Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Guess he's really tired...

Xmas Vacation Activities

We have been out of school for almost 2 weeks and my kids are bored. I am not. I have always things to do. I usually use these 2 weeks for planning and searching for options regarding improving our curriculum. I use this week reading threads from the Well Trained Mind site to learn and get pointers when it comes to new or old curriculum. And of course, I use this week to do all the chores and stuff at home that I never get to do when school is going on.
But again as I said the kids get bored. Well, I finally decided to go to the library last week and get some educational dvds for them to watch. And I am glad I did. Things went well around here. The whining started to go down and it seems more peaceful considering it's vacation time. Here are some of the dvds we borrowed, watched and enjoyed.

Basic Number Concept is a very good source for reviewing Gr.4 -6 kids in their math skills. It gives you a quick run down of topics (fraction,decimal,exponents,etc.). I sat with my kids as we listen and do exercise (5 items) in each lessons. One dvd has about 8 lessons. It is a good way to cement math information to kids.
This is below my son's level in math. But it is fun to see how he does every item quickly. That means that he really gets the concept. It is also a good way to check how well kids have learn their basic math concept.
This one we had fun watching. We haven't tried watching any of their dvd version. We only usually read the book and study the paintings. But I would definitely watch other dvds. They are fun to watch. Even the younger dc(4 & 5) enjoyed watching it. They definitely like Mary Cassatt's mother and daughter's paintings.

Reading Rainbow is one my favorite show for my kids to watch. They learn so much things. This dvd is very interesting to watch. It holds the attention of my kids. It's not just about reading the 2 books but it also has some wonderful information in it. In this one, they showed how crayons are made and how much crayons they make. It's like going in a field trip but just watching it. It also has book recommendations your kids can check out in the library that they might enjoy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Smiles

I was only able to make 2 gingerbread houses and he wanted his own. So here it is.
This is Taylor. You can actually see in his face how excited he is. He can't wait to eat those candies.=)
I had to take so many shots for this picture because they can't stop themselves from laughing and can't just simply smile for me. I told them to picture in their heads the gifts they are asking for Christmas and these are the faces I got.
This is Alden. A very happy face!

Here are some more pictures of my 3 kids. Christmas really brings so much happiness in our household. My kids are all smiles and so excited. Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas in our house

We were busy this week baking cookies and decorating our first ever gingerbread house. It was a lot of work for me but it's all worth it. Considering how happy my kids were decorating it. Here are some of the pictures I took.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Break!

We are officially on our Christmas break(so happy!).We wish you all a Merry Christmas and very Blessed New Year. Peace and Joy to everyone.

Enjoy the Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Already posted final product of our Xmas craft this week. But here are some more pics.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas craft # 2: Christmas door hangers

These are the finished product of our second Christmas craft this year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My kindergartner's work

Here are some pictures of my son's work. He has been doing really well. He is a kindergartner this year. He has been doing well in math. He loves to draw and color. The last picture was his drawing of an alien.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekly Report (Dec. 7 - 11)

This week, kids are very excited about Christmas that they are a little bit distracted. A lot of our conversations are dwelling about their ever changing Xmas list. But we manage to do a little bit of work, not the usual amount of school work, but it's still good. It's not like we are running out of time. There is always time, as I have always heard it from a lot of homeschooling moms. We will probably take it slow from now and just play catch up next year.
Here is what we did this week.

Jhoshua (5th Grader)
> ordered him a new math book this week to practice from, Prealgebra - Accelerated Course by Dolciani. We'll see how he does. He has been playing around math lately, giving him some review works from Saxon and Lial's BCM. But he has been doing great that I decided to start prealgebra with him and introduce more concepts. No hurry but just trying.
> Writing using IEW, this week I focused on his writing and did a little grammar. He wrote 2 reports from Usborne History this week and sat with him while checking his paragraphs. Making sure he is able to apply dress ups and openers more easily. He loves writing which is very uncommon with boys. I see his eagerness to improve his writing skills.
> History, we did Ch. 16 of SOTW/ read a couple of chapters of History of US.He found this book at the library and borrowed it and wanted to read it. He finds it interesting. So we are now adding it to our reading supplements for American History study this year.
> We skip science this week and just read a book about birds.
> The rest of the week were spent talking and reading. I am enjoying reading Poor Richard to them. I like it better than D'Aulaire's.

