Saturday, February 23, 2008
Since Thursday Dan's sister and her family have been here visiting. Friday they all went tubing at a local ski resort. By all reports they had an excellent day. However, J2 is too young for tubing so he and I stayed at home. Boy was he mad!!!! I tried to keep him busy.
First we painted. This didn't last too long though because he wanted cups and paints. I was up for dot painting! He really love my painting. It's called Winter Tree.
Of course there was a snack of Teddy Grahams and J2 was excited to eat at the school table.
After lunch (leftover pizza) we sat down to watch a show. I thought I'd catch a bit of weather first and you can see what happened. I knew he was having a fussy morning. Thanks goodness he slept! I got up and had some time to myself. One of the first things I did was to grab the camera. My camera was in the van, so these pictures are courtesy of E9's camera.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Eventually, R7 is getting tape and recording the car names and placing them down in their landing spots for measurement later. Did I mention they were taking video of the car runs? That was actually my first hint that I should let them be.
At lunch time, they told me all the details about their experiment. They had drawn some simple conclusions based on one good run. So, of course I had to seize the teachable moment to tell them what a good scientist would do...more trials of course! In the end, they decided on doing five trials of each run for each car.
Not only did they record data on the downhill run, but they also recorded which of these cars could go around the most in the Matchbox loop set we have.
When Dan got home he helped them tweak the data on the computer to be made into the graph- a reminder of how to get Excel to make the graph from the entered data.
Below are the results! I think I earned bragging rights on this unschooling moment at my house. All in all a some good science was going on! This is what homeschooling is all about!!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Our mid-year review will include New England coasts, Pacific coasts, France, Austria, Australia, Japan, California, Idaho, and Vermont. We'll revisit similes, hyperboles, story endings and beginnings, onomatopoeia, and story structure. We'll talk about snowflakes, pumpkins, microscopes, balance, leavening, animals, etc. The kids have learned many new things in their travels so far. I know we'll all enjoy a look back at where we've been. Stay tuned for pictures of our review!
Many thanks to Kendall in GA from the FIAR forums for her game rules!
Are You Smarter Than a Homeschooler?
3 library pockets
index card file box
1 velcro dot (optional)
contact paper (optional)
How to make the game board:
Decorate your heading using markers/sticker/paint. Ours reads "Are you smarter than a homeschooler?" in red stickers.
Label each of the 3 library pockets with 1, 5, and 10 respectively. Glue them on the board. (Ours are in a centered, horizontal line under the heading.)
Write one question per index card. (I do not write the answers on the back of the cards.) I write multiple-choice, T/F and open ended questions. I base the point value on the difficulty of each question and then I write the value on the back of the card in the upper right hand corner. Cards are sorted in their respective library pockets. Extra cards are stored in the file box.
Optional ~ Write "LIFELINE" on an index card. Cover it with contact paper for durability. Adhere it to the lower left hand corner of the board with a velcro dot.
Object of the game:
The first player to reach 100 points wins.
How to play:
The youngest player goes first. Play proceeds clockwise.
Player selects a 1, 5 or 10 point card. The host pulls & reads the card. The player is then given time to answer the question. Points, based on the value of the card, are only awarded for complete correct answers. Wrong answers are not penalized.
The host is able to be a player, too.
Rules of the game:
1. Each player gets one LIFELINE. A lifeline can only be another player. A player can select who she wants to be her LIFELINE. Points earned, the value of the card in play, must be split 50/50 between the player and her LIFELINE.
2. Bonus Questions are worth 25 points each. Bonus Questions are kept in a stack near the game board, i.e. They are not stored in a library pocket. (You can make a library pocket for them if you'd like.)
A player can choose a Bonus Question only after she has earned at least 50 points. A correct answer to a Bonus Question earns 25 points. An incorrect answer to a Bonus Question equals -10.
We make review questions for FIAR and all of our other subjects. It works great for EVERY subject. Ideally, I'd like to write questions at the end of every week. Realistically, I write cards every whenever I get around to it.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
But they need to allow for their driving time so they get here safely!! Seriously in the last two weeks since we found out we are getting a winter visit from some cousins, we have had full snow cover completely melt- TWICE. Including just yesterday and the day before. Our visitors announced they wanted to see and enjoy some snow. We recovered from a snow melt and flooding once only to have it happen again Sunday into Monday. Lucky for them snow showers here are a major storm where they are from and that's what we've had last night and today. And when the wind blows over the lakes snow will fall here. Sometimes it snows hard! Today's forecast was for occasional snow showers. The picture above is a snow squall within those bands of showers. If you aren't familiar with snow squalls they are sudden burst of snow that occur and it'll produce white out conditions and drop an inch or so of snow in about a half hour. It looks like the temperature will hold below freezing which means the daily snow showers will stick around through the weekend.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
My goal was to put a nice looking bookcase in our living room to hold my Creative Memories albums and some of our most loved or at least most referenced books. However, nice ones are pricey and I began to think creatively. Then it dawned on me. I already had a nice bookcase, but it was in our learning room/playroom. So began the quest to acquire more shelving for the learning area. But, I had to wait.
