Just everyday life…

Recently I’ve been asked so many homeschool questions by both homeschooling mamas and schooling mamas thinking about homeschooling and mamas that can’t even fathom homeschooling. Seems like the universe is sending loads of questions my way. Maybe to remind me I have this severely neglected blog here.

Anyhow, here is a collection of recent pics and activities in our day. Which is what most people seem to want. A fly on the wall glimpse into our days.

Most of our days start off with groggy sleepy eyed kids waking up on their own terms. Typically my son is first, he will crawl into my bed, snuggle up and read the news on his iPad (News-o-Matic app for iPad, has current affairs in kid safe articles) while I check my email and surf the web. Eventually my super sleeper daughter will wake up, she loves her snooze time! And then the kids will often play games, Legos, or some other free choice activity while I feed the chickens, rabbits, water the garden, make breakfast, etc…

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Morning Lego time…I’m sometimes convinced they think they are clever and this is the perfect academic procrastination scheme, because as we get closer to anything resembling classroom activities, they get along super well, they start building amazing projects that a mother would never want to stop in exchange for book work! You’ve never seen such team work! ❤

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Right now Legos, robotics, digital design are all favorites. FYI – Lego digital design is a free download that my kids love! They can design ANYTHING using ALL Lego pieces on the computer, print off their designs and have step by step directions to build their projects. And in some cases give the directions to friends to see if their friends can build their designs.

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Some days the kiddos do their academics with ease, happy smiles, efficient flow, and all is blissful, but don’t be fooled. We have our moments when it comes to school like activities!

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Can you see her enthusiasm for today’s writing and math lessons. Haha!

We have been reading this book for a more interesting math experience in addition to our more classroom like math lessons.

A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe:

Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science
by Michael S. Schneider
Link: http://amzn.com/0060926716

You can see here, the kids were intrigued by a comment in the beginning of the book about triangle numbers, square numbers, rectangle numbers. Who teaches about shape numbers? What are shape numbers? Why are they mentioned? Well my kids played around with little disc markers, trying to find out what pattern was the book talking about.

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This is what they discovered:

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Seems like something simple now looking at it, but figuring it out on your own took MUCH MORE creative brain power then their classroom like math lessons.

Hands-on activities, project based learning is MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE in our household, but it can also be more difficult to document in the event one must prove academic advancement. So to make that easy on my record keeping, my kiddos are subjected to boring old paperwork as well as hands-on projects and an overall educational lifestyle.

Here is a hands on activity that wasn’t planned SCHOOL, but was very educational. The kids and I watched a documentary on sugar and the western diet. (THAT SUGAR FILM on Netflix)

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This spurred a family attempt to document and cut out as much processed sugar as possible. Day one, we decided to go with ZERO processed sugar grams, as we already eat a fairly low sugar diet compared to many families. (Any often times pretty colorful) here are some example meals: lots of raw fruit n veg! My son is VERY PICKY when it comes to foods, but he will eat raw fruit n veg any day, so I don’t worry about his health, just crack up when people talk about cooking. Ask me what I’m making for dinner. Long ago, I stopped cooking and started serving food types instead! Haha!
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So back to sugar intake, day one, zero processed sugars is the goal. UPS shows up, dropping off belated EASTER BASKETS FROM GRANDMA FULL OF SUGARY GOODNESS! Soooo to not be a complete kill joy on such an exciting shipment. We decided to limit daily processed sugars which lent a hand to MORE MATH! 🙂

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The kids had a limit of 15 grams per day. They needed to figure out how many grams of sugar were in PEEPS and other candies. How many can they have each day? Do they want two peeps or half a peep and half a box of butter cookies? They worked out every item in their baskets and labeled them with post it notes. Made charts to document their daily sugar intake.

AND THEN CAME CONSUMPTION…

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We definitely count outside classes as part of school. And we are loaded up this year with extra classes! Jazz, Ballet, homeschool PE, drums, guitar, ukulele, keyboarding, yoga, horse riding, robotics, scouts, and more…

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Planning to reach Eagle Scout rank takes years of prep work and a lot of learning…I definitely count scouts as school work!
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Earning Merit Badges is often a lot like classroom work as well as combining some hands on activities. Here our son is learning/earning and environmental merit badge.

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And of course there is always time in the day to discover too many ashes in the mini BQQ that need to become ash bombs! Which are far more powerful and messy then a dirt clod! Aka BOY HEAVEN!

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I think our days are fairly average…some good….some not so good…but the best part about homeschooling is I get to experience so much of my kids lives with them. ❤

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SnakeS!

