Saturday, August 30, 2008

Week in Review

I can't say it was an especially busy week academically. Sophie hasn't really been interested in doing much of anything. I think because she knows we are going on vacation next week. But we did accomplish a bit.

History - We reviewed the chapter or Story of the World about the Byzantine Empire and then moved onto the next chapter about India and the Gupta dynasty. We read a number of picture books that take place in India that really didn't have much to do about the chapter but because they took place in India I guess they went with it. We also reviewed some basics about Hinduism and Buddhism. We looked at the Kids book of world religions but the kids really enjoyed the Schlessinger Video What is Hinduismand What is BuddhismI think seeing the people actually doing some of the rituals and things really brought the topic to life. I already have the What is Islam on hold at the library for the next SOTW chapter which is about Muhammad and the raise of Islam.

Science - We read a few books about caves. I think the kids know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. We are planning to go into a cave next week while on vacation. So this was prep for that outing. We had a good review of all our earth studies when at the Tech Museum. The IMAX movie was all about volcanos and earthquakes and weather.

Math - Sophie did about 3 exercises in her book. And we have spent a lot of time just reviewing some basic math facts. She has been doing funny things with her subtraction. She needs to remember to borrow instead she has been just subtracting the bigger from the smaller number or even just adding instead. So we are going to do some additional math drills in the future.

Language - We had a great week with our Language lessons. We actually did it every day. This week was all about sentences. We went over the four types of sentences. Statements, questions, commands and exclamations. My kids now are always telling me "That was a command". I guess I give a lot of orders around here. I am always saying "That was a statement not a request" when they just say "I am hungry" and expect me to get them food. They are getting the idea.

Art/Music - I can't say we did a whole lot with either of these. I think we are ready to move onto another composer and artist.

We sort of did a FIAR book this week. We were supposedly doing All Those Secrets of the World. Mostly we just read the book a few times and discussed different things about it. We didn't do any activities other than search out a sycamore tree which ended up being our Outdoor Hour this week. I can't say this was a really big hit with my kids. But then I didn't put much into it. I need to plan ahead more. Maybe we will try this one again when it fits more into our history schedule.

Anyway... that was our academic week.

Mostly my kids did this.
I can't tell you how many times I had to help clean up after they got out almost every toy we own. But they played nicely most of the time and did clean up after themselves most of the time (with my help of course)

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Day at the Tech

Our pass to the Discovery Museum could get us into the Museum of Technology and Innovation during the month of August. I planned our trip for this week since most kids would be in school and the museum wouldn't be as crowded. I was right. We had a great time and didn't have to wait in lines or fight with other kids to get a turn doing the different things.

Since I don't like to drive in the city or pay to park we took the light rail in to downtown.
The kids had such a hard time waiting for the train. They were so excited to go.

One of the first things we did when we got there was visit their Going Green exhibit. The kids got to "drive" energy efficient cars. Here they got to learn about solar energy. They had to line up the mirror to bounce the light onto sensors so they could light some houses.

They also had to design some turbines to move in this hydro electric plant.There was also a place to make windmills that would collect energy from the wind. Ian said "Sun, Wind and Water can make energy. Bob taught me that". He has watched Bob's big plan a number of times, I guess.

This was a fun exhibit. The big screens reacted to the kids shadows. The rain would fall and you could catch it.
Or if you stood really still the butterflies would land on you.

There was a whole exhibit on the Earth and we even got to experience an earthquake. But this globe was one of my favorite things we looked at.
It is a relief map that shows the height of mountains on each of the continents. Very dramatic height changes! They also had another globe that showed the different depths and mountain ranges that are under the sea.

Ian loved the exhibit on Space exploration. He even got to try out an astronaut's jet pack.
There was all sorts of fun stations where the kids could do different things. This one is a tilt table and you had to get a ball through a maze by tilting the table around.

Henry loved this painting one. He sat here a long time and created a masterpiece.

The kids could write their own songs on this wall by hitting buttons.

But we all enjoyed watching the robots. This robot took a picture of us and then drew it.
It was a lot of fun to watch.

At the end of the day we watched an IMAX movie about the planet earth. The kids loved seeing a film on such a large screen. It was a long day though and Henry didn't quite make it through. He curled up into a ball and started to snooze.

We had a great time and avoided the heat that hit us the last few days. It was a lot of fun. The kids thought it was even better than the Children's Discovery Museum. I guess next time we will get season passes to the Tech instead.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just when you thought life couldn't get any busier....

Our lives feel like they are in fast forward recently. Every day seem to add yet another responsibility and commitment onto our already full plate.

