Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Electricity, e-lec-tricity!"
Do you remember that song from School House Rock?
We started our new science study with an experiment! Riley said, "what are you going to electrocute me?" and I said "YEP"!! :) So we made electricity!
This is like a battery, you have the lemon which is your acid then in one slit you put a nickle and the other slit you put a penny, your metal. You then put wires in with their ends exposed and then touch both of the other exposed ends on your tongue. It is just a little bit of a tingle, not a large jolt! :) But Riley LOVES electricity (always has) and he is so excited to play with it more!! :) I was bummed our library does not have the "Read and Find Out Science" book about electricity, or the DK eyewitness book about it ether! BUMMER!! :) But Grandma bought us the Usborne Science Activities Books and there are some fun experiments to do!! :)
I'll take more pictures of electrocuting Riley to share!! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Well with November ending we were able to do some Book-It awards!! Fern and Jake got their second star for their buttons (plus a little prize), and Riley achieved his goal of reading 15 pages during November. So he received a star for his button and a pizza certificate! He is so excited, but is waiting to redeem it until Grandpa is here next week to go with him!
For Jake we are reading this book, we are having a fun time learning about cranberries! One picture of an activity is over on the Nature Blog! Also our friend Carrie and Christopher had fun with this book last week, here is her blog post!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Monday we took a GREAT field trip! We went to Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts! We have been learning about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, and Plymouth for a couple months now, this trip was a great cap to wrap it all up with!

We read EVERY book our library had on the subjects, here are some of our favorites; Sarah Morton's Day, Samuel Eaton's Day, If you sailed on the Mayflower, On the Mayflower, & Colonial Farm. The first two (although older) are pictures from the Plantation.First we went to the Wamponog village, we saw a boat being made by burning out the inside.

Here were a few finished ones that were in the lake.


The kids were very excited to see the lodge, there was a Native American woman in there answering questions.
Here are the kids in another smaller lodge sitting on the beds (minus the furs to make them comfortable)!

~

Then we headed over to the English village.
First we walked through the artisan building, we saw this mad doing traditional wood working, and potters re-creating original pieces.

The potters made this jug that was used for watering, there was a hole on the top you would put your thumb over, and then raise your thumb when you wanted the water to come out. They had them for sale but they were pricey, but so COOL!

Here is some of the original potter they have to look at!

~

Then we headed into the village. In the English village everyone stays in character all of the time, to them it is 1627. And they go about working, but are always happy to answer questions!
Fern loved the little cradle, once they were out of the cradle or mom and dad's bed they had to sleep on the floor on a straw mattress.

In the center of the village the men were working on a new store house. So we watched them work and they explained how they build buildings.

The boys were all fascinated my these little gun powder holders on a leather strap they would wear across their chest.

Then we spied this woman repairing a wall with a mud mixture.


She explained the whole thing for us and we got to watch her for a little bit.

Here is one of the standard size houses, they were small, and dark inside. There was one house which was larger, but most where about this size.



Here is the village from the top of the common house, downstairs was the meeting room for Sunday services and court proceedings. Upstairs was like a lookout room with cannons.


They had just a few livestock, two cows, some goats, and a couple sheep (not the wool kind but the food kind). They really did not produce any of their material needs except food, everything was brought from England.

And the other cow!

~

After the plantation we headed down to the water front, we had been there before but we thought it rounded out the visit! Here is the Mayflower II, we went on it last time so we did not this time. Here are some pictures from then.
And here is The Rock! Plymouth Rock!


And here is the shelter the rock is in, it was built in the 20 or 30's.

~

We had a great time and would highly recommend it, the plantation was a little pricey to get into, but well worth it, especially after all we did in preparation for our trip!
