Alden (kindergartner)
We did the usual things. Reading for 20 mins with me daily. Practice his writing, doing really well by the way. And did a lot of counting around the house this week. Played a lot of manipulatives with him. And he drew tons and tons this week. He loves to draw.

So that is how our days went on this week. Not too much. Just enough to finish something and spend tons of time sitting on the couch, listening to Christmas carols and reading christmas stories. Fun and easy week for us.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas craft/ decorating our Chritmas tree

Weekly Report (Nov. 30 - Dec. 4)

This week, we started slow. Maybe because we just had our one week Thanksgiving break. I guess we were lazy a little bit. We did 2 experiments for our Science class this week . We did the floating egg experiment and liquid layers experiment. Both are for our density lesson for Chemistry class. We are also trying to catch up on our geography lessons, reading Minn of Mississippi and doing some mapping and drawing work.We never have enough time every week to put more effort in our geography class. But it's good we had a good solid hour of doing it this week. In arts, we are still practicing drawing the shape elements and trying to get more familiar with them. Picking items around the house easy for Jhosh to draw. I am happy where our Art curriculum is going. We discussed William Penn and Pennsylvania this week for our history. As for Language Arts, we are on schedule and doing great. Math is kind of review this year for Jhosh, so we are just trying BCM and Saxon 7/6 combination for him right now. No problem there.
As for my kindergartner, his reading has improved so much that I am trying to incorporate more sight words with his daily readings. He has been doing well with his writing and he is almost done with Primer B of Explode the code. He loves that book so much. We also did some craft this week doing snowflakes pattern and decorated them. We went to the library today to return books and borrow more and along the way they picked up some pine cones which we will try to decorate for Christmas decor this year.
So I guess I'm glad we took time doing crafts and focused on something else rather than the usual. I am happy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Report (Nov. 16 - 20)

This week was a very quick week for us. I schedule our first term exam this week. It turn out pretty good. I am very happy with the result. From 1st grade to 4th, I did not feel the need to give any exams for each term that we do. I feel that it is more important to read and write. Enjoy reading alouds. Have tons of science experiments. And of course learn math without the pressure of being tested and graded. I felt that if a child is taught by his phase and just have a relax school environment, he is more than likely to pick up tons of stuff and learn faster. And I hope that my son have enjoyed his first 5 years of early education.And now that he is in 5th grade we are more geared to mastery and fully knowing the basics. And the only way to find out if he is getting what is being taught is to give exams. And I am glad I did. This tests will not only served as a basis for his grades but also served as a review for him. We already had 12 weeks of school and Thanksgiving break is coming and I want to end it with something good. The results were great. It made him really happy and appreciate his work more. And the results showed me that he is really getting what we are doing in class and I couldn't ask for more rewards than this. Another great reason to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekly Report (November 9 -13)

This week is not so busy week for us. I guess the idea of the coming Thanksgiving is calming myself a little bit and looking forward to our Thanksgiving break. Here is the run down of our last week's activity.

Jhoshua (5th grader)

*Math : same thing we did last week. All we are doing is reviewing. I want to make sure he understood fraction, decimal and percent and be able to solve word problems applying those lessons. He's only 9 and I feel that though he is ready for prealgebra, I didn't want to rush and push it. So we are just taking our sweet time mastering his mathematical skills for now.
* Language Arts: this week we are beginning verbs again. So far everything is a review for him. I am more concern about writing for this week and he has been lazy this week and I was trying to teach him taking notes from a source and making outlines. We are not in a hurry in this part. Just giving him some pages from Usborne Science to outline.
* Latin: we are doing great. I see a lot of improvement on his derivative skills. Applying latin roots and able to tell meanings. We are reviewing first declension and searching words for his derivatives.
* Arts: I can see a lot of improvements on his drawing skills. Since we have been using Drawing with Children. He likes it and I can see that he draws more and practice more.
* Science: We studied bird's migration this week. We tried tracing the path of migration in Pacific flyway. We also research on birds common in our area.
* History: we are concentrating on American history this year. We are still reading SOTW every week but I chose "This country of Ours "to be our spine for this year. This week we read about New Hampshire and John Mason.
* Music: We are learning to sing a latin song "Adeste Fideles". My son loves to sing and he is actually practicing singing this song in his room. So I am happy that he is interested.

