Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 4 of school - complete!

4 whole weeks of school gone - just like that - time flies! The children are now in week 5 and fast approaching the end of their first units in grammar. Amazing how quickly we've come to this point!

Let's see....last week...

The weeks are so full, sometimes it's hard to remember what we did the week before because we're already ensconced in a new week! Maybe I'll have to try to do a recap BEFORE the new week starts from now on...but that would mean weekend blogging time - ha ha ha. Anyway...

All the basics are moving right along without much ado....math is going well, as are grammar, spelling and reading. I continue to be pleased w/the R&S grammar (English) and readers. Everyone aced their spelling tests again.

Our more "hands on/project-y" subjects of Zoology and Tapestry continue to keep us hopping....

We continued our study of birds with a bit of time spent with our bird field guide familiarizing ourselves with the layout and information available to us on each bird listed. We also conducted a scavenger hunt that will be an ongoing project until each of the children find everything on the list (some items listed are not expected to be found at the same time of year as others so this project may take a little while). We also spent some time outside watching for and listening to the few birds that were around our backyard last week. We were graced with the presence of a flock of birds that congregated on the rooftops of the houses behind us for about an hour and a half one day.

Later in the week after our study of Islam which was mainly a brief introduction, the boys constructed their own scimitars and the girls completed a flag project. Not to be outdone by the boys and miss out on the fun, the girls decided to make their own daggers and, well, you can imagine what went on for the next few hours in our house :) You can't? Well, think about it....

Here are their creations.....I don't think you want to mess with these warriors!

I think I need to add foil and electrical tape to my shopping list.....

...until next week....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

4 Days!

What happens or can happen in 4 days?

Well, lots of things I'm sure....4 days could be a short work week - and that's a good thing!

Hmm, 4 days old - a newborn baby...a good thing

4 days.....the time it would take to drive up to where my sister lives and back again w/no time to stay in between - not a good thing since we rarely get to visit....

But what, you ask, are these 4 days in reference to?????

Sigh. Ok, well since you asked.....

4 days - the number of days the carpet stayed clean....then this happened at lunch....argh!

And yes, that's ketchup....not blood, I kindly asked the perpetrator of this heinous crime to leave the room before any blood was shed :) I kept my cool, sent another kind little helper to bring me the bottle of spot remover the SS guys had left and commenced carpet cleaning 101 - the good news is that it came out - whew!

So, in case you're thinking of having your carpets cleaned and there are wee ones around, remember, you will get to enjoy it for 4 wondrous days and then....who knows what might befall your carpet!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First days of Fall

Fall is here! Fall is here!

This is our favorite season around here - sooo glad the first day of Fall actually felt like Fall for a change!

Miss Baby is ready for Fall - how about you?

We "rang in" the first evening of Fall with the first fire of the season - we've been waiting for the first cool day/night for sooo long and it timed out just right this year!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 3 of school - complete!

Well, rolling through week 3 we accomplished all that we set out to do! Hooray!

Miss E and Miss A aced their spelling tests again!
Miss E did beautifully in her first lesson back in math and Mr. E and Miss A continued reviewing math facts to make sure they're solid before moving on - this next week we'll do a little bit more review and then they'll be off and running again with Mr. E hot on Miss A's heels in the realm of math!

History found us studying about the Medieval Period and monks and monasteries this week. We read quite a bit this week from our "Usborne Guide to the Middle Ages", a few more famous men of the Middle Ages including Justinian the Great, Benedict and Gregory (monks), "Caedmon's Song", "Life in a Medieval Monastery" and "Saint Patrick". In Geography, Mr. E, Miss E and Miss A finished labeling their world maps with some of the most well known mountain ranges, deserts and seas as well as labeling the Italian Peninsula in greater detail and identifying some of the major cities in Europe. Friday found us back at the kitchen craft table with paints in hand - this was a MUCH anticipated project - to finally get to paint their salt dough maps from last week! Here are a few pictures of the maps being created, painting them and the final product with labels intact and ready to show off to CKB when he got home from work that night.

Here's Mr. E creating his map:

A little paint here....

And voila!

Miss E carving her "carved head" statue for her island - she remembered reading about Easter Island (last week) and the carved head statues and thought it'd be fun to create her own!

Hmm, I wonder what that blue thing is....

Ah yes, a river! (closeup of Miss E's map/labels)

Rolling something up here...

Dab, dab, dab....

And here we go!

After finishing painting their salt dough maps, the children all created a mosaic for their art project of the week. Miss E decided to do a picture of Miss Baby and Miss A and Mr. E also wanted to.

