Sep 30, 2008
Music is such a huge part of our household. Although neither CJ nor I play an instrument, we love having various types of music playing throughout the house and KM really seems to have a talent for it. She started learning how to play the recorder 3 years ago in PS and then took a class with our local Coop last spring and did very well. She also has had an electronic keyboard for quite sometime and can often be found trying out new combinations of instruments with it. She has recently asked for lessons and has been trying to learn some more songs on it with the aid of sheet music - which she learned how to read rather quickly - and a great ear! We agreed that if she sticks with the learning on her own, with guidance and as much help from me as I can give, we would look into lessons after the holidays.
I know that this area can be tricky to teach in a homeschool environment, especially for newbies who have just taken their children out of PS. So I thought I would share some of my favorite links that we have found fun, entertaining, informative and useful:
If you have any favorites that I have missed - please share! We are always looking for new resources!
Sep 29, 2008
Thanks so much!!
Things went really well this morning! KM was up bright and early and was very happy with the new layout of the play/school room. We are so lucky to have this extra room to be able to spread things out in. Here are some of the new things I added and/or changed:
This is our "Daily Tasks" board which will allow KM to be a bit more independent, I can write down the things that will need to be done the night before so that she can get right down to work in the morning and can also be aware of what else will be going on later in the day.
We decided, since it is one of KM's favorite homeschooling benefits, that the first day would be a pajama day!
SC was here bright and early, but was very patiently looking through her library books and doing lots of coloring, while KM was working.
Sep 28, 2008
Just thought I would share this awesome new find!
Sep 27, 2008
This is a fantastic time to discuss the first amendment with your children.
"BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met." quoted from here.
The American Library Association has a lot of information on this annual tradition including the top banned and/or challenged books in 2007. I was very suprised when I read this list:
The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:
1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit
9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
Off the list this year, are two books by author Toni Morrison. "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved," both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.The most frequently challenged authors of 2007
1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar
Ironically before I even saw this list we had planned to read books by 6 out of 10 of these authors and 2 of the books on the most frequently challenged list. I guess this just goes to shows how we tend to lean in the nonconformist realm naturally!!
Does your family have any favorites from this or previously banned/challenged lists? If so please share with us your choices!
Sep 26, 2008
Although I have not gotten around to scan the pics yet, I have taken advantage of this very dreary, rainy afternoon and the fact that CJ took KM to the movies, since he can't paint in the rain, to begin this long process of converting VHS to DVD! The only down fall - which of course would be the same as with any other product like this - is that you have to have the video playing the WHOLE time. I have like 60 hours of tapes to go through! The other problem with this in our house is that we only have one VCR left and it is in the playroom, so I have to be picky about when I can use it. I will figure something out though to get it done! Wish me luck!
Sep 25, 2008
- Lightning Theif Teacher's Guide and Percy Jackson and the Olympians
- Educational Freeware
- Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop
- Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
- MIT Open Courseware
- Learner's TV
- Free World U
- Teacher Freebies
- Homeschooling on a Budget: Unit Studies
- Worksheet Works
- GCF Learn Free.org
- Live Mocha
Sep 24, 2008
Why do they have to do that?
KM has been begging CJ for a clubhouse/treehouse since we moved here - almost 6 years ago. I will say though part of the reason that it didn't happen before now is that I was way to nervous to let my clutzy daughter up that high!
Fall is our families favorite season!!! We love the chill in the air, wearing big bulky sweatshirts, the first logs in the fireplace, collecting colorful leaves, and spending time together outside when it is not sweltering out!
So while we have been on "school break", we have been working hard to decorate the house with lots of leaves, pumpkins, and scarecrows. We have been reading lots of stories about the fall and how things change from one season to the next. We have been discussing harvests and how the Native Americans used to store their food for the long winters. We have been watching lots of animals gathering. We discussed why it was called a Harvest Moon and what it makes it different from other moons throughout the year.
I know I have said before that I am starting to understand the whole concept of unschooling, but I really am getting it more and more. Whenever we discuss something that I don't think there is anyway she would remember it, she does. She is constantly exploring and finding new things, then going and finding out what those new things are - totally on her own. I am here if she gets stuck, but that has been less and less lately. I am still too much of a control freak to just let everything go and KM NEEDS structure more than words can express, but I am seriously considering doing the unschooling thing for science and social studies.
We start our new school term next Monday and I have everything planned out, but I am thinking if it just doesn't work for whatever reason - as we had sooo many problems last year. We are just going to wing it!
Wii Fit Balance Board!
We have been spending lots of time on it this week!!!
It really is a lot of fun and a pretty good work out!
She said she likes it the best because:
"It will help us all be a little more healthier!"
Sep 23, 2008
Anyway, we were cleaning things out, getting ready for the new "school year" to begin next week when KM had a wonderful idea - why don't we make the lemonade stand into a puppet theater?
"This is being done entirely as a gift to my fans. The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls in November." - Michael Moore
This is such an important year to vote, with so many people in such bad positions ~ morally, physically, financially and spiritually (whatever that means to them) ~ that there needs to be a change somewhere! So although politics is not an area that I like to discuss on an ongoing basis it will be a pretty big part of our studies for the fall. After putting in all the information on our election studies I thought I would add this link for anyone who was interested and hadn't heard about it yet!
