Friday, December 21, 2007

Read Aloud #72: The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

Pages: 211
Finished: Dec. 21, 2007
Reason for Reading: Every school day we read one new poem and then re-read a few of our favourites. We've been reading from this book for several months.
First Published: 1924
Genre: children, poetry
Rating: 5/5

Comments: This is a compilation of two books "When We Were Very Young" and "Now We Are Six". In this edition the original illustrations have been hand painted in gentle watercolours. These poems are a delight, a joy. They are very much written from a small child's point of view. The poems have rhythm and are very fun to read and easy for a child to remember after hearing repeatedly. Overall, the poems are happy, playful, funny and sometimes slightly cheeky. We have had a lot of fun reading these and I think it is time spent together that we will always remember. Highly recommended to read aloud.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Read Aloud #71: Little Pear

Little Pear: The Story of a Little Chinese Boy by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
First of the Little Pear books

Pages: 138
Finished: Dec. 18, 2007
Reason for Reading: this is one of my favourite books
First Published: 1931
Genre: children fiction
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

There was once a Chinese boy called Little Pear.

Comments: The simple, heartwarming, funny misadventures of a five-year-old Chinese boy in his village in China. There are no words to convey just how much I love this book. I remember reading all the Little Pear books and many other books by Eleanor Frances Lattimore when I was a child. I have very fond memories of reading them and taking them out over and over again, especially Little Pear and Peachblossom.

I read this to my older son when he was little and it was a favourite with him so, of course, I knew I would read it aloud to the 7yo. I think I love this book even more now than I did before. The 7yo was simply enthralled with it. He has decided that Dad is going to read it to him next for his bedtime story.

Little Pear is a mischievous, often naughty, boy who is always behaving in ways which are quite shocking to a 7yo of today. What young child of today can imagine what it would be like to walk to the nearest city all by yourself and not get back till after dark?

The writing is very descriptive. There are many scenes, pages long, that describe the Chinese village, the market, Chinese homes, etc. and the language is utterly engaging. The reader can tell that Lattimore loves and respects both China and the Chinese people. (She was born and raised in Shanghai). Lattimore also illustrated the book herself and the simple line drawings enhance the playful mood of the book. I have nothing but praise for this book and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

When Agnes Caws Lapbook

The next lapbook we did was When Agnes Caws by Candace Fleming using the unit at Homeschool Share. Ds is having a blast lapbooking and learning so much. This story was a lot of fun.


This shows the Decade Book. DS7 loved this so much. He thinks its so cool that for years 9 and 10 there was no him!

Opened up



Completely opened up



Monday, December 10, 2007

Frog Went a Courtin' Lapbook

This is the lapbook my son made when we did the unit study for Frog Went A Courtin' at Homeschool Share.

While we were studying this we also got the CD Songs for Singing Children by John Langstaff from the library which has this song on it. It is a wonderful CD!

The Cover


Cover opened up



Completely opened up



The back

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Read Aloud #64: Do-it-yourself Magic

Do-it-yourself Magic by Ruth Chew

Pages: 127
Finished: Dec. 8, 2007
Reason for Reading: just picked it up on a whim for something fast and fun
First Published: 1987
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

"Wow! Rachel, look at that!" Scott Walker grabbed his sister's arm and dragged her over to the shop window of the big discount store on Church Avenue.

Comments: Rachel and Scott buy a "Build-Anything Kit" and soon discover it has magical properties. Adventure soon follows as they shrink themselves, drive a car they've made and then find themselves inside the castle they built and it's even populated with medieval people. Rachel and Scott learn about a minstrel's life and Rachel soon finds out life wasn't very fair for a girl in the middle ages. This is a cute story, a quick read and would be perfect for a child ready to read chapter books.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Read Aloud #63. Poppy and Rye

Poppy and Rye by Avi
Illustrated by Brian Floca
Second in the Tales of Dimwood Forest

Pages: 182
Finished: Dec. 5, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series.
First Published: 1998
Genre: children, animal fantasy
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

"Clover! Clover, love. You need to wake up! Something awful is happening."

