Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We're Moving..

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We're in the process of moving house, we're not actually moving far but you'd never know it from the looks of our home. I have more piles of boxes then any sane person should really have, and when I sent a child down the hall with another one there were many cries of, "But this stack is all ready too full!" And to think, I haven't even packed a single box upstairs!

I have a week {or just under} to finish packing our house and scrub the crazy thing down before I turn over keys. Can we say frazzled? That's me.

Clearly we won't be blogging much around here until things are settled down a bit, hopefully that won't be too far away because really I do love my sanity!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Father's Day In Pictures

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We woke up the Saturday before Father's Day {Sept. 7} to two very excited little boys who were tired of having presents hidden in their closets. So, they'd woken up with the decision to hide the presents around the house and have Daddy find them.

It was incredibly funny because Mr S was enjoying not getting out of bed and the boys kept popping the door open and saying things like, "Aren't you excited? It's Father's Day! Get up! We're waiting!" Finally they came in and announced, very loudly, "We've hidden your presents because you've taken so long and now you'll have to find them!"

When Mr S finally made it to the living room he was greeted by Jayden hiding a giggle and trying very hard not to look at the place he'd hidden his package.

After the giggling finally settled down enough they informed Mr S that they were celebrating Father's Day early, and so Mr S obliging spent the next 10 minutes looking for presents.


Jayden hid his present in the oven, and much to Nana's relief it was discovered before anyone switched it on. Of course Jayden was utterly shocked that it was discovered so quickly, but equally delighted.


And what could possibly be in the package causing so much glee? It was not the croquette set he'd so desperately wanted to buy that's for sure. Apparently our town no longer sells them, and he had grand plans of making one until I told him that he could not snatch up any more of my hangers or I'd have to start flinging clean clothes upon the floor. I know, I know.. I should have let him..


There was very nearly heart failure as the prize was attempted to be removed from the box. There was also much squealing and hand wrenching in attempts not to snatch it up and use it before Mr S had a chance.


That's right folks, after years of being the target for the boys Nerf weapons, Mr S now gets to fight back! And there was much squealing and gigling! Mr S's even came with a clip that holds 6, which seemed really fancy until you realise it's the only way the weapon holds any bullets at all.


This crazy thing caused a lot of commotion as it took Mr S a while to work out how it worked. It is scary that I had a no issues in that department? In fact, I was found, at one point, flying across the yard chasing the boys down after their lovely "sneak attack on Mom while she's trying to make breakfast!" They decided it might be better, after that, to sneak up on their Nana instead.


What do you think Morgan picked out? What could possibly make Mr S laugh so hard he was nearly doubled up on the floor? What could it be that Morgan was so certain Daddy had always wanted because Daddy once said, "That'd be so funny!"


That's right, a drinking hat. Complete with two tins of Lemon-Lime solo. And can I just advise anyone who ever has a child buy them one.. Don't drink one can of anything with that crazy gizmo. Especially not if your wife is sitting next to you because she will wear the drink as it leaks out the hose, and if she tries to clamp off the house you will not be able to stop drinking on the other end. It was quite a trick to figure out and the cause of much laughter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homeschool Meme

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I'm clearly out of the loop because I had no idea there was a homeschool meme going around until the lovely Gae over at Cherished Hearts At Home told me I'd been tagged! Then, while blog hopping this morning I stumbled upon another blog that had also been tagged in the meme and had answered the same questions. Here's the nine questions and my answers:

1. One homeschool book you've enjoyed?


There a few I really do enjoy, but one I open up quite a bit would be Rebecca Rupp's Homelearning Year By Year as well as her The Complete Home Learning Source Book. Both are a wealth of information, especially for those who homeschool in the US, but I don't think one is limited by that either. I don't live in the US, and find both books really helpful in regards to wonderful resources to use, fun ideas, games, videos, etc. While I may not read them on a daily basis, I enjoy having them and do pull them out each time we embark on a new study.

