Monday, August 27, 2012

First Cross Country Meet

The Boyscout is running cross country for his new school this year, and really enjoying it.  He had his first Inter-squad race on Friday evening. 

Waiting for his group to start.

Coming to the finish line.
 He finished in 8:30, which as a good time for him to start his season off.  He is already looking forward to his next race and improving on his personal best. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tot School: The Beach

Tot School 
The Bug is 27 months old

We are easing The Bug into a Tot School routine.  This week our theme was the beach.  Skills we worked on were the color green, a diamond shape, the letter A and counting 1 to 5.  Our Bible concept this week was God Created All Things.

For our color, we went on a color hunt, sorted counting bears by color, and then did some drawing using a green marker.

The Bug was very focused on doing puzzles this week!

To go along with our theme, The Bug played in his sand box and played with Island Pineapple playdough.  The recipe comes from here at Hubbard's Cupboard.  Even I thought this smelled like a beach!

We checked out a wonderful story time kit from our library to go along with our theme.  We read What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and played with a crab, hermit crab and oyster puppets that came along with them.  The Bug LOVED doing this!

We sang some songs including Waves at the Beach (to the tune Wheels on the Bus) and Take Me Out to the Ocean.  We also read a number of other books.  Our favorites were All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle and Sea, Sand and Me by Patricia Hubbell.

Finally, The Bug helped Daddy make pancakes for some practical life skills!  

Next week, we will be doing a camping theme!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our School Pictures 2012-2013

I tried to get some pictures of the kids to mark the start of this school year.  Let's just say that The Bug was less than pleased about a photo shoot! Here is our class photo:

 The Boyscout is in 7th grade. He is attending a local Classical school this year for the first time. School begins on Monday and he is both excited and nervous. We know he will do great!

Miss M is officially a Kindergartener.

The Bug is beginning Tot School.

Usually I do the shot of The Boyscout wearing his backpack on the first morning, but with school supplies, PE clothes, Cross Country gear and a lunch, his bag is too heavy to actually wear Monday morning!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tanzania, Plant Cells and Dimes

Despite needing to run a number of errands and appointments to get The Boyscout ready for his school to start on Monday, we successfully completed our second week of this fall term.  Instead of a run-down on all we did, I am just going to touch on a few highlights this week.

We continued on with science, doing an experiment using jello and fruit to construct animal and plant cell models.  This was a big hit, and I find Miss M is really enjoying the hands-on science.

For math we continued to work on skip counting.  Since Miss M now knows how to count by 10s, we played a number of store games using dimes.  Store is one of her favorite games right now, and she was so happy to incorporate it into school.  We also worked on recognizing the words for the numbers one through ten.  I made a simple matching game using dot cards, numeral cards and the number words to practice the word recognition.

We began our geography study this week.  We will be traveling around the world using pictures books.  We started with Tanzania since Neema, the little girl we sponsor, lives there.  Miss M located Tanzania on our wall map, colored a map of the country including a pink heart for where Neema lives, colored the Tanzanian flag and glued it into her passport, looked up the animals who live in the area, and looked at Mt. Kilimanjaro on Google Earth.  We read several books including Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby, Elizabeti's Doll and the sequel Mama Elizabeti, and My Rows and Piles of Coins.

Miss M wants to make a bead necklace like the women in the Maasai tribe wear, so that is on our to-do list for this weekend.  We are also still working on saying hello in Swahili!

That was our week.  I am linking up to Weekly Wrap-up and Preschool and Kindergarten Corner this week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Petroglyphs and Pictographs

As we are making our way through Ancient History, we studied a bit about early cave paintings.  I mentioned to my Mother that it was too bad we couldn't see some in real life, so when we were visiting her a few weeks ago she arranged a day trip to Horsethief Lake State Park on the Columbia River.

The First People to inhabit the Columbia River Gorge area had filled the cliffs with petroglyphs and pictographs.  (A petroglyph is an image carved into the rock surface, while a pictograph is an image painted on the rock).   When The Dalles Dam was built, the reservoir behind the dam covered a vast majority of the images.  A sample of the images were preserved first by removing the stones from the wall.  They were stored inside the dam for 30 years.  At the request of several of the Confederated Tribes of Washington and Oregon, the images were moved to Horsethief Lake State Park for viewing.

These are called "Water Devils" and were very prominent in the samples.
Bird up top and deer down below.
Owls and other smaller carvings.
Additionally, this park has several examples of pictographs still on the cliff walls.  This area is considered a place of worship by the Tribes and is no longer open to the public due to vandalism, but you can arrange private tours.  When we arrived for our tour, we found that a wildfire had gone through the area less than twelve hours before.  It was still very hot and windy, but we were allowed in on a VERY  fast tour.

"She Who Watches"
If you look closely you can see drawings in red paint.
These images are dated about 800 years ago, so certainly not ancient, but we were all fascinated by seeing them up close in person and knowing how long they had lasted.

