Saturday, September 28, 2013

Late September Nature Study

Scott and I celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary this past week. To celebrate we took the boys camping. We went for easy and just camped out by the lake at the family farm. This meant no need to pack a cooler, cooking equipment, or digging your own latrine! There was a building with a kitchen and bathroom near by. We did sleep out in the tent, cooked dinner over a camp fire, went on a night time nature hike, fishing, and all kinds of family togetherness. Even though we made it easy we were all exhausted the next day; I assume from not sleeping well in the tent. Here is a photo journey for our camp out.

 Gathering wood for the fire.

 Fire building.

Tyler working on getting his marshmallow roasting stick ready for a hot dogs.

Our sleeping quarters.

Morning fog rolling over the lake.

Largemouth Bass was the morning fish find.

I think this is were Scott and Caleb got into some chiggers. 

Getting ready for some fishing before dinner.

Tyler with his first catch of the day.

 Tyler's second catch of the day, another Largemouth Bass.

Caleb and Tyler during our nature walk around the lake. The Broom Sedge is beautiful right now!

Tyler in the cattails.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Marshmallow Roast!

There is no better way to kick off fall than a marshmallow roast!

Sunset . . . . which is coming early now. I wish it would stay at 7 all fall and winter!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Update to our Curriculum Choices

I really hate posting our curriculum choices because they will always change once we start working them. I guess we just need to try it out first. Of course I will still post them because us homeschoolers want to know what everyone else is using. You just never know where you will find inspiration.

Here is an updated list of what is working for us this year!

Dropped: Evan Moor Daily Math Word Problems, WordSmith (Caleb), and Little Latin Readers. 

The Math-U-See program has plenty of word problems and review so the EM workbook wasn't needed. WordSmith was fine . . . . but I've been thinking about IEW Student Writing Intensive for a long time and unexpectedly the funds became available to buy it so I did. We are just starting this now. I think this will be a great program and exactly what Caleb needs, but he isn't sure. 

After reading The Three Methods of Teaching Latin in the The Classical Teacher (late summer 2013) I decided against Little Latin Readers. We hadn't even started it yet so switching wasn't a big deal. We went with Latina Christiana I, of course (they did write the article). We started it last week and it's going well. It is easy to teach and the boys are liking it. Thank God for the CD!

Tweaked: Lighted Lanterns (Caleb), Math and history 

The Lighted Lanterns program is too easy for Caleb except for the dictation. So, we are just using the dictation for now and Tyler will use this book next year. I thought the grammar stuff would be good review for him but it's just too childish for him. No big deal and it saves us time (we needed to cut something out any way) and it turns out he doesn't need the review.

Tyler just wasn't as far along as I thought in his multiplication, so I ordered the Gamma level from MUS and we are working in that level for now. Just a little delay. Truly my fault for not allowing enough time for him to learn his facts. I should have known because it's not like he's my first.

History had some big changes. We are still doing the Middle Ages and many of the books I listed in the original post. We did drop the Dorothy Mills book. I don't have history lovers and Caleb still isn't ready for extreme detailed information. Instead we switched to The Middle Ages Project Pack from Home School in the Woods. We started this also last week. It's going well! Tyler is also doing this with Caleb now. I have officially given up on trying to teach history twice in a day. We should be ready for the Renaissance period in January. I plan to do what I had planned to do with Tyler with both boys next year (state study/continue American history). I guess you can say I have a head start on our books for next year! I will do a more detail post of history in the future.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What We Are Up To-7 Quick Takes 9-13-2013

1. This is our busiest time of the year. I have everything well planned this year and I'm staying organized. The weird thing is that it's not working. I'm still stressed. The only difference is things are getting done timely and I really have nothing to stress about . . . . but I still do. I'm starting to wonder why I put so much time into being well organized when the outcome is the same. Things to ponder!

2. Our church fall festival (big fundraiser) is this Sunday. If you are local I expect to see you there! ; )  I'm in charge of the kid's area. I suck at this, lol! They can fire me if it's a flop. ; ) The whole family is helping. I was able to get game prices down to just twenty-five cents each. I also added a free area with a craft, guessing game (to win a jar of candy), and some games. Another helper built us a new game (pop balloons with darts) and we made a new duck pond and added another new game. We don't have a lot of workers so our games are limited. Maybe I'll have a post about this next week.

