This Week: the one before Easter

I have been toying with the idea of doing a weekly recap for some time, but I’m afraid I won’t stick with it.  There is no way to know until I try, so here goes!

Skeeterbug is in the middle of a whole series of drawing lessons in RightStart C.  This week he worked on equilateral triangles and did a review.  This is Monday’s lesson:

RightStart C ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

For our human body unit this week we learned about the heart.  (Detailed post coming!)

The Heart ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Ladybug worked on her cutting skills.  These are from the Kumon workbook Let’s Cut Paper!  I think she does so well at cutting.  She turns 3.5 next month.  She does these all herself, although sometimes she’ll ask me to hold the paper for her.  These are easy for me to hand to her when she needs something to do at the school table with us.  She actually finished a book and started a new one this week.

Let's Cut Paper! ~ Our Aussie Homeschool Let's Cut Paper! ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

We started a trial subscription to Dreambox for Skeeterbug and Jitterbug.  Dreambox is a math supplement, it adapts to your children’s level.  So far we like it and will probably convert to a paid subscription.  There is a deal at HSBC that ends the 1st of April.

Dreambox ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Skeeterbug’s writing this week used selections from the Hobbit. I’ll be honest and say I’ve never read this.  I started it once, took it on an airplane with me and accidentally left it in the seat back in front of me.  Oops.  I suppose I’ll put this on our reading list.  This week he had what seemed like the longest dictated sentence ever.  Well, so far.  I didn’t tell him there’s a longer one coming up!  He complained like crazy and we broke it down some, but he did it.  He is almost done with Level 2. 

WWE Dictation ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Ladybug finished all the colouring pages at the beginning of her Get Set for School handwriting book.  I’ve ordered the music cd to go with this because she loves, loves, loves to sing and dance.  I’ve been stalling her a bit on this until it arrives.

Get Set for School! ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Skeeterbug has finished Step 22 in All About Spelling Level 3.  He’s just over 3/4 of the way through this level.  We usually do spelling twice a week.  This week was words with er/ur/ir.  He enjoys writing the wrong words in his dictated sentences on purpose.  Like this one, he was giggling the whole time:  The river is frozen in the summer.  (Instead of winter.  Ha.)  Ladybug looked on.

All About Spelling ~ Our Aussie Homeschool All About Spelling ~ Our Aussie Homeschool 

We did our lunchtime devotional (detailed post coming) a few times this week, our favourite was the platypus.

Devotional ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

If you learn about the platypus you simply must watch this video.  It will stick in your head but it’s totally worth it to see how your kids will laugh.

Okay, here’s a better video to make up for that last one.  :)

We spent Thursday doing Easter activities and that was the end of our week!  No school for Good Friday (which is a proper holiday here, all the stores are shut and Dad even had the day off work).

Easter Activities ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

And now for things I don’t have pictures of…Jitterbug is more than halfway through his Get Set for the Code book.  He’s been spending a lot of time on Reading Eggs, we signed up for a three week trial and I want to see if it will make a difference for him.  So far I’m on the fence.  He’s having trouble blending and I think he is managing to pass the levels without really improving in his blending skills. 

We finally started reading Life of Fred: Apples this week.  A fun math supplement.

Life of Fred Elementary Series:  Apples

Our current read-aloud is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  We are completing the literature study from Confessions of a Homeschooler along with it.  We read several chapters this week, and the kids are all completing the lapbook components to go with it.  We don’t try to do extra activities for every book we read, but it is fun to do them every once in awhile and the kids enjoy the lapbooks.  I’ve been surprised at how much Jitterbug is eager to do the lapbook pieces too.  We are more than halfway through the book, so we may finish next week.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Collector's Edition

For history we learned about Alexander the Great (detailed post coming). 

We’ve been doing the Home Art Studio Kindergarten DVD this year with friends.  One afternoon a week we have them all over, watch the DVD and complete the lesson together.  This week we made Van Gogh Sunflowers. 

Unfortunately we didn’t get much else done that day, just a bit of reading.  Our morning was taken up by the installation of a new air conditioner (yay!), so the kids spent much of the morning watching them.  That was the last hot day we had, so the kids also spent time outside with water balloons.  Of course the heat wave is now over so we probably won’t need the a/c for the rest of the year.  We went through a very hot couple of weeks without it, all in all it took a month from the time ours broke to the new one.  That’s life when you are renting!

