Fall Birthdays 2015

Happy big sisters teaching little sisters:

Happy first talking day to Jordan!!!

Happy 3 1/2 weeks to the meat chicks?

Happy 3rd birthday to Carolyn!

Happy 6th birthday to Maggie!

Happy around the birthday table:

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Duck-First Language

The dark colored duckling is the injured one.

The dark colored duckling is the injured one.

The Davis Farm, home of the special needs duckling. I thought I’d post that as a status update last night. Then I thought… that’s not duck-first language. I should have said home of the duckling with special needs. Because, words matter, you know, and it is a duckling first. If you’ve never been witness to the wars on appropriate disability language, then you don’t know why I was giggling or even what I’m talking about. That’s ok.

Pre-injury ducklings

Pre-injury ducklings

3 1/2 weeks ago, we bought three adorable Muscovy ducklings. We bought them to be pets and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know ducks and their behavior. Oh my… they are so…. duckish! Not chicken-ey at all. Sadly, our neighbor cat, an excellent mouser, noticed the sitting ducks (and they do. sit. They sit all the time, unlike chickens) and crawled through the open chicken coop door and made off with a fat duck for lunch. I found the other two that afternoon, one scratched and stressed, the other almost unable to move and very weak/limp… but without significant visible injury.

Fast forward a week and we have a healthy duckling and a duckling with cerebral palsy. He gets stronger every day (which is why we haven’t dispatched it yet), but is unable to stand. One side is stronger than the other, so he is always flipping himself onto his back, where he gets stuck. I put him in the water to clean off the poo build up and the poor fella swims lopsided and needs helped out after just a few minutes.

So that’s us. The house of the lopsided duckling. We’ll be going to get a few more healthy ducklings soon… not sure what the future holds for our little crooked duck. Oh dear.

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Curriculum Review – Several Weeks In

Maggie working on her Beekeeping journal.

Maggie working on her Beekeeping journal.

Math – Level 4 Teaching Textbooks:
Anna really likes this math! She asked to start it before the school year began and has been enjoying it so far – no tears. So far, the subject matter has been mostly things she knows… even though she had only previously completed most of Horizons Grade 2 Math. So Horizons must be advanced and TT is easy for “level 4” math. The format is wonderful for Anna. It gives a simple lecture on the new material, then has the questions. Anna gets to hear the questions read, read the questions, do the work on paper and then type her answer. There are very small cute rewards that happen, but it is not a “game” and that actually helps Anna relax, because she does not like to feel stressed by competitions or speed-answers. This curriculum may be expensive, but it is a lifesaver for us. Anna now likes math and I plan to use this for all the kids.

Spelling – Level 1 Sequential Spelling:
I am loving this spelling! Instead of memorizing spelling words and hoping the kids learn enough of them, Anna is learning words by recognizing patterns in them. On day 1, she spelled “beginning” as “beging” and on day 5, without ever having spelled or studied that word in between, she spelled it correctly. The format – I give a word, give it in a sentence and she tries to spell it. I write the word on my own paper next, using a different color for any letter patterns (like “in” is part of all the words the first couple days). She then corrects her word. Then we go to the next word. It goes quickly and it’s been perfect for my 3rd grade excellent reader, struggling speller. There are 7 levels. We’ll just do one this year.

Grammar – Level 3 Growing with Grammar:
We have only done two lessons so far, but it has been a good start. I read the student manual out loud to Anna… both to be sure she doesn’t skim and miss things and also so that I also learn/relearn the material. Then she does a short and straightforward worksheet where she practices what she just learned. I think we will like this. We did phonics with Horizons last year and struggled to learn the material. I have no doubt this will far exceed previous experiences and be much more clear.

Penmanship/Writing – Copywork, Guided Journal, Beekeeping Journal:
So far so good. She is not learning new penmanship or cursive, which I hope we get to sometime, but I do let her know I will have her rewrite things if they are messy. So far I have not needed to. I also let her know I will not be checking spelling, so that she can work on the part that’s the hardest… putting thoughts down on paper. The guided journal prompts will be fun as she gets into the swing of things and lets her creativity loose. The beekeeping journal is meant to primarily be science, but learning to write non-fictional entries is also helpful.

History/Geography/Social Studies – Story of the World Ancient History CDs and workbook:
These are great! My only frustration is that each chapter is too short and the kids don’t have time to finish their workbook coloring while they listen and that they would like even more storytime for each period. I am considering letting them listen to as much as they want instead of limiting the chapter(s) they listen to on history days… and just get them listening to the story. The benefit to listening to particular chapters, is then I know which review questions to ask to see if they learned the information. Dates are not included much… just in passing or as parent footnotes. Not a problem for me.

Health – 3rd Grade Horizons Student Books:
Both the first grade and third grade books are a disappointment to me. YES, they cover a lot of really wonderful information and they are just the information I wanted them to learn…. a wide range of self image, diet, exercise, strangers, anatomy and so forth. However, the format is not what I wanted at all. It gives a very involved parent role…. with a teaching guide that I would have time for only if I were teaching a class on health… not every subject for each kid. So the kids are just getting what they can out of it themselves. I’d love recommendations for more student-led health.

