Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goodbye Summer...Hello Fall

Summer has finally slipped away here in the south.  This week we have been greeted with beautiful sunshine, breezy days...and leaves beginning to fall.

Goodbye Summer...Some things I will miss...
the excitement of little ones as they play in a warm rain shower
little ones so warm, they run out to play in their underwear
fresh food...straight out of the garden
watching the littles devour a watermelon...juice dripping down chins...falling on tummies

Hello Fall...I am looking forward to...
camp fires and marshmallow roasts in the yard.
beautiful leaves crunching underfoot
cool, crisp mornings...warm sunny afternoons
wind blown hair and rosy cheeks...after the little have been outside

picnics in the warm sunshine

Here are some pictures of us enjoying one of the first fall days of the year...

Here we are taking a break from school and blowing bubbles in the cool morning air

We enjoyed our first picnic of the fall...
homemade biscuits, butter and blackberry jelly...YUM!

Bo wanted to build a man out of I talked him into wooden legs and a scarecrow body...
He did most of the work himself...especially the toes
They had to be almost perfect;-)

We have to think pink...

We found out on Tuesday we will have a new little sister come February.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fitting the Extras Into Our Day

One of the reasons I began a Year0 with our oldest was to get into the habit of participating in artist study, music study, nature study, poetry and foreign language.  I knew that if we did not form an appreciation for these subjects early on, it would be easy to overlook once the core of Year1 began.  We have been doing a Year0 since last fall.  We will continue with Year0 until January when we will began our official Year1. 

I have found that the easiest way to include the extras is during our circle time.  I have posted a schedule for circle time that I am trying to follow as we make circle time an important part of the day.  By far, the most important focus of our circle time is the time we spend reading scripture and praying for one another.  But this time is also valuable for foreign language, artist study, music study and poetry.  When I include these extras during our time together, all the littles get to participate and they seem to enjoy it immensely.

I have decided that the best way to include all of our subjects is to have a special bag that the children take turns drawing an index card from.  We usually draw 2-3 cards from the bag per day.  Included in the bag are activities from all of the extra categories that we are trying to include.  Some of the activities take  1 minute to do, while others could take as long as 15-20 minutes.  If one of the littles chooses a card that has a longer activity on it, then that may be all we can do for the day.

Here is a list of the index card activities
Spanish practice- we practice the common phrases we know like hello and My name is...
 Count to 10 in Spanish
Colors in Spanish-we go around the room pointing to different colors and saying the name in Spanish.
Spanish with American Sign Language Practice-We sign words we know in ASL and then say the corresponding word in Spanish
Days of Week in Spanish
ASL practice-the little ones stand up and give three signs they know and we guess what they are signing

close eyes and listen to poem
tell your favorite part of the poem
re-enact poem as mommy reads it

Listen to classical music and move to the music
Listen to classical music and draw with the colors the song reminds you of
Listen to classical music with your eyes closed.  What do you imagine?
Listen to classical music.  Who wrote it?  What should we know about him/her?

Look at artwork.  Who is the artist?  What should we know?
Re-create artwork with similar patterns and colors.
Examine artwork for one minute, tell what you remember
Make up story about artwork

This takes us about 7-10 days to work through.  The littles love to draw a card form the bag.  I wish I could show you a beautifully decorated bag, but we just use a Ziploc.  Our index cards are also well used and tape holds a few together...
Here is an example of artist study.  We have been studying Claude Monet.  The littles re-created his painting Terrace at St Adresse.

The top is the actual painting.  Boo our five year old drew the middle left picture.  Bo our six year old drew the middle right picture.  Miss LouLou our three year old drew the bottom picture.  Little Bitty was probably drawing on herself or eating the markers;-)

While we do not use the artist and composer study outlined by Ambleside Online yet, I think we can easily use this format with the official schedule when we begin Year1.

This instruction does not take the place of our art time and nature study is another area I try to focus on at this age.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Outdoor Nature Hour...Crickets

We started the cricket study the day we were visiting my grandmother.  She always has lots of crickets around her well house and under the pine straw around her pine trees.

Here are the boys looking for crickets under the pine straw.  We found several large crickets.

