Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Zane & Zoe battle for the ball in scrimmage

Many happenings going on. First, our home church has officially split into 2. This is a good thing meaning that we had grown so much that we needed to divide into 2 groups :) Adam & I will be leading with 2 of our long time friends & senior leaders, Adam & Dawn. It is super exciting for us to be home church leaders for the first time accompanied with a dash of scary thrown in . Along with our leadership roles Adam & I both have leadership classes to take ( & Pass :). I am in Christian Ministry 1 right now, which Adam has already taken. Then we will have 4 more that we will conquer together. LOVE my class ! The teacher rocks and 3 hours passes rather quickly. And lots of LOVE to my super awesome husband who gets the kids shuffled around to soccer Sat. morning . Let me just say this also.... we are so blessed to have SO many wonderful people God has put into our lives to be able to make it possible for us take on this leadership role. It is so true that with Christ ALL things are possible. And he uses the church body in a powerful way to get his work done. NO WAY we could do this balancing act on our own power. NONE ! It is truly an act of God every day!
Soccer is in full swing ! Zane & Zoe officially started their games this week. God was merciful with the soccer schedule. It has been neatly placed MWF, Sat which will not interfere with other commitments. And of course I am ever thankful for the use of the very close playground for the younger 2 although we have already had reported incidents of play ground potty mouth and West Side Story rumbles going on in which my children are the leaders :)
School is slowly rolling on. The older 2 have OAA testing next week and are mortified that I would make them take practice OAA's this week :) when really this is to ease my own selfish motherly worries about testing .Carson & I will be starting to put together his portfolio for the year soon, just waiting to wrap a few more things up . 2 more weeks of Co op and one more scheduled field trip. So, things are winding down in that arena.
Can't wait for summer! Lots of fun and exciting things to look forward to:)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunshine !!!!

We have had beautiful weather this week and have totally taken advantage of being able to get out during the day ! With the time change and the extra activity our week has flown by. I am definitely getting the end of the school year syndrome. I keep looking at our curriculum and counting how many lessons we have to go to finish or in some cases where a good ending point would be to start up next fall.
Another realization has kicked in though. One that is not going to be popular :) Everyone is at a critical point in math. Carson is mastering multiplication, Zane will be starting Algebra in HS & Zoe has some catching up to do . So..... we will be having some math this summer & reading. Nothing heavy but I would hate to drop everything for 3 months. I'd rather start the fall being ahead in both subjects.
Zane had his first HS information meeting this week. I'm really glad we went because he had kept telling us it was pointless and that he had already made up his mind. Well.... that may not be the case now.He has the choice between 2 local HS because of the way the 2 districts overlap. Both have a different set-up. One is a traditional HS and one is a STEM school. The meeting for the other HS is next Friday. At that point we will way the pros & cons of both & PRAY. I can't believe we are going to have a freshman in HS and kindergartener next year . OY!!!!
The other 3 will still be at home. I've already been planning for that in my head :) But I know 1 thing for sure and that is that we will not being doing the online school. I'm glad we tried it but it's just not for us.
Here's some of the fun this week......

above....animal classification, dissecting owl pellet

below.... dinosaur fossils out of salt dough for Magic Tree House Club

trying to coordinate jumping off swings at the same time


Thursday, March 8, 2012

We have not fallen off the face of the earth !

peanut butter playdough using extra robot cake parts :)

Finally, a chance to sit down & update the happenings of homeschool from the last couple months. They seem like a complete blur and quite frankly the thought of trying to sit down & cover everything is sooo overwhelming that I have just been deciding not too :) But I can do a somewhat brief overview.
Zane & Zoe started an online program in January. I thought this would give them the challenge and freedom from me that they were looking for. Learning the system and starting a new curriculum was surely a challenge for us all but don't think for a moment when things got tough and the words " mom, we should've stuck with you . Your stuff was more fun ! " were uttered from their lips that I didn't delight in every second ( okay probably more like millisecond ) ! They are pretty much independent now just needing help & the occasional kick in pants to get things done :)

Carson ,Vania & I have been winging it and having fun!
For Carson we did a robot study & dolphin study using unit studies by Amanda Bennett. Now we are going through the Core Knowledge series , What A Third Grader Needs to Know and covering various science topics, working on writing , geography and anything else we can fit in before the end of the year. Carson is still using the same math curriculum Teaching Textbooks 3 and learning multiplication. We switched up language arts, so now he is using Language Lessons For The Well Trained Mind level 3 for grammar. For reading we are doing the Magic Tree House Club ( free ) from the site Currclick. Last but not least we will finish up ancient history, using the book Story of Our World, covering Rome.

