Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Organizing the Logic of English Flash Cards and Game Cards March 6, 2013

Filed under: Getting Organized,Spelling — kirstenjoyhill @ 2:56 pm
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I finally got around to organizing all my Logic of English flash cards and game cards last night! This project has been a few months in the procrastinating making.  😉

Logic of English Cards

With only one student doing a Logic of English program, organizing the phonogram flash cards was pretty simple.  I kept a pile handy of the cards we were working on, and the rest were in a drawer in a baggie or held together with a rubber band.  Even adding a second student, Mr E, didn’t cause too many problems at first because I was going through the Essentials program very slowly with him and not using too many cards.   At this point I also wasn’t making very good use of the spelling rule cards, so those just sat mostly unused in another bag.

But chaos broke loose with my phonogram cards once I started Mr. K in the Foundations program and transitioned Mr. E to this program as well.  Now I had stacks for cards Mr. K was using, cards mastered by Mr. E but not by Mr K (but that Mr K will need in upcoming lessons), cards currently needed by Mr. E, cards needed by Miss M, cards Miss M had mastered but were not needed yet for Mr E and finally cards no one is using yet (but of course Miss M will need in the upcoming weeks).  Oh, and plus those spelling rule cards! Whew, that’s a lot of cards!

The Logic of English flash cards are a bit of a challenge to organize because they are bigger than typical 4×6 cards, and are also too wide to fit in many of the other random plastic boxes I had around the house or could easily find at Target.

After much searching online and asking for advice on forums, the best option I came up with at first is the box I purchased (see the picture above — or here on the Target website). I liked the fact that the game cards also fit in the box, but I was a bit disappointed not to have a storage box with a lid!  I’ve found what I think will be safe place to store the box so that it’s less likely to be tipped over by our curious toddler.

After I bought this box I did find a couple of options for 5×8 file card boxes that close with a lid (here and here).   I’m going to see how things go with the box I purchased, but I’ll be keeping this type of box in mind for the future if we have too many spills of the no-lid box.  😉

In order to avoid buying special large divider cards, I made some using cardstock — I just needed to trim a bit off the side of a standard letter-sized piece, and then cut each piece in half.  I then hand-cut the tabs (as I’m sure you can tell from their uneven sizing!).

As of right now the game cards aren’t very well organized.  They are just separated into three groups – cursive, bookface, and special cards.  A project for a future day would be to organize them better by who might use them for a game.

 

US History Unit 5 Recap: 1815-1860 – Pioneers March 5, 2013

Filed under: History — kirstenjoyhill @ 11:24 pm

We’ve pretty much finished up the 5th unit/topic in our US History studies for this year, looking at the years 1815-1860 with a focus on the pioneers.  Unlike previous units, I’m trying to get this written up before it gets too foggy in my mind.  😉 We still have one or two books to finish up that fit more into this topic, but since there is overlap timeline-wise between this unit and our next unit (focusing on slavery and the underground railroad during approximately the same time period), I feel like this unit is “done enough” to wrap up.

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I had a hard time finding just the right “spine” or key text for this unit.  I really wish that the Maestros had continued their American Story series beyond the “New Nation” book, which ends with the War of 1812.  Those books give such a good overview of the time periods they cover, without giving too much detail.  Other books I considered were too detailed or lengthy for the ages of my kids.

I was hoping for something that would give a bit of a socio-political overview of the time period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War.  Westward migration and slavery are certainly two key topics, but other things were going on as well.

We tried out a few chapters of a vintage book, “This Country of Ours” by H. E. Marshall.  It was okay, but the kids weren’t “into” it enough for me to feel it was worth our time to continue.  I decided that since this is just 3rd grade/Kindergarten US History, I would just forgo finding that big picture “overview” and trust that our assortment of book basket books would be enough.  After all, up until recently I don’t think I really knew exactly what else was going on between 1815-1860 (other than the pioneers, the gold rush and the slavery issues) anyway!

One book I did discover toward the end of this unit was “A Pioneer Sampler.”  I had requested it from the library but didn’t look at it very closely until it had been in the basket for a while.  I had been under the impression it was mostly an activity book, but that’s not really the case.  Look for a post about it coming soon (maybe later this week).

Read-Alouds (linked to my blog posts about the book):

Birchbark House

The Game of Silence

The Porcupine Year

Bound for Oregon

Of the three Louise Erdrich books, only Birchbark House originally appeared on my read aloud list for this unit.  But we loved it so much that we went ahead to the next two books in the series.  Doing this meant we dropped a couple of more traditionally pioneer-oriented read alouds I had scheduled.  I am really okay with that, however, since I feel like our reading of the entire Little House on the Prairie series a year or two ago (even though it falls in a bit later time period) gave us a good background on the pioneer life in general.

