Showing posts from January, 2014

Farewell Australia!

It's been so nice learning about Australia and we've had a wonderful time trying yummy snacks, painting beautiful pictures, watching all our movies and reading tons of wonderful books but it's time to say good bye and move on.

We started our day with math again.  All three boys had a color by number sheet.  The older two boys had a groundhog multiplication sheet where they solved the equations and then colored in the groundhog while Evan added and colored.  Evan's sheet was very tricky since most of the equations were with larger numbers.  I was impressed with how easily he was able to figure out 9+8 or 12 +3.  The older boys worked on their math minute for the five times tables and Ian was thrilled he manage to get them all today and earn yet another ice cream scoop.

While we were at the kitchen table we just kept plugging away at the day's work.  Evan and I played a sight word board game together-- I found this great pack of printable winter games.   While Evan …

Arr! Finding Nemo makes my Dreams Come True!

I managed to get another three pages done for our Disney scrapbook.  I love how they ALL come out this time too! 

I used my Circuit machine to make this Finding Nemo page.  I thought the dark glittery blue paper was the perfect accent to give this page a little pop!  I cut Crush out at a size 4, Nemo, the words and the waves were all cut out at a size 2.  All the various seaweeds were cut at different sizes and I just tore a few sheets of brown paper to make the sand at the bottom.  I just LOVE this page-- even if it did take me a full hour!!

Easy peasy, quick and simple-- my favorite kind of page!  I used some black and red Mickey paper for the background, mounted my photo on black paper and cut out the letters using my Circuit Keystone cartridge.  I pieced together Pirate Mickey.  I cut a plain black Mickey head out of the Mickey and Friends cartridge and then cut a red/pink striped 1/2 Mickey head out from the same cartridge.  Lying the stripped paper over the black I carefull…

How'd I miss that?? More Disney Scrapbooking Pages

I was cleaning my craft room the other day and came across a few scrapbook pages from our trip to Disney from two years ago.  I decided to put the pages in their album; only to discover I had no Disney album from that trip!  I have no idea how that happened but after a quick visit to Shutterfly and a few weeks waiting for my photos to come in I am now scrapping Disney like crazy!

I put the pictures from this year's trip on hold and am trying to focus on these older pictures.  I ordered several 8x10 photographs, a bunch of 5x7's and a lot of 4x6's as well.  I started wherever inspiration struck.

 For this Nuts about Chip and Dale page I used some acorn paper I had gotten in a fall scrapbooking paper pack, some plain brown paper and a few leftover Chip and Dale stickers.  I used my Cricut to cut out the letters and though you can't see them well in the photograph I do love how it came out. Cute and whimsical!  

I used my Cricut for this entire page.  Using the…

Homeschooling Doesn't Have to Take Up A Lot of Time

It seems like our school day was over before it even started.

The older boys played a multiplication game called Polar Products that I printed off the teachers pay teachers sight.  They had no problem at all with this quick game and asked me to save it so they could play again another day.  That's when I know they really enjoyed something we're working on/with; then they ask me to save it!

While they were working on this, I had Evan working on, what I thought, was an addition game with penguins.  After reading the directions I realized it was basically a roll and cover sheet-- but he LOVED the addition of the penguins.  He had them talking, skipping over ice floes, swimming between ice floes and so much more.  Who knew a few pictures of penguins would make math so fun!

Once math was over the older boys did a word search paper on arctic animals and Evan read me another small printable sight word book called Winter Is Here!

Evan also worked on a color by sight word family sheet…

Sydney Opera House Craft

We're starting a new chapter book called The Last Gold Diggers.  I though Ian would really like this book since it was about finding gold but I knew Alec would like the story too since it takes place in Australia.

We read a chapter or two (it's hard to tell as it's not really set up as chapters; it's a series of letters written from a grandfather to his grandson and it's hilarious!).  We also read Edward the Emu (the prequel to yesterday's story) and a book simply called Australia.

To finish up our geography lesson for the day,  the older two boys did an art project for Australia.  We made the Sydney Opera House!

 The boys started by painting a sky and waterline on some watercolor paper.  They drew a light pencil line and then used green and blue watercolors to make a sky and the ocean.        

Once they were dry we used paper plates to cut out the shapes of the opera house and glued them in place using regular school glue (this was the hardest step for all …

Balancing Homeschooling, Housework, and More!

