Saturday, August 28, 2010

I am going to try to participate!

I am going to try to participate in this blog hop. I can't wait to read the posts by all the different guest writers. I also plan to study the Proclamation throughout the month of September with my children and hopefully have some meaningful thoughts to share. Perhaps by saying this publicly I will be motivated enough to actually write the posts.

This is the Schedule:

  • September 6Photo Essay:  Photos that "say" something about the Family Proclamation. For example, a picture of your family playing a game with the caption from the proclamation that says, "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on . . .wholesome recreational activities."
  • September 13 - Crafts about the Proclamation or family
  • September 20 - Sharing the Proclamation...Example:  Take sidewalk chalk and write one truth from the family proclamation some place where a lot of people would see it.  Post something at work.  Do something artistic with it.  Present it to a neighbor or friend.  Blog about an experience when you shared it with someone.
  • September 27 - FHE Lessons pertaining to some part of the Proclamation
This is going to be a challenge. I am not that crafty and creative, in fact I usually find great ideas on other blogs and copy them. So this will be a bit of work but it should be fun to read everyone else's posts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Week Review

I have to admit school this week was a bit chaotic. But I am not surprised. I wasn't even planning on doing any academics until September so really we are ahead of schedule (at least if I was actually organized enough to have a well planned out schedule).

I think we hit lightly on most of the major subjects and will have to add in the others as we can.

We read scripture every day which is great! We are finally through the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. I think my boys won't act so bored now that we are back to easier to understand topics.

We also started English for the LDS child. This is a Language Lesson book I downloaded a long time ago and found this week while digging through all my many files and papers.  So far so good. We have done the first 3 lessons together and I have just modified the assignments according to the abilities of each child.

We actually did some science reading and one experiment.
Not quite everything that was on the schedule for week 1, but I am happy with what we have done.

Math has been a bit doggy. Some days Sophie has no problem and others she has a tantrum. Fractions just aren't her favorite thing. We took some time to go over math facts again. It seems in the past month since we last did math she has forgotten a bunch of her times tables. So I broke out the file folder games so she could review.

The boys of course did a few games too.

As for History.... I still don't know exactly what we are going to do. I put the Story of the World CD on to listen to the introduction and it said it was written for an older audience so I now have to scramble to find a different program to use or at least and outline to follow for this time period.  In the mean time I picked up a bunch of the You Wouldn't want to.... books from the library that correspond to the times we should be starting right now.
My kids love these books and started reading through them as soon as we got home. So I guess they are getting a bit of history.

Molly makes doing school a bit difficult. She always wants attention and insists on being held while I read aloud to the boys. I just don't have enough sides or lap to go around. I think someone needs to design a chair so four kids can gather around Mom so they can all see the pictures while she reads to them.
Molly also has developed the habit of screeching. It isn't actually new but it is getting used more and more. She must think she has be extra loud (ear splitting to be precise) in order to be heard in our loud and boisterous house. But she is always happy when she gets to play outside and out there the high pitched squeal doesn't seem to grate on me as much.
My kids have also listened to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone and the Chamber of Secrets all week. I am ready to put Harry Potter away for a bit.

So that was basically what we have been doing. We still have FIAR, music, art, latin and number of other things to add into our days somehow. We will see if I can do it. 

It wasn't a bad week but hopefully we will be a little more organized soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting a Good Start

Sunday night I wrote my last post about how I wasn't ready to start school yet. Monday morning my kids decided we had to start anyway. Henry busted out his explode the code book and Ian grabbed his Singapore Math book. Sophie is just enamored with Life of Fred Fractions (she calls him the "Nevada man". I guess his head does sort of look like the shape of Nevada.) So, they jumped in before I could pull back on the reigns. We didn't do a whole lot on Monday since we also had an orthodontist appointment which always seem to eat up our morning.

By afternoon,  one or two pages of work and a book read aloud they were done and just wanted to play. I let them, while I did a little more prep work in order to make me feel more ready to officially start another school year.  I hung a map of the world on the wall. I really want to do FIAR with Henry and Ian and plan to do the story disks on that map just like I did with Sophie a few years back. I also printed out and laminated some passports for their FIAR travels. Sophie wanted a new one because hers is out of date now.  So I guess I am committed to doing at least a few Five in a Row books this year.

I was also really happy to just let them play all afternoon because I was finishing a book, Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. I was just to the really interesting climax and just didn't want to stop reading. If anyone needs a good book to read Elizabeth Gaskell is great. I have read several of her books and they are all good and have made me think and ponder.  This one even had a bit of a murder mystery thrown in.  So I finished it and now can focus on something else for a bit.

I woke up this morning and started the day by reading a conference talk from April's conference. It really is good for me to start the day with scripture rather than a novel. Yesterday I had gotten up early to read my novel (I was hooked!) and I think it affected my entire day because I was a bit more fractious than I was today. I need to make sure I am up early enough for me to get a little personal scripture study first thing in the morning. It just doesn't do as much good when I do it later in the day.

