Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Week 1 ~ Summer Break

Hello, Summer! We had a great first week of fun. We are doing light school with the theme of "Around the World in 8 Weeks". Our summer plans are outlined here. This week we started our studies in England. The children received their passports, complete with tea cup stickers (for England), and we were off on our adventure. Here is a list of what we did this week.
  • Made meat pies, strawberry-rhubarb pie, and baked apples for an English feast
  • Filled out our England fact sheet and colored the flag
  • Watched a travel documentary on England
  • Learned how to play Whist
  • Learned about Stonehenge
  • Learned some English vocabulary
  • Located England on the map 
We watched Around the World in 80 days (Disney version) and listened to the first two hours of Around the World in 80 Days on audio CD. We also did math every day and Goldilocks worked at her Time4Learning curriculum.

I hit the jackpot this week. A local homeschool store is going out of business and they are selling everything inexpensively. I got a huge amount of school books and supplies. Much of what I found was brand new and still sealed in the box. I just had to leave everything in piles and admire it for a few days. LOL

These piles are even sweeter because much of it was on my need or wish list. I'm very happy to have saved so much money.

The Boy Can Ride ~ 
Tom Sawyer (cerebral palsy) started physical therapy a few weeks ago to help him with weak core issues. The exercises are difficult and painful for him, but he has stuck with it because his ultimate goal was to be able to ride a bike. Well, he learned to ride a bike this afternoon!! His Dad has been working on teaching him to ride for years. Today it happened. I never saw any kind of therapy work so quickly. I look forward to seeing how well he feels after the whole 16 weeks of therapy. He was riding the neighbor's bike in this picture, as he had grown out of his own. We've bought him various bikes through the years to help him and were planning on getting a balance bike once the physical therapist selected which one. But now I need to buy him a new regular bicycle and helmet! Hooray! We are so proud of Tom Sawyer. It was a delight to hear him yell, "I feel so free," as he zipped past me.

The Rest ~ We are all done with dance until dance camps begin. I am ready for the break. My little Red Riding Hood tried hard not to cry about classes ending for the summer. She is enjoying trying new tricks on our trapeze bar and practicing her one handed cartwheel. She taught herself how in one afternoon this week.

We also made it to the small indoor water park over in the next county. It only has one slide and some sprinklers/buckets systems that pour water on you, but it is inexpensive and the kids love it.

Homegrown Learners

Blessings, Dawn

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Summer Plans ~ Around the World in 8 Weeks!

We are doing "light school" this summer. We decided to pick a theme and create our learning around it. This year the theme is based on Jules Verne's book, Around the World in 80 days.  We are currently listening to the book on tape, and we will be watching several different versions of the movie. For the next 8 weeks we will "visit" a different country in Phineas Fogg's travels each week. The countries we picked are either in the book, movie or both. We will be "visiting" England, France, Spain, Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan and the USA. We will be doing a craft or activity and making a meal from each country. We will also do journal entries, listen to music and watch documentaries from each country.

Here are some resources we will be using:
  • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne -- Read by Jim Dale
  • Travel memory game
  • GEO Dice game
  • Where in the World board game
  • A Trip Around the World Extended Thematic Unit
  • Legends and Leagues or Mr. Tardy Goes Here To There
  • Around the World in 80 Days Disney version 2004 DVD
  • Around the World in 80 Days 1956 version DVD
  • The Daring Nellie Bly
  • Nellie Bly Around the World in 72 Days
  • Around the World in 72 Days: Nellie Bly Documentary DVD
  • Around the World in 80 days With Michael Palin Documentary DVD
  • Numerous ethnic cookbooks
I think this is going to be lots of fun and incorporate lots of geography (which we did not do well on this year) and cooking which the kids love. It will also be a great way to sneak in a bit of writing.

In addition, Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Sawyer will be doing spelling or math each day. Goldilocks will be doing Time4Learning for 2 hours a day. She is not getting much of a summer break because she is too far behind in her studies. They will all read for 30 minutes a day.

