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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Parade Magazine taking a Homeschooling Poll

Vote! Should parents need teaching credentials to home-school their kids?
Click here to vote.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Quarterly Notebooks

This is an idea that I haven't put on paper yet but will implement after we move. Instead of having big subject binders to pull from each week, I'm going to separate each curricula's work into quarters and put the worksheets into 1 of 4 binders.

First Quarter Binder (9 weeks)
-Put calendar and quarter's goals in front
-Put reading log in front

Bible- Explorer's Bible Study Lessons 1-9
Math- Horizons 3 Lessons 1-36
Latin - Prima Latina (unsure yet)
French- Unit 2 Écoutez, Parlez
PLL- handwriting paper put in with lesson # at top
ETC - 9 lessons
Science- Human Body lessons 1-9
TOG Year 3, Unit 1: SAP, Mapwork and whatever else
Classically Cursive: 1 page per week- 9 pages
Informal Logic: 1 worksheet of Building Critical Thinking per week- 9 total

Second Quarter Binder (9 weeks)
-Put calendar and quarter's goals in front
-Put reading log in front

Bible- Explorer's Bible Study Lessons 10-18
Math- Horizons 3 Lessons 37-72
Latin - Prima Latina (unsure yet)
French- Unit 3 Écoutez, Parlez
PLL- handwriting paper put in with lesson # at top
ETC - 9 lessons
Science- Human Body lesson 10 and ___________
TOG Year 3, Unit 2: SAP, Mapwork and whatever else
Classically Cursive: 1 page per week- 9 pages
Informal Logic: 1 worksheet of Building Critical Thinking per week- 9 total

Third Quarter Binder (9 weeks)
-Put calendar and quarter's goals in front
-Put reading log in front

Bible- Explorer's Bible Study Lessons 19-27
Math- Horizons 3 Lessons 73-108
Latin - Prima Latina (unsure yet)
French- Unit 4 Écoutez, Parlez
PLL- handwriting paper put in with lesson # at top
ETC - 9 lessons or Simply Spelling
Science- Cell Biology
TOG Year 3, Unit 3: SAP, Mapwork and whatever else
Classically Cursive: 1 page per week- 9 pages
Informal Logic: 1 worksheet of Building Critical Thinking per week- 9 total

Fourth Quarter Binder (9 weeks)
-Put calendar and quarter's goals in front
-Put reading log in front

Bible- Explorer's Bible Study Lessons 28-30
Math- Horizons 3 Lessons 109-160
Latin - Prima Latina (unsure yet)
French- Unit 4 Écoutez, Parlez
PLL- handwriting paper put in with lesson # at top
Simply Spelling- handwriting paper with lesson #
Science- Botany
TOG Year 3, Unit 3: SAP, Mapwork and whatever else
Classically Cursive: 1 page per week- 9 pages
Informal Logic: 1 worksheet of Building Critical Thinking per week- 9 total

I'll see how it goes after we move.


I must have been dreaming

To think that I could move and homeschool at the same time! I thought I could accomplish our lessons in a small amount of time and then focus on the house the rest of the day. Yeah right. By the time lessons are done, I'm done. I just want to relax and play with the kids, not navigate through our stuff to determine what to keep, toss or donate.

My brain is in overload. So, when Camille gets back from her trip to NYC- it's reading, math and Primary Language Lessons only. The goal is to finish Horizons Math 2, the other two are just so she doesn't lose what she's gained this year. Math will take 10 minutes of teaching time. I can do that. With read alouds from TOG as nightly reading, minus the projects and all the other fun stuff. Yep. Bye-bye idealistic fun projects- I have walls to wash. Lol.

I have to coordinate utilities for two houses with a mid-June start/end date, fun huh? Next week, painters will descend on our current home so I have today through maybe Monday to get things packed. Next week, dh will be leaving Monday-Wednesday on a business trip and then after that we'll be in our last week here. Snap, just like that.

There won't be any homeschooling posts from me probably until July. My brilliant, idealistic idea that we could accomplish a full day's worth of school during this time- was too idealistic. I'm swamped with moving but I have the added pressure that dh cannot help physically. He's swamped with trying to set things up for the new pastor here and preparing for the new church.

I just hope my head doesn't pop off with all the spinning it's been doing lately. There's just too many decisions to make!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Styling a bedroom

I get to pick out bedding for our new bedroom and this is my inspirational picture.
I want calming browns, blues and creams.

We won't have chairs, just dressers which I'll place white and blue flowers. The rug will be a little difficult to find at an affordable price but we may find one.

Okay, here's my idea.

