Sunday, August 30, 2009

Colin's school (week of 8/24)

Colin did his science lessons independently last week. He spent a day on each of the following: earthquakes, grasslands, and deserts.

We started a study of ancient Greece for history. Colin started on his notebook, but it will take a few weeks before we finish the study so we'll put it together after that. So far we've read and talked about the early Greeks, their lifestyle, the city-states, and the Trojan horse. We did some map work with Greece and Troy. We're using Story of the World for history this year. I'm combining this with ideas from the activity guide and an ancient Greece study on homeschool share.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Pair of Red Clogs

A Pair of Red Clogs was the girls' book this week.

   We found Japan on our globe and map, discussed which continent it is on, that it is an island, and colored a Japanese flag. We read the Japan section of Children Just Like Me and the Japan book in the Enchantment of the World series. We also found a DVD series called The Little Travelers. It's about two sisters visiting Japan. It was really nice because it showed details of their daily life while living there and learning about the culture. Caleigh really liked it and picked up on a lot of things shown while we were reading our books.

We read a lot of books, but all kids really enjoyed this one called Little Oh. It's about an origami paper doll that comes to life.

Colin was studying other things so even though he listened in much of the time, he didn't do any notebook pages for this. Here are Caleigh's:

Here you can see where she wrote the title of our book and the Japan map book on the left. On the right page are math story problems, an art lesson on action figures, and a weather forecasting book.


When you open it, I put the Japanese flag on the inside and wrote a list of the go-along books we read. You can also see the new words pocket. Caleigh drew a picture to show the meaning of each of the words. The girls used chopsticks to eat their "sushi" and the package gave directions for using them so I included it on the page. On the right, you can see Caleigh's name in Japanese. The bottom one I printed and then she wrote the top one herself.

I wrote about making "sushi" in an earlier post. We just happened to be at the grocery store today while a woman who worked there was making real sushi. We stopped and watched her put it all together and then roll it up. I love when those things work out!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fun with Japan

The girls are studying Japan. I'll post more about the specifics once we have our notebook pages done. Here are the girls wearing their kimono that just happened to be in their dress up box.

Today we made sushi. Okay, not real sushi. We used rice krispie treats for our rice. We put that on a fruit roll up, then laid a gummi worm on top, and rolled it all up.

Waiting for our marshmallows to melt.

Here is one after we rolled it.

The girls eating their "sushi" with chopsticks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not Going Back to School Celebration

Last year, my homeschool group decided to go to lunch and go bowling on the first day of public school. It was a nice way to celebrate so we decided to do it again today. I guess it will be our tradition.

It's hard to get decent pictures of a person bowling, but here's what I have.


4 years ago

Today is the first day of public school here and it reminded me of that day four years ago. Colin would have started kindergarten if he had gone to public school. I can still remember the panic I felt that day. He had never been to preschool or anything so it shouldn't have been a big deal since we had really been homeschooling all along. As the time for kindergarten got closer, I got nervous though. Doing something different isn't easy for me. That day, it suddenly felt real. We were really doing this! He wasn't going to school!

I had so many fears. Could I possibly do this? Besides Colin (who was 5 1/2),  I had a 9 month old and a 2 1/2 year old. Where was I going to find the time? Was I making a huge mistake?  Would he ever learn to read? Would he have friends? Would I know how to teach all the things he needed to know? How would I teach subjects I hated in school?

Well four years later, I still sometimes have fears, but most of them are gone. I still wonder if I'll have time to do all I want, but I now teach three kids. Every year I try to write everything down to see how I'll fit it all in. It never works on paper, but somehow it all still happens in real life. I taught Colin and Caleigh how to read and Molly will learn soon. They have lots of friends. Colin is one of the most social kids I've ever met. It turns out that they're pretty normal kids. Apparently it wasn't the subjects I hated when I was in school, but the presentation. I'm learning so much right along with the kids.

I'm so glad we made the decision to homeschool. Sure, it would be nice to have more free time. It'd be great to have more time to clean and organize the house. I spend a lot of my time planning school and teaching. It's worth all that though to see their faces when they learn something new, to be the one who hears them read their first book, to see the look when something they've struggled with finally clicks, and to spend this precious time with them. I'm thankful to my husband, who wasn't sure about this in the beginning, but researched and gave it a lot of thought before making a decision. I'm thankful that he works hard so that I don't have to have a paying job and can devote the time to homeschool. He's so good at understanding when I get behind on other things or need a break. As I notice how quickly my kids are growing up, I'm very grateful for this time we have together.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hill of Fire/ Volcanoes

Our book this week is Hill of Fire. It is set in Mexico. Colin has already done world geography so I'll mostly work with Caleigh when we study different countries. Of course, he's listening in so it's good review for him. His main focus will be volcanoes though. Molly is also listening in and learning.

Geography: Mexico (map, flag), Children Just Like Me

Language Arts: Spanish words and numbers 1-10, vocabulary words, Spanish bingo

Science: volcanoes

We did a demonstration of what's inside the earth by using a hard boiled egg. I cut the egg in half with the shell still on. The shell is the crust, the white is the mantle, and the yolk is the inner and outer core. We made a volcano from chocolate ice cream, strawberry topping, and crushed cookies. It was hard to shape since it was melting, but the kids thought it was so much fun and really enjoyed eating it.


We made a model of a volcano from a kit I bought. The tablets that came with it didn't cause much of an eruption so we tried baking soda and vinegar, which worked better. The kids were thrilled when it started bubbling over.  


