Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Take a walk down memory lane with me...

Magnus age 4 and Thane 2

Sketch Tuesday

This week for Sketch Tuesday you will notice there are four sketches. We had some quality family time and ALL participated! The boys were especially excited to have Dad drawing by their side.

This week we were suppose to draw a picture with an umbrella in it. Here are our




Collin's...Yep, he's got talent!

You can check out all of the other sketches at Barb's The Heart of Harmony blog. You and your family can participate too! No need to sign up and no age limits! Just be sure to email your drawings to her by Monday night! Her email address is listed at the end of the Sketch Tuesday posts. It's a great time!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why are some kids so mean?

Ugh! I am so frustrated and so mad!!!!!

Magnus has a very creative imagination. He likes to dress up and pretend he is different people living out different adventures. I love it and encourage it greatly.

Well, this afternoon he was outside playing and some teenagers walked by and laughed at him and said he was "a silly kid". I am furious! As they walked back by I confronted them. They said they didn't say anything, but I know they are lying. Magnus is inside crying because they hurt his feelings and now he won't go back out.

My heart is hurting for him.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekly Report

I can't believe how well school has been going for us. I am nervous that something is going to happen to mess things up. We had another great week! Things are moving along smoothly, the boys are enjoying their work, and I've even been able to keep up with the housework (well, mostly!). Here is the run down...

History (Both)
This week we started learning about Rome. We listened to a story about Romulus and Remus and the Rise of Rome. They did a coloring page and a mosaic like the Etruscans. We used a paper plate smeared with frosting and dried beans.

We are a little behind schedule and I am not sure how we are going to finish the curriculum before next year. Wait...just had a brain storm...we will listen to the stories and do the coloring pages as we drive across country in our moving truck! Fantastic! Alright, no more worries!

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...He's been moving right along in his Growing With Grammar book. He is excited to do it and asks to complete more than is scheduled. I am careful not to let him though as I want him to get a good grasp of the concepts before moving ahead to quickly. He's been learning about subjects, predicates, and word order. So glad we made the switch to this program.
Spelling...We are almost finished with All About Spelling Level 1 and will be starting Level 2 as soon as I get all of the cards cut out and organized. He is able to recite the rules to me, but as far as applying them, I am not sure he is making the connection. He is getting almost all of the words correct when I dictate them to him, but I have noticed spelling errors with other subjects. I plan to review the words in level 1 before moving onto level 2 to try to figure out what is going on.

Dictionary Skills Workbook...I think this is his favorite thing to do. I'm wondering what I am going to replace this with once he finishes it. I was thinking about the Explode the Code books just to give him a stronger foundation in phonics since I never really did do a "formal" program with him.

Phonics (Thane)
Thane was wanting to do more school. As it was, I was only having him complete 4 pages in his Get Ready for the Code workbooks and sit in on History and Nature Study. He was ready for more. So, we've added something that he is loving! I purchased Happy Phonics and we started that. I was planning to start it next year, but after looking through it, there wasn't any reason for me not to start it now. So, after spending 9 hours...yes, 9 hours!...cutting, assembling, and organizing all of the games, we started it this week. The "game" approach to learning and reinforcement works well for the boys so I knew this program was going to be a hit. Right now we are working on him recognizing the corresponding Uppercase and Lowercase letters. We played a matching game called Muffin Match and he did really well. After looking through everything involved with the program, I am also going to have Magnus play too.

Math (Magnus)

I thought this week's lessons were going to be a challenge for him. I was wrong. He picked up on it quickly. We worked with the base 10 picture cards and learned how to "trade" and add 3 4-digit numbers with using them. He did well. He's still having problems counting by 2's so we'll have to work on that. In fact, he is having some trouble with basic addition facts. I know Right Start discourages the use of memorizing the facts and using flashcards, but if I don't see improvement with this, I may have to do that. I'll check the RS yahoo groups and see what they would suggest.

