Sunday, August 31, 2008

The wrap-up of a week of UN-schooling LOL

This past week was a week of not even attempting anything educational . . . though the butterflies did all emerge and we watched them for a couple days and let them go yesterday. When they were taking awhile to leave the "pavilion" and I was tapping on the sides trying to encourage them out A said "maybe they're like me and don't like change, give them time . . . " :o) They did all eventually fly away. The girls were sad that we didn't ever actually see one come out of the chrysalis, so I told them we'd try again next year . . . depends how ambitious I'm feeling whether we'll go hunting our own caterpillars or just buy replacements LOL.

Beyond that, they learned their memory verse and were more willing to answer questions/participate in SS this week beyond saying their mv, I think at least partially because the one male teacher wasn't there, and they're still much more comfortable around women. They also remembered from 2 weeks ago that Miss Joyce had been able to tell them apart so they set out to "trick" her this week. She hadn't shared "her secret" so they were thinking of all the possible ways she might have figured out who was who. Their plan was for L to carry A's dolls into SS, but they ended up leaving the dolls in the car, which they decided would also work. And they traded shoes since L's current Sabbath shoes are pink & A's are plain black. Turns out she guessed right, but admitted it was a guess (she'd been using the ever-present, but suddenly absent, dolls to tell them apart, so if they'd remembered and L'd carried the dolls in they'd have succeeded).

They also got abit of a taste of life w/ a toddler on Friday when our friends David & Susan, along w/ their 2 yr old Daniel, came over. Daniel was fascinated by the girls and wanted to follow them everywhere. The girls were mostly ok w/ it, even opting to continue playing upstairs w/ Daniel (w/ Susan to supervise) rather than helping me wash potatoes & Daddy husk corn for dinner. But L declared it "exhausting" LOL. I think they'll be glad to find that their new sibling will start out as a "lump" and it'll be several months before the following big sister phase begins.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


In all my catching up, I forgot, the butterflies have emerged!! The girls noticed a couple days before we left for MD that they were all in their crysalises (however that's spelled, I'm feeling lazy) so before we left Thurs morning we moved them from the jar they came in to the butterfly pavilion. I meant to tell dh to check them & feed them if they emerged, but I forgot, and didn't really think they'd emerge that soon. L checked them when we got home & saw one butterfly in the pavilion so we went out & picked some flowers, dipped them in sugar water, and put them in the pavilion. When I opened the door to put the flowers in I found another butterfly sitting ON the door (that made putting the flowers in abit tricky, so the girls dipped them, then handed them to me to put in). By yesterday afternoon all of them had emerged. We have friends coming tomorrow who have a 2 yr old so I figured we'd keep the butterflies to show him if he's interested and then let them go this weekend. The girls were sad that we didn't actually get to see any of them come out of their crysalis and are already asking if we can do it again next summer, so we shall see . . . if I'm REALLY ambitious maybe next spring we can hunt down some milkweed & find our own caterpillars, we shall see . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catching Up

Whew! We've been BUSY!!! (and I don't especially LIKE to be this busy, I'm a stay home and just putter around the house kind of person LOL). Anyway . . . I'll attempt to recap the last week or so . . .

Homeschool - the PLAN was to at least do "school" the 2 days we were home last week, didn't happen . . .and being more realistic now, it's not gonna happen at all this week either, unless the girls happen to ask to do circle time LOL. We'll pick back up on the stuff scheduled for last week, next week.

Seeing old friends - we had a great time on Thurs & Fri catching up with old friends. Thurs afternoon we went to Kim's house, the girls had great fun playing w/ Hannah & Yeva, and practicing being big sister, by holding Ziva. Friday we went to our last Kindermusik class/party, and we hung out for awhile after class so the girls could play (& Laura & I could catch up). Then we headed over to Kristina's house where the girls played w/ Megan & Josh, and practiced big sistering some more by holding Owen.

Church - My parents were scheduled as greeters at church Sabbath, so the girls helped Mama pass out bulletins till it was time to go to Sabbath School. L declared it a "boring job" when there wasn't anyone coming LOL. They also took opportunity to let people know there was a baby in Mommy's tummy :)

Then Sabbath afternoon we loaded up and headed to Williamsburg (my parents, the girls & I). Our Sesame Place passes also work at Busch Gardens/Water Country USA so we figured we'd see how the girls do at a "big kid amusement park" LOL. The hotel we stayed in only had an outdoor pool, but when we got there at 8pm we at least walked down to check it out. It was too cold for my taste, but the girls decided they wanted to swim. There was a small "kiddie pool" (1 ft deep I think) and then the main pool started at 3ft and got deeper. I figured they'd just play in the kiddie pool since none of the adults were getting in, but we did take their water wings (that they'd never used) down for them to "try out" if they wanted. Next thing I knew, L had moved over into the 3ft water and was having a blast. She could stand, but could also jump up and float on the water wings. I did ask them to stay relatively close to the end since I wasn't sure if it sloped from 3ft to 5ft or if it was 3ft all the way to the rope, and I REALLY didn't want to have to go in in my clothes to pull them out if they got in over their head & panicked. A was slower to get into the 3ft, but once she did, she had a blast too.

