10 Things We Plan to Do This Summer

Over the next bit before we kick back into full school mode, I am a wee bit determined to keep the kids occupied with something other than the tv {can I get an amen?}. When the weather starts heating up, we are sure to hear the ‘it’s too warm to play outside’ line and I plan to be prepared with a few things to do together.

1. Pick FIVE things on our Pinterest boards to actually do. I know that I am not alone in having massive amounts of things pinned on my gagillion Pinterest boards that look super fun…and then forget about them, right? The kids and I are going through the boards together and each picking one thing to do this summer. It can be as simple as painting our nails something fun {well, maybe not for the boys}, or building a water balloon launcher that we’ve been talking about for ages.

And this bulletin board idea from Find Joy in the Journey? Ummmm…genius!! Especially because we can also plan out some fun activities and add pictures from my Instagram feed. Oh yes – this is FIRST on my list to do!

2. Serve in our local community. With the Adventures in Odyssey ‘Summer of Service Challenge’ in full swing, we’ve made a list of things that we can do to help others in our community and beyond. Some projects are for family members that are older, and others include simple projects locally.

3. Read out loud {or listen to audio books}. A lot. With limiting tv, we are going to start a ‘quiet hour’ again in our house – a time when everyone needs to just sit and be still. Coloring is ok, but down time is something that we all need more of! We’re working on a list of books to read during the hot days, and I completely forgot about some audio books that I downloaded from Lamplighter Theatre a few months ago, so those are getting loaded on the iPod for us to listen to together.

4. Play with our sets from LEGO Education. We’ve been having fun since February with a few different kits from LEGO Education {Simple Machines and WeDo} and when you are playing with LEGO® bricks…well, it’s definitely a fun day, right?

Lego StoryStarters Save the Tree Project (52)

The LEGO® kits have also been wonderful to have on hand when we are reading, because the kids can build while they are listening and recreate scenes from the stories {or make their own!}.

5. Have fun at Vacation Bible School. The kids are very excited that next week is the local VBS – and I may be a bit giddy too {grins}. While the kids are having fun and learning, it will give me a few hours to get planning for the upcoming year with a bit of quiet time {sometimes I forget what that is like!}.

6. Learn about the Constitution as a family. It may sound a little nerdy, but we found a book all about the Constitution that was written by a 14 year old, Our Constitution Rocks!

Our Constitution Rocks

This was a book that we picked up at our homeschool convention and thought it would be a great thing to study as a family {and I’m guessing the adults may learn a few things too}. 

7. Visit the library. A lot. Air conditioning and lots of books to choose from. Need I say more? We also have to work on those Reading Challenge Charts, so the kids have bags to fill and reading to do!

8. Head to our local children’s museum. After a season of not going to the children’s museum, we went ahead and bought a one year membership.

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don’t ask…because really, I don’t know…

The kids have really missed it, and I forgot about the theater area and the plethora of art supplies that they have – and the mess that is no longer in my house when the kids are working on projects there {cough}. The money I’m saving on random art supplies may just help us break even on the membership cost {grins}.

9. Swim, swim, and swim some more. Can you say exercise? The kids are a part of one of the local swim teams and while I hit my swim team plateau about 2 meets before the season is over, at the moment we are having a blast. The kids are getting some great exercise, learning a lot about encouraging others and how to be a good sport, and staying cool at the same time.

10. Write our Compassion children even more and find some fun things to mail to them over the next year. There are lots of fun things that we can put together for the children we sponsor through Compassion and have ready to mail to them. I’ve been adding pins to a Flat Crafts for Sponsored Children Pinterest board, so we’ll be working on ideas from that first.

 

What fun things do you have planned for the summer months?

 

 

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Our Science Studies

This year we are all working together on Nancy Larson® Science 2 {recommended for ages 7-9} and have been studying a range of topics. At the moment I’m rather anxious to get into the bird section of the program {since we moved our birdfeeder up onto our porch}, but we are definitely having fun and learning a lot this year.

