Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Starting The Day...

I realized today I have not had that stressed feeling for most of this school year so far. What a release. What a joy. Maybe its all smoke and mirrors in my head because we cover so many subjects a day  (with the Charlotte Mason approach we're trying this year) and I just 'think' we're moving forward, but I really feel like we're doing well.

Gone is the stress of not feeling like we're getting anything done.
Gone is the worry about getting up SO EARLY in order to accomplish all we need to do.
Gone is 'most' of the arguing about school subjects and length.
Gone is the desperation in my child's eyes during an hour long (or more) math lesson. 
Gone is the desperation in MY eyes, counting the days until Thanksgiving vacation.

A friend reminded me of something today when she posted a quote on her Facebook wall: 

"Tomorrow I plan to work, work, from early until late. In fact I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."  - Martin Luther

I forget, most days - if I were being honest, to start my day in prayer. Sure, we do scripture memory and a bible story. But real honest to goodness prayer for our schoolday and my family, I tend to push that duty aside. It should be a joy to talk to my Lord about my upcoming day, not a' have to' thing. And how much better would my day be if it began with God? 

I plan to experiment with this 'morning prayer' phenomenon (haha) and see how it improves our day!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

 (Image is of a print you can purchase here: Alicia Bock)

Yay! One of my articles made it to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival (I'm sure all articles make it, but I'm excited just the same! hehe)

The blog post I submitted was the Scripture In Pictures post about how we're memorizing scripture these days. 

To see all posts featured in the Carnival, visit the hosting blog here: CM Blog Carnival.

You can submit articles here too: CM Carnival Blog Submission.

P.S. I ran across another Carnival on Homeschooling today. Although I haven't submitted any articles to it yet, I thought I would share. Lots of great links. Carnival Of Homeschooling. To submit articles for this one, go here: Blog Submission.

Monday, October 18, 2010

TRACKING Schoolwork, Hours & Days

Regular homeschool record keeping has always been my downfall. But it is also my greatest joy. Seeing all those little numbers lining up makes me so happy. Why don't I do it more often? Who knows.  But when I get around to it, I do keep pretty good records so I thought I'd share samples of some and then link you to blank sheets you can use yourself. If you find you don't want to print these and fill in by hand but would rather fill in with Microsoft WORD, just email me and I'll send the WORD documents to you. I couldn't figure out how to attach files you can revise with your own information.

Since we're new to this Charlotte Mason way of doing things I was a bit concerned as to if we were getting in the hours we needed in certain subjects to make sure we cover that subject for the year. We've always spent hours on each subject almost daily so I still feel like I'm copping out, doing shorter lessons (although it seems to cut down on the stress and boredom of the child.)

Here is a sample of our Weekly 'What To Do' chart. I write in pencil what we'll do and we go back and highlight the subject matter when we finish it. NOTE: The hours add up to about 29 1/2 hours (includes church and singing class). We're in school 30 weeks (36 really, but 6 are holiday weeks) so we need to do about 33-34 hours per week. We always are adding something in on the weekends: PE, Reading, Baking, etc... so we have been meeting those goals so far. We also add in hours on Fridays when we do art or games.

Here is my monthly hours chart, split into core and non-core subjects. Our state required hours be kept of how you spend your time. 600 hours must be in Core subjects, 400 can be in anything you want; more Core or Non-Core.

Here is my new sheet that keeps track of our weeks on and off, as well as the hours each month in specific core subjects and then one column for non-core subjects. I'm seeing that our science and math are lower than I want it to be so I'll be upping those in the weeks to come.

Below you'll find the spreadsheets for each, that you can download and print. Let me know if you decide to use them and if they help.

Charlotte Mason Weekly What To Do Chart
(NOTE: We have Fridays 'off' from regular schooling to focus on art, math games and/or field trips.)
School Year 2010-B

Monthly Hours Chart
School Monthly Hours Total SAMPLE

School Weeks, Holidays & Hours
School Weeks Holidays Hours SAMPLE

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Egg-stra Special Science

Last week I picked up Janice VanCleave's Biology For Every Kid. We've been lacking in the Science department. A little studying here and there (beavers, fish/seas/Jacque Cousteau, magnetism, laws of motion, circuits) but no real structure to our learning. Anyway, I know how the little one loves doing experiments and I thought we could at least find a few in here.

We decided to try out the Naked Egg and the Shrinking Egg experiments.

2 jars (preferably with lids, because this house is full of spillers)
corn syrup
1 egg
measuring tape
6 days time

1. Take one jar and fill it with about 2 inches of vinegar.
2. Measure the length (and circumference if you want) of the egg . Write them on an observation chart you make up on paper. We didn't do this part, we were lazy but it sure would have been nice to compare sizes at various times.
3. Carefully slide the egg into the vinegar jar. Check to make sure the vinegar is deep enough for the egg to be covered. Our egg sank to the bottom. Add more vinegar if necessary to cover egg.
4. We then labeled the jar with a day and time we should finish the experiment, 72 hours later.

* Check your experiment every day and note any changes on your chart. *

* You'll note that bubbles immediately begin forming on the egg. Over the next couple days those will multiple and the egg will be covered. *

72 hours (3 days) later:

SCIENCE INFO:  The bubbles seen throughout the 3 days are carbon dioxide gas. Vinegar is an acid, the shell of the egg is carbon carbonate. The carbonate and the acid react and you get carbon dioxide gas. You'll notice the egg has taken on a yellowish look, no more bubbles really and no real shell left. The vinegar reacted with and dissolved it away.  It has the feel of a water balloon. Some of the vinegar sneaked in through the cells' membranes and made the egg bigger. This is called Osmosis.

 1. Carefully take the egg out, sit it on the lid while you measure its length and CAREFULLY measure circumference, noting on your chart again. You'll determine the egg has grown exponentially in size.
2. Use same egg for the Shrinking Egg experiment.

1. Pour 2" of corn syrup into the 2nd jar. 
2. Slip the bloated egg carefully into the corn syrup. Put on the lid. Add more corn syrup if necessary to cover egg.

* You'll note that unlike the shelled version of this egg, the bloated one floats. More buoyant. (Here you'll see we did the experiment a 2nd time, to show the difference in the eggs, side by side.)

72 hours (3 days) later:

*You'll note, as you probably have if you've been watching your experiment everyday (and i would recommend that you check it every day around the same time, noting changes) that the egg has lost a lot of its bloatedness. According to the experiment it was supposed to shrink up like a shriveled raisin, but it didn't really get that small.*

SCIENCE INFO: This is once again a case of Osmosis. The water (and some vinegar) moves where there is no water, in this case into the corn syrup. The corn syrup can not get into the egg so the egg takes on a shriveled appearance.

Great, easy learning experience for the whole family. DH enjoyed getting involved as well (note his finger putting the egg in the corn syrup. :) ) We picked out a few experiments to do in the coming days. The little one read many of the experiments and the science behind them and I heard her telling her dad all about different things. So even if you can't get to all the experiments in a book, make sure you let the little ones read through it as they 'pick' which ones they want to do. They'll learn a whole ton of information from this book. I know I did!
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