Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random typical homeschooling day

I saw on another blog a homeschooler challenging homeschool bloggers to post their average day minute by minute. I honestly considered it, but just didn't have that much energy (shame on me) for a complete day. And in typical fashion I can no longer find the original blog to link back to it. Blech. I do read other homeschooling blogs for inspiration, ideas and just to feel like not everyone is perfect! I love seeing other people's school rooms or work areas, so I am sharing ours on a typical day, i.e., I didn't clean it up first!

Our space was a dining room in a former life, like before kids and homeschooling. I love that we have tons of light through 2 windows and a sliding door. And, well, that same light makes for a bad photo from the angle I used. Oh well. The littles can be out on the play structure too, and I can see them while supervising the ones inside. The desk belongs to DS age 8, DS age 5 at the table on the far end and DD age 3 bops from her coffee table full of work boxes and a space at the table for coloring. DD age 4 months likes a sunny patch on the floor for her tummy time now days. The computer and my area are on the far right in the photo.

Closer view of two hard at work coloring, at least until I broke out the camera.

Eden hard at work examining her toy and building her strength in her head and back via tummy time.

And Zach working hard at his desk. He tends towards a really messy desk unless I force him to clean it. This is clean for him.

And this is how we spend our homeschooling days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Elmer's Crafter's supplies

IMG_2623, originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

My disclaimer here is we got the items pictured for FREE to try through the Bzz Agent program. I get no compensation for my opinion (hey, not even 2 cents LOL) but we did not have to purchase the items. So here is our (kids included) opinion of the items.

First off, the glue stick is a typical glue stick honestly. I wouldn't say it is particularly better or worse than any other glue, excepting the ones that got too old in the craft box and were no longer sticky. The kids and I all tried the stick, and we all liked it. It stuck well, smoothed on nicely and was a good size.

The glue pen was even better. It had a nice fine point applicator and a wider applicator for larger items. The glue itself is clear. All of us particularly liked this one, and I will be purchasing a few more of these for use around the house. It is perfect for small craft projects as well as regular paper use, schoolwork and scrapbooking.

Now, on to the scissors. These we have to say we hated. The plastic they are made from is really really thin and flimsy, so flimsy that the tips of the cutting area bend and then don't cut. They stick together even when just holding them and opening and closing. We have other scissors that do special cuts for nice borders, and those don' t have this particular issue. We will not be keeping these as they were frustrating to use and certainly not strong enough for thicker nicer papers (heck, they didn't even do well with the thin sheets of paper). And the littlest fingers in our house found these extremely frustrating to use.

The other thing with a pink button in the middle is a corner rounder. This performed pretty much as expected though was a little sticky. I find that to be true of most of these types of products though so it is certainly average and worked okay.

The glue dots and glue on a roll I love. These are my favorites for scrapbooking, quick, easy, nonmessy, good hold. I tucked these away for my own personal use. The kids then asked me where they went. LOL They loved them too, and I don't usually buy them the nicer supplies as they are extremely HUGE consumers of glue products.

So my overall opinion is that we loved all the glue products. I would most certainly buy those for scrapbooking and crafting. The X-acto cutting supplies I just don't know. The corner thing worked okay but the scissors honestly felt pretty cheaply made IMHO.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flashback ...

photo, originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

We went grocery shopping this weekend. We saw someone dressed oddly, but then again next weekend is Halloween so didn't think too much of it. We finally thought it looked like he was dressed ala Ghostbusters. Again, an odd choice as most teens and below wouldn't recognize that costume at all. Geez, I feel a little old here. In any case, we finally realized that Dan Aykroyd was at the local Albertsons grocery chain promoting his like of vodka, complete the Ghostbusters automobile. We then had to explain the movie to the kids so they knew what it was all about. LOL

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew?

The book opens describing the size of a pygmy shrew relative to an elephant, then relative to a ladybug, and proceeds smaller and smaller, each smaller item compared to a new even smaller item down to atoms, quarks and electrons. The book wraps up by describing how everything in the entire universe is made up of atoms. This book dovetails nicely, by the way, with another of this author's books, Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?.

Suggested age range for this book is 4-8 yrs. I used this with boys ages 8 and 5. The 5yo grasped some of the concepts, but really a lot of it was over his head as he could just not grasp it totally. The 8yo was much more enthralled with the whole idea, having used a microscope before and really understanding it better. It is one of the most user friendly books I have found though to put it in a true real world perspective, as most science texts simply start with what an atom is without really trying to explain how incredibly tiny that is.

We thoroughly enjoyed this book, even mom as a refresher, before starting in on our basic chemistry textbook for my 3rd grader. :) My kindergartener will stop here with this brief intro, and is enjoying paging through the pictures again and again.

And, by the way, I'm not paid at all for my review. I am just sharing a book we liked! :)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Review: Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?