For miss V we are just keeping it light. She did her own robot & ocean study using preschool packs from the site 1+1+1. New things since January include....writing her last name & memorizing her address & phone number. So we just do whatever we can think of, read & play on abcmouse.com alot. She is definitely ready for kindergarten work , but no rush :)

We are also back in co-op, which we LOVE. Carson is taking gym, nature enrichment & weather. Vania is taking geography , music and a story book class. The older 2 opted out this time because they would still need to work on their assignments online that day. So we miss them :(

Other than that the older kids start soccer at the end of the month . Yeah!!! By the time winter is over I am ready to see them come out of hibernation !

The weather here is CRAZY & we get out enjoy the nicer days as much as we can. I 'm counting the days until summer . Never thought I would say it , but really considering a trampoline to set them loose on when cabin fever is just too much :)

Carson's robot from recycling

Robot Day at COSI

our robot cake

Thursday, December 22, 2011

That's A Wrap

Vania's " I Spy " Cookies
Can you find the cookie in the mound of sprinkles ?

Lots of little stuff to wrap up for Greece /human body unit. Not a lot of Greece activities going on these last couple weeks but lots of little science experiments. As you can imagine the human body study could go on for infinite. But i was trying to at least give them a brief overview of the major body systems with a few experiments to demonstrate how each work.

For the digestive system we did 2 experiments. First we took 2 clear jars and filled them with warm water. Next we added a TBSP of vegetable oil to each. In one jar we then added a few drops of dish liquid. Then stirred each. This was to demonstrate how our stomach acid breaks down food. Of course the one with just oil broke up into larger drops of oil. But the one with dish liquid broke the oil up into tiny particles and made the water cloudy.

Next we took a balloon, vegetable oil and a piece of bread to demonstrate how the esophagus moves food down to the stomach. That is the picture above :) We cut off the bottom of the balloon then coated the inside with vegetable oil. Next, we took a piece of bread and made it into a ball with our hands and put it into the mouth of the balloon. The goal was to work the ball of bread through the balloon to the end demonstrating peristalsis.

The Respiratory system was next on the list. They had a contest to see who could hold their breath the longest. Zane won at 1 minute . I also showed them how to count respirations using a stethescope before and after running up and down the stairs ( thanks Vania & Carson for volunteering ). We went over what a normal respiration rate was and why it was different for small children verses and adult.

The other picture above is Carson spreading honey on an index card. The honey is to demonstrate the mucus that lines our noses. Each kid took a card covered in honey and placed them around the house to collect particles of dust etc for a week. The objective being to see how the hairs and mucus in our nose help to filter the air we breathe in. We learned a valuable lesson with this one. Always let dad know what is a science experiment :) Within a week he had randomly discovered all 4 cards of honey in unexpected spots after throwing things on top ofthem i.e. groceries. The first one, hidden under the clock on the piano, he exclaimed "WHAT IS THIS !"Sounding as if he just discovered another bowl of food in the kids bedroom. " WAIT!....NOOOOOO it's for science ! " I yelled as I realized from the other room what he was talking about. I should've right then pointed out the other 3. But no...they were surprises too:)

We did a few Nervous system experiments but by this time winter break fever had set in so no pics. The best and simplest one was finding out which eye was our dominate eye. We took a sheet of paper and put a black dot the size of a quarter in the middle of it. Then stood back, stretched our arms out & formed a picture frame using our hands around the dot . Then you alternate closing your left and right eye. Whichever eye you can still see the dot in the frame with is your dominate eye. I think we were all left eye dominant. They all said they could see it with both eyes until we narrowed the frame down to just a peep hole.

To finish up before break we made 72 Christmas cookies to pass out to our neighbors. They had made Christmas cards the week before so we added these to our plates of cookies . It happened to be 60 degrees that day so Vania & Carson walked around and delivered the cookies in their wagon. Super cute. The coolest thing was for them to see how appreciative the neighbors were of their unexpected cookie delivery :) Never hurts to spread some Christmas cheer !

Lastly, I did manage to squeeze a little review of the body in with the Name That Organ Bingo. I've pretty much discovered that anytime candy is involved it motivates them. Isn't chocolate supposed to stimulate the brain ?

Well that's a wrap ! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Greece Week 4 & 5

Yep, I'm behind again so this will be a quick overview of some of the things we've done in the last 2 weeks. If I don't get busy on this post I will be combining 3 weeks :)

This is what Calcium depletion does to your bones. This is the bone experiment we started in week 3. We soaked a chicken bone in Vinegar for 8 days. After 8 days the chicken bone was squishy & easy to bend. Kinda freaky :) A great lesson to refer to when the kids don't want to finish their milk.