Plural! As in TWO snakes caught in my garden net!

First off I planted a lovely garden which clearly the wildlife enjoyed too! Because one morning I came out to water a bunch of teensy green nubs of what used to be a lovely lush green garden!

After nursing what was left, and seeing some life come back into my garden, I decided I needed to net the garden to avoid the evil plotting of the local wild life on my garden!

The net worked well. After a couple of weeks, I decided to replant a few of the spots that were clearly not going reinvent their lives and make a come back.

As I walked out to my chicken coop to feed my flock, collect eggs and water my garden (doesn’t that sound so peaceful, can you hear the morning birds chirping?) I was startled by a flicking snake tail! Thank heavens it wasn’t a rattler!

Upon closer investigation I see that TWO gopher snakes…clearly on the hunt for a yummy gopher snack, were beyond tangled up in the left over netting from my netted garden.

See the tail –>image

 

And the head –>image

 

Side note: a lot of snakes die this way and so if you have spare netting lying around, please collect it and put it up high off the ground. Gopher snakes are good friends. They will scare the s h i t out of you, because they look and can act like a rattle snake, but they are a friend and will help with gopher over population!

 

(Rattle snakes are born with at least one button on their tail and will always have a rattle, gopher snakes do not have buttons or rattles)

Here is a link to tell the difference between gopher and rattle snakes.

http://www.pe.com/articles/hayes-762525-rattlesnakes-bites.html

Scroll down to rattle snake pictures and you will find it (last picture in the set)

 

Anyhow, back to the problem at hand…what is one to do here? My husband says kill the snakes. I say no…keep the good snakes alive so the bad snakes don’t take over!

(Another side note: King snakes will kill and eat rattle snakes)

Instead we cut them out and sent them off with our local animal rescue to the vet. The vet can take the tight netting off without cutting the snake and then give it a good exam and set it back into the wild.

 

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As the animal rescue woman was leaving our property another giant gopher snake was crossing our driveway…it’s amazing we still have any gophers!

And yet another side note: gopher snakes can climb trees! They will if required go looking for prey up in trees, we’ve had one flop out of a tree and land on the ground in front of my daughter…who is also an avid tree climber, so always keep a keen eye out when playing in nature, but remember gopher snakes are a friend.

alls well that ends well….two good snakes kept their lives for another day of gopher hunting.

Horses, Swim, Performances and Playdates Oh My!

 This week actually felt fairly relaxed,

but we had plenty of adventures to keep us busy!

Trips to the museum and another chance to adore the horses!

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Practicing her “walking dismount” during a vaulting lesson.

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My fish love to swim, but their current lessons are driving me crazy! My kids WORK their teachers and get away with insanely basic level skills!

Like floating! Come on, you’re killing me here!

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And for the first few lessons they let my cannon ball jumper sit on the edge and flop in because she seemed “scared” ugh….she jumps in ALL THE TIME during free swim!

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Luckily my son switched classes and has a real teacher who is pushing him to perfect his strokes and teaching him the butterfly stroke!

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My son’s Cub Scout leader demonstrated “healthy eating” and made a smoothie with his bike. Of course an auditorium full of boys couldn’t stop making he’s pooping the smoothie jokes! So when it came to tasting it….there were too many eewwww gross, you’re drinking his poop! Jokes! Boys and their bodily function humor! Do they ever out grow it?

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We attended a fun play that sparked a reading fest in the house!

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We also spent a lot of time going for walks and identifying plants. I had no idea how many edible plants are right in our own back yard! Nature exploring to me is one of the best parts of homeschooling!

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And it’s always more fun when dad can join us!

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And of course lots of Playdates….a homeschooling family must prove to the overly concerned world that we are socialized!

(Do you detect sarcasm here?) 😜

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Fun Adventures with My Kiddos

This past weekend was full of travels and adventures. We had a whirl wind trip to southern California.

Day One we explored the Los Angeles Science Center. There are plenty of exciting exhibits as you can see in the photos like:

Wind tunnels that blow hurricane level winds all over the kids.

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which of course he must make it to the top to ring the bell and light the lights up…

then get his congratulatory slam down hug from his sis!

imageThere were “crystal balls” which magically make your brother do ridiculous things!

imageWind poppers that are irresistible to my drum player!

imageThermal Imaging is always fun…

…and of course MY kids were hoping they could create gas that showed up on the screen!

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The science center also has a fantastic aquarium/touch pools.

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There were ICE (real deal COLD) walls

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Quickly my son discovered punching ice, isn’t quite the same as punching snow!

