Monday, October 31, 2011

Cave Paintings

As part of our Story of the World curriculum, our two younger children are enjoying all the hands-on activities that are presented in the supplemental activity book. Right now, we are studying the nomads of ancient Egypt and the kids learned all about the cave dwellers and how they would paint different things on the walls. We discussed what types of scenes they may have painted, and after a brief lesson on the different styles of figures they would see on the walls, they had a chance to create their own cave paintings!
They both did a great job and it is so much fun watching them work silently on their projects and really learning from what we have studied.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bread Baking

Fall is such a wonderful time of year! There are so many things I love to do in the fall, and one of them is baking delicious, yummy comfort foods. I think I love baking during the fall, even more than during Christmas time! It isn't as rushed and I can just enjoy the moments with my kids.
Earlier this week, we decided to bake some banana bread. It is one of our favorite breads to bake because first of all, it tastes so good and second, it is very easy to make!
My little ones have gotten pretty good at baking and only need me to supervise as they mix and add all the ingredients. Everyone loved the final product!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Keepers at Home

This week at our Keepers at Home meeting, the girls learned how to make a casserole! They each were assigned different jobs to do, and it was so nice seeing how well they followed directions and worked together.
I am so thankful to have a wonderful bunch of moms here each week to help.
We made Tater Tot Casserole, and each girl was given their own little foil container so they could make individual servings.
While the casseroles were baking, the girls worked on some pumpkin patch sticker scenes, and then they continued working on their cross stitching. Several of the girls have started Christmas projects already!

And here are our finished casseroles!
Don't they look delicious? Well they WERE! My girls gobbled up theirs for dinner and gave my husband and me a nice taste too. The girls really had a fun time and for some of the girls, this was their first time making a casserole. I think they all did great!

Bloggy Awards

My dear friend at Schooling in the Sun nominated me for a bloggy award! Thank you so much to Schooling in the Sun.

So, here are the rules for these awards:

1. Link back to the bloggy friends who gave them to you.

2. List seven things about yourself.

3. Nominate other bloggy friends!

Here are seven things about me:

1.I have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise. I am hoping to be able to do it for our 25th anniversary, which will be in 2021. Wow- that seems so far away!

2. I love playing Uno with my husband.

3. I have a sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doggy. He is so spoiled and we pretend he is royalty. His name is Buddy, which is not very regal sounding.  When Prince William and Kate were married, I decided then and there that when we get 2 more Cavalier puppies, they will be named Harry and Pippa. Ha Ha!

4. I speak 3 languages fluently, and studied 2 others for several years in school.

5. I once swore up and down I would NEVER homeschool my children. Another big HA HA! God has such a funny sense of humor...

6. I absolutely love books and last year, I attended a book sale at a school that was closing and came home with 200 (no, that's not a typo!) books. I honestly believe that if you were to count all the books in our home, we would qualify as a library!

7. My favorite food is soup. I could eat soup every day- seriously...

Well there you have it! I know I am not a very exciting person. But now you know some things about me! Now I would like to nominate a few for this lovely award as well:

Otherwise Humble
Raising Little Rhodies
So We'll Know Them by Their Limping

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Geography Month

Our H.E.A.R.T. Homeschool Group meets every month at the park. This year, we decided to try something new and have each family choose a different country to study. Every month has been assigned a specific topic. The month of October was Geography Month.
The five countries represented this year are Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and France. Each family brought information, handouts, project boards, and more!
This family dressed as German children and taught us about the different landmarks. They also shared some information about the first day of school, and passed around little paper cones filled with treats, which is a tradition in Germany!
Our family shared basic geographical information about Portugal, and then each of our children created a specific individual project. My girls made project boards on the cities of Porto and Aveiro, and our little boy made a 3 dimensional project highlighting all the different geographical features of Portugal. We also had a lot of manipulatives to pass around such as cork, ceramics, and even a Happy Meal box from the McDonald's that is written in Portuguese! Then our kids passed around euros and chocolate umbrellas brought back from our trip,  for each friend to have.
This family's project was on Switzerland and they displayed the flag, which we learned was one of only two flags in the world that are square! We also learned that Switzerland has a very small population of people, and that St. Bernard dogs are very common in their country and are used to rescue people in the snow.
Next was Canada, where we all sat and learned about the different territories, hockey teams, and main languages. The family representing Canada even drew the map of the country on the sidewalk for everyone to see!
Last but not least, these young ladies gave their presentation on France. Each family received a darling little French box with a puzzle in it and some different facts about the country. We learned about the Eifel Tower and that cycling is the number one sport in France.

