Friday, May 18, 2012

As the Lazy Days of Summer Begin: May 12-18

Lazy days of summer? Nah, I was just joshin'! LOL 

What DID we do this week? It was SUCH a whirlwind! (Or maybe it just FELT that way! LOL)

Well, Mother's Day! The kids made me sweet cards. Nothing like a homemade, heartfelt (and maybe hurriedly-made-to-keep-it-a-secret-from-Mom) cards, right? Blue Spruce gave me CHOCOLATE and a beautiful Clematis to plant somewhere in the yard. Where to plant it?  Hmmmm...Otherwise it was the DRIEST day of the week until Thursday.

Because it rained and rained. On the BRIGHT SIDE, we didn't have to water the gardens! ((thumbs up)) But we had SOGGY, DROOPY hens and muddy FOOTprints in the entryway. Thankfully there WERE some hours with bright sunshine here and there!

But the rain didn't stop some of our goings-on! White Pine hung out with B__ and D__ on different days and left for a camping trip with the Boy Scouts this weekend. Sugar Maple had softball practice and a couple of games and band and clarinet. And Balsam Fir went to a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game with Dad.

And SUNNY 70s on Thursday meant time for a hike! With the van up and working again, we've been anxious to GO SOMEWHERE, so we headed to one of the state parks with a hike up to a mountain summit. And then we explored the gardens at the farm on the way back.

We ARE continuing to work on some "weak subject areas".  Summer is "SHORING UP" time for struggling skills! And although we don't have a set time for THIS school work, it's something I try to get in most days. It's becoming apparent though that the kids need more of a strict schedule and continued learning expectations. Our first week of summer vacation hasn't gone "swimmingly". ((sigh))

White Pine is using Dance Mat Typing to become more proficient with his keyboarding skills. And yes, he does think Dance Mat Typing is "babyish", but it IS least until I dig up the missing Jumpstart: Typing CD. (Where did I put that for SAFE-KEEPING?) And, after this week, I think he should continue on with his Saxon Algebra 1/2 and completely finish it up.

 I did make Sugar Maple a Spelling game inspired by The Superlative Six called "Bam!". Using a recycled plastic ice cream container, I made flashcards from scrap paper with the words she's missed on the Spelling lists we've gone through, a few SWIPE cards and one BAM! card. A player chooses a word card without looking and hands it to the other player who reads the card. The player who drew the card tries to spell the word. If it's spelled correctly the card is kept, but if it's incorrect, the player will look at the card, say the word and spell it then return it back to the container. The players then switch. Swipe cards can be used to randomly chose a word from another players hand. If it's spelled correctly the player who drew the SWIPE gets to, well, take the word card. And if you draw the BAM! card all the word cards you've spelled correctly return to the container. Once a SWIPE or BAM! card is used they are set aside and not used again. Whoever has the most word cards at the end of the game (when all the cards have been spelled correctly) wins. Believe it or not, she's been asking to play this game OUTSIDE OF OUR HOUR OF SUMMER STUDIES! (And it's a quick way for ME to see if she can spell the words without paper-and-pencil tests!)

Our Bam! Bucket - Recycle Ice Cream
Container with Flashcards
Spelling Word Flashcards Made with Scrap Paper - Save
Scraps! Never Know What You Can Use Them For!

And Balsam Fir will continue to work on his phonetics and reading. He's enjoying the Henry and Mudge series, but I'm aiming for Nate the Great by summer's end. He's SO close! But building his self-confidence is going to be a BIG hurdle! And he'll continue sharpening those addition and subtraction facts.

We've been enjoying our growing gardens. We've found the pumpkin seedlings interesting to observe since everything is BIG...big seeds, big roots, big leaves. (Did you know those little beginning leaves inside some seeds are called cotyledon and help our little plants by providing stored food?) We've been comparing the corn, pumpkin and bean plants. Checking out those roots are a good way to find out if a plant is a vine or not! I've pulled out our favorite Apologia Botany for the Saplings to read up on plants as they wish. Delight-directed learning! (I LOVE this phrase and found it at Ben and Me and Journey to Excellence!)

