Sunday, October 26, 2014

Iroquois, Hurons, Wampanoag, and Newton

Well, I did it. I finally did two history activities in one week.  Oh man, I need to shape up this year.

We did continue to learn more  about Champlain, the iroquois and Hurons. I still have more books I want to read.  I. have. more. books. I. want. to. read. always.

Anyway, we played Lacrosse as our activity since the Iroquois made the game up. It was slow going at first because the dollar store sticks (I'm in Canada, all dollar stores sell them here,) had huge nets that made it so you couldn't throw the ball. They worked much better once we fixed that.


We also learned about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. I LOVE this story. I love that it's about religious freedom. I love that they created their own government. I love that there were already fields ready for them to plant. (Although I don't love that the reason for this was all the natives dying of smallpox before the pilgrims arrived.) I love that they treated the wampanoags like fellow human beings and signed a treaty with them that boths sides actually kept. I love that Squanto helped them so selflessly. I just love it.

We "planted" corn (i couldn't find candy corn, so it was reeses pieces) and fishy crackers in our pudding/oreo dirt with gummy worms. WAY too many sweets. My boys loved it. Shocker.


As for science, we learned Newton's other two laws of motion. We used swings to teach his second law about force, acceleration, and mass.


Yep. Swings in my garage. My husband is AWESOME.

And we made paddle boats, balloon rockets, and air rockets to learn about how every action has a reaction.


Yep. Homemade air rocket. Did I mention that my husband is AWESOME?

Also, my cute sister in law did a couple on-the-fly experiments with Maxwell.


I would also like to share how well Daniel is doing at kindergarten. He is doing wonderful with his handwriting:


And he has memorized his "Yellow is the Sun" song from Rightstart. And as per tradition, here is the cutie:


And here's another cutie who loves to sit smack dab in the middle of the action at all times. He is sporting the "magic letter 'C'" cape.


And as promised, Maxell's story. Be warned: It's long. But it's very cute. Well worth the read (I might be bias though.)

Here are his writing prompt pictures:



The witch was leaning over, putting scales, fur and all sorts of things into her cauldron. There was a bad stench in the air like rotten flesh and boiling apples. The witch said "Come alive! Come Alive! Live Again! Get your Second Chance! Live Again!" The witch and a dead young woman with a golden cloak were high upon the magic alter. It was just before sunrise. The young woman was Princess Elizzabelle. The witch took a cup of her potion and opened the princesses' mouth and poured the drink in. The witch put her fingernail on the princess' forehead and immediately Elizzabelle came alive.

The princess said "Where am I?"

The witch said "You are going to be my slave."

Just then a slithering creature ten feet long and six feet high and swamp lizard-like jumped from behind a rock and frightened the witch. The witch was still as a stone. While the witch was frozen, the creature blew a tiny speck of fire at the witch that acted like a small missile that burned her mouth. When the witch tried to say "Be gone! Be gone!" it came out in mumbles. The Princess said to the lizard "Swang! You found me! I didn't know you hid in these rocks and haunted the witch!"

The witch tried to speak "Be my slave." But she could couldn't because Swang's little fire ball had burned her mouth into a fresh scar that covered her lips, tongue and chin. Her words came out like the sound of the wind. It did nothing to Princess Elizzabelle. Elizzabelle hopped on Swang's back. Swang whipped his tail at one of the posts that held the magic alter up. It all tumbled down and made a huge sound like thunder while there was a big flash of light. The light was purple, pink, and blue and all sorts of different colours. The witch was lost in the rubble.

Far away, the wizard saw the flash. At once he knew what had happened. He used his magic to get to where the flash started. Swang and the princess saw another flash and there was the wizard. The wizard turned around with amazing speed and said "What has happened?" Swang made a sound like a peacock. The wizard turned and said "Princess Elizzabelle! You are okay, but we thought you were dead!" But Swang communicated with the wizard that the witch had brought Elizzabelle back to life and was going to turn the princess into her slave.

