Monday, October 28, 2013

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The kids and I have been trying to teach Nate John 3:16.

One morning as we were snuggling in the morning, we practiced a bit! Just a sweet blessing those snuggle moments are;)

And Nate repeats," That whosoever believes in Him, will not Spanish." LOL!!! I guess he hears the word "Spanish" at our house than the word "perish" :)

Over a dinner meal, we were discussing what the kids had worked on during our day:) Nice way to have Daddy help "teach" as we review!!

Brian asked the kids,"What is an atom?"

Lydia responded, "Daddy, YOU don't know what an atom is?"

Brian (the man with a degree in Chemistry) said "Maybe I don't but I was asking you."

"Well, I don't know!" she giggled back.

I guess we'll be working on filling in that gap:) LOL!!


Just before heading to bed, Anna called over her shoulder to her Daddy, "Hope you are ready to spend a lot of money tonight!"

It took Brian and I a minute or so to figure out what she could have been talking about! And then it HIT us... LOL!! She had just lost a tooth and was hinting around;)

Obviously our kids have a very real understanding about the tooth "fairy" story!!


Finally, I got a shot of Nate digging his hand into a pumpkin as we did our carving this year:) His little face definitely tells how he felt about the experience;)


Your turn!! Leave a comment or link to your blog in the comments:)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Science Should be Fun and Gooey

This year we did something that we've never done so far in our 5+ years of schooling.... we bought a brand new full blown Science curriculum.

Some of you are thinking, well, what did you use for science before. We used experiment books:) And science encyclopedias, library books on what we were studying and gotta love Magic School Bus;)

While we learned lots about all aspects of Science, these last 5+ weeks of using Apologia has been awesome!! We purchased the brand new Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook and notebooks (one for each of the kids).

Chris working on making an oxygen atom to join his two hydrogen atoms;)
 I like the emphasis of explaining the concepts using very kid-friendly language and examples.

 I love that they use the real scientific words and we get to practice using them as they notebook and work on activities. I feel like we've already learning at a deeper level than what the experiment books (and all the "extras" I was trying to add) were giving us.

And we all love that it's very hands-on:)

While I'd love to say I do the hands-on activities and labs/projects as we're reading... I don't :/ Usually I save some of the messy stuff for a quiet afternoon when we can really dig into the activities and not have to rush through them.

Here is a recent LAB DAY!!  Which resulted in two kids and a dog needing a bath... LOL!! A good lab day;)
working on lab/project reports with Nate joining in with his "notebook"

the classic floating egg experiment to introduce density


lava bottle - oil, water and alka seltzer to demonstrate chemical reactions

challenge to build ship that will float with the weight of pennies, counting out pennies on Chris' vessel

Anna's turn!!


And this was an activity from the following week that we all thought was cool;) Cornstarch and water....




The gooey cornstarch concoction had both liquid and solid tendencies! Introducing all of us to all sorts of new terms;)

Even just looking back at our science fun makes me smile and know why they are excited when I say it's Science or Lab Day;) We definitely have loved using Apologia Science!!! 

Who wouldn't when it's this fun and gooey!

Have you used Apologia before? Which unit do you recommend??

*** We have done this post completely without the request of Apologia or any company related to their products; purchasing all books and supplies on our own as well. We will not, nor have not, profited financially from this post or any links from this post! We just really have enjoyed it and we wanted to share our great experience!***

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tiny Talk Tuesday - A Cross and Closet Sleeper


Lydia and Nate went outside to build one afternoon. They were just precious when they proudly came to the door to show me what they had made.

Nate said,"It's the cross, like Jesus died on the cross."

Can't tell you how much that touched my heart... what a blessing to know that at 3, he is learning these basic and wonderful truths.


My mom is currently in Nepal for a 6 week volunteer opportunity that she and my dad dreamed of doing before they knew how sick he was with cancer. She decided to go because it was on her heart as well. Mom is there with established people helping in all sorts of projects.