We spent all day Sunday at Busch Gardens. There's only one roller coaster they're tall enough for (and only one other one I'd be willing to go on LOL) but they enjoyed it, and lots of other rides, both kiddie rides & big rides, and various shows, though some of the shows scared them abit. There's a wolf show where they show off the wolves they have (I'm guessing they are rescue animals, but don't remember them specifically saying, the eagles they have are all rescue animals and while we didn't make it to the pet managerie show, I'm pretty sure it's the same concept as the one at Sea World, which uses animal shelter animals) that was very interesting, and educational to boot LOL. And actually the Octoberfest show was traditional German dance, which is also cultural/educational . . . :) so our trip wasn't whole devoid of education LOL.

Monday we split between Busch Gardens (in the morning) and then went to Water Country USA in the afternoon. The lines were REALLY long so we didn't go on any water slides, but the girls LOVED the wave pool. There were life jackets so they put life jackets on and we hung out in the 4ft area which meant mom & I could stand but the girls couldn't, they thought it was great fun to ride the waves, and when the waves were turned off, then entertained themselves floating and "swimming" and such.

We got back to Mama & Papa's house last Mon. night. Tuesday morning after Mama & Papa went to work the girls & I went down to my grandparents' house and the girls had a blast "harvesting". We picked blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, squash, and cantaloupe, and brought bags of yummy stuff home with us :) Grandpa has a "tomato tree" this year. A volunteer plant came up THROUGH the carpet remnants he'd put down to keep weeds down and is now over 10 ft tall!! The girls thought it was great fun to have to climb a ladder and pick a tomato LOL. A declared Grandpa's garden the "biggest garden EVER!" when I told her that Grandpa's garden was MUCH bigger when I was a kid than it is now (he's slowing down in his old age LOL) she looked at me in awe and said "how did you HARVEST it all?!?!"

And now we're home . . . whew! I'm exhausted LOL.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm still alive . . .

Just in case you thought I'd vanished from the face of the earth, I haven't . . . this week has been way too busy and I'm not finding time to keep up w/ e-mail, much less blog. I don't deal well with busy weeks anyway, but to top it off, we're finally ready to announce to the world that A & L will FINALLY get to be big sisters next April!!! So I have first trimester tiredness on top of all the busyness. I started a separate pregnancy journal, which you can find here, if you want to read my whining, and updates, and once i start looking pregnant, belly pictures & such . . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

We're really only eating at home two days this week (today & Wed), tomorrow the plan is to go to Sesame Place (that was the plan last week too, but it didn't happen, I think it actually will this week). And then the girls & I leave Thurs morning to spend the weekend at my parents'. So the menu for this week is pretty short. Tomorrow we'll take along "egg mcmuffins" to eat on the way down for breakfast, but then just go to Taco Bell for lunch and stop somewhere on our way home for supper. And while I'm gone dh gets to fend for himself LOL. Someone at work gave dh some pita bread that we need to use so I asked dh what he likes on pita bread (since he seemed to find it odd when I made the typical pita bread sandwich *I* knew as a kid, which has scrambled eggs, and cheese and lettuce & stuff in it, he ate it, just commented he'd never heard of such a thing before) and he said he likes "gyros". Now all of us but him are vegetarian so I'm not about to be cooking lamb, so we're going to see how he does using soy curls instead. But the other "key" ingredient is the Tzatziki sauce, so I'm going to try making it (using this recipe) and see what he thinks.

Other then that, I think things are pretty self explanatory:

See other menus for this week here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Homeschool Weekly Wrap-Up

