Thursday, August 29, 2013

Henry finally started Scouts!

Henry has really been looking forward to today. This week I have been hearing "three more days" and then "Two more days". Today the mantra was "2 more hours" and then "half an hour". In that last half hour there was some deep distress because he couldn't find the scout belt. He didn't want to go without his belt. In the end he went and we still need to find the belt. 

Here are our two scouts.
 Ian got to carry the flag for the opening flag ceremony at our out door Pack Mtg. This was the welcome back BBQ.
The scouts cooked hot dogs and smores for their families. The scouts had a great time just hanging out and cooking around the fire.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Empanadas - Tasty Homework

Sophie's Online class is learning all about South America. One of her assignments for the week was to make Empanadas. We looked online for a recipe and finally decided to make apple filling for our empanadas. Of course we went for the sweet rather than the savory. 

 Sophie got to work making the pastry dough
 Everyone took turns rolling out a bit and then forking around the edges. I only took pictures of Sophie doing this because she needed to turn in pictures.
 Henry actually did most of the frying. He loves flames and hot things. Sophie is a bit afraid of anything that could burn her.  She was happy to turn that part of the process over to Henry.
 Here are our empanadas lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

 So what's the verdict? Any good?

 Henry even asked to have these again for his birthday instead of cake.
I guess that means they were good. I don't know if we will serve them again for Henry's birthday which is coming up. But they are a tasty treat and made a yummy FHE dessert. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Winging It - History

I mentioned in an earlier post that I planned to wing it more or less for our History and Science this year. Now that we are three weeks into our "un planned" subjects I figured it was time for an update.

History is going well. I have mainly been using The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and American History Stories which are on our Heritage History CD. My kids seem to enjoy these tales of the Spanish Conquistadors. I don't know about enjoy since these men were so ruthless with the natives.  But we are learning about many of the early explorers of the Americas the good and the bad.
I have been supplementing these books with some I find at the library. My kids always enjoy the You wouldn't want to be series. So I make sure I pick up any that might go along with our studies. This week we read You wouldn't want to explore with Sir Francis Drake, You wouldn't want to be Mary Queen of Scots and You wouldn't want to sail with Capatin cook.

Even our audio books have gone along with history lately. We recently finished Sing Down the Moon and then started Stowaway.  I really love using literature to study history.

I haven't had them do much as far as projects or writing. Mostly we just discuss and look at a lot of maps. I am going to have to try to fit in something a little more fun for them to do just to mix things up a bit.

Sophie's online Humanities class is studying Central and South America this term so all the history we have covered the last few weeks she is going to repeat again with her class. I think we are going to be heading more into North American History here shortly and jump into the stories of the early English settlements so I am sure Sophie will be doing history with us as well as with her online class. I hope it doesn't end up being too much.

So far so good with our History. Since we aren't using Story of the World as our spine this year I was little nervous but I think we are doing just fine with almost all literature.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Half Day at the Beach

Sophie started her online classes today. And the rest of us did some school this morning but after lunch we decided to take the rest of the day and head to the beach. I didn't tell my kids we would be going until just a few minutes before we left. I just told them to get their swim stuff on and grab their boards. On the drive we were suddenly struck with the realization that we forgot the sand toys. How could be forget such a vital part of a beach excursion? Oh well, we still had a great time!

 The waves were a little strange so the kids didn't use their boards too much. The tide was out and the waves were rolling in really short. The riptide was pretty strong so I kept a close eye on the kids as they played out in the waves.
 Especially this little lady. She enjoyed playing in the water as it rolled up onto the beach but I didn't let her get too far into the waves.
 There was still all sorts of things to do at the beach even without sand toys and boogie boarding.
 Sand crabs were a big draw.

 Ian and Molly enjoyed burying each other in the sand.

Henry and Sophie spent almost the entire time in the water jumping over the waves.

 See, I was there too. I mostly just kept an eye on everything and tried not to freeze in the cool wind. Wow! does my hair look gray.

Another successful trip to the beach. Even if it was rather impromptu and we forgot a few key items at home.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two More book Reviews

 I recently finished two more books that I received through NetGalley in return for reviews. The first is a Historical Christian Novel called Glittering Promises. This is the third book in the series. I agreed to review this one because I already had the first book, Glorious Illusions, in this series on my kindle. It was free a number of months ago and I had added it to my "to read someday" queue.  I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. But when I saw Glittering Promises on NetGalley I figured it was time to read the first before jumping into the later books. I am glad I did. I don't think I would have gotten to know the characters enough without the background you can only get in that first book.

