Monday, March 31, 2014

Just checking in {March 31, 2014}

Just a rambling post of plans for this week, school check-in, and some spring dreaming.

The boys decided (last minute) that they wanted to take their spring break this week. Seeing that they told me this late Sunday afternoon, I wasn't prepared for projects that needed to be done while on break. After some pondering while washing dishes this morning, I made some goals. To get ready for our annual garage sale coming up in late April we will go through closets, clothes, and the frig also needs a good cleaning and so do my bathroom cabinets. We have a day and a half of errand running and some site visiting.  Plus a day at the family farm for some nature study and play. I think our week will be full.

I started Caleb on going through his clothes this morning. It actually goes really smooth when they are old enough to do it themselves. Those of you with little ones, have hope! Tyler and I will tackle his clothes this afternoon after some play time outside. This project is a little scary!

Arrival of spring is late in our area (and I assume most everywhere this year). I'm really missing green! I tried to go through my pictures and find some spring flowers and green, but I couldn't find any. I'm sure I could find some in our nature scrapbook! I did find pictures of my Irises from last year. It looked like they bloomed mid-May last year. I assume they will bloom around the same time this year (I think spring was late last year too). This is something to look forward to especially since they didn't all bloom last year due to moving them the previous fall.

Going through my pictures, I found some of the big snow storm we had in 2011. Pictures like these make you thankful for our (hopefully) ending winter weather.

Now onto school stuff. I was sick for over a week. A nasty head cold, but it was weird as I was the same sick for over a week. Typically you are bad a period of time and then gradually get better. I was very sick the whole time and I woke up and was completely better one day.

This has caused Morning Basket not to happen the last two weeks. My voice was not capable of reading out loud for 30 minutes to an hour that morning basket requires. We are behind on that.

I did decide to return the Fix It! form IEW in exchange for the first two books of their updated version. The samples looked great and I like the revised books better. We are still waiting on them to arrive, so that has been put off.

The Student Writing Intensive from IEW that Caleb was working on has been put away (perhaps forever). It is too big of a struggle. I really think this program is worth his efforts, but he disagrees. I finally gave up on it last week when he was (verbally) fighting me about doing it and Tyler got in on the fight too and let me know that he wouldn't be doing that program in the future. Instead we may work on some character training as it is not ok for them to talk to me that way.  \:(  Teaching kids to respond and give feedback without being disrespectful and rude is a challenge at the moment.

Our bird study is going very well and we are enjoying the book What's That Bird. We are also watching a couple of videos from The Happy Scientist and the boys love this guy! We watch the videos for fun too.

Caleb's attitude towards math has changed and he is really pushing forward and making progress. I don't know what changed his attitude, but we will take it.

Planning next year is still weighing heavily on my mind. I'm still undecided about some books and how much to put on Caleb's list. Lots of prayer is going into this! 

We had our first spring storm last week. We didn't get any severe weather but we did get a quick downpour. As you can see from the above picture, we were on the edge of one system and you can see another system further north of us. Both had severe weather but thankfully they missed us. Of course, we really could use some rain!

We discussed what to do during storms and at one time we started to prepare as there were tornado warnings with these systems. The boys were told to locate shoes and put them at the basement door and gather any things they wanted to take with them to the basement. The below picture is what Tyler gathered up. His "babies", a blanket "to cover his eyes" and a DS to play with because "you have to have something to do while you are waiting to be rescued!" Hammy was in his pile to, but didn't make it in the picture.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Caleb's New Toy

Caleb has been saving up to purchase a bow since last summer. He raised the funds from doing extra chores for family, monthly allowance, some Christmas cash, and mostly birthday cash. 

He finally had all the funds saved and Scott realized the price of the bow had increased. Scott decided to cover the difference and they went off to purchase it.  

Once at the sporting goods store they ran into some problems (mostly from a salesperson last summer who didn't give out correct information). Yet, they still came home with a bow. 

