Saturday, September 27, 2008

And this year's science project award goes to the Christensen Family for the VOLCANO WITH CHOCOLATE MOLTEN LAVA...
What a fun and messy science day. We learned about magma erupting from volcanoes. When it reaches the earth's crust it is called lava and then hardens to form igneous rock. After the girls had their fill of hot lava--with enough evidence on their shirts, we put their chocolate volcanoes in the fridge to let them harden. Our little nerds then spent their sugar buzz watching video clips of erupting volcanoes from I knew the concept sunk in when after an hour of that, Adrie yelled, "Let's go eat our igneous rocks!"

Kate and Brynn went to Liberty Girls on Tuesday. It has been great to get together with other k12 families and homeschoolers and yeah!--there are some functional and cool families out there. It gives me the little boost I need to think, Okay I can do this too! The girls have been reading and learning about slavery from the American Girls Series, Addy.
Addy, a colored girl, and her family says things like, "We done real good" "You is going to learn to read" and " It ain't fair, mama." It's fun to throw all grammar lessons to the wind and really get into the part.
Kate and Brynn came home each with a bag of cookie dough to make letters out of--just like Addy when she was teaching her mom to read. The dough, although not tasty because it was made from some very "healthy" wheat flour, was very entertaining. The girls probably spent an hour rolling it out and playing with it. Then they said, "Mom can we SEW?" Sew???
Apparently , again like Addy, they learned to sew stitches on fabric. Sewing has become the new craze around here. As long as I thread the needle and tie a knot at the end, they will happily sew rags together, scraps of fabric, whatever they can find. Luckily, we had some fabric around (from our Chinese silk lesson.) They got the grand idea to sew purses out of them and use a ribbon for a handle. They have become quite the fashion trend on the street.

We also made a makeshift barbie dress for Adrie. It's more like a toga or a mumu, however you spell that. Either way, as you can see, they are very proud of their newfound sewing skills.

Sewing just happened to fit right in our Art and Language Arts lessons. Kate read aloud Josefina and the Story Quilt. It told about a girl crossing the plains to California as a pioneer. Also, about how important quilts were to pioneers. They were like the family journal or scrapbook. For Art, each girls got a square of white fabric to draw on with markers. We just happened to be babysitting a couple of neighborhood kids that day so they also got a patch to draw on. Next week the girls will stitch them together to make a mini quilt--without the backing or filler or quilting bee--none of us know that much about sewing!

Kate also had to learn about what it takes to write a book. The first lesson was a word web where she had to think of an animal and write ideas about it in the outlying word bubbles. The next day she made 5 complete sentences from her wordbubble, a rough draft, you could say. Next she learned about PROOFREADING--correcting her sentences with puncuation, spelling, etc. Finally, it was time to PUBLISH her story in a book. Kate decided to elaborate BIG TIME on her 5 sentences and write a whole dialogue and everything complete with illustrations. She spent a good hour on her book and in the back there was even a section "About the Author, complete with a picture of herself. Ha ha, I'll have to get a picture of that. So, I guess it is still a work in progress. We'll have to publish the final draft on the blog next week after a few corrections.

Friday ended with a neighborhood block party at our place. We had probably about 75 people show up--our driveway has never been so exciting. Everyone brought potluck, and their own meat to grill and there was plenty of feasting and visiting. This was the second official block party and I think we're going to make it a yearly tradition with maybe some games and prizes in the future.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Field Trip to Fish Lake

What better place to enjoy school than in the mountains. Really, we did this for some Saturday recreation but to prepare us for maximum fun and education, we read Let's Go Rock Hunting" the drive up (thank goodness I didn't get carsick.)
What a beautiful sight at 10,000 feet altitude to see the strikingly blue Fish Lake. Along the lakeshore trail the girls found lots of rocks and Dad entertained us with his new knowledge, "Don't be igneous" and "Let's not take that for granite!" I love being married to a nerd.

For Art day we learned about how artists use different kinds of lines: wavy, zigzag, spiral, etc. The girls painted their own masterpieces on these leftover cardboard sheets. They really add a splash of color to the kitchen, as you can see.

For Spanish we have been reading a book and then I will insert a word or phrase in Spanish, each day adding a little more. For example, "Ay Abuela! Que grandes dientes tienes!"
"The better to eat you with," said the lobo.

Kate is loving the Science unit on rocks. She played some interactive games on the k12 site to learn about Mohr's scale of hardness. Every day she begs to go rock collecting, even if it is only in the backyard.