A book I wanted to read aloud that belongs in this time period that we didn’t read yet is “By the Great Horn Spoon.”  We’ll reading that one sometime soon.  🙂

Longer Books Read Independently by Miss M (age 8, 3rd grade):

Carolina’s Courage by Elizabeth Yates — A story about a young girl traveling west in a covered wagon and a challenging sacrifice she is asked to make in giving up a cherished possession along the way.

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan — I realized after including this book in this unit that it probably takes place later than the time period we were trying to study.  Miss M read it and enjoyed it anyway.  🙂

Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan — Sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall

Three sets of the “American Girl” books are set during this time period — Kirsten, Josefina, and Mary Grace/Cecile.  Miss M has read the Kirsten books several times in the past (they’re her favorite of the American Girl books) and she did not re-read them at this time. She did read all the Josefina books for the first time and re-read 5 of the 6 Mary Grace and Cecile books.  She also read the “Welcome to Kirsten’s World” and “Welcome to Josefina’s World” non-fiction companion books that go along with those series.

Book Basket:

I filled our book basket with over two dozen books for this time period.  You can see a list of most them in my US History Year 1 spreadsheet. Miss M read many of them independently, with the boys only asking me to read a couple of them out loud.  The boys love the “You wouldn’t want to be…” series, and “You Wouldn’t Want to Be an American Pioneer” was no exception.

I read aloud to all the kids “Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days” (We read this story about Lincoln’s early years on Abe’s birthday, no less!),  “Who Let Muddy Boots into the White House?” (a humorous book about Andrew Jackson), and parts of “Day that Changed America: The Alamo” (a very, long and detailed picture book that I tried to squeeze into far too few minutes before a trip to the library on the day the book was due and couldn’t be renewed!).

 

Collage Friday: Snow Forts, Fred and Writing March 1, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 10:02 pm

I couldn’t really think of one unifying theme for the week, so the title reflects the potpourri of things I’m thinking about as I write a post to wrap up our week.

Remember last week, when the neighbor kids helped our kids build a little fort in the snow? The next day, Tony helped our kids mound up a whole bunch of snow, which the kids dug out in to a really cool fort (or a “hut” as they insist upon calling it!).  The hut and surrounding paths and small forts were the site of much play this week (and neighbor friends joining in for the outside play again today):

Snow Fort Winter 2013

 

Here are a few of our learning highlights this week:

 

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1. Mr. E (Kindergarten) and I played a game of Subtraction Corners early in the week, then Miss M (3rd grade) joined Mr. E and I as well for a game of adding corners today.  We’ve never played corners with more than two players but it works just fine!

2.  Mr. E continued to practice subtraction with Right Start B, and wanted “more worksheets”, so here he is doing some subtraction in a Singapore 1-A workbook I keep on hand for just such occasions. :-).  We also did a bit of work in RS B on making change and reading thermometers and scales.  Mr. E is just about done with B…maybe another week and we’ll be on to Level C.   Miss M continued with division practice with Math Mammoth 3-B this week.  I didn’t really “push” too hard on the math front this week, so we’ll still be working on division next week for at least part of the week.

3.  All three of the older kids tried out the new Logic of English phonogram practice app that was released this week.  I think it hits Mr. E’s interests and abilities most closely.  Even though Miss M still needs practice on some of her phonograms, she thought the game play of the app was a bit boring.  Mr E really liked it and found it helpful, while it seemed a bit tricky for Mr. K (age 4, preschool), who is just starting to learn all his lower case letters and their phonogram sounds.

4.  It was a co-op week for us…I taught a lesson on magnets for my class of 1st and 2nd graders, so that meant my kids got a bit of a review on magnets as well.  Though I had great intentions of also starting a lesson from BFSU Volume 2 with my kids, preparing my lesson for co-op (plus helping Miss M put a few finishing touches on her Rocks and Minerals labpook) seemed to take all the science-related energy I had this week.

5.  We finished reading Life Of Fred: Apples today.  Life of Fred is like “math dessert”…everyone loves it so much!  We’ll start Butterflies, the second book, next week.  Miss M started expressing interest in doing a bit more writing so I bought Write On! and we got a start with two lessons from that book this week (I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it once we’ve tried out a few more lessons).

6.  Mr. E drawing a comic strip (inspired by the “Your turn to play” questions in the last chapter of Life of Fred: Apples).

7. Sketch/Scribble art and a sentence by Miss M..The start of Write On! project #4.

Have a great weekend!

 
I’m linking up with Collage Friday, The Weekly Wrap-Up, and It’s a Wrap!

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