Alden (Kindergartner)

We did the same thing as last week. But this week I tried to add more time to his reading lessons. So we tried doing it twice a day in the morning and at night. He has been improving a lot in his reading skills and he is very happy about it. I tried doing a lot of manipulative games/activities for his math this week for review. We did a lot of counting and adding this week. He enjoyed counting pennies and nickels. His writing skills are a lot better. He can write his name very well now. He can write most of the letters in capital and small. So I think we will practice more and then I can make him copy short sentences soon. We started kindergarten with him slowly because I didn't want to push him but he has been doing a lot lately on his own. By this I mean, he is requesting things for him to do instead of me telling him to do things. Happy mommy!

So we only have this coming week to do school. Then we will have a week of vacation. I am so happy things are going well for us.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Some of my favorite creatures in Monterey Bay Aquarium

Of course there are tons of water creatures that we have seen today but these are my favorites.

MOnterey Bay Aquarium Fieldtrip

Here are some of the pictures of the kids in our fieldtrip. It was so much fun.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekly Report : November 2- 6, 2009

Here are things we accomplished this week:

Jhoshua (My 5th grader)

> We have been reviewing previous lessons in math. Fractions, decimals and percents. And since he has been doing well with these lessons, I get to introduce a new lesson this week, square root and square of the number. That went well. We are also focusing on his word problems this week about perimeter and area using Singapore CWP . We need to work on some problems still , more practice needed, then we can move on to decimals.
> I made him redo his writing this week because he was not into it last week and his work was a little bit on a sloppy side. But so far, he has been doing great in our IEW lessons. We are on lesson 4, taking notes from a source. I think we need to stay in this lesson for a while and need more practice. It will help him tremendously in his note taking. The rest of the language arts has been smooth sailing so far.
> This is our second round in our American History and so far we have been enjoying it. The historical fictions we have been reading are really good. This Country of Ours has been serving its purpose for us in conjunction with Story of the World 3.
> Science. We are doing 2 sciences this year. Chemistry and Zoology 1. We are on Properties of Matter. And we have been doing a lot of experiments lately and he is very happy the way our Chemistry is going on. In Zoo, we are on Birds and Migration. I have learned so much reading this book by Apologia.
> I am glad we can squeeze some of our elective this year. Drawing with Children is bringing joy in my kids art class. Music wise, we are listening to Ode to Joy by Ludwig Van Beethoven and reading a biography book of him.

Alden (My Kindergartener)
> Amazingly, this week has been great in terms of our reading, math and writing. He has finally transitioned into being fluent in reading short words. Math has been good. We have been doing addition stories, pennies and nickel lessons and shapes. He has mastered his shapes including rhombus, parallelogram and trapezoid. And it's so funny that he has been looking around the house for pennies and nickels. His writing skills has improved a lot. He is now starting to write his name in his work sheets. So far, I am amazed how well he did this week knowing he was sick the whole time last week. And he just bounced back and did really well.