The story follows a group of Nouveau Riche Americans as they travel through Europe on their Grand Tour. Cora is the exciting news worthy heiress who tries to not let money or fame change who she is and what she wants out of life. There are all sorts of religious epiphanies she has while on her trip that help her figure out her role in this new life she has been thrust into.  I didn't mind the Christian elements of the story. I also wouldn't say they were all that moving or compelling.

I got a little bored with the all the twists and turns of the plot. How many times can one person get kidnapped. And Cora's "define your relationship" discussions were way too plentiful. And I only read two of the books in this  three book series.  I was hoping for more description of the places they were visiting. Having visited some of those places I was hoping to revisit them through this book. The focus wasn't on where they were and was more about the relationships between the characters.

The 2nd book I read is The Reluctant Blogger. This book is LDS fiction and ended up really be a surprise for me. The main character is a man and it is told mainly through blog posts that he writes for his shrink. He can't seem to talk to the guy while in his office so he has to start a blog and write down his feelings and experiences as he heals after the death of his wife. He also writes about the hazards of the single LDS scene while trying to still be dad to his three kids.

It is a very interesting perspective and I enjoyed the book. This guy has way more troubles thrown at him in just a short amount of time than I hope anyone ever has to deal with.  The author is able to give Todd a voice that seems to see the humor, irony and even the hypocrisy in situations. There were quite a few "hot topics" tossed into the mix and I felt like they were handled with honesty and charity.

This wasn't a cleaned up and polished life but a real one.  Well worth a read.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Learning the Periodic Table

I am often surprised by how much my kids remember. It has been 4 years since we did Chemistry yet they remember playing a Periodic Table game and also arranging cards to make a table. After reading about Dmitri Mendeleev today and hearing about how he arranged cards when he was putting together the first periodic table they asked me if I still had the cards we arranged 4 years ago. I went to the closet and pulled them out. Thank goodness I hadn't thrown them away. After all that printing and cutting I guess I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them.

 It took a bit of effort and they had to peek at the Periodic Table we have on our wall in order to complete this task but they did it.
 They then asked to play the Periodic Table game. I had downloaded this one and laminated the board. It too was still in our game closet stuck against the wall behind a bunch of other games. So we played this today too.
This game had us carefully reading the names of the elements we landed on (you get extra points if you know the place or person an element is named for). We also were careful to watch for the gasses or liquids and even the radioactive elements because you either got to roll again or add radioactive shields. So as we played this game we learned a bit more about the table and helped plant a bit more into our memories.

 I won the game since I landed on the space that allowed me to go down the rare earth metals rows. The kids all jumped over those spaces and got to the end faster but didn't get to rack up as many points.
 What did Molly do this whole time? She pulled a bunch of stuff out of our game closet. There were all sorts of games dumped out all over the floor. She eventually found some magnetic letters and ran to the fridge to put them up. She actually put the alphabet up in order. This girl is not far from reading.

It was a fun lesson on the Periodic Table.

What added to the fun was that I was able to share a few tidbits of information I have been learning while reading The Disappearing Spoon. I have really found this book interesting. I keep sharing things I learn from it with my husband and kids.

I don't remember studying chemistry as a kid and don't know how I passed chem in high school. It seemed more like a math class than a science. I did take some science in college but not chemistry, it was scary! But I am having so much fun learning about the elements, how and where they were discovered and how they react. Suddenly chemistry is fascinating to study. I guess I just needed to become the teacher before it started to make sense and become interesting to me.

One of the many benefits of homeschooling. I am learning so much!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First weeks' report

So School officially starts next week for most kids in our area. It is the start date for our Charter school too. We actually started two weeks ago. I still haven't added in everything I want to put in (Latin, Art, etc.) but I am waiting to see how much time we have after all our classes and such start. Sophie has online classes almost everyday and we have outside activities for one or all of the kids every day of the week. I didn't plan this very well since I don't have any day during the week where we just stay home. That could be a problem! We will just have to see how it all plays out.

