Monday, December 3, 2007

Van wrecks over Thanksgiving travels, a wee bit of cold weather in Chicagoland, Christmas decor digout, listening to "A Christmas Carol," "Treasure Island," "Just so Stories" on audio book AND these books about precocious children enjoying art fill our past week.

Yes, there's been history, English reading, grammar and spelling lessons along with cleaning and cookie making, but math lessons make their way in the mix too.
Another children's book character to explore lately is Nate the Great. These three scholars love those stories. Soon, we may know all the books of the Bible Old Testament. Only time will tell. But we especially enjoyed discussing sleepy grammas with our Utah gramma today. We looked up the origin of "dead as a doornail" from the expressions in "A Christmas Carol" and drew a picture of Scrooge and a door knocker. Even more tomorrow...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Saturday Museum visit

The little girl's favorite part of the Saturday visit to the Museum of Science and Industry was the IMAX show about sea monsters of the Mesozoic Inland sea of North America - or how film makers and archeologists believe it to have been. My favorite part of the visit was the exhibit on Star Wars, and I'm not even that fond of the movies. I enjoyed watching the children and Daddy explore the science behind the scenes. We got to see other things too like the gears in the Green stairway and the heart display on the top floor. The kids begged to spend the food time near the ball which "rolled" down the slopes of the Alps. It was also fun to see the Farm Tech display and watch the Daddy race to clean and set the milker on the fake cow's udder! Yep, I deleted the picture to protect the innocent though.

We're looking forward to Thanksgiving and seeing family in Iowa. I'm curious if my kids are growing old enough to not kill each other in the back seat during the 8 hour drive... to be continued - I hope

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Good Week

Well, what a week. I admitted that a trip to the doctor was in order and I even told them exactly what I wanted and where to send the prescription. If only I could raise such decisive children. Hmmm, maybe I have. The kids enjoyed the nature hike in a prairie today. An original prairie, we were told with ant hills and a variety of native grasses. There were non-native species as well and the children did a brilliant job paying respectful attention even though it was a bit brisk for the two hour hike. We saw a wooly bear caterpillar, a horsetail rush, goldenrod wasp gall, mink scat, grassy burrows, a vernal pond and played hide and seek in the tall grass (which nearly scared #1 out of his shoes). All the while today, our life science journals expanded with entries and sketches of each prairie item we encountered.

Treasure Island is catching on and the drawings these three drew of Long John Silver were priceless. We may finish the audio book tomorrow, but we'll never eat fish and chips the same way again. Each visit on Friday night dinners out must always include the durge, "fifteen years on a dead man's ship, ho ho ho and a bottle of rum." HA!

Spanish vocabulary is expanding as well as English reading skills, so we may start #1 soon on his Latin curriculum. It's an eight hour drive to Thanksgiving Dinner, so that'd be as good a time as any. Van gogh's Starry Night is done quite differently by each of my three artists, but still equally as fascinating. Addition is very important these days, because these three can do it outside while climbing the crabapple tree :- ) Geography study was enhanced as we discussed the story "Make Way for Ducklings" and identified some physical features of the Boston area (from satellite images and simple maps) as well as habits of ducks to molt etc. Finally, we may soon get a handle on the order of books in the OT and #1 may recite the Apostle's Creed by the end of the year (because he's a bright one he is - the pirate accent is difficult to translate in writing). ;- )

Monday, November 12, 2007

Johnson County Trip a Success!

We traveled on a half empty flight to MCI and found our friends to pick us up. I was enchanted by the little ones on this trip who I hadn't the opportunity to visit with on previous trips. We played with old friends. We visited the kindergarten teachers and had recess with the classmates who are now in first grade. I enjoyed BBQ and PK's pizza. Some school was entow with math, geography, and copywork of verses, but the hit of the week was the introduction to AWANA with our friends. We traveled back to ORD on a little more full plane. We may not be able to fly again until January because of holiday full loads, so we'll enjoy our earthbound expeditions until then.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Truly all three

Well, it's done. The first day of h-s all three children is complete. They studied the books of the BIBLE and the oldest is reviewing the Apostle's Creed. I'm trying to catch up on how far his math skills are and he is responsively patient. Reading, math and the difference between dolphins and sharks were covered. Finally, we listened to chapters 3-7 of Treasure Island while coloring Van Gogh's "Starry Night" outline from Enchanted Learning. Now it's time to pack - for we attempt to fly tomorrow :- )

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thank you Tax Payers of Our County!

