Thursday, October 30, 2008

Week 10 - Review

We took the week after vacation as a catch-up week. We got our closets cleaned out and our winter clothes out of storage.

Bible: We read out of 2 Kings, 2 Chron., and Isaiah in the Day-by-Day Kids' Bible

History: We are reading George Washington: Our First Leader and we read Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? That was a very good book. It was a quick read and gave some details from the other side of the ocean that you don't always hear much about when studying the Revolutionary War.

We also did the taxation activity I mentioned the other day.

Reading: Peanut is reading A Llama in the Family. Junior is reading The Long Way to a New Land.

Language Arts: Peanut - LLATL Orange Book and HWT. Junior - HWT.

Science: Peanut - Human Anatomy, using Easy Make & Learn Projects: Human Body. Junior - Water experiments from library books.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Week 9 - Review and Field Trip

For week nine, we did an extended field trip. Well, honestly it was a vacation with hubby's dad to Branson, MO., specifically Silver Dollar City.

There was a good deal of educational value to this trip, so I am putting it down as an extended field trip. Here are some of the educational highlights:
This is a old-fashioned sorghum mill, being powered by a mule, as you see. I failed to get a good picture of this, so I have to rely on my nice sister-in-law's picture. However, she is an animal lover, and got a better picture of the mule than the actual mill.

This was quite fascinating to me. The mule is guided around and around in a circle and turns the mill. A person stood there and fed stalks of sorghum through the mill, and the juice was drained into a bucket. The syrup is made similarly to maple syrup. The juice is boiled until it condenses down into a thick syrup. Samples of syrup were available. Apparently, syrup is an acquired taste, because everyone around was not lovin' the sorghum syrup. Including my daughter. Oh well, more sorghum for me, I guess. I grew up loving the stuff. It is similar to molasses, but it just has a nicer taste. I'm not sure how to describe it, but the taste is strong like molasses.

Here we have a butter sculpture. I have seen this phenomenon on TV, but never in person. It was in a large refrigerated trailer, and you could look in the glass window and watch the artist at work. Well, I do like to watch a work of art in progress, and this was definitely a work of art...but something about butter as a medium is surreal. Oh well, it is along the same lines as pumpkin sculpture, and we are big fans of that.

Here, Peanut (pink shirt) is getting to help with a demonstration of Border Collie training. This was another fascinating thing! Sorry I couldn't get a dog picture, too. I was being pestered by a bored one-year-old. Anyway, the trainer demonstrated how the dog is trained to go clockwise and counter-clockwise. That is the basis for all of her herding. She herded sheep, and then geese. They had the volunteers come up during geese herding.

We had a wonderful time. Learning opportunities abound, and those were some of the highlights for which I found pictures.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tot School: Piano Guy

Tot School
I sat Bubby on the piano bench the other day to see what would happen. He had fun. We talked about high and low, loud and soft, and he tried to sing high and low. When I brought out the camera, he was pretty much done. He just wanted to get his picture made. What a ham! But I did catch him in action just a bit:

And yes, it was very necessary to hold that sippy cup the whole time.

He does spend some time at the piano whenever I want to play. He sits in my lap and bangs while I try to play from my Sheet Music Magazines. He is finally learning that Mama gets to turn the pages and he is not welcome to do that! Otherwise, he is welcome to help Mama play and if the melody line is not very distinct, that's probably my fault anyway.

He also helped me in the kitchen. The dinner-fixing time at our house continues to be the time of day when he is grouchy, not satisfied and gets restless. I put him up in his high chair and let him mash the avocado for mama. He was very glad to help with this. He used a potato masher, and he did a very good job. The avocado in the center of the bowl was perfectly pureed!

For more Tot School, visit 1+1+1=1.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Taxation Activity

Just a quick activity we did today:

We are starting to talk about some of the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. I found this activity, and we did it this morning with chocolate chips.

