is over there on the sidebar.  Please consider it, if you can. 

Henry was just overjoyed to model the hat, as you can see.  I hope whoever get it is a little happier to put it on.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Get set...

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints had a post a while back about some homeschool helpers her family has been using.  Homeschool Tracker is one of them.  Based on her recommendation, I checked out the free software available on their site.

It's fantastic!  I've been looking for a way to keep track of Henry's assignments.  Angelicum sends out all of the lesson plans with enrollment, but I wanted something with which I could easily put together assignments, dates, and resources.

For free software, it's very comprehensive.  I'm sure we will upgrade to the paid version sometime down the road, but for now I am more than happy with the basic functionality.

I have all of Henry's lessons for July set up and ready to go.  We have a couple more books and a magnet lab kit on their way for science this month.  Other than that, we are ready for July 11th!

One thing we are going to do this week is review the lesson on the scientific method from Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers.  We'll also read How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method and Fortunately, by Remy Charlip. The latter is a really cute book that can be used to help kids make predictions about what will happen next in a story.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On your marks...

Our lesson plans have arrived!  And they've made me realize that Saxon Math runs on a September schedule!  And it would be a pain to transcribe all of the meeting book stuff, so we're going to hold off on math until September!

But, we will begin everything else in July, as planned.  Language arts, music, art, and science.  That's plenty of learning right there.

We have company coming in for Independence Day.  We also have a lot of little projects that we need to get done around the house.  It's going to be a busy week or so before we begin.  In order to start with actual lessons on the 11th, we'll be doing our "first" week over the next week since it's really just looking over the materials together.

So much to do!  It's a good thing the garden is in a holding pattern right now.  Preschool is going to be a lot busier than nursery school.