We have some pure fun planned as well. The kids Summer Bucket List is as follows...
  • Swimming lessons for the girls
  • One week of dance camp for Goldilocks 
  • Two weeks of boys dance camp for Tom Sawyer
  • Splashville
  • Camping
  • Staying in a hotel ~ I hope they count a few days at Ronald McDonald House!
  • $1 movie camp
  • Summer library program
  • Roller skating
  • Messy Science
  • Going to a baseball game
  • Gardening
  • Fireworks
  • Toasting marshmallows
  • Catching fireflies
  • Play dates
I am looking forward to reading a book each week. We will see if I can really pull that off.  I got through one last week. So what are your plans?

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How Was Your School Year: My Perspective of 2012-2013

This school year had many unplanned events. We bought a foreclosure, sold our home of 11+ years, moved (which totally destabilized our mentally ill Goldilocks), started major renovations on our new home, and our oldest went through cardiac pacemaker surgery. Of course, all of these things had an impact on our homeschooling.

Considering all of the changes and difficulties we had this year, I am really delighted and surprised to see how well our school year went. We stayed on track for the most part and did most of what I set out to do before knowing that any of these changes were coming. Being flexible and persevering were the most helpful tools to getting through this school year. Our school year did not look much like others in the past. We schooled much more with workbooks and less with hands-on projects than we do most years, and that is okay. One of the main joys of homeschooling is flexibility. Next year will look different from this year just as every year in our 14 year journey with homeschooling has been a little different. We just keep changing it up until we find what is working.

Stuff that Worked ~
  • Audio Books ~ They can go anywhere. We listened to them in the car, while painting walls, while ripping out floors, and while snuggled in bed. The volume can be turned up loud to drown out construction noise, too!
  • Teaching Textbooks ~ This math curriculum really works for two of my kiddos. It can go anywhere if you have a laptop. I love that there are no gaps and the grading is done for me.
  • Life of Fred (math) ~ This book series is helping all of my kids and gets in "living math". I prefer this way of learning, but it takes more work than workbooks.
  • All About Spelling ~ I really appreciated the scripted lesson plans with this program, since I needed someone else to do much of the academic thinking this year. I saw a real improvement in my girls' spelling.
  • Academic Teas ~ Everything is more exciting with tasty food and tea! We held most of our teas this year for breakfast since I was cooking anyway. This was a great way to get in subjects that we were neglecting. We had poetry and art teas this year. It was just enough to take an hour or two to devote to a different poet or an artist (that was not our main artist for the quarter).
  • Workbooks ~  I hate to admit it, but workbooks do work in difficult times. I consider them busy work and they proved to be just that. But, at least the kids were busy learning and not busy making huge messes. I hope I do not need to rely so heavily on them next year, but I was glad to have the resource this year.
  • Educational Games ~ Games are a wonderful way to reinforce skills and fill time with meaningful activities. This year we played the following games many times; Multiplication War, Chess, Blokus, Life, Payday, Sequence, Yahtzee, Go Fish for Art, River Crossing, Man Bites Dog, and Apples to Apples.
  • Dance Classes ~ The kids get so much out of dance. They get exercise, confidence, social time, acting skills, performing skills -- plus they LOVE it.
What Didn't Work ~
  • Some Out of the Home Classes ~ Chess did not work out for us. It was just too much to juggle with our life this year. Also, choir did not really provide us with enough skills or confidence building to keep it on the schedule.
  • Play Dates with Others ~ We were just too busy this year. We missed seeing our friends on a more regular basis, so I am hoping that we can resume play dates this summer.
  • Geography ~ I am sorry to say the maps have not even been hung up. We really flopped on geography this year! I will be making up for that this summer. Watch for a post on our summer fun plans.
  • American Girl Club ~ I never even got it off the ground! I really want to try this in the coming year.
  • Goldilocks' Education ~ It seems like my girl lost most of the year dealing with her own trauma about the move. By far, this past year was hardest on Goldilocks. She really did not handle all of the changes well and has suffered through a very emotional year. We had to reach out to her psychological team to make some improvements. She went into this school year already several grades behind, and the only true improvement we have seen is in reading. I do think "letting" her listen to audio books in her room and encouraging her to write in her journal have added to her learning. However, it is terribly slow going. I also think the computer curriculum, Time4Learning, has potential to make a difference in her learning.
Changes ~
  • Tutors ~ We are looking forward to Goldilocks starting with reading and writing tutors in the next few months. She is on a waiting list. I also have my eye out for a math tutor.
  • American Girl Club ~ I am hoping that this will happen next year. I have started planning the details with another mother.
  • Home Economics ~ It seems obvious that when you are home with your kids they are getting home economics. However, if it is not on the schedule, it doesn't always get done. I am hoping to do much more cooking, meal planning, and table setting with the kids this year. Also, I am looking for ways to help Goldilocks with sewing. I'm really inexperienced with sewing machines and she is so impulsive that I think an outsider may be better for teaching her. I'm thinking about how to handle this.
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy ~ We really enjoyed our break this year from therapies, but it is time to return for support. Tom Sawyer has already started physical therapy, and before the summer is over, I think he may be referred for occupational therapy as well. Also, Little Red Riding Hood may need some physical therapy. Her foot and knee are still turning in and she is going to need the healthiest posture possible before beginning Tween Company with the dance studio next year.
  • A Sport for Goldilocks ~ I think Goldilocks needs a sport to deal with all of her energy and anxiety. I am considering cross country running or basketball, although basketball may be too much with our dance schedule.
  • Robotics ~ I am going to try to provide more robotics opportunities for Tom Sawyer. I am not sure if this will be in the home or out. Once again, this is nothing that I or my husband know anything about. However, I think a few kits will get him started. Also, there is a 6 week Lego class that we may be able to try late summer.
Overall, it was a great year. Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Sawyer are on or above grade level in almost all subjects. The kids are not totally stressed out and desperate for summer to begin like they are some years. That fact alone shows that we did lots right this year.  I also am not desperate for a break. I say this often, but truly we are so blessed to homeschool our children.

Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Week 36 ~ We Are Done with the 2012-2013 School Year!

Tomorrow marks our last day of this school year. We are ready for a change. The kids worked hard to finish their workbooks this week so they would not have to do any of them this summer. We only have two more official things to do to call it a year! We need to draw up our annual summer bucket list, and the kids will go to Chuck E. Cheese with their report cards (to get free tokens). This will be accomplished tomorrow.

Science Fun ~ We had lots of fun in science this week. We finished our biology book and looked at some slides under the microscope. We also experimented with spider balls. We put a few in warm water, salt water, cold water, and seltzer water. To our surprise, the warm water opened the spider balls the fastest. After the spider balls fully opened, the kids played with them in the bath tub. They bounced very high.

We also made Ice Cream Bread this week. We let Tom Sawyer have a wheat cheat for this yummy bread. I gave him the supplement, GlutenEase, which helped him get through the cheat. This bread is really easy. It only has two ingredients! We used vanilla ice cream, but you could use any kind of ice cream.

Physical Therapy ~ Tom Sawyer started physical therapy this week, which made him sore. The therapist gave us his exercises for the week, and I took pictures of him doing each one so I could check his position at home.

Performances ~ We have three Swan Lake shows down and three to go. The kids are doing fantastic so far. In addition, the girls had their aerial arts showcase this week. I had a terrible time getting pictures from the dark audience. Below, is the only one I was able to rescue. Little Red Riding Hood is up in the silks doing her famous splits. She is so flexible. I am hoping our video came out better, but I haven't had time to check it.

8 Ways You Know It's Time for Summer ~
  1. The last glue stick just ran out.
  2. Out of the home classes are ending!
  3. Mommy would rather organize the art cupboard than read with the kids.
  4. There are piles of homeschool catalogues and wish lists for next year all over the house.
  5. The pencil sharpener has disappeared.
  6. My end of year checklist is almost all crossed off.
  7. Public school kids are calling to set up play dates.

