Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Day!

Ahhh, two whole days with absolutely NOTHING on the schedule. :) Well, nothing except four kids, a messy house, and a homeschool, that is.

We started school around 11:30 again. Cameron begrudgingly read the first two chapters of Snowshoe Thompson. First, he didn't feel like reading right now. I said, You never feel like reading. Then he said it wasn't right to read a winter book in the fall. I said, Too bad. Then he read the first sentence which said something about it being a few weeks before Christmas and he stopped dead and gave me That Look. He sat there for a ridiculous amount of time pouting and being all indignant because he just couldn't read a book about Christmas when it wasn't even winter. Give me a freaking break. Then I reminded him that he had just finished Frog and Toad all year which was about ALL the seasons and the last chapter was even set on Christmas Eve. He finally conceded and read the first chapter, but badly. I practically had to tell him every other word. And then I had the audacity to make him read a second chapter! How dare I? Well, it was worth it because he read that chapter very well.

Next I gave him a few minutes off to ride his scooter and then we came back to grammar. Today's lesson was on listening and storytelling skills. I read a fable called The Quarrel to them and then they told it back to me in their own words. Both Cameron and Cassia did a fabulous job of telling the story back to me in a concise and logical matter. I know that doesn't sound very impressive but a year ago they couldn't do it. They'd list a million irrelevant details and then skip the main points. But practice makes perfect!

Math was next and Cameron did an exercise on calculating intervals of time. For example, how long is a show that begins at 11:40 and ends at 12:05?

After that we did science and read some pages on the circulatory system. We've been badly neglecting science again. I skipped just about all of the activities for the respiratory system because we didn't have the materials... rubber tubing, 2-liter plastic bottles, a dead fish! If I were smart, I would look ahead and see what we'll need for the circulatory system but I probably won't.

Cassia didn't officially do anything except listen in on grammar and science but at this very moment, while they are eating ice cream, Cameron is writing math problems for her and she is loving them. It's the Trickle Down Theory of Education, I suppose. ;)

Right now it is only 2:30 and we are done with schoolwork and video game time so the only thing left for us to do is some "spring" cleaning. ;) I haven't informed the kids of that yet, but I'm sure they'll love it. LOL.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Let me just start off by saying how thankful I am to have my family. Yesterday, our friend, Marie, and her three children were involved in a serious car accident. Their SUV flipped on the freeway. Thankfully, they all walked away from it but are battered, bruised, and understandably shaken. The littlest one, who is one month younger than Greyson, has reduced her vocabulary to just a few words now: car, roll, and carseat. Actually, when I went to drop off a pizza at their house last night I think I introduced one more word to her vocabulary. She wandered up to me holding a baby doll and I said, "Is that your baby?" She held the doll out to me and said "roll." I said, "Yeah, I heard. That must've been scary," and she nodded her head and repeated, "scary." As I left them and said goodbye to her, she repeated again, "scary." Breaks my heart. I'm so thankful they're all right and I am so incredibly thankful for my family... even when Greyson is trying his hardest to flip the glass coffee table and all its contents - be right back. I swear that boy is trying to seriously injure himself and I am terrified that he will succeed one of these days. Anyway, I'm glad that someone was looking over the P family. Please think a good thought for them the next time you hug your kids.

Back to the mundane. Friday we went to see a performance of The Tales of Beatrix Potter put on by the city ballet. They performed at the VFW building which is just on the other side of town, but we still managed to get there at the last possible second. We were, literally, the very last people in the building. It was a school performance and we went with a handful of other homeschoolers under a friend's homeschool's name. They had saved us seats in the very front row (!) but since we were so late, someone else took them. And then my friend kicked them out, lol. I felt awful kicking them out at the last second like that, but they were "saved" seats! The ballet was great though and everyone enjoyed it. I am really impressed with how well Greyson handles himself in the theater. Last Friday we went to see a Native American Dance group called The Four Winds, led by Eddie Madril, and he was incredibly behaved there too. He was quiet and interested and actually better behaved than the other two!! I think he may have a future in the theater.

After the ballet we went to the park. I cannot believe how big our little park group has gotten! There have been a couple of new people joining recently, both new to our HS group and old friends who are newly able to make the park day, and I am just really impressed with how well everyone adapts to that. Cassia and the newest girl, K4.5, really seem to be bonding. Friday they spent the whole time building a sand hospital. Cameron and some of the boys built a sand Death Mountain. It was pretty cool except for the fact that it kept erupting huge explosions of sand. *sigh* How many times do you have to say "Don't throw sand!" for it to sink in?? I'm guessing it won't be until he's about 30.

