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Friday, May 7, 2010

A good short day

The devotion today was called “National Teacher’s Day!” (Oh how nice of society for making a day for educators.) We all know as former students or as parents of children who are in schools that there may have been one teacher who “got it” and may have “gotten a hold of you.” My teacher’s name was Mrs. Silverman. I loved her and she definitely made a difference in my writing life. The devotion said, “What is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher? One word: love. I love my home school educator’s career, not job. Jesus was a GREAT teacher. Jesus once said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” Knowing Jesus and learning from him can make all the difference in your life.

We did not start reading the book of Exodus today. Instead, we did some of JD’s AWANA book. We do AWANA’s on Sunday nights. I brought his book home two weeks ago to try to get him caught up for the year. Ever since we started this home school thing JD doesn’t want to hang out with his peer group. (Sometimes I don’t want him with them, but nonetheless he needs his peers.) JD usually hangs out with me during AWANA book time and we work on in it the AWANA office. Last week was the final book time week. But I at least want him caught up to where he should be, this far into the year. So today in the book we did Discovery 4:4 - read three bible passages and answer some questions, Discovery 4:5 - memorize two bible verse and read some, Discovery 4:6 - memorize two bible verse and read some, Discovery 4:7 - list 8 reasons “Why he should go to church.” Then, find the corresponding bible verses to go with the reasons. (They are things he’s already read.) He makes memorizing God’s word look at easy as jumping on a trampoline.

We did not do math today. I decided to give him a math break today. After all he has worked so hard and appears to be slightly burned out.

He did however, do the keyboarding lesson. I take this time to catch up on house work even though I know he’ll be looking at the keyboard. I think this one of those times in ac child’s life where he thinks his parents had eyes in the back of his head. (Am I the only one that was told that as a child?) Anyway, I called him out for looking at the keyboard again. He doesn’t know how I know when I’m out of the room. (*Shh, come her and I’ll tell you the secret…the keys call out when his misses a key. They become silent when I am out of sight, but they call out when I’m near. Hummm…)

We probably did the most fun language arts lesson thus far. Today for the edit/rewrite lesson time we wrote a "Wacky Web Tale" about spring cleaning. Then, I had him underline these parts of speech: articles, conjunctions, and prepositions. Then, we sang the rule that went with them. (The below text reads like a poem.)
Three little words you often see // are articles: a, an, and the
Conjunctions join the words together // As: men and women, wind or weather
Preposition stands before // a noun as: in or through a door.
A half hour later he was still singing those verses while digging in his toy pile for who knows what. (smile)

Health has been completed for the semester so we dropped this time slot for today too. We will use that time next week for language arts.

JD took his spelling test today and got 12 out of 15 correct. And since I know how to Google, I figured out how to get the percentage all by myself, even though Jeff has taught me this at least ten times. Anyway, JD scored an 80%.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A good test day

The devotion was about today being the anniversary of the first postage stamp. Did you know that at the beginning of the postage stamp era the receiver would have to pay the postage? The receiver would often refuse the letter. It got to where the sender and receiver would send secret messages on the envelopes. The United States came up with our stamp in 1847. It only cost $0.05 back then. Then, the devotion transitioned into the stamp of the Holy Spirit, being our guarantee. It says we be belong to God and will receive all the benefits. (And for free!)

We finished up the book of Genesis today. Only 65 more to go. Seems so long, but if we pace ourselves we can absorb more. We read chapters 49-50 today. Chapter 49 was Jacob’s blessings to all his boys before he died. Some seemed more like a curse than a blessing. But before Jacob died he instructed them to bury him in Canaan with his first wife Leah, his grandfather and his wife, and his father and mother. Chapter 50 was about hem traveling to Canaan with a parade of Egyptians officials to carry out Jacob’s final instructions. The very last part of Genesis was where Joseph’s brother were worried about Joseph getting revenge on them for what they did years ago. He assured them he intended no harm. He would take care of them. (Joseph is a symbolism of Jesus. Thanks Jesus for forgiving us…) Then, Joseph dies after having his brothers swear to take his bones back when God comes for them.

Today we did an algebra review. After the review JD took the goal 5 quiz consisting of 13 questions. I don’t know exactly what his problem was but he was REALLY delayed in answering each question and claimed not to know how to find the missing pattern link on some of the problems. I tried my best to encourage him by telling him, “You were all over this when we learned together. You were always the one that discovered the pattern first.” This didn’t help. So I assisted him for one of the questions, emphasized a clue on the next, and got up an left him for the third question to see if he was depending on me. By the end of the quiz I realized he didn’t want to write down the information to “keep track of the information.” He still did well on the quiz.

Today we finished up the Reading EOG during the language arts and email/snail mail time periods. There were 24 comprehension questions and JD only missed 2 questions. So when I total Tuesday’s quiz with today’s quiz he made a 93% on the practice EOG. I only hope the state assessment I ordered will be very similar. If they have editing, punctuation, parts of speech, and so on I don’t know how JD will do. It’s been baby steps this semester and I have worked on editing, punctuation and the parts of speech but JD misses a lot of those details I see clearly.

We tried to have a somewhat easy school day today because of the algebra EOG and the reading EOG. So for science today I allowed JD to continue to watch a Discovery program that explained the process of bringing down a huge structure with explosives. He watched them bring down a 40 story apartment building, an old shipping port building with four cranes, and four huge smoke towers. JD learned that there are only three women explosive managers in the world. I tried to Google that for verification but I was unable to find anything. (You can’t believe everything you see on TV.)

Civics was the last topic of the day. Today he learned about the exchange of goods and services. More specifically, trading goods for goods or goods for services. I love that they are still using the lemonade stand for examples. They said, “If you have lemons and no sugar, but the stand next to you has sugar but no lemons you can barter or trade for the items you need.” They talked about fair trading and trading with other countries as well. We crammed two lessons into one so that he can finish the civics lessons before school ends. He took the chapter quiz and got a 100%.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wired day

The devotion today was about it being “Cinco de Mayo.” On this day the outnumbered, untrained, and poorly equipped Mexican people defeated a much stronger and more powerful French army. That’s why they celebrate the 5th of May. Ezra, from the bible, spent several hours reading God’s word to the people. That’s when the people wept when they realized how they had strayed from obeying God. But Ezra reminded them, “Don’t be sad! Now is the time to celebrate.” This was because they heard God’s words and had understood them. Some people thing That God is all about do and don’ts. But that’s not true. He doesn’t want to stop us from having fun…he wants us to be JOYFUL.
Today we read chapters 46-48 in the book of Genesis. Chapter 46 was when Jacob and his entire family traveled and moved to Egypt. God spoke to Jacob one night. He said (paraphrased), “Go to Egypt. I will be with you. I will increase your descendants. I will also bring you back again. But you will die in Egypt.” Then, it listed all of Jacob’s descendants. (Tough names again.) In chapter 47 Jacob and his family met the Pharaoh. Then, Joseph assigned his family the best land to settle in. During this time the people of Egypt were coming to the Pharaoh of for grain. First they gave him all their money. Then, their livestock. Next, their land and themselves to be slaves for the Pharaoh. Chapter 47 was when Jacob died. But before he did he blessed his grandsons. But he gave the blessing to the second child. Jacob said, “Manasseh will become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater.”
JD kept interrupting me during the devotion and the bible reading today. It was nearing time for math and he was still wired. I asked him if he took his pill when I asked him to. He said, “No, there wasn’t a pill in the Wednesday area.” I looked at the pill container and saw there was one in Saturday’s area. I got a little mad and said, “Then take the one for Saturday. I just forgot to fill the container back up again.” So for most of the morning Jeff and I emailing back and forth about how wired he was. One of Jeff’s emails cracked me up. He wrote, “Whoo Hoo! Dig your spurs in and hang on for the ride.” (And some LOUD and DIZZY ride it was for the time it lasted.)
Because I need JD to focus during the math review I decided to go a bit out of order today. So we did the word bank lesson next. The new words were: somber, succinct, and swanky. He found the definition and wrote his sentences independently. We also typed up all the other work bank words for the semester and it turns out he now knows 45 new adjectives that he didn’t know in January.
For the journal lesson today we went to a web site that has “Wacky Web Tales” and typed a short story about a rabbit. This is where they ask for nouns, adjectives, colors, exclamations and such. I copied the story and pasted it to a cursive writing web page so JD could re-write the story in cursive. He saw this and said, “No copy and paste!” You would have thought I told him we were giving Tater Tot away. The moans and groans coming from him make me think of those war movies where they’re laying in the field after being shot. (Practice, practice, practice.)

We did the history lesson next. It was all about Thomas Jefferson. He was the third president. He served two terms in office. He thought of himself more as a philosopher than a politician. He is best know for writing the Declaration of Independence and establishing the University of Virginia.

I didn’t have any set lesson for music so JD just practiced the music he already knew on the organ. He did have me search extensively for Beethoven’s 5th symphony movement one. It happens to be his ring tone on his phone. I love that he loves classical music. We play classical music when he’s writing because it calms him down enough to actually write.

Today for math we did a review on whole numbers. Things like: decimals, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, estimating, rounding, customary and metric measurement (including length, weight, capacity, and temperatures), roman and Greek numbers, place values, greatest common factors, least common factors, and finally time. We did the practice test for this goal and he only missed 1 out of 14 questions. I had to assist him on three questions. We did not even cover fractions and six of the questions were about fractions. (He got all of them correct.)

I had JD finish his cursive writing story after school ended. Then all he had to do was finish his social studies from yesterday. He did this right after the cursive story. I didn’t even have to tell him to do it. Yeah…independently!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A good day

(This is a science picture)

The devotion today was about “being on the lookout.” It’s National Weather Observer’s Day. Imagine what the world would be like today if we didn’t have weather forecasters. We’ve become so dependant on the weather channel or new reports for our forecast to be prepared. There was another time way back when Jesus urged his followers to be vigilant. To be on constant watch for Jesus to come back. Now the question is will we be prepared? It means to be caught by Jesus doing God‘s will and working faithfully.

We read chapters 43-45 in the book of Genesis today. Chapter 43 was when Joseph’s brothers returned to Egypt with Benjamin and the “stolen” money from the first purchase of grain. Joseph invited them to his palace. They presented the “stolen” money and new money for a second purchase of grain. They had a feast at Joseph’s palace. Chapter 44 was where Joseph had the palace manager place Joseph’s silver drinking cup in Benjamin’s sack. The 11 brother were on their way back to Canaan when Joseph had them chased down. They found the “stolen” cup in Benjamin’s sack. Judah tried his best to protect Benjamin. He even asked to swap places with Benjamin and to be the palace slave, if Joseph would only let Benjamin go back to his father’s house. In chapter 45 Joseph identified himself to his brothers. All was well with all of them. The Pharaoh invited Joseph’s family to come live in Egypt while there was still a famine. Jacob was of course overjoyed. I was going to stop at chapter 44 but JD chanted, “More bible, more bible!” (I love this time with JD. Kind of almost makes up for the deployments.)

We finished the math EOG today. He did the last 25 questions on the test. He scored a 68% but still without any review from January. I found today that he was a bit distracted. (But he also snuggled up with me doing his test.) I asked if he took his pill and he said, “Yes.” I had to assist him with some easy questions today so I counted those as incorrect. When I put yesterday’s score with today’s score he made a combined score of 70%. The next couple of days we will review and we should be able to pull that score way up. The EOG has five goals. They are 1.) numbers and operations 2.) measurements 3.) geometry 4.) data and statistics 5.) algebra. My friend also gave me five additional quizzes that each focus on one of those five goals. So by the middle of next week we should have that EOG score way up.

The social studies lesson today was on the Rocky Mountain states, the Southeastern states, and the Pacific Coast states. We identified them on an outline map and learned a few facts about them. Next is “River” studies. He also took a chapter quiz that covered two lessons, as usual, and he scored a 90%.

It had been a good day until I said, “Today we’re writing a short letter in cursive.” For the email/snail mail lesson I had him write a short snail mail letter. There’s such a big difference between his print and cursive. I’ll probably just have him concentrate on cursive. Although, the first sentence in his letter today was “I hate cursive.” (Maybe plan “B”. Anyone have a plan “B?”)

On Sunday I talked with my friend who gave me the outdated EOG tests and expressed to her my concerns for JD’s English/Reading skills. Stating, “I’ve spent a lot of time catching JD up on math, but I’ve had to take baby steps in English. We’ve spend most of our time on Reading comprehension.” She said, “Most of the test is comprehension. They took out the grammar part.” (Another God thing? I think so.) So we started our Reading EOG today. There are six passages to read and 44 questions to answer. It is all comprehension. I read three passages to JD and he answered 20 questions and he only missed one question. Yippie! We’ll do the other part of the test on Thursday.

Science was so absolute COOL today. We explored the history of ice cream, the chemistry of ice and salt and exothermic (outside heating) reactions. WHAT? We made homemade ice cream and it tasted great! The recipe for one scoop size of ice cream is: 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 cup milk or half & half, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Here’s what you do: 1.) Fill a gallon sized zip-lock bag half full of ice cubes, and add a ½ cup of rock salt (coarse salt works too.) Seal the bag. 2.) Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into a sandwich sized zip-lock bag, and seal it. 3.) Place the small bag inside the large bag, and seal the large bag back up. 4.) Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

We worked on the garden today. It’s about half plowed and 2/16ths of the way planted. (Do you like the way I used fractions? ) We had to put that weed stopping black plastic stuff down first. We planted our corn, three bean plants, and I think cucumbers. It’s all a blur. But I’ll know what it is for sure in a couple of weeks. I wrote it all down on graph paper but we only planted the strong things and are letting the others rest back in the starter thingy. (Technical huh?)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Short and sweet day

It was a short, sweet day today. It ended at 11:46 AM and we got all seven of the lessons completed.