Today we had the pleasure of reading Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? by Robert Wells. And by the way, this is not a paid review, nor did we receive the book free or anything. I review this simply because I want to share a great book! :)

This selection is part Sonlight's P4/5 core curriculum which we use for Noah right now.

It is a slim little book, a nicely illustrated picture on each and every page, and an amount of text appropriate for a preschool attention span. It begins by showing the relative size of a blue whale to other common animals (elephant, lion). With that as a jump point, each page takes us progressively larger relative to the current topic, from whales, to mountains, to planets, to suns, stars, on and on until we reach the size of the galaxy. So a hard to grasp concept of a galaxy's size is broken down into bite-sized pieces. This is a perfect introduction to comparative sizes, concepts of millions and billions (great intro to that on the first page) and brief astronomy for a young child.

This is geared towards ages 4-8. Based on our experiences today, I would say that is pretty accurate. Noah is 5 now and enjoyed it, getting a lot out of it but not grasping it 100%. The pictures were engaging, and the text was approachable for his understanding level. His attention stayed put through the book. Zach is 8 now, and enjoyed it as well, listening to me read it and then grabbing it for a second read on his own, completely grasping the content and staring in wonder. He has a much firmer grasp on just how unimaginatively big a galaxy is after this book. The astronomy of course was more of a review for him, but that is great too, as we are off to build on that for him later on with more in depth astronomy, while Noah will stop here...

No, not more pictures!

IMG_2443, originally uploaded by WeeBeaks.

No, she isn't hiding from the camera yet. She was just napping. Isn't she just adorable! I couldn't resist posting another picture. She is keeping us all busy, but it is well worth it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Zach's catalog poem

Zach had an assignment in his language arts this week of writing a catalog poem. I thought what he wrote was really sweet so am sharing it:

My Sister, Lily

Who cries a lot
Who can't think of a better thing than a lap
Who explores mom's phone
Who naps a little
Who throws food
Who loves everybody

Monday, March 08, 2010

Announcement ....

We have been keeping fairly silent on it, but decided to finally share that we are pregnant again. We found out last week it will be another GIRL! Yeah for sisters, huh? I always wanted a close sibling in childhood, so am thrilled that L will have a sister close in age. We are due near the end of July. It has been so far a relatively easily pregnancy with one blip two weeks ago that landed me in the hospital for a week on IV fluids. I pray that everything will go well through the remainder. Now we just have to come up with a name. Any suggestions? ;)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book: Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne

Zach and I just finished up reading Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne. I found it just browsing the history section in the library for him. What a treasure this little book turned out to be. We are finishing up Rome in our Sonlight core 1 and I wanted to cover Pompeii a little more. He had read in his readers a children's paperback about Pompeii, but that was months back. I needed to refresh his memory a bit. This Osborne book is a nonfiction storybook, large size, with nicely done illustrations on each page, and not an overwhelming amount of text, making it perfect as a quick review or adjunct to another more meaty history book covering the topic. The illustrations are "fresco style," meaning they appear in the style of what fresco paintings would look like at the time, on the walls of the villas. I thought that was a particularly nice touch. The book opens and closes with the archeological find, thus framing the story for the kids into the past, and reiterating it as a true historical account rather than just a story. It also goes beyond the bare basics of the destruction of Pompeii, discussing also the culture and times of Rome briefly, one topic per two-page spread in the book. It does not gloss over the fact that the entire town died, but it did it in a considerate way, I think. That can be a rough topic for some particularly sensitive kids that age. This is a great book on Pompeii, appropriate for lower elementary students. It went very nicely with our last weeks of Sonlight core 1.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reviewing: Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler

I'm a little behind on my reviews, as I finished this selection last month. The holidays do that to me! :) I did want to say a brief bit though. This book had been recommended to me in several groups and lists as really a 5-star book for helping share the Catholic faith with a preschooler. I honestly just didn't agree truthfully. There were some creative ideas, but all and all I wouldn't say this book was what it was hyped to be for me personally. Pray for your child, take them to mass, etc., are basically common sense if you want to share your faith. Other suggestions were a bit too much for us, or at least for our children, such as taking them to solemn long masses. My kids are good kids, but none have tolerated that so far. My oldest at 7 is doing well now. I think it is just developmental and temperment related. This book also tries to briefly summarize what holy days of obligation are, lists common prayers and so forth. I'm thinking perhaps this book was intended for Catholic parents who do not practice their faith regularly? But on the other hand it also discusses having holy water and an alter in your home, which are typically seen in more conservative Catholic homes where the faith is strong. So perhaps to me this book had a bit of a trying to cater to each group, and it didn't come off that well. I will say, the author obviously is passationate about her topic, and this is a well researched book. If you are coming from absolutely zero ideas, this is the book for you to get you started.