Monday, February 23, 2015

Just the Bare Minimum

Well, it's been about a month since my last post and I've been doing school. The basic read, write, math school.  But we've made plenty of time for field trips. In fact, every day we try to have an "adventure" of some sort.

It's educational to go to muddy hot springs, right?

We were in Victoria. Dustin felt that to be there is an inspiration, but it sure isn't stress free. We were trying to find a rental. At first we didn't know how long we even wanted the rental. We finally bit the bullet and rented out our house in Cardston. That made us very committed. Then we really had to find a place. Haha. Good luck. Renting anything in Victoria is a miracle. Eventually, we found our miracle, but it was a miracle that was not available for a couple of weeks at least.

Great. Ugh. We are a big family. A big loud messy crazy family. We had exhausted our stay among Victoria family. What now? MOMMY! :)

Yep, we went home to my mom and dad in Utah. My mom said "Oh, it is so wonderful to have you. Before you came our house was quiet and dead, but now it is full of life and love. I love these little kids."

What a blessing. I love my mom and dad so much. Their love for my family is like a warm cozy blanket that just envelopes all of us. Blessed blessed. yep yep.

My life is made easier by being here.  This is what I've needed. If you couldn't tell, I've been a bit messed up these last few months. I've needed simplicity. Here I can get that better than other places.

Really, all we've done for school is one-on-one time. For the past couple of months we have been doing one-on-one on my bed. I thought it would create better feelings and be comfy, but it just made us sleepy and lazy, so goodbye bed-school.

So, math:

Daniel has mastered what two numbers make ten. One fun way Rightstart has us do this is by playing "Go To The Dump" aka "Go fish." Instead of having a match with finding the same number, you have a match when two cards add up to ten. Daniel Loves this.

and it works:

With Hyrum, slowly but surely he's learning the real names of numbers. We are continuing with where we left off (ie counting by fives, learning time, learning place value etc.)

And Maxwell is learning long multiplication and how to find the area of things. We are having to redo his multiplication timed tests because, even though he has mastered the concepts behind multiplication better than ever, he's gotten slow.

And just because I haven't instigated any crafts, doesn't mean that crafts have stopped. They made such things as clay snakes:


Hyrum dragon books

And Maxwell Dragon books, and dragon books, and dragon books.

My homeschool creative juices haven't totally stopped flowing either. Check out my newest sight-word drawing. Want to know how to spell "month?" well, "The month of January is FROZEN!"

I must say I'm quite proud of this one. ;)

Who knows, maybe I'll get around to history crafts this week. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I've Been Robbed!.....Oh wait. Just Kidding

We left Frozen Alberta in exchange for the rainforest mist of the NorthWest Coast. Lucky? Oh yeah. We love living in Cardston because we can leave when we want to. It's one of the best perks of homeschooling and having a husband that works for himself.

What's not fun is putting all of your homeschool stuff in a backpack and have it stolen on your journey. Yes, you would have to call lots of people to make sure it was stolen and then start ordering the same homeschool supplies again and start feeling vandalized that someone went through your stuff. Yes. That is what we went through.....until we realized that the "stolen" bag was in our floor compartment of our van, just waiting for us.

I feel sheepish.

However, a tragedy did happen.....I forgot my camera back home.  Whimper whimper. We don't know how long we'll be gone, and I don't have my gorgeous Nikon. We have device cameras, but it just isn't the same.

Dustin has been having fun with our device cameras though. Check out the movie he made of one of our days here:

I feel that I need to talk about what we accomplished before we left, and have an half-way-through-the-year review.

I have found that history activities have fallen on the back of my priority list. But we DID accomplish a few. My boys continued to have tea parties in honour of Boston:

And we ran around the house with "hobby horse" brooms while blowing trumpets in honour of yankee doodle and Paul Revere. Last time I did this we used kazoos. I would suggest doing that again. Those toy trumpets do bad things for adult's calm.

And I had planned on doing George Washington wigs again. After all, last time they were so cute:

But even before we started history for the day, Maxwell, who is the most interested in crafts, said "No no no! I don't want to do wigs! I want to make a craft of George Washington crossing the Delaware. Here, I could make him on his horse, and We could use this black paper because he did it at night, and here's some cotton balls for the ice chunks in the river, and here's this and this....."

I was quite impressed that he had soaked in so many details and just let him do his thing:

Also, I would like to announce, that we have read all of the ORIGINAL "Common Sense." I'm quite proud of this fact.

And, we have memorized all the Canadian provinces, territories and their capitals.

I doubt we will be doing very many crafts for history while we are on the coast. There's more hands-on fun that we will be doing.

Not sure if any science will happen out here either. We'll see.

And now, for our half-way-through-the-year Review!!!

He is slowly but surely learning to read. We are going at half the speed that I thought we would go, but he is PROGRESSING!!! He does not love the process, but I love the life line that Barton has given us. We are now halfway through Book 4.

Yesterday, when I thought all our Barton tiles were stolen, I bought the Barton ipad app.

