Thursday, October 30, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 6

We did it! After celebrating Collin's birthday with a fantastic and relaxing camping trip, it was hard to get back into the groove, but we accomplished all that I set out to do! Yeah KAA!

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
History...This was week 2 of the third week. We listened to the SOTW audio teach us more about the Rise of Islam. I think the boys grasped the points I thought were important for them to know. They especially liked the stories of Sinbad the Sailor. They colored a picture of him in the Valley of the Snakes.

Geography...We completed a map that showed the Islamic Empire. The boys were amazed to see how it grew from only 6 followers to such a large area.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...learning about linking verbs this week. He was able to make some defining connections and understood which to use when. It was neat to see the light click on for him. If he was at school, I would miss moments like that. Oh how I love homeschooling!

Spelling...I finally caved. I went ahead and bought a large magnetic dry erase board to use with our letter tiles. The little cookie sheet wasn't cuttin' it anymore. This is going to work great because it will also allow Magnus to write the words on the board as well as move the tiles around with ease. We will be starting Level 2 of All About Spelling this coming week.

Phonics...continuing to plug along in ETC.

Phonics (Thane)
Well, we are almost half way through the alphabet (L) so that means we are almost half way through the first book of SSRW. I have decided to just continue working through to the end and will start the second book around Christmas. Informally, we have been sounding out simple words and he has been learning things at

Mrs. P's class was canceled for the 3rd week in a row. He is missing his friends...and I am missing the break!

Magnus...took his mid year test and scored 100%! I am very proud of him. We also learned the infamous "Corners" game in RS. Thane joined in and I was surprised at how well he did considering we haven't even touched on addition yet!

Thane...learned about odd and even numbers. He just seems to "get" numbers.

Science (Both)
We read the first half of the book, "Pasteur's Fight Against Microbes". The boys loved it! Learning about how the black rods are at war with and conquering the yellow yeast! They couldn't get enough of it! It really surprised me.

Song School Latin (Magnus)
We did chapter 2 this week and learned how to ask, "What is your name?" and then answer,
"My name is__________". We have been going around saying, "Quid est tuum praenomen?", "Meum praenomen est Brittney." The song this week had a catchy tune so I have not been able to get it out of my head!

Thanks again for visiting our homeschool's open house! See you next week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...a bit early...and little wordy!

Thane noticed this at the beach the other day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Camping on the Coast...a Birthday Celebration!

Someone in our family will be celebrating a birthday very soon. And someone in our family really enjoys camping. So, another someone planned a trip to do just that. However, this someone who planned the trip has an extreme irrational fear of bears so she, I mean, this someone located a spot right on the beach. As far as someone knows, bears can't swim in the ocean! Oh, and the birthday someone adores the irrational someone in spite of her, uh, silliness! :0)

So, we packed up the car and head south on the Coastal Highway...yep, Highway Half Moon Bay. Our site was located about 20 yards from the beach and 30 yards from the toilets! It was a great park. Very quiet and clean.
The day we got there proved to be very foggy and chilly. It was perfect! (I am tired of seeing the sun everyday.) The temperature hovered around 52 the whole time we were there. Made for cold sleeping! Anyhow, here are a BUNCH of pictures...

I had a lot of opportunities to see the most amazing birds...the Brown Pelican. These huge birds fly up and down the coast, in a line, inches above the water searching for fish. They are so graceful and I never got tired of watching them.

(Click on the picture to see them better. They are beautiful!)

And then there are these cute lil' guys...Sandlings. Their legs move way fast.

The next morning, when I woke up and went hunting for the boys, this is where I found them...

...watching the ocean waves.

Wanna know what we think the best part of camping is? breakfast over an open fire!

We packed up camp and heading further south in search of a rockier beach with tide pools. The first one we stopped at didn't have any, but did have lots of birds. The boys chased them...

We hit the jack pot at the next beach! It was beautiful!!!!

Check out the treasures we discovered...

Then, off in the distance, look what I spot...

How cool is that?! I know. Very cool! Especially for a family who have never seen them in their natural habitat like that! I am from Iowa, you know. Collin and I were able to climb out on some rocks to get a closer look.

The cute spotted guy in the front never took his eyes off of us!

There were so many new things we saw that we know nothing about so I am planning to do some sort of Seashore study with the boys this summer. You know what that means...lots and lost of field trips!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Family Members

I'd like to introduce the newest members of our clan.

This is Sea Biscuit. He is Magnus' responsibility.

This is Thane's fish, Jonathon.

I have one too. His name is Steve the Betta Fish.
For those of you who may not know, these are Siamese Fighting Fish.

They are native to Thailand, but ours live in Paris...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 5

I have learned something about our family, especially me and Magnus...we need structure. He and I both thrive on structure. We need a plan. We need goals. Not that structure is always welcomed, like having to live on a strict budget, but it works. We know what to expect and we know where we want to end up. So, with that being said, we have continued working diligently through our structured weeks and all is good.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
This week's topic was about the Rise of Islam and Muhammad. It was a little tricky presenting this information to the boys. We follow Christ and while I believe it is important to understand other religions, there is a fine line you have to walk with impressionable minds. I appreciated the way HE Marshall wrote about it in The Story of Europe and am anxious to hear how Susan Wise Bauer presents it in SOTW, which we will read next week. The other tricky part is figuring out how to talk to Magnus about it so that he doesn't go around the community...which is VERY diverse in ethnicity and religion...trying to convert everyone. Don't get me wrong, I love that he likes sharing his faith and is not ashamed of Christ, but he doesn't understand how to share it in a way that won't offend or completely close the listener off. He is only 7 afterall. Guess that is something Collin and I can teach him to do.

History...This is the first week of week 3 for us (remember, we are doing each week in two weeks) We read about Muhammad and his creation of Islam. We also finished reading about Monks, Life in a Monestary, and Illuminated manuscripts. Magnus has expressed interest in me teaching him calligraphy.

Geography...Located the Arabian Penninsula, Mecca, and other areas greatly associated with Islam.

(check out the sleepy snarls Thane is sportin'!)

Literature...I didn't have him read anything in particular this week, but as many of you know, his nose is always in a book!

Timeline...We added Muhammad and Abu Bakr. The boys have enjoyed coloring the figures and making connections with other people we have studied.

Lapbook...We finally started our Middle Ages Lapbook this week. I purchased one from Knowledge Box Central and am customizing it a bit. This was a good decision on my part, as the boys have really engaged in completing the various "books" with their very best work. They are proud of what they have created so far.
Here is an example of Thane's work for Muhammad...

Here is an example of Magnus' work for the Illuminations book...

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...still working on the different verb types. I let him complete his work on his own, then I check it and he has to correct any mistakes. This week, he had a lot of mistakes and I discovered that he is not reading the instructions, but just doing the work as he thinks it should be done. Wrong-o kid! So, he has had to have a bit more supervision in this area and it is paying off.

Spelling...someone on the WTM message boards listed this great link for spelling. You type in the spelling words you are working on for the week and then it creates games for you to practice with. After you feel they have had enough, it gives them a test. I let Magnus play a little with it this week. he took the test and you know what?!? He is still missing the words that end in "-es" like as in "dresses" and "kisses". Ugh!

Phonics...continued working in his Explode the Code workbook.

Phonics (Thane)
We worked on the letters G, H, and I. He continues to enjoy SSRW, but he has been begging me to teach him how to read. I am giving it thought as to whether or not we finish the first book or just move onto the second. Can cutting and pasting picture that beging with that letter really cement the phonic's sound? Not sure. Besides, he will be getting all of the "letter" stuff through Mrs. P's class at the charter school.

Speaking of Mrs. P's class...Thane was unable to attend die to a gas leak in the building. Sad.

Magnus...worked on telling time and counting money.

Thane...continues to be his favorite subject. The other day we were in the car and I had bought something for $3.21. He said, "Mom, how much is 8+4? Nevermind, I know. 12." I knew exactly what he was doing and it brought a smile to my face. "Mom, you could have given him 12 quaters instead of 3 dollars!" Holy Cow! That is a pretty complex concept for a 5 year old! He also needed to know that it takes 4 quaters to make a dollar. Anyhow, math is going good for him. He worked more with recognizing amounts with the tally sticks and basic geomentry.