Comments: Poppy decides to try and find Ragweed's parents to tell them the news and Ereth accompanies her. Once they arrive they find that beavers have built a dam and flooded Ragweed's family out of their home. More than anything this is a love story. Poppy meets her husband-to-be, Ereth also feels love for the first time and we see the love of parents for children. I'm not too surprised that my 7yo did not enjoy this book very much. He enjoyed the occasional chapters focused on Poppy and Ereth but the rest of the book did not hold his interest and he requested I stop reading it three-quarters of the way through. I did finish reading the book myself and feel this is the weakest book we've read in the series so far. The beaver characters as the new enemy were more annoying than anything, certainly nothing like the evil Mr. Ocax of the first book. There were some good parts and I moderately enjoyed this volume.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Read Aloud #61. Frog Went a Courtin'

Frog Went a Courtin' by John Langstaff
Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

Finished: Nov. 24, 2007
Reason for Reading: we "rowed" this using the homeschool share unit.
First Published: 1955
Awards: Caldecott Medal
Genre: picture book, folk song
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:
Frog went a courtin' he did ride.

Comments: Simply wonderful, timeless classic picture book. The text is from the traditional folk song and if you know the tune you will find yourself singing instead of reading this book. In fact, we borrowed a CD from the library with the song and have been singing ever since. Lots of fun! Rojankovsky's illustrations are amazing. I've always been fond of his work. He uses a colour palette consisting of the primary colours (red, yellow, blue) with some green and black. These bright bold pages are alternated with a more subdued green and black palette and the effect is marvelous. A wonderful book to experience!

In other reading news, Dad has been reading The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater which they both enjoyed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Read Aloud #60 - The Story of Doctor Dolittle

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
Illustrated by Michael Hague
First of the Doctor Dolittle books

Pages: 159
Finished: Nov. 16, 2007
Reason for Reading: a favourite of my childhood, I hoped ds would enjoy it.
First Published: 1920
Genre: children animal fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

Once upon a time, many years ago -- when our grandfathers were little children -- there was a doctor; and his name was Dolittle -- John Dolittle, M.D.

Comments: Doctor Dolittle is an impoverished doctor who is very friendly with animals. After he gives up his human practice and becomes an animal doctor, he receives a cry for help from the monkeys of Africa who are experiencing an epidemic sickness. I have fond memories of reading all the Doctor Dolittle books as a child. This is my first time to re-read one and I was not disappointed. Lofting was a master storyteller and this book enchants from start to finish. Each chapter is packed with action, adventure and humour. There are many endearing animal characters, each with their own distinct personality. I loved Gub-Gub the pig who was frequently reduced to tears, while my 7yo loved Polynesia the wise and rather bossy parrot. This was a fun and quick book to read aloud and the 7yo enjoyed it immensely. The second book in the series has already been placed on our up-and-coming read-alouds pile.

We also finished another book in the Animal Behaviour series for our non-fiction reading. Animal Senses by Patricia Hickman. Here's my review I wrote for LibraryThing.

This is our favourite entry in the Animal Behaviour Series. There are many hands-on demonstrations (ie experiments) using simple items found around the house. (The only thing we had to buy was a party blower from the $ store.) Interesting text, colourful pictures and hands-on fun make for a enjoyable book that 7yo really enjoyed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Read Aloud #58. Secret Seven on the Trail

Secret Seven on the Trail by Enid Blyton
Fourth in the Secret Seven mysteries

Pages: 88
Finished: Nov. 14, 2007
Reason for Reading: reading this series,in no particular order.
First Published: 1952
Genre: children mystery
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

"Mummy, have you got anything we could have to drink?" asked Janet.

Comments: The Secret Seven are on the trail of robbers. Goods are being stolen from trains and the Seven accidentally overhear as the gang of robbers plot their next heist. These books are very formulaic and now that we've read a few of them I've lost the nostalgic feeling and my interest in waning. However, the 7yo is still enjoying them very much. He gets very excited following the daring exploits of this group of children and I expect we'll be reading more in the series.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Read-Aloud #57: Poppy

Poppy by Avi
Illustrated by Brian Floca
First* in the Tales of Dimwood Forest

Pages: 147
Finished: Nov. 2, 2007
Reason for Reading: we enjoyed Ereth's Birthday so much we decided to start the series from the beginning.
First Published: 1995
Genre: children, animal fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

A thin crescent moon, high in the sky, shed faint white light over Dimwood Forest.

