Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Three Brothers

Can't, Won't, and Try
~Author Unknown 

There was once a poor man who had three boys, named Can't, Won't, and Try. They were very different from one another, and you would not have thought that they were brothers. 

Can't was a very lazy boy, and a great coward. He was afraid to jump across a ditch, for fear he should tumble in. He was afraid to climb a tree, for fear he should fall down. 

When asked to do anything, Can't was sure to say he could not do it, although perhaps he had never tried. It was just the same at school or in the playground. If he was asked a question, he would say, "I don't know." If he had to learn a lesson, he would say, "I can't do it."

Won't was not lazy, and he was not stupid; but he had a bad temper, and was very stubborn. If he had made up his mind not to do a thing, nothing could make him do it.  

If Won't was cross, his school-mates could not get him to play, no matter how much they begged him.  If he wanted to play, he would not learn his lessons, even though he was sure to be punished for not knowing them.   

He was not good at a game, because he wanted to have his own way in everything; and he did not succeed in his studies, because he would not do what he was told. In fact, nobody liked him, on account of his bad temper and his stubborn ways.

Try was a very little fellow and the youngest of all the three. But he had a brave heart, even if he was little; and he was always ready to do what his parents and teachers told him. 

If Try was asked whether he could do any very hard thing, he would say, "I don't know whether I can do it, but I will try." Sometimes he would fail, but almost always he was able to do what he tried to do.

Once he tried to jump across a brook, but it was so wide that little Try fell into the water. Still, he did not cry. He made up his mind that, when he was a little older, he would try again; and before long he could jump over the brook in its widest place. 

When Try first went to school, hi teacher said, "Can you read." "No, sir," said he, "but I will try to learn." "That is all I ask," said the teacher: "I want boys in my school who will try to learn."

In a few months Try was at the head of his class, Can't was still at the foot of his, and Won't had gone down tot he foot of his.

Which do you think was the happiest of the three?

All three are grown men now. Can't is servant to a master named Must; Won't is a soldier under Captain Shall; and Try is a partner in the great firm of Success & Co.

Taken from Path's to Adventure, A Beka Book's 3rd grade reading program.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #4: Homeschool Emergency Plan

VHC Assignment #4: What is your homeschool disaster plan?

This will be pretty short because I have not thought of having an emergency plan in place as far as homeschool is concerned. 

1. Do you have a 72-hour kit that is your go to homeschool supplies?
I don't exactly have a kit prepared, but our school/office supplies are organized in plastic drawers and baskets, so if I had to grab and go I could easily grab them and those are the supplies I'd want to save. They contain pencils, markers, colored pencils, glue, scissors and dry erase markers, pens, highlighters, paper clips, stapler and staples. I'd also grab the Math-U-See blocks that sit on top of one of the sets of plastic drawers.

2. What are the natural disasters that you prepare for?
The only disaster I've ever thought to plan for is tornado. The kids know to grab their pillows and hit the hallway closet should we ever need to take cover. I've not thought of any other disasters to prepare for. 

3. Do you have a kit that lets them work to keep the feeling normal?
I do not, but this is something to think about for future reference.  :-)

4. What are your most loved and faithful books that are your treasures that you feel you cannot loose?
I would hate to lose any of our books, the book-lover that I am! However, there are a few that I would need to save. I would hate to lose the few Christian Heroes: Then and Now books that I have collected. I would not like to lose our Millers Series books nor the dictionaries and encyclopedia sets we have. Above all those, the books I'd save first are the old hymnals we have and my study Bible. 

Thank you VHC for these questions b/c this is now on my mind to think about and put an emergency plan in place.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #3: Our Reading List

VHC's 3rd assignment is about our homeschool reading list. 

  • How and where do you get your list? 
  • How big is your list? 
  • How do you assign reading? 
  • Do you give rewards or incentives for reading?
  • Do you quiz for comprehension?
  • What is your intent or goal that you use your reading list to accomplish?