This had added a new spark in Maxwell's interest, and today's reading went smoother than usual.

His math is going swimmingly as ever. I think he needs a bit more challenge added actually.

He is learning to read!  He is very confident with three letter words. Truthfully though, he still needs to sound out every. single. word.  AHHHH! He has done Barton book 2 a couple of times, but I want to make sure his "e" and "i" vowel sounds are very secure and that his digraph sounds (sh, ch, ck, th, and wh) are also secure before I move onto book 3.

The Barton tile app is actually a deterrent for Hyrum unfortunately. He just wants to play instead of doing the task at hand when the ipad gets in his hands.

Math- Hyrum and math. Well, I'm very grateful he is getting one-on-one attention. Math has always been hard for him. When he was 4 he couldn't count to four. When he was 6 he couldn't recognise the value of numbers, and I found a way through this difficulty that I recorded in this post. 

Now, he's having a hard time learning the traditional names of the numbers. You see, with Right start, they have you say "two-ten five" instead of "twenty five" or "one-ten two" instead of twelve. This is great for math comprehension, and has been good for Hyrum's concept of what numbers are all about. But now, they are asking him to change over to the real words. This has been hard for him in his language-processing-disorder mind.

I've been having him watch these two cute videos done by the "singing walrus."

But even still, he's had trouble. I quickly knew what to do because of past experience with this little boy, and whipped up these two flash cards.

This has helped quite a bit.

You know what? I do not think Daniel has dyslexia. I also do not think he has a language processing disorder or ADHD. In other words; He's my easy kid.

Do you know how hard it is to teach children with learning disabilities? It's so hard I want to cry (and sometimes do.) I think "maybe I should just send them to school because I just can't do this anymore." but then I realize how behind they are or how many difficulties they are having and then I think "yah, public school would be so cruel to them." I'm seriously thinking I need to hire tutors. I just need some of this responsibility off my shoulders. I'm sinking in over my head.

But not with let's talk about him.

He's done with Handwriting Without tears and has started journaling.

He's doing Rightstart math level A, and is doing just awesome. Totally gets everything.

Well, I think that's it. Doubt if I'll be blogging as much while I'm out here on the coast, but know that I'm constantly homeschooling even here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tea and Heat

Wow, I totally sounded down in the dumps in the last two posts. I've been feeling a little behind life, but I'm not THAT bad. I will try to be more up beat.

So for science we learned about heat.  I tried to talk about a lot of different aspects of heat because this is our only lesson on heat this year. But I think the main thing they took away from it was conduction and insulation.

We burnt a chip and talked about calories as a form of heat as one of our experiments.

This will be our last class of the year. I told everyone I couldn't host another week until after the holidays because we were going to have another family living with us. That family (the Heather McKay family) has now elected to stay somewhere else for the holidays, but I'm not going to teach another science anyway. Simplicity.

But I do love my class. Here's a picture of my group:

And we FINALLY had a tea party in honour of the Boston tea party.  (for some reason it feels wrong to spell the Canadian way when talking about the Revolution. Haha )

We used eggnog instead of tea---it was more convenient and I said "we are patriots who are boycotting tea!" That works, right?

So we finally started reading "Last of the Mohicans." It's so weird. I've been so used to reading Canadian history this year, about how the Hurons are the heroes. The Hurons are our friends. They Helped Canada survive, and in this book (which takes the English side) the Hurons are the enemies. The Hurons are to be feared. Perspective  hummm.

So for the past semester, Maxwell and Hyrum have been taking an art class. I think they have really enjoyed it. They've done a lot of different kinds of mediums and styles. This week was their art show. Here's a picture from the show. Maxwell's is the one of the dragon.

And we had our alternate school Christmas party. I LOVE OUR HOMESCHOOL GROUP!!! I feel so blessed to be part of this organization. The people who are our facilitators really love us, and we love them. Heather Burton had us all play "minute to win it" games, and Hyrum and I won the ribbon wrapping game.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Plugging Along

Not much to show for this week. I didn't do history, although we've read some books, including most of the Felicity series.

We learned about ramps and pulleys for science. It was a bit of a loud queotic science, but I think they learned a bit. Here's daniel with our pulley. I need to get a bait and tackle pulley system for next  time around.

We did do reading writing and arithmetic. Maxwell and I have started working out before his time. He and I need to get into shape a bit.

And yep, that's all to report. Maybe it's because I have a baby that won't let me sleep, but I feel 10 steps behind life lately. I'm tired.

We did go to Christmas in Cardston which I helped a bit with. It's fun to see the trees I put lights on. We bought one of the auctioned trees. I was sold on the missionary tree when I saw this drawing done by a sister missionary:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Give Me Liberty...Kids

We studied Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry for history this week. but I was really Lame and didn't do any activities. Instead, we started watching this series:

I definitely recommend it. It's a cartoon that feels a lot like the Living Scriptures, but it's about the revolution instead. It's really good because it covers all sides of the issue. The girl is a loyalist, and the boy is a patriot, and the other boy is french, and another main character is a freed black slave. It's also VERY detailed. It takes 40 episodes to go from the Boston Tea Party to George Washington's inauguration. Obviously we haven't watched them all yet.