The wizard said "I'm guessing the witch wanted to turn you into a slave so she could rule Prince Isaac's kingdom." The princess said "What? That is silly. Prince Isaac does not love me. How could the witch control the kingdom with me?"

The wizard just smiled and said "We'll see, we'll see." He then said "Excuse me princess, but I just need to ask something that Swang might know. Swang, do you happen to know where a crystal kind of blue ball is?"

Swang nodded his head and communicated with the wizard. Swang told the wizard that Prince Isaac kept it in his strongest dungeon and if the wizard worked for him, the prince will let him use it. If it is to destroy the witch.

The wizard thought for just a little bit and nodded his head to Swang, and Swang communicated "Watch out! Watch out, the witch is about to strangle you!"

The wizard turned around, lightning quick, and the witch was so surprised, that she made a screeching sound. When the wizard saw the scar on her face, the wizard laughed. "Are you trying to trick me? Because if you are, you are not doing it well." Swang communicated with the wizard that he had destroyed the witch's power of magic words with one of his fire balls. The scar had swelled up now to look like a small pumpkin where her mouth had been.

The witch felt frustrated that Swang had stopped her magic words and saved the princess. The witch had been the one to kill the princess by food poisoning. She was the one to take the princess out of her sarcophagus made of gold. She was the one to bring her back to life. Then Swang had broken the magic alter, and stopped her plans.

The wizard put a spell on the witch that made her fall asleep for three days, and the wizard said "Now let us go home." The witch fell down sleeping on Swang's back next to the princess. The wizard said "Magguy Maggoo Isaac's palace." A portal appeared and Swang, the witch, the princess and the wizard went through the portal. When they came out, they were in front of Prince Isaac's castle.

When Prince Isaac saw them waiting outside the castle wall, he said "Open the gate!" Immediately two men in armour of silver and crystal pulled the gates open. Prince Isaac was at the top story of his hundred story high castle, but suddenly he was there to greet the visitors. The way he got down so fast was because of his homemade magic elevator. 

The prince greeted them and said "Welcome, step inside." Swang communicated with prince Isaac that they had the witch and that she would be asleep for three days. Prince Isaac said "Good job Swang." The wizard cleared his throat, and Swang told the prince of the wizard's help. Swang told Prince Isaac that the wizard was going to work for him to get the magic ball.  

The wizard said "Hello Isaac, Long time no see." Prince Isaac said "Hello dear friend!…" but the princess interrupted and said "Shouldn't we get the witch down stairs into one of your dungeons.?"

Prince Isaac said "You're right. First, let's take the magic ball out of the strongest dungeon and put the witch in there instead."

In the next three days, the wizard worked for the prince. He helped the chef by making enough food for 10,000 men by magic.

The princess and the prince spent lots of time together.  On the third day, they were in a garden together. There were beautiful flowers, swans, and ducks. The prince and the princess were holding hands.  Prince Isaac looked at the princess and thought how beautiful she was because of her dark blonde hair that was curled at the bottom. Today, princess Elizzabelle was wearing a bluish gold cloak. There was a gentle breeze and a smell of roasting turkey for the up coming feast. 

Prince Isaac said "Will you marry me?" and the Princess said "Give me one day to think about that. Tomorrow evening I will announce if I will be married to you or not." 

The next day down in the dungeon, the witch woke up. When she awoke, her scar was completely gone, and she yawned. The wizard had put a magic gargoyle next to the window that would glow if the witch woke up. The wizard saw it glowing and went to tell Prince Isaac that she had awoken and said "Should the witch and I have a fight for your entertainment." he joked.

Prince Isaac said "Wait until after the feast to do it." He said with a smile.

Down in the dungeon, the witch was trying to use her words of magic to make a hole big enough for her to go through. At last, she escaped into the courtyard. She was too exhausted to use her magic anymore. She knew why she was so exhausted. The magic ball had this force field around the castle that sucked the power out of her slowly.

