Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Breakfast and homeschooling

My kids are going to be mighty happy tomorrow morning. For the SECOND time this week, they will be waking up to Blueberry Chocolate Chip granola, and I will be waking up to a sea of happy faces. It seems to fill them up quite nicely when paired with a hot cup of tea -- and with my ravenous horde, that is truly saying something!

For anyone interested, here is the "Ouizified" version of the granola recipe which is found on the back of the old-fashioned Quaker Oats oatmeal canister:

1/2 c brown sugar (NOT firmly packed!)
1 8 oz container vanilla yogurt (more or less. I eyeball it)
1 egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 c flour (I use white, wheat, whatever)
a good handful or so of wheat germ if you have it
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 c oatmeal
a mighty good scoop of chocolate chips
1 c blueberries.

Heat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine sugars, yogurt, egg, oil, and milk. Mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, basking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add to yogurt mixture. Mix well. Add oats and fruit/chocolate chips and combine.

Spread dough onto bottom of a foiled 13x9 baking pan.

Bake for 28-32 min or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered (which is funny, because they are gone by 10 AM over here, so there's no "storing" involved)

On the homeschooling front:

Well, homeschooling is actually going quite well. We will have finished 5 weeks on Friday, and SO FAR (and I stress that!) we have managed to stay on track and learn well without dissolving into tears (either theirs or mine). I am quite happy to report that the MODG syllabus for 4th grade is much more helpful for me this year. I don't follow all her suggestions, but it is nice not to have to re-invent the wheel in some areas, at least!

I am also still quite happy with CHC's Behold and See science for my 8 yr old and 6 yr old daughters. If you haven't seen it, it is a BEAUTIFUL book with plenty of fun activities for the kids, nicely presented material, and catechism references thrown in as well. It's great for a nice overview of "beginning science" for 2nd and 3rd graders, in my opinion.

And speaking of which, one of our activities for this past week was growing a "lentil forest." They weren't kidding -- they grow FAST! This picture shows what it looks like after 9 days, but we could see "something happening" simply hours after we first set it up... and by the next morning, we could already see little buds popping out of the shells.

Another nice surprise for this year has been this little book: Drawing Textbook. It's an awfully small book, and when I first got it from Emmanuel Books I was disappointed -- it looked so blah and uninspiring.

I was wrong.

My kids have LOVED to learn the techniques presented, and their skills in drawing (which were already pretty good, in my opinion) have jumped ahead now that they are beginning to learn/understand the basics of perspective, shading, etc. We have our art class every Friday, and so far, without fail, they have taken our little lessons and run with them. After working on the examples shown in the book, they take their sketch notebooks around with them and try out the techniques by drawing other objects they see around the house. It's been great fun and a HUGE blessing for Reilly, who as you may remember, has a passion for drawing. I felt guilty that I had shortchanged her in years past by not having an official weekly art lesson, and now that all seems to be forgiven!

Intermediate Language Lessons has also been a surprise success this year. I was rather "iffy" on Primary Language Lessons last year, because I thought they were being a little TOO "kind and gentle" in their approach to grammar, and I really wasn't sure that they were getting anything out of it. I really researched a lot of different Language Arts options out there, and decided to give ILL a try.

I'm so glad I did.

Sean is REALLY enjoying it this year, and now that I am able to R-E-L-A-X and have a bit more fun with homeschooling, we are all enjoying the conversations these two books inspire. The MODG syllabus offers fun alternative ways to use this book, and this is one instance where I am willing to "follow the directions."

Writing Road to Reading continues to be the best spelling program around for my kids, hands down. At first, I thought the whole marking system was just plain goofy, but I put faith in all those more seasoned homeschooling moms out there who touted the effectiveness of this program.

Wow. All I can say is wow.

I only have 3 data points to refer to so far (Sean, Reilly, and Kathryn), but all three of them have learned to spell quite well. Sean is spelling at a 7.9 grade level, Reilly at 4.7, and Kathryn at 3.3.

What I like most about this program is learning the phonograms. For example, there are 3 sounds of A: /a/, /A/, and /ah/. There are 6 sounds that OUGH make (don't make me write them all, please!). By learning these phonograms, much of the mystery is taken out of reading and spelling. Rather than learning groups of words that follow some rule that is never specified, this program teaches WHY things are spelled/pronounced a certain way. This has been a HUGE blessing for my kids (and me as well!), and so far we're seeing great results!

Well, that's the breakfast and homeschooling report for this evening!


Meredith said...

Oh my, does that look yummy, thanks for the great recipe!! So glad school is cooking along nicely for you all!! Blessings!

Milehimama said...

What did you use for science in 1 and 2 grades? Just curious, I'm in the market!

Mama Says

Ouiz said...

For 1st and 2nd grades I stuck with basic "outdoor" kind of things, like




and tons of Audobon guides.

In the fall and winter, we combined reading D'AULAIRES GREEK MYTHS with some fun astronomy books, like the glow in the dark constellation book and early readers on stars and such.

I was NOT very good about getting them out for some sort of "formal" science lesson very often. It wound up being like once a week or once every two weeks, actually.

So I bought BEHOLD AND SEE last year and used it for my (then) 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, and it gave us more of a format to follow, which is what I needed.

Beth said...

Wow, this post ALMOST makes me want to homeschool.
Almost. :)

Ouiz said...

Beth, you've got a great thing going with your parochial school! I'd jump at the chance if I could...

...but if you ever find that it doesn't work for you and your family, I bet you'd be a great homeschooler!

Amy Caroline said...

First of all that granola sounds so good! I can't wait to try it!

Second, I am so glad I popped over here because I am trying MODG for the first time this year and it sounds like it is really working for you! I have alos been wondering if I should get ILL and I think I will now! Also, I was overwhelemed when I looked at The Writing Road to Reading, but it looked so good and solid. It is nice to hear that it is working well for someone!
God bless!

SuzanneG said...

Loved the glimpse into your homeschooling tools and curriculum!