Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

Our Family Way last week was about being gracious even when we didn't want to. We had it written on the whiteboard and I had to field a call while in the schoolroom with the kids... at one point I was getting frustrated and I looked up and saw the words... LOL!!! Thankfully I did what I needed to and not what I wanted to... even though my heart wasn't totally "on board".

Language Arts
The middle ones are plugging away learning their preposition list:) And Anna is busy in the world of adjectives in Rod & Staff.

As far as reading, we had a "still working on it" week.... Chris is working on a Magic Tree House book,  Lydia read through 2 or 3 books and Anna was finishing up Little Women.

We did two days of journaling and they worked on a lesson or two from Writing with Ease!!

Anna had a tough spelling section that we worked on a little longer... it was words with "qu" and they were some tough ones like "mosquito, require, turquoise". Thankfully we got through it;) Lydia and Chris had a review week in spelling, so they worked on words that they had previously missed.

We're wading through math facts, early fractions and long division hiding in word problems... oh my!

Xtramath is also really working for us;) I'm hoping to post more of the things that I have found helpful in getting us "enjoying" our time!

Spies of the Civil War. After reading our history pages we read more detailed stories about three of these spies;)

Chris had the idea of calling each other by numbers after our first readings because of the story of one the men using numbers to hide the identity of his network of spies. So the rest of the day you could hear, "23 I like your picture! Hey 11, could you pass me the paint!" LOL!! It was a fun, simple "change" to our day.

The kids also got into using a cipher to decode a message:) I found some online for them to work on as well... they really liked solving the codes!

Since we had grandparents coming later in the week, we spent time finishing the projects from last week. Bridges and trees re-glued .

Chris made a comic strip of the Battle of Vicksburg. Lydia did a flipbook for the Battle of Gettysburg:) And then the girls did get to present their projects to Grandma and Grandaddy.


IMG_0687We worked on the inclined plane and the wedge.

We had an activity that was supposed to help us see which plane required more "force" by seeing how stretched out the rubber band got.

Unfortunately, our rubber band was stiff and our "car of choice" wasn't heavy enough for a noticeable difference. They did see that the distance was obviously more for the less steep plane while the ending place was the same (height).

They really liked racing them down the slope.

We spent another afternoon reading and defining wedges! We were surprised by how many different types and jobs of wedges!!

On Thursday we welcomed Grandma and Grandaddy:) I'm not sure how many times I heard "When are Grandma and Grandaddy are coming??" So obviously everyone had a great time ... once they got here;) I got to attend a Saturday morning Women's Conference... yippee... much needed:)

On Friday we attended a program at our library about Dental Hygiene. The lady doing the program was a hoot.... she was very animated and the kids had fun.

After the program they ran off some energy with friends in the library's meeting room (it was nasty outside)!

Linking up to the Ultimate Homeschool Link-Up and Weekly Wrap Up @ WUH.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trucks, Trucks and More Trucks

After Nate had soo much fun with The Snowy Day, I thought another THEME would be fun. In my planner I have that we were going to do the new theme for about 2 weeks.... well Nate's been busy potty training and just playing contentedly... so it's stretched a little longer, which is fine!

Our main book was Trucks by Byron Barton. It's a little chunky board book that Nate found at the library and wanted to bring home... and so the theme was born:)

And of course you can't do a theme with just ONE book;) So we also enjoyed reading these... (either library finds or things already at our house)


And we didn't just read books.. Netflix helped some too:)
  • Bob the Builder series
  • 36 episodes available of Mighty Machines - trucks, planes, trains...  the boys loved the few we watched
And then the activities.... its funny the things he does like and the things he quickly looses interest it:/ Can't quite figure this kid out:)

This moveable digger was a hit;) He completed it Sunday night before school even started for the week:)


Nate knows a handful of his colors... but I liked this activity to help him practice the ones he's still guessing at... I really didn't think he'd LOVE this activity as much as he did....

 and continues to use as he pulls them in and out of the little packet to practice his colors;)

I saw this activity from somewhere:) It looked cute and Nate loves sorting and glue... but he didn't dig this one very much... in fact it's still not complete :(

Nate loved "building" his T truck. We pasted the pieces onto white paper and he scribble-scrabbled all around it;)

Nothing replaces playing with trucks on the floor;)
He actually found this set of "construction" trucks for a few $ at Walmart:)

He even used the trucks to share his treats with the others at the table:)

We also used a little problem solving set he received from Christmas!! Awesome idea to get fun schooling things at Christmas;) And this is a set he will grow into:)


Not pictured was the matching cards I printed and laminated from Two Little Seeds.

