*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jena the Jaguar and Her Rainforest Friends

Okay, so it’s only taken me a few months to actually put the pieces of this lapbook together.  Caleb finished it back in March or April (I honestly cannot remember now), but I just got it all compiled today.  So, here’s the lapbook that I’ve been promising for months…

CoverIMG_5615 InsideIMG_5616 Inside (center flap lifted)IMG_5617 Animal Defenses bookIMG_5619 Inside of Animal Defenses bookIMG_5620Right sideIMG_5622 Inside of Vocabulary Words bookIMG_5624 Inside of Jena the Jaguar Counting BookIMG_5626 Layers of the Rainforest (this is in the storage pocket)IMG_5627 Animals of the rainforest (this is inside the storage pocket, too)IMG_5629
***On a side note, does anyone know why Windows Live Writer would decide to flip my photos for me lately?  It’s a bit aggravating, and I can’t figure out why it’s rotating some of my photos.  ARRGGGHHH!***

Friday, May 28, 2010

Garden Harvests…

We have been very successful with our gardening this year well, for the most party anyway.  Here’s what we’ve picked thus far:  8 summer squash, 1 green bell pepper, 1 bunch of Romaine lettuce, lots of English peas, and a few Sugar Snap peas.  There are more squash to be picked (once they’re ready that is), lots of tomatoes waiting to be ripened, more peppers growing, and many more peas and green beans waiting as well.
Here are some pictures of our harvesting thus far.

This was the first squash I picked…there are 7 more like it in the fridge.IMG_5608 English peas…now, I am not an English pea fan.  However, these were so tasty.  We ate them fresh on a garden salad.  YUMMY!  I think they will be a staple each year.IMG_5610 Sugar Snap Peas…I’m waiting on a few more, then we will saute’ these up in some butter.IMG_5611 Caleb holding the sugar snap peas…proud of his hard work mom’s work really…LOL!IMG_5613
How are your gardens growing?  Have you been able to harvest anything yet?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Second Grade Curriculum Choices

One of the perks well, depending on how you look at it I guess of homeschooling is the abundance of curriculum choices available.  There are so many choices that it sometimes gets overwhelming.  One of the first things I share with people contemplating homeschool is to determine which route you want to go in your curriculum choice…secular or Christian.  Once you make that decision, then you have to decide which approach you want to take…Charlotte Mason, classical (heck, those two may be the same thing…I get it all confused), traditional textbook, unit studies, eclectic, unschooling, etc.  You also have to take your child’s learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) into account as well.  Now, once you have all that figured out, you get to browse all the websites and make your purchases.  Sounds easy, right?  LOL!  Never! 
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to go with a Christian curriculum.  Being a former public school teacher, it was easier for me to go with the traditional textbook style of schooling as well.  It’s what I was used to, and it helped with my anal retentive side (I like to have things all planned out and organized knowing exactly where I’m going to be at the end of the year).  So, I perused all the curriculum providers that fit this “type”, and we settled on Bob Jones University Press (BJUP). 
BJUP is a very strong curriculum, and it has exceeded our expectations.  However, I’ve realized that just because I love a curriculum, that doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for Caleb.  So, after a lot of research and thought, we’ve made some curriculum changes for 2nd grade.  Here’s what we’ll be using for the 2010-2011 school year:
BJUP English 2
BJUP Handwriting 2
BJUP Spelling 2
Christian Liberty Press (CLP) Studying God’s Word Book B
CLP Studying God’s Word Book C
Math U See (MUS) Alpha – this is new for us.  I really felt like Caleb didn’t have a good grasp on the basic math skills.  So, hopefully this will help make it all a little bit more concrete for him.
MUS Beta – this will be ordered once we complete Alpha because Alpha shouldn’t take us all year
Abeka Enjoying God’s World – this will be our first year using any Abeka materials. 
Abeka Health, Safety, and Manners 2
Abeka Our America

Wordly Wise 3000 Book 2
Art is Fundamental:  Teaching the Elements and Principles of Art in Elementary School
How to Teach Art to Children, Grades 1-6 – I’m actually looking forward to teaching art using these two books.  They complement one another so well, and I think Caleb will really have fun learning all about art and making lots of art projects(heck, I will, too).
I’m using a vast array of books that we already own, or will borrow from the library, for reading.  He will be introduced to many different types of genres, and I’ll also use reading excerpts from Teacher File Box to check comprehension and understanding.  He will also use Book Adventure to take quizzes and earn prizes for the books he reads. 
I know that looks like a lot, and it is.  However, it really won’t take us too long each day to get it all done.  Most of the subjects will take 10-15 minutes max, so it really isn’t too extensive.
What curriculum are YOU using for the 2010-2011 school year?  Did you make any changes from the previous year(s)?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Home Improvement Project: Screened Porch

Brian and I went back and forth on what to do with our back porch.  It’s just really not big enough, and it always stayed cluttered.  At first, we thought about turning it into a sunroom and making it a part of the inside of the house.  However, I couldn’t really decide what we’d use the space for…our house is big enough, and we don’t really need any more indoor space.  So, we finally decided we’d just screen it in.
We hired my older brother, David, to get the job done.  It took him several weeks, but it was all worth it.  We really enjoy the porch so much more now.  It’s surprisingly a tad bit cooler, and the sun doesn’t shine in the house nearly as bad as it did prior.  So, the investment was money well spent.  Our next project is to put gutters on the back of the house and build a concrete patio.  I’ll post on that once that’s done (no start date yet…still just a thought). 
Here are some pictures of the screening in of the porch along the way.

