Apr 29, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

It has been quite hectic around here lately so I apologize for my lack of posting, but I assure it will pick up again soon.

Some notable events from the week -
  • KM has been practicing, practicing and practicing her lines for Romeo & Juliet this weekend.
  • Went to see DisneyNature Films Ocean - FANTASTIC movie!
  • Got Guitar Hero 5 for the wii and I became the hero for the day!
  • Baked, whipped, baked, cooked and grilled!
  • Enjoyed a well overdue bowling date with some friends!
  • Went shopping for some smaller sizes!
  • Lessons went smoothly ~ as usual!
  • I have CONQUERED our 8th grade curriculum plan!!!
  • Celebrated a birthday with a dear friend!
  • Surprise visit from the Littles!
SO as you can see it was quite busy and today is only Thurs! This week will be a whirlwind of rehearsals and performances, but I will be sure to post pics of all the excitement!

Hope you are all having a great week!

Apr 24, 2010

The Ocean Floor

KM has been awaiting the DisneyNature Film Ocean since she saw the trailer for it LAST YEAR at the DisneyNature Earth. We will be going to see it next week with some families from our homeschool group and she is VERY excited. When we started see the trailers again for it back in January KM decided that she wanted to do an elective study, so we have been doing a little here and a little there over the last few weeks.

This week we had a double whammy with it since she is study Earth Science and was on the unit that covers plate tectonics and how the ocean floor is created. This led her to wanting to try to make a model of different features of the ocean floor and I think she did a really good job on it using some recycled materials and model magic -

Also thought I would mention this is my 500th post!!! Pretty cool huh! I was poking around trying to find something unique to post about for it, but I thought no lets just post something that really shows what are homeschooling life is all about! Hope you liked it!!!

Apr 22, 2010

Strange Weather

In my 31 years I have never seen a day like today! Mind you I live in New England where the weather motto is "Don't like the weather? Wait a minute and it will change"....this was nothing like I have ever seen before!

It was gorgeous and in the 70s, the kids were all outside in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. It was the perfect spring day, until we heard some rumbling in the distance. I called the kids in because you never know when lightening will strike...and we had just watched a video last week about how dangerous spontaneous lightening can be....they were not very happy with me, but once the thundering got closer and the lights started flickering they were more than happy to hide under the table with cookies and blankets covering them. They were even happier when they heard this incredible binging sounds coming from the back deck and looked out to see -

HAIL, HAIL and MORE HAIL!!! I have never seen hail like this here! Just another wacky day in New England!

Meet the Masters - Joan Miro

KM was intrigued by this weeks artist Joan Miro and thinks that she may try some of the techniques at a later time, but right now our schedule is a bit PACKED, which has left little to no time for extra things like artwork at the moment. She did try a few sketches using the overlapping shapes and lines, but has become such a perfectionist that she only wants her pieces to be shown when she feels they are complete so I will be sure to post them if/when she decides it is okay to do so! I want to make sure she knows that I am respecting her privacy and only using things that she feels comfortable showing!

Apr 20, 2010

Beginning Middle Ages

We are getting into the Middle Ages in Volume 2 of Story of the World. I have heard a lot of people feel like they can't use this program with middle schoolers, but I think with a little tweaking and creativity it is totally possible! We are using the Activity Guide that goes along with it, as well as the student pages and quizzes, but I am beefing it up with lots of hands-on activities, more advanced work and lots of living books and historical fiction from the period.

We do more advanced map work simply by using blank maps printed from Owl & Mouse Educational Software and then giving her the same directions as in the activity pages. This way she has to know where things are instead of just circling the pre-printed words. I also have her show me different routes and such on the larger blank world wall map - that we printed from the same site - so that I know that she is aware of the perspective of location.

I also supplement using a lot of videos and classroom resources from sites like the History Channel Study Guides. Most of the videos can be found through your local libraries, ordered online and some are even available streaming online.

We tend to skip most of the "coloring pages", but every once in a while we will come across something that catches her eye. Like this illumination pattern that demonstrates the monks incredible labors to reproduce books -

Apr 18, 2010

Props, Costumes and Scenery...

is what are weekend consisted of! KM will be in Romeo & Juliet in two weeks so we have been busily constructing things for the show -

The kids have been working very hard and it is sure to be a FANTASTIC show!

Apr 16, 2010


I finally got the converter that I needed to take the pics off the mini card from my phone so here is the wonderfully talented SC as she learns to balance a spoon on her nose from our day out last week!

Apr 15, 2010

Taking Advantage of Nature!

This post was inspired by a QOTW that was posted to several Yahoo groups this week - QOTW: Do you include outdoor time and nature study in your homeschool? If so, how do you incorporate it? How much time do you spend doing it?

We ABSOLUTELY incorporate nature study and outdoor time as much as we can! Our local group does Family Hikes during each season - where families choose a location to hike and everyone shows up to enjoy a fantastic day in the woods! We take advantage of the many local resources for nature education as well and our local group does a TON of field trips for canoeing, tidal pool searches, Questing (another local version of letterboxing or cacheing), naturalist led hikes, park days, picnics, ~~~ the list goes on and on.

