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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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!

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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Mellow Week

Well I started my blog post on Thursday and forgot to finish it….wonder if I will ever get into the groove of weekly blogging? I hope so! I used to have negative thoughts about blogs, but over the years they have been helpful in many cases. This means I have to conquer a sub-conscience negative feeling toward the process and a weekly goal. I must accept the fact I’m a blogger now! Haha!

This week has been filled with lots of love, snuggles and cuddles! Mostly a mellow week.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day a smidgen early with some homeschooling friends.

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The kids decorated cupcakes and ate way more sugar then they should have, but the mamas saved the kids from licking the frosting beaters….shhhhh it was Delicious!

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And I found lovely notes and chocolates around the house from a secret admirer. (Who happens to need admirer as a spelling word) haha!

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It was a quiet week over all, with a lot of sofa school (which translates to mama Lou reading educational books to the kids and discussing our new-found information.

My son, has been earning all his states on the app “Stack the States” during his free computer time. He loves that game and has learned so much about the various United States thru play.  Next up “Stack the Countries”

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Another fun way we’ve been learning this week is thru the tv show “Horrible Histories.”

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I love when education just happens in a fun and entertaining way! So much more fun then our boring old academic worksheets.

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However a “marshmallow test” is a good incentive to finish your worksheets! (Look close there is a marshmallow taunting him)

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We found a bush that was full of berries. I remember as a child being told to not eat the berries because they are poisonous; yet, a friend of mine thought they might be a berry you can make some sort of edible something with…

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….so this week we have been searching thru various herb and plant books to try to discover what plant it is, and whether or not it is poisonous or useful and in many case it could be both.

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We are having trouble identifying it as there are many plants with similar berries and leaves. We snapped off a bit of it today and will be taking it to the nursery for help with identification.

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We also had fun with friends, making artwork, getting beauty treatments, building Legos, playing with transformers, over all making a giant mess of the playhouse.

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Last but not least! Drum is always a lesson we are excited to go to and practice for!

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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!)

Life Science

We recently had to rehome of our rooster “Storm” because he was a bit too good at being a rooster. He protected his ladies too well and attacked the kids when they were collecting eggs. We were very sad about this and tried to remedy to situation, but sadly we weren’t successful.

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We took Storm back to the breeder and swapped him for Frosty, our new rooster.

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Long story short, we wanted some of Storm’s babies, so into the incubator went some of the eggs fertilized by him.

21 days later we had the best science experiment ever…getting to see life emerge.

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These chicks were half blue orpington (Storm) and half Easter egger (Mama)

26 days later we opened up the unhatched eggs. Mostly we found icky yokes that never really took…

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…but then we discovered two chicks that were well on their way. It was sad for the kiddos and they wanted to bury the chicks.

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You can see one dyed before it’s yoke sack was absorbed into it’s abdominal cavity…but the other chick was ready to hatch and never pipped or unzipped for some unknown to us reason.

It was a good science lesson on how delicate life is.

The kids decided they needed to bury the chicks at the base of a tree, so they can climb up to the top and learn to fly. And because according to my daughter it takes a year to get to heaven and well the flight journey there is a long way. She’s pretty sure heaven is on a planet not discovered by humans yet.

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Each one decided to add some sort of token for their journey before we buried the little peepers.

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Then we came inside to celebrate the life of 8 baby chicks that did hatch.

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Could we be lucky enough to have 8 HENS??? Lol…against the odds, but we are hoping for all hens! Frosty (our roo) doesn’t need any competition. 🙂

It would be nice to add some more grey/blue to our colorful flock.

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Ideally I’d love for the flock to have a plethora of colors and variations. I think when we incubate some of Frosty’s offspring we will get to add even more variety. 🙂

Homeschool Science Rocks…it’s hands on thru the entire process!

Beautiful Butterflies!

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If you have the chance to watch butterflies develop I highly suggest it.

In spring we order caterpillars from Insect Lore’s website

(http://www.insectlore.com/cup-of-caterpillars)

And then set the butterflies free after a couple of days of observations.

Through books and hands on experiences, the kids have learned all about the butterfly life cycle.

They also have learned to be very gentle with butterflies.

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And maybe the butterflies know my kids are gentle or maybe it is their bright clothing, but for whatever reason, butterflies seem to land on and allow my kids to hold them often.

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Here are some great supplies to consider if you are interested in learning more about and raising your own butterflies: