Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Enjoying the Sunshine

The last few days have been so sunny and just seemed to call us out of the house to come and play. The kids have been spending a little more time than usual outside

 I think Spring Fever is hitting already.
The kids have been having fun watering some of the plants in front of our house. They have just about dried up because we haven't had the sprinkler system on for most of the winter. But we haven't had enough rain to keep the plants thriving. It doesn't look like we are going to be getting much more either.

 The trees are starting to think it is Spring. More and more are popping out in blossoms.

I sure hope the cool but sunny weather lasts a lot longer. 
I am NOT ready for hot Summer to come already.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Great Quote!

"The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good company, good conversation, are the happiest people in the world. And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others."
William Lyon Phelps

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More drawings by Ian

Ian isn't as into drawing as Sophie ever was. He is much more of a hands on building type guy. Legos, especially lego mindstorms or Technics, are perfect for him. His online art class is really stretching him. He gets so frustrated with the assignments and doesn't always try very hard to turn in what I would call "quality work". As long as the job is done he thinks it is great.

Here are his assignments from the last few weeks.

This Steller's Jay doubled for a Cub Scout requirement as well. But he was supposed to draw something and hide his monogram in it. Can you see his finger pointing to it hidden in the tail for the bird?
 Here is an illustration he drew to go along with a camping story he wrote awhile back.
 And this week he got to play with charcoal pencils and a kneeded eraser. I set up a few blocks and he drew them and shaded them in.  This is his best work yet!

Ian does enjoy the class he just doesn't love the actual act of drawing. He needs a little direction and certainly needs a subject. When the assignments are too open he tends to draw lego figures. So many times I have had to suggest subjects for his drawings to fulfill these assignments. So far so good. He still has many weeks to go. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ella Bella

 Molly is always asking me to find her new princess books when we are at the library. Last week I picked up a few new ones. I think I have read each of these three books every day since. She LOVES them.

James Mayhew is the author and I knew him better for his Katie books where she goes into famous paintings.  Now I can see he has a whole bunch of these ballet books as well.

I need to find the music for these ballets to play for Molly now. The only music I knew well enough to sing or hum for her is the Sleeping Beauty Waltz. I need to find some recordings of the music so we can all hear the lovely dance music that goes along with these fun stories.
I am always on the lookout for more princess things for my pink, princess loving girly girl. I am very happy to have found these books for her.  I wish our library had the Ella Bella Nutcracker book as well but I will have be content with these three.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Look what Henry Taught Molly to do!


Molly just came running into my room to show me a paper she was drawing on. She said "I wrote my name". I took a look at the paper and thought someone must have helped her. I certainly haven't worked on her name with her. 
I called to the other kids and asked them who helped her write her name. None of them knew anything about it. I asked her to write it again for me. She grabbed her blue highlighter again and started writing. 

 Wow! how shocking is it to see my little Molly write her name. And do you see that she wrote it on the line and all the same size.

She had to write it a few more times for us so we could all see her do it.
I have a feeling this is only the beginning. I remember when another of my kids learned his name I soon started to find it all over the house. Even written above the door frame of his room. I wonder where I will find her name written next.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Accomplishing what?

Just for records sake.....This is what we have been doing lately.

History - We listened to Story of the World chapters about Mongols, Marco Polo and then the First Russians. The kids did some map coloring and I have been going through the questions from the activity book with them after we listen. Sophie has also been pouring through the Measly Middle ages on her spare time and we end up discussing all sorts for interesting and sometimes gross facts about the middle ages.

Ian's online geography class has been hopping from continent to continent each week studying a different one. So we have been reading a bit about North and South America and Ian has had to write reports about different countries or capital cities. This week he has to write a letter from a penpal in Germany telling him about all the great things to see and do in Germany. We usually read about the different continents and countries together with all the kids and then Ian writes his short report and even makes the power point slide complete with pictures to send off to his teacher. A little computer skills sneaking in there too with these assignments.

