Friday, June 24, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: June 18-24

In My Life This Week
We had FEW scheduled activities this week! I can't remember a week THIS YEAR that we didn't have an activity, usually a bunch EVERY DAY, to run too! Of course we weren't "couch potatoes" all week (even though I was tempted), but it was WONDERFUL to come-and-go as we pleased. 

In Our Homeschool This Week
Did you see that our new baby chicks hatched? The kids were SUPER DUPER excited! They even got to see one pop out of its shell! 4 mostly browns, 3 mostly blacks and 2 mostly yellow chicks joined us. 3 eggs were not fertile which made our hatch rate 100%! I believe we have 5 hens and 4 cockerels, so we'll be finding homes for the roosters. And the kids PROBABLY have us talked into keeping the hens. So, where to get a coop?
Some of Our Little Cheepers
C and S spent some time drawing.
S's Cartoon Alien
Isn't C's Shark Awesome?
S put together a 100 piece Scooby Doo puzzle. Puzzles are VERY difficult for him because of his visual tracking difficulties, but he stuck with it with a little help and encouragement.

The kids are off to a roaring start with their library Summer Reading Program goals! They spent A LOT of time sitting in the mottled shade under the evergreens inside Cheeper's wire run while Cheeper dug and searched for bugs to her content.
C Reading Sounder With Cheeper Digging and Exploring in the Wire Run
Seeds, Seeds, Seeds by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace inspired seed exploration by S. I'd HIGHLY recommend it for preschoolers through Grade 1 for Botany, Garden or plant studies. There's activities right in the reading to bring the information alive. S created his own labelled seed collection just like the Buddy in the story!
S's Seed Collection Poster
We had some "serious" trivia game competitions with Brain Quest: America. Even I'm learning some facts that I didn't know! (Shhh! C spends time reading the questions and answers so that she'll be better prepared between games!)
 Places We're Going and People We're Seeing
  • C had her Softball Championship game on Saturday. Unfortunately they lost, but their season ended with a record of 7-3 and that's GREAT! On Monday we - PARENTS - played against the girls to celebrate. Guess who won?
  • We went to my ILs to celebrate Father's Day Saturday night. FIL is the grill-master, grilling turkey for us! And the chocolate fondue MIL made with C wasn't so bad either!
  • We spent an afternoon swimming at the lake.
  • S finished up T-ball on Wednesday, getting his participation trophy and popsicles.
  • The kids spent Thursday afternoon playing at their friends' house.
  • At the library the kids each got their own small zen garden, complete with sand, rocks and a mini rake! We also go LOTS of books, a couple videos and a book-on-CD for our road trip this weekend.
  • I dropped S off with my ILs for the weekend to play with his 5-year-old cousin. They have LOTS of fun things planned that he's excited about. And I picked up J's friend T who will be staying with us for the week.

    My Favorite Thing This Week Was
    Watching the kids play with the new chicks and seeing how excited they are were my favorite things this week. Their calm, caring manners with the animals are wonderful!
    J Rubbing Cheeper II As it Sleeps in his Hands
    J Rubbing Another Chick to Sleep
    I Call This One Ewok! LOL
    What's Working/Not Working For Us
    I don't know why and I'm not going to question it, but having a Chore Competition gets my kids rollin' with cleaning! The kid who properly completes the most chores from the list gets $2.00, but to encourage ALL the kids, 2nd place gets $1.00 and 3rd place .50 cents. It's TOTALLY worth the $3.50 for me! (What's $3.50 for getting 35 chores completed in a couple of days, freeing up our days for taking the kids to the lake?)
    Questions/Thoughts I have
    Have we turned into a crazy CHICKEN family?! LOL The kids can't get enough of this new experience! I'm sure it'll wear off over time, right?
    A Photo, Video, Link, or Quote to Share

    I'm linking up to The Homeschool Mother's Journal, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Forever, For Always, Not Matter What, Hip Homeschool Hop, Sunday Sunday, No Ordinary Blog Hop, and Fun Tuesday Hop. Join in for homeschooling fun!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Lego Creation Thursday

    Legos are a BIG thing around here. Usually. There hasn't been as much building lately, but this week the boys spent some time creating a few interesting models.
    J's Student at Desk
    J's Ion Fighter With Shock Trooper
    A Close-up of the Shock Trooper
    S Made This From Our Lego Education: Gears Kit
    Not Sure What This Is - S Says, "Where People Are Trapped"

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Chick Hatching Journal #2

    Our 12 Eggs - Tans, Pinks, Blues, and Greens
    Day 20
    I checked on the 12 incubating eggs at 5:30pm and UNEXPECTEDLY found 4 pipped eggs! I thought I had heard some faint cheeps earlier in the day, but with Cheeper cheeping constantly nearby I thought it was her. Kids are SUPER DUPER excited!

    We watched one egg wiggle around like crazy and heard some faint cheeping at 8:00pm. The pipped hole in one egg is larger and the membrane is now broken through. We can see movement through the hole.