Today I found out I get to be the team parent for Henry Soccer team and one of the assistant coaches of Ian's. That is what I get when I say "Sure I will help out where ever I am needed". So I will get to do a lot of running around with little guys twice a week for the next few weeks. And every Saturday there are two games.

I also got an email saying Band Practice starts next week. I really enjoyed playing in the band last Spring and it is fun to do band with a friend who is also a flute. So I hate to give this up.

I got sucked into ward choir. Not a huge time commitment but still another hour each Sunday. Since I play the flute I get to play descants and such. This is how I got drafted in. Once people know what you can do all of sudden you get asked to do it.

I also have 3 callings at church and one of those is in the Primary. I am supposed to be the secretary but one of the ladies in the presidency is having her baby this week so she has been and will be out of things for awhile. So I have some of her responsibilities as well as mine to do. I am also writing our Ward's Primary Presentation. I came up with the idea so I am sort of now in charge of it. YIKES! Maybe I shouldn't admit that it was my idea. If it flops then I don't want to claim it. No it will be great! How can you miss when you have 40 cute kids singing primary songs. Tears will flow from every parent and grandparent in the room.

So that is just what I am doing or responsible for.

My husband is seriously busy with the Protect Marriage Proposition. He has been put in charge of our zip code. He is supposed to organize the community and get help from all the other churches and organizations in our area to help get people out to spread the word via phone, literature, walking door to door. That last few Saturdays we have huge groups of people in our house receiving the information that they need to do the work. It is exciting to be involved like this but this means I have to have my house spic and span every weekend. I have muffins and goodies to share with the volunteers. And this will only get more complicated once soccer games get thrown into the mix each Saturday. At least the kids will get out of the house. But my husband's job isn't just on Saturday's. He collects the information from the phoning and walking people and has to enter it into a data system so they can analyze it. So he spends almost all his after work hours doing this. He is even dreaming about it. But he is actually enjoying it. He loves talking to people and he has meet some nice people in our community.

Somewhere in all of this Sophie is also going to do Ballet and go to a Science Club. At least Science Club is during the day and not something we try to squeeze into those few short after work hours.

Oh yeah... I still have to do school each day with my kids and hopefully one day potty train Henry. And we have Birthday's coming up in the next two weeks....

I need a vacation! Good thing we are headed up to Grandma's house for a little quiet time.

Leave it all behind for a little while.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge -Bees and Trees

On today's nature walk we didn't set out to look for bees. We headed out to study a tree. Our FIAR book this week talks about Sycamore trees and after looking them up in my tree field guide, I remembered seeing one in our neighborhood. When I showed a picture of a Sycamore tree to my kids they said it was just like a Sweet Gum tree because of the balls that hang on it. I told them that since we have a bunch of Sweet Gum trees along our street and at least one sycamore tree nearby we would go out and compare the two trees. We went first to the sycamore tree.
Sophie examined the bark and even pulled a little piece off, since it peals off easily.
I collected a leaf and a few of the balls.
We carried them along with us until we came across a sweet gum tree. The kids all examined the bark. We couldn't collect a sample, this bark wasn't coming off. We did gather a few of the sticker balls that are always scattered around under the sweet gum. We then compared the two leaves and the two different balls. The leaves actually look somewhat similar but the balls don't really look the same at all. Even when they are green and still hanging in the tree. But I thought it was good that the kids made the original assumption so that we could really examine these trees. I know we won't get them mixed up anymore.

Along our walk we also noticed a few plants that were just recently blooming again. The bottle brush bush bloomed in the Spring and is now just bursting out again. We noticed a whole lot of bees there too. They must really get excited when these late summer flowers bloom. I can tell we have read the Magic School Bus book Inside a Beehive (as well as many others about bees) a lot because all the kids thought that these flowers were the last chance for these bees to gather all the nectar that they need to make it through the winter.

We passed our "Humming bush" of rosemary and it too is blooming a second time this year. And it was humming again. We sat and watched those bees a long time. How nice of these flowers to appear again right before Fall so the bees can "stock their shelves".

Sophie got very excited to show me this beautiful patch of flowers that had a bunch of butterflies fluttering around.
I still don't have a insect field guide so I don't have any idea what kind of butterfly this is. Sophie and I did take a good look at these butterflies to see if they were skipper butterflies like we saw on our last walk. They weren't holding their wings the same way as the last ones. These butterflies held their wings straight up behind them and not at different angles like the others did.

It was a lovely afternoon walk/ scooter ride. We always see so many fun things just walking around our block.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nothing much going on

Just all the usual. I could tell the kids just wanted to play a lot this week. So I let them. Sophie and Ian have actually been playing nicely together. They have been building zoos and playing vet with just about every toy they have in the closet. The little people have been out, along with the play mobile pirates and knights. They all take care of the plastic animals and move them about from place to place. The only one that hasn't been playing too well is Henry. He doesn't really play he just drifts about causing mayhem where ever he goes.