The weekend held the end-of-year party for soccer. C&C both really got along well with everyone on the team. Oh, a bit of news I forgot! Cameron lost tooth #2 on Sunday morning but as he was showing it off to everyone, they told him how many teeth they had lost. He came back to our table looking all defeated and said, "How come everyone else has more adult teeth than I do when I'm older?" Poor guy. It's hard being the late bloomer. Aside from that though, the pizza party was great fun.

Monday we did bookwork first thing in the late morning, lol. We got started around 11:30, which isn't too bad. Cameron finished reading The Case of the Double Cross. He's said a couple times that he thought it was a pretty good book. There were a couple more in the series at the library so I'm glad he liked it. Next we did Grammar and reviewed helping verbs. No one seemed to get the concept at all, but I'm not too terribly concerned. They are familiar with the term, which is more than I can say for a lot of kids, I'm sure! Next was math and Cameron did a couple pages on identifying the time on a clock as "x past y" or "x before z" and Cassia did some subtraction. We finished up with history by reading the rest of I Once Was a Monkey: Tales the Buddha Told.

Then we headed out to gymnastics. I decided to just save myself some grief and plan to spend the entire time in the car. That worked out well because we all had something to read or do, Linus slept the entire time, and Greyson fell asleep in a much quicker time than he would have if I had let him get all crazy and out of control first. I think he knew we were in the car so he could nap and it wasn't just a "you're in trouble" type of thing.

We actually have NOTHING on the calendar for the next two days. Phew! First time in a long time. Hopefully we'll be able to get lots done on lots of fronts. Now that I think about it, we need to get busy with Halloween costumes too so maybe we can spend some time on that. Anyone know where I can get a black Hogwarts cape without buying a stupid costume? If only this were 1983 and I could borrow my sister's black satin wrap skirt, lol.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Weak Week

We sooooooooo got nothing done this week. Well, except for Monday. In addition to what I already blogged about, we finished off a book on Buddhism.

Tuesday was the 4-H business meeting. That was pretty much it for the day. During dinner there were some random math problems thrown around at the table. Cassia likes to start that, lol. It's so funny, she'll throw out questions like she's quizzing you even though she doesn't have a clue what the right answer is.

Wednesday we spent a good part of the day at T6's house. That was pretty much all about LEGOs. Well, Greyson and Cassia got some play time in with a cash register and Cameron got some logic work in while playing with a castle puzzle game. After that we rushed home for the last soccer game of the season. I was planning on signing him up for basketball next but I just realized that the registration was over a month ago... even though the practices haven't started yet and the games don't even start until November. That reminds me, I was going to try and call anyway... Hmmm, I just spoke to the athletic director and it turns out that there may be one team that has one player less than he thought it did. He's going to look into it and get back to me. Well that would be nice! And what great timing I had with calling. Anyway, if that doesn't work out, a friend of ours is trying to organize an indoor soccer class for homeschoolers.

Thursday I woke up with a bit of a sore throat so the thought of regular schoolwork wasn't very appealing to me. We did play Alpha Animals though and that totally counts as science. I made it into reading too because if Cameron couldn't think of the right type of animal then I would let him "cheat" and look at the reference list but only if he read it for himself. Then we went to ballet. I brought along The Case of the Double Cross and suggested that he read it while we were there, but he didn't want to. He claimed that a case of the hiccups (which were genuine) would make it too hard to read aloud. I figured that was pretty logical so I let him have that one. I fully intended on doing reading and math once we got home but they're watching Harry Potter 5 and I'm blogging, so that obviously didn't happen.

I really should be taking it easy anyway because I don't want this sore throat getting any worse. We have tickets to a ballet tomorrow, The Tales of Beatrix Potter, followed by Favorite Park Day and I don't want to miss either of those. But I don't want anyone getting sick either. Tough choice. We may end up just seeing the show and then staying home after that. We have the end of year soccer party on Sunday too and I know Cam doesn't want to miss that.

We have a much lighter week scheduled next week so maybe we can get some bookwork done then. Or maybe not. ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

School on the run

Today we did school on the sidewalk outside of gymnastics, lol. The morning was "wasted" away doing other stuff but I was smart enough to grab a reader and the math workbooks and shove them into the diaper bag on our way out the door. Boy was Cameron surprised when I tossed the reader at him and told him it was time for school, lol. He tried to resist because he "didn't want to read that book" or "wanted to watch Cassia do gymnastics" or "didn't feel like it" but I countered with do it now or no video games all week. :P Surprisingly (not!), that worked. He actually seemed to like the book too. We got through the first half, 32 pages, of The Case of the Double Cross. A few pages into it though, we had to pick up all our stuff and head out to the car because Greyson insisted on throwing things (first balloons and then his SHOES) over the edge of the mezzanine onto the gym floor. *sigh* But once he was strapped in and detained I decided that it was too nice a day to force ALL of us to sit in a stuffy car so Cameron, Linus (in his car seat carrier), and I made camp on the sidewalk and read there. Unfortunately though, there was no time to get to math before Cassia got out of her class.

