Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our Trip to India

The last couple of days have been rather full, interesting but full *smiles*

Maddy finally got her red belt in karate .. we definitely need to work harder on stretching and endurance here at home. She loves her class but its a bit rougher then her other. Rougher in that the kids are mostly red/brown belts or brown belts... and their stances are stronger and deeper and more well defined. We need to work on running laps, and getting that split down.

Math has been a bit more relaxed this week.. but I think thats what she needed. I guess i was going at it with the attitude "lets get it done to have it done" and it was stressing her out. So this week I tried just slowing down a bit, re-explaining things we had done... if she balked at working on the multiplication facts we did them together. I want to find a fun game or games that will allow her to practice the facts so that she gets them... but for it to be fun at the same time. I will have to continue to look around.

We have been having a lot of fun in her history/english segments. She has been reading a ton of books on Pocahontas , pilgrims etc... and having a blast. Tomorrow we will go to the library and see what else they have.

Today was our first Adventure Girl outing... and I think it went well. Maddy was uncomfortable at first, and it took a while for her to warm up. She decided to sit with me at first and finally about half way through the presentation she joined the other girls on the floor. It wasnt the dance or the computer images that drew her... it was little models of items used in Indian homes that she was fascinated with and wanted to get closer to. The lovely woman who was discussing India with the girls chose Maddy as her model to wear the Indian Temple jewelry which pleased my daughter to no end. We left before we got to try any of the foods people had donated for the event... Maddy wanted to leave so we gave our thanks and snuck out the door. Then we discussed what we had seen and heard almost all the way home. It was a good time... and I hope she will want to take part in the next outing... but I am going to take my cues from her. The worst thing I could do is push then she will out and out refuse. I know that someday this stubborness and determination will be a good thing... but geesh... sometimes it makes things hard on Mom and Dad *smile*

The Cumberland county fair is this week... I have to make sure I get the girls there... It will be so much fun. Not sure when we can go though... Maddy has karate tomorrow at 4:45, and teengirl asked if we could go after she gets out at 12:30... but that wouldnt work, and Friday is going to be a long day as thats the day we get our new kitchen floor. The workers will be here between 9-10 and be here all day. Its exciting to finally get the floor replaced from when we had the fire.

Cant think of anything else...

so I am wishing you peace,

Monday, September 24, 2007

The teensy weensy spider...

Today was a busy day in the garden! We went on a nature walk, discovered an odd looking little beetle, a teeny tiny red spider on a leaf, found tons of beautiful red, yellow, and yellow and green mixed leaves on the ground and now Ms Maddy has decided she wants to have a leaf collection. (she was pretty bummed that we didnt bring a container to put bugs in so that she could bring the little red spider home) I agreed that was quite a shame and hopefully she didnt see my shudder as I said that. Maddy also toted home 2 pieces of garbage she found along the path, and had quite the "rant" about litterers and how they are damaging our planet.

We did math (reluctantly) and worked on vocabulary. She wanted to know if she really had to look the words up in the dictionary and write down the definitions in her vocab binder and I said... well lets see... what does dimension mean? or... what is the bow, or stern of a ship? What is a savage? she just gave me a look and went to get her dictionary. *sigh* Savage led into quite a discussion on perceptions. We discussed how an alien civilization might see our planet of animal, vegetable and fruit eating creatures and call us savages for killing plants and animals to eat. Then we discussed Columbus and how he treated the native peoples that he considered "savages" that he found on his journeys. Ms Maddy is not at all impressed with Mr Christopher Columbus and thinks people should write to the President of the United States so that we can stop celebrating Columbus day as a country, she says its wrong to celebrate a day of a person who harmed so many people. My little activist... We will have fun with that I think *smiles*

She and I will start reading "Eight Cousins" by Louisa May Alcott tomorrow. I remember it as an awesome story, we will see if its still as fun when reading it aloud to each other.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our Week so far

Its been a pretty good week so far. We have made good progress in regards to our studies of Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo. She is just finishing up her second Columbus book as well as working on a book on Marco Polo. Today we made a compass, and tomorrow we will make a quadrant to measure things around our neighborhood. Tomorrow night we will see if we can find the North Star and figure out what our Latitude is using the quadrant we make.

Math is going... that is all I can say about that really. She seems to have forgotten all the multiplication facts she learned last year. I am discovering that taking the summer off was a very bad idea. I would love to help her find that joy she had at the end of last year when she was solving math problems successfully and so proud of herself. The difference from when we took her out of public school in Mid March to end of May/June was pretty amazing for her. She stopped being afraid of math and started enjoying it. Just gotta find a way to get the fun back in it.