It was quick and very effective. The kids were outraged that they lost their chocolate chips to Parliament, the King, and the tax collector! The tax collector (me) quickly redistributed the chocolate chips so that she wouldn't be tarred and feathered!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week 8 - Review

I have not been able to get onto Blogger all week. I tried a lot of things, but the thing that finally worked is uninstalling BSafeOnline from my computer. That program has been quite a hassle for us, does anyone have any suggestions for good blocking software for computers that children use from time to time? I like the format of BSafe, but it definitely uses a lot of resources, and slows our computer down.

We were on vacation last week, so that is why I didn't post my update for week 8. Here are the highlights:

Bible: Day-by-Day Kids' Bible - We have been in 2Kings, Isaiah, and Micah. We have memorized Joel 2:13, and ready to move on to something else.

History: We did a lesson on music in the colonies. We used Popular Songs in American History to listen to some midi files of folk music that would have come over from the British Isles. Then the Bay Psalm Book has text and midi files that would have been used in the Church in colonial days. Then, the kids learned a simplified version of the minuet. Here they are in all their anonymous glory!

Reading: Peanut finished The Boxcar Children. She tried to begin another Boxcar Children book, called The Pilgrim Village Mystery. She didn't like it as well, I think it may be a more modern version of the books. Junior finished Clara and the Bookwagon, and we had trouble finding something appropriate to read after that. Most of our kid books are a little too hard for him still, and we are waiting on a couple of readers from the library that go along with our history period. We finally chose The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse from our bookshelf.

For week 9, we did our field trip to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. We'll share a few pictures soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 is updated!

My brother's website that I mentioned here has the first of the new pumpkins for the year. Bookmark it and check it often during the next month, because he usually puts up several throughout the month.

Tot School: Vacation

Tot SchoolThis past week we had a some fun as a family. We all went on a trip with my father-in-law to Branson, MO. This was a very special trip for us, and it went very well. My FIL really loves to go to Branson, specifically to Silver Dollar City.

Silver Dollar City has a lot of fun stuff for kids, and the older kids had a ball. For little Bubby, who is not quite two, it was interesting in other ways. He just happened to be tall enough to ride some of the kiddie rides, but he is too young still and he was nervous about them. So he sat out and found other things to occupy his time.

He did like riding the train with the whole group of us. He could sit snuggled up on Mama's lap and the train did not go too fast for him. I also let him sit in one of the nice "picture areas" and play in the mulch. It was damp and cool, and he had a good time. At home, he is happy playing in the dirt under the trees, so I guess this was close to that. I had to watch to make sure he didn't throw the mulch, but once he realized I wasn't going to let him throw, he had fun just picking it up and dropping it.

In the gift shop, they had one of those bins full of polished rocks. He absolutely loved that. I would highly recommend that to anyone next time they are at a museum or other souvenir shop. The rocks are cold and smooth and they usually have enough in a bin for a little kid to bury their hands in. He really liked all the colors as well.

Here are a couple of pictures from early in the week, when we hadn't started vacation yet. I took him to the library while the older kids were in band, and he had a good time. Our local library has a rather large children's area with a few play centers.

One last thing that is interesting, but you can't see it in the pictures: When he is really involved in something, his face just goes so serious. He looks very concerned, LOL. He is such a silly any other time, he is always smiling. I guess a lot of kids are like that, but it is interesting to me.

For more ideas, go visit Tot School at 1+1+1=1.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tot School: Pots and Pans

Tot SchoolThis is our first week to participate in Tot School at 1+1+1=1. It is just a way to document the stuff we do with little Bubby in our day-to-day life that is focused on him. Bubby will be 23 months old in a few days.

This week we have just one picture. We played pots and pans this week. He had a great time. The activity came from the book, Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready. The goal was to have him put lids on the right size pans, and take them off again. He did that a few times, but he quickly learned that these pans make a lot of noise, especially when hit with plasitc hammer. It turned out to be a loud activity, but a lot of fun!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Contest at

I just found out my brother has been featured on the new Halloween portion of the This Old House website!

They are having a pumpkin-carving contest where people can send in photos of their pumpkins. He is not in the contest, but there is a link next to it that says Best Pumpkin Carvers on the Web. He is one of the featured pumpkin carvers there. His name is Scott Cummins.