Logic Workbooks

Here’s a quick rundown of logic workbooks we are using this year.  (We also play logic games, but here I’m posting just about workbooks.)  Jitterbug (Prep) has started the first Lollipop Logic book this year.  There are three books for K-2. 

Lollipop Logic: Critical Thinking Activities


Jitterbug is still learning to write all his letters and numbers, so sometimes we use stamps so that he doesn’t have to struggle along.  This is the first lesson where you order the number of pictures in the right sequence.  We got out our wooden blocks to help visualise.

Lollipop Logic ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

What I like about Lollipop Logic is that there is a mix of problems in the book.  I’m planning to have him work through each book, but this isn’t something we do daily.  We get it out maybe once a week or so and do several pages.  I’m pleased with how well he is doing with it, he is seeing connections in some of the problems that I wasn’t sure he’d be able to see.

I started Skeeterbug on Lollipop Logic last year, but it felt so much like busywork that we dropped it.  I think it was probably just wasn’t challenging enough (not the right level), so this year I got Logic Safari for him to try. (The link says this is currently unavailable, but I purchased it from Book Depository not long ago.)

Logic Safari Book 1

I got the first book which is for Grades 2-3.  A later book might be more suitable but we’ll start here since he hasn’t done grid-type problems before.  We’ve just started this, the whole book is grid problems.  Easy, but he has to pay careful attention to the clues to make sure he catches everything. 

Logic Safari ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

I’ve also just ordered Logic Countdown to give him some variety, it contains problems of different sorts.  This books is for Grades 3-4.

Logic Countdown

I’ve also got this Critical Thinking Activities book that Skeeterbug has used off and on over the last year.  This is for grades K-3, it’s a nice thick one.  I’ll continue to pull this out for him from time to time for a change of pace.  I need to make Jitterbug a copy, he is ready for some of the activities in this book.

Critical Thinking Activities in Patterns, Imagery, Logic

The best part is that all of the workbooks above are reproducible so I can make copies and use them for my younger kids.  You can see in the pictures above that I have bound the photocopies into books.

I’ve also got Logic Links Level A.  This is a fun book, it’s really a game more than a workbook.  According to Amazon it’s aimed at 6-8 year-olds.  It comes with little circles that you pop out of cardstock and use to solve the problems.  You have to determine from the clues what order the dots should be in.  I need to get these out again, it’s been so long that Skeeterbug will have forgotten ever using them!

We don’t do logic everyday.  For Jitterbug I pull it out at least once a week, but sometimes he asks to do it more often.  I don’t want to overwhelm him with schoolwork when it’s only his Prep year, but he thinks it is fun.  For Skeeterbug (Grade 3) I pull it out at least twice a week.  The grade designations on all the above books really aren’t important but give a good idea of where to start if you are looking for something for your child.

Linking this back to my Curriculum 2013 tab.

Human Body: The Brain

The first organ in our human body unit is the brain!  We coloured our brain picture from the My Body book and pasted them to our outlines (I forgot to take a picture!).  We read our Let’s Read & Find Out science book on the brain, or actually on reflexes but it talked about the brain sending messages through our nerves.  Close enough.

The Brain ~ Our Aussie HomeschoolThe Brain ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Then we coloured our brain hats, which was apparently quite fun.

Brain Hat ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

The kids all modelled them for me…

Brain Hat ~ Our Aussie HomeschoolBrain Hat ~ Our Aussie HomeschoolBrain Hat ~ Our Aussie HomeschoolBrain Hat ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

We also made backbone streamers and nerve necklaces.  All of these printables have short summaries and teaching ideas to go with them.

The Brain ~ Our Aussie HomeschoolThe Brain ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Here’s Ladybug trying to show me all three of hers at once. 

The Brain ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Our spines are made up of many small bones (but you knew that, right?).  To demonstrate we threaded some yarn through a straw cut into two pieces and looked at how inflexible it was.  Then we cut the straw into many small pieces and tried again.  Much more flexible, a simple model of how the many bones in our spine help us to bend and move the way we need to.

The Brain ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Next up: the heart!  (See here for the resources we are using for this unit.)

