Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our Head in the Clouds

We've been doing a unit study on weather for the past couple of weeks, which has been a lot of fun. Reilly really comes alive when we do science and it's great because I see it as a way to practice reading, writing, grammar, and language arts all while she's learning about weather. I mean, why go and do a "reading packet" when I can have her read this portion of the book that we're using? Then she answers the questions in her student workbook and is learning a little bit about charts and things like that, simply because of how the student workbook is laid out. I'm making this sound much more complicated and higher level than it really is, but it's kind of hard to describe! Suffice to say, she's learning the things she needs to learn and and she's even learning some things that are extra, and all in a fun way!

Yesterday she made a cloud chart because we had been reading about the different types of clouds. The funniest thing was that we were reviewing what we'd talked about on Monday and I said "Do you remember what clouds are made of?" and before she could answer, Declan piped up from behind us, "Water dwoplets!" (Learning by osmosis!)

It's been neat because there were a couple of days last week where Declan asked if he could do some "school stuff". Usually he's just content to sit and play with his Legos or action figures, but school has been taking longer and I think he's getting bored. I got out his preschool books and we did some counting and coloring worksheets. On another day he and I counted blocks and made patterns. He also wanted to practice how to write his name, which was really cute. I'll have to see if I can find that paper to scan and post. He did a pretty good job for his first time!

Math is still going well. Just when I was starting to despair about Reilly's +2 facts and the fact that we'd been on them for 3 weeks, we played "Math Fact Hangman" (Thanks for the idea, Heather!) and she aced them! So I think that we'll start a new lesson today. Yippee!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm Still Here...

....I've just not been doing a whole lot of posting! I've got some great pics of a science "experiment" we did last week, though, and I promise that I'll get those up soon. We're doing a unit study on weather from a curriculum called My World Science that I bought from a girl from JustMommies and I really like it. So far we've talked about what weather is and what climate is and about the different layers of the atmosphere (meaning that we've discussed that there are different's not as though Reilly can name all of them or anything like that!) and things like that. Today we started learning about clouds and the different types of clouds and why they look different and EVENTUALLY we'll make a cloud poster. I'll take pics of that, too, and keep them in my digital camera for nobody to see! (Ha ha, just kidding!)
No, really though, I've not been blogging as much because I've been trying to limit the amount of time that I spend on the computer during the daytime. I don't want to have The Kids always see me planted on the sofa with my laptop at every quiet moment, so that limits my non-essential computer time (yes, blogging is non-essential! Sorry!) to after everyone has gone to bed.
I'll get the thermometer pics up soon. Reilly had a lot of fun making that. She just loves anything, anything, anything that she can do with her hands!
Oh, and Deco has started asking if he can do school stuff with us. He says that his "Wegular activities awe bowing (boring)!" But more on that later...right now I'm falling asleep at the keyboard! Goodnight!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentines Day Party

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI know it's a little early, but we had our Valentine's Day party with our homeschooling friends from church today. We were going to have it on Wednesday, but I thought we were going to go the the CHEER party (CHEER is the homeschooling co-op that I joined), but I didn't hear anything about the CHEER party until last week. I finally emailed the director of CHEER and said we weren't going to be able to make it and she sent me the email the she had "sent out" (I guess to everyone but me!) and it said we were to bring 80+ pre-filled Valentines, plus craft supplies, plus some type of sweet snack to share...forget it! I don't care a whit about Reilly getting 80 Valentine's that are To: A 'Friend' From: A 'Friend' and I sure as heck don't feel like sitting down and making her fill out 80 cards! I'd rather her be involved in forming close relationships with the people that we know already. So, we're not doing the other party and it doesn't break my heart at all.

Heck, when we get together with The Regular Friends Homeschooling Group (from now on referred to as The RFHG, or, if you say it out loud, RuffHug!) there are 14 kids, ranging in ages from 12 years to 10 months, and everywhere inbetween, so it's not like we're a small bunch! If that's not socialization, I don't know what is!

All of this to say that we had the Second Annual RFHG Valentine's Day party today, hosted at Jenn's house this time. It was great fun! We let all the kids play until it sounded like they were going to tear the walls down, and then gathered them up to decorate their Valentine bags. I forgot the glue, but luckily we had plenty of stickers and crayons.

