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Showing posts from February, 2011


For the most part the attitudes here in our school are really good. Are my students excited to get started in the morning? Not usually. But, they don't generally give me any trouble once I establish that we are, in fact, getting started. And then things move along rather smoothly until lunch. We usually get the majority of our schooling for the day done by then. But then there are those days ... typically Mondays ... when the attitudes are stinky and I want to scream! The attitudes are usually prompted by a tiresome weekend of friends, xbox, late nights, sleeping in, sporadic eating. And, yes, that's my fault because I allow it. But, after a week of working so hard I feel that it's important that he they get the opportunities to do those things, especially since there is not a lot of socialization that goes on during the week. But all of this justification doesn't make the attitude any easier to handle. So, I think I will give him them 15 more minutes, will go d

Weekly Wrap-up ~ {Observations}

A lot of people post about the February homeschooling blahs, but I really don't feel as though I have had them. I have a great deal of excitement about what we are learning. And the kids seems to, as well. But then mid-week this week I hit a brick wall of exhaustion. And on Thursday I called school OFF on account of rain (and when I say school, I mean our homeschool and I kept my two public school kids home ... and it really was raining.) We took a pj day. I sat in my favorite chair and got caught up on some DVR'd shows and some computer work. I felt much better and was ready to go again on Friday. Here's what we did on the other four days ... Dawson ~ 8th Grade We are moving strong through The Middle Ages . It's pretty interesting! This week we learned about the fall of the Roman Empire, the attacks of the barbarians, the reign of Charlemagne, and the rise of the feudalistic society. Yesterday we wrapped up our week by watching a video from The History Channel In

For the Birds ~ Week of February 28th Books and Activities

Next week we will begin by looking at some of the different State birds, by reading United Tweets of America by Hudson Talbott. Of course we will concentrate on the State bird of Oklahoma, the Scissor-tail flycatcher. We'll learn it's specific characteristics and call by visiting All About Birds and Birdzilla . And we'll do a fact and coloring page. Then we will go on to do some additional studies on the State of Oklahoma. I checked out two at-level books from the library that we will read and discuss. We will make a tornado in a jar. We will go the grocery store and try to identify Made in Oklahoma (MIO) items. We will listen to "Oklahoma", our state song, and try to learn it.

Harper Collins Children's Books {Living Books Tool}

The more and more I homeschool, the more and more I am buying into the Charlotte Mason Living Books concept ... just read a great book and learn. How easy is that? We've used Living Books extensively this year, mostly with Dawson. It's easy with historical fiction. And then I heard about Living Books for math... for young learners. Honestly, it hadn't occurred to me. This week Brynne started learning about grouping numbers ... hundreds, tens, ones. We've used legos and bundled sticks (a review is coming up on one of these products). So I decided to browse our library electronic card catalog for possible books to go along with this concept, or other math concepts. I chose about six books. On the back of one of the books I saw a reference to Math Start and a website. When I typed it in it redirected me to Harper Collins Children's Books . First of all, there are a lot of resources there! There are book guides, activities, author tour dates and many other thing

Oklahoma State Capitol Scavenger Hunt ~ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

I posted about our trip to the Oklahoma State Capitol Building last week, and how I prepared a Scavenger Hunt for the kids to do to help keep them occupied while we were touring the Capitol. It turned out to be a great idea because the kids really got into it and I can see how they could have been really bored after a while. The reason I prepared my own Scavenger Hunt was because I had done a search for one and could not find one. I was surprised someone else had not already done this. So, because of that, I thought I would post mine in case anyone else would want to use it in the future. 1st Floor A lady sitting on a bench Oklahoma's state wildflower ~ Indian blanket 2nd Floor Lots of men looking to the center of the room The "boss" of Walmart, Mr. Walton 4th Floor Two round "pictures" on each side of a door (indians on both) A painting showing "prairie life", a woman feeding chickens 5th Floor Battleship "Oklahoma" with bo

Plant Fertilization ... huh???

Dawson is studying plant science and today was the 'ol fertilization topic. We read our notes, looked at a couple of diagrams and he said, "Huh?" No, maybe that was me. Anyway, we had a general idea as to what was happening, but to be able to put it into words, or diagram it ourselves, might be pushing it. I wanted a way for him to better visualize what was going on. So I found this .. an animation of the pollination and fertilization process (the life cycle of angiosperms). I looked it over and it made things much clearer for me. I'll have Dawson watch it tomorrow. Just a note .. I chose to watch the non-narration version because the narration version uses the big, authentic scientific words for every little thing and it's a little much for an 8th grader and his mama teacher. But I do know that I can now read him his notes while he is watching the animation and he'll have a better understanding of the process. Or at least I will. And isn't that hal

