Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter School Days

I don't know if anyone else is like me but I've had a hard time getting back into a schedule of school & activities. I've been sick, exhausted, or both all month. As some of you know I have severe Sleep Apnea and although I have a machine I still struggle with it & getting good, solid sleep. There have been a few stresses added in my life recently which don't help with my motivation. It's the end of January and we are finally easing into a schedule of sorts. Better late than never, right?

Yesterday was a day of noses-to-the-grindstone schoolwork. I spent Sunday getting the girls assignments in order and they were ready to go. It feels good to have that in order again.
We settled in for our school day.

Princess was happy to play upstairs with her toys.
She is at the fun age where pretending is an every day occurrence. She chattered to herself as she made the different toys talk to each other & act out different scenarios.
Oh, my goodness she melts my heart!
I set up Elvis' new lapbook. He is 9 and I wanted to set it up so he could work on it independently. I divided the work up into specific days & separated them with paper clips.
I highlighted the title of the text he needs to read & dated the assignments after dividing them up.
Elvis wrote the assignments down in his binder.
I dictated his other assignments to him & he wrote them down too. I find they take their work a bit more seriously when they have a hand in putting together their assignments.
Bugs worked on his math.
I am happy to say that he is doing very well. A few days ago he was struggling with borrowing. Now he is doing it all on his own! He is doing great in math working in book 2A. (He is 6.)
Everyone worked hard and accomplished a lot. Elvis not only got his assignments planned & written out, (with my help), but he completed all his work for the day. The girls & Bugs were successful too. We are still learning how to overcome distractions and to stay on schedule but all in all I'd say it was a good day. =0)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Yosemite, Here We Come!

By nature I am a planner. That is how I am most comfortable. But every once in awhile I like to be spontaneous. Yesterday was one of those times. I wanted to have a fun learning experience away from our textbooks. I called the boys in & asked them what they were interested in learning about. One said Indians & the other said science. After searching Netflix for Native American documentaries and coming up empty on anything that would hold the interest of a 6 year old I stumbled upon National Geographic. After using this as my search term I had a wealth to choose from. We chose Yosemite.

After watching the documentary all snuggled up in my room we were ready for the next part. BTW, Elvis gave the film 10 out of 10 stars & Bugsy gave it 1 million! Lol. I think they liked it.
I looked up some information on the Internet & decided we needed to take a quick trip to the store for some ingredients for later. We all piled in the van & off we went. A break for a clean-up of neglected chores & then I gave them the challenge of packing their backpacks.

They were allowed 5 items to be found in 5 minutes. These were items they would take on our "trip" to Yosemite. Our specific destination? To climb El Capitan! Elvis insisted on taking his biggest pillow.

Sweet Pea helped Princess pack. She wasn't going to be left behind!

All packed & ready to roll!

While they packed I re-heated the grub Sweet Pea had cooked earlier. After all you have to start a hike with a filling meal.

Perfect camping food. If we could I would have cooked them over an open fire.

We ate our grub outside on pie tins to get that 'camping feel'. Oh and of course we used our water bottles!

Someone was very happy when Bugsy accidentally dropped a piece of his hot dog.

The girls shared some grub. Sweet Pea's choice.

Once we were done our grub it was time to make a snack for the trail. Hikers can get very hungry & need energy. We talked about the ingredients & how each would help us on our hike.

Now it was time to make it! Everyone wanted to help & we took turns.

Plenty of raisins!

Adding them into the bowl is fun!

Princess wanted a turn too. She likes to keep up with her older siblings. No treating her like a baby! Lol.

I got Sweet Pea to join in after a bit of coaxing.

Now for the cereal to be added in to the mix.

Princess wanted to stir.

Mama decided to add a secret, surprise ingredient. Chocolate chips!
(Scary how much she looks like her Daddy here! ROTFL!)

All mixed in & ready to go!

Doesn't it look yummy?

I had the kids help me scoop it into small plastic bags & we sealed them up. We discussed how this snack is perfect for hiking. Light, easy to eat on the go, easy to carry, healthy (for the most part), etc.

