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Monthly Archives: May 2012

{what a weekend!}

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I love three day weekends.

So much TIME, you know? I feel like there is never enough of it, and then a 3 day weekend comes with perfect weather and family activities, and everything seems just right.

Saturday was gorgeous in Phoenix! A “cold front” had moved in, and brought our temperatures down into the low 80’s, which is unheard of at the end of May. We took advantage and worked on our deprived, forgotten backyard. We played in the pool and had a picnic lunch on our patio. We soaked up the sun, enjoyed the cool breeze, and took delight in the time we had.

   

For Memorial Day, we went down to Tucson to spend the day at Nana and Jerry’s house! We went swimming, spent time playing with cousins and family, enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner, and had such a wonderful time. London at one point declared that it was, “her best day ever.”

    

We had such a great time, and now we are in countdown mode for our much anticipated, week-long vacation in San Diego! Less than 3 weeks…

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The 2nd Grade Graduate

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Most children who graduate from the 2nd grade are about to celebrate their 9th birthdays. 9. I can’t even imagine what Jackson will be like at 9. If you would have told me when he was 3 that by 6 he would start the 3rd grade…crazy. That’s just crazy.

We finished up our year yesterday afternoon! For his “Job Well Done!” gift, he got a Razor scooter, which he LOVES. Jackson excelled in the 2nd grade! Math and science were his favorites, and he easily breezed through those. Reading was slow this year; he can read at closer to the 4th grade level, so he was quite bored with the books he had. That’s okay, though…I really want to make sure that his comprehension is at the same level of his reading ability. His 3rd grade readers will be perfect for him next year; easy reading, but right where he needs to be comprehension-wise. Writing was a struggle; that is our project for this summer. We will have a writers workshop every week, focusing on a different type of literary genre, in hopes of getting him closer to the grade level of his other subjects. This is why home school is so awesome; I can personalize his learning atmosphere just to him!

Can you guess where we went for dinner? Jackson’s favorite dive, Joe’s Farm Grill. Big surprise! 🙂 Jackson brought his new scooter and whizzed all around that farm. We are hoping this little scooter gives him the confidence he needs to trust his balance on a bike!

My tiny Little (by the way, I call the girls “The Littles”) has decided that she is too big for highchairs. I guess she’s right; I mean, by this point, my other kids were out of highchairs and at the table.  You know what this means? We have to buy a new dining room table and chairs. Adding a 3rd child has become quite costly, lol! Bigger car and bigger table!

I love this photo. Jackson a step ahead, zooming fast; London, running like a diva; Brooklyn, just trying to keep up; and us, just watching it all.

My children are growing so fast!

So, on to preparing for 3rd grade! London also starts preschool this year, so I’ve got double the planning to do. Perhaps I shall rename my blog “The Circus Act”, because that’s what I’m gonna be running around here!

Our Intentional Summer

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Pinterest has changed my life. Really.

So many people refuse to sign up, claiming its a time waster. True…it can be. But can I tell you the thousands of ideas that have made their way across my page? Literally…thousands. I’m a better teacher because of it. I’m a better organizer. I really think that I’m a better mom because of it (at least, when I’m not ignoring their demands as I’m perusing Pinterest).

This is the product of one of the incredible ideas that I came upon recently:

Our Intentional Summer Plan! Rather than just coast through our summer, I wanted to make sure that we were grabbing up moments and turning them into memories. So, for the next nine weeks, we have:
Make It Monday:  Do a craft or science experiment. This was easy to plan! We have all kinds of fun things lined up, like Fly Swatter Painting, Elephant Toothpaste, and Cat in the Hat Jello!

Tell a Story Tuesday: read a book and retell it (have to sneak learning in somewhere, right?). Some weeks have themes; for example, the week of 4th of July we will read books about…well, the 4th of July!

In the Word Wednesday: Family Worship. We have an awesome book we use titled Training Hearts, Teaching Minds.

Thoughtful Thursday: Service Day! We are doing things like bringing donuts to our church staff, muffins to our librarians, and crayons and coloring books to the Children’s hospital.

Family Fun Friday: Greg’s schedule allows us to have the mornings to play! So, we have fun things like a breakfast picnic in the park (that way its cool enough to play!), the Children’s Museum, and the pool all lined up!

I’m so excited to start this next week! What are your plans for the summer?

A lot of great ideas came from My Mix of Six and What a Ride!, especially the service ones. The original idea came from ThePoeFam, and I highly recommend you stop by her blog! She seems like my kind of gal!

Solar Fun.

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While we were all in the backyard playing, watching the solar eclipse, I decided to grab the camera and try and catch some moments. I haven’t picked up the camera in a long time (for me, anyway), so it was nice to just sit and catch the children playing. Of course, my children are camera hams and make it super easy to get sweet pictures.