I have been planning and waiting for several months, but it was finally time to get the materials and I began preparing the bookcase downstairs for the big move. Saturday I finished emptying it and we moved it. We also had to move our sofa a bit and Dan insisted on vacuuming underneath of it and cleaning that out. Amazing what you find in and under a queen sleeper sofa! I have decided jelly beans are banned from the sofa area in general.
I packed away a lot of books and bundle some to be donated to the MOPS library- it really is time to part with books like, What to Expect in the First Year type of books! I think getting rid of things is like my new hobby!
Here is the bookcase on the right in the picture above in our living room. Along with my desk and a windsor swivel chair, I had this bookcase made by an Amish man when I started teaching and I was still living at home with my parents. One of the best things I purchased in those days. The other was my car- my beloved Emma- a Saturn SL. I think the pictures above the sofa will need to be recentered- unless askew is in. Perhaps you all can comment on that for me!
Finally, the shelve reloaded! Taking everything down gave me the chance to reorganize. I found that I was forgetting many of my instructional materials because they were thin books all stacked together on the other shelf. So, tonight as I stared at the empty shelves and the books all around me, I came up with a new plan. I decided to group the books by subject area. This way I could access all of my like materials at the same time. When I go to plan science lessons, all of my science stuff will be in once place. Very nice.
Want a tour?
- Top Shelf- world puzzles, math game, balance, and the preschool ziplock games
- Shelf 2- adult dictionary and thesaurus along with general kid activity books and my graduate texts on education (hey there might be something worthwhile there!)
- Shelf 3- (from left to right) pattern blocks, language arts and reading books, math books and teacher manuals, and Five in a Row manuals along with other literature units, and Funtastic Frogs
- Shelf 4- laying on their side are social studies materials and to the right are the science books
- Shelf 5- laying down on the right are more general homeschool materials like puppet making books, unit study authoring book, Dinah Zyke general manuals and on the right are the art books and references
- Shelf 6- Five in a Row, B4, and Beyond FIAR children's books along with my seasonal book boxes
- Floor- So far I've put one box which has our Leap Pad turbo twists in it along with extra cartridges.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Me: "(E9) don't put so much in your mouth at once and chew with your mouth closed."
E9: "This reminds me of my favorite line in Farmer Boy."
What is the line?
Almanzo wanted to see it right away. But Mother said if he did not eat his breakfast he was sick and must take medicine. then he ate as fast as he could, and she said:
"Don't take such big mouthfuls."
Mothers always fuss about the way you eat. You can hardly eat any way that pleases them.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
One of my recent goals has been to clean out this big box of teacher stuff. This is just one of the boxes I brought home from my former middle school classroom. When I left I took it all (back then I had the room!) and I've slowly been getting rid of stuff. I have about four to five smaller boxes that I've gone through at least once. I'll probably visit them again, but for now I decided to tackle the largest box of them all. When it's empty, it will get holes drilled in the bottom and we'll use it out on the porch to store outside stuff in the warmer weather when we use it a lot.
At one point I had stuffed some of Dan's graduate work on the top and once I took that off, this is what was left behind. We have a set of slates that I used for cooperative learning games, a nice set of organic chemistry models, some student games and art work, the signs that were posted on one chalkboard where I left work for those absent, the sign for my time out desk- THE ABYSS (yes, it was scary and I used to tell my students that an abyss is the biggest, deepest, darkest trench on the ocean floor where NO ONE can find you or help you. There was a full sized human skeleton that stood next to it too. And yes, it worked. I hardly ever had to send anyone there!), a basket of bathroom passes- ewwwww probably a crazy set of germs on those. They are already in the trash. Under that are two large piles of files to go through. I'm part way done now.
I will save some stuff. I can't give away all my labs and stuff from 6th and 7th grade science. After all, I still have to teach it in just a few short years. I am only keeping the good stuff though. It will be exciting to part with this big box. I've got plans for a filing cabinet in its place. The implementation of a vision continues!