Comments: The mice who live in Old Gray House are ruled over by the evil great horned owl, Mr. Ocax. When Ocax denies permission for the mice to move to a new area with more food Poppy, whom Ocax has blamed for his refusal, decides to take the long voyage to the new area by herself. Thus begins a peril filled journey that will forever change Poppy's life. This book is top-notch animal fantasy. Compelling characters face danger, death and the unknown in doses that bring one to the edge-of-your-seat excitement. The tension is very intense but is offset by frequent doses of laugh-out-loud humour. I love this book. My 7yo was beside himself at various points in the plot, cheering and yelling words of caution to Poppy. This book is most certainly a big hit for both old and young.

*A note about the reading order. Poppy is the first book written in this series but not the first book that is promoted by the publishers. Ragweed is labeled the first in the series but is actually a prequel and the third book published. Since I first read this series as it was being written I am now re-reading the remaining books in as published order, which I think gives a better flow to the character development. Ereth's Birthday is fourth in the series but also a stand-alone. I recommend the books be read in published order.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Read Aloud #56: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

Pages: 81
Finished: Nov. 1, 2007
Reason for Reading: we've been learning about foxes and read this for fun.
First Published: 1970
Genre: children, humour, animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

Down in the valley there were three farms.

Comments: Three nasty farmers decide to get rid of the fox and his family once and for all. The fox finds himself in a predicament but after some thinking he comes up with a plan that outsmarts the farmers. This is a hilariously funny book. I've read it several times now and it still makes me chuckle. In the 7yo's own words, he "loved it!" This is an especially fun book to read aloud and Quentin Blake's delicious illustrations on every page are just as much fun as the story itself. Recommended for all ages.

Dad's bedtime reading has seen the end of the Magic Tree House books. Ds said he was tired of them. So they've just finished reading The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle which was a big hit.

Non-fiction reading has seen us finish another One Small Square book, Cactus Desert. This has been our least favourite of the One Small Square books to date. Here is my review I wrote for LibraryThing:

Not as visually appealing as the others we've read in this series so far. Perhaps my son is just not as interested in the desert as the other habitats but he was rather bored with the text. He did enjoy looking at the pictures though, especially the page with animals shadows that were to be matched to the outlines. Recommended for any age from 7 and up.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Just Ordered Math-U-See!

Mid-year switcheroo! I just placed an order for Math-U-See!

We are currently using RightStart (Lesson 60-something) and I love it to pieces. I think it is a fabulous curriculum, it's just not working that well for my son. He just doesn't like the abacus, he's having a really hard time learning to add and can not visualize the abacus and he actually hates using it. And he doesn't like the card games either! So, he's not having any fun and we are not getting anywhere.

Anyway, I ordered the sample dvd from Math-U-See and it arrived the other day. As I was watching it ds (7yo) came in and started watching it with me and wanted to know what it was. Why was that guy using big Legos for math? Is this going to be his new math? Can we get it? He got pretty hyped watching the dvd! So after viewing the dvd, the catalogue, the website, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between Math-U-See and RightStart. They both seem to have the same philosophy and teach things the same way, just using different manipulatives. I'm thinking the blocks are going to be a better fit with ds than the abacus and I really like all the practice that comes with MUS. RS just doesn't have much in the way of practice except through the games and when your ds hates the games there's not much left. His favourite part of RS is doing the worksheets and they are few and far between.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Read Aloud #53 - Flossie & The Fox

Flossie & the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack
illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Pages: 32
Finished: Oct. 23, 2007
Reason for Reading: we are learning about foxes in our curriculum, WP AW, and added this book.
First Published: 1986
Genre: children's picture book, folk tale
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

"Flo-o-o-ossie!" The sound of Big Mama's voice floated past the cabins in Sophie's Quarters, round the smokehouse, beyond the chicken coop, all the way down to Flossie Finley."