At home we have a garden that we expand every year and my daughter is responsible for helping with that and often does all the research on any new items we want to try to grow. We take lots of hikes on our own and will often incorporate photography, sketching, painting, and nature study when we do so. My dd's favorite alternative study spot is a tree platform in the sideyard that is just within wireless range of our house - so she is often found there with piles of books and her laptop! She always seems to be the most productive when she is outside - as if the fresh air reminds here that she should just get her lessons done, so she can go really enjoy the day!

I think that time spent in nature is one of the GREATEST benefits of home educating children! Allowing them time and freedom to spend outside - even if that just means moving lessons to the back porch or doing backyard science experiments - heightens all experiences for our children.

What do you think? How much time do you spend in Nature? What types of things do your kids like to do outside?

Apr 13, 2010

Straight Forward Math - WHAT A BRILLIANT CONCEPT!

KM started with the straight forward math series just a few weeks ago and though she has never complained about math - besides the repetition that often occurs - she can't say enough about how fantastic this program is!

It is literally Straight Forward and to the point! It gives short descriptions of theories or principles that it wants to cover, then it gives 1 or 2 well broken down examples and 10-15 practice problems. That's it, no long drawn out situations or concepts that confuse the kids just cut and dry here is the facts and here is how it works. Concise, uncluttered step-by-step progression of math concepts.

This is from their FAQ section and really sums it up well -

What is unique about your math offerings?

They tend to be no-nonsense, straightforward presentations. No frills, no cute pictures, no minimal text or minimal practice on a page. These are the serious books which teach to mastery. Perfect for on-level students, homeschoolers, older learners needing to refresh skills, or progressive self-learners.

How is the Straight Forward Math Series orgainzed?
The simple, computational facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are highly structured drill books. Mastery of these basic facts leads to the higher level books of pre-algebra and pre-geometry, on through algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus.

From pre-algebra up, concepts are presented and explained, modeled by example, and practiced in focused exercises. Periodic review and testing help to measure attained and retained skills.

You can check out samples of some of the books HERE

The only area for the Algebra series that I do think is lacking is with word problems, so we will be supplementing with Scholastic Word Problems Grade 4-8. This should keep her problem solving skills in check.

Apr 11, 2010

Meet the Masters - Wyeth

We completed Unit 2 of the Meet the Masters this afternoon with a unit on the Wyeth family of artists. KM enjoyed many of these pieces of art, but her favorite was one of the more peaceful ones by Andrew -
KM picked up on the loneliness in the other paintings and couldn't really feel connected, but this one was very calming to her. KM loves to draw hills, valleys, trees and flowers so this project was right up her alley...

Apr 9, 2010

Little Girly Time

We had a visit with SC today. I went and picked her up this morning, brought her back to the house and we had a grand old time doing nails....
Eating Lollipops
and playing Mario Cart!
Then we went out for a lunch at their favorite restaurant were we taught SC how to balance a spoon on her nose...now if I could get the pictures off my phone and into my computer you could see how impressive it is for a not yet 3 year old to balance a spoon on her nose! I promise to post them as soon as I manage to figure it out!

Apr 7, 2010

Meet the Masters - Kahlo

KM was a bit intrigued by the work of Frida Kahlo, because beyond her interest in her self-portraits, she liked to do still life pictures, which is one of KM's favorites as well.
Here is the one that she liked the best -

Here she is working diligently on her inspired pieces of art!

Apr 5, 2010

Geography Fair - Antarctica

Despite the wretched cold that bombarded KM last week, we some how managed to get her exhibit finished for our local groups Geography Fair. If you missed our previous post that showed our resource list for it be sure to check it out for some very interesting information!
KM did a superb job answering people's questions as they came up and explaining what different parts of her project were. I was speaking to one of the other parents last night about how fantastic it is that she feels so comfortable with this great group of families. She NEVER would have had the courage to even ask a question of others at an event like this when she was in public school, never mind being a presenter and actually having to answer their questions on the spot! We are so fortunate to have such an encouraging, caring, respectful and FUN group of families to enjoy this incredible journey with!
The kids all did such an incredible job on their projects! All the hard work is totally worth it when you see their cute little faces running up to get their certificates!
Great Job to all the kids and parents who participated!

Apr 1, 2010

Sick, Sick, Sick

It seems like everyone that I have spoken to this week has sick kids - mine included. KM hasn't been sick in soooo long and we have so much going on that she is trying to act as though she is not sick, but she has had a really bad cough and congestion most of the week

We have been laying low and trying to get some quiet projects finished around here including her Antarctica project for our upcoming Geography Fair ---

and her rocket for a launch that ~lucky for us ~ was postponed this week due to the weather~~~

So our spring session is starting off a bit slower than we had previously planned, but it always evens out in the end. I will be sure to post the final pics when they are completed!