Thursday, April 24, 2008

Busy , busy , busy

Well I can definitley say we've had quite a busy week . Finishing up enough work to get our test 80 out to the cyberschool . But trying to find some time for regular stuff like field trips and writing with our Writing Tales program .
The girls still love this program as much as when we first started and its so great to see them beginning to enjoy writing . It should be that way . There isn't anything really flashy about the program . Just that its enjoyable and has some fun learning games that go along with it . You add games to anything and my girls are jumping in on the fun . Little do they know they are actually learning ! LOL.
We've been enjoying the beautiful weather outside because its not going to be so beatiful next week .

Monday we went on a field trip to The Hoggie Hut . We've had their pizza . Not a big fan of it, but we bought their subs and they are excellent . We went along with Hannah's preschool class and the kids had alot of fun . Maggie liked watching. I fed her before we went because she wasn't able to have anything they serve there due to her allergies . I think she didn't care and she was more intrigued with everything anyways .

I made two slide shows . One of what we have done this week with Writing Tales , and the other of our field trip to Hoggie Hut . I hope everyone enjoys .

Monday, April 14, 2008

Day 3 of Writing Tales

We are still very much enjoying this program and its the first thing the girls want to do in the morning . Which makes me so happy that they are beginning to love to write . Granted we are taking it a bit slower for Katie because narration at this point is a tough thing for her to do . Its definitley something I have to continue to do with her on the side to help build up her confidence . I really think in the long run thought this will help her with her writing skills .
Marilyn is able to work through this a bit faster then Katie but that's alright . Marilyn is older then Katie so she is going to work through it a bit faster . If we get done with it too soon I may follow up with Classical Writing Aesop with her just to spread the program out a bit since there are only two levels of Writing Tales out . I hope that in time we'll have more levels so that I don't have to switch programs because it took me this long to finally find something that works well for the girls .

Marilyn wrote her first rough draft of " The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse" today . I'm so proud of her since this is the most I have ever seen her write on her own , ever !

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
by Marilyn

Once upon a time a town mouse went to visit his cousin in the country . His cousin welcomed him with beans and bacon , and cheese and bread . But his cousin said " I cannot understand cousin how you eat like this ." So the town mouse took his cusin to where the town mouse lives . There they ate jellies and cakes . Then they heard barking . The country mouse said " I don't like barking at my dinner. " Then the door flew open and they saw the dogs . " Good-bye cousin, " said the country mouse ." What ! going so soon ? " , said the town mouse . " Yes, " said the country mouse . Better beans and bacon in peace then cakes and ale in fear .

Enjoy the slide show .

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Writing Tales Day 2

Its amazing what happens when you find a program that works for your children . They love the program and they learn to love writing , and that is exactly what I have wanted all along . Finding the right program was the trick.
Well today , Katie , finished her " The Crow and the Pitcher " rough draft and created the " The Mouse and the Pitcher ." It did take a bit more prompting for Katie . But Katie is younger and she learns ALOT differently them Marilyn does . But I got it out of her by using my own Socratic method . That is where you ask questions to the person so they can come up with their own ideas . It works for Katie . She did have a bit of a tough time with narration with " The Crow and the Pitcher " . But it started to click by the time we got to " Town Mouse , Country Mouse . " This is what we worked on today . The girls enjoyed the story and we set off to learn about different types of sentences . They learned there are 4 different types : Statement , Command , Question and Exclamation .
We played a game which we dubbed " What is that sentence ?" . I put together a slide show of today's activities to show everyone what we did . The girls had alot of fun with the game and I had to make up more sentences so they could keep playing .
Hope you all enjoy the slide show .

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Writing Tales Day 1

Since we are using a new program I am very excited to be able to document our time using it . I hope that this will help other families decide when it comes to using this curriculum .

Day 1:

Day one was today . A Saturday . We decided we would start and get our feet wet and see how things would go .

Katie automatically took a liking to the program knowing that she was going to get to write her 'own' stories . So she was very willing to give it a try

Marilyn on the other hand was pretty reluctant at first . She pretty much refused to give it a try and I believe that was because she viewed this as the same frustrating work that we have been doing with Calvert's writing . She was digging her heals telling me that she wasn't going to like it and that she refused to do any of it . Even though I told her it would help her in writing her own stories . So Katie and I sat and read the first story " The Crow and the Pitcher " . Marilyn was within ear shot so I knew she could hear us . After a bit of more coaxing , meaning lots of " Please do this for mommy " , with funny faces . She gave in to giving Writing Tales a try . And guess what everyone ? She LOVES it ! We did quite a few lessons today . Both girls just wanted to keep going and going with it . So I took some pictures of what we did today .

Marilyn worked her way up to writing her first rough draft and the next workbook page with writing her misspelled words correctly today . Even when we stopped after doing a few pages in the workbook . The girls came to me later on in the afternoon and wanted to do more ! So I happily let them .

I am so thrilled that I finally found something that works . It really works and my girls are doing it willingly . No begging , or tears , or horrible frustration . I was so happy that with this first rough draft that Marilyn actually put punctuation at the end of her sentences ! There was a beginning , and an end to each of them. She had only forgot one period but she caught it !

Katie will start on her rough draft tomorrow so we will see how it goes tomorrow .

I am also happy to say that I had gotten in touch with the writer of Writing Tales and she was willing to pop in and out of the yahoo group that I've started . So that will be a wonderful plus added in for those using this curriculum as well . She also had a great idea of having the familes share their children's stories with the group and I think this will be so wonderful to read so many other 'versions' of the same stories we're writing about ! If anyone is intersted in learning more about Writing Tales our group is just starting up but feel free to join at

Friday, April 11, 2008

Writing Tales

Hello all . Its been a busy week for us . Yesterday was the girls' swim banquet. After 30 years their coach retired this year . He will be missed but its also a start to a brand new swim era for us as well with a new coach that is bright and energetic that also has good goals for our swim team .
It was a long banquet starting at 5:45 and ending at almost 9 o'clock .
Marilyn , Katie and Hannah looked really nice in their matching dresses and Maggie wore a cute pink outfit . We had a great meal with lots of choices of different Italian dishes , stuffed manicoti , spaghetti and meatballs , chicken alfreado , salad , garlic bread, fruit and cake for desert .
They recieved a nice Corry YMCA swim team book bag and Marilyn recieved her 8th place ribbon from the league championships . We were very proud of them .

Well as far as schooling goes we've been plugging away with our Calvert lessons . I also added in a new writing program called Writing Tales . Its a pretty new program but I'm hoping it will help with Marilyn and Katie's writing abilities . Unfortunatley Calvert doesn't teach writing very well at all and so the end result has been some not so great writing skills . Not handwriting , but the actual writing . I am very hopeful that this program is going to take me step by step and it will help them to improve . It is very important to me that they become effective writers .

I've also started a new support group on Yahoo for those who are wanting to learn more about the writing program and I've been able to team up a bit with the writer of the program too . We are hoping it will be a great place to come to for support , and advice and for the children to share their writing pieces as well .
The link to this is :