These monthly themed park days are so nice and the kids are learning so much! November is History Month, so stick around and see what exciting projects the children come up with!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sink or Float?

One of my little first grader's science activities for this week was an experiment in what will sink or float. We started by reading the little story about sink and float from his "Read and Understand Science" book.
Next, we gathered some items. We predicted which objects would sink and which ones would float. He was really good at this!

Once he tested all his objects out, he filled in his answers on his worksheet. I asked him which object was the most fun to test out, and he said he liked the brick and the sheet of paper.
Another fun science activity this week was making homemade applesauce. We have been doing several apple themed activities for Apple Month. Both our little girl and boy liked mashing the apples and adding all the tasty ingredients!

Unfortunately, I don't have any good pictures of them making the applesauce, but here is a picture of the finished product! I have also included a picture of the homemade apple potpourri bags we made for our Keepers Club this week. They smell absolutely heavenly!

Fun in our Homeschool

We've had lots of fun this week in our homeschool! Our little girl surprised us all with these tasty little treats shown above. In the spring, she attended a baking class at our local homeschool co-op. She really enjoys baking and creating yummy things for us!
The kids were busy getting their projects ready for Geography Month. Our HEART Homeschool Group families have each chosen a different country to study. We chose Portugal, since we were able to actually travel there!

The projects came out really nicely! Our oldest made a nice project board about one of the cities she enjoyed visiting. Our little girl also made a project board, and she made a clay replica of a fishing boat. I have to say, we were extremely proud of our little guy. He doesn't usually enjoy "crafty" activities and it is a challenge to have him complete projects such as this. However, he really loved making his project this time, and worked so hard on it!
Isn't it cute? He made a 3-dimensional display of the different geographical features of Portugal. He included a mountain with a windmill, a river with a fishing boat and some logs being sent to be made into paper. He also added a rock wall, some olive trees, and some grape vines.
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is being able to really dig into projects and have fun creating things.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Festival

This past weekend, we took the kids to a local Pumpkin Festival. The weather was just perfect! There were lots of pumpkins and so many different activities and events going on.
The younger kids went through the haystack maze and found their way out pretty quickly (with a bit of help!)
Since the festival was held at a working farm, there were tons of vegetables and fruits available to purchase too.
All kinds of cute displays like the one pictured above were set up around the farm.

Our little guy was absolutely thrilled when he was allowed to climb into this military chopper and put on the helmet!
You can't go to a fall festival and not enjoy all the yummy treats there!

We had fun going on a hayride too!
And let's not forget more snacks! Ooooh- delicious pumpkin pie...
It was such a fun day for us!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thoughts for this Week

Out my window... I see the neatest thing! There are two baby woodpeckers and their mommy on one of our trees! We recently had a lot of wind, and unfortunately their nest was blown out of the tree. Thankfully though, the babies were just old enough to learn to fly and so now, there they are with their mother just bouncing all around the tree trunk while she squawks noisily at them. It really is a sight...

Places we've been...The girls started soccer this past week and so we have been busy going to the sports store to get all their equipment, as well as attending their twice a week practices. We also found time to get to the library and pick up several books on Portugal so the kids can start their HEART Homeschool Group projects. Finally, I was a substitute teacher for one of our local elementary schools twice this week. I am a former public school teacher, and so I have been substitute teaching periodically over the last few years. It is such a great job because you only need to work twice per month in order to stay active and on the list. But if I ever need to work more days, I can just take on more sub positions. You wouldn't believe how many jobs are available each and every day! And by the way, while  I was out "playing teacher", my husband took the kids to a local grocery store grand opening celebration. They had a blast, tasting all the free samples and getting balloons. They even had their picture taken with the store mascot!

