Sunday, October 6, 2013

Last 3 Weeks in Review

We've been chugging right along with school. Colin has been doing much better doing his work independently this year, which really helps since I have to spend a lot of my time taking care of our little one. She doesn't sleep much at all, but she is usually pretty happy so I can get some school done with the girls while she plays or I'm nursing her. She likes to doze off on me so I try to use that time for reading history or our current Little House on the Prairie book.

Colin has finished two modules of Exploring Creation with Physical Science. He's doing well with the VideoText Algebra. He's never done anything where he watches the lesson so I wasn't sure how it would go.
We've finished four chapters of Story of the World 4 and are studying the Civil War now.

We need one more day to finish reading These Happy Golden Years. I'm kind of sad that we only have two more books in the series. It feels like I waited forever for the right time to read it and I'm so happy that the kids liked it so much. It's been so fun to do activities, dress them up, and visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. I guess I can start looking forward to doing it again when Sophie is older.

We've done lots of fun things in the last three weeks. We've been trying to soak in the nice weather for as long as it lasts because I'm sure it won't be too much longer. We had a great time visiting an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch. I have lots of pictures from those so they will need their own posts.

Another fun thing we did is an archery class with our homeschool group.

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There was a cool park near there where the kids enjoyed playing for a while.

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We also went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Unfortunately, it started raining pretty hard after a couple hours so we didn't get to do as much as planned. The kids had a good time while we were there though.

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Last week, we walked to the park a couple of times because it was so nice. It's 1 1/2 miles on trails from our house.

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Sophie got to try a swing for the first time and loved it.

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Our baby girl got her first 2 teeth, which you can see here.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days- Pepin, Wisconsin

We've been reading the Little House on the Prairie books for the last few months. One of the things I was most excited about when we found out we were moving to Minnesota was being close enough to visit some of the sites from the books. We've visited three of the sites this summer. Although Pepin, Wisconsin was the third site we visited, I'm going to start with it since it's the one from her first book.

This weekend was Laura Days so we decided to plan our visit to go to that too. Pepin is the setting for Little House in the Big Woods. Laura was born 7 miles north of Pepin. They have a log cabin that may have looked like hers built on land that was owned by Charles and Caroline Ingalls. The big woods are gone and have been mostly replaced with farmland.

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There is a museum there with items that would have been from the time Laura lived. It was just a quick walk through for us. The other museums we've visited have a lot more Laura memorabilia. They are renovating this museum and it looks like the size will increase a lot so hopefully it will have more to it after that. The museum has a gift shop with some cute things.

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You can also see the lake that Laura talks about in the book on her visit to town.

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The Laura Days festival was in the park. There were traditional craft demonstrations, a quilt show, and art and craft vendors.

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We weren't able to attend on Sunday, but it looked like there would be some fun activities that day. The schedule showed a parade, pie eating contest, tomahawk throw contest, and the Medicine Show in addition to many of the Saturday activities.

There is an 1899 school house, but we didn't visit it since Laura was never there and we've seen a few school houses at the other sites.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week of September 9, 2013

We had another busy week here. Tuesday we went bowling again, Wednesday we went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and Thursday the kids had their monthly class at a nature center.

A bowling alley near us is offering a homeschool class. They had a preview day Tuesday so we went hoping there would be some older kids. It seems more difficult to find kids near Colin's age at homeschool activities as he gets older. There were only 2 boys there close to his age. I don't think we'll do it for this session, but I'll keep it in mind for later. They play 3 games every week and that's a little much for the girls right now. It seems like two games is their limit. With hockey season starting soon, he'll be pretty busy so I'm trying to be picky about what takes our time. It was a really good afternoon though. They had pizza and drinks for the kids. The bowling alley also has a game area so the kids got to play some. Colin really liked doing laser tag with some other boys. The girls spent most of their time playing claw machines.

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The girls tried to double team Colin, but he still won.

The MN Landscape Arboretum was really nice. We spent a little over 3 hours there. I think we'll try to go back some other time to take see some of the things we missed or rushed through. It would be nicer to go when it's just a little cooler out too.

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They had a great time running around this maze.

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The Japanese Garden

The kids take a class once a month at a nature center. It combines science and art. This month they made journals that they will use for some other classes this year. The journals have different kinds of papers inside and some pockets.

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We managed to do some school work too. I think this is the earliest we've ever been doing all the subjects.
In Prairie Primer, we finished reading The Little Town on the Prairie. We did the second chapter of Story of the World, talking about Japan reopening their border and the Crimean War. Colin started Apologia Physical Science.

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Experiment 1

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Experiment 3: I didn't realize he needed so much vinegar so we had to use apple cider vinegar for some of it. It still seemed to work.

The weather was great Friday. We spent some time around a fire in the evening making smores.

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On Saturday, we went to Pepin, Wisconsin for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. We visited the museum, Little House Wayside, and the park (where they had crafts, demonstrations, and stuff for sale). That's the third site we've visited this year. I need to write a post for each of them. It's been so fun to go to them. I've wanted to go forever and it's even better because the girls enjoy it so much too.

