Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We already ruined the schedule

I knew there was a reason I don't put together a real schedule.

I have been reading different blogs where people have planned out their entire year and they seemed so organized. I have never been that organized. We often just go with the flow and follow a general schedule that I keep in my head. I haven't ever sat down and wrote it all down. I thought it would be nice to actually have a plan and go by it for a change. So I spent the day Monday with a teacher's plan book. I was looking through Story of the World and penciling in the chapters and topics we would study when. I also made a list of all the subjects that I want to cover in Science between now and new year. I penciled those into the planner too. I then went through the FIAR books and picked a number of books to "row" during the term that sort of went along with Science or History. I picked composers and artists for us to study this term and finally bought the new math books for Sophie and Ian. The only thing I haven't scheduled is grammar lessons and those don't really need to be scheduled except for how many to do each week. I also have to figure out how often I need to do reading lessons with Ian. So far we are just going to do a letter of the week.

Today or this week we are supposed to do chapter 1 of Story of the World Volume 2. We listened to this first chapter, which is a short review of the end of the last volume, and Sophie and Ian didn't want to stop. They begged to keep on going. So we listened to chapter 2 also. But that is scheduled for next week. I am sure we can stretch it out a bit and try to make it last this week and the next but I am sure this is a sign to show me what all my plans are worth. Now am I supposed to reassign the chapters since it was for next week? I can tell there is going to be tweaking and such as we go along I am sure. I just didn't expect it the very first week. I wasn't even really expecting to start this week. I thought a review week would be good before jumping into it. But my kids had other plans.

There is still a few things I need to schedule in. I recently bought Our Island Story. It is recommended for this age, 2nd year, on Ableside Online's curriculum. This is one of the many places I go to get ideas for books to read with my kids. I started to read Our Island Story the other day with Sophie and she loved it. I read through the first three chapters. Which lead up to when Roman's took over England. It fit perfectly with chapter 1 of Story of the World that we listened to today. What I need to do now is look at the chapters and figure out which correspond with what chapters of Story of the World. This scheduling idea is really great but a lot of work. I know now why I haven't really done it until now. I don't even know if we will follow it closely but at least I am getting things all together rather then just hope I remember to cover everything.

Along with our reading on Britain and the Celts. we decided to build Stonehenge.
We had to look online to see what it is supposed to look like. but I think we did a good job.

If nothing else the schedule is good for me. I can tell we won't follow it exactly but it was a good exercise to help me get more organized.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

Our weekend started early. My husband took the day off and we headed down to Santa Cruz. And what does one do in Santa Cruz?
Heads to the beach of course. It wasn't a particularly hot day but the kids still had a great time rolling around in the sand. Playing with a few of the other kids there at the beach and running through the waves.
I don't know why my kids love to collect seaweed but every time we come to the beach they love to find as many clumps of seaweed as they can.
Along with sand angels, Sophie collected a whole bunch of seagull feathers which are plentiful all over the beach.
There is something inside boys that tells them they have to throw sand. Ian was not the only boy along the beach that I saw doing this same thing. The desire to throw must run strong in boys.
Henry was still a little unsure about going into the waves. He liked to go down to the edge and then run away from the incoming waves. He got caught a few times and didn't like it too much.
Sophie had no trouble playing in those cold waves. She was thrilled to get the chance to play and skip and jump and get knocked down by waves.

But the fun didn't stop there. After a full day at the beach we climbed up the cliff to our campground. We, along with some friends, pitched our tents threw some logs on the fire and had a grand time cooking hot dogs over the fire and roasting marsh mellows for smores. The kids had the best time getting more and more dirty.I didn't take a whole lot of pictures while we were at the campsite. I was too busy keeping kids from trouble or taking them on hikes or to and from the bathrooms. We saw owls and bats fly around above us as it was getting dark and the kids loved looking up and seeing so many stars. Living in the city doesn't allow for much stargazing.

