Friday, May 30, 2014

The 2014 Sacramento County Fair

It is done.

After spending 6 days of getting up at 6am, cleaning out stalls, getting ready for shows, and staying late, some nights until 10pm, we are done.

And then I needed a few days to do laundry, sleep in, and clean all those things that didn't get cleaned for the last week and a half.

So in case you were interested, here is a recap of our fair.

We started on Tuesday with our decorating.

We always have Red, White, and Blue as our fair theme and this year we were smart and saved most of our decor from last year.

The next day was weigh in and we found out that:

Katniss (Mr. Lego's) was 93 pounds
Stewart (Bookworm's) was 83 pounds
Oscar (Dasher's) was 95 pounds.

This was great news!

We spent the afternoon practicing and getting our goats used to walking on AstroTurf, the stuff that was now in our show ring.

Thursday the fair opened and we had both the market and showmanship competitions.

Here we were getting the goats ready.....

Bookworm, walking her goat. Stewart behaved much better that her goat from last year.

Driving the goat to show off the meat....

Then, each exhibitor drove their goat in the middle while the judge talked about their meat. We didn't do that great in market, but at least we were deemed market ready and made weight.

Mr. Lego and Dasher were in the next market class and they did about the same.

That afternoon was showmanship.

Dasher was in the novice junior class, since she had never shown goat before.

She did super well and ended up winning the novice class.

This moved her up, and she competed with the juniors.

This was getting exciting, and as we watched the judge start separating the exhibitors I didn't know if she could do it. But she did, and won junior goat showmanship!

Next it was the seniors.

The competition was tight....

And the final results? Mr. Lego got 3rd place and Bookworm won senior showmanship.

Which meant I had two girls in both master showmanship classes. Crazy.

The next couple of days they worked hard with other species....

There were a few people that were super helpful and gave us lots of tips....

Here you can see Bookworm helping the girl who had won steer, learn how to show goat. This is one thing about 4H, usually the kids in master help one another.


We also had fun with friends one night, doing rides.

Finally master showmanship.



Dairy cattle...


Dairy goat....



 And they were both competing at the same time so My Sweetie and I were running between the two, videoing and taking photos.

And the results? Bookworm got 7th and Dasher got 6th! They did so well, just getting into masters, and they are both determined to improve and get into masters again.

Finally, we had auction day.

This year we did something new and the kids aggressively went looking for buyers to ask them to look at their animals.

This was a good stretch for them, talking to strangers, selling themselves and their animals.

And then in the auction ring....

They all did great and made enough to do the goat project again next year!

The very last day of fair, Nusty had the opportunity to show diary goats.

 She showed a Lamancha and did a great job.

The county fair this year was such a great experience and worth all of the tired mornings, smelly clothes, hard work, and all the practicing they did.

 Great job, guys!

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Week In Images or What We Are Up To

I have been quite busy lately.

I even forgot my Monday Musings this week.

Here is why:

 We have been working with our goats, getting display boards ready, ordering things, making lists, and making sure all is in order for our county fair.

We have also been working with our state fair goats, which Mr. Lego and Bookworm now own.

 {Meet Riley and Ender}

And this is why I'll not be blogging for at least another week:

{Photos from the 2013 county fair}

Monday, May 12, 2014

Logic of English ~ Foundations C {Crew Review}

I am nearing the end of the exciting journey of literacy. My youngest can technically read, (words like that, push, cart, and wish,) but unless she only wants to read about Bob and his cat, we need to push on into higher levels of reading and phonics.

I do teach reading phonetically, and this is where the Logic of English Foundations levels have been so very helpful.

Logic of English Review

I was first introduced to Logic of English last year, when Dasher began using Logic of English Essentials. I was so impressed with the program that I began Nutsy on their early reading curriculum, Foundations. And when Logic of English came up for review, she was just ready to start working in Foundations, Level C.