And then the explosion happened. OMG. So I hear this noise that anyone who's ever had a newborn is familiar with. I knew it was a big one because he'd been holding it in since early yesterday morning. I look over and then see this giant erruption of yellowish-orange lava bubbling out of the edge of Linus' onesie. Needless to say, we didn't stick around very long and just left Cam there for his class and then drove home to bathe the little (suddenly orange) guy. Now normally, I wouldn't bother you with the details of something like this, but this was so spectacular that it actually dripped down through the buckle of his carseat and onto the base. When I carried him into the house, it continued dripping down THROUGH the carseat onto the kitchen floor. WOW. I've never seen anything like it and I've seen a lot of poop. One time Greyson didn't poop for about 10 days and that was a giant mess when it finally happened but it still didn't drip through the carseat!! Unbelievable.

Anyway, Cameron just informed me that he would like to finish his schoolwork now. On the way home he asked if he could play video games when we got home and I said he could if he finished his math and history first. He started playing some game with Cassia once we got home so I figured he figured it wasn't worth the effort, but I guess he changed his mind. And he just asked me again, so I better get going. :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Crafty days

As anticipated, we didn't get any bookwork done the last two days. We've been busy with 4-H projects instead. Yesterday we went to the American Kids Crafts project. It was inspired by the American Girl books and associated craft projects, but due to the number of boys in the project, the leader promised to make no mention of them, lol. First the kids made clay pinch pots which they'll paint next month. Everyone had a great time with that, even Greyson. Next the kids made dream catchers out of embroidery hoops and yarn. Very cute. Cameron and Cassia both hung their dream catchers above their beds and we sprayed them with Happy Dreams spray (an aromatherapy spray that a friend of mine makes) as an added touch. Apparently they work quite well.

Today it was my turn to lead a project on puppetry. We made puppets out of construction paper cut-outs, traced from storybooks, and glued them onto popsicle sticks. Since we are coding this as a drama project, instead of arts & crafts, I wanted to focus more on the art of giving a puppet show than on the act of making the puppets. We started off with a demonstration by C&C who performed "Baa Baa, Black Sheep" for the group with puppets that I made last night.
Next I provided some traced characters from several other rhymes and told the kids (aged 5 - 7) to get in groups, pick a poem, and then they could either use my tracings or draw their own characters. It was so hard to step back and just let the kids do it "wrong" (for example, coloring and decorating the tracing paper rather than using it as a template) but I did. Next I gave them a few minutes to practice and then they performed their masterpieces. The girls did "The Five Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens" and the boys did "Hey, Diddle Diddle." I have to say, the girls were a bit more organized both in their puppet show production and actual puppet making. In fact, the boys didn't even stick to the right characters nor did they even realize that until they were performing the play! LOL, but it was cute and they all did a great job in the end.

So we can call all that History, Social Studies, and Fine/Performing Arts. I guess we could call it Literature too since we were reciting poetry and M7 can even call it Reading since she read the Three Little Kittens from the book while the girls performed their show. Since we're counting up "work," we also read part of I Once Was a Monkey: Stories Buddha Told as a bedtime story last night and plan to do so again tonight. We had time (and I was willing, lol) to do schoolwork after we got home from 4-H today but Cameron chose to watch Harry Potter instead. I know I keep swearing that we need to get into the habit of doing it every day but I really do consider 4-H school time... just not enough to give free video game time for it!

Tomorrow is ballet and then a field trip to another pumpkin patch, but all that is not until the afternoon so I am really going to try to get some work in during the morning. I just wish there was some way I could stop them from turning on the tv as soon as they wake up. It's so hard to get anyone motivated after that - including me. I guess I could unplug it? But I so enjoy our slow mornings. I really need a few minutes, myself, to wake up in front of the computer before I can get going for the day... or maybe I just tell myself that and I should unplug the computer too! Hmmm, food for thought.

And just for fun... Linus, week 3

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Road to Hell?

I've been trying to keep up, really I have! I had every good intention of keeping up with my blogging (hence the road to hell reference, lol) but somehow the days keep slipping away. Can you believe that my little baby is three weeks old already??? I can't. I was really a bit shocked when I told someone that today, lol. All weekend I was saying, "three weeks, Monday!" but now that it's Monday, it just sounded weird. Mothers are mental, I tell ya.

