Friday, October 29, 2010

My Perfect Set-Up Gone Awry

Before our school year started I agonized over where the best spot would be to set up our "school room". I'm the type of person that has to have stuff put away at the end of the day.  Clutter makes me go cookoo!!  I need clean surfaces- even if that means junky drawers! Ha :) I decided on our basement.  That way even if things didn't quite get cleaned up by the end of the day it would still be out of sight.  Plus it offered the most space for all of our supplies along with our sewing and craft area. I had such a great set up down there. We got a nice big desk and had everything organized.  I even set up another family room down there so they could sit in a cozy chair with a lapdesk and do their work there if they chose to do so.  Maps were hung on the walls along with our history time line.  It was perfect!

I'm not even sure we completed a full month of school before the kids started migrating upstairs to do their work. Nooo! This isn't the way it was supposed to be! Jenna moved completely up to her room and Jared decided he wanted to sit at the dining table where there was natural light.  I told them both that was fine but STUFF HAD TO BE PUT AWAY or else mommy's head would start spinning.  Still some things would be left out at the end of a busy day and piles would begin forming along with shoes & coats & crumbs! Oh my!

It's been a few weeks now and it looks like they aren't budging on moving back downstairs, much to my disappointment and despite my cajoling.  I decided to move all of their books and supplies that they use everyday up to our living room so they can sit and do their work at the dining table.  I cleared half of the armoir out, which is what used to be our game chest.

Each of them has a door to put up their schedule and anything else they might need to hang up.  It's almost like having a locker- they like that :)  Hopefully this set up works for us...for more than another month!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Little Getaway

We just returned from a two day excursion to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA.  We had originally planned to go on our annual Hershey Park trip, but after thinking about it (for 1 second) the kids decided on Great Wolf instead.

We had two things going on for us: 1) They offer discounts to home schoolers and 2) We went mid-week and got an even better discount.  So we saved quite a bit between the two.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves for the majority of the time.  No lines and crowds made it really nice.  The Howlin' Tornado was DA BOMB! It was a 4 seater intertube ride with a CRAZY drop into a HUGE funnel that takes you 30 feet up the sides.  Oh yeah! My throat is still sore from screaming.  The people who send you down the slide like to pick on mommies- and most of the time I was the one to go down BACKWARDS.  Waaaaa!

I love this place because they are so family friendly and they go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable & easy.  Even though check in isn't until 4pm they allow you entrance into the water park at 1pm.  Also, on check out day, with check out at 11am they allow you to check out and stay as long as you'd like at the waterpark.  They stay open until 9pm and have private showers, changing areas, clothes dryers, shampoo/soap, towels.  Reeeeallly nice.

So now that I got all of the good news out first, the bad news was that my little clumsy-muffin broke her toe...hmmm...maybe 2 minutes after our arrival to the waterpark. Probably more like 30 seconds, actually.  She was able to walk on it and enjoy herself until we got home and had it x-rayed.  Now she is sporting a cool velcro shoe! She is rockin' the velcro shoe.

Here are a  few pics from our trip.  We are really looking forward to going back.  All the talk we heard about it was legit- Too legit to quit!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Week Gone By

We have been busy bees over the past week.  We took a trip to Pumpkinville in VA where we enjoyed the beauties of fall.

Along with hayrides, slides, swings, things to climb and moonbounces they also had a petting farm.  The kids had fun feeding the llamas, donkeys, cows & goats...if the animals didn't snatch their food before they had the chance to feed them! Ha!