We were a wee bit surprised that the bag decorating only took them about ten minutes, but it was enough time for them to re-set and calm down a little bit befor our next activity. We divided them into two groups, which conveniently happened to be into The Boy Group and The Girl Group and one group decorated heart-shaped cookies downstairs and the other group made heart-shaped window decorations with contac paper and tissue paper. I'm not sure exactly how that one worked because I was conveeeeniently on the cookie decorating supervision committee. Much more tasty, you know? Someone has to lick, I mean CLEAN up all the spilled icing, right? The funny thing was that the boys all sat and very studiously iced and sprinkled their cookies, then ate them up completely, and then only two boys went upstairs and actually made a heart craft. Declan had NO interest in making one at all! He just wanted to get back into the Spiderman suit that Ethan had! The girls had fun doing both activities, though, and after they were done, all the kids passed out their Valentine's. I think we'll definitely have to figure out a better way to do that next year because it was WAY too hectic! We had them lined up on the fireplace and it just seemed too out of control...but maybe that's just the 31-year-old old lady in me talking! It didn't seem to bother most of the kids!

We had all brought our own lunches, so we ate those in shifts (3, to be exact! We joked that it was like a restaurant!) and the kids all played and The Moms talked. It was a really, really fun day. I'm so glad that we homeschool and I'm so glad that the Lord has blessed me with such good friends as Julie (mom to Hannah, Lauren, Rebekah, and Kyrsten), Alison (mom of Alana and Zane), Shelly (mom of Kyce, Korbin, Kallie, and Kendall) and Jenn (mom of Ethan, Emma, and Marica) and has blessed my kids with such good friends as their kids!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingLong live The RFHG!Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, February 09, 2007

Just Another Friday...

Well, I'd LOVE to report that we did something huge and wonderful and exciting today, but we didn't. *sigh* I think that my creative tank has completely run dry, which is odd, seeing as how I've not done anything creative in a long time. It really should be full! Maybe it's broken...or leaky. That's it, all my creativiy has leaked out when I wasn't looking. That's why my pillow has been sticky in the morning! And here I thought I was just a really bad drooler!
I got a white board for the schoolroom and did a little bit of moving about of furniture and things. I switched the map (that we never use) and one of the bulletin boards to different walls, and put Declan's table against a different wall, all to make room for the white board, and then realized that the white board has a big 'ol dent in the corner of it, so I'm going to have to go and exchange it for another one. It's not that I'm vain and want one that's unblemished (no, really, it's not...I promise!), it's that the frame has pulled apart at the corner and I don't want to have to replace it in a year because it falls apart. So, another trip to Sam's tomorrow, and then we'll be in business. We used it today, though. I wrote "Supey" at the top and then Reilly and I sat and made a list of adjectives to describe Supey. We did the same for "Reilly" and made a list which included all the usuals: cute, smiley, funny, brown, etc. It got confusing, though, when she said "I'm Indian!" and I said, "Yes! You're right!" and then went, "No, wait, Indian is a noun!" and began to wonder if something can be a noun and an adjective at the same time. It's not a good thing when the teacher is confused! But we had fun with the white board.
On Monday we're going to a Valentine's Day party with our homeschooling friends from church. We're all really excited about that and it will be a good break from the daily "grind".

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mad Libs & Dr. Visits!

I've decided that the most sure-fire way to cure my kids of any ailment is to make an appointment for them at the doctor. Having been raised by a nurse, I am of the ilk that believe that visits to the doctor are to be reserved for those times when you are bleeding out of your ears or your arm is crooked and your bones are sticking out through your skin. Or, in our case, if you have green goop collecting in the corners of your eyes every 10 minutes, requiring attention with a warm washcloth. That was happening to Declan yesterday when I decided to make an appointment for him for today to make sure that he didn't have pinkeye. Today, of course, he was much better, and I think it was simply due to the fact that we actually went to the doctor and paid the money! Oh well, thank God for health care reimbursement accounts! The doc did say that he thought Deco had a bacterial thing going on in his eye and gave us a script for some eyedrops which I will go and pick up tomorrow, seeing as how I forgot to go back and pick them up today...darn it, there goes my Mother of the Year award! Hopefully his eye won't fall out overnight or be overtaken with "cwumbs", which is what he kept saying that he had - "Mama, I picked out all de cwumbs!" (I just love the way he talks!)
But, even though we had to take a trip to the doctors office, we still fit in school, for which I was glad. We did math before we left, and then did a couple of Mad Libs while we were waiting in the exam room. Mad Libs are a great way to work on the difference between the parts of speech, and Reilly really loves the silliness of the stories. When we got home she did a page from the Cut & Paste Language Arts book that I got a couple of weeks ago. She was cutting out the adjectives and putting them into the sentences to complete the story. She had asked me if she could just put whichever ones she wanted in, or if they had to be in a particular place, and I told her that they had a particular place to go because it led into our next exercise in how sentences have to make sense.
We finished up by her reading another chapter in Nate the Great and the Big Sniff which is a book that we've been reading over the last week or so. It's a cute book and the first "chapter book" that she's read out loud. I use the term "chapter book" loosely because there are only 7 of them and some of them are only 3 pages long, but oh well! The only thing I don't like about the book is that is uses lots of short sentences that kind of throw Reilly off. For example, one part said, "Claude spends much of his time in the lost and found. The lost part." So they're trying to make it funny, but it just confuses her. She's enjoying it, I think.
It was a pretty good day!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sick Day....Maybe?