Comments: An African-American deep South version of the traditional Red Riding Hood fairy tale. In this rendition Flossie is taking a basket of eggs to a neighbours house and is met by a Fox in the woods. Flossie refuses to believe he is a fox, since she's never seen one before, and the fox tries to prove himself to her. This is a picture book with a lot of text and what beautiful language in this wonderful tale. Told in a rural Black dialect the words are vivid. Both the text and the illustrations convey a sense of mischief that builds until the last hilarious page. The 7yo was laughing out loud and so proud of Flossie at the end of the tale. Highly Recommended.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Read Aloud #52: Bub, Snow, and the Burly Bear Scare

Bub, Snow, and the Burly Bear Scare by Carol and Bill Wallace
illustrated by John Steven Gurney

Pages: 118
Finished: Oct. 19, 2007
Reason for Reading: Picked this up at the library simply because it looked good
First Published: 2002
Genre: animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

Tiny specks of ice filled the air and bit into my hide.

Comments: I hadn't heard of this book nor had I ever read a book by the Wallaces before but the cover was cute and the Wallaces have written a lot of books so I thought it was worth trying. Bub and his mother travel to the valley for the winter and meet up with other creatures of the forest including a nearby people family and a grouchy bear. We really enjoyed this book and it won't be the last we read by the authors. This is actually a sequel to another book but read as a stand-alone nicely. This is a talking animal story but is not fantastical at all, the animals are very much regular animals and we learn a lot about the forest wildlife as the mother teaches young Bub. Many funny scenes and the characters were adorable. My favourite was a horse on the farm who wasn't originally from the valley but came from "The Valley", and talked like a Valley Girl. My son's favourite was the grumbling beaver who was still working on his lodge even though winter had already come. Recommended for 7-9 year olds.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Read Aloud #51: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
illustrated by Hilary Knight

Pages: 119
Finished: Oct. 17, 2007
Reason for Reading: I read this to my older son when he was about the same age, and I was pretty sure ds7 would enjoy it too.
First Published: 1947
Genre: children, fantasy, humour
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

I expect I might as well begin by telling you all about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle so that whenever I mention her name, which I do very often in this book you will not interrupt and ask, "Who is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle? What does she look like? How big is she? How old is she? What color is her hair? Is her hair long? Does she wear high heels? Does she have any children? Is there a Mr. Piggle-Wiggle?"

Comments: This is a hilarious, rollicking-good-fun read aloud. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and knows everything there is to know about children. She also has the most wonderful cures for common childhood ailments such as won't-pick-up-toy-itis and won't-take-a-bath-itis. Told in an episodic format, each chapter is it's own little story. I believe some of the chapters have been published as picture books also. My 7yo enjoyed this very much. We both laughed out loud and both have the same favourite chapter which is the story of the little girl who wouldn't wash and ended up having radishes growing out of her forehead. I've read this book several times now but haven't read any of the sequels but I think I may have to change that. I also must mention that the Hilary Knight (best known for the Eloise books) illustrations are adorable.

Dad has just finished reading the 15th Magic Tree House book, Viking Ships at Sunrise, and they have decided that it's time to move on from this series.

We haven't finished any non-fiction since the last update.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

War of 1812 Re-enactment

We had a fabulous day today!

195 years ago on this very date, Oct. 13 1812, the Battle of Queenston Heights was fought. Today we went to the re-enactment. People from all over Canada and the US came today to re-enact the battle on the very same day on the very same soil. Here are a few pictures I took.

War of 1812 Re-Enactment

War of 1812 Re-Enactment

War of 1812 Re-Enactment

War of 1812 Re-Enactment

War of 1812 Re-Enactment

War of 1812 Re-Enactment

Friday, October 5, 2007

Read Aloud #49 - Ereth's Birthday

Ereth's Birthday by Avi
Fourth in the Tales from Dimwood Forest

Pages: 196
Finished: Oct. 5, 2007
Reason for Reading: scheduled reader for WP AW
First Published: 2000
Genre: children's animal fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

In Dimwood Forest, in the dark, smelly log where the old porcupine Erethizon Dorsatum lived, Ereth--as he preferred to call himself--woke slowly.

