Monday, April 28, 2008

Nature Day at Salato

Join in every Monday for the Homeschool Highlight Meme.

Write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Here are some ideas: an accomplishment, an event or outing, a fun learning experience, a new educational product your family enjoys, an unexpected teachable moment. You can also use the Homeschool Hi-Lights graphic, if you want to.
I took the girls to Salato last week for an Earth Day activity.  They were making pinecone birdfeeders.  We have done these at home before.  Lulu had testing for three days so this was a treat at the end of it.

After they were finished we went inside the nature center.  The girls love looking at the fish, snakes, and animal habitats.  They had a pretend stream set up inside with rocks the kids could turn over and see what kind of wildlife might live there.  Lil really enjoyed that.  Monkey tee-heed when she found out what the "scat" in the jars really was.

We went outside to look at the animals when we were finished inside.  I was able to get some really good pictures of the girls.

And a playful one too!

Pacies Have Left the Building

Lil has become really attached to her pacifiers over the past few months.  She started out only having one at naptime and bedtime.  Then she began begging for them during the day as well.  We tried lots of different tactics to get her to give them up.  Nothing was working.
We are putting out a garden this year.  Lil loves strawberries.  James asked her if she wanted to plant her pacies with the strawberries to help them grow.  She went back and forth for a few days, but finally decided to plant them.

She was very proud!  And it only took about three sleepless nights to get over the withdrawals.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cincinnati Zoo

We had a great time at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend.  All five of us love the zoo.  The girls really enjoy the gorillas, polar bears, and penguins.  I hope you enjoy the slide show of our trip.

Some extra special things I wanted to highlight are below.  We were able to see baby birds being fed by their mommy.  Monkey asked why her body was moving back and forth the way it was.  She knew that the mommy bird chewed the food up for the baby, but she did not realize that the mommy actually eats the food and vomits it up for the baby.  They were able to watch this first hand.  They were very thankful that I did not have to feed them that way when they were babies.

Lil loves penguins.  She could not wait to go see them.  She ran up to the glass and starting giving them names from a movie she has, "Scamper the Penguin".  She also tried to tell everyone else that they could not look at her penguins.  We had to have a little discussion about sharing...imagine that.  She also told me when we were watching the gorillas that she wanted to live with them instead of us.  I said, "OK, but you will not get to watch Little House if you live with the gorillas."  She decided she would come home with us.

There are always lots of peacocks roaming around at Cincinnati Zoo.  Lil was chasing them while we were eating.  She wanted them to eat our of her hand just like the goats do.  I was waiting for her to get pecked.  Anyway, we were able to see a male trying to show off for a lady.  She ended up running off so it didn't work.

This young male was trying to show another young male that he was the stuff too!

We had a great time and cannot wait to go back.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Homeschool Hi-Lights

 Ellen at Fun Learning is hosting a Monday Meme titled "Homeschool Hi-Lights".  Each Monday we are to "write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Here are some ideas: an accomplishment, an event or outing, a fun learning experience, a new educational product your family enjoys, an unexpected teachable moment."

Last week was our annual EXPO for our co-op.  The girls have been working on some of their projects for weeks now.   Lulu and Monkey entered a science experiment together. 

Lulu also constructed a jet out of an Erector set, created a paper mosaic, and entered the spelling bee. 

Monkey painted a picture with watercolors. 

Lil also painted a picture.

All three did a great job.  Lulu and Monkey even had interviews with a few of their projects.

On Saturday we went to the Cincinnati Zoo.  I'll share more about that later.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Time For Everything

My Not-so-Wordless Wednesday

The other night I was trimming the cats' nails.  I left these on the bathroom counter in order to remember to trim Amidela's nails the next morning.

I realize now that I should have known better.  I often 'forget' that Lil lives in our house.  The next morning Lulu comes running for me.  Lil was in the bathroom.  And this is what I saw!

She cut her hair with cat nail trimmers!!!  My first two girls never cut their hair.  They never flushed their panties down the toilet.  They never played in the toilet.  They rarely colored on their bodies with markers.  

The Lord is teaching us so much through this little girl.  Apparently we needed a lot of work in the patience area because that seems to be His theme with Lil!!!