All the Rest ~ We are just being swamped with rain. The basement took a big hit in the last few days. We are very blessed next to all of those in the Midwest who have suffered through tornadoes, so I am not complaining. Our library is doing a fun idea this summer. They are wrapping up books and you check out the book, cover unseen, like a blind date. After reading them, you get to rate them. It is fun. The first two books are ones I would have never picked out on my own, but they are really good. This program is stretching me to read something different than my normal preferences.
Earlier this week, I posted about my kids' perspective on how the year had gone. If you would like to read their interviews, go here. I will be giving my response and posting our summer bucket list and summer school plans this weekend.

Homegrown Learners

Blessings, Dawn

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How Was Your School Year: The Kid's Perspective 2012-2013

This year had many unplanned events. We bought a foreclosure, sold our home of 11+ years, (moved which totally destabilized Goldilocks), started major renovations on our new home, and our oldest went through heart/pacemaker surgery. All of these things had an impact on our homeschooling. Each year I give the kids an opportunity to tell me how they think our year went. They are encouraged to tell me the good and the bad, as well as their dreams and how they think things could run better. I take what they feel into consideration when planning the next school year. Of course, I am still the Mom and my husband is still the Dad, so we have final say. The kids are always interviewed separately.

Little Red Riding Hood -- 9 years old

What worked for you this year?
  • I love Teaching Textbooks (math).
  • I like Journal Time with the Dry Erase board.
  • Explode the Code is more fun than most of the language arts workbooks.
  • Learning is much easier now that Goldilocks is not learning with us (she makes so much noise and interrupts so much).
  • I like the way we watch CNN Student News first and that we are done with most of school by lunch time.
What were your favorite thing(s) about school this year?
  • Cooking ~ We should do it every day. I like being your lunchtime helper.
  • I love Life of Fred books and math literature books.
  • I like literature time because you read to us, and we draw pictures of what you are reading.
What was your least favorite thing about school?
  • I don't like spelling. It is hard and boring.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • A mother and a dance teacher.
What is the one thing you would like to learn next year that you are not learning now?
  • I want to learn more about cooking and how to make whole meals. I want to plan the meals sometimes.
If you could take only one class outside of the home, what would it be? 
I skipped this question with Little Red Riding Hood. She has been invited into Tween Company next year at our dance studio. We have had many conversations around committing so much time to dance and that it will preclude her getting to do other extracurricular classes this coming year. She is very excited about doing a more concentrated dance program.

Do you like learning best when it is hands on, listening, or watching?
  • Hands on
If we were going to volunteer next year, what would you want to do?
  • I would like to cook food for old people and sick families and take them meals.
What were your favorite special activities this year?
  • I like science projects and field trips the best.
Tom Sawyer -- 11 years old

What worked for you this school year?
  • Books on tape
  • Cooking time with you
  • Writing down my math problems (even though I don't like to do it)
  • Teaching Textbooks
  • Note booking our science
  • Goldilocks learning in a different room than us
What was your favorite thing(s) about school this year?
  • Cooking time ~ I want to do more experimenting and learning about ingredients.
  • I like doing all of our science projects.
What was your least favorite thing this year?
  • I don't like writing. Nothing is fun about it.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
  • I want to be a Lego engineer, a demolition artist and a chef. I want to own my own restaurant.
What is one thing that you would like to learn next year that you are not learning now?
  • I want to learn robotics. I want to learn it here at home with you or Dad.
If you could do just one class next year outside of the home, what would it be?
  • Continue taking Boy's Dance or Aerial Arts at the dance studio
If we were going to volunteer next year, what would you want to do?
  • I would work with animals or make dishes of food for families in need.
Do you like to learn best when it is hands on, listening, or watching?
  • Hands on
What was your favorite special activities this year?
  • Science projects
  • Field trips ~ especially animal related ones
  • Play dates with friends
Goldilocks -- 12 years old

