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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Math U See and Core Algebra 1 Online

Some of you may have remembered that I bought Algebra 1 Math U See, with instructional video, even before we started Summer Vacation.  We watched parts of the video over the Summer.  While DJ is doing OK, he is still frustrated and not where he wants to be with Math.  The workbook is difficult.    It only has 15-20 questions per lesson, and they are long and hard.  There is not enough room to work out each problem, and not enough problems.  These are DJ's observations.  I believe I can print off more worksheets for each lesson, on their website.  But, for the price I paid for the books I don't think I should have to use my own ink to do that.  He also has not bonded with the instructor on the dvd.  I know that sounds stupid, but he does not care for the way he teaches, especially since he uses a lot of manipulatives, which is just confusing.  So, we are not giving up on Math U See.  I like it a lot.  I like the instructor, minus the manipulatives, and find the teacher textbook very helpful.  But, I myself have been using Core Algebra 1 to teach myself, and relearn topics I forgot.  Two days ago, I let DJ try it.  He does like this very much.  He likes the instructor, who is quite a bit younger than the Math U See gentleman.  He likes the online tests.  They get progressively harder, but he watches the video each time.  So after five tests he has watched the video 5 times.  So, he will do the Core Algebra 1, online lessons, then do the Math U See harder lesson after he has hopefully mastered it.

Caitlin is progressing nicely with her Saxon 54.  The only concern I have is that she needs to do more multiplication, and has not started division concepts yet.  I think I will be looking for something to supplement those for her. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Homeschool Day at the Florida Museum

Today was homeschool day at the Florida Natural History Museum in Gainesville. We got there nice and early, about 20 min ahead of the 10 oclock entry time. The line was not that large at that time. Yet, it still took almost an hour to get a ticket purchased. I was not super happy about that. I would think they could have done better than that. The exhibit itself was interesting, but in my opinion not worth 6 dollars a person. Then the various activity stations were mostly for very young children. We did get to look at shark skin under a microscope, at one station, and the kids did a fishing test that taught them using nets for fish gets you way more than you wanted, or expected. The rest of the museum, except the Butterfly Rainforest is free, but our time was limited, and we had already seen it. We were able to identify two types of shark teeth, that we had collected while fossil digging.  A Tiger Shark and Lemon Shark.  All in all I was disappointed. Not sure I would go for another Homeschool Day.






Friday, October 17, 2014

Enhancing Memory and Listening Skills Fun on Friday Draw What You Hear

This is my weekend to work the night shift.  So, I have to get in a nap today.  That means every other Friday, I get to give the kids writing, and other creative lessons.  One thing I have noticed is that their listening skills are not exactly great.  Why does that matter to me?  Well for one thing,  you can't follow oral directions well if your listening and memory skills are not up to par.  I for one can listen to a TV show, not watch it, and do something else at the same time, and still be able to tell you what happened.  That is because I have very acute hearing and listening skills.  I think it is a very useful skill, and I want them both to hone their skills. 

Today, I started with a very short story made up by myself.  I repeated it three times, and then they were required to draw what they heard me say.  They could not talk to each other, and could not ask me any questions.  They both got all details correct.  Both of them decided to color the sky blue, rather than just making it sunny.  To me this took away from the picture, but that is OK.

Here is the short story.  It was a beautiful Fall day.  The huge Oak tree only had a few leaves left on it.  It had 10 blue leaves and 5 red leaves.  Plus there were 20 acorns on the ground.

As we go on, through the months, the lesson will get harder with more details.  I also think I will have them listen to just noises, like water, birds, nature, etc and have them draw what they hear.  Also they will be required to write what I say. 

DJ is also doing a writing assignment on George Washington, and an Art lesson on perspective.  Caitlin did an Acrostic Apple poem and will be doing the perspective Art lesson as well.  Caitlin already posted hers to her blog. 

Have an awesome weekend.  Monday we will be at the museum for the Megaladon exhibit.  So, watch for pictures from that. 







Tuesday, October 14, 2014

News Junkie and Algae Experiment

I am a bit of a news junkie.  Towards the end of the school day, the news is on.  If you have been watching the news you know, Ebola, is all over the news.  Yesterday, early morning, my son got sick, and then again later in the morning.  My 10 yr old was convinced he probably had Ebola.  She pays more attention to the news than I thought.  Which gets me to my point.  If I am going to watch the news, which is usually not good news and often embellished, I better be prepared for some weird reactions and questions.  Of course my son does not have Ebola, he was fine after the second incident and we have had no contact, direct or otherwise with anyone from West Africa.  It was probably our Science experiment, because he did not follow the directions clearly.

About 10 days ago, we tried to see if there was anything living in our pool.  There wasn't, but I think things are starting to grow in their now, lol.  Anyway we have a rain collection bucket, that I water plants with.  I had not messed with it for a while, and that did have algae in it.  It also had a tiny ant head, with algae growing around it, that was really cool to look at under the microscope.  We did this on Sunday.  As I was looking I could see little critters moving around.  Our microscope is not super strong, so I couldn't tell exactly what they were, but there was a lot of them.  I told DJ to be sure and not touch his face, before he got to wash his hands, after handling the sample.  He might not have listened.  None of his friends, or us got it, but it could have just been something he ate.  But we all ate the same thing.  I have dumped the bucket and sanitized it, since to dog likes to drink out of it now and then.  From now on I will have the hand sanitizer right there to clean hands, and then wash them with soap and water when all experiments have been completed.

The second experiment we did, was to watch a seed grow.  You need six seeds.  We used Magnolia seeds, because they are all over the back yard.  You soak them over night, then gently remove the out covering of the seed.  It should be slimy and slide right off.  This was really cool under the microscope.  We couldn't get our seed to slice open, no matter how much we tried, so we skipped seeing the inside.  Next you put about 6 tsp of dirt in a ziplock bag and push the seed down into the dirt.  Seal the bag, most of the way, leave a small area for evaporation to occur.  Place it in a sunny spot, and then check it in a few days.  You should be able to see the seed starting the growing process.  I think this would work better in a tight fitting case, like a clear CD case, but we will see how it goes.  These are easy, fun, and educational experiments that anyone can do. 

Even though my son was not feeling well, he made it through the whole school day, Monday, slowly but still, and is all better today.  This week is a normal school week, and then next week we have some fun, educational things going on.  More on those later this week.