Thursday, August 30, 2012

It pays to go to Cub Summer Camp

We had the first pack meeting of the new school year. Ian has really missed cub scouts each week and is very glad it is back in session. Tonight was the kick off BBQ and awards ceremony. My goodness were there A LOT of awards. So many of the boys in our pack went to cub camp and each boy earned all sorts of belt loops and pins and some earned patches. 
This was Ian's haul for Summer. 

He went home tonight with 10 new belt loops and 6 of them with their pins. I don't know exactly what to do with the pins. I am going to have to see where they go on the uniform (if they even do?!?). They are really cute! I guess I shouldn't say that about cub scout things but they are tiny and they have the cute little picture of the award on it. Sophie really likes the Wildlife Conservation one because it has an owl on it.   She feels deprived because she doesn't get to earn little awards and pins.  

Henry enjoyed the food at the BBQ. He told me as we were walking back to the car that he ate 4 hot dogs and 3 s'mores. I know Ian ate at least that many s'mores but was too busy with meeting to down that many hot dogs. I hope Henry sleeps well tonight and doesn't end up with a bellyache.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


 Guess who got some new tap shoes!  My little shoe diva received a new pair of shoes in the mail today. I purchased her a pair of tap shoes and still have to find some ballet shoes before her ballet class starts in a week or so.  Yes this is Molly who is only just turned three years old and yet she too gets to have "a class".

I remember years ago when I would make the kids take turns doing outside classes just so I didn't feel like juggling too many things. With four kids who all want to do different things and inorder to really progress at a sport or an instrument you have to keep at it.  Well I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very busy while I try to get my kids to all their different activities.

Sophie has piano, pottery, Beautiful Girlhood, choir, activity girls and co-op

Ian has piano, gymnastics, Times Tables, cub scouts and co-op.

Henry has piano, gymnastics, and co-op

Molly has ballet and tags along with Mom as we wait for classes to be done.

And in between all the driving I have to somehow squeeze in all the normal school subjects.

Even though there will be lots of running to and fro and waiting around it will be worth it to see the smile on Henry's face when he leaves his gymnastics class with the biggest grin and he begins the count down to the next class. And it is always worth it when I hear my kids practice there piano music.

I can't wait to see how much fun little Molly has dancing. This little princess is going love every moment of her class!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We are moving quickly through the first few chapters of Story of the World. My kids love to listen to chapter after chapter.  We are already on chapter 4 this week. If we do two chapters a week we are going to fly through rather quickly but I have a feeling things will really slow down once all our online classes and activities start up in Sept. We will have a little less time to read the books and do projects so won't be able to fly through things so fast. For now it is good to get ahead so I don't feel like we have to play catch up later. 

Chapter 4 of Story of the World is about the Byzantine Empire. And it discussed a little about their famously beautiful mosaics. Of course we had to give these a try. 4 years ago when we did mosiacs I used little squares of colored paper and contact paper.  This time I decided to try sequins. 

 Everyone was given a blank sheet of cardstock and a pile of colorful sequins.  They each started with a pencil drawing. Ian and Henry each drew some sort of "Minecraft guy" for their pictures. Sophie was a bit more adventurous and did an eagle with a halo that she saw in one of the celtic coloring books she has been pouring over the last few days.
 Molly just squirted some glue on the page and started sticking little square sequins into the glue.
 She said it was a dancing robot.
 Sophie covered her entire page with her drawing and then took a long time placing the little colors on the page.
 Here is Ian's Minecraft guy.
 Henry evidently made a few Minecraft guys and they are fighting. I think I need to figure out more about Minecraft. I don't know what this game is that they are talking and talking about.
 Sophie was very diligent and kept at her task until the entire paper was covered.
 Here is my mosaic. Not very creative but it works and looks very nice glittering in the light.
 Here is Molly's dancing robot.

And here is Sophie's finished product. It turned out really beautiful.

I think this was a successful project. They each have a little something to hang on their walls and hopefully they learned a little something from the experience.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Star Test Results

Today we received the results for Sophie and Ian's STAR tests that they took last spring.

I am happy to say Ian did well in both his Language Arts and Math sections of his test scoring well in to the target range in each. He was proficient in his LA and Advanced in his Math. This didn't totally surprise me but was validating.

Sophie scored really high in her Language Arts and Science sections but somehow really botched the Math. But I think this result has more to do with her test taking skills than her actual Math skills. She does just fine in her math at home so I think she just choked when taking the test. If I remember right she didn't know she could use scratch paper and thought she had to do all the math in her head.  I am sure she will do better the next time we take these tests once we have addressed some of the issues of taking these types of tests.

For our first try at these STAR tests and since we have never taken tests like these ever, I figure we did pretty well.  Without any experience or preparation for such tests I think Ian and Sophie are doing just fine. Not that I needed tests scores to tell me this!

First Week of School

We officially started school this week and honestly we did pretty well. We were able to get just about everything in that I had planned for the week.

