Exploring our community

Submitted by Homeschool on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 11:11pm

The last couple of weeks have been very relaxed around here. We've been able to take our mornings slow and spend some long hours exploring our community. There have been hours spent in parks and the library. My kids both enjoy park adventures. We have taken long walks through rarely traversed areas of popular local parks while learning about the history of the area. I have been able to show my children my high school and college campuses. They have learned about their mom's history. Since we live in the community where their dad went to school, they often get to hear about his school and sports history. And since football season is starting, we will be spending many weekend days on Dad's college campus. Learning has been such an important part of our lives, I like being able to show our children how much we value our educations.

William has certainly inherited that love of learning. He is constantly asking questions and wanting to look up answers. I wish I could keep up with him. I hope he keeps this inquisitive nature and love of learning. This is one of the reasons we are choosing to homeschool. We want to give him that time to pursue his learning, which he does readily with minimal encouragement.

The biggest challenge for me in homeschooling him is going to be to protect the blocks of time that he is going to need to be a productive learner. With all that is available to homeschooling families in our area, I am finding that our time is filling up quickly. And with two children's schedules to manage, it sure gets busy. He will have two big blocks of self guided learning time to work at the desk across from his dad who works from home 3 days a week while I teach a class and attend a class with Eliana. I am grateful that he'll have this time with no one getting in his way. Obviously his dad works well that way, too. I'll have Eliana in daycare one morning by herself, so I'll have that time with William alone. The times that both children are home, she is going to learn a lot, too. William is a great teacher, helping her learn to ride her bike and coaching her to play games that are way above her level. She has grown leaps and bounds this summer.

I have learned so much about my kids this summer, I am thankful that I don't have to send them off to a stranger who doesn't know how they learn best, what they already know, and what motivates them. I am thankful that we get to continue tomorrow right were we left off today.

More things I say...

Submitted by Eliana on Tue, 08/09/2011 - 4:42pm

After sticking J96B3IE on the side of the tub with foam letters: "That spells 'lullaby.'"

Pulling up to the cash machine at the bank's drive-thru: "I don't want cash! I want stickers!"

While sharing a Shirley Temple with my cousin Lauren after Great-grandma Richard's funeral, Mommy said, "Eliana's in heaven right now." I said: "What???"

In the library book store, excitedly holding up a steamy romance novel with an amorous couple on the cover: "Look, Momma! My first chapter book!"

When the cat returned from getting shots at the vet: "Did her get a band-aid?"

Puppy points \Estonia \Answer:

Submitted by William on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 6:54pm

Puppy points: We started puppy points to get a puppy. We have to get 1000. We're at 110! We earn puppy points by doing jobs and good behavior.

Puppy points chart

The end that's a true story

Estonia: Estonia is a cat. When Estonia curls up, she looks like a stone. That's why her name is E-STONE-ia.

Getting comfortable

Answer for yesterday's question: Clothespin.

Summer "school"

Submitted by Homeschool on Fri, 07/22/2011 - 2:36pm

This summer has been a blast! William has been really busy. Electronics Camp was the highlight of last week. This week we started swimming lessons. Next Tuesday he'll have his last piano lesson for the summer. And soccer ended last week already! Our homeschool park days will continue and hopefully we'll be able to make it to more of them as our activites gradually end. We've started scheduling our own play dates with one family who has children my kids' ages. That's been really nice as they tend to socialize more in a smaller group.

We've revived our use of the website http://www.bookadventure.com/ now that Accelerated Reader will not be available to us. The site has an amazing number of reading comprehension quizzes. It keeps track of the child's score and they offer some incentives or you can come up with your own. We will probably go out for ice cream when he reaches 1,000 points.

This morning we didn't have any activities planned. It was lovely to sleep in and let William go ahead and watch cartoons if he wanted. Well, he didn't (and he often makes a different choice.) This morning when I got up he had written an amazing silly story and created a talking fish by adapting ideas found in a craft book we checked out at the library. For more details on these projects, check out William's blog post today. I was very proud of him for correcting some of his own spelling (he looked in books to find out how to spell "said" when he couldn't remember.) He also used his problem solving skills when he realized his tape was on time out (because it didn't get put away) and he needed some for his project. He took a piece from another project and reused it! I should sleep in more often ;)

My story/My squirrel, Talented/My magic fish

Submitted by William on Fri, 07/22/2011 - 2:16pm

My story:

Once there was a old old old lady (that was already dead.) One day, it was raining from the sun. "Let's go play in the snow," said the old old old lady. So they jumped happily in a pile of leaves.
The end. That is a false story.

My squirrel talented:

Talented squirrel
I'm not gonna move!

I have a squirrel named Talented. It can jump up from the railing of the deck to the bird feeder hanging from our roof. He can also hang upside down from our bird feeder. One day he put on a bird food eating show where he just hung upside down and grabbed bird food and ate it. But then Mom banged on the window and he jumped down and jumped back up. He really is talented, huh? The end. That is a true story.

