Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Family blog

Hey just wanted to let you know that I'm back posting at my family blog.  I really like having a separate from homeschool place to post about family and other stuff.  Here's the link to the family blog.  Sorry about all the back and forth! 

I will continue to post here about homeschool related things too.  


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Some lego fun

We've been having some fun with LEGO's around here lately.  It started with the class I was teaching at our co-op, and history.

When we jumped back into history a few weeks ago after the Christmas break one of the activities (for chapter 16 in Story of the World volume 1) was to build  Assyrian siege towers made out of LEGO's.  It was great to see how their vision of a siege tower.

April's siege tower:
side view of April's tower

back view

Aaron's tower

front view

Since I couldn't teach the class anymore at co-op, and we are home on Wednesdays now, I decided we'd do a little lego "class" on that day for the boys.  We started this last Wednesday morning.  I gave them a challenge to build something from Mexico if they wanted.  Or they could build what they wanted.

Aric didn't want to build something from Mexico, so he created his own things.


Aaron took the challenge and built a sombrero.  Here's his mini sombrero for the LEGO mini-fig.


Then he made a sombrero of his own.


Since Wednesday was going to be "mini-fig" day at the co-op class, I made it mini-fig day at home too.  I gave them this create your own mini-fig coloring sheet.  This was their ticket to pick out a mini-fig at Bricks and Mini-figs later that day.  I decided it would be a fun treat.  They always love going to that store.  They had to color their sheet as best they could and really work hard on it.  They did!

Aric's mini-fig.

Aaron's mini fig holding an ipad.
April's mini-fig as herself with some favorite books.
Alex's mini-fig.
We had fun at the store, of course.  It's kind of fun walking through a store with wall-to-wall LEGO's.

They had an abundance of mini-fig choices.  We also had taken the bottles and cans on the way in so each child had a little spending money too.  It was fun to see them make the best choices for their little amount of money.  So many good lessons we had that day!  I agreed to buy them one mini-fig that was a build your own, or very very inexpensive.  Whatever else they wanted they had to buy on their own.  They came out with some great new treasures.

Here is Alex's new mini-fig.  He was so excited about his.


One last thing.
To go along with the LEGO theme.

This LEGO tower game is pretty fun too.




My homeschool mother's journal: Jan. 25

In my life this week...

This week was good.  Except for the constant quarreling between my children.  I need to address that, and I'm pondering this weekend how I can help them be better.  But, the week ended with some fun.  I had a great time making some cakes with the kids today.  They each wanted to make their own cake for our church's cake auction.  Our Saturday pretty much consisted of baking and decorating.  It was nice to work one on one with each child though.  I did a lot of the decorating part for the little boys, but they all mixed up their own cakes and helped come up with ideas.  April made hers all on her own.  I think they all came out pretty good.  I think I also discovered that I really like decorating cakes.  I used to hate it, and thought it was too time consuming.  I think I'm getting better though!

Aaron's minion cake.  I really like how this one turned out.  He really wanted to do a 3-D cake, but I'm not ready to tackle that yet!  The little black hairs on top made me chuckle.

Aric's Ninjago cake.  He did NOT want to take this cake to the auction.  He was especially distraught when we left the church without it, and we didn't get it back.  I have promised to make him another one real soon.

April made this compass cake completely on her own.  She had a different plan in mind, but it didn't work out.  She wanted to make a piano cake with keys on the side, but it wasn't tall enough (we would have had to bake more layers).  We might have to make the piano cake sometime soon.
In our homeschool this week...

We fixed our picnic table.  Remember last time I mentioned that I really needed a solution to the slats in our table so we could do school easier.  Well, Hubby and I talked, and he reminded me about getting a solid white board to put on the top until we can find or make what we want.  So last Saturday I went to Lowe's, and came home with 2 panels of white board that works as a real white board.  We just cut one side down to width, and put a thin layer of glue to hold it down.  No more worries about pencils, pieces, and food falling in the cracks!  It's also easier to write on.


April has been working a lot on Khan academy this week.  She was even on it at times when she didn't have to be.  I am impressed, and glad that she's making an effort to get further in math.  I am loving Khan academy, and so is she!  She especially loved that some of her word problems are about some of her new favorite stories and characters.  This one for example is about Bilbo from The Hobbit.  She was very excited, and had to take a picture.  A few other word problems involved Harry Potter, another of her favorite books right now.

Here she is working through a problem.  She's taking full advantage of our new white board table covering.  Love having a solid table for school.

Some of the math for Aaron and Aric.  These sheets are great.  I love the idea of taking one number and doing all kinds of things with it.  They had a good time doing this worksheet.


