Monday, April 28, 2014

"Let it Gooooo!"

This is what you might normally see on my blog:  a snapshot of family bliss....
What sweet kids reading their new "Frozen" Seek n' Find.

But this is what REALLY happens at our house....
Seddy, sit down for the story!
Ok, now things are getting out of hand.
"Ahh!  Get him off me!"
That's better.
Now Sedric is going after mom!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

School Profile -- Mariposa, 2nd grade

Well, school is almost over for the year so I figured I better do a "school profile" for each kid before I put all the books away!

Mariposa -- 2nd grade
age 6.75 in September, age 7.4 now at the end of school
 We follow Mother of Divine Grace (MODG) for our schooling, and I start each child in "Kindergarten" when they are 4 years old in September.  The program has a gentle start so all the kids have been able to handle this just fine.  (I modify the religion program since MODG does 1st Communion prep in the 1st grade year, which would be when my kids are 5...just too young!)  For Mariposa, we work together about 1 hour a day, for the 3 days that Mrs. N is here to watch Sedric.  We also fit in whatever we can in the afternoons and the 2 other mornings without child care, but it doesn't amount to much time--maybe 1 or 2 more hours.
A Beka grade 2--just learning multiplication.
She is picking it up very well!  She does great on addition and
subtraction too (borrowing and carrying).
The math program works very well since it is worksheet-based, and all my kids enjoy worksheets.  There is no formal teaching other than what is on the worksheet.  She also does speed drills each day.  I do almost all the math along with Mariposa, although she has progressed to where she can do most/some independently if I need her to for that day.

This is her weekly checklist (Seddy decorated it).
This checklist has worked out well for Mariposa, because it is not divided by specific day.  She/we can choose what work to do on a given day, depending on our schedule.

An overview of (almost) all of our grade 2 books.
Let's see, we have:
Math: A Beka Arithmetic 2 (as described above)
Handwriting: we started with "A Reason For Handwriting" (not shown) but we finished it.  I like that program because it is broken down into 4 days, and the 4th day the child copies a bible verse and decorates the border.  For these final few months we switched to "Draw. Write. Now." which is a lot of fun (pictured above) because the student copies factual sentences about a subject, and then they get a drawing lesson!  We think handwriting is so important for young students, and it's a shame it's being dropped from the school curriculum in most group schools. 
States: This year Mariposa has memorized all the states and she is almost done with all the capitals.  She really enjoys this.  We mostly use flashcards but I found a fun book from Dollar Tree that she sometimes works on for "extra credit."  There is a workbook in our curriculum, "Know Your States," and this helps put the "randomness" of the flashcards into an order for her little mind.
Science:  At this age, science is mostly nature observation.  We use the workbook "Seasons and Living Things" and the Usborne book "Science With Plants" (not shown).  We also have her keep a nature notebook, and she gets a LOT of "science" from everyday life and her older brother and sister and from watching Nova, Nature, and Wild Kratts on PBS.
Poetry: (not shown)  Mariposa memorizes famous childhood poems as part of memory work.  Poems by Robert Louis Stevenson are favorites.
Phonics: She graduated from "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" last year and is now working on "Sound Beginnings."  I like this program because it still utilizes memorization (so important at this stage!!) as well as handwriting and of course dictation (writing down what you hear someone say).  She's learning that each phonogram (one letter or a group of letters) can have different sounds.  Why is English so complicated????
Religion: we worked on the Baltimore 1st Communion Catechism for most of the year, and she has memorized the questions and answers.  We still go over it a little, but I know it will all come up again next year.  She also attends Religious Ed classes at St. Matthew and we have family discussions about many religious topics.

"Draw. Write. Now." close-up  (I had the book cut and spiral-
bound at the copy shop so it would lie flat.)
Examples of phonograms and some of her dictation work.
Other than school, Mariposa has responsibilities around the house.  She does her morning and evening routines (hygiene, room care) and helps keep the house tidy.  She is fantastic with Gemma and Sedric, so I often ask her to play with one of them.  She'll also read to Sedric.  After lunch we have "chore cards" and she is able to do any chore on the list.  Her favorites are "sort recycling" and "dust the stairs," but she is great at sweeping and cleaning glass as well.  She feeds Burby (the cat) and cleans the upstairs bathroom counter when I remind her.  ;o)  And I can always count on her to help in the kitchen--she knows her measurements and techniques, and also knows where to find all the ingredients.
    This summer we will finish up any work (math, phonics) and add some fun subjects. I'm considering sewing, art lessons, various lapbooks, Oregon studies, and math drills on the computer; there's so many options, it will be hard to pick just a few!