What worked for you this school year?
  • Learning on the computer is much better for me.
  • Explode the Code helps me.
  • I like the time lines and posters on the walls.
What was your favorite thing(s) this school year?
  • Time4Learning
  • Field trips
  • Literature time
What was your least favorite thing(s) this year?
  • I don't like being told what to learn.
  • I hate my language arts books.
  • I don't like assigned writing. I just want to write my own thing.
  • I don't like being corrected and having to redo stuff.
  • I don't like math.
  • I don't like having a separate desk from everyone else. (Her desk is still in the same room, but if she stays at the table with the others, she cheats).
  • I don't like you tricking me into learning stuff.
(I finally had to cut her off when she started telling me all of the non-school related things she doesn't like -- you know all of those "You are controlling my life" and "I want to do my own thing" issues.)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Pet sitter
  • Babysitter
  • Clothing designer
  • Dance teacher
  • Makeup artist
  • Drawing teacher
What would you like to learn next year that you are not learning now?
  • How to use a real sewing machine
  • More about how to care for animals
  • What are the different kinds of dance careers
If you could take only one class outside the home next year, what would it be?
  • Gymnastics. (This answer surprised me. She is always talking about dance and how much she loves it and that she wants to dance when she grows up. Now, she says she wants to do something else!)
If we were going to volunteer next year, what would you want to do?
  • I would help cats and dogs.
Do you like learning best when it is hands on, listening or watching?
  • Hands on
What were your favorite special events this year?
  • I like tea parties and field trips the best.
There is lots to think about. There were not many surprises. Apparently, I need to work in a concentrated home economics class for the kids. Tom Sawyer loves to play restaurant at dinner time -- preparing the meal, writing out the menu, setting the table just so, and lighting the candles. He told me the other day that we need more than one china set so he had choices for table settings! LOL! We sure live in the right area for him to pursue a career in the restaurant or hotel business. I also need to  think about what to do with Goldilocks. She is so oppositional these days. I will put up my perspective on our school year in a day or two.

Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Week 35 ~ The Zoo, Nature and Swan Lake

Swan Lake ~ And so it begins! We are in the midst of our dance studio's production of Swan Lake With a Splash!  The kids work very hard for months, preparing for each of these performances. They are so excited when it finally comes time to get on the stage. They have no stage fright and I love to see them enjoying their passion. This year Goldilocks is a dog, Little Red Riding Hood is seaweed, and Tom Sawyer has two roles -- a police officer as well as seaweed. The girls also have a separate performance for their aerial arts class in the middle of the coming week. One girl will be a bird and the other will be Princess Padme from Star Wars. That totals up to seven shows in the next week. We will be very busy people for the next few days!

The Zoo ~ We had an awesome time at the zoo for Mother's Day. The most exciting part was watching Tom Sawyer and Goldilocks go up in an amazing obstacle course. If you want to read more of our impressions about the Columbia Zoo, go here.

Chimney Rock ~ Since my husband had the week off, we decided to visit a local attraction. We drove out to see Chimney Rock. It is a bit costly for us locals. However, we wanted to visit, since our kids are growing up here and have never seen it. It really is a spectacular sight. We also went on two of the hikes within the state park grounds.

All the Rest ~ We are still in different stages of this cold. However, for the most part we are on the mend. Tom Sawyer and Little Red Riding Hood played lots of education games (multiplication war, Life, and Borderline USA) this week. They also did Teaching Textbooks, Explode the Code, and watched CNN Student News. Their favorite book this week was Math Sentences with Math-terpieces The Art of Problem Solving. This book was great. We read each page and then solved each puzzle by writing down the math sentences. We also enjoyed the latest SQUILT piece from Homegrown Learners's blog. Goldilocks did lots of catching up on Time4Learning, plus spent hours in job training (yard work with Daddy) this week.

Tim Update ~ This week, Tim and I visited a wonderful day program for individuals with brain injuries. This program's goal is to increase life skills and provide lots of social outings to the participants. It attracts the most high functioning brain injured in our area and some of Timothy's friends from his special needs college class attend it. The program writes up goals for each client and helps them achieve their personal goals. It looks like a wonderful program for Tim, and he will be testing it out for a few days next week. If all goes well, he will start going a few days a week in the very near future.  I am very excited to find this great place for him to spread his wings a bit more on his road to more independence. Hopefully, it will enhance his life.

