Thursday, January 26, 2012

Egg Carton Math

Sweet Baby still struggles with memorizing her math facts. She has all of her 0's, 1's, most 2's and double facts memorized but those are the same facts she had memorized in November. She is getting pretty good about all her +9's but anything else is difficult.

I found this fun math game on Pinterest and it took me all of 5 minutes to make one for her. We call it Egg Carton Math.

In the bottom of each egg section I placed a colored circle with a number on it. I put two buttons in the egg carton. Sweet Baby gives it a shake, opens it up and whatever two numbers are covered by the buttons she needs to add together. For more reinforcement I actually make her write the problem down so she can be writing and looking at it. Of course you can do this with any numbers and any math procedure (addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc).

What made me laugh was hearing Sissy say, "Hey! I want to do egg carton math!" It made me laugh because this girl is in the midst of pre-algebra and doesn't need any help with her math facts - but hey - if an egg carton, some colored circles and some old buttons gets me the Best Moms of the Year Award, she can practice Egg Carton Math as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ancient History Visit

A couple of weeks ago daddy had a day off of work so we decided to make a trip to Ann Arbor and visit the Natural History Museum and the Archaeological Museum on the campus of the University of Michigan. If you live in the area, these are great museums to visit. They are small enough that no one complained of to much walking or being tired and at no point was anyone bored.

Our first stop was the Archaeological Museum. It was perfect! One of the first things we spotted was a sarcophagus of an Egyptian mummy. Since we did Creation to the Greeks last year, we spent a healthy amount of time "in Egypt" and a vast amount of time discussing mummies. The kids thought it was really neat to see an actual "coffin".

Imagine their delight when they rounded the corner and saw an infant mummy! There was also a mummy of a cat.

After exploring the Ancient Egypt section, we found ourselves in an Ancient Rome section. How perfect is that? We have recently finished our study of Ancient Rome. There were all kinds of different relics and carvings but the kids really liked this bust of Augustus Caesar. We spent WEEKS reading a book called Augustus Caesar's World in which we learned all kinds of information about him.

Here is a bust of a "Roman Women". Nothing exceptionally amazing about it except I thought it was really beautiful.

The Natural History Museum was interesting, though none of my photographs turned out very good. There was an entire floor about dinosaurs. The skeletons were amazing, though keep in mind that everywhere we looked there were signs discussing how many billions and millions of years old the dinos were. If, like us, you are trying to teach your kids about a young earth and deal with biblical time lines, it was a bit confusing to them. They also had an exhibit about evolution. Of course we have talked to the girls about this theory....that it is only a theory of some scientists.

It was a great day and I loved being able to see some items from ancient historical times we have studied.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Everybody's Doing It"

Well, here I am, 38 years old and unable to heed the advice my mother gave me for years. "Just because everybody's doing it, doesn't mean you should." When choosing the science curriculum we would use for Sissy (7th grade) we went with Apologia General Science because Apologia is such a widely used curriculum in homeschoool circles, it is not workbook based and "everyone does it". When I looked at the book itself, I immediately said to myself, "Self, your girl is sweet, responsible and rarely ever complains about school - BUT she does not exhibit strong skills in the English department. Reading big words is not something she enjoys. I'm thinking this program looks a bit over her head." However, Self did not listen and thought, "Well, everyone else does it. 7th grade is a different set of expectations, maybe she'll rise to those expectations - despite her weaknesses. Maybe she just needs 'some practice'" and she will enjoy it after all." Well, that has not happened yet - and we are half way through the book.

I can feel God working with/on me. He is trying to teach me to things about the abilities of my children and my responsibilities to them. So...I am looking for a new science program for next year. I am looking for something that is quite visual, something quite hands on with not as much reading as Apologia expects. Maybe something with videos?

I have read about Rainbow Science and am interested in finding out more (despite the high price tag - $270). If you have any suggestions of a science program that has really fit for your family, please share your suggestions.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Preparing for Christmas

The month of December we take school pretty easy. We do math each day until the week before Christmas and we did 2 weeks of History and Bible for the entire month. We spend a lot of our time doing crafts and making memories related to the holiday. I thought I would share some of the things we did together.