We have been listening to a lot of stories on CD too. Sophie really loved Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant by Jack Prelutsky. She listened to it three times in a row one afternoon. We also picked up a few CD's with stories read by Jim Weiss. The kids all recognized his voice from the Story of the World CD's. Our library has a bunch of these story CD's so we will work our way through them all eventually I am sure.

We did start a new afternoon read aloud. I have read the first two chapters of The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit.
Sophie didn't want me to stop, but dinner had to be made. I am glad she likes it. It has sat here on the shelf a long time waiting to be read.

In other academics.......

Math - Sophie did an exercise every day. She doesn't fight it at all now unless I ask her to do two exercises in one day. She even woke up last Saturday morning and did one just for fun. We got to look at money this week. We broke out real bills and took a good look at them and who is on each one. As usual the math isn't much of a challenge. Sophie just takes a long time with each problem because she get distracted by other things going on around her.

I have done a few lessons with Ian as well. I don't push him to do it but when Sophie does hers he usually grabs his book and wants to do one too. His lessons are really way too easy for him. We are almost finished with Earlybird Kindergarden 1A already. I have a feeling we may fly through these kindergarden math books quickly and jump into first grade math with him. He can't read but he knows his numbers, can write them and often answers Sophie's math problems so I guess we will go with his strengths.

Science - Our focus for the week has been Volcanos and Earthquakes. We have read many books on these subjects. The boys seem especially interested in the exploding volcanos. Henry likes to point out that we live in the "Ring of Fire". The kids requested that we make a volcano. So we broke out the baking soda, red food coloring and vinegar. The kids loved watching the pink foam bubble up and over the bottle but were disappointed that there wasn't a big boom or something to start it off.

Since we live just about on top of a fault line we discussed what we should do when there is an earthquake. We talked about where they should go when there is an earthquake and also made sure they all knew where the 72 hour kits and other emergency supplies are kept. (I need to go through these and replace a few things!). If the ground starts shaking I think my kids will remember to hide under the kitchen table unless they are too fascinated by the swaying objects in the room like they were last time.

Grammar - We actually did 2 good Language lessons this week. We need to do more of these lessons but we are going to ease into it.

History - We listened to the Story of the world Chapter about the Byzantine empire. We looked at pictures of Petra and the mosaics found there. We also made mosaics again using little square papers and contact paper. The kids sat for a long time putting the squares in rows on their sticky sheets.
Sophie loved learning about the Hagia Sophia. And when we have looked at other books about the middle ages or the Byzantines, she recognizes it.
While at the library I picked up some DVD's that give a overview of the middle ages as well as some that talk about specific people or jobs in the middle ages.
Sophie has really enjoyed these and my husband makes us watch them again because he doesn't want to miss them.

Art - I have caught Sophie reading and rereading the biography of Picasso. She really likes to look at his pictures. We haven't done a whole lot more than this with him this week.

Music - We didn't read a chapter of Fredrick Chopin: Son of Poland book. I have been doing one chapter a week (they are rather long chapters) But instead we listened to the Classics for Kids episodes about Chopin. We also listened to our Chopin and Champaign

Spanish - We have been listening to (in the car) and watching Muzzy a few times this week. I am so surprised when I hear even Henry say things in Spanish. I don't know if he actually knows what he is saying or if he is just repeating the line from the show but they are getting more an more from it each time. They even decided to build Muzzy's space ship with K'nex. I find it so funny that they choose Muzzy for their afternoon movie. They are choosing to watch a cartoon in a foreign language for fun?! But then again. When have my kids been "normal".

That about wraps up our week. We also spent a bunch of time playing with friends at the park and riding bikes in the driveway. We have 2 birthday parties to go to today. So we are having a rather busy week end.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Picasso Study

Our artist for the month is Picasso. I found a great book about Picasso at the library last week. Picasso and Minou is a fun picture book that introduces the painter and tells about his blue period and leads into his pink period. My kids loved sitting down and reading this book together. We have already read Venezia's biography of Picasso and it talked about the blue period and it showed us a few of the blue paintings but the Minou book really brought the reasons behind the paintings to life for them. They got it a little better after reading the picture book story.

We broke out our paints after reading the book and tried to make paintings using just one main color. My kids can't resist all the different colors so we ended up just having fun painting. While painting we discussed what emotions each color conveys. Sophie decided pink and red were very happy colors. Blue was a sad color. We differed in our opinions about green. I thought it was a cheerful color and Sophie thought it was a sort of quiet and sad. I guess it depends on what hue of green we are talking about. We agreed that most colors in the pure hue were much happier than if you mixed them with other colors.