Caleb has been very pleased with his purchase!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Starting a New Term

This week is our first week of Term 4! Which means our school year is getting closer to done! (Shh! Don't tell my kids we have a summer term for 3 weeks in June!)

Summer dreaming of swimming in the lake (hopefully sliding in)!

Last week we tried something new and did end of term examinations via Charlotte Mason style. Most of my research came from this post on the 4Real message board. The boys did about what I expected (perhaps a little better). I learned that we need to spend more time on spelling and Tyler didn't understand anything he read from his science book from the third term. This was a springboard on changes to make for term 4.

I like to keep things fresh and new and we make changes every term to keep our school going in that direction. Here are some new things we are doing for term 4.

I'm bringing the boys together in science and we are doing a bird study. We are using What's That Bird?, but I didn't get the Memoria Press books. We also have Birds in Missouri for our reference. The Happy Scientist has some videos to watch too. I have the Burgess Bird Book on hand, but we may listen to some of it on LibriVox.

Caleb is feeling accomplished by finishing his math book and is eagerly starting the next one, Math-U-See Zeta.

For religion we are reading from a few new books, St. Patrick's Summer by Marigold Hunt and More Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls by Caryll Houselander. I'll be reading these books out loud to both boys. Tyler will be reading My Path to Heaven: A Young Person's Guide to the Faith on his own (hopefully).

During morning baskets we started two new books. Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome and Canadian Summer by Hilda van Stockum. We are listening to the Swallowdale on CD because the book is very long and the language doesn't come naturally to me when reading out loud. The lady on the recording does a much better job! The boys loved the first Mitchell book so buying all three in that series was a good call last summer!

Caleb started a new grammar program from IEW, Fit-it!,  a few weeks ago. Of course, they updated the program and it is all new two weeks after I purchase it. (I feel slightly cheated!) The version I have was cheaper though. Caleb is working on Tom Sawyer, which isn't even an option anymore. I think that is good, because learning grammar from Tom Sawyer is just . . . . not right!  ; ) It is going well and I plan to start Tyler on it next year or during the summer term. I wanted to give Caleb (the oldest) a head start in the program.

Tyler enjoys doing art and he hadn't done much this year. I got Meet the Masters for him. We have started it, but not far enough for any reviews. I thought it would be a way to get in some art appreciation and art projects at the same time. Homeschool Co-Op had Meet the Masters as one of their deals last month.

Our focus this term is to keep chipping away at IEW Student Writing Intensive with Caleb. Caleb is also steadily working on his math. Tyler's copywork and math is his focus. 

Tyler's Lego creation of a construction site.

Since it went well (low amount of complaining from the test takers) I'm planning on doing end-of-term examination again during our last week (mid May).

We will be continuing on with everything else. You can read my past posts on the books we are using this year here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Late Winter Nature Study {First one of the Year}

FINALLY! We were able to slip away for some time at our favorite nature study place and the bonus was it was in the mid 70s (about 25 degrees above normal).

I had no plans for this outing other than soaking up some sun. Scott was able to join us on this outing. We arrived and found a pair of wood ducks on the lake.

The boys (big and small) started off with some fishing.

I tried to get some reading done. (I really wished I had brought a blanket to put on the ground and nap!)The inspiring sounds of nature were inviting and made it hard to concentrate on reading.

We took a short walk around the lake. Nothing exciting, but we did find deer tracks, checked out a fallen tree, and got a close up look at a Honey Locus.

The boys played some catch and fired off some rockets (Tyler received this for Christmas)before we headed home. Getting home took a little longer since the car got stuck leaving the farm.  The boys got a life lesson on how to pull a car out with a tractor.

Looking forward to getting some more nature study in this coming spring! Some planned outings are sounding great! We enjoyed another nice day today, reached 80! Yet, it is only suppose to be 40 tomorrow. Still winter here!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Project Snapshots Monday

I'm linking up with Pam @ Everyday Snapshots for her Project Snapshots Monday.

