Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011-2012 school year choices.


Not Back to School Blog Hop


While I didn’t choose the curriculum piece by piece this year, I did still choose it. 

This year we are going to do things totally different than I have ever done before.  We are going to use K12 which is basically public schooling at home.  It is free in our state if you register through the district.   


I have my many reasons as to why I am choosing this route.  A few of them are; money, the ability to have me be held more accountable to a schedule, and I don’t have to dwell over what curriculum to purchase.  I am still going to try and add in things along the way, however it does look like a very full curriculum.  Of course, I will still be reviewing for TOS Crew.


I am doing this with a total open mind.  I am going to give it my best shot.  I am still going to be actively involved in their learning.  I still have to follow the teachers guides and lesson plans.  The thing is that I don’t have to plan it all out.  I am great with planning extraordinary things that are often hard to follow through with. 


I still feel some drawbacks such as, I don’t have any say in any of the curriculum.  I am really happy with the Math U See and Life of Fred that we have been using.  Now we will give their math a try.  The same goes for History.  We have absolutely loved The Story Of The World and activity book, but alas we will try out theirs. 


Emily recently received her curriculum and it looks great though. 




I will let you know how this works out for us. 


This is linked up to Heart Of The Matter Not Back to School Blog Hop 2011

The County Fair 2011


We went to our county fair this week.  This was our first year in this county.  It really is a farming community here, so I pictured the fair to be a huge event.  I was wrong.  The fair in our old county (the city) was much more, much bigger, many more vendors.    However, this smaller fair was nice because most everything but the rides and food were free.  Here are a few highlights. 


We started off the afternoon with the candy drop. 



Next we headed to “The Barn”.  A place where you learn about crops from farm to market. 


We harvested some apples.


We planted some crops. 


We played a guessing game. 

We made seed necklaces, milked cows and collected eggs.  Then we took it all to market.  We sold our crops for money and were able to purchase healthy snacks to take home. 


Next we headed to the 4H exhibits, which Emily and Katey entered to see if they had won. 


Emily entered a duck tape flower pen, a duck tape purse and a duck tape wallet.    She won first place! 


Katey entered a flower drawing/painting.  She is in the Cloverbud category so she is not judged, she gets a participation ribbon.


What is really neat about this, is that I just registered the kids for 4H one week before the start of the fair.  We signed up as a family club to begin with.  I am going to teach a cooking class within our neighborhood.  In August, Tommy is looking very much forward to the Robotics Club, Emily for Sewing Club, and for know Katey will just do Cooking Club, until we can find more Cloverbud clubs.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Week in review 7/29/2011


I am going to try to post our week in review more often. 



This week we spent some time boating and celebrating, then Tommy headed off for scout camp.  P1020642

We spent some time on a soap slip and slide.


We did manage to fit a little learning in. 


I found some Bingo markers at the dollar store, he loves the letter “t”.  I had him Bingo mark a few pages from Making Learning Fun.  He has also been doing some art projects, coloring, and playing with cars. 


We got our Usborne book order in and the kids have really been loving their new things.


Katey got the addition wrap ups.  She has been loving those.  The hardest part has been learning to maneuver the string around. 

She has been moving right along in ' target=_blank>Hooked On Phonics level 2, and ' target=_blank>Explode the Code.  She also has began some 1st grade worksheets. 



Emily got a learning to play the guitar workbook.  She has been practicing every day.  

She has been keeping up with her Summer studies too.  She does ' target=_blank>Life of Fred fractions and Math U See Epsilon every other day.  She also does Botany twice a week, this week she did bark rubbings and how to estimate how tall a tree is.  She has a short writing prompt each day and is reading in Painless Grammar along with reading for pleasure. 



This week we also have went swimming, entered the girls 4H stuff in the fair, and they wrote and performed plays with the neighborhood kids. 

Emily and I also made some peanut butter bars for a snack. 


Last night we even went to the fair to check out their entries and came home to a surprise.  Those will be blogged about over the weekend. 


Thanks for reading. 


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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer is…..




If you have read my blog for a while, you know that we are huge boaters.  We love the lake!  LOVE IT!  We live in a state where it is only boating season for 3 or 4 months of the year.  So we have to take advantage of it every chance we get. 


My husband and I both love to wakeboard. 

Tommy and Emily love to ride tubes, here they are with some friends of ours. P1020718

This trip was extra special though, because, Katey got up on her ski board for the first time.


I love to see the progression of her getting up out of the water.  I especially love to see her facial expressions, they go from fear to proud to excited. 


Where we live we celebrate Pioneer Day with fireworks.  So that is how we ended the night.



I really hope everyone is enjoying their Summer as much as we are!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer is…. fizzy sidewalk paint


I got this great idea for fizzy sidewalk paint from Quirky Mom
I tell you what, this paint to me 5 minutes to mix up 3 different colors; pink, purple and green.  P1020616
It kept the kids entertained for 2 hours, and they could have gone longer, but it was getting close to dinner time and we had to go inside. 
Even I got into it and made this “Way Awesome Painting”, yes that is the official name.
They spent an hour just painting.  They spent the next hour spraying the paint with vinegar to watch it fizz.
The paint easily washed off the driveway. 
This was so fun, I am sure we will add this to our Summer Bucket List from now on.