I had hoped to talk a little more about shapes since some of the activities included some shapes but he did practice his colors more so now he is using a few more works like pink and orange. And shapes will be a nice thing to practice as we prepare for the next theme;)

Linking up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Potty Trained:)

So Nate is fully potty trained... like take him out around the town, let him nap in undies and even a dry diaper most nights! It was totally NOT me....

in fact...

After Christmas, Nate began saying to me," Mommy, me need to do potty."

And I'd be mentally somewhere else (like picking out groceries) or physically busy (like totally in the middle of breading chicken or something) so I'd call back, "Nate it's ok, you have a diaper... just go in your diaper." Yep, parenting at it's highest level:/

Finally Nate started taking off his diaper and climbing onto the potty and just doing it!!

I dreaded #2s .... he just did it!!

I wondered when to start teaching him to stand up (like when he's 10?? LOL!) ... he started that last week!

I did offer treats as reminders and I wondered when I'd have to take away the treats... many times last week he stopped asking, for the most part! This weekend he was treated with more candy, so pottying has been a good excuse for him to enjoy them!

IMG_0729I have to admit that I feel a little lost now that Nate is potty trained??  For almost 9 years (in May Anna will be 9!) I have changed a dirty diaper every day... at least one! And for the last almost 4 weeks I think I've had one.. maybe??

In some ways, it's a nice change:) Less diapers (still using them at night, though I think he's wanting to wear underwear then, too) and it's a lot easier while we're out for Nate just to use the potty when we do!!

But in a very real way, we really now feel like there isn't a baby in the house anymore... there is a kind of "sad" feeling, too! Anyway....

I know waiting until kiddos are 2.5 isn't really ideal, I mean who wants to buy diapers for that long and no telling what they would say about him in an preschool program! But I tell you, now that I've had my 2nd child potty train themselves, there is definitely something to waiting until the kiddos are ready!!

And since this is Tiny Talk....

While reading with Nate I realized that he has been calling all females in books "Mommy" and all males "Daddy". The only differentiation is he calls little kids "babies"! It super cute... but don't try to correct him because he is adamant that he is right!

And evidence of who ate the cookies.... a little Goldilocks-ish!


Your turn

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Week with Valentines, Projects and Friends

IMG_0671We had a great Valentines Week;) The week started off normal but then got very crafty after a day of fun:)

Last week we were learning about patience. This second to last section has been really great... characteristics that challenge me as well as the kids. We did do an activity where we had to come up with an acrostic of characteristics of  patient people... I liked their list....

oh, boy, I want that list to describe us!

Language Arts
Spelling... yep, did it 3 of the 5 days:)

Grammar... oh, yeah! We love First Language Lessons:) I totally stretched the article lesson this week having the kids run the length of our schoolroom to get to "A" and "An" when I called out nouns;) They loved it and it got rid of a couple Monday (& Tuesday) -wiggles:)

I also got to introduce prepositions to the middle two using some stuffed animals and a cloth "band-ade". They liked that a lot:) But now we have the task of memorizing the definition and the LONG list of prepositions recommended in FLL.

Writing... they LOVE their journals! I know it will get old, but they ASK for journal time. It is seriously the quietest time of our whole day even with the 2 yr old running around and the random spelling questions.

We are also having them write about the books they are reading and file it under their reading section of their notebook. This is giving them to look for the characters, plot,climax, conclusion, etc!

Reading... Lydia and Chris have been reading Civil War on Sunday which is a Magic Tree House book. Lydia buzzes through them and has vowed to read every book in the series that the library owns! Chris is working on the book with me... a chapter a day after completing a lesson from Ordinary Parents Guide!

Anna finished reading the Harriet Tubman biography and found a Step Into Classics version of Little Women!! I was a little disappointed she didn't want to read the unabridged version but this was a great introduction, she loved the story... so it works right now. I was comforted a LOT when I read in The Well Trained Mind that they recommend an 8th grader reading the full version of Little Women... so I was glad I didn't push too hard:)

We're definitely doing math daily:) Lots of lessons and Anna has liked another book I have pulled a couple of activities for her on Fridays;) They are real-life math problems, I think she likes having something different to do every once in a while!

