Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop: Day in the Life

This year the twins are in third grade and my oldest is in sixth grade. The kids wake up between 6:00 and 7:30 am.  Before 9:00 am they are responsible for getting dressed, brushing their teeth, making their bed , taking care of Bearded Dragon Max and Daisy the Bunny, and eating breakfast.  Then they play until 9:00 am.  Mommy and Daddy wake up between 7:00 and 8:30 am (depending upon how late we stayed up the night before.)  Then we have coffee (either in bed,the porch, or the living room), I read blogs and check e-mail, and Ted reads the news on-line and takes the dogs out.
Whoever is out of bed last makes the bed, and I put the dishes away, followed by daily vacuuming (we have two Golden Retrievers.) During this time there is a constant, "Bentley !!! No!!!" (Bentley is our one year old Golden Retriever puppy who steals stuffed animals and shoes.  For extra fun this morning, he grabbed one end of a roll of toilet paper (still attached to wall) and decorated the house with it.
By this time its usually around 9:00am.  Daddy goes into his office (he works from home), and the kids and I head downstairs, Bentley takes a nap, Sasha gets comfy on the couch ( she thinks it's hers) and Sheba (the cat) follows us downstairs.  Depending upon how I feel, I start by working with the kids or allow them to work individually.  Some days I need more coffee and time to face the world. 
The kids have a daily schedule of things to accomplish and a list of optional activities.  I am very flexible with this.  One day Chris just wanted to work on writing his current story, and he asked if he could skip his list.  Absolutely !  Last week Katie just wanted to sit and finish reading her book so I said, "Of course."  Before our whale watch last week we spent an entire day just learning about whales.
Katie and Chelsea's Daily Schedule (independent work):
Read an American History book ( I have a basket of books from the time period 1600's that we are studying) and write in your American History Response Journal
Math workbook pages ( after we have done a lesson together)
Reader Response Journal

After any group activities (this varies greatly: last week it was whales, this week we will write "summer" books together, and I read A History of Us to them daily) they are free to choose optional activities until lunch time. 

Katie and Chelsea's optional activities:
Write a story
Science Nature Journal

Chris's Daily Schedule of Independent Work:
Read an American History book and write in your American History Response Journal.
Math workbook pages ( after we have done a lesson together)
Journal or Reader Response Journal
Computer Game programming

Chris's optional activities:
Write a story
Science Nature Journal

By this time it's lunch time, and we head upstairs to have lunch with Daddy.  After lunch we have been swimming in the lake and/or going in the boat  (of course this will change soon ).  Then the kids play inside or outside.  After 2:00 pm they are allowed to use electronics.  Today they are snuggled in K&C's room and Chris is reading them the second book in the "Gregor" series.  Between 5:00 and 5:30 pm we have dinner and the kids take showers etc.  After dinner everyone reads until bedtime.  The girls are in bed at 8:00pm and Chris is in bed by 8:30pm.  Then Mommy and Daddy read, watch Netflix, or do computer work.  Once a week we have movie night after dinner and then there usually isn't time for reading.

This year we will meet weekly with other homeschoolers for a book club, and the kids are taking a water color class once a month.  As it starts to get cooler, we usually add more extracurricular activies.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Link Up

In Our Homeschool this Week:  We had two days of more structured learning and two days of sorting, organizing, and rearranging school supplies and our family schoolroom.  We spent a good amount of time reading, writing, and researching information about whales.  On Wednesday we took the kids on their first whale watch.  We saw a glimpse of the elusive Fin Whale (second in size only to the Blue Whale) and three male Humpback Whales.  On the boat ride out to the whales, we also saw a number of Gray and Harbor Seals.  Quite amazing ! ( Well most of the trip was anyway.  If you go on a whale watch be sure to take Dramamine.  Daddy took two.  The kids and I condescendingly said we didn't need any because we've had lots of experience on boats and have never been sick.  I'll spare you the details, but be sure to take Dramamine BEFORE you get on the boat.)

My Favorite Thing this Week:  I loved watching the kids' faces when they were watching the whales.

I'm Reading: The One Year Adventure Novel textbook by Daniel Schwabauer.

Places We're Going and People We're Seeing: In addition to our whale watch we made a visit to our local library.  The kids have been pestering me for some time about getting their own library cards, so we did.  They were very excited (the kids, not the librarians :0).

Things I'm Working on: I've been doing around the house projects that I've kept putting off.  I've painted trim, put up shelves (well I supervised :0), and painted our schoolroom picnic table with black chalkboard paint.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nature Scavenger Hunt

We kicked off our first day "back-to-school" with a nature scavenger hunt.  I used the book Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England.  I LOVE this book and so do the kids.  I have found them flipping through it on a number of occasions.  What I really like about the book is that it is color tabbed with the months of the year.  This allows me to quickly flip to the current month and discover what's going on around us.

