Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Link Up

Highlights in Our Homeschool This Week... We went to a homeschool science fair this week.  Chris's project was Bearded Dragons, (he brought Max), the girls' project was rabbits and they brought Daisy.  There were so many amazing projects.  We learned a lot and had a great time.

Our Book Club was another highlight this week.  It was so much fun talking about Treasure Island with our friends and playing in the park after.

My Favorite Resource this Week... I'm not sure if any of you ever have this problem...

But if you do...  read the book to your children.  Maybe it'll help, maybe not...  But it sure made me smile every time I looked at the cover when I was having that problem this week ...

We're Reading... Chris finished Eragon by Christopher Paolini and is rereading The Eldest (#2 in the series), Katie finished reading #2 in The New Prophecy series and started #3, Chelsea finished # 17, and started # 18 in The Boxcar Children series.

We finished reading Treasure Island for our homeschool book club.  We met this week and began reader response journals and had a great discussion.  We ate pirate booty on pirate plates.  We were still discussing the book and having fun after an hour and twenty minutes, but another group was scheduled to use our space, so we had to leave.  Next week our book club is going to see a production of  "Treasure Island" at a local theater.

If you want to "read along" with us, our next book club book is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The movie will be released on Dec. 14th and Denny's is launching "Hobbit" inspired food on Nov 6th.  On the menu : Shire Sausage Skillet, The Ring Burger, Gandalf's Gobble Melt, Hobbit Hole Breakfast, and many more.  Here is a link to an educator's guide to The Hobbit that you may find useful.

I read The Seven Tales of Trinket  by Shelley Moore Thomas and am reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Chris finished reading Gregor #3 to the girls and has started reading #4 to them.

Places We're Going... Homeschool Science Fair, Book Club, Dr.'s appt., vet. appt. (Sheba, our cat still has something going on with her ear), and ballet.

Things I'm Working On... I am working on starting an adult book club.  I'm looking for great books. Any suggestions ?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Link Up

Highlights in Our Homeschool This Week ...

Chris has been doing research on rainforests for the book he is writing.  He has completed 40 typed pages so far. 

Katie and Chelsea have been teaching Sarah and Lily (their American Girl dolls) about space.  The dolls now have their own Reader Response Journals :0).

We have been rereading all of our fairy tale books and some from the library.  We have had a lot of fun trying to guess who the fairy tale characters are in "Once Upon a Time" on Netflix. (Caution : Please preview this first before you let your kids watch it.  Some material may be too scary or inappropriate for some children.) (And if you have seen it... let me know... don't you just love Rumplestiltskin?  His laugh gives me the chills...)

We have begun our America in the 1700's unit.  For a list of the books we are reading, see Planning Our Year American History. 

My Favorite Thing This Week...

Going to a corn maze in the shape of a turkey.  We started out all together in the maze (as we do every year) and every year the girls and I get annoyed because Daddy and Chris look at the maze map.  So this year, the girls and I left the boys and ventured off on our own.  We had a great time racing to see who would come out of the maze first.  The boys using their map, beat us out.  However, we did help them when we found them in the maze lost.  We ended our day at a Japanese steak house that recently came to our area.  As the chef was cooking, he would fling food in our direction and we would have to try to catch it with our mouths.  He also had a hula girl squirt bottle in which he would periodically shoot at people around the table. So much fun...

We're Reading...

Chris read #3 in The Archer Legacy, and he reread Eragon ( the author, Christopher  Paolini was homeschooled and began writing Eragon at age 16.)

Katie finished reading #1 in the second series Warriors:The New Prophecy and started #2.

Chelsea read The Boxcar Children #12,13 and is working on #14.

Chris is still reading Gregor #3 to the girls, and I am still reading Treasure Island to everyone.

I am reading The End of Your Life Book Club.

Places We're Going...

... ballet, Dr.'s, dentist, vet.'s, haircuts, and corn maze

Things I'm Working on...

... going through the kids' fall and winter clothes, jackets, boots, and snow pants to see what still fits.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Link Up

Highlights In Our Homeschool this Week ... Chris has joined the girls in producing their puppet show.  Everyone has changed parts several times. It's been harder than they thought, so production has stalled. 

Chris has inspired the girls to write stories this week.  He has been writing furiously and is on typed page 35, chapter 8.

Katie has been using printables from Barb at Handbook of Nature Study to identify the trees in our yard.  Quite a feat, because we live in the woods.

Our projects for the science fair are finished.

My Favorite Thing this Week... Chris taught the girls to how to play "Magic."  It's a fantasy card game.  The girls were so excited that they were old enough to play it, and Chris was so excited to have someone to play it with.

We're Reading... Chris read The Archer Legacy #2,3.  Katie finished Warriors #6 and started The New Prophecy (also Warriors) #1.  Chelsea is reading The Boxcar Children Halloween Special.  Chris is still reading Gregor # 3 to the girls.  I'm still reading Treasure Island to everyone.  I finished reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (for adults), and started The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.