I'm just thankful that she did not cut a more noticeable chunk out of her hair.  It is right at the top in the center.  She is letting her bangs grow out so I usually pull it up.  Now I have to pull it to the side because if I pull it up in the center....she has multiple twigs sticking up right in front!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

JBQ State Tournament 2008

This past weekend was the girls' State Tournament for JBQ!  They did awesome.  It is a very intense weekend.  Quizzing on Friday night determines what division you quiz in on Saturday.  Lulu and Monkey were on different teams for the first time all year.  Lulu's team went undefeated Friday night which put them in the Gold division.  Monkey's team was made of three 1st graders with this year being all three's first time quizzing.  They made it into the Bronze division. 

On Saturday Lulu's team only lost one match.  They did great!  They day ended with us being tied for 1st with two other teams.  In JBQ when there is a three way tie places are determined by overall points.  They announced 3rd place...not us.  Then they said the last two teams tied in points so 1st and 2nd place would be determined by who won in the match between those two teams.  We won in that match so........Lulu's team took 1st place in the Gold division in the State of Kentucky!!!   We were very proud!  In individual scores Lulu took 5th place.  She did really well.  (Go here for more details on JBQ.)

Monkey's team hung in there and did their best on Saturday.  It is a very intense day for the younger ones.  They ended up taking 4th place in the Bronze division in the State of Kentucky!  In individual scores Monkey took 13th place.  We were also very proud of her.

With JBQ, there is competition.  But James and I continually tell the girls that they are learning God's Word and that is our main focus.  They know details about the Bible at 8 and 6 that a lot of adults do not know.  They study hard and God blesses!

Wordless Wednesday

Make-shift Potty on the Trail!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Finally a Hike

We had beautiful weather yesterday so after church we jetted home, changed our clothes, and headed out to do some hiking.  We were all very excited about it. 

We went to Salato for a picnic lunch and some hiking.  We love Salato!  Unfortunately yesterday the educational center was closed so we did not get to see the animals.  This place is a great resource in Kentucky.  It is FREE!  You can see all kinds of fish and wildlife that are native to Kentucky.  They have a ton of information. is FREE!  

Even though we did not get to see the black bears, wildcats, buffalo, etc., we had a great day.  We did get to see the deer and a rabbit on the trail. 

Some of our great nature finds were raccoon/deer/rabbit tracks, fungus, grapevines, and signs of spring.

James made some grapevine crowns for his little princesses.  They were pretending they were Arielle and Belle.  Lil would not leave hers on long enough for me to get a picture.

Monkey was very proud of the wild onions and flower she found.

It was so muddy we did not let Lil get out of her pack on the trail.  She was set free at the end though.

Another great adventure for our girls.  I feel so blessed to be married to a man that loves spending time with his family.  Most of the things that we get to do are because he initiates them.  For that I am thankful!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Looking Forward

What are your goals for home education? What do you hope to instill in your children? Are you planning any changes to how you educate your children?

My goals for home education are pretty simple. 
1.      I want my girls to know Jesus as their personal Savior.
2.      I want them to be knowledgeable in the Word.
3.      I want them to have a servant’s heart.
4.      I want them to know how to learn, how to find the answers they are seeking, and how to ask for help.
5.      I want them to love learning!

I hope to be able to teach my girls what it means to be a godly woman, modest, humble, and submissive.  It is my desire that my girls will desire to be a help meet to their husbands and stay home with their children.  I pray that they will see those two things as their main ministry.

I am planning to implement more of Charlotte Mason’s teachings.  I have been researching different ways to accomplish a CM education.  It will mean lots of changes for us next year.  I am stumped right now about history and science.  I like the four year cycle from WTM.  So I still have decisions to make.  Remember, this is not easy for me!

Friday, April 4, 2008

In Their Own Words

Share your children’s home education experience in their own words. What have they said about their education? What are their likes and dislikes? Share some stories, some quotes, or turn your blog over to your children for the day.

I gave the girls a writing assignment for this one.  I told them to write about why they liked being homeschooled.  They posted their responses on their blogs.

Lulu(8) said: "
I like homeschooling because I'm taught what's right and not what's wrong.  I get to spend time with my mom and my sisters.  The last thing I like is that my mom is there to help me whenever I get confused on something."