My kids begged me to do Story of the World this morning. I find that so funny that they were asking to do school and I actually told them no. I wasn't ready yet. They continued to beg so I gave in. I guess we could have just read the first chapter of Story of the World but instead we read about Queen Victoria from Our Island Story.  We also looked at a book we have of castles and palaces and saw where she lived and even a few paintings of her and Albert.

But the best thing we did today was set our schedule for each day. I sat down with the kids and we drew in our daily schedule for a week blocking out the time for each event and such during the day. I explained that we can't eat except at assigned times during the day. We have had a problem with continual grazing throughout the day and the kitchen always seemed open. So we blocked in our meals and snacks as well as our chore and study times. I think this will help us a lot! I need it and it is good for the kids to know exactly what to expect and when. I didn't get specific enough as to block out each subject and when we would do them. I just put chores, school, study, or free time. I just hope we can stick to it for awhile.

So we have sort of "started school" but I can't say we are really going yet.  We will see how we fit it all in. Our schedule already looks so packed. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not ready yet!

The other day I was sitting in the front room of my parents house looking out the big picture window that looks out the front yard and down the hill to the road. As I sat there I noticed the big yellow school bus stop at the bottom of the driveway. I couldn't believe it. School had already started?
The bus brought back a lot of memories.  It was nice to have the bus stop right at the bottom of our hill and driveway. We never missed the bus because we could see it come and while it turned around we could race down to meet it. I remember running down our long driveway to catch the bus on morning when I was running late and tripping and falling, skidding across the pavement leaving me with scratched up palms and even a bit of my face.  All my stuff went flying and I ended up making everyone wait while I collected it. Riding the school bus wasn't always fun but it was just part of going to school.

Kids in our area don't ride a bus to school. I guess because the school districts are so small the kids either get walked to school by their parents or dropped off. It makes for a hectic half hour each morning I am sure! My mom had it easy since we didn't even have to go far for the bus stop.
The kids in our area are starting back to school tomorrow. I honestly as am not ready yet. But then I don't know if I ever really feel ready. I don't sit and plan out each subject completely and write out lesson plans for the year. I tend to just go with the flow and see where it takes us. I plan a few weeks in advance and have a general idea of where the subjects are going but I don't follow any one curriculum exactly and don't follow their lesson plans either. I sometimes wish I could, and I have tried it with some subjects, but it just never seems to work out for us.

Scripture -  We are reading through the Book of Mormon and memorizing all the Articles of Faith at the moment and will see what we decide to do next. We have Scripture Study for LDS families and I need to get it out more often to help us make scripture reading a little more interesting.

Science - We are doing physics this year. I am planning to follow Elemental Science Physics for the Grammar stage along with a bunch of other books from the library including a number of biographies of scientists. These will most likely correspond to our history lessons too.

My kids are really excited because I bought a Knex simple machines kit that they can't wait to dig into. We already have a bunch of Knex but I wanted something that would let us build and use all the different types of machines. I hope this works. I didn't spend as much as that link to Amazon says. I bought mine on Ebay.

History - I am a little at a loss about history. I need to think about this subject some more. The last few years we have just followed Story of the World and read a bunch of books and did some of the projects from the activity book. When I finally got around to looking at the activity book a few days ago, I decided it looks way over my kids head.  I think we will use ideas from it but I just don't see us using it like we have in the past.
I have some work to do here!

Math  - Singapore Math is working for us so we will continue. Our library has the Life of Fred books so Sophie is going to start with the Fractions and see if she likes it. (I think she will love it. She picked it up today and started reading it already.) Ian will start the 2A book and Henry will start the 1A book some time this year. I think with Henry we will work more on reading than math to start with.

Language arts - We are going to give Simply Grammar a try. I may even go back to First Language Lessons and try it with Ian. He has a very different learning style than Sophie so it may work well for him.

Art - I really want to do artist study again. I think I will pull out artists from the time periods we are studying. Since it is the Modern era it should be fun. Again... not planned yet.... but easy enough to throw together as they come up.

Music - Musician study hopefully?! not planned yet. But it never is. I want to start teaching Ian to play the piano. I think he might let me do lessons with him. Sophie never wants me to do it. She has to teach herself. So Sophie is getting a recorder and a teach yourself to play the recorder book for her birthday. Hopefully she can teach herself a little music since she wont let me. Perhaps if she sees her brother playing piano she will finally desire to play it too. We will see. She has such a hard time being taught anything.

Physical Education - We will continue to do yoga together, take walks and hikes, play basketball and jump rope. Hopefully Sophie, Ian and Henry will get back to their Karate class. The boys may take a soccer class at the YMCA.

Nature Study - We loved our outdoor hour challenges but haven't done them in about a year. I will see how it goes this Fall. Otherwise we will just get out as much as we can and break out our Handbook of Nature Study and do it ourselves.

As you can tell I am really not ready yet for the school year to start. I don't have everything planned out and don't really know how I am going to manage a 4th, 1st, and Kindergarder as well as deal with a running around one year old.  It should be interesting. I am almost tempted to just scrap it all and just do Five in a Row again. Life was so simple then.  Ian and Henry would love FIAR. I really should do it. It is just so hard to do different things for each child.