When we got home, we made my poor Dad run out for painting supplies and then it was time to paint our own pictographs.  (Miss M was relieved to know we wouldn't be making our own paints out of rocks and urine like the original artists had done.)

The Boyscout's version of She Who Watches.

Miss M's version of a Water Devil.

If you live near or are visiting the Columbia Gorge, we highly recommend taking the time to visit the park.  The Boyscout was our photographer and did a great job, but seeing them in person is amazing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Painting With Watercolor Crayons

We are using Artistic Pursuits for art curriculum this year, and the second lesson involves watercolor crayons.  As much art as we do, and especially as much painting, Miss M had never used watercolor crayons before!

First she lightly sketched her drawing with a pencil, and then colored it in with the crayons.  (I made sure to get the recommended brand, and the color just glided onto the watercolor paper.  I think this is one of those times when the little bit extra for a nicer quality supply really pays off.)

We practiced brush techniques on a separate sheet, and when she felt ready she applied the water to her drawing.

She was enthralled with the whole process, although hesitant about what she should draw.  (She chose to do Rapunzel with Eugene caught in her hair and her lizard pet from the movie Tangled.)

She is already asking to use these again and I plan to let her experiment all week long with this fun process!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Almost Back to Our Regular Schedule

This week we (almost) got back into our routine.  The Boyscout doesn't start back to school for another week yet, and we haven't added in the new subjects for this year like spelling and Latin, but otherwise things were back to normal.

The Boyscout finished his required reading for the first day of school (All's Quiet on the Western Front) and is working on a character analysis and historical fiction review.

We continued working in Saxon Math 1.  New this week was counting by 10s to 100.  To go along we read Leaping Lizards by Stuart Murphy, part of the MathStart series.  Then I gave Miss M cards with the tens on them and she had to put them in order from 10 to 100 and then backwards.

For nature study we examined the giant mushrooms that grew in our yard after a much-needed rain.  The largest one was over 10 inches across!  We also read about alligators this week.

In science we continued learning about cells and did an experiment using an egg as a simple cell model.

We met with out home school group to make some homemade bread and butter.  Since The Bug can't participate (it was a wheat bread) The Boyscout helped his sister with this project.  She LOVES when he participates with her!

We began our narrations using Aesop's Fables and did two stories this week.  We continued to work on our copy work using the poem The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (which Miss M also memorized) and started reading some English fairy tales.

For Faith Formation we illustrated the stories of Creation and Adam and Eve.  Miss M will be illustrating our way through the Old Testament this year, and this is probably her favorite activity of all!  We also read about Saints Alice and Ambrose and the located the places in their stories on our map.  We also celebrated the Assumption of Mary on Wednesday.

Overall, it was a great week.  I am linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Preschool & Kindergarten Corner over at Homeschool Creations.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our New Schoolroom

Not Back to School Blog HopSix months ago, we converted our formal dining room into a school room.  We love having a dedicated space where all of our supplies and books can be in one spot, but we were not using our space efficiently.  For one thing, wall space in this room is very limited.  It also had a low-hanging chandelier that limited furniture placement.  We have worked hard all summer (and by we I mean my dear husband) to convert the space into something usable.  I love our new space, and judging by the amount of time they spend in there, so do the kids!

Here is our room if you are looking into it from our kitchen.

 My husband replaced the old chandelier with a new ceiling fan/light combo.  We solved the wall space problem by filling in one doorway with a temporary wall.  On the inside we added Ikea spice racks for books related to our current themes.  The wall is actually hinged and swings open like a doorway - one of the kids favorite features!  (I still need to add some floor pillows to this reading nook.)

Next to that wall is The Bug's little table.  Above it is the art gallery.  I bought the vinyl letters on Etsy, and made the hanging boards by using clothespins and 1x2's spray painted black.  The original idea came from here.

In the corner sits a drawer unit for playdough, coloring books, and other toys used at the little table.  On top is my "desk".

One the right-hand side of the room is another piece my husband built and my favorite part of the room - partner desks separated by bookcases.

These allow both Miss M and The Boyscout to have their own desk space and give me two full bookcases without taking up wall space.  The desk tops are a little higher than normal which makes them a great height for me to stand by them without having to bend over all the time!   To compensate, Miss M's chair is a bar-height chair while The Boyscout has a regular dining chair.

The front corner holds our art easel, which is also our whiteboard space.  On the wall to the kitchen we have our world map, and eventually our timeline will go here as well.

The wall on the left has The Bug's school board, our calendar, and two shelves that hold our binders, math manipulatives, leveled readers, and The Bug's speech therapy materials.  I still need to cover the second shelf with fabric.  Hiding the things on them helps keep The Bug out of them and reduces messes, but still allows me to get into the space.

That is the tour of our little schoolroom!  We are already making great use of it, and I am sure you will be seeing lot's of pictures of the room this year.  To see other school rooms, visit the Not Back to School Blog hop!