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Monday, November 24, 2014

In the Kitchen with An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

This month our Poppins Book Nook theme was, To The Kitchen, perfect for November!  It went well with our Thanksgiving unit study.  We decided to read An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott.  It is such a sweet story about sisters who try and take on the Thanksgiving dinner will their mother is off to care for their ailing grandmother.  Of course, their kitchen adventures aren't without mistakes but in the end everyone is just happy to be together.  We also used the book Explore Colonial America! by Verna Fisher, for a some colonial recipes. 


We spent a lot of time together in the kitchen this month.  Not only for our Poppins Book Nook theme, but also my C's Mpact Girls class was focusing on cooking this month.  In her class she learned about following a recipe, washing her hands before cooking, and lots of other cooking fun!  Everything flowed together so well for us this month, it was awesome.

First we tried out a recipe for Johnny Cakes that we got from a book about colonial days.  The recipe was really simple: 2 cups cornmeal, 1 cup water, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons sugar.  We tried half the recipe plain and half with blueberries mixed in.  C really liked the blueberry version!  They were a little plain, but it was fun to try something the colonists would have made. 


We also tried our hand at making homemade rock candy.  Our book about Colonial America said that rock candy was a favorite later in the colonial period.  In C's chemistry class on Saturday, that happened to be discussing crystals, so it was perfect!  We let ours grow for one week and it was a little smaller than the ones you buy at a store but still plenty of sugar for a little one.  :)


C got a little adventurous in the kitchen this month.  We had an apple taste test at co-op, she liked them all, especially Fuji and Granny Smith.  We used the printables from 1+1+1. Then one day she surprised me by begging for sardines at the grocery store.  I really try to not let my own opinions on food impact hers but I have to admit, I tried to talk her out of it.  She insisted, she loved the idea of eating these little fish.  She really enjoyed them!  She surprised me again by deciding she likes hot sauce now.  She's used it on meatloaf, eggs and potatoes so far.  We certainly had an interesting month!

Be sure to stop by the other participating bloggers and see what they were up to this month!  Visit Enchanted Homeschooling Mom for a free lapbook that goes with our theme. 

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~Simple Living Mama

 
If you have a post that goes along with this theme, feel free to add it below.  :)


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Verbal Math Lesson Review


You may remember my review of The Reading Lesson last year.  It is the program we used to teach C to read at a very young age.  While not every child is ready to read as early as C was, I have always had the viewpoint that I want to help C reach any academic goals she is capable of, regardless of her age.  I love the simple approach of The Reading Lesson, it made reading a fun experience for my daughter.  Now at age six, I have don't know her "reading level."  What I do know is that she is a voracious reader that has been able to tackle just about any book that has captured her interested.  This includes books that are considered to be anywhere from K - 5th grade reading level.  If she finds a book interesting, she will read it, she hasn't met a book she wanted to read that she couldn't comprehend.  I think her basis with The Reading Lesson made reading seem easily attainable for her and that is certainly how she approaches reading today.  I could go on and on about The Reading Lesson but that is not what this post is about! 


Our Daughter's Approach to Math

You may have read in that original post, C was less thrilled with The Verbal Math Lesson.  Math is simply not C's favorite subject.  She does well most of the time, but if she considers a concept difficult, she simply gives up.(We are working on this.)  For her, the idea of doing math in your head seemed difficult because she was used to the worksheet approach.  Over the last year, I have learned that when it comes to math, C will "get it" easily if she is ready, otherwise, she won't get it all.  I've learned that if she is struggling with something in math, it does us both some good to drop that topic for awhile and try again at a later date.  This has proved true recently with learning to tell time, using tallies, and with practicing mental math with The Verbal Math Lesson.


Our Experience with The Verbal Math Lesson

Last year, I originally thought I would just alter my approach with the program but I later decided to just put it aside for the time being.  I always meant to try it again but I never got around to it.  Thankfully, I got a sweet e-mail from the folks at Mountcastle asking me if I'd be willing to check out the 2014 release of their Verbal Math series.  It was just the reminder I needed!. We got a new copy of books 1-3 to try out and C is actually enjoying math! 

She is seeing some great success with our math curriculum this year (Saxon), however, she does get frustrated with the length of the lessons.  We have started alternating days with The Verbal Math Lesson and she is so happy when we get to have a verbal math day!  I mean, who wouldn't prefer to do math snuggled up on the couch with a cozy blanket and mommy! 

The Verbal Math Lesson: What You Need to Know

  • This program is a fun, step-by-step approach to learning math with no writing required!
  • Excellent choice for young learners that don't yet have the motor skills to sit and do worksheets.
  • The Verbal Math Lesson is a completely comprehensive program, unlike other mental math books I've seen.
  • Math fluency will help your child achieve success in math as the work gets more difficult.
  • The Verbal Math Program is affordable
  • Book 1 is recommended for children 5-7, this is the book we are currently working through and it is actually lining up rather well with our Saxon 2 work.
  • Book 2 is recommended for children 7-8.
  • Book 3 is recommended for children 8-10.
  • The Verbal Math Lesson: Metric Math is recommended for students 11-16 (more on this book below)
 I am so happy we tried Book 1 again now that C is six.  Children that are naturally interested in math can most likely use this book with success sooner than we did.  I recommend this program for anyone with younger children.  The ability to do simple math mentally will be a great asset when your child is tackling more complex work in a few years. 