I used this recipe. 
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup baking soda
Squirt of Crayola Washable Paint
6 tbsp water
Mix it all up.

Honestly this recipe was not the greatest.  I may have added to much water.  Because of the corn starch if it wasn’t too runny then it was too thick and I had to continue to stir it.  We didn’t let any of this ruin our fun though.    And in the end our paintbrushes broke.  They were just those cheap sponge brushes and I expected that.  Next time I am going to buy those rubber brushes from Crayola or maybe some dollar store rubber basting brushes. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting kids organized for the new school year.


Remember my post from yesterday, about my card file and organization? 


Well I have adapted it to my older kids.  Here is a tour of Emily’s box. 



She chose out a very cheap cute pink box.  Her box is a much simpler version of mine.  Instead of having months and dates and all that, she has 2 weeks worth of Monday – Friday cards and then 2 weekend cards. 

She has daily cards as well, such as silent reading.  She has 2 of these cards each for 30 minutes to equal 1 hour total.  We broke it up into two cards, so she doesn’t have to read a complete hour all at once, unless she wants to.


Her math she does daily, but it varies from day to day what she is supposed to do.  So her math card looks like this. 


She only does science twice a week, on Monday and Tuesday.  So here is her science card.  On Monday she files it under Tuesday and on Tuesday she files in under the next Monday. 


I made these labels in Microsoft Publisher to replace the numbers on the workboxes.  So she knows which box has which subject. 



At night when I go through my box I choose out some jobs that need to be done that she can do.  I add them to her card file.  Things she is always responsible for are always in her card box, such as making her bed, sorting her dirty laundry, etc. 



The card file box works for us.  She loves hers just as much as I love mine. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A story about getting it clean AND keeping it that way.

Okay, it’s no secret that I am not a clean freak, I never have been, I never plan to be.  I love to be spontaneous.  I enjoy a clean house and much as the next person, but I don’t want to be a slave to my house and for me, I can’t justify spending money on having someone else come in to clean for me.  Also CLUTTER IS MY PROBLEM and I know it.  Stuff just accumulates crazy style around here.  I mean with 4 kids I’d expect that. 

However when my house is messy is shows in more than one way.  It shows in my attitude the most. I get grumpy because I can’t find what I am looking for, I end up running behind on most everything, I flat out forget things.  Yes, it is more than my house.  It is also my mind clutter.  I needed a clean out.

I honestly don’t have excessive clutter (such as on Hoarders).  I mean I moved  7 months ago and I got rid of a ton, I mean a ton, of stuff when we moved.  The type of clutter I have is day to day stuff, such as the mail, the dishes, the laundry, the schoolwork, the books.  It really is as simple as stuff doesn’t get put away.    Then I get lazy overwhelmed and I just want to give up. 
Notice how warn out my book is.

A few years ago, well 6, I was at the library, I had been checking out books on cleaning and organizing for a few months.  I came across a book called Sidetracked Home Executives.   It was me to a T.  At this time I had 3 kids.  Tommy was in 1/2 day Kindergarten at public school, Emily and Katey were both home with me, with Katey being just a baby.    I read the book in 2 days.  I went out that weekend and purchased the book and the supplies they say you need.  Everything was less than $20 total, including the book.    It was then that I became addicted to my card file.  Since then I have fallen off the card file wagon and gotten back on many times.  It has followed me and been adapted to 3 houses with me.   

Recently I was trying to get back into it again and I was just having such a hard time.  So I reread the entire book, not just the chapter on setting it up like I had before.  It worked, it really worked. 

So here is how it works.  You get an index card file and a variety of index cards in different colors.  You need Months of the Year dividers, A-Z dividers and dates 1-31 dividers. 
Each thing that needs to be done daily goes on a yellow card, with the amount of time it will take, if it’s a quick or mini job, the room it is in.
I even have a menu plan in mine.  Like I said I am  spontaneous so I don’t like to assign a day to what we will eat when.  So I just list 10 items and cook them whatever day I feel like it.   (I put what would need to be done in advance next to it.)
Weekly or every other week cards go on blue same style as the daily cards.

So after I do my daily cards I file them with the next days date, and weekly cards would be filed with a date next week and monthly with a date next month.  I am able to keep up on the house this way and it makes it super simple to delegate to others.  If I have appointments, deadlines or plans on one day I make a card and put it under that date.   I check my cards for the next day the night before go through them again in the morning.  

This honestly works wonders for me.  I am sure that it will continue to phase in and out throughout my life.  I do know that while I am using this system everything takes less effort and goes so much more smoothly.  And if you can believe it, my attitude is better.

I highly recommend this book and system!  I have gotten so many of my friends hooked on it.