Chocolate brown coverlet with two shams. Two solid blue pillows. One to three throw pillows, who likes to move these at night? In between the blue sheets and chocolate coverlet, put the ecru blanket and have an ecru bed skirt with no detail. Since we have beige walls, put simple blue pleated panels (only blue or only ecru) on the two windows but pushed to the sides to see the window.

I have three diamond metal tin panels that I will place above the bed unless I find something better.
It sounds nice.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Surroundings

We previewed the place before it is ready. The kids will have twin beds, the question that we're contemplating is putting them in the same bedroom and using the larger bedroom as the learning room. The smaller bedroom would house the twin beds on the floor or we could stack them because are actually a bunk bed set. We're still considering this situation and the final decision probably won't be until we're there.

There are a lot of changes that will happen. We're getting new furniture too, which will be very nice. The house is smaller than what we have now, the size didn't translate well in the photos. The backyard is only grass, completely bare.

We didn't want to leave. We'll be there in a few weeks and as soon as the church buys a parsonage, we'll be moving again which could be in a year or less. Change is good.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Our 3rd Grade Composer Studies

We are studying 4 composers this year, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Haydn, one for each quarter. Maybe I should say that the kids will have lunch with different composer each quarter because that is how I'm going to accomplish this. At lunch each day of our first quarter we will listen to Vivaldi and I will read aloud his biography while the kids eat. We have various resources for composers already, ones that aren't shown above like:

- Meet the Great Composers (Book 1 and 2 with CDs)
- Vox Music Masters CDs which have a narrative with the compositions
- Classical Music CDs that I've bought on sale for each composer
- Bach, Beethoven and the Boys by David Barber
- Madeleine Goss biographies (out of print but wonderful): Deep-Flowing Brook, The Story of Johann Sebastian Bach
- Two encyclopedias of music
- Composer coloring books

But I wanted this time to be simple, just a listen while you eat experience. There will be no coloring pages or worksheets, this is purely a "just enjoy" focused lesson. Sometimes making studies more academic takes the joy out of it and we have plenty of time down the road to make composer studies more formal.

Here's the spine of our time: listen to the compositions with or without a biography reading and at the end of the quarter we will watch a DVD if there is an age-appropriate one available. Classical Kids and the Composer's Specials provided many age-appropriate DVD titles to enjoy. I will be switching out what we listen to, from listening to Themes to Remember which provide lyrics to help a child learn to just listening to the compositions themselves. Reading the biography will not compete with what we're listening to so CDs that have spoken words will be done on days of their own without reading the biographies. The Opal Wheeler biographies are short and very age-appropriate, the Madeleine Goss biographies are intended for an older audience, I'd say 5th grade and above but can be read aloud by a discerning parent.

Of course this means I will not be eating with the kids but I put Independent Reading right after lunch so I can eat while they are reading. I say this but I also know that Danny cannot read yet but he does enjoy having his own basket of books to explore which will be a daily habit I hope to instill in him- to have his own quiet time with books daily. I have struggled with how to fit all that I desire for my children into our day and through learning from other homeschoolers, I've realized it's just a matter of how I actually spend the time we have. I'll also be playing the composer of the quarter in other situations like in the car or when we're doing chores and any other time throughout the day I can slip it in.

The resources I've listed are things we have on hand, it's not necessary to spend a lot of money to start an informal study. The essentials are CDs and the rest can be from the library. Also, realize I'm writing all this before putting this plan into action with all my idealistic hopes and desires. Smile.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Afternoon in the Woods


Isn't it beautiful?


Exploring the area under the bridge, areas where we couldn't explore last week because the water was higher.


First we explored with our shoes on, then we walked the trail we found and came back hot and sweaty. At that point we took off our shoes and walked in the cool water. It didn't last long b/c my mothering skills kicked in and I started to worry about the kids cutting their feet on the rocks. Lol. As a kid, I wouldn't have cared.


Attempting to draw in our nature journals, this didn't last long Danny wanted to go back into the creek. We left about 10 minutes after this picture was taken after being here and exploring for 2 hours. We also collected two tadpoles from the creek, it was our first time seeing tadpoles in the wild.


See the thin trail? This sometimes bordered the ravine with dangerous drop-off, of course my fear of heights combined with fear of my children getting hurt made me hold onto Danny who is sometimes unpredictable.


Is this an abandoned nest? It's made of hair although in the picture it looks like a clump of moss.



We walk about 1 mile up and down this creek and took pictures at the most interesting parts when we could. The trail we walked was thin and sometimes precarious because it is a ravine. Someone had even tied a rope to a tree to swing jump from a high point into the water. At another point there was a rope tied to a tree so that people could scale down the side to reach the water.