3. I'm in charge of our Scout Pack's popcorn again this year. I'm hoping this is my last year. I have a new volunteer who is helping this year and I hope she will take over next year. It's a lot of work to only earn 28% of the sale of the popcorn. In a month from now I will be swimming in popcorn . . . . it's never any fun.

4. Tonight's plan is to can tomatoes. My wonderful husband always takes care of these kitchen duties, but tonight I'm suppose to help. I got signed up for this when I declined to do it on my own, "I would rather do it with you than take on this project alone for the first time." I was reminded last night that I would be helping . . . I guess there is no getting out of it now.

5. I signed the boys up for tennis lessons at the YMCA with other homeschoolers. They really enjoyed it (big surprise here). It cost us $40 a month for an hour plus lesson once a week. They are allowed to come early and stay late. Seems like a good deal when I looked in the Y catalog and saw they charge $35 for an hour private lesson! We will continue with this as long as they are interested, we have the time, and the funds. Most likely the funds will run out first.

6. School went ok this week. We got behind (mostly due to tennis on Monday-I need to remember to schedule a little less on Monday now) and today we have a long make-up list of stuff to do. No nature study today, but this is the first Friday this school year that we needed the whole Friday to catch up. Not bad!

7. Scott has signed up to the be the cub master for our local cub scout pack. This is just a two year commitment. Right now Scott is the cub master, Weblos den leader, and scouting for food leaders. I'm in charge of popcorn and I'm the treasurer. Scott and I are also trying to organize our first cubmobile race (since our district one has changed to May and our pack has a conflict with the date).  Pure craziness!

What are you up to? Leave a comment or leave a link to your blog in the comments. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

First Friday in September Nature Study

 It was this sunset Thursday night the reminded me that we needed to do some nature study. We weren't able to leave the house but we did tour around the yard and found lots of stuff going on. I just have an average camera so please pardon the lack of detail in my close up pictures.

We took this nest out of the pine tree in our backyard (Scott/Dad assured us the birds were done with it) for examination. We discovered they used a lot of mud and it was perfectly shaped. We watched the birds build it this past spring. We also found that plastic was used to make the nest. See picture below for that.

There was a ton of activity around our Sedum plants. Many bees and Buckeye Butterflies were helping out with the pollination process.

In our critter search we found two tomato worms in the garden. We discussed why their waste is green and their life cycle. I learned that they winter in the ground as a pupa and appear as a Sphinx Moth in the spring. We may dig around in the garden over the winter and see if we can find any to watch.

We always find simple joys looking at seeds/fruits/roots of plants in the yard. Today it was the seeds of our Canna plants.

Our Oak tree is overwhelmed with galls. We talked about what caused them; a short search on the internet told us the gall is formed by a reaction to an insect. Larva usually feed on the gall. They don't seem to damage the tree but our tree is completely overwhelmed by them and we will be asking our county forester about it. 

Tyler during our bird watching time. It was a slow bird day. Caleb saw a hummingbird that went to check out the blooming day lilies but left as soon as he saw us. We heard some birds at the neighbors. We are looking forward to our bird study this spring!

We really are a nature loving family and enjoy these small discoveries. I find just getting out and seeing what you can find is the best way to study nature. There are books that can help clue you in to what to be looking for during different seasons. One of my resources for this is Natural Science Through The SeasonsBut, mostly we go out and explore than use guides or the internet or Scott to answer our questions on what we find. Scott and I do have science degrees but self discovery is our best tool in nature study. 

Other valuable nature study tools: Pocket Microscope (this tool works so well and was so cheap),  Handbook of Nature Study, One Small Square book series, For those in Missouri-the Department of Conservation provides many free resources (including magazines) and also offers numerous books on Missouri nature. The boys and I aren't drawers so we don't carry nature journals for drawing but instead take our cameras and photograph our journey. We have a scrapbook dedicated to all the pictures we take.

Nature study isn't just for home schooling families; it's a great family activity for all.

Tell me about your nature study adventures!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Possible Blogging Break

It looks like my blog has a few viewers now and the spammers have finally gone away. I just wanted to let you know I'm having problems with Blogger and Google and they are one of the reasons I'm not posting too often at the moment. If I use Internet Explorer I can't change the size of pictures, but at the moment I can no longer log into google with Firefox (I could last week and I was able to adjust picture size with Firefox).

It is also the busiest time of the year for us. I hope that means I have a lot to blog about later this month or next. If I could just remember to grab the camera before leaving the house!

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