Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Life of Fred Worksheets UPDATED!

Today I added 4 more worksheets to the Life of Fred Worksheets.

Life of Fred Edgewood
Life of Fred Farming
Life of Fred Goldfish
Life of Fred Honey

My kids like them because they help keep them organized when doing their work in Life of Fred and they make their portfolios looks nice!

In reviewing the books, I thought they seemed like a perfect opportunity to do some notebooking in their portfolios of the concepts covered so I started creating some generic Life of Fred Notebooking Pages.  These pages go along with each of the first four elementary books and include a space to draw a picture (or copy Fred's drawings) and write out the work from Your Turn to Play.  I am sharing the sheets here on my blog.

If you would like more information on the Life of Fred Math Series check out my review from last year here!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrating Life

I love the Catholic Channel on XM/Sirius radio and now that I have "discovered" it, we listen to it in the car almost all the time.  It is funny and interesting and entertaining.  Why shouldn't it be?  Should it be boring and serious and critical because it is about religion?  NO.  I do not believe so.  But  my kids have come to recognize Lino and Fr. Rob, Cardinal Dolan, Fr. Dave Dwyre and other's voices and I hope they also have come to appreciate their living spirituality and love for the Church.

Yesterday, on the Entertaining Truth show, Fr. Leo and Tom Leopold discussed how to makeover the pro-life movement and bring a new voice to the people who support and celebrate EVERY life.
So here are my thoughts based on yesterday's episode.

1. I would never bring my children to a pro-life march, mostly because as a young girl I went to one and was shocked and horrified by the images I was exposed to.  This is a terrible process, but one does not need to see it to know that it is wrong.  Thank you to the thousands of young and old who are out in the cold today and praying peacefully for the end to this monstrosity.

Instead I will tell my children the stories and help them to imagine the lives and possibilities within EVERY human being.  Take this beautiful 10 week old child.
Photo: 10 weeks!  Due August 18th!

What will he be?  What are her dreams?  Will she cure parkinson's disease?  Will he discover a new galaxy?  Will he play baseball with his friends?  Will she love a special doll?  Will he marry your daughter?  Is she the perfect spouse God has intended for your son?  The mother to your grandchildren?
Think of the potential hidden inside each child, inside each of us.  All of these possibilities are in EVERY child in EVERY woman's womb.

And what about this 9 week old child?  Is she going to be our country's first woman president someday?  Will he  be your grandchild's favorite teacher?  Maybe he just wants to kick a soccer ball.  Maybe she wants to learn to dance in a ballet.  Should we let them?  Do they deserve the chance?  The chance to succeed, the chance to fail, the chance to love, to learn?

One day 38 years ago, my mother made the choice to offer me a life and the chances I deserved.  It was not easy for her.  It was not convenient or simple, or lovely or fun.  It was hard.  Harder than I can ever imagine.  But she knew I deserved a chance to live, love, and lose.  She could have chosen a different path.  She could have not told her parents.  She could have quietly hidden away the pain, difficulty, suffering and inconvenience in a quick trip to a doctor.  But she did not.  She took the difficult path, that so many young women have traveled and so many more have forgone.  And because of her choice, I am here and free to love, to be my children's mother, to teach, to sing, to dance.

I planned to say something else today. (I know there is no #2). But here it is.  Part of my story of love.  I guess it inspires me to try to live even more fully for those who never have the chance to live at all.  Should you care to read more, I urge you to visit Bonnie at A Knotted Life and Ginny at Small Things.  They discuss it all so eloquently.  I had forgotten how much the song "Zion" meant to me.

Wishing you all blessings on this wintry day.  Stay warm my comrades in DC.  Thank you for marching for me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Presents for God

So, I am not a "craft mom".  I see cute craft kits in stores and think they look great, but once they get home they stay locked in the basement closet, never to see the light of day again.  In addition to the guilt I feel for wasting the money on the craft supplies, I also feel like I am missing the opportunity to teach and learn with my girls. 

Why? You might ask.  Because I don't like the mess, because the project may not be perfect, because it is another spot of clutter to clean up...  recently I realized these were not only not good reasons, but just excuses for limiting me from being the mom I could be... just because of my own fear of failure.
So yesterday, Magnolia and I read a delightful story from  Catholic Children's Treasure Box magazine about St. Therese of the Child Jesus about creating a reminder chain for giving presents every day to God.
There was a craft described at the end if the story that looked like one I could do.  I had the supplies or the close approximations and I could follow the directions, and all the parts were relatively contained in one box.  The girls could do the craft without too much help and best part, I had a babysitter coming who could certainly handle the craft and give them something constructive to do together while I was gone.

