Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tot school: Letter Ee

Tot school/preschool has been real hit or miss around here lately.  I love doing these activities, so I hope to remedy that.  Also, most of these activities are from September.  I know, a little late, but better late than never, right?  I hope to be more frequent with these posts....

Book activities:
Orange Pear Apple Bear

This is one of my favorite books, so we added it to our collection at the beginning of our school year.  We explored this book with a bear, an orange, and a pear.  The boys thought that was pretty cool.  They wanted to read it a few times, and of course we ate the orange and the pear.


Alex trying to feed the bear his pear.

We also read elmer, and made a Elmer craft with tissue paper.

ABC activities:

Alex exploring his new abc game.  I love the feel of the abc's.  They are a recycled plastic so they are pretty durable.


Free play:

Building sugar cube towers.

Some sticker fun with lighthouse stickers.


 Letter Ee:

His letter Ee wall of fame.

 E painting with Q-tips...IMG_4377 IMG_4368

Exploring his letter Ee basket IMG_4306

Printables used for letter Ee Tot school can be found at 1+1+1=1.


Wordless Wednesday: Fall camping at the coast

Fall camping
October 18-20
Newport, Oregon


Saturday, October 26, 2013

My homeschool mother's journal: Cotton Candy

In my life this week...

Remember when I mentioned in my last journal that I was looking for some cotton candy?  Well, I finally found it after deciding I might just give up.  I took the kids to the Salem carousel on Tuesday this week (hoping by chance that they might have some because it's a fun place), and they had 1 bag of cotton candy left from Sunday.

It was just hanging there, as if to say "here I am!"  I was so excited to see that 1 little bag!  The story gets better... The little concession stand wasn't open, bummer!  I asked the lady if it would be open that day at all.  She said it wouldn't.  I mentioned that I was just interested in that single bag of cotton candy, and she said "I'll sell it to you for half price because it's been sitting there since last Sunday" (2 days before).  That was truly a win win for me.  I love when little things like that happen.  Such a blessing, and a bright spot in my week!

Look at all that beautiful cotton candy!  I'm not usually a fan of this over-sugary treat, but I was happy to have it for a special project this week.
In our homeschool this week... 

Since we are studying Venus right now in the science astronomy book we made edible Venus planets.  This is the fun project that required cotton candy.  

First we made some rice krispy treats...


Then you put a piece (or two) of saltwater taffy in the middle for the "core."  We talked about what the core is, and how it's a lot like our earth's core.

Then we wrapped the rice krispy around the taffy to make the "crust" of venus in a nice round ball.  We talked about how it is a terrestrial planet with a rocky surface.


then we added chocolate chips all around the ball for the "volcanoes" on Venus.  Attached with a little dab of frosting.  We talked about how Venus is covered in volcanoes and lava.


Finally we added the cotton candy around the outside for the super thick atmosphere that Venus has.  We talked about how it is covered with an atmosphere that we couldn't breathe, and made up of a lot of things including sulfuric acid.

Aric's venus!
Aaron's venus!
I read parts of the chapter as they made their treat.
Surprisingly they didn't want to eat it when they were done.  They took one nibble, and decided they didn't like it.  Their sister and her neighbor friend happily gobbled up my example though!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share ...

Use what you have.  A lot of fun activities can be made for school just from things around the house.  I forget this piece of advice so much.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We finally went to the pumpkin patch this week with Life academy for a field trip. It was beautiful, and even hot that day.  Another day we went over to a friend's house to do some halloween crafts and play.  We also made it to the local pool to swim.  Grandma and Grandpa are camping close to us so we're doing some fun things with them like swimming, and eating dinner at their campground.


 The fun footprint "ghosts" and tape "mummies" that the kids made at Rya's house.

My favorite thing this week was...

Going to the Wilsonville library again for the first time in a few months and renewing our card.  Love having that library for a resource.  

My kiddos favorite thing this week was...

Aric loved having everybody watch him play soccer today.  Even Grandma came.  He played the best I've seen him play yet.  He loves playing soccer.

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

Not much seems to be working great for us right now as far as getting a lot of work done each day.  I'm having to tweak again.  It's a never-ending process it seems!  There's always something to fix.

Questions/thoughts I have...

Why can't I keep it simple???

Things I'm working on...

Planning our camping trips and family trips for the next year through summer.  We booked our first long camping trip for the summer, yesterday.  It was fun to get that booked.  I'm looking forward to getting more on the calendar.

We're reading...

These are the kids' reads this week. 
Aaron just finished this book.  It's pretty fun to read aloud, very poetic.  He liked it, and even wants me to buy it for him.
April is reading this, and almost done.  I expect she'll be done next week.  She is really liking Anne of Green Gables.  I'm so excited to watch the movie with her when she's done.
Aric has been reading these every night for most of the week.  He is lovin' Bambi right now for some reason.  I let him watch the movie today.  He still wanted to read the stories again for bedtime as well!  These are books from Daddy's childhood.  They were given to us recently by Grandma.
I'm grateful for...