Comments: Ereth happens upon a mother fox caught in a trap who pleads with him to look after her kits. After she dies Ereth, much to his chagrin, accepts the task but unbeknownst to him he is being stalked by Marty the Fisher. This is top-notch animal fantasy, it doesn't get much better than this! The fourth in a series is just as incredible as the previous entries. This book can also be read independently from the series (or out of order) as it revolves around a different character than the others. The 7yo was captivated with this book, he couldn't wait each day for our reading and I was cajoled into reading 3 chapters a day instead of our usual two. We laughed, we cried, we highly recommend this book!

No other books have been finished since my last post. We did start The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman but after 7 (very short) chapters ds said he was NOT enjoying it so we decided to put it aside.

Check out the side bar to see what we are currently reading

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Read Aloud #48 - The House at Pooh Corner

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
illustrated by Ernest Shepard
Sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh

Pages: 181
Finished: Oct. 2, 2007
Reason for Reading: We enjoyed Winnie-the-Pooh so much we had to read this sequel
First Published: 1928
Genre: children's classic, fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet's house to see what Piglet was doing.

Comments: This sequel is just as endearing and beautiful as the first story of Winnie-the-Pooh. This is the book in which we meet Tigger and all the friends we are familiar with are now together. The 7yo enjoyed this tremendously and we experienced many laugh-out-loud moments. The language in the book is simply beautiful. This is a book which demands to be read aloud. Ever since we started reading the Pooh books we've found him becoming a part of our lives. My son likes to make up little songs and now he says he just feels a little 'hummy' like Pooh. The ending is so sweet and I found myself all teary-eyed as I read it. This is a book that will stay with us forever. A must read!

Dad has finished reading the 14th Magic Tree House book The Day of the Dragon King and they are both still going strong with this series.

In non-fiction we finished Animals and Their Young (one of our WP AW books). This is the reveiw I wrote for LibraryThing

A solid entry in the Animal Behaviour series. This one is not as visually appealing as the previous book in the series we read. The colours are very subdued, browns, tans, greys. Much more text per page than is necessary causing the 7yo to zone out occassionally. But otherwise a decent enough book to cover the topic. The 7yo particularly enjoyed the pages which described what his life would be like if he were certain baby animals.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Read Aloud #46 - Secret Seven Mystery

I've decided to keep track of our read-alouds on this blog. I'll be writing brief reviews of the books I read aloud to our 7yo and keeping tally of the books dad is reading to him.

Secret Seven Mystery by Enid Blyton
Ninth of the Secret Seven series

Pages: 87
Finished: Sept. 24, 2007
Reason for Reading: we are working our way through the series, though not in any particular order
First Published: 1957
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

Peter and Janet were having breakfast with their father and mother one lovely spring morning.

Comments: I don't really have a lot to say about this one. They are pretty much formulaic with one being pretty much like another. But the seven year old is enjoying them and cannot figure the mysteries out yet. I am asking him every now and then as we read the mysteries for his opinions and he is pretty ingenious with some of the things he comes up with. This story revolves around a girl (around the age of the secret seven) who has been accused of stealing some money from her teacher and then runs away. The secret seven, upon their father's suggestion, decide to try and find the girl. The 7yo found this more tame than the others we've read, which involved kidnappings and circuses, and didn't enjoy it as much but still wants to continue reading more. This is a good little series of books (there are 15) and I think he's spot on at the targeted age for them.

Dad has just finished reading the 13th Magic Tree House book, Vacation Under the Volcano which ds enjoyed very much. The theme was Pompeii and Ancient Rome and he found it very exciting.

