Monday, November 12, 2012

Harry Potter, the end of an era...

     After 6 months of listening, we reached the end of our journey through Harry Potter.

     It's definitely the end of an era for us.  It is a little sad to leave friends behind, but sometimes the story is over, finished and all that is left is goodbye...

    I realize that only those who truly love books will understand the little sadness that comes with moving on from a favorite character's story.  That is ok. Call me crazy.  I will admit that I can become attached to characters, especially when 6 months of my time was spent in their world. 

    What a great 6 months it was though.  I will always be grateful to the Harry Potter books for the conversations and questions they inspired in my kids. 

    When I decided to check out the first Harry Potter book on Cd from the library, I never imagined that it would begin a journey through learning about the Civil War and Slavery, WWII and the Holocaust and Civil Rights.  Funny how a modern day story about a magical boy can spark conversations about prejudice and racism.  Nothing beats being able to teach your children about the underground railroad, Anne Frank and Hitler, and a lady riding a bus in Alabama all because of questions they have from a story. 

So here's to you Harry Potter, Hermione and Ron.  Thanks for the adventure!  

Now I'm off to find the next great story for us.  :-)


Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chugging Along

Another week has come to a close on the homeschooling home front.  Shew!! (yes I am doing the happy dance)

It was not a terribly eventful week.  We are just chugging along, I guess. 

The boy is getting a little more confident in math.  Thanks to the "Mean Math Mom" having him do a little math everyday.  Well, it probably has more to do with the fact that we finished the lessons on word problems and have moved on to fractions.  Those darn word problems will be the end of both of us!  If anyone has any helpful tips for mastering word problems feel free to share them. 

Graphic novels have grabbed the attention of my sweet girl.  We have made several library trips to pick out more because she is devouring them quickly. 

We picked a late September harvest from the garden. 
I am so thankful to have such a successful little garden this year.

We ended the week with a "Bounce Into Fall" party at a local bounce place.  It was a great time for the moms to chat and catch up while the kids ran and jumped and climbed a rock wall.  I just love relaxing times to catch up with friends!  It was really a great way to end the week. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

WWII and Mean Math Mom

Another busy week has come to a close here in East Tennessee.

The last time I had a chance to post anything we were coming up on my sweet girl's 9th birthday  sleepover. The girls had a great time, and I survived...Well, only after making the ultimate mom faux pas of sitting in the room with the girls so they would be quiet and finally go to sleep.  Oops bad mommy!  She has forgiven me though, I think...

Our weather is definitely getting a "Fall" feel, with cooler evening and morning tempuratures.  Which makes for excellent morning and evening porch time.  It actually makes for great outdoor school work days too.  (which I will take any day over being cooped up inside)

We are trucking right along in all of our studies.  We are actually bouncing around in History this year.  Which has been kind of fun.  #1 son seems to really like studying about wars so we are learning about WWII at the moment.  We are learning about Anne Frank and the Holocaust and will watch the Anne Frank movie next week.

A few weeks ago I ordered Reading books and workbooks from Christian Light to use this year.  I have been so pleased with them.  The kids seem to enjoy the stories and I love the questions and vocabulary stuff in the workbooks.  The boy even read a poem titled Rebellion In September that he really liked!  It was fun having him come up and say "Mom, you have to hear this!"

I think I have turned into the Mean Math Mom.  I am having the boy do a math lesson everyday for a while. (even weekends - I know, I know Mean Math Mom).  Hopefully, the everyday practice will increase his confidence.  He has improved so much in the last few months, but constantly questions himself - even the things that he knows how to do.  We'll see in a couple weeks if it has helped.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First week of school 2012

We survived!  Survived what? You may ask.  Or maybe you won't, but I'm gonna tell ya anyway. 

We conquered the first week of school!  There were only a few hiccups along the way.  For instance, the mom did a different lesson than was on the lesson plan. (by total accident, I started reading on the wrong page and did not realize it until I finished.  But hey, no harm no foul, right?)  

This year I'm working to create more personal accountability with assignments and in general more independence. Each kid has a binder and each week they have their own assignment sheets that list all their assignments for the week.

The boy did fairly well with the new organizational system of a weekly assignment list and a binder. The girl did surprising well with it too. She is not a list maker kind of girl, but really seemed to enjoy placing cute tiny stickers on the assignment list to show she had completed a task.    

For Science we talked about potential and kinetic energy.  A Civil War review was the History discussion for the week. English/grammar was all about prepositions and prepositional phrases.

In Math, the girl and I, started our journey together through a 4th grade textbook and the boy started his new year of Teaching Textbooks.  Along with Life Of Fred and some math fact review we had a good math week.  At least I think we did! I guess we will see this week if what they did last week really stuck in their heads.

The girl started All About Spelling this week.  I will write more about it as the weeks pass by and I have a better idea of how she's doing with it.

