Sharing thoughts, resources and experiences from our journey through homeschooling

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Still on Christmas Break and Enjoying It

We have been so laid back and unfocused this holiday season. The kids are still spending a lot of time on their laptops. We are having trouble with the wireless internet that was installed yeseterday so they haven't been able to use that yet but are still enjoying the games.

Amanda used all of the free trial of Diner Dash that was on her computer and enjoyed it so much that I ordered the game for her from Amazon. It is not the type of game I would normally expect her to enjoy but she has spent hours on it. She likes the challenge of keeping all her customers fed and happy. I was surprised when the game was delivered yesterday. I ordered it Christmas day.

There is still snow on the ground and Amanda and her friend Holly spent hours outside. They found some ice to slide on as well and that kept them busy for a long time. It was so cold and windy I don't know how they stayed out there so long but they insisted they were warm enough and I'm glad to see them spend the time outside.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

After Christmas Fun

The last few days Austin and Amanda have spent the majority of their free time learning to operate the new Dell laptops they received for Christmas and trying out the computer games that were in their stockings. And since we are getting wireless internet today I'm sure they will be busy with these gifts for quite awhile. They will be using them for school assignments next week.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Break - Homeschool Log 12/21/09

We have finally dug out from all the snow that fell on us this weekend. Mostly. Final measurement was 30 inches. That is almost unheard of in this area.

I haven't assigned any schoolwork to Austin and Amanda for this week and will not for next week either. They do still have their regular chores but other than that they are on Christmas Break.

For the next two weeks I am going to log the things they do on their own. So much learning is accomplished outside of traditional lesson  plans.

Both Austin and Amanda watched Mystery of the Crystal Skull. This was a 30 minute program that looked into a crystal skull found in the Mayan ruins. It actually came on the Syfy channel but it had a lot of history, geography and science packed into 30 minutes. Austin also watched part of The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence. Once again this show was on the Syfy channel and once again I was surprised to see how much actual science and history was in this program. It was a two hour program but Austin only watched the last hour.

One of Austin's friends was here today and they spent a long time this afternoon building and playing with Knex and action figures. They had a great time together. Austin has requested another set of Knex for Christmas. He spends hours building with the sets he already has. It has been fun to watch his creativity blossom with these.

Amanda read a lot today. She's reading book 4 of the Keystone Stables series by Marsha Hubler. Teamwork at Camp Tioga has really captured her interest. In fact she has enjoyed the whole series of  books.

This evening she made Double Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. She doubled the recipe and once again she had a fraction workout. She also had to convert measurements in ounces to cups. She did a good job on the math and the cooking and there were not leftovers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Caught a Cold

It's been a couple days since I updated here. I've caught this cold that all the kids have been passing around and can't seem to keep up with them, much less here. All I want to do is sleep.  Hopefully by tomorrow or over the weekend I'll be able to catch up again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Homeschool Log Tuesday 12/15/09

The kids did not do any cooking today! Amanda said she wanted a break for a day from cooking. I'm not surprised, since she did so much cooking yesterday.

Austin finally completed this math lesson with an A+ today. It's a goal he's been working toward for the last two weeks. He was always able to complete it with an A but was not happy with that. For him it's often all or nothing. He also watched Adjectives for Armando (Part 3) on the Gamequarium site and did a Dance Mat Typing lesson. Well, he tried to do a Dance Mat Typing lesson. Both times he tried the computer froze up halfway through the lesson. When Amanda tried ten minutes later it worked fine and she was able to complete a lesson.

Both kids finished Oliver Twist today.They really enjoyed this book and since Austin and I read together I got to enjoy it as well. I don't think we'll start a new assigned reading book until after Christmas break.

Amanda completed a worksheet (adding decimals) from her math workbook and a worksheet (More Irregular Verbs) from her Language Arts workbook.

This afternoon we spent some time reading together. We read Ecclesiastes 1-3, and chapters 15 and 16 from Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery. We also read the section from our Life Science book titled "DNA is the Information Molecule."

We had a break from the recent cold weather today and both Austin and Amanda took the chance to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise. Austin and his friend Zac went out and played football for awhile when Zac got here after school. Amanda went out with some of the younger kids after lunch. It did her and them a lot of good to get some fresh air. And an added benefit (for me anyway) was how well they slept at naptime.

Now they are watching Serious Amazon on Discovery Kids. When that is over we will watch Strange Days at Blake Holsey High. It's our evening routine that we all three enjoy.

