ivey league academy: week in review!

This week's chalkboard featured my attempt at a Minion and a motivating quote!

Reading:  While we waited for our Explode the Code books to arrive in the mail, Caleb and I read a couple of readers from the library, played our "a-e" version of Snakes & Ladders, and reviewed a couple of pages in Hooked on Phonics again.  Caleb is doing much better with silent e, but he still gets confused easily, so I think we're doing the right thing by taking it slow and adding in other curriculum to help him think critically about the words he's learning.

Spelling:  We started our new spelling curriculum on Monday.  This week's list featured words more on Caleb's level, such as "of," "and," "mat," "cat," etc.  They were all words he learned how to read in kindergarten, but now he's showing if he can spell them, or at least sound them out if he's not sure.  This curriculum doesn't have a test or anything at the end of each week, just different activities to do each day, such as filling in the blank, finding the misspelled word, etc.  I'm still considering whether or not to add a test element at the end of the week just to make sure Caleb remembers how to spell the words he's worked with.  Since it's first grade, I don't really need to use the term "test" either...maybe "review?"

Handwriting:  We're another week or two away from completing our Handwriting Without Tears workbook.  This week Caleb worked on x, z, and did some copywork.

Vocabulary:  This week's words were "favor," "giggle," "pause," and "ridiculous."

Math:  Caleb had his second math test at the end of this week and did very well...he only missed one point out of forty-five!  His lessons are starting to introduce telling time concepts again, which is good since we really didn't get that nailed down in kindergarten.

Bible:   This week's devotionals focused on picking friends wisely, moving ahead even if we make mistakes, overcoming evil with good, being able to do all things through Christ's strength, and being faithful in the little things.

Science:  This week we learned about forces, mainly friction and air pressure.  We watched two different episodes of The Magic School Bus and did two friction experiments.  The first involved laying out a variety of objects on a cutting board (in our case, we used an ice cube, an eraser, a small alphabet block, and a small rock), slowly tilting the board, and observing which objects slid down first.  Caleb saw that the eraser was usually the last one to fall since its rubber coating had the most friction against the plastic board.

Our second experiment involved picking up a bottle full of rice using only a pencil!  This one took a few tries, but once we pumped the pencil up and down in the rice several times, it would catch hold and we'd cautiously lift it!  We did find that if the pencil shifted at all while we held it, the bottle was in danger of slipping, so we tried not to disrupt the force of friction!

To demonstrate air pressure, I had Caleb blow up a ziploc bag with a straw.  Then once we sealed it the rest of the way, he was able to press on it and see how the air moved around inside.  We also laid moderately heavy objects (like books) on top of the air-filled bag to show its strength.  I also reminded Caleb that whenever Daddy uses our air pump to fill up a tire or a basketball, that pump is demonstrating air pressure too.

These are the library books we used to supplement our science studies this week.  I got the idea for the cutting board friction experiment from the "Move It" one.

Social Studies:  This week we learned about Connecticut and New Jersey.  Caleb colored a state page for each one.  We learned about Sybil Ludington from the Revolutionary War.  While she lived in New York, it was the town of Danbury in Connecticut that she was trying to save when she went on her night ride to muster her father's troops.  Apparently her ride (over forty miles) was even longer than Paul Revere's, and she was only sixteen at the time!  We read a book detailing her mission, plus we watched an episode of "Liberty's Kids" that featured her as well.  For New Jersey, we learned about Molly Pitcher (Mary Hayes) who risked her life during that same war by bringing water to the troops during battles, and then later on taking over on the cannon when her husband was injured.  We read a book about her too.  When we talked about Atlantic City's boardwalk and diving horses, Caleb was so intrigued that I found archival footage of it on YouTube so he could see it.  I did explain to him that most horses didn't like diving and they were mistreated, so it's not done much anymore (in fact, one place in New York still has a diving horse act, but very limited so the horse can take long breaks).  We also looked up a more detailed map of New Jersey to find the city where two of his cousins live!

We took a break from sweet recipes this week and made a dinner recipe instead.  This was a slow-cooker Boardwalk Italian Beef Sandwich inspired by New Jersey!

Read-Aloud:  We finished Ginger Pye this week!  Caleb enjoyed it so much he requested that we go on to read Pinky Pye, which is a sequel featuring the same family.  I found a book report printable for Caleb to fill out.  He wasn't interested in drawing that day but he managed to make a hat (the "unsavory character" who took Ginger wore a yellow hat), and a train car (toward the end, the Pye children worry that Ginger was taken away to New York on a train).  He copied down "Boombernickles" as his favorite part...the two Pye children often make up stories about a man named Boombernickles and Caleb thought his name sounded funny.