In non-fiction, we've just finished up the Tropical Rain Forest book, part of the One Small Square series. We really love this set of books! Here is the review I wrote for this book on Library Thing:

Beautiful illustrations are the main focus on each page drawing the child into the book. An engaging text, combined with the illustrations, encourages one to linger over the pages. My 7yo enjoyed the book, especially the last few pages which has a guide to all the animals found throughout the book. Recommended for any age from 7 and up.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Books Available on BookMooch

I've got some great books to give away on BookMooch. You can find my inventory here

Bernard Palmer Trena's Rodeo Rival (The Bradley Series)
Lloyd Alexander Taran Wanderer
Bruce Brooks The Moves Make the Man (Newbery Honor Book)
Esther Chum Essential Skills Maths Nursery Book B: Revised (Singapore Math)
Beverly Cleary Socks
Roald Dahl The Twits
Alice Dalgliesh The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
John R. Erickson The Case of the Raging Rottweiler {Hank the Cowdog, No 36
John R. Erickson The Case of the Vampire Cat (Hank the Cowdog, 21)
Atwater, Richard and Florence Mr. Popper's Penguins
jean craighead george The Tarantula in My Purse And 172 Other Wild Pets
Yeap Ban Har Maths with ... Baa Baa Black Sheep Singapore Math
Yeap Ban Har Maths with ... Hickory Dickory Dock Singapore Math
Yeap Ban Har Maths with ... One, Two, Buckle My Shoe Singapore Math
Yeap Ban Har Maths with ... Two Little Dicky Birds Singapore Math
Paul Hutchins The Timber Wolf (Sugar Creek Gang)
Ladybird Puss in Boots (Favourite Tales)
Lois Lenski Strawberry Girl
Edith Nesbit Five Children and It (Puffin Classics)
Bernard Palmer Danny Orlis and the Ice Fishing Escapade
Bernard Palmer Danny Orlis and the Live-in Tragedy
Christine Pullein-Thompson Phantom Horse Goes to Ireland
Christine Pullein-Thompson Three to ride
Emily Rodda The Isle Of Illusion
Jon Scieszka The Knights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio)
Jon Scieszka The Time Warp Trio See You Later, Gladiator
George Selden The cricket in Times Square
Ladybird Series Sorcerer's Apprentice (Well Loved Tales)
Edith Lambert Sharp Nkwala
Christine Pullein- Thompson Second Mount
Gertrude Chandler Warner Surprise Island (Boxcar Children Series, No 2)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The End of a Unit

Here are a couple of pics of ds7's projects from the last couple of weeks. We take photos of 3 dimensional projects, then print them out and put in his notebook.

Bison Face

Monarch caterpillar

We've now finished the first 6 weeks and the first unit on the grasslands. Ds is very excited to start the next unit, the rainforest.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July Recap

Wow, July seems to have just flown by. I can't believe it's just about August and that I haven't posted once this month. I must try to post more often!

Anyway, here I am with our monthly recap of schooling. July has gone wonderfully, we started Animals and Their Worlds and are loving it. We've hit a few learning road blocks but nothing overwhelming and I definitely feel that July was a productive month of learning. If you wish to read further, may I suggest you grab a cup of coffee and settle down as I have a feeling this will be long.

Language Arts - We finished Lesson 48 of First Language Lessons. We've covered all types of nouns and have now moved onto pronouns. Ds has no problem with any of the grammar lessons and memorizes the rules very quickly. He has memorized the poem "Hearts Are Like Doors" by Anonymous and is working on learning the "Monday's Child" poem and the "30 Days Hath September" poem. Math and FLL have overlapped and between the both of them he has learnt the days of the week and the months of the year and has them down with no problems. We started copywork this month and at first this was a huge problem. His first assignment was to copy "My name is ____". This looked humongously long to him and he caused quite a fuss. It took him all day, one word at a time, but he got it done and is now still causing a bit of a fuss but is getting it done in one sitting.

Ds's latest narration:
The Hen and the Golden Eggs

A man and a wife had a chicken who laid golden eggs. They cut it open because they wanted all the golden eggs at once. But they saw nothing inside the hen. They were greedy and sad.
(ds, 7yo)

We continue working a page a day in Spectrum Phonics, now finished page 38. His earlier problem of actually hearing the sounds has been resolved and he is no longer having any difficulties and really enjoys working in this workbook.

Word Families are progressing nicely. He also enjoys these worksheets and is reading the words very well.