(ouch!)

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lots of opportunities to push, pull, feel, examine, etc…

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and last but not least…the Endeavor Space Shuttle has a home at the science center.

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My kids were thrilled to touch wheels that have ACTUALLY BEEN IN SPACE!

“mom seriously these wheels have been in outer space! touch them mom, they were really in outer space!”

Day Two we met up with some friends and conquered LEGOLAND!

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Day Three we celebrated with my childhood friend and her daughter at her daughter’s “Fancy Tea” themed birthday party.

I can remember as kids thinking when we grow up our kids will play with each other and we will all live happily ever after! ❤

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Well it’s true minus a billion miles between us…amazingly our daughters are really close regardless!

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I was cracking up watching these girls attempt delicate moves! One little girl had a tea-cup airborne giving the host a heart attack,

another nearly ripped her dress trying to break dance and my own sweet daughter ended up ripping off one of the roses on her dress…

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Graceful they were not, but beautiful and happy they were!…these girls loved being fancy for a day!

 It’s great when homeschooling gives you the freedom to learn on the go and share such fun memories with close family and friends!

Our Week

Everyday we find time to laugh and on this day, we couldn’t stop laughing. My daughter was a crazy girl with the hose! She ended up bathing not only this horse but the three surrounding horses and all human beings in the vicinity! I think she might have a future career as a fire fighter! NO ONE was safe! We were all drenched!

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Horse care is a big part of her responsibilities! And she LOVES it!

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First Lego League http://www.firstlegoleague.org is a great group to become involved with. The kids learn so much more than Lego robotics. They learn valuable social skills, how to be part of a team and how to support not only your own team but the teams you are competing with.

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While at the park we stumbled upon a woman who was spinning yarn and her daughter was knitting. Both of these wonderful people shared their talent and craft with our children.

Another crafty person was making balloon creations for a donation. I did not have ANY cash on me, so my children were upset they couldn’t have a balloon. However, they didn’t waste a second sulking, instead they started to problem solve! Before you knew I they had found several coins on the ground at the park and made that donation and got their balloons! I was so impressed with this balloon artists creations, I had to share! Aren’t those swans too cute!

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More fun with friends…

image Climbing the baseball stop is always exciting!

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During tea time, the girls found these “eggs” on this plant. If you happen to know what kind of eggs they are, feel free to comment!

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Chess Club is another exciting adventure in our lives!

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After Chess Club our host family had a lovely fire and supplied the kids with good old fashion s’mores!

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This week our daughter tried her hand at the trumpet. She is very excited about this possibility, but I can’t tell if she’s excited about playing the trumpet or the homework of blasting her notes to wake up her brother in the morning?

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All little girls need a “friends forever” necklace to share with a good friend. Sadly this particular friend is moving away this summer. Thank heavens for technology, they can still keep in touch.

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More re fun with friends.

A great game of “dead man” on the trampoline…an all time favorite!

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An interesting thought on homeschooling…

…We were at an appointment this morning and the doctor asked if we were finished with school. He seemed half shocked and half concerned. I said we have already accomplished our math and language studies, why? Turns out he was a little shocked it can be conquered so quickly compared to traditional school.

This got me thinking about our days…

I’m not sure if the Spanish Vocab CD we were listening to in the car counts as our foreign language, or if our discussion and research on ancient Egypt counts towards history or if the ancient Egyptian picture my son drew counts as art, or if the books my kids read during their free time count as language…because those are just every day occurrences. My kids don’t count those activities as SCHOOL. They only consider WORKSHEETS and WORKBOOKS to be school…

…and they hate school!

But they LOVE TO LEARN!

We’re we finished for the day? Are we ever finished for the day? I don’t think we ever stop learning! Our entire lives are educational. We were finished with our worksheets for the day!  Yes!  TGIF! But we are never finished learning, it’s a homeschoolers life to love to learn! ❤️

Friday 1/30 – Thursday 2/5

My new goal is to show a better idea of how our weeks go for those new to homeschooling. I remember how difficult it was to wrap my head around the idea of homeschooling, because I never knew if I would be doing it right. Nearly five years later I can assure you, there is NO RIGHT WAY, in fact over the years we’ve mixed and mingled many styles and philosophies. The bottom line is: if your children are learning, your family is successfully homeschooling.

So this past week we had a few fun adventures outside of our typical academics.

