Apr 022011
 

image

So, while I was given the afternoon to promote the blog with the Ultimate Blog Party (see button on right hand widget column, I’m on the phone at the moment and can’t hyper link) my husband took the girls outside to play. He ran in to the garage to look for the pruning shears and when he came back out, the Bugs had gotten the blue glitter paint (it was outside from painting paper mache) and had decided that her sister needed painted….all over her face. She did a great job at least at keeping it out of the Beans’ eyes as she applied it like eye shadow (where she figured out how to do that is beyond me, I haven’t worn any in ages…). There was also a few lines all up her right arm.

Thankfully, after another hour outdoors in the mud puddle and sandbox, it started to wear off. Then a nice bath took care of the rest (you should see my bathtub…)

.

Mar 312011
 

image

Just getting ready to bake a few batches of bread this dreary afternoon and a treat for after supper tonight and I had to get this pic of the Bugs! Sorry for the size of the pic, but I shot it and uploaded it with the phone and there aren’t any resizing options.

Bugs loves to help bake (and eat the results!)

Though, today Bugs has gone by Milly and Mary. At baking time it is Mary, her sister is Laura and she is insisting on calling me Ma. Yes, she is on a Little House kick! She so takes after her mom!

.

Mar 112011
 

I decided perhaps it was time to link up my weeks in review with a meme.  So, I know of several people who link up at the Weekly Wrap Up over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and decided that since we are weird, and rather unsocialized I should link up there….

So, this week tanked pretty much. I had plans, hopes and dreams.  Then Daddy brought home a sinus virus from I’m guessing work.  Thank you Daddy…

It should have been a clue when Hubbs woke up Sunday morning feeling horrid.  He had a headache, his sinuses were pounding, and my extremely hot blooded man was freezing cold and had burritoed himself in the down comforter on the bed (that never happens…) We ended up staying home from church so as to not share.

Well, we ended up with a lesson in sharing within the family. Monday, we were still fine.  Bugs conned me into setting up our folding picnic table in the living room to do school on. So, we set out school.  She worked on her lesson in Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, we sounded out some words together, worked on her Developing the Early Learner Workbooks and then she begged to play GCompris on the computer (we use Ubuntu Linux, GCompris is an educational software suite on it). So I let her and she had a very fun afternoon. Beans worked on her All About Reading that we are getting to review, and had a blast with her workbook pages.

Tuesday, Bugs wakes up way too early and sounds a little stuffy. She is slower than molasses and can not concentrate to sound out rhyming words at all.  These are all words she has read before (ran, can, etc). We trudge through our workbook and she is cranky and obnoxious the rest of the day.  Beans does her work and seems to be fine.

Wednesday, the girls wake up, and Bugs and Beans both have noses that look like leaky faucets.  Beans is using me for a tissue, and both seem to be barely functioning.  We call school off for the day. I figured we hadn’t taken a sick day since last semester and there was no way they could handle cognant thought at all.  They both actually take long naps that afternoon!

Thursday, they wake up feeling fine.  I wake up feeling like I had been hit by a truck.  So, in the name of their safety I hauled the laptop into our bedroom and let them watch movies nearly all day. I was barely conscious for it. So school was canceled due to the lack of a substitute teacher. By the evening I was starting to feel better, so Hubbs and the girls and I went grocery shopping.  While in the pet section of Wally World, they had yellow spotted puffer fish for sale. We had just done a unit study on puffers for the Crew (Curiosity Files, the girls LOVED it) so at least they had a bit of science for the day.  At Wal-Mart of all places….They really liked seeing them.  Hubbs decided he wants a few because of how neat they look. Now to find a place to actually put up my old ten gallon aquarium as the small little puffers won’t get along too well with our tank of rather large fancy goldfish.

