Saturday, July 28, 2012

The homeschool mother's journal: Summer olympics


In my life this week...We watched the opening ceremony of the London Olympics together as a family.  The kids really liked it, especially the Mr. Bean part, they thought that was pretty funny.  I wasn't planning on letting them stay up real late to watch it, but they didn't want to miss it.  I decided to let them just hang out on the couch until they fell asleep.  April lasted the longest.  She really wanted to see the U.S. come in during the parade of countries, but I don't think she made it past the H countries.  I enjoyed that time with my family.

In our homeschool this week...we mostly did a lot of Olympics stuff!  I decided to try out the Amanda Bennett unit study.  Everything came together pretty good.  What worked the best for her study was hooking my laptop up to the TV so we could do it all together.  I took that suggestion from another blog that is doing the same study, and it made things so much easier.  I don't think we'll do the full 4 weeks because that might be too much for my children, but we made it through the first week!  That's pretty good for us. I think we will just do some fun craft projects for the remainder of the olympics.

IMG_0787 IMG_0788
April really liked checking the medal tables.  It was pretty cool to be able to see which countries won medals and how many for each sport.  We learned some great things from this.

We also made a t chart for the "sport of the day" in the unit study.  


we only kept track of which country earned the most gold medals in each sport over all the years.  There are lots of other comparisons to make though.  It was fun to see which countries appeared to be better at some of the sports.IMG_0791 IMG_0793

We also had notebooks and lapbooks that we worked on each day.  Here's Aaron working on his.  Aric has his own lapbook, and they each have a 3 ring binder with paper and new worksheets each day.

Helpful homeschool tips or advice to share...listen when your children request to learn or study something even when it's not on the schedule.

I am inspired by...uplifting music.  It always seems to get me in the right place.  Good music can be very inspiring.

Places we're going, and people we're seeing...we had some fun outings this week.  We went to April's end of 4-H picnic today.  Friday we had a good time with our homeschool group doing olympic games at the park.  Tuesday we went to Silver Falls to visit Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt M., and cousins who were camping there.  We all swam in the river, it was cold, but fun!  Monday was our library day in Wilsonville.

My favorite thing this week was...Seeing the first egg appear in the chicken coop.  We are very excited to finally be getting eggs, and the count is up to 7.  Seven eggs in 7 days.

What's working/not working for us...

Questions/thoughts I have...sometimes I wonder who is learning more, me or the kids.  Sometimes I'm pretty sure this was all meant to be.  For me to learn so much right along with my children.

Things I'm working on...doing things simpler in all areas of my life.  I need to simplify in a lot of ways.  It's very relieving when I do.

I'm cooking...We picked some raspberries this week at the local berry farm, and I made a berry crisp with the berries.  It was pretty tasty.

I'm grateful for...Cheap and free stuff that we got this week for our homeschool.  We stopped at a little 2nd hand store, and found a battleship game for $2, and snap circuits for $2.50.  We also acquired the whole series of Lemony Snicket's, A series of unfortunate events at our homeschool group day.

I'm praying hubby whose still healing from his back mishap recently.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...more olympic fun we had this week

Aric doing an olympic rings puzzle
The paper plate olympic rings that Aric made
We attempted olympic ring cookies
April painted a picture
Aaron watercolored a picture
I love this picture of him creating, and he was using the cereal box as reference for the order of the olympic ring colors.
You can see more Homeschool mother journal posts here at iHomeschool network.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our first day of school!

Well, we did it!  We officially started back this week.  I was ready, the kids were ready, and the time just seemed right.  That's what I love about homeschooling you can be so flexible!  I was originally thinking we would wait until after our next 2 camping trips, but decided we could just take those days off.  It felt so good to be back to homeschool, and the kids had a good first 2 days.  I highly recommend starting back mid-week because it has only been 2 days and my brain is already revolting, so glad for the weekend to catch up!

The first day consisted of starting our Olympics 2012 unit study, shopping for some school supplies, and going on a nature walk.  Then when we finished all that I did some major organizing of our school room.  It was a pretty light and fun day, and the organizing went pretty quick and easy.
Here is our current work area.  I have their boxes all set up again, and we have organized the counter to have better access to supplies. 