The devotion today was called “Tax Freedom Day.” What’s that saying...There are only two certainties in life…death and taxes. Taxes have been around since bible times. We all ready discussed the time Jesus where Jesus answered a question about taxes with this answer (paraphrased), “give to Rome what Rome is due, but give to God what he is owed.” We can actually pay with our faithfulness, our obedience, and our love. What about with our abilities and talents? Sure. Just as we are expected to pay our taxes, we are also expected to “pay” God what is owed to Him. (Okay, now why is this Tax Freedom Day?”) Tax Freedom Day happens around the 99th day of the new year. (I think the devotion book is a bit off.) Americans will work well over three months of the year—from January 1 to April 9—before they have earned enough money to pay the year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. (Whatever! Tax, tax, tax, away!)

Today in bible we read Genesis 41-42. Chapter 41 was about Pharaoh’s dreams of the fat and skinny cows and the healthy and withered wheat. Joseph was taken from prison to interpret these dreams and then put second in charge of Egypt right under the Pharaoh himself. The dreams came true. There were seven good years of crops and seven years of drought. Chapter 42 was when Joseph’s brother came to Egypt to buy food as their father instructed. Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him. But Joseph recognized the. One was left in prison while the others had to go back and get Benjamin to prove they were not spies. What a great symbolism of Jesus and his people.

There are multiple reasons we became a home school family. One of them was the fact that I had four fifth grade teachers as church friends. (Could this have been a God thing? I believe so.) My friends all pitched in and gave me books and one even scrounged up an old End Of Grade (EOG) test from the year prior. Of course it is out dated and was not going to be used this year. That is what JD and I did today for math since we finished up all the math lessons on Friday. We only did half of the test today. So out of 25 questions he only missed 7. That’s a 73%. That’s not too shabby. Considering we went straight into the EOG without reviewing the material that we learned way back in January. I did the practice EOG test so I could figure out what he needed review on instead of reviewing it all.

We combined keyboarding with journal again today. Today I had him write a “color poem.” I asked for some descriptive details for each sentence, but other than that this is what he came up with. (The bold font it what I prompted him with.) Blue is the color of my eyes. Blue is in the cloudy sky. Blue is cool but not cold. Blue is fast like a shark. Blue smells like violets in the Spring. Blue tastes like fresh picked blueberries. Blue sounds like a crying baby. Blue looks like fluffy cotton candy. Blue feels like a warm blueberry muffin. Blue makes me feel sad. Blue is sweet like chocolate Easter bunnies. We also played hide and seek tag again today in order to get it typed up quicker. Let me tell you…back in the late winter season of 2007 I broke my right pinkie toe. Today I heard that little pinkie toe say, “Wee, wee, wee, all the way home.” I was scrunched up under a scrap of carpet in the spare bedroom. It was an excellent hiding place and I didn’t want to give it away. But when the big bad wolf moved out of earshot me and my piggy’s I moved to a more comfortable spot where I could move and breath. This confused JD when he re-looked and found me in my new spot. But it made for another fun lesson. (I’d like to see public school try that, Hah ha.)

For art today I offered him a chance to make a Mother’s Day card or a project or both. So I pulled out some random shaped and colored foam pieces and an old white 4x4” tile from the church bathroom renovation project. (They were just going to throw them out anyway. So I scooped them up for a future craft project. **Any ideas?) JD designed a beautiful coaster for me with a message on it that only he and I truly understand. (“I dub u.” It comes from his little guy days when he was just learning to speak. He handed me a purple and yellow flower from our backyard in Oklahoma, and said, “I dub oo.”) JD finished his project and started to bring it to me, but I told him to save it for Mother’s Day. He said, “But I wanted you to have a pre-Mother’s Day gift.” (Sorry Jeff, I tried to help you out.) But after he finished that he set out to make something else that he quickly wrapped up. (Guess I’ll have to wait on that one.) *Smile

I gave JD 15 new spelling words today. They are all four letter words with more silent letters.

Did I mention we all started a garden in our garage? With those little seed starters. Well we did and now it's time to plant. So well be bust for the next couple of days digging up our yard to get it ready for the new crops. I have not had much success with gardens in the past but maybe this year will be a like the seven years of healthy crops. (Smile)