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. ❤

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!

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!

Update On Us

We homeschool year round, but I have the summer off to some degree. My kids have planned it all out and will be dictating their routines for the most part. A few things are mandatory they must stick in here and there, drum lessons, horse riding lessons, piano lessons, volunteer work, etc…and they have decided to have specific days. ie: Monday is math day, Tuesday is history day, and so on…they plan to make their tv shows, iPad apps, board games, outdoor play, kitchen experiments, etc revolve around the theme of the day. Example, today is spanish day, so they will switch the language to spanish on the DVDs they watch and instead of their go to Pig Latin kid talk, they will attempt to speak spanish when possible, etc…

I do feel like I need to give an update since it’s been a LONG while since I’ve shared what were up to.

A while back I decided to do an experiment and give the kids what we called a “FREE WEEK”…

…in a nutshell, the kids were responsible for their sleeping times, eating times, food choices, entertainment and education. In a very free willy nilly sort of way. I was here to help them when they asked but overall they were in charge of themselves. I deleted everything from the calendar for a week. (Including canceling lessons they did not want to attend)

The point for me was to get a good idea of what they were capable of, how they handled their choices, where they still needed me to guide them, where they were more self sufficent, etc…

I do think much longer then a week is needed for a true assessment. Because a week does feel in some way like a holiday rather then a time to put on your boots and get to work.

I discovered (and more importantly THEY discovered) there were still many areas mom was very needed! Which is a good thing IMHO!

They were very curious why no friends came over to play. I asked them if they arranged any play dates. Hmmm might be the reason. Planning is needed to make things happen. Good lesson for them to learn.

Why they don’t have any clean pants. I asked if they did their laundry? Hmmmm must wash clothes in order to have clean clothes. Another good lesson…but mostly they just realized mom does the laundry and didn’t this week, so they opted to wear alternative outfits over the favorites until mom washed again. (Which spurred mom to buy separate laundry baskets for each child and unknown to them, they are slowly learning to take over their own laundry washing, drying, folding and putting away! Darn sneaky mom!)

Aside from a few really good learning opportunities/discussions. And great examples of what could be handled better, it was a blissful week for ALL of us.

We all were doing exactly what we wanted all day long for an entire week! Yes I did not hear one single bicker from the kids. They were so happy doing their own thing. I accomplished a ton because they didn’t demand as much of my attention as they normally do.

HOWEVER the amount of Minecraft they played was insane for my liking. (I fondly refer to Minecraft as Mindcrap, even though I know there are lots of great learning opportunities around the game…it’s the intensity of time suck I don’t like)

Since it was free week, I figured eventually my son would have his fill, get a neck cramp, something and stop playing…nope, he played the entire week nearly all day every day! My daughter would stop mid day and go do something else, but come back to it in the evening.

They did build some amazing structures, learned a bunch from tutorials online, took on challenges and played well in each others worlds. But like I said the intensity of the Minecraft take over was not a long term OK thing with me, so we had a little Minecraft detox the following week. We are now back on a healthy level of video games from mama’s perspective.

Aside from free week, we’ve had horse riding adventures, rock climbing adventures, and a bunch if fun with friends. Spring time always sheds away the winter chill and gets us outside and active.

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I think repelling is what they love the most!

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And shortly after this adventure they wanted to practice bouldering (no harness, height they are comfortable with jumping down from)

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Recently, my daughter took some of her girl friends on a trail ride (some of her friends had never been on a horse, so you can see trail walkers near each horse for the riders safety) my son played Mindcrap with his friends (the brothers of the horse riders) it was a perfect day for all involved. Haha!

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While school kids are finishing up their last few weeks of school, I hear my public school mama friends tell me about their busy end of school year calendar chaos. It reminds me how very blessed we are to be homeschooling. We are enjoying all this warm weather having fun with friends and not in a busy chaotic frenzy.

Quick Easy Organic and Yummy Science Experiment

Yesterday the kids wanted to know why I don’t love them eating straight butter, even though I did as a child. We talked about fat content in our diets. How fats should be in smaller amounts.

This discussion quickly moved into liquids and solids and the components of butter, where it comes from, how you make it etc…

My kids have made butter in the past so I assumed they knew all about it, but over time (even with hands on experiments) info is lost and needs a refresher. So off to the market to buy organic cream we go.

We poured a little cream into a jar (forgot the marble, some people recommend putting a marble or penny in the bottle) we gently and consistently took turns at shaking the jar.

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You can see the liquid and fat separating. Many people drain the liquid off. Some use it in other ways. (All worth researching online) We just kept on shaking haha! So we ended up with really creamy butter.

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Some folks add salt too. We were going to use this butter up on grilled cheese sandwiches so I opted for no salt.

I highly encourage you to make some butter with your kids. Its great fun and very interesting to see the different stages. Lots of opportunity for science discussions there.

I also encourage you to use organic cream. Who knows what is in our food these days with all the toxic chemicals, hormones and genetically modified foods. And worse companies that refuse to label their foods properly.

Questions & Answers

My son has this tid bit of info he has been clearly mentally processing, he then announced it to his sister in a very authoritative tone of voice. (Missing the point that she didn’t ask for his lesson haha!)

At school you don’t learn anything because you only remember questions that are asked, the teacher just says stuff without letting you ask many question, like at my old school there was a rule of only three questions per day per person.

I’m not sure of that said rule at his old school, but I have heard other parents state similar rules in their children’s schools, so I know they exist and it is possible he had a similar rule….

Anyhow, its great info! Important info really…we all retain far more of what we are interested in than random trivia we are not interested in.

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On that thought I have been observing the questions asked and giving them special consideration before blindly dismissing or giving a less than answer.

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This morning the kids decided to dump out their piggy banks and look at their money. My son can count his money, but my daughter is still learning how to count money. I watch as she lays out all the coins. She asks me how much a quarter is again? I tell her twenty-five cents. She asks how much a pence is (clearly harboring some left over coins from our last visit to the UK) I answer her. Then she asks my son to teach her how to count her money. He leaps at the chance to play teacher. She is thrilled to be taught. I might just get out of teaching money this year! 😉

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He explains that here the pence doesn’t really count, which then brings loads of questions about money from different countries and why they count there but not here. I love hearing him explain it to her. I only jumped in where things got somewhat tricky to explain, but for the most part my son was fairly impressive of his foreign money knowledge. I didn’t know he had that knowledge! Another blessing of homeschooling, really truly getting to know the ins and outs of what goes on inside your kiddo’s mind!

Sunday – Day Seven

Today I was lazy for half the day, then I got up and cleaned house. These are the types of random things I find when I go about cleaning.

A home-made kazoo

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An erosion experiment on paper clips

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A collection of rocks

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Nearly dried purple paint, and some random bit of packing foam painted purple

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All of these things are of course treasures that can not be tossed.

Here are some crystals we grew during a science experiment a couple of weeks ago, I’m finally finding a new home for this display.

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Coloring time

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Finished artwork

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We went for a family walk

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A couple of friends who loved my daughter’s hair, stopped by to have a little pink added to their hair.

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After the kids played for a LONG time outside and their mama and I enjoyed mama tea chat time, somehow they turned the evening into a dance party. (Horrible photos, iPhone flash is not the best!)

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Their dance party got so wild they broke one of my favorite antique bowls. 😦

Luckily no one was hurt! That is most important!

Once the bowl bits were cleaned up they resumed their dance party.

I think we can glue the bowl back together…I have hope! 🙂

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Kids are in bed listening to an audio story. Hubby and I are going to snuggle up and chat the night away.

Goodnight Zzz