Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fourth Grade Homeschool History Memory Work

I shared last month about how we are doing poetry in our homeschool this year. One important piece of our poetry study is our poem memory work ~ basically I just ask the kids to memorize a handful of poems over the course of our school year. This is something they have pretty universally loved doing. Rose especially enjoys memorizing things, so this year I took a cue from The Well-Trained Mind and asked her to do some history memory work each day as well. She is using BookShark's American History 1, so her memory work is also American history focused.

First of all, she is currently working on memorizing Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, using this wonderful picture book copy! She just reads the book to herself each day and she's nearly got it. She loves the challenge.

Once that's complete, it's on to the states and their capitals, through song! We used the Geography Songs kit last year and she loved it, so I think she'll enjoy this resource as well. The kit doesn't seem to be available through Amazon, but Rainbow Resource carries it. 

States and Capitals Songs Kit w/ CD | Main photo (Cover)

Next up will be memorizing the presidents in order with a fun set of flashcards (tip ~ the company Christian Book carries the most up-to-date set).

I keep the process of memorization pretty simple. I let her choose what to work on next and then I just make a note in her planner to "read the Gettysburg Address" (or whatever it is) each day. She usually works on her history memory work four days a week, for about 10 minutes each day. When she's done, we'll move onto the next thing.

And that's how we're doing history memory work in our homeschool this year!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November Memory Making

In keeping with my resolution to be more thoughtful and organized when it comes to celebrating the seasons... here are some plans and random thoughts for November (updated from last year).

Special Dates to Celebrate
*November 1st ~ Begin gratitude project*

Each November, our family makes a gratitude chain.  You can read more about that here.  I absolutely love this little tradition and how it forces us all to slow down, at least for a minute, to record something we felt grateful for that day. Even if it's just bedtime! And there are many, many days I am grateful for bedtime. 

*November 5th ~ Daylight Savings Time Ends*

Perhaps not something to exactly celebrate, but something to notice anyway. It will be lighter in the morning than it has been, so hopefully I will be able to coax myself out of bed! On the flipside, it will get dark earlier, which means lots of driving home in the dark. 

*November 4th ~ The Full Beaver Moon*

It's always nice to notice when the moon is full!

*November 23th ~ Thanksgiving*

Thanksgiving! The plan is to cook, watch the Macy's parade, eat, play games, and maybe sneak in a Christmas movie. I also have a few crafts and other fun things lined up to hopefully complete in the weeks before ~ links below. And Rose and I try to read a Thanksgiving book or two each day in the weeks prior. A few of our favorite books are listed here. I also ordered a new book for this year ~ Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. Not mentioned in the older post is a favorite from last year: Balloons Over Broadway.

*November 29th ~ Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting*

We have never watched this on television before, but I plan to this year because Rose has been interested in it ever since we read The Carpenter's Gift last Christmas.
Things to Notice & To-Do this Month

  • Ease into the shorter, darker days ~ it's definitely time for candles at dinner!
  • Take a photo for the Christmas cards and order them. Get Christmas stamps too.
  • Stock up on cranberries. Use them to make cranberry sauce and cranberry bread (my all-time favorite recipe is the one in the back of Cranberry Thanksgiving)
  • Start having "oatmeal mornings". Typically, one morning a week we cook a big batch of plain oatmeal, then set out toppings (chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, maple syrup) for the kids to decorate their own
  • Put the bird feeders up
  • Drink hot cider
  • Make pies ~ especially chocolate cream, my favorite for Thanksgiving
  • Watch for ice on ponds (or puddles)
  • Stock up on tea
  • Decorate for Thanksgiving (after taking down the Halloween decorations)
  • Stock up on handcream
  • Plan the Thanksgiving menu, and try to prep as much as possible ahead
  • Make Advent plans
  • Get as much Christmas shopping done as possible!
  • Purchase new throw blankets - we never seem to have enough of these
  • Enjoy the last foliage - brassy oaks and bright scarlet Japanese maples
  • Purchase Advent calendars for the kids
  • Check on everyone's winter gear (coats, shoes, hats, snowpants, boots)
  • Make placecards for Thanksgiving day

Crafts and Treats to Make
A few fun turkey-themed things I'd love to do with the kids this month

As usual, I seriously doubt we will get to all of this, we'll just do what we can as time and interest allows...