A plant we noticed in the woods multiple times.


Camille noticed this caterpillar on the trail, this was a branch we had to step over.


Driving home with fields of wheat as the landscape.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Celebrating 4 Years

Little Boys
Little boys come in all shapes and sizes,
Shy and adventurous, full of surprises,
With misshapen halos and mischievous grins,
Small dirty faces, and sweet, sticky chins.

They'll keep you so busy, and yet all the while
Nothing can brighten the world like their smile.
And no greater treasure has brought homes more joy
Than a curious, active, and lovable boy!

Happy Birthday Danny!
We love you dearly,
Daddy, Mommy and Sissie


Her Own Place in the Sky

Camille's dad is building her a treehouse. A real, up in a tree, need a ladder to get into through a trap door, treehouse.
He assures me it will be safe. Too bad I won't be able to share the space with her, I'm terrified of heights. Terrified.
He's an awesome dad.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Our First Real Tea Party


Camille read Time to Rise by Robert Louis Stevenson, I read Please from The Children's Book of Virtues.
Yes I had to check them out from the library, ours are in boxes.
Even Dh joined us, I guess he couldn't resist the goodies.
We even had sugar cubes.
It was a hit!


Upcoming Mark the Date Events

State Parks near where we'll be living after we move next month:

Skidaway Island State Park
Located near historic Savannah, this barrier island has both salt and fresh water due to estuaries and marshes that flow through the area. The park borders Skidaway Narrows, a part of the intracoastal waterway, and provides scenic camping and picnicking areas. Two nature trails wind through marshes, live oaks, cabbage-palmettos and longleaf pines, allowing visitors to watch for deer, raccoon, shore birds and rare migrating birds such as the Painted Bunting. Observation towers provide another chance for visitors to search for wildlife on this beautiful island. A giant ground sloth replica, birding station, nature exhibits and reptile room are featured in the park's nature center.

Great Backyard Campout
Saturday, Jun 28, 2008
Put away those TV remotes and get outside for some great fun. National Great American Backyard Campout day will be celebrated with hikes, games, crafts, nature programs, a campfire with stories, smores, and singing and more. $3 parking.

Fort McAllister Historic Park

Located on the bank of the Great Ogeechee River south of Savannah, this park is the home of the best preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy. The sand and mud earthworks were attacked seven times by Union ironclads, but did not fall until captured in 1864 by Gen. William T. Sherman during his infamous “March to the Sea.” Nestled among giant live oaks and beautiful salt marsh, this park is a quiet location for camping, hiking, fishing and picnicking. The park’s Civil War museum features an interior designed to resemble a bombproof, containing exhibits and artifacts, a video and gift shop. Three cottages sit on stilts at the marsh edge, surrounded by palm trees and palmettos. The campground is bordered by tidal Redbird Creek, a boat ramp and nature trail.

July Fourth Celebration at Fort McAllister
Friday, Jul 4, 2008 10 AM - 4 PM
Celebrate our nation's birthday with the troops of Fort McAllister. Cannon firings, musket firings, blacksmithing and historical games will run all day. $2.50 - $4.

Labor Day at Fort McAllister
Saturday, Aug 30, 2008 10 AM - 4 PM
Civil War labor was much like ours today. Witness blacksmithing, woodworking and cannon firing demonstrations. Bring the kids to take part in old-fashion Civil War games. Pack a lunch and have a cool slice of melon with us. $2.50 - $4.

Fort Morris Historic Site

When the Continental Congress convened in 1776, the delegates recognized the importance of a fort to protect their growing seaport from the British. Soon afterwards, a low bluff on the Medway River at Sunbury was fortified and garrisoned by 200 patriots. When the British demanded the fort's surrender on November 25, 1778, the defiant Col. John McIntosh replied, "Come and take it!" The British refused and withdrew back to Florida. Forty-five days later, they returned with a superior force, and on January 9, 1779, Fort Morris fell after a short but heavy bombardment. Under the name of Fort Defiance, this bulwark was once again used against the British during the War of 1812. Today, visitors can stand within the earthwork remains and view scenic Saint Catherines Sound. A museum and film describe the colonial port of Sunbury and the site's history.

Independence Day Colonial Faire***
Friday, Jul 4, 2008 11 AM - 3 PM
Celebrate the 4th with colonial games, contests of skill, colonial music, musket firings, cannon firings and activities for all. Prizes will be awarded to all participants.