So that's my weekly report. I hope that we continue to be this way each week. This has been a very blessed week for us. I am very happy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekly Report (Oct.26 - 30)

This is week is a very light week for us. Two of my kids got sick and it's so hard to do school when 2 kids are in constant need of their mom. My eldest got lucky and did not get what his brothers had but this week he did most of his school work independently. And I am still not able to check some of his work. I'm a little behind but I am so thankful that my 2 young ones are finally okay and seems back to themselves again.
We are still reading 2 books this week. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which Jhosh is enjoying really well. I guess because he could somehow relate to being Tom. A lot of funny moments and laughs from him this week. Somehow, I have realized that my young 9 year old son is finally reading well. I am constantly amazed how much he can comprehend words in the text of the book which sometimes can be very wordy and deep. But it seems that he can grasp the story and really enjoy the book we are reading.
Another book we are reading is probably more enjoyable for me than him. The Witch of the Blackbird Pond. I think this is geared to a more mature reader but if you explain things , it is a very good book to read aloud. A lot of things to learn from and teach your kids.
Math this week is sort of a review for Jhosh. We have been slowing down and trying to master the basics. He has been really good in grasping concepts and I think at this point in his age, I want him to have more reviews and practice until the concept is really cemented.
In his AWANA class this week, he had to bring a carved pumkin. So we did that. That was fun for me. I like doing stuff like that. Though my boys just like to watch me do it.
For the past weeks, I have been reading Drawing with Children and I had this book for 3 yrs now and this is the first time I have finally read it and we are finally using it. And my kids are enjoying their art lessons so far. I really want them to learn to how to draw and I am sure with dedication on my part, it can happen.
I hope next week will be a more productive week for us. Everybody is well and good. So we can start catching up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekly Report (Sept. 21 - 25)

This week was a busy week for us. Monday is our PE day so we have to go to our PE coop in the afternoon and let them play soccer with other kids their age. We don't get to accomplished a lot school wise in Monday but we try to do more the next day. This week with my kindergartener, he is starting to write his letters and numbers really well. I make him write his 1 - 10 numbers in a separate sheet of paper to practice daily. Reading is going well too. With my eldest, everything is kind of slowing down. He is in the age where he is starting to question everything we do and everything he needs to do so everyday is a battle for now. His answer to his problem is to work slower and maybe( with hope) his mom will just give up and let him do his thing. BUT I am not about to give up when I know how smart he is and he is just growing up and starting to mature. I can live up with those changes and maybe he will too.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are regular school days for us. Wednesday night is AWANA night for us. Kids love going to their Awana. And I am glad about that. These two days are days when we can catch up in our lessons and readings. But this Friday, my husband's work sent him to Sacramento and we decided tol go with him and explore the city as our fieldtrip. We had so much fun. We did a lot of walking and the kids were in their best mood. We were able to go inside California State Capitol Building and it was beautiful. They were able to go inside the Governor's office, and I took pictures of them. In the afternoon, we went to a Train Museum and the kids and I had a blast. Seeing those huge old trains that used to travel along America. We were able to see how they are inside and they are beautiful and amazing.
That was our week worth of homeschooling. It was busy for us. But next week I think it will be a relax week for us and I am hoping we could do more Science experiments.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book Challenge

Well, since I started homeschooling I am not reading as much as I did before. I still read a lot but not for me but for my kids. During summer, I happen to stumbled upon the Twilight Saga books and started reading them. Believe it or not I read 4 books in a week. I realized I have missed reading so much. So this school year I promised myself I will be reading again to myself and enjoy everyday on the couch even just an hour each day to relax and do one things I love to do. Sometimes being a mom and a teacher at the same time keeps me so busy and never find time to just sit and relax. Most of the time after lunch when school is done that's the time I start doing my daily chores and at the same time plan my curriculum or make notes of the changes happening to correct them or find ways to improve stuff. Hours upon hours, it's all about chores and school planning. Then I get so tired and I become moody and just easily irritated. I don't want to be this way to my kids so lately I have been reading and I found out it relaxes me and made my everyday easier to deal with. So now I decided to do a Book Challenge. I have to read at least 2 books every month. I hope I can keep up. We'll see how it goes and I will tell you what book I am reading and tell you how I like it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This is my 4th year of homeschooling!