We are a little more than halfway through the Science 2 program and are working through the fourth of the six units. We’ve already covered:

~ The Physical Properties of Matter: solids, liquids, and gases; measuring the mass of a solid; the transparency of matter; exploring magnetic attraction; naming magnetic poles and the states of matter.

Needless to say, the scale has been a big hit. Whenever the science bin is pulled out, I’m sure to hear “Can we play with the scale too?”

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~ Observing Rocks and Minerals: classifying rocks by size {sand, pebble, cobble, gravel, and boulders}; comparing the hardness of minerals, and identifying the minerals in granite.

The rock collection that we used to talk about the hardness of minerals has also much fun. We went on several walks during our time learning about rocks and minerals. One of the best parts of those walks was listening to Zachary and McKenna point out the various rock sizes that we saw along the way. :)

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~ Investigating Forces and Work: learning about gravity; demonstrating how lubricants affect friction between objects; learning about wheels/axles; observing how rollers make work easier; and inclined planes.

This unit involved several of our small race cars, a lot of our blocks to build inclined ramps and the involvement of all of the kids as we raced cars, used the coveted tape measure to see how far vehicles traveled with/without friction and more.

~ Examining Simple Machines: so far we’ve talked about how inclined planes work make easier; characteristics of wedges; identifying the functions of screws; and the characteristics of wheels and axles.

Our last two units will be exploring light and sound and then investigating birds {just in time for the warm weather!!}. In the meantime I’ve been snapping pictures of the many birds in our area and getting ready for that unit!

The Nancy Larson® Science 2 has been a step up in work level for the kids, but what I really love most is Zachary’s desire to participate in the reading of the text and seeing his study skill improve dramatically with this level. The Science 2 has added bolded words and has children highlight important text ~ and we have a little boy that is giddy to use his highlighter and find the important info in each lesson {and I definitely won’t complain about that!}.

While Laurianna falls on the older end of the age range for the curriculum, she still is learning things that we haven’t covered in the past and enjoying the ‘hands-on’ parts of the program too…and even Kaleb is having fun with those parts {especially the ramps and the racing!}.

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Wrapping up 12 Weeks…

Again, I really need to pay better attention to our overall schedule! I had a week planned for us to take off school and completely missed it ~ but all was good! :) We just took the next week off instead. Just to keep track of what’s going on in our school time overall, here’s a peek at what we did in our second six weeks:

History ~ This past 6 weeks we finished up the New World Explorers unit from Homeschool in the Woods. I had every intention of starting on the Colonial Life unit, but we slowed down a little in this area when we had a few setbacks family/health-wise. I’ve also decided to stretch out the units a little more and only cover three units this year, so we still have PLENTY of time to work on this. I also ordered some books for the girls that I’m still waiting on that are based on Colonial Christmas times that I KNOW they will love {Felicity’s Surprise being on of them!}.

Science ~ We’ve been continuing on with Nancy Larson Science 1 and enjoying it a lot. Our second six weeks have been focused on botany and trees. You can read my review of Nancy Larson Science 1 here.

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Spelling ~ Zachary is still working on Level 1 in All About Spelling and both of the girls are still working on Level 3 of All About Spelling.

Language ~ Zachary has worked through lesson 54 in First Language Lessons Level 1 and is working on memorizing his fifth poem. The girls have worked through their first 12 weeks of First Language Lessons 3 {roughly somewhere around lesson 50} and are learning more about diagramming predicate nominatives, adjectives, direct objects and more.

Writing ~ This area has been more tied into what we are studying in other areas or books we are currently reading.

Math ~ The girls are loving their Teaching Textbooks and doing great. Both of them are a little ahead of where they should be {Laurianna has worked through lesson 73 of Level 4 and McKenna has worked through lesson 65 of Level 3}.

Reading ~ McKenna has become so much more confident in her reading over the last few weeks and since she loves reading the American Girls books, we are focusing on those for her.

Laurianna will read just about anything she can get her hands on too, but has been reading a lot of the Sisters in Time book series {historical books written from a Christian perspective}.

