Friday, March 29, 2013

A Peak at Our DAY: Session 4 Week 5 - A Day in the Life

Oh, gosh, it's been a while since I've done a Day in the Life post, hasn't it? I love reading how others spend their homeschooling days. It's interesting to see how different we homeschoolers are, yet, we all have a common goal of raising lifelong learners. So, welcome to Wednesday at Our Side of the Mountain!

In Our Homeschool this DAY
(Oh, and before you read about our day...I'll be starting up the Explorers Blog Hop again on Sunday. I'd love for you to link up ANY and ALL outdoor posts!)

6:30-8:30am  :stretch: I woke up with a cat laying on my feet. She followed me downstairs as I did some tidying up. (Dirty dishes, vacuuming and sweeping never end, do they?) I let the dog out, opened the coop and brought feed and water to the chickens and ducks. The animals were "bushy-tailed" this clear, chilly morning. :shiver: I ate applesauce-maple syrup oatmeal with honey tea for breakfast.  And then settled down for some Words with Friends and Facebook time.

8:30-9:00am Methinks the saplings played quietly in their bedrooms a little too late last night as I had to wake them up. Groggy, grumpy kids meandered downstairs for oatmeal or cereal while I scrubbed toilets. (Just keeping it real. :wink:)

9:00-10:45am White Pine plopped down on the sofa to read Ivanhoe and watch physics videos from Coursera. He's not feeling too spiffy so I gave him a dose of allergy meds. Sugar Maple, Balsam Fir and I gathered around the coffee table to learn about knights and samurai from SOTW. (I wondered when we would get to knights!) I photocopied a shield from the activity book and the saplings drew a picture to represent themselves (like knights did) and, after a brief Haiku lesson, wrote poems (like the samurai did). Then they moved onto math and after, while Sugar Maple showered, Balsam Fir finished up a Types of Animals science file folder game. And I re-vacuumed the livingroom as Balsam Fir left a trail of Coco Krispies through it. :sigh:

10:45-11:00am Break time! Balsam Fir "disappeared" upstairs to build with Legos (scattered around his bedroom like snowflakes in a blizzard) and White Pine started "Ken Burns: The War" (Netflix) (WWII) and pulled out his Biology Coloring Book. And Sugar Maple? She spent her time combing her hair. (Why? Don't ask me! :laugh:)

11:00-11:40am Balsam Fir and Sugar Maple switched doing Word Builder (spelling) on the computer and math facts on a free Kindle Fire app, and then Sugar Maple worked on her Science Notebook (comets) while Balsam Fir read aloud to me from Busy Times (Pathway Readers) and made "rainbow words" from words he missed. White Pine continued on with his history movie and Biology (until he fell asleep for 10 minutes and I woke him).

11:40-12:40pm My younger saplings headed outside for a romp through the snow AND mud, and let flock out to forage. (We free range under supervision.) I made BLTs with orange "smileys" and carrot and celery sticks for lunch, started the dishwasher and managed to poke myself twice with a steak knife, once on each hand. Talent! :wink: After lunch, I read aloud from Prince Caspian.

12:40-2:15pm Balsam Fir ran upstairs to build with Legos again, and Sugar Maple made banana bread, watched "Liberty's Kids" (Netflix)(Revolutionary War)  and practiced clarinet. White Pine finished up his movie and coloring and worked on plant adaptations and responses and invertebrates for Prentice Hall Biology and then "poop scooped" for me. (What a good boy!) I cleaned up from lunch, mopped, collected eggs, and started a load of laundry.

2:15-6:00pm The saplings walked to the end of the road to meet White Pine's friend - I'll call him White Birch -  as he got off the school bus and collected the mail. They played basketball with a soccer ball while the flock free ranged again, having banana bread for snack, before coming in for XBox football. Balsam Fir decided to be contrary and wanted SALAD and RANCH DRESSING instead, and watched "Top Gear". It's hard to argue with him when he's eating veggies! I hung laundry on the lines, made a Critter Sitter Care Card (for White Birch to care for our animals when we're gone) and then sat down for a breather with my book and Hot Cocoa. Have you read The Secrets of Mary Bowser? Great historical novel! White Birch walked home. And I whipped up dinner: buttermilk biscuits, scrambled eggs, ham, steamed broccoli, and pineapple chunks.

6:00-8:00pm Wind down time! The saplings caught dishes up for me while I was on the phone and reading e-mails. Then each of us went about whatever fancied us: video games, computer system research on-line, reading, SPINNING IN OFFICE CHAIRS, Facebook, patting the cat. Around 7:15pm White Pine and Sugar Maple locked the flock in for the night.

8:00pm-10:00pm We watched "Survivor". Yes, it's not the most "wholesome" show, but we do find it interesting to watch.  And then got ready for bed. Good night! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 4 Week 4 - Winter Lingers

In My Life This Week
Winter lingers. ::sigh:: We were hit with another snowstorm all day Tuesday, leaving us shoveling out on Wednesday. I'm not sure the ONE shovel we have left this season is going to hold out much longer. ::wink:: Here I was hoping to tackle some SPRING CLEANING this week. Do you "spring clean"?

