Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carving Pumpkins

We carved pumpkins last night....ok, to be fair - dad and kids carved pumpkins. I have always hated the feeling of pumpkin goo. Ever since I was a kid. As an adult it is no different. gets the gooey job and doesn't seem to mind. What I love about this photo is how Sweet Baby is working on her pumpkin but yet has her left hand planted firmly on daddy's arm. She "can do it herself" you know! But of course she doesn't want dad to far away from her!

And here is another shot of her "doing it by herself". She is such an independent little stinker! Look at how determined she is to just cut that darned pumpkin to pieces!! Luckily the carving tool is one of those very dull little saws that children such as her can use - without damaging their fingers! Of course I was paranoid the whole time she was going to slip, but every time daddy tried to re-direct her cutting angle she would get really angry and pull away and say, "Dad! I can do it myself!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Mom, That Board Is Magic"

One thing that our 4th grader really struggles with is spelling. When she was in public school I would do practice tests with her Monday-Thursday night and at least one of those nights she would end up in tears. I on the other hand find spelling to be very easy. However, just because I can spell doesn't mean I can teach someone else how to do it!

We started our school year out using Spelling Power. This program is a huge book of word lists that you work through. I thought it was just what we needed. Give me some word lists and we'd practice those words each week in different ways and we'd be all set right? Well, it didn't work for us. Within the first month she was crying because she had had the word "neighbor" on her list for over 4 weeks.

I was talking with another home schooling mom and friend, she suggested a program called All About Spelling. She was kind enough to let me take Sissy down to her house and run a lesson through and see how it worked for her. It seemed fine, so after only a little thought, I purchased the first level of the program. I'm not very good at describing exactly how it works, you'll have to check out the website but for my daughter, it has been a lifesaver. She actually told someone the other day that her favorite subject is spelling! She is actually learning spelling rules right now and feels much more confident and understands why we spell words a certain way.

Both the girls are doing the same program and they are on the same level. To some degree I can see it only ocassoinally frustrating our 4th grader that her 1st grade sister is keeping up with her spelling, but I think the fact that the oldest is finally "getting it", overshadows the frustration.

So why did I title my post like I did? Because one day last week we she had been writing a story and spelled "leaned" instead of "learned". Should be a simple fix right? I think so, but for her it isn't. So I told her to go to "the board" and "segment" the word (AAS lingo) and see if it helped her to move the letter tiles around. Yep...she did it...first try! She was so proud of herself! I almost cried because I was so excited for her!!! She looked at me and said, "Mom, I think this board is magic."

Another Art Lesson

I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted! Really, we have been doing school! Sissy had another art lesson today with Don West from Christian Art For Kids . Here is a photo of her work in progress. Yes, she really drew that bee herself! Isn't it amazing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Photos From Greenfield Village

I have several favorite homes in Greenfield Village which I love to walk through. They include slave quarters, plantation homes, a home from the south in the 1930's owned by a black family (this is awesome because they actually have old newspapers covering the walls to keep the cold out and a chicken coop out back, all set on a dirt lot). Another house that I love is this one:

It is a stone building that I honestly can't remember where it is from or the time period, I think I have only ever went inside a couple times, mainly I just enjoy looking at the building itself and the gardens that surround it. I hope you enjoy these photos...

Sissy found these bright pink plants to be very interesting. I believe they are a species of coleus. I could be wrong so feel free to correct me!

A Wonderful Fall Family Day

This past Saturday we skipped violin and headed to Greenfield Village in Dearborn (a living museum with homes from different places and historical time frames). We had such fun. We have been to Greenfield Village a couple times in the last few years. I have always loved Greenfield Village (American History was one of my favorite subjects in school) and since we have been studying colonial america for school, we thought it would be fun to return this year. We decided to hope on a cool fall day, and that is just what we had. It was beautiful. In this picture, we were at one of the last homes on the tour - a home from about 12 years before Felicity's time, so it tied in to our study perfectly! The gentleman from this home was showing the girls a bench that father's used to teach their children how to carve wood. The father would sit on the left hand side and the son would sit on the right hand side and watch and learn. He asked the girls if they knew what the definition of an "apprentice" was. I was so giddy to hear Sissy tell him the answer right away, after all, in the Felicity stories her friend Ben is the apprentice to her father, so we have talked about what an apprentice was several times. She got a high-5 from the gentleman and was very proud of herself.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Co-Op Field Trip

One thing that made me think that homeschooling could work for our family was a visit to a homeschool co-op. The co-op is called Hometeam II and meets in Ortonville, MI. I visited it back in March when I was still trying to determine if this was something I felt confident enough to do. I remember at one point having tears in my eyes because I was convinced that I could do this. Because there is a waiting list, I was so blessed to get a spot in this group. Sissy has already made a friend who passed her a note the other day when Art was over, it read "You are my new BFF" (best friend forever). It was Sissy that we were concerned would really have trouble dealing with not being around her friends at school. She is somewhat shy, doesnt' have the highest self esteem and doesn't seem to make friends as easily as Peanut, who can make a new friend at the grocery store!
This week we went to Cook's Dairy Farm in Ortonville to see the calves, learn about the milk process. See the room where the milk is bottled, pasturized, walk through the barn where the cows are all lined up and even see some pigs. The girls thought it stunk. It did. It was a farm. The highlight of the visit was the REAL ice cream we had at the end of the trip. Peanut specifically loved seeing the 3 calves and feeding them hay.