Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Birthdays, Books, and Busted Cars

Samuel turned 6 last week. We went to see Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and ate lunch at his favorite restaurant. On the weekend, we had the family party. The summer he turned 2, the movie Cars was coming out. Now, he hadn't seen the movie (at that point, movies were limited to those we could rent and watch at home), but he really wanted a Cars birthday cake. Since the movie was so new, I could not find a bakery that had the Cars stuff to put on cakes. Thus began my foray into the amateur world of cake decorating. I bought a small Lightening McQueen car and a couple of others from the movie and made a race track cake and placed the cars on the race track (after thoroughly cleaning them, of course).

The following year, he wanted a Mystery Machine cake. Last year, a camping cake. This year, a jungle cake. Here is what I came up with:

Next, to books. Whenever we are in Target, we always stop by the dollar bins to see what's there. This time, they had some readers. Samuel picked one called "Animals in Africa". After he read it, he wanted to learn more about African Animals (OK, I put the idea in his head, but he definitely got excited about it). So, that ended up being a lot of bang for our buck.

And busted cars...why, oh why, do cars seem to run great until you make your last car payment? Our last payment was in May; beginning in May, the car has broken down (meaning, won't run) twice. We have also had to replace the key tumbler because my key kept getting stuck, the brakes, and two tires. This latest break down is going to cost us over $1300. It almost seems easier to buy a new car, but wait, we've replaced so much stuff, this one is almost new!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

ABC Meme

I saw this at Whimsy Way and decided it looked like fun:

Accent: Mostly middle of the road, but sometimes southern when I get emotional.

Breakfast or not: Always.

Chore I don't care for: Vaccuming...or dusting...really anything that kicks up dust, and therefore, my allergies.

Dog or Cat: Cat, although I've had dogs as pets before. No pets now.

Essential Electronics: Computer and cell phone

Favorite Cologne: Mostly cologne bothers my sensitive nose, but sometimes I spray on a vanilla perfume that smells like cookies.

Gold or Silver: Silver

Handbag I carry most often. In the summer it's a sand-colored crocheted purse. In the winter, plain black.

Insomnia: It probably wouldn't be classified as insomnia, but sometimes I stay up till the week hours reading a good book....and then suffer for it the next day.

Job Title: Wife, Mommy, Financial Advisor

Kids: One beautiful six-year old boy

Living arrangements: Second story 3-bedroom condo with 17 steps to reach it.

Most admirable trait: Commitment

Naughtiest childhood behavior: One time I got mad at a babysitter for tearing the bread on my jelly sandwich and threw the table knife at her.

Overnight hospital stays: Two nights after my c-section

Phobias: people not liking me

Quote: "Walking around with the toothbrush in your mouth is not the same as brushing your teeth." I say this almost daily.

Reason to smile: Chris and Samuel

Siblings: Two younger brothers

Time I wake up: Most days between 7 and 8 am.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I don't really think of any of my talents or skills as unusual.

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Hot peppers

Worst habit: Losing my focus during a conversation.

Yummy stuff: Anything chocolate, and cheesy anything.

Zoo animal I like the most: Elephant

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Grade Curriculum - Final

As Samuel's private school grows in enrollment, it is falling under some state guidelines. One is time - number of hours of instruction. All homeschoolers know that quantity of time is not important, but quality of time is. This school also knows that. First graders only go to school three days a week (8 - 3:30) and for a shorter school year than public schools. They learn more (based on what I see from my nephew's homework who is in the same grade as Samuel) and have high test scores (they take the Iowa Basic Skills Test). Still, the state rules, so as a parent I had to sign a statement that I would provide 11 hours per week of instructional time. LOL...I already do more than that!

Phonics, Writing, Memory work, and Math Skills- I will let the school direct that and only provide enrichment and practice at home. I have an extensive booklist supplementing my outline, but I know I will nver get through it all. So here is my first grade outline and I will add my booklist in my monthly updates and in full next summer.

Bible Study
Samuel will read The Beginner's Bible throughout the year.

Personal Family Tree
Genesis through Deuteronomy
American History - exploration of the American West
Famous Americans
American folk tales, stories, and songs

Cardinal directions (north, south, east, west)
Identify major oceans and continents, equator, north and south poles on a globe and/or map
Find our city, state and country on a map, as well as Canada and Mexico

Great books for read-alouds, approximately one per month (although I have about 20 books on my list!)
Children's Collections of Poetry (whatever we get from the library, such as the Oxford book)

Graded readers from personal and public library, Levels 1 - 3
Finish any books from the rising first grade summer reading list we didn't get to

Fibonacci - Math in Nature
DaVinci - Math in Art
"Mathematicians Are People Too" - Math in History

Life Science - habitats, food chain, plants, introducation of animal classification (add to Zoo Notebook), extinct and endangered species, environmental studies
Earth Science - Composition of the earth, weather
Continue Nature Walks, nature journal and zoo notebook

Artist Studies - Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, Edward Hopper
Experiment with a range of art techniques, including drawing, painting, collage, modelling media, printmaking, and weaving

Composer Studies - Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinky, Duke Ellington, Aaron Copeland, George Gershwin
Learn the four families of instruments in the orchestra

Life Skills
Tying shoes/knots
Learning to prepare one breakfast, lunch and dinner without help
Washing dishes

Physical Fitness
Encourage indoor and outdoor activity, to include swimming and basketball

Star-Spangled Banner

One of the things we have been working on over the last year is learning all the words to the Star-Spangled Banner. That is not so easy for a five-year old. Part of it is answering questions like "what does twilight's last gleaming mean?"

I found a wonderful book at the library to help with this. And since one of my best sources of good books is other people's blogs, I thought I would share it here in case someone else does this too.

The book is called "The Star-Spangled Banner in Translation: What it Really Means" by Elizabeth Raum. It seems to be geared to elementary age and tweens. It basically gives a little history behind the poem and song and then goes stanza by stanza (first verse only, which is ok since the first verse is all that is ever sung) and gives a modern day translation.

This was good for me as well, since maybe I had gotten to where I was just singing the words and not thinking about what they mean.