We enjoyed an awesome visit to a preserve in the southern section of our county yesterday!!! It was a nature hike lead by Ranger Kevin up to lookout point with a view of a River. There were over a dozen kids and their folks. We learned about why this preserve existed (as a buffer to a national laboratory next door) and invasive plant species and native plants and so much. The twins did an brilliant job listening and staying behind the Ranger as to not trip the guy up when we hiked. It was at least 3 miles there and back! No kidding... both kids asked when the next hike was and they are quite ready. Here are some pictures of them listening to the Ranger and playing PoohStick at the creek. The last picture is for Grampa, the aficionado of such things.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I let them paint...

Really I did. I put the regular school paint set in front of them with real paint brushes from the artist section of some craft store. They picked one color each and drew circles, squares and rectangles. We drew faces on each shape and made them into animals and people after the paint ran out, but it worked and no one got hurt. HA! I first had to let them have scissors, then markers and now paint and no walls were trashed in the process. There are truly miracles in parenting when something like that happens.

Well, the principal and classroom teacher know. I pray that no bridges are burning, but it's almost real. I sure pray this works. It's time to live my faith in order to set the example. I'm not playing teacher or mother or housekeeper or dietitian or friend or wife, I'm living it. Not on my own, but still... here it goes.

We've been busy...

Yes, no excuse except that life keeps us busy. Old news: twins finished their soccer season in fine form, much improved; I painted in Iowa City for a weekend; twins go their school pictures taken; our first field trip about pumpkins; #1 got a trip to Laser Quest for a friend's birthday party; the guest/ kids' bathroom is painted; the laundry room is revamped and painted; the 1st grade curriculum is ordered and on it's way for a beginning date of November 1st; "new church" is welcoming, sincere, vulnerable and becoming "home;" and summer clothes are going into storage. This week is a nature hike with the county nature preserve organization and a trip to the mall to meet a Turkish friend and her son. #1 has a field trip about pumpkins this week and his last soccer match. We appreciate his coach and the style of instruction so very much as #1's skills and responses continue to improve on the pitch. Since I wrote last, I've given away the Incil that I've carried around for over ten years to a lady whose Turkish dad may want to read the New Testament in Turkish - whoohooo! Now, I've got to find new Bibles in Turkish b/c I keep meeting Turks in Chicagoland.

First full week of November, barring all bad weather and ill health, we're on our way to ORD for a trip to MCI. #1 will be homeschooling by then and is anxious to visit Kansas friends after being gone since last December. I've got other plans too, but we'll see how it works out.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thank you Columbus!

We got all the way to DCA on a half empty plane doing math, reading and copywork to find an old friend. We said the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag surrounding the Washington Monument. Daddy and #1 brother caught up with us only after we visited the national Mall and Natural History museum. The carousel was a bonus I had to surprise them with after the compliant walk all the way down to Lincoln then back up to the Smithsonian. We actually arrived home on the first plane out of IAD we tried with all the library books I had packed for the trip. Each has their own library card now and I can't imagine started a bad record already...

Today was a vacation day to visit with Kansas friends at the Morton Arboretum, but here is 0ne more picture of my adventurers from the spot where MLK Jr made his speech in the '60s.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Copywork on steps of Lincoln Monument

The twins started copywork today with the fourth commandment after walking down the Mall from the Washington Monument to Lincoln Monument. The sky was clouding and a cool breeze stuck around until I got them back up Constitution Avenue to the Museum of Natural History. I got to review my historical geology without a great deal of pain and the twins enjoyed the dinosaur fossils.

Today we're heading to a corn maze and then the ride home with Daddy and #1 brother. Yippee for visits to old friends. Pictures posted Monday.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Rainy Monday

It's finally raining in Chicagoland! I'm so ready for a change of season. The oven is on and banana bread muffins with blueberries and walnuts are baking. My coffee is done and tea is brewing; the twins are making weather observations, building trains, making up music on a keyboard and drums as well as listening to Wind in the Willows on tape. It's a good day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Awesome weather

WOW! The Adler Planetarium was wonderful! Much more impressive than the aquarium next door. I printed off the home made field trip guide and set out after the 9AM and 10AM soccer games for DOWNTOWN CHICAGO! It was a beautiful day and the price to the place was free because of a company special day. It included as many shows as we wanted! Too cool. I told the kids that it was like going to the company picnic at the KC zoo where we got to ride the bus/boat/tram/train as much as we wanted too, because they were FREE! We walked along the seawall and found our way to Grant Park and the Buchanan Fountain. Then after dinner near the universities, we walked all the way back to the parking under Soldier Field. Here is a picture into the sun away from the Adler toward the Shedd of my group.