- Monday- saliva, vocabulary matching
- Tuesday- Daniel Boone (we've been reading a Childhood of Famous Americans book about him since last week)
- Wednesday- life in the 1900s, Daniel Boone mini book, railroad song and book
- Thursday- What things cost then and now, stamps and money
- Friday- domestic vs wild animals, wrap up loose ends and notebooking
- Monday- Idaho, art- before we read look at the book cover and predict the story, review of Daniel Boone (read aloud a story about him), problem solving, and begin our look at trains.
- Tuesday- alliteration and hyperbole, fictionalizing a true story
- Wednesday- drawing people to show their character, more trains
- Thursday- shapes/quilts/pattern block play
- Friday- saliva
Book Basket List:
Mr. Putty and Tabby Take the Train by Cynthia Rylant
Hiawatha Passing by Jeff Hagan
The Fast Sooner Hand by Arna Bontemps/Jack Conroy
Eyewitness Train by DK Publishing
The Story of Trains by Jane Bingham
Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton
Usborne Railways and Trains by Caroline Young and Colin King
Train Song by Diane Siebert
Inside Freight Train by Donald Crews
A Better View for Gordon
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Usborne Discovery Trains
The Steam Train Jigsaw Book by Heather Amery
Thomas' ABC Book
Big Book of Trains DK Publishing
Trains by Gail Gibbons
Usborne Train Stories
I Love Trains by Philemon Burgess
This photo if of a train station that was here long ago and the best is the water tower with the train signal and the shot of the approaching engine. There is a similar picture in the book. The kids were delighted!
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp butter (unsalted)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries
Melt butter and allow to cool. Set out eggs and buttermilk and allow them to come to room temperature. Whisk together all the dry ingredients. Whisk together butter and egg until combined and then whisk into milk. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix until JUST combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Batter will be VERY thick. Heat skillet or griddle and spray with non-stick spray over medium heat. Use a scoop to put batter on the skillet, immediately drop 1 tbsp blueberries onto each pancake. Cook until edges are dry and bubbly and then gently flip. Cook another minute or so longer. Keep warm in oven on a plate until served.
Make sure you follow the instructions and don't try to skip stuff like whisking the egg and butter first. You know Alton is particular about this sort of thing. Also, make sure you pull out the cold things to get to room temperature first thing.
We make a triple batch for our family of six. Our boys can really pound down a pancake! Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
(this was I-5's Sunday School lesson today and I ought to know since I'm the teacher...imagine my surprise when I saw he'd added light sabers to this occasion.)
Saturday, February 9, 2008
We used Time for Kids homework helper as a wonderful geography reference. I found it using our Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography internet links. You can go anywhere in the world and hit the highlights of every country. VERY cool website.
- Monday- take a brief look at the Chinese language and identify a few characters, vocabulary matching, read chapter 7
- Tuesday- observe US Currency and identify markings, design his own currency
- Wednesday- discussion question, more vocabulary, Coney Island, read chapter 8
- Thursday- discussion question, read chapter 9, facts about rice, make fried rice, and work on Mark Twain book report/oral report
- Friday- Ivory, chapter 10, types of music, Vaudeville (the kids will make their own and we'll use that trusty video camera to record the fun and share it- hopefully)
Facts about US Currency and E9's own paper 31 dollar bill with Laura Ingalls Wilder's face on it. For those interested, the new release Presidential Dollar coin is going to be released on Valentine's Day. It will be the James Monroe coin.
When we were reviewing for his dad what has to be on a coin by federal law, he gave a nice list. When I prompted him for the last one he replied, "Someone's head!" No, that wasn't the right answer...date minted, liberty (on the new dollar coin Lady Liberty counts), e pluribus unim, and In God We Trust. Check the side of the coin if you can't find them all!
The US Mint has a terrific website for kids. Check it out for all kinds of facts and plenty of lessons and color sheets. There are whole units on the 50 states coins and the Presidential dollar coins.
E9 Cricket in Times Square
- Monday- Review non-verbal communication, neon minit book, begin Mark Twain biography
- Tuesday- Mark Twain, chp 4 Bible study, Opera- read Mozart book
- Wednesday- Art lesson on perspective, who was Orpheus, Mark Twain
- Thursday- bacteria and viruses, potato experiment, journal time, read chapter 5
- Friday- microscope time (with R7) to check out potato results, vocabulary
To see the work he has done so far check out this previous update.
Maps of Connecticut and New York
Assignment on bird migration and a notebooking page on our backyard birds- the bird counting page comes from the FIAR nature studies. These studies are a real treasure so check them out!