Monday, June 27, 2011

100 Posts

Woo Hoo! I just realized I have over 100 entries or posts!  How exciting. I think maybe I can do this blog thing!

It was a year ago that I started writing my blog.  I began it solely because I had been selected for the TOS Crew and had to have one on which to publish my reviews. I had no idea how to blog or any of the technical aspects or even what to write about, but I have made it past 100. 
The reviews have helped to get to that point, but I have written them.

While this may be a small milestone, I am going to recognize it, because it is a milestone.  I have enjoyed blogging this past year, but sometimes it has been difficult to write when I haven't had a review to do.  I just haven't been good at discovering subjects for my own posts.  Now I have some idea how my children feel when I ask them to write something and they don't know what to write about.

Hmm... that just gave me an idea.  I really want to work with my children this coming year on the writing process and how to go from the blank sheet of paper to a finished piece of writing. 
Maybe I should do the same thing myself here on my blog.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 6/24

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In our homeschool this week…

We haven't done many "school type things".  

      Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This was the area in which we excelled this week.   We went to the free art activities at the Michael's store twice this week and went to playgrounds several times.  We also went to the activity for the summer reading program at the library.  The kiddos took junk and made a something out of it.  Son made a version of a laptop, daughter made a store diorama. 

Daughter has been taking piano lessons for just about two year now and this week son also started.  He has been bothering us for lessons for so long, that we decided to let him start this summer and see how he does.  He is definitely enthusiastic. 

We also went to the zoo on Friday.

My favorite thing this week was…

Being more relaxed and getting to do some fun things.  The weather was also pretty comfortable this week, which made it more enjoyable to do things outside.

Things I’m working on…

Figuring out what we resources we are going to use this next year.  Sorting through things I have to see if I have resources to plug into areas I want to focus on.  It seems that this whole process is just taking so long this year.

I’m reading…

I am rereading sections of The Well Trained Mind.  I usually glance through the curriculum suggestions, etc during the summer.  I have a bit more to read this year as Daughter is moving into the next stage.    

I also started The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma.

I’m cooking…

I am not sure what all I made, but we did eat!  I tried a new resipe Saturday night, but it just didn't turn out right.  So frustrating.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

These are the projects my kiddos made at Michael's this week.  Now through the end of July Michael's has 3 days a week of Make it  Take It kids crafts focusing on an Around the World theme. Each day they have two small crafts for the kids to make at the store and directions for a third project online.  The days we went to this week were Sweden and Germany. 

Thanks to Sue at the Homeschool Chick for hosting Homeschool Mothers Journal.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

K is for Klutz Books

This may not be totally homeschool related, but I have found that sometimes the line between homeschool and life is often blurry, so here is my K.

If you haven't heard of them before, Klutz is a company which produces activity books and kits for kids.  (Some of them are fun for adults, too).  You will find a whole range of subjects and topics which range from fun to just plain silly.

My family has enjoyed books about tying knots, table top football, cat's cradle and other string games, fashion design, drawing, travel activities and so much more.  While many of them aren't exactly educational they are a lot of fun.  The age ranges are generally pretty accurate and that means I can usually hand a Klutz book to my child and they are able to use it on their own. I like having engaging activities that I don't have to direct for them.

Klutz books and kits tend to be a little pricey (at least for my budget), but I have had the opportunity to pick up several different kits and books for a little less. I don't live too far from a Scholastic warehouse and I usually try to get to their big sale in the spring and generally find several Klutz titles there more reasonably priced. This way we can enjoy a little more Klutz fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spring Reading Thing Summary

Wow, I can't believe today is the first day of summer.  Among other things it means it is time to report on my reading this spring.  Spring Reading Thing was sponsored by Katrina at Callapidder Days.

The books I choose to read were:

How the States Got Their Shapes
This was an interesting book, but just not something I could finish.  It just didn't have enough of a plot to keep my interest.  It had a lot of great information and is a great reference.  If I could find it at a reasonable price I would probably but it for my personal library so when we had questions it was handy. 

Return to Hundred Acre Woods
This was an absolutely charming easy read.  The text is simple and lovely and the pictures are soft and fresh. I loved reading it as something lighter which I didn't have to think about.  It is a great read aloud even for smaller children as the poetry and selections are short.  It is also something nice to pick up when you just have a few minutes to read. 

Crazy About Cookies
This was a fun book and had lots of yummy looking recipes.  However, I didn't get a chance to try any of them out as when I had the ingredients it was too Hot to turn on the oven and bake.  I will be checking it out from the library again when it is cooler.  

In addition to these three books I also read:

Call Me Mrs Miracle   
This is the newest Christmas novel by Debbie Macomber.  I enjoy so many of her books and it was finally my turn to get it from the library.  Set in New York City a single career woman suddenly becomes guardian for her nephew when his widowed father has to deploy over seas. Not only is this upheaval for her but there are challenges for her nephew as well.  He frequents a large department store, makes friends with an elderly sales clerk, and picks out the hottest toy of the season as the only thing he wants for Christmas. Due to the upheaval in his lifeduring the past year his Aunt has decided no matter how much she has to scrimp, she will get it this for him. She has a new beginning in her life as well. The joy of the story is how everything works out in the end.  I really enjoyed this novel.

The Kings Speech
  This is the book which the movie of the same name is based. In it you will find the story of the man who helped King George overcome his speech impediment. I was not able to finish this while I had it checked out of the library, thus I can not give too many details. Despite not making much progress I found it to be engrossing and a worthwhile read.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 6/17

      In my life this week…
       I was able to do some serious cleaning, organizing, mending, and planning. 
In our homeschool this week…
 I received my Story of the World Activity book.  I already had the text, but needed this.  The new Rainbow Resource catalog also came on the same day.  What a great mail day!

