Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elk field trip

We went to Rosse Posse acres elk farm, and petting zoo.  I learned a ton on this field trip!  It was amazing, and very interesting.  I won't say a lot because I have a lot of pictures to do the talking, but I learned new terms and how they relate to elk, like velvet, hard antler, and much more.  I also learned that elk are very aggressive.  She told a few stories that are pretty gruesome, so it was evident to stay away from the fences, and not to stick any hands or anything into them.  I never knew that.  But, now I don't want to meet an elk in the forest!

Anyway, this lady was awesome.  She first told us about how she homeschools her kids, and then she told us a lot about elk, and a few of the elk at her farm.

We started in the barn where we saw the wall of racks.  It was impressive.  These are racks from 3 consecutive years for some of the elk.


The kids were very interested the whole time. IMG_1348

A funny picture


Time to see them! They came from way out in the trees when she called. She had to call a few times, and then they took their time.  IMG_1357

These are the 1 year old elk. IMG_1358 IMG_1360 IMG_1363 IMG_1365

These are the big guys!  She bottle fed this one that she is about to pet, so he is very friendly to her.  In fact she said that she had a hard time convincing him that he was an elk and not a human.  An interesting thing she said was imprinting.  Apparently he had imprinted on her since she bottle fed him from the start because of unfortunate circumstances.IMG_1368 IMG_1370

These are the ladies.  We were told to stay back from them as well.  They can be pretty mean too.

Time for the petting zoo...

 IMG_1372 IMG_1373 IMG_1378

I had a hard time not wanting to go right out and get Aaron a puppy after this. He just loved all the animals, and then he loved holding this puppy. I wish I liked dogs just so he could have one. IMG_1380


Friday, August 24, 2012

Homeschool student photos 2012

We will start with the youngest first...

Alexander--Tot school
Loves:  sitting next to somebody while doing anything like eating, playing, snuggling


Next up...

loves:  counting, crafts, and cars

 Next up...

Aaron--1st grade
loves:  creating things, astronomy, and addition.

And finally...

April--6th grade
loves:  horses, reading, and art
I wanted to do interviews too, but that's not happening right now.  I am just thankful we got such great pictures!

Not Back to School Blog Hop


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I did mention recently that I am making some changes, and as you can see I've started!  When I named my blog "Our homeschool notebook" it was for lack of a better name.  I really wanted something more original, and neat.  It took me a while, but I've finally figured it out!  I came up with it while editing pictures, and loved this picture of the bee on the purple flowers I took recently.  It really captures what I feel like we are doing everyday.  Flitting from flower to flower trying to get all we can in whether it be at home doing school work, or outside, or anywhere.  I decided that I wanted more of a nature-like feel to our homeschool blog because that's one of my favorite things to do, be out in nature, learning, with my children. 

So, that's a start for tonight.  It's a work in progress.  I hope have some nicknames soon for each child, and other plans.

Oh, and I have our school pictures coming soon!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our curriculum for 2012-2013 school year

It wasn't my plan, but I needed to make a lot of changes to our curriculum this year.  I have also realized that I should just plan on doing this every year.  The kids grow, and they need their curriculum to grow with them each year.  A lot of stuff from their last years curriculum I will still keep accessible on the bookshelf though so that I can pull from it because a lot of their books still had a lot of usable pages. 

So, I got the okay from Hubby to buy some books, I made a list, and we headed to Exodous books (a great local homeschool bookstore).  They had every book on my list, and some I didn't :-)  I'll list these out in each child's curriculum plan.

All the new books we came home with...


Aaron's new books...
Note:  Not all I have listed below are in this picture.  This is just the new additions for this year.