There was a butterfly bush near the pine trees.  She had raked the pine straw around it and we heard crickets chirping.  The boys were able to follow the sounds of the cricket and find one under the bush, but it hopped away just as they were trying to catch it.

listening for crickets
We finished the cricket study at home the next day.  The boys enjoyed listening to and watching the cricket play his song.

Instead of drawing a cricket, which I thought might be too frustrating for little hands, I printed off a cricket and they boys colored the cricket and labeled the parts.

 Boo's cricket...5 years old
Bo's cricket...6 years old
LouLou's cricket ended up cut into tiny pieces with the scissors;-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Do We Homeschool?

Here are the four most important reasons we decided to homeschool...

They are so precious...
They grow so fast...
We wouldn't trade this time with them for anything...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grandad...the way I want to remember him

My grandad...the legacy of love he left...a growing family...that he loved much

The memories we have...stored in our hearts...especially of his better days...

weathered hands...holding babies...a life lived long...holding a life just embarking on her journey

many years of knowledge...shared with the littles...

the littles still remembering that he taught them, if something doesn't work try a little harder...

even close to the end...he found the strength to spend a little time...investing in our lives

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Remembering My Grandad

Have your ever lost someone who simply delighted in your presence?  Someone whose face lit up the moment you walked into the room?  Someone who loved your children almost as much as you do?

I my grandfather went to his heavenly home...after struggling with the effects of diabetes and dialysis.

The children and I went to see him last night at the hospital.  He recognized them...did his best to hug them, although his weakened body could barely lift his arm. I knew this was probably our last time with him.  I'll never forget the last words I heard him speak.  He looked at my grandmother standing next to his bed and said, Goodnight Darling, I love you.  His wife of 53 years looking down at him, knowing this might be the last night on this earth that she would hear those words.  My heart ached for her...for my dad and uncle (his sons)...for myself...for my children who love him so...for this little one inside who will never know him.

I'll never forget...
He taught me how to ride my bike
He called football every fall and used some of his extra money to buy my brothers and I cowboy boots.
Every afternoon after getting off of work, he came to our house just to spend a little time with us.
He worked at a paper factory and brought us boxes of school supplies.
He loved trips to the beach...and the mountains...he loved to eat at the Apple Barn

He took me fishing in his boat.
He always wanted to eat at Burger King.
He fixed Christmas lights just for us every year.
He was the biggest kid around the holiday season.
As the years went by, he always wanted great-grandchildren...
and when Bo was born...
I couldn't keep him away...not that I wanted to
He was always there with time to spend just...sitting...playing...sitting and playing some more...
my children adored him...
because he adored them...
and that is going to be the hardest thing of all...
walking into his house without him smile...and hug...and say Hey ya'll, I'm so glad you've come to see me.  You've just made my day.
 Because not many people love that much...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sketch Tuesday

Here's the boys latest Sketch Tuesday creations.  The boys were supposed to sketch something that uses batteries.

Apple Orchard Field Trip

Today we took a field trip to the local apple orchard with some friends.  My grandmother stayed with Little Bitty and I got to enjoy a morning with the bigger littles;-)  We got to tour the orchard shop, learn why bees are important to apple trees, taste two different kinds of apples, watch how they sort and wash the apples and see the apple cider room.

Here is Lou Lou getting an apple painted on her face.

The beekeeper explained why bees are very important to an apple orchard.
Without bees to pollinate the blossoms we would have no apples.

The boys listening as the lady explains how she picks, sorts and cleans the apples.

And of course the little wanted to climb an apple tree;-)

Time for a rest on the big front porch.

Taking a break with mommy

And no trip to an apple orchard would be complete without buying a candied apple.
Here are the littles with their first candied apples...

Little Bitty just had to have a bite...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wisdom of Children

We were reading Psalms 23 last night during family bible time.  For some reason we began discussing what my cup runneth over means.  Bo gave his explanations and then daddy started to explain what it means when Boo said, I just thought it meant that he spilled his drink.


Yes...she is still getting into everything

and..No...I did not help her into any of these positions.  She constantly walks around looking for something to get into!