Showing posts from July, 2012

An UNplanned Party

We didn't really get to much schooling today, but my kids did learn some life skills.  Since I don't work my husband works that much more and this week he's gone away on business.

While there are many  huge downsides to him being gone one of the upsides is that I've become much more self- reliant.

He only left this morning and already I've cleaned a good portion of the house, fixed the toilet so it now flushes (I only had to replace the flapper), & caulked the bathtub so the water will finally stop leaking between the tub and tile; all of which I had the boys either help me with or watch so they can learn how to do it too.

While Ian and Alec were off to LEGO camp again today, I prepped Ian's room for painting.  All of my boys wanted their rooms redecorated this year for their birthday gifts and I'd never gotten around to getting Ian's room done.  He has some huge pieces of furniture I've been waiting on my husband to move but I decided today that I…

One is a Lonely Number

Lego camp started today and with the two older boys signed up and raring to go I just had one little boy at home with me.

Evan was a bit lost today with his two older brothers gone.  He just wasn't sure what to do with himself.   Honestly, I am not used to having just one boy around either and was not used to having him underfoot.

Being the youngest he's not as adept at keeping himself busy and occupied.  He's always had a playmate around!

I knew I could use this time to help him become more independent but it's so rare that we get some quiet one- on- one time that I decided to just enjoy it.

We read books played board games together.

Knowing we had a whole week together I decided to brainstorm some ideas of activities we could do together; just the two of us:

Read books.  We enjoy stories and with no one else around we can snuggle and read as much as we want.Put together some simple puzzles.  Evan is not a huge fan of puzzles but we do have some simple ones that would be …

Using the Olympics to Teach World Geography

With the Olympics in full swing and my kids watching many of the events (we have a DVR and record the Olympic coverage on NBC which then allows us to watch only the events and rather quickly too).  These Olympics and my children's interest in them have provided the perfect opportunity to talk about all the different nations.

It has been the perfect introduction into world geography.

My kids are always interested in maps and geography.  They enjoy learning about different cultures and we have decided to use our time studying the Olympics to build on that.

Here are a few ways to teach about the world when studying the Olympics:

1.  Talk about the differences between continents, countries, and states.

Learning about new countries can get confusing for them at times.

We have the names of continents, broken down into names of countries, broken down into names of states, then counties, cities and towns.... that's a lot of names for elementary aged children to keep straight.

I can't te…

Finish Up One Unit and Starting another

Today started out pretty good.  We are wrapping up our sunflowers unit and gearing up for the start of the summer Olympics tonight.  Our unit study for the next few weeks will focus on the Olympics.

I set our morning aside to do errands and the boys gathered up the coins in their piggy banks to bring to the bank and get "real" money for (meaning bills).

 Ian added up all the coins in his bank and he had over $12.  I was so proud of him that he was able to add up all those coins and then proceeded to help Evan count up his!  So much math!

 Alec chose not to add his up and instead made breakfast for himself and his brothers, which I figured was an important life skill to learn as well.

Once at the bank I taught them how to use the coin machine and let them stand in line at the teller and handle their own deposits and money matters.  It's important for them to learn to communicate effectively with other adults and not always rely on me. 

They did a wonderful job! 

During lunch I…

How We Cover All the Subjects in Unschooling

I try let the boys lead us in homeschooling whenever possible.  We may not cover every single subject every single day but most days we can cover quite a few of them!

I don't force my kids to participate in any activity and mostly I try to suggest activities that I think they'll really enjoy.  Often I try to make sure our lessons are helping to answer questions they have asked or are about topics they are interested in.

Here is how a typical day of unschooling unfolds for us.

This morning we painted sunflowers in honor of our trip to the farm for art

The kids painted their hands yellow and stamped them in a circle to make the flower (or in Alec's case field of flowers).  They then used a paint brush and green paint to paint the stem.  Alec noticed the stems were curved and painted his stems that way.  Ian noticed there was small green leaves on the back of the flower and that you could sometimes see them peeking around the petals so he added some of those to his picture.


Teddy Bear Sleepover at the Library!

