Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chicks and Bunnies

For nature Wednesday a few weeks ago, we went to the Animal Shelter where our dogaphobic little girl fell in love with a friendly little handicapped puppy. It had a broken leg, and was being cared for by the staff there. Adrie begged and begged for days to take that puppy home. I still haven't heard the end of it.

This week we went to IFA to see the chicks and bunnies. The staff was so friendly. They took out the bunnies to let the kids touch them and told them some fun facts about chicks.
Like how those chicks will grow up to lay eggs in 6-8 weeks! Wow!
And the dark brown chicks will lay green eggs. The yellow ones will lay brown eggs.
They'll lay about one egg a day and those eggs will be much healthier and tastier than the hormone filled ones you buy at the store. Hmmm.
They brought out a package of marshmallow Peeps for each of my kids! What a happy fieldtrip!

If I had to have a pet, I'd choose chickens over a dog. Until then, I'm looking into buying farm fresh eggs.

As it is Easter week, we read another one of our favorite holiday stories. The Country Bunny
If you want an easter story that you and your kids will LOVE. Read this book. It has a beautiful a message that kids and adults will relate to and remember.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Egg Tree

We've had a few changes this semester with homeschool. First of all, Brynn left us and joined our local elementary school. She's in Mrs. Crane's 2nd grade class. Her begggging to go to "real" school started way back in September (which is weird because we've had so much fun here:) But, we gave it a few months and she persisted and I felt good about her going back too. She fit right in and made a host of instant friends because she's like that. Even though her days are much longer, she says she's glad to be in public school.

Having only Adrie the kindergartner at home has had it's plusses. We've had a good time one on one, with a lot of Cannon, in the way. It has been way more relaxed at home. Isn't kindergarten supposed to be fun? Adrie is a pretty proficient reader for her age and we still keep that up. We've been reading stories and doing activites from the Children's Book of Virtues. She has been doing k12 online math. We've been learning French together every week and I've started teaching Adrie the basics of violin. That's pretty much our curriculum with some shopping trips, playdates, rollerblading, and cleaning in the mix.

Despite all these changes, one thing that has remained is Art Day, Friday, we read The Egg Tree, and then made our own. The girls' (we invite our neighbor over for this) had a fun morning dying eggs to hang on our tree outside. Turned out our little apple tree was good for something after all. We took the eggs off and ate them for lunch.

In past weeks we've done finger painting and string art. We made houses out of styrofoam block and painted them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Week One

Away with the school schedule! The next 2 weeks we are having Christmas fun every day. We always look forward to this part of our homeschool year. We sat down on Monday with some idea books and wrote out all the things we wanted to do to lead us up to Christmas.

Made caramel apples. What do these have to do with Christmas? I don't know, but the girls really wanted to make them and EAT them. This is usually our Art Day. We looked at a few different artists' renditions of Madonna and Child from a book I have had since high school about the Prado museum.
We read "The Night Before Christmas." Wouldn't it be cool to memorize this?? I thought that last year and we attempted it--even got a few stanzas in. This year I thought the girls could use a little motivation and it worked. They earned a mini candy for each stanza memorized. Happy Hanukkah! We learned a little about what Jews believe, the Menorah and the miracle of the candle burning in the temple for 8 days. We played dreidel which is really fun, and would have sang songs, but we didn't know any!
We made up our own (sung to the tune of "Happy Holidays").
Happy Hanukkah (echo) Happy Hanukkah
repeat repeat
May your Menorah lights keep burning
Happy Hanukkah to you.
Ha Ha! I hope that's not sacriligious....

Made "Christingles."
Read "The Cat in the Manger."
Went to a local production of The Nutcracker.

Decorated Christmas tree cakes.
Read "The Elves and the Shoemaker."
7 more days to go!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Elfettes and Boggle

We are wrapping up our last week of "school" before the much anticipated Christmas break.
Today was one of those perfect school days--the kind I like to post. Why was it good? Maybe it was because we had a fellow school friend over for the day while her parents were away. This made school seem extra special AND there was no complaining! Strength in numbers!

We covered phonics, spelling, and handwriting with several rounds of Boggle--2nd grade style. That means 2 letter words were acceptable and proper names like Zed.

For math we had an introduction to multiplication. This is totally silly but it worked. We pretended I was Mrs. Claus and the girls were my "elf-ettes." Everyone knows that regular elves build toys but what do elf-ettes do? They help Mrs. Claus bake cookies. Afterall that is the diet secret that has kept Santa going strong for years.
Using blocks for cookies, and uno cards for cookie sheets Mrs. Claus gave instructions by writing on the dry-erase board.
that meant make 3 groups of 3 or put 3 cookies on 3 different cookie sheets.
how many altogether? 9
so, 3x3=9
then it was 6x4= and so on, etc, etc.
The more ridiculous the scenario the more likely the more likely they'll remember the least that's the hope I'm clinging to.