Saturday, October 18, 2008

I just had to share this, it is inscribed at the top of the room in our library where the Rotunda is, (see my post on my other blog!). I found the source on the internet after wondering where it came from, I LOVE this!!
~
A Book
by Emily Dickinson
~
He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I just finished a GREAT book! Big surprise it is historical fiction, I LOVE historical fiction! I started reading this book because I was interested in James Town, and because I never get up to the "adult" section of our library so I read some of the "older" kid books I find downstairs! :) It is a Nutmeg Award Nominee for 2009 in the 4-6th grade category, so I figured it would be a bit too old for Riley, but after finishing it today I think he would really enjoy it! This is a book worthy of our home library by my definition, a family classic because I would read it again! So when there are lots of funds for books this will be one we get!
The author has a website where she has made available a study guide for the book, I would put the study guide closer to the 6th grade level than the 4th, but there are also some great links at the bottom that I think could be useful to many age groups!
So if you are looking for a great adventure, and a great story (and you visit the children's library more than the adult) then I would highly recommend Blood on the River James Town 1607.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Well yesterday, being October 1st was the kick-off for the Book-it program. We decided to have a Book-it party!! I asked all the kids to pick out their favorite book, we wore book-it pins (thanks to ebay!), had balloons and jello!! What a party! :)
So with our favorite books I had each of the kids come up in turn and tell us the name of the book and then why it was their favorite book. I choose My Antonia, because it is a pioneer story and the author (Willa Cather) is so descriptive in her writing that I can see a perfect picture in my head. Riley chose the Color Kittens, because he liked learning about mixing colors to make other colors. Jake chose Dinosaurumpus because the T-rex is nice in the story (he always gets such a bad wrap)! And Fern chose The Gingerbread Man (illustrated by Richard Scarry) because she likes the fox who eats the gingerbread man! :)
We then made our own books, they were interesting, but Riley is not finished yet!
As a fun surprise I bought the #2 in the Magic Tree House series and we read 1 chapter before our cherry jello with cherries in it! :)
We also got our tracking sheets all ready and hung up!
They thought we did not have school time today just a party, little do they know just how much we did! :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

BOOK-IT!!! Yes I was in elementary school during the 80's, and I LOVED BOOK-IT! It is probably one of the very few good memories I have from school during that time. Mostly because I read so many books that I could regularly take my whole family out to the local Pizza Hut and feed everyone! :)
So when I snooped around the BOOK-IT site and found out that they include homeschoolers in the program I jumped! So I signed us up, Riley is the only one eligible this year, and today I got our information in the mail! I got a pamphlet with all the information and also a "Reader Roster", and then the "Reading Award Certificates"! I was a bit sad that there is no longer a "button" to wear, and am now racking my brain to figure out a way to get one, or make one. But what a great program and I am so excited to get to get Riley excited about reading! And it can grow with his ability's! You can set goals by how many pages, books or minutes a week!
Also fun they have free printables; logs, calendars, certificates, and what I think is really neat different ways for a child to "narrate" on paper! This sheet is what I think we will use this year, he can dray pictures and write a little!
There is also a program for Preschool kids that runs for 6 weeks in the Spring!
So what are you reading! :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

One very nice thing you can do when homeschooling... ...go to your first day of school with bare feet or slippers!
Here is my Kindergartner, preschooler, and 2nd grader today, our first day of school!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You know I use to do this all for fun when I was little, my Daddy was a public school teacher and would bring me home lots of "scrap paper". I would organize my school stuff and set up school in front of my big chalk board with Mr. Bear, mommy doll, baby beans, and a few other choice "friends". Too bad I did not find school so interesting or inspiring. Last year I organized all of my needed school papers into a 3 ring binder, I continued to add papers throughout the year. Not only was it my calender and book list but I also kept upcoming activities for Riley and Jake in there. This year I choose to take my plans for each of the kids, plus a calender, book lists, blank paper, and my weekly plans/next week pages (see below), put them all together and have them bound. It was only $2.00 at Staples and I even got a nice cover and backing to it! Isn't it pretty! :) I will keep any upcoming activity pages in a separate folder.
So this is the page I created to keep my mind in order a bit! :) So each week I can write in what our goals to get accomplished are plus anything I would like to do with the kids specifically (ie: go to the library, go apple picking, read Johnny Appleseed before going apple picking, etc).
On the back of the weekly page so that if you have the book opened it is on the left, I have created a space to keep my self ready for the up coming week. This way hopefully when I sit down with Fern & Jake to paint I do not find that we are out of purple or green, or if Riley and I are going out to observe the changing colors for our nature books, we have room in our books!
Riley is really chomping at the bit to start in to all the fun for the new school year but I have not been able to get the books we need to start, so we wait! :) Soon I hope we will be ready! :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ok so I have been planning and reading and now I have our year planned out primarily. So I thought I'd share my plan, because I am just that kind of girl! Please forgive my cheese way of sharing but I like things to be in order and I have not found a way to put a document here on blogger! :) If you have any questions please do ask, and please feel free to use these plans for your own children but please do not make money off of them, I'm not! :)

Here is Riley's year in a nut shell, I do not have all the books we will be using on here but if your interested I do have them! :)
Here is my Super Man - Jake's year! I am thinking about letting him choose the letter we study instead of going in order. He knows all his letters so it will be more about their sound and words that start with them. The books are just some good titles, we will be getting library books on top of them! :) Here is a site I am getting some of our "fun" ideas for in the last column!