UPDATE:  I forgot to mention her extra-curricular programs for the year!  I definitely want to remember those.  This year Mariposa is taking Ballet I at the local dance studio, as well as in-home piano lessons with Mrs. E.  It's hard to do extra-curricular classes/sports when you have a large, home-based family, but we make it work by LUCK...we are so lucky to have a dance hall in our rural community just a few miles down the road (the next-closest one is 10 miles!), and we are blessed to have Mrs. E agree to come to our home to teach piano and guitar.  Mariposa also did some one-time events like the Builder's Expo and volunteering at church, and she has a monthly Little Flowers group meeting at St. Matthew.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter eats

After Mass we headed up to Auntie Meghan and Uncle Shane's, as is tradition.  We were happy they could host this year--it was uncertain their for a while since their house is scheduled to be under construction soon!  We had a YUMMY brunch of eggs, sausage, hash browns, fruit, champagne, and cinnamon-roll cakes.

After brunch we went home for a few hours (naps) and then went up to grammae and papa's for the annual Easter dinner.  It was extra-special because we had extra guests (I guess that's normal, though) and because it might be the last time they host an Easter dinner, or at least one like this.  Next year they should be in their new house, and it will have a reduced kitchen...and you really need a DOUBLE kitchen to put on a spread like this!  But we were happy to enjoy it this year, and maybe there will be new traditions next year.

my contribution
dessert time
dinner AND a show!  (Bunny and James played guitar for us...
next time we will let Fr. Juan and Br. Alex have a turn!)

Happy Easter (season)!!

The kids woke up Easter morning to church clothes laid out and Easter baskets hidden!
I made a "Frozen" basket--it was a big hit.
Lots of candy and treats.
It didn't take long for Seddy to find the candy.
Sorting through all the loot.
Sedric was thrilled to find that the EGGS had
candy in them, too!!
(basket of Daffins chocolate bunnies from
grandma and grandpa, thanks!!)
The Frozen Seek-n-find book was very popular.
Gemma's Easter sticker book kept her busy
at Mass (a rare treat for us).
Bunny and cousin Aidan were altar servers,
and I played flute and tambourine (not at the same time).
our annual Easter family portrait

Easter preparations

Marcus made 7 lamb cakes for church, and
then one for Easter dinner.
Yes, that's a total of 8 lambs.  To make it easier, Marcus used boxed pound cake mix for the church lambs (they were edible props for the children's Mass homily) and it turned out "fine" which means good enough for a high-quantity operation.  Grammae, Meghan, and Nicole decorated them and delivered them into town.  Then Marcus made one for Easter using his traditional pound cake recipe from Joy of Cooking.  It is so dense you can cut a paper-thin slice!!  We frosted it with homemade cream cheese frosting.  So good.  If forgot to take a picture, but I think I still have a small piece of lamb head in the fridge if you want to see that....  ;o)
Who likes egg-shaped pumpkin whoopie pies?
This was the first time I had to buy eggs in a LONG time....
(We only have one white-egg layer, and we didn't want to save
up her eggs for a month.)

One of Seddy's many nicknames.

Waiting is so hard!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


On Sunday in Astoria we went down to breakfast in shifts again, and then hustled to 9am Mass.  It was Palm Sunday so there was a special procession from the parish hall to the church--I took Mariposa and Gemma for that while Marcus and the other kids stayed in the church. Once inside the church, I didn't stay in the pew long as it was obvious that Sedric was in a very playful mood...and Gemma too for that matter.  We stayed in the cry room for most of the Mass.

 Next we drove up to the Astoria Column.  We did this last year, but the weather was so much better this year!!!!

Gemma wasn't so sure about being that
high up....
Mariposa didn't like it either!

Marcus: "I climbed that mountain!"
Seddy: "I know!  You told us like a million times already!"
 Next we drove around until we saw the steepest street we could find (we heard about it on our trolley ride).  If you look closely to the right of the picture, you can see that the sidewalk has stair-steps!!
 We packed up our stuff back at the hotel and hit the road around lunchtime.  Our plan was to eat at Subway in Seaside, but everyone except Bunny was sleeping so we just picked up our sandwiches to eat on the way home.  We stopped at Camp 18 (it was super-busy!) and just ate in a little covered shelter.  It was a nice, peaceful ending to a great weekend.  :o)