Nature Study (Both)
We went to our local nature center's 'Boro Wild program on Thursday. They have been learning about different habitats and the four things needing in those habitats...shelter, food, water, and space. Today, they randomly chose an animal out of a "hat" and they had to become that animal and build a habitat with various craft and natural materials. Magnus was a squirrel. Here is what his home looked like...

He created a nest in the tree, made acorns, designed a puddle, and even formed a squirrel holding an acorn (the yellow object...Was really good. Just can't tell from the angle of the picture).

Thane was a bird. Here is what his home looked like...

He got a little "happy" with all of the resources available to use and I think used them all! He formed a nest out of pipe cleaners, a bird out of modeling dough, and glued real leaves to his habitat.

Homeschool storytime.
Tuesday...Had so say goodbye to our dear friends as they packed up their moving truck and headed to MA. To tell you the truth, I really didn't know how to handle it. I have never had someone move away from *me*...*I* am always the one moving away.
Anyhow, it is going to be a great opportunity for them to be back near family and we are very happy for them. After our tearful goodbyes, we headed to Magnus' swim lessons. He jumped off the diving board into the 10 ft. water for the first time!
Thursday...Swim Lessons. This was the last one for this session and he passed onto the next level! His confidence in water and his swimming ability has improved so much! I am very proud of him.
Friday...after our school work, we headed to the zoo.

Yep...he points with his middle finger. Always has.

Not quite sure how much school will be getting done next week. We will be preparing for the arrival of Grandpa and Grandma from WA and Poppy and Nana from IA. They are coming to celebrate Collin's graduation next Saturday! We've got a lot of great stuff planned, lots of great food to eat, and lots of great drinks to drink! Whoo Hoo!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grammar Stage Logic

The boys have this thing where they like to choose their identity with everything. If they are watching the Lone Ranger, one will be the Lone Ranger and one will be Tonto. While playing with their Playmobil guys, they each choose who they are. Frankly, it drives me crazy!!!! And, it seems to only cause problems because they will "kill" each other off just to provoke. So, I have tried to put an end to it and not allow it to go on anymore.

Well, yesterday Thane was having a battle with his Playmobil guys. He turned to me while holding a guy up and said, "Mom, I'm him. But only in my head." Alright. Guess there is no harm in that. Especially since Magnus wasn't around.

Ten minutes later, Magnus walks in. "Thane. Can I be that guy 'in your head'?". What?! In the words of Thane..."That can't be right, can it?"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Memories...Magnus age 2 years 2 days

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekly Report

We have had an exciting week overall. Tuesday, Collin accepted an offer from the University of California at Davis to attend graduate school there in the fall. We are very excited about moving and have been doing a lot of research about the area. It is a relief to finally know where we will be in a few months. The "waiting" was very draining.

***Disclaimer*** We have been having difficulty with our internet so I am at Panera eating Baked Potato soup (YUM!) and do not have our books in front of me so I will
do my best to piece our week together. I do have some pictures though!

School has been going smoothly. We have been getting everything done that I have planned, attitudes have been positive (mostly!), and the boys have been learning a lot. Thane is asking to do more school so I am going to find some worksheets for him to complete. Right now the only thing I "require" him to do is four pages of his Get Ready for the Code workbook a day and he usually completes 6 or more. He sits in on history and likes doing the projects. Nature study is also enjoyed by him.

History (Both)
We read (well, listened to Jim Weiss read) the chapter on Alexander the Great. The boys were enthralled and asked to listen to it again. Unfortunately, we didn't do a project this week, but Thane enjoyed doing the coloring page.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Well, I have sold all of my Queen's Language Lesson books and bought Growing with Grammar 1/2. Good move (patting myself on the back)! This is a great approach to grammar for Magnus. It is challenging in a gentle way and uses a workbook format which he prefers. We started it this past Tuesday and are already on Lesson 10. He is learning about sentences vs. fragments and figuring out the subjects of sentences. He is catching on quickly.

Phonics (Thane)
Still pluggin' away with the Get Ready for the Code books. He enjoys them. I've noticed him having difficulty, at times, distinguishing between "b" and "p". I think the trouble he has with pronouncing some letters and blends is becoming an issue as we study phonics. I am going to start researching options we may have as far as getting him speech therapy when we move.