Science - We have learned about what the earth is made of and drew diagrams of the layers of the earth. We also read about volcanos and even made a vinegar and baking soda eruption just for fun.

Language Arts - The boys have been reading aloud The Little Prince. I have them draw pictures much like the illustrations in the book and they label it while telling me all about the different people the Little Prince meets on his travels.  Not the most extensive LA but at least it is something.

Ian and Sophie have been doing their IEW Fix-it also which has them looking up word in the dictionary and then editing a sentence or paragraph.

Sophie has been doing a lot of poetry with her online literature class. She has had to write poems in the style of Emily Dickenson and another in a style of Langston Hues

There is no Whirlwind
by Sophia in the style of Emily Dickinson's "There is no frigate like a book"
There is no whirlwind   like a toddler
To make life chaotic and messy
Nor any siren like an outburst
Of a shrieking, howling child
This torture can not be avoided
Without extensive toil.
How  patient is the one
That loves despite it all.

The Blues 
by Sophia in the style of Langston Hughes' "The Blues"

When mother calls me to do chores
A book would I rather choose
Not sweep the floor
That’s the blues.

When you go to have a nice warm shower
Finding, already, 3 have been had
Mine was  shivering cold
That’s the blues, too, and bad!

Math - Sophie is doing Teaching Textbooks 6 and seems to be liking it well enough. Ian is plowing through Singapore 4B and doing well with decimals. Henry working through the Singapore 2B practice book. All seem to do just fine with math and I am so glad they don't fight it at all anymore.  We have also added in multiplication tables to our reciting or memory work. I usually have the kids go through one or two of the times tables each so every day they hear all the 4,6,7,8 and 9 times tables. I am hoping the will become so second nature they won't have to pause so much in their math to figure it out.  Those times tables will also help Sophie who is doing a lot with fractions at the moment.

Art/Music - Ian has his online art class which has an assignment each week. He doesn't love this class as much as Sophie liked it. Ian just isn't very interested in drawing and such but he still does his assignments and Henry usually attempts them too.

Sophie has an online Music appreciation class and gets to listen to a lot of great music each week with that. She doesn't have much as far as homework from this class but at least she gets to hear and discuss some great music. She has been reading a lot of books about Beethoven. He is the composer she choose to write a report about. He has always been one of her favorites.

I still haven't fit Latin back into our studies but Sophie does enjoy her Spanish class.  Mostly the class is going over some basic vocabulary and simple phrases. Sophie looks forward to it each

Then there is also piano, choir and our usual co-op activities. We also make sure to do one or two of the cub scout things we need to accomplish each week as well.

Our audio book at the moment is Laura Ingalls Wilder's These Happy Golden Years. We finished Little Town on the Praire a little bit ago. Listening to these stories has been great! I love hearing the violin and the songs in the book actually sung. I think listening to these is almost better then reading them.  I think we made it through the entire series now. I never read these as a kid so it has been fun for me to hear them along with the kids.  I know there is one more book, I read it quickly one afternoon, but it isn't on audio so I bet Sophie will read it but I don't know if the boys will. It isn't nearly as detailed as the others in the series. It never was finished by Laura and is really only a short outline almost for those years. I wish she would have finished more of the story.   I picked up a number of biographies about Laura and Almanzo which the kids have enjoyed looking through. Having actual pictures of the people and places is so fun. We have had so many discussions about Almanzo and Laura and the life they led compared to what we live. It has been really interesting to go through all these stories. They are classics for a reason.  I am sure we will revisit them again in a few years when Molly is ready to read/ listen to them. She has enjoyed me reading some of the picture books.

So that is what has kept us busy lately.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ian's Art

Ian is taking an online art class. This is the project he turned in this week. First he made a graded watercolor wash.  Then when it was dry he added chalk clouds. Smearing the chalk into fluffy clouds was the funnest part. 

Ian only kinda likes his art class. He thinks it is very hard. It is very new for him and this isn't his usual way of expressing himself. He is a builder with legos and such and not usually using a pencil or paint to create.  So, even if he is struggling he is giving it a good try. It is good for him.