Science (Both)
This has been kind of bland and I have been trying to think of ways to spice it up. This week we were studying destructive storms and it spoke about the "Killer Tornadoes" that hit the Midwest in Apirl of '74. 148 twisters were reported that day, killing 315 and injuring 5,484. I was two and wondered if any hit Iowa, so I googled it. Fantastic videos popped up on youtube. We watched one and the boys were in awe, as they should be. Those things are massively destructive. I have lived through several. None hit IA that particular day. Here is Magnus' picture narration...

He is very proud of his creative way to write the "T" in tornadoes.

Tomorrow we are going to set up our own weather station and start keeping statistics of our own.

Magnus continues to enjoy his science class with Ms. Carla. Now that Darien (Sailmom's son) has been able to come, he likes it even more!

Latin (Magnus)
Yeah...we started Song School Latin this week! Let me just say that this program is going to be great and a fantastic introduction to Latin. Magnus (Thane listened too) learned 5 vocabulary words and 3 songs that contain them. We have been trying to use them all week instead of the English word. It's been fun.

Alright, Thane's class being cancelled really through me for a loop. I didn't have anything planed..see the first paragraph :0)! So I decided we were going to have some fun. We worked a bit on our lapbooks and then made this...

(He has smiled like this for every picture since loosing his bottom teeth! Too cute!)

This stuff is amazingly cool. Not real sticky and loads of fun to play with. The boys have had hours of fun playing with this.

Here is the recipe...

Solution 1
One cup of water
One cup of glue
10 drops of food coloring
Solution 2
1 1/3 cup warm water
4 tsp. borax laundry booster

1. Mix ingredients in solution 1 together in a medium bowl.
2. In a second meduim bowl, mix the ingredients of solution 2 until the borax is completely dissoved.
3. Slowly pour solution 1 into solution 2 BUT do not mix!
4. Roll solution 1 in solution 2 4-5 times.
5. Lift solution 1 out of solution 2 and knead for 2-3 minutes. It will get less watery.
6. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

We play with ours on wax paper for easy clean up.

Hope you'll come to our Open House next week! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little Tiny Baby Pretend House...the kitchen

Welcome back to the mini tour of the Little Tiny Baby Pretend House. Previously, we viewed the boys' room and the bathroom. Today I am going to walk you through the kitchen. I happen to love my kitchen. It's small, but laid out very nicely and has ample storage.

This is the view from the living/learning room. I love my cafe lights because they remind me of the cafes in Paris. I have a little goldfinch bird perched on them, but you can't see it too good in this picture.

Going counter clockwise, here is the rest of the kitchen.

This big green dresser and vintage hutch hold all of our craft items, Collin's wine collection, and our household items such as bills and files. I had decided that I wasn't going to use my blog to discuss politics or activism (Yes, it pains me because I DO have a lot I want to say!), but I guess from this picture you can see who I am supporting.

I have a gas stove. I love my gas stove. This is the cleanest stove I have ever had and not because it doesn't get used, but because it is so easy to clean! I also think the stainless steel fan/light is pretty cool. Collin hung up some under the cupboard stemware holders to hold his ever increasing specialty drink glasses. Sadly, we haven't had an occasion to use them since we left our friends in TN. Oh, and that is the Eiffel Tower in the corner on my counter!

This is the view I see as I (and Collin too!) hand wash the never-ending mountain of dishes. I have 3 different bird feeders hanging, but only a couple humming birds have come to visit. Kind of depresses me. The plant you see is the heartiest little thing ever. IT WILL NOT DIE!!!

I like my sink too. It is just one bowl and is very deep. Great place for all of the dishes to hide!

Would you believe that this space is designated for a washing machine? Not a dishwasher, but a clothes washer. We sold our set before moving here and lucky for me the laundry room is only about 30 yards away. I thought a good use for this space would be to shelve my canisters. Oh, and those are my beloved aprons hanging on the side of the refrigerator. I love wearing aprons. Makes me feel feminine, but not in a barefoot, pregnant kind of way.

And finally, the refrigerator. Our command central.

Once again, thank you for coming on the tour of the Little Tiny Baby Pretend Kitchen! Be sure to check back again as we still have the Living/Learning room to view!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


As we were driving around Sacramento last week, we stumbled upon the most beautiful park. It's called Capitol Park and is adjacent to the Capitol Building where our Govenator does his thing. It is full of trees from around the world, roses, and several monuments.

It was a great day!