First I have to brag, while not technically a "school" thing, I'm still so proud of my kids . . . as I think I've mentioned, the church we attend doesn't have a "Kindergarten" Sabbath School (normally ages 4-7, though it would vary somewhat from church to church) so the girls are attending Primary (normally roughly 1st to 4th grade). AND for the first time, they are actually expected (in SS, not just at home) to memorize their memory verses. I'd tried to walk a fine line between encouraging them to memorize them even though they never got to demonstrate that knowledge at SS, but not pushing it to the point that they balked completely at memory work at such a young age. So, they went from the very easy Kindergarten/Gracelink memory verses that they just had to repeat phrase by phrase after a teacher, to the more difficult Primary/My Bible First memory verses and a teacher who wants them to actually memorize and repeat the memory verses. 2 weeks ago, the teacher introduced (or re-introduced, I don't know if they were already doing it or not, none of the other kids that have been there so far actually memorize their memory verses) her "incentive" program, each week they say their memory verse they get to put a paper flower in the "window box" and then will bring them home at the end of the quarter. Well, the girls were all over that. The first week was a relatively easy memory verse, but this past week was rather long and had some kind of big words (It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"). Interestingly, they got the CONCEPT of the memory verse very quickly but stumbled over the exact wording for awhile. L had it down by mid-week (the week before A was much more into it all), but A really struggled. BUT she got it! She was so proud of herself. And, when I asked the teacher, after class, for next week's lesson paper (they don't have a quarterly, just the weekly papers so if you miss a week, you don't have the lesson story for the following week) because we'll be at my parents' next weekend, A suddenly realized she won't be here to get her flower next week. The teacher said if Mommy let her know they'd said it, she'd let them have both flowers the following week, whew! AND this week's is very easy, no worries about getting it memorized LOL. I think the girls will enjoy being able to say it for Mama & Papa too. (A also was disturbed that she'd miss the next part of the story of Saul/Paul that the other teacher is talking about during the first part of Sabbath School each week (they use Gracelink for the first part of their program, but not it's quarterly or memory verses, then use My Bible First for the "lesson", it took me awhile to figure that out, but by this week I was pretty sure that's where the Saul/Paul was coming from & looked it up this evening & I'm right LOL) so I assured her that we'd read the next part of that story this week sometime (or see if Papa wants to tell them the story next weekend, afterall Primary is his preferred age group so it should be right up his ally LOL).

Ok, on to "school" stuff . . . as I expected, they're loving the American History we're starting. We're having trouble w/ the "black & white" viewpoint of little kids, they want to know if the Native Americans were the "good guys or the bad guys", I think after numerous conversations I've gotten through their heads that in any group of people there are people who do bad things, but that doesn't make the group of people bad (and that when it comes to the Native Americans there were wrongs committed on all sides, though we haven't really "gotten there" yet). I wasn't sure about using Draw Write Now with them so young, but since it was at the library, I figured we'd give it a try (and once we started doing the copywork as part of Bible and they were enjoying it so much, I was more confident they would enjoy DWN as well). And they LOVED it. In fact, after doing it on Wed, A was ready to do another page on Thurs, and was said to hear she'd have to wait till next week LOL. We DID shorten the copywork, and only had them do 2 lines instead of all 4 that were on the assigned page. They're enjoying the book. Since I wasn't able to get the History Pockets book from the library (& w/ doing the abbreviated version of the Native American part of the curriculum (going into the details of the different tribes is abit beyond them at this stage LOL) I couldn't justify buying it for like 4 days of work) we just looked at various Headdresses online and talked about them. I meant to have them make one too, but we were too busy that day so we may try to fit that in this week (since crafts are always a hit). We also took a stab at making Hominy but either I copied something down very wrong or the recipe had a major typo, it ended up burning, sigh (ok, I just double checked, I didn't copy it down wrong! 1 c water, 1/2 c dry popcorn, let soak overnight, then bring to a boil & simmer 3 hrs, it cooked dry & burned in WAY LESS than 3 hours!! Ann, I used the History Pockets recipe (thanks to the publisher having the whole book available to view online, let me know what you figure out when you get to this (or if you've already done it, did it work for you?) . . . I told the girls we might try it again another week if I can find another recipe.

They're continuing to enjoy our study of the Solar System. I got another Solar System book this week from the library so we'll check it out for next week and see which we like better.

They have said they liked the Bible stories better than the Ladder of Life series we've been doing. Just because of lack of time on my part I think we'll continue w/ LofL for this next week, and maybe the one after (this next week is going to be beyond hectic, no time to figure out something else) but then I need to figure something else out . . . they'd be happy going back to re-reading the Read and Learn Bible again, so I need to decide if we want to do that or something else character-study related (need to see what resources I have saved away LOL), or perhaps a little of each, reading one story out of the Read & Learn Bible, but then do something character-study related as well. Whatever we do, I need to come up with a way to continue the copywork (even if it's not really related to the rest of what we're doing) they're enjoying it and it's something I'd like to encourage.

They are also really linking the notebooks we're doing this year. I got them each a 3 ring binder (pink & purple of course LOL) and each day after they do their copywork we put it in the binder, we also have an American History section and put our Draw Write Now sheets in the notebook as well. And I've told them that when we're done w/ the Solar System unit we'll put their lapbooks in their binder as well, so at the end of the year it will be a record of all we've done that year.