2. One Resources You Wouldn't Be Without?


Oh my, there are so many "things" we use on a daily basis around here in our little school, but honestly I'd probably be in a real pickle without my books A Collection Of Math Lessons. When I can see a child struggling with a concept, when I want to introduce a concept in a fun way, when I need a new game to play with them.. basically anything mathy I need more info on I can whip out these books and find what I'm looking for. Don't tell Mr S, but I could easily ditch all the other math helps we have and be just fine with this little set!

3. One Resources You Wish You'd Never Bought?


I could name a couple to be honest! However, top of the list, hands down, would have to be Math Mammoth books. I know a lot of homeschoolers really rave about the curriculum, but it was not a good fit for our family. Nope, not for us. Understand, that it doesn't mean it's a poor product, it merely means it was not for us.

4. One Resources You Enjoyed Last Year?


Okay, this is a hard question. We school from January - December. We're all ready 98 days into our new school year, yes really. So I really hard to think hard about what I bought last year and I'm really coming up with nothing. BUT, we really have enjoyed our Grapevine Bible lessons. My boys beg for more of this. In fact, we love it so much I recently wrote a review about this curriculum!  Having said that reminds me we bought the Scripture Adventure Easter Adventure last year too and we really enjoyed that as well!

5. One Resources You Will Be Using Next Year?


Well... I've actually had this under wraps for a while and was planning a blog post about it, but we will be switching to Sonlight next year. We have enjoyed our time with Winters Promise, and the book selections have been fun as we've plowed our way through them. However, for a variety of reasons we are switching to Sonlight next year and will, most likely, remain there for the duration. I'll explain better about this in another post, because I'm afraid I might get carried away if I started now!

6. One Resource You Would Like To Buy?


Well, I have quite a few of the Apologia Science books on my list right now. We've decided we need to beef science up around here and when I asked the boys which branch of science they wanted to study they were torn between Biology & Zoology. Of course, once I purchased zoology {but found out I have to wait an extra few weeks for the jr notebook for my younger student} the boys said they would love to do Biology first. So I'd definitely say Apologia science & their accompanying journals.

7. One Resource You Wish Existed?


Okay, so in a dream world there'd be a huge library that actually had every book I needed/wanted and I could pop in anytime and not have to worry about finding the book because it would actually be where it belongs. Aside from that, I really wish my area home educational group had a co-op. Nothing fancy at all, but I'd love that experience for my children. Growing up my parents actually lead a small homeschool group and thanks to that my siblings and I experienced mini science fairs, putting on productions {music & drama}, speaking in front of an audience, organised excursions, and so on.

I've honestly considered contacting a few families to see if they want to do a few of these things together, but I'll admit I'm not sure I'm up to the task of being chief organizer. For now, the boys and I are considering asking one or two families if they'd like to start a book club with us. Of course, that was before we found out we have to move..

8. One Homeschool Catalog You Enjoy Reading?


I confess I never get any. It's true, I don't. I heard wonderful things about the Winter Promise & Sonlight catalogs and decided to sign up for a copy each. My WP catalog never arrived and the SL catalog apparently changed it's layout this year and I didn't see anything special about it. That, in fact, was the first {and probably last} homeschool catalog I've ever received.

9. One Homeschooling Website you Use Regularly?


Hmm, well if message boards count I frequent a couple of those each week. I read a couple of blogs regularly, & I will confess that we use to use Homeschool Share very frequently, but haven't as much this past year. I also frequent The Curriculum Choice.

Tag 6 Other Homeschoolers:


Oo, I always hesitate at the tagging part of memes! I do, I really do.. let's see, in no particular order:

1. Nadene over at Practical Pages. I really love her practical advise & her free notebooking/lapboking pages. She's also in the Southern Hemisphere so she's probably not starting a new school term right now, but anyway..

2. Cindy over at Our Journey Westward. I always enjoy checking out the fun she and her kids are having. Plus, anyone who takes a stand against magazines with less then desireable photos on them in the checkout lines catches my attention!

3. Michele over at My Blessings From Above. Another fun homeschooling family, always up to fun things! My boys are totally smitten with her boys {via photos} because her son's are from S. Korea which is on Morgan's "bucket" list of places to visit. He's in total awe.