We also read this book called Math-terpieces this week.  I really love the living math in this book.  It looks at some famous art pieces, some the boys recognized, and makes a math problem out it.  Great book!  I found this one at the library this week.


Our science this week.  We started a new book, One minute Mysteries, 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science.  This is pretty cool.  We read 3 of them in the first sitting, and the kids really liked trying to figure it out. 

Aaron finally got his ants in the mail.  So we spent some time this week watching them.


This was just after we first put them in the ant farm.  I have to admit I was a little creeped out, and scared to get them out of the little container they came in into the ant farm.  Luckily they suggest putting them into the fridge to slow the ants down, and then I was able to dump them right in.  I sure had visions of ants crawling all over me though!  Those things are huge!


The boys are all fascinated with the ants.  Here they have started tunneling.

We also discovered how the light shines through a magnifying glass.

We played with ice one day.  I froze a pan of ice to let them slide objects across it.  It went along with our penguin theme last week.



We started learning about mexico this week.  We are following the Friend magazine's, Friends around the world passport program.  So, I pulled out our geopuzzle with Mexico in it.  We also learned the names of some other countries in South America.




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

The boys started a wrestling club for kids at the local high school this week. I know nothing about wrestling, so this will be a new experience for all of us.  They really like it, and they can definitely use the wrestling time being the busy boys that they are.

We also went to the local homeschool group at the library on Friday.  It was art day.  We love art!  The class was pop art by Andy Warhol.  Since we are also studying the great artists we read about Andy Warhol before we headed to the library, and I printed up some ready to color projects for them to do during the art time.  I'm so glad I did, this really helped them to be able to participate without feeling overwhelmed about re-creating a picture on their own.  I printed up a campbell's make your own soup label, and a few other color in pages here and here.


I gave Alex a few pennies to play with because he was getting bored.  When I gave him the cupcake sheet to color he put all his pennies on the cherries.  I thought that was cute.

My favorite thing this week...

Getting more organized, and getting these maps up on the wall. 


That wraps it up for this week.  I'm linking this up to The Homeschool Mother's Journal.

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?


Friday, January 17, 2014

My homeschool journal: Jan. 17

Love watching the birds on the dreary winter days.  It really brightens my day.

In my life this week...

Life has sort of been put on hold right now for a time.  I feel like we are just waiting.  I don't like waiting, but I'm trying to be patient.  We are waiting to see what's next.  Waiting for surgery for Michele's back, and to see if it helps him.  Waiting for all this to hurry up and happen.  In the mean time he goes to work, and comes home to lay down to let his back rest.  We can't really do anything as a family so we have no plans for anything, and probably won't for a while.  It's not much fun, but it's life right now. 

In our homeschool this week...

We actually had a pretty good week relatively speaking.  It definitely wasn't a full week of good solid school, but we got an art lesson in, some science, math, geography, and definitely reading.  I decided it would be penguin week this week for a theme/unit.  So we weaved that into some of our subjects.

We went to see the penguins at the zoo on Thursday which was a great addition to our week.  We got lucky and walked into the penguin exhibit right before the keeper talk, so we got to listen to some interesting things about penguins we were looking at and watch them get fed.  I love it when things come together like that!  I think we watched the penguins for a good 15-20 minutes, they were so playful and interesting.  I also didn't know that there are warm weather penguins which is what our zoo has.  They live off the coast of Chile and Peru.  Maybe I'm slow and everybody already knows that, but I was happy to learn something new!

To kick off penguin week I made some penguin pancakes one morning.  This was pretty stellar for me as I'm not usually very creative in the kitchen.  The little boys loved them.


For math with the boys we made some penguin shapes.  This was so fun, and we will use them for making a little penguin math book next week.  The boys surprised me, they really liked this.  Which is why they each ended up making their own set.

Aaron decided he wanted his to be standing.


These are Aric's shapes.  He petered out about halfway through them, so I had to do a few of his.  These did take 2 days of math sessions to make.  I'm looking forward to using them for math next week!


For some penguin science fun we learned about how Emporer penguins keep their eggs warm.  The male penguin keeps the egg in a "brood patch" between their feet and the blubber that hangs down.  So we tied long pillow to the boys' tummy, and their task was to keep the "egg" on top of their feet between the pillow to keep it warm.  Not an easy task!  That would explain why the Emporer penguin doesn't move to eat for the whole time.
They had fun trying.

Trying to get the baseball egg on top of his feet.

