Thursday, February 26, 2009

Egyptian Lapbook...

When we studied ancient Egypt I couldn't find a ready to go lapbook so we used blank templates from Homeschool Share to create our own and organize out research. I also found these great coloring figures that they used for the cover...

We used matchbooks to record our favorite facts about different aspects of their lives like games, food, houses, etc. We also did a flipbook for an acrostic poem, about Egypt. My favorite find was the triangle shaped book we used to record facts about pyramids. When we mummified our Barbies we also made a step book recording each step in the mummification process.

I found a great book on sale about Egypt that included some great stickers. The kids had fun using them to decorate their lapbooks.

This is a little lapbook, but it is packed full of info! I absolutely loved everything about our Egypt study and the kids were so proud of themselves which is what it is all about!

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Volcano Lapbook...

Our first science unit was volcanoes. I chose that because my son is really interested in them. However, I was really amazed at how much my daughter picked up especially the ash cloud because it's like her name! I found most of the mini booklets links on Carissa's blog.

On the back they both wrote a story about what they would do if a volcano erupted by their house. Ashton dictated her story to me.

Jackson picked this photo from the Internet for his cover while Ashton chose to draw a volcano on hers.

This was our first science lapbook and we were really proud of it!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

One Awesome Field Trip...

The big kids and I headed off to a great field trip Friday at the Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville. We saw a great exhibit on medieval art. It was really interesting and great to show the kids how all art revolved around the Bible! It was also really cheap. Since I'm a teacher I got a yearly membership for $20 and kids are always free.

However, the best part by far is the upstairs art adventure where kids can go from station to station creating all different kinds of art. It was amazing! I think there were over 30 different things they can do. They both really enjoyed the sketching station. Jackson did a pretty good job drawing the figure. Ashton just drew pretty hearts.

This was my favorite station (parents can create too and I did!) where we created illuminated manuscripts.

We also got to learn about the art of printing.

I highly recommend trying this place out. We can't wait to go back and try out some new art!
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Volcano Grand Finale...

After studying volcanoes we were ready for the grand finale: making our own volcano. Even Will and Wesley were anxiously awaiting the big moment...
Jackson got a kit last Christmas and we finally got around to making the plaster volcano.However, the tablets it came with to mix with club soda for your volcano were a D-U-D! It barely came out over the top. The kids were very disappointed, and by "kids" I mean my husband! Of course, he took it as a challenge and set off to find a way to make a big eruption. Armed with baking soda and lemon juice he and the kids set to work. I love the look of excitement on Ashton's face...

I left them to their problem solving and went upstairs to get ready for my Bible study. I heard hysterical laughter and screaming and came to investigate. They had made a huge eruption and were all 3 covered with lemony baking soda! Of course, they had to do it again for me!
I just wish Jackson enjoyed science...
Even Wesley is saying, "Whoa!"
For a man who wasn't too sure about this homeschooling thing at first, he has totally embraced it (or as I believe: God has changed his heart!) and has become a great science/PE teacher and principal combo! Even though the experiment didn't work out the first time he truly taught them the real scientific process of problem-solving and trying again, and again and again!

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Twin Tot School #2...

Christmas was a great opportunity to get some new toys for Tot School. Santa even got into the action by bring this great puzzle:

We got these great bean bags with the alphabet on them. Right now we may just be stomping on them, but one day we will be stomping on them while saying their name!

Mommy was brave and got out the playdough! It lasted a few minutes.

Will played for a few minutes before knocking it to the floor!
Posted by PicasaA good try at Tot School and a lot of fun to have new toys!

Monday, February 9, 2009

In the Interest of Full Disclosure...

I've been avoiding doing this post for a couple of weeks because I've been struggling how best to say what I'm feeling. Most of my friends are not homeschoolers. In fact, I have several teacher friends who are not big believers in it (of course, most of us weren't and then changed our minds once we became parents!). Therefore, I become ridiculously self-conscious about posting something negative about homeschooling. I completely realize this is my insecurity. Whether any of my friends or family believe in it or not, I know in my heart they support me through all things. Still, when it comes time to share that things aren't going so well, I don't want to "give it a bad name" for lack of a better way to put it. Therefore, when things became a lot harder in the last few weeks I just didn't post anything.

