Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Snapshot Summary, September 6-9, Week 1

First Day of School
School Cones Tradition
And with their new packs of 24 Crayola colors, the boys played Word Roll game.
I had Quentin fill out the September line of his English notebook. He will be writing his name once a month (we will be adding his last name), all year long. It will be fun to see how much better he gets at writing his name.
Math assessment and review for our first week.
I had Quentin count items...glass counters, marbles, blocks. Then he skip counted by 2's, by 5's and by 10's. I had him write them down for his math folder.
Then we used the collections again for him to model subtraction facts.
For James we reviewed place value with large numbers. We would write out large numbers and then he would not only read them but also tell me the value of each numeral in the number. We reviewed where the commas go. We played a game in which he would name ten greater than any number I gave him. Then we did 10 less, 100 greater, 100 less than any given number.
I gave him a set of three digits, and he was to arrange them to form six 3-digit numbers. Then he had to order them from largest to smallest.
"I won with nine more."
Instead of using flashcards to practice our addition facts, we played War with dominoes. James wanted to play too, so I had him tell by how much the winner won.
Sam took a test on the Relational Symbols and the Number Line in Videotext Interactive and got an 'A'.
We began our year with reviewing the parts of speech, beginning with nouns. Quentin had to read a nursery rhyme and pick out the nouns.
We looked at the differences between proper and common nouns.
Discussed and found examples of singular and plural nouns.
We talked about the differences between realistic and fantastic in Nursery Rhymes.
We looked for rhymes.
I reviewed compound words with James. I wrote some words on Post-It notes and the had him form new compound words by covering parts of the other words.
We read some poetry together.
For Quentin's spelling, we reviewed the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern and short a vowel.
 James reviewed words with short a and long a sounds.
They both worked on copywork which they will include in their history notebooks when they are done.
Alex is still working with the Association Method and Steven is working with him on enunciation with reading in the evenings before bed.

We completed a page for our Postcard Geography Album on Minnesota. We listened to the calls of a common Loon and we learned about Lutefisk.
Sam is continuing his geography study with Paddle-to-the-Sea. He studied the characteristics of a marsh and made a pastel sketch of one from the tutorial at Hodgepodge...

which led to us all making one.
Quentin and James studied the continents, looking at a globe together.  We compared a globe to a map of the world. I had them read each continent name and trace the outline of the continent with his finger. We scrambled the letters in each continent's name and had them unscramble them, and then find the appropriate continent on the world map. We looked at the physical features such as rivers, oceans, mountains, deserts on the globe and on the map. We looked at symbols on map keys, such as colors for physical features.

Quentin and James looked at oceans on the world map and globe. We noted that the oceans are connected. We identified the largest ocean. We talked about how each ocean feed into smaller bodies of water such as seas, gulfs and bays. We looked at pictures of the floor of the ocean to see that it is not all flat. We talked about how ocean water contains many minerals, including salt, which comes from rocks. We talked about how the water near the equator is saltier in general because the sun evaporates away the fresh water. We reviewed some of the salt experiments we did last year (here and here) and we completed another one this year.

We dissolved a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. We also had a second cup of fresh water.

I asked them to predict what would happen to the carrot once dropped into the fresh water; whether it would sink or float.  Then we dropped a small piece of carrot into the cup. 

We repeated the same thing with the salt-water cup, and saw that the carrot would float about an inch or so from the bottom in the salt water and sink to rest on the bottom of the cup in the fresh water, which was what they predicted.

We started the first chapter of Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures and learned about nekton, or swimming creatures, benthos, or creature that crawl through the depths of the sea and sessile creatures which sits in one place and stays there.
Sam and Alex began Exploring Creation with Physical Science, focusing mainly on metric measurement as they have already studied atoms and molecules. We had already completed the first experiment, Atoms and Molecules, which highlights the difference between molecules and atoms, last year with The Composition of Water.
Foreign Language
Sam is continuing his study of Latin with Visual Latin, which we both enjoy very much. He is now on Lesson 10: Present tense verbs.


  1. What a great week of learning :) So many fun things! I've been wanting to do some of those pastel tutorials, but we haven't gotten to them yet.

  2. Oh, there is the cutest book about compound words, "Have You ever Seen a Bullfrog," I think is it's name.

  3. I love how you do things at your house! What fun first day of school traditions. And I love the finding the nouns in the nursery rhyme idea. I have your dominoes war tagged for us to do too! May I say...what a beautiful job you all did with the marsh pastel. Wonderful!! And I am excited to hear you are enjoying Visual Latin too - we just finished the free downloads and are about to head into the lessons. Hooray!

  4. Looks like a great week! I love the way you reviewed compound words. I will have to remember that idea.

  5. I hadn't thought to play War with dominoes; great idea! Love the pastel of the marsh, too!

  6. Looks like a very enjoyable first week!

  7. The salt experiment is really cool:) We have just done it too, and managed to get the carrot to float very near the top by adding extra salt. Must be a good time for salt experiments!

  8. Anonymous11.9.11

    OOh I have really missed reading your blog! I am glad that things have slowed down here so I can catch up with what you and the kids have been doing. Everything you posted about here is a real treat. Thank you for sharing.
    Discovering Montessori

  9. I totally missed your salt experiment first time through. We did that with an egg once and had to add SOOOO much salt.

  10. I LOVE Paddle-to-the-Sea. We all listened to it during our road trip through New York State last year, and I discovered that I need to know a lot more geography than I do--I had no idea WHERE that silly boat was half the time!

  11. Looks like it was a great week! Love the pastel pictures.


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