The Young Scientists Club - The Magic School Bus activity kits {Review}

As part of my opportunity to review CSN products, I chose some Magic School Bus activity sets called The Young Scientists Club . We have not used these sets yet, because I actually have plans for them for next school year. As soon as I received them, though, I became immediately inspired! The first one is The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body activity kit .   Ms Frizzle and her students take children on a wild ride into the human body with these breathtaking experiments. This exciting kit includes a life-size poster with 8 sheets of body part stickers! Seatbelts, everyone! Features: Winner! 2007 National Association of Gifted Children Gifted Child Holiday Pick List, Dr. Toy’s Best 10 Educational Products and 100 Best Children’s Products Awards, 2007 Toy of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine, 2007 Father's Day Seal of Approval from Mr. Dad eChoice (Editor’s Choice) Award, 2007 Seal of Approval and Award of Excellence from The Toy Man, Three iParenti


And no, I'm not talking about me. Although my family might disagree. They call me the Bird Lady because I am obsessed with taking care of our backyard birds (especially when we had our huge snow storm) and am always filling our bird feeders, making more bird feeders and stopping everything to make everyone look at a bird, whether it be at home or in the car. We really wanted to participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count, but time just got the better of us. Maybe next year. Plus, I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to identify the birds. Then I came across Birdzilla while reading one of my favorite blogs, Handbook of Nature Study . Am I the only bird lover who has never heard of that site??? It's awesome! It has an online book for each state with the Top 50 native birds. The pictures are amazing! It describes nesting and gives fun facts and gives an audio of their songs. I looked at it for fifteen minutes and was, like, "yeah, we have that .. and t

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ {Post Snow Days Catching Up and Exhaustion}

We took off 9 days because of the biggest snowfall in Oklahoma history (35" outside our doors). So this week, we were back at it in a major way! We also had two field trips, so to say this week was a calm one would be a total lie! In fact, it was exhausting! But, we got tons done and learned a lot! So, we're all happy (although I had to go to bed at 8:00 last night because I was wiped out!) Here's what all we accomplished .... Dawson ~ 8th Grade We are getting right into The Middle Ages in our A World of Adventure curriculum. We are really concentrating on note taking . Up to this point I would read Dawson the information and then he would take notes. Then I would attempt to prepare a study guide from his notes so that he could take quizzes. It became increasingly difficult for me to read his notes. And he told me that he couldn't make sense of them when he went back to review them. Now I am reading him the information and writing the notes on the white board

For the Birds ~ Book and Activities for the Week of February 21st

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the freedom to change things up when a change in circumstances arises. We had every intention of participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count that started today. But, with us taking off 9 days of school because of the snow, and then working so hard this whole week while going to the state capitol building yesterday and having a Valentine's party today, I just didn't feel like we were prepared enough. And, next week our letter-of-the-week is "O". So we are going to study Observation . One of the main ways we will study that topic is by doing an unofficial backyard bird count each day next week. We are going to re-watch Your Backyard   by Crowe's Nest Media, to familiarize ourselves with the different birds in our region, and then spend 15 minutes each day observing the birds in our backyard and taking pictures of them. Then we will sit down on Friday and do an official count of the different birds that

Capitol Day

Six families from our Homeschool Coop drove to Oklahoma City today for Homeschool Capitol Day. It was one of the funnest field trips ever! We left at 6:45 this morning so that we could get to the Capitol by 9:00 a.m. for the House and Senate Sessions. Each meeting took time to recognize all of the homeschooling families in attendance. And we had an extra special treat ... one of our moms' brothers is the new Senator in our district. He was so very accommodating to us! He met with us in his office after the meeting and had his assistant take us on a personal tour of the Capitol. I had prepared a scavenger hunt for the kids to do, in an attempt to keep the younger kids engaged (all that art and "big people stuff" can get boring to little ones fast! ) I just chose two pieces of art from each floor for the kids to locate, giving clues to find them. Then for "bonus" they were to see how many times they could find various state symbols, like the flag, seal,

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Regrouping due to snow days

Here's what school was like for us this week .... Yeah, nothing. We had another 10" of snow, on top of our 24" from last week, so our public schools have been out since last Tuesday the 2nd. It is impossible to get my two homeschooled kids to think school when my two public school kids are not having to do anything. Since we stay on their schedule (so we all get out at the same time at the end of the school year) we have now had 9 days off school. We haven't done a thing but play, watch movies and make a mess. Now it's time for me to regroup. It's going to be in the 60's this weekend (yeah, Oklahoma), so we WILL have school next week! Dawson and I had actually gotten ahead in school, in anticipation of his snowboarding trip with my husband. But the days he was going to miss school have been snow days, so he is actually ahead . That leaves Brynne. We are behind on everything. Next week we will concentrate on For the Birds (trying to get somewhat cau