By the end of the week, my brain was mush.  Which was probably a good thing, because Saturday the house was full of squealing girls to celebrate my girl's 9th birthday.  She had a blast and  honestly I did too.  My brain already being mush probably helped with that!  Little girls are so funny!

All in all, a good first week to have in the books, and now we are ready for a second great week.

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Squash tomatoes and book reports oh my...

Need any squash?  Anyone? Anyone?

The squash is growing like crazy here in East Tennessee!  I've made squash casserole and steamed squash.  I have even added it to spaghetti sauce and made a sandwich out of it in a pita bread with some hummus.  Definitely a good year for squash!

Oh and tomatoes too.  They have finally started coming in and man do I have plenty.  I knew when I planted them that I was going overboard, but man I can't believe how many tomatoes are all over my counter and in the kitchen window.

I tried my hand at canning some of the tomatoes.  It was actually quite easy, thanks to the little beginner's kit I bought for super cheap at Kroger.  I am thinking I will be doing more canning before the summer is over.  Well, I mean "we".  I didn't let the kids be involved in the first session of canning because I thought I should at least have some idea of what I'm doing before I involved the kids in hot boiling water and hot glass jars and all that.  But now that I have done a batch I think I can safely let them help next time.  

It will make my son sooooo happy to be doing anything with tomatoes.  He loves them soooo much! That, of course, being said in my best sarcastic voice because he despises tomatoes and anything that is made with tomatoes!  But, alas, I will still have him help with the preserving of the tomatoes for everyone else's food enjoyment!

As far as schooling goes for the summer, we have my son set up to meet with a math tutor. (the math tutor is a really sweet 14 year boy who met with us at the library and jumped right in with worksheets and manipulatives and a huge amount of encouragement.).

We also have been doing summer reading and book reports.  The kids have been reading a book a week and then giving us a oral report about what they read.  It has been quite fun.  We have completed two and we are working on the third right now.  The last two weeks have been totally busy and so the latest report fell to back burner.  It is all good though because, that is one of the flexible things about doing school work during the summer.

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How does your garden grow?

We planted a garden a few weeks back.

 It is a square foot garden. Not the complete Mel Bartholemual one, as I don't mix the soil any certain way. I just use Miracle grow potting soil. (shhh, don't tell the real square foot garden people, because it might be blasphemy or something!).

 I really don't have much of a backyard. It really is a sloped hill except for one small section and so the only way for me to grow anything is square foot style. I don't mind this at all because square foot gardening is AWESOME! Much easier upkeep. I totally hate pulling weeds and stuff like that so it works great for me. 

Little carrot seedlings popping up.
Since we are home schooling this year I decided that the garden needed to be a learning experience. After scouring the Internet for some journaling pages, the kids and I got down to the business of choosing our crop and planting it We headed straight for Home Depot! (uh yeah! Because that where all farmers go to begin their sowing. Right?lol) We walked around and the kids each helped pick out tomatoes, squash, carrots, (all kinds of carrots. If they turn out we will have an abundance of carrots).

I let the kids each pick out something special that they would like to try and grow. That is how I have ended up with a yellow watermelon in the garden! I'm not even sure what a yellow watermelon is, but it fascinated my boy so I got it! The girl picked zucchinni squash to plant! She is totally psyched about how many blooms there are.

 After getting everything in the ground. The kiddos made some notes and measured some stuff and so now I guess they feel like gardeners. I love listening to them talk about how they have to go and see if anything new is growing. Every few days they go and inspect progress.  And boy has there been progress:

So far so good!  

Hopefully soon we will have some yummy veggies!

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Friday, April 27, 2012

Constitution Study and miscellaneous days...

We finished our very first unit study. (a couple weeks ago, but really who's counting days? I sure can't seem to keep up with 'em.)

It really was a great study! Full of interesting information and it was fun too! (that is always a plus right?).

We did Constitution Celebration by Amanda Bennett. The kids really enjoyed being able to do "real" school work on their iPads. (the boy was really into that part). The lap book part of the study was good too. (the girl loved that part, as she is crafty and loves projects). My favorite part was the "Jeopardy" game! It was fun to play and see what the kids remembered. We will definitely be doing more unit studies.

We are rolling right on with our other subjects! We are just a few days from finishing our math curriculum for the year. Such a strange, but great, feeling to see the end of the book coming up! We have started reading Life of Fred as a supplement for math. It is cute so far, we are only a few chapters in.  I will report back about how it helps my "reading" brained kid with math.

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lions, Tigers, and the Constitution...Oh my

We have made it back home after a few days out of town.  Mark had to go work in Kentucky, so we went with him. (love this kind of flexibility that comes with homeschooling) 

Even with air conditioner problems two different nights it was a great trip.  The kids had a good time swimming in the pool and going to the zoo and eating at Bob Evans.  Yep!  Eating at Bob Evans!  We ate there 3 times in 3 days.  These kids are crazy I say!  Just crazy!