Happy November!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Review of Prima Latina

 I have tried (and mostly failed!) to include Latin in our homeschool in the past. We have tried both Lively Latin and Latin for Children, neither of which "stuck". This year three of my kiddos are using Latin programs from Memoria Press in our homeschool.... and I am happy to report that Latin is going very well so far! Today I'm going to share some thoughts on Prima Latina, which I am using with my fourth grader.  In a future post I will share about First Form Latin, which I am using with my boys.

For Prima Latina, I purchased the whole kit and caboodle: the complete set as sold by Memoria Press. I also purchased the lesson plans from Memoria Press for a few extra dollars. You don't necessarily need the complete set, but I appreciate and use each one of these items. Having them all makes teaching Latin much easier for me, which is key.

Here's what I purchased for Prima Latina:

1. A schedule - I purchased the Prima Latina schedule, which lays out a day-by-day plan for completing the program in 32 weeks. This is not strictly necessary, but I love checking boxes and it helps me stay on track. The schedule prompts me to do things like review previous lessons and tells me which exercises to have Rose complete each day.

Prima Latina complete set

 2. The Prima Latina DVD -  I love our Prima Latina DVD day! We start each new lesson with "our" Latin teacher, right in our living room.  It has been so nice to have someone else introduce the lesson and go over the vocab, while I just sit and listen with my cup of tea!

Watching our Latin DVD

3. The teacher's manual and student workbook - The Prima Latina Teacher's manual and student workbook are really the heart of the course. The teacher's manual lays out everything that you are to teach and I love the format - it's so clean and simple. It makes teaching Latin feel doable and not overwhelming. The workbook contains the important parts of the lesson for the student to look at, such as the new vocabulary words and sayings for that week. It's spiral-bound, which makes it super easy to work in. 

Teacher's Manual

Working in the student workbook

4. Prima Latina CD - You could do without this if you had the DVD's (and vice versa). I personally like having both to add some variety to our lessons. It's nice to hear someone else pronounce things! We listen to the CD once a week, usually on day three of our lessons, to review pronunciation. 

5Flashcards - The flashcards are sold as a set combined with flashcards for Latina Christiana. I use these on the last day of our lesson, just as a different way to review our vocab. 

Here's how we do Prima Latina in a typical week:

Monday (or Day 1) - We watch the DVD lesson. We also very briefly review previous lessons (although often Leigh Lowe includes a review in her DVD lesson).  Rose does her vocabulary drill sheet - this is a reproducible part of the workbook designed to be done three times a week. She simply writes out each vocabulary word and it's meaning.

Tuesday (or Day 2) - We review the lesson material (less than five minutes) and focus on the derivatives included in our vocab list - what they mean, and what Latin word they come from. Then, Rose does the next section of vocabulary drill on her sheet.

Wednesday (or Day 3) - We review the lesson by listening to the CD and Rose does the first page of exercises in her workbook.

Thursday (or Day 4) - We review the lesson and Rose does the second page of exercises in her workbook.

Friday (or Day 5) - We go over all of the vocabulary we have learned so far using the flashcards and Rose does the final section on her vocabulary drill sheet.

Now, we hardly ever follow this exact schedule to the day, because much as I'd like to hit Latin every day, it just doesn't always happen. So, for example, tomorrow is Monday but we are actually going to be doing "Wednesday" work. I would estimate that we spend about 15-20 minutes a day on Prima Latina.