Logic of English Review

What It Is:

Foundations, Level C is a complete program, meant for those students who have completed Levels A and B. Each of the levels has 40 lessons in it, so the entire Foundations course can be done in about a year. Each lesson teaches phonics, vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, handwriting, and reading. This makes me very happy when ONE curriculum provides all that!

This is phonetic based so in each lesson a different phonogram is introduced. All of the phonograms that were introduced in previous lessons are reviewed with games, verbal interaction, and worksheets. Some of the games are Phonogram Bingo, Long Vowel Game, Go Fish (saying the sounds), or Phonogram Slap. A few of the games are more sensory in nature, and many of them are done using the Basic Phonogram Flashcards. 

The vocabulary section in each lesson focuses on certain types of words. Some of the kinds of words covered in Level C  are compound words, words that end in -ing and -est, comparison words, and the prefix re-. Just because they are vocabulary words doesn't mean that the definitions are hard; what this section accomplishes in the lessons is to emphasize the meaning of words. For instance, in one lesson there is a list of words (swimming, sleeping, digging,) that are cut out and laid face down. The child will then read each one silently and then act out the word.

The spelling section of each lesson is very thorough. New spelling rules are introduced at a slow pace and are not overwhelming at all. The teacher manual has scripted portions which makes teaching the spelling rules very easy. All of the teaching uses the Student Whiteboard; either you the teacher are writing things on it for your child to read, or you are dictating words that your child writes. Each lesson has 5 spelling words for your child to spell. For each word there is also a sentence with the word to read, a pronunciation key, spelling hints, and the proper way to mark the word (blends underlined, vowel sounds marked, etc.)

In some lessons there is a comprehension section. These are a variety of reading activities....tear-out mini books from the workbook, worksheet pages, and interactive conversations (with scripted help from the teacher manual), all helping your student to see how words are used in our world. Some of the stories are about children around the world, animals, and cities.

Finally, there is a writing section. These activities are varied and include copywork, dictation, and keyword brainstorming. The lines to write on are appropriate sizes for pre-K to second grade level. And for the student workbook, you can conveniently choose between manuscript or cursive editions.

What You Get:

Both the Teacher Manual and the Student Workbook are well made books. The Teacher Manual is hardback and has descriptions for each and every lesson. In the beginning of the manual is a very helpful phonogram sound chart; it not only lists each of the sounds, but gives words that have the sound in it. This is a huge help to us adults who learned to read with the look-say method!

There is also a chart that tell you exactly what each lesson teaches, and another chart that lists exactly what supplies are needed (worksheets, flashcards, game cards, or things around the house) and optional supplies (letter tiles, and other books or videos to complement the reading stories).

After every 5 lessons is an Assessment. These review the phonograms, spelling words and rules, handwriting, and reading that were introduced in the lessons. The assessments are not to be thought of as tests, but rather are an evaluation of what the child has learned. After every assessment is a Practice Ideas page. On this page there are activities that are categorized by section (handwriting, reading, spelling, phonograms...). These help you to focus on problem areas as you see them come up in the Assessments. The recommended age range for Foundations, Level C is 4-7 years of age.

You can purchase Level C Teacher Manual for $38.00, and the Student Workbook for $18.00. To use the curriculum fully you will need to also have the reusable resources that are used throughout the Foundation series; these include the Student Whiteboard, Basic Phonogram Flashcards, Phonogram Game Cards, the Rhythm of Handwriting Tactile Cards, and the Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference Chart. You can see sample pages from all three Foundation levels on the website. By the end of this level, your child will know all 74 phonograms and be able to read words like laugh, could, planted, replace, and swimsuit.

How We Used This And What We Thought:

Like I said above, I started using this curriculum with Nutsy last year, beginning with Foundations, Level A. We had just a few lessons to finish in Level B when this came up for review. As we have progressed through the lessons I have come to the conclusion that it is just a good as the first two levels. I do Foundations with her four days a week, and we have been going at the pace of a lesson per day. We spend between 45 and an hour and a half doing this; knowing how many subjects I was covering at once justified how long we spent doing it. There was a few days where she had a hard time with some of the phonograms in her assessment and so we took a break for a couple of days while we did some of the practice ideas listed. The activities suggested were the fun ones, like Phonogram Basketball, and really gave her the extra practice she needed.