Gotta keep the feet together!
Okay, now I can't move!
Then we did an experiment with ice and ziploc bags.  We had one bag filled with ice, one bag filled with air, and one bag just flat.  The boys saw the difference when the bag of ice was on their hands with the flat bag, and then with the air bag.  The air was like the penguin's "feathers" that keep them warm.
Then they all wanted a bag of ice to play with...

IMG_5409 IMG_5410 IMG_5411

For art this week we had a Georgia O'Keefe lesson.  We read about her from Getting to know the world's greatest artists.  I love these books.  They are so kid friendly, and have allowed my boys to become familiar with so many great paintings and art.


Then they all painted giant flowers from this lesson, getting kids to draw big okeefe flowers.  The 3 older kids did this, and they all enjoyed it and did pretty well.  I love how they all turned out.

April's flower.
Aaro's flower.
Aric's flower.

Some reading moments this week.  I love to see pictures of kids reading, so I wanted to included some moments in our house this week.

She almost protested me taking this picture.

These two reading together is a rare sight, but becoming more frequent lately.  Aric was reading this one to Aaron.  He is doing really well in his reading.
They love Elephant and Piggie.  Aric can read those books really well.
What we are reading...

I'm reading 3 books aloud to the boys.  This is the most we've been doing at once.  They are reading Harry Potter book 1, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and A good night for Ghosts magic treehouse book.  April is reading several, but one I know for sure is Sea of Monsters.


Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

Be realistic about what you can get done with your kids in any given day/week.  I always have great expectations that we can get tons of stuff done at the beginning of any given day or week, and then find that we really can only get through half of what I have planned.  Keep it simple.  You know what your kids will be able to do.

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

We went to our Life academy co-op on Wednesday, but have since decided we will no longer be going to that one on Wednesdays.  It's just too far, and too many commitments we can't do right now.  So, that was our last Wednesday there (although I hadn't decided that at the time).  I'm relieved though to be done with it for now.  Thursday was the zoo and Costco shopping.  Friday we headed to the library for our local homeschool group's activity, and library time.  I'm excited to be able to come to our local group again.

My favorite thing this week was...

Making some changes to our living room.  I finally got our ikea curtains up, and took down our old broken blinds.  I love being able to open up the curtains and let some light in.  I still have to paint the pole white, but I just needed to get these up NOW!  I also re-dyed one of the couches a darker brown to see if I would like it better.  It is SO much better the darker brown.  I'm much happier with that color.  The cocoa brown was to purple-y to me and was driving me nuts.  I don't have a picture of the couch, but I'll get one as soon as I get the other one done.  My recommendation, don't plan on dying couches, just buy what you like :-)


My kiddos favorite thing this week...

Getting catterpillars in the mail.  I surprised the kids by ordering caterpillars for a little winter pick-me-up for school.  They are all excited about them.  It will be fun to watch them.  We have ants coming sometime too for Aaron's ant farm.  Those aren't here yet.


Things I'm working on...

Re-organizing our school.  I'm re-organizing everything.  I'm looking for a new plan, and I'm going through and sorting things out.  As I'm doing this I'm trying to figure out a new way of "getting things done" each day for school.  I'm trying to figure out what we really need and what we don't.  I have too much stuff going on both physically and mentally that I've got to clear out the clutter so we can be more effective each day.  So, I need a new game plan, and I need some organization.  I started around new years, and I'm still going.  I'm hoping to have a good solid weekend this weekend of going through things.  Hoping it all comes to me as I do so!

I'm cooking...

Well, I'm the main cook around here now, so I've been cooking a lot!  But, not necessarily noteworthy things :-)  I'm also trying really hard to eat out less, and be better about that.  It's been going really well.  I made tacos tonight for dinner, pancakes a few times for dinner and breakfast, french toast, no bake cookies, and a few costco pre-made meals.

I'm grateful for...

The ability to change anything in homeschool anytime I feel we need to.  I'm grateful that I felt good this week about making some of the minor changes to our curriculum plans that just weren't working or not getting us anywhere.

I rewarded the kids this week by...

Buying them a chocolate cake from costco.  That thing is huge!  Not sure that was a good idea because now we have to eat it.  Anybody want some chocolate cake?

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

A new kitchen table.  I am so tired of having a picnic table for a dining table.  It is not conducive to doing school work with all it's bumps and spaces between slats.  I also can't keep plastic on top of it because the kids keep tearing it up, and I'm tired of spending  money on plastic covers.  I was hoping hubby could build me one soon, but now that's not going to happen.  Hoping one to buy (that's not too outrageous) that I like will make its appearance soon!

I hope you all had a lovely week!  Thanks for reading!

I am linking this up to The Homeschool Mother's Journal at So you call yourself a

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

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