Say What?

Amanda was trying to get out of doing her afternoon schoolwork today. I was distracted and only half paying attention to our own conversation until the last couple of sentences.

Amanda - What's the point of literature?

Me - To expand your mind.

Amanda - My mind is already so big it's about to pop out of my head. It's the size of a peanut!

If this is your idea of a convincing argument for getting out of doing your schoolwork my dear, you are going to have to think again. It's not working.

Literature is really her favorite subject, maybe that's why she used such an unconvincing argument.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homeschool Log Monday 12/14/09

The kids are still in cooking mode. They just can't seem to get enough of it.

Austin found a recipe for an omelette he wanted to make. I wasn't sure what it would taste like since it had both bacon and tuna in it. Somehow that seemed to me like a rather unlikely combination. But it turned out really good.

He really needs some extra work on fractions and cooking has proven to be a fun way to slip in some practice. I've noticed a difference in his comprehension already.

I also gave Amanda a mental workout when I told her I wanted her to triple a recipe that had quiet a few ingredients and lots of opportunity to multiply fractions. She didn't like it but it was wonderful practice. She tackled three recipes today - Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (very chocolaty), Twice Baked Potatoes and Meatballs and Cheesy Shells ( this is the recipe she tripled, I now have a ready made meal in my freezer).

Austin also spent quite a bit of time on the computer on the Disney games site and playing Mahjong, while Amanda played Solitaire on the computer.

Both Austin and Amanda watched Animal Cops Philadelphia and Austin also watched an hour of Big Cat Diary on Animal Planet.

When Austin's friend Zac was here after school the two boys went outside and played tag for awhile and then came in and played Go Fish.

Doing their chores, helping with the younger kids, and taking care of their pets, along with watching a few other TV shows rounded out their day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homeschool Log Friday 12/11/09

Cooking was the highlight of our day at home - again.

Austin made a ham and potato casserole that was really really good. There were no leftovers.

Amanda made a batch of Saucepan Fudgies. We were both amazed at how many fudge cookies this recipe made. We were also amazed at how fast they disappeared. It left Amanda complaining about how fast all her hard work disappeared. I told her welcome to my world.

This evening they both went to church to practice for the Christmas program they are going to have part in. Austin has the part of the inn keeper and Amanda is an angel.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homeschool Log Thursday 12/10/09

Austin and Amanda both had a busy day today.

Austin spent some time on the computer again. He visited the Mr. Anker site again and did this math activity. He also went to Gamequarium and watched Adjectives for Armando (part 2).And he spent a good bit of time playing Mahjong.

Both Austin and Amanda did a lesson from Dance Mat Typing. I've been really pleased with how quickly they are picking up typing and actually enjoying it.

Amanda did a worksheet from her Addition Drills and Skills workbook (Adding Three Digit Numbers) and a worksheet from her Language Arts Grammar Skills workbook (Irregular Verbs).

This afternoon we spent about an hour reading together. We read the Song of Solomon from the Bible. We read the chapter titled "Meiosis is a Special Form of Cell Division" from our Life Science Book. We also read chapters 13 and 14 from "Rilla of Ingleside" by L. M. Montgomery.

Both Austin and Amanda read chapter 24 from "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens. (Great Illustrated Classics)

Doing their chores, helping with the younger kids and unstructured free time rounded out their day.

Austin and Amanda spent the evening at their grandparents house, as they do nearly every Thursday evening.

Homeschool Log 12/09/09

It's been a calm, rather quiet day.

The kids got their chores done this morning, took care of their pets (Amanda's pet rats and Austin's pet hermit crabs) and spent some time with the younger kids.

Austin spent some time on the computer playing Mahjong as well as some games from the Disney site. We were going to make candy cane cookies together today and then I discovered I was missing a key ingredient. Hopefully I remember it the next time I'm at the store so we can make them over the weekend.This afternoon he watched the Biography channel for about an hour. When his friend Zac got here after school they went outside and played tag hide-and-seek awhile. When they got tired of that they came in and played Go Fish.

Amanda finished book two in the Keystone Stables series by Marsha Hubler. The title of this one is "A True Test for Skye." The story is about a teenage girl in foster care. After a long struggle (book 1) she finds stability in a family of people who love her. In book 2 she helps another teenager allow herself to fill the love and support from her new family.

