Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taking the week off

All of us are really sick. The first one of us got influenza at the end of last week and it has filtered through the family, getting worse as it goes. Not good. Recovery is slow, but I am recovering now... as long as I don't make myself too tired I don't really feel sick... just weak. But last night I made a big dinner, and wore myself out... and now have a bad headache to attend to. Alex seems to be on the mend, and Cyan and Logan are nearly better. Don is the only one still bedridden and he has other things that are really worrying me. Thoughts and prayers are appriciated...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Studying Robert Frost

*Happy sigh...*

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Map of the western states by Alex

Alex made this map as the start of his project on the western states. He was supposed to make a relief map from cookie dough and then bake it... but due to an unfortunate incident involving leaving cookies to bake in the oven while he went to his friends house last week, he is grounded from the stove. My friend Sarah Jean brought me the answer to the dilemma for Valentine's Day... she made my kids all playdough. So I had Alex make his map out of that.

First, he traced the entire area (including all the states) onto a piece of paper. Then made a 'mold' out of a piece of cardboard. He used the mold to get the general shape of the area and then put his paper onto the molded clay he had made. Then he cut out each state and added all major geographical landmarks.

He sat there and did this for hours. Seriously, he took 4 hours to do this start to finish with one break for breakfast.

And in public school, this kid was "ADHD" and "needed medication".

Blows my mind.

Fun thing for today... found on Mom Is Teaching:

Language acquisition phase 1

Logan is speaking SO much right now. For the last few weeks (I would say since about Christmas actually) he has gained a new word per day. If not more. I stopped keeping track. He still uses a mixture of signs, words, and sound effects to get his point across... but I know exactly what he is talking about nearly every time. His newest phrases are:

"You a-right?"
"Oh... ok mama."
"Dat mine! NO!"
"You do it?"
"Re-d me books right now.... Peeze!"
"Meeeowww eat-eat now, ober der."
"Go bye bye?"

He also has started signing tons again. Now he has the signs down for just about any animal you can think of. Dog (sometimes even with the snap, which blew me away at first), cat, bird, elephant, fish, turtle, and many more. Reading stories with him now end up with questions about each page. "The meeeowwww eat-eating? Ober der? Oh a blue one! HAHA!"

Which brings me to 'blue'... what an odd thing to call all your 'favorite' things. lol! But it has stuck. As has "baba" for Don, and now he calls Cyan "gigi". Once again, no idea where that came from. We don't even call her Sissy (short for sister). He still doesn't have a name for Alex that is consistant... and I am 'mama'... which makes plenty of sense.

He is getting his two year molars, so the days are long right now... but my goodness... he is growing up so fast.

At the moment he is obsessed with balls, bikes, and bike helmets. He will spend hours wandering around the house with Cyan's new bike helmet on and claim that it is his as soon as she wants to use it (even if he was no where near it). He is certianly two... but it is so amazing to watch! I am loving two so far.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oh, twelve

Between childhood, and adulthood there is this phase. This phase that they talk about in all the puberty books. In one of Alex's books it says:

Does this ever happen to you?

One minute you may feel like a kid who wants to play and the next minute you feel more grown up, wanting more freedom and independence.

Knowing that it was coming, but not really being able to see what that meant for my boy, I watch with wonder from the sidelines, marveling at the phase he is in and realizing that conversations that seem completely odd, are actually completely normal.

We had one of those conversations today while eating lunch. It started out pretty good: "When we go on vacation at the end of the summer......."

And quickly it took a turn for the strange and pubescent as Alex pipes up with:
"You are going on vacation? Where will we be? Will I be here without you? I could have a party. A party with my friends." Then it gets really weird and I was trying to contain my laughter: "I would make huge cake, and a big batch of oatmeal, and Skyler and Brad and I would all hang out and watch tons of movies."

And Cyan pipes up with "Well you would have to have balloons!"

"Well I guess I could have one of my friends pick up balloons."

...and they go on, to talk about Alex's secret party, at the same table with both parents that it is supposed to be secret from.

And I decided right then and there that my son is never going to see movies like Risky Business, or Weird Science.

Please... keep making oatmeal for your friends and watch too many movies.

The funniest part about this whole thing is that we are not going on vacation without them. They are totally coming with us. LOL!