Well, I was allll ready to start school this morning, and hollered out, "Reiiilllllyyyy!" and went into her room to find her curled up on her bed, under her fuzzy blanket, listening to Paddington on CD. She says that she doesn't feel good and she's certainly acting like she doesn't feel good. I've used my ther-Mom-eter (aka Lips on the Forehead) and it doesn't seem like she has a fever, but it's so unusual for her to just lie there that I'm inclined to believe her. So, we've postponed school for the morning. Which is too bad because we were going to talk about weather and make a thermometer, and I know she would have had fun. If she's feeling better later we'll do some math and reading and stuff like that, but we'll probably put off science until tomorrow.
I'm still loving Math-U-See! Yesterday Reilly was working on +2's and it really began to click in a way that it never did when we were just drilling with flash cards. This morning at breakfast I was tossing out some "facts" at her and she was able to toss back the answer right away, something that she's not been able to do up to this point. It's exciting to watch!
I panicked the other night because I was counting up our school days to see if we'd gotten far off track as far as attendance and I miscounted and thought we were going to have to go to school until the end of June! AAAK! But I recounted several times and figured out I was miscounting, so it was all OK. I did realize, however, that somehow I had it in my head that we had to have 150 days and we "have to have" 180, so I'm glad I got that straightened out. (Although, really, I don't know why I'm worried since I don't have to show an attendance record to anyone!)

Monday, February 05, 2007

I Blog Because I Care!

I'm very tired right now...I'm not sure why, actually, other than the fact that it's eveningtime and the day is winding down. I'm going to do this entry as a bullet list...because this is how my thoughts are coming.
  • I'm taking a new medication to prevent migraines. It's been less than a week so I don't know if it's actually working, but it makes pop taste flat, which is kinda strange!
  • I'm glad that I don't have to submit an actual attendance record to the school board or anything because last Thursday and Friday were unschooling days at their finest. We were uber-busy on Thursday with women's Bible study, a doctor's appointment (for me), and then karate. (We did squeeze in some school between Bible study and the appointment, but not a huge amount! And then they watched a Magic Schoolbus video on weather.) Friday I babysat at the church for a leadership marriage conference, so no school happened at all...other than same said Magic Schoolbus video! Oh well, this week will be better.
  • Today everything seemed to take a loooong looong time in school and I thought I was going to rip my hair out by the handful.
  • In fact, as I think about it, I've struggled with patience a lot today. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
  • Oh well, tomorrow is another day. (Thank you, God, for a new, fresh day. Please help me to do better!)
  • There's a crazy lady whose job it is to re-stock the salad bar at Mazzios down the street from us. Well, it's more like re-stalk the salad bar because she can be nowhere in sight and you go up to refill your plate and here she comes to poke in the little containers and make sure all the spoons are upright and everything is wiped down and to generally GET IN YOUR WAY as you're reaching for the green olives. It drives me NUTS, to the point that I've thought about mentioning something to the manager. The other night not only was she completely in my way but I was treated to the odor of her recent smoke break. GAG! I've not called the manager yet, but I fully intend to because it's ridiculous...and gross, to boot.
  • I've got a new favorite joke. It goes like this: Two muffins are sitting in an oven. One turns to another and says, "Man, it's getting hot in here!" The second muffin says, "AAAAAAA! A TALKING MUFFIN!" (OK, I didn't say it would be YOUR new favorite joke!)