Pam says, "In this space we endeavor to capture a memory with camera, just words, or both. Share a memory from your week that you do not wish to forget — a laugh with a child, a moment with a spouse, a memory gathered while alone. In time we will have a collection of memories to treasure."

Mine is a conversation Tyler and I had while collecting towels to do a load of laundry. I was hoping Tyler was going to take the basket and carry it to the "laundry room". (It's really just a closet.)

I said, "Tyler, why didn't you carry the heavy laundry basket into the kitchen for me? That's what all boys do for their mothers."

And Tyler said, "I'm not a boy! I'm a man!"

I still have lots of work to do with him!

Tending The Pumpkin Patch is on Bloglovin!

I started using Bloglovin about a week ago and it has made my online blog reading much smoother. You can find me here! I think! Let me know if the link is not right.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday February 28, 2014

1) It wasn't my intention to go this long without a blog post! Or miss the Friday deadline. Things have been a little busy, mostly scout stuff. We also haven't done anything exciting. I've been longing for some nature study! We can't get to our usual spot when it snows, but I long for a snowy nature study day! We've had some nice days with this crazy winter, but those days were already full or it was just too windy to enjoy being outside. The boys do enjoy being outside as much as possible at the moment.

2) We do have exciting plans for the weekend! We are expecting bad weather and we plan to be driving sometime during that time. We shall see how that turns out. I'll tell about it after the fact. Scott's one rule for blogging safety is not mentioning ahead of time when we won't be home. I'm not allowed to do this on facebook either. Makes sense!

3) It's been an exciting winter here, just like most of the country. I don't mind winter. I do mind all the nasty talk about winter. We live in a place that can get cold and snowy and people tend to forget. I usually try to refrain myself from telling them to stop complaining and move south, but I don't . . . . well maybe I just did!  ; )  I shouldn't be so judgmental! You will hear me complain about the wind in the coming months and I'm sure I will complain about the heat come summer. Honestly, I could move north or south. I assume the farther you go in those direction the more consistent the temperatures would be for the seasons. I would love that! Inconsistency is my biggest problem with the weather. For those that live far north or far south, and if my assumption is wrong please don't tell me. Love to dream!

4) Too much free time? It's hard to believe that we don't have enough school work scheduled during the day! Last fall we couldn't get everything done and it became stressful days. Now Caleb is complaining that he is getting bored. Now he doesn't want me to schedule more school work but increase his allotted screen time. I'm fixing this by slowly adding in new stuff each week and hoping they don't notice anything but the not being "bored" in the afternoons. Next week we are adding back in the Life of Fred books. Caleb will start the Fractions book twice a week independently and Tyler will finish up Farming on his own. I also bought Meet the Masters from Homeschool Co-op and will be doing that once a week with Tyler (will see if Caleb wants to join us). I added in some more bible reading for Lent too. Ok, it looks like I'm adding in a lot this coming week and the boys may notice!

5) We are currently in a 7 weeks of a scouting event every weekend. These events take anywhere from an hour to almost the whole weekend. Some require all 4 of us and other just two of us. This is not ideal as we are starting to feel burned out. This doesn't include all the other work we do in helping to run the pack. Helping with the Troop is not much since the Pack is our main focus at the moment. We are currently looking forward to July when there is nothing going on with scouts!

6) Near future plans? I'm going to figure out how to use Evernote and use it for school planning. I may do that this weekend . . . . did I mention it's already Saturday afternoon? Well, maybe Sunday anyway! If not, it's on my to-do list.

7) I'm looking forward to the Lent and Easter season! I've been checking out blogs and reading what others are doing. Lent is usually kept simple here. I'm hoping to have a (small) blog post about what we do. Really I encourage you to get ideas from others as I just steal everyone's good ones and we don't do too much. I'm interested in discovering some new meatless meals. Honestly, I'm tired of frozen fish sicks every Friday. It's not healthy either, but cooking fish is something I don't want to do. I may try some our our favorite soups without the meat with a vegetable broth. What are your favorites?

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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