Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Lion King

I know that this isn't a homeschooling topic, per se, but I had to share!
Last night we took Reilly to see The Lion King on stage and it was, without a doubt, hands down, the most fantastic show I've ever seen! (and I've seen quite a few shows!)We had purchased the tickets about 9 months ago, and originally just Ched and I were going to go, but he decided that he'd like for her to see it as well, so we snagged another ticket for her. It just happened, timing wise, that the date we chose coincided with our last day of school, which was Friday, so we turned it into an End of School celebration and took her out to dinner.
Our seats were row G (the first row was C, so we were even closer than I thought we'd be) and we ended up being right on the aisle. (That was sheer luck because the theatre had to add two extra aisles for the opening scene, and when we bought the tickets we didn't know where those aisles were going to go in!) So, the music starts, here come the animals down the aisle and we were on the side with the elephant! Reilly's eyes were as big as SAUCERS!! Frankly, my eyes were filled with tears because it was so fantastic and I was so thrilled, and I guess that's how I handle emotion!
*sigh* I want to go back and see it again!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Last Day of School

Well, I decided that I wanted to make the actual last day of school special, so I surprised The Kids with a trip to the Zoo! They absolutely LOVE the Zoo, even though we've been there about a thousand times. We went to the store and picked up some Lunchables - which is a huge treat by itself! - and off we went. Several times during the day, Deco said, "Dis is fun, Mama!" It was definitely a good end to a great school year!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oh my...

Tomorrow is our last day of school...
When I think about it too hard, I kinda want to cry...not in a sad sort of way, by any means. But in an "OHMYGOODNESS, we actually DID it!" kind of way.
When I think back to the first day of school (August 25th), I remember sitting on the sofa with Bear, and doing a page in a math workbook that I'd gotten on eBay. We did the number "1" - it was the first time she'd written a number 1. And when we were finished that day, I thought to myself, "Wow, now we really are a homeschooling family." After years of talking about it, praying about it, preparing, and stressing out about it, we were there. And now she easily counts to over 100 and writes numbers up to 100. She can do simple math. She reads. Her handwriting is amazing. She's beginning to learn about punctuation and capitalization...and I helped her do all that.
I wonder - would I be feeling this emotional if she had gone to public school? Somehow, to see where she was, and to see where she is now, and to realize that I had a hand in getting her really, truly boggles my mind. Wow.Am I going to feel this way at the end of every school year? Am I still going to be turning into a blubbering fool when she "graduates" from first grade? Or fourth grade? Or seventh grade? Oh my, I don't know if I can handle it!
We're going out to dinner and to see "The Lion King" on stage on Saturday night as our End of School Celebration, so I'm looking forward to that...we all are. (OK, well, Deco isn't going, but the rest of us are excited!)

Our "Resurrection Plant

When we were in St. Louis, my mom bought Bear a "Resurrection Plant" at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. This is a type of fern, and the packet said that even though the plant looked completely dead, it would return to life if placed in a shallow bowl of water.

So, last Tuesday, we put the plant to the test!

The first picture on the left is what the plant looked like when it first came out of the package. Curled in on itselt, very dry, very brown...seemingly very DEAD!
The first picture on the right is after it has been in water for about 15 minutes. It's beginning to unfold a little bit and we could see that some of the ends had a little bit of green on them.
The second picture on the left was taken a few hours after it had been put into the water. Obviously, it's much more uncurled, and we could see much more green down in the center.
The last picture I took, which is the second one on the right, was taken some time the next day. There was a whole lot of green and the plant was almost completely spread open.
Now, the plant never turned into the "lush, green fern" that the package said that it would, but it was really neat to see it come to life as much as is did! We could plant it in a planter, but I've not gotten around to doing that yet. Someday, someday...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sliding into Home Plate!

Well, believe it or not, we're in our last week before we begin our summer break!!
*mind boggles - have we really done this for a whole school year?*
I've decided that I'm going to take all of June off, then do part time school in July, and then take all of August off. Hopefully we can get closer to finishing Horizons Math Kindergarten before we start first grade. I didn't buy it until halfway through the year and I didn't think about the fact that we wouldn't finish it by the end of the school year.
Today was a really rough day for me, as far as school goes. Really, what it boils down to was I was fighting a fight that didn't need to be fought, got frustrated, acted like a big huge jerk, apologized, took an hour off of school, and then got a fresh start. Once we went back, everything was fine.
We haven't really been doing anything exciting for the past few weeks, which is in part, I think, because I'm just trying to plow through and get things done. We had a GREAT trip to St. Louis to see my brother's college graduation, and ended up doing some things there that I felt "qualified" as school. We went to the Missouri Botanical Garden to see the "Glass in the Garden" exibit by Dale Chihuly - it was beautiful! Erin had done his photography internship there, and I'd seen a lot of pictures that he had taken, but it was amazing to see the glass pieces in person. We did a lot of "I Spy", only it was "I spy a Chihuly!" We also went to The City Museum, which is like a huge playground for adults and kids (very great!) and the Laumeier Sculpture Park, which is a park (no, really?) that is full of huge sculptures that you can climb all over. It was a fun trip, and I was so glad that we were able to go. Even if we hadn't gotten to do anything fun, it was worth the trip just to be there to see Erin graduate! *wipes away tear*

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Schoolin' in St. Louis!

Ode to Room 108 and Grad Weekend 2006
(Sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It")

We ate chicken on a plate in 108.
We slept and we took showers, it was great. (108!)
We saw Erin graduate,
and we had a piece of cake;
Oh, we learned to celebrate in 108!
We saw Chihuly in the garden, stayed up late. (108!)
Climbed on sculptures at Laumeier in the rain. (sort of!)
Oh, we crawled around The, that is...
It was tough, it wasn't pretty.
Had lots of food at Big Sky, wine and STEAK! (108!)

Friday, May 05, 2006


Well, the fantastic "invisible ink" idea was a complete bust! We found the hottest lightbulb in our house and held the paper over it...and held it...and held it...and HELD no avail! NOTHING HAPPENED! Oh well, someone left a tip saying to use the iron, so we'll try soon. Poor Bear, she's getting pretty tired of these things not going so well!
We've been using a "plan" for encouraging Bear to not complain when things don't go the way she wants them to - it was getting to be a problem and I spent a lot of time saying, "DON'T COMPLAIN!!!" Instead of disciplining her when she complains, we reversed our thinking. Now, each time she is in a situation where she could complain and makes the decision not to, she gets a little star on a chart on the fridge. Then, when she earns 10 little stars, she gets a BIG star on a chart in her room. When she ears 10 big stars, she gets a reward. The first reward, which she has already earned, was a trip to the mall for Dippin' Dots. The second reward, which she is still working toward, is a date with Mama! (I came up with that one!)

The reason that I'm sharing this on my homeschooling blog is that we've started using this "plan" to encourage her to read out loud. Previously, whenever I asked her to read anything outside of "school time", you would have thought I'd just asked her to cut off her big toe. So now she can earn a little star on her chart by bringing a book to me that she wants to read out loud or by agreeing to read out loud at my suggestion. So we'll see how that goes!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Today in school...

I had Bear read one of the pages in her "Reading Practice Book" that I made for her out of the Ordinary Parents Guide... book. I think that I may get on the computer and make up some stories of my own to add to that book. The only problem with it the way it currently is is that there's no continuity to what she's reading. There might be two little paragraphs on a page that correlate somehow, but, for the most part, it's composed of random sentences.
We did a little bit of a "science experiment" that involved drawing with lemon juice on paper and letting it dry. We'll go back later today (or tommorow) and hold the paper over a lightbulb so that the "ink" will brown up (a'la invisible ink) and you'll be able to see what was written. The "experiment" comes from the same book that the other two FAILED experiments came from, so it remains to be seen whether or not this one will work!

FINALLY, a use for my Cuisenaire Rods!

I purchased a big 'ol set of Cuisenaire Rods off of eBay at the beginning of the year because I thought I might use the Miquon math curriculum, BUT I decided that Miquon was going to be too confusing for me to teach, and heaven knows that I have enough trouble with math without having to use a confusing curriculum to try to teach it to another person! SO, I gathered up my Miquon books that I had purchased, along with the rods, took a picture of them, and got all set to sell them on eBay.
Then, I relized that they would be PERFECT to use to reinforce the idea of place value, which is where we are in Horizons! You see, the rods are manufactured so that they are fractions of each other...for example, 10 white rods equals one orange rod. So, yesterday, I got out a whole bunch of the littlest rods and 5 or 6 of the orange rods and was able to show Bear that if we have five sets of 10, we have 50 in if we have 5 tens and 3 ones, we have 53...well, it all makes sense in my head, even though it doesn't seem to make much sense as I try to read what I just wrote! And she seemed to grasp the concept a little better than just trying to do it on paper. Plus, there's the added bonus in that she loves anything that she can do with her hands!

So, while the rest of the books are currently listed on eBay, the rods are staying here!