So let's see, to catch up... Wednesday we did school for the third day in a row. WooHoo! Cameron read the book Death Valley: A Day in the Desert and did really well... until I asked him to read that one last page of extra facts at the end of the book. Oh. My. GOD. You would think that I asked him to read War and Peace. It was one stinkin' page of interesting facts and he pouted and sulked and did the whole passive resistance thing. WhatEVER. I, however, am not pregnant anymore and did not give in, nor did I get mad or emotional about it. I just made him read the stupid page whether he wanted to or not. So there. ;) We also did grammar in which nothing interesting enough to stay in my memory five days later happened and then Cameron did a review page in math. There were two pages before the next section started and he REALLY wanted to get through them both and start the section on telling time... but then he was too wiped after doing the problems. He did really good though considering he started out saying, "I don't even remember how to do this!" (borrowing) but then did perfectly.

I can't remember if Cassia did anything or not because she is not officially enrolled in our school (six on or before Dec 2 for compulsory attendance laws) so I'm not writing her work down in our daily planner/attendance record. Did you catch that?? I'm actually keeping up on our planner and using that to update my blog, rather than the opposite, lol. Shocker, I know. Mostly it's because I can't remember if I ate breakfast most days, much less remember what we did six hours earlier. But it's nice this way. I feel like I'm starting out the new year very neatly and well-organized for a change.

But back to last week... Thursday we met some friends at the local pumpkin patch. It was October 2nd, afterall! These particular friends seem to have a pumpkin patch addiction. We usually burn out halfway through the month and start turning down invitations from them, lol, but the first pumpkin visit of the season is always pure bliss. Turns out though that we named the wrong child Linus. At one point, Greyson grabbed a blankie and wandered out into the middle of the patch to sit and wait for the Great Pumpkin. He wasn't moving for anything! LOL. We didn't manage to get anything else done that day except go to Cassia's ballet lesson, but did we really need to? Dancing and large farm machinery - what more does an educational day require??

Friday was Favorite Park Day that almost wasn't. The sky threatened rain. I was determined though and swore that the weather reports promised no rain until 5pm. (Well, they said "likely sprinkles" until 5 and then "definite showers" after 5.) Our windshield was dotted with rain, but not enough to actually use the wipers, the entire 30 minute drive to Favorite Park but once we hit downtown the rain miraculously stopped and I swear there was even sunshine as we pulled into the parking lot. Luckily I had talked to MomK that morning so I knew she'd be there but no one else seemed brave enough to risk the weather. A few more friends did show up a few hours later though and so it ended up being a much lovelier day than anyone expected. We finally left a few minutes before 5, and as we did, the rain came down on our windshield once again. Who would've guessed... the weatherman was right.

Saturday - gymnastics for Greyson, soccer for Cameron. Sunday - laundry, laundry, laundry.

And that finally brings us to today. For school, Cameron read another chapter from Frog and Toad All Year. Can I say again how much we love those books? They're so quaint, in my opinion, and so hilarious in the kids' opinions. I tried to get Cameron to check out a Little Bear book from the library last week because I have a feeling that they'll have the same sort of feel, but since he's seen the cartoon he wouldn't go for it - too babyish. I doubt that Frog and Toad would translate as well to tv either. Grammar was a review of the four parts of speech that we've learned: nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives. Math was another review section. I lost my patience a bit at one point because the baby was crying, Greyson was climbing all over Cassia and me while I was trying to do phonics with her, and Cameron was needing me to verify that he was doing every single step correctly. Ugh. Is this right? Is this right? Do I add here? Is this times tabling? I finally snapped and told him not to say another word to me until the entire page was done. Of course, most of it was done wrong. It's so hard to find that balance between working together and letting them learn on their own. Math practice isn't very useful if they're doing it all wrong, but it also isn't very useful when you're telling them which step to do next! I always considered teaching math my expertise too. Ha! Oh well, it's not about me.

For History we read a book about Buddhists. The more I read, the more I think that Buddhism is something that I'd like to study more and maybe even practice to some extent (except the vegetarian part). Cameron was interested, but he didn't really grasp the excess vs moderation part. He said, "so do Buddhists live in caves?" I said, "No, they just don't have more than they need. See, we have way more than we really need here." "Really? Because I don't think I have too many toys. In fact, there are a lot of toys that I don't have that I need." Uh huh. Tell that to... well, lots of other people. But the prince who became The Buddha grew up spoiled too, so I know all is not lost on my materialistic little man. ;) You know what I love though? My little man is also spoiled with knowledge. I didn't learn about Buddhism when I was 7. In fact, I believe I was around 27 before I knew anything about it and 37 before I knew any of its principles. Homeschooling rocks.

And with that, I will bid you goodnight. We have an early (12:30, lol) 4-H project to go to tomorrow so I doubt we will get any bookwork done but I will try to get on and blog to spare you from the novella that my posts become when too much time goes by.