Zachary has been working on his Runt Pig as a go-along with the All About Spelling lessons. His reading has improved tremendously and it is so fun watching things ‘click’ with him!!

Spanish ~ Laurianna and McKenna are still both working on Latin American Spanish and are enjoying the program very much.

Bible ~ All of the kids are working weekly on their Awana verses, doing devotions independently {Laurianna has been using a series from The Good Book that she loves}. With Christmas coming, we’ve been doing family devotions from Tabitha’s Travels for the Advent season. You can read about what we’ve done weekly in my Raising Rock Star posts.

Handwriting ~ All three kids are working hard in their Reason for Handwriting books and making great improvement ~ especially Zachary.

Art ~ Nothing done with this yet but we should be starting up in January with this. Cindy from Along the Way and I are going to be working on some artist/unit studies for our kids to do together using the book Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn Kohl.

That’s it in a rather large nutshell! How has YOUR school year been going? :)

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Wrapping Up the First Six Weeks

Even though we keep track of how many days we’ve been in school, I haven’t been paying attention to my calendar completely and was surprised to see that I had scheduled the week off for us {woo hoo!!}. Just to keep track of what’s going on in our school time overall, here’s a peek at what we’ve been doing the first six weeks:

History ~ We finished up our New World Explorers unit from Homeschool in the Woods and one thing that I learned is that we will be going through the next unit MUCH more slowly. :) The Time Travelers units are so packed full on information and I don’t want to gloss over any of it, so I would rather spread it out and make sure that it is all sinking in with the kids. The other thing that we’ll we doing is making a family lapbook rather than individual lapbooks. The lapbooks too are packed and it’s a lot to do for three kids, so we’ll work on them together. Next up ~ the Colonial Life unit!

Science ~ One of our favorite subjects so far has been Nancy Larson Science 1!! No problems getting the kids to sit down and take part in the lessons at all. The majority of our first six weeks was focused on the life stages of human beings and we are now talking about trees {parts of a plant, habitat, etc…}. You can read my review of Nancy Larson Science 1 here.

Spelling ~ Zachary has worked through about 20 lessons of Level 1 in All About Spelling and both of the girls are at lesson 10 on Level 3 of All About Spelling.

Language ~ Zachary has worked through 35 lessons in First Language Lessons Level 1 and is working on memorizing his fourth poem {he’s so proud of himself!!}. The girls have worked through the first seven weeks and are really enjoying diagramming {this would be me clapping my hands in glee!!}.

Writing ~ I put a temporary hold on Zachary’s writing because it was just a little too much for him, but the girls have been working weekly through Complete Writer Level 3 together.

Math ~ The girls are loving their Teaching Textbooks and doing great. Both of them are a little ahead of where they should be {Laurianna has worked through lesson 59 of Level 4 and McKenna has worked through lesson 41 of Level 3}.

Reading ~ We haven’t focused on anything in particular for the girls up to this point, just books that we check out from the library. Zachary has been working on his Cobweb the Cat book as a go-along with the All About Spelling lessons.

Spanish ~ Laurianna and McKenna are both working on Latin American Spanish and are cracking me up. Both are getting competitive and trying to see who can learn more words and speak sentences faster. :) It’s all working very well and they love the program. I’m not quite ready to start Zachary on it yet though.

Bible ~ We’re working hard on our Awana verses and also on reading through the Bible together. This has been one area we’ve really tried to focus hard on and establish a good routine and so far it has been going great! You can read about what we’ve done weekly in my Raising Rock Star posts.

Handwriting ~ All three of the oldest are doing a great job with A Reason for Handwriting. We’re working through the lessons weekly as they are laid out ~ the girls focusing on cursive and Zachary on his printing.

Art ~ Nothing done with this yet but we should be starting up in November with this.

PE ~ The class we were supposed to be a part of didn’t work out this year, so we’ll either wait until next semester or next year.

That’s it in a rather large nutshell! How has YOUR school year been going? :)

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