This next week will be a short week. Weather (and dh's work schedule) permitting, we're going to Sesame Place on Tues (couldn't go this past week because of dh's work). And then the girls & I leave Thurs morning to go spend time w/ my parents and various friends in MD, including the much postponed (due to teacher's illness, and then summer craziness) Kindermusik end of class party. So, we'll only have Mon & Wed to even pretend to "do school" this week, and I suspect those days will be rather busy w/ errands, laundry, etc as well, so we shall see . . . I did end up reading the part of the Native American book that was scheduled for Monday on Friday (since we didn't have the hominy to make/eat) so that puts us abit ahead there, and not having the History Pockets left us w/ a couple "blank days" for history during the Native American section.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Recipe: Crockpot Pinto Beans

One of the meals I decided to try this week was "Pintos and Cornbread", but I was planning to be gone most of the day so I went hunting for a crockpot version of pinto beans, and then tweaked it to make it vegetarian. Here's what I came up with:

16 oz dry pinto beans, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
3 c water
1-2 Tbs baco bits
1 sm onion, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh, or 1 tsp dried oregano

Combine all in crockpot. Cook on high 3 hours, turn to low and cook the rest of the day. Season with salt to taste.

The verdict:
I made a point of calling these "pintos" not "beans" since the girls claim to not like beans. I served up each plate by putting a big serving of pintos on their plates, then topping them with shredded cheese and sour cream. And added a piece of cornbread on the plate as well. Everyone declared it a keeper. L said it was even better than Shepherd's Pie which is high praise from her at the moment. DH really liked the added flavor the baco bits gave it. The girls each ate 2 platefuls.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gratituesday - Sisters!

Last night at bedtime A was crying and didn't want to go to sleep (I could never figure out a reason why & it started after I'd left dh & the girls to have their "talk time" so I wasn't there for the beginning of it). L suggested that she could cuddle w/ A in her (A's) bed to comfort her and A said she'd like that. So we left them cuddled together in one bed to go to sleep. And they slept that way all night. I wish I could've gotten a picture w/o risking the light (or me climbing around on thier loft) waking them up. It was soo sweet! So, today I'm thankful for sisters who love and care for each other :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

We somehow have a fridge FULL of leftovers, so first priority is to get those eaten up w/o everyone getting TOO bored of the same things LOL. I don't think we really tried anything new & exciting last week so, w/o further ado, here's this week's menu. Tentative plan is to go to Sesame Place on Wed if dh can get off work and the weather's warm enough to make a water park fun. So, guessing we'll take stuff to eat in the car/park for one meal and eat at Taco bell for the other meal.

Other menus are here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Homeschool Wrap-Up

The girls are enjoying our new "semester" (for lack of a better word).

The Ladder of Life books . . . I haven't decided what I think of them yet, I'm going to give them a couple more weeks at least. The girls don't seem to mind them, but I find the stories abit young for them . . . oversimplifying the concepts. There's a short "memory verse" in the teacher's guide that goes with each story and I've been using those as copywork for the girls. They're enjoying that, so much that they were sad when I told them we didn't have time to do it on Friday because of going to chocolate world and all. So, even if we decide to not go through the whole Ladder of Life series, we'll be continuing a daily Bible verse for copywork, whatever else we decide to do for Bible.

The solar system unit is a HIT! I adapted it some from the unit study as written. I didn't see the need for the "super heros" they'd included, and they had some basic "learn a letter" thing where you put the 1st letter of each planet next to it on the "planet wall" which seemed redundant for where we're at. But they're enjoying what we ARE doing. We're putting the planets in order on the wall in the hallway, starting w/ the sun, and going out from there, we'll add one per week. We're also making a planet mobile with the sun in the middle and the planets hanging around it. AND each of the girls is making a lapbook with a minibook for each planet. The lesson plan provides one "fact" about each planet for the minibook, but I think the girls will prefer to learn more. I got a kids book on planets from the library (just picked it up Thurs afternoon so we haven't looked at it yet) and if we don't like that one we'll try others till we find one we like LOL).

We went to the library this past week and got a library card, then I came home and ordered the books we'd need for the first part of our history studies, and we picked them up on Thursday as well so we'll start with the History tomorrow. The county library system (not our local library though) had the History Pockets for Native Americans but for some reason wouldn't let me reserve it, and the woman at the desk was annoying and wouldn't even check on it for me when I was in there on Thurs (it didn't say "no circ" or anything, just gave me a weird error message so i wanted her to try reserving it & at least tell me WHY I couldn't . . . but she just said "well, maybe they don't let it out of their library or something" w/o even looking it up GRRRR) on a positive note, the children's librarian who was there when we got our library card seems really nice, so that will be good :)

I wanted to get the timeline set up last week but when I went to hang the yarn on the wall (my idea was to string yarn & then hang 100 yr markers from it and add other stuff as we did it)I discovered that whatever our walls are made of (plaster?) the thumbtack just bent instead of going in. SO . . . new plan . . . I think I'm just going to hang a big piece of paper (from the paper roll) on the wall (not sure if I'll use nails or just try the sticky stuff I'm using to hang the planets on the wall . . .) and then draw in the line & 100 yr markers, then we can write additional stuff directly ON the paper as we learn about it), but I didn't get that done last week so we'll have to do it tomorrow.