4. Tracey over at Horsing Around At Home. I've been watching Tracey's blog since she started. I'm eager to try her rock recipes with the boys as we continue our rock exploration!

5. Jen over at Jen's Little Things. Next time I'm in the states I'm going to just make one of those surprise visits to Jen's place so I can go on some of the spectacular field trips she goes on. Seriously. It looks like a lot of fun!

6. Jennifer over at Adventures in Unsell Land!  Not only do they get up to some really fun stuff, you can check out her family's adventures with Apologia Science {I mentioned it above} to see why it looks so amazing. And, you really must read back through her blog and find the picture of her husband doing Wii Dance with her daughters. I laughed myself silly for days.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

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Spring has officially sprung here and with it has come spring cleaning chores. Our windows are covered with grime from the winter and we've been busily cleaning it all off.  Mr S took pity on me earlier this afternoon and climbed up on the outside windows to clean them. I'd resorted to a long handled broom wrapped in paper towel. Our windows are low to the ground inside {all most floor level} but outside they are actually up quite high. I'd have snapped a photo of him balancing on that brick ledge, but I was too busy making sure he didn't slip.

{after}
Our back garden has been quite a mess too, and we've had someone in to help us get it back under control. So there's been much overseeing of that as well as chasing spiders out of the curtains & enjoying every moment of warm and sunshine we could!

{after}
Walking down this path this winter was pretty impossible as we dodged all sorts of plants attempting to poke and pull us. The fellows who've been clearing things out have done an amazing job!

{after}
This was the garden Mr S had the chair in he climbed up on to reach the windows. The window in the far back was the one he found me trying to scrub with my broom wrapped in papertowel. It did a fairly decent job considering I couldn't reach even standing on a chair!


Wondering just how bad our garden was? Here's a small picture {unedited} of the final section that still needs to be worked on. Can't wait for the final section to be done, especially since it's the closest to my laundry area. If you need a good gardener we'd be happy to pass on the info.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember

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A moment in time that changed our lives forever. We won't forget. We remembered in our own way, and shared a little more with the boys. Someday they'll know it all, but not this day. We prayed for uncles and cousins off fighting, we cried for losses, & were grateful for the blessings we have. Patriot Day: Lest we forget what we have, Lest we forget what was given, Lest we forget why, Lest we forget..

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fractions

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We’re starting with fractions again around here for the younger crowd. It’s funny really, that just when you think you’ve finished teaching a topic you suddenly find yourself teaching it again. While we’ve been using Teaching Textbooks for math around here, we’re still enjoying living math lessons as well.
I keep a close eye on what the boys are learning and how they are scoring on their lessons. If I see an area where they score poorly consistently or they ask me lots of questions about then I find extras for us to do in that area in order for me to be certain, and them to be confident, in what is being learned.
So, I find myself with a mini list of things I want to work with Jayden on. Very mini, for that matter, because he really does very well for himself. One of the items on my list is fractions.
I confess, the first resource I always turn to is my books from A Collection Of Math Lessons. I know it’s weird, but I really love those books! In fact, we have a daily session of reading around here where the boys are required to read for 20 minutes from books I’ve assigned them. This week Morgan was reading about Daniel Boone, Jayden was reading a beginner’s chapter book, and I was sitting there curled up with a math book. Morgan looks up, clears his throat and says, “I really don’t feel like you’re reading when I see that you have a math book in your hand Mom.” I kid you not! 
I also pulled out Apple Fractions. Have you seen this book? It’s beautifully illustrated, and very fun to read. The entire concept is fractions, obviously, but it also lightly touches on things like numerator, denominator, & improper fractions. Just enough so that he understood exactly what those things meant without having to poor over gobs of math problems.
I also took liberties with the text and anytime it deviated from the theme of apples I’d end that page with, “Anyway, let’s get back to the apples!” or something of that nature. He raved about the book to Morgan & then later to Mr S and confessed to both of them that it was so funny I should read it again. Then he asked me to specifically read a page where it said “now back to the apples!” I had to hide a snicker.
After finishing the book I thought it would have been wonderful to have a matching notebooking page, I’ll have to work on that this week. In the mean time I gave him a page full of squares and we broke them down 
into all sorts of fun fractions.