I bought 2 bunches of asparagus to try as another example of Greek food. Not well received as you can see from the picture. I ended up eating both bunches for lunch last week. Good thing I like asparagus .

Each kid made a bowl or cup out of red clay to demonstrate how the Greeks made pottery. After they dried a couple days we sprayed them with a glossy finish. Now they adorn the top of my kitchen pantry out of harms way. I love to look around the house and see the projects we've worked on :)

We've added a "Christmas " day to our week where we talk about the history of Christmas and do some fun holiday stuff. I look forward to this day of the week. Especially with all the hustle & bustle it's nice to have some scheduled down time to enjoy the holiday. Last week we made hot cocoa mixes and put together a Christmas package for our pen pal in Rwanda.

Only one more week of regular scheduled school time and then we will take a break until the new year. Change is on the horizon & schooling will be a little different for the new year. I have found that trying to meet all 4 of their individual needs/wants has not been successful with the unit study approach. The older 2 want to be more independent & the younger 2 need more of my undivided attention. So, it is in the works to make that happen. Divide & conquer :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Greece Week 3

Wow, last week was a blur due the holiday ! I had to look at the pictures we took to remember what we packed into MTW.

See this gross disgusting "thing/things " growing in this jar ? That was from our smelly feet project we did week 2. Originally we were supposed to see results in 4 days. We let it fester twice that and got some rather yucky results. Now every time I see their smelly feet on my countertops I remind them of this experiment :)Zoe was the winner,that blob up front. I wish we had a microscope!

We started going over the skeleton system, demonstrating the strength of the hard outer part of the bone using a toilet paper roll & talking about what makes up the softer inner part of the bone.

These are our cool skeletons which took a little bit of work. The ribs were a little time consuming but it was definitely a cool demonstration of the major bones of the body.

This is an ongoing chicken bone experiment. We are to soak a chicken bone in vinegar for 8 days. Changing the vinegar every couple days. The vinegar reacts with calcium in the bone. With Calcium loss after 8 days we are going to see if our chicken bone is bendable.

Moving on to Greece........We dressed up Greek style. Zane was not at all interested in this :) The girls used our shear curtains & Carson our bedsheets. It was like a moment from Sound of Music when Julie Andrews uses the curtains in her bedroom to make play clothes for the kids. Carson wore his all day. Vania tried until it came undone in her booster seat :) Zoe complained about the fabric itching so hers immediately came off after I "made" her take a picture.

Lastly, we made necklaces using copper wire & small stones to go with our Greek clothing.

That's our weekly wrap up. On to week 4 !

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Greece Week 2

It seems that I only post about the projects we do for history & science. But that's not all we do .For math we use Teaching Textbooks a program on CD with a workbook. Zane & Zoe prefer the workbook. I have Carson do his on the computer.

Language Arts is covered using the literature we are reading at the time. Right now we are reading Aesop's Fables , parables from the bible + lots of books on Greece /human body from the library. Next up for this unit we will be reading Classic Myths To Read Aloud.

Learning Adventures has student pages for purchase that cover language arts activities for the units which Zane & Zoe use. For Carson I supplement activities for his age as closely as I can to what the older kids are working on. The only huge difference is Carson has his own spelling list & spelling activities + I work on his reading by having him read aloud to me.

They all use Rosetta Stone French I. Zane & Zoe can do this totally independently. I usually sit with Carson for moral support and to keep his clicking ( before thinking through the answer )under control :)

Her's a little of what we did this week.....

We learned about the muscular system & what stretching does for your muscles. The kids sat in a chair with their backs straight and feet planted on the ground, arms folded and tried to stand up. They could only do it if they bent forward which changed their center of gravity.

We talked about the circulatory system and I taught them how to take a person's pulse . Then we recorded their pulses before & after running up & down the stairs. They also mixed up some fake blood.

For history we read about Pandora's box , then made our own. Once we made our boxes we wrote down things we would like to get rid of to put in the box. It was suggested I put Wii & X Box in mine :) And I did.

Also in history we talked about Greek houses and how they created mosaics using 4 sided shapes to decorate floors etc. Then they made their own from construction paper. Unfortunately, I decided to laminate them to try to keep them from falling apart and it made them a little dull looking.

Last week ended the fall co op session and this week they had a showcase to show off all they've been working on. An estimated 150 kids were part of this particular co op this session. Awesome!

Zoe's choir performance

Carson's recorder performance

Zane & Vania did not have performances but displayed some of the work they did in class.

Zane's Civil War Class

Vania's Geography & Culture Class

Short week next week ! Have a Happy Thanksgiving :)