Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bugs, Lizards, and Weeds Oh My

This has been a fantastic week of school.  The kids have all worked diligently to get their work done, and we celebrated the end of this week with a family sleepover.

We also received a fabulous new toy in the mail, which after I get some time on it, I'll share a little bit about it.  Let's just say Kara and Lydia have not stopped working on math for the past two days :)

We had art class this week with their friend Hannah.  We read the book Best Friends for Francis, and then the girls made friendship collages by cutting out pictures of friends.  Like Francis discovered a best friend in her sister, I pray my girls will someday learn that they too can be each other's best friend.

Not only have we had a lot to do with school this week, but we have also spent a great amount of time outside working and playing.  The kids have continued to collect bugs for their Uncle Timmy - we are now up to about ten baby food jars of bugs. We began by weeding the garden and pulling up all the onions so I can put them up in the freezer for winter.  Kara spent a lot of time with me the other day as I weeded the green beans.  She was talking about it being hot, so she invented the idea of an ice fire.  She collected all the weeds I was pulling up and deposited them under a tree in the shade (it was kind of like a cave).  Then she started telling me about this "ice fire" she was building so that when I got to hot I could come sit by the "ice fire" and cool off.

My biggest regret for this week is that I didn't take five minutes to crawl under the brush with Kara and enjoy her "ice fire."  Looking back I think this would have been a wonderful opportunity for me to connect with her and hear what was on her heart (or at least get a glimpse of it).

Between last night and this morning we introduced our kids to the "Sound of Music."  We watched the first half last night, and then this morning the kids wanted to finish it BEFORE we ate breakfast -- a huge shock since eating is one of the things they love best.

Week 4 of School is complete (oh, I forgot to tell you we had a lizard in the garage this week!).

What fun thing did you do at school this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sugar Beets.

The time has come to begin clearing out my garden.  This is a great lesson for the girls in beginning homemaking.  Thursday Lydia helped me harvest the beets.  We kept the taproot attached and then cut the stems to about two inches.  We brought them into the house where Kara washed the beets and placed them in the blancher.

We then boiled the beets until the skins were able to be rubbed off.  Both Kara and Lydia helped me skin the beets and then I chopped them and placed them in the pint jars. Adding a 1/2 tsp of canning salt to each pint then sealing it with a lid and ring.  This is all the girls were able to help me with.  I am always a bit nervous about using the pressure canner, so no kids are allowed in the kitchen when the pressure canner is building pressure up.

This was the first time I've used the pressure canner this year, so I had to do a quick review of what I was doing (by calling my very experienced gardening/coupon friend!).  I processed the pints for 30 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (or 11 pounds on my canner since the extension office told me my gauge is off by one pound when pressure gets to 10 pounds).
After all the beets were processed we have 20 lovely pints of beets.  Now, hopefully the kids will enjoy eating them :)  I don't think I've ever fed them beets before - Total cost $1.40 for 20 canning lids (I already had the jars and rings, and the lids were purchased using $1 off coupons for .$69 each).

Unplanned learning

Do you know how many opportunities we have each day to teach and instruct our children?  Countless!  Yesterday I had a great opportunity for science learning.  Outside weeding the garden we found a number of insects that we had never seen before.

We identified the typical army cutworm, and a Golden Tortoise Beetle. Other insects we identified was a pupa (red in color) probably from an army cutworm.  We also found a yellow grasshopper, and an orange beetle with a black spot I was unable to identify.

We saw a long black milipeade run across the dirt and burrow itself, as well as the common house fly, cicada shells, and many others.

This impromptu science lesson became a lot of fun for the kids and for myself as they raced around the yard with baby food jars trying to catch and collect as many different types of insects they can.  I guess it's a good thing their Uncle Tim has to create a bug collection this year as we will probably have plenty to offer him.

What types of bugs have you discovered in your yard lately?

Friday, August 26, 2011

First month of school!

Wow, this summer went by fast.  I have concluded that I need to make changes to our summer plan before next summer comes - namely giving each child a specific task that he/she is responsible for daily.  Also, a plan for maintaining the garden - and a schedule for working on school work for those hot summer days when I can't keep the kids outside - things get wild in the house when they are inside all day!

However, this post isn't about what I plan to do next summer, but what we are doing NOW!

My first task of this school year was to make some awesome discovery bottles. The kids enjoy playing with them, and I have a few more to make.

This year I am doing  a hodgepodge of curriculum.  I have started Andy on kindergarten with our reading lessons coming from Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He is also doing handwriting and Bob Jones Spelling 1 (because Lydia is also doing spelling 1).

Lydia has begun first grade, and she is performing far better than I expected her to do.  After three weeks, she has received a 100 % on two of the three spelling tests, she's catching onto math (Christian Light), she's enjoying reading (Bob Jones), and English (Shurley) - I told you I was using a hodgepodge of curriculum.  She's also doing handwriting, and of my three kids Lydia has the best handwriting - probably because she actually cares about doing a job well.  The others tend to rush through things so they can go on to the next.

Kara has started second grade, and this school year is going far smoother than every other year of school.  Kara is also doing BJU spelling, Shurley English, Christian Light Math, BJU Reading, and handwriting (I can't tell if I've left any subjects out or not).

Together we are doing Bible, Science (Answers in Genesis), and History (Mystery of History).  The kids have really seemed to enjoy learning, and our school time has already fallen into a normal routine. 

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about homeschooling this year as I would be schooling three kids in several subjects (+Ezekiel and Gabriel).  However, the day has not dragged on as I thought it would, and typically we are still finished with school by lunch time (last year it would drag on all day with Kara because she would refuse to work).  We have music practice in the afternoons - which with both Kara and Lydia taking both piano and violin will mean we will have plenty of music around the house :)  Hopefully naps will continue on through the beautiful melody of children playing instruments!

Well, that's it for the start of our semester.  We are hoping to do some more enjoyable school activities in the next couple of weeks, so I will try to update as we get past the boring book work :)

What curriculum are you using this year?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Already?

Oh no, I can't believe it's August already! I haven't even begun to plan out our school year for the kids.  This week is VBS, next week we are going to create a giant closet for the kids -- I get tired of washing the same clean clothes every week :)

So, I guess sometime between VBS and the start of school I will be spending a lot of time planning (not to mention all the time teaching the kids to help me can food for the winter).

Well, I guess I'll update this blog again when we get to the first day of school.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Studying the Minoans

Kara making and painting bull leapers

Andy painting ships to get to and from the Island of Crete

Ezekiel painting his fresco

Lydia also painted a fresco

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I absolutely love our history program.  Three times a week either after breakfast, lunch, or dinner (depending on Daddy's schedule), we read a lesson from The Mysteries of History.  Thursday night our lesson was on Egypt.  We discussed the mummies, pyramids, and hieroglyphics.