Aaron (age 6, grade 1)

Explode the code book 1 and 2:  I am going to give this a try.  He might find this too tedious, but Aric really likes his, so I thought Aaron might do good with it.  I like the simplicity of these books.
Five in a row:  We now have 2 volumes of this series.  We have been using vol. 1 for a few years now, I'll be glad to have some new FIAR books to discover.
Now I'm reading! books:  He has set 1 and 2 from Kindergarden, and still hasn't gotten through all of them. 
Singapore math 1A:  We started this book at the beginning of summer, but we really didn't end up doing much over the summer.  He is liking it so far though.
Life of Fred apples:  We will do this for math as well.
Download and go unit studies:  These are great for an easy unit study.  I will do some portions of these as Aaron is interested.
Science experiments in a bag:  I hope to put these together and have some fun science projects throughout the year.
Exploring Creation with Astronomy:  Aaron will focus on Astronomy this year.  He will also be using the Jr. Notebook to go with it.
Christian Liberty Nature Reader book 1.:  I'm excited to start these.  I just discovered them, and I think they'll be a great addition to our nature studies.  I'll read this aloud to the boys.
Story of the world:  This history will be new for Aaron this year.  He'll join us for the reading, and whatever activities he's interested in.
Speekee TV:  I plan to use this as an introduction to Spanish.  It has 10 videos to watch, and I get an email with weekly activities to go along with the videos.
Draw, write, now books:  I am collecting these as we go through each school year.  This will be a fun way to practice drawing and writing about what was drawn.
What your first grader needs to know (reading supplement):  It's fun to start using some books that April used!  We have this one from when April was in 1st grade (her first year of homeschooling). 
All about reading level 1:  I have not acquired this yet, but would really like to add this later.  I am trying to decide on it still, but will most likely get it.

April's (mostly) new books...

April (age 11, grade 6)

Singapore math 5A:  We started out at the beginning of summer with 6A, but we decided it was a tad bit too advanced for her.  We decided to jump back to 5A, this seems to be a better fit for right now.
Life of Fred: fractions:  She's still working on Fractions, but when she's through with that she will move on to Decimals and Percents.
Zoology 3 (land animals of the sixth day):  I said she could choose which Apologia science book she wanted to study, and she picked this one.  She'll also do the Zoology 3 Notebook with it.
Handbook of Nature study challenges:  I will do this with all the children as well, but she'll be up for more of the "challenge" parts.
Christian Liberty Nature Reader book 5:  April requested one of these readers for her level, so she'll be doing this one.
Story of the World Volume 1:  We are continuing this from last year.  We also have the SOTW activity guide for all the maps, coloring pages, and projects to go along with each chapter.
Lessons in responsibility for girls level 3:  She did Lessons in responsibility for girls level 2 for the last 2 years, so we got the next level that matches her age.  They are all great lessons on homemaking and life.
What your sixth grader needs to know (reading supplement):  She wanted to get one of these books because I had them for the boys.  They really are packed with a lot of reading and information. 
Creative and critical thinking activities grade 5:  This is a leftover from last year, but I will continue to pull pages out of this quite often.  It has a lot of great puzzles and thinking activities.
Building spelling skills (grade 6+):  This is also a leftover from last year.  She will mostly use this as a way to discover new words.  I am really looking into a new spelling program for her though.


Aric (age 4, PK)

Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons:  don't know if he'll do very much of this, we might just give it a try once in a while.  Picked it up for free at a homeschool swap.
All about reading pre-level 1:  I have the activity book portion of this.  I am hoping to get the rest, but haven't yet.  The activity book that I have looks really good.
Get ready for the code book A:  we started this mid-summer, and he likes it.  He'll be onto book B real soon.
Bob books:  We just picked up the first set of Bob books earlier this summer.  He enjoys reading these with me, but isn't quite ready to read them on his own.
Babba Co monthly box:  We happened to be getting a free box this month to try out, and that will help me to decide if we will keep going with the monthly boxes.  I think it's a fun idea, but a little bit spendy.
Science experiments in a bag:  (same as his brother)  These are great to have all ready to pull out and do every once in a while.  Now I just have to put the bags together!
Christian Liberty Nature Reader book 1.:  (same book as his brother) I'm excited to start these.  I just discovered them, and I think they'll be a great addition to our nature studies.  I'll read this aloud to the boys.
Preschool activity bags:  These will be simple activities that will be put together to pull out and do during our school time.
Speekee TV:  Aric will do this right along with Aaron.  He is picking up a lot just in the 1 week we have been watching it.
Wee sing bible songs:  He gets these wee sing bible songs from the library a lot so I finally got it for him to listen to during our scripture time.
Kumon make a match level 1 & 2:  These are pretty simple, just pages and pages of circling matches.  It helps the child get better at finding matches as there are more objects added in as you go along through the book.  He does these a lot.
K4 curriculum:  printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler
Letter of the week activities from various places