See Those Cotyledon Starting to Pop Out of the Seed Coat?
A Thriving Pumpkin Plant with LOTS of Roots
Comparing a Corn Plant to Pumpkin - Look at How Long the
Root Is!

Well, it's a wonderful sunny Friday. All "my boys" are off and busy, so Sugar Maple and I are heading into town for an afternoon of GIRL TIME! I think it'll involve some sneaker and shirt shopping and take-out dinner at the lake. Oh, and click over to see my post on the chickens and ducks new home here. Our coop's roof is STILL not done, but I decided to post pictures anyway! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  1. That clematis plant is gorgeous!
    We like Dance Mat Typing here, a certain extent. I can understand why your son would maybe find it "babyish", but my girls actually seem to like it better than the Jump Start program, which we have too.
    The spelling game sounds like fun! Thanks for sharing with Favorite Resources :) Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Thought you might like to read this article on Delight-directed learning at the high school level. This is something I am "working" on with Dawson right now as his true interests come to light.


  3. LOVE this post! Thank you for linking it up to Homeschooling on the Cheap! I'm on my way to feature you on my Facebook Page! Thanks for sharing! Kelli

  4. I like the idea of the BAM bucket. I may have to steal that one!

  5. You are so creative!!! I'm lol over the babyish dance mat typing. Go check out Keyboard Town Pals. Bwaaa haaa haaaa. We reviewed it and Mackenzie was beyond horrified. lol

    Lots of rain here too. I'm over it. lol

  6. Love the Clematis! Gorgeous. There is so much good stuff in your post! I like the idea of an hour of 'learning' during the Summer. We don't really take a summer break. Well since we are unschooling, I am not sure how that is going to work.

    That spelling game looks great. And Keilee use to love Dance Mat Typing. She has gotten better at typing just from her blog and writing on that.

    Those pumpkin leaves are HUGE. We tried planting them but no luck. My beautiful garden will just have to stay in my mind! Happy weekend!

  7. Love the hiking pictures--just makes it feel like summer break already!
    I was relieved to find that you were joking about the "lazy days of summer" having already begun at your house, LOL! (Please wait for me, too!)

  8. Seriously love Clematis, It looks great planted by a mailbox or fence. What a great location for a hike. Send me an email of where you go, that is beautiful. I would love to go sometime if it is a reasonable drive.

  9. I love Clematis and your's is beautiful!
    You summer learning plans sound fun - nothing to daunting. I remember the days of "Nate the Great" - fun stuff!

  10. My boys did/do Dance Mat Typing too. I think they turned the sound off and found it much more tolerable. It is effective though! I do wish the lessons were divided so that the student could stop mid lesson and not start back at the beginning. We are doing major "shoring up" this summer as well. My goal is to be done early most mornings so that my boys have that sense of "summer freedom".

  11. The clematis is beautiful. It is good you started on your summer learning plans--every year I have good intentions, but they never seem to happen.

  12. Sweet pictures! I'm glad you had sun on Thursday! I do wish it would rain here ;) at least a bit.. I'm going to check out the hen house! Have a great week! And here's to a lil more structure and loads of fun!!

  13. The seed sprouting photos are fascinating! We may have to try this one with our kids!

    Thanks for linking up at the Happy Hello!

  14. Loved the photos and the mention of using summer to work on certain skills, lol. At our house, handwriting and spelling never get a break. Both of my boys struggle in those areas, and we do spend a lot of time over the summer working on that with them using sites like VocabularySpellingCity and LearningGamesforKids.

    Again, I really enjoyed your photos. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog... :)


  15. We're going to be strengthening skills and tying up loose ends in schooling this summer, too. I need to start typing wuth the, too. Thanks for the fun game idea!

  16. Look at that seed popping out. How cute!

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  17. Love the spelling game! Thanks for linking up with BTT!


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