Along with the info on this site we are using Candidates, Campaigns and Elections 4th Edition which is a very comprehensive unit and of course as always we will be using lots of living books.
We will also be using some living books including:
DK Eyewitness VOTE
People Pick a President (The Election Book)
and for fun
Ghost, the White House, and Me
I personally am reading Mike's Election Guide and may use excerpts from it with KM, but I will have to wait and see how much she really wants to take in!
Hope this has been helpful!!!
Feel free to add a post in a comment if you find other great election sites for kids!!
Sep 22, 2008
I have finally hit that milestone that everyone thought I would have a nervous breakdown prior to getting to - I have made it though! I am so grateful for all that I have been blessed with. I have a wonderful, supportive, eclectic family - and so many great friends that might as well be family. We have all that we need in our home and are becoming more and more truly happy as we find out who we are!
Sep 21, 2008
I figured this will be my new project - in my vast amount of free time! - to scan all the older pictures into the computer organize them and put them onto discs. I also asked DD for a VHS to DVD converter for my Bday - so once I get that all done I have about 10-12 8 hour tapes to convert as well.
"Why would you want to do that?" you may ask. Well when KM was younger we moved a lot and there was a whole box of pictures from when I was younger that got ruined. I feel almost like those years of my life had been ripped from me so I want to make sure that everything is well preserved for our family.
Sep 20, 2008
Sep 19, 2008
Sep 16, 2008
Sep 13, 2008
Sep 10, 2008
I have been (and will continue) to be very busy trying to get all our lesson plans coordinated, planning out field trips, as well as helping with final prep for our local coop group!
So though I may post some pics here and there -I may be rather quiet for the next few weeks!
Hope you will all still be popping by in the mean time!
Sep 7, 2008
The irony in that statement for me is that exactly one year ago, I was sitting in a large conference room with a group of parents at a PTO hosted "Boo-hoo Brunch". This is an annual meet and greet for parents of the Kindergarten class to meet each other and learn about how they could help out by supporting the faculty and PTO. I was telling people how wonderful the teachers were and how many great activities the PTO sponsors and while these facts are all still true, it is just amazing to think that I am now advocating an entirely different lifestyle all together.
Although I may appear all calm and collected most of the time, I am also very good at disguising my trepidation for the upcoming year. Although I know that I have made the absolute right choice, a very wise friend of mine said "if you weren't nervous, I would be nervous for you." What she meant was all parents are nervous about something for their children. If KM was in school I would be worried about so much more and have so much less control over the outcome of those worries. At least with homeschooling we have control over what, how and when she is learning. If she wants us to spend three months on microscopic antibodies, guess what we will!
Our family has become an entirely different entity than it was a year ago. Our lifestyle is different, our schedule & routines are different, a lot of our friends are different, but by and large our priorities are different. Some people fear change and we used to be like that, but it seems as though these huge changes that have gone on over the past few year are exactly what we needed to make us a stronger more unified family. So for any newbie homeschoolers who may be reading this, please know that it will get calmer. You will become more confident in yourself, your kids and your choices! I have no doubt that you will see a miraculous difference in your children, as we have with ours. We enjoy being with each other, learning, laughing and living everyday just the way WE want to.
Sep 5, 2008
Saturday we went to Pine Island and had a wonderful afternoon on the beach. As you can see it was a bit cloudy, but the most amazing thing happened. Gustaf was passing over the Gulf at this point and as we were sitting on the beach we looked out and saw these things that kept popping out of the water - then we realized they were dolphin fins! A pod of dolphins was swimming less than 50 ft off the shore! It was the most amazing thing! Of course we couldn't get close to them, but still - KM technically got to swim with dolphins!!! How cool is that!
You can't see them in the picture above, but they were swimming just past the landing near the signs.
KM has ALWAYS loved to make sandcastles and dig at the beach, but she decided to turn herself into a mermaid instead!
Sunday we went to the MOSI - in Tampa!
The wind speeds went up to 85mph!
We ended our day in their HUGE hands-on activity section called Kids-In-Charge!
This was the greatest kids section of a musuem I have EVER seen. It covered everything from magnets to air pressure, optical illusions to logic puzzles and everything in between!
Monday we hung around the pool area and didn't do much of anything - you just need those days sometimes!
Tuesday we were off to the Lowry Zoo for some close encounters with some amazing animals!
and lots of babies!
The meerkats were so cute!!! It seemed like their was always one watching you!
The lemurs have always been my favorites - I think because we watched soooo much Zoboomafoo when KM was little!
We fell in love with Manatees on our last visit and still think they are amazing creatures! We had the whole Sting Ray pool to ourselves! KM wouldn't touch one, but grampa did!
There were sooo many baby animals. It seemed like every turn we made there was another sign saying "New Arrivals"
All and all it was a great day at the zoo!!!
On Wed we went to do one of Grampa's favorite things - Bowling!
We are used to candelpin, but they don't even know what that is in the south,
so it was off to the big balls - Ten Pin Bowling!
Then we played in the small arcade for a bit!
Thursday was our last day in the tropics! (It was HUMID) so KM wanted to try some Shuffleboard! She did really well.
On the flight home Thursday evening I asked KM what her favorite part of the trip was -
Here response was playing the funny piano at the MOSI - turn on your sound:
Instead of playing different instruments, this keyboard played different bodily functions!
All and all it was a very good, relaxing, enjoyable trip! Just what we needed!