Also, there are a tons of famous actors as the voices. Billy Crystal (John Adams,) Arnold Schwarzenegger (Baron von Steuben,) Liam Neeson (John Paul Jones,) Sylvester Stallone (Paul Revere), and Michael Douglas (Patrick Henry) are just a few of them. 

For science I was lame and cancelled it because we had to go Lethbridge, and I hadn't prepared anyway, and well, I was lame.

But the day before I wasn't quite as lame, and I volunteered at the awareness fair that the town does every year. Well, actually a bit lame because while I was preparing for it, I bagged individual school with the boys. But they didn't care and had fun at the fair.

This week was also american Thanksgiving, and although we had thoroughly done Thanksgiving this year already, we did it again on a smaller scale with the Peavoys. This is them lining up for pie. I love all these boys.

Where's Mo? oh well.

Not sure if it has anything to do with school, but we also did gingerbread decorating. Or shall we say Rice Crispy decorating. Dustin's INGENIOUS idea of creating a house mold for rice-crispy-treats made this very easy and fun. Although it took up all our rice crispies and marshmallows ;(  

Naomi is hoping that this does have to do with school because there is a gingerbread contest at the Christmas in Cardston tomorrow, and she wants to enter it in the school category.  Ha ha, we'll see.  I guess we are our own school.

Well I think that's it. And be prepared for another lame week because I have a baby who has the sniffles and won't let me sleep.

And as for something REALY nephew is seriously ill in Africa. Aaron Leavitt (who was homeschooled) was on his LDS mission in the Congos, but to be treated for TB has been moved to Johannesburg and can't travel any further because he's too ill. His parents are now with him and he is having surgery tomorrow. Please pray for him!  I know I am.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Williamsburg and Fun Machines

This week we learned about simple machines i.e. levers. It was a short lesson, and at the end I showed them a Rube Goldberg machine, and had them make up their own. What a success! Here's a Rube Goldberg machine:

He uses crazy stuff to do a mundane job. Here are my boys' drawings:


Every kid at science was so excited to explain what their machine did and how they did it. It was way cute. It got creative juices flowing, and excitement out the roof.

We also studied Williamsburg. We read Meet Felicity and watched the movie for our activity. I think if I had a girl, I would be obsessed with the American Girl world. As it is, Maxwell requested to read all the Felicity books, and I happily ordered them from the library.

And as followups from last week, Maxwell made a beaver habitat of his own volition.

And the alternate school finished their tree for the Festival of trees. I spot a few of our decorations on it. Fun fun.

That's all I have to report, because for the rest of the week, Dustin and I went on a pre-christmas retreat. Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The hat that changed the world.

This week we learned about the fur trade, namely the Hudson Bay Company. Of course, we talked all about beaver hats.  We learned how there might not be a Canada (for sure not the Canada we know) without the beaver hat craze.

Hyrum was quite distraught. He didn't like talking about killing beavers. We ended up watching two documentaries about the beaver (WOW what an animal!) and I think in the end we learned more about the importance of beaver conservation than beaver hat making.  Haha.

We also got around to talking about the Filles du Roi. Not sure if my kids would recognize the french name, but if you asked them about the daughters of the king in Canada, I bet they could give you an educated response.

I found a series that's like Magic Tree House books, but Canadian focused called "Canadian Flyer." They have a Filles du Roi book called "Lost in the Snow." I think it's very fitting that the US has a magic tree house while Canada has a magic snow sled.

For our activity we made Christmas tree ordimants out of old books. This might have nothing to do with Filles du Roi who I'm sure didn't throw away books, but the alternate school is putting together a tree for the festival of trees, and asked everyone to chip in.

We also talked about the 7 Year War, also know as the French and Indian war. When I was looking for books at the library on this subject I forgot that this war had two names. I was frustrated that I couldn't find anything on the Seven Year War, but now I look, and can find lots on the French and Indian War. Oops.

Oh well, the History of US account was sufficient. Although I'm thinking I might get some kind of version of "Last of the Mohicans" to read anyway.

This was one of those history subjects that was interesting to learn from both Canada and US perspectives.

For our activity we made hoecakes. I couldn't find a hoe, so we used a small shovel (covered in tinfoil.) I got the idea for this out of the Four Year Plan book, which has tons of recipes. I just assumed that they had a recipe for hoecakes since they suggest making them, but when I was ready to do the activity, they said "just do the recipe in this book"

Well, I didn't have that book, so I got a recipe from Paula Deen. They ended up to be really tasty.

And as for Science, we didn't have science because it was Remembrance day. Canadians know how to do this holiday justice. Cardston had a Remembrance day service. Maxwell took part as a cub scout.

Truly Canadian.