Rice Bottle Friction Experiment (Carrots are Orange)
Boardwalk Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe (Food.com)
Listen to Reading Book Report Printable (Seusstastic)


ivey league academy: week in review!

This week's chalkboard featured one of Caleb's favorite scenes from the movie "Night at the Museum."  The exhibits come to life every night, and a huge Easter Island head keeps asking for gum.  Caleb thinks it's hilarious (and side note...no one says "dum-dum" to be mean, it's just the way the exhibit talks!).  I also added a quote from Robin William's character, the wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt.

We planted our container garden this week!  This actually happened on Sunday.  We transferred our blueberry plant to a bigger container, and then planted cucumbers, rainbow carrots, pattypan squash, rainbow bush beans, and cherry tomatoes in other containers.  I made markers for them out of craft sticks, and Caleb helped us plant the seeds and water them.  Now most mornings before breakfast, the two of us go outside to water our garden (except if it's rained the night before!).  Caleb is excited but has also learned pretty quickly that seeds don't grow overnight, so it's a good lesson in patience!

Reading:  Caleb and I continued to work on a-e words using free printable worksheets and phonics readers.  He successfully read his first story in his Hooked on Phonics book ("Blake the Snake") but some words still trip him up.  At the end of the week I wrote down a few mini-stories with some of the new words in them...Caleb liked this but also recommended that I type them next time since I guess my handwriting messed him up a few times!  I researched other phonics curricula this week as well.  I think things are slowly clicking with Caleb, but right now Hooked on Phonics alone isn't really getting the job done.  I've kind of used it as a guide these last couple of weeks, but I've had to supplement it with other things for practice so I thought, why not find something that includes more activities so I don't have to?  I ordered Books 2 and 3 of Explode the Code for this reason.  Caleb seems to be kind of in between first grade and second grade level reading so I decided we'd start at Book 2, even if it just reinforces what he learned in first grade reading.  It'll build up his confidence either way.  We can still use Hooked on Phonics as well, I just figured now is the time to really build up his reading skills and maybe even experiment since he's technically ahead in this area.

Spelling:  And speaking of curriculum switching...yeah we're going to have to do that here too.  It turns out while we love Horizons Math, their spelling curriculum is a bit crazy.  I feel like their word lists are too advanced for first grade and they're only getting more difficult as we go on.  I found a free 36-week spelling curriculum online (found here) that we're going to try instead.  It's similar to Horizons in that you present a list of words to the student every week, but in my opinion, they're more on first grade level.  I think this will help Caleb better.  The words will be ones he can already read (as opposed to some of the ones on the Horizons curriculum, like "gentle," "city," etc.), so he'll be better at trying to figure out how to write them down and use them in a sentence.  We're going to jump in to this new curriculum first thing next week!

Handwriting:  We continued Handwriting Without Tears this week.  Caleb copied more sentences and also practiced b, f, and q.

Vocabulary:  This week's words were "nature," "wild," "nibble," and "focus."

Math:  Caleb continued to practice adding with a number line and figuring out numbers based on place value.  He was also introduced to the concept of equal and not equal.  The workbook also re-introduced simple addition word problems and Caleb remembered how to do those immediately.

Bible:  This week's lessons were about discernment, honoring your parents, being an inspiration, having a happy heart, and being important even if you're young.  The lesson about being happy-hearted came in handy since Caleb had a bad attitude that morning and said he was too tired to do school.  The lesson stressed that feelings are very real, but we also can control them, so even if we don't feel happy about something, we can choose to change our attitude and feel happy anyway.  When we read the lesson about being young, we also read the story about Samuel and his "wake-up call" from God.  Samuel was young when God called him but He could still use him!

Science:  This week we learned about comets, meteors, and asteroids, and then gravity later on in the week.  We watched two episodes of "The Magic School Bus" and did a couple of experiments.  The first experiment was to see why the moon has so many craters.  I mixed flour with a little oil, patted it down in a cake pan, and then gave Caleb a variety of rocks and pebbles.  The flour mixture represented the surface of the moon and the rocks were asteroids and meteors.  First Caleb tried dropping them onto the flour, but quickly found that they made a bigger crater when he pushed them in (which makes sense because most space rocks have some kind of force behind them!).  The second experiment involved gravity and was to determine if heavy objects fall faster than light ones.  I got the idea from our book Hands-On Science.  Caleb assumed that heavy stuff falls faster, but when he stood on a chair and dropped two objects that were similar in size but different in weight (in our case, a bouncy ball and a cotton ball), he discovered that they hit the ground at the same time!  Of course the bouncy ball would bounce right back up, so we really had to pay attention to see that it initially hit the ground at the same time as the lighter cotton ball.  So he learned that gravity makes things fall at the same speed no matter what their weight is.