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In front of Little House Wayside

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week of September 2, 2013

We had our first 3 days of school for the new year this week. I wish I had gotten more time to plan and get everything organized. I feel like I'm barely staying one step ahead of the three of them. My 7 month old didn't nap at all during those three days and has been very clingy to me. I've added a high chair, an exersaucer, and some toys to the school room for her. We think she's getting her first tooth. Hopefully after that we can get her napping so we can all get into a better routine.

On Monday, we went to the North West Company Fur Post. We went on a tour led by a reenactor and learned a lot about life at the fur trading post in 1804. It was a really good field trip.

Public school started here on Tuesday so we took the day to celebrate not going to school. We went ice skating and out for lunch.

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Watching the big kids skate

Wednesday was our first official day of our new school year.

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All Together

We continued with Prairie Primer, which we've been using for the last several months. Right now we're reading The Little Town on the Prairie.
We did the first chapter of Story of the World: Volume 4.

8th Grade

Colin did the last module of Apologia General Science. He started doing VideoText Algebra. He also did logic, grammar, writing, typing, and vocabulary. I had him start watching CNN Student News to learn more about current events.

5th & 3rd Grades

Both girls had already started their new math books before summer break so we did some review work. They did some handwriting practice (cursive for Caleigh and printing for Molly). They started new grammar and writing books. They also reviewed phonograms, spelling rules, and took a placement test.

Today, Sunday, we went to a family picnic with one of our homeschool groups. The girls had a great time climbing trees and playing with Sophie. Colin loved getting right in the middle of a big gang of kids running around playing. I didn't get any pictures, probably because I was too busy talking.

This evening we went bowling. It's been a long time since we've gone. The girls played 2 games without any complaint so I guess they've gotten big enough that it doesn't tire them out as much.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of School 2013

We had a great first day of school. I didn't feel fully prepared, but it still went well. We actually did more than usual for a first day. I had planned a pretty easy day for Tuesday, but then decided not to do any school to have a not going to school celebration. Caleigh said she was happy to start back because the days seemed boring without school. Colin says he wants to try harder this year and have a really good year so he had started before I even got up.

My little one didn't nap like I hoped she would, but she played while we did some things and nursed while I read so it worked out.

Once we finished school, we walked to a park about 1 1/2 miles from our house.

First day pictures:

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One of all four kids:

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For the last 4 years, I had made a themed cake for the first day. I had an idea for this year, but it's hard to find the time needed for that with a baby who wants me to hold her most of the time. So I came up with a different idea. I made each kid a round cake and let them decorate it themselves. I think they really liked doing it on their own.

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The chunk is missing from the bottom because he couldn't wait to try it.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our School Room

We just moved here at the end of March so this is a new school room for us. This is the first time we've had one in the basement. The other times our school room was the bonus room on our second floor. I'm a little worried that it will be cold in the basement in the winter, especially since we live in Minnesota. We do have a small heater in our school room so hopefully it will help keep it warm. I do really like not having to worry about the walls being angled like in our past rooms. I feel like I have so much more wall space now.

Here is most of the room looking from the stairs.

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This is on the left side coming down the stairs. There is a line for hanging up the kids' art, an easel, and a small table that the girls like to use when they're drawing. The red containers have art supplies. The letters at the top of the wall say "Every child is an artist."
The door goes into the playroom, which we are still unpacking and is a big mess.

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To the right of the stairs are bookcases that hold our curriculum, with a different subject on each shelf. The white shelf holds the printer, and there are different types of paper in the drawers.

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This is a reading area for the kids. These shelves have picture and chapter books.

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Next to that is a computer. The map above it has stickers for each state we've visited.

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The windows look out to our backyard.
Under these windows is our timeline. We aren't using the whole thing right now. In history, we've gotten to the 1800s so I have the timeline starting in the late 1500s and going to the present.

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We do a lot of reading aloud so I always try to have a couch in our school room.
We've had this table for a few years now. I couldn't find one as big as I wanted so my husband made this one. It has shelves underneath for storing supplies.
I painted a lazy susan blue and added small pails to hold pencils, glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

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The wood cabinets hold craft supplies. The shelves under the maps hold most of our everyday things. On the left side of the picture are drawers for all our math supplies. The colored drawers are the kids' workboxes, one for Colin and one that the girls share (5 drawers for each of them).

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I saw this idea a couple years ago and started collecting letters for it. We never really had the extra wall for it before though. While unpacking, I was surprised to find we had all the letters except I (for some reason we also had an extra R, 2 extra Os, and 2 extra Qs). My 10 year old made an I from craft popsicle sticks and painted some of the letters. I covered some with scrapbook paper.

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I wanted to somehow incorporate into the room places we've been. I hung some of our postcards on this board. Hopefully I'll be able to find more of the postcards we've collected to add.

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Now I just need to do some baby proofing. I'm hoping we can do the majority of our work while my almost 7 month old naps. She doesn't always sleep well though so I can't count on that and need to get it done before she becomes more mobile. I plan to find a space to have a basket of toys for her. I think I'm going to get a high chair for that room so she can be at the same height as everyone else. She can use the tray to play with toys, and for snacks once she's eating finger foods.