Well you know what they say about the best laid plans ... to my shock and dismay ;) they did not decide to do the craft.  They chose to play hide and seek instead... the gall.

So this morning the craft box and directions were still sitting on the kitchen table staring me down over my morning coffee.  (This might be a slight exaggeration.)  But after new revelations, I realized I could tackle this and move forward on my path of the mom I want to be.

I called Magnolia and Daisy in to start our task.  When I found a misplaced St Therese of the Little Flower medal in my purse, I knew we were on the right path.  So we tied a medal onto the middle of the string and threaded on 10 pink heart beads and finished the strand with a crucifix.  Magnolia used a crucifix with Lourdes water that we had gotten last year.  Daisy used one of the turquoise crosses that we had gotten when we lived in Arizona. 

At the end, we had two beautiful beaded chains for them to use to count their daily presents to God, two happy girls who did a craft, and one happy mom who had accomplished something new.

The icing on the cake was when Daisy said "we should start the beads down by the saint medallion everyday because they will help us do the gifts for God, then each time we move a bead up to the cross it helps Jesus as a gift to Him."


Are you a "craft mom?"  If so, how do you do it?  If not, have you found any tips to make crafting with kids easier??

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fun with Felt

Today, while Magnolia was at her weekly montessori time, I took Daisy and Rose for a little felt crafting workshop at a fabulous new shop in Madeira.  It is called the Craft Village Shop and the owner Young Sook is a delightful woman with loads of patience and enthusiasm for teaching felt crafting.

The shop is located on Miami, right next to the Catholic Shop and the Subway/Starbucks strip.

Since this was our first time felting, we did an introductory lesson by creating a flat felt picture.  Here are Daisy and Rose preparing the felt backgrounds for their picture.

After that, the girls were able to use the colored felts to tease images and designs into their picture.

Here were the finished projects to be hung on their walls at home.

We had so much fun, we plan to add this to our monthly calendar!

They are looking forward to making felt fairy babies next!

Be sure to check out this delightful shop if you are local.  www.craftvillageshop.com They have some fun classes coming up including craft ideas for St. Valentine's Day.  She has so many wonderful natural toys and crafts (think Waldorf) and fabulous birthday party ideas.  And go ahead and like their facebook page CraftVillageShop.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

5th Grade Curriculum Review 2012-2013

Rose is a 5th grader this year.  Since she is the oldest, I am starting from scratch with her curriculum every year.  Some things are working great, others not so well.  These and other things, as I often remind her, are the joys of being the oldest.

Here is what she is studying this year, what we have tried and given up and what has worked.

Rose is my most reluctant student, so we start with the biggest challenge, MATH.
This is not a difficult subject for her in theory, but she likes to complain about it, so thus begins the day.  (now that I am writing this, maybe it would be better for her to start with something EASY and FUN,  hmmm. something to think about.)

So we started with Calculadder as a way to brush up on our math facts.  That did not go well.  It is just not fun and since we have a lot of perfectionists, very frustrating.  I just found a great program that has been awesome.  REFLEX Math.  Reflex LogoIt is an online subscription, but so far it has been great for fact work.  Each of the girls do this 15 minutes a day BEFORE their conceptual math.  Check them out here.  www.reflexmath.com.   (More in depth review to be posted later.)

After math facts, Rose does a lesson in Teaching Textbooks Math 5.  This has been a very easy and non-threatening program for my girls. Basically, we love it.  The only thing we do not love is that it works off of cds and on a pc.  I wish it were more portable.  Like for an android tablet.  I have mentioned this to the company many times.  They say they are working on it.  PLEASE!  I hope so!!!

Finally, Rose is also working her way independently through the Life of Fred Elementary Series books.   I love Fred's philosophy on math, but am not quite ready to give up "regular" math.  so we are double dipping.  Since Life of Fred is so much fun and more reading and thinking than doing, I think it is ok.  So far she has made it through the first 5 books.  Apples - Edgewood.  We just ordered more.  See my review here.