My favorite thing this week was…
 My children coming home Saturday.  I am glad they were able to visit my parents and I enjoyed having time to accomplish some tasks, but I did miss them.
Things I’m working on…
 Nailing down curriculum choices and lesson plans for next year 

I’m reading…
 William and Kate  A Love Story

I’m cooking…
Spaghetti Al Fredo, 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

       My husband found this site with all kinds of neat science experiments.  He especially liked the plasma from a grape one!

Homeschool Mother's Journal is hosted by Sue at the Homeschool Chick

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DaVinci Study

DaVinci Tivia

Did you know Leonardo took the name of the town where he was born, Vinci, Italy as his last name?
He wrote many of his notes backwards, presumably so others couldn't decipher what he had written?
He also sketched many new inventions?

During April we spent some time studying the life and work of Leonardo DaVinci.  My son was particularly excited about this as his birthday is the same date as Leonardo's - April 15th. We worked on this project off and on for the whole month, not that it was long, but we also had other studies and materials to use.  Our study encompassed several aspects.

The books we used were:
  • Getting to know the World's Great Artists  Leonardo Davinci    by Mike Venezia
  • Leonardo DaVinci for Kids His Life and Ideas      by Janis Herbert
  • Beautiful Dreamer   by Robert Byrd
  • Leonardo da Vinci : Discover the World of Leonardo Through His Apprentice's Diary    by Steve Augarde 
  • The Stolen Smile    by J. Patrick Lewis
  • Lives of the Artists:  Masterpieces, Messes, and What the Neighbors Thought   by Kathleen Krull
  • Discovering Great Artists   by MaryAnn Kohl 

    The children made lapbooks.  These were from a set that someone else wrote to go with the Venezia book.  All I had to do were copy and cut.  I was thinking I had purchased the set from Currclick, but when I looked for it today I could not find it on their site.

    They completed a Famous Artist Biography notebook page about Leonardo.  This included the dates he lived, where, names of some of his works, and general information about him.  I purchased the set of notebooking pages from Notebooking, but I believe the free artist sample on the site is Leonardo DaVinci.

    I also had the children write about the Mona Lisa.  I thought since this is such a well known piece, that it would be beneficial for them to know some of the facts as well as uncertainties behind its creation and history.  The border paper used for that writing is also from Notebooking .

    Leonardo DaVinci was also know for his detailed drawing of everyday objects as well as he painting.  So to help my children look at all the details of something I had them choose an object or two around the house that could be easily disassembled and draw all the parts.  I asked them to arrange their drawings in the order how the item would be put back together.

    The top picture is my 10 year old daughters work.  She drew a Pepper Mill. The bottom picture was drawn by my 7 year old son and he featured a flashlight with the batteries.

    We only did a very few of the many activities and projects it would be possible to do in a unit about Leonardo DaVinci.  However, I think it was enough so we could all learn something and not be overwhelmed or lose interest in the topic.  There are still plenty of activities related to Leonardo DaVinci which we can do when we reach that time in history.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 6/10

          In my life this week…

    I have been hard at work cleaning and organizing the basement.  It seems that  
    is the place where everything gets dumped when I don't want to deal with it or don't have time.   I have also done some cleaning I just don't get to during the school year.
    I've done some reading.  Read a couple magazines, a book or two.

    In our homeschool this week…

    We haven't had school this week as both of my children are visiting my parents out of state.   I understand they are having fun doing lots of different things and keeping up with their summer reading. I miss them, but have enjoyed the quiet and completing some tasks.

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

    I went to a used curriculum sale on Wednesday and found several great supplemental items for our study with Story of the World in the fall and an art curriculum that we have been wanting for a year.
    My hubby and I ate out a couple times this week as it was too hot to cook or we were out doing things at supper time.

    What’s working/not working for us…

    I went to several different stores looking for a new purse and haven't found one.

    Things I’m working on…

    Planning for next year.  I have started to write things down so I think I know what I need to look for or buy.  I went through my shelves to see what I have that will fill areas of study, especially for my 7 year old. 

    My biggest question right now is what to use for grammar for my 10 year old.

    I’m reading…

    Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry    Actually I finished it.
    I’m cooking…

    Not much, it has been too hot and humid to cook!

    Thanks to Sue at the Homeschool Chick for hosting Homeschool Mothers' Journal !

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    New Signature

    This is really just a test post. I just created a signature at MyLiveSignature
    and I want to see if it works. 
    Sometimes technology and I just don't get along 
    so I decided I need to test it out.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Homeschool Mother's Journal June 3


    In our homeschool this week…

    We finished up our year!  While there are other things I would have liked to accomplish, I decided there are always other times.
    We  finished up several projects - gluing pieces into lapbooks etc.

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

    We didn't do a whole lot away from home this week.  I think in addition to the normal errands, the only thing we did was go to the library to sign up for the summer reading program.

    The children are spending several days with my parents so we meet halfway between our homes the other day. 

    Things I’m working on…

    I need to get serious about planning for next year.  I have ideas floating around in my head, but I need to write things down to really know where I am at.

    I also need to give our house some attention.  Accomplish some projects that aren't terribly crucial, but will be nice to get done. 

    Books I’m reading…

    The King's Speech  
    The Homeschooling Book of Lists