My magic fish:

Talking fish in action

My magic fish is magic and I'm not going to tell anybody how it works. You have to guess. It talks in a deep voice. He sometimes repeats people because he likes to. The end. That is a true story.

Fun with music

Submitted by Homeschool on Sat, 07/09/2011 - 12:45am

One of our favorite school subjects is music. An entertaining addition to our homeschooling adventure this week has been karaoke! I found a fun, free website where you can do karaoke on your home computer. The words scroll across the screen... great for reading fluency! And you earn a score based on how well you hit the notes (learning numbers into the thousands place). It even shows if you are singing too high or too low. I've already noticed an improvement in William's singing. There are tutorials that teach good technique for breathing and posture. We invested in a cool rock star microphone that was shipped today! Hopefully it will make better recordings, which are great for critiquing your own articulation and performance. It should be a good confidence builder. Not to mention, it's a ton of fun!

Things I Say...

Submitted by Eliana on Thu, 07/07/2011 - 11:48am

Mama, can we play water balloons? (looking up at the hot air balloon water tower)
Feed the world, ducklings in a bag. (changing the lyrics of Feed the Birds)
What's that under your drawers? (pointing to Mommy's dresser)
I am wearing my sleeping crown.
Mommy, when you grow up, you will be strong and wise like my daddy.

(I may add to this post as I think of more cute and funny things to say.)

Prayer corner

Submitted by Homeschool on Wed, 07/06/2011 - 11:42am

This morning we created a prayer corner in our home. When we first brought up the idea of homeschooling with William, he was resistant not because he would miss his friends but because we didn't have a little chapel area. He went on to explain in detail their little alter space in their classroom. Well, sheesh, I said, we can create an alter! So this morning we dug out a little side table we've had put away for a few years. The kids helped decorate it with all those lace doilies we got for our wedding 14 years ago that have been in the hall cabinet. They would've entirely covered those with candles if I hadn't drawn the line at 5. We also added a cross and an angel. On the shelves next to the table are bibles, devotional books, and bible stories. And I almost forgot the best part - the candle snuffer! If I could just remember where that came from... The kids were really excited to try out our new space. Mommy got to light the candles. We flipped open our children's bible and it came to the story of Joseph. Then we did a little devotional about trusting God's word. After a short prayer, it was time to put out the candles!!! I look forward to having this spot for the kids to go spend their own quiet time with the bible. I might just use it myself.

I've prepared some other spaces around the house for homeschooling. I put together a more organized storage system for writing tools and art supplies, which was much needed. And last weekend I finished cleaning up my neglected desk area downstairs so William can work by Dad when I have to teach.

We're having a lot of fun on our homeschool adventure. Time to get ready to go to the library. We are out of A to Z mysteries!


Submitted by Homeschool on Tue, 06/28/2011 - 10:14pm

This homeschooling decision is definitely changing the landscape for our family life next year. Every time I think I know what things will look like for us in the fall, something else changes... my own work schedule, our decisions for Eliana's schooling, opportunities for homeschooling activities, you name it! But it is exciting and really seems to be falling into place amazingly well. Although I hesitate to say that, since it's still early in the summer.

I was excited yesterday to get to Target and see that their summer workbooks had made it to the dollar spot and William was with me! I showed him half a dozen that he said looked interesting and he would like. They will be good for practice and for spinning off with other ideas. He's already done a science experiment in one of the books.

We also made a trip to the craft store the other day for more pipe cleaners (we have a caterpillar infestation at our house) and googly eyes. Now the caterpillars are super cute.

And the pipe cleaners are becoming all sorts of other great creations (I have drawn the line on caterpillars.) We have stag beetles, crowns, a comb, and my favorite: a black puppy!

We are on a puzzle kick as well. The three-year-old thinks it's really great to do 100-piece puzzles,

especially if they have pictures of fairies or princesses, although she still needs a lot of help (great for big brother.) The six-year-old asked for a 500-piece world map puzzle at the craft store... like I could say no to that! It's a Melissa and Doug puzzle and an excellent learning tool. I even got it for half price! So I guess we're doing a world geography unit! One of the Target dollar spot workbooks is also on World Countries. And our library's summer reading program is One World, Many Stories. See how the planning is happening without me even trying? I love it!

Fun weekend

Submitted by Eliana on Tue, 06/28/2011 - 7:38pm

This weekend we went to the parade! I got lots of candy, tatoos, and a slinky. I was really excited to see the horses. But my favorite thing was dancing along with the marching bands.

The next day we went to my mommy's cousin's wedding. There were lots of babies there! It was really fun. I wore nail polish and my tatoos from the parade. I got lots of compliments!

Then we went to the lake. It was chilly and the water was so deep! After I begged to have my swimsuit on, I decided I didn't really want to swim after all. William had lots of fun, though.

Another exciting thing at our house is the bird's nest by our front door. The birds are always singing. Yesterday mommy held the camera up to take a picture so we could see how many eggs there were. There are 5! I hope we get to see the baby chicks when they hatch!