We listened to the first two chapters of Story of the World. And read a few different versions of Beowulf. But the book the boys liked the best was Barbarians by Steven Kroll.  We only read through the Goths and the Huns. We are going to revisit this book we get to Vikings.

We did the first two weeks of reading and workbook pages for Elemental Science. My kids are really enjoying learning about the Universe and Galaxies.  We read through the pages assigned in the Science Encyclopedia that was listed for these two topics and also added in a few more library books that I found that reviewed these again.

They all enjoyed actually drawing the different shapes of the Galaxies rather than just labeling them on the workbook sheet.

Sophie and Ian did IEW Fix it each day this week. Ian is doing the Tom Sawyer book and Sophie is doing The Frog Prince. Eventually we will add in some actual writing practice but for now this will do.  Henry did his PAL assignments each day which consist of writing two sentences in a journal and doing a bit of copywork along with reading a book and explaining to me the plot and such. He is still very reluctant to read and write.

Scripture, Math and piano practice even happened everyday.

We listened to the story of Vivaldi

And we read a biography of Gioto.

And then looked through the book The Glorious Impossible which was filled with Giotto's frescos used to illustrate this story.

We didn't actually do a lesson in Latin but we did read the first few sections of Cornelia a free Latin Reader that I got online. The first two or three sections were pretty easy to understand but it certainly got harder as we went along. We will be revisiting this Latin Reader again and again I am sure.

Ian built a few more Robots with his mindstorms and continues to work on learning to program it. I consider this school work but he just considers it fun. It is just school work I have to ask him to put off until everything else is done.

So for a first week of school that went pretty well. We will see how it all works out when classes and activities start in September.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Plethora of Books

Since we are back in to doing our school work I guess that means Summer is officially over and so is our Summer Reading program at the library. Each of the kids got to pick out a new book to add to our collection. Our bookcase is bursting!

I thought I would just list a few of the books the kids have been reading this Summer.

I will start with Molly. She is very much a girl and loves books about little girls. She LOVES Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious books. I am also happy to see that she enjoys some good old classics.  I read Blueberries for Sal about every other day. She loves it and when we found the book One Morning in Maine at the booksale recently she was so thrilled to see Sal a little more grown up.

She does let me get a few different books in the rotation once in awhile. She always lets me read The Snowy day or Mike Mulligan even thought there aren't any little girls in them.  I make sure we get all those good Five in a Row books into our rotation. I may never actually do that program again but at least she will be exposed to the great books!
Molly received The Big Red Book of Beginner Books for her birthday.  Stop that Ball! is a book I remembered reading to Sophie and Ian when they were little but our library no longer had it in the whole library system. So I had to get this combo book so Molly would get to have this great book read to her as well.  I thought she would love the story as much as the other kids did, and she does but the story in this collection that I have to read every time we get this book out is The The Digging-Est Dog .  She loves it for some reason.

Henry has decided he can read more than just picture books. He was soooo excited this Summer when he actually read Tin Tin on his own. He just liked looking at the pictures before but finally figured out that he can actually read the captions to go along with all those pictures.
He then decided to pick up Stuart Little and read it. He was so funny telling me all the difference between it and the movie.
I don't know where I heard about the Ivy and Bean books but I picked up a few of them at the library thinking Sophie would like them. But they ended up being really easy reads and the two girls are about Henry's age so he quickly picked these books up and read one. I even let him get away with putting off some school work because he was sitting on the couch just glued to this book. I just didn't have the heart to pull him away from a book when he is so engrossed in it.

When we went to the library the next week he quickly went and looked for the rest of the series. He has now almost finished the entire set of these books. 

Ian has been reading some Star Wars books. Jude Watson wrote some of the 39 clues books that my kids really enjoyed.  So when he saw some Star Wars book on the shelf she decided to give them a try. He has read through quite a number of the Jedi Quest series. 

Sophie spends her time reading everything she can get her hands on. She reads just about everything that is brought home from the library. So everything they boys read she reads too. Everything I pick out for Molly she reads those as well.

I asked her what she has been been reading late at night and she replied Horrible Histories. Not my idea of great things to fill my head before going to sleep but she likes it. She is always telling me things about this or that time period/place of history and I wonder where she got the information. Evidently she learns a lot from these books.

Sophie has been picking out a number of Andrew Clements books to bring home. I think it is funny she likes these since they are usually about kids in school and different problems or things that take place in public school. For a homeschooled kid who has never attended school this may be her way of seeing what she is missing. Often Clements is rather critical of the system. She may not pick up on that but I sure do from his books I have read.

Me? What I have been reading? I have been reading lots and lots. But I have to say it has mostly been mind candy kind of things. Lots of Georette Heyer's regency romances and that sort of thing. Our library has a number of them to borrow for my Kindle and they are quick easy reads. If you ever need something fun to read give Black Sheep or The Grand Sophy a try. They are two of the better ones of Heyer's that I have read recently.

I guess we all need to get a little more serious about our reading. I have a number of good books to read for the Middle ages but we haven't jumped into those yet. We are still enjoying our light Summer reads. But soon that will have to change.