And in other news our caterpillars for the Butterfly pavillion finally came yesterday. So we have a jar full of caterpillars sitting in our house. I haven't seen them move yet, but it seems like some are in different positions then they were originally so hopefully at least a couple are alive and will turn into butterflies like they're supposed to. Butterflies are much lower maintenance than ladybugs LOL. They come in a jar w/ strict instructions not to open the jar for any reason until they've all turned into crystalises, there's food & stuff already in there for them. So all we have to do is watch the jar & when they've gone into their crisalyses (I have no idea how to spell that word & I'm too lazy to look it up) we transfer them to the butterfly pavilion and watch till they turn into butterflies. Then we can either start feeding the butterflies or let them go. I think we'll probably just let them go, but maybe keep the first couple in there until they're all ready to be released.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fun Family Times

Yesterday we went to Hershey's Chocolate World for the free tour. Close to a year ago the girls were watching Jon & Kate Plus Eight with me and Kate took her kids to the chocolate tour. The girls thought it looked like fun (I think the free chocolate at the end was the real draw LOL), and it's taken us this long to actually find time and DO it! We made a whole day out of it, going on the free tour, to the (not free LOL) 3-D movie (a cute, fun introduction to 3-D movies, probably not really worth the money, but the kids enjoyed it), eating lunch there, then going to a cool playground in Hershey that I'd heard about (Coco Palace) it's a very cool wood playground, though hard to keep track of the kids. I pretty much sat w/in site of the main entrance & caught glimpses of the kids off & on (but it wasn't super crowded and the girls are good about not wandering off or talking to strangers).

When we got home A wanted to "climb trees" and there's a tree near our storage building that has a low branch they can climb so, since dh had stuff in his van that needed to be put in the storage building anyway, we went up & unloaded the van while the girls climbed trees. By then it was supper time and then bedtime.

This afternoon we took advantage of the GORGEOUS weather (seriously, at 8pm I'm sitting on the porch and am COLD!!! It's been awesome!!! We can have the windows open all the time and it's even cool enough at night for me to sleep under the comforter (I sleep much better under the comforter!) and found a park with a good playground for them to play at while we sat in the shade, enjoyed the breeze, and watched them :)

Now they're playing outside and dh & I are sitting on the porch. It's been a fun, family, relaxing couple of days :)

I totally MEANT to take the camera w/ me yesterday & forgot, so no pictures of our fun family times :(

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Making Toys

L is sleeping in this morning (after being awake & wiggling in my bed from 5-7 or thereabouts, yawn . . .) but a few minutes after A & I came downstairs she asked if she could go outside for a minute. I didn't pay much attention to what she was doing until she came over and asked for help. She'd gone outside & gotten 2 rocks and some sort of weed grass that has a helicopter looking thing at the top of the grass. She was trying to tie the grass to the rock in a way that would make it a toy helicopter. She had 2 of them so L could have one too. And she's now happily playing with her "helicopter". Tell me again why we as a society spend millions and millions (& probably trillions) of dollars on toys each year?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


So many things to be thankful for . . . one thing I'm really appreciating this week, A has decided (for the last several days) to be my self-appointed "helper girl" she's anxious to help, not only with whatever chore I'm doing, but even other things that she notices that need doing (like gathering up the recycling that was taking over the area at the top of the basement stairs). While, I'm always thankful for help, I'm even more thankful that it's all of her own initiative, I'm thankful to see my dd learning the joy of service!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It's been a busy day & I'm running behind, but I DO have a menu for this week. And hopefully will follow it better than I did last week w/ VBS and all. Current plan is to go to Hershey's Chocolate World on Friday (the girls have been asking to go ever since they saw it on Jon & Kate Plus Eight LOL), so we'll for sure eat out for lunch, not sure if we'll be home for supper or not, so I went w/ something relatively quick to fix if we ARE home, and no biggie to skip if we're not home.