Science/Word Processing/Typing – Beekeeping Journal and Davis Field Guide:
This is working out very nicely. I made a long list of simple questions about honeybees (Like, “What does a worker bee look like?”) that the girls answer in handwriting as best they can. They also draw and label a picture. Maggie just does the picture, because she is just learning to read. The Davis Field Guide is typed. They have a set format that I made up (name of plant/animal, scientific name, things about it, etc.) and Anna is learning how to maneuver through Microsoft Word and also how to write reports.

Extracurricular – Field Trips, Gymnastics – fun times! (Visited a friend in Portland for one field trip and walked around town, Went to an art thing for the other)

That’s it for now!

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Homeschooling Pictures

For those who are curious – here are pictures of my homeschool room, desks, shelves, etc.

School in progress.

School in progress.

The school shelf. It didn't fit on its side and this way all the soft books stay flat too.

The school shelf. The shelf to the right is my incoming household paperwork shelf… not school. Right now it’s clean! Yay!

Desk. (Carolyn is posing. She requested I take this picture.)

Desk. (Carolyn is posing. She requested I take this picture.)

Desk.

Desk.

Desk that is usually too messy to use.

Desk that is usually too messy to use.

Supervisor.

Supervisor.

Maggie working on her Beekeeping journal.

Maggie working on her Beekeeping journal.

A school morning:

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First Day of School and Beyond 2015

The first week of school was Wednesday-Friday this week. Jordan was picked up for first grade at 8:10am and dropped off just before 4pm each day. The girls got up when they wanted (between 7 and 8), did their single chore, had breakfast and then did their new school. There were a few tears, but it was primarily a positive beginning. We did school on two days and then took Friday to go on a first field trip, something we were not able to do before now, because Jordan does not do well on field trips and also his Kindergarten class was too short to go somewhere. A good friend invited me to show up at Art Break in downtown Vancouver, so we packed some snacks and spent several hours doing art with pencils, crayons, markers and paints.

And now it’s Labor Day weekend! School next week is four days instead of three. Easing our way in. :-)

Carolyn doesn't wake up in the night often any more (YAY!)

Carolyn doesn’t wake up in the night often any more (YAY!) But when she sleeps with me afterwards… she sleeps as close as she can possibly get. Often on top of me. :-) It’s pretty special.

Jordan's most advanced soup yet. It's blended minestrone soup (it's soooo good) with the noodles unblended. He still does not chew them, but he is not refusing it and swallows it all!

Jordan’s most advanced soup yet. It’s blended minestrone soup (it’s soooo good) with the noodles unblended. He still does not chew them, but he is not refusing it and swallows it all!

First day of school!!! Waiting for the bus.

First day of school!!! Waiting for the bus.

His face changes from this to a huge excited smile when the bus pulls in.

His face changes from this to a huge excited smile when the bus pulls in.

Cute girl.

Cute girl.

Carolyn is such a big kid now! Turns 3 this month. She looks like her sisters to me in this one!

Carolyn is such a big kid now! Turns 3 this month. She looks like her sisters to me in this one!

The pool is now drained. brrr

The pool is now drained. brrr

This is what I got for a "first day of school" picture. Anna (3rd grade), Maggie (K/1st grade) Jordan (1st grade), Carolyn (3's preK)

This is what I got for a “first day of school” picture. Anna (3rd grade), Maggie (K/1st grade) Jordan (1st grade), Carolyn (3’s preK)

Thanks for this special picture, Maggie!

Thanks for this special picture, Maggie!

I have a pretty bird bath!

I have a pretty bird bath!

And thank you Carolyn for this adorable shot.

And thank you Carolyn for this adorable shot.

The bus was late on the first day.

The bus was late on the first day.

Anna now has her own pet again!!! It's a Muscovy duckling. She chose the one with the dark bill and I got two more. Hopefully they will all be the same sex. We'll see.

Anna now has her own pet again!!! It’s a Muscovy duckling. She chose the one with the dark bill and I got two more. Hopefully they will all be the same sex. We’ll see.

We also bought 10 meat chicks and a water trough. It's wonderfully multipurpose.

We also bought 10 meat chicks and a water trough. It’s wonderfully multipurpose.

Our neighbor friends were over today and they played with the ducklings. I told them to keep the ducklings warm.... so Elli sewed two little sweaters for them.

Our neighbor friends were over today and they played with the ducklings. I told them to keep the ducklings warm…. so Elli sewed two little sweaters for them.

Deer got through our last attempt at a deer fence. We are trying again. We bought Conduit, because it's inexpensive ($2.30 per 10 foot piece) and cheap plastic fencing.)

Deer got through our last attempt at a deer fence. We are trying again. We bought Conduit, because it’s inexpensive ($2.30 per 10 foot piece) and cheap plastic fencing.)

A few zip ties and some threading has it looking pretty good.

A few zip ties and some threading has it looking pretty good.

Hopefully it will protect our fruit trees now!

Hopefully it will protect our fruit trees now!

Rose took some serious medications and is a healthy and bouncy pup now. Unfortunately, her skin condition is chronic, but it's good to see her looking so good.

Rose took some serious medications and is a healthy and bouncy pup now. Unfortunately, her skin condition is chronic, but it’s good to see her looking so good.

Brian on his way out to work on something.

Brian on his way out to work on something.

A little snuggle in the sunset.

A little snuggle in the sunset.

My late summer bounty.

My late summer bounty.

Ears!

Ears!

A picture of some of the Art Break work by Carolyn and me.

A picture of some of the Art Break work by Carolyn and me.

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