One School Day

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I planned a lot of our weeks to be 4 days with Mondays off. It’s working well for us. This week, however, it occurred to me that a 4 day week with Friday off would be better because then we’d get to start our Christmas break a day sooner (plus my parents are arriving this afternoon so we only have to do school two days while they are here). Because of that, our normal days are shifted. I kept track of what we did yesterday (Monday) in school. It was like a normal Tuesday without a break to go to taekwondo.

Cameron had an orthodontist appointment at 8. This put us a little behind in getting school started. We did our opening stuff at 9:45. That’s the day/date, pledges, article of faith (#8 this month), primary song (currently I Lived in Heaven), and scripture mastery memory verse (right now we’re working on part of D&C 13:1). For a while Fritz has also been working on the pronouns and the helping verbs, but last week he got them all completely memorized so I erased them off the board. Opening activities took 5 minutes.
One School Day

At 9:50 we started religion. We watched three D&C videos and talked about some of the important sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. This took 5 minutes.
One School Day

9:55. History. We’re studying Russia and Prussia right now. We read two pages in the Usborne World History book, a chapter in Child’s History of the World, and two chapters of Story of the World. Fritz really liked hearing about leaders named Frederick and Fritz. (Also, apparently, my children are total Texans – they need blankets even when it’s over 70 degrees.)
One School Day

Once we finished all the reading, we moved back to the dining room table. We defined dominate, discussed what we’d read, and did some map work, including finding Russia on the big world map on the wall. History took a total of 45 minutes.
One School Day

At 10:40 Cameron and Fritz started math (Math Mammoth – pre-algebra for Cameron, 4th grade for Fritz). Cameron did 4 pages on negative integers, inequalities, and absolute value. Fritz did four pages of addition review. Cameron took 35 minutes and Fritz took 65 minutes to do math.
One School Day

At 10:45, Adrian did some poetry reciting and read the note I wrote to him (each day I write him a note and he has to read the whole thing himself and then he gets to keep it… we’re discovering when he sees a reason, he reads really well!). This took 5 minutes.
One School Day

At 10:50, Adrian did his math (Math Mammoth 1st grade). He did two pages counting and writing numbers. He’s been very resistant to writing anything so it’s great he’s attempting to write a little bit now. This also took 5 minutes.
One School Day

11:15. Cameron moved on to Writing With Skill 1 Week 16, Day 1. He had to read a passage and write a one-level outline about Queen Elizabeth I. He completed this in 25 minutes (including a 3 minute break to watch the video of him performing at the Gala Saturday night).

At 11:20, Adrian did First Language Lessons 1 lesson 43. He worked on memorizing a new poem and did a little copywork. This took him 10 minutes. At that point, Adrian was done with school for the day. That’s a total of 20 minutes on his own and one hour and 15 minutes all together.
One School Day

Cameron moved on to spelling at 11:40. He is reviewing lists at the mid-point of level C right now. He went through nearly two full lists before he got a total of 5 words spelled incorrectly to study. Spelling took him 10 minutes.

11:45. Fritz did some handwriting. He is learning to write in cursive and his daily handwriting is copying things I write for him. Right now that is bits from the scripture mastery memory verse. He spent 5 minutes on handwriting.
One School Day

At 11:50, Fritz started working on First Language Lessons 3 lesson 41. He learned about the understood you at the beginning of commands and how to diagram them. He spent 7 minutes on that lesson.
One School Day

At the same time Cameron began reading (using the immersion feature on his Fire) the first third of stave 4 of A Christmas Carol. He read for 20 minutes.

Fritz started his Writing With Ease 2 Week 16, Day 1 lesson at 11:57. He listened to a portion of a story and then did a narration. This took 5 minutes.

At 12:02, Fritz started working on a Brainy Acts (critical thinking) page. He finished it in 5 minutes.

12:07. Fritz started spelling. He is doing review from the end of level C. He’s on a list of proper nouns and it’s giving him a little trouble just like it did the first time through. He made quite a bit of progress, though, before he had three words misspelled to study. Spelling took him 8 minutes.

At 12:10, Cameron finished reading and answered his comprehension questions. That was the end of the school day for him. School lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes for Cameron.

At 12:15, Fritz started working on his three vocabulary words from chapter 13 of The Borrowers. Only two of the words had origins cards. This took 7 minutes.
One School Day

At 12:22, Fritz started reading chapter 13 of The Borrowers. He finished reading 13 minutes later and answered his comprehension questions. Fritz was done with school at 12:35. School took 2 hours and 50 minutes for Fritz.

School Goes Fast

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Whenever people are talking about how long school takes, I just keep my mouth shut because, unless they only have very little kids, school at our house is a lot shorter. I keep looking at what we are doing to see if I’m missing something, but we are covering the basics plus extras.

Cameron and Fritz are fun to homeschool. They focus and get it done without any complaining or fighting. Because of this, they are done with school (3rd and 7th grades) in 2-3 hours. They really make it so easy.

Pre-Reading

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Over the last few months I’ve been pre-reading the books Fritz and Cameron will read over the course of the school year. I finished Fritz’s during the summer. I finally finished Cameron’s last week.

The last few weeks I have read a LOT. In addition to reading to the little guys and reading on my own for fun, I read Robinson Crusoe (hated it), Gulliver’s Travels (loved the first two parts – the two parts Cameron read – but didn’t love the rest), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle (felt something was missing which is weird because it was the actual stories as written by Washington Irving – I suppose what was missing was things filled in in movies based on the stories), A Christmas Carol (loved it – and it just so happens Cameron will finish reading it just as we finish up school before Christmas break), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (excellent and fascinating), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (loved it; had forgotten it’s actually a pretty short book), and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (extremely surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did!).

Along with those, I read The Iliad along with Ani. That was very, very long. I’m still not sure what I actually think of it.

Most of the books I had never read before. Homeschooling older kids definitely is expanding my reading world. Now that I’ve finished this school year’s books, I can’t wait to pick and get started on next year’s!

Eating Nitrogen (aka meringues)

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Our science experiment on Friday was to eat nitrogen. To do this, we made meringues. Since meringues are mostly air and air is mostly nitrogen, we were eating nitrogen.

First we whipped 3 egg whites in the KitchenAid until it formed soft peaks. Then we added 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar.

Eating Nitrogen (aka meringues)

Then we whipped some more until it formed hard peaks.

Eating Nitrogen (aka meringues)

It was pretty amazing how much meringue could be made from 3 little egg whites.

Eating Nitrogen (aka meringues)

We baked them at 225* for a really, really long time. We started with an hour and then checked them every 10 minutes after that until they were getting hard. We let them cool for about 10 minutes. I cut one in half so the kids could see the pockets of air/nitrogen.

Eating Nitrogen (aka meringues)

Cameron liked the meringues so much that he’s made them several more times himself. He even started experimenting with flavor and color (two drops of peppermint and red food coloring makes nicely Christmasy meringues).

Eating Nitrogen (aka meringues)

It’s always fun when a science experiment ends up so nice and tasty!