IMG_0599A highlight for Lydia and Chris was to play a "making 10" card game. 

Basically you take the face cards, 10s and jokers out of a deck of cards. And then we divided the cards into the amount of players. And we would take turns placing our card down to see if anyone could match the other digit to add to our card to make 10. For example, Lydia lays down a 3 card, I make a 10 by laying down my 7. And then I get to keep the pair... or at least that is how we play! And funny how it worked out that Chris was also reviewing his "making 10" facts the same day... very convenient for Momma!

Chris also learned about cutting squares into 1/4s, 1/2s, 1/3s and 1/8s!

The kids did their "presentations" to Grammie and Pey. I liked the experience of them being able to "present" their projects to others... and grandparents are oh, so gracious and not very




IMG_0622 This week the kids wanted  do more projects:/ Since we were studying a few "turning point" battles it worked out well that the kids got to pick the major battles we were talking about this week. Here are a few links that we found helpful for our projects:

*Animated map that goes through the whole battle of Antietam. Very informative !

* for main information about each  battle

*A beautiful reading of the Gettysburg Address .

*Directions for a Salt Dough Map for Chris' "model" of Vicksburg.

And since I knew we had another set of grandparents coming in a week or so, it was fun for the kids to have more projects to "present".

We spent our time during Science reading about more Simple Machines. The kids and I would define the machine, draw a picture, find or describe examples  and then the kids copy the information in their Science notebooks. We talked mostly about Wheels(and Axels) and Pulleys this week.

I had picked up a book about Wheels for Nate. It was the "invention of the wheel" so it fit into our study perfectly, sure it was a little too young for my older  crew but it was cool to see the development of the wheel through history. If you are interested it was called Wheels by Byron Barton, again its better for the younger group, but we still liked it for a simple wheel history:)

We counted up our days and realized we needed to have a 100 Day day:) So we went to our favorite skating place and met friends! It was a much needed day "off" and oh how much I love opportunities to get together with these families... so blessed to have 2 sweet families with us for most of the day:)

After being with them, I am reminded the importance of making time to visit with friends... whether it's a fun day or in your downtime. Obviously schooling is our top priority each morning, but it's a demanding job and its soo nice to have friends to be encouraged by... or them just remind you WHY or sometimes just to nod and say they are in the "thick of it all" too!! 

IMG_0612We also had a simple Valentines celebration at home;) After a busy day and hosting a new family a our house, we enjoyed a quiet evening at home;) We had a super simple dinner of BLT sandwiches cut into hearts, fruit salad and carrots;) SIMPLE and they loved it!!

And then we opened Valentines that we had made for each other through the day! It was a sweet, precious time.... even seeing our little Nate sticking in colored paper hearts in each person's Valentine pouch that we had made earlier;)

Another fun week.... definitely not as structured with a day skating, Valentines Day and then some major project time on Friday, just glad we started the week off strong and that we got some schooling in each morning before the friends and projects came out;)

Oh, and did I mention we also got the dog neutered in the mix of it all;) Yep, fun and crazy times around here.... never.a.dull.moment!

Linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up and Homeschool Link-Up

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Just a Little... Snow

While we did get a tiny snow in late January, we finally got a snow event last weekend.... at least for our area;)

Growing up in MD, we saw plenty of snow and even a few blizzards:) One of my favorite blizzard stories was getting stuck at school because of snow.... yep, we sure did play in the gym, watch afternoon cartoons in the library and eat pizza for dinner! We didn't spend the night though, a bus equipped for snow brought us home at about bedtime;) My mom's version of the story is totally different, her viewpoint being the parent trying to get her kids (my brother and I) home:/

So the quarter of an inch snow we had last weekend... wasn't much:( 
But for my Southern kids... it was SNOW:)

Chris excitedly watching all the snow falling... it was a pretty sight!

Anna in the "bucket" swing


the girls trying to have a snowball fight

my neighbor's apple trees... boughs still snowy



Monday, February 18, 2013

Baskets? Touching Squirrels?

Last week I was able to "help" in the middle kids Sunday School class. My friend was telling the story of when Jesus feed the 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

As she finished the story Chris had a question for her,"Did Jesus make more baskets, too? Because in the story there was just one basket in the beginning but there were 12 baskets at the end?"