The zoo in Louisville was a blast.  Except for that part where the mom forgot to give her sneezy, itchy eyed kid allergy meds in enough time for them to work before we got there!  Just FYI, if you have a kid with allergies and you are going to zoo in the Spring time give him allergy medicine much earlier than right before you get out of the car to walk in. 

Anyways, once we got the constant sneezing under control we really enjoyed seeing the animals that were WILD and OUTRAGEOUS for us.  Take a look:

                                                      This Gorilla was really showing off!

The lion in the back decided when we walked up that she would show off not her great "queen of the jungle" roar, but instead her totally awesome ability to roll over while bathing in the sun!

And then finally:

                                         The tiger must have stayed up too late the night before!  
                                          This sleeping trick is the best thing he could offer us! 

Now that you are completely overwhelmed with excitement from the awesome tricks of zoo friends...actually even though we didn't hear any great roars, or big time displays of toughness from Gorillas beating their chest, it was still a marvelous day.  Truly, seeing a tiger so close (he was only about 3 feet from us) is breath taking.  Not to mention, how cute the gorilla was holding his feet while he slept.  All in all a great day at the zoo!

For school this week we did something totally new for us.  We began working on a unit study.  Since I read about them in the Fall I have wanted to try one and see if it is something that would work for us.  I have to say that it has been great!  We still have a couple of days to do, but we have learned so much.  The kids have both said that they like it, which is great because I wasn't sure how they would like spending hours on the same subject everyday.  The study is about the Constitution and has so far been pretty thorough as far as people and places.  The last part of the study looks like we will be discussing some of the content of the Constitution, the government branches, and about the Bill of Rights.  I have really been pleased with it so far!

I'll post more on it next week when we have completed the study.  At the moment my coffee cup is empty and must be refilled! 


Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The week with testing...

Our week of testing is finally over! Yay!  Well, truthfully it was only 3 days!

I am relieved and the kids are relieved and I guess all is right in our homeschooling world again.

This being our 1st year to homeschool the testing has made me rethink the way we do some things. Don't get me wrong we are having a great year. But, there are a few things I will be changing up for next year. For instance, our math. Preparing for the tests I realized there were things in the practice tests we took that were not covered in their math curriculum. After doing some investigating, I realized that the material had not been covered YET. If we would have had another 3 or 4 weeks before testing one kid would have totally finished his math book and the other kid would have only been 5 or 6 lessons from the end of hers. So I am thinking that next year I want them to be finished with their math books for the year and all new material before testing. It will just take a little tweaking as far as scheduling goes, I hope! ;-) If anyone has any tips that I could implement for next year as far as testing I would love to hear them.

Since we were testing this week our other school work was minimal. We just worked on some math assignments and some MathWhizz. Other than that it was fun in the sun! Then fun in the rain and finally we ended our week with a trip to the bowling alley with friends. We had a park day during our unseasonably warm for East TN days. It is so nice to be able sit on the front porch and read again.

We are doing something totally new for school this week! We are going to do a unit study on the Constitution. Never done a unit study before, but I like the idea of it and have been wanting to try it out. The kids will be able to do a lot of it on their Ipads. I think that they really like that idea, and so do I since we are also heading out of town for a few days this week.

Have a great week!

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where did I put the carefully planned schedule?...

How in the world did a whole month pass since I last posted?

Well, let's see: a husband who was out of town for a couple of weeks in a row, a new extra curricular activity started, and trying to prepare the kids to take standardized tests.  Those kind of things will disrupt a carefully planned schedule...well and if you do not make a carefully planned schedule then you are really in for it.(Oops, did I just admit that I didn't have a plan?!  Hhmm I very well could have had a plan, but if I did I have no idea where I put it!)

The month of February was full of new adventures for us.  The boy child decided he wanted to try Karate and is now enrolled in a Tae Kwan Do class.  He is loving it!  I am very glad about it because he really needed to find his "thing"!  The school he takes classes at has a home school class during the day which works so great for us right now.  I am not sure I would have been able to get him anywhere in the afternoon or evening because of having to get the girl child to and from dance 4 days a week.

Speaking of dance, I am so proud of the girl!  This year she is doing so well in dance.  She is becoming a dancer instead of a little girl who takes dance.  It has been a fun transformation to watch.  I am very excited about recital coming up in May because I think she is just going to really shine this year.

Our school work for the last couple of weeks has been mostly "learning how to take a standardized test" stuff.  The girl has never taken one so I wanted to make sure that she knew some of the in and outs of the process. I found some practice material online and we have been working with that. 

One fun thing we have been doing for a couple of weeks is learning the Animaniac President's song.  It is a catchy tune that will get stuck in your head. 

