Friday, April 30, 2010

Week in Review April 26-30, 2010

This week has been great! We got quite a bit of schoolwork done.

Most of it was map work, and reading and discussion for history. We did do one very fun activity, we learned how ancient people dyed their clothes. We each dyed a pair of our socks purple with blackberries. Now I just hope that I don't accidentally wash them in my modern washing machine, and dye all of our clothes purple.

Emily completed the Beta level in Math U See. She only missed one on the final test, and it was just a silly mistake too, is wasn't that she didn't know how to do it. Now she is ready to move on to multiplication. She is very excited about that.

The rest of the school week, was pretty much just regular school stuff, not much exciting.

It's so crazy here in Utah, one day it's 70, the next 35 and snowing. We did have a few great days of spring weather. The kids spent the afternoons outside exploring, riding bikes, and enjoying the fresh air.

Tommy is such a little engineer. Here he is building a trailer to go on the back of his bicycle. He was building it out of things he could find. I supplied him with some things I had saved for art projects, or really projects just like this.
Here is a picture of him putting together the axle and those containers are going to be the rims.

This is the trailer part of it. I don't yet know what he is planning to haul on it.

I love Tommy, he is so creative, and resourceful.

This post is linked up to the weekly wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Secret Garden Party!

To celebrate finishing our most recent read aloud, The Secret Garden, we of course had a party. This is a fun tradition that we are beginning and we all have a lot of fun with it.

To start we had snacks, we had a Secret Garden Muffin Tin, that I adapted from Gourmet Mom On The Go. It was a secret what was inside, and it all came from a garden. We also had dirt and worms, (chocolate pudding with gummy worms, and crushed Oreo's on top) I forgot to get a picture of that, we all ate them so fast.

We went to the park for a picnic and played racquetball.

We went to the garden store to pick out flowers to plant in our garden.

We planted our own Secret Garden, on a much much smaller scale.
We watched the movie too.

My kids really love this. I love it that they continually ask me to read to them, and when we are reading, they don't want to stop.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Expedition Australia Review

What would you say if I told you that you could take a week long vacation in Australia for just $7.95?
(a virtual vacation that is)

We went there using Expedition Australia Download and Go, published by The Old Schoolhouse

You get a daily itinerary, a book list, vocabulary words, worksheets for all ages, maps, links, and lapbooking pieces. Every day you travel to a new location, learn a new Australian word, "visit" a geographic feature, learn about an Australian animal, and so much more! If that's not enough, there are extras in the back of the book, such as foods that are popular there, along with recipes, making a boomerang, and so much more.

The first day I tried to do it as a group subject and it took us about 1 hour to get through one days itinerary. I printed out the worksheets for that day, and stapled them together, and we went through the links together. They did feel like this was too long. So the second day I set up the computer by opening all the links for the day in order, printed off the days worksheets and had them just go through them on their own. They finished in about 35 minutes each. This also gave them the opportunity to read past finding the answers, if something interested them more. They also told me they enjoyed this much better. We still read the books suggested out loud as a group. We did any activities as a group, such as trying food, making a boomerang, etc. As the older kids did computer work, I did some of the worksheets for younger children, such as color matching kangaroos, counting koalas and time and temperature, and mapping activities with Katey, my 5 year old. She also enjoyed watching some of the videos,and visiting a few of the links. There are even links to Australian themed coloring pages. I let all of the children color them while I was reading from the book list.

I like that it is an E-book, and I can save it onto a disk and use it on any computer, and doesn't take much storage space, you get it instantly. It is flexible enough in that you can personalize it for each age range by choosing which worksheets, and links to use. I like that I could use it to teach my children, or that they could use it on their own with my supervision.

While this is suggested for children from K-4th grade, I think that in could be used for children of almost any age. The links, such as an online scavenger hunt in The Great Barrier Reef could be done together. There are simple worksheets for younger children, such as some coloring pages, matching, & counting games. There are more advanced worksheets for older children, such as mapping and general question worksheets. The videos are good for all ages. I even learned things I didn't know from this.

You will need an internet connection. So if you are using a public computer and internet, you will most likely need to break it up into more than 5 days. My public library did not have very many of the suggested books, but that was easy for me to fix, I just searched for others of the same subject. A fun suggestion would be to take a week off from regular schooling and fully focus on Australia, just like a vacation! We did not use all of the resources that are available with this, so you could easily have this be a complete school day for younger children. Or even a short school day for older ones.

I used this with my children ages 5, 9, and 11, and they all loved it.

