Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good Man/Bad Man - Behavior Reward System

I had a friend ask on Facebook what we did with the jars on the younglings' desks. I figured it might be easier to explain it in a blog post. So here we are...
Our system has adjusted over the past year but here's how I'm currently using the behavior jars.
Each youngling has 2 jars on their school desk.
One says "I chose to do the right thing!" with the verse "The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right." Proverbs 21:3
The other jar says, "I need to work on my attitude." with the verse "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." Philippians 2:3

The general idea is that they can, based on their behavior, earn a contribution for one jar or the other. We intentionally created two jars. If they chose to do the right thing or have the right attitude, then they earned the reward. They shouldn't have to take out the 'good' that they earned if they in a future situation didn't choose to do the right thing. A small little difference but we wanted to be intentional.

To not overwhelm them, we have about 4 or 5 things that we work on at a time until they become solid good habits. We have each one's list on the whiteboard in the school room.
So here's how it generally works...
Each day after our school day is done, I ask each youngling if they've done their list. They need to complete the items with good attitudes to earn a counter for the good jar. If they didn't do things on their list, they have to put a counter in the 'bad' jar.
These are the counters we use for the jars. I found a pack of die cut 'man' shapes at a local education store that we use as the counters.
They hang out in a bucket in our supply basket on top of the school work sorter.
Each day they get the 'men' they earned and add them to their jars. At the end of the week, if they choose, they can trade in 'men' for prizes.
I stock a small basket with different goodies... DVDs, art kits, crazy erasers, fun school supplies, games, small toys, rubber band loom bands... little things I find on clearance or on sale.
I price the items with the number of men they can redeem for the prize. (I usually price things according to how much I paid for them but I try to have a range of costs... from 10 'men' items up to '100' men items. They have both enjoyed deciding what they want to save up for and which prizes they want to work towards earning. Having higher priced items also means that I don't have to fill the basket with cheap dollar store junk that will end up getting thrown out.)
The beauty of this system has been that it eliminate me having to nag them to do things that they should be doing each day. It has helped teach them some self-control over their attitudes. How often as adults do we have to do something we don't want to... without complaining? :)
It's also a pretty flexible system. As they get into good daily habits with different things, we can change out the required things on their list based on what they need to be working on.
It's working for us... sometimes finding a working system is the hardest part. :)

Do you have a behavior reward system at your house?

Monday, January 20, 2014

School Summary - Vikings and Feudalism

Viking Runestones (and some extra treats)
I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
 A Summary of January 6-17
We're getting back into the routine of school. It's been nice to feel like we're accomplishing things, especially before our co-op starts meeting again.
Here's what we did for the past two weeks:

Things that were scheduled:
Language Arts (Grammar, Spelling, Penmanship, Reading, and Writing)
Soprano finished her last reading book and began Jim Thorpe: Olympic Champion. Somewhat appropriate with the Sochi Olympics coming up.

Typing, Spanish, Civics, Geography, and PA History for both.
Tenor learned 2 more Greek letters. Soprano had Home Ec which included her last cooking lesson (she was thrilled) and her first cleaning lesson. I think I'm going to like the cleaning section of her Home Ec book.
My Father's World Rome to the Reformation-
We're back on our normal schedule. Full weeks of the 3 'Rs' and full weeks of MFW. We learned about Vikings and their explorations and the Battle of Hastings and Feudalism.

Bible: We continued reading through Luke and studying the life of Jesus. Our Scripture memory passage has been 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. We've been learning about a verse a week and adding them on to what we've already memorized. We read about Alfred the Great and Anselm in Trial and Triumph.

