Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween, my kids were, from oldest to youngest, Harry Potter, Fluttershy, and Hedwig the owl. Dressing up three kids is not easy! Even though Harry Potter largely dressed himself, he still had little adjustments he needed help with such as a coat that kept opening. I dressed up Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, but only on Halloween night itself. All the other activities and parties were too much for me. By the time I dressed up the kids, I was too tired. To dress myself in anything but regular duds.

We had a blast, though, and the pumpkin Husband carved was really cool, as in darkness it threw a nice creepy bat shadow over the whole ceiling, reminiscent of Batman. We went Cosplay with Ballerina's costume as we couldn't find an actual Fluttershy kids' costume. There is Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, even Pinkie Pie, but no Fluttershy? Why not? Anybody care to comment on this?

Ballerina didn't care to wear just a My Little Pony hoodie. She was a hit with her pink bubblegum hair, though.

P.E. Kick-off Celebration

The first week of Homeschool P.E. started out with a bang. Centennial Bank kept us all happy with free unlimited hot dogs and the sprinklers were turned out for the kids' enjoyment after an invigorating game of kickball. There are about 30 children participating in the group with a trained P.E. person, showing them the ropes. Afterwards, the kids all just hang out and play at the large park. Although an hour away, I will try to attend P.E. at least once every two weeks. This is a nice group of kids and families, and Builder and Ballerina could benefit from some sports education and team work outdoors.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Art: Al Fresco Fresco Painting

Husband works really hard, and although he always makes time to be with his family, I thought I'd help him out in his teaching capacity. He's our art teacher. In the past he's designed and led his own art program. However, I knew that this year and the next would be especially difficult as his workload has increased. After much consideration, I bought Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 2. With this book we'd be able to have both children in one program. Builder is in 4th but artistically right with the book, and Ballerina is in K but advanced in her artistic abilities and interests. 

 A couple of weeks in, and I love the results. It's also much easier on Husband. All he has to do is read the material a day or two ahead, supplement any materials he doesn't have - he does have many things, as he is an artist himself - and voila. Ready to go. Here the kids are preparing the piece of cardboard with a type of stucco - wet plaster.
 Here is Builder, laying it on under Husband's supervision.
Ballerina: Me! Me! I want to do it! Builder: Will my hands get dirty?
Painting on top. Husband showing technique without actually drawing. They decided to go with a Halloween theme since it is October.
 I love art in the backyard. Detail of bird feeder.
 Result. It will look different when it dries.
Detail of cat and ghost. Children really got into it. I was delighted to see Builder, who normally tries to get art quickly over with, spent his time making sure it was the way he aspired it to be. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Day at a Farm Outpost - Robert Is Here

The kids on a vintage tractor

Normally I school during the week, 8 AM-12 Noon, from Monday through Friday. However, when I saw that the local playgroup was going to be at Robert Is Here, a fruit stand and farm outpost 40 minutes away, I said, count me in! Did I mention they have fabulously fresh fruit smoothies?

Another draw was the fact that an old friend I hadn't seen in more than a year was going to be there too. The kids were excited. Builder, my oldest, had a vague memory of spending lazy, hot hours watching emus and yes, sipping smoothies. I hadn't been at the place in a few years, and was pleasantly surprised the management - probably Robert - added a large, enclosed play area which included a mini water play area, shaded seating, benches, and tended grass. This fenced place was directly adjacent to some animal friends - ducks, goats, sheep, and a disgruntled emu. The kids were in heaven.

All three having their yummy fruit smoothies

Despite the escalating temperatures, we kept cool by downing our waters I brought over and finally succumbing to getting ice-cold fruit smoothies - strawberry-banana for the kids, mango-coconut for me. 
Robert Is Here sells a variety of stuff, from fresh produce and exotic tropical fruit to jarred preserves and sauces. It's tempting to buy many things you don't need. I was only able to keep myself in check by reminding myself that I was well stocked back home. I did make a mental note to return when I wasn't.

Another view of play area, with animals in the background

The kids played with some friends they haven't seen in a while, and spent the hours throwing starfruit at a hungry iguana, running through sprinklers, playing peekaboo with the ostrich, imitating the donkey's bray, feeding the goats, geese, and ducks, exploring an old tractor, and learning how to operate a manual water pump. In short, they had a blast! I enjoyed watching their unrestrained play and the excitement on their glistening faces. Homeschooling is not all about hitting the books. As Charlotte Mason herself said, children learn from books and things. Not just books. Not just things. On this day, we focused on the things, and it was wonderful.

Starfruit-catching iguana on the rocks

Lego Playdate

Builder enjoyed a Saturday afternoon with his friend watching the movie Tintin at the library, then hanging out playing Ninjago Legos.

A Snapshot of an Ordinary Day: 4th Year and K

It occurred to me that I often post experiments, field trips, and reading, but not much writing or just an ordinary work day. Here are all three of my precious children, with Beauty happy to be in the thick of things. She loves "doing school" with Builder and Ballerina. I love homeschooling.

Our First Week 2012-2013 Year, Part II

As I mentioned in my previous post, we started on Labor Day. However, this was a light day. I took their pictures, recorded their height and weight, favorite food, toy, song, movie, and lesson (subject) and asked them three fun questions:

What would you like to learn?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What else would you like to talk about?

They tell me, and I record their answers on my sheet. This year it was extra enjoyable, as I had two children to do these with. I can see how different they are. Builder said his favorite movie was Tintin and that he wanted to be a detective. Ballerina said she wanted to be an animal doctor - not a vet - and an artist, and predicted her favorite lesson would be Art. Here are their pictures on the first day of school.