A lesson in Orange

Progress review for Jan - Feb


Language Arts: She finished the third Explode the Code book two weeks ago and has been enjoying reading full books by herself. Right now we are reading Mo Willems easy reader series. If you haven't checked them out, please do. They are hysterical! He uses a lot of expression in his writing and it has helped with punctuation practice and expressive reading. She is getting faster, slowly.

Math: Going steadily now. Not super fast, but we are working through a chapter or two a week. She is working on skip counting and money in Moving Beyond the Page, and then skip counting and addition in Math U See so they are flowing together nicely and she is having a lot of fun.

Science has slowed a bit now that we are really into social studies again. We have been doing some cooking and talked about the viscosity of liquids, the necessity of doing things correctly to get the result we want. She has also been doing a lot of potion making. ;)

Social Studies: Right now we are studying communities and the people who live and work in them. We have made a map of our neighborhood, talked about community workers, and talked about what she might like to be when she grows up. We are reading about the city and the country and the differences. We have also discussed where she would like to live when she gets her own house. She loved that.

Fine Arts: She is drawing again! I have to admit to loving having a child that loves to draw. She is so darned good at it. She also has her first dance recital on May 30 so be prepared... I just might send pictures. ;)

PE: She is still doing the homeschool PE program with the YMCA, and as the days lighten up, we are spending more and more time outside. I love spring (and it is almost here!!).


Language Arts: This has been a leaps and bounds month for Alex in LA. He has started to write reports, do more practice and reading on his own, and really get the hang of research. It has been amazing to watch! We have also studied the basics of poetic writing and the different forms of classic poetry. His poetry is really incredible. He has a gift with words, and I am excited to see more of this as we continue into poetry.

Math: We are starting to move much faster in math. The basic concepts of the order of operations have been secured and practiced over and over now... so the problems are moving more smoothly and quickly. Currently he is working with problems that have parenthesis, exponents, fractions, and multiplication all in one. They are complicated, but each piece is relatively simple. It took a week or so to get him to slow down enough to break the problems down... after that, he has started flying. He has completed two chapters this week alone.

Science: We have been working with liquids this month. The viscosity, surface tension, and conductivity of several liquids has been ‘tested’. Mixing things is one of his favorite activities in school right now!

Social Studies: In social studies we are working on Geography more than anything else, although he has been studying the capital cities of states. Learning how to read maps to get from one place to the next is a big lesson for this age. It has been fun getting to places with him though. :) I have stared letting him give me directions, etc... and most of the time we get there without a fuss.

Fine Arts: Currently, his big art project is making pictures of his entire quarter collection and putting it up on a large poster board for his room. He has all the quarters now and acquired them all himself start to finish.

Technology: He has been doing a lot of research on the computer, although the computer cannot be his first resource for research papers. He has also started finding some of his own study web sites. Yesterday he found this site:

Shepard's Software State Capitol Game

He is getting good at finding what he needs. It is pretty neat to watch him right now. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Map of a community

There are a couple of really great projects in MBTP. This is the final project for the maps section. A 3D map of a 'community'. She had a great time making it and it was a good finish to her maps unit study.

Logan has been kindof obsessed with cameras. We haven't been taking many pictures lately because Logan broke one of my lenses... and it of course, was the one that I used inside for darker settings. A friend gave me another that works great... as long as there is tons of natural light. :) For today though... with the beautiful sun shining in my wonderful huge windows, it was the perfect setting for taking pictures.

Logan thought so too:

"Mama! Cheese!"

Hooping Family!

I have started hooping. It is SO much fun! And the kids are really into it. We have had the hoops for four days and we have all become kind of addicted.

Here are some of the kids tricks after 4 days of 'hooping'. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Phonetics of 2nd graders and hot cookies

Cyan did this page all by herself yesterday. And quite honestly, I thought she did an amazing job. But as I read it, I couldn't help but smile. :) The 'melmen' and 'librains' were just too cute not to post about.

Who doesn't like cookies hot from the oven? Cyan and I decided that cookies needed to be a more regular occurrence in our household. So we took it upon ourselves to make up two batches of freezer chocolate chip cookies.

I have since learned a couple tips about making chocolate chips cookies for the freezer. Always chill your dough before making into balls... and it is easier to use the chilled dough to make logs instead of balls. Good things to know. But not info we had until after we had made them... so all of our cookies look like this:

I bet they still taste ok though. ;)