Karate is going well. She was the only student in her class yesterday so she got the sole attention of both her Sempai's. They worked her hard but there were a lot of giggles coming for the mat room and they seemed quite pleased with her forms. She will have stripe testing tomorrow afternoon and if all goes well she will graduate to a red belt on Friday night. Woohoo Maddy... you go girl!

Teengirl is sending out her college applications this weekend. I am so nervous... she is my firstborn.. my baby, and yet she is a grown woman. Where in the heck did the time go? She has decided she definitely wants to attend the University of Maine, Orono... and wants to take advantage of the early admission plan. She has grown up into such a wonderful young woman... I am very proud of her. *sniff*

Jasper graduated from puppy class last night. Usually just Hubby and I go to the classes, but last night the girls went as well and they had a lot of fun. Jazzy got his little certificate for graduating puppy class, and we were sent home with lots of praise for him as well as for us for all the hard work we have put in. In class Jasper learned to sit, sit stay, down, down stay, come (when he feels like it or we bribe with yummy treats, otherwise he stands just out of reach the little scalliwag), as well as having time to spend with other puppies, and question and answer periods every class for puppy mom and dads to share their concerns and get advice. I would highly recommend a puppy class to anyone getting a puppy. Petco has a awesome program.. but any puppy class would work well I think.

I finally got all the squares done on Maddy's quilt, and connected them together. Its going to be very pretty when its all done. Next I have to add the borders and then Teengirl will show me what the next step is. I think she is really enjoying teaching her mom something like this. I have always wanted to learn to quilt... have had visions of snuggling up under a homemade quilt with our family on cold cold days... but never understood all the directions in the quilting magazines and books i have drooled over in the past. Teengirl took a class in school last year and now she is teaching mommy.

Maddy's quilt has pinks and oranges in it. I let her pick all the fabrics out with minimal help from me. Its definitely her, thats for sure. Now we need to paint her room to go with her new quilt... what joy! We have plenty of time though, *smiles* it has taken me all summer to get to the point I am at... and that was the easy part I am afraid.

Can't think of another thing to say so I Guess thats all from this front!

Wishing you...Peace and Joy,

Monday, September 10, 2007

new beginnings and memories

Well we started the school year off with a bang. The materials we have for "5th" grade are as follows. Saxon Math 6/5, Oak meadows Environmental Science as well as their Social Studies/English Curricula, Rosetta stone ~Spanish (compliments of the Portland Public Library made available online) and the instrument of her choice to be started as soon as I find a teacher. I am hoping she will choose piano... but she is leaning towards Fiddle, and of course she has her Karate.

So far we have done several lessons in the math book, reviewed subtraction, addition and multiplication, Learned about Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo, read the book "Where do you think you are going, Christopher Columbus" by Jean Fritz, and started a project on birds. Their beaks tell what kind of foods they eat.

Already Maddy is resisting, but this seems to be resistance that is a hold over from the summer of resisting everything, instead of resistance to learning in general. So I need to be tricky. Find more projects that make the learning fun for her. I would like to continue to study explorers with her... so I thought perhaps setting up a timeline that she can plug her explorer into. Making a dish or food from the country discovered (if a country was in fact discovered) We have the plans for making a model ship like one of the ones Christopher Columbus sailed on ... so she will enjoy that. Games that stress math skill instead of sitting at the table filling out fact papers.

I have to come up with ideas to make this enjoyable for both of us. So here i sit looking up ideas hoping something will click. Gotta get started on the day...


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Summer's End

Well I am looking forward to the beginning of the new school season. We took a total break from anything school related. Oh we had these awesome plans of working in her Saxon math book over the course of the summer to complete it... did that happen? Nope!

I just completed ordering her school books for the "5th" grade. We chose to use Oak Meadows curricula for 5th graders... with the exception of using Saxon math instead of what OM was offering. She is familiar with Saxon math and frankly I like the way the lessons are set up... and I was learning stuff too *smiles* I didnt order any of the novels that went with the lesson plans... we can borrow those from the library or purchase them second hand if necessary. I did however order the craft box... I want to make sure that she has everything needed for the lessons and I would rather not have to make do or scrounge up stuff at the last minute. This way all the stuff needed is in a handy box and when its time to "quilt" or "embroider" or " use a feather quill and india ink" its all there. This entire year is based on US history so it should be a fun fun time for both of us.

We added a new member to our family since the last time I posted... several in fact. Jasper is a 14 week old Cairn Terrier. He came to live with us on July 1st... and his birthday is April 22, 07. We also have 2 gerbils named Carly and Candy... and a tank full of fish. Ms Bear is not too sure what to think of all of it. The gerbils she is curious about... the fish she ignores but the puppy... ahh there is a different story altogether. She is finally standing up for herself... swatting him on the nose and hissing if he gets too close... I think they will end up if not friends then comfortably ignoring each other. Jasper loves Bear... so we will see.