Reading - We've just finished Lesson 16 of our reading curriculum. This curriculum starts off horizontally and then switches to vertical. We've now moved into the vertical phonics and ds is doing tremendously well. He picks up the new sounds very well and is really improving his reading. He has now learnt all the sounds for long /o/, all the sounds for /ow/ as in cow and all the sounds for /er/. Plus he's added a handful of new sight words. He still sounds out each individual sound when reading but he is starting to read whole words at once without sounding out loud. His main problem is he feels unsure of himself. He will look at me for every word he reads, waiting to hear if he got it right before reading the next one and I am trying to break him of that habit. He has finished the second level box of Bob books and wasn't ready for the second level of Now I'm Reading so he is now working on the second box of level one Now I'm Reading readers.

Handwriting - We continue working in HWT and his printing is coming along nicely. And while he complains at having to print anything else in his schoolwork he never complains about having to work in this book.

Math - We have just finished Lesson 43 in RightStart Level B. Progress has slowed down. We are now doing half a lesson a day and then playing an addition card game for the remainder of the lesson. He understands concepts very well but he just can't seem to remember adding. He gets it, he can do it on the abacus but he just couldn't add anything. 4+1 and he had no clue, ask him what comes after 4 and again he has no clue. So we've been playing this addition card game that was introduced this month and slowing down the lessons while he gets the hang of adding. I'm happy to say that the month has brought some improvement. He can answer many +1's now plus he has 5+3 and 5+5 down. We are working on all the addition facts up to 5+5. We will probably continue with the half-lessons through August.

Read-Alouds - This month we have read aloud: Socks by Beverly Cleary, and the Magic Tree House books Pirates Past Noon and Night of the Ninjas. I continue to read the Beatrix Potter book at bedtime when dad is not home. We have also started reading Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling each day just before lunch and our newest read-aloud which we are 3 chapters into is The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton. Dad has continued to read the Andrew Lost books and has finished up to #8. We will not be continuing with the series due to evolutionary content in the rest of the books but dad is now going to continue on with the reading of the Magic Tree House books at bedtime.

Animals and Their Worlds - We have finished Week 4. Ds has had a lot of fun with the reading, websites, crafts, activities, art and notebooking. I am very happy with it and hope to continue with WP for many years. One thing I really like is that we are always doing something different: reading, puzzles, colouring, craft, drawing, looking at websites, notebooking. It's a different combination every day.

Here he is with two of the crafts he's made recently. A bat magnet and a prairie dog pop-up. We've printed out this photo and put it in his animal notebook.

Every week he works on an animal drawing from a Draw, Write, Now book and here is one of his most recent. Ds loves to draw monsters, aliens and robots so all his animals reflect his style. Here we have one dangerous butterfly!

Also, every week ds fills out an animal sheet for his notebook. We are working on a combination of him drawing the answers and telling me the answer to write down.
Click to enlarge and you can see his answers better. I love his answer to the sentence at the bottom "Cheetahs are so fast they look like rockets or super sonic cars."

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Life in a Shoe is hosting a giveaway of Vision Forum's exciting new adventure series, Ballantyne books!

Friday, June 29, 2007

June Recap

We had a short month of school for June. We've been on holiday since the 22nd and we go back on July 3 after the Canada Day Holiday. Ds also celebrated his birthday this month and turned 7!

Language Arts - We finished Lesson 30 of First Language Lessons. We've covered all the variations of nouns that are persons, places and things. Another poem has been memorized "Work" by Anonymous and a new one "Hearts are Like Doors" has almost been memorized. Ds has learnt to write his whole name (first, middle, and last) though he hates writing anything other than just his first. Since we talked about addresses I also added daily memorizing of our complete address and he has it down pat. We moved not too long ago, so he didn't know it very well.

We stared using Spectrum Phonics Gr. 1 and have made it pg 20 and the short a sound. I'm glad we added this in as he has been having a bit of problem with the work of actually hearing the sounds in the words. He really enjoys the workbook though!