Tomorrow while all of those other kids are heading to their first day of school.... we aren't. Sophie has an orthodontist appointment and that is all we have planned for tomorrow.  I think I need to find the time to really think about what we are going to do.... I am starting to feel like such a slacker!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Road Trip - Yellowstone

For the next leg of our vacation we headed up North. We drove up to a family reunion up in Idaho just outside of Yellowstone. I had never been to Yellowstone and my husband hadn't been in about 20 years or more so we were excited to see this National Park.

Just outside of Rexburg we stopped at Bear World. The kids got to see many of the animals that roam Yellowstone at this drive through zoo.
We saw a number of different bears, elk, bison, and moose all from the comfort of our car.
They also had a few amusement type rides for the kids. The petting zoo was a big hit. All the kids got to pet goats, dear, turkey, and ducks. It helped get the wiggles out since we weren't done driving yet for the day.

Molly of course attached herself to this little bear in the gift shop and she got to take it home with her. It is hard to deprive this cute little girl of something she was so attached to.

We stopped at Rexburg to see the new temple. On this trip we saw so many temples. It is amazing how many new temples have been built in the last few years.
Finally we got up to the cabin that we stayed at with bunches of my husband's family.

We headed in to see the wonders of Yellowstone the next day. We did a lot of hiking but also a lot of driving. To get from one major attaction to the next we had a 20 mile or so drive but the scenery is so beautiful. It is a huge park.

Before we came to Yellowstone I read books with the kids about the park and what they would see there. They each had things they wanted to see.  Bubbling mud was on the list so we hiked up to the paint pots so we could see, smell and hear the mud bubble and pop.

Geysers were also on the list of things you have to see so we went to the Norris Geyser basin and we wondered around among all the hot springs. We saw a few of the geysers go off.

But mostly we saw a lot of hot springs with lovely colors and lots of steam.

Our list of things we wanted to see in Yellowstone also included a buffalo. We had already seen a few at bear world but we spotted a few as we drove through the park as well. We followed this bison up the road for a bit. He took his time and drew quite a crowd.

We also saw some elk relaxing by a river, a coyote with dinner in his mouth, some black tailed deer roaming the hills and a few more buffalo wandering the roads. We even saw a grizzly bear. Sophie knew it was a grizzly because of the hump on his back. We were surprised to find chipmunks crawling around near the hot springs. `

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was very impressive. It was amazing the contrasts that exist in the park. You look out over the landscape and you wouldn't even see this huge canyon until you came right up on it.

We hit a few of the visitor centers to talk to ranger and read about the Super Volcano we were standing in.

The kids also worked on and earned their junior ranger badges. We went on hikes and listened to Ranger presentations so they could fill in their papers. I was impressed that the Ranger quizzed them about what they had learned when we went to turn in the papers and receive the patches. They didn't just take our word for it but actually made the kids explain the things they learned before giving them the patches. You can see Sophie is very proud of her patch. She is holding it out in this picture.
Old Faithful was our last stop at Yellowstone. We knew we couldn't leave without seeing it but since it was the most crowded place, we kept putting it off.
We only saw about a quarter of the things in the park. It is a vast park with all sorts of wilderness areas to explore. Next time we would love to ride horses over the hills up in the north of the park where we saw some of the deer. We never made it down to Yellowstone lake. Infact if you look at the map with the areas we did see marked, you wouldn't think we saw much of the park. For our first visit this was great. We saw the major things on our list and learned a lot. We will just have to go back and see some of those other parts.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Road Trip - Utah

In case you haven't noticed. We haven't been around for a bit. We have been driving and driving. We are just finishing up our road trip. Our first stop was to Salt Lake City, Utah. We stayed with some friends that we hadn't seen in awhile. And took in some of the sights of Temple Square and the SLC Valley.

Not all these kids are mine. Do you recognize a few faces from here? It is always fun to meet up with friends. They were great tour guides!

This is my Mom's Cousin. She is serving a mission and is working at the Church Office Building. I had never met her before but my Mom wanted me to stop in and see her and tell her "Hi".

So many friends live in Salt Lake we took some time to get together with quite a few.

When we told people that we were headed to Salt Lake they told us we needed to see the This is the Place Heritage Park.
It was worth the visit and the kids had a great time!

There isn't just friends in Salt Lake. We have some family too. My husband's Aunt and many of his cousins live near BYU so we took a trip down to our old Alma Mater with a few of them and walked around. The kids loved the stop at the Cougar Eat for BYU creamery ice cream cones.

Everywhere we went my kids had new friends to play with. Here is another friend that I knew from before I got married.
She now lives in SLC. My kids loved her pool and could have played a lot longer with her kids.
We also went to Provo Canyon with family for a little picnic dinner and some fun in the stream.
My kids can never resist water.
Molly loved all the new faces that were smiling at her. Having cousins is so much fun!

We stopped to get a close up look at Bridal Veil falls too. I hadn't been there in years.
It was a quick trip through Utah and we really appreciated all the great friends and family that let us stay with them and sleep on their floors and keep us fed.
We really had a great time!
But our trip didn't stop there. The 2nd installment of our visit will be in the next post.