Social Studies:  This week we learned about Vermont and Rhode Island.  Caleb colored state pages for both states.  For Vermont, we learned about how maple trees are tapped and their sap turns into maple syrup.  We made oatmeal cookies and then dipped them into a maple syrup glaze.  Then for Rhode Island, we learned that Mr. Potato Head was first created there, which Caleb really got a kick out of.  We have a felt Potato Head set, so he played with that for awhile.  We also learned about Rhode Island's Animal Topiary Garden.  I couldn't find a book specific to this topiary garden, but I found a fictional children's book called The Night Gardener that was similar in theme, so we read that and then talked about what we would shape trees and bushes into if we could do that!

Read-Aloud:  We're still reading Ginger Pye.  Because of our other subjects and a dentist appointment one morning, we only got to two chapters this week.  But we're nearing the end of the book so I think we'll be done sometime next week and then Caleb can pick out what we read next.

A-E Words Worksheets (The Measured Mom)
Why Does The Moon Have Craters? Experiment (I Can Teach My Child)
Scientific Method Printable (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Maple Iced Oatmeal Cookies Recipe (Lovely Little Kitchen)
State Coloring Pages (USA Printables)


ivey league academy: week in review!

It's a little late, but here's what we did in week 2 of first grade!

I've started changing up our chalkboard every Sunday night as a surprise for Caleb as he starts a new school week.  This week's had a Finding Nemo theme.

Reading:  We started the second grade level of Hooked on Phonics.  The first set of words featured the long "a" sound with a silent "e" ("game," "bake," "cave," etc.).  Caleb knew some of these by memory, but he had trouble decoding the words and kept going back to the short "a" sound he's more familiar with. We incorporated some phonics readers and a new custom Snakes & Ladders board to help him practice.  He's slowly getting it, but I don't want to move on until I'm sure he feels comfortable.  We'll probably continue with these words into next week as well.

Spelling:  We did the second week of spelling lessons.  I'll probably incorporate more opportunities for practicing these words since sometimes the activities in the book aren't enough.  I'm trying not to stress when Caleb makes spelling mistakes on the same words we've worked on all week.  I was actually a little surprised at some of the words in this curriculum since it's written for first graders (the third week of lessons actually has the word "gentle" in there!).  I think we'll continue on though, and just watch to make sure it's not hurting Caleb's confidence or anything.

Handwriting:  We continued Handwriting Without Tears.  Caleb's penmanship is looking awesome!

Vocabulary:  This week's words were "shiver," "racket," "tame," and "permit."  Caleb did great with all of these, and even correctly used the word "racket" later on (he was asking his brother to stop making all that racket!).

Math:  We continued in his math workbook, and also learned about the concept of < and >.  Caleb had his first math test and he got everything correct!

 Bible:  This week's lessons were about not being afraid (added in the story about Jesus calming the storm), saying helpful things, controlling yourself, and digging a pit (added in the story of Haman and how Esther saved her people from him).

Science:  This week we learned about stars and constellations.  We did an experiment to find out why stars twinkle using a flashlight, a bowl of water, and crumpled up foil.  We watched an episode of "The Magic School Bus" about stars, and Caleb did a dot-to-dot activity with constellations, as well as made his own constellation.

Social Studies:  This week's states were Maine and New Hampshire.  Caleb colored pages for each state.  We also learned about all of the lighthouses on Maine's coast and then made our own with plastic cups and battery-powered tealights.  We read about Uncle Sam (who was born in New Hampshire), and since both states this week have apple orchards, we made apple cider baked doughnuts.

Scientific Method Printable (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Constellation Dot-to-Dot (Supercoloring.com)
Lighthouse Craft (Juggling With Kids)
Apple Cider Doughnuts Recipe (The Chic Life)


ivey league academy: first grade!

