Animal Habitat and Rain Forest Ride

Submitted by William on Sat, 02/18/2012 - 3:22pm

Animal Habitat: I started off with my animal habitat. I even more started off by getting the ceramic animals from Henley. (Henley is my friend Haskell's sister.) I even MORE started off by making a collection of junk I used to build stuff. Surprisingly, only the things to make the trees, except the tape and the cotton string, were in my collection. It's kind of like the board was in my collection. Grandpa Ron let me have it and I put a bunch of stickers on it, but then I took them off to make my animal habitat. (A long time after I put the stickers on it. Not right away.)

Animal Habitat

Rain Forest Ride: It's a big track that goes through the animal habitat (which is a rain forest).

Rain Forest Ride

In the picture, you can't see the turn, but there is one. It makes the cars go on a wall. (Not literally.)

The turn

It starts with a shark car. Then the shark car triggers a race car. Then the race car goes through the animal habitat.

King car

Then it triggers the king car. The king car goes around the turn and the track ends up almost where it started.

P.S. I put a valentine in the koala's tree from the horse and it says, "I love you.
The end. That is a true story.

Coming up for air

Submitted by Sara on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 3:42pm

The stress of getting everything ready for trivia, the adrenaline of a 50-hour trivia marathon, the clean-up, and the recovery is behind us for the most part. I feel like I can breathe again. I've had my Thursday, my favorite day of the week, the day the kids and I have NOTHING on the calendar. And a bonus today with nothing but Book Club for me :) I'm breathing normally again.

Admiring our Valentine flowers - girls' gift to ourselves and William's red rose from his Valentine

Somewhere in there was Valentine's Day. I hope everyone had a happy one. We had some fun with day-after deals. At the grocery store, there was a giant balloon with a bag of candy for 99 cents! Eliana promptly dropped it and the balloon came detached, floating up to the ceiling. A lady looking at the last one was kind enough to give it to Eliana, so we were spared too many tears. Then, as we walked past another display, we notice a bundle of a half-dozen small heart balloons WITH candy for the same price! We hurried them over to the kind lady and told her she needed to have them. Everyone left happy!

Dress-up fun at trivia

Fun at trivia

Trivia is getting to be more fun. The kids are old enough to entertain themselves without causing much trouble. They were still singing Veggie Tales songs today after all the cartoons they watched. The kids and I came home each night so they could sleep. I played from my computer at home, which is not the same, but very do-able thanks to Darren's programming skills. It was worth coming home because William was well rested for his piano festival on Saturday. (He got a Superior rating for the second year in a row. We are very proud!) We also had homeschool co-op on Monday, which I teach, so we couldn't sleep in on Monday.

Cake decorating Level 1 class 2 of 4

I took a break from trivia on Sunday for my cake decorating class. Two and a half hours of squishing frosting is tiring even with a good night's sleep, but it was a blast and just the change of pace that I needed. After picking up the dog from the kennel, I headed home to print out t-shirt transfers, then my mom and I spent the last hour of the contest ironing them onto shirts. They turned out excellent and were a nice consolation prize for our 5th place finish. No trophy or gift box this year, but we did earn a mention in the newspaper - they don't list all 67 teams. Go Pull-start Diesel!

Spike Bug

Submitted by William on Tue, 01/24/2012 - 12:00pm

I made a pentominos collosus. I named it Spike Bug. It took up 165 square inches! Spike Bug is made with all of the pentominos!

pentomino spike bug

I did geometry, like area, perimeter, counting sides, and I made two ways to make a big shape out of three pentominos. Pentominos are fun!

The end. That is a true story.

[Editor's note: William is graduating to photo editing. Watch for more pictures in future blog posts.]


Submitted by Eliana on Mon, 01/23/2012 - 5:45pm

I love Ballerina! I love Abi and Faith! I hope you see my movie.

"The teacher let me be the leader, since I am four!"


Mon, 01/23/2012 - 6:34pm

Such pretty dancing, Ellie Belly! You make such a great ballerina; good job 4-year-old! Jackie says "Ellie!"

Reaffirming the decision

Submitted by Homeschool on Sat, 01/21/2012 - 10:49pm

Have you ever felt really convicted that you're doing the right thing? It's a great feeling! This week we have had some conversations with professionals about William and it has been a really important affirmation to us that we are on the right track with homeschooling. We always knew he was a unique kid and felt he would be a good candidate for homeschool. First grade was a real turning point. Preschool and kindergarten are taught much more in the way that he learns best, so I'm glad he got that school experience. And first grade was a good experience in a different way. He knows what school is like and we know that it wasn't a fit for him. At home he is able to delve into his interests and increase his skills at his own pace. He can focus much better because we can control the environment. He has more time to build friendships that are meaningful based on shared interests.