I made a list of things I thought/hoped we might find:

Find a tree with holes.
Find a mushroom.
Find a caterpillar.
Find a spider web.
Find two types of ferns.
Find a wildflower.
Find a frog.

I told the kids they could use a photograph, draw a picture, or take a sample to use in their nature journal.  We used Naturally Curious and A Handbook of Nature Study to identify some of the things we didn't recognize.  Some of the mushrooms we found were difficult to identify, but we found everything on our list!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up

In Our Homeschool this Week... We are still enjoying the long, lazy days of summer.  Still debating when to start our more structured forms of learning.  This week Chris is reading The Sorceress (book #3 in The Alchemyst series), Katie is reading book #4 in The Warriors series, and Chelsea is reading book #47 in The Magic Tree House series.  Chris is continuing to read Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins to the girls.

Chris is working on making video game #3 with The Gamemaker's Apprentice, and we are eager to try out Kahn Academy's new computer programming game site.
Katie's doll Lily wrote a newspaper this week.  Highlights include:

Chris, the famous video game designer is at it again.  He is making his third video game of the year!  Buy his video games today.

My Two Favorite Thing this Week...   Having friends spend the day and taking them to "our island."

 ... Watching the rain on the lake (Rainy days are cuddle up reading days, movies, and/or video games.)  When the kids were younger and we lived in Tampa, Florida (aka lightning capital of the world) we would read Patriccia Polacco's picture book Thundercake.  We don't usually get thunder and lightning here in Maine, so Thundercake sits sadly on the shelf. 

I finished Reading... The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover and am still working on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.

I'm Cooking... Ted's still grilling.  I will really miss that when summer ends.  Highlights include:Steak with blue cheese butter, southwest chicken fajitas, Tennessee pork ribs, ginger lemon pork chops, and for movie night ... queso fundido.

Places We're Going and People We're Seeing... We have been mostly staying home and enjoying our lake.  After our "Grand Adventure" this spring we are enjoying spending time at home, (to read more about our 2 month trip across the country in an RV, CLICK here>> 3kids5petsinarv.)

Things I'm Working on... getting ready for "school" and working on the One Year Adventure Novel Curriculum (for me :0).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Schoolroom/Family Room

 Today I'm linking up with "The Not Back to School Blog Hop."  This week the feature is home schoolrooms.  Although our house is small, we are lucky to be able to use our basement as our family room/schoolroom.  Although, our learning takes place everywhere, our family room is where we have our library, art supplies, school supplies, games, toys, "movie room", and computer.  Chris's Bearded Dragon Max and K & C's bunny Daisy also live down here.  As you can see, our cat Sheba enjoys lounging on our picnic table.  Fortunately, Sasha and Bentley can't get into the family room because of the spiral staircase.

My desk is right behind the picnic table.

These are the toy shelves and Chris's lego area.
This is our movie area and where we usually curl up to read.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up

In Our Homeschool this Week... Chris has made two computer games with The Gamemaker's Apprentice.  The girls have been testing out his games.  Chris is reading book 2 The Magician by Michael Scott, Katie is reading Warriors book 3 by Erin Hunter, and Chelsea is reading Magic Tree House book 46 by Mary Pope Osborne.  We went to the bookstore yesterday to pick up the new Magic Tree House book.  The girls were very excited.  They started a reading response journal (on their own :0) about Magic Tree House books.  They found Chris's old journal, tore out the first page, and used stickers from the books to illustrate their journal.  Sooo cute....  Katie designed and sewed a skirt for Chelsea's American girl doll. 

My Favorite Thing this Week... floating in the lake

I'm Reading... I finished reading Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen and Shadows of a Down East Summer by Lea Wait.

I'm Cooking...  Ted is still grilling.  Highlights this week: mushroom stuffed grilled pork chops, jalapeno sausages in tortillas, and prosciutto wrapped shrimp.

Places We're Going and People We're Seeing... We went to a public pool with water slides and met some friends there.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Watching Eagles Talk

Unless you see two eagles together, it can be very difficult to determine the sex of Bald Eagles.  While swimming in the lake yesterday, we saw "our" eagle perched in her tree.  Of course the great debate ensued as to whether our eagle was male or female.  Fortunately, our discussion was solved relatively quickly.  From seemingly out of nowhere another Bald Eagle hovered in flight, talons extended, as if to land in the tree.  "Our" eagle immediately started squawking, and the hovering eagle answered back.  "Our" eagle squawked again and the hovering eagle immediately took off.  How do I know our eagle is female?  Easy.  I just watched the interaction. Mr. Eagle came home and said ,"Honey, I've been out all day and I can't seem to find any fish.  She squawked back, "Get out there and don't come back until you have some fish."  And off he went.  If you have ever doubted that animals can communicate, just listen to eagles talk.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Planning Our Year

Reading: We all pursue our own interests in reading.  Everyone always has their own book to read, but sometimes Katie and Chelsea read a series aloud together or Chris reads a series aloud to the girls.