So, here's this week's menu:

See other menus here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Homeschool Archive Fall-Winter 2008

Week of Dec 22-26
Week of Dec 15-19

Week of Dec 8-12

Week of Dec 1-5
Week of Nov 24-28

Week of Nov 17-21

Week of Nov 10-14

Week of Nov 3-7

Week of Oct 20-22 (left Wed pm for vacation)

Week of Oct 13-17

Week of Oct 6- 10

Week of Sept 29-Oct 3

Week of Sept 22-26

Week of Sept 15-19
  • Memory Verse:It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Matt 12:12
  • Bible: Proverbs to Live by Paper Dolls
  • Bible: Copywork
  • Easy Reading books
  • DONE Pedro's Journal p 1-17
  • DONE Discovery of America - rest of book
  • DONE Draw Write Now p36-37 (the East)
  • DONE Really Reading Lesson 6
  • DONE Science: Jupiter
  • DONE Really Reading Lesson 3
  • DONE This Country of Ours Ch1 2nd part
  • DONE Really Reading Lesson 4
  • DONE Discovery of America p25-35 (partially done)
  • DONE Really Reading Lesson 5

Week of Sept 8-12

Week of Sept 1-5

Week of Aug 25-29
  • Memory Verse: Keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary. I am the Lord. Rev. 2:10
  • Let butterflies go
Week of Aug 18-22
  • Memory Verse: Whatever He says to you, do it. John 2:5

Week of August 11-15

Week of August 3-8
  • Memory Verse: If you believe and are baptised you will be saved. Mark 16:16
  • Bible: Ladder of Life book 1 FAITH
  • Bible: Copywork
  • DONE Science: All Week - Mercury
  • DONE Admin: Get library card, reserve books for history
  • SKIP Handwork: Wash doll clothes by hand
  • DONE History: Intro new unit
  • Handwork: Paint rock to be doorstop for girls' room

Link to Previous Archives

Fall 2008 Homeschool Overview

We are now officially done with the Waldorf Preschool Curriculum that we've been using since we started "homeschooling" a year & a half ago. It was a great way to get a feel for things, and at a preschool level I LOVE the waldorf philosophy because it's focused on delayed academics, and mostly art & nature! BUT while I may pull elements of waldorf (like the art & nature suggestions) throughout, I can't reconcile the overall waldorf philosophy with Christianity (though I know others do, but I can't. And the girls are, as always, full of interests so we're going to continue with a laid back approach, using their interests as our guide, for the most part.

Bible: We've enjoyed the Read and Learn Bible immensely and might re-visit it, but the timing is working well to switch to some more character trait based Bible study for this fall. Our new Sabbath School is using My Bible First for the Sabbath School lessons so that will allow us to continue to learn the Bible chronologically, while focusing on character traits in our Circle Time/Morning devotions. While I was packing for our move I found my set of Ladder of Life books, including the teacher's guide, from when I was a kid. Of course mine look NOTHING like the ones on the website (imagine that, they've changed the cover & such in the past 25-30 years LOL) but I assume the content is the same. Mine are already colored, but I want to see how into it the girls get, using mine. If they express an interest in having their own books to color, we'll get them their own sets next time we visit my parents. I'm also going to start a "copywork" binder for each of them. I need to look at the teacher's guide abit more. I THINK there's a Bible text in the teacher's guide to go along with each story, if that's the case, we'll use those texts for our copy work. And the girls will keep all their copywork in their binders. I think it will be fun for them to see how their handwriting improves over time, and while they won't know what their writing enough to memorize the texts by copying them out now, it is a good habit to get into. We'll also use Circle time to work on memorizing the MBF memory verses for Sabbath school each week since the teacher at this Sabbath School actually asks the kids to memorize the memory verse (woo-hoo!!) but it will be a challenge for awhile since the Primary MBF memory verses are much longer than the Kindergarten Gracelink ones were. I've e-mailed a company (listed on the MBF site) about ordering a CD w/ the memoryverses set to music, so if we get that, we can work on learning the memory verse when we're in the car too, and I think setting it to music will help the girls learn it more quickly.

Science: Earlier this summer A expressed an interest in learning about the solar system, so for the next couple months we'll be studying one planet each week. For the last, I don't know how long, I've been checking Currclick each week and downloading their free product of the week (as well as downloading & collecting any other free online homeschool resources I can find) regardless of when/if I'll ever use them. So when A said she wanted to learn about the solar system I already had a pre-school level solar system unit study in my files. Since the solar system was A's choice, as we near the end of this unit study, I'll give L the option of choosing the next topic we study.