We are one week out from the end of out 2012/2013 school year. The kids are ready for a change. We will still be doing about 1.5 hours of school a day, but with a twist. I will post about it soon. Here is one last picture of my youngest monkey.

Homegrown Learners

Blessings, Dawn

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fun at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC

We went to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina, for Mother's Day. What a great zoo! It had wonderful shade trees to deal with heat. The lines for different activities and to get into the zoo were quick and well organized. Since our oldest volunteers at a large nature center, we are always aware of the care and contentment level of the animals. All the animals seemed happy and well cared for at this zoo. (I wish I could say that about every zoo we have visited.)
Little Red Riding Hood wanted  her picture taken in front of her favorite animals. She loves the color pink so had to be photographed in front of the flamingos. of course!

We visited the botanical gardens that are in this zoo. It was fun taking the tram ride up the hill. My kids love any kind of trolley ride. The botanical gardens were lovely, and we would have enjoyed them for longer if everyone had felt their best. A spring cold is still bugging many of us.
In one part of the zoo there was an obstacle course. As soon as Tom Sawyer and Goldilocks saw it, they wanted to go on it. I thought it was too high and would scare them. However, the cost wasn't too prohibitive, and I thought it would be a lifelong memory if they were successful. I made a deal with them to give up getting a trinket in the gift shop for a ticket to go on the obstacle course. They both readily agreed.

They were harnessed in and taught about climbing gear. To my joy and amazement, they both went through all of the levels (all the way to the top). Furthermore, they encouraged each other all along the way! These two are my main bickerers and spend loads of time in strife. It was really nice to see them encourage each other. I am glad we only sent the two of them up there. I think it was a great moment for building a positive memory in their relationship.
Tom Sawyer

I bet this was good exercise for Tom Sawyer's core issues. It was also great for both of their self esteems.

Watching them made me one proud Mom. My poor husband and mother did not get their pictures taken the whole day. I am not sure how that happened. It was a lovely family outing.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, May 10, 2013

Week 34 ~ Broken Computer, Doctors and Bed School

This was not one of our stellar weeks. Some weeks we just put one foot in front of the other and do the best we can. We started the week off with many flooded streets around town caused by the massive rainfall over the weekend. It was a bit hard to get around town. By Tuesday, kids started getting sick and developed symptoms that seemed to indicated strep throat and a stomach virus. However, they tested negative for strep, and the doctor thinks they have a cold that mocks strep which is going around. Tom Sawyer and Little Red Riding Hood have spent much of the week in bed doing "bed school". Then on Wednesday the computer decided to get sick, too! Poor Goldilocks had to give up on computer school since our only remaining computer is a vintage little notebook and can't support Time4Learning. I am really impressed that the little notebook is letting me get this post up!

Collage Pictures ~ Sensory play gone wild with shaving cream, Turkey Pot Pie, Dear Husband working on our computer, homemade honey cinnamon cough drops.

Books We Read ~ 
  • Finished Little Town on the Prairie
  • My Great-Grandmother's Gourd
  • Immigration Kids Discover
  • Boundless Grace
  • Abuela's Weave
  • Several Garfield books
  • Nancy Drew books 
Movies We Watched ~ We watched a 4 hour documentary called Destination America this week. It was very interesting and looked at immigration to America from the 1700's to present day. The kids also watched some PBS kids and PBS cooking shows.