In our homeschool... We have now gotten into the full swing of things! It took a bit of adjusting with schedules, etc... but now things are rolling along! I am loving our little guy's writing program- Write Shop Primary. He is doing fantastic with it and is already writing his own little stories! Our oldest started Rosetta Stone French-Homeschool Edition this year, and I have to say it is a really great program! She is speaking in full sentences and I love the fact that I can evaluate her progress through the parent-teacher controls section. Our little girl is reading Ginger Pye right now, and she is doing so good with her spelling this year!

My favorite thing this week... I think it would have to be our Keepers at Home club meeting. We didn't have meetings for a month while we were away, and it was so nice seeing all our friends again. Our girls were really excited about it, and I really just feel that our club has such a nice bond. All the families are very sweet and the girls get along so nicely.

Things I'm working on... I have been busy working on lesson plans for Keepers at Home, as well as our weekly homeschool lesson plans. With so many fun, creative fall and Halloween activities available out there,  it is really hard to chose what to do! I try not to duplicate anything we've already done in past years, unless it is something the kids REALLY want to do again!

I'm reading... Right now I am reading through Ginger Pye (so I can stay ahead of our little girl and be able to discuss the story with her!) as well as The Story of the World Volume 2. I've also been reading through several of the different chapters in the Keepers at Home Handbook.

I'm grateful for... After travelling overseas, I have a new sense of appreciation for our country, and I am so proud to be an American, and live in this wonderful nation. We really are blessed to be Americans and most of us don't realize the freedoms we have compared to other nations.

I am praying for... The Kitson family in South Africa. They are a missionary family with two small children and one on the way. Such a sweet family!

Well, those are my thoughts for this week.  This next week will be quite busy with Keepers meeting, soccer, piano, and more so stay tuned!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Poetry Baskets

We started incorporating poetry baskets into our school week last year. I have always been a fan of poetry, my favorite poet being Robert Frost. Our two girls have memorized several of his poems, and his poem October was the topic for one of their poetry baskets this week.
My little first grader has done two poetry baskets so far this year: Autumn Leaves are Falling Down and Have You Ever Seen an Apple?
These poems were perfect for him because he could read them himself! We talked about the theme of the poem, the rhythm, and the different vocabulary words. I like to use hands-on manipulatives that relate to each poem, so for the ones pictured above, there were some artificial fall leaves as well as those cute little apples I told you about in another post.
Poetry baskets are a great addition to our school week, and the kids really seem to enjoy them!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Word Families

Today my little first grader worked on different word families during phonics time. We used Starfall last year for Kindergarten and I was very pleased with how he progressed, using that program.
This year, we are using a combination of different materials for reading/phonics, including Plaid Phonics, Starfall books, Scholastic readers, and lots of hands-on activities.
A local school supply store went out of business last year, and I was able to gather a TON of different manipulatives and bulletin board sets for dirt cheap! The one pictured above has lots of little pictures and several different word family cards.
We also do the above pictured activity several times a week and it really reinforces the different sounds within a word.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Keepers at Home

Today we had our Keepers at Home club meeting. It was so nice seeing all of our friends again!
We celebrated the birthday of one of the girls with some delicious cupcakes.
The girls continued working on Charity and we listened to a story called "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" The girls also copied Matthew 6:20 into their notebooks. The Bible memory challenge right now is "The Good Samaritan" and one of the girls has already recited it! This is one of the more difficult Bible memory challenges, and so I was very impressed that she learned the whole passage already.
The girls also filled these cute little jars with stones that we brought back with us from our trip to Europe. Everytime we went to the beach, we would see these little tiny stones along the shore. The waves would be crashing and it was such an amazing sight. It constantly reminded me of God's awesome power and the beauty of all his creations. So, we decided to bring back enough stones for the girls in our Keepers Club.
It was really fun watching them all dig through the piles and pick the "perfect" stones for their own personal jars. They each received a copy of the Bible verse "He is the Rock, his works are perfect and all his ways are just."  Deuteronomy 32:4
We had a great meeting and it was so good to be back! We have many fun projects to work on in the next several months, as well as some projects that we will be continuing to work on such as cross stitch, snacks and drinks, and casserole making!