There are so many titles available. See them all here!
These come individually for $7.95 each
You can get a set of 4 for $30.00
(you can pick your own or get one of their pre-picked monthly sets)
A set of 19 for $114.00
A set of 38 for $190.00

Friday, April 23, 2010

My first Oreo!!

In our house Oreo Cookies and Milk is a staple. Here is Tiny T having his first Oreo!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Making Memories that will last a lifetime!

For me, some of the memories that stick out in my head the most always had to do with food. Like the time I was about 13 and we were having a family BBQ for Memorial Day, I shook up the mustard to squeeze it on my hotdog, I did not realize the cap was open, and I got mustard all over my very cool clothes that were chosen just for that occasion. I learned that mustard does stain and even to this day I check the mustard before I shake it.

Another memory I have is with my Grandma, she is an amazing cook, she loves to make bread from scratch. She was a school lunch cook in a small town when I was younger. It was the kind of school that made their meals from scratch. That was YUMMY School lunch! I remember she used to bring us home the extra milk and chocolate milk, in those little school lunch cartons. My brother and I thought that we were so cool sharing "the school lunch milk" with our friends.

Even now that my Grandma is retired she still has ties with the school lunch. For Christmas one year she gave me these amazing cookie sheets, that I absolutely love and use for everything. I use them as cookie sheets, as brownie pans, to carry stuff outside if we are eating out there, right now one is even being used as a catch the water from our seed starts. I just love those school lunch cookie sheets! Every time I use them I think of my Grandma.

All these food memories got me thinking, what food memories are my children going to have?

Then it came to me. My father in law told me once that my children will always remember Hobo Dinners in the back yard. We do them often in the summer, once every two weeks or so. They are so easy.

First you slice up the veggies you will be using. I just use veggies that I have on hand. I sliced them us with my Pampered Chef Mandoline. Which is amazingly easy. I just arrange them all on my infamous cookie sheet.

And let the kids go at filling their tinfoil. (I spray it with Pam first)
Then we add hamburger patties, and salt and pepper to taste, wrap them all up and put them on the fire in our back yard.

My husband watches the fire as the kids play.

Then we eat. Yummy!! We serve ours with ketchup, ranch dressing, or BBQ sauce (my favorite).
Align Center
I hope this is a memory that my children will have when they are older.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Week in Review: April 11-17, 2010

Look at her now! She is so proud of herself. She worked really hard and saved her money from her paper route diligently. She has saved enough to pay half on her summer camp, and she even had enough left over to buy this motor scooter. It was rough every month when she would get her paycheck, she wanted it so badly to be able to go to the store and just spend it all. I am so proud of her for sticking with it. Even when the paper route is rough, and the weather isn't perfect, she persevered through, and now she is totally reaping the rewards. She even drove her motor scooter on her paper route this week. Now we need to decide what she will be saving her money for next.

So needless to say she spent every moment outside on it that she could.

The weather was so nice, that all the kids spent their free time outside. E was sharing her scooter and giving everyone a turn, this is one of the things I found T and K doing while waiting. T had set up a type of obstacle course and was teaching K how to do it. It was so cute. I am so proud of the relationships my children have with each other.

The pictures were blurry, because I didn't want to get caught, so I took them through a bedroom window.

K caught many bugs with this cool bug catcher.Together we also made this cool "bird refuge" as part of our spring study. We have a bird house, a bird feeder and even a "makeshift" bird bath. We have already seen mommy and lots of baby birds using it. I set it up so we could watch from a window, and she wouldn't chase after the birds and scare them away. It took the birds a couple days to find it. The first time K saw them out the window she ran to me and said "Mom, this is the best day ever! The birds are there!"

We finished up our lesson about ancient Philistines and Hebrews. We made duck bowls to eat Philistine Stew out of.
We learned how they made olive oil.
We carried water on our heads just like they did in the ancient days.

We ate snacks that they would have had.

We read about lots of bible stories that would have happened about this time too.

We finished our readout loud, The Secret Garden. On Monday we will be having a little theme party.

We studied Botany. We went on a nature walk to find vascular plants, next week we will go to the waterfall by us and look for non-vascular.

I have recently started using writing prompts during our day, and the kids are loving them and I really notice their creative writing and thinking improving vastly over the short period I have been using them. Go here to get April free and be entered to win an entire years worth. If I don't win, I will definitely be buying this.

We also began doing C25K (couch to 5K) Our goal is to run a 5K in May! We are very excited about this.

I taught E how to play racquetball, and I must say she caught on very quickly and is already pretty good at it. She kept saying "I love bonding with my mom, I don't know why other kids think it's not cool, it is so cool!" I want to remember that she said that always!