I did not take photos of our Christmas Card Day but we still did it. As a Stampin' Up! demonstrator you can imagine that I have oodles of stamps, ink colors, ribbons and card stock sitting around. My girls have watched for years as mom created cards, cut supplies and held classes in our home. A few years ago, Sissy asked if I would hold a "class" for them. So, this is our 3rd year where the girls get to make Christmas cards. Each of them picks 3 friends and we work together getting the job done.

We also enjoy Cookie Day as well. We do Cookie Day at a friend's house with her family and spend the entire day baking and then have dinner together. This year the girls got to decorate cookies twice. Our church was doing an event in which they wanted lovely platters of over 400 cookies available. So, they invited us to decorate one evening.

The girls enjoyed using the array of sprinkles, the pastry bags stuff full of yummy frosting, and hanging out with people from church that we have not gotten to know up to this point (we have about 450 people at our church).

As you can see, Sweet Baby was pretty serious about cookie decorating..she even wore her chef's hat. I love this photo...can you see what happens when mom turns her back for a minute? The end of her icing bag wasn't twisted tight enough and when she laid the bag down, the icing oozed out of the end of the bag!

The girls also tried their hand at making some ornaments using felt and hand stitching.

Each of them made the same ornament. I found the pattern on Pinterest. (I'm sorry that I can't seem to share the link with you...if you leave me a comment, I'll e-mail you the link.) Sissy cut all her pieces out herself, but I did cut the pieces out for the other girls. Some of the pieces were a bit small and it was hard for them to use the giant fabric scissors I have.

What amazed me was how long they all sat working. I tried for years to get Sweet Baby to do lacing cards but she never was interested and never could get the concept down. This was a chore for her and she needed a lot of help, but she just kept plugging along....

Working their fingers to the bone.....

Smiling as they went along....

Isn't it adorable???? The ornament...not the kid. Though, I think she is pretty adorable as well.

We also went Christmas caroling for the first time. We went with 2 other families (making our choir number 17. We all loved it (yes, even the husbands were smiling). It is a shame I didn't take photos. I'll have to take them next year.

We saw our first ever ballet, The Nutcracker. The consensus was that next year just mom and Peanut will be going.

We made "gingerbread" houses (yeah...we used graham crackers).

Sweet Baby made an apartment, while Peanut made a church. .Can you see her cross made from pretzels?

I'm thankful for cameras...after a very rough day of school yesterday - yes, rough enough that the thought "public school" even entered my mind for one of them, I have these photos to look back on and remember how blessed we are to be together each day and make these memories.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Diggin Through Owl Pellets ... It's Not Poop You Know

I am SOOO behind in posting...I guess that is to be expected during the holidays right? I'll attempt to catch up on some of the activities we did this past month...

First and foremost we began the holiday season as we dug through owl pellets. Peanut LOVES anything owl and has for the last several years. When I heard that one of the classes in our co-op was going to be ordering owl pellets I got in on the deal and ordered 3 for our family to do at home. Sissy had dissected an owl pellet back when she was in 3rd grade and in public school and she always talked about how fun it was.

Sweet Baby continued referring to the pellet as "poop" and Peanut continued to remind her that it was NOT owl poop, but owl vomit. Based on this photo, I think that Sissy's idea of "fun" has changed a bit from 3rd grade to 7th.

Even daddy got in on the act. He was interested as well but his incredible strength got the better of him. These pellets were hard..really hard. We were using tooth picks to dig through them and it was not working well. So, daddy, decided to start poking into the pellets, and then nearly crushing them. Since the girls were hoping to find an intact skull of some rodent, poking and crushing is not the best way to go about it.

Two things amazed me about these little piles of vomit, first, how many tiny bones came out of them! It was amazing to see them. Tons of what we assume are rib bones (you can see several of them in the picture below -top right corner of the paper).

The other thing that amazed me was how much fur came out of them. The majority of the pellet is fur from whatever unlucky rodent was swallowed up by the owl. It probably would have been easier to find all the bones if we had just soaked the pellet in warm water and let the thing fall apart by itself. Either way, it was fun.