Then the wizard went into the courtyard, saw the witch and yelled "Prince Isaac! Prince Isaac! The witch escaped!"

Prince Isaac said "There's only one thing to do. That is to get the magic ball that I moved to be under the magic elevator." 

The prince and the wizard ran to the elevator, and made it go up just enough to get the magic ball from under it. Prince Isaac handed it to the wizard, who said "Thanks."

The wizard ran back to the courtyard and planted the ball into the ground. Really quickly, a special plant grew. The witch was so exhausted, that she was laying on the ground. 

The plant was green with blue blossoms. The wizard took the blossoms and boiled them for ten seconds. He took a cup and drank the potion.

The witch had regained some strength, and so in a rush, the wizard had left a little bit of water and one blossom in the pot. When the witch saw this she grabbed it with her magic and drank it herself. Usually you can't destroy a witch or wizard, but this potion makes you have a special power of destruction. But when you have a little bit of it, it will only make you stronger.

The wizard said "Prepare to die." 

The witch said "I've got my magic words back and I'm stronger."

The wizard spoke "You shall die forever more." and by moving his hands over one another spherically, a lava-like ball began to shape until he had made a golden ball. The wizard threw it at the witch. The witch made a force field, but the golden ball went right through it and hit her right leg, which made her limp.

The witch made a golden diamond snake-like thing from her magic. She put it on the ground and said "Come alive." and the snake started to go towards the wizard. The wizard saw this happening, and quickly made a golden dragon and told it to come alive. The golden snake and the golden dragon began fighting each other. The snake was like a worm to the wizard's dragon which was so huge. The dragon stepped on the snake which desolved into the dragon, making him stronger and fiercer. 

Then the dragon started attacking the witch who started making a diamond lizard. While she was making the lizard, the wizard was making another dragon, but this time it was made out of diamonds. The witch put her strongest force field around her while she was making the lizard. 

The two dragons started blowing fire at the ground where the witch was. She was done pith her lizard which started to fight the dragons. The golden dragon distracted the lizard as the diamond dragon got ready to step on it. The witch shot a lightning bolt underneath their feet, but the wizard saw this, made a force field, and the lightning bolt barely dent it. 

Then the wizard thought "Maybe I should do lightning too, but a lightning dragon." since he loves dragons so much. He started making a lightning dragon. The witch started making a lightning lizard because the dragons had been able to destroy her diamond lizard. 

They were both done making their creatures, and they both let them out of their force fields. The lightning dragon and lightning lizard fought. Eventually the dragon was defeated because the lizard had shocked the dragon with so much energy that he exploded. But than the golden and diamond dragons rushed over and stomped on the lizard and got his powers. Then the two dragons turned on the witch who started making a diamond fish. The dragons broke through the witches force field and stomped on her so much that she was now the size of a brick. Her fish was absorbed into the diamond dragon.

The wizard said "We have defeated the witch and all of her creatures! And now we have two diamond and gold guardians! Now, let us feast!"

All the trumpets blew, and the people began to shout "Hurray for the wizard! Hurray for the wizard!"

They all went to the feast, and as people arrived, the trumpets blew once.

"The princess will now announce if she will be married to the prince or not." The curtains opened, and there was Princess Elizzabelle on the stand.

She said "I have thought, and I accept Isaac's hand in marriage." Everyone cheered.

Prince Isaac smiled and said "Let us feast."

The next evening they got married and lived happily ever after.


The end.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Newton, Explorers, and PARTY PARTY PARTY!

Well, in the past week we have had over a hundred people over to our house.

First we had a cider party. Not very many people came. I was okay with this. We had spent the day at a birthday party anyway. We made so much cider we don't know how to store it all.


Then we had Thanksgiving.


Then we had a Halloween party.


Yep, Dustin says I'm not allowed to have another party for awhile.