Caleb decided to go ahead and start first grade this week!  Which is ironic since around here, this week was spring break for all of the public school students.  :)

Here's our curriculum choices for this year:

Reading:  Hooked on Phonics, 2nd grade level

Spelling and Vocabulary:  Horizons Spelling and Vocabulary 1, Word-a-Day Grade 1 by Evan-Moor

Handwriting:  Handwriting Without Tears, 1st grade level (already in progress from kindergarten)

 Math: Horizons Math 1

Bible: Growing With Jesus devotional plus additional Bible stories

Science:  Magic School Bus Curriculum (found here) plus additional activities and experiments

Social Studies:  Our 50 States

Read-Aloud:  I read a chapter book to Caleb...we strive for a chapter a day.  Our current read is Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes.

This week:

Caleb did great even with the obvious differences in this years' courseload.  While I wanted to get him used to learning for longer periods of time, I also didn't want to burn him out!  I also tried to work in different kinds of activities to keep him engaged.

Reading: Caleb read through all 8 1st grade HOP books throughout the course of the week.  We mostly did this because he didn't read very much during the few weeks we took off, plus we were adding in different subjects so I didn't want to spring more difficult words on him too!  We also played sight words games like Snakes and Ladders (found here) and a sight word snail game (The Measured Mom).

Spelling and Vocabulary:  Caleb wasn't sure about this at first, but he quickly caught on.  The spelling workbook has built-in pre-tests at the start of every week to see what the student already knows, but we skipped that part (it seemed unnecessary since I thought it would stress him out to start with a "test" and we were going to work with all of the spelling words during the week anyway).  We completed different activities with a set of words each day, such as choosing the correct word to fill in a blank or using some of the words to write a sentence, then on Friday he took a test.  He did very well considering it was his first!  It was encouraging to see that the mistakes he did make were slight, and that he is still aware of letter sounds.

For a word-a-day vocabulary lessons, he learned a new word for four days in a row, which we would put on our word wall.  He knew three out of the four words for this week, but obviously they will get more challenging!  This week his words were "crunch," "gentle," "odor," and "dash."

On Friday, we did a review where I read him the questions and the choices and he'd fill in the right answer.  He also made a sentence using the word "odor."  I helped him with the long word at the end plus sounding out the little words before that, but the rest was all him!

Math:  I was glad to see that Caleb's first grade math curriculum had a built-in review with the first week or two of lessons.  Since we used the same curriculum for kindergarten, he found this first week to be pretty easy and straightforward.

Bible:  We read a devotional a day, and worked in stories about Elijah, Peter, and David to illustrate the lesson.

Read-Aloud:  We read four chapters of Ginger Pye.  We didn't get to it our first day but worked it in the other days.  Caleb likes the story even though the chapters are longer than he's used to listening to!

Science:  I used the free printable Magic School Bus curriculum for its schedule and the way it already has the episodes divided into teachable units.  For now we're skipping their unit on dinosaurs.  I fully intend to teach Caleb both the creationist and evolutionist approaches so he is able to understand and defend what he believes in, but at this age it seems easier to skip the dinosaur stuff for now.  We'll pick it up in a year or two.
The first unit we're doing is space.  This first week was about the solar system and planets.  We watched the episode "The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space" even though some of the information about Pluto is outdated (mainly, they still call it a planet and say we don't really know what the surface looks like because it's so far away).  I like the series, though, because it keeps Caleb's attention, and at the end of each one they go through what stuff was made up for the show and what's real (for instance, they admit that there's no way even a flying school bus could make it to all of the planets in one day).  We did look up present-day photos and facts about each planet on the internet to get more up-to-date information. We did a few activities after that, including an orbit model, a planet order worksheet, and an "If I discovered a planet" activity.  We also read a couple of space books we had in our homeschool library.

Social Studies: We started with Massachusetts this week.  We're using the book Our 50 States mostly as a guide of which states to do when, as well as a jumping-off point to find activities and books about each state.

Caleb colored a Massachusetts coloring page and constructed a Mayflower ship out of construction paper.  We checked out a couple of books at the library, plus used a Johnny Appleseed book from our homeschool library (turns out he was born in Massachusetts!).

Caleb also completed a Johnny Appleseed activity:

And finally, as a treat at the end of our week, we made Massachusett's official state dessert:  Boston Cream Pie!

All in all it was a successful week!  It helped give me an idea of what a typical school day will look like, as well as how to plan it.

Orbit Printable (More Time 2 Teach)
Planet Order Printable (not pictured) (Education.com)
If I Discovered a Planet Printable (Deceptively Educational)
State Map Coloring Pages (USA Printables)
Mayflower Ship Activity (Paging Supermom)
Johnny Appleseed Printable (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Boston Cream Pie Recipe (The Girl Who Ate Everything)
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