I was sitting on my couch the other day planning our fieldtrips this year and I stumbled upon school papers dated 4 years ago. I can't believe it's been 4 yrs. that we've been homeschooling. I remember vividly how panicked I got planning everything for my 6 y/o then. I thought every curriculum I have chosen is wrong and I put too much time reading homeschool links online. I joined every possible yahoo groups I could fine and still I thought to myself I would fail. Now remembering those days give a smile on my face and a pat on my back that I did quite well. Not expected but well. Just the experience of teaching a child to read is an experience of great accomplishment. I thought it will be the hardest part of my day. But I was wrong again. I had the greatest fun though teaching math. First, it was my favorite subject growing up and next my then first grader had a quick learning for it and I enjoyed the experience with him. Now, I can't believe he is doing Saxon 7/6 at his young age. My husband always reminded me that my children are doing great because I am there for them at all times, sitting with them in every step of the way. And that is the greatest blessing and opportunity they could ever have growing up. The ability to go places, see things, experiment and interact with different people in the community. Now I am more convinced that the cliche of "lack of socialization" among homeschoolers is downright wrong. I know we stay home a lot and do school at home, but we also go places that most kids never get to go visit because of "school time". I can see that my kids are very comfortable talking with adults and asking "good" questions when given a chance to speak. I enjoy the sound of their laughters everyday and (sometimes) dislike the reasoning skills they have at a very young age. I love to read and the most special part of our school day is sitting on the couch together, and I staring at their curious faces waiting impatiently for the story I am about to read to them.
"One more, pls!" is almost an everyday request. I could read to them for hours if I can but of course I am still a mom and a wife and I have tons of chores to do.
I am not saying homeschooling is always fun. We also stumble upon "bad days". When kids wants to do something else and important stuff must be accomplished and you can actually hear the silent complaints in their actions. "School is not all fun" I always reminded them. There is a lot of work that goes with it. And I try to remind them again and again why we homeschool. To give them the best education they could possibly have. A privilege that not all families get a chance to have.
Four years passed and my second child is in Kindergarten this year and I am starting again. I am actually proud of myself, I am not scared anymore and I am more confident this time around. And I think that is a good thing. My kids are blossoming, they enjoy doing school with mommy and I am happy. What God put upon my shoulder to carry, I am more than welcome to embrace it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alden is finally reading !!!

For the past couple of months, Alden and I have been seating down in our couch for 10 minutes trying to teach him how to read. I knew from my experience with my eldest son, Jhoshua, that reading comes when they are ready. Jhoshua started reading at 6 and just progressed really fast. Now at the age of 9, he can basically read any book he wants to read (with mom's permission of course). But here again on my second child, I am again caught up in the cycle. Let's start reading. Since we started homeschooling, I basically have no problem teaching any subject but reading. It just so require so much patience (that I don't have!). So last year I tried using different technique to help me out in this endevor with my second child. Before I even start teaching him, I bought these DVDs from Leap Frog ( Alphabet Factory and Word Factory). Amazingly, in 3 mos, Alden has learned his Alphabets and their sound. And started blending words together. I wished I knew about these DVDs when I was teaching Jhoshua his alphabets, it could have save me time and gray hairs. Now everyday, each morning, Alden and I would practice reading. For only 10 minutes each day, using Phonics Pathways and Bob Books, he is beginning to read well. I am so proud of him and of course he is so proud of himself being able to read a book. I am so glad that this reading experience with Alden is going so well. I am so hesitant to begin teaching him at first because he is only 4. And I thought that he was too young to grasp the blending part of reading. But of course I was wrong. I am so happy now that he enjoys reading with me every morning. It has become a part of our morning rituals. He even reminds me everyday in case I got caught up with my morning chores. Well, I know that all I have to do is read with him everyday until he gets fluent in reading and then...of I go with my 3rd son, Taylor who is now 3 and begin the reading cycle again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Small Garden

Here are some pics of the plants we have been busy working on. They are finally doing well. I haven't had any problem with growing vegetables but we recently moved here in this house and for some reason even if I made sure that the soil is well prepared before I transferred the seedlings, still they find it very hard to grow. I thought they will never make it.