This morning, I’m getting ready to start school when Hubbs calls from work.  Someone decided to pay his way to the Church’s men’s retreat for tonight and tomorrow if he could go, could he? Of course I said to take the opportunity.  He said he would come home on his lunch break and pack his overnight stuff.  I decided since what I knew he wanted packed needed washed, I would wash it all up and just pack for him (trust me, it is much better if I pack for him….oh the stories I could tell…) So, since the girls still aren’t quite 100% yet and I had a bunch of extra work all of a sudden, we took today off to. Besides, I didn’t know when Hubbs was going to be getting home so I could take him back to work (his ride was leaving from his work) and I wanted the girls to have time with their daddy. We didn’t discuss the earthquake in Japan or the tsunami, they aren’t quite old enough I think yet (4.5 and 3) and I’m not sure I’m ready to introduce such heartache into their lives.  Let them live oblivious to it a bit longer. I wish I could keep horrid things from them forever, but I can’t, and I know they have had to learn about some things already (like death, that is always hard.).

Needless to say my house is also rather trashed.  Beans only wanted me to hold her since Wednesday basically. Bugs wanted to snuggle. Then I was struck down and then nothing got done today for housework.  Blech.  At least I have all day tomorrow to catch up with Hubbs gone for the retreat. And I even have the car!!!!!!  Maybe we’ll race ourselves in picking up and sterilizing the kitchen so we can go do something fun tomorrow afternoon after lunch. I haven’t had access to the car like this for ages. We normally all go together anywhere on the weekends, and I don’t have it during the day typically through the week because he needs it for work.

So, there is our week in review.  Not a whole lot this week.  Next week, it is supposed to be nicer outside and hopefully our backyard will dry out enough so we can go look for insects.

So, go visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and see what everyone else is up to..

Bugs Is Reading!

 Bugs, family, girls  Comments Off on Bugs Is Reading!
Mar 012011
 

Sunday was a very momentous day for us.

It started off fairly normal.  We were all at Grandma’s house.  We got up, girls had breakfast with Grandma, Hubbs and I stayed in our basement bedroom and got dressed up in our church clothes before heading upstairs. We get upstairs to find a dense layer of fog all over the area. My MIL wasn’t too keen on trying to venture out, so we did church at home. We let the girls color pictures of Jesus calming the storm, we watched that section of scripture in the Matthew Video series and then we made a storm with a cookie sheet and a boat, played the make the rain sounds game. The girls really enjoyed it.

Then, afterwards, they practiced writing their names on their papers.  Then the Bugs was handed a Phonics Ready Reader, and she read it. She read a second one out load and got two pages into a third before she decided she was too hungry and needed lunch.

It was incredible to sit and hear my 4.5 year-old reading simple phonics words. The look of joy on her face was priceless too. And she did it in front of her Grandma really made Grandma’s day also. My big girl is READING!!!!!! I can hardly believe it.  We’ve been working on phonics and sounding out letters this past school year. I haven’t been pushing her. She’s sounded out a word here and a word there, but to sit and read a few small phonics books, and not having to sound out several of the words was something I was looking forward to having happen, I just didn’t think it would happen this soon.

So, celebrate with us please! Our Bugs is reading! (as her rite of passage gift for this, we will be purchasing her a young reader’s Bible.  We aren’t sure of which one yet, so any suggestions would be fabulous.).

Curiouser and Curiouser….

 Beans, Bugs, curriculum, homeschooling, Reviews, TOS, TOS Crew, TOS Magazine  Comments Off on Curiouser and Curiouser….
Feb 112011
 

I was recently blessed with being able to review the Curiosity Files, Puffer Fish from The Old Schoolhouse Store. And I mean blessed! This was a great diversion during the doldrums of winter and a nice way to get back into the groove of homeschooling after the holidays.

The Curiosity Files with Professor Ana Lyze are a fun filled, easily adaptable unit study series by The Old Schoolhouse. They focus on the stranger and grosser topics of science (zombie fire ants and dung beetles anyone?) that seem to appeal to a wide variety of children. We selected to do the study on Puffer Fish due to the girls’ love of fish and a certain fish themed animated movie.