Austin, Amanda and Michael went with Doug to the Wednesday evening children's program at our church this evening. Austin and Michael love it, Amanda is more of a homebody and goes somewhat reluctantly, but I feel like the social interaction is good for her. She gets a lot of interaction with kids and adults of all ages and walks of life here, but sometimes it's good for her too also experience it away from home.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homeschool Log 12/08/09

This is how I found the kitchen chairs stacked while Austin was sweeping the kitchen floor. I started to scold and decided to just grab the camera instead. How can I complain about creativity and imagination. Maybe he'll be an architect someday and then I'll show him this picture again.

Speaking of creativity - Amanda kept the little kids entertained with this Molly doll tied to her head. They were a little amazed at her antics.

Both Austin and Amanda wanted to do some cooking this week so Sunday we went through some recipes and they chose what they wanted to cook.

Amanda chose Double Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. If I would allow her too I think she would make macaroni and cheese 90% of her diet.

Ok, what was the next step?

It took longer to make the sauce than she thought it would and she got really tired of standing at the stove and stirring. The fact that my stove is really slow didn't help any.

Daddy took pity and stirred awhile. I'm not sure what's up with the goofy look on his face here.

Somebody get really silly when she's bored!

Finally the sauce is done!

And the macaroni is ready for the oven.

It turned out really,really good. I was counting on some leftovers to use later in the week but there were none.

Since we doubled the recipe Amanda got in a lot of practice doubling fractions. I thought that was wonderful. She did not.

Austin decided to make Green Bean Casserole.

Austin spent quite a bit of time on line today and visited these sites - this activity at the Mr. Ankers' site, the Adjectives for Armando (Part 1) video at Gamequarium,
the Dance Mat Typing (he has reached level 4, stage 10) and Disney Channel games. Amanda also did a the same Dance Mat Typing lesson but really was not on the computer much after that.

Amanda completed two worksheets - Which Tense Is It? from her Language Arts workbook and Practice Makes Perfect from her Skills and Drills Addition workbook.

Both Austin and Amanda read chapter 23 - Sikes' Last Stand from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (Great Illustrated Classics).

Austin watched two shows on the Biography channel this afternoon and both kids watched some Disney. It has become an evening routine that at 9:00PM Austin, Amanda and I sit down together and watch "Strange Days at Blake Holsey High" on Discovery Kids. The show is an interesting mix of science and drama. Some of the content is better characterized as science fiction. But however it's classified, we've all three been drawn in.

Yesterday I posted a link to a Nutcracker drawing lesson. Today the follow up unit study ideas are also available at Miss Julie's Place. There are a lot of great ideas as well as related links, so head on over and enjoy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tension and Relaxation

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. -Chinese Proverb

Today has been one of those days when it seemed like we could not settle down and wrap our minds around anything of substance. So I decided not to allow it to cause tension because of what we were not accomplishing and instead relax and let us be ourselves.

Austin and Amanda got their daily chores done and spent a lot of time with the younger kids. They also watched a few shows on Discovery Kids.

This evening we went grocery shopping and Austin and Amanda both did some Christmas shopping. They used their own money, chose the items themselves and calculated whether they had enough money to buy what they chose. (math)

And while I'm on the subject of math here is a math resource that looks like it could have some value for middle and high school students - Math Vids. Austin seems to learn a lot better if I throw in a lot of lessons on video so I'm always on the lookout for these kinds of resourcs.

As I was thinking today of what we did and did not (and it mostly feels like did not today) I came across the blog post that I just had to share with you. "Letter From an Imperfect Homeschooler" at Life with my 3 Boybarians was very encouraging to me and I hope it will be to you to.

And here is another blog with an interesting post - this nutcracker from Miss Julie's Place looks like fun to draw and there will be a unit study coming later based on this project. It sounds interesting.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Few Glimpses Into Our Homeschool Day

Brothers sharing a love for music.

Amanda indulging her passion for cooking -especially scrambled eggs.

It always thrills me to see the older kids enjoy spending time with the younger ones.

Daily chores.

Austin has, on his own, taken on the challenge of reading through the Bible. I've been amazed with his determination and persistence and he's making some real progress toward meeting his goal.

Cool Snowman Art Tutorial

Check out this very well presented snowman art lesson at Kids Art Projects and Lessons at Miss Julie's Place. This tutorial is simple enough for a child to easily understand but also gives some technical details that add a lot of value to the lesson.

And while you are there check out the rest of the site for more great ideas and lessons. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Lesson Learned

The lesson?

Do NOT throw your silly sludge up in the air and stick it on the ceiling!