Math (Magnus)
I can not remember exactly what we studied this week, I just know I introduced the base ten picture cards and worked on addition. I also know he liked his lessons this week.

Nature Study (Both)
This is becoming more of a lifestyle than a school subject. The boys are constantly pointing out different birds they see and hear, reporting who is visiting our feeder and bath, and using their bug nets to catch butterflies. I can't think of anything more delightful than watching them chase after butterflies with their nets raised high.

We participated in our local nature center's 'Boro Wild program on Thursday. This week we learned about different water habitats (ie. lakes, rivers, streams, ect.) We got our feet wet as we discovered various living things in the Stones River (which is also the river that runs 30 yards from our front door). You can read about it and see more pictures at my nature blog, Dancing with Dandelions.

Activities... Monday...Homeschool Storytime
Thursday...Met our friends at the park and went to 'Boro Wild.

Oh, and the boys took it upon themselves to make these...

Magnus' Dinosaur Diorama

Thane's Dinosaur Diorama

Magnus' Bird sculpture made from "Noodles"

Thane's sculpture

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Compassion and Giving

I just had to share what my girlfriend's four year old daughter did.. This is from my friend, Kara's blog...

Several months ago, Leah and I had a conversation about her cousin, Anna, who was growing her hair long enough to give to a little girl that does not have hair because she was sick. After numerous conversations clarifying for Leah that she was not sick and she will still have hair, she said she wanted to do it, too, just like Anna.

However, it needed a few more months of growth to be long enough for the required 10" minimum for Locks of Love. Finally, the day has come. With no car and one Salon within walking distance, we hiked to Prestige on Main Street. Here are the photos to record her generous heart:

Doesn't it look great? She loves it. She's been flipping it around all afternoon. But really, when you're starting with such beauty (yes, I admit I am biased), does the hair matter at all?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"The Envelope, Please"...

And the winner of the desired "Collin" award in the category of graduate school goes too...(drumroll please...)

UC Davis!

Monday, April 14, 2008

What's the Meaning of This?

April 15, 2008.

To most people, that date is commonly known as "tax day". To those who are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and continuing their education on into graduate school, that date means, "You mean after 7 months of waiting I will finally have an idea of where I will be living in the fall?" That's right. By now the schools should have made their formal offers and you should be able to make an educated decision about your future. Key word here is "should".

For better or for worse, we will be making that educated decision.

University of Connecticut?
University of New Mexico?
Arizona State University?
University of California at Davis?
St. Louis University?
University of Oregon?
West Virginia University?
Western Michigan University?

Who will it be?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekly Report...I'm Ruined!

When we lived in the beautiful state of WA, Collin and I did a lot of camping BF...before kids. We would drive to the mountains and other remote areas, find a site by a river, and set up our tent. Granted, this was also before I developed my irrational fear of bears and cougars.

This past week, I was able to experience "camping" in a 32 foot motor ho
me. I'm ruined! It was so fantastic having a clean, bug-free bathroom just a few steps away! Everything we needed was right there! I don't want to go back to tent camping. Maybe Collin and I can find a compromise with a pop up tent trailer?!?

We traveled to Fall Creek Falls (TN) with 5 friends for a couple days of immersion in nature...as immersed as you can get in a plush motor home!

We found a great site with huge tree that had fallen. The kids played and climbed on this a lot.

There were a couple of suspension bridges we walked across. I wasn't very fond of them.

This is one of the falls we saw.

The highlight of the trip for me was the special program Angela, a Naturalist at the park, did for us on reptiles. I LOVE reptiles, especially snakes.

Here are some more great pictures from our trip...

The trip was bitter sweet as it is probably the last big "hoo-rah" with our friends. One of the families is moving back to MA and we will be moving this fall. These two moms have been a great source of ideas, encouragement, and support this past school year. Their friendships will be missed.

As far as school goes this week, I can't think of a better way to have it...surrounded by nature and friends!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Our Trip to Greece...