However, I've had several people lately asking me questions who are interested in trying homeschooling. Then I've had 2 say they couldn't do all the creative stuff they see on my blog. I realized I have been doing them and me a disservice by not being 100% honest about struggles as well as triumphs. Believe me there are a lot more days where we're doing workbooks than measuring Noah's Ark!

So, in the interest of full disclosure: week 3 and 4 were pretty awful. Week 3 I had fallen down the stairs and was sore and in a lot of pain. That definately made me lose my patience more often! I felt very overwhelmed and negative about the entire adventure.

Week 4 I felt a little better, but the kids were less than cooperative. I couldn't get them to sit and finish their work. Every time I turned my back or got up to do something they would goof off. We were seriously working 6 or more hours a day just to get 4 hours of work done because they were playing more than working. Jon and I had several talks with them about how if they would just sit down and do their work they could be done for the day and have more time to play. It took countless conversations, but I think they finally got the picture because they were getting up before me and sneaking downstairs to start their work to surprise me! However, nothing grates on my nerves more than trying to hurry them so that I can get on to the million other things I need to do as well! That's not to say that the problem is solved. In fact, we struggle with it at some point each and every day!

So, this is just to assure you that there have been low moments when I wistfully watched the bus go by wishing I could stick them on it and take a nap. However, we have all persevered and are doing better than ever about understanding what does and does not have to be done each and every day. A lot of the stress came from me the overachiever. I also had to take a hard look at what I was expecting them to do every day. For example, I have decided to do a Saxon math lesson only 3 days a week. If you do every little part of those lessons, they can take over an hour and was way overkill. My kids are both working well above grade level in math any way, so now we do 3 lessons a week and a quick and fun math activity on the other 2 days. There were other things I was making them do every day for no apparent reason, like Ashton reading all 60-70 of her flashcards. That is something that can be done once or twice a week and still stay fresh in her mind. I've also decided to do science one week and social studies the next. That's the way I taught in school any way and it allows us to focus and go a lot deeper into the topics each day.

Anyway, there are my confessions and partial solutions. I hope this helps someone who might be having a low point too. At least it is here for me to come back and reread it because I know we'll have another rough patch sooner or later!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Month of Love...

I totally stole this idea from Carisa's blog (which is one of my favorites that I stalk regularly!). We are very ambitiously trying to memorize 1st Corinthians 13:4-8, the "love is.." verses in honor of Valentine's Day. We made a love notebook and each day draw a heart out of our bag to see what our "love is" trait for the day is. Then we copy a verse fom the Bible that has to do with that trait. I also have heart cut outs that every time I see them showing love to one another I write it on the heart and tape it to our "love door". We are doing this all month. All of the print outs are available at the above link. Best of all, for each verse they copy by the end of the month, they get $1. They don't get to keep that money though. Instead, they get to pick a charity of their choice to donate it to. Jackson is especially excited about his aspect. In fact, last night he told me when he becomes a famous rock star he is going to give all his money to poor people and God (which then led to an interesting conversation about tithing and how God gets the money!).
They get to pick which verse to copy each day so we're getting to learn a little about the books of the Bible which we need to study soon because I need to learn them all!
Ashton is struggling with copying the longer verses. I write the verse out a lot bigger on a dry erase board which helps. Of course, she is all about getting a heart with her name on it!
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The best part is I've been amazed at how well we are learning the scripture. We add a couple of "love is" a day and know a lot already! Hope this inspires you to celebrate the "Love Month."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This week in Home Ec...

Off the kids went to Aunt Donnie's again. This time was what they'd been waiting for, getting to use her big sewing machine.

They also got to try their hand at a little knitting.

They were so sweet they decided to make cross bookmarks for their Sunday School teachers.

Things like this make me so happy that they get these opportunities they wouldn't have in public school, both sewing and learning from/spending time with family.
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday...

Part of Ashton's weekly reading now is to learn one of the babies' book (especially Sandra Boynton's) and read to them. They all love it. It is so much easier to get her to read when she gets to read to them as opposed to me:)
I love this look on Wesley's face as Ashton reads "Blue Hat Green Hat". He's saying, "Wow, is that turkey seriously going to jump in the pool with all his clothes on?"
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