Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Collage Friday: Time Flies… August 9, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 11:12 pm

You know how it goes…time flies…when you are…having fun, preparing for Vacation Bible Camp, preparing for a big road-trip vacation, oh and getting ready for a new school year all at the same time!  I looked back today and realized it’s been three weeks since I did a wrap-up post!

Here’s some of what we’ve been up to:

The week of July 22nd we went on a field trip to the Oliver Kelley Farm and did a three day local “mini mission trip” called Mission to the City:

Oliver H. Kelley FarmMission to the City 2013

 

 

The week of July 29th we visit the Minnesota Zoo with friends from our co-op, and took a weekend camping trip in Clear Lake, Iowa with some old friends from our college days (and their three cute kids!):

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The animatronic dinosaur exhibit at the zoo was a favorite on that outing, and a new bike carrier for our car led to a favorite on the camping trip — actually being able to take our bikes with us so we could take a bike ride with our friends!

 

 

A highlight from this week was a field trip today to Historic Fort Snelling, a site near us that is a fort that was recreated to be as it was in the 1820s, complete with costumed characters.  The boys’ favorite was watching the soldiers doing their drills and shooting their guns.  Miss M’s favorite was chatting with the cook in the kitchen and doing a scavenger hunt:

Fort Snelling 2013 take 2

Here are a few other highlights of things we’ve been up to lately:

August 9 collage

1. New books are arriving in the mail/UPS…but between Vacation Bible Camp at our church (which I am in charge of, so it is kind of time consuming), and our big vacation, we won’t be starting until the day after Labor Day, just like most public schools around here.  I’ve updated our curriculum page with our picks for 2013-2014.

2.  Watching bikers go by for a local 24 hour bike race

3. – 4.  Helping out with making summer treats (mini popsicles and rhubarb crisp)

5. – 6.  Having fun, laughing and playing

7.  We actually played a math game this week (Corners) — not something we have done much of this summer!

8.  Our National Night Out block party is always a top summer highlight.  This year we had to wrap it up early, unfortunately, due to a sudden thunderstorm.

Whew,…that’s it for now.  I’m looking forward to all our hard work with VBC coming to fruition next week, then relaxing and having fun on vacation.

Linking up with:  Collage Friday and The Weekly Wrap Up.

Homegrown Learners
 

Collage Friday: 3 Weeks in Pictures + A Curriculum Preview for Next Year July 19, 2013

Filed under: Curriculum,Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 2:30 pm

Time flies when you’re having fun…and we’ve certainly been having a ton of fun in the past three weeks since I have found time for a wrap-up post.

We had a 4th of July weekend that including representing our church in a parade on the 4th, and a 3 day camping trip that also included some sight seeing to the Hermann Monument and the Wanda Gag house:

 

4th of July, 2013

Here are a few other highlights and fun shots from the past three weeks:

 

July 2013

  • We watched our caterpillars make their chrysalises (we actually saw the process for two out of the three!), and then released our three monarchs into the neighborhood
  • We’ve spent a lot of time at the pool — usually at least two afternoons per week
  • We viewed sand castles from a sand castle competition
  • We are enjoying summer treats like trips to DQ, and plenty of Popsicles and root beer floats at home
  • The boys made their own version of Monopoly called “Money Man.”
  • Not pictured:  Lots of playing with neighbor friends, Mr. E spending several days with Grandma, a couple lemonade stands, afternoons spent reading during Mr. J’s nap time, a neighborhood newspaper created by Miss M, watching Liberty’s Kids with our new full-series DVD set we received this week, and the end of the kids’ four week tennis class.

 

What we’ve been doing hardly any of is any formal school work.  By this time last summer, we had started back with a couple subjects.  That just doesn’t seem like it is in the cards this summer.   I’ve only just in the past week or two started really cleaning out the school room from our last school year, and working again on planning for the fall.  In the next six weeks we still have our “local mission trip” called “Mission to the City” for a half-week.  we also have  our church’s vacation Bible camp (which I am in charge of) and a two-week vacation.  Then it’s nearly Labor Day, and it’s really time to start school.

 

So this is a summer to really have a vacation from formal school work…and a long vacation at that.  I don’t know that I want to do that every year, but I am okay with this year maybe needing just a bit more math review in the fall.  🙂

 

2013-2014 Curriculum “Preview”:

It’s time for the annual Curriculum Edition link-up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  Unlike most years at this time, I don’t have things finalized for all subjects yet.  Hey, I still have six weeks until our school year starts…OH MY I only have six weeks until our school year starts and we’ll be on vacation two of those weeks.  😉

Here’s what I am thinking right now.  I’ll be updating the “Our Curriculum” page as I get things more finalized.

Miss M (4th grade):

  • Right Start Math E + Life of Fred elementary books for enrichment (we’re currently in the middle of  “Cats” in that series)
  • Logic of English Essentials with Advanced Lists (our second year through Essentials) for spelling and grammar, along with Scholastic E-books for additional grammar and editing practice.
  • U.S. History “Year 2” (1865 to the Present), using my own literature-based plans, plus most likely Homeschool in the Woods Time Travelers/Lap-Paks for lapbooking and activities
  • Additional read-alouds and assigned independent reading (much of her lit this year will be history related, but not all)
  • An Earth and Space science-focused year using various resources (I just decided on this topic, so I’m still decided on resources. I’m leaning toward Christian Kids Explore Earth/Space as a main curricula) + Nature Study (at Miss M’s request that we include more of this.)
  • Write On! for writing, plus additional practice from scholastic E-books and other resources.
  • Possibly some cursive copywork
  • Undecided on Bible/Character study beyond just daily Bible reading
  • Possibly some introductory study of German
  • Co-op classes (art, gym, science), guitar lessons, and possibly homeschool gymnastics class or another physical fitness activity

Mr. E (1st grade):

  • Right Start Math C + Life of Fred elementary books for enrichment (we’re currently in the middle of  “Cats” in that series)
  • Logic of English Foundations for spelling and phonics (reviewing parts of B and C, starting D when it is available).  Possibly starting Essentials if we finish Foundations D or his reading and spelling ability move solidly beyond the point of level D.
  • Tagging along for US History and Earth/Space science as interested with Miss M (I’ll have library book selections especially for the boys).  We’ll also pursue other interest-led science and history topics if desired.
  • Read-aloud lit selections from a list I will create, plus independent reading at his level
  • Mr. E needs some major handwriting practice.  I’m not sure I want to use the instruction methods used in LoE foundations.  We might use A Reason for Handwriting Level A or other copywork material.
  • Undecided on Bible/Character study beyond daily Bible reading
  • Possibly some introductory study of German
  • Co-op classes (art, gym, science), and possibly homeschool gymnastics class or another physical fitness activity

Mr. K, age 4/Preschool:

  • Right Start Math A at a gentle pace + math games
  • Logic of English Foundations A, at very gentle pace (plus possibly other letter-of-the-week sorts of activities from resources I already have or are freely available).
  • Classic pictures books (plus, I hope to add in some fun and related activities)
  • Interest led explorations/listening in to science and history topics with his older siblings
  • Possibly some introductory study of German
  • Free printable preschool packs/worksheets for my seatwork-loving kid as desired

I’ll be fleshing that out and making more plans this summer for another great school year…but I am also super excited to enjoy our last few weeks of summer.

 

 

I’m linking up with Collage Friday and The Weekly Wrap-Up.

Homegrown Learners
 

Collage Saturday: A Crazy Couple of Weeks June 29, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 8:11 am

I’ve had a little “side job” for over a decade helping edit a small devotional publication.  My deadline is quarterly, which is a great situation because I can re-arrange my life for a couple weeks before the deadline to fit work in as necessary, and then I can ignore it for a couple months!

I should have learned by now, after 18 months or so of regularly writing this blog, that I can almost never accomplish writing blog posts and editing at the same time.  Note to self: Write some articles ahead next time or just plan to take a break…instead of thinking “oh, I’ll get to that” and just not posting.  🙂

This past two weeks has been even crazier than usual.  I may not be trying to get schoolwork done with the kids but…

2013-06-28

We’ve also been doing:

  • Daily tennis class for the older two kids at the neighborhood park
  • Swimming lessons 8 days out of the past two weeks, plus random trips to the pool where we have a pass as well.  I like to get swimming lessons out of the way at an indoor pool before summer really starts…but the program we like was full for one of the levels the kids needed, so that bumped us into summer lessons at an outdoor pool.
  • Miss M still has her guitar lesson…and the boys are thrilled to play at the park during lesson (and everyone plays all together for a bit afterwords).
  • We had a HUGE storm that knocked out our power for only about 15 hours (some people were out for days).  Thousands of trees fell all over the city (luckily, none of them were in our yard!).
  • We fit in a quick trip last weekend to the Minnesota Children’s Museum
  • I told the kids, “No monarch caterpillars right now. We’re too busy”  We usually raise at least one every year.  Then my mom brought some milkweed for us to replant in the yard (for future caterpillars).  It was in water in a jar, and I promptly set it in the corner and forgot about it.  Lo and behold, a couple weeks later…there were three healthy caterpillars munching on the milkweed.  So, we went ahead and brought them in the house and put them in our caterpillar boxes.  🙂
  • Oh, and on top of all this…I had a garage sale with my mom and a neighbor that lasted three days over two weekends.  Crazy!!!  It was supposed to be last month, but we had to postpone it due to rainy, cold weather.   At least it was a successful sale and I am pleased with how much stuff I got rid of and how much money I made.

Needless to say, not a lot of organized “summer school” activities took place…though we have been doing a lot of reading aloud to relax from all this craziness.

Here’s to a (maybe) relaxing weekend, and hopefully finishing my editing before the 4th of July holiday.

I’m linking up with Collage Friday and The Weekly Wrap-Up.

Homegrown Learners
 

Collage Friday: Long Weekend and Time with the Boys June 14, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 1:17 pm

Happy Friday!  Last week at this time we were heading to the Chicago area for a four day “mini vacation.”   We went for a family event on Saturday, and had Sunday free for sight seeing (driving there and back took most of the other two days!).

I already shared this collage earlier this week in my post about our museum visits, but in case you missed that post, here it is again:

A Trip to the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

A Trip to the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

The day after we returned, Miss M left again to spend the rest of the week with my mom.  Grandma takes each of the three older kids for a special visit “one on one” each summer.  It’s a fun chance to get extra time with her in a different way than they can with their siblings around.   Miss M will return later today!

So, it was just me and the boys this week:

2013-06-14

We had one completely rainy day — which was the perfect time to play board games and math games, enjoy some color by number printables, and do lots of reading.

Ever since our visit to the Field Museum, the boys have been very interested in mummies.  I pulled out a few books I was collecting for our next trip through ancient history, and we also watched a Netflix documentary about Egyptian mummies.    I also started a new read-aloud with the boys — The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.   Mostly Mr. E is listening to this one, and we’re read at least two chapters every day this week.

Despite the fact that it’s not overly hot, we went to the pool twice this week.  We’re making the most of our season pass…even if it means that I’m shivering while I follow Mr. J around the little kids’ pool.

The boys (or the boys and I) also did a bunch of things I have no pictures of — like tons of time playing with neighbor friends who are out of school for the summer, a trip to a really large play area to meet up with an old friend of mine from college days (who recently moved to our metro area), errands conducted in a relaxed manner (instead of having to cram them in at the end of the day or on weekends like we often do during the school year), and tons of play with legos, blocks, light sabers and toy cars.  🙂

I totally flopped at having Mr. E  practice reading this week.  We’ll try and get back at that next week, I guess.

I have a suspicion we may end up back at the pool later this afternoon if it’s not raining.  Then we are looking forward to a busy weekend.

I’m linking up with Collage Friday and The Weekly Wrap-Up.

Homegrown Learners
 

Collage Saturday: Summer Break + Summer School June 8, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:59 pm

This was our third week of summer break — though the weather has still not been very cooperative to make it feel really like “summer.”   We also started adding in just a light amount of “summer school” into our schedule.

Monday, we headed to the Minnesota Zoo for a short visit after running an errand to a friend’s house nearby:

2013-06-08

 

We especially enjoyed the special exhibit of African animals, the outdoor Bird Show, and the baby prairie dogs.  Baby prairie dogs are really adorable!

 

In other highlights this week:

 

2013-06-081

1.  Miss M (age 9) built  new Lego Friends set she received as a belated birthday gift

2-3.  The two older boys (ages 4 and 6)  practiced making scrambled eggs

4.  Though we don’t own a cat of our own, Miss M really loves cats a lot.  So much so that she spent some of her birthday money on jar of catnip to make homemade cat toys as gifts for friends with cats, and for herself to use while playing with the many friendly cats on the block.  Thanks to Family Fun magazine for a great idea (I continue to get this magazine not because I ever take the time to read it…but because Miss M loves the crafts and other fun ideas!).