Miss A titled hers "Miss Baby After Dinner, but Before Her Bath" (note the greens in the hair and on the face - ahem - that's supposed to be baby food ;) )

Mr. A, always the unique one, wanted to do a picture of himself.

In Zoology news, we continued with Lesson 1 (this text contains 15 lessons and each contains quite a bit of new information and new terms - we are covering one lesson every 2 weeks to enable us to conduct all the experiments and take a little more time with all the new information). The children learned about the forces of thrust and drag and constructed their own gliders for an experiment. Each child made 2 gliders - 1 with a short/wide wing and 1 with a long/narrow wing. They each hypothesized about which glider design would fly farther on average and then we headed out to the backyard for the experiment. Each of the 3 older children threw each glider 10 times to gather data. Each time the gliders were thrown, the other 2 would measure the distance the glider traveled and then return the glider to the person who was throwing at the time. We have our science time in the afternoons and while we started this whole experiment, ie, glider construction, while Miss Baby was napping, it was well into the early evening and we weren't quite done - let's see 2 gliders x 3 children - each throwing each glider 10 times a piece....well, you do the math - CKB picked up dinner that night :)

Mr. E is first up to ....throw...

Then Miss A...

...and Miss E

Mr. A insisted he build a glider as well, so I whipped one up for him quickly and he joined in the fun too! Miss Baby happily watched until her tummy let me know that it was way past dinnertime and we were still outside :)

I don't have the faintest idea what is all over a few of their faces here....ahem...but it was muddy out there in some spots....hmm....the gliders are all lined up on the table...

Piano lessons went well this week also. Amongst all the "book learnin' " we did have time for some fun and Mr. E had fun creating this snack for everyone (the recipe should say that it's for 5 refrigerated biscuits - we had a can of 10 and had to make another batch of butter/sugar/cinnamon for dipping).

The proud chef shows off his creation!

And, lest you think Miss Baby has disappeared lately - here she is at lunchtime, I mean, during Culinary Cuisine 101 - waving for the camera and letting you know "I'm still here!"

And, I finally got a picture of her "skrinkle face" as we affectionately cal it - with Mr. A, it was a "stinker face", but she's too cute to be a "stinker"!

All in all, another great week! On top of a good school week, we thank God for the abundant rains we've been receiving and the COOOOOOLER temps - Fall is almost here! Fall is almost here!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Steam Cleaners are great!

After thinking about it for a long time, we finally had Stanley Steemer out yesterday for what I thought would just be an estimate.

After they arrived, took a look and told me what the estimate was - they said "we can do it right now" and since they said it would only take about an hour and I thought the estimate was reasonable....we now have clean carpet again - hooray!!

Whose brilliant idea was it anyway to put carpet in the dining room?????

I'd read reviews a long time ago about SS and about some awful experiences folks had had with them and been a little concerned, but I have to say that the crew that was sent out did an excellent job, did not try to pressure me to do additional rooms or buy additional services and did a fantastic job. (They were even very tolerant of our curious crew that kept popping out of their bedrooms to see what "those guys" were doing).

Yay for clean carpet!!!! (now how long will it last??????? eek!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 2 of school - complete

Well, I don't know that I'll update every week, but for what it's worth, we have completed week 2 of school and are well into week 3 - time just isn't as abundant for blogging!

During Week 2 we continued reviewing math for a few students and released one to go on to new lessons which involve the principles of parallelism and perpindicular..ism :) among other things, like division.

Spelling tests were aced by all - hooray - and Mr. E even grabbed a sheet of paper and took Miss A's spelling test along w/her and aced it w/o knowing ahead of time what the words were and studying them at all :) That boy!

In history, we studied 5 "famous" men of the Middle Ages and learned about their lives - the children's favorite was Clovis because he converted to Christianity after praying for God to help him in a battle and not only converting, but going so far as to destroy pagan idols and statues in the land. We went over quite a few geographic terms and learned/reviewed all the continents and oceans of the world. Afterward, each of the children created a salt dough map of an imaginary land and were required to include some of the geographic terms they'd learned, such as plateau, inlet, peninsula and so on. The maps are drying and will be painted and labeled this week (stay tuned!). We also read more about the Middle Ages, "Brigid's Cloak", and "Saint Valentine".

In Zoology we worked on our first lesson "What is Zoology?" and conducted an experiment whereupon the children became 'human atomizers' according to CKB :) The experiment dealt with air pressure.

Here they are in action...you'll have to ask them about it sometime and hopefully they'll be able to recount the principles they learned!

