Sunday, August 8, 2010

Time for School and Something New

My oh my what a summer this has been!! So very busy but it sure was fun. We really didn't travel to some great and wonderful location but we visited grandparents and had a great time. We spent a lot of time with friends at the pool, going to camp and VBS and swim lessons. Lots of big steps and fun memories made this summer.

Now it is time for school. Wow. I am ready mentally but I'm sad summer is already gone. I have high hopes for this year. I hope for a little growth in a certain little person (not so little anymore...) so that school won't be quite as difficult as it was last year. I know it will be tougher but I think he will enjoy learning the things he will learn this year.  I hope that the lazy streak I experienced in him last year is not quite as long....or wide. :-)

I had posted earlier what curriculum we were using and there are a few adjustments I needed to make.  We are taking a short break from the Apologia science and Mystery of History this fall.  We will start them back up in January.  We will be studying Abeka science, and in doing so we will approach it from a different stand point.  He will learn about our senses for the first 16 lesssons and then he will learn about different ecosystems and the plant and animal life that live in each one.

Then for History we will also be using Abeka American history.  He will learn about Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller and many more people who were important in American History.

I didn't really set out to make those changes in our curriculum but as I looked through them out of curiosity, I felt lead to change things up a little.  So we will see how it goes.  We will do Science two days and History two days, leaving Thursday afternoon (our Coop day) as a time to catch up on anything we need to.  I hope tomorrow is a peaceful day and that all goes smoothly....

On to another subject, I am moving!!  You might think oh good for you!  But I am hoping you will go with me....


See, I have decided to move my blog to Wordpress.  I have debated back and forth for a long time now and after much discussion with my hubby and prayer I think this is the best thing for me to do.   I have found that it is easy to work with and I really like the format.  I also needed a new header on my old blog so this helped with that problem!  We bought the domain, http://www.homeschoolersjourney.com/.

You will find all the old posts there and you will find Google friend connect where you can join my blog.  I feel like I have gotten to know each of you and consider you my blogging buddies!  I still want to keep up with you and would love for you to follow us on our homeschooler's journey so please click on the link above and join me over at http://www.homeschoolersjourney.com/.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Snap Shots of Summer

Such sweet little faces







My Easter Lillie's bloomed a little late this year but still beautiful


Our first harvest - thank you Lord












Happy 4th of July!



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Curriculum

Since I was on a search today for some of our curriculum for next year, I thought I would share what we are using.

Math:  We use Abeka Arithmetic.  We do math just about everyday.  We might miss a day here and there due to field trips or incidentals like that but we try to get some math in everyday.  During the summer, we have managed to do some math about once or twice a week since the beginning of June.  I had intended to do a little more, maybe two to three times a week but once or twice has worked out ok so far.

Language:  We use Abeka for this as well.  As with math we try to do Language everyday. We have not done any language during the month of June.  We will start back up in August.  We also use Abeka for reading, spelling and handwriting.

History:  We have really enjoyed The Mystery of History volume 1.  the nice aspect to me of this curriculum is that it starts with Creation and moves chronologically through both Biblical and world history.  Tying them together and showing the student (and teacher! :-)) what was going in Bible History and in the world at the same time!  The activities that go with the lesson can be geared toward appropriate ages and making the time line is fun, that is one of Riley's favorite parts.

Science:  We are using the Apologia Exploring Creation series.  Right now we are in Exploring Creation with Zoology, Fifth Day the Flying Creatures.   We have also done some of Botany and Astronomy.  What can I say about this curriculum?  Well, the things I have learned about God's creation is amazing!  Jeannie Fulbright has covered several aspects of all of the elements of Creation and has done a great job at showing the student why God created somethings the way He did.  There is a reason for everything.  The text is very informative and easy to read.  The experiments can be done on many levels of age groups and are easy to do with easy to acquire materials. 

Music:  Is done through piano lessons which I am teaching Riley right now.  Later on he will take from someone else.  I don't play well enough to continue on past a certain level.

Art:  He is getting through our COOP classes right now.

We will also occasionally do a unit study depending on what is going on.  We might do one on a holiday or a person (that is all we've done so far).  We recently completed a unit study/lapbook on Dr. Martin Luther King.  We also found a free Knights and Castles lapbook at homeschoolshare.com which I hope to complete this summer.

That is our curriculum for Third grade.  We have not made a lot of changes over the past three years or so.  We used the Weaver Interlock curriculum at age 4 and had a lot of fun with that.  We started out in Math U See in Kindergarten and Riley really did not like it.  We changed to Abeka and that worked for us, Riley still doesn't like math but it isn't as much of a battle as it was then.    Other than those two changes we have stuck with what you see above.  Time will tell if we need to make other changes later on down the road.