After one night of sleeping on the hard ground we were done. So we broke camp and headed back home Saturday afternoon. We were gone for only about 24 hours but it felt like a really long time. Saturday afternoon we had a pool party we had to go to and then a farewell party that night for friends that are moving. So it was a very busy day. One event after another.

Sunday has been a good recoup day. The kids have been a bit more cranky because they are tired I think but hopefully things will settle down again into our normal schedule tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I am not doing too bad!

This was a fun book meme. I thought I would participate and take the time to look at what was on the list and to see what I have read.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on the list. I’ve read 44. Better than I thought.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you love and will read again.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own blog. (This list in no way represents the top 100 books. It’s missing a whole lot of great books and some that are here, I would question.)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (I started this one but the language and immorality was just too much for me. I quit about half way through. Interesting Story but....)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens(Seen the movie though)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (Seen the movie though)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (Seen the movie though)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (Seen the movie though)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy (Seen the movie though)
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (Seen the movie though)
80 Possession - AS Byatt
(Seen the movie though)
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I only struck through one. I had to read Heart of Darkness my senior year of high school and just really hated it, but to each their own. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge - Butterflies?

In preparation for this weeks Outdoor Hour challenge I read through the Handbook of Nature Study's section on Insects. As I read and looked at the pictures of moths and butterflies I couldn't help but be reminded of Gene Stratton-Porter's book A Girl of the Limberlost. There is so much talk and description of moths in that book. I can't look at moths and not think of that story.

We have had great weather the last week or so and have spent a lot of time outside riding bikes and taking walks but today I told the kids that we were going out to look for Butterflies and any other insects we find. They thought we needed our magnifying glasses for this hunt so I dug them out and we headed out the door. I had printed out the Summer Scavenger hunt sheet from Hearts and Trees to give us some other specific things to look for too.

As we walked down the sidewalk and were looking for the different things on our list as well as any butterflies we noticed a lot of spider webs hanging out between the pickets of one of our neighbor's fences.
Spiders aren't insects but we saw a fly caught in the spiders web. We watched him struggle for a bit and were going to leave it to it's fate but Henry decided he needed to help the fly.
He used his magnifying glass to knock the fly out of the web and we watched it fly away. Henry saved a life but I tend to think this little 2 year old was really trying to squish him but I will give him the points for his good deed.
One of the things we had to look for was "a weed that is taller than you". I didn't think we would find one. Most people keep their yards well pruned so a tall weed was going to be hard to find but the route we took around our block led us past this lovely weed.

We did see a lot of bees buzzing around in the flowers.
We also found this little guy flying around in some Morning glories.
Is this a yellow jacket or a wasp? I am voting for yellow jacket. But I know there are plenty of wasps around.
Sophie loves looking at morning glories and points them out every time we walk or drive by any.
We made back home and reviewed our scavenger hunt. We found just about everything except a butterfly and a ladybug. I don't know if it was because we were out in the middle of the day or if it just wasn't our day. We will have to try again to see a butterfly on another walk or while at the park this week. We still had a good time outside looking at everything.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Usually we don't have a whole lot to do with workbooks. Sophie has never enjoyed them and fights them every time they come out. But the last week or so I have been gathering the brood to the table (when I can actually get it cleared off and wiped clean) to do workbooks. Sophie does a math exercise or two.
I can tell we are out of practice. It is not that the math is hard. She is just fighting it again. So I know we need to do this more often. Back to math everyday again! She has had it easy too long.Ian has his own workbook where he practices writing letters or numbers and all sorts of preschool skills. Ian is doing a lot better with his pencil. He had a hard time holding it and writing but is now starting to write much easier and clearly.
And then there is Henry. He loves to join us at the table to do work. I don't have an official workbook for him. He usually gets a coloring book and will color or a maze book and try to make it through them. Usually it ends up something like this.
At least the coloring books are old ones that have already been colored and are from the dollar store or something. But it is a lovely mess to clean up each time. But what else does mom do but clean up messes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #20 - Summer Tree Study

It has been awhile since we did an outdoor hour challenge. It isn't that we haven't had time outside but just that I have been lazy about actually doing the challenges. Summer is great for being lazy! We have still been going out and about on hikes and scooter rides around our neighborhood and to the park. We have even gotten to know a few new flowers that the kids now seem to find everywhere.