During an opening of one of our devotion times I asked (because it was a conversation starter), "Why do you think we are born young children and we have to "grow up" before we are adults? Why can't we all just start as adults?"

The lesson was about learning patience as a child.

But my Chris... always on top of everything... he says," It's probably because an adult can come out of a Mommy tummy!" LOL!! Of course!

LOL!!! The kid is ALWAYS thinking!!


This week I was working orally with Anna's Grammar practice. Since it was picking out verbs in sentences I thought I'd include Chris and Lydia:)

The sentence was "The grey squirrel was fast." or something like that.

The kids should have called out WAS :)

But instead they called out "squirrel":( So I responded back,"Verbs you do but can't touch. We can touch a squirrel."

Lydia jumped up and shouted, "WHat?! You can touch a squirrel, I've never touched a squirrel before."

Thankfully we have a few more months of schooling left and plenty of years... to possibly touch a squriell!


And my Nate that can say anything:/ Due to potty training we've had to talk to him about potty words used inappropriately through the day:(

His cute phrase is "Thank you , me."

And this isn't exactly "talking".... but it does show where Jack finds the most comfort when I am cooking dinner;)
  • IMG_0662

Funny thing was I hadn't noticed I had a tag-a-long piece of tape on my house Crocs until I saw the picture the following day.... and the tape was still there:/

And now it's turn!! What have your kids been saying?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

We Could Live on a Farm

I wanted to share a few more pictures from a quick visit we made to a local family farm because some were soo cute. And how we felt after we left that afternoon!!

You can easily see that the kids had a blast...

everything from snuggling with new puppies,

chasing chickens (or watching the puppies do it),

brushing a horse,

feeding the horses (and trying to feed the goat),

finding the peacock!

We loved it all!!

I grew up in a community surrounded by houses, but I remember passing some farms with horses grazing in the field. I took horse riding lessons with my Girl Scout Troop and even with a nasty horse-dander allergy, have ridden a couple of times since then. I've always wanted to have a decent sized garden where we could eat from it during harvest and make our own spaghetti sauce and salsa! I got to help feed a baby goat as a child and have wanted a goat since... possibly now for goat's milk and to kill snakes;)

But I know NOTHING about farm animals.. there would be a huge learning curve and definitely some really funny stories;)

IMG_0244I was also inspired by the teenage child of the family we were visiting. She cared for all the animals feeding them and giving them attention. She easily walked the horse to the barn for the kids to brush him and then got him ready so the kids could ride him. All the responsibility she displayed, the confidence and knowledge. Would love to have my kids have a similar experience!

And then there's the "farm feel"... that you MUST spend time outside with the animals... feeding and caring for them. Outside... the beautiful sunset, the "simple" life.

We left talking about living on a farm, owning horses of our own.... 

we could live on a farm:)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tiny Talk

During a project....

Chris : "Mom, do you think I am still arty?"


After opening a box full of new batteries, Nate jumps up and down shouting "Awesome! Awesome!"

I totally didn't know he knew that word! LOL!


We made cookies one night. We told the kids that they each could have a few. As she waits for her share Anna counts the cookies and divides the number by 6 (the number of people in our family).

Then she cries out,"Hey, division does work! We each can have 5 cookies with one left over!"


The kids wrote in their journals about a job they would have if they lived during the Civil War. All three said they wanted to be leaders (captains, generals or spies) in the Union army. After they had read their journals aloud to us, I asked why they had all chosen to be with the Union army.

Chris said ,"They were the winners. And because we live where the Union was... duh, we live in North Carolina!"

So yes... that conversation definitely ended with a map, specifically the one we colored with all the states colored Union, Confederate or neutral.

And now it's turn!! What have your kids been saying?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Civil War Battle Projects, Friction, & Levers

Doing a two week in one post this week... just couldn't get it done last week!! 
Our last two weeks with 24 Ways has been exactly what we've needed... exactly... almost hard for me to lead since I know I struggle with these "ways" too often. It was humbling to lead our study each morning stating to the kids that I HAVE to WORK on this TOO. The main points were to choose to be joyful and a peacemaker regardless of our circumstances or rights!! OUCH! Anyway... these aren't applied and checked off in just a week, our prayer remains that we would be steadfast in applying these truths daily as we strive to be Christ-like and God-honoring.

Language Arts
IMG_0542Spelling... check!