So, that's our curriculum in a nut shell.  I do use lots of freebies like homeschool share for lapbooks, and I have subscriptions to others like Enchanted learning, and abcteach that I will also use all year long for all the kids. 

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Happy not-back-to-school!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The homeschool mother's journal: The Lorax


In my life this week...It was hot this week.  It doesn't usually get in the upper 90's here in Oregon, but we stayed cool in the pool at least daily.  I'm glad for nice warm days, but I'm really looking forward to cooler days soon.

In our homeschool this week...We started some of our new books this week, and some of the old ones too!  It was nice to pick up Story of The World again, but this time I am having Aaron join us for at least the reading and whatever activities he finds interest in.  I had the impression that it's a good time to start including him, and I was right. We read chapter 7, and he was fascinated by the laws of Hammurabi.  Aaron also loves his science book, Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  I think he is really excited to study astronomy this year.  Another new thing we did this week was Speekee TV.  I just discovered it, and I'm pretty sure we're going to continue with it all year.  The boys want to learn Spanish, and I think this will be a great introduction to it.  I get an email each week called Speekee fast track with ideas to supplement the videos we watch.  This week we made sock puppets to go with the sock puppet characters Dino and Lupi on Speekee TV.

These are the puppets.  Aric's is on the left, mine in the middle, and Aaron's on the right.  I had a blast making these with the boys. 

We also made this page to put in the workboxes for Speekee TV time. IMG_1333

They had fun watching "El parque" again with their sock puppets.


See the puppets there on the screen!  IMG_1330

Okay, here's an even better picture of Dino and Lupi.IMG_1329

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...I found this article on the blog Latter Day Homeschooling helpful, called "Assigning 'virtual' schoolwork".  I forget a lot about computer schoolwork.  That is also the same article where I discovered Speekee TV.

I am inspired by...The woman that gave us the tour on her elk farm today.  She said she has homeschooled her 4 children from the start, she has 3 graduated, and one still at home almost ready for college.  All her girls have done very well from their homeschooling.   She said she started homeschooling when it wasn't so popular, but she didn't give in to all the negativity, and she kept it up because she knew it was right.  She was very encouraging, and inspiring, and her family runs a beautiful Elk farm!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
~We had our good homeschool friends over on Monday.  April's BFF Kaitlyn, and her sister and Momma too all came over to swim.  I enjoyed having a friend over too!
~Everyday, for 2 hours a day, this week the kids had music camp at our church.  They really loved it.  They made some fun crafts, learned some musical things and dances, and played music games.
~On Thursday we squeezed in a library trip, and Friday we had a field trip to a local elk farm.  The kids thought the elk farm was pretty awesome, and afterward we went to the river to play with the homeschool group that went to the field trip.  The river was a nice way to end a hot day visiting the elk.

My favorite thing this week was...letting the boys run through the sprinklers at the park in their clothes, while I laid in the shade of a tree reading.  I actually laid down in the grass and looked up into the blue sky to soak it all in before I got up and we had to leave.  It has been a long time since I've done that!  I felt like a kid again.  Ah, the lazy hot days of summer!

What's working/not working for us...a lot of things are working so well for us right now, but I think the reason why is because I'm trying really hard to just relax.  I'm trying hard to not over-do things, or over work them in my brain.  I'm trying hard not to worry too much when the kids do things their way and not necessarily mine.  I'm trying to relax about what we can accomplish in any given day.  I'm trying to relax when I get overwhelmed, and I feel like it's all piling up too much.  It's working.  When I over-stress myself, things don't work so well.  This is going to be a great year if I can keep it up.