That is one of the things I loved about this program; the way that every type of learning is used. One minute they are copying sentences, and the next they are playing Phonogram Sprint, a game where the phonogram cards are scattered on the ground, and they get to hop to each one and sound it as fast as they can. This type of fun learning is always successful, and gives an outlet to the wiggles that young students can have.

Nutsy loved using the whiteboard to write out her spelling words.

Sometimes the creativeness would flow and she would draw a small picture of the word. She enjoyed the readers, which are included in the back of the workbook; these were not silly mini-books, but were informational, non-fiction ones about fireflies, dolphins, and rickshaws. I loved the many helpful Teacher Tips in the manual. Difficult pronunciations, common errors, and hints are listed in Teacher Tip boxes.

So in case you can't tell, both of us have loved this program. She really truly enjoys doing it, and I love that so many areas of study are covered in this curriculum. Easy to teach and easily adapted to all learning types, this complete curriculum is one you won't want to pass on.

I am still doing Logic of English Essentials with Dasher and really liking it; other members of The Crew reviewed Essentials and Levels A and B of Foundations. See what they thought by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That our sweet bird, Sunny Honey, is now in bird heaven. We came back last night from being out all day, to find him lying on the floor of his cage. He was a very sweet bird, who loved talking to us and sitting on our shoulder. The kids gave him a proper funeral, including a 21 gun salute, and buried him amongst the rose bushes.

What I'm reading: I am reading a borrowed book from my dear friend who teaches history in our co-op, titled Emperor, The Blood of the Gods, by Conn Iggulden. This book focuses on Rome right after Julius Caesar's death and is a fascinating read.

What we're learning: This week we are finishing up our year of history in our co-op with the Fall of Rome. The older kids will be writing a five-paragraph essay in the next week and I'm reading to the younger ones from the first volume of Story of the World.

What I'm watching: We are doing a trial of Netfix right now and just found The Twilight Zone episodes from the 60's. We watched a couple of them with the kids over the weekend....great conversation starters....

What's cooking: This week I am making Indian Butter Chicken, Sausage Pasta with Cream Sauce, and this weekend I am planning to make Chicken Caesar Salad with homemade Bruschetta. I have my weekly bread to make tomorrow and I also have some Kombucha fermenting on the kitchen counter.

What I'm buying: Over the weekend I went out and bought a very nice pair of clippers for our goat project. We have worked very hard at fundraising, and because of our efforts, were able to purchase some good clippers to fit our goats with.

What I'm creating: Lists to try to help organize everything. We have 16 days to our county fair and we have goat training to do, meals to plan, studying to do (showmanship and Purple Circle questions), and supplies to purchase. Let the fun begin....

What I'm praying: For those in our church family that need prayer. A soon-to-be mom, a friend having surgery today, someone else who is struggling with illness, and another lady with knee problems.

What I'm planning: I am wrapping up our science class in co-op...I have a couple of electricity experiments planned for the next couple of weeks.

What we did this last weekend: We ran some errands on Saturday, then Sunday was church and our assisted living center service, then over to a friends for fellowship.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to co-op this week...we are going to be making an electric circuit in science. This Saturday we are starting to fit our goats with some hoof trimming, then we will all head out to Cal Expo to help set up the barn for fair.

A picture to share:

~These are our State Fair goats....Mr. Lego's is named Ender, and Bookworm called hers Riley. For the next couple of weeks those two have two goats to work with....

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Week In Images

 These fun learning tools.....

because I have a couple of very tactile children, and using these helps with math.

This goat.....

because I'll miss him when he leaves us in three weeks.

These youth from our church......

 because I love it that they gather to study the Word like this.

This fun experiment.....

 because I have a couple of pyromaniacs as children.

Playing Catch Phrase with my family.....

because they bring me such joy.