Anyways, thanksgiving kind of doubled as a history activity for learning about Columbus. You know what? I really miss celebrating Plymouth pilgrims, Squanto, and religious freedom for Thanksgiving. Columbus' story is a lot darker. Oh well, welcome to Canada.

We have read the first volume of A History of US now. We read additional books on Vikings, Marco Polo, Columbus, Pocahontas, and Samuel de Champlain. I'm not done with Samuel de Champlain. It's my plan to learn more about him, the Hurons, and the Iroquois this next week. I'm actually more interested in him then other historical figures because I know nothing. I'm learning with my kids and it's fun.

 As far as activities go, I have not had motivation to initiate any. Maxwell was undaunted and has made boats in the explorers' honour without any coaxing. I sure love that boy.


Just you wait for next week though. I am going to do activities from now on! I AM!

In science we learned Newton's first law of Inertia. I love this law because kids understand it so easily. Among other things, we had a "car crash" and showed how people have inertia and keep moving after the car stops.


The next week we talked about acceleration and centripetal force. We spun pennies in balloons and spun ourselves and spun cups full of water. And unlike last time I taught this, I miraculously was not dizzy by the end.


Also, Heather Burton is doing an excellent job teaching the kids creative writing. (As a side note, Crystal is out on sick leave and a teacher I'm not familiar with has taken over book making.) Anyway, Heather taught them all about quotations this week, and I walked into the end of their lesson as they put their "66-sixes and 99-nines" on each side of their head as they said quotes. Cute.


She is also initiating a writing contest. Hyrum has finished his story, and I'll post Maxwell's next week. I have to admit, I had to ask a lot of questions like "how did the squirrels feel about that?" To get this story to the point it's at, but I think it's pretty cute.

Hyrum chose these photos as his writing prompts:




Wonder the Super Squirrel By Hyrum McKay

Paul the Lion roared "Attack the village!" As he started stomping and kicking the houses of the little squirrels. 

"Ahh!" said the squirrels as they started to run away. They were crying and yelling. Some of squirrels got hurt. They were angry and sad at the lion. They did not want to move their village.

"What are we going to do?" They said. One squirrel said "I know! Let's ask super squirrel for help." Another squirrel said "Good idea."

Wonder the Super Squirrel was asleep high up in the tree above the village. The other squirrels knew where he was, and ran to get him. 

"Wake up! Wake up!" they all said as they shook him. 

"Hey, I need my sleep, okay?" said Super Squirrel

One squirrel said "But Paul the Lion is attacking the village!"

"Really?" said Wonder.

"Yes."

"I'll go as quickly as I can and Thunder him out of the village!"

When Paul saw Wonder, Paul said "You can't get me, or thunder me."

But Wonder was a super squirrel and got on his super suit to fight him. Wonder can make lighting and thunder come out of his paws.

Wonder jumped from the branch and as he flew, he zapped Paul. And Paul ran away roaring with pain. He never came back again.

"Yeh! Wonder saved the day!" all the squirrels said. "That was a good plan to ask Wonder." said one squirrel. Another squirrel said "Yes,that was a good plan because Wonder is a hero!"


The end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A visit with the Elementary School's Principal

I did it! I plucked up the courage to talk to our local elementary school's principal. Why did I do this? Because I wanted to know what elementary schools in my area were doing for Dyslexic children. I wasn't seriously thinking of sending my kids to school, but I was interested in the thought of imitating/getting help from/ or even sending my kids to be tutored by the school system.

The Principal, Mr Bennet, was super nice. He made me feel totally at ease. He is exactly what you would really hope a principal would be.

But what does the elementary school a block away from my home offer my dyslexic son? Not much.

One on one support is reserved for children who are very high needs. VERY high needs.

But there are things they are doing. Small groups of 4-5 kids are kind of group tutored in some instances. There are these cool study rooms attached to classrooms where children who need extra help can go to work on computers or with a teacher's assistant or the teacher.

Children with special needs get ipads so they can verbalize their answers for tests and things.

