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!