April 30, 2009

Love days like this!

For some reason brown boxes, delivered by men wearing brown and driving brown trucks, excite me!

For inside our box is our future:
Last week, Matthew finally gave me the go-ahead to order all of our books for this coming year--this amazing year that I will have a fourth grader, two third graders and one two-year-old tornado.

All throughout the year I observe my kids and then set goals based on what they would like to study and what I feel that we need to study. The past four years of my homeschooling have been centered around getting everyone to read and write. Now that those basic skills are well established, we can heighten our learning fun!

Mystery of History will be our history spine for the year as it covers the ancient (Biblical) world. I hand-picked this spine because it's what I'm most interested in right now as I research and study Biblical archeaology. They girls have caught my enthusiasm, and are equally exicted by this study.

We chose physics as our science spine because it encompasses all of my kids' favorite everyday activites from the pulleys on the playground to the sound(waves) of music. Rumor also has it that our family's favorite engineer, Mr. Steve, will be explaining--with the use of restaurant napkins, nonetheless--airplane wing designs and other intriguing aspects of physics left out from this manual.

As supplements to our history, we'll build a paper tabernacle, flip through a historical atlas and listen to a CD or two by overly enthusiastic history teacher detailing Noah's Ark, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and Jesus' birth..

To enhance our language arts studies, we're adding in some root words. I have absolutely.no. desire.whatsoever to teach Latin, but I do share a love of lanugages with my kids. The girls are already learning some Greek, courtesy of their daddy, but this should be a fun play with words.

And no school year would be complete without a read-through of Hank the Cowdog as read by the author. Matthew cut my school wish list in half, but quickly added Hank back in when my girls started crying (with real tears!) and begging for another installment in our Hank adventures.

The only discouraging aspect of receiving our box of goodies, is that we have a few loose ends to tie up on our current school year. We've got in our mandatory days, but the math books have a few more pages and we haven't met our goals for the year. So we'll be finished up our study of the continents during May. We're also planning a run-through of US history as we study the presidents and then do an overview of the solar system. Then, and only then, we'll be able to partake of these fabulous finds later this summer.

April 26, 2009

A slice of country girl heaven...

My uncle dumped a ton of dirt in my side yard...and the girls (and BB) have been doing the happy dance ever since!

April 22, 2009


My iTouch is by far the greatest asset to our homeschool right now. We watch all sorts of educational videos that help the kids visualize a concept without leaving home.

I've also downloaded all sorts of educational apps (mostly free!) for the girls, along with a few fun drawing, tangram, story and music apps.

One of the girls' favorite apps is the weather app preloaded on the iTouch. Whenever we study a new place they arrange the settings so that they will see the weather from that area. The other day I was quite bummed that it was going to storm all day long...then I realized that I was looking at a weather report for Costa Rica.

YouTube has been the biggest has been the biggest hit (along with the tootsie pop):

What's Kenna excited about? The Great Barrier Reef:

Since we can't go to Australia right now and the library isn't the most fun place with toddler, YouTube is perfect! I just love technology...

(If you have any favorite techno tool or app that you use in your school/home, please let me know!)

April 20, 2009

It's a miracle!

Recently we had two mornings of dentist's appointments back to back. I can easily give up one day without math, but two was a little too much (more than 24 hours without number crunching overly softens my kids' brains). Anyway, I tried something I have only heard about--letting students do homework in a waiting room. I don't normally bring work because my girls are terribly distracted by the surroundings, but this time it worked! I only had to remind them roughly 487 times instead of the usual 21,374+ times to focus...but their lesson was done by the time Cayli was finished with her dentist. This never would have worked before; now that the girls are finishing 2nd grade and growing some mental maturity, things are beginning to mellow around here.

April 18, 2009

America's Fabulous First Ladies

This book:

Plus our favorite timeline method:

Equals one of the most fun, informative, enjoyable unit studies we have ever done on our own!

I'm all about keeping things simple. So I created a template in word and converted it to a pdf so that you can use it if you'd like.

We (as in me too!) took turns filling in a card. I'd read about a first lady from the book and then we'd talk about and appreciate her life. Whoever had her card to do would write the years she served, who she was married to and 1-2 interesting facts about her life.

Then we cut out the page, glued it to one of our cardstock pieces and put in on our plastic timeline.

Mabry did the above card about Jane Pierce who hated that fact that her husband was even in politics. She buried her favorite son days before her husband took the oath of office; she felt her son's death was God's punishment for politics. Sad.

But then there was Grace Coolidge, a fabulous first lady and a favorite of both Cayli and me. Cayli did her card after we learned that Grace kept a pet racoon in the White House and supported deaf causes. Sadly, she lost a son during her White House years, but remained near her husband's side for the rest of his term and life.

We'd also pull picture books from the library. Two favorites were of Eleanor Roosevelt's time:

The DK book came with a poster with pictures of all the first ladies. It also came with a CD of clipart images with helped in creating our timeline cards, but I mainly googled images and utilized the First Ladies Library for extra bio info and pictures.

Oh, one other--believe it or not--indispensible resource: YouTube! We found videos of Jackie Kennedy's televised tour of the White House.

Our next venture will be the US presidents and the historical events of their presidency. I'm betting that American history is much more interesting when viewed through the life of the commander-in-chief. I'll let you know how that study goes.

April 13, 2009


For most of this school year, we have studied other countries. And as we journey through Africa, we discovered Galimoto, a book about the practice of Africa children making their own toys out of spare wire.

Since we didn't have any wire laying around, I picked up a spool of very flexible jewelry wire and let the kids create their own toys.

It took a little concentration...

...and patience to twist, pull and place the wire in the exact spot...

...and in the end, Cayli had made an Easter bunny.

I even joined in the fun and created a camera:

April 6, 2009

Parade of Parks

Matthew had a few days off and the weather was beautiful so we toured a couple of different state parks and picniced at Swan Lake.

At a local state park, the girls found all sorts of things...including this friendly catepillar.

Mabry, of course, found lots of natural treasures. By the time we got back to the car, she had filled an entire bag with collectibles.

My kids may be curious about nature, but this swan sure was interested in my camera.