What are you using?  Have you stuck with the same things each year or have you changed up your curriculum choices?  Was it easy for you to decide?  Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

What a Day!

Today started early with loading Riley, Lady and myself up in the car.  We went to the John Deer dealer to have the lawn mower blade sharpened, then we headed to church to drop Riley off at Camp Crazy.  After that, Lady and I headed to the vet to get a shot.  On our way, my sister called and wanted to meet me to give me something.  Thankfully she came to me... :-) Lady got her shot and we headed home so I could drop her off and pick up some snack food for me, almonds and cranberries and a water!  Mmmmm!  I called my Mom and as I talked to her I repotted some cuttings from a plant my sister gave me.  I did walk out to the shed to check on the baby birds, but could not find them anywhere so they must have flown into the woods behind our property.

About 30 minutes later I hit the road again to go to Creative Learning Connection in search of curriculum.  I was able to get just about all of our readers for reading and our Bible lesson plans.  Crossing things off that list is good!

I left there to go get dinner and to the grocery store.  Picked up a few items and a pizza (knowing I would not have much time to cook today...).  I ran them home, let Lady out, grabbed some lunch and hit the road again to run to my sisters house to look through her curriculum with her.  Of course while I was there I had to get my baby fix with my sweet little chunk of a nephew who is 4 months old and weighs 18.5  lbs and is 27" long!  What a sweet boy!

I left there about an hour later to go get Riley at Camp Crazy.  He had fun again today!  Woohoo!  We left there and picked up the lawn mower blade and headed home.  We met Chris coming in the door and picked up ball and glove and ran back out the the door leaving Chris and Lady to their own at home.  We headed to our friends house where Riley went swimming, got stung by a hornet, played baseball while I talked with some new friends, was in awe over a garden, had fun meeting some chickens and learned about the busy life on a growing farm! Thankfully Chris put the pizza in the oven and had dinner ready when we came home.

I don't know how you would feel but I feel like I have done just about everything a person could possibly do in one day!!  So on that note, I'm pooped and will call it a day (and a half!).  Till next time, blessings!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Up to My Ears in Blackberries and Baby Birds!

Today was a good Monday!  Riley went to Day camp through the church we are currently visiting.  (Camp Crazy - I have to admit, the name did worry me a little bit... :-))  I dropped him off this morning fighting off tears (me not him) and praying a whole lot!  He went in with a look of determination on his face to make new friends and came out this afternoon with a grin on his face!  He had a good day,he made several new friends and even saw a friend of his from COOP!  He's ready to go back tomorrow!  Woohoo!

While he was at camp I spent the day reclaiming my home from a week of business and a weekend of travel.  Doing laundry, unpacking suitcases, cleaning the kitchen etc. Then I ventured out back to see what type of work awaited me there.  Tomatoes to pick, a few banana peppers, one grape tomato :-) and tons of blackberries!


 As I picked the blackberries my mind started thinking on what I could do with them.  Last year I froze a bunch and made some cobblers.  So this year I thought how about some blackberry jam!  MMMmmmm.....
Today I tried a recipe from Southern Living that seemed simple enough, it is a microwavable recipe, that didn't call for pectin.  Hmmm...  I tried it without the pectin at first but soon realized that you have to have the pectin.  Once I added it, the jam soon thickened up, I put it in jars and will refrigerate them.  I found another microwave recipe from Cooks.com that I'll try with the next batch.  Do any of you have a good recipe for blackberry jam that you would like to share?


The recipe made two jars and about two servings.  

Just before dinner I went out to water some plants, everything was so thirsty after our absence this weekend.  I love our backyard, it is so big, lots of flowers, our gardens and some trees and then our shed.  Our lovely, useful, ugly tin shed that is such an eyesore... See, our shed door fell off...a while back.  It was so heavy and so high off the ground that it just rotted off and we took our sweet time to get it fixed!  Doesn't that sound so hillbilly-ish?  We had finally got around to ordering a new door and found out that a mother Carolina Wren had made a nest inside a box on a shelf and laid 5 eggs.  Well, we very well couldn't put the new door on now could we??  So we wait.  Today I noticed a baby bird sitting on the ladder hanging in the shed, I went in to check it out and this is what I found.  When I came inside the shed she flew to some pots.


 Then upon further investigation I found this...


 

Aren't they cute????  And no, that isn't a real bug, it is on the bag.

So now we just have to make sure Lady doesn't find them....fun stuff though to find such cute little babies in our shed.  The door will just have to wait a little longer.  