Trust me, if you google it and listen to it right now, you will walk around for the rest of the day singing: 
"George Washington was the first you see he once chopped down a cherry tree. President #2 would be John Adams, and then #3, Tom Jefferson stayed up to write a declaration late at night..." 

Oh great! I have other things I need to be doing right now and I guess I will do them singing about the presidents! Ha!

Off to work on making a plan for this week. (hopefully, I will be able to remember where I put it when I am done!)  I want to add some really fun learning activities in with test prep.  Is that even possible?  I guess I will let know!

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sleep interrupted...

I'm Up!!

I don't know why I'm up so early on a Sunday morning.  But I'm up.  Well, wait I do know why I am up...the last few weeks have been so crazy and busy that my sleep schedule is off.  Way Off!  Yes, it sometimes makes for a grouchy mommy, but I think I have done good so far.  (don't know if my kids will agree with that or not!)

The reason my sleeping is so off can be traced to a night a few weeks back when I was snoozing away in a hotel in South Carolina.  You see, my sister in law just had a new baby and it turned out that my husband happened to have to go and work that same week in the city where my SIL and my brother live!  Yep, that's right!  We took a road trip to meet the new guy!  He is so cute!  He was all teeny tiny and smelled like a new baby...anyway, back to the hotel!  Some crazy person decided to start a fire in the hotel fireplace without opening the flue.  What happens, just in case your are wondering, if you do not open the flue on a hotel room fireplace is that your room fills with smoke causing the fire alarm to begin blaring in the middle of the night.  Which in turn causes every alarm in the hotel to go off, which then causes everyone to have to go outside including the family on the third floor who has to carry two sleeping children down 3 flights of stairs.  Freezing your buns off in the parking lot holding your half asleep 8 year old is not fun!  All ended up well (just a lot of smoke) and we were able to go back to our room after about 15 minutes.  We made it home the next day with all of our things smelling of smoke and headaches from the blaring alarm.  I hope the couple in the room on the first floor learned a lesson:  if your feeling romantic on a Wednesday night at a Residence Inn and decide you need a fire...OPEN THE CHIMNEY FLUE!

Now this may surprise you, but even in the midst of loving on a new baby and fire alarms, we were able to have a great school week that week.  I love how my kids will get to their school work in a hotel so they can finish it and we can do fun stuff.  We learned about the War of the Pacific and the a little about the Atacama Desert.  We also got to talk about the different branches of the military and what role they each play in protecting out country and fighting in a war.

We got to head to Atlanta to a dance convention for #1 daughter.  She had a great time with her friends.  Mark and #1 son headed to Alabama to spend the weekend at my in laws house.  When the conference was over, the girl and I headed to Alabama ourselves.  My mother in law had to have a double mastectomy and we wanted to be there.  Her surgery went great and she is on the mend.  She is an amazing women! -sidebar: ladies if you haven't done it get your mammogram!

We were able to finally finish the butterfly life cycle movie we were making.  I can't share it yet because the camera I recorded it with on records in a format that is not supported by my movie editing software.  I have to do a little more research and figure out how to convert it or something like that.  The individual clips turned out very cute.  I am hoping to figure out how to edit it this week.

Since I am up and everyone else is still sleeping I am going to check in with some of my favorite blogs like Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and the hip homeschool moms.  Heck, after that I might even go find a book to get lost in for a few hours. 

April Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Week with the movie well, almost...

What a great school week here in East Tennessee!  The kids jumped right back in after the break and we were able to get almost everything done that was planned for each day. (which is awesome!)

We jumped right back in with some great History stories about the Irish Potato Famine, and then we moved on to South American.

Preposition was the word of the week in English.  Not only did we diagram some sentences we are learning a jingle that lists prepositions to make it easier to spot them in sentences. 

In Science we learned all about the Butterfly Life Cycle!  Truly ALL about the butterfly.  I went a little crazy at the library and checked out like 10 books to go a long with our science book.  The girl finally got tired of reading about it and told me "Mom, I don't need to read anymore books, I know the butterfly life cycle."  I guess we will see when they actually get to finished their project for the week.

And I say "get to finish" because we hit a weather snag with our science project for the week.  The kids are making a movie showing the butterfly life cycle.  Super fun, right?  Yeah well, except when you get a light dusting of snow on the ground!  Snow and a butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis just don't really go together.  So instead of making a butterfly movie on Friday morning this is what we did:


Oh well...we will get back to work on the movie Monday!

Bienvenido a Mi vida loca

Thanks to for the weekly link up!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Holiday Vacation Is Over

Goodbye Holiday break!  Happy 2012!!

So there it went...

Over already...

Man, I am going to miss sleeping in!  But it is ok!  I am ready to get started and get back to the regular routine craziness that is our life.

I have readied the lesson plans.  Hopefully the kiddos will think that the stuff we have coming up is as cool as I think it is!