We have been good about doing Scripture every day.We have been reading the 4 Gospels all Summer and will be starting the Book of Mormon when we finish Luke in a few days. We are also reviewing the Articles of Faith since the boys don't know them nearly as well as Sophie does.

We have been making our way through many of the explorers of the New World in our History reading. The books included in the Heritage History Early American collection have been great for this. I do have to edit them a little. They are rather politically incorrect. They are older books publishedin the early 1900's. One of the story we read refers to the Natives as Savages and isn't very complementary. I don't consider myself a totally pc type person but I cringed a little when we read parts and I had to stop and correct the language and discuss with my kids why we don't use terms like that anymore. But I think we are doing really well learning all about the Viking, Spanish, Portugese, and now we are moving into the English and Dutch explorers and their settlements in the US.

Henry actually really loves IEW Writing. We have only done Lesson 1 and a few reinforcement assignments but he actually prefers doing an outline and paragraph than a Language Lesson. I am happy with either. Sophie is currently doing IEW Level B but when her classes start up we may move a lot slower through those we will just have to see how much writing she is going to be doing for her classes. Ian does the assignments but his writing in so hard to read. I really need him to focus on penmanship. All those cursive lessons we did over the Summer haven't really helped. He is just a really messy writer and it gets in the way of me enjoying what he writes.  Something to continue to work on!

Math is going fine with all the kids. Sophie and Ian are doing alright with Saxon and Henry is still working through Singapore. Nothing new and exciting here. They just keep plugging away at their respective books.

Science has actually happened a few times. We are reading through the Mystery of the Periodic Table and What's smaller than a Pygmy Shrew

But the best thing for Science study has been having the period table of the elements hanging on the wall right by the dining table. The dining table is where all the action happens in our house pretty much. We eat, do our school work, draw, fold clothes, etc. on that little table so the kids are always asking me about different elements and what the different things there mean. We had a great discussion about electrons and the different shells the other day simply because Ian asked what some numbers down the side of each element. Our poster has the number of electrons in each shell listed down the side of each element. The kids really want to get to the experiment part of chemistry but I haven't gathered up the supplies yet so we will have to wait a little longer.

We have made it through several short audio books over the past two weeks. Either that means we are in the car a lot or the books have just been very short. We listened to Sign of the Beaver. Ian said this is one of his favorite stories. He remembered it from when we listened to it a few years ago. I found the paperback on the shelf and let him read through it again for himself. When we finished that one we listened to Call it Courage.  This is one Sophie has on her book list for one of her online classes. I figured it couldn't hurt to let her listen to it before she is supposed to read it for her class. We are finishing up The Black Pearl. I remember listening to my 5th grade teacher read this one aloud to the class after lunch many years ago.

Molly has been doing a little bit of school each day. I have explode the code for her. It doesn't take long for her to complete each letter. So she is flying through the book pretty quickly. I have printed out a few extra work sheets for the letter she is working on each day and she flies through those really quickly too.  I have tried to make sure she isn't just passed over and shuffled off to the side. She keeps asking to watch Super Why. I am not overly excited about her watching shows but she is rather relentless in her asking and whining so I give in and she gets to view an episode or two each day.  She also has been able to have the play dough and paints out a few times. Even though the clean up is not fun for me I let her have at it. I hate it when she tells me she is bored! She gets a few books read to her and sometimes a puzzle or game but mostly she just hangs out with the rest of us causing all sorts of mischief.

Ian loves his Lego League class. He spends all sorts of time building robots at home and learning the new EV3 programming language.
Oh and speaking of programming... Sophie started, loved, finished and is rereading Lauren Ipsum. It was on the list of books for the Williamsburg Intermediate STEM class. She isn't taking the STEM class with Williamsburg this semester but I figured she might want to read the books on the list. Lauren Ipsum was only $3.82 for the Kindle. I love that Sophie has a Kindle and she is starting to carry it around with her everywhere. Having all sorts of books at her fingertips is such a good thing! We will see if she wants to read any of the other books on their curriculum list for that class.

That about wraps up our academics. I hope the coming week goes smoothly. We are adding in piano, gymnastics and online classes. Then in September we add in  Choir and co-op. And of course there will be Cub scouts for both Ian and Henry, and Young Woman's for Sophie (no more activity days for her). Yikes! we are going to be busy!