School supply shopping...
Target is by far my favorite place to do this, so we headed there after we were done with our school for the day.

I made up their school lists on my own.  I had things in mind for each of them for this year.  We also didn't need a lot of the basics because we already have a lot of that leftover.  I wanted the kids to have the fun and excitement of going school shopping, but only getting the things we really needed.


 Aaron's school list (1st grade):

1 Poster board for a science project
1 backpack
1 composition book
1 carrying caddy (not pictured)
2 your choice--he chose a globe and ball of rubber bands
1 pair of scissors
1 pack of lined paper
1 binder
1 set of watercolors
1 pad of watercolor paper
1 shoe box for supplies

IMG_0763 April's school list (6th grade):

1 calendar book
1 composition book
1 clipboard
Art supplies--paints, paint brush, 1 canvas (still need to get)
1 backpack
2 your choice items--she chose an American girl book, and a huge mixed color crayon
1 binder and dividers
1 shoe box for supplies
1 carrying caddy

IMG_0764 Aric's school list (pre-K)

1 pack fine line markers
1 set measuring cups
1 set of tongs
2 your choice items--he picked lego folders, and a blue ruler
1 pack playdoh
1 new puzzle
1 carrying caddy
1 shoe box for supplies
1 composition book
1 poster board for science project

We also started out 100 day counting chart... IMG_0775

Our nature walk...
We accidently came across a nature area in Wilsonville.  I didn't even know it was there!  I think it will be the future of many nature walks and explorations.  It's close, and has some nice trails.

We were amazed at the real-life example of a green roof...

IMG_0740  If you are unsure of what exactly this roof is all about (like us), they had a sign.  I wonder what they mean by occasional gardening?  I don't know if I'd want to get up on the roof all that much, but it's a neat concept...IMG_0742 IMG_0743

It is a fairly new park, so we found a lot of cool animal tracks in the concrete parts of the path.  I think it was just fitting for a nature path to find all these tracks of wandering animals that walked on the freshly poured cement.  We identified these as deer tracks...


Fox maybe? Or some sort of dog?


They went along the whole edge of this area...

I think this might be raven tracks...IMG_0757

And these, I think are skunk tracks.  My first thought was a racoon, but it seems to match a striped skunk better...IMG_0756
It was a fun part of our nature walk to see the tracks!

A view of the nature area from the shelters...IMG_0746

Wait for me!... IMG_0747

We saw a caterpillar along the way...IMG_0751

A giant acorn to sit on is always fun...IMG_0752

We made it to the Elder Oak plaza before the boys got tired.  We didn't cover much ground, there was so much more to see.  This Oak tree plaza has some interesting signs about Oak trees to read, and some benches to sit on.  Very peaceful.  IMG_0758 It was a nice walk, and a fun first day of official back to homeschool. I think it was a nice way to start the year. I have yet to get our curriculum list together, but I have written down a few goals I have for each child.  I will post that soon! 

Happy Homeschooling!


Friday, July 20, 2012

June wrap-up

Some of the homeschool adventures we had in June...

Seeing the reptile man at the summer library program.  Look at that thing.  My kids were never brave enough to raise their hand to volunteer :-)

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Miss April stumbled on a girl scout stand at the public pool during their summer celebration.  They had some information about a possible troop starting up here in our town.  We shall see.  April has wanted to do this forever.P6160057

They had a sheet about earning the nature badge, and part of it was making a "feeling wheel".  So, this is the feel wheel April made on her own.  Then she had all of us close our eyes before we saw it to guess what each item was.P6160058

Homeschool park play day at the farm.
We have been trying to go to most of the homeschool park days, but this one was at one of our favorite places; the farm.  We go here quite often to see the animals and enjoy the peace out there.  I love that it's so close.