We have been studying ancient history in Greece for many weeks. The boys have enjoyed learning about the battles, wars, gods, mythology, and life during that time. To wrap up our study on the Greek gods, which I know Magnus will continue on his own, we took a trip to see the Pathenon in Greece! Er, I mean Nashville.

About the Parthenon

The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.

Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.

The Parthenon also serves as the city of Nashville's art museum. The focus of the Parthenon's permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits.

The highlight of the tour was the statue of Athena...

Then we ventured outside to take a stroll around the gardens...

Finally, our travels ended in Mexico for lunch! Happy travels!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Weekly Report

In spite of how I am feeling, we had another successful week of learning. We got everything done I had planned with the exception of one history project and one lesson in math. I think that is pretty good considering.

History (Both)
This week we studied the Greek god's and the Greek's War with Persia. Magnus is obsessed with mythology right now. He is reading everything about it he can get his hands on. It is not an unhealthy obsession though. He knows the difference between his God (big G) and their god's (little g). They are adventure stories to him. For one of the projects, he drew a picture of what he thinks the Greek god's world looks like. He was very detailed and included several of them. Tomorrow, Collin and I, are going to take them to Nashville to the Parthenon. I wish we were able to visit the real one in Greece (someday we will!), but for now N'ville's copy will have to do. I'll post pictures and information about it soon.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar has got me vexed. I still really like Queen's Language Lesson's for the Very Young, but I don't think it is challenging him enough. I have been mulling over this for the past week and still have not made any decisions. I posted this on the message boards hoping to find clarification. Then, Jessica at Trivium Academy shed some light on it by posting this. She hit the nail on the head. Especially with this...

"If the Queen's thread (there was a thread posted that started me questioning the use of this book) only brought up insecurities that were already there, then find out what you need to feel comfortable with whatever you'll use. You can always beef up or scale back, you are in control-not the product."

She is right and I just needed to be reminded of that. I have been feeling like Queen's needs a little "beefing" and I think I will do just that. I'll "beef" it up a bit, but still continue to use it. He really likes worksheets, so I think I will create my own worksheets to go along with First Language Lessons. OR, I may just purchase Growing with Grammar since the work is already done for me!

Phonics (Thane)
He LOVES his Get Ready for the Code workbooks. In fact, he asks if he can "go first" when we sit down to do our school work. He also started his Queen book, Language Lessons for the Very Young volume 2, and enjoyed doing it. It included a picture study, a narration, and a poem this week. After having questioned my grammar choice for Magnus, I got to second guessing my phonics choices for Thane for next year. After doing some more research and looking over some more programs, I am going with the original plan...Explode the Code Workbooks, but adding the Teacher Guide for more instruction, and Happy Phonics. I may include some Ordinary Parent's guide to Teaching Reading, but only if I feel he needs it.

Math (Magnus)
He worked on pattering, recognizing thousands, and locating right angles. The right angles were giving him a little bit of trouble when using triangles. I'll have to continue to review that with him.

Nature Study (Both)
I didn't follow Barb's Green Hour Challenge again, but you know what? I am letting it go...see, there is goes...bye, bye! I want to do it, but can not find the time to get it done. So, rather than beat myself up over not completing them, I am saying goodbye. I do have a lot to thank her for...renewing my love of nature, helping me make the outdoors and studying it a priority, and helping me figure out how to study it. Thanks Barb!
So, with that being said, here is what we did manage to do this week...
A Family Hike
Creating a Bird Habitat
Creating a Toad Habitat
Clicking on the above will take you to those posts on my nature blog, Dancing with Dandelions. I posted a lot of great pictures. Oh, and I have been working on creating notebooking pages of the various birds we have been coming into contact with as we are reading the Burgess Bird Book for Children. There are 90 some birds we will be learning about and I have 50 or so pages made. I am excited to use them.

Monday...Homeschool Storytime
Tuesday...Swim Lessons
Thursday...We went to the Discovery Center with our friends. Here are some pictures...

Friday...I am just trying to survive until Collin gets home from work.
Saturday...We will be going to the Parthenon in Nashville.

Hope you all have a great weekend!