Science: We're still working through the AIG Human Body book. We learned about the immune system, genetics, Gregor Mendel. I had found a neat DNA kit at Hobby Lobby on clearance, so the younglings put together a DNA model with it.
I, of course, forgot to take a picture of the completed model.
We also read "The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made" as scheduled in the RTR manual. I was fortunate that Bass had taken Tenor away during our Christmas break for his Passport to Purity weekend. They had a great time staying overnight in a local hotel, going glo mini golfing, hitting the Lego store, and working through the PtP CDs and journal. It made things less 'new' and uncomfortable when I read through the book with him.
One of the things recommended in Passport to Purity is to present your child with a gift at the end of the weekend. Something that will symbolize the weekend for them... a lot of times, I guess the gift of choice is a purity ring or purity necklace. We knew that Tenor wouldn't quite be ready for that or really wear one at this point so we had to come up with another idea. 
Knowing that our history studies would soon get to knights and castles and the code of chivalry, I came up with the idea of getting him a sword. We found a long King Arthur-type dagger online. It's realistic enough to be a 'grown-up' gift and something that symbolizes manhood being powerful, having responsibility and skill and yet on the hand could cause damage or destroy.
I also made a certificate modeled after this one that Bass and Tenor both signed. We'll frame it and hang it in his room as a reminder of how God defines manhood.

History: We have definitely gotten into Vikings. I know there's lots of great extras Vikings out there but we just didn't have time to add anything. We did make Viking Runestones, Lefse (not a success), play Nine Men's Morris (the younglings enjoyed it), and had a Medieval Inn meal.
Runestone 'carving'
Runestone carving
Viking Lefse
Nine Men's Morris
Medieval Inn meal by candlelight with ham pot pie served on bread with "wine" (grape juice) to drink
This year, I'm also incorporating Story of the World Volume 1 as well as Mystery of History Volume 1 and 2. 
For week 18, we didn't have any substitutions.
For week 19, I eliminated Streams of Civilization on Day 1 and added MOH 2 p214-216.
Other MFW: 
Music: We listened to a few more Mozart pieces and kept up with listening at lunch most days.

Art: They drew a portion of the Bayeaux Tapestry, designed fanciful letters, and finished a lesson about illuminating a manuscript.
The Vikings (song parody)
William the Conqueror (song parody)
Explorers of the World: Vikings by Schlessinger Media
Human Body by Rock N Learn

Favorite Books: 
Adventures with the Vikings by Linda Bailey
Adventures in the Middle Ages by Linda Bailey
Diary of a Castle Adventure by Nicholas Harris
Mystery History of a Viking Longboat by Fred Finney

Thursday, January 16, 2014

School Summary - Early Middle Ages

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
A Summary of December 9 - January 3
After our Thanksgiving break, we did get another three weeks of school done. We enjoyed a full week off for Christmas because Bass also had off from work. Then right back to it after New Year's Day. It definitely took some effort to stay focused but we pushed through.

Here's what we did over those weeks:

Things that were scheduled:
Soprano is up to Investigation 6 in Saxon and Life of Fred Apples Chapter 11.
Tenor is on lesson 87 in his Saxon.
Language Arts (Grammar, Spelling, Penmanship, Reading, and Writing)
Tenor got a break with writing during our split week (before Cmas and after New's Year) because we only did the basics, not MFW.

Typing, Spanish, Geography, and PA History for both.
Somehow 'typing' wasn't getting put on Soprano's schedule. I think I had deleted it one week in her logs and then forgot to put it back in. I caught it so she now has typing in her schedule again.
Tenor learned 3 more Greek letters. Soprano had Home Ec where she was supposed to bake and cook a beef pie for dinner. Well, I didn't have bisquick or all of the right ingredients so we made a version with cornbread as the topping. Soprano did a great job putting it together but it was really one of the most disgusting meals I have eaten. It's a good thing Tenor is at the point of life where he is sucking down food like a Hoover. I think he ate most of the left-overs.

My Father's World Rome to the Reformation-
With Christmas break, we only did 2 weeks of MFW even though we completed 3 weeks of the basics. We continued talking about the Arab world, Charlemagne, and then the early Anglo-Saxons.

Bible: We spent time praying specifically for Muslims around the world like we did during our last week of MFW. We continued reading through Luke and studying the life of Jesus. We also got out Trial and Triumph again reading abut Charlemagne, Patrick, and Pope Gregory I. The younglings love this book which is great because it's a lot of words and few pictures.
It's been interesting to read about the start of the Catholic Church and how different it was at its origin compared to what it is today.