This week is going well and the kids are getting ready for their first spelling test. They have the first 26 phonics cards from the Road to Reading packet and I will pick 6 for them to write down. They are reading the 100 lessons to teaching your child book well. We've finished listening to Little House on the Prairie and moved on to Wind in the Willows. I hope to apply some life science to that story in order to work in a science journal component. We received the Math U See book and may get the Saxon book for comparison to see how Kindergarten math is taught in a homeschool setting. They are only counting and graphing, as well as setting up patterns for math now. They liked sorting the candy from a company outing. They also enjoyed discovering the shell group today. One day at a time though is our motto. It's time to collected the oldest.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My vocabulary is expanding...*sigh*
Orthography is the study of the elementary sounds, letters, and syllables of our language. Therefore phonics is a branch of orthography, as is penmanship. Spelling is also considered a part of orthography.

We're enjoying a good week and I wanted to get a few tidbits out there before closing for a very busy weekend of soccer and planetarium visits etc. The good week included "Horton hears a who," beginning of "Story of the World" with the fertile crescent exersize AND discussion of Ohio outline map including a story about Columbus (since the capitol city of Ohio is named for somebody too). We listened more "Little House in the Big woods" and began listening to "Little House on the Prairie." Questions about how cream is made were very important when we made a microwave lemon cake that included whipped cream. Ma in the stories skimmed the cream and this fact resonated with my pupils. We listened to a story about Archimedes and one story with the older brother about Junie B Jones. We survived phonics & copy work of the second commandment several times this week which might make it easier to do more next week (she said with a wicked, tortuous tone).

The old hard yucky morning vitamins are gone and the new chewable gummy vitamins are being consumed on a regular basis. The home-made planetarium guide for our visit tomorrow is printed and ideas for next week are set up. Let the weekend come - and cooler breezes for the bees.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Busy bees love the breeze

It's either that or "the nose knows radar" lately. We've enjoyed organizing the garage in order to fill the new back yard storage corner; more soccer for all three children; dinners with another kindergartener and her folks, as well as a fellow Kansan at school in Wheaton college; meet/greet other homeschool families in Wheaton and maybe a few in Elk Grove too; a beginning to cubscouts for #1; Heidi and then Jungle Book on audio books for the twins and me; AND a birthday party for 1st graders at a glow-in-the-dark putt putt.
Today was a grand push of the envelop for the twins' kindergarten day. They began regularly, but I decided to try a new website called kidanswers and we found a 15" reading of Pilgrim's progress first section. I'm not sure how much they absorbed, but I enjoyed it immensely. They continued phonics, copy work of the 2nd commandment. I read a book called George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz. We discussed the persistence with which the main character uses to determine what our first president ate for breakfast. You should ask the twins some time and see if they remember. They checked the weather as usual and continued studying the northern border states with Wisconsin. Can't say as I've expressed very well what country is to the north of these border states, but maybe some day they will get a handle on it. Cookie time was next as you may see in the picture. Later, they sorted colored chips and graphed the answers, had play time while I painted the ceilings of two bathrooms in transition and closed out the school day completing the journal requests from PDL while listening to a story about Archimedes and the Golden Crown.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Busy times

Labor Day weekend became the get-everything-done time when we got ceiling fans in all four bedrooms, all bathrooms got plug-ins wired for gfci to function properly, one bathroom got a new light/fan kit wired, new garage work table plug-ins installed so that the deep freeze won't loose power when the cord is stretched too far AND we got time to run to IKEA to introduce the cousins and aunt to amazing idealand. Due to the handy work of the dremel, Daddy and I got the junction boxes in the ceilings for our handy uncle to run conduit after fishing down to the light switches in the wall. A true feat of skill indeed. All children are practicing soccer with the new district teams and will have games this Saturday through the end of October. Praise God none of the games are at the same time AND not far away sites when right after each other. Boy scouts starts for #1 soon too.

Kindergarteners continue with handwriting (A Reason For Handwriting, Kindergarten: by Carol Ann Retzer and Rob Harrell), phonics, literature, math and reading (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann, Our verse for this week comes from the catechism and is The first commandment: You shall have no other gods. History and geography found it's way into the mix with the beginning of the northern border states of the USA. I read from the Grolier Online provided by our local library online about Washington, his namesake state and Idaho this week. All three children are enjoying The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay for introductory lessons on science. More hands on work is done later Bubbles, Rainbows and Worms: Science Experiments for Preschool Children as well as Project Wild or Project Wet lessons. We have our good times and our bad times, but I don't regret their spending more time home for a little longer. How else would we have enjoyed the Morton Arboretum visit during the day last Thursday. Splashing and building dams in the water as well as climbing among the tree tops on rope ladders. Audio books are helping me with my reading times too. We've enjoyed stories about The little house in the big woods and will continue to follow along on that series while we look forward to Herriot stories soon too. YIPPEE!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Challenging - but, I can do all things...