Yes, that is a photo from a previous storm. After 3 months of snow, it all kinda looks the same. Trust me.

I had SURPRISING news from the garage: the van DOES NOT need a tire rod! When I got a new tire last month I was told a tire rod was loose, but my mechanic said, "I can't find anything wrong". He said I should come back after POT HOLE SEASON for an alignment though. For those of you in Maine, you know what that means! ::wink:: 

Homeschool High School
Wednesday marked our 1/2 way point this session so White Pine and I sat down to check his progress. Meeting educational goals through accountability has been a great step in learnng time management for him. He makes this WHOLE PROCESS easy for me though.

Excellence in Literature II: Literature and Composition: 1 unit left
English 101 (Grammar): Not Started
Saxon Algebra: 15 lessons left
Prentice Hall Biology: 1 chapter left
Biology Coloring: 11 pages left
Around the World in 180 Days: FINISHED
Computer Science 101 (Coursera): on schedule
Introduction to Physics: How Things Work (Coursera): on schedule

I suppose all this doesn't make sense, but what it DOES mean is he's in good shape to meet this session's goals EARLY. Oh, English Grammar? He ALWAYS waits until the last week to do it because he completes it in a couple of hours. (I probably should have him drop it, but I figure a final year of Grammar will "cement" concepts.)

White Pine did a pretty cool experiment identifying parts of a flower and looking at them under a microscope. He had "help" from a FURRY lab partner! ::grin::

Homeschool Elementary
Ah, a shaky week with Balsam Fir. ::sigh:: Some days go smoothly and others, well, they go. Inbetween the whining and sensory meltdowns, he did get SOMETHING done, but it was a challenge.

He also decided that he's D-O-N-E with his Writer's Notebook. But I had a back-up plan for when this happened: Handwriting Worksheets from ESL Writing Wizard. These 10 page FREE handwriting workbooks focus on a specific topic, such as My Body, Airships and the Water Cycle, AND you can choose Zaner-Bloser or D'Nealian print or cursive. It's not creative writing, but it'll keep him writing...for now.

Do you have a catchy tune to learn the continents? the world's oceans?

We were kind of all over the map with SOTW: Middle Ages this week: Byzantine Empire (Europe/Africa), Gupta Dynasty (India), Yamato Empire (Japan), and finally the Maori (New Zealand), but now we're heading back to Europe and learning about the Franks,Visigoths and the Vikings. We made paper viking ships (from the SOTW activity guide). I'm wondering when the gallant knights arrive...

Science remains unstructured. I'm not sure where we're going with it for the rest of the year, but we're still learning. Sugar Maple is keeping a Science Notebook and learning about areas SHE chooses - the water cycle, Astronomy, rainbows, fire, states of matter - and Balsam Fir is working his way through our Lakeshore file folder games. I'm hoping that spring will arrive at some point and we can do more nature studies.

Places We Went, People We Saw
♥ Basketball (SM) ♥ Girl Scout Cookie Booth (SM) ♥  STEM School Meeting (WP) ♥ Museum of Science (BF) ♥ St. Patrick's Dinner with Friends (SB/WP/SM) ♥ Scouts (BF) ♥ Garage (SB) ♥ Lacrosse (WP)  Clarinet/Band (SM) ♥

Something to Share
Sugar Maple found a free, fun app for her little tablet that has different MOUTHS that talk as you make noise. Giggle Time!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking up to these AWESOME blog hops. Check them out!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

National Poultry Day

Yeah, we REALLY do have a day for everything! ::wink::

Happy National Poultry Day!

My hens molting last fall: Speckles, Onyx, Rhodie, Mustard, Little Rhodie, and Sassy

So, if you've got some poultry - celebrate! Listen to some music!

And don't eat chicken today! Maybe the eggs, but NO chicken. ::grin::

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 4 Week 3 - With the Flow

In My Life This Week
A slow, go-with-the-flow week! I REALLY needed one. I'm finding that I'm exhausted at the end of most days because I'm trying to fit so much into every hour - homeschooling, general housework, scratch cooking, outside work, household repairs, errands, finances, pets, shoveling, and an entire household declutter - that I'm needing some DOWN TIME. So, this week was about staying home and relaxing more. SORT OF.

Homeschool High School
Have I mentioned how hard and focused White Pine works? Well, most days. ::wink:: He REALLY does seem way beyond his 14 years when it comes to meeting his ambitious school goals. His days are long, but he delves right in and never complains. 

Homeschool Elementary
Not much CORE WORK got accomplished this week. It doesn't mean that we "vegged" (although I'm thinking some "veggin'" isn't such a bad idea this weekend), but LIFE HAPPENS and you just FLOW WITH IT

On Tuesday our buddies A__ (14) and J__ (8) spent the day with us while their Mom was running ragged from one stressful appointment to another. There was a lot of video game playing and all over kid chaos, but since THEIR FAMILY is going through what MY FAMILY is going through, well, it's nice for us to connect.

Did you celebrate Pi Day on Thursday? I've never planned a special March 14th with the saplings so I figured WHY NOT. We read learned about Pi from a worksheet, watched History of Pi, listened to a catchy tune, made Pi circle models, and whipped up a minty "Lucky You" pie for Pi Day AND St. Patrick's Day.