Tomorrow while Riley is in Camp Crazy, I will take Lady to get a kennel cough shot so she can board soon.  Then I will head to our local homeschool resource center in search of some used curriculum.  Creative Learning Connection is a great place to get used curriculum, teaching aids, books, videos and games at decent prices.  If you live in the Huntsville area, go check them out!

   


Thursday, June 17, 2010

This is Who I Am

Ok, so I know it has been a while since I posted something, how do I say, BUSY!!!  VBS, Baseball, Gardening, swimming, whew!  Things are starting to slow down some and I finally had a moment to sit down and blog something.  Well, my blogging buddy Lynnette had a great idea to post pictures of yourself that represent YOU, so I thought that would be easy and fun, so here goes.

I love my family!

 Our "Lady Bug"

We love to camp, hike and explore.

I love to teach Riley.  Most days he loves being homeschooled!  :-)

I love to Garden

I love my big beautiful family!

The only other part of me that you can't really put in a picture is that I am a daughter of the King!  I love my Lord Jesus and He has set me free!

This is me in a blog post of pictures.  Enjoy!



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We have Bluebirds!

If you read my post from April 15, 2010 you saw the bluebird house Chris and Riley built when I had to go out of town.  Well, we have a family of bluebirds that have moved in!  We were all so excited! 


Isn't that a brilliant blue?!  God is so amazing to create such a vivid, beautiful color on one of His creatures!

One morning I had noticed the male on the ground under our bird feeders so I watched the bird house for a little bit and eventually I noticed both the male and female were flying in and out!  They were also resting near our garden on the posts.




I can see why folks talk about "The Bluebird of Happiness" because just watching this beautiful creature that is such a brilliant blue is enough to make me happy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Doing the Right Thing

We had to do some growing up today and make a hard decision.  Our last little frog that I told you about in my previous post did not make it.  I felt horrible.  I caught bugs, we bought crickets hoping this little guy would eat something and grow but I don't know that he ate anything, he was so tiny...that's a terrible feeling!

If you remember, I mentioned that we had one tadpole left.  This past weekend, we noticed that he had all four legs, still had some tail left but was hanging around the bottom a little bit.  We waited till we first saw him sitting on a leaf, then he was clinging to the side of the aquarium.  Time to get the little guy out!!

Chris and Riley handled the transition this time (Thankfully!!  I was glad to hand over the responsibility!) and got him in the frog habitat with a little water.  He seemed to settle in nicely and started hopping around.  Chris and I were busy trying to decide, "is this one bigger than the other one?"  "I hope so!"  "Yeah, he is!(?)"  Riley caught a small grasshopper and put him in the habitat.  Over the next couple of days, I caught a few bugs and had to tell Riley to catch more.  First he argued with me, then he reluctantly attempted to catch one and put it in with the frog.  This was too much of a battle, and this was how it went with the other frog.  I was doing all the work...what's wrong with this picture?

Tonight I told Riley as he was going outside to take his bug jar with him to catch some dinner for his frog.  "No!" was the answer!  (Arrgh!  There is that strong will again!)  I quickly responded, "Then we are letting the frog go!"  "No Mom!  I love my frog!"  So then we proceeded to remind him that when you have a pet you need to take care of it, it is not Mom and Dad's responsibility!  Also, this might be one of those times that we need to do the right thing and let the frog go so he could try to survive on his own, let God take care of it. (I couldn't bare the thought of another frog dying under our care!)

As we all headed outside, I could tell Riley was pondering this decision he had to make.  We talked about it a little longer and when we were done, he went inside.  Shortly he came back out with his frog habitat, ready to let the little guy go.  As we talked about where we were going to let it go, he had tears in his eyes.  I know it was hard but I was really proud of him.

We decided to let him go in the garden where the pumpkins and blackberry bushes are.  Lady can't get in there and he would be protected.   Chris lifted Riley over the fence and we gave him the habitat.  Riley got to work placing the little jar lid in the ground for water, then he took the cover off the habitat.  All the bugs that were still inside flew or hopped out, then the little frog hopped out onto a blade of grass.  I must admit, I was a little hesitant, "He's so little!" "what if something gets him?"  "Will he survive?"  But yet I knew it was the right thing to do.  I reminded Riley how frogs are good for gardens because they eat the bad bugs that eat our plants.  That helped us both I think.

Riley said a few minutes later, "Mom, I'm sad but I'm glad too."  That let me know he knew he did the right thing.  It was a tough decision for him but he handled it well.  Maybe he learned the importance of taking care of God's creation and how we are "given charge over the animals and creatures"?  Time will tell.  Overall, it was a good lesson, seeing the tadpoles go through their transition into a frog.  I wouldn't trade that part for anything, but loosing the previous frogs was tough and not an easy part of the learning experience.  Would I do it again?  Maybe.  We would definitely let them go sooner!