Grammar... check... pronouns, letter writing, adverbs, adjectives, story narrations!

Writing... getting there:) We're not consistent with our "formal" writing program. We did a few "lessons", wrote TY letters and letters to pen pals, started journaling and then our history project (see below).

Reading:) The kids are really starting to read but I was needing some record of what they were reading and some accountability for one (or two) of them:)  So we pulled back out a Reading Log from Homeschool Creations. I like the log because they have to find the author, publisher, copyright date and list their beginning and ending dates of reading the books.

That being said Anna finished the Abraham Lincoln book and started on a biography on Harriet Tubman... I am thinking of saving Little Women as a "family read" since it seems like it's overwhelming her right now. Lydia is reading American Girls and really whatever she can get her hands on:) Chris and I worked on a book about the Monitor and Merrimac battle and a Mr Putter book by Cynthia Rylant... it's a great early chapter book series! He's the 3rd kiddo to like these books!

Last week we studied the Generals of each army. We spent most the week learning about Generals Grant and Robert E Lee reading a simple biography of each and the kids colored a picture of each. After the reading the kids wrote (or dictated) at least two sentences about Grant and Lee.

We also touched on the African American experience and the underground railroad.

This week we looked at some the battles in the West and using the Navy. As well as some mentioning some of the "unsung heroes" of the Civil War like Frederick Douglas, Clara Barton and others. We read short kid-friendly articles about some of the people.

We challenged the kids to put together a project about one of the battles we read about this week and plan to "present" their project to grandparents visiting this weekend. The kids got to work:) First they did some research and this graphic organizer.
Anna and her sidekick "kindle" :)

Lydia did a project as well. She made a newspaper with a few statements and a picture of the firing on Fort Sumter:)

Anyway, I'm super proud of these guys;) I loved that they did a lot of their research with me just pointing them where and what to read. I did read an article to Chris about the Battle of Hampton Roads and he dictated to me what he wanted on his poster while I typed it for him. It took a lot of our "book time" on Friday to complete them, but then I think of the cool skills of researching, writing, painting, planning and carrying out a project, turning articles into main, concise facts to include on their posters....

and looking forward to what they share with the grandparents over the weekend... good stuff;)


Somehow I missed posted that we finished the last two laws of motion. One great resource was this article of how to teach them using MatchBox cars:)

We used our wooden train set... but it worked:) You can see the closest one with pennies taped to the top:)

We started the week finishing Friction. We had defined it the previous week, but we added a "real-life" picture to the definition.

We rubbed a coin quickly for almost a minute onto a small section of paper to investigate what happens when two things are rubbed together. We found that friction can make heat over time. Those who did the investigation half-heartedly didn't have the same heat:/

We played a game called Talk a Walk! This was game with an "unexpected" outcome. A good "virtual" experiment.

Our final activity was to see how friction affects our "everyday". We followed the instructions and even wrote out our own report! I think we most benefited from reading the other students' submissions and then spending the time to think of our own examples.

IMG_0477We ended the week with conversations about simple machines and levers. We read most of the pages of a Science book on levers. The kids and I talked about each of the classes of levers and drew the "basic" picture for each that the kids copied into their notebooks.

And then we went on a lever "hunt". Each child I had to bring or draw a lever from the house. Once they brought their finds, we tried to figure out which class the lever belonged by finding the fulcrum, load and where the effort is applied. We had fun with this... especially when Lydia originally brought back a picture of a man lifting the couch as a lever (pic on the bottom)... LOL!!

Last week we began reading about Leonardo da Vinci. This week we finished the main reading of the book and then the kids painted a black and white sketch of the Mona Lisa:) 

We talked a little about how each older kiddo tried to copy some of the colors and style of da Vinci and how each one looks so very different from the orginial. I was very pleased with this activity... and I know they enjoyed painting it more than starting from a blank sheet of paper!

Last week we attended a Valentine Card making "party". The point was to make cards for children in hospitals over Valentines Day that a semi-local radio station would deliver. I love having activities for the kids that includes them thinking of others. The kids had a great time and lots of cards were made;)

Add in a field trip to a fort that I haven't posted, the visit to the farm, Nate potty training himself, painting a "play house" at a friend's house, Leave It to Beaver and Mighty Machine reruns on Netflix...

and we're wrapped up:)

Linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up and Homeschool Link-Up.