Kate taught Adrie her preschool today. She made flashcards from 1-20 and they practiced together . She also read her an alphabet book-- Love it when the kids help each other!
Brynn is savoring every word that she is able to sound out. It is exciting to see her discover reading. Her sight words are: the, a , I, was, said, it, is.

We are continuing to learn about the American Revolution. This week we read a book from the RedCoats point of view called, George the Drummer Boy. Kate had to compare and contrast this with last week's Sam the Minuteman. She is learning the difference between fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, and fables. She has also been practicing her handwriting everyday. Her new favorite book series she discovered for her free-time reading is, The Jewel Fairies by Daisy Meadows.
To help learn about nouns, proper and plural, I made up some "Mad Libs" type stories where Kate had to fill in the blanks of the story. They turned out pretty silly, much to the girls' delight.

Last year when I taught, Kate really loathed Math time so you can imagine my surprise when she said this week that Math was her favorite subject--what?!! Apparently switching teachers made all the difference--Dad is doing a great job!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kate the Great Rock Hunter

Could we get any more scheduled?: M-F Math and Language Arts. T/TH Science, M/W Spanish, Friday Art Day. Heck we even added a lunch schedule to go along with our family prayer schedule : M-PB&J, T-Ramen (Kate's favorite), Wednesday Brynnsday is Tuna Fish (her favorite), TH-mac-n-cheese (Adrie's and ONLY Adrie's favorite) F-plate of snacks. (cheese, crackers, nuts, fruit, etc.)

The mathletes Dad and Kate are enjoying their early morning lessons--more review of different ways to add--like using number lines or my personal favorite, fingers. Also, inverse operations (7-2=5 so 5+2=7.) I catch them doing all sorts of cheesy things like making up songs about math rules and calling themselves mathletes.

Kate's daily L.A. lessons have included new spelling words (easy ones but they'll get harder soon,) vocab words, plural nouns, proper uses of May I and Can I, and handwriting. She chose to copy a joke from one of her library books, "Why did the skeleton go to the movies alone? Because he had noBODY to go with." Ha ha--she has been telling that one to everyBODY.

We've learned about Independence Day and the Revolutionary War by reading Sam the Minuteman. The colonists got that name for being ready to fight the RedCoats in a minute's notice. Kate said she was going to be an "hour-man" to get ready for bed tonight.
Interesting how kids make connections--We were reading about why the American Revolution started: the colonists were under the rule of King George III of England and they were angry with him because he made them pay extra taxes and feed his soldiers etc. They wanted to be FREE to make their own rules. Kate said to me, "That's kind of like how YOU are the boss and I want to be free to make MY own rules." Hmmm, am I sensing a revolution?

During Adrie's Music class we ventured over to the canal again hoping for another Huck Finn moment. There was no water in the ditch however, the lack of water revealed a wealth of rocks to found by "Kate the Great Rock Hunter." For our SCIENCE Kate chose to do the unit on Rocks first. One of our assignments was to go rock collecting and study their different properties and categorize them. This turned out to be WAY MORE FUN than I could have imagined and the sandwich sized bag I gave her for collecting was totally insufficient for the great haul she came home with--thanks to the jogging stroller for getting 50 rocks home. Move over baby--make way for the rocks. Kate was so excited about her finds, "Look at this one it's red, and this one is so smooth, and this one has stripes like a tiger"...and on and on until I said it was absolutely time to go pick up Adrie. She spent the next hour carefully washing and organizing her rocks. They are outside on the back porch right now, lovingly wrapped in one of my towels.

Adrie here is showing the other science activity of the week: Layers of the earth. We watched a cool video clip where we toured all the different layers: Crust, Mantle, Core, and then made our own models using dirt for the crust, pebbles for the mantle, and iron filings for the hot metal core. This was an extra fun and dirty activity to be had outside! That attracted a few little neighbors. One of our little across the street cuties observed us for awhile and then ran back to her house shouting, "I'm going to make the earth too!" She came back with almost all the supplies necessary.

For Art today we looked at some famous Portraits (the Thinker by Rodin--which we saw last week at the museum and had to take turns posing like. Kate thought he must be thinking of his girlfriend.) We also learned about Self Portraits. Durer portrayed himself with long curly hair and we had to laugh at the thought of Dad with long 1400's stylish hair. (Kate later drew a picture of that. ) The assignment for Kate was to draw her own Self Portrait. She chose to draw her famous self. The one that is SO famous, people throw flowers on the stage when she sings into her pink microphone.