Prima Latina is a Christian curriculum and we are a secular homeschool family, but I still greatly prefer this program to others we have tried because it is so user-friendly. It is not "preachy" at all, it just includes some religious words in the vocab from time to time. We are also asked to learn a Latin prayer each week, and I do this with Rose because I think the language is beautiful and it's an easy way for us to practice speaking in Latin. You could skip the prayers and still have a full program, but we find it fun and challenging to learn them.

So those are just a few of my thoughts on Prima Latina ~ I think it makes a very doable introduction to Latin and my only regret is that I didn't try it with my older kids!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Pile ~ Spooky Reading

Lately we have had trouble getting to the library on a regular basis. I miss the days when a weekly library trip was part of the regular routine! We still go when we can, but we're lucky to make it once every month or two. I am hoping we will be able to make library trips a priority in the near future, but for now I am planning to pick up a few new books each month to have on hand. I don't normally buy many books outside of "school" books, but I had so much fun picking these out that I am determined to make it a tradition, every few weeks or so. It's amazing how much fun a stack of shiny new books is! 

Here are my picks for October....all spooky books!

  • Demon Dentist - This one has been on my list ever since I heard the author compared to Roald Dahl. James has volunteered to preview it and let me know if it's too scary for his younger sister. 
  • The Witch Family - This one is for Rose (9) - she has already read it and told me it was "awesome". 
  • Through the Woods - A very spooky graphic novel... James (12) read it in one day and said it's pretty scary. I would definitely not recommend this title to anyone under 12, having read one of the stories myself!
  • It - This one is for me.  I remember reading it as a young teen (my parents weren't too big on policing our reading!) and I have always wanted to re-read it. Usually around this time of year I read The Haunting of Hill House, which is my all-time favorite ghost story, but this year I decided to switch things up. 

So that's our "fun" book pile for October. I'll let you know what we come up with for our November pile!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Memory Making

Some fun things to notice and do this month...I'm a bit late with this, so we've already done some of the things, but we have a lot more to look forward to. October and November are my favorite months of the year!

Special Dates to Celebrate

*October 5th ~ The Full Harvest Moon*

There is just something so special about that October full moon, and I always make a point of noticing it and trying to point it out to the kids. 

*October 31st ~ Halloween*

Our Halloween traditions are changing a bit as the kids get older, but we still have one trick-or-treater this year, which I am grateful for! The older three enjoy handing out candy and I gift them with a little treat basket of their own when we are done making the rounds. I like to plan a fun activity or two for this day and keep it light school-wise. This year, we plan to make monster slime and spooky lava lamps. I like to have something Halloween-themed for dinner on the big night ~ this year I am thinking about spider pizza. On the Sunday after Halloween, we make monster pancakes (pancakes decorated with candy faces) to use up some of that candy.

Things to Notice & Do This Month

  • Dry cornstalks in fields along the roads ~ with so many crows 
  • Pumpkins everywhere 
  • Chrysanthemums for the front porch, to go with the pumpkins
  • Stock up on cranberries when they appear at the grocery store
  • Watch for the first birds to return ~ although we can't hang the feeders till well into next month due to bears!
  • Watch for woolly bear caterpillars
  • Enjoy the foliage
  • Watch for that first frost 
  • Pumpkin everything ~ especially quick bread and muffins
  • Go apple picking and make an apple crisp
  • Make Halloween treats all month long ~ my picks for this month are linked below!
  • Make caramel apples 
  • Switch to flannel sheets on the beds
  • Get the fall clothes out; pack summer outfits away
  • Put up storm windows and doors
  • Rake
  • Get out the Halloween books
  • Start Christmas shopping
  • Purchase & stack firewood
  • Watch Halloween-ish movies, like The Addams Family, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and Hotel Transylvania
  • Carve pumpkins
  • Go trick or treating
  • Make pumpkin croissants ~ we made this recipe last week and they were fabulous! 
Crafts and Treats to Make
A few things I'd love to do with the kids this month
I probably won't get around to doing all of these things, but we'll have fun trying... Happy October!