In between lessons they had breaks, cleaned rooms, did jobs, music practicing etc.

We had lunch in Spanish, reviewing food and colors.

In the afternoon we had quiet reading time--my favorite!!

In and around all that I somehow got the kitchen cleaned, living room vacuumed, floor swept, 2 loads of laundry, 3 French lessons, and this blog post! I guess this is one of those rare "Superwoman" days and the kind I definitely like to post to buoy me up on those "Slackerwoman" days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Kate is in 4th grade, going to public school for her first time since Kindergarten. The change was good for everyone. I never have to tell her to do her homework. In fact, I'm hardly involved at all. She is her own self-monitor; doing her homework, projects, logging her reading chart, and bringing me the occasional paper to sign or fee to pay... I dont' know why she was nervous to go to parent teacher conferences. Her teacher told me she has all A's and H's, is a wonderful student and artist, and is kind and sensitive to others. Then she gave her a candy to take home.
We went to the book fair after where she chose a cute little after school snack recipe book.

Brynn and Adrie wanted to hear all about it when we got home. "Do we get to have parent teacher conferences?" they asked. I think it was the candy they were after. Anyway we decided to go with it. Kate pretended to be their mom and she brought Brynn to the table where I, the teacher had laid out some of the things Brynn's been working on for 2nd grade.
"This is a sample of Brynn's handwriting-- She's doing very well at writing and memorizing scriptures in the morning like this one...
Kate mentioned that she wasn't allowed to read scriptures in her school so I explained that ours was a "special" school. That proved to be a fun theme to run with. We went through some math assignments and literature, looking at her pictures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and read the story she finished about what she thought happened to him.
"Another one of the subjects at our special school is violin. I'm sure Brynn would love to play something for you." I winked. At that point Kate excused herself and Brynn's parent/teacher conference was over. She looked in the candy jar and got an "airhead" for being such a smart kid.

Then it was Adrie's turn. She showed Kate some of her Halloween artwork and the poem about Fall she recently made up and wrote in her sketchbook:

Red, Orange
Purple, Brown--
Leaves look pretty,
On the ground.

We showed Kate how she was learning about adding and subtracting in math. At the end of it she chose "nerds" from the candy jar.

We ended with an introduction to our special "chef" Kate that made healthy creative snacks for the kids at our special school. Brynn shouted, "Kate's the lunch lady!!" which Kate didn't like at all. She reaffirmed that she was a "CHEF" then haughtily donned her apron and got right to work with a pretzel rod dipped in peanut butter and topped with Cheerios concoction.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Go, Go, Go,

Have I ever mentioned that we like to jump in the car and go on field trips? We've taken a few over the last month.
First, and favorite: California beach camping trip.

Tidepools, shell-collecting, seal watching -- You can read more about it here on our family blog: Washington Online school had a free day at the zoo. We just had to take advantage of that! Cannon (2) would repeat after me every animal that we saw. His vocabulary was expanded by leaps and bounds that day, or at least for the short-term. "Lemming, cavy, ostrich, boa, gibbon, sloth."
We headed to the mountains to see the spectacular fall colors and collect leaves.

We did leaf rubbings with crayon and paper back at home.

Is there any better way to spend an afternoon than visiting friends on a farm? The kids pet the horses and rode them. They gathered eggs from the coop and chased the chickens. The brave kids caught them (brynn) and the others clutched me and screamed for dear life. They climbed haystacks, ate popsicles in a treehouse, watched the sheep and goats in the meadow, and played with puppies (again the brave ones did, while the others clutched me and screamed...)
We sampled some mint leaves and took home a bundle of fresh garlic. Farm life is so fun-- if you're not afraid of animals and you don't have to do any of the work!

We climbed the red rock hills that overlook our city and had a picnic. The girls spotted a dozen cows with their calves winding their way down a mountain trail, making their way to a meadow. The kids (even the not-brave ones) were so excited, they took off running down the mountain to try and catch up with them. What were they thinking? Are cows not scarier than puppies? And have a not mentioned to them enough times about my terrifying experience of being chased by an angry cow while jogging?!!! Cows are definitely friendlier, smaller, and safer from a distance. Luckily, we slip-slided down the rocky hills and caught up with the girls before they got too close.
Those are some of our adventures in rural UT-opia.