Hanging out with a wild beast

Hand over the food and no one gets hurt

I also had my first meeting, that I'm required to have, with the Home School Monitor of our public school system.  I didn't know what to expect, so I packed a bag of each of my kids work, books, lapbooks, notebooks, nature journals, etc. to show her what we're doing. It was hard to not pack a big storage bin on wheels! But, I resisted the urge and settled on their current reading books and best samples of their work from each subject.  I felt like I was going to need to prove that we are having consistent and thorough instruction time. To say the least, I was overprepared.  After taking notes on what curriulum we're using for each subject and remarking that we're using all her favoirtes she basically folded her hands and asked, "Is there anything you want to show me?"  Wow.  That was it.  So, I pulled out a couple of lapbooks to which she was very impressed with. She was very supportive and provided a packet of resources and told me to call with any concerns. She told me to enjoy them while their young, go on field trips and let them pursue their interests.  I left feeling inspired and a little more relaxed, which is actually kind of scary considering I'm really laid back this year!

As Jenna is learning all about cooking in her Home Ec course I had her bake a cake from scratch, putting her skills to use.  She found her own recipe online for a yellow cake and buttercream vanilla icing.  Aside from helping her put her pan in and out of the oven she did the whole thing on her own.

She decided to decorate it and write "Art Smart" on it (a saying from our art curriulum) so we could take it to our "art class" that day.


We also added the renal & digestive systems to our "people" for our studies in human anatomy:

For reading they are both putting finishing touches on their book reports.  Jared finished "Around the World in 80 Days" and wants to set up stations throughout our house representing the different places Phileas Fogg visited.  Jenna finished "Dracula" (yikes) and plans to do a diorama.  They've already picked out their books for next month's book report- "The Adventures of Hucklebery Finn" and "Beowulf".

That was our week!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dry Erase "Board" For On-The-Go

Our "classroom" has been on the move lately (from the basement to the upstairs) making for lots of trips up and down the stairs with supplies (them, not me!).  I never did get a dry erase board for our classroom and now I'm kind of glad because it would be hanging downstairs on the wall where we are not.  So, as we sat at the dining table doing math today I was trying to think of a make shift dry erase board when Jenna brought me a sheet of white paper in a page protector.  She's brilliant, I tell you.

You can use the dry erase markers, and erase just as easily with a paper towel.  This could be perfect to have in a binder when you're on the run :)

This Week: Unschooling!

So, this week we haven't done much "school".  My husbands parents are in town from Florida and staying with us, so we've been up to other things.  I'm still trying to get out of the mind set that if they aren't sitting with a textbook and pencil in their lap then we aren't "doing school".  But, we are learning other things.


Serving others...

( I was treated to a surprise dinner made by the kids & grandparents. 
I wasn't allowed in the kitchen or to clean up!)

Pumpkin Carving...



And most importantly...


They learned how much their Nana & Pop Pop love them!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Makes Me Smile

There are those special pictures that just bring a smile to your face the minute you see them.  This picture has always been one of those for me.  My father in law took this picture of my husband and my kids quite a while ago.  One thing I can always count on with my father in law is that he'll capture special candid moments like these, since he's a photographer and always carries a camera. I can't remember what it is that's making Jenna laugh one of her deep belly laughs.  Maybe my husband or father in law would remember.  It just tickles me.

She still looks like this when she throws her head back and laughs.  And more often than not her daddy will be the one to make her do it :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today Was A Lapbook Day

We were ready for a normal school day today but I decided to let the kids have an easy day.  I said, "Eh.  Let's just work on our Ancient Egypt lapbooks and study our spelling words for tomorrow."  They said, "Yay!" So we got all of our supplies out, turned the radio on and made some great progress on the lapbooks. 

Since we've been learning about the Ancient Civilizations in Story of the World I decided to have them do a lapbook as a summary to what we've learned and what they liked best about it.  We pretty much focused on the different time periods of Ancient Egypt from the Old Kingdom to the New Kingdom. 

Here are our lapbooks so far (I did one too for the fun of it):

Front cover of Jenna's lapbook

This is Jenna's first lapbook.  We're new at this.       I think she did a great job!
This one is Jared's:

Map of Egypt & info on pyramids

 This one's mine:

We had fun putting these together.  I think it's a great way to review what we've learned and we have a keepsake for years later.