Monkey(6) said: "
I like homeschool because you get to be with your family.  It is fun.  My teacher is my mom.  It is fun.  I like to do school with my sister and my mom.  My mom is the best teacher.  I like my mom and my sisters."

Lil(3) said: "I like to go out in the rain."  Once again, I'm not too sure how her brain works...

One day we were heading to the grocery store because a big ice storm was headed our way.  We went in the middle of the day while public school was supposed to be in.  As we were sitting at the light school buses drove past us.  I said, "I guess they went ahead and released the kids from school."  From the back seat Monkey says, "Does that mean we don't have to finish school when we get home?".  My response was, "Yes, you have to finish school!".  Monkey says, "That's not fair.  I wish I was public schooled today."  Too which I replied, "Yeah, but you would not wish that at 6:00 in the morning when you would have to get out of bed."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Show and Tell

Show off those talents. Share a story, a special moment, a piece of artwork. Any accomplishment, great or small, is fair game.

I had a very special moment when I was senior in high school.  I went to Washington, D.C. to work in soup kitchens feeding the homeless.  It was an amazing experience.  There were so many people pouring into the places where we were helping.  I remember seeing "kids" that were only a year or two older than me and they were homeless.  I was so thankful for my family at that moment.  I knew in my heart that I would always have a place to go if I needed help.

One afternoon, instead of working in the homeless shelters, we went to help at an after-school program for elementary aged children.  It was heart breaking for me.  I have always loved kids.  I started babysitting when I was 12.  I remember helping them with their homework and playing games with them.  They loved the attention.  I know from their faces and some of the things that they were talking about that their home lives were not what God desired for them.  I broke my heart to know what they were seeing in their moms and dads and whoever else was around.  But even though it was a sad moment, it was precious too.  I knew that God would take those little seeds we were planting in those kids and do a mighty work that only He could do.  I am thankful that I went.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Recipe for Success

It is also National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! So share a recipe…figuratively, as in two parts love, one part creativity, or literally, as in a super quick, nutritious meal your kids scarf up. Think about what you do in the day, what helps keep it organized and you sane (or how you got past that need for organization and saneness!), and curriculum materials you find effective.

My "recipe" for an organized, sane day calls for:

1.  A full serving of the Word of God.  If I miss this, my day will not be "organized" or "sane".  But if I have my serving and have it to the fullest then my day will fall into place one way or another.  It may not always happen the way I think or plan for it to, but stuff gets done.  The Lord knows what stage of life we are in.  He knows that we have many different plates to serve throughout our days.  He is gracious to meet us where we are.  I may not always be able to work in my local soup kitchen, help with that great new ministry at church, volunteer at the hospital, cook meals for friends, etc., etc.  Right now my number one ministry is to my husband and my girls.  I can do those other things as time allows, but only when it does not take away from my main ministry.  God ordained the family before the church.  Sometimes we get that out of order. And we have all heard well meaning people say, "But you're home ALL DAY."  They do not understand and that's okay.  We know in our hearts that we are doing what God has called us to do. 

2.  The ability to say "No". 

3.  Labels, labels, and more labels.  I do not feel like I am not really that organized.  However, I do have lots of labels on tubs, drawers, and notebooks.

4.  Fun!

5.  Lesson plans.  I used to plan day by day and it drove me crazy.  I am now to the point where I make up my lesson plans a couple weeks at a time.

6.  Be flexible.  Even though I do the lesson plans I do  not stress if the plans get rearranged or even canceled.

7.  Fun!

8.  Last, but certainly not least, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

When all of this is thrown in the pot it usually produces happy children and happy parents.  We have our days like everyone else.  But overall our family is a blessing to each of us.

Wordless Wednesday

Lobster Children!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools

And we have likely all felt the fool in one way or another. Share your greatest challenge. Or one of those terrible, horrible no good, very bad days where the only thing there is to do seems to involve moving to Australia.

My greatest challenge is decision making.  Just ask my husband.   I am a pleaser.  I constantly second guess my decisions.  There is such great curriculum out there.  I am always afraid that I will make the wrong choice.  And we all know that we are not supposed to compare ourselves to other moms but I do.  I feel like I am improving in this area though. 

So the next time you ask me something, don’t feel bad if I respond with one of the following:
            It doesn’t matter to me.
            I don’t care.
            Wherever is fine.

My husband has been hearing these responses for years.