I also picked up Spaghetti & Meatballs For All as I have a lesson planned for this book as well, all based on fractions. Anything involving spaghetti is sure to please in this house with the boys. 
We also watched an episode of Cyberchase involving fractions, per his request. Yeah, I know I’m raising geeks who ask for math cartoons, it could be worse I suppose.. {follow the link & you'll see the other parts of the episode..}
We’ve also got a few fractions games, mostly homemade, that we’ll be pulling out to use. I’m also thinking that since Morgan has covered radius and diameter I should make them an apple pie & let him cover that & Jayden cover fractions all with the pie. You know, if I can keep them eating it before we use it for a math lesson.
It should be a fun math month!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Funny Faces

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L-R: Morgan, Damien, Kendra
See, Jayden isn't the only one who makes hideously naughty faces for the camera. All though I have to say that's not the my worst camera face. I'm pretty sure there's a few floating around here my tongue is sticking out, I'm in a child sized knight mask, and other such hideous things..


It's just that he does it so much better then the rest of us! And yes, my child is wearing a barrette in his hair. He needs a haircut, but when I have time he doesn't..

Monday, September 5, 2011

Math Journals

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We're still having fun with our Math Journals on a near daily basis around here. We've gotten into a simple, effective, and fun routine with them, and it's often how we start out day.

The page to the left if one both boys do, all though honestly it's very  below Morgan and he doesn't need to do it. He hasn't complained about it though so I've not told him to drop it, and since I've not come up with a flashier daily page for him we carry on..

I did not create the page to the left, all though I think it's awesome. Mrs. Carroll from her Teacher's Pay Teacher's store. It is geared for the younger crowd, which works very well for Jayden. It let's him brush up on lots of skills each day, & repetition is a good thing at this age.

The page has them writing the date both ways {digits only/digits & words}, works on number words, telling time, greater then & less then, tally marks, place value, money, & more. For us, it also includes working on rounding.


Because we don't have pennies here the boys have to round up or down to figure out how much money to put in the piggy bank. Again, it's all just great review for Morgan, but it's perfect for Jayden. The first time we did one of these pages it probably took us about 20-30 minutes to talk it through so he new what to do with it, but now they can both do it in a matter of minutes with out much help.  The teacher who made it designed it for her classroom so we've edited a few things. For instance, we don't have a pattern of the day so we skip it, all though sometimes the boys like to make up their own pattern. I often pull from the date to tell the kids a time. Sometimes I give time down to the minute, sometimes not.


We also have a math jar, which I seem to have lost my photo of. It's basically an empty glass jar with a lid. Inside are word problems. I have one for each child, and each day they pull out a word problem read it over and solve it. The idea is that they solve it in their journal. First they solve it mathematically, then they write down why they chose to solve it the way they did.



Most of our word problems now come from the these three Scholastic books. I've picked them up at different sales and they each have a range of problems inside of them. Every Day Of The School Year Math Problems has a large variety of problems from simplistic word problems to actual challenges. There's an entire break down in the front on how to get the most from the book, and I have to say that's a really good section to read through because there's just so much in the book!  5-Minute Math Problems Of The Day has problems broken down by topic which is quick and simple if you're working on a specific thing and want a daily problem {or more} to go along with it. 200 Super-Fun Super-Fast, Math Story Problems has something written for each day of every month! The really fun thing about this is you can also pick it up one month at a time from Scholastic's e-store. Funtastic!


The fun thing about the math notebook/journal bits I picked up from TPT is that it came with lots of other goodies in for littles. Jayden loves having those handy in his notebook. Days of the week, months of the year, number words, hundreds chart, and on goes the list. I love all those little bits for him! One of the handy pages inside was meant specifically for solving math problems on, the boys generally use this page, specifically, for solving their word problem of the day! We've also used plain A4 paper, graph paper, or even typical lined school paper. I just liked the way this page was broken down with defined space for writing and drawing.