Chapel for the first time with #1 - which was rewarding for me. Little boy twin was having an "I can't do it" day. He enjoyed the reading times and the weather recording times, but was challenged today. Little girl had fun drawing her favorite character from "Pup and Hound Catch a Thief" and listening to the call of a magpie who ended up the culprit in the story. She drew a butterfly and thought about what the first question was that she might as God upon arriving in Heaven (PDL Children's journal). Heading out to the library and then p/u #1. Breakfast for dinner will have to work it's way around #1 soccer practice tonite. Twins start soccer tomorrow night. September should be quite a soccer month. October will be travel month...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday with apple butter fixins

Firstly, email if you're interested in the kids' audio responses to the Turkish Cultural Fair a Navy Pier on Saturday. I'll send them to you. Secondly, Monday was a wonderful adventure in continuing to establish our routine. I snuck in a bike ride to check the weather as P.E. THis week they are listening to Beethoven in the background. We'll see if it sinks in as an awareness to the foundations of music. Each of the twins enjoyed helping me measure out the ingredients for zucchini-choc.chip-almond chocolate pudding/ german chocolate bundt cake/muffins. The letters c and d are much easier for them to write and the problem/ solution in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story is brilliantly represented in their artwork.

Thirdly, Today is a wonderful experiment in preparing apple butter in the crock pot for canning this evening. George Washington is part of our lessons this week. I will continue to ask them why he is special. I just have to keep reminding myself that it wasn't an apple tree, but a cherry tree that he cut down. More important is the fact that the state of Washington is named for him and begins our travels across the nation's northern border states. Later today, we get to take turns studying the piano lesson book or writing words down from the Magic School bus dinosaur cd-rom. But for now, it's play time. Let's finish lunch and create some magnificent train track or tea party table.

I'll finish by also shining the spotlight on #1 child who put up with me in his classroom yesterday following up on my job to clean the desktops each Monday after school. He had some fun showing his siblings all the stuff in the classroom, enticing them. He also did a brilliant job last night carrying his part of the first soccer practice for our park district team. He is looking forward to the twins starting their soccer practice soon so that his brother doesn't spend so much time trying to play soccer on "his" field. Each day is a blessing, enjoy it with us :- )

Friday, August 24, 2007

No power at school/church

Well, more rain and storms caused the power to stay off at school/church and the first grader is home today. The park district golf lessons were held, unexpectedly for all 3 children inside the building today. It was a day for putting anyway, so the lesson was very applicable in a low pile carpet area. Wow, now the twins did a few lessons for kindergarten (each earning a temp tatoo) with supervision by the older brother, and that is over in time for lunch! Later, another storm, but hopefully we'll keep power and run the sump pump as long as it takes. It is definitely time to play make believe trains or airports or castles or something!!! YIPPEE, more time with my children :- )

Afternoon with Daddy

The work picnic was Thursday in Palatine where we met people from 2 areas of Daddy's work. We played games and I spoke a little Turkish with a couple of people there. The twins played some more time with Daddy while I went to get the 1st grader from school. EXCEPT that once at school/church, a tornado warning forced the principal to retain the children for a practice/real drill and provide shelter for the parents from their cars. The power went out at school and I gathered the 1st grader from the dark after the danger passed. We went home to wait for the twins and Daddy because the picnic was rained out too. What a mess in this new area we call home.

Kindergarten, first day

Dropped 1st grader, returned to pray and pledge in the garage (that's where the flag is hanging over the freezer), organized our desks and set to reading Genesis 1:1. The twins already had a clue what sounds the a, c, d, f made, so phonics was easier than it could've been. Except those silly d and b appearances. The literature exercise found us reading "If you give a mouse a cookie" and retelling the story to me with help from an drawing from the website. Math found them writing their numbers on special lined paper & my introducing the idea that the top line was the top of a tree house, middle line was the area where the leaves stopped, the bottom line was the grass and the letters that hook under the ground find roots in the dirt. It was time to check the meteorological conditions and record those on our calendars - clear and windy. They had to check all the way around the house several times because conditions changed rapidly on the first day. Stickers for everyone (on their right writing hands)! I read a story about how the hymn "Amazing Grace" was written and a story about George Washington. They colored in a picture of George while Amazing Grace played on the speakers. They practiced a little handwriting exercise that meant drawing a circle from a point at 2 o'clock counterclockwise and that's when the boy threw the pencil and was sent to his room without a reward. Girl finished that and then closed out our time with a child's journal day from "40 Days of Purpose" to receive a reward (temp tatoo on her left hand). Boy came down later and finished the child's journal page too, but no tatoo for him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

plans for the pool

shopping for new goggles at that w store where my kids barely survived. It was good to do the library for reading time first where #1 attempted his first word scrambles (which he did quite well and then entered a drawing for a prize).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Big plans for Tuesday? I think not...

Tuesday & it's time for ISPY and coffee.

It may become a "sand your hand-me-down desk" day in order to keep them busy.