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The kids were enrolled in a Home schoolers Bike Safety Course. The organization that set it up, was fantastic. They had laid out an entire course of faux streets, stop signs, lanes, pedestrians, sidewalks, texting drivers, bushes where random things came darting out towards them, even had car doors that flung open as they tried to pass. I was particularly impressed when they had ten kids on bikes riding in a figures 8 sorting out the intersection issues on their own! Kids are really capable when given the power!

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We also attended a homeschool PE class. (Always cracks me up when people think homeschool kids don’t socialize…still makes me giggle a bit when someone asks me if I am concerned about socialization.)

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This weeks class was dodge ball, which was an all times favorite of mine! After the hour-long class, a majority of us stayed and the kids played for another hour or so. All ages, sizes and genders happily engaging and having fun together!

We hiked up to a painted “cave” (although I’d call it more of a “wall” myself)

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We learned about the Native Americans and the theories on what the paintings mean. I personally thought the picture the experts debate being a bird or a turtle I thought was more of a round circle with nothing more to it, could be a dinner plate, the sun or moon, etc..regardless it was interesting and fun to see.

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We we spent some times at the tide pools. We found some pretty cool creatures, shells and rocks. best part was we had our very own archeologist guide with us to share her knowledge both at the cave/wall and the tide pools!

The weather was BIZARRE…at one point we were freezing and wearing giant ski coats, the next moment we were baking hot and seeking shade!

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My son who at times likes to “be tough and manly” decided today was an ok day to let down the guard and spend some time wool felting a blanket and sewing a pillow for his favorite stuffed animal. Winters can be so cold and we wouldn’t want his stuffies to freeze!

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And last but not least, “Fiesty” (the only hen in the eight eggs we hatched out a while ago) started laying eggs…you can see her “practice egg” below next to an average sized egg. Isn’t that the cutest little yoke you’ve ever seen?! ❤️

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Of of course our week also included academics, horse riding lessons, drum lessons, Spanish lessons, lunch with grandpa, play dates, swimming at the gym pool, etc…

See ya next week…

(please excuse any autocorrection I’ve missed…autocorrect might be the death of me one day!)

Kids and E-mail

I have set up email accounts for my kids…only our family has the addresses…for now….they will branch out in due time.

I send them video clips and links to educational apps or games to discover. Example: a specific link to a video clip on “thekidshouldseethis.com” web site..then ask questions about the video, so they reply, get practice in reading, typing, emailing, etc…but in the relative safety of our family.

I also send them links to various apps to download and explore and tell me about the game or info they discovered. They had a lot of fun with a stop motion app. They created lots of stop motion videos with their stuffed animals.

I emailed the new electronic drum manual’s PDF file to my son and told him to read it by Wednesday. He replied on Tuesday letting me know he was finished. He also let me know he learned a bunch of cool things his new drum set can do.

Recently I allowed them to download a trivia game which we play together, against one another. Again only family, so no playing online with strangers. And the trivia questions are history, science, art, geography, etc…it is fun to see how much they know! And it’s good for them to “wait their turn” on a game that can take days to finish.

Turtle diary web site has educational games. I will send them links to these games and ask them to reply to me with their score.

I downloaded the natural reader app, and showed them how to link a web site to the audio natural reader, allowing me to send them links to pages of information they can listen to as some of the scientific words are too advanced for their reading level at this time…and then we discuss the information via email.

The kids love it!

They typically crawl into bed next to me and put on headphones and check their emails, which is great because I still need a bit of quiet time and they are waking up earlier now! (I just need to train them to make me a cup of tea, since the cup my husband brings me before leaving for work is typically gone by this time! Haha”)

All of this is IMHO, teaching them to navigate a world in which they will inevitably have to work in someday. It is encouraging them to explore educational information and discuss it with me. It’s encouraging better typing, spelling, reading, etc…and what I love best, is seeing their wheels turn, they are thinking about what they are learning, putting pieces together, finding humor, facts and safe solid life skills.

I got an email from my daughter out of the blue, asking if we can go to a specific church she wanted to know more about (where her Girl Scout meetings are held) and one from my son out of the blue asking if we can have one on one time and go to get frozen yogurt together.

This morning I got an email from my son explaining how smart the atoms are in H2O because no matter what, they know what they are supposed to do…I replied, and you are a bundle of atoms that knows exactly what you should be doing….and he replied with a bunch of laughing smilies and said, you’re funny mom! Hahahahahahaha!

These interactions are priceless! And I vote instead of fearing the Internet and technology, teach the kids what to do, how to do it, what not to do, what to avoid, why, etc…we limit tech time each day and now a large portion of their screen time is educationally productive! They aren’t spending their time “killing bosses” they are instead watching educational clips and interacting with one another.