Stacks of books from the library on the coffee table to snuggle up on the couch to read.  Finding cotton candy when I was about to give up.  Foggy, cool crisp fall mornings.  Christmas music, and that I get to listen to it everyday soon!

I'm praying for...

To know when we should start the process of trying to sell our house, and that it won't take a lot of time and energy.

I rewarded the kids this week by...

Letting them play too much Wii.

Something I am ogling or have my eye on...

A trip to Disneyland.  We've wanted to go for years.  We've attempted to go down a few times, but we haven't.  We really should have gone down to southern CA many times over the past few years because we have family down there (both of us do), but honestly we haven't been since April was 3.  My kids would love to go to their counsin's house, and Disneyland.  So, I'm looking at a trip there soon.  I really want to include Disneyland in that trip.  But, as I was searching for prices and tickets I was quickly getting discouraged.  For our family of 6 just to get into Disneyland without a nice "package" deal that's thousands of dollars for 1 day is a lot of money.  I'd love to go more than 1 day, and to both parks.  Anyone have any suggestions of where I can find discounts?

I'm cooking...

I made rice krispy treats 3 times this week.  I had a lot of marshmallows to use up, and we had one batch for a project.  I'm not sure how I ended up with so many marshmallows!  I also made cinnamon rolls today.  I was having some serious cravings.

A photo to share...

 See this cute little bluebird?  It keeps coming back to the little pine cone bird feeders my boys make and tie up to the tree.  We just love to watch birds around here.


I am linking this up to The Homeschool Mother's Journal

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

LIFE academy

When I decided to continue homeschooling this year, and not put the kids in school, I made that decision on faith and hope that Heavenly Father would help me in some way provide the great opportunities I had hoped they would have.  Well, our new co-op has been more than I could have asked for.  I believe this was a definite answer to a prayer.  Especially because the person that led me to this co-op was on the Lord's errand when she came to visit teach me.  She mentioned an email that she had received from some other homeschool Mom through other church members that was looking to form a support group of some sort.  She promised to email me that information.  As soon as I got her email, I immediately emailed the person who had created the group Life Academy.  The rest is history.  We were able to attend the new year kick off BBQ the next week, and we fell in love with all the people, and what this academy was all about.  The kids immediately made friends.  I felt like I finally found a great place to be in our homeschooling journey.

All the Mom's in this group seem to be like-minded with my philosophies for homeschooling, religion, and life.  It's a great thing when you can find like-minded homeschoolers to hang with once a week.

So, here is a little glimpse in our day at Life academy.  It functions a lot like a co-op, but it's more than that.  It's based on the Thomas Jefferson Education philosophy, and leadership education.

L.I.F.E. stands for:  


I have been so impressed with the quality of classes that my children have had the opportunity to be in each Wednesday for the last 6 weeks.   I also have loved that I am learning new ways to teach MY own children as I watch other parent mentors teach.

We start off the day in a morning meeting.  Here we are waiting for the meeting to start.  It's so fun to start off on a comfy couch!  Isn't that what we homeschoolers love, the couch!  LOL.
(this picture taken by me)
(another day waiting for the meeting to start, picture taken by another Mom) 1383158_10151928687881069_1082424060_n

We get the opportunity as a family to lead The Pledge of Allegiance, and prayer to start the meeting.  It was our turn on this day.  
So thankful we have been practicing the pledge as much as possible, and that they had this opportunity to see it in a group.
(Ha ha, I didn't realize he had his left hand over his heart, guess we'll have to work on that.  And, yes I eventually put my hand up.  I don' think we had started yet.  He didn't want to go up there by himself.)


Aric is in the core jr. class (4 and 5 year olds).
They have been doing a cowboy theme the past 6 weeks.
During their last class they made homemade stick ponies.
They turned out so cute, picture below.


Alex is in the littles class.
Amazingly I've never had a problem leaving him.
 He loves his class, and happily says bye.
They always have some great little preschool activities.
They made cute little bugs on this day, and he was so proud of his bug.

Aaron is in the core sr. class (6 and 7 year olds).
They have been studying gardens and things that grow.
For their last day they made pumpkin cookies
from a real pumpkin that grew in his mentor's garden.
He even brought his apron for this.



One day they also went out and collected things from nature on a sticky piece of tape.


Aric showing off his stick horse at lunch time.


Two things I didn't get a picture of...lunch afterwards, and April's Shakespeare class.  We all sit down to lunch after class, and have some free play time for the kids in the gym.  This is such a great energy release time for the boys, and they love it.  Also, April has some time to go up into the middle school room and hang out with the other Scholars (her class).  I also didn't get a picture of April in her Shakespeare class.  I didn't want to go in and interrupt for a picture, but thinking about it now I should have.  They always have such fun games and things going on in there. 

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