Making Friezes

We recently learned about the Greeks and the friezes they carved into their temples.  To go with our studies we made our own mini-friezes out of soap.  This idea came from the Story of the World Activity Guide.  First we looked at pictures of friezes using Google Images.  Then we began by tracing the soap outline onto paper and drawing a picture of what we wanted to carve.

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

We used the cheap, generic soap from Woolie’s.  It was very soft and easy to carve using just a butter knife and our wooden clay tools.

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Ladybug had much fun drawing and making marks in her ‘stone’.

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Next, time to carve.  I chose to do a simple cross because it was easy, and it’s almost Easter.

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Jitterbug put full effort into his!

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Our finished work.  Skeeterbug made a tree.  Can you tell?

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

I helped Ladybug make an ‘L’. 

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

I also helped Jitterbug make a ‘J’.  If you can’t tell, he’s my goofy child.  He loves to make faces for the camera.

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Here’s the one he did by himself.  It’s a flag.  You can just see the flagpole down the left and stripes going to the right.

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Fun, but I think I got more enjoyment out of it than the kids!  They found it frustrating to not be able to make exactly what they wanted.  Jitterbug wanted to make a man holding a sword.  A bit ambitious!

Making Friezes ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

We admired these for a little while and then placed them in Ziploc bags, the soap is a bit smelly.  Clean up was a nightmare.  Soap flakes everywhere!!!

Science for Prep (K): Human Body Unit

Jitterbug (Prep) isn’t ready to fully participate in our Apologia science yet.  He likes to do the projects, but he isn’t listening to the reading or doing any of the notebooking.  I’m not planning on him being a part of it until next year (grade one) or even the year after (grade two).  But I wanted him to have some science, so this year I’m doing a human body unit with him.  Which of course means they all want to do it.  :)  Kids this age are so interested in how their bodies work, so this is the perfect time to do this with him.

Our core resource is this My Body book.  I purchased this as a pdf from Currclick, you can also buy a hard copy here from Book Depository.  It contains reproducible life-size drawings of organs.  You trace the child’s body onto large paper, then paste these organs on to the outline.  There’s a short summary of what each organ does.  Perfect for lower primary grades.

My Body

To go along with our studies I’m using the Let’s Read & Find Out science books on the human body.  I purchased these as part of a larger order from Rainbow Resource.  They are also available individually from Book Depository.  There are two levels.  I went through and matched these up to the different organs we’ll talk about.  Some don’t quite line up so we’ll read those separately.

For some more fun I remembered I have these e-books from Teacher Express (Scholastic).  I bought them during their dollar days sales, so only paid $1 each for these.  Click the images to follow the link to their page.  Great resources, I went through and lined up the projects we want to do from these with the My Body book.

Easy Make & Learn Projects: Human Body

Adorable Wearables That Teach About the Human Body

I’m also keeping my eyes open for some fun hands-on projects to go with these, my human body Pinterest board is here.  We’ll also make sure we cover a bit on reproduction and babies since we’ve got one on the way.  ;)  I’m hoping to do at least one section (organ) a week, maybe more so that we’ll get it done before our little one arrives in July.  I’ll be posting about our activities along the way.

Our Space Shuttle

So the very last lesson of Apologia Astronomy was on space travel.  Along with the lesson we read this Let’s Read & Find Out book on the ISS

The International Space Station

And this Usborne Beginners book about astronauts.  This one was mainly for Jitterbug.  The whole series of Usborne Beginners books are so good!  Great pictures and illustrations, the kids love looking at them.

Living in Space

The project for this lesson called for making a model of the space station.  If you have the book and have access to the course website, you can see pictures of space stations that others have made.  So creative!  Most used things from around the house…toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, aluminum foil, things from the recycle bin.  I…um…totally cheated and got the kids this Lego Space Shuttle instead.  I don’t think they minded!

Lego Space Shuttle ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

We are wondering why the astronaut came with a sword.  To fight off aliens, maybe?

Lego Space Shuttle ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Jitterbug hasn’t quite shown the patience ability to put these kits together yet, so he mostly looked on while big brother put it all together.

Lego Space Shuttle ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Finished project!

Lego Space Shuttle ~ Our Aussie Homeschool

Easy project for me, all I did was watch!

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