Things I'm working on...still working on the curriculum line up post, almost done!  Then I'm making some changes to this blog.

I'm cooking...chili rellenos casserole (much like Mexican eggs), and grilled chicken with couscous (the kids' favorite).  Actually, I'm cooking on the grill most days lately with this warm weather.  Even bacon for breakfast on the grill!  Yumm. 

I'm grateful for...water.  It occurred to me this week as I was using water, swimming in water, and drinking water, that water is such a wonderful blessing.  I am so thankful for it in this heat!  I'm thankful for the everyday uses I can use water for, and that it runs into my home so freely.  I don't have to go far to get it, and for that I'm thankful.

A photo to share...The Lorax collage.  We watched the movie, and read the book this week.  Several times.  I have to say I kinda liked the movie.  I enjoy the book too.  We also made truffula trees with our pencils.  I also had some stickers from the craft store. 

You can see more Homeschool mother journal posts here at iHomeschool network


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our school room...

Is not the room we actually "do school" in.  We do most of our school work here:

The dining room table (sorry, I could have made it all pretty and organized for this picture, but I guess this is how it looks 90% of the time, so I left it)


With our workboxes next to it, and a large chalkboard that we can hardly get to :-)  We are so cramped!  But, I'm thankful for it anyways.

IMG_0766 Our calendar is usually floating around the living room on the art easel somewhere. IMG_1327 And, we have some of our "morning time" stuff on the wall of the living room... P6131483

As well as our 100 days of school chart...


Also, housed in our living room are 4 bookshelves with all of our reading books, picture books, magazines, and all other books.  This picture makes me cringe, I KNOW it needs some major reorganization, and I'm slowly working on a shelf at a time.  See the top left shelf, it's organized :-)  I at least have one done, right?  That next shelf with the picture frames will be next, and will be pretty easy. 


The living room/dining room is where most of our sit down schooling takes place, but I do feel like we learn all over the place, outside, at the library, on family trips, in the car, wherever!

Now for the room that I consider "our school room". This room is basically our school supply storage room. It holds all the arts/crafts supplies, school workbooks and curriculum, computer, piano, and paper supplies. I just did some major organization of this room. Although it's not perfect yet, it's much better than it was! We don't really do our schooling in here unless it's computer stuff, or (new for this year) April practicing her piano.

This is the bookshelf that holds all the homeschool learning books, workbooks, and reference books.  It includes all past curriculum that I can still use that hasn't been put in storage or given away.  Getting this shelf organized was so nice, and made me realize that we have a lot of workbooks!  Too many probably.  I have decided that we need no more workbooks, we have enough to pull from for a while.

Having a labeler has come in so handy!  I'm working on slowly getting things labeled, and used it as much as possible while organizing this room. IMG_1314

On the left are the plastic drawers and bins storing various supplies, and preschool manipulatives.  On the right is the shelf with each child's curriculum box.  I keep their current curriculum books in these boxes so I can find them easily.


Look even our youngest pupil, Alex, has a box!  His is empty of course, he's got a little while before he has "curriculum."


The bins on top hold paper.  I have loved having these curriculum boxes.  I pull from these boxes easily to fill their school workboxes.


The closet in this room holds yet more storage boxes of supplies, paints, and other various things.  It's really pretty messy, but I organized the top shelf!  I didn't do much in this closet while organizing the room.  That'll have to wait until another day.  I do have a lot of stuff from over the years!

IMG_1318 Here's the piano now.  It used to be in April's room, then we moved it out into the living room, then back to April's room, but there was no room for it anymore.  So, now it's in here across from... IMG_1319 The computer.  I didn't really touch this part of the room either, so it's pretty cluttered here.  I'm looking forward to listening to April practice while I'm on the computer in the evenings.IMG_1321 So, there you have it.  Our learning spaces.  If you'd like to see others, you can click on the button below!

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