And Miss Fern's! This is the same plan I wrote out for Riley when he was three, we used it in the little co-op we had in Calif. I just tweaked it a little, CT, instead of CA and the field trips of course. For January I had on there to go to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, but that is quite a trip in addition San Diego in January is a beautiful time to go, but I am doubting January in Connecticut as a good time to go to the zoo, we will see!

So there is it, it is nice to have a plan, now just to enjoy it! :)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Just a little book review for you all (or y'all if your in the South)! I requested this book back in January from another library in our system, I finally got it at the beginning of this month. January, June... they both start with J's at least! :)
Anyway, it is an awesome book! In quite a bit of my TJed reading the Hirsch's Core Knowledge Series is recommended often, but I found it not at all the speed, content or organization that I liked. But I still wanted a year by year idea of appropriate study. This is just my speed, with the content we are already enjoying and it is organized just as my mama brain desires! Each "chapter" is a grade level starting at preschool, then it is broken up into Math, Science, World History, American History, etc... So for American history for 1st grade it wound give highlights to cover within the period your studying, Columbus's voyage, Sir Walter Raleigh, Pocahontas, etc... So I found it well organized in that respect, with content it had great book ideas to go with different topics along with websites with free resources. I LOVE free!! :) It also included a heading for P.E. who does not love P.E.!! So for 1st grade it had throw and catch a ball, and skip with out falling as a couple recommendations. It is just nice to know developmentally what we should work on.
We keep it pretty mellow on the academics around here, but I do try to have a little something interesting to do together and this is a great resource! It is now high on my priorities list of books to get!!

On the school front, we have been on vacation and soon will be off to visit Grandma so our learning has been on the fly and O-SO-FUN!! What beats learning on an beach in the Caribbean!!
**A fun new site I found www.mywonderfulworld.org . They have some fun printables, including geography car games!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Yea, Jake finally gets to do one of the planned books!!
This is one of our favorite books, enough that I bought it when Riley read it. Too bad it is completely MIA!! Thankfully a friend had requested it from another library and I was able to check it out before it was sent back. Here is the fun book, The Big Green Pocketbook, by Candice Ransom.
Today after reading the book we made a shape picture like the gal's shirt, here they are on the fridge (Fern did one too)! And then we went to the jewelers and looked at the pretty rings and got a new battery for my watch! Yea!!
All in all we had a fun day, and now we are off to go grocery shopping!
What did you do today??

Monday, April 28, 2008

Legos: one of the greatest learning tools ever made!!!
Last week out of A Child's History of the World we read Ch.21-All the Way Around the World in China. And then we also use the Usborne Ancient World, and they had a great picture of The Great Wall of China.
So.... Riley built the wall! And then took the picture all by himself!
Here is the Ancient World page about the great wall.
For his timeline picture for this lesson I think we will print out this picture of his Lego wall, I think he will really like that!!
~
On other fronts, I have to get going on figuring out what I am planning for Jake this next school year as he will officially be "Kindergarten Age"!! But he is still a young guy and so we will be taking it easy. But he LOVES letters and can not wait to read, so I am thinking we may end up diving into that later in the year. I have a couple GREAT sites for that, I will share later. But for today you get free sites about kindergarten! I was compiling this list for a friend who is just getting her feet wet in this crazy (but great) endeavor of homeschooling and thought it was a great list to share here. These are all sites I have had in my "schooling" bookmarks for a while, but they are all great! :) Hope they are helpful, and PLEASE if you have any other FREE kindergarten sites post them in the comments for all of us!!

ambleside online - scroll down and there is a list of great books (lots of them)!
Brightly Beaming - They have different curriculum's for different ages (scroll down to see them all).
LDS Home Education Association - Their philosophy.
Simply Charlotte Mason - Really neat compilation of information.
Trivium Pursuit - 10 things to do with your child before age 10.
Homeschool Share - Under unit studies they have a similar set up as the FIAR, and it is FREE!!
Higher Up & Further In - A GREAT mama who has written down all her curriculum and shares it for free. I used her 1st grade for Riley this year with minor tweaks! :)
*Here is another!!
Best Homeschooling.org - A good comprehensive list of fun (& therefor learning) activities to do! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

For not being readers it is sure hard to get them to put the books down! :)
This is what I had last night at bed time, each of them with a flashlight and a pile of books! It does not get much better than that!!
Other than that we are just going about our usual business. Riley is still enjoying his math pages, the other day Jake surprised me with Riley's math page. There were several rows of 7 "things" like 7 watermelons, mice, etc., then it would say you have 7, cross out 3 what do you have left? Riley went through and did them all, on the last one he did the problem by saying it out loud, as he got to the "what's left" part Jake said the CORRECT answer. With out counting! So I tried a few others, he would look at the pictures but was not counting and he knew all the answers! It was weird! :)
Jake has had the short end of the schooling stick so to say, we have not been able to get the book for BFIAR for almost 2 months, our library system just does not have them! This week I was excited because I owned the book we were to use, and then of course it is no where to be found! POOF disappeared! :) Oh well we read tons of books anyway, but we have been lagging on the fun art activities he enjoys. Things have just been crazy and the house too so it is hard for me to pull out mess, ya know!
Anyway enough of my rambling, I just loved the picture, I wish it had turned out a bit better, but oh well you get the idea! :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Left to his own devices...
or what my airplane crazy kid did! Riley decided that he would invent an airplane engine, so here are his diagrams.
Lots of plans!
He poured over these for days!!
Then I gave him an empty cracker box and scissors! He made this model all by himself, he designed two different engines and so made a model of each that way we could all see! :)
He has been very proud of this work, and he should be! :)
When Dan got home from his trip he was dully impressed, then he and Riley went onto the Internet and found actual diagrams of a propeller, V8, and jet engines. Dan printed them up for Riley and he has had quite a treasured "book" of information! :)
Two completely airplane crazed boys in my house, I pray for Riley's future wife and I hope you are all praying for Dan's wife. I may go (completely) crazy yet!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

We started this book for our poetry study last week, it is GREAT! I love haiku's in general, but these are fun and beautiful plus the illustrations are wonderful! The kids are enjoying them quite a bit too, Riley thinks they are quite funny little poems! And so I HIGHLY recommend it!!Here's a sneak peek!!
A blade of grass
pushes through cement
Hello, world.
Riley is memorizing this one!

And here is our picture for the week by Friedrick Edwin Church, it is of course of Natural Bridge in Virginia. A place near and dear to our hearts of course!! :)

So there is your peek of our week! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Opera.
Well of course I love the opera... that I know; Evita, Le Miserables, Martin Guerre, the usual. But the word was still a bit scary. So when I put on the schedule to study opera for our music study the last six weeks I was a bit apprehensive and Dan thought I was down right insane! But have no fear just throw something in there that Dan DOES like, the German language! :)
So we have been listening to Mozart's The Magic Flute, and then this week I rented a stage production of the show from Netflix. We all sat down to watch it and everyone watched it (well Fern fell asleep it was long). And then the next morning the boys begged to watch it again! So we did, this mama knows when to say yes! :) The fun part was to see the boys recognizing some of the German words they knew! So it was a successful six weeks of music, we also read the book The Pet of the Met which was a ton of fun and talked a bit about The Magic Flute!
The version we rented was good, but what is up with the Egyptian thing?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

P.E. at Home!!

So sorry this is sideways, I always seem to forget about that! :)

I can remember my Grandma M. Making these for my sister and I, I always loved them! So I thought I'd give it a try, so Grandpa M. mailed us a box of empty coffee cans and we had some fun. My rope was a bit too thin, but it worked. Riley has continued to practise "Like Leo the Lightning bug" and has gotten really good at it!

But here is Jake and Riley on their first attempts!

video

video

Tuesday, February 05, 2008



Well after reading Cherish's fun post on Children's Lit. I have been thinking of great books I have enjoyed, and then today we got an Amazon box & Barnes and Noble box!!! We got two books by Robert McCloskey one of our favorite authors, who can dispute Kippling's worth, and then a new one to try, I love Haikus!!

Some books I grew up loving were, Island of the Blue Dolphin by Scott O'Dell, The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop, Bridge to Terabithia by Kathrine Paterson, The Indian in the Cuboard by Lynne Reid Banks, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, not to mention the Little House series or any Ramona books I could get! There are so many I could not possibly find them all unless I was back in Mrs. Cofferer's library!

Here is the inside cover of my copy of The Castle in the Attic, I won it (I think for reading so many books!) from Mrs. Coffer my Elementry school librarian who always wore slippers!

Here is what she wrote on the inside, it was like having a superstars autograph!!

If only every little one thought their librarian was a superstar!!