About the same time my mom was boarding her flight, Anna started to make herself a bed... in the closet:)

"I want to sleep on the ground like Grammie might have to," she has said.

She's also planning ahead (which is also a trait of my 1st born) because Grammie has promised to take them camping when she returns... so she's also preparing for the camp-out! LOL!! I think sleeping in the closet for 6 weeks is plenty of practice for an overnight camping trip;)

Feel free to jump in and add your kids own Tiny Talk in the comments and linking to your own post in the comments:)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Trying to Stay Organized - Home school Edition

Each day we head into the school room (or lay on the living room couches) and "do" school work. But there comes a point every day when we all are asking, "Are we done yet?" or Momma's asking, "Did we get it all done yet?"

It's also about that time when the phone starts ringing, the stomachs start growling, the dog starts barking and the kids are running around like wild animals (because they think they are done)...

and Momma's brain is fried.... she can quote Animaniacs, read Chicka-Chicka Boom,Boom blindfolded, knows the Bible verses of the week, has solved Anna's incredibly challenging work problems and sings all the Shurley English jingles by then. But "Did they finish?"

So to give some organization to my day and have the answer to that all important daily question (ha ha haa), I have some helps and ways to stay on top of the kids work. I thought I'd share;)

One big one around here is "everything in it's place":) While I wished it applied to laundry and the stuff that accumulates on the kitchen counters, it DEFINITELY applies to our school books. And a simple, hand-me-down shelf does the trick for us... each kid with their own cubby and their do-done charts on top with stuff to file/finish underneath.


Some of us need a little more visual reminders of what tasks still need to be done!
This is our take on the do-done chart.

 I made little cards with a subject title and graphic on one side and a smiley face on the other;) And then cut the cards to fit into a 9-pocket baseball card holder (had some extra from couponing).

Simple, easy! And those days when everyone's hard at work, it's nice to glance down and see what each one needs to complete!

These sit on top of the cubbies and are easily visible.

I will say that they don't get used daily. But when we are starting the year or have times when they start asking "are we done yet?" these do-done charts are very helpful for us.

What do we actually accomplish and how do I know and the kids know WHAT to do???

For years, I have been keeping a very simple subject plans in a simple chart I found a long time ago. I like that I have room for all three kids individual assignments and  our "together" work on ONE day per WEEK.

When looking for a planner, it was one of my requirements that it's simple and I have a week at time on one page. I like this because often tasks/projects get moved around during the week... but by Friday it's all done! And I feel like I get a better view of the day/week when I can see everyone's work at one time:)

So here's a sample week. Regrettably I didn't have anything planned for my middle two to read.... no worries!! They have plenty in the library bag but I just didn't have anything specific to read this week.

As I planned for this year, I was reminded of one of the blessings of home schooling is that the kids can work ahead if they are able (or desire) to do so. And if THEY know what their assignments are they can start working on them before I ask:) And if they know our schedule for the week, they will better understand why our workload is a little heavier on some days and what days we get to meet with other home schoolers:)

So I made them their own re-usable schedule templates stored as the 1st page of their daily notebooks. Each weekend I fill in their schedule to match what I have written in my own planner for them. It's laminated so it gets used week after week and I write on it with wet erase markers.


A closer look at the 4th graders'.

Yes, I do write in games/practices, lessons, library visits, church functions and home school outings because they want to know when these activities are going to happen and they affect our days, too!

And yes, I am low-tech:) I'm sure there are some great spreadsheets that can be printed off daily/weekly... maybe I'll go that route... someday.

For now this works well for us;) And this Momma is thankful for these little ways to organize our schooling that make a BIG difference in the efficiency of our days;)

Submitting to Works For Me Wednesday and Welcome Home Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The h-Word and more

I was hit with the innocence of my children this week in a casual conversation as we finished up a meal. We were planning how to tidy up a school room that was ravaged by Tornado Nate-o and I expressed my dislike for those little bumpy blocks that keep getting tossed over the floor at least 2 times a day... if we're lucky:/

Yes, LEGOs!! We have a love-hate thing going:) I love how creative the kids can be with them and how they can sit in the school room and build/create for hours... building little houses and a city and then visiting one another....