By the by, do you know all of your shapes? Of course, you say? Hmmm....well, I'm sure you know circle, square, triangle and so on, but did you know that the shape of a bird's wing has a name? If you did, great! If not, see if you can find out what it is and leave us a comment and we'll let you know next week if you're right :)

That's it for now - we had a great week 2 - how's school going in your neck of the woods?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Guess who lost ANOTHER tooth?

Miss E! She is looking so big these days!

This is the 2nd recently and she even pulled the one before this one all by herself!

Here she is showing off the gap right in front!

Here she is on the phone sharing the news with Grandma and Grandpa! I love her expression as she's giggling!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week 1 of school - complete!

Well, we've officially finished our first week of school. We began last Monday and made it through Week 1 with great success.

Miss Baby is napping fairly regularly now twice a day so I have a pretty good idea of when I'll have about an hour or so in the morning and in the afternoon to get some things done that require a little more quiet than we usually have while she's awake.

Sorry to say there aren't any pictures from week 1 - just too much to do and I believe I was carrying Miss Baby around with me most of each morning as I was going from one child to the next helping them get started with everything and work through their first few lessons.

We're trying a few new things this year from Rod & Staff and so far I like them and I believe the children do as well - that works out nicely, eh?

Here's the Fall lineup:

Miss E - our 3rd grader (yikes, when did she get so big?)

Math U See Delta
Handwriting without Tears Cursive
Rod & Staff Level 3 Reader/workbook
Rod & Staff Level 3 English (grammar)
Rod & Staff Level 3 Spelling
Tapestry of Grace Year 2 (history, literature, geography, arts/crafts and more!)
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

Miss A - our 2nd grader (we have a 2nd grader, too???)

Math U See Beta
Handwriting without Tears Cursive
Rod & Staff Level 2 Reader/workbook
Rod & Staff Level 2 English (grammar)
Rod & Staff Level 2 Spelling
Tapestry of Grace Year 2 (history, literature, geography, arts/crafts and more!)
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

Mr. E - our kindergarten kiddo (is he really only in K?)

Math U See Alpha
Handwriting without Tears Printing
Rod & Staff Level 1 Reader/workbook
Tapestry of Grace Year 2 (history, literature, geography, arts/crafts and more!)
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

Mr. A - pre-K (he MUST do schoolwork along with everyone else!)

Learning to Read
Learning addition
All sorts of other things!

Miss Baby - (7 mos.)

Napping 101
Culinary Delights 101 (exposing her palette to many new flavors and textures)
P.E. - learning to crawl, sit unassisted, stand, walk, etc.
Communications - general babbling, sound formations, word formations and much more!
Reading - looking at a multitude of books and having many books read aloud

Time permitting we'll add in Rosetta Stone Spanish along the way.
We're also running through the Rod & Staff Music Workbook 1 (all children except Miss Baby, of course :) ).

Week 1 went well, as I said. We began last Monday with everyone coming to start their schoolwork in a staggered fashion which enabled me to help each one get started with the new curriculum. Everyone did very well on their first day and we celebrated the first day of school by meeting CKB (a.k.a. Daddy) for dinner at El Chico! What a treat!

Day 2 went well also and Day 3 found us still on track and making it to piano lessons for both of the girls that afternoon. Day 4 and 5 and we finished up the week by setting up the pool in the backyard and enjoying the afternoon and evening outside. Miss E, Miss A and Mr. E reviewed math last week and will pick up this week with a little more review for some and new lessons for others based on how their review week went. Both of the girls aced their first spelling tests. Miss E, Miss A and Mr. E have all taken to their readers and accompanying workbooks very well and so far I'm very happy with this addition to their schedules. The same goes for the R&S English - I think we may stick with it instead of going back to Easy Grammar after this year. I definitely think it's working better for Miss A. She did o.k. with Easy Grammar, but I think the R&S is better suited to her and Miss E is doing fine with it also.

We enjoyed a busy, but fun Labor Day weekend. We took a "staycation" and ran some errands, took care of some of those "to dos" that never seem to get done and just enjoyed not having to BE anywhere at any specific time. The highlight of our weekend aside from just all being together was a nice drive in OK to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The water in the park has a high sulphur content - after you try a sip from the fountain there, you'd think you'd just eaten the yoke of a hard boiled egg! Mmmmm. :-P

Now, we head into Week 2 of our school year. We will add in Tapestry and Zoology this week in the afternoons. I look forward to sharing about our first lessons in these subjects after we delve into them in the coming days!