We also started doing Word Families this month. These are actually really improving his reading skills. I am picking one that compliments our Phonics program each week. The last family we did was 'The _ash Family'. Ds's latest narration:

The Little Girl Who Wanted To Be Dirty

The little girl wanted to be as dirty as a pig. Then her looked around and she wasn't in bed she was in a pig pen with two cute little pigs. She had fun at first then she went to supper and it was yucky and gooey. She got out of the pen and sneaked around to the back door and went upstairs to her bathroom and cleaned herself. She put on her jammies. The End
(ds, 7yo)

Reading - We finished Lesson 12 of our reading curriculum. He has now gone through all the magic 'e' long vowel sounds, which he already knew but he has them down pat now. We've also covered the sounds 'th, ch, sh, ck' and he picked those up very quickly as well. He is starting to become more confident and fluent with reading. He isn't guessing what the words should be as much now. He has finished the first box of first level of Now I'm Reading readers and was very proud to accomplish that. We've started the second level box of Bob book readers now.

Handwriting - continuing with HWT the last letter he did was 'g'. His handwriting is coming along nicely and he actually enjoys doing his work with this program. He hated Abeka handwriting last year.

Math - We finished Lesson 33 of Right Start Level B. His level of understanding has greatly improved with this curriculum and I am so pleased with it. He is working on all the addition facts up to 10. Geometry was introduced and he loooves it so much. We've covered parallel lines, perpendicular lines, right angles, right triangles, triangles, squares, rectangles, and quadrilaterals. He is learning the months of the year and almost has them down. Reading large numbers up through the 1000's has been introduced and he understands but doesn't quite have it down yet. He also learnt to add 10s and understands well (ie. 50 + 20 = 70 ) as well as 10s and 1s (ie. 60 + 3 = 63). Commutative law was introduced but he already knew this from Abeka's 'twins'.

Read Alouds this month were: Pippi Longstocking, The Adventures of Grandfather Frog and James Herriot's Treasury for Children. We are currently reading the Complete Beatrix Potter Tales. Dad continues to read the Andrew Lost books at bedtimes when he is home. They have just finished #6 In the Whale.

And that is all the official curriculum we are currently using. When we get back to school we will be starting Animals and Their Worlds.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Box Day!!!!

Oh, we are so excited today! Our WP box came at 6:50 am this morning. We had no restraint and dove into it right away. We got the complete Animals and Their Worlds program and received everything except 4 books which were on back order and should be coming shortly. Everything looks wonderful, ds was very excited. We love box days! Here are the pics, though I'm afraid they are rather dark:

Box Day

Box Day WP Animal Worlds

Box Day - WP Animal Worlds

WP Animal Worlds

WP Animal Worlds

WP Animal Worlds

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Monthly Recap

This is the first of a new series of posts I'll be making. On the last Friday of every month I will be posting a recap of where we are with our curriculum.

Language Arts - We just finished Lesson 12 of First Language Lessons. We are both enjoying this book very much and the lessons are going very well. Ds has memorized the poem "The Caterpillar" by Christina Rossetti and the definition of a noun. Here is his last narration we did yesterday.

The Lion and the Mouse

The mouse stepped on the lion's tail and the lion almost ate him. The mouse said, "I will help you when you are in trouble, lion." So the lion let him go. The hunters caught him in a net and the mouse heard him and bit the rope. The lion was free! - The End (ds, 6yo)

Reading - We just finished Lesson 9 of our phonics program which focused on cvcc words. Reading is progressing nicely but he really had to slow down with these words and make sure he got the last consonant on the end of each word. He finished the first set of Bob Books this week also. These focus on cvc words and he is reading them nicely now. He has about 12 sight words under his belt now and we've been struggling with "of" for quite some time but it appears he has finally succeeded in remembering it.

Handwriting - Progress with Handwriting Without Tears is going well. His handwriting has really improved with the move to this curriculum. He's gone through the capital letters and now working on the small letters. The last letter done was "w".

Math - We have finished Lesson 18 of Right Start Math B. We are having a blast with this curriculum! Ds is really picking up all the concepts very well. We "camp out" on a few lessons here and there when he struggles before moving on. The last concept we've just started working on is even and odd and he really enjoyed the lessons and games for this.

That is all the official curriculum we are using at the moment. I'll leave you with a painting ds worked on this week.