Today we decided to revisit our Tree. We picked one of the birch trees right outside our door and Sophie refers to it as "our tree". I didn't think there would be much change from the last study since we did our spring study so late in the spring that it felt almost like summer already.
Here is a picture of our tree that we took in late April.
Here is the photo I took yesterday.The first picture was taken in the morning, the 2nd was taken in the afternoon so the lighting is different but the tree looks just about the same. Sophie thought it looked droopy. Maybe it just needs a little water.

When we went in to take a closer look at the leaves and catkins we noticed that there were some new catkins growing.
The green catkins that we saw in the spring are starting to turn brown and there were some fully brown ones that we pulled off and could easily break apart to spread those seeds around.

It should be exciting to see what this tree will do in the fall
In other gardening news. We have strawberries. The kids love to go out to our very tiny strawberry patch and pick the few ripe ones that they can find.
These cherry tomatoes often don't even make it inside for salad. I love it that they will just pop them in their mouths right off the vine.

Sophie was thrilled to find a bud on her flowers that she planted this spring. We have been waiting and waiting for these bulbs to grow and bloom.
There should be a number more show up in the next few days.
We still stop to smell all the flowers we can when we take our bike rides.
The Agapantus' are beautiful right now and the kid will stand for a long time just watching the bees buzz from flower to flower.
I hope to do better about keeping up with the challenges. I really like the idea of focusing on keeping a natural journal.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My ABC's

Cocoa tagged me for this one. I thought I would participate and fill in my answers to these ABC's.

A. Attached or single? Most definitely attached!

B. Best friend? Mahnk of course

C. Cake or pie? Pie although it is the "a la mode" part that I enjoy the most.

D. Day of choice? Everyday is about the same. My kids keep me busy every day of the week, holidays especially.

E. Essential item? My computer. I don't know how people homeschooled without it.

F. Favorite color? Violet

G. Gummy bears or worms? Not a big fan of either. I don't go for candy unless it is chocolate.

H. Home town? Grew up in small town in The Mother Lode. Now live in big town in Bay Area.

I. Favorite indulgence? Netflix. We consider this one of our extravagances. We don't do cable or satellite and love having a movie to watch and not have to go anywhere except the mailbox to get one.

J. January or July? January. I much prefer cooler weather.

K. Kids? Yup, got me a few.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Family

M. Marriage date? One year and a month before Sophie was born.

N. Number of brothers and sisters? Two brothers, three sisters. I am in the middle

O. Oranges or Apples? yes! either or both would be great!

P. Phobias? I don't think I have any actual phobias but I really don't like snakes and lizards. I won't touch them but they are alright behind glass.

Q. Quotes?
"Humility is like underwear. You have to have it but can't show it off." I don't know who actually said this one. It just makes me laugh.

"Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans" John Lennon

R. Reasons to smile? My kids, and my husband make me smile, giggle and laugh all the time. Sophie and her horse games, Ian and his Bardar Language and Henry with a shark in his tummy. Who wouldn't crack a smile at these guys.

S. Season of choice? I have almost always answered Autumn, when asked this question. I love the colorful leaves and the crisp wind. I love breaking out sweaters and long sleeves again. But after our lovely spring and learning so much about the flowers, trees and birds in our neighborhood I really look forward to Spring coming again.

T. Tag 5 people: You, You, You, You over there, and...... You.... but only if you want to.

U. Unknown fact about me? I can't bend the tip of one my fingers due to a accident doing dishes when I was little.

V. Vegetable? I actually really love broccoli. It is great raw or steamed and tastes great mixed in many casseroles.

W. Worst habit? Snacking when I'm bored (Cocoa I am with you on this one! It is hard when you are home all the time)

X. Xray or ultrasound? I have had both. Ultrasounds are much more fun!

Y. Your favorite food? Most anything that isn't good good for me. Warm bread, soup, tacos, pizza, ice cream are just a few that come to mind.