Places We're Going ... Ballet, geography club, fire station tour, and good friends' house to play

Things I'm Working On... putting together a fairytale unit.  I was inspired by the show "Once Upon a Time" on Netflix (we don't have cable).  I really enjoyed the show.  After our fairytale unit, I'm going to watch it with the kids.  I think they'll love it (word of caution: this show may be too scary or not appropriate for some children, so preview it first.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Favorite Halloween Books

We are always looking for good books to read.  Here are some of our favorite Halloween books...  Do you have any favorites to share ?

In the Haunted House Eve Bunting
Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins Dianne Ochiltree
Bat Jamboree Kathi Appelt
The Ghost-Eye Tree Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
The Littlest Pumpkin R.A. Herman
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! Lucille Colandro
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything Linda Williams
You Read to Me, I'll Read to You Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together Mary Ann Hoberman
Mummy Math :An Adventure in Geometry  Cindy Neuschwander                                                                         
Happy Halloween, Mittens Lola M. Schaefer
Pumpkin Day Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Trick or Treat, Little Critter Gina and Mercer Mayer
Happy Halloween, Biscuit Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Cam Jansen and the Mystery at the Haunted House David A. Adler
Spooky Buddies movie novelization
A to Z Mysteries: The Haunted Hotel Ron Roy
Howliday Inn James Howe

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Link-Up

Highlights In Our Homeschool this Week... Chris has been working hard on his "book."  So far it's 30 typed pages !  This is from a kid who used to dislike writing. 

The girls have been furiously working on a production of a puppet show.  They were inspired by a local puppet festival that we visited.  So far they've made puppets, found a script, and are working on the scenery.  SOOO CUTE !!

The kids created more Halloween decorations for our family/schoolroom.

My Favorite Thing this Week... Winding up toy mice and putting them under the door of Daddy's and Chris's dressing room while Chris was trying on Halloween costumes (yes, I did just celebrate my 43rd birthday.)

We're Reading... Chris read The Billionaire's Curse #1 in The Archer Legacy series, and is working on #2.  Katie is still working on Warriors #6 and read Magic Puppy series #1,2 and started The Spiderwick Chronicles.  Chelsea The Boxcar Children #10,11 and The Magic Puppy series #2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8.  Chris is still reading Gregor #3 to the girls, and I'm still reading Treasure Island to everyone.  I read #1 in the Alex Rider series, and am reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (yes, I did get a Kindle for my b-day :0)

Places We're Going ... ballet, geography club, puppet festival, and shopping for Halloween costumes

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reader's Response Journals

     Reader's Response Journals are something I first learned about while studying to be a teacher.  Although many of the things I studied as a teacher have not been useful to me as a homeschooler, I have found that Reader's Response Journals work well for us.
     A Reading Response Journal is basically a journal in which the student responds to literature.  It is a way to generate discussion about literature, validate your child's opinion, and connect reading and writing to further enhance meaning.  In a classroom setting, I have used Reader Response Journals as an opportunity to dialogue with students individually about the books they are reading.  Because I have only 3 "students" now, I have much more time and I can actually talk to each of my kids about what they have written.  I also don't write in their response journals,
because I want them to have complete ownership.
     Just like anything else, "quality" takes time.  It also takes modeling by the "teacher" and by modeling, I also mean that you should have your own response journal (and yes I do. )
Katie and Chelsea have 3 Readers Response Journals.  They have 1 for American History which they record what they've learned by reading history literature.  This is not a true response journal (in my mind, but they call it that), the girls also have one for all other books they have read, and a separate one just for Magic Tree House books.  This was their choice.  Chris has an American History Reader Response Journal and another for books that he has read.  I have just one. 
     My goal in our journals is to generate discussion among us (we share our entries) and create a community of readers and writers.  Sharing is optional (everyone always wants to share.)  A Reading Response Journal should be a place where you can write about what you have read in whatever way that you want.  It is yours.  There is no right or wrong way to do it.  That does not mean that you do not provide your student direction.  I have a list of questions/ideas that I have posted to get everyone thinking.  These questions have been compiled from a variety of sources (teacher textbooks, my brain,  and

How do I get started ?

     Have your child decorate a notebook (it can be any kind), I like a mixture of lines and blank pages
Write about a book that you and your child have read together , then share what you have written.

Good prompts to help you get started:

What was your favorite part of the book ?
What did you like ? dislike? and why?
What did you feel while you were reading ?
I didn't understand ...
I love the way...
My favorite character was... because...
I felt sad...
I felt happy...
I wish the ending...

     In my journal I also record passages that strike me in some way.  Sometimes I write them, sometimes I photocopy them and glue them in.  In their Magic Tree House Journal (they insisted on sharing this one) the girls use stickers and decorations appropriate to the content of the book.

     Remember there is no right or wrong way to do it.  Reading Response Journals are a great way to build a community of readers and writers.  Try it.  And let me know if you do.