Our Week in Pictures

Not sure how many of you remember my daughters adventures with pink hair a while back…

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The color stayed in her hair for over a year!

And stained a few things along the way!

She is finally back to a more natural color and all week she has been telling me she wants to color it blue now, or maybe purple, or possibly red…

Her friend who attends public school, told her she’s not allowed to color her hair until summer, it’s against the rules, then she remembered we homeschool…

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Few rounds of ping-pong took place.

imageSome attempts to find new planets, stars, etc…but something was “clogging the lens”, so now the telescope is collecting dust in my entryway, along with five billion coats no one wears!

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Reading…lots of reading this past week!

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Dreaded worksheets!

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Clay creations and sewing projects.

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I told her of a local homeschooling girl who made clothes for her dog; since this is one of my daughters favorite past times and one of our dogs most dreaded duties, she promptly decided she needs to go into business with this other girl, whom she’s never met! Haha!

We went on lots of walks!

Trying to identify plants, not so good yet at this adventure!

Anyone know what this flower is?

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Swinging stick weapons in our best rock star pose.

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Trying to steal sticks away from the dog.

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 Cruising up the road…we walked a ton this past week!

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We had friends join us on our walks.

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Of course we always have play dates with friends!

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Time for a make over! Boys included, most of the time he is the make up artist or desperately trying to convince them they are beautiful enough to play a game of dead man on the trampoline now!

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My son has been reading and creating a TON of these “mini weapons of mass destruction!

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I highly recommend this book! Amazon.com has several from the series. I think the ninja version will be making its way to our house in the near future!

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Comedy watching her attempt to saddle a tall horse! Especially with a western saddle! The english saddles are much lighter!

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Tricycles aren’t always for toddlers!

My son found this tricycle at the horse stables and attempted to go down hills fast enough then stand up on the seat. Think there is more practice needed…and maybe a helmet?

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Love our FLL opportunities!

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Lego Robotics is a favorite for sure!

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We also love chess club!

(Which ends with friends and s’mores around the fire)

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Sidewalk walk chalk is still a ton of fun!

Another past time that isn’t  just for toddlers!

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Adventure Time is a current favorite.

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Climbed a few trees, Have I mention I have a couple of monkeys?

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We ended our week with a Girl Scout camp out.

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And a great game of “Sharks n Minnows” on an air pad…because camping apparently isn’t all “nature” anymore!?!?

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Came home, took a nice hot bath to shed camping scuzzzz of our bods and are ready for a nice new week full of new adventures!

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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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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.

Learning on a Weekend?!?!

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Here is the best part of homeschooling. The kids learn new things everyday…even on the weekend!…and even with old toys they thought they had mastered!

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This entire weekend has been snap circuit crazy. We own several of these kits, so that means over a thousand small bits and pieces scattered all over the place in the name of educational play!

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If you go to http://www.amazon.com and do a search for “Elenco snap circuits” you will find several choices from small beginner kits, Eco friendly kits to massively sized kits. Have fun!

 

Guinea Fowl Adventures

Well a little over a week ago we had 17 guinea fowl.

We went on vacation and came home to 9 guinea fowl.

Woke up the next day and found we had 5 guinea fowl?

Woke up this morning to 2 guinea fowl!

Mind you these birds are virtually wild and free to roam on several acres of land.

Clearly we are feeding the predator population a free meal!

So today the kids and I went on a “save the last two guinea” hunt.

After a lot of herding, chasing, and failed attempts to capture, we caught one!

Then a neighbor joined in the efforts.

More herding, chasing, failed attempts to capture, then we caught the other one.

So what do you do with two guinea fowl that have no clear coop or home to go to that is safe? Clearly you put them in the spare bathroom shower…right? Isn’t that what anyone would do? Haha!

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After spending the day in the shower, they felt that was enough! I heard a horrific crash and went to see what took place in the bathroom…

…apparently they wanted a bit more space to roam!

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Which means I need to find a solution to these birds ASAP!

Now that the kids have named the last two survivors (Shizzle and MaNizzle) we obviously must make arrangements to have these two live in peace and happily ever after! (Fingers crossed, ideally they will get along with the chickens!)

Not So LIFE Science

We are raising Guinea Fowl and aside from their amazing smell, they are really cool birds!

Perfect solution for an organic gardener’s pest problem. They love bugs and will delicately pluck them off your plants without destroying the plants (according to all the info we’ve read up on)

We are hoping they will keep the vineyard tick and bug free once they are released from their current run.

Unfortunately, last night some sort of predator found them and made an attempt at capture. It didn’t get much of a meal (the head and one wing) but it was a free meal, so I’m sure it will be back again soon.

We are making some adjustments to the run today, in hopes of keeping the rest of the flock safe!

However, since the predator did leave the bulk of the bird, I found this to be a perfect opportunity to dissect a bird and learn about its organs.

It’s a weekend, we are in our PJs and our laboratory is the tailgate of a truck.

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Nothing like a typical classroom.

This is one of many reasons homeschooling so great!

The love of learning takes place anywhere and anytime.

So beware graphic photos are coming…if you are squeamish,

you might want to take my word for it…it was FASCINATING!

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Unfortunate end to a lovely creature!

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First we removed the remaining wing and legs.

The kids were noticing how the ball and socket joint was similar to Transformers and Bionicle Toys.

They are certain the designers of those toys must have copied nature’s design.

Good opportunity to discuss other ways nature plays a role in modern technology designs.

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After flipping the breast-plate out-of-the-way, we were able to see the heart and either the liver or lungs clearly. (Did not have time to plan this dissection, so we are researching after the fact using our photos.)

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My daughter was very interested in the heart.

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We cut it in half to see the various chambers…

(we will learn more about atriums, ventricles, valves, etc next week)

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…and arteries.

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Then we started dissecting the digestion process.

We aren’t 100% sure yet what each of these parts are named.
The kids have a research assignment for next week to solve these mysteries.

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The part my daughter is touching is a VERY HARD THICK muscle!

Clearly used to help the inner stones crush up and break down the food.

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After cutting parts off, we discovered the left and right sides were THICK SOLID muscle masses

and the center was where food and small stones were being ground up.

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After digging all the stony bits of food out, we cut it open to find the THICK STRONG muscle was lined

with an EXTREMELY THICK membrane that clearly played an important role in processing the food.

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On to the intestines!

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Aside from the occasional “ha ha you touched the pooper tube” joke, they were fascinated with the way

the different tangled systems were combining into one tube.

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Seeing how delicately the blood vessels were attached,

yet how strong the very thin membrane was holding them together was a moment of awe!

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It was also interesting to see the ribs attached…

….and we aren’t sure yet (research is in their near future) what the red bloody spongy tissue is covering the ribs.

We are guessing it has something to do with the respiratory system.

Science lessons will be fun next week!

We took WAY MORE photos then these, so we have LOTS of research in our future!

Mom will be learning along side the kids!

Other great aspects of homeschooling;

mama learns as well and you can be flexible in your plans to add research projects like this.