The Verbal Math Lesson: Metric Math

I am really excited about the latest book in the verbal math series, Metric Math.   This book is recommended for older students and is designed to help students seamlessly convert our traditional math to metric.  If you are wondering why learning metric math is important to students here in the United States, check out this blog post on the topic.  Here is a little snippet from the post:

"Metric math becomes increasingly crucial as our world becomes more global and we interact with other nations."
 
 With the addition of the Metric Math lesson, there is a verbal math lesson for everyone!  I just love the approach to learning of Michael Levin, M.D. and Charan Langton, M.S.. I have been impressed with everything I have seen from Mountcastle.  The e-books are incredibly affordable, you can get books 1-3 for just $17.99.  If you prefer a paper copy, you can get all three for $29.99.  If you try out The Verbal Math Lesson, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Thank you so much for visiting Joy Focused Learning!

~Angela Bennett

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Albie and the Space Rocket!

Poppins Book Nook 

We have just loved every Poppins Book Nook theme this year and this month is no different!  This month's theme is Beyond Our Planet.  I immediately thought of the book Albie and the Space Rocket by Andy Cutbill because we already own this book and it is so fun!   Albie is a little boy trying to figure out what happened to his bed.  He discovers all kinds of crazy things going on in his home including two moose dancing the tango in the restroom and an entire colony of penguins!  Finally he finds that a group of elephants has transformed his bed into a space rocket.  It is a very wacky and fun book, C loves it!

To go along with our story, C decided to design a rocket of her own.  She went with a more traditional approach.  We just used some construction paper, scissors, glue and a bit of thin cardboard to create this little rocket.  I apologize for the terrible cell phone picture, my camera wasn't cooperating.


As soon as I snapped this picture, C grabbed her rocket and was on the moon in a matter of minutes! She had a great time pretending with this theme.  We also used this opportunity to review what we have learned so far in our Apologia Astronomy program.  We just went through her notebooking journal to see what we have recorded.  It was a great time to review.  We loved the opportunity to dig in to this fun book during our school time this month! 

Don't forget to visit the other participating bloggers and see what they were up to this month:


Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~Simple Living Mama

Poppins Book Nook clipart by: Melonheadz

If you have a post that goes along with our Beyond Our World theme, feel free to add it to the link-up below!




Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Unit Study Part 1



C and I have officially dived into our unit study on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I let her choose the subject because she didn't like my ideas.  We were at the library and I saw a bunch of fun fairy tale books but she thought that she was "too big" to study fairy tales.  (She is only six!) I suggested a few other ideas and she wasn't impressed, so I let her choose.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was her choice.  We've read the book together before and we've seen the movie but we haven't done any lessons focused on the book so I was excited.  I love so many books by C.S. Lewis and who doesn't love the Narnia series? 

Prior to getting started, I searched the internet for ideas.  I shared some of my favorites in a round up post which I will link to at the bottom of this post.  Many of the activities we will do throughout this unit study will stem from those sources.  We have had a lot of fun so far and I am so excited to share with you!  For some chapters we did extra activities and for others we have only completed the lapbook pages.  We are using the lapbook from Homeschool Share.  There are a lot of pieces in this lapbook, I initially made a double lapbook and still will need to add additional space for everything.  This is a free resource so I highly recommend it!

An Introduction to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


Before we started reading, we took a couple days to introduce C.S. Lewis, fantasy stories, England, and WWII.  We didn't do too many activities for this, mostly we just read from books I found at the library.  The books we used were:

  • Writers Uncovered: C.S. Lewis by Vic Parker
  • Fun and Easy Drawing: Fantasy Characters by Rosa M. Curto
  • Kids Write! Fantasy & Sci Fi, Mystery, Autobiography, Adventure & More! by Rebecca Olien
  • Why did the Whole World Go to War? and other questions about...World War II by Martin W. Sandler
C enjoyed all of these resources!  We didn't read the entire C.S. Lewis biography, we just skimmed for interesting information.  She loved the ideas in Kids Write! for sparking creativity.  They have crafts and activity suggestions to help you come up with a story idea for the genre you are working on.  For fantasy stories, one the of the ideas was to build a castle out of cardboard so you can play around with it and come up with a story line.  We did build the castle, unfortunately I don't have a picture of it.  We both enjoyed drawing fantasy characters with the drawing book.  I usually don't draw more than a stick figure so I was very proud of my dragon. ;) 


I really loved the book, Why did the Whole World Go to War?  by Martin W. Sandler.  It had a lot of great information that C was able to understand, without graphic details or images.  It also specifically addressed the evacuation of children in England.  This is evacuation is the whole reason the children end up at the professors house so I wanted to include a bit about WWII in our study. 

I was planning on including the introduction and the first few chapters in one post, but before I knew it, I had a whole post just on the introduction.  I will write up a post on the first few chapters very soon!  I've added some helpful links to the bottom of this post, enjoy!

 Have you read any of the Narnia books with your children?  I'd love to hear how they liked it, please leave me a comment! :) Thank you so much for visiting Joy Focused Learning!


~Angela