Here is Colin's notebook:

Here it is opened some:

It includes ring of fire, what is a volcano, volcanologist, kinds of volcanoes, phases of volcano, labeling inside of volcano, signs volcano will erupt, what's inside the earth, tsunami questions, and richter scale for an earthquake.

Here is Caleigh's notebook:

It has some of the same things about volcanoes plus her vocabulary words, Mexico map, flag, and Spanish words that were in the book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Flight

My baby boy (okay, he's 9 1/2) went on his first airplane ride today. Chad needed to go to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, today and drive back so he thought it was a good chance for Colin to get to fly. It also meant Chad would have some company on the drive back to NC. Colin was nervous last night and thought about backing out. I think he was excited too. Here he is waiting for take off.

He called me right before he was exiting the plane. He said the only part that was a little scary was taking off.

The girls were jealous and wanted to go too, which surprised us. Molly isn't usually afraid of things, but a few weeks ago, she refused to go on a dolphin cruise when we were at the beach. She was sure the boat would turn over. She told me she didn't think airplanes would turn over though so they were safe. Caleigh is afraid of a lot of things. When we've considered flying somewhere, we've always worried she wouldn't be able to handle it. She's been on amusement park rides that have scared her so much that we aren't able to reason with her or calm her down.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

For science, Colin was learning about rivers and flooding so I decided to do this book and have everyone working on the same thing. Our main topics were lighthouses, rivers, and New York.

Most of what we did came from the Five in a Row manual or website and The kids were excited to find out that the little red lighthouse and the great gray bridge (George Washington Bridge) are real places. We looked at some different websites and were able to find a real picture so they could see the size difference between the two.

Geography: NY (map work, state symbols, landmarks)

Science: lighthouses, rivers (they both labeled a river system and Colin did a word search and crossword puzzle), bridges (discussed construction; found Hudson River on map), floods

Language arts: Personification (discussed and illustrated their own examples), compound words (reviewed with Colin; Caleigh did a worksheet pasting 2 words in to match the given clue)

Art: draw a sailboat, lighthouse craft

One of our books was about a boat used to help after 9/11. Since we were already talking about NY, I decided to go ahead and discuss what happened on 9/11 with them.

Colin's Notebook:

Here it is with some of the flaps open:

On the left side, I wrote all the books we read during the week. The lighthouse picture is one we visited in Hilton Head Island, SC this summer. The kids got to climb the winding stairs to the top.

Caleigh's notebook:

If you lift the picture of Caleigh with her lighthouse craft, you see the picture of them with the lighthouse we visited. On the bottom right is the compound word activity she did.

Here they all are with their lighthouses they made and some little foam boats we put together.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Last year, I noticed that many people were making lapbooks to go along with their studies. I thought it would be fun for Caleigh, but couldn't imagine how I could keep up with all the different lapbooks. I kept searching for ideas and found some people using scrapbook albums to put all their lapbook stuff together. I gather scrapbook items and dream of having time to get back to it someday so the idea of combining it with homeschooling appealed to me. I tried it with Caleigh some last year. Over the summer, I started thinking about all the things we do that I have nowhere to store, the pictures of our activities, and yearbooks (yes, I worry about my kids missing out on anything so not having yearbooks like they would if they went to school bothers me). That's when I decided to get a scrapbook album for not just Caleigh this year, but also for Colin. I plan to add pictures to the books along with the lapbook items like Caleigh and I were already doing last year. This way they will each have a portfolio of much of their work and a yearbook with pictures of what they've done all in one book.  

Here are the first pages of their books:


I still haven't decided whether to do a book with Molly or not. I'm thinking about a few ideas, but for now I'm just putting her stuff into a folder until I figure it out. Since she's only 4, she mostly just listens in to what we're doing and participates in the fun stuff. Some weeks she may only have 1 or 2 items that go with our theme.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Day 2009

We started back to school this week. We're starting slowly and plan to add more subjects over the next few weeks. I like to make the first day fun so we didn't do much that day. We did an all about me page for their notebooks. They made a booklet of some of their favorite things, made a paper doll of themselves, and decorated a picture of a birthday cake with the number of candles for their age. We'll also add their first day of school picture to that page.


The picture I had with Colin holding his 4th grade sign came out blurry for some reason.

I made the kids a special cake for their first day.

For the rest of the week we've been doing math, handwriting, and a unit study on the book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Catching up

Well, I've really neglected this blog. Life just got too busy. We'll be starting back to school this week and I'm going to attempt to start writing about what we're doing again. I had planned to do part time school through the summer, but things happened and I needed a break.

We did a lot of fun things over the summer. We were lucky to have Chad home more than usual. Colin really enjoyed taking tennis lessons in May. We made two trips to the beach. We visited friends and family in Kentucky. We spent a weekend in Pigeon Forge, TN, where we got to spend time with my cousins and their families. We also spent a day at Tweetsie Railroad, went blackberry picking, went sluicing and creeking at the Emerald Hollow Gem Mine with some good friends, and did quite a bit of fishing. The kids spent a lot of time playing outside with the neighborhood kids.

The kids are growing so quickly. I can't believe Molly will be 5 in just a few months. She surprises me all the time with the things she knows. She picks up so much from listening to what Colin and Caleigh are doing. Caleigh has lost 3 more teeth this summer. She loves how she looks with those gaps when she smiles. Chad calls her a jack-o-lantern and she thinks that is so funny. She also got brave and took her training wheels off her bike. Colin just won't stop growing. Every time I shop for him, it takes me a few minutes to convince myself that these are really the sizes he needs. It seems like he needs new shoes every few weeks.