    At 9:20pm I check the eggs and - SURPRISE! - one yellow chick has hatched! It's doing well - cheeping and moving around, but oh-so-tiny! (Was Cheeper ever THAT little?!)
    Taken Through the Incubator Window - Yellow Chick Minutes Old
    The kids were able to watch Chick #2 - ALL black - hatch at 10:50pm! Sam says, "Mom, it's a miracle! This is the COOLEST thing ever!" I'm SO glad that they actually got to see a chick hatch! What an experience for them!

    Chick #3, black, popped out at 12:10am. Chicks #1, #2 and #3 are transferred into the brooder and are doing well. Here's a video of them just minutes after going into the brooder. They're still a little damp!
    Sometime between 3:30-4:30am (as I was sleeping), Chick #4, black, and Chick #5, yellow, hatched. 2 more eggs are visibly pipped. The kids rush down soon after for an update!

    At 5:50am, Chick #6 pushed its way out of the shell, another black. Our Golden Retriever isn't so sure about all the LOUD cheeping! LOL Chick #4 and #5 are moved into the brooder with the others.

    Chick #7 hatched at 9:00am, and once again another black! Chick #6 transferred to the brooder with his or her "siblings". And at 10:00am, Chick #8 joined us. ANOTHER black. 6 blacks and 2 yellow/blacks.  4 eggs left, 1 pipped. Wonder if the other 3 un-pipped eggs will hatch?

    Day 21
    We're still waiting our Chick #9. It was one of the first to pip, but has not made any progress in almost 24 hours. (It's now 3:15pm.) I started chipping around the top (without breaking the membrane covering the chick). This is what the chick would do if it could. It's cheeping weakly and moving a little. My kids know from our first hatching that weaker chicks sometimes don't make it. (The other 3 eggs were not fertile.)

    But Chick #9, a black and white, is a strong one! After I cracked the shell all the way around and removed the inner membrane and slid it partially out 2 hours later, it gave one big, exhausted push to finish the process, and soon joined it's 8 buddies in the brooder!
    The 3 Colors: Black (with Tan or White), Brown (with Black and White) and Yellow (with Brown)
    Some of the Baby Chicks in the Brooder

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal: June 11-17

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal 
    In My Life This Week

    Our baby chicks are starting to hatch! We have 4 pipped eggs! "Pipped" means that the chick has made a small crack or hole in the shell for air. They will rest after pipping and then begin chipping around the entire shell and finally push their way out. This process takes approximately 6-24 hours. Check back in a few days to see how many of our 12 incubating eggs hatch! The kids are SO excited! There are NO plans for sleeping tonight! LOL
    C and I went on a nice walk one evening together. It's WONDERFUL to bond over nature! I snapped a bunch of photos for her project while we strolled along. 
    A Bumble Bee on a Red Clover
    C's Favorite Wild Flower - Daisy
    An Inch Worm on a Leaf
    The Beautiful Red Ladyslipper
    C, S and I created a new, bigger brooder for Cheeper, using a cardboard box. We even added a roosting stick to the corner, which she LOVES.
    Cheepers New Brooder (Missing: Wire Top and Reflector Light)
    Cheeper (3 Weeks Old) on Roosting Stick
    In Our Homeschool This Week
    C decided on her 4H poster theme: Backyard Botany. We talked about what she would include on her poster - local plants, flowers and trees, a diagram of flower parts, types of leaves, and evergreens vs. deciduous trees - and how she would put it together over the summer. What will the boys do?

    C found a dragonfly stuck in the garden netting and brought it inside. She and Sam spent a while looking it over with a magnifying glass and trying to determine what species it was. They were fascinated with its compound eyes!
    Dragonfly - Species Unknown (for now)

    S continues to draw pictures and copy words into his Do-it-Yourself Diary of a Wimpy Kid journal. It's exciting to hear him sounding out words, although I have to say the first 4-letter word he Spelled correctly was a BIG surprise. ((sigh)) But he IS spelling!
    The First 4 Letter Word that S Spelled - The A is backwards
    Did you know that a frog's skin needs to be kept wet or it can not get enough oxygen despite having lungs AND gills? I didn't! We spent some time learning about frogs this week in anticipation of getting to the Audubon center and catching frogs in their pond (which they encourage). We also made origami jumping frogs from Enchanted Learning.

    Places We're Going and People We're Seeing
    • J spent the weekend camping at the lake with Boy Scouts
    • C, S and I had a picnic dinner at the lake and then the kids swam - BRRR! - and played in the sand 
    • S had T-ball (in the rain) 
    • C had softball practice and a play-off game (win!)
    • We joined a LARGE group of homeschoolers at the state park to swim, play, and toss around ideas for a new EARTH SCHOOLING co-op in the fall 
    • We went swimming with friends at 2 different public swimming beaches 
    • We visited the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Program and get new movies and videos
    The Lake on a Cloudy Early Evening
    S Swimming with his Board
    C Getting "Waved"
    And a Mallard With Her 10 Ducklings at the Lake
      My Favorite Thing This Week
    J and I drove to the bowling alley for our first Kids Bowl Free games! It was nice to go out with my "big kid", chatting and exploring the town, leisurely playing a couple of strings (and joking about our terribly low scores), visiting the library nearby, and "hanging out".