History: The girls have an interest in American History (thanks to Papa's encouraging them to learn the presidents in order, as the President Dollar Coins come out (so they can say the presidents in order through John Quincy Adams at this point). And they also enjoy the books we have on "what life was like in the olden days". And thanks to living in a historic part of the country, we've been to various "old fashion" "field trips" that they find interesting. BUT it's all bits and pieces that are hard to put into perspective w/o a comprehension of the chronology of it all. So, when Ann mentioned a FREE American History curriculum in her own curriculum planning for this year. I had to check it out LOL. This curriculum is designed for grades 2-6, so will require much adaptation, but it at least gives me some book suggestions and such. And I've been thrilled to see that the VAST MAJORITY of the resources used in this curriculum (at least for the first few months) are available from our local library. Some of the books are used repeatedly all year, so those books I'll get from the library initially, but if we like them, I'll probably buy them to not have to keep returning them & checking them back out. But it still should be a wonderfully inexpensive introduction to American History and get the girls the basic chronology of it all from a brief intro (or, if we used the curriculum as laid out, a very extensive intro, but this is an area that I feel they'd burn out on, so we'll do a brief intro and expand it if they show additional interest) to the Native Americans before the Europeans came over, and moving forward from there. This is where the fact that I haven't made it to the library yet is holding us up though LOL. So this week we will focus on going to the library TOMORROW (barring sickness, we WILL go tomorrow LOL) and getting a library card so that I can then reserve the books we need for the first few weeks, and hopefully get them by later this week or at the very least next Monday to start right in next week. Also this week, I'll talk over with them abit of what we'll be learning and we'll set up a timeline. I need to get out the measuring tape. I'm either going to set the timeline up down our upstairs hallway or around 2 walls of our schoolroom, whichever space seems to work better. I'm thinking I'll take a piece of yarn and string it up and then mark every 100 years and then we'll hang pieces of paper from the yarn to indicate the various things we learn about (columbus, etc). Once I see how much space we really have for each 100 year period, I might just do the timeline from the birth of Christ on, and then at a later time we can add a second piece of yarn above it to represent the first 2000 years of the earth's history.

So, to start us out, here are the resources we will at least get from the library and decide which work best for our needs (I'll continue adding to this list, and adding reviews of the products as we use them) throughout this school year):

Week 1 - 3
North American Indians by Marie & Douglas Gorsline
History Pockets - Native Americans
Draw Write Now Book 3
Wee Sing America
Children's Treasury of Virtues by William J Bennett

This Week's Wrap-up

This past week was dominated by VBS. But besides that, we DID learn finger knitting. The girls still struggle with it, but can kind of sort of do it. I think we'll skip the other variations of it for now & probably re-visit finger knitting as prep work for real knitting in a couple years.

We also almost finished our second time through the Read-and-learn Bible. We'll finish it up today or tomorrow, depending how today goes. And then we're going to start a new series for worship/Bible this week.

A decided we needed a goose crossing sign on our driveway so she made one. For some reason she wrote "Hand GEESE" on it (???) The girls did a good job of sticking big stick into the ground, bracing it w/ stones, by the driveway & I used a thumbtack to stick the sign to it, but even before the first rain caused the paper to fall apart (which I'd warned them about), the wind blew hard enough to tear the paper off the tack. So, one of our projects for this week is to make a new sign on cardboard & cover it w/ packing tape so it doesn't fall apart in the rain.

With the hot weather, and my efforts to straighten up the basement, we were inspired to get out the slip-n-slide (I took pictures, need to download them). The girls had a blast, but managed to pop the inflatable part at the bottom, so we'll have to see if it's patch-able or if they'll just have to use it w/o that "bumper" at the bottom.

I also, again with the basement organizing, had them take their bikes up to the storage unit. Our driveway is a steep hill and there's really no flat space (except where we park, and that's barely the size of our 2 cars) at the bottom, so realistically any bike riding is going to have to be elsewhere. There's a flat (though the pavement is broken up so it's bumpy) area in front of the barn at the top of the hill near the storage unit where they can ride in circles, so they walked their bikes up the hill (while I drove a load of other stuff up to the storage unit) and they rode bikes in front of the barn while I unloaded the minivan. Then we parked the bikes in the storage unit which has the double benefit of getting them out of my way in the basement AND since any bike riding will happen up there anyway (in front of the barn, or there's a flat section of road that goes on beyond our house) it means they won't have to walk the bikes up/down the steep driveway when they want to ride.

So, not much "school" but lots of outside play and of course the crafts & such every night at VBS.

One more Giveaway to mention . . .

Mommy Confessions is having a whole week of giveaways!

So far they're giving away:

A Trukids Healthy Habits pack

A Going Green Starter Kit from Greenfeet

Gift Certificate from Tick-a-Too

With lots more to come, I'll update this post as the week progresses.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

VBS Re-cap

Totally unrelated to this post, I just came downstairs to find L tying playsilks around one o

Well VBS is over for another year. Had a bit of a rocky start, but a good week.

Background: There are 2 SDA churches in our city, we'd attended one a month or so ago, then the 2nd one. Girls decided they liked the SS better at the second one, so that's the one we're attending. BUT the first one (HH) had, in their bulletin the week we were there, a note saying VBS would be this past week. As far as I can tell the church we're actually attending doesn't do VBS. So, I wasn't at church to hear announcements about it & such. Anyway . . . the website & the person dh asked about what time VBS started failed to mention that VBS was NOT AT THE CHURCH!!! It was in a community center building downtown (which made it a great outreach, but confused me abit). So we got to the church the first night & thankfully some other random people were at the church doing something else & were able to tell me where it was, and even find someone I could follow to get to the park (since telling me "the park at such & such intersection" meant NOTHING to me LOL). But after that confusion, things went well.

