Jul 29, 2011

Back from camping

and  boy do I need some sleep!!!

 They set up their tents...

and then went for a swim...

all the way across -

 the lake and most swam back again -

made their own breakfasts - 

had a glow parade -

and made lots of memories!!!

2 parents + 7 teenaged girls = epic adventure!

Jul 26, 2011

Drumming Circle

Since the twins have come along I have been trying to help out by taking the Littles to programs at our local library - one of their favorite places to visit. Today they had a Drumming Circle that featured different types of drumming from around the world. Otha Day was the incredible drummer that presented this program and he was fabulous with the kids.

Jul 25, 2011

Five years have past

since my angel went to heaven. She loved all unconditionally, with an open and pure heart. She cared for everyone who she came in contact with for even the briefest time. Despite our faults and her own, she was the best mother anyone could ever have wished for and exactly the one I needed to make me who I am today.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about her or want to share something with her. I must remind myself that she is here watching, protecting and guiding us still. The pain gets softer with time, but I honestly don't think it will every fully go away. 

You Tube Monday - Home Schooling Concerns #1 & #2

2 for 1 this week!

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite xtra normal videos on "homeschooling".
Some of these are freakishly close to conversations that I have had and are always good for a chuckle!

Jul 24, 2011

Almost forgot ---

The week was so hectic that I forgot I had taken some shots of KM before her anime/manga club cosplay party - 

Here is her inspiration - Raven from Vampire Kisses -
 Using what we had around the house I think she did a really good job!

Jul 20, 2011

Sometimes the program just flops! - Math and The Cosmos Review

KM was really excited about the Math and The Cosmos curriculum when we found it online. She has always been fascinated by astronomy and very strong in math so we thought this would be a great supplement to show how math is applied. I ordered it read through it and realized that I was going to need to spend some time really going through it to allow her to be independent while doing the program - how ridiculous of a statement is that? - and this is right when I should have known it wasn't going to work for her, but she was so excited about it, that I figured I could take the time to organize it. I proceeded to go through the assignment lists and break it up so that she wasn't overwhelmed with the 12 - 22 assignments per sheet and made it so that she would be able to complete each sheet over the course of a week or more so that it was manageable. 

The concept is great -  introduces students to the wonders of astronomy and its connections to mathematics, physics, history, and mythology. Explore the constellations, graph star charts, investigate planetary motion, and probe Newton's laws; employ the math fundamentals of graphing, angles, trigonometry, and scientific notation in real-world contexts; and learn how ancient civilizations spun stories inspired by the stars.  - however the design of the program is rather boring and really condescending, especially given that it is suppose to be a "gifted" and "independent learning" program. I had expected a lot more from it than here is the vocabulary word sheet now fill in the definition, which you can find in the glossary on the disc in alphabetical order so that you are literally just copying it word for word. The chapter questions were really no better either - predictably in order and leaving no room for interpretation, but just regurgitation.

The first week KM started out with a lot of energy, but when she got the second week's assignment sheet and saw nearly the same format you could see she was losing interest a bit. She was hopeful though that the projects that began in week 3 would bring some more interaction into the program, but sadly this was not the case. The "independent learner" was suppose to work with classmates to complete three different tasks - no that is not a typo! - "Why would they working in a group if it is suppose to be independent?" you may ask, well so did KM!

We decided to jump ahead and see if it would continue in this manner or if this week was just an anomaly - sadly it was not! It was just more and more copywork, parroting of facts, and projects that were nearly impossible to do by oneself. While I don't have any experience with any other Duke TIP programs, this has ruined any chance of us trying them out. Sometimes regardless of the enthusiasm of the learner the program just flops!!!

Jul 18, 2011

You Tube Monday - we've decided to homeschool

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite xtra normal videos on "homeschooling".
Some of these are freakishly close to conversations that I have had and are always good for a chuckle!

Jul 15, 2011

2010-2011 Year in Review

It took us a while to get it together this year, but as with everything else, better late than never right?

We started doing these the first year we were "homeschooling" so it is a tradition for us to do them from June to June each year. KM took a far bigger role in editing, audio and production of this video and it was really great to have a chance to go through all the pics and remember all the amazing opportunities we have had this past year!