     What's Working/Not Working For Us
    Don't get me wrong - we DO love our activities - but sports and weekly Girl and Boy Scout meetings ended this week until September and it's WONDERFUL to have more time for other things. THERE IS NOTHING ON THE SCHEDULE NEXT WEEK UNTIL THE WEEKEND!
     Questions/Thoughts I Have
    What will we do while visiting my family the last week of June? And will Cheeper come with us to live with Mom or is it coop buying time?

     A Photo, Video, Link, or Quote to Share 
    A quick, sneak peak! You can hear Cheeper in the background at the end, cheeping at the little ones. She's not sure what to think of them! LOL

    I'm linking up with Forever, For Always, No Matter What, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Fun Tuesday Hop, Hip Homeschool Hop, and Science Sunday. Click on the sidebar buttons and see what other homeschool families are doing!

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal: June 4 - 10

    In My Life This Week
    I played a lot of Yahtze with C. And Wii bowling. And although I'm struggling on the Master Player competition in boardgames, I'm the Wii Bowling Champion. LOL So far.
    With S and A gone over the weekend, I had a Chore Challenge! After making an extensive chore list, the kids worked through the list, and whomever completed the most received $1.00. 28 chores were completed! C won the $1.00! But the best part was that NO ONE COMPLAINED!

    I had a WHOLE afternoon off. By myself. What did I do? Well, I mowed the lawn, read Water the Elephants and took a short nap. LOL

    And Cheeper the Chick got to go outside for the first time! Aren't chickens SUPPOSED to like grass, dirt and bugs?! LOL Once her feet hit the grass she would fly back onto the kids. 
    In Our Homeschool This Week
    J continued to work on improving his typing speed and accuracy. C reviewed her Spelling Rules and the More Words lists in All About Spelling through Step 18. I created an account at Spelling City, entered the More Word lists in groups of 25, and then C took tests and played games on words she missed as part of her review. And S finished up short U and started the final section on short E in Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read Level 1. I'm excited to move onto Level 2 and simple blends! 

    Our limestone rocks weren't limestone. After 1 1/2 weeks of watching bubbles dissipate from the rocks in white vinegar with no stalagmites, we took the rocks out. Turns out we made "rock chalk"! 
    We also dropped an egg into vinegar (acid) to see what would happen. This experiment worked better! The vinegar dissolved the shell (calcium) and left the inner membrane intact. The egg was "rubbery" looking and we could squeeze it just a little bit.
    Vinegar Bubbles on the Side of the Egg
    White Foam on Top
    2 Days Later Shell-Free
    "Rubber" Egg Does NOT Bounce...Ask S! LOL
    Places We're Going and People We're Seeing
    S and A went to Acadia National Park this weekend, camping with the Cub Scouts. S was SUPER excited and had a blast! And on the way back they stopped for Chinese with my family.

    C crossed over to Junior Girl Scouts on Monday! We're SO fortunate to have incredibly motivated, organized and active leaders! C can't wait to see what activities they'll do next year! And she had softball practice on Monday and games on Tuesday and Thursday. Play-offs are next week!
     J had a Boy Scout meeting on Tuesday and is off on another camping adventure this weekend. He and his friend T went on a LONG walk to play baseball and then T stayed overnight.

    C and J played with friends Sunday afternoon, playing video games and swimming in the lake.

    We met up with our 4H group at the lake for swimming. The kids will be working on a poster for this year's theme, Outdoor Recreation and Education, over the summer months.

    We joined up with about 175 other homeschoolers on the Songo River Queen II for a 2 1/2 hour boat ride. Check out my post about this field trip here!
    Waiting to Board
    The Gang
    My Favorite Thing This Week 
    Our leach field is working again! For those of you who have a leach field, you know it's a REALLY good idea to have a working one! The septic guys came out and did an aeration and we're up and draining well again! Phew! (And yes, it's a strange "favorite thing", but a HUGE worry gone for me.)

    What's Working/Not Working For Us
    Finding those "lazy days of summer". It seems that we're ALWAYS on the go! It's something I need to work on as I over-schedule us some most of the time. We NEED some unscheduled days of relaxation!

    Questions/Thoughts I have
    Kindle? Nook Color? What's easier to use? Which has more free books? What do you think?

    A Photo, Video, Link, or Quote to Share 
    A Reminder of a few Months Ago!
    I'm linking up to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, The Homeschool Mother's Journal, Hip Homeschool Hop, Fun Tuesday Hope, and Forever, For Always, No Matter What. Check out what other homeschooling families are up to by clicking on the sidebar buttons!