This is the porch prior to screening…see how cluttered it is.IMG_5410 Uncle David putting up the frame along with Caleb’s helpIMG_5451A mis-matched Caleb…gotta love himIMG_5454 The frame is almost doneIMG_5459 Now, it’s doneIMG_5467 Vinyl on the bottom of the outsideIMG_5473Vinyl on the inside (we added the vinyl to make it look like it’s always been a part of the house…I think it came out great this way).IMG_5474 Completed project…what a differenceIMG_5600 Grill and sitting areaIMG_5602 Storage bench and shelf (this bench holds the boys’ toys)IMG_5603 Sitting area and plant shelf (we’ve since added an outdoor rug to this side of the porch)IMG_5606
Thank you David for doing such a wonderful job!  We appreciate all of the time, hard work, and effort you put into this home improvement project.  We will definitely hire you again for the next project…details TBA!  smile_regular

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Center for Puppetry Arts

Thursday morning, we got up at the crack of dawn to join some homeschooling friends for a field trip to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.  Now, if you’re a local (or if you’re not and you’re ever in Atlanta), then I suggest you make a trip to the Center.  This was such a fun and exciting field trip for the kiddos.
Our morning started off by us picking up our friends, Naomi, Ashton, and Ariana.  Then we made our way to the Center to meet up with our other friends.  Once we were all together, we were able to enjoy a puppetry workshop.  The children (and the adults) made a “Blue Ox” puppet.  The puppetry workshop was very well-organized, and the staff did a super job of engaging everyone.  Once we had all made our puppets, the children got to do a simple performance with their newly made Blue Ox.  It was so cute to see them using their imagination.  They were super creative.
After the workshop, we were able to enjoy a quick snack in the lunchroom.  Then, we were off to see the performance.  We watched “Paul Bunyan & The Tall Tale Medicine Show”, and it was a very cute show.  They used a variety of puppets to perform the show, and the children seemed to have a wonderful time during the performance. 
Once the show was over, we toured the center to see more puppets.  Then we went to eat lunch at The Varsity.  Now, you locals all know how famous it is.  However, for the non-locals, it’s been featured on The Food Network, and it’s a HUGE diner.  While I enjoy the food, I don’t think it’s the best diner food by any means.  I much prefer the food at Monroe’s in Americus, but that’s another story.
We had a long and exhausting day, but it was totally worth it.  I foresee many more trips to the Center for Puppetry Arts in our future.  They’ve got some wonderful shows planned for the 2010-2011 season, and I hope we’re able to enjoy several of them.
Here are some pictures from the day…

Ariana, Ashton, and Caleb on the “Pinocchio” foot (we weren’t allowed to use the flash for this picture).IMG_5564Ariana, Ashton, and Caleb in front of Babe, the Blue OxIMG_5566 Caleb and Ashton listening to the staff member talk about puppetsIMG_5568 Caleb and Ashton goofing offIMG_5569These two boys are sooo silly togetherIMG_5573  Caleb finishing up his puppetIMG_5575 Caleb with his Blue OxIMG_5580
Caleb and Ashton show off their puppetsIMG_5581Caleb waiting for his turn to performIMG_5584 Caleb and the other boys in our group doing their own puppet showIMG_5587 This is the Blue Ox that I created.  Even the adults were able to create a puppet…fun, huh?IMG_5592 Caleb and Ashton enjoying a snackIMG_5598
Ariana, Naomi, Ashton, me, and Caleb in front of The VarsityIMG_5599

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberry Picking

On Wednesday, we joined up with some of our homeschool friends for a tour of a nearby farm.  The farm is run by a Mennonite family, and they homeschool as well.  For the locals, we visited Kauffman’s Farmarket in Montezuma, GA. 
We began our tour by picking pesticide-free strawberries.  This was a plus considering the latest news regarding fruit, and the dangers of pesticides linked to ADHD (which I don’t doubt).  After we had all picked our strawberries, we spent some time enjoying the farm animals.  They had baby chicks, baby bunnies, chickens, goats, etc.  Micah seemed to enjoy the baby bunnies and baby chicks.  Caleb had fun feeding the goats. 
Once we were done with the animals, we enjoyed a hay ride around the farm.  After that, it was time for the ice cream.  The kiddos were offered a choice of peach or strawberry.  Caleb went with a swirl of both, and Micah was given strawberry.  However, being as Micah isn’t our “sweet lover”, I enjoyed his for him.  He was just as content eating his Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
We ended our day by having lunch at Yoder’s.  This is a Mennonite restaurant down the road from the farm.  I hadn’t been there in over 10 years, but it was still the same.  The food is always good, and the desserts are even better. 
Both boys had a blast, and I was very thankful to have one of our homeschool teens, Sarah, along to help with Micah.  She proved to be very valuable, and he was super content hanging with her during our time at the farm.
Here are some pictures of our time at the farm.

Micah showing me his strawberriesIMG_5535 Micah needs to check out what he’s pickedIMG_5537 Caleb was determined to fill his basket until it was overflowingIMG_5538 Micah and Miss SarahIMG_5540Caleb shows off his overflowing basketIMG_5542 Little brother, big brother…IMG_5544 Caleb and some of his friends enjoying the see-sawIMG_5546 Caleb feeding one of the goatsIMG_5551 Miss Sarah holds one of the baby bunnies for Micah to pet…he really enjoyed the baby animalsIMG_5554 Caleb and his friend, Emerson, on the hay rideIMG_5555 Miss Sarah and Micah on the hay rideIMG_5556 Caleb enjoying his strawberry-peach swirl ice creamIMG_5560 Micah enjoying his fruit snacksIMG_5559

***I have not been compensated for raving about Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks.  These just happen to be one of Micah’s favorite snacks, and we always keep them in the house.***

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