Monday, February 21, 2011

Confessions of a Textbook Junkie

As a homeschool veteran of 15 years I have tried all kinds of curriculum, always in search of the better way/program/style. I have some books that I've stuck with through the years, but far more that just didn't, for whatever reason, meet my standards. Maybe I'm hard to please? I don't know, but I prefer to think I just strive for excellence. ha ha :D We've used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for every one of our children. I like the book, but I always pre-teach the letter sounds before we begin the book. The book doesn't want/require you to, but I think it really helps. I've never found the right thing to use for this though, I'm unhappy with everything I've ever seen: it's too cartoonish, it's too gaudy, it's too much busy work etc. So, I made my own book. There are 2 beautiful paintings for each sound, each with an overlay like this:
And then you flip the page to just view the painting and you see this:

At which point we discuss the painting (Charlotte Mason style picture study). The other "s" painting is snow, BTW.

After the painting we write the "s" sound in cursive. The uppermost big "s" we trace our finger over (gross motor skills) and then she will begin writing s's in the outlines. The next day she will progress to dotted lines to trace over. Each letter will take 4-5 days of activities, repetition and writing before we go on. I will teach letter joins as we go as well as blending sounds.

I'm pretty excited about this, it has been a lot of fun putting it together and I really hope that, at last, I've found the right thing.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Goings on

It's Sunday morning, almost noon and we're done with church so I thought I'd write a bit. We've been going through Hebrews, I enjoy hearing Mr. G expound on it, but it's deep stuff so we take it only a chapter per week. Katie opened a can of pork and mixed with BBQ sauce for pulled pork sandwiches for lunch. We've had that quite a lot this winter. Our seed orders are ready and we've been discussing buying 2 bummer lambs to raise for meat. I like lamb and another source of grassfed meat would be welcome. The men have been cutting wood every day or sometimes every other day, Levi and Micah haul it home and then Mr. G and Aleks split it. Lately it's been yummy, fragrant cherry.

We watched a hawk swoop down the other morning and kill one of Micah's banties. :-( There are mice, voles and rabbits galore, but the hawk prefers "chicken welfare". Tansy is due to calve in another month or so, I'm ready for it! We're eagerly checking the weather in anticipation of syrup season. I just ordered another 20 gallon cast iron cauldron. In some areas of the country you can pick them up for very little money, here however, they go for way too much money! The Amish still use them and demand drives up the price. Anyway, I bought both of ours from the same folks in SC. They're honest, decent people and I enjoy doing business with them. Syrup boiling should go twice as fast now. Aleks and the boys use the roaring fire to melt lead to cast their bullets. It helps break the monotony of sitting up in the sugar camp for hours, plus it's a useful skill.

In the background there is our deceased vehicle. So, currently we have no working transportation! :-) Woo Hoo! Mr. G is working some things out, so by hook or by crook we should have something figured out in a day or two. That's pretty well the sum of happenings in our neck of the woods!