The boys also have notebooking pages in their math journals. Yep, you read that right. When the boys learn a new concept we don't just define the word in their journal, but sometimes they'll want to make a notebooking page for the new topic. The page above is one Jayden made after learning about horizontal, vertical, and oblique lines. He knew what he wanted on the paper and asked me to write it for him. He used a ruler to make his lines, and then thought of letters that fit the term which we also added. He asked me to write bubble words at the top which he colored in and then added the lines at the side. He pulls this page out if he has a "blank moment" when trying to remember which directional line is which. All in all, our math journals seem to get a pretty good workout!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bible Funnies

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We're still enjoying Grapevine Bible NT, and this week we were learning about Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Jayden was so proud of his little picture of Jesus being very excited about the apple tree he was praying under. It seemed oh so cute until he said, "Oh, maybe I shouldn't have drawn apples since Eve ate one when she shouldn't have." I very nearly fell out of my chair from laughing!


I'd barely recouped when I looked over at Morgan's paper and asked why on earth Jesus had such funky hair. His reply was very matter of fact, "Mom! It's not his hair, he's doing the Robot Dance." I landed on the floor.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday Night Fun

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Warning: I’m going to talk about a touchy subject here, and I only call it a touchy subject because I know that many people do not approve of it. However, I’m choosing to share it here because this is, after all, my blog. It is a collection of things that my family is doing. It’s written here with the intention of sharing it with my family who live continents away. It’s also written here because we like to flip though our own blog and look back on the many accomplishments, failures, fun, and adventures we’ve had in a year. We’re geeky like that!
With that said, I’m going to speak about the Harry Potter book{s} here. I get it if you don’t like them, don’t approve of them, and don’t “do” them in your family. I’m not judging you & I simply ask that if you don’t agree you just flip past this post.
Morgan recently asked if he could read the first Harry Potter book and was delighted when Mr S and I said yes. It’s not that he’s unfamiliar with them, we’ve actually listened to book one and two with both boys in the past. We’ve not permitted them to move beyond those two books, all though we did tell Morgan we’d read and/or listen to book three with him this year. All though, chances are now that he’s reading book one we’ll most likely not get to that one this year. 
The book is actually something Morgan and I are reading together in the afternoons or evenings. Well, we’re suppose to be reading it together, but once Morgan starts reading the child reads so fast that a person can’t get a word in edgewise. And, I have to say he has the best voice ever for Aunt Petunia! 
This is a big deal for Morgan, on a whole lot of levels. For one thing it’s taken him a while to feel confident enough to even consider checking out or attempting to read chapter books. He’s actually been known to panic when I pull a book off the shelf and say things like, “I’d like for you to read this by...” So to have him request a chapter book, and one with over 100 pages in it, no pictures, and very small font really floored me. 
I decided to surprise him and picked up a Harry Potter cookbook to accompany his readings. Morgan has requested to learn to cook more this year and I figured this was a great opportunity for him. When he found out we had a book with recipes for Pumpkin Juice & Knickerbocker’s Glory he was all over that. And yes, we've had pumpkin juice before!

Which means Friday afternoons/evenings will now be Harry Potter recipe nights. He’s chosen to make Double Chocolate Ice Cream on his first night, and I’ve equally convinced him to make the fruitcake recipe too because I’m not sure my poor head {migraines} could handle the ice cream which sounds extremely delicious!
The book is actually called The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. There’s more then one floating around, and I was torn between the two e-versions I could snag for the ipad, but settled on this one.
The recipes all seem relatively simple and ones he’ll be able to make with very little help. It’s only downfall, that I can see at this point, is that the recipes aren’t broken down by book, but rather by place or event. In other words there’s a chapter about foods cooked in the Dursley’s home & foods cooked at feasts, and so on. Morgan was quite set on cooking foods, for now, only from book one so we simply used the search feature.
All though why I’m not sure because the moment I read “Double Chocolate Ice Cream” he was pretty well content and set for what he wanted to make! What can I say, he’s a chocolate lover!