Our library was hosting a teddy bear sleep over tonight so we loaded into the car and took off.    We made sure to pack animals that the boys would not miss terribly overnight and they were excited to leave their animal for it's very own sleepover.

It was ADORABLE and the kids loved it!

They got to:
listen to stories with their animalsSing songs and danceChase bubbles around the room Play musical hula hoops (like musical chairs but you jump in an empty hula hoop when the music stops instead of a chair)Try hula hoopingAct out the story of Goldilocks and the three bears using puppets.  When all the activities were done it was time to say goodnight to the animals. 

Then they made a name tag for their animal, kissed them goodnight and put them in the tent.  Then the animals got to sleep at the library overnight.

 It was a riot to listen to my boys when we pulled up to the library.  They each had a "talk" with their animals about appropriate behavior-- "don't bite the lib…

Buttonwood Farm trip

We headed out late this afternoon with my mother in law and nephew to Buttonwood Farm.  They have a huge fundraiser every year when sunflowers bloom to raise money for the make a wish foundation.

There's homemade ice cream, a wagon ride through the sunflower field where you stop and feed the cows, sunflower bouquets and tons of people.

We went last year for our first time and my boys not only remembered it but actually asked to go again this year.

I wasn't sure if we were going to make it there this week since two of the boys are on medication that cautions being in the sun but we loaded them up on sunscreen and bug spray and hoped that going later in the afternoon when the sun wasn't so high would be sufficient enough to keep them from getting burns. (it was!)

We devoured our ice cream (in the shade), went on a wagon ride and fed the cows, saw chickens, and took photos in the sunflower field; most of which was in the shade.  We bought a few sunflower bouquets and headed …

Learning About Birds of Prey at the Ecotarium

My kids, myself and my husband were all very tired yesterday after our family camp out.  We could have stayed home and napped, but I know my kids well enough to know that rarely happens, even when they really need it.

So I suggested a day trip and we were so lucky to stumble upon a class that was just perfect for Alec.

 I figured they'd be tired no matter where we were and at least if we kept them busy they wouldn't fight so much.   We decided to head to the Ecotarium in Worcester, Ma, which is a huge favorite of the boys.  In fact they've asked me a few times if we were going to go there again this year.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that almost ALL the indoor exhibits had changed since our last visit. 

It't part nature center, part science museum and it's loads of fun!

 Ian got into a wind tunnel to feel what hurricane force winds were like.  We got to climb a rock wall horizontally to see how hard it is to navigate across a rock formation.  They played with…

Family Camping Ideas

My kids have been asking off and on for over a year to go camping.... in a tent!

If you don't really know me my idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel without a pool.  I love amenities and the more the better so this was not something I was totally on board with.  But being the good parent I try to be I decided to give camping a try this year.

 Knowing my low tolerance for the outdoors we camped in our backyard; a nice compromise.   

I do remember camping as a kid and I didn't totally hate it.  I remember campgrounds as being lots of fun and I hoped that if backyard camping went well maybe we could branch out and try a night or two at some local campgrounds.

We bought a big tent (though really it wasn't big enough) and pitched it in the yard.  My husband and kids spent a few days building us a fire pit on the beach and I spent a week or so stocking up on supplies like glow sticks, sparklers, and the like.

After our night I realized camping is a lot of WORK!  While fun, it is…

Rainy Day Activities

We woke to pouring rain outside and I decided that I didn't want to go far.   We settled in for a quiet day at home and tried to figure out how we'd fill our time.

Ian listened to Harry Potter on his MP3 player for part of the morning while Alec made his own breakfast and then made his bed (he had to put new sheets on it and everything).

We watched a virtual field trip video of an ice cream factory and talked about the similarities and differences with the Ben and Jerry's factory we read about in the book last week.

We started making our own rock candy today-- it takes a week for it to turn into rock candy and I'm really hoping it works or else the boys will be very disappointed!  It was a big nerve racking for me working with a hot sugar solution around my kids but they were awesome.

Our biggest challenge was towards the end; the instructions tell you to suspend the skewer in the glass using a clothespin and not allow it to touch any sides... I could not get ours to …