"Come & Take It!"; A Revolutionary War Encampment
Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 11 AM - 4 PM
This American Revoulution encampment commemorates Col. John McIntosh's defiant reply to a British demand for surrender, "Come & Take It!" There will be various colonial demonstrations, musket & cannon drills, a small skirmish and more...

Wormsloe Historic Site
A breathtaking avenue lined with live oaks leads to the tabby ruins of Wormsloe, the colonial estate constructed by Noble Jones, one of Georgia’s first settlers. Jones was an English physician and carpenter who carved out an even wider career in the colonial wilderness. He came to Savannah with James Oglethorpe in 1733 and commanded a company of Marines charged with Georgia’s coastal defense. Jones served as constable, Indian agent, surveyor (laying out New Ebenezer and Augusta) and member of the Royal Council. He was also one of few original settlers to survive hunger, plague, Indians, Spaniards and a new environment.

The tabby ruins on the Isle of Hope remind us of the dreams and lives of British colonists who settled Georgia. Today, visitors can view artifacts excavated at Wormsloe and a film about the founding of the 13th colony. A scenic nature trail leads to the living history area where, during special programs, costumed staff show skills and crafts necessary to early settlers. During early February of each year, the site hosts “Colonial Faire and Muster” highlighting 18th century life, military drills, craft demonstrations, music and dance. This site is on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail.

