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Friday, February 25, 2011

Weeks in Review

I haven't done a wrap up for quite some time.

We celebrated two holidays in February, Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day.  This was the first year that I really made a point to do something for Presidents' Day.  Of course, being us, we read some books.  I wanted to make a craft, but that just didn't work out.  I have only seen preschool crafts, so if someone has a great idea for next year, please share!

We went back to the Carnegie Natural History museum.  This time we went through the polar life exhibit, which was pretty fun.  The kids really loved the giant igloo.  We also looked at animals and plant life.  We've seen everything there now, so next time we're going to get one of the museum-provided kits.  It comes with a scavenger hunt.  That's pretty fun.

Goofy finished his Math-U-See Primer book.  Hooray!  Right now he's working through a subtraction workbook, and then he'll move onto Alpha.  Or maybe he'll switch to Saxon.  I don't know, in all honesty.  I better make a decision about that.

Funny's new favorite school subject is grammar.  She has her own book of Mad Libs, and she's using them to practice parts of speech.  I picked up some Star Wars Mad Lib books for Scrappy to start soon.

Books read:  March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed The WorldWhat Presidents Are Made OfRunning Backs (Playmakers)My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C.Madam PresidentKing Kong: Journey to Skull Island (I Can Read Book 2)The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia)

Check out more wrap ups at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Flour Children do Valentine's Day

I figure that before it's St. Patrick's Day, I better post on Valentine's Day.  There are a few good things that I lament my children missing because they are homeschooled.  The big valentine exchange is one of those things.  (Although, then I read this.  And it made me sad.)  Another homeschooling mom is kind enough to organize a party at Chuck E Cheese's every Valentine's Day.  There's no clean up and the kids have a blast.  She breaks the list of kids down into grades (this year I think it was preK-2nd and 3rd-up).  That way, the kids are not writing out a ton of valentines.  That makes me tired thinking about it.  Anyway, it was our first year participating, and we loved it.  We'll definitely be going again next year. 

Sampling of boxes.

Goofy giving out his valentines.

I loved this pink box.  You can't tell from my picture, but it's a purse made out of a cigar box.

More boxes.  Very creative.

I liked this Harry Potter box.

Feed him!  My personal favorite.

This one was a computer.  All the keys are in the right spot, even.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Moorish Feast

We got this idea from our Social Studies book, Story of the World.  For those who lament their lack of creativity, this book really helps get over that hurdle.  You just have to be willing to try the activities.  I am definitely partial to the cooking activities, as I've been teaching Funny how to cook this year.  This one was super fun, and the whole family participated.

In the 700s, Spain was inhabited by Visigoths (and Romans, too) and their king died.  Power struggle!  The sons of the dead king thought they were so clever, and they asked Tariq bin Ziyad, a famous Islamic military leader, to come help them defeat Rodrigo, who had been appointed king.  Now Tariq and his troops had worked to spread Islam all the way to what is now Morocco.  And Spain was conveniently right there, just across the sea.  How nice of Spain to just invite him to come!  He, of course, accepted, and invaded Spain.  Muslim Spaniards became known as Moors.  The Muslims introduced all kinds of things to Spain, such as apples, cherries, cooking utensils and lawyers.  Too bad about the lawyers.  The point where Tariq landed is named after him, and is now called "the rock of Gibraltar."

For dinner, we ate arroz con pollo, grapes, and naan.  I doubt there would've been naan there, but surely there would've been some kind of flatbread.  We ate by candlelight, and sat on pillows.  The closest music I could find was SAHARA LOUNGE.  (Sorry that's all caps; blame Amazon.)  We all really, really liked the music.

Funny browning the rice and onion.

Funny working her knife skills.

Silly is dancin' on the table.

Funny decided to dress like a hippie (she lamented her lack of admiral costumes) and
build a telescope so she can see Spain and where she would land the boats.

My super lazy, fake version of arroz con pollo.  It was tasty.

Dinner time!

Goofy is mesmerized by the fire.

Silly looking contemplative.

Grapes and candle.

Scrappy takes a break from hogging all the grapes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Week in Review--Tourists in Our Own Town

We've just been hunkering down trying to get through some workbooks and what-not.  It's that time of year, I guess.  I did take one evening and gather a few items for Scrappy's portfolio (that's what's required here in PA) so I have much less anxiety over all of that.  I see where the gaps are, and I am working to fill them.  Yippee!

We have really been having a good time with school.  I'm not all wigged out, which really helps keep everything calm.  And since it's getting to be spring, that means it's convention time!  I am very excited to attend (I hope) two homeschool conventions this year.  One of them is local, and the other is the big one in Cincinnati.  Will you be there?  Let me know!  We are blessed with supportive family, and thanks to my aunt, we've purchased nearly everything we need for next year already.  I hope I remember that when I'm at the vendor fair!

All of the kids have been working on reading.  Even Silly has started reading!  I am amazed at what she picks up just from being around the other kids.  It's been so much easier to school Goofy and Silly, since Scrappy and Funny have come before them.  They both seem to magically know things.  It's nice.

For science, we're done with fish (in general) and have moved onto cartilaginous fish (sharks & rays).  It's time to start planning our big end-of-year field trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

For social studies, we've studied Australia's indigenous people, as well as the arrival of Europeans.  We've also talked about the Franks invading Gaul and the emergence of France.

Scrappy will be taking his state-required standardized test in the upcoming weeks.  I'm trying to prepare him for that by giving him some bubble worksheets.  As for the information, he knows it or he doesn't.  I'm trying to relax about it, especially since there's no minimum score dictated by the state.

We went on three field trips.  We returned to the Carnegie Science Center, listened to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and also went to the Heinz History Center.  

Shot of the orchestra before the show started (and the no photos rule).

This is a powder horn from the French & Indian War.  They would carve maps on the outside,
which is what you see on the right.

Pittsburgh is very famous for its glass.

Scrappy driving the trolley.

Steel workers uniform.  Safety first.  Or third.

There's a great Pittsburgh sports museum within the History Center.

Silly as Honus Wagner.

Goofy is ready to stop the puck!

Funny with George Washasaurus.

Scrappy tries lifting a steel worker's wrench.  It didn't budge.

Scrappy and Goofy on a Racer car, from Kennywood.

At Science Center, Scrappy played air hockey against a robot.  And lost.

Funny does the local weather forecast.

Are yinz guys nebby n'at?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more.  And...Go Steelers!