Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blog Switcharoo

I am a little unsure as to the future of this blog. I have moved my blogging efforts to this page if you are interested.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Princess's Poem

I recently posted Princess's book report, and now I have more of her writing to share. She has actually been pestering me to put this on here, so I guess I better hop to. Poetry has been remarkably easier than the book report. She has actually enjoyed it! She is especially a fan of alliteration, as you can see here from her poem, Snake.

The slithering snake,
silvery snake,
silent snake.
I dream about
this nightmare snake
at nighttime.
It gives me the shivers.
It squeezes me with worry.
It tries to steal me away.
But I wake up,
before it can carry me

Monday, May 17, 2010

Renaissance Fair!

This past Friday we had a wonderful time at the Renaissance and Fantasy Fair. Fridays were a homeschool discount day (and it was a pretty big discount), so it was completely awesome that Brady has every other Friday off so that he could go with us. Having Dad along on a field trip always makes it better.

Princess and Spike were put into the stockades. Hmm...can we get one of these for when they are driving me crazy?The jousters were a lot of fun. We cheered for England, but Scotland won...

Sprout had a good seat for the show.
There was a petting zoo, and the kids always like that. Sprout really liked the goats and it was hard to get her to leave.
Then we walked around a bit and visited some of the merchants. We got some smoked turkey legs and yummy root beer, cream soda, birch beer, and sasparilla in blue glass bottles.
We stopped by the fiber arts tent where a woman was spinning on a spinning wheel. Princess was interested in the drop spindles so she got a crash course in how to spin yarn on one. The lady made it look really easy, but we found out that it is harder than it looks. I think we may get a drop spindle or two later so we can practice.
It was a fun day, even though we had to hurry out a bit since the clouds were looking ominous and it got a little chilly. Luckily we were on our way home before the rain started.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Princess's Book Report

Writing has been a tough subject in school this year for Princess. She really has a hard time with getting what she has in her noggin down on the page in an organized fashion. I can not really blame her though, as up to this point her reports in public school only consisted on asking a set of questions on a page. I really did not realize just how little experience she had with writing and actually forming paragraphs and such. There have been evenings when I have sat and cried to my husband because of the frustration I felt since she is so smart but was still having such a difficult time with writing, but we are making progress and that is what counts.

For the book report I had her do this year, she had to look up information about the author, write out a plot map, and give me character profiles before writing the report up. While we still really need to work on her writing skills, I am really proud of her and the progress she has made. So, without further ado...I present Princess's Book Report on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

You’re joking!

It was dinnertime. Harry had just finished telling Ron what had happened when he left the grounds with Professor McGonagall. The author of this book tries to make the book real to the reader. The book is filled with excitement in every turn of a page. I think you will enjoy it as much as me!

When you start reading this book you read about a boy who lives in his aunt‘s and uncle’s house where he is miserable. Later he finds himself at Hogwarts where he learns to cast magic spells.

The place that Harry goes to is a place called Hogwarts. A scary looking castle the muggles or non- magic folk can’t see.

It takes place in modern England. The setting is wild and crazy. It’s got that “I think this is real” feeling in it. I think that it has lots of things that you can see in your mind.

Who are the crazy main characters of this story you may ask. Well read on to find out.

The first character I want to talk about is Hermione a witch that goes to Hogwarts. Hermione is a bushy haired girl who listens to her teachers. Her parents are both muggles but she is a very skilled witch. She is like a living book that walks and talks because she reads lots of books and memorizes lots of spells.

Harry Potter is a boy whose parents died and he lived at his aunt’s and uncle’s house where he is miserable. Harry is known for his lightning shaped scar on his forehead. But Harry has a deadly enemy. His name is Voldemort.

Who is the author and what is she like? Well find out in reading my next paragraph!

J.K. Rowling is the author of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but she also has written other books like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Both are good books if you ask me.

When you have finished this book you will want to read the others. I guarantee you that they are worth reading. I think that is a good book for kids. It’s creative and serious, but not too serious.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

State testing is finished!

For our homeschooling, we use a program through the Washington School District in Utah. So even though they are schooled at home, they are technically public school students. In exchange for receiving their curriculum and most of their supplies free of charge (along with some field trips and social events throughout the school year) we agree to keep in touch with a teacher assigned to us, and also to take them in for state standardized testing towards the end of the year. While there are other homeschooling parents for whom this does not work, I find it to be a nice fit for us.

This past week was the kiddos testing dates. On Thursday I took them both in for language arts and math testing, and Friday Princess had to go in for Science. Both days are held at a large Baptist church in the area. I was a little apprehensive about whether or not I have prepared them well enough, which I believe is normal especially with this being my first year teaching them, but things went very well.

After dropping each kid off at their classroom, me and Sprout went to an area where the parents who were staying there could wait. She played with some other kids that she knows from playgroup and enjoyed some snacks until the kids got out for lunch. Since I was trying to make the day as fun as possible, we all went to McDonald's where they got kid's meals (a rare treat). Then, back to the church for more testing and waiting.

I asked the kids if the tests were too hard for them and they both agreed there was nothing they had a hard time with except for waiting for everyone to finish after they were already done. Spike especially hated the waiting.

Friday morning Princess finished up her science testing and we went home and had fun for the rest of the day.