Jul 14, 2011

You Tube Monday - Much Ado About Clips

I am aware that it is Thursday and I had intended for this to be posted on Monday, but it didn't quite work out that way! 

Although it took me over a month, I FINALLY had a chance to get clips from the Young Shakespeare Company's performance of Much Ado About Nothing from 6-11. This is KM's favorite part as i't features her drunken speech -

The audio is a bit off, but you can the gist!

Jul 13, 2011

Mid-Afternoon at the Beach

My favorite time at the beach is mid afternoon, just after the littlest kids have been brought home for naps and just before the rowdier teens show up.

I love how the tidal pools are filled with things that are easily found and captured - of course we always release them, but it is great for the kids to be able to see such a wide array of things.

Jul 11, 2011

Evening at the Pond

Most evenings CJ will sneak off to go fishing after dinner, but every once in a while we will tag along -

Some will fish,  
some will read,
but I just like to watch the ducks! 

Jul 8, 2011

What won't I do for the berry GOODNESS!!!

I noticed last weekend that the berries in the far part of the yard were almost ready for picking, so KM and I went down to pick some yesterday afternoon, but it was far too hot and the mosquitoes were ridiculous!!!

So when I woke up this morning and it was cloudy and misty, I knew I needed to seize the moment and get out there, so I threw on some jeans, my rainboots to protect my feet from the thorns and a windbreaker to protect from the mosquitoes. It was sprinking when I headed down and just as I picked the first berry the sky opened up!!! Thunder was rolling and then a crack of lighting. I was covered by some pretty tall trees and I knew that while it was raining the mosquitoes would be much easier to deal with, so despite the rain, thunder and then some pretty big cracks of lightning - I got a bucketful of berries!!! I came in, peeled my wet clothes off, and got down to business!!!

Jul 7, 2011

Mango for Libraries -

KM started using this for French today and REALLLLYYY likes it!!!
She thinks it is far superior to the Rosetta Stone and Tell Me More programs that we used for Spanish!
If your kids - or you - are interested in learning a new language, check your local libraries website to see if it is available for free!!!

Jul 5, 2011

First Day of Summer Session - 2011

We had a great start to our summer session today!
Since I was trying to get her back to awaking before noon, I coaxed her out of bed with some french toast and bacon - HER FAVORITE!

After nearly a full month off from book work, KM was ready to start back up.She started her Math & The Cosmos, U.S. Government and Economics, Piano Level 2B and French programs.

Then we headed over to my MC's to take the Littles to the library so we could attend "Travel the World in Tales & Tunes" and then went for a swim at their house. KM was very happy that I forgot my camera - I have been sworn to secrecy as to why, but there was a reporter there so if any pics get posted to the website I will have to post them.

After we got home CJ and I decided it was too hot to cook, so we headed out for a very NOT healthy treat - at very unhealthy restaurant that will remain nameless - and then came home so KM could devour the manga she got from the library!

All and all it was a great start to what is sure to be a spectacular summer session!!!

Jul 4, 2011

What I am reading - July GCK Mom

I was thinking about the significance of "Independence Day" and how it has changed for me over the years, so I picked up my Kindle to reread one of my favorites -

Two of my favorite quotes - 
My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
I am done with the monster of "We," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

If you have never read this I HIGHLY recommend it! I think it might even be time for KM to read it. Hope you all enjoy your Independence day and hope that you find your true independence! 

You Tube Monday - Massive Fireworks Experiment

Don't try this alone or without a fire extinguisher! 

Have a very happy and SAFE 4th of July!!!

Jul 3, 2011

Toads are Okay

KM had been talking about going to catch a frog down in the marsh area behind our house a few weeks ago, but every time I brought it up she didn't "feel like it" then. So we kept putting it off and putting off. Then CJ was mowing the lawn and suddenly in front of him was a toad. We seem to have toads in the yard every year, but I figured that since KM has been mentioning frogs, she would want to see the toad, so we got out our trusted kiddie pool - which is actually our dogs bath tub - and called the kids out to see it.

A few days later I mentioned to KM about going down to the marsh again to get a frog and she said, "I think I'm good. The toad was okay." Don't really know where that leaves us, other than I think she really doesn't want to catch a frog anymore!