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Thursday, June 16, 2011

It is Finished...For Now

We're done with school!  Yippeeeeeeeeee!  Scrappy and I (mostly) wrapped up the portfolio today.  He was short an art page but only because he has a psycho mother who needed an even number of art pages.  I need help.  Anyway, I am very pleased with how it has turned out, and am very happy to have a great memento of his third grade year.  A portfolio really is a great idea, vs. saving random bits.

Our 18th, and final, field trip for the 2010-2011 school year.  These young elephants
were wrestling and it was very entertaining.

Art project:  color blending.  This was a great way to see how secondary colors
are created when primary colors are mixed together.

A little "getting to know you" page from the portfolio.  Not required, but totally counts
as a writing sample, and I will love reading this 10 years from now.  
 This was a pretty good year.  I had those days when I wanted to quit, but I figure that I'll always have them.  As I've said before, these are days when I want to quit mothering in general.  I think it happens to every parent, no matter where their kids go to school.  I am working on my attitude here, as I do believe that my children are a blessing, not a burden.  I want my words and actions to reflect that belief.

I really feel like this is the first year when I figured a lot of things out.  I decided that if I have to label myself, I would go with Charlotte Mason/unschooly-ish, with a tad of Classical thrown in.  Well, and the field trips.  We love a field trip.  It sounds like an odd mix, but it works for us.  The end of the year saw us doing more and more notebooking, and I am really looking forward to exploring that more next year.  We were weak on music this year, so I need to think about how to fit that in.  Will we study one composer a month?  Will we just do a unit study?  The state requires it, and besides, I LOVE music, and so do my kids.

As for what the kids have accomplished, they amaze me.  They are such sponges, and it's awesome!  I am very proud of them all.  Scrappy's attitude has really changed and there was way less whining about doing school this year.  He wants to play all day every day.  Well, who doesn't.  I remember mid-year when I was freaking out about his reading, and now he reads every day...for fun!  Silly is more than ready for Kindergarten.  Funny and Goofy have been reading a lot, too, especially Funny.  It's not unusual to catch her with her nose in a book.  Everyone has a little dream of what their homeschool might look like, and mine is just that--noses in books!  It's so encouraging to see a glimpse of it every now and again.

Yep, I'm pretty content.  We've had an amazing week.  We went to the park, library, and zoo.  We snuggled on the couch and read books.  We watched many episodes of MythBusters and we all want to blow something up (still thinking about what).  And besides the little tab dividers, the portfolio is done!  Scrappy's evaluation is tomorrow, and then off to the district.

What will we do after that?  Go to the pool!  It's summer break, man!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mammoth Cave National Park

My dear readers know how much this family likes a field trip.  It really is one of the best ways to learn about something.  On our recent vacation to Kentucky, we were lucky enough to visit Mammoth Cave National Park. If you have never been there, then I am a little sad for you.  I really recommend the trip to see it.  It was beautiful!  I always thought caves were sort of interesting, in more of a historical sense vs. science sense.  I think it's fascinating to think about who used to live in caves, and what their lives may have looked like.  Did American Indians live there?  Did some bank robber hide out in there?  Anyway, now I know that caves are also very nice to look at.  I was really just delighted by the whole experience.

Here's a paragraph Scrappy wrote about our trip:

Mammoth Cave is really big. I had to walk down a whole bunch of steps to get inside. The walls were made of rocks. There were a lot of big puddles and pools. My favorite part was the Frozen Niagara. I was surprised that there was only a tiny waterfall there. It was mostly made of rock. I thought it was going to be like a regular waterfall, and maybe as big as Niagara Falls. But it was very small. It was cold in the cave. I had to wear a jacket. I didn't expect it to be that cold because it was so hot outside. I also saw cave crickets. They look kind of like spiders, except smaller. The ones that we saw were brown. I saw a giant spider, too. At the end, we had to walk across a giant sponge full of chemicals to wash our shoes. This is because of a special disease that bats can get. When we washed our shoes, we were making sure we don't spread it around to other bats.

You can see the layers in the rock here.

You do not want this to fall on you.

Pretty rock formation.

Everything inside this cave is big.  BIG.