5.-6.  Speaking of fun ideas, Miss M really wanted to make this travel art case she saw on one of my Pinterest boards.  It was a total fail (my fault — I couldn’t figure out how to properly cut the case).  She made a small cardboard-and-duct-tape small crayon box instead with inspiration from daddy.

7.  With continued less-than-ideal weather much of the week, Mr. E created art work as well.  I really liked this one he is holding up in the picture.  I think he said it was a “Red Guard with a Double Bladed Lightsaber.”  Or something like that!

8. We finally planted a garden.  The kids and I took advantage of a short break between rain storms and planted a few veggies on Wednesday afternoon.   We’ll see if the weather is favorable the rest of the summer for actually growing any vegetables!

9.  Miss M and Mr. E continued typing practice with Dance Mat Typing this week, and everyone played educational games on the iPad.  “Summer School”-wise, Miss M started learning about Minnesota History by reading two “Studies Weekly” newspapers, and I played math games with the two older kids. And of course we did plenty of our usual reading aloud.  Like I said, a nice, light start to a bit of planned summer learning.  🙂

 

I’m linking up with Collage Friday and The Weekly Wrap-Up

Homegrown Learners
 

Collage Saturday: Week #2 of Summer Break June 1, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:56 am

This was a short week for us (as I’m sure it was for many people) with our family returning late Monday afternoon from a 4-day weekend out of town.   It felt more like a “break” week than last week did, since last week was so full/busy.   We didn’t make any big plans — we mostly stayed home (besides taking care of a bunch of errands…and actually having time to do them in the morning before everyone was tired and crabby!)

When it was time to take our summer break, I told the kids I would give them two weeks without bugging them about “school stuff” at all (We have some light schoolwork planned for the summer).  But they still managed to learn a lot anyway.  🙂

2013-05-31

I tried to keep a few notes of the learning activities the kids did this week…mostly on their own initiative, or with a little prompting/suggesting from me when they were out of ideas on a few rainy afternoons:

  • Letter writing (Miss M — age 9)
  • Using the dictionary to check spelling (Miss M)
  • Snap circuits (Mr. E  — age 6 and Mr. K — age 4)
  • Fill-it-in Math Word Problems (like mad libs, but with a math question at the end)
  • Miss M and I tried a new yeast bread recipe (Italian breakfast bread)
  • Educational iPad games
  • Science “One Minute Mysteries”
  • Mr. K dictated a short story to me
  • Started “Owls in the Family” as an afternoon read-aloud with all three older kids
  • Finish a woven potholder (Miss M)
  • Miss M learned how to make twice baked potatoes
  • Typing practice (Mr. E and Miss M)
  • I finished a long read-aloud with Miss M
  • Finding new books at the library (a nice review of using alphabetical order for Miss M)
  • Practicing etiquette at a backyard tea party
  • Birdwatching in the backyard (we observed a female goldfinch for quite a while)
  • Started Life of Fred Cats, at the kids’ request
  • Random picture book read-alouds

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

I’m linking up with Collage Friday, The Weekly Wrap-Up, and Homeschool Review!

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Collage Saturday: A Birthday and our First Week of Summer Break May 25, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 3:58 pm

Not only was it the first week of summer break for the kids…I ended up taking an unplanned blogging break too.   I had plenty of ideas to blog about…but I just ended up being too busy with other things:

 

2013-05-23

1.  Swimming at an indoor pool (we received two one-day family passes almost two years ago to a pool not especially close to home, and we finally got around to using one of them).

2.  Last weekend Tony built the kids a giant sandbox, and got it filled with sand on Tuesday afternoon.

3.  Miss M celebrated her 9th birthday on Tuesday with an “old fashioned”-themed birthday party that evening.

4. – 6.  Miss M’s wish for the day of her birthday was to visit the MN History Center — everyone had a blast.  We saw two newer exhibits — one aimed at kids about MN history in general, and one about Minnesota’s role in the Civil War.

7.  Miss M and I made cake pops for a end-of-year co-op picnic on Thursday.  They were just as hard to make as I always feared they might be.  😉  Luckily they tasted good and were snatched up in a few short minutes at the picnic.

8. – 9.  Enjoying a long weekend hanging out at Grandma’s house with swings, monopoly and lots of room to run and play.

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

I’m linking up with Collage Friday, The Weekly Wrap-Up, and Homeschool Review!

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