This was a week of particular distractibility, maybe because it was so chilly and we had some cabin fever. Wednesday I came home from teaching my morning class and, instead of accomplishing the work I'd assigned him, he had spent his time reading a science book to find an experiment he wanted to do. The book was set aside and he was able to complete the experiment on Friday, when his work was finished. He made a working stethoscope. I guess I can't complain too much about the things that distract him.

Instead of the stethoscope experiment, on Thursday Eliana taught us how to do an experiment she learned at daycare. We put a water-filled balloon (with a little air, too) outside in the sub-zero temperatures and made a beautiful ice candle holder. It was a lovely addition to our dinner table that night and another fun experiment watching it melt.

Also on Thursday, we picked up and went to the trampoline park on a whim. I love that we can do what is needed to combat the winter blues and not be stuck "indoors" on cold days. Let me tell you, it felt wonderful to jump! I highly recommend it.

What really feels good is knowing we can settle in for the long haul with this homeschooling thing. We've been steadily finding our way and I'm now convinced we'll be at it for another couple years at least. I am already looking forward to having more one-on-one time with William when Eliana is off at preschool four days a week next year. Remind me to carve out plenty of one-on-one time with her, too. On the other hand, I'm sure she will remind me in her own way :)

Homeschool Saturday Morning

Submitted by Homeschool on Sat, 01/14/2012 - 11:26am

Here is Saturday morning hanging out in our pjs at home:

We had an opportunity to practice respectfully addressing your parents when Eliana asked Sara if she could paint. We have now escalated from "I like it when you call me Mom. It's a special name only you and your brother can call me," to "Sara can't give you permission to paint, but Mom can." She has been very persistent in this stage which isn't really surprising for my strong willed girl.

While Eliana was painting, William was creating a math game. My challenge: Which is greater 1/2 or 3/4? I got the answer correct!

Now William is painting a cover for a book he wants to write entitled "Aron's Colorful Pterodactyl."

Some days I wonder why I ever bother planning lessons.

Registration time!

Submitted by Homeschool on Wed, 01/11/2012 - 10:24am

I'm discovering another homeschool benefit that would have come in especially handy in the past few years with William. Having an August birthday, school registration season has always been a difficult time of year for us to decide what to do with him. Now we are going through it all again with Eliana. Last year at this time we registered her for preschool. We later decided to wait another year. Now it's registration time again. I need to decide where to send her and which class to register for and then hope I am happy with my choice 9 months later! It sure is easier to default to homeschooling. But she will be registered for preschool. I firmly believe in giving my kids a few years of school to see if it's a good fit for them. As the saying goes, all I really need to know I learned in kindergarten. I'm thankful for William's school experiences. He just told me today about the time in first grade when he tried to sharpen his eraser. He can really appreciate what school has to offer versus homeschooling and so can I.

Birthday girl

Submitted by Sara on Sun, 01/08/2012 - 11:08pm

Our birthday girl had a wonderful fourth birthday that was a long time in coming if you asked her. The countdown took forever. Now that she has reached this big milestone, she gets to dictate her own blog entries. Since it is past her bedtime, I posted a few photos of her birthday. My latest artistic endeavor was the princess cake. It was a lot of fun to make and big hit with the birthday girl!

After the birthday girl was instructed not to play with the doll while she was still in the cake (notice the inspirational drawing)

Happy New Year!

Submitted by Sara on Mon, 01/02/2012 - 5:19pm

The Year of the Dragon

William informed me that 2012 is the year of the dragon. I unintentionally had the perfect picture in the photo album already. And so far this year is shaping up to be a dragon of a year. Life shows no sign of slowing. We've enjoyed two wedding celebrations already in 2012 and are preparing to get back into a typical busy week followed by a fourth birthday! It should be fun! I doubt there will be any more sketching in my near future.

Advertisement: William's Dresser Sale

Submitted by William on Wed, 12/21/2011 - 1:57pm

William's Dresser Sale (or W. D. S.) is a pretty good place to buy stuff for Christmas.

There is a dollar section. So far there are three things in the dollar section.

There are coupons. They're worth $30 - 39, but they cost only $7.95! Good deal, huh?

There's a baby toy and other cool toys.

There's a bee box (that looks like a bee). A sign above it says, "Good for your honey!" Under its wing says, "Where's my honey?"

It's open! Come to William's Dresser Sale! It's open from 3:00 - 4:30pm. You can call for an appointment, too (or to order). Free gift for the first customer!

Eagle pulling hair at the W.D.S. check-out