 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From Tadpoles to Frogs

Sometime in April about the first or second week on a Thursday, we got up and went to Coop.  Riley went to his science class first that morning and then came into Art Class for second hour.  He was so excited!  "Mom!  Look what we got!"  As he held up a Ziplock storage bag full of water, I looked closer and saw four little tadpoles swimming around in the water.  I experienced a mixture of thoughts and feelings at that moment...Oh my, I hope these don't die...what will we do with these?...Oh how fun this will be to watch them turn into frogs!  What a cool lesson this will be!

Well, I must say it has been a pretty cool lesson.  We left Coop that day and headed to Dollar Tree to buy a container to put some pond water in.  Then we headed to Chris' office because there is a pond where we could get some water.  When we got home we pulled out the little aquarium Riley's former Beta had lived in and got it all set up so this would be the tadpole's home.

Over the next few weeks we noticed that there were only three tadpoles swimming around so one did not make the move to the aquarium.  We fed them fish food and then eventually added lettuce to the menu, which they seemed to devour.



After about 5 - 6 weeks we noticed two of the smaller tadpoles had back legs.  Then their front legs showed up and their tails were getting shorter.


 Can you see his back legs?

One morning Riley was eating his breakfast and all the sudden he exclaimed, "Mom! He is a frog!!"  I looked and sure enough one of the tadpoles had just a tiny tail left and was frantically coming to the surface for air.  Riley had used some of his birthday money to buy a frog/bug habitat so we used a cup and scooped  him out and poured him into his new home.  He climbed up on some of the "rocks" and just sat there as if to say, "ahhh....air....".  He is tiny (about 1/4") and seems to enjoy his new home.  We have been catching bugs to feed him but have yet to see him eat a bug.  We bought crickets for him today hoping he will eat those and grow some.

 If you look closely, he is stretched out on the side of the habitat, there is a bug up above him in the corner.  This must be some special move to catch those bugs...I hope he's not stuck.

The next tadpole we found sitting on a "leaf" the next day.  He proved to be a little more difficult to move to the new habitat because as we attempted to remove him from the aquarium he swam away.  After we finally caught him, we went to pour him into the frog habitat and he ended up going down the side of the habitat and disappearing underneath.  We tried to rescue him but could not do so with out tearing the whole habitat apart.   We were disappointed but there wasn't much else we could do.

We now have one tadpole left, he is the biggest one and only just now has his back legs.  His tail looks different from the other two frogs.  Maybe he is a different kind...?  We will feed him lettuce and fish food till he develops his front legs, then he will stop eating till he becomes a frog.  As their tail is absorbed they will not eat because they get all their nutrients from their tail.


Can you see him there below the rocks?  He has little back legs and his tail is wider than the others.


It has been fun and very interesting to watch these little tadpoles grow into frogs.  I've always seen pictures but never saw it in real life.  I have to admit, I'm a little skeptical about our LITTLE frog making it because he is really LITTLE.  But we'll see.  Thankfully Riley seems to understand there is a chance this little guy might not make it but he keeps trying.  He looses his zeal to catch bugs but seems willing to catch a cricket and drop it in the habitat.  It's been a good summer lesson, full of ups and downs though.


Wednesday's Walk - Looking for a Cowboy




I am going back to the Fall of 2006, Riley is 4 1/2, Chris has just gotten home from Iraq and we needed some family time!  We decided to take a trip to Branson, Missouri were we spent a week resting, and having  fun, but mainly having some good quality family time.

We were headed to Silver Dollar City and Riley's main request was that he wanted to see a cowboy!  The first day we were there, we spent the whole morning just making our way around the park, checking out everything that we could.  As we went along Chris and I noticed we hadn't see a cowboy yet!   Maybe we were in the wrong place at the wrong time...maybe there weren't any there at Silver Dollar city?..I had seen other tradesmen or women practicing there trade dressed up as cowboys and wearing the prairie dresses, but no cowboy just walking around jingling his spurs or slinging a pistol...

Finally after lunch that day, we were coming up a walkway and headed to a different part of "town" when we saw what looked like a cowboy sitting in a chair watching an artist busy at work.  I stopped and pointed him out to Riley, his face lit up and a big smile came over him.  I suggested he go say hi and I would take their picture.