And then we spent the Friday morning learning about St. Patrick. Not so much the holiday or Irish traditions but about St. Patrick himself. My favorite book for learning about St. Patrick is Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola. (Love dePaola!) We watched videos on The History Channel.  And we made Irish Soda Bread for breakfast, but my saplings did not like it. ::sigh:: (It's a good thing we aren't Irish because they've liked NO Irish foods we've made.)

Today is also Sugar Maple's 11th birthday! She's getting way too close to those TEEN YEARS. ::sigh:: She wanted an ice cream cake with Neopalitan ice cream sandwiches, strawberry syrup and jelly beans to celebrate. I know. ::laugh::

As you can probably guess only Monday and Wednesday resembled anything like a typical school day BUT THAT'S OK. We've got 61 more school days to meet my goals!

Places We Went, People We Saw
♣ T__ Family ♣ Basketball (SM) ♣ Scouts (All) ♣ Educational Farm (BF) ♣ Lacrosse (WP)  Clarinet/Band (SM) ♣ Birthday Party with Friends (All) 

Something to Share
I saw this on Facebook and got a CHUCKLE out of it. How about you?

As always, thanks for stopping by Our Side of the Mountain. I'm linking up to these WONDERFUL blog hops. Why not link up too!

And my friend over at 3 Crazy Monkey's is doing a contest for a FREE Honey Bunches of Oats cereal coupon. Head over and get your entries in! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 4 Week 2 - The New Normal

In My Life This Week
"Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is created in your life for something new to emerge" - Eckhart Tolle

Settling into our new NORMAL. Is there such a thing? I hesitate to share this with all of you, but it's such a HUGE part of my life now: I AM A NEWLY "SINGLE" MOM. Blue Spruce and I are living in separate "forests". But despite all the craziness of the past few weeks, my wonderful saplings and I are moving forward, just in unexpected and different ways.

Homeschool High School

Fun class, huh? White Pine added How Things Work from Coursera to his ever-expanding school schedule this week. Remember he started Computer Science 101 last week? (He decided to move on without me. Apparently I'm slowing him up? How can that be?) He's also still working towards his "core" curriculum goals! And he had Boy Scouts. Phew! It's no wonder he's crashing at night! But don't worry: he still found time for video games and planning to build a computer! ::wink::

Homeschool Elementary
Putting away Sugar Maple's Spectrum Writing workbook, letting her type up a story from her own creative mind, has worked out perfectly. NO, THE WRITING ISN'T PERFECT, BUT WHAT SHE'S LEARNED IS! With spelling such a challenge for her, Spell Check has helped her overcome a writing phobia. And she has 22 GREAT pages of story to prove it! Next? Illustrations!

She also spent an afternoon flipping through our Birds of Maine Guide Book, drawing birds. I think she's dreaming of spring! (I KNOW I AM!) But the cool thing is that we've seen an increase in our backyard birds in the last week: Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays and our lovely Mourning Doves are cooing from the woods again. When we see that first American Robin then we'll SPRING for joy! (Word play! Ha!)

Her drawings inspired Balsam Fir to write about birds in his journal, among other things.

Then they assembled and painted tiny wooden birdhouses from kits. They're too small and flimsy for the outside, but they're cute decorations for inside!

Balsam Fir's moving along with Math-U-See Beta. True, it's a bit easy for him right now, but eventually he'll hit some new stuff. He'll just have a solid foundation in place value, addition facts and sequence, right? THE KICKER IS THAT HE ENJOYS IT! The blocks have made ALL the difference!

We read about Mohammad, Muslims, the Five Pillars of Islam, and the Koran this week SOTW. I can't say as it held their interest much, but we'll be moving on soon. To break up the chapters on Islam, we watched "The Dark Ages" on Netflix. I wouldn't recommend it for the younger crowd, but it was a good VISUAL history over the Middle Ages that we're studying now.

And Sugar Maple finished her A Beka Health body systems: Respiratory, Skeletal, Digestive, and Circulatory. Balsam Fir wrapped up his file folder game on The Water Cycle and started Simple Machines. Now THIS file folder game he liked! Machines and tools? BF IS ALL OVER THAT! And it helps that I have Lego Simple Machines building sets. ::wink::

He's also TOTALLY into Transformers so he created some pretty cool (and TRANSFORMING) Lego ones.

All that and we still did did our "core" work such as math, language arts and spelling too. (And I'm posting this on Thursday night because my sister and cousin Noodle are coming tonight and staying through tomorrow so we're taking Friday off.)  Phew!

Places We Went, People We Saw
☆ Hanging with Friends, Playing Board Games (All) ☆ Blue and Gold Banquet (BF) ☆ Scouts (WP/BF) ☆ Movies at the Library: "Wreck It Ralph" (SM/BF) ☆ Clarinet/Band (SM) ☆ Sister 3 and Cousin Noodle 

Something to Share

I'm glad you popped in this week! I'm linking up to these WONDERFUL blog hops. Why not join up too?