His pumpkins really are the best ones on there, you can see if you agree with me, however. More of his carvings are on his webpage, Pumpkingutter. So far, he does not have any new ones up this year, but I think he will soon. But you can check out everything from the past few years on there, and read his FAQs while you are at it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Buying for your school at "other" stores

I was thinking today of some of the "off-the-beaten-path" places for homeschoolers to buy school supplies. There are always Target, Walmart, office supply stores, educator supply stores...the basics. But we end up getting school supplies at many other stores. Here is a quick list I jotted down. Maybe you can think of more.

Discount furniture - for little bookshelves, desks, computer desks, chairs, for setting up your environment.

Museum Gift Store - this is a great place for buying books, science kits, art kits, and even gifts for homeschoolers.

Pet Store - if you have a "live biology project" like we do, you might be in and out of a pet store from time to time.

Craft Store - we find ourselves at the craft store quite often to get supplies for projects, experiments, costumes, displays, and other things. The fabric store will also have many of these things.

Garden and Hardware Store - more materials and tools for projects, and the all-important summer garden (no matter what size it is!)

Thrift Store - odds and ends. I found my daughter's colonial costume here this year. I have found lots of school supplies (the traditional paper-and-pencil-type) at garage sales around town.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Week 7 - Review

Here is a quick update on our homeschool.

Bible: We are continuing with the Day-by-Day Kids' Bible. We are still memorizing Joel 2:13

History: We did a Wampanoag Villiage model from Easy Make & Learn Projects: Pilgrims, Mayflower and More. This was going to be our last activity from this book, but the kids had so much fun, we might do some on into our Rev. War unit. Picture coming soon!

We watched a DVD on the settling of New Amsterdam. It is from the Colonial Life for Kids series from Schlessinger Media. These are all really good videos that the kids enjoy. They are from our library.

Reading: The kids worked on their reading. Peanut is reading The Boxcar Children. Junior finished Greg's Microscope and began Clara and the Bookwagon. We took a break from read-alouds, mostly because I'm waiting on a book from the library. *sigh* It happens.

Language Arts: Peanut - LLATL Orange Book. She does not like it, but I think it is just more writing than she wants to do. And it is not that much writing, she just complains. I remember being like that too. We would ask, "Do we have to write the whole sentence? How about just the words that are supposed to be capitalized?" Junior is just working on his new HWT book, Printing Power.

Science: We have not done anything formal this week. Again, *sigh*...

On the music front, Peanut is playing flute in band. Her flute was supposed to be in good shape per a flute teacher. Well, it was not in good shape per Mama (who doesn't know anything about flutes, but figured you shouldn't have to white-knuckle it to get a sound out.) Took two weeks to get fixed, but it is fine now. Peanut actually gets a really good sound out of the thing! And she is doing decent with fingering after not having it to practice for two weeks. Junior is playing the drums. He is Todd's son, so those of you that know Todd will not be surprised, Junior gets bragged on every week for how well he plays. I really don't know that he practices for more than five minutes a day. Figures.

Update: Dishwasher

A few weeks ago I posted about my dishwasher and the problems I was having. Well, I have good news! After a month, it is fixed! Well, so far, so good.

Here is what happened: I was really leaning toward not replacing it, then I started getting mad. Why buy a dishwasher and use it for only three years? Isn't that their fault? So I called them. I tried to patiently explain the least I think I did it patiently. The guy at the phone actually listened to me. But they weren't going to do anything about it.

He gave me the name of two repair places I could call. I thought I might as well call and see how much they charge just for a service call. The first place told me they would charge $80. To be fair, I called the second number. This guy immediately asked me what kind of dishwasher and the model number. Long story short, my particular model has a "service alert." In a couple of weeks, LG had extended my warranty so that what was wrong could be fixed.

So yesterday they came out and fixed the dishwasher. It seems to be working fine. Hubby is more critical and heard a slurpy noise which to him is not so good. But after a month of no dishwasher, I'm happy!