Science: For weeks 17 and 18, we did several lessons and took a quiz from the AIG Human Body book. We learned about the lungs, the skin, and fingerprints. Bass did the assigned lung experiments with the younglings. They were similar to what we had done last year in CTG so when they failed this time, it wasn't a big disappointment. We examined our skin under a magnifying glass, using lotion on a portion to compare to an unmoisturized section. We also had a lot of fun collecting our fingerprints and making 'evidence' cards. The cards were used to help the younglings identify the perpetrator of various crimes. (Ex. Someone ate all the cookies out of the cookie jar and we found this fingerprint.) Poor Soprano's print was the most oft pulled from the stack as the culprit.
My fingerprints 'on file'
One of the fingerprints found at the scene of the crime
We did a little more 'forensic' work. We made up some fake blood and dropped it from various heights, noting how big the splatters were. It felt very CSI.
History: We touched on the expansion of Islam just a little bit before we moved on to the Franks (modern day France) with their leader, Clovis then their King, Charlemagne. Due to Charlemagne's influence, Christianity was introduced to England. We read about the British Isles in the Early Middle Ages: how the Celtic tribes lived, the Saxon-Angle invasion, and then Augustine's ministry.
Tenor's "Book of Kells" illustration
This year, I'm also incorporating Story of the World Volume 1 as well as Mystery of History Volume 1 and 2. 
For week 16, I used Mystery of History 2 p118-121 on Day 2 instead of Streams of Civ..
For week 17, I eliminated Streams of Civilization on Day 1 and added MOH 2 p207-210.
Other MFW: 
Music: We listened to a few more Mozart pieces and kept up with listening at lunch most days. They also colored a page about the clarinet.
Tenor added a mustache on this and told me, "They say he looks just like his dad." lol
Art: We did a few lessons on painting with different tones and with harmony and started talking about illuminated manuscripts.
Beowulf (song parody)
Charlemagne (song parody)

no extra videos this week
Favorite Books: 
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola
Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert
Illuminations by Jonathan Hunt
Be a Wolf! by Brad Stickland
The Marvelous Blue Mouse by Christopher Manson

Monday, January 6, 2014

Make a Card Monday - Bird Cage

At a fun girls' night out get together, a friend gave each of us some SWAG. SWAG being 'stuff we all get'. :) The SWAG in this instance was a cute 6x6 paper pad, Breeze, by My Mind's Eye. I believe that gift has started a new addiction to 6x6 paper for card making. I had so much fun using up every scrap of that paper pad and was able to make all of my man birthday cards for next year and my woman birthday cards for this year and next year! It stretched so far and was a lot of fun to work with. Thanks, Julie!
So here's what I came up with for my woman birthday cards. There are some slight variations on the ribbon to go with the different paper patterns. I used the Palette Noir to lightly edge the bread tab punch for dimension and added Stickles to the little birdie.  

cardstock: Recollections cardstock base and black mat, DCWV textured cardstock (mustard layer), Georgia Pacific (white)
patterned paper: My Mind's Eye "Breeze" 6x6 paper pad

embellishments: ribbon and fibers (unknown), Stickles (yellow)
color: Palette Noir ink
tools: Stampin Up! bread tab punch
stamps: TAC Fleur Birdies, Stampin Up! Short and Sweet (sentiment)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I was published!

Well, this is definitely a cool way to start the new year. I was published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! It's a bimonthly digital magazine for home educators (homeschoolers). They had an open call for articles on various topics about a year ago and I submitted two ideas. One of the editors contacted me to request an article based on one of my pitches. We went back and forth with the agreement contract, deadlines, etc and then I had a bunch of friends proof my potential article. I submitted it last summer and kind of forgot about it.
One of the last emails that the editor sent me said that the probable publication date would be January 2014. But of course, they had final say as to whether or not they would choose to actually publish my article. Which they did! (cue squealing)

The online magazine is completely free to read. Check out my article here:

(Or you can download the free app and read it on your mobile device:

If this is the way the new year begins, I have high hopes for how the rest of it will go.

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