Alex loved the goats.
P6150054 P6150052 P6150051 P6150047 P6150044 P6150040 P6150037 P6150034 P6150022 Happy homeschooling! Desiree

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A tale of 2 libraries

Remember my story about the library?   The one where I said we had to volunteer some hours to get a library card at a library that is not in our county, but that we visit a lot.  Well, here it is!  April and I went in a few times and worked re-shelving books, DVD's, CD's, and tapes.  It was fun to see different books and movies, and hard not to sit and read ones that I didn't recognize.  We still have about an hour left of volunteer time, but she went ahead and gave us the card anyway because we were so close.  We were so excited to go and use it right away.  As soon as we checked out the books though, I got to are we going to keep track of books from 2 different library systems?  I devised a plan right away.  But, first here is our card:


I decided the best thing would be to have 2 baskets labeled for each library, so we went and got 2 baskets.  I was hoping to get the more squarish ones, but they were so much more than these ones!


So far it is working good except the baskets are big.  We don't have a lot of space, so I don't have a good place to keep them yet.  They just kinda hang out in the living room and get shuffled with everything else.  It is nice to know there is a place for the books to help me keep track of them though!IMG_0464 Desiree

10 reasons I'm excited for next school year

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little BlessingsThese top 10 lists seem to be exploding all over the blogosphere, and I love lists!  So, I'm joining today with my 10 reasons why I'm excited for the new school year.

I'm always excited for a new school year.  That has been something that I've loved since I was a little girl.  Getting the kids excited about the new school year can be fun even with homeschool.  I show my excitement and hope it rubs off, and tell them about all the fun things we are going to do come Fall. 

The top 10 reasons I'm excited for next school year...

1.  Our local homeschool group is growing.  We finally have a local homeschool group forming with plans to do a book club, and meeting up regularly.  I'm so excited I don't have to drive miles anymore to find friends, or go on a field trip.  I have waited for this for many years, and hoped something would start up closer to home. 

2.  The art museum.  April has requested to go on a field trip to the Portland art museum, and I want to make that happen this Fall.  Along with some other cool field trips.

3.  A more normal routine again.  I'm am looking forward to slowing waaaayyy down!  I had hoped for a more quiet summer, but it isn't turning out that way.  I just want to hang around at home again learning with the kiddos!

4.  New books and supplies.  This is always my favorite part.  A fresh start in supplies and learning materials.  We've already gotten a few things, but I still have some more decisions to make in other subjects.  I plan on making a back to homeschool list of supplies for my kids with just the homeschool things we need, they're excited for that.  I just picked up new backpacks for the boys too.  I told them that these backpacks were dedicated to school work so if we have to leave the house we can just grab their school bags and they can work on stuff while we are out.  Our backpack situation last year didn't work out quite like I wanted it to.  I think it was because they would empty school stuff out and put their other things in for family car trips and vacations.  Then we'd have a hard time getting everything back in! 

5.  Starting our 100 day count down again.  We had so much fun counting down the days last year, and then on the 100th day we had fun with the number 100.  My boys love that number now!

6.  Getting our workboxes up and running again.  I have been slowly getting our workboxes back together.  I have one more ikea drawer system to acquire along with a wire paper sorter, and I think we'll be good to go.  I will be doing a more relaxed workbox system than I did last time though.  It helps me organize so much better!  After all is said and done each child will have 6 of the ikea drawers with a wire paper sorter on top that has 6 additional slots. 

7.   New goals for each child.  While there are some goals that will remain because they weren't reached this year, I'm excited to add some new goals and see what the kids can achieve this year.  I still need to map these out, but I'm excited to sit down and think about it soon! 

8.  Having a new tot schooler.  I love having a child that is growing out of the baby stage, and is getting really curious about the world around him.  I have loved doing tot school with my other 2 boys, and look forward to doing some with Alex.  He is 18 months old now and really starting to get easier to entertain at the table and with little challenging tot school games.  This will hopefully make our schooling a little better this fall. 

9.  Trying out my homeschool ideas from pinterest.  I like how inspiring pinterest is especially for homeschool ideas.  It is fun to find something that is just perfect to add into what we are doing with our homeschool days.  I'm excited to get back into it when summer winds down.

10.  A beautiful season for some great nature study.  We haven't really done too many formal nature studies this summer, but we've been out in nature a lot!  I love doing nature studies in the fall, there are so many fun changes to watch, and I'm looking forward to getting some beautiful nature walks in.

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