Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Trip to the Vet

Last week we took a field trip to the vet. Jack was really excited!

The vet told us that the dog had eaten something and the kids got to feel around to see if they could tell what it was.

They weren't sure, so the poor dog had to get an x-ray.

Oh, no! Scissors!

It was off to the operating room next, and the dog was back to normal.

The kids all got stethoscopes, too. Alice tried hers out on herself.

Jack used his on a dog

and on a cat, too! These were the most compliant animals I've ever seen!

Our last station involved learning about blood. The kids made "blood" so they could see the different parts.

Then they tried to identify the parts on a slide.

Jack's favorite part? The giant blow-up flea he got at the end!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In the Country

In the country, the bugs are much bigger.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Favorite Author

Jack loves to write, and last night he finished his very first whole book, a ten chapter story about a dog named Neptune. He is quite excited about his accomplishment and we are very proud of him! He would love it if you would like to read his story, so if you would like a copy, email me or leave me your email address in the comments and I will make sure you get one!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Winter Reward

While all the school kids were in class making up snow days on President's Day, Jack got a reward for charging through all nine days that the others were out.

A friend in Oklahoma City was having a birthday party on Sunday, so we got a hotel and had a little vacation.

There was swimming,

playing with friends,

and watching King of the Hill. For some reason, Jack wants to watch it every time he's at a hotel, and I usually let him, even though he doesn't get to watch it at home.

The kids were up early enough Monday morning to watch some cartoons and still be in the pool by 7:30.

We were planning to go to the zoo, but since it was so cold, we went to the science museum instead. Jack's first stop is always the face painting!

Alice enjoyed herself, too, even if the six year olds moved a little faster than she did.

After a long lunch with friends, we headed home. It was so nice to get to take a break!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Like Brother, Like Sister

Same basket, same baby doll, but this time Boris escaped.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Birds

I filled this bird feeder in the fall and no one visited it until the snow came--and now it is very popular! This is a dark-eyed junco. We have LOTS of them around.

We all like to watch them!

A male cardinal

A female cardinal--I have had a hard time getting a clear picture of one!

We have little bird prints all around the yard! We've also seen some red-breasted nuthatches horned larks, and mourning doves, but I'm not fast enough with the camera.

Here is Alice, telling you about our visitors. I was hoping she would say, "Toss!" since she says it whenever she sees the bag of birdseed, but no such luck!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Five In A Row

On my one day out of the house since our blizzard started, I managed to leave my camera at my mom and dad's house, so I'm going to try to get caught up on some posts that don't need recent pictures. First up: Five in a Row!

When I started thinking about homeschooling, Five in a Row kept popping up in a lot of the searches I tried. I looked at Before Five in a Row (geared toward younger kids) and ordered a copy, but I wasn't sure if it was where I wanted to go. Ami (from HomeschoolShare) encouraged me to look into it some more and when I looked at Five in a Row (for kids who are 4-8), I really liked what I saw. (I do think Before FIAR is good, we were just a little past that point and had already read many of the books--many times!)

When I taught fifth grade at my first school, everything was focused around social studies, which was right up my alley since one of the best books I've ever read (professionally speaking--I am not that much of a nerd) is Seeing the Whole Through Social Studies. For reading, we used historical fiction novels taking place during the time period we were studying. At my second school, we didn't have the freedoms I was used to, but social studies was still a major part of the curriculum. FIAR has a strong social studies focus and the stories take place in different locations and different time periods and have a wide variety of characters. (The picture above is Jack reading The Rag Coat, from Volume 1.)

While I am not going to claim to be a strict Charlotte Mason-ite , I like how Simply Charlotte Mason defines the method:

A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits.

FIAR fits perfectly into this model. Each week we row a different book, reading the same book each day--and to address the earlier comment that amused so many FIAR moms, "rowing" is just the term used when talking about reading the book and doing related activities. We do different activities and lessons from the manual or from suggestions from other FIAR moms and for the written parts, we usually use the lapbook pieces from HomeschoolShare. If there is a special event related to the book, I try to match them up, such as going to see the circus when we rowed Andy and the Lion.

And then there is the something extra that makes FIAR different from other methods. The ladies (and Steve) on the message boards are kind and helpful and really are people that I consider to be friends, though I have only met a handful in real life. Stories like this one (have a kleenex ready when you click the link) are not uncommon in the FIAR community. It's nice to have a place to "go" to chat about school and life--especially when you are snowed in your house for more than a week.

That, in a nutshell, is what made me choose FIAR. I am going to try to get a few more related posts up soon, so if there is anything you want to know, leave me a comment!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The First Book

Today Jack finished his very first big chapter book all by himself. He was so excited that through the whole last chapter, he would tell me every time he finished a page. When he was completely through, he asked me to get the camera!

Way to go, Jack!

The 100th Day of School

Today was our 100th day of school.

We had plans for a fun celebration, but since we got more snow, we had to improvise at home.

Jack made a 100 ice cream scoops collage and got to eat an Airhead while he did his copywork. If that's not celebrating, nothing is. Hopefully we can get out of the house next week for our originally planned celebration!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Mail

I found these little mailboxes in the dollar section at Target a few weeks ago and started thinking.

On a recent trip to Michael's, I got this cute Valentine's paper that looked like lots of stamps. Let's be honest: I haven't scrapbooked in two years and I don't really need more paper when I do get started back up.

So I decided to make the kids Valentine's mailboxes. Each day I'll write them a little note. Sometimes we will do something special, and sometimes not. (Yeah, I'm totally trying to hide the junk on the table by using Alice's raincoat back there.)

Yesterday the kids got to have popcorn in the living room while watching a Scooby Doo DVD I had hidden away.

Jack was beyond thrilled about getting the "mail" in his mailbox. The first morning he gushed over it for about ten minutes and then went off to make some mail for me. Not a bad return for the $3 I spent!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Pass the Time

If you've had record amounts of snowfall and your clinic has been closed for two days, you might wonder what you can do to occupy yourself. Jay decided to try to dig out the driveway today. I was a little concerned it might be like last year when he came in seeming a bit dazed, but I was impressed at how easy it seemed to be. Well, at least it looked easy for him from my post inside by the space heater, sipping a Coke.

After a couple of hours, he had made a pretty good start.

By dinner, the driveway was shoveled into submission.

That's close to eight hours of work there.

(Excuse the poorly photoshopped cabin, but I feel a bit odd about putting my house on the internet for my millions of readers to see.) The schools here are out for the rest of the week (except for my poor child), so the only one who will be driving on this is Jay. In a few years, though, Jack may be getting snow days off to shovel alongside his dad!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day

The snow drifted up on the school room windows today, but we kept on as usual.

When the weather is as bad as it is, we might as well have school. We'll save our snow days for when the weather's better.

We did have some fun, though. We brought out the new Valentine's Day sensory bin.

Our Valentine's Day books came out, too. Now Jack is big enough to read them on his own.

After our school work was done, Jack got out a Playmobil set he got for Christmas but hadn't opened yet. That took the rest of the afternoon and about half an hour on the video camera for shooting his adventure movie.

Alice seemed to think she was going to get to go outside, but she was mistaken.

Jack bundled up and went out while Jay did some shoveling.

Some of the drifts were up to his armpits. He had been dying to get in them all day.

When he came in, we made some snow ice cream.


Everyone is out again tomorrow, but we're going to stay with it!