Teacher assistants are assigned to classrooms where there are children that might need extra help. These assistants are the teacher's tools, so the way they help in the classroom is up to the teacher.

He kept mentioning speech therapy that they offer, but I'm not sure how that would help dyslexic kids. It might, but I'm not sure how.

Teacher assistants are well educated and very experienced. Teachers are of course well educated and very experienced. They are trained to recognize children who are having difficulty and to assimilate different teaching tactics and methods to help the situation.

These teachers meet with the parents three times a year. Once to decide the strategy, one to assess whether or not to adjust the strategy, and once to decided whether or not it was successful.

But is there someone who has been trained to teach dyslexic kids specifically? Most likely no.

So----what did I get out of this meeting? That I am for sure doing the right thing for my kids by teaching them one on one and training myself to be a dyslexia tutor and consistently teaching them with tried and true Orton-Gillingham methods.

I also got the reinforced notion that it is a good idea to get Maxwell "coded" as dyslexic for things like the ACT and college. We're in the process, but it's a VERY slow process.

Also, I got reminded that I should talk to Maxwell's doctor. I really should get his hearing and eyesight tested.

I was a bit sad that they didn't really have anything to offer. When I get burnt out, (and I do quite often,) it would be nice to have some kind of "professional" swoop in and make everything right.

I was not surprised either though. I have heard from local moms who have recently started homeschooling because their child had dyslexia or irlens syndrome and just kept on getting moved forward even though their learning was not moving forward.

I'm glad I went. I'm glad there's a public school. I'm glad I homeschool.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pressure-----in a lot of ways

This week in science, we leaned about all sorts of pressure. When learning about air pressure, we showed how air could move books, and we also had air blow off rockets.



I don't know how I would be able to do science this year without my new friend, Jandy.  She's a PROFESSIONAL homeschooler :) She's taught public school for around eight years, and taught homeschoolers at a charter school, and now she's teaching me! It's awesome to have help, especially since Abraham needs constant love by one of us.


Not only did we have pressure in science, we had pressure in real life. These horrid politics! Being called a liar is not fun. Tomorrow is the vote--whew!

We actually DID do some history. We learned quite a bit about vikings. and they even started making boats and things, but no photos…what ever.

I think I'll have to figure out how to have a "make up" week or something, so I can get on track with history.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Forces, Friction, and our Awesome Library

Well, I feel like school's in full swing now, but no history got done. I just don't know how to make time for it yet.

I'm starting to learn how to cope with things that were "freaking me out" at the beginning of the school year.

First of all, Abraham.  It's still hard, but I have learned how to nurse and teach at the same time, and just put learning on hold for the moment to focus on the littlest member of our school.  Having his bumbo chair in the middle of our school work helps his moods.


William likes to draw while his brothers write and he loves to be in the middle of the action, and hasn't been more exasperating than usual. Except when he empties ALL of the cereal.



I've decided that I have to condense my tutoring. I just don't have an extra eight hours a week for other children.  But I can't NOT teach them, so I'm teaching then all together=two hours instead of eight. Better than nothing.

And Hyrum got his cast off. He still can't walk properly or be in gymnastics, but things are progressing.



I have now done two weeks of science.  The first week was our introduction to physics. We learned about forces and gravity. We learned all about "push" and "pull" and as part of this, we had a tug-of-war.


I have more kids in my club than last year. We even have a couple girls this year. I don't think they've noticed they're the only girls.


This week we learned about friction. I was thinking that maybe next time around I'll teach inertia first. That makes more sense to me. The friction/lubrication lesson is always one of my favourites. We had kids pulling each other around the floor on sheets, and we skated on shaving cream to show what happens when you get rid of friction.


Last time around I did this inside, and it ruined the finish on my floor. This time I did it in the garage and some kids got bonked on the cement. Maybe next time I'll do it on the grass….

