Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recent Happenings

Recently we've done some yard-saleing, and have found some great treasures.

I found a science experiment book for ds, and he just loves the neat stuff he can do with it. Here are a couple pictures of the experiment dealing with gravity, air resistance and drag...a clay dinosaur goes for a parachute ride:

We also found an Easy Bake oven. I swore to myself I would never buy one of these since they are such a huge waste of money...but it was only a dollar. Big sister splurged for was meant to be a sister bonding thing. As it happens, the one we bought had all the parts, except the pans! Ugh! A couple weeks later, another yard sale, and another dollar yielded a second Easy Bake oven, this time with said pan. So, yes, now we have 2 ovens and only one pan...but we've only shelled out $2 rather than the $27 they go for not such a big waste...that is until we went to buy mixes for it. What a sham! Nearly $6 later (three times what we've paid for the oven & pan!) We have the mixings for just 4 three inch brownies! Personally, I think the brownies were the best get to make 4 of them, verses two with the cake or cookie mixes. Still...when it is all done, we'll be using an ounce of REAL brownie mix rather than buying more itty-bitty mixes! Here's dd with her oven and treat:

Lastly, I have to share the fun we had in school today! Can I just say I LOVE my Heart of Dakota curriculum! We are using Little Hearts for His Glory, and finishing up the last few units we did not get done last year. Because I am homeschooling dgd three days of the week, we are doing 5 days of Little Hearts in 3 days of school...this makes for some fun days! We sometimes have to push a couple history lessons together...sometimes a couple art activities! Yay! Right now we are learning about the American Revolution and George Washington. Today we made tri-cornered hats, and added white "wig" curls to the sides...they love these hats! And look how cute they are:

Aren't they adorable? If you haven't looked at Heart of Dakota yet, I highly recommend it!

*Ü* Blessings,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ballet Fun

As I mentioned a few days ago, we had our first ballet class this week. My batteries had died in my camera, so before reaching the studio we stopped at the Dollar Tree for new ones. Yes! Batteries for a dollar, snack and juice boxes, too! We had a lovely picnic snack on the grass outside the studio, then took a few before photos...look at the excitement:

Okay, well, G doesn't look that thrilled...but trust me, she was excited about ballet, just not about getting her photo taken! lol

B looks a bit happier...and she was. A (dd18) had done their hair all up pretty, and had even purchased a special dance bag for may have all been for naught...

She pretty much just stood there like a stick the entire ballet class. Tap was slightly better (she huddled next to the wall.) I feel so bad for her, I know the only way for her to get past this shy/anxious stage is to experience the crowds, right? We try to arrive early, to let her get acclimated to the space, and that sometimes works...but not today. Hopefully next week will be better.

Here's another shot, G (in black) is to B's right, and you can see she is concentrating on all the moves.

They have been talking about it all, and the recital in May, so I am hoping B will come out of her shell soon. She LOVES everything ballet, from Angelina Ballerina to ballet books, shoes & tutus to the Nutcracker (which we're planning to see this season!) I really, truly think she just needs a bit of extra time...and NO attention, she withdraws even more when the teachers try to pull her in. If anyone else has had experience with this, and has some good advice for me...I'd love to hear it!

*Ü* Blessings,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nature Study

It's a brand new week! Yesterday our day was filled with activities outside the house. First dd6 had her American Girl doll class. They are studying Addy this session, and therefore the Civil War era. Though she didn't join in on any of the activities, she did seem to enjoy the class. I know she is looking forward to making some new friends.
After the class, we had one hour before ds5's bowling league started. We ate lunch at McDonald's, a treat for us to eat in! They love that.
We ended up being early for the bowling league, but that is okay, we got to watch as everyone arrived. We filled all the lanes, three to a lane, for just over 50 kids! Wow! There were 6 bumper lanes, and ds was paired with 2 other little boys his age. It was a fun time, and ds is looking forward to doing it again! Unfortunately, my camera batteries died right after this photo:

We are looking forward to doing both of those things again soon! Today, dgd7 joined us again. In history we read about the Boston Tea Party, reenacted it a bit. Then with crayon drew three ships in full sail, and painted over it with blue water paint and lastly sprinkled bits of tea (which for some odd reason I did have on hand) in the wet paint. When it dries we'll hang them up to help us remember that event.

We also did our Nature Study again this week. Last week the girls found pine cones that had been eaten and slightly eaten. We kept these in our science box, and watched all week as the slightly eaten one began to open. What was really cool, was that when we put this weeks things into the box, there were winged seeds on the bottom of the box! They were hiding in the pine cones. Now I always new a pine cone was a seed, but I didn't realize it was actually many, many seeds!

My dgd found something else quite interesting this week. Some mica rock. Pretty, delicate, silvery mica. It is smooth and shiny. We are really enjoying this study.

I'll close for now, as I have to get lunch on the table...we have our first ballet class this afternoon, and the girls are so very excited! Both are in a huge hurry for 3:30 to get here! My dd even thought she'd take a nap to make it come faster! lol Note to self: get batteries on the way!

*Ü* Blessings,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our First Week is Over

Well, we've done it. We've finished our first full week of school...okay, well, not really full, since we had a holiday last Monday...but still. Four full days.