Elvis started goofing off & in the process spilled his trail mix treat all over the floor. While he had a little pity party on the floor Bugs made the most of the opportunity. He took one look at the spilled treat & yelled, "Trail mix!" and dived on the floor. What did Mama do? Well, like any good mama I took pictures. Hee, hee. Hey, what's a little dirt, right?

A quick sweep of the rest of the spilled treat & we were finally ready to head out.

Another distraction awaited as the neighbor's playful little doggie came over for a quick visit. He wanted to "play" with our cat Sky.

Okay, now we're off & hiking! Yes, we are hiking through the forest. Can you see the tall trees, hear the birds, smell the woods? Did you see that Bald Eagle flying overhead? That was amazing!

It took the kids a little while to jump into my imaginary world I was painting for them. But they came. They laughed as we passed by a "wildcat" (neighborhood cat) and I cautioned them about getting too close. Then they joined in when we spotted a bear (little neighborhood dog on his front path). We discussed what kind of bear it was and what we should do yet it come closer. We learned last year how you need to react differently depending on what kind of bear it is.

We soon came upon our destination. But first there was this wild creature to dodge! I was shaking with fright so much that my camera wobbled! Ack!

Finally! El Capitan!

The boys scrambled right up! I was going to have them climb with their backpacks on to keep the feel of our imaginations going but the cautious mama in me had them shed them for safety.

Climbing, climbing, climbing. Princess desperately wanted to climb too but I wouldn't let her. There are some things a Princess can not do yet. She had to settle for the slide on the swing set.

Way up high!

While waiting below Sweet Pea was attacked!

She bravely wrestled the beast off of her!

Princess was beyond brave chasing it into the "forest"& protecting her sister.

Bugsy way up high on El Capitan.

They had a lot of fun & so did I. It's fun to let your imagination take over. So what adventure will YOU be embarking on?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fun With Math

Originally I had scheduled that we would start back to school on Monday, Jan. 2nd. I realized even before the New Year dawned that this would not be happening. We spent the last week of our Christmas vacation overhauling both the boy's room, Princess' room & the Family Room. Boo's room was still a work in progress, (Don't ask), and I knew I had no energy to start back that soon. Of course there was also the fact that I hadn't had a moment, (or desire), to work on any lesson plans. So this week has been a week of mega cooking & baking, resting up from yet another bad cold, running errands & starting back in some of our activities. Wednesday I was thinking that some games would be a fun way to fill our morning. You know me. I had to sneak a little learning in there somewhere. =)

First on the list was Match It! - Time
I found this game at a yard sale years ago.

I would say Bugsy is my child who loves games the most. Board games, card games, hands-on games, active games he's your guy. The clock/time game came out of the schoolroom closet & we began!

First we did a quick review of telling time. Then an easy start of matching a few.

He warmed up fast & soon we were doing harder matches.

Lastly I would show him a time on the big clock & his job was to find both matches in the piles.

Thinking hard.

He did a fantastic job!
(Today he asked if we could play the game again. Success!)

Next it was time for Money Bags!
This is one of the games Bugsy received for Christmas. Elvis loves it too. I used my Swagbucks to buy this. Well worth it!
(See my home page, right hand column for a link to sign up for Swagbucks if you haven't already signed up. It's a great way to earn FREE stuff, gift cards, etc.)

SkyWalker was snug in my bed next to me taking a wee nap.

Starting the game!

Sky sleeps on. Isn't he cute?

Bugsy counts out the money he earned in his turn. I believe for this turn he wasn't allowed to use nickels in counting out his earnings.

Elvis' turn. This kid has the best luck when it comes to games.

Some of the play money used in the game.

Moving right along.
I'm the one in last place. Of course. LOL!

Princess cheers for us! She really got into the game which was super cute.

We played two games of this & then it was time for lunch. Later that evening the boys played 'Life' with Sweet Pea. They were loving Game Day! =0)