Writing: We keep nature journals and regular journals.  The kids write stories throughout the year when they're inspired. The kids also make photo books and write about our adventures.  I'm not a packaged curriculum fan, but this year I'm going to use "The One Year Adventure Novel" writing program, except it's not for the kids, it's for me. :o)  Chris has previewed some of the materials, and is not interested in the workbooks or quizzes (nor am I), but he is determined to write a "book."  Since I have no idea how to teach that, I figured I should learn.

Math:  We will continue with Singapore Math.

American History: See post: Planning Our Year- American History

Science: We will use The Handbook of Nature Study and Naturally Curious.  Chris is going to study chemistry on his own using Chemistry Level 1 by Rebecca Keller.

Chris will also pursue computer game programming on his own using The Gamemaker's Apprentice  book and computer program. Katie and Chelsea are interested in beginning cursive this year, Chris has no interest. :0)

We will meet homeschool friends for a book/geography club once a week.  We will also continue our watercolor classes, and the girls would like to start ballet.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fairies Welcome

A friend of mine is reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, I downloaded a sample, but I just couldn't persuade myself to read it;  I am already fully convinced about the importance of spending time outside.  I was looking for a book with simple, easy- to implement ideas to keep the kids busy outside.

Fortunately, Barb at A Handbook of Nature Study blog recommended Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca P. Cohen.  It is exactly what I was looking for.  Some of the ideas in the book are things we already do, and some ideas (create your own drive-in), I've never thought of.  I'm also excited about assembling a s'more, wrapping it in aluminum foil, and leaving it in the sun for 10 minutes,( s'mores during the day without a hot campfire :O).

This morning Katie and Chelsea were out the screen door before I had finished my cup of coffee:

Maybe the kids don't need this book for ideas, perhaps it's really for the grownups who have forgotten.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up

In our homeschool this week Chris finished reading The 39 Clues series and began reading The Alchemyst, Katie is continuing with The Warrior's series, and Chelsea is continuing with The Magic Tree House series.  Chris has started reading The Overlander series by Suzanne Collins to Katie and Chelsea.  Katie and Chelsea made a "window" for their American Girl "house", and Chris made countless Lego creations.

My favorite thing this week was watching Bentley (our 1 year old Golden Retriever) blow bubbles underwater.

Things I'm working on : organizing our playroom/schoolroom/family room.  We installed shelves in the "kitchen" of Katie's and Chelsea's doll house to help and control their clutter treasures.  We are also making room for a computer desk and computer.  Chris is very excited about creating his own video games, and we are going to try The Gamemaker's Apprentice:Game Development for Beginners by Jacob Habgood and Mark Overmars.

I'm reading: I just finished reading An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, and The House on Tradd Street by Karen White.  I have plenty of kid books on my list to read, but need some ideas for some "grown-up books."

I'm cooking : Ted did most of the cooking (grilling) this week.  I made blueberry coffee cake and blueberry lemon bread (our blueberries are in season :O)

Places we're going and people we're seeing: On Saturday we went to an art show in Bangor.  Chris, Katie, and Chelsea had some of their art work on display.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Looking for Goblins

In the summer, we try to grill outside as much as possible.  It keeps the house cooler, I don't have to cook, and it makes it feel like a party.  This year we moved our picnic table closer to the grill so we can hang out with Daddy while he cooks.  Unfortunately, we have been inundated with mosquitoes this year, so we bought a lot of tiki torches and surrounded the grilling area.  We call it the tiki room.

Two night ago Daddy was grilling and the kids were blowing bubbles in the tiki room.  One of the kids went to chase a bubble outside of the tiki room.  I reminded them that there were mosquitoes outside of the tikis.   That's all it took.  Someone yelled, "Quick, get back inside the circle of safety."  Everyone was looking around and Daddy went into the shed and brought out a washer.  He held it up to his eye and started looking around.  Soon everyone wanted one, so they could see too.  "Do you see any goblins?," someone asked.  We continued with our Monday night grilling and looking for goblins.

For those of you shaking your heads, read The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerilizzi.  We really enjoyed the series and there's also a movie.