We also are trying to use Primary Challenge Math, which I love, but am having trouble fitting into our schedule.  Mostly because it seems we never have a typical week.  it always works on paper, but not in real life.  We will keep trying it, though, because I think the problem solving skills are invaluable.

For religion we are covering a couple subjects.  Many are available on Kindle, so this has worked great for portability and less clutter!
Catechism:  Credo: I Believe from Faith and Life.  

Church History:  A Book of Angels: Stories of Angels in the Bible by Marigold Hunt 
The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children by Marigold Hunt 

Great Moments in Catholic History by Fr. Edward Curran 

Seasonally: Advent and Christmas: Stories of the Child Jesus from Many Lands by A. Fowler Lutz 

Lent: The Way of the Cross by Inos Biffi 

Scripture: Crusade: The Story of the Bible Retold for Catholic Children (a magazine published in 1955 by the Maryknoll Sisters, currently out of print, so we have acquired most issues used) 

Saints: Heroes of God's Church by Matimore 

So this seems like a lot, but basically she is reading one chapter a week in each subject.

For English study, we are still working our way through Michael Clay Thompson's Island series.  We are almost finished with the first level of Grammar Grammar Island Cover, Poetry, and Vocabulary (Sentence Island, Practice Island, Building Language Building Language Cover and The Music of the Hemispheres Music of the Hemispheres: Student Book Cover).  So far so good, as long as I make it a priority.    We will be moving on to the Town series (level 2) as soon as we finish these.  (Sometime in Term 2)  MCT recently came out with a literature study based on the Mud books.  Now I have to decide whether to read these this year, or just read the choices we have for the level 2 series, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Wind in the Willows.  Now these are not just any old version of the classics.  These are highly edited, yet unabridged, so as to draw attention to specific parts, words, vocabulary etc.  I have just taken another look at the Mud series and as all of MCT's works, they seem irresistable.  Ah well, perhaps another purchase is in order.  MCT's website is available here!

Just for good measure, Rose is also working through one lesson a day in Intermediate Language Lessons, the Hillside Edition, by Emma Serl.

In theory, we tried a more formal approach to nature study this year, with Discovering Nature: Mary's Meadow.  Discovering Nature Series: Mary's Meadow Curriculum by Sandi Queen Stories by Juliana Horatia Gatty EwingThis is published by Queen Homeschool.  So far she has made it through 8 lessons, not very thoroughly.  It is intended for use up through junior high, so maybe it is a little advanced.  We will keep trying and see how far we get this year.

For Latin,  I came across this quaint little book for kindle titled:  Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age, by William E. Linney  
Both of my big girls love it and are completing one lesson a day.  It is so great because it introduced latin in small bite sized pieces and was written by a loving uncle who was trying to help his homeschooled nieces and nephews learn latin.    Check it out, there is an extensive online preview that is very informative!

For Spelling, we are still slowly making our way through All About Spelling level 2. 
 Still fine.  Just not always our top priority.

For history, we are using Story of the World 3 and 4 to focus on American History.  We are supplementing with a lot of "living books" for each section, including the American Girl Books and the Little House on the Prairie series.  I found the Catholic textbooks and other avenues for studying history just too cumbersome and often too boring.  Story of the World works for us, especially the audiobooks with Jim Weiss, so we will be sticking with them and supplementing/ skipping chapters as needed.

For Science, we have gone back to Catholic Heritage Curriculum's Behold and See 5.   Rose is not very into science, so a light and easy overview of subjects have been great for her.  We also are using Vintage Remedies for Tweens as a fun extra practical science! 

We are also covering Map Skills Level E by Continental Press, Working with Analogies: Making Connections, Book 2, 
 Ohio State History, and Logic Mind Benders book 4.  

For reading, we are continuing to work through the Catholic National Reader, vol 5 which Rose enjoys and finds easy.  We are also doing reading comprehension with CHC's Stories of the Saints, Vol 1 and King of the Golden City.  

For art,  we are using CHC's Art Masterpieces and Learning to Appreciate Art. We are also still using Artistic Pursuits, Grades K-3, Book 2 Stories of Artists and Their Art for practical art.  This has worked out really well this year as I have gathered all the art supplies together and it is easy to get going on a project!

So this about covers it.  Hmmm.  maybe there is a reason we are not getting everything finished every week.   I know I need to pare down next year,  probably now.  When there is so much good stuff out there it is hard!