I haven't gotten much history done, which bugs me. I have had a lot of mental space still going towards this dumb political nonsense. We've also been actively trying to inform our community through things like flyers, and that's taken up a lot of time.


Blah….and it's not over yet.

Thank goodness my community ended up teaching my kids social studies this week. We went to an awesome story time. (Our library always has awesome story times.) The native Blood Tribe came and the elementary did some dances and the middle school preformed some songs. This was PERFECT for history this month. Serendipity is wonderful.



We've also had culture days here. Some of my friends put together an awesome Guatemala experience. Here's my nephew at one of the booths.


Also, the alternate school has started their co-op.  In addition to gymnastics, Crystal has been teaching the kids book making, and Heather Burton has been doing creative writing. The creative writing especially has filled a hole in my kids education. So grateful to be a part of this group.



Yes that is Hyrum with his tongue stuck out. Yep.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Politics-----ugh----and Native Americans

Remember this post? and this photo?



Yep, Things are out of control again here in our tiny town.

A few years ago, an employee of Dustin's said "I'm so glad I wasn't homeschooled because I wouldn't have learned how to deal with bullies." Dustin just laughed at him and said "Yah, but who bullies as an adult?"

Well, we've learned who bullies as an adult. We've apologized to that former employee and told him he was right.

Last year when politics blew up, I got severely depressed. I knew I needed medical help it was that bad. But right when I was about to go to the doctor, I found out I was pregnant. This kicked my psyche in the behind.

I was not cured. Not by a long shot, but I was much better than I had been. I knew that I needed to pull it together for someone other than me.

This time I've hardly been depressed at all. I can't sleep, but whatever. This time I have just lost so much respect for some people that they can't hurt me like they once did. I'm sad, not hurt.

I'm sad, and quite a bit furious. I want to shout from the roof tops all the hypocrisy, lies, bullying, and power grabbing, but Dustin coaxes me back down to the ground and helps me realize how it will solve nothing. Eeeerrrrrr I wish he wasn't right. It would be so fulfilling.

Because of politics, I've had a one track mind, and school has suffered.

We did get almost all the reading writing and arithmetic in. William is liking it that school is back in session:



No science. No devotionals. No Robotics.

But we did do a bit of history. We learned a bit about the early native americans. We made totem poles and tepees. My sister-in-law has moved into our basement, and is joining us for history, and it makes it twice as fun.



Maxwell made the biggest tepee, check it out:



So---NEXT week I'll be in full swing------I hope.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Slow but Steady Beginning

Well, This week was not the amazing Full-Blown first week of the year that I would want, but it was what it was.

In fact, I hardly have any photos. While  we did read some history, I ended up not getting to the activities. So no photos. Also, even though I got ready for science, when it came down to it no one could come, so I happily cancelled it.

We DID do reading, writing, and arithmetic. That felt fulfilling. We also did devotionals and EXERCISING! I was so proud of myself.

A friend of mine was saying how when she talks to public school teachers, they admit that it takes a couple of weeks before they are going strong. So there.  I have an excuse.

The homeschool association had their annual track and field day.  I almost didn't go. Hyrum has a broken leg, Daniel's too young, and Maxwell....Maxwell's not really excited about athletics. But in the end, it all worked out wonderfully:

Maxwell was a crack up. He comes up to me and says "I got a second place and a fifth place, now all I need is a third and fourth place." He had a blast.

Here's something cute: Three years ago, I took this first photo and I thought "humm I don't know those two kids very well, but whatever." and this year I took the second photo and I thought "those two kids are so awesome, I'm so glad we know them so well."



The homeschool organization was so sweet and totally included Daniel in the first grade group. He felt so accomplished.



And HYRUM!!!! Hyrum trumped them all. I wish he was wearing shorts so you can see how huge his cast is, but cast or no, he was amazing at the obstacle course. Check it out!



So that was our first week. Last but not least, Dustin and the boys convinced me to let them buy a kitten at the country fair.  Yippee (I say VERY sarcastically.)