Maybe next week we will get into the cubism style that Picasso is so famous for. But this week we enjoyed his blue and pink pictures.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge - House Fly

It shouldn't be too much of a challenge to study house flies. We almost always have one or two chasing around the house because I have kids that can't seem to remember to shut the door. But I couldn't find one this morning when we sat down to actually study them. Good thing I had googled pictures of flies and printed out a few, including a life cycle diagram. Sophie saw my print out and thought they were perfect to add to her Animal Journal that she did for her Kindergarden school year. There are plenty of pages left in the book continue adding new animals. Ian cut out the pictures and glued them into the book. Sophie made a drawing of a fly to add. And I read a few interesting facts to them from the Handbook of Nature Study. We were fascinated by how quickly they reproduce. A full grown fly only 12 days after the eggs are laid. After this study I think I going to be much more diligent about keeping these pests out of my house.

We headed out for a walk after our fly study to see what other insects we could find.

We did some flies while out and we always stop to smell and look at the flowers we pass along our way. This particular flower was just beautiful and huge. I had to make sure my daughter's hand was in the shot so I could compare it to the size of the flower. Ever since we learned about snap dragons a few weeks ago we spot them everywhere and the kids love to make them snap open and shut.

Along our walk we saw some bees buzzing around the flowers and some yellow jackets in the morning glories like we did last time but we got really lucky and saw these.....
Sophie knew they were moths because they folded up their wings behind them. We don't have a insect field guide (I need to find a good one) so I have no idea what kind of moth these are. But we were thrilled to see them.
There were three of them fluttering around this bunch of yellow flowers. There must have been something good in those flowers because they kept coming back even after my kids tried to catch them a few times.

We also sat and watched this big black bee visiting this interesting flower. I think it is some kind of carpenter bee.
The bee would go inside the group of petals that were all stuck together and come out and go back inside. We all sat and watched it at work for a long time.
Look at these fuzzy legs. I need to figure out what kind of flower this is. It was lovely.

Our walk led us to a friend and neighbors house. They happened to be outside and invited us to their back yard to pick a few apples off their tree. A little tree climbing is always welcome.
And apples to take home as well as snack on while we walk the rest of the way home was great!

It was a lovely little nature walk and we enjoyed being outside this morning.

I do it to myself

Why are the best olympic events shown so late at night? Gymnastics, my favorite summer games sporting event, doesn't even start until 11:00 p.m. And of course I had to stay up last night and watch the Woman's all around. Which means I was up until 1:00 a.m. Other nights this week I have started watching the Gymnastics and end up falling asleep so never make it to the end. But last night I watched all the way through.
I am going to be a zombie today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hurray, Hurray!

Sophie has been so excited to finally come to end of another Math Workbook. Today she finished the last review in her Singapore math 1B book and she is already thrilled to get to move on. She said "I am finally done with First Grade. Tomorrow I get to start second grade". She got up from the table and did a little dance for joy. Henry loved the excitement of the moment and was giving Sophie high fives to congratulate her on finishing and yelling "Hurray, Hurray" to her.

Math has been such a struggle for us this past year. Not that Sophie doesn't understand the topic but just she has a really hard time staying focused and the boys certainly don't help with this. I find I have to sit right there and watch her progress. She always wants me to let her know if the answer is correct before moving on. I have been trying to have Ian do some math at the same time as Sophie does hers but he needs me to read the directions each time so he need my attention too. Which then leaves Henry to either run wild through the house or he will at times work on his own "math workbook".
We are really enjoying Singapore math and will continue with it. Sophie is already excited to start her green workbooks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elinor Again

This is the 2nd quiz I have taken. I have gotten the same results each time. I must really have a personality like Elinor. I haven't read Sense and Sensibility in awhile. Maybe it is time to revisit it.

Your result for The Jane Austen heroine Test...

Elinor Dashwood

60% romance, 36% sauciness, 62% etiquette, 59% intelligence

You're always aware of social obligations and have more than your fair share of sense. You would never say something out of anger or in poor taste. This may lead some (like, perhaps, your saucy little sister) to accuse you of being cold. Nothing could be further from the truth! It's just that you don't believe in making a scene. Respectable gentlemen everywhere swoon for you (though you'd never admit it). But you only have eyes for one. He is lucky to have you.

Ideal matches: Edward Ferrars, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth

Guaranteed heartbreak: John Willoughby, John Thorpe

Not worthy of your affections: Frank Churchill, Captain Benwick

Take The Jane Austen heroine Test at HelloQuizzy