LOL.... that's what happens when the sister's play, too!!

Back to the conversation with one of my kiddos.... I said under my breath, "I hate LEGOs."

I got a horrified look from this kid. And then they say, "You said the h-word!"

I didn't bust out laughing... instead I was taken back from how it sounded to them. And then just totally relieved that my children are still so innocent!!

It just made me thankful.

It was a simple reminder to continue to protect those little ears and those sensitive hearts as long as we can:) 

Nate, the determined gardener, was out in the bed-o-weeds this week and brought home a beauty:)


Its awesome that the summer garden is still giving us pepper-gifts and I totally wish I stayed on top of the garden more.... just feels impossible to keep up with the inside need-to-do list!


We bought a circuit kit for schooling this year as the kids and I worked through a unit on elecrtricity. We have had a blast with it and have learned a ton through "play".

Using the kit recently, Chris found an experiment to make the current go through water. We were fascinated:)

But then the next experiment was to make the current go through our bodies... it's a AA battery and just for a few seconds to make a buzzer go off... just for those who are worried:/ And I totally did it first;)

But then Chris got silly:) LOL!!

It was actually a very safe demonstration that our bodies are good conductors of elasticity!! It made the electricity safety rules we read through gain importance in the eyes of the kids.

Add your own kiddo-talk to the comments:)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Zoo Day

One of the blessings of being home schoolers is being able to take field trip days with the grandparents:)

It had been too long since we had seen Grammie. Since April she has made a couple of surprise visits to our home.... which we love:) But it had been LONG time since we had visited her in her neck of the woods which often leads to field trips:)

So to the zoo we went; meeting Hannah Grace, Thatcher and Aunt Jaclyn there;)... yes, cousins get to come on field trips, too!!


I got some fun pictures...



and then Anna took off with the camera:) I have a little photographer in the making;)




Another funny memory of the trip was the 1st night;) We heading to Grammie's after soccer practice and so we didnt get to her house until 9:30ish! ALL the kids fell asleep in the van during the trip! Nate and Anna were still a little drozy and they fell back asleep within an hour or so...



Not Lydia and Chris!!

They learned about midnight and how it marks a new day when everyone is supposed to be asleep;) And then they got it into their heads to try to stay up to 2 o'clock! So they officially became the "2 o'clock club"!


Although my mom and I were tired, it was kinda fun to have the middle two "alone" for a little while... but we didn't share their excitement about staying up until 2am. Oh, and they didn't quite make it;) Thankfully:)

We also did an autumn swim before Grammie closed down her pool... we thought it was going to be our last swim for the season... thought;)

Anyone else having amazing weather;) It's really hard to stay inside to school on nice days like these we've had the last few weeks!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Chrome Mom Moment

So I'd say everyone has seen the Chrome Mom commercial by now.

I'll be honest that it's an annoying commercial to me. Maybe its a little too real, LOL!! I finally sit for a moment to myself and the kids' radars (the same radars that detect phone use) go off. I can hear the signals, "She's on the computer (phone), lets....."

And it bothers me that the mom doesn't even acknowledge that her kid is trying to get her attention:/ Bt maybe she's needed a "break"... been there:)

Anyway, Nate pulled a "Chrome Moment" this week in the car. The older kids were having an in-depth conversation of what make helicopters different from airplanes and I was driving as I listened in.

Out of nowhere Nate started calling for me. Seriously, in 15 seconds he called me 3 different "mom" names at least 10 times each!!

Thankfully, I just laughed! And then finally had to acknowledge him before it continued too much longer:/

Your turn:)
Leave any of your Tiny Talk moments in the comments or feel free to leave a link to your own Tiny Talk posts;)