I feel like homeschooling has been going remarkably well lately!  The boys are all attentive and willing to work.  They really seem to enjoy that we've found our way back to a more traditional approach to learning and seem relieved that I've taken over planning and implementing lessons. 

 I enjoy planning lessons and watching them learn so I don't mind continuing to do so.  I love that we've been tackling so many subjects a day and feel like we're learning a lot.

But it really dawned on me today that all this comes at an expense.   

The more time I spend planning and implementing lessons the less time I have for the house, for my health/me, and for my hobbies.  

While I don't mind putting my children first I do have a problem with ALWAYS putting my children first.  

I just think I'm a happier, nicer person and a better mom when I feel like I have some time to myself.  

The past year I worked really hard to drop a few clothing sizes and I'm finding that really…

A Look at Relaxed Homeschooling: The Elementary Years

I was just amazed when again today Alec passed another multiplication minute.  He chose to try his hand at the 10's times tables (and with a minor malfunction of the timer had to do it twice).  He barely made it; but he did!  He was so proud of himself too!  All 21 problems in 1 minute!

The older boys are really on their way to mastering these facts and I'm so proud of how hard both of them are working.  Once they were done their math minute they played another Knock It Off game-- this time they used the 12 sided dice and multiplied everything by 5.  There was some bickering but mostly I just ignored it and they were laughing by the end since they, once again, tied one another!  We love these free printable math games that focus on multiplication facts.

While they were playing their math game, Evan and I were playing the mitten memory game again.  He really was so excited when he saw me bring out those cards.  I definitely noticed a huge difference in his ability during this …

Lamingtons; An Australian treat Made the American Way

Today we had hoped to learn a bit more about Australia and enjoy another fun snack from the land down under.

I read aloud a few more chapters from Odd and The Frost Giants and then we read Are We There Yet?  and a short story or two from Stories of the Billabong.  Are We There Yet? was such a cute story about an Australian family traveling all around Australia for a few months.  The boys and I really enjoyed it.

10 ways to teach when you're sick!

Ugh! I can't remember the last time a cold kicked my butt this badly.  I know it's "just a cold" since I pretty much only have that stuffy head feeling but it's just pounding and hanging in there and ultimately wearing me out!

My kids have been sweetly taking care of me and one another.  They're helping each other with breakfast, with toys and with the computer, trying to leave me to rest and tiptoeing around me so they don't make my headache worse.  It's really so adorably sweet to see.

We may have to take a bit more time to finish off our Australia unit before diving into Russia and the Olympics (I'm realizing we may not get to them before the Olympics even start), but that's OK and part of the beauty of homeschooling.

 Our schedule is so incredibly flexible that I don't have to stress out about it.  As long as the kids are happy with what we're doing and what we're learning then everything it just fine.  Part of the reason why…

Lego Day

Ian and Evan had both ordered a new (LARGE) Lego set over the weekend and were thrilled when my husband came walking in with them last night around dinnertime.  It was so quiet in our house last night it was unbelievable.  By bedtime (2 hours later), Ian had completely finished putting his whole set together.  Evan had made huge strides in his set too.  As soon as he woke this morning he asked me if he could finish putting his set together.  Ian helped and within an hour or so they had everything completed.

Just in time for our homeschool group Lego day! 

The boys were all invited to bring a Lego creation to show, but Evan chose not to bring anything since he was afraid they might break while traveling.  Ian brought his whole entire new Coast Guard set to show and Alec decided to bring a few Ninjago sets.

To start our Lego day, everyone gets into a big circle and introduces themselves.  We must have had closet to 30 kids today and so many new faces too.  It was wonderful!

Once the kids …

What to do About Homeschooling When Mom is Sick

I barely slept at all last night.  My somewhat icky feeling I woke with yesterday turned into a full blown head cold last night and I'm all stuffed up, grouchy and tired.  Not a great way to start a homeschooling day.

I debated about taking a day off today but since the boys were a bit restless I pulled out a little bit of work to keep them occupied.

They each had all day to do three worksheets and I had planned to read a few stories but that was it.

They loved that they could come and go and work at their own pace today.  I loved that the worksheets were mostly independent work and I could be mostly left alone to rest (hey, at least I'm honest!).

My oldest son couldn't wait to get outside and shovel.  His ski pants were in the wash though and so he had to wait.  The wait seemed like it was going to do him in so I suggested he start on his work.  His brothers were not ready to start school (one of them wasn't even awake!), but Ian is my morning person and he's alw…