Brynn's been doing great with Kindergarten. She only missed the bus once this week. Kate came in that morning to let us know that the bus had arrived. She found us completely dead asleep thanks to Cannon's 3-5 a.m. crying-fest. Our girls were never that stubborn during BabyWise sleep training. Brynn is pretty much the only kid that gets her hair done in the morning. It's my special time to visit with her as she chooses how she wants it and I try to create it. Today she chose a "braid flower" which we learned how to do from another blog, "hair-do's for girls" and we also like "babes in hairland."

TGIF! Friday is date night for me and dad: tonight it's tennis which will leave me very sore for Saturday which is "sleep in and throw all schedules to the wind" day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hannah Montana and Huckleberry Finn

At least we can say about this week that everyone did some learning. The huge bag-o-chocolate treats that I bought at Costco has really paid off for school rewards. Adrie gets one for doing a preschool lesson: she knows almost all of her letters already. Brynn taught her today using her worksheets from Kindergarten. Brynn gets her treat for reading lessons. Kate gets one for finishing school with a "good attitude."--we've had some close calls.

This week seemed extra busy because in addition to soccer 2x/week we added Adrie's music/rhythm class and Kate's, piano lessons. Adrie was SOOO excited to go to her first class, she drew a special picture for the teacher and wore her cutest newest outfit. We walked her down the street to her morning class. Her 40 minute lesson gave Kate and I just enough time to walk down to the nearby canal and do some outdoor schooling. Sitting on the bank, letting her bare feet dangle into the cool rushing water, Kate read aloud to me from her book. That was our Huck Finn moment. She read several fables and we discussed the morals. We do a little tradition at dinnertime that our neighbor taught us called "high/low." Everyone takes a turn saying the best and worst or High/low that happened to them that day. Being in the canal was definitely Kate's high for the day.

Other reading lessons: putting things in ABC order, common and proper nouns, subjects and predicates. Today we read 3 poems about pets and Kate had to fill in the blanks to write her own. Dad is still working with her on math review. It is such a huge burden lifted off me, to not have to deal with that. He is much more patient than I.

Brynn had her best day at Kindergarten so far-- even though it had a rough start. Dad had to drag her out the door screaming because she didn't like the bows I put in her hair but it was too late to change it. She ripped them out herself and went to school with some pretty loose and kinky pony tails. Anyway, the good came because she said each teacher rotated in her classroom and they played different games. Sounds fun to me. Brynn told us that a girl named Katelyn said, after turning to look back at Brynn several times, "I just can't help it you're too cute!

I took Brynn with me to sign her up for gymnastics. She is SOO excited and she has to wait 22 more days for it to start!!

Today we finished reading "Meet Addy" the American Girl book about a girl who grows up in slavery and she and her momma runaway to freedom. It was pretty intense at times reading about whippings and beatings and when they almost drowned in the river and ended up with leeches. I don't know how much Adrie and Brynn got out of it but Kate was fascinated. The whole black/white slavery concept was pretty difficult for all of them to grasp. On a lighter side, I think they learned to be grateful that they get to go to school and play instead of working in the fields de-worming tobacco plants. This book was our reading requirement for our local chapter of Liberty Girls which they will attend twice month starting next week.

And on a final note: Kate, like all girls her age, is a big fan of Hannah Montana. For her weekly reward, she chose a poster of her at the store to put in her clubhouse in the unfinished basement. I told Kate that Hannah Montana probably does homeschool too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monet to Picasso

Our first fieldtrip! We had to catch this exhibit before it left town. It was a pretty unique experience for us-- seeing real live art, passing through hard-core security (no pens allowed), listening to the handheld speakers that narrate the paintings as you walk along, as well as what Kate pointed out in the Picasso section, "Why are there so many naked people?"
My proud parent moment came when we saw the geometric/primary colored painting of Peit Mondrian and Kate said, "Hey, I know that one!" That is one we had used in her first grade Art curriculum to talk about shapes in art.! No print can compare to seeing the REAL thing. All in all it was a fun experience and Nana treated us to cookies at the museum cafe.

Later in the day we stopped to get shakes before heading off to VoiceMale's free outdoor concert in the park. What a perfect day to start with a museum trip and end with a concert.
After the concert viewSaturday Sprinklers with cousin QuintinSunday walk to church The weekend ended with a sleepover with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house.