This study, while designed for children at about age six through middle school is very easily adaptable. My eldest is four and a half and doing kindergarten work, and was captivated by the topics regarding puffer fish in this study and was able to complete a lot of the projects. We did most of it orally and she did very well. Beans loved tagging along and seeing the puffers.

This unit study has everything you could want, from science (specifically zoology in this one), math (monetary conversion rates, other math problems), language skills (vocab, spelling, sentence combing and both print and cursive copy work), Bible (copy work and memorization), sociology (culture study with Japan) and even art. This study has TONS to do, and is easy to adapt to your needs by adding to it or taking away. We didn’t do the higher level math conversions for example (at 4 ½ we really didn’t need to). And we did most of our work orally. We discussed the vocabulary words and we talked about how and why puffer fish inflate. I think the girls (and I) know more about puffer fish than the average person….I didn’t know there were so many varieties!

The Puffer Fish study comes with embedded links to even more information online. There are pictures, articles and even videos of puffers puffing. The girls really enjoyed the videos (fair warning parents, look up all the videos and watch first. You would not believe what is out there on You Tube…) and still ask to watch them after we completed the work of the study!

There are tons of books at the library to add to your study. So if seeing a topic and freaking out because you personally don’t know anything about it is an issue, don’t let it be one! Each topic has a lot of resources that aren’t too hard to locate either online or at the library.

I was also very impressed with the fact that there were adaptions suggested for special needs students! I had yet to see very many ideas or alternative suggestions in curriculum I’ve looked at since I started homeschooling and researching curricula. I was very impressed with it, so if you have a special needs student, use the adaption suggestions as a springboard, you won’t regret it!

And the Curiosity Files are also on Facebook!  Feel free to go on over there and check them out!

We were going to do the paper mache puffer fish as the completion of our study. Unfortunately life got in the way (see the AWOL post…) and I didn’t feel like I could start a multiple day project last week and we’ve not been able to fit it in yet. I’m planning it for next week when Grandma is here for the Bean’s birthday. It will be lots of fun and I’ll come on and add pictures in a new post (and try to remember to link it….). The girls are so looking forward to the paper mache. In fact, when they saw the pictures and the directions for the art project, they were extremely excited and started begging to do it right away!

Our verdict: The girls loved this unit study! It was simple for me to pull off (I love simple planning), resources abound at the library and online to supplement it. It was so easy to adapt to what the girls can do, still challenge them and still hold their interest. You could take a week or two and only do the study, or do what we did and spread it out over the course of nearly four while still doing our regular school work. This series would also be great to do over longer breaks as an interest led study, like during the summer months when you want your children to still be learning, but you don’t want to do all school. I would also use this as week between quarters or semesters (depending on how you break your year up) and use this as a break from regular school for a week or two so you as the teaching parent can have some of a break, but still keep the students learning.

I highly recommend the Curiosity Files with Professor Ana Lyze to all homeschooling families. They are simple to put together, easy to do and are jam packed full of information. And what I love is that I can cycle back through this when the girls are a bit older and go even deeper yet into the topic! I learned more than I ever thought possible about puffer fish doing this study and found them to be more interesting than I thought. And no, I have no intention of ever trying one for food, they are poisonous you know.

The Curiosity Files are also very cost effective. You can purchase them singly. However, I suggest going the bundle route. You can now get ALL NINE of the studies in a bundle to save even more for under fifty dollars.  I don’t know of other studies at that terrific of a price! (cd for $49.00 or download for $46.00. I would personally do the download, instant gratification that way…).

I received the Puffer Fish study from the Curiosity Files with Professor Ana Lyze as a part of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone, and other than the product, no other compensation was received (it would be kind of difficult to review something without using it first, you think?) To see what my crewmates had to say about the Curiosity Files (and see the other topics covered), go visit the Crew’s blog here. Then go on over to the Store and get one or all for our yourself (and browse the rest of the store while there!)..