Friday, August 31, 2012

The Menu

Just a few more minutes!

For dinner:

caesar salad
Mexican rice
refried (actually, crockpotted) beans
mashed potatoes (because DD cannot survive a shabbos w/o potatoes)
lime cilantro coleslaw

And for lunch:

exactly the same thing, but no chicken, and...

caldo de res (beef shank/butternut squash stew)
deli turkey meat


Sequential Spelling

We all love Sequential Spelling! I grudgingly did Spelling Workout all through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade with DD9. It just wasn't very inspiring and felt like a lot of busywork. The advantage was that I could just hand her the book and have her do most of the work independently. Spelling Workout requires more parent time, but the approach is so elegantly simple that I love doing it.

Each day in Sequential Spelling is simply a spelling "test." Over a couple of weeks the student builds up to 25 words per day on the "test." You just read the words (with a sentence for context), the student writes them down, you reveal the proper spelling for the word (explaining any phonics rules if needed), and if they wrote it down incorrectly, they immediately rewrite the word correctly. That's it! The first set of words is based on the phoneme "in." From there it goes to pin, tin, etc. Then sin, pin, spin, etc. By the end of week 1, the student can easily spell the word "beginning" because of the logical progression of the words. And the spellings really stick with them!

At first I had DD6, DS7, and DD9 all doing the program. (They recommend that no matter how far along you are in spelling it's best to start with book one.) DD6 was doing all right, but it took her a lot longer to write the words down. It works fine to have the other two kids together. At first I thought that I would just do the spelling lists separately with DD6, but in the end I decided to just start her with it in 2nd grade. She's doing Explode the Code and phonics lessons at the same time, so I think she doesn't really need to do spelling right now. I think spelling is really optional for first grade anyway. So, this is one of the big surprises for our learning year. I'm so happy we're all enjoying it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

NOT the Menu

It's been a long time since I blogged anything but menus, and it's been a long time since I had any time! The summer flew by. Now we're settling into our new learning schedule, and despite not being sure we could fit it all in (3 kids with 16 subjects, and 1 kid with 7) we're managing pretty well. Not many loose moments for me during the day (though there are for them).

The BEST change I made so far this year was to put ALL of their work into a single notebook for each kid. No fumbling for this book or that book, no fumbling for pencils. I took over 5 of the 6 drawers in the dining room sideboard and filled it with all of our supplies (pencils, paper, etc.). It's been nice having that right next to the table. It takes about an hour to get all the worksheets into their books each week, each into its own subject area. I also wrote a few household chores into the schedule for each of them so it's part of their normal daytime routine instead of us trying to get it all done at the end of the day.

We're finishing week number two, and it's all running pretty smoothly. Hoping everything continues to settle in and we can add in all the history and science I want to do. We've done about half of what I hope to get done, but it shouldn't be a problem fitting in the other half.

So much more to say about our learning, but the clock is ticking and I have a couple more things I'd like to get to before it's time for bed.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Menu

Two shabbosim in Atlanta, with a wonderful camping trip to Unicoi State Park sandwiched in between made for a wonderful couple of weeks. Getting up at the crack of dawn Sunday meant that we were home before noon and by the end of the day everything was unpacked and ALL the laundry was done (!). Then I scrambled mightily to be (mostly) ready to start our new learning schedule. And start it, we did. Overall, our first week has gone well and I'll write more later about how I've made our time even more efficient so our learning shouldn't take more time than last year despite an increased workload. It sure has been a few late nights this week to prepare everything. Many late nights still to come, I'm sure. But I love that part. That's when I get to do my learning about what they're learning. Really wonderful to have to do that. And I realized that my DH spends his whole work day learning about various college-level subjects so he can write a whole course together with the professor, and I spend all of my time learning about our subjects so I can be an effective teacher. So, essentially, all six of us spend our entire days LEARNING! Good stuff.

Now, the menu, and hopefully some blogs about other things to come too. :)

For dinner:

smoked brisket (from our stovetop smoker)
mashed potatoes
spinach/tomato/onion salad
roasted mushrooms
roasted cabbage
roasted apples
vodka lemonade (why not?)

And for lunch:

peach soup
smoked fish (stovetop again!)
arugula/pecan/cranberry/onion salad
herring beet salad (w/Matjes (non-pickled) herring)
creamy pesto pasta (just because we CAN make it creamy!)
homemade strawberry ice cream


Good shabbos, all!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Menu

Another week! Highlights - our 10th anniversary last shabbos (best 10 years ever!), a great shabbos and tisha b'av (major fast day) last week with a family from Atlanta, a great 28 hours w/several kids from another family Thursday/Friday, lots of swimming pool time in the back yard, going through stacks of learning materials to make sure I had everything I need for the coming year, wrestling with the not-so-on-the-ball print shop employees at OfficeMax, doing what I can to quell the usual August feeling that we won't fit everything in this year (but somehow we always get done what we need to get done!), planning next week's trip to Atlanta for shabbos, Unicoi State Park for camping, then back to Atlanta for shabbos, making a campfire songbook, and wrestling late into the night to figure out how to schedule everyone's activities so that I'm available to the ones that need me. OY! Quite a bit of work to sort it out. I want to be able to hit the ground running when we return from our camping trip. Snore.... :)


For dinner (dairy!):

smoked salmon (trying out our new stovetop smoker; anniversary present from ima)
eggplant parmesan
roasted potatoes
lemon butter orzo
caesar salad
carrot ginger puree
ice cream (YAY)

For lunch:
caesar salad
stuffed cabbage
brown rice
carrot ginger puree
butternut squash kugel
raw veggies w/cilantro/olive/anchovy sauce OR aioli OR curried mayo
apple strudel (I think... haven't made it yet!)