The girls were terribly shy all week, though by the end were starting to interact w/ the other kids in our group, but they had fun, so that's what counts.

The whole week of later than usual nights (& of course, they wouldn't sleep in to make up for it, sigh) has worn on them, and by the last part of the week their moods during the day was showing the lack of sleep. But they loved the crafts. They were only willing to participate in the "outdoor activity" one day, the parachute day, but were content to sit on the sideline & watch the rest of the time. And they LOVED the "robin & worm" game we played w/ the parachute. I've promised them that next time we see Mama & Papa or otherwise are in a situation w/ enough people to do it (need at least 4 adults (or more than 4 kids) to hold the parachute plus the 2 kids on/under the parachute) they can play it again (though it may not work AS well since our parachute isn't as big as this one was, but we can try (note to self, FIND PARACHUTE in the next week or two. I don't think I've unpacked it yet).

Snacks are always good thing. The Bible room was run by Mr. E who is the SS teacher for their age group at HH, and they were pretty nervous around him (from the time they were tiny they've been much slower to warm up to men, then women), but he kept teasing them abit each night & by the end they were actually willing to talk to him LOL.

The other station was an "outdoor skills" type thing (compass reading, knot tying, etc) and tended to be a tad over their heads, plus it was the last station for our rotation and the other kids were getting pretty restless by then so it was hard to get too much out of it over all the chaos, but I think the girls learned at least a tad about the various topics. Enough about compasses the first night that, when I was being frustrated trying to find my way through town to get there w/o following someone (& w/o going totally out of my way to go past the church and around, like I had the first night) they suggested that I needed a compass. Not really, but they at least learned that compasses help you find your way LOL.

At the end of each evening, they passed out a ziplock bag with about 3 single serving snack items (usually fruit (applesauce, etc), something sweet, and something salty), with a piece of paper w/ that night's memory verse. The girls thought that was the best thing EVAR since I tend to not do too much of the single serving junk food stuff. So they had a fun week food-wise as well. And how sweet is this? One night the salty snack was Doritos. The next morning A wanted to eat hers for breakfast & I said fine. L came down a few minutes later & was hungry so I suggested that she eat her Doritos too. But she said "no, she had promised to share hers with Daddy, so she wanted to save them till Daddy was home" awwwww . . .

Someone came up to dh in church this morning & gave us a copy of the DVD slideshow thingy from VBS (so apparently some people from our church are involved w/ it as well) because the girls were on it. The girls & I just watched it (twice) and there's a segment of the girls playing robin & worm, so if dh can help me figure out how to imbed that into a post here &/or take out still pictures, I'll do so. I checked the church website but they don't have pictures up yet, but I'll keep checking.

Craft idea I took away from it all . . . bubble paper. They mixed dishsoap, water & food coloring, put it in cups, gave the kids plain pieces of paper & straws and the kids would blow bubbles in the soap water until the bubbles raised up above the top of the cup, then put their paper on the bubbles to make some cool designs on the paper. It was easy, relatively low mess, and the end result is really cool.

Craft idea that was a good idea but . . . last night they made ice cream (put the milk/sugar/etc in a small ziplock, put it, along w/ ice & salt in a gallon ziplock, and shake until it turns into ice cream). Plus side, for me, it's something I've thought about trying for quite awhile, so it was nice to see how it all works w/o having to try it here only to have it not work or something. And it works well. BUT the majority of the kids were too young to really shake it enough to make ice cream (especially w/ the time crunch of needing to make it in time for the kids to also eat it before they needed to move on to the next thing). My hands HURT from holding such a cold bag long enough to shake the girls' up (and someone else helped, so I only shook the equivalent of one bag), if we do it here I'll make sure we have dishtowels to wrap them in so our hands don't get so cold, I think that bothered the girls (& alot of the kids) more then the shaking, itself). L only ate a few bites of hers. I think the combination of it being more ice milk than ice cream (based on the taste, that's my guess anyway, and perfectly understandable considering they were doing it for 100+ kids (busiest night was 101 kids, lowest was 81 kids))and I'm not sure she's ever had plain vanilla ice cream LOL (if we have vanilla we put fruit or chocolate sauce or something on it). But I told the girls we would do it sometime here at home and could make chocolate (for L) & strawberry (for A, thinking for that one I'll make vanilla & then stir strawberry jam into it after it's frozen). So, good idea, kids liked the ice cream, but I think my kids at least, didn't really feel like they DID anything.