Tools and Skills that built a Colony
Saturday, Aug 30, 2008 11 AM - 4 PM
Watch craft demonstrations from the Colonial period, such as woodworking, blacksmithing, candle making, spinning, dying, and cooking.

~~~ Other possible activities and adventures ~~~

Burton 4-H Center, Tybee Island, GA
4-H Camp on Tybee Island is a week long experience that includes visits to the beach, local historical sites, dances, a riverboat cruise, wet games, and many other fun and exciting activities. 4-H Camp is a fun and rewarding experience. Cooperation and character building, along with just having a great time, are all part of the camping adventure. Three different day camps in July for 8-13 year olds including beachcombing activites, marsh mud exploration and crafts.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Our Days - What and When

"Mom, I really wish you'd teach me different things like how to sew and knit." -Camille, in a bookstore holding up a knitting kit
The idea really started when I witnessed the kids having a ton of fun at a friend's house having a tea party. Her children do not watch tv except for the occasional DVD and although mine don't watch a LOT of tv, the way her kids fill their time is very different from how mine do. I'm not comparing her life/children to mine, that's not what I'm trying to say here- between my friend and Charlotte Mason, I feel inspired to do more with my children in the afternoon.

This also has a lot to do with tomato-staking Danny. So what is the idea? I want to structured our afternoon time more, starting with tea time. My current aim is to have our lessons done by lunchtime and only have school 4 days a week. This might not be 100% possible anymore and the 4 days can turn into 5 days because one of the main reasons I switched to a 4 day week was to accommodate driving Camille to her dad on Fridays and not losing a school day.

I also think Danny (4 this week) needs a little more structure than I've been providing. I started thinking about the differences between how his days are vs. what his sister's days were at his age. She was in daycare and had structure, our days were so busy, structure was the only thing that got us through them. Just because I don't have others dictating what to do and where to be at a certain time, does not mean that my little one doesn't still need the structure...from me.

This means that I need to come up with something that is agreeable for all of us. First, let me talk about WHAT to fill our time with...

I made this chart for myself to quickly identify what subjects are of importance and how much time they need during the week.

Our time before lunch could be more concentrated on our more important subjects and our moderate subjects could be given more time if we moved our non-important subjects to the afternoon and maybe dedicated an afternoon to each subject...thinking aloud.

I put this together and believe me I know that life is much different than what we put on paper. Danny's preschool time is intertwined in there even though I didn't write it in, we are looking to put him in preschool 2 days a week and Camille will have a weekly piano lesson to add.

The items with * are to be done no matter what, the rest is gravy. Errands, piano lesson, preschool all need to be considered but I can't do that yet. I'd like the kids to have from 3:00-5:00 as free time to play outside or visit with friends. We need to walk Jack on a regular basis, he gets very restless if we don't.

Afternoon Tea- My idea is that Camille will pick a poem to read from any of our poetry books, Danny can share his current nursery rhyme/song and I can read from The Book of Virtues, The Moral Compass, Fairy tales, etc. so that we all bring something to the table. Camille and I can bake the goodies weekly to enjoy with our decaf tea. Having tea everyday is something we'll have to consider as we make this a part of our week, starting off 2 days a week is enough.

Field Trip or Nature Study on Friday- There are so many free places to go and explore and I've left this for Friday, to go and explore State Parks or find a topic related place to visit on a field trip. Either way, we're getting out of the house on Friday afternoons after lunch.

At any time we can drop the unimportant subjects, which is why I put the most important subjects first in the day.

Handicrafts- We will be using Keepers at Home as a guide for this but I hope both the kids are able to get involved, if not Danny will be given something similar like lacing cards or beads to do. A project started will be a project finished but handicrafts will take on different forms throughout the year in areas of needlework, cooking, gardening, laundry, etc. Handicrafts are skills for life not just crafts to do, we have crafts in science and history.

Fun Read Alouds: This includes titles that are outside the scope of our curricula or just books we want to read, my list right now is:
  • Geography: The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball that Floats in the Air by Jane Andrews
  • The Story of Doctor Doolittle
  • The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
  • Mary Poppins, series
  • The Family Under the Bridge
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Jungle Book
  • Misunderstood Betsy
There are a few titles that our history program uses like Little House on the Prairie and The Secret Garden. This year I will be working on getting Danny to sit and listen for 15 minutes.

Lunch with Composer: We will listen to our composer of the quarter (Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Haydn) and I will be reading a biography during lunch. As a treat, I will be renting the composer DVDs after the end of our biography reads which are mostly by Opal Wheeler (see The Book Peddler for titles) and by Madeleine Goss. I put Independent Reading after lunch so I have time to eat lunch myself. :)

Okay, I've emptied all my thoughts out...I know it's not perfect and probably idealistic but it does look like a very charming week with the kids. I'm looking at our move next month as a way to start fresh with new routines and habits.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday's Adventures

Today we went to Columbus, GA to visit the Coca-Cola Space Science Museum and walk along Columbus' Riverwalk.
When we first arrived we watched the planetarium show, "The Universe" but on a much larger domed screen than the planetarium we visited yesterday. Today, dh was able to come with us and we all enjoyed the movie as well as the Spring sky constellation show before the main feature.

Robotics interactive display so the kids could control their space vehicles.

Here the kids are crashing their own space shuttle, I couldn't even land it!

Danny simulation flying, this was his favorite of the day.

Camille watching "Milestones in Space Travel" video by video.

Astronaut suit on display, the blue light thingy is a wave simulator that both kids had fun with.

Camille in a flight simulator, I tried this and I didn't get it. We were supposed to shoot something and I never caught on.

The kids trying out weather forecasting.

These pictures are from the Riverwalk in Columbus, which was built in 1992 and opened on Columbus Day.

A tree with woodpecker markings, when we looked close we saw a spider inside one of the holes. I couldn't get a good picture but Camille and I thought it was neat to see it. All we could see of it was its two eyes and front legs.

A flowering tree we wanted to identify, I'll try to find it online since all our books are already packed. Sigh. :)

The kids standing on a modern sculpture of Columbus (on Camille's right) and other important figures. At this point dh's back was starting to ache so we headed towards the Space Center.

Birds' nest in the corner of a concrete overhang at the end of the Riverwalk. There was a nest in each corner.

Picture of the other end of the Riverwalk, at least as far as we walked today. There's a waterfall on the far left. This river walk borders the Chattahoochee River that separates Georgia from Alabama.

After we left the Space Center we ventured up the road to the Peachtree Mall at dh's request where he surprised me with a trip to a bookstore. We all got a new book, my selection was 501 Science Experiments ilustrated by Glen Singleton, authored by various teachers for $7.99, big surprise huh? Camille picked a hard bound sketchbook for her miscellaneous drawings (thankfully), Dh picked a funny book about Chuck Norris and some Living Green type book and finally Danny picked a board book that came with an ice cream truck (big surprise).

My feet have been hurting me all week and we suspect it is my tennis shoes that are 4-5 years old. Dh must have been in a very generous mood today because he told me to pick out a new pair but since I've been hiking so much lately, he said to get my 'starter' pair of hikers. Insert big smile here. I have a new pair of New Balance All Terrain shoes, best of all they were on sale! (Oops, wrong picture, I have the 479 All Terrain. Does it really matter? Lol)
He said if I keep it up then I can upgrade to these...

or something similar. I really enjoy hiking and exploring so I hope he meant it! Lol.
It was a great family day.

New News: We have a house! Our new church has rented a house for us since they do not currently have a parsonage and the Tuesday after Memorial Day, we'll go see it as well as meet our new church family.

We are done with our field trips. Before we move in mid-June I want to go back to Providence Canyon and actually go to the canyon floor. It's been a wonderful and long week, it's time to get packing again.