So, before I saw this question on VHC, I can't say that I actually intentionally thought of the phrase "book list". However, I guess we do use one of those. 

In the past, I have used "boxed curriculum", so I just used whatever books they suggested or the books that came with the set. Then I just used the books however the curriculum told me to. 

Yeah, I'm that homeschool mom. I don't always know how to think outside the box. :-P

Anyway. Here is what our reading has looked like in the past:

Our K5 curriculum came with little readers that were meant to aid in the process of learning to read.

In 1st grade, we changed our boxed curriculum and my children read stories from a Bible Reader, which was on the 1st grade level and served the purpose of not only aiding in learning to read, but also for my children to begin to know what the Bible says. There was a certain story assigned to read about 2-3 days per week. 

Our 2nd grade kit came with a set of readers. We're still learning to read in 2nd grade, so the readers were for that purpose, but these stories began to instill character concepts, which I like. There were a certain number of pages to be read twice a day.
Last year, we used a "Book Basket" where we filled a basket, or crate, with books of the topic we were studying. Those books came from the library and/or books we already had and they changed every 1-2 weeks. We set aside a predetermined amount of time during the day for reading with no particular number of pages to read. I also had the kids pick a book to read aloud to me every couple of days and I asked them questions to check for comprehension.

We also began to use read alouds last year. This was a set that came with our curriculum and the books coordinated either with the era of history we were studying or with the Bible theme. We generally read 1 chapter per day, but if the chapter was a bit longer, we'd take 2 days to cover a chapter. The kids really have enjoyed using read alouds. 

Now to this school year:

I have some curriculum readers that I had previously purchased from other homeschool moms that we hadn't used yet. So, I decided to use them for our reading list this year. 

For Adelle, we have begun this school year with a set of  A Beka Book readers from their 3rd grade level. She can read these pretty well, but it hasn't hurt at all for her to read on a level that is a little bit below her ability. It's actually encouraging for her. Then she'll move on to the 4th grade readers. There are questions at the end of each story to check for comprehension and for thinking skills to be built. Building character has become a big deal for me and these readers cover various quality character concepts so I am happy about that. 

Jonathan is using Horizons 2nd grade reader set that consists of 2 books. In the 1st reader, he is reading through Robinson Crusoe that has been rewritten for a 2nd grade level. There aren't any given comprehension questions, so I'll occasionally ask a few questions here and there. He'll move on to the 2nd reader and then I don't know from there. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

I also plan to begin assigning book reports about halfway through this school year. I haven't decided how to do that yet, but I realized that it would be good practice for them to relay back what they have read in that type of format, just for the purpose of critical thinking. Jonathan's will probably be done orally as he is having a difficult time with his handwriting this year. And I must mention that I found these simple formats - for free! - that will be a great beginning for us from Beth Gorden over at 123 Homeschool 4 Me. 

For our read alouds this year, we are reading through the Millers series books, which are for the purpose of character building.

I have also just discovered Lamplighter books and I would love to begin building up a library of those. They are most excellent! 

I must say that I am so blessed that my children love diving into books. I usually find them reading when the house has become too quiet and I go investigate. I'll also find them hiding with a book when they're supposed to be doing some chores. Can I really complain about that? 

Paul and I like books ourselves so the kids come by it naturally. We have books all over the house. You'll find books on our school shelf, in crates in our make-shift shelving in the dining/school room, on shelves in Adelle's room, on a shelf and in boxes in mine and Paul's bedroom and soon-to-be in Jonathan's room when we get a shelf in there.

I haven't had to use any incentives or rewards to get my kids to read. We are book-loving people. What can I say?

Friday, October 14, 2016

The State Fair

We look forward to the state fair every year in October.

There are lots of carnival rides and games to enjoy. There are numerous concession stands to choose from, including several restaurants (mostly the big chain restaurants), not to mention all the deep fried food you can imagine: green beans, mac-n-cheese, Oreo cookies, Twinkies, cheesecakes, etc....

