O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wikki Stix Geography

Strawberry playing with Wikki Stix and the pile of butterflies made by Butterfly and Pumpkin Pie
I pulled out a large laminated map of the US. The children were exploring Wikki Stix modeling and had drawn scenes from movies like Star Wars and Toy Story on the door. So, I hung up the map and mentioned that we could use Wikki Stix to make our own map... Fast forward and all the kids were busy exploring the states. Right away we learned that the length of the western side of Washington wrapping down and around the Puget Sound was as long a distance as that of the entire southern board of Nebraska plus a tiny bit north on the eastern side! Since all the stix are the same size, comparing distances is really visual. Pumpkin Pie practiced sounding out the letters of state names. Strawberry named colors, and every one was working on the same project but learning something relevant to their own abilities and needs.

Tiger started with Washington...
I love Strawberry's baby hand! She wanted to help.

After a while, Butterfly asked me, "Why is there a North and South Carolina?" and then others asked about the Virginias and the Dakotas. We got to have a brief history lesson about the states. Then, we started on Arizona and I was reminded of the song Oceanfront Property by George Strait so we talked about why he might have said that in a song when there is no oceanfront property in Arizona. We talked about how in a general sense the lyrics were talking about believing the unbelievable and false.
Almost done...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Who says we can't be creative with Shakespeare!

The children and I reached Shakespeare in The Story of the World. I checked out Lois Burdett's A Midsummer Night's Dream for Kids and Bruce Colville's retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

After reading them, the children decided it would be fun to make paper bag puppets and retell the story ourselves. Tiger got a bit creative with his version of why Hermia doesn't want to marry Demetrius...
I will let Tiger tell you why...

Here are the first 4 puppets. 3 have two separate faces.
Top L-R Demetrius, Hippolyta, Bottom L-R Lysander, Hermia

Same puppets with their other heads. Hermia has a closed mouth and an open mouth for talking

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week in Review

Last week we had SNOW! The local public schools were cancelled for the entire week due to snow and ice on the grounds and roads and many people were stuck in their homes. Many families lost power and some of my friends had no power for days. My family was blessed to not lose power but we were in our house for the week.

I was so grateful that I already homeschooled because many people I know were going crazy trying to keep their kids busy. Mine on the other hand were busy.

We were able to sneak to the library between storms before the roads got really messy. We were able to get huge stacks of books just in time for the snow to start falling hard and fast. We came home and spread out a blanket, grabbed a large bowl of popcorn and delved into our books. We spent the whole afternoon reading. The next day, the kids couldn't wait to get out more books to read.

I spent hours reading aloud. We are working on Carry on Mr. Bowditch as well as Five Children and It. We discussed evolution vs. Creation, the Revolutionary War, the Women's liberation movement and many vocabulary words.

Before the snow started to melt, we had a bout of freezing rain. When the kids went out to play in the snow, they discovered that there were sheets of ice covering the fluffy snow. They built tunnels in the snow and carried large sheets of frozen snow to create a "bird fort" in case some of the birds in the area needed some shelter.

They made puppets to create their own version of A Mid Summer Nights Dream. Lysander and Hermia are done.

We grew bean seeds in the closet, refrigerator, and taped to a window to see where seeds grow best and to see what happens when there is no light for the seed to get to.

When we finally got out of the house, we were able to go to Karate.

It was a good week. Sadly I don't have many pictures- my camera is on a business trip in Germany this week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Engineering Experiments in play

It snowed yesterday! We don't get a whole lot of snow where we live, but when it snows, it is fun to play in. The snow we get is usually very heavy and wet.

Tiger and our neighbors decided to build a snow fort. They started by building the walls with a rectangular bucket. Slowly the walls got higher and rounder. Eventually they got to the door area and decided they needed to create their doorway. At first they had to figure out what they were going to do for the door. Then they remembered various times when each of them had played with arches and keystones. They had one boy lay in the doorway to make sure it stayed big enough to crawl through and hold the "stones" up while they built. They other two then proceeded to pack and layer the snow ever so carefully until a keystone was created and the snow was packed tight. In the end, an arch of sorts was created and the boys had a doorway. They did have a few starts and stops but finally got it.

At one point Tiger decided to test the strength of the doorway and created a crack. This presented the opportunity to discuss "non-destructive testing" and a repair.

Then off to sled on the 2 inches of snowy mush and lots of laughter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the thread of inspiration...

Today was a divergence from our old schedule. It was definitely more free-form, but it was good. A few years ago there no way I could have handled this but today it was great and the kids couldn't wait to get back to their work.
We started the day with family work time. Since the school room was a mess, that is what we tackled. After a short while it was picked up and we were ready to go! Next was devotional. Then we spent a little time working on botany. We are working on a germination experiment with beans in the fridge, in a window, and in a dark closet.

 After germination project, we split up into learning time. For the next couple of hours, the kids had free choice, within the educational bookshelves that are in my school room. Butterfly chose to construct a simple lapbook.

Instructions to draw a canoe with people in it

The yellow is the step that is already done and the blue is what needs to be done this step.                                                

Tiger chose to delve into exploring art. He read about Van Gogh's  Starry Night and a little about him and then attempted his own scene using a similar technique of thick paint and etching into it. Here is his painting:
Pumpkin Pie worked on slow math speed with me:
And Strawberry dumped out a puzzle, sat on my lap and helped me play with Pumpkin Pie, read stories and asked me to split myself in half so I could read to her while I played, deleted half the pictures I took today from the camera, took pictures of the table, and watched everyone working.

After lunch they moved on- Strawberry sleeps temporarily, Pumpkin Pie is playing with dolls, Butterfly is doing art and making paper cutout collages, and Tiger is working on K'nex and playing games with the girls.

I would say today was a great day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thought of the Day

"Leadership Education requires us to pay the price to receive inspiration in order to personalize whatever is needed to help each student get the ideal education for them."

Taken from an article written by Rachel DeMille

Home School Insights: The TJEd Conveyor Belt

Today I was looking for help for Butterfly. She is incredibly accurate with math- almost never any errors and she has always been good at it, but she takes a long time to do each page and gets frustrated and then says she hates math. So today I was searching for ways to inspire her enjoy numbers a little more and came upon a great article with lots of math picture books to read. Many are on my library hold list now and then I came upon that article. That really is the crux of why I homeschool- I am entitled to receive inspiration for the education of each of my children in a unique way and to personalize their journey. What my schedule looks like might not look like "school" to some people but they sure are learning a lot. Sometimes a bit of sputtering and stalling goes in but then I have seen quite a few jackrabbit starts. I need to remember that no matter what "level" their peers are at, they are truly where they need to be and will "catch up" in their own time.  

That brings me to one of my daughter's favorite books. Pumpkin Pie wants to learn to read but doesn't want to learn to read. She wants to read because everyone else does it but she doesn't because then she can read herself and others won't HAVE to read to her. I think she likes that little bit of power and babying still. I keep reassuring her that we will still read to her when she knows how to read. Anyway, her favorite book is Ruby in her Own Time (not an affiliate link). It is about 5 ducks and their parents. The 4 ducks do everything as expected but Ruby does things "in her own time." When she does, she does them just as well as the others and eventually excels as she flys further and wider than her brothers and sisters. Throughout the book, the mother has confidence she will flourish