So anyways... I am looking forward to this year... and am in hopes it goes smoothly for us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

saturday morning...

Today is a glorious day... the sun is shining and a cool breeze is blowing through the windows. I sure wish the weather would decide what season we are having. I am just thankful we havent had any freak snow storms lately... April was bad enough. Today it feels positively autumnish... and part of me expects to smell that glorious scent of woodsmoke in the air.

Everyone in the family is up now... well 'cept for Daddy... he is still snoozing away, even with the alarm shrieking at him every 15 minutes or so. As soon as teengirl is out of the shower I will pour Dad a cup of coffee... poke him until he rouses and jump in the shower myself. Then it will be a matter of directing him in that general direction and we can hop in the van and head north.

Generally traveling any distance in the car with the girls is unfun... you know that saying that goes... that which doesnt kill me makes me stronger? I think Nietzche knew my girls and what its like to be trapped in the car with today I am taking Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix with me... Maddy can take her copy... Teengirl will have her cellphone and probably spend the time texting her bf... and daddy will drive and mumble to himself.. and hopefully we can all get there with a minimum of stress and bickering ...

There is a family game night tonight with the homeschooling group... just found out about it last night... *sigh* I really should use a different email address so that the notices come straight to my regular mailbox... Tomorrow is Mothers day and I know Maddy and Daddy have some stuff they need to do tonight...Teengirl already shopped and if Maddy doesnt have something to give me tomorrow she will feel awful =( I really dont want to be rushing through the museum today but we will see... if we get home in time and they can get their stuff done we will go... I would hate to miss another though... we missed the last one too.

Since we pulled Maddy out of PS in mid march we have been trying to "complete" her school year and deschool her all at the same time. Some of the things we have done have been Maddy-directed... but for the most part we have tried to continue on with the Maine studies... and keep up with the learner results that Maine participates in. We did get the Saxon math curriculum for 4th graders... it was one area Daddy and I both agree we need to emphasize.. Teengirl has struggled so much because of lack of basic math skills, and the funny thing is Maddy isnt the only one becoming more comfy with math... Mom is too. *smiles* The kid is doing basic algebra and the way the books are introducing it... its natural (well as natural as 5n=5x3 can be LOL. Next year I forsee being totally different, more relaxed ... and more spontaneous.

I have spent a lot of time lately reading other peoples blogs... seeing how they do things, wondering what would work for Maddy and I... what I know wouldnt work for us... I have added a huge number of blogs to my list.. and i have been trying to read them all... I have become addicted to reading homeschooling blogs lol...

Well Hubby/Daddy/Puterdude just wandered by with his towel... so I gotta scoot.

~have a great one... and peace

Friday, May 11, 2007

and so it begins...

Tomorrow we are going to the State of Maine Museum in Augusta. It should be a lot of fun. Just the thing to wrap up the unit on Maine we have been finishing up. She just finished reading a really good book called Sign of the Beaver. Its about a young boy whose father leaves him to take care of the cabin and the crops while he travels to massachusetts to bring back his wife, their daughter and the new baby. He tells his son Matt it should take 7 weeks. Maddy and I learned quite a bit about life in those days...

We have also been studying nutrition for our health unit. We have read about and manipulated the food pyramid... and currently we are studying a book called The Healthy Body Cookbook by Joan D'Amico and Karen Eich Drummond. It has a lot of interesting articles about our body and what foods we need to keep it healthy. Maddy has been having fun reading the articles and doing some of the experiments.

For Math we have been using Saxon's math 54 ... (typically used in 4th grade) we used a placement test to see which books we should purchase. She is really learning a lot ... and so is mum. *smiles*

For science so far we have studied volcanoes and how the earth is made up. We are moving into rocks and minerals... and I hope to take her and her sister on a rock expedition later on this spring/early summer. She has also developed a fascinatin with horseshoe crabs... and has been feeding the ants outside to see what different foods they like to eat. Everytime someone comes over she is careful to remind them to walk around her pets who decided to settle right in the middle of the walk way. Im not sure what we would have done if the ants had decided to move indoors... might have had a battle on our hands. *smile*

For reading etc we have been rather relaxed... the child is a avid reader, she is reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Rowlings, Dragon Rider by Funke, just finished up Sign of the Beaver by Speare, and a book called East by Pattou. Sometimes I will have her write a letter to a friend about the book, or have her re-write the ending of the story etc... but mostly she just drifts from book to book...

I am really looking forward to our trip to Augusta tomorrow... if only Ms Maddy would go to sleep... she is really torqued up about our adventure.