Wednesday, April 27, 2011


All of the sudden the weather has jumped from spring to summer with temperatures in the mid to upper 80's.  This seems to happen every year.  We rarely get a chance to enjoy the spring-like weather in the 70's.  I'm not complaining, though, because I love the summer.  But it's not summer yet.

Our push lawn mower is on it's last leg.  It's quite embarrassing, actually.  When my husband gets ready to mow the lawn I find the nearest place to hide.  It sputters, it spits, it clatters,  it hems and haws, it lurches, it fizzles then roars, it get the picture.  Well, maybe it isn't quite that bad, but if our homeschool had a would sound like that lawnmower!

The outside summer air calls to us, it beckons us to come visit.  There are gardens to tend to, flowers to be planted bees buzzing, birds chirping.  It's a hub of activity.  Each day I can see another plant sprouting and waking up after a long winters nap.

I open the front door and feel the warm air hit my face. The perfect weather for getting my new plants in the ground! I head out with shovel in hand.  I get right to work.

"What should I do today, Mom?" Calls a voice from the window.

School?  Oh, yeah.  School.  They both have a schedule hanging up and know perfectly well what to do, but hope to take advantage of my distracted state of mind.

"Uh, just read....something", I say, with a slight dismissive wave of the hand- as in 'you'll figure it out.'

Before I know it, school has moved to the front porch, in the sunshine.  Jared's reading Story of the World to me out loud and Jenna is doing math on the laptop in the adirondack chair.  It couldn't get any better than this.

An hour later, I'm still digging.  I hear the kids making their way out the back door to finish building the fort they started on the day before. I sure hope they finished their work, I think to myself.  Then I remember their read-aloud stories I forgot read to both of them.  Guess I'll do it later this afternoon. I must be kidding myself.

Somehow we all ended up back inside later in the afternoon, by chance! Ha. I did actually read them their books, and we finished both of them.  Now it's time for each of them to pick one more book to finish out the school year.  The question is- will they get read?

Climbing into bed that evening I decide to quiz Jared on what he read in Story of the World, to reassure myself that they're actually still learning.  He recites the chapter back to me.  Good. After reading a chapter in Colossians, I make myself pick up a new book to read to them- "Maniac Magee".  We read the first 5 chapters before dozing off.

I think we can...I think we can!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

2011-2012 Planning...In Progress

After going to our Homeschool Curriculum Fair yesterday I changed my mind on some of my plans for the 2011-2012 school year.  I was able to get my hands on a few things that I was interested in to reconfirm some of my choices and find some new things as well.

I am debating on whether or not to do Sonlight's Core D+E Condensed for history and reading.  Probably the main thing holding me back is the cost.  It would be between $433-$443 new, from Sonlight.  I crunched some numbers and went to to see if I could save some money.  I put all of the books that we would need into my shopping cart (then added the cost for the Instructor's Guide).  My total came to $276, and that included shipping.  Much better, but still high. That's one option.  I'm torn because right now we are utilizing the library for our reading- for free.  If I relied on the library next year it would be a bit of a hassle and a little stressful trying to track down the books as we needed them since it would be our history curriculum as well.  So, that's the one thing I'm trying to figure out.  Even $276 is a lot (to me) to spend on history & reading.

Aside from that, here are my plans thus far:

                     Jared (5th Grade)                                               Jenna (7th Grade)
Math        Teaching Textbooks 5                                    Teaching Textbooks 7
L.A.          Excellence in Writing-All Things Fun               Excellence in Writing-                                                                                       Explorer's to Gold Rush
                 English from the Roots Up                              English from the Roots Up
Science    Answers in Genesis-Our Planet                       Answers in Genesis-Our Planet
                Christian Kids Explore-Chemistry                    Christian Kids Explore-Chemistry
Bible       An Honorable Boy-Queen Publishing               A Virtuous Girl- Queen Publishing
Art          Artistic Pursuits                                                Artistic Pursuits
History   US History-(Sonlight Core D+E)                     US History (Sonlight Core D+E,      
                                                                                      plus supplements from Core 100)
Reading    "  "                                                                                        "  "
Music     Meet the Great Composers Kit 1                     Meet the Great Composers Kit 1
                Clarinet                                                           Saxophone
Language                                                                      Spanish 1
Since we are doing US History it is my goal to do as much traveling as I can to different places in the US! I'm dreaming, I know. If we can't travel like I want to, and even if we can, I want to do a study on all of US National Parks and do our traveling that way.

Things are coming together, I'm starting to get excited.  I can't believe our first year is already coming to a close in the next month!  To sum up our year so far- WOW! I have seen my kids change and blossom in ways I never knew I would. It is so rewarding to see a transformation taking place from the inside out.  We have had some great discussions and experiences.  I feel SO BLESSED to be able to do this, and I'm so thankful I made the decision!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Trip to Assateague Island

(Oops! My last post was inadvertently published before I was finished! So, here's the revised edition.) 

This weekend we visited Assateague Island for the first time.  We tried our best to create a learning experience out of this trip.  We started reading Misty of Chincoteague (again, since we put it down long ago) before we left and read up on the history behind the wild ponies.  We read about the habitat of these ponies, along with their diet and other plants and animals on the island.  We looked at a map to get an idea of exactly where we were on the island.  It was more beautiful than I had expected and I can only imagine what it would be like in the summer while plants and flowers are in bloom! Wow.  So many pretty nature scenes.  A camera can only capture so much.

As soon as we drove into the park we came upon a small herd of wild ponies, which was our main reason for visiting.  We were so excited.  We took three different walking trails- one on the dunes, one along the marsh and one through the forest.  I feel like pictures can do a much better job than I can at describing some of the beautiful things we saw.  So, here is a "slideshow" of our trip. Enjoy!

This was once a road that was destroyed in the storm of 1962

Barefoot Jared needs a lift!

We liked her leg warmers

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just For Fun

The other day we took a respite from the daily grind (aren't we always doing that? Ha.). We took a trip to the library and picked out books on a subject that interested us.  Jared picked several books on volcanoes, and Jenna picked a biography on George W. Bush. 

I'm glad we went when we did because we ran into a dear elderly couple that attend church with us, but due to declining health have not been able to visit for several months, if not for the past year.  They are such sweet people and always have smiles on their faces despite their hardships.

We came home with a bunch of books, found a cozy spot and read for the next couple of hours.  I found a few interactive websites for Jared about volcanoes that he was very interested in.  He especially liked Discovery Kids where he found some interesting information. Once he was done he typed up a list of facts that he'd learned from the day.

Jenna read contentedly and shared bits and pieces of info that I never knew about George W. Bush.  Her books were much longer, so I let her get by with just sharing what she learned with me.

So, today we finally got around to doing a volcano "experiement" of our own.  We formed our dough volcano (recipe below) around a small bottle of water and set it on a large shoe box.  We filled the bottle with warm water and added about 10 drops of red food coloring, 6 drops of dishwashing soap and 2 tbsp. of baking soda.  Finally, we poured in our white vinegar and...

The kids insisted on multiple eruptions.  Then we decided that one time we HAVE to try the "Trashcano"!

Dough Recipe
6 cups flour
2 cups salt
2-3 cups water
4 tbsp oil