I had created an excel schedule for us to be able to see what we would be doing each day and for how long. Because dgd only comes three days a week, I had to tweak the schedule to include her on those days and not on the other two, and then tweak our Monday's to include short-term activities we will be doing during the school day. It took some time, but I did eventually get what looked like a doable schedule. After working through it for the (almost) full week, I am happy to say, it works! Yay! We didn't get to everything, but we did the important things. We didn't do any poetry or Spanish, but we did do daily devotionals, calendar time, dictation, copywork, phonics, math, history, science and storytime! We also added in on three different days a nature study, artist study and composer study! The kids seem to really enjoy those parts of our day, and I am glad I scheduled them last so that we have something to look forward to.

I know some who read this will think I'm a little ocd when I say I even scheduled in breaks with notes to self about housework. I think it's good for me...I have a goal of what I am tackling each day (thank you FLYLady!) and I can say that at the end of the week, I still have a clean house and laundry is not out of control! lol (Is there a way to maintain this over the weekend, without cleaning??) We even pulled out The Harris Family 21 Rules of this House, and have begun work on those again. It is great to see the little ones piecing the rules together (if you obey #17, you'll automatically be obeying #18 kind of thing.)

Today, the youngest grandchild has her first birthday. I cannot believe she is one already, where did the year go? She is a sweet, happy baby, and I am looking forward to the next year! Here's a scrapbook page I did of us recently:

*Ü* Blessings,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our First Official Day Today!

We had a good day! I was sort of surprised that the kids didn't fuss more...but we got through all that I wanted to (though no poetry and no Spanish. We'll get to those eventually.)

Our day was like this...devotional, prayer, pledge, song, calendar time. I set the timer here to see if we could get it done in 20 minutes, but it took us a bit longer.

My ds5 had a break and dd6 did copywork page while I worked one on one with dgd7 for studied dictation. This will be the hardest part of her day for a while!

Then the girls did Explode the Code while I worked 1 on 1 with ds5 and his phonics/reading/writing. Again I set the timer for the allotted 15 minutes, but we were all done before it rang....and actually the girls did their first math journal page while I finished with ds!

We then had a 20 minute break...snack, recess, laundry, etc. Daycare kiddo arrived during this time, which worked out perfectly!

After break we did Math...dgd7 had to do 2 pages to get back on track with dd6...I think I will be sending the book home for Friday & Monday, so they will stay on the same page. (I'm homeschooling dgd Tuesday - Thursday, while mom does it Monday's and Friday's.)

We went right into History at this point...not too much complaining, though they wanted to read it outside, but I said no. (mean, mean, Mommy/Nonnie! lol)

Another 20 minute break... I was supposed to clean, but I needed to prepare for the science lesson, so no cleaning got I think I was having email withdrawl! lol It will certainly take a bit of time to get our schedule running smoothly...but I was happy to get two loads of laundry washed, dried, folded AND put away!

Science - we had read about George Washington and how he learned to write with chalk on a slate, then a quill and we wrote our names with chalk, (and every other writing implement I could find!) and finally with a quill and ink from our vacation in Colonial Williamsburg...they loved that! My dgd asked how chalk was made, so we looked it up...natural chalk is a very soft limestone rock...interesting.

We followed up with a walk to get the mail, but we were too early. Then I sent them out to find something interesting in nature. They all came back with something, and drew a picture of it, classified it and described it in their new nature journals. They loved, loved, loved this! My dgd told me at lunch that this was her favorite part of school. I told her I saved the best for last! We are going to keep the things in a box for examining all week.

Lunch. Poppie came home with the mail. He was so happy to see dgd. I asked the kids what their favorite part of the day had been. No surprise, ds5 said recess! lol He's in Kindergarten for Pete's sake! lol. Oddly enough, my dd6 said her favorite was the clock/time activity during calendar...that is, until dgd mentioned loving the nature study...dd had to agree that was great fun!

Storytime...I think they still had the wiggles...but we got through it!

A fun, productive day! I didn't take any other photos, though...just of the room last night, and these before we started our day:

My darling baby boy has started Kindergarten!

She is 1st/2nd this year...but we forgot to do her hair! Oh well!

She is getting SO big! Second grade this year!

*Ü* Blessings,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Homeschool Meeting of the Year!

We had our first meeting for this year! It was very exciting. A wonderful husband and wife team lead us in song, another member of our group gave a stirring testimony/devotional, and our fearless leader got us all caught up on the latest happenings of the group!

I gave a small presentation on making learning fun. I didn't realize how passionate I was about this topic until I started! Normally, speaking before a large group is rather intimidating for me, and definitely not in my comfort zone! But God is good, and He took the lead!

I shared alot about our morning routine here, especially about our calendar time. I shared about how we learn through songs, games and different fun activities. There were a few ladies who approached me afterwards and asked for some of my songs and specifically the calendar notebook I use.

I can't claim that I came up with these ideas, but I did create each file that I will offer here. The ideas themselves came from various sources, including Dr. Jean Warren, Shari Sloane and Jessica Meachem.

I offer these two files to anyone who'd like them...

Found a Penny - pdf file of letter size posters, one for each often used coin:
~ download here ~

My calendar notebook pages here - excel file of my notebook pages:
~ download here ~

Enjoy, and if you look back at this post, you can see our calendar wall, and get an idea of how we use the calendar notebook pages!

I thought I should add here our schedule for know, how we do things. The order in which we move from calendar piece to calendar piece. You can download it here.

*Ü* Blessings,