Z. Zodiac sign? Scorpio

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun Math Books

When I went in to read Sophie her at bedtime last night she didn't want to read Brighty of the Grand Canyon which we are in the middle. She requested that we read through her latest favorite, Alice in Numberland.

When we went to the library last week I came across some new fun math books. It is a whole series of I love Math books. I of course grabbed Alice in Numberland when I saw it there. Sophie would never be able to pass up a book that obviously is a take off of her favorite Alice in Wonderland. I also grabbed a few others since they looked like fun when I flipped through Alice. And a fun Math book is always welcome around here.
I was surprised by how much each of the kids has enjoyed them. Sophie claimed Alice of course. Ian loved the Head to Toe, Body Math book. And Henry won't let anyone else even look at the Mystery of the Sunken Treasure, Sea Math book. Those the the three I checked out this week. I saw a few more sitting on the shelf so if they are still there at our next library visit then they will quickly be added to our library book stash. Our library system has just about the whole series, so I will be putting them on hold so we can make sure we don't miss any.

The books are out of print but you can get them used. But check your library to see if they have them. They are fun! And have little math project suggestions that go along with the different concepts.
What a great find!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What a Week!

We have had a full week. A few really hot days where we just didn't want to do anything except sit inside our one air conditioned room and read books, play games or watch movies. But we still got in a lot of learning.
Lets take a look......
Ian has really enjoyed all the Pirate books we have been reading.
He even sat through the whole Pirates Magic Tree House Research guide. I really enjoyed the library book called Pirate Treasure. In it the captain uses a lot of the seafaring sayings about the weather. Such as red skies at night sailors delight, red skies at morn' sailors be warned. I hadn't heard all those saying and they are good to know.
We finished reading and listening to Peter Pan earlier this week and were waiting for Peter and the Starcatchers to come in at the library. We will start that next week

During our hot days I turned on the sprinkers for the kids to run through. They loved it. And of course anytime there is water there is mud.
The boys had a great time, and at least they were cooled down a bit. I hosed them down, which they loved, before coming inside so the clean up was so bad.

While out shopping one day last week one of the store we at were offering free tickets to a minor league baseball game. We love these free tickets and take advantage of them at least once or twice every summer. The tickets may be free but parking and treats at the park aren't so it is still a special event for us. So while at the ball park we enjoyed some cotton candy and rooted for the home team. We went with a few friends and all the kids had a great time. The kids loved it when the crowed sang along to songs or got up to do the wave. They also enjoyed all the between inning side show contests. By about the 7th inning they all we asking how much longer the game was going to be and if they could get more cotton candy. So after doing the 7th inning stretch and singing Take me out to the Ball game with the crowed we left. It was nice to be outside for a change since it had been one of the hottest days this week and luckily it had cooled off enough to be endurable.

Back to academics.

We read a biography of Frederic Remington. Sophie even tried to draw a few Remingtonish pictures.I think they turned out quite well.

We also read a few books about weather and focused on wind. We tried to make a pinwheel. They looked alright but wouldn't turn. But the kids really enjoyed making a weather girl and dress her up with all the different outfits to fit the different types of weather.

There are no children's books about Camille Saint-Saen. We did find a few Carnival of Animals books and CD's.
Sophie has listened to these at least 3 or 4 times everyday. She knows which song goes with each animal. Ian gets a few of them. We did look Saint-Saen up on Wiki so we at least know a little about him. Sophie thought it was funny that Saint-Saen didn't like Debusey.

We even squeezed in a little Math today. We still have about 1/3 of the Singapore 1B book. Ian loves getting out his preshool book to do math too. I think I will get him some Early Bird math books for him when I order the 2A and 2B books for Sophie. Henry usually does a book of mazes while we sit and do math. So everyone is busy with their own "math" book.

That about sums up our week. We enjoyed cooler weather today, thank goodness! Hopefully we will get around to more Nature walks and Outdoor hour challenges if the weather stays nice for a bit. Aarrgh!