Thursday, June 25, 2009


He is our new frog. At least we are pretty sure he is a frog as opposed to a toad. He is really too little for us to tell. He is only about 1/3 inch big...which is why Magnus named him Beans.

We found Beans by the dumpster. He isn't a "wild" frog because we found him in a plastic terrarium with sand, water, and plants. It was obvious he was someone's pet. Someone who did not care about his well being.

We took a little trip to the pet store and picked up some food and cleaner, less abrasive sand. We made a real nice home for him in what used to be my pet snake's (Steve) terrarium. We created a half wet/half dry environment for him since that is what we gathered he needs.

The boys have been able to get pretty close to him and observe his every move. Hope Beans doesn't mind it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Celebrating Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day and in honor of this fantastic father...

...we decided to spend the day in the creation of our Heavenly Father.

We were on our way to explore Folsom Lake, but our plans were thwarted when we passed by this great river.

Running water and rocks can only mean one thing...dams.

We had a great day are plan on spending many more great days there this summer...maybe even next weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Picture Study Ah-Ha Moment

Don't you just love it when you have one of those moments? You know...when something just finally clicks. I had one of those today and it was glorious!

I have a strong desire for my boys to not only learn their 3 R's but to be educated in the fine arts as well. At this age, that comes in the form of picture study. Look at a work of art closely, ask them a few questions about it or have them describe it, and tell them a bit about the artist. Seems simple enough. Well, it wasn't that easy for me. I was having a difficult time figuring out who we were going to study and then which works. I was stuck.

So, one day I just decided that my desktop wallpaper was going to be a rotating display of art. I chose a painting by Renoir first. Without doing anything "formally", they asked a few questions about it and I asked them a few questions back. To be honest, it did not go the way I had hoped. They really were not interested. But, at least they are being exposed to it.

Well, then today we did another lesson from our unit study on Pirates. We are using this guide from We looked at this picture by Howard Pyle...

I didn't have high hopes about our discussion, I just wanted them to look closely at it. Well, after a total meltdown from Magnus over me asking him, "What do you think is going though that man's mind as he is standing on the plank?", I thought all was lost. After we got to the heart of why Magnus was crying...maybe I'll post about that another time, but let me just say that it is hard raising a highly creative and imaginative kid and he is dealing with challenges of that as well (poor kid)...I couldn't get him or Thane to stop talking about it! They were making connections, getting emotional and telling stories just from this one picture! IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

So onto my ah-ha moment. This is something we *can* do. And to keep them interested in it I have decided that we are going to study artists and pictures that they would be interested in. Knights, Pirates, Cowboys and Indians, battles, ect. You know...boy stuff. We already have big coffee table books on Winslow Homer, N.C. Wyeth, and John William Waterhouse (a personal favorite). What boy wouldn't want to look more closely at this...

or this...

Needless to say, I am excited about this. We'll get to Monet, Renoir, and Michelangelo soon enough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily Summer Schedule

Summer is here. I have had the plan set and now I have the daily schedule. (We NEED the structure of a schedule!)

Some things I needed to consider:

1. The days are HOT! Luckily the mornings can be tolerable so the boys need to get outside during that time to get their wiggles out.

2. I like having the house clean before we do school.

3. I need to have some "me" time during the day. (This is easy since the boys have always had quiet time.)

4. I want to have some quality time with my boys that isn't centered around school. (Of course, learning can still take place!)

Here is what I have come up with: outside (during this time I will clean)

11:30am-lunch...time with Mom (reading, playing games, baking, ect.)

(about an hour)

After school...quiet time (first 1/2 hour-reading, next 1/2 hour-quiet activity; Mom time)

After quiet time...chores and then free time 'til dinner

Of course, we will be flexible so that we can include time for activities outside of the house. For example, on Tuesday's we will meet our friends at the park for water gun fights and twice a week our student housing community sets up a huge inflatable water slide for the kids. We also have plans to go to the zoo, the Train Museum, and other fun places. Oh, but we are taking a break from our studies for three weeks in July while we are in Iowa visiting my family! I can not wait!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Free Composer and Artist Plans

Harmony Art Mom, Barb, is at it again! She has pieced together a fantastic mini unit for you and your students to complete over the summer. For 6 weeks you will study the music of Felix Mendelssohn and the paintings of Claude Monet. She's included links to view Monet's prints and has created notebooking pages for you to download.

Here is the link to the free file to download:

Harmony Fine Arts-Summer 2009 Art and Music Appreciation Plans

And while you're there, be sure to check out the other great files she is offering. I particularly like this one...Outdoor Hour Challenges-Getting Started Challenges 1-10.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Three Piggie Opera

Thane's Kindergarten class performed the Three Piggie Opera. He played the part of a brick peddler and sang in the choir. It was totally cute.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Today I feel sad for my boys. Their good friends, Sahdart and Ahnan, are moving to India.

Shakespeare...Alive and Well

Our Charter School held it's year end Extravaganza. The boys decided to display activities we did during our Shakespeare study.

In case you are wondering, yes, that is William Shakespeare posing with Nick Bottom.

This is the stage from the Globe Theater the boys and I created. This is a scene from "As You Like It".

The middle displayed a picture of Will drawn by Magnus, as well as lists of Shakespeare's plays and a timeline of his life.

This side is Thane's copywork of the famous quote, "All the world's a stage..." from "As You Like It", his picture narration from the same play, and a map of England.

This side is Magnus' writing assignment using Institute for Excellence in Writing's Style and Structure and his picture narration of "A Midsummer's Night Dream".

And lastly, a knight in shining armor upon his steed.