Fried Oreo cookies

For fun, the kids enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides, pig races and one or two carnival rides (we don't do too many of those). 

Our view from the ferris wheel
Pig Race

But the fair is not only about food and fun. There a lots of learning opportunities also. 

We thoroughly enjoy walking through the barns to watch the cattle judging shows and all the other animal judging. We get to view all the different types of chickens, hens and roosters there actually are. Same goes for pigs, sheep and goats. Last year, we walked through the hens and roosters just as the judge was looking at each bird. I didn't get any pics from that experience, but it was very interesting to watch him handle each hen. One of them clucked loudly as the judge picked her up. She seemed to be saying, "OW! OW!" It was funny.

Poultry Judging

In the past, we have also enjoyed watching horse & mule pulls as well as the tractor pulls. We were sad to learn that neither one of those competitions were going to be at this year's fair.  :-(

Horse pulls

Last year, I discovered the stock dog trials. I don't know if they had been there before, but we wanted to check them out. Have you ever seen the movie Babe? That's what stock dog trials are, except, I don't think anyone has a sheep pig to talk to the sheep thus convincing them to move through each gate and then to the pin. Anyway, I took the kids during the free parking and admission time to watch them.  Very interesting.

Stock Dog Trials

You know the kids can watch only so much of those trials before they become restless. So we headed out to walk through the children's barns to take a look at the other animals and judgings. Um... we didn't find any! 

WHAT?!?  Wrong day?

BUT we did find some activities in one of the children's barnyard. There was a little set up called FARMtastic. There were several little learning stations: a worm dig, an apple-picking tree, a soy bean dig, a bin of plants, and a few others. There was a tub full of free things to take home: pumpkin seeds, color-changing water bottle, and a draw-string bag.


There were also a few animals, but I didn't get pics of those this time. However, we did learn a bit about how the chicks grow inside the egg. 

This is such the nutshell version of the excitement, wonder and fun we have at the state fair. I'm afraid if I tried to share every detail, you'd be reading this post until next Friday! LOL

Spending time at the fair is exhausting, but fun and educational. Sometimes we leave the fairgrounds completely out of our minds! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Random Things ~ Traveling, Menu, Library, a Door Hanger and Homeschooling Anywhere

1. World Travel
Trying to use chopsticks
One of the subgroups in our large homeschool group that covers our entire metro area has organized a co-op this semester. They offered a pretty wide range of classes and we were to pick 2; I chose World Travel for one of our classes. 

So far, we've been to Egypt, France and Japan. The kids are really enjoying this class and the volunteers who have made presentations about these countries have done a super job.

2. Fall Menu
This is my fall menu. It looks pretty poor, eh? I need to revamp it a bit, adding more selections. I certainly need to get more crock pot recipes as our schedule is pretty busy this year, especially Mondays - Wednesdays.  Oh, I also have at least one dinner plan on there twice! LOL

3. Library
The stories for this day were about
autumn and leaves. 
We still go to the library for story time about every other week and there's usually a simple art project to go with the stories that were read that day. These guys still enjoy participating, so I guess we'll continue to attend as long as our schedule allows.

4. Pumpkin Door Hanger
Piano teacher's pumpkin
My pumpkin
I was inspired by the burlap pumpkin hanging on our piano teacher's front door. So I made my own pumpkin door hanger. I had just enough burlap left in my stash to make the one for our kitchen door that opens into the garage (which serves as our main entrance). I think I need to add some leaves.

The kids wanted to make pumpkins too, so I let them make hangers for their bedroom doors out of brown packing paper. I plan to post a tutorial of how they made them soon.  :-)

5. Homeschool Anywhere
I am glad we can take homeschool with us anywhere. Here, Little Man is hanging out on the piano teacher's front porch finishing up school work for the day. There's nothing better than being able to complete school work outdoors.

This school year has been pretty interesting so far.