On top of all this "fun stuff" they also did their regular schoolwork, such as math, reading, etc.

Also I did "attend" The Old Schoolhouse Expo, preview session. I was very nervous about what my kids were going to do for 3 hours, while I was home, and on the computer. So I created a bag, and made a list of activities they could do, put each activity on it's own piece of paper and stuck it in the bag. It had many things, like empty dishwasher, read a book, wash a window, run around the yard 3 times, etc. If they were ever bored, they were to draw from the bag and do what the slip said. I don't think they were ever actually bored, but they loved drawing and doing. So I am going to keep this put away, and only use it when I really need it.
I was able to learn plenty from the expo, plus my admission ticket includes the mp3 downloads of all the sessions.
I adapted this idea from the way we do housework. I put all the jobs that need to be done on slips of paper and put them in a paper bag, and we draw from that and that is the job that you do. We all work until all jobs have been done. The kids all love doing it this way, and then they can't say "no fair".

To find out how others homeschool this week check it out over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I can't believe I am going to post this.......

I just decided that I AM gonna do this. I am going to take the challenge. I need a change and I need it quick. I really wanted to join the declutter challenge over at Money Saving Mom, but I felt as if I couldn't. I felt how could I even declutter when my house wasn't even picked up. My house was not always like this, nor is it like this on a daily basis. But I am finding it like this more and more. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love homeschooling. I just feel as if I can't keep up.


Well one day I just decided that it was time. It was time for a change! I need to get this place in shape so we can learn. It is so hard to teach about making Egyptian Sailboats when you have to search your entire house for a stapler. So I am going to do it. I am going to post this on my blog so I feel I am held accountable. So instead of just sitting in my chair holding my precious baby, I got up off my butt and cleaned my little heart out. I cleaned and organized for 2 hours straight! It may not look like much difference in these after pictures but it feels like an amazing difference for us. I even organized things in those baskets on the bookshelves and in the TV cabinets. I put the Lego's and the "tote o Little People" back where they belong. I just feel so good about all this.

AFTER (we still had some stuff out, but man it feels better)

Bathroom Storage Drawers



Just this cleaning out has made a huge difference in our mornings. I know right where everything is at. I got rid of so much that was just in the way.

I feel like my lack of pick up and organization was and is still is detrimental to our homeschool. I am feeling guilty about not recognizing this sooner. But I am feeling hopeful that I will be making this change for good.

Over this weekend we cleaned the entire house as a family. We got it all done, top to bottom in just a few hours with all of us working. Ever since then I have continued to keep up on dishes and laundry (both of which are weaknesses for me). Also I have had a quick bed time pick up that everyone is involved in. I am going to incorporate these checkpoints into our day one before lunch, one about 4:00pm and one just before bed. Along with this I will be assigning certain additional duties to each child based on ability.

Tomorrow and throughout this next week I will be working on clearing out and cleaning out a closet specifically for school supplies such as art, binders and misc. In addition to keeping up on what I have already done. Stay tuned for that!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Barnes and Noble Educator Appreciation Days

Did you know that you can save money at Barnes and Noble, just because you homeschool?
Every day you save 20% on purchases for classsroom use, and right now it is Educator Appreciation Days, so you save 25%! The Educator Card is free, although I did have to show my application to homeschool to the cashier when I applied.

Join today and save!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter week

Well I am finally getting organized enough to plan funner and more activities on top of school. It can be a little overwhelming at first. This week we had an amazing week we fit in almost all the "official school stuff" we had planned plus all these extras! K was learning the letter K She did a letter K sticker worksheet.

We did a suduko game as a family on the kitchen window with Crayola Window Markers. They thought this was so neat! We had great fun.

Tiny T even enjoyed it! We finally got some smiley pictures of him!

K told us bunny stories that she made up. She really loved this, she loved having the family as the audience. I got these story ideas from Kids Soup.

We played an egg match game also from Kids Soup

And for April Fools I put easter egg dye tablets under the faucets in the sinks, and turned the water colors. They loved that. I got this idea from my friend Anna. Thanks Anna! I tried to get a picture but was a little late. So you can just barely see it, it was fun anyways. My kids just love April Fools and so do I, I just love playing silly tricks on them.

We also made these Easter cupcakes. We used coconut and M&M Easter eggs. They were so yummy and this some fun relaxed family time that I would hope to have more often. It was a really simple plan and a wonderful memory.

Later that night we had a great Easter lesson while making these cookies. I highly recommend these. I did not take any pictures while making them except for this one, because I wanted to keep it highly spiritual.
To see what others do in their homeschool visit The Weekly Wrap Up or Preschool Corner.


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