Thursday, September 30, 2010

Armadillo Rodeo

Last week we used the HomeschoolShare unit for Armadillo Rodeo. Jack has read enough Jan Brett to recognize her books as soon as he sees them, so he was excited.

Jack used the instructions from Jan Brett's site to draw his own armadillo.

We did another sink/float experiment (because armadillos cannot swim and will sort of inflate themselves to get across deeper water) and were surprised with some of our results.

Some of the vocabulary from the story along with a custom boot design!

We read a few go-along books, too. When we read Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, I was impressed that Jack picked up on the parallel construction.

I picked this book up at Half-Price Books last year and we love it! It has tons of information and experiments and activities. Jack likes to look through it on his own, too!

One of the experiments was to see of you could get water from the soil like animals in dry climates do. We were partially successful. I think that if I had gotten the saran wrap down tighter it would have worked better, but it was a windy day and the hole was big enough that we needed to use two pieces, so it was hard to get it tight.

In math, we discussed standard and non-standard measurements. I picked up this book at Mardel to use as a review, since this was not a completely new concept. We talked about how horses are measured in hands (a hand is actually four inches) and measured different things in hands and figured out how many inches that would be.

Boot cookies!

We took a trip to a local museum which has a wonderful kids' room! They got to sit on a saddle and try to use a lasso and there was even a fake campfire and reading area, complete with a copy of Armadillo Rodeo! Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the museum, or I would have a picture here of Alice sticking her head in the fire.

We capped off the week with our rodeo visit!

This has been a light school week since we have had a lot to do outside of the house, but next week we are starting back up with How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World--complete with a visit to an apple orchard!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Third Tooth

A little over a week ago, Jack showed me that his top front tooth was loose. Since he has lost the other two fairly quickly, I got him out of bed and took a picture, just in case this one came out as fast.

It took a little over a week, but it came out Tuesday morning. He was eating a Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit and he thought it was a piece of bacon. It had cheese all over it when he handed it to me.

Alice was pretty interested in his new smile. Last night the tooth fairy left him $1.24--not as much as the $1.25 for the first tooth, but more than the regular $1.00 for a normal tooth. Jack is pretty sure he saw her, too--a yellow light in his room last night!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Other Beginning's End

It's hard to believe that we've been home for a year now. It seems like just a few weeks ago that we were in our old house. Even though I was looking forward to being home again, leaving the place we'd lived the longest since high school was a daunting prospect. We've finally settled into a routine here, though, and it seems more normal to be here. I don't miss the drive back and forth at all, but it's not so far that we can't visit our friends. We've even driven by the old house a few times on trips back.

It seems strange that there was a whole chunk of our lives there that Alice will have never experienced, but we're working on lots of new fun experiences here.

So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits,

I hope you have found a friend.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


We've been reading Armadillo Rodeo this week (pictures to come soon!), so last night we went to a real rodeo!

It started off with the Grand Entry when all the horses and riders rode into the arena.

The first event was called Mutton Busting--that should probably be Bustin', but I don't really know. Little kids--one was just 3--were put bareback onto a sheep and then let loose. Turns out that sheep can run really fast. I don't know how these kids' moms let them do this without taking a few valium before things start.

Alice liked climbing on the fence and watching the animals. Jack said the whole thing was just okay, because he was disappointed that he didn't get to ride, too.

Next came the team roping.

Jack was concerned that the cows were hurt, but the mostly just seemed annoyed by the whole experience.

We saw a trick rider that could do a headstand on his horse!

The last event was barrel racing. It was getting too dark and the horses were too fast for me to get a good picture.

Check back soon for more pictures!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn Sunshine

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

You can't necessarily tell it by the weather here yet, but fall has arrived!

Yesterday we had fall muffin tin meals for lunch--cheese leaves and acorns, apples, pumpkin cookies, and of course, chicken strips and potato wedges grabbed at Reasor's after gymnastics. If grocery store deli food doesn't say fall, what does?

When we were at Michael's, we found these plastic leaves and acorns. Alice loves playing with them!

Of course we have our fall books out, too. A few new ones have joined our old favorites. (I thought I had done a post on our fall books before, but I can't find it, so maybe I will try to do one soon!) At the bottom of the picture above, you can see the basket of fake leaves that Alice likes to play in.

Today we went to the arboretum to start our tree study for the year. The weather was perfect.

Jack chose to observe the flowering dogwood. He liked the name. I know you're surprised!

We saw this little guy getting ready for winter!

When we got home, Jack made a rubbing of a leaf from his tree and drew what it looks like now. We also read this book, which follows a maple tree through all of the seasons. Jack wants to go back soon to see if it has changed any.

Coincidentally, I realized this evening that today is the start of Take a Child Outside Week. This is not something we participate in formally, but I think it's a great idea to remind us to get our kids outside and enjoying nature, especially now that it's not so horribly hot!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car

We rowed Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car last week.

We used a lot of the printables from HomeschoolShare for Jack's notebook.

For the color activity, we used paint cards from the store and matched different shades we found in the story.

When we studied friction, Jack built a new Lego car. He tried driving it on different surfaces.

Using cubes to calculate how many passengers the cars can hold.

We also had a car-themed Muffin Tin Meal--red, yellow, and green fruit, cookies (wheels), stoplights (M&Ms on graham crackers), and travel pillows (Pizza Rolls).

Alice got in on the fun by trying to fit the animals into the truck. It was a squash!

This week we are having fun with Armadillo Rodeo and we're even going to visit a rodeo, so come back soon for pictures!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Salamander Room

I'm a little behind on blogging, but we recently rowed The Salamander Room.

We started our week with a nature walk around our yard. We used the checklist from the Fold & Learn, which we really enjoyed.

It's hard to see here, but we found a bird nest in the brick stacks.

Another one of our finds--not an uncommon sight out here.

We made our own salamanders...

...and painted them, too! (Idea from HSS.)

We made one for Alice and let her "paint" it with bathtub paint. She thought she was big stuff!

I also found a copy of the Reading Rainbow episode online and the kids watched it while their salamanders dried.

After the salamanders were finished, we made habitats for them--also an idea from HomeschoolShare.

We discussed parallel construction--not something I would probably have covered with a first grader, but with Ami's great idea, it became much easier to teach and understand.

To wrap up our study, we made a trip to the pet store to get the supplies for our new pet, a leopard gecko. We have the shelf and tank set up now and as soon as we get the lighting figured out, we will have a new family member!