Tom Sawyer ~ Tom Sawyer (11) had a physical therapy evaluation last week and the results are back. I took him in for an evaluation because he still can't ride a bike and complains about pain in his upper back much of the time. She found that his core and hips are very weak. The therapist was surprised he was able to sit up and walk as well as he can. I felt bad that I hadn't taken him in sooner. I just had no idea that all of these little symptoms were indicators of poor core issues! When he was a baby and toddler, he had physical therapy every week. However, that PT said he didn't need any more help, so he has gone for years without any physical therapy.  Here are his symptoms, in case you have a child who needs to be checked out.
  • Lots of pain in the neck and shoulders (you know, doctors call these "growing pains")
  • Poor writing or hand control
  • Mild to moderate balance issues
  • Poor posture while sitting
  • Leaning on arms for support while sitting
  • Low energy
  • Trouble keeping up with other kids
  • Appears lazy about doing chores that require lifting or lots of walking back and forth
  • Gets very cold in water ~ such as at the pool or at the end of bath time
He starts physical therapy in two weeks. Until then we have a few Superman exercises to do. We will not be signing him up for swimming lessons this year. I explained to the therapist that he had needed rescuing multiple times by lifeguards during lessons in the past few years. Because he was always so cold and blue when they got him out, I had him checked for cardiac issues. She said that was also symptoms of core issues!! I am so glad we are finally getting him help.

Goldilocks ~ Goldilocks has been pretty strong this week. When her siblings are down and the schedule is different, Goldilocks tends to have more issues. She is bummed that the computer is down. She really prefers being educated by the computer, rather than schooling with me. She is also nervous about round two of braces. The orthodontist is trying to figure out why one tooth won't come in and whether she will need surgery to get it in position to come through. She had special x rays this week. The dentist and orthodontist are deciding what to do next. While they were in her mouth, they found an abscess in another area. Now she needs to swish her mouth out with salt water or hydrogen peroxide three times a day and see if it clears up.

Next Week ~ We are praying that everyone feels better in the next 24 hours. Next week is my husband's vacation, but we can't go away overnight. The kids have technical rehearsals almost every night. They will be performing in Swan Lake in a matter of days. Since our nights are so busy next week, we plan on doing a few day trips or special outings in the area. My husband is also hoping to do lots of yard work. We have just two more weeks to this school year. I'll be posting our summer plans soon. We will be continuing with lessons instead of a summer break. However, there is some extra special fun planned in between playing catch up.

I am joining Homegrown Learners.

Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Week 33 ~ Andrew Johnson, Walt Whitman and Science Fun

We had a great week! We got lots done and had fun along the way. The most exciting thing this week was a field trip to Andrew Johnson's home. He was the 17th president and saw our country through the Reconstruction Period after Lincoln was assassinated. I didn't learn anything about Andrew Johnson when I was in school (or about practically any other president either). I was fascinated to learn about Johnson and his family. He appears to have been a decent man. While in his home town of Tennessee, we were able to visit Andrew Johnson's birth home, adult home, burial site (at a National Park Service graveyard), and a great visitors center. We also visited a jail from his time period. We were pleased to see so many things to do in such a small town (Greeneville, Tennessee).

"When I die, I want no more winding sheet than that of the brave old flag...and no softer pillow than the Constitution of my country." ~ Andrew Jackson

Poetry Tea ~ Our poetry tea this quarter was Walt Whitman. We really enjoyed learning about him this week. He was a wonderful poet. The kids especially liked "Oh Captain, My Captain" and the prose poem, "Did you read in the sea-books of the old fashioned frigate fight?". We had coconut bread pudding, gummies, and fresh fruit for breakfast while listening to several of his poems. Our favorite reading was this version of Oh captain, My Captain.

Science Fun ~  We didn't do much the first two quarters this year. However, we are doing a good job catching up now. This week we conducted an experiment with colored water and celery to show how plants get nutrients and water from the soil.

The snap circuits that Tom Sawyer got for his birthday are very popular. Tom Sawyer has spent many hours this week working with them. The girls have explored them a bit this week too.

All The Rest ~ The other big thing we did this week was finish our Presidents Timeline. I used flash cards and copied the distributions from the back to explain about each president. We plan on going back and writing down the key things going on in history below each president. We also did lots of language arts, Teaching Textbooks and paragraph writing. Goldilocks logged 8 hours on the computer with Time4Learning this week.

I even took a bit of time for myself this week and read a novel! I read The Help. It was fantastic!

Blessings, Dawn