These eyes. I can rarely say no them them, especially when tears are spilling out the sides of them. My precious London…you can almost feel the her tenderness in the air.

She loves to take pictures. I love to take them of her.

She is 3, otherwise known as “The Pouting Year”.

Brooklyn and Jackson are currently buddies. Jackson adores his “cute ball of fluff”.

So grown up. Where did my baby boy go?

Her eyes are so blue, they almost glow. Ignore the head wound above her eye; Wayward Straw 1; Brooklyn 0.

In case you are wondering, I have a hard time saying no to this one, too. I do it…but its hard. 🙂

After we caught the eclipse (see post below) and played in the sandbox, we hosed them off and corralled them inside. That’s what nice about the summer…forget baths. A hose in the backyard works just fine. I have NO idea what happened, but I somehow didn’t get pictures of that. Oh, wait…I remember. They were naked. That’s why, lol!

It was a great summer evening.

Solar Eclipse 2012

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Now this is cool stuff! My awesome step-mom (thanks, Marilyn!) emailed me this afternoon to let me know that there was a solar eclipse today. We don’t watch the news, so I had absolutely no idea such a huge event was happening in our skies. Luckily I’m an internet addict and caught the email early enough to put together our little solar camera so we could get a view of it without burning our eyeballs out of our sockets, lol!

We got 2 pieces of poster board, poked a hole with a pin in one of them, and then used the other to view the shadow created by holding the poster with the pinhole up so the sun could shine through it. The result was the shadow of the sun, and the image of the eclipse, shining through. This was the first solar ring eclipse visible in 18 years, and the next one won’t occur for us until August 21, 2017.

Jackson wanted to see the eclipse on his hand!

There is another huge event in the sky coming up in two weeks, which is when the shadow of Venus will pass over the sun, which won’t happen again until 2117. We are pretty excited about that one, too!

Science: Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

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Edible Cell- Lesson One “Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology”

For our science portion of homeschooling, we have chosen a curriculum published by the Apologia Educational Ministries. Apologia Science has wonderful, creation-based science curricula from kindergarten through high school. We’ve tried several different approaches to science, and I can say that this is by far the best we’ve used. While I haven’t personally gotten my hands on the middle school/high school level textbooks, I have researched, held, looked through and loved all of their elementary texts, so I know we will use these at least through 6th grade.  They currently have 6 different textbooks: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Exploring Creation with Botany, Exploring Creation with Zoology 1, Exploring Creation with Zoology 2, Exploring Creation with Zoology 3, and the one we are using, Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Biology is coming soon! One of the best parts about these is that they each are for K-6, so you can choose whichever one your child is interested in at the time, or use the same one with all of your children at the same time so you aren’t teaching 3 different science lessons a day. They do this by providing different workbook levels that work alongside the text, therefore creating workable challenges for students on the curve from K-6.

Mummified Apples: Lesson One

The experiments are fabulous. Every lesson (each lesson takes about 2-3 weeks to get through, and each textbook has roughly 14 lessons) has one major experiment at the end and several “try this” experiments that you work on as you make your way through the lesson.  For the first lesson, Jackson learned all about the history of anatomy (fascinating stuff!) and about cells and cell anatomy. His major experiment at the end was to create an edible cell, which may have been the highlight of his year! All the candies you see represent different parts of the cell (nucleus, gogi bodies, lysosomes, mitochondria, etc), and the cell cytoplasm is a gelatin concoction.

Lesson 2 was the Skeletal System. Jackson learned all about what our bones do, why we need them, the technical names of his major bones, joints, and everything in between. His major experiment for this lesson is to remove the calcium from bones to see what happens! We finished this lesson a week or two ago, but I just got my hands on chicken bones tonight, so I’ll have to update you on what happens! He is currently on The Muscular System, and his major experiment is to grow more muscles by working the muscles in his hand! How cool is that?

Lesson Two, The Skeletal System: Analyzing a Chicken Bone

One of my favorite parts of the curriculum are the Scientific Notebooking Journals that come with each textbook. They are full of activities, mini-books (tiny books that he puts together with information he has learned), puzzles, etc that reinforce what he is learning in his textbook. It gives us a physical copy of all his work and experiments, and a place to keep pictures.  I’ll have to take pictures of some of the stuff he is making in his notebook, including his Personal Person Project, where he is building on a body of himself as he works through the lessons and learns about all his major systems.

Jackson begs to do science every single day, now. The best part? I love it, too. I am learning right alongside him, and even I get excited to open up the book and get started on our lessons for the day! Anyone who has ever taught their child at home knows this truth: you have to love what you are using and teaching, otherwise you won’t do it. We are absolutely thrilled with Apologia, and I cannot recommend it enough if you are searching for a new science approach! Check them out at Apologia.com!