Come back tomorrow to see how I made card file boxes for my kids to go along with workboxes, and this makes the delegating jobs so easy. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer is a time for grillin’




Yep, that’s right I grill lettuce, Romaine that is.  It is so yummy grilled. 

Below you will find the recipe, let me warn you though it is very complex. Winking smile


Grilled Romaine

Wash your Romaine leaves off, soak in water for a few minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on hot grill for 2 minutes per side.  Enjoy while warm. 


My favorite part to eat is the rib.  Right down the middle.  YUMMY! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer is……

Being a tourist in your own town. 


First, let me tell you a little bit about where we live. 

It is a tourist town.  We are surrounded by mountains, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, everything dinosaur, Indian Reservations, farms and oil fields. 

I joke that the reason this is a tourist town is because no one wants to live here. 

The Summer is amazing.  Highs in the 90’s, fishing, boating, swimming, camping and hiking all around. 

But the Winter, oh my, gets to –40 degrees F.  (That’s a NEGATIVE people.) Granted that is at night, but still some days make it up to 0.  BRRRR!  The Winter’s here are also generally longer too. 


Ok, Ok, enough background (and complaining too).


We were out eating at a restaurant, (not one attached to a hotel for once, this one specializes in River trips) and they had some tourist guides for free.  We took a few and have been checking out some of the suggested things in it.  


One of them was called our cities ocean.  I do not live anywhere near the ocean.  Nor is it anywhere near any type of water.


You drive up a dirt road to a ridge, there is an old shed there, and you lay down on the roof of it, and look upside down at night, and an illusion causes it to look like an ocean.  It was actually very very neat.  All the kids loved it.  We even took some neighbors who have lived in this town 12 years and had never heard of it.

We would have never discovered this if I hadn’t check out our town’s tourist information.    You can get tourist information for your town at your local Chamber of Commerce, even if you don’t live in a “tourist town”. 


This is definitely something we will be doing again this Summer.  


The first picture is right side up. The second one is upside down, see how it does look like an ocean.  So neat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer is… Catching Bugs



The other day Tommy caught a caterpillar.  We quickly made a home for it and now we will feed it daily and wait for it to make a chrysalis and turn into a butterfly! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Morning Board time~ Power Point Style.



I got this genius idea from a friend of mine on The Old Schoolhouse Crew this year. 


She set up her morning board into a Power Point. 


This idea really hit home for me.  I mean no lost pieces, Tyler loves to take the weather and money pieces off of ours. 


I sat down the other night and made one for Katey.


Right now it has 15 slides. 


Beginning with Good Morning ~ It is a funny slide with sound effects that reads Good Morning Katey.  I love you!  Today is going to be a great day.


Calendar~ It has our upcoming plans, the days of the week, the month it is, and the date. 


Seasons~ What season is it.


Weather~ It has the weather choices.  She picks which one the weather is today.


Weather graph~ She decides where the next graph bar will be filled in with the weather from the day.  


What should I wear today~ After knowing the plans for the day and the weather she can make appropriate clothing choices. 


Morning Routine~ Next she starts her morning routine.  Which includes 5 things; get dressed, make bed, brush hair, brush teeth, eat breakfast.


When she comes back from doing those things, she begins with names,  I am trying to teach her family members full names.  Right now she thinks we all have the same middle name as her younger brother.  LOL.


Then we do phone number, she knows my cell phone and is working on her dads, then our home phone. 


Our address.  She knows this one as well, but I wanted to keep it in here.


In an emergency call 911.


Then we move onto Letter or sight word review.


Number review.  She is getting into the higher numbers now. 


Next is the Pledge of Allegiance.  I will be switching it out to the Star Spangled Banner soon though.


The last slide says Good Job Katey, now you may begin your workboxes. 



If only I knew how to put slides into a blog post I would show you all. 


When we are done going through it, I quickly update the calendar to highlight the next day, the weather graph, the letters/words for review, the numbers for review, or anything else I want to add in.  It takes me all of 5 minutes to do it. 


This is just the beginning.  I am sure I will tweek it as needed. Which will be so easy!


This is still new and neat to Katey, she loves it.  Even my older kids are interested in it.  Tommy loves Power Point.  I may have him add in some slides too. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer is……



Busy!  That is all I have to say!  Lately it has been so busy that I have hardly even had time to keep up.  I have even been forgetting important things.  YIKES!  I will tell you how I plan on preventing that again in a future post. 


So here is how our Summer has been going so far. 


My baby turned 2!



We went crawdad fishing.  Which turned into quite the dissection project. 


We participated in a parade.  This was Tyler’s first year.  He caught on and began throwing candy very quickly.


Tommy, Emily and Katey all rode on the water float.  We have been doing this parade for so many years, that people expect us,


and they wait,


with hoses.


Soaking us back.  Tommy really got drenched this year.  I wish I had a picture to show.  He was W E T !


We got in some camping.


And some ATV’s of course.




Leave it to the boys to play in the mud!




We have not done as much “schooling” as I had originally planned, but we have done tons of learning and building our relationships.


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