Riley walked up to the cowboy with this look of awe on his face.  The cowboy said "howdy" and asked Riley a few questions which he gladly answered.  After a few minutes the cowboy stood up and looked at me to see if we were ready for a picture.  Are you kidding me?  He had to have been about seven feet tall!  I was so shocked at how tall he was and how tiny my son looked next to him that it took me a minute to have the where-with-all to get my camera ready!  Riley turned around and put his hands on his hips and smiled this big smile as if to say, "I found my cowboy!  Take my picture Mom!"  It was priceless!





I remember how little he was that trip and how excited he was to have his family back together and have some good fun looking for a cowboy!  Thanks for joining me on my Wednesday's Walk today!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Plant Markers

Riley and I braved the chill today to make our own plant markers. I sure did miss the sun, it was supposed to make it to 68 today but it was more like 61!   Very cold after all this warm weather we have had. If you notice the pictures below, Riley was dressed for that warmer weather, he got cold fast!

I had a clay pot that cracked the other day so it was perfect to use for this project. We got our hammer, pliers and wire cutters, wire hangers and our permanent markers. I showed Riley how big I needed the pieces of the clay pot and showed him how to gently tap the pot so it would crack. He grabbed that hammer and just started banging away!! 




Ha!  No, I'm kidding!  He did a great job, he gently tapped the pot and each subsequent piece that needed to be broken.  He turned the hammer over and used the claw to get the crack going if he needed to.





Using a coat hanger, we cut pieces of wire and used our pliers to bend the pieces in a pretty, curly manner.   Riley wrote the names of the plants on the clay pieces.  We then stuck the pieces of clay in between the curls of the wire, to hold them in place.  Riley would carry them outside and stick them in front of the appropriate plants.








 This is one of my favorite pots of herbs, it has Greek Oregano, Lemon Thyme and Fern Leaf Dill.  The plant markers were very easy to make and I think they look cute!  Riley was not too thrilled when he found out he had to help me make plant markers, but when I told him he could use a hammer and pliers, he got excited and was ready to go!  Imagine that!  :-)  Here is the link with the instructions and materials needed at Teaching Good Things.  Have Fun!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Great Idea to Mark Your Plants

Tonight I was looking at the different comments in the Gardening nook at the Homeschool Lounge, seeing what  new ideas and suggestions were posted.  I came across an idea to mark your plants that I thought was really cute and also something that Riley could possibly help me with, so I thought I would pass it on to you!  Click on this link to Teaching Good Things to see if it might work for you!  I'll will post pictures when we are done.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Am I a Passive Listener or an Effective Doer (or a Purposeful Listener)?

James 1:21-25

 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. 


I need to meditate on His word, prayerfully.  God speaks to me when I am ready to hear Him.  I need to Listen with a submissive spirit, Listen expectantly, Listen intently, Listen carefully, with purpose, Listen prayerfully.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Walk - T-ball Memories



I am going back to the Spring of 2007, Riley was 5 years old and we signed him up for T-ball.  What a BIG deal it was too!  He got a new glove, cleats and the uniform was just too cute!  It almost swallowed him up!

See, look how big his pants are!  Precious!

Practices were fun meeting all the other parents and boys.  We had a great coach.  He really worked on sportsmanship, playing fair, teaching the boys to work together and show each other respect.  When the games were over he would ask each boy to say something good about another team mate that they may have done during the game.  He really taught the boys how to build each other up. What an awesome thing to teach 5 year old boys.

I'll tell you though, these were some of the best games to watch!  At the first game, Coach introduced each boy and in the background was playing the song, "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!..."  they were so excited!  In the beginning, it was so funny to watch them run in the wrong direction after they hit the ball, or throw it to the wrong person.  There was a spot in Right Field that by the end of the season had a deep hole where the boys who played that position would stand in it and dig when they were bored.  Riley was one of them!  But to see them hit the ball and run to first base, then eventually home and feel that sense of excitement for them doing so well!  And to those little boys, snack time at the end of the game was the best part of it all!  What a great time!


It has been a good experience for us to be involved with T-ball and baseball.  We have been so blessed to have some awesome coaches that were good Christian men who taught Riley some good values.
I am so thankful that Riley has stuck with it over the last 3 1/2 years.  It has given him confidence and taught him sportsmanship and how to work with his teammates and help his team play well.   It hasn't been easy, he isn't one of these boys that sports just comes easy, at least baseball anyways.  Last spring he got one hit during the games, he was so discouraged.  Thankfully after some coaxing he decided to play this year and he is so glad he did.  He has been hitting better and working on fielding better.  We'll see what next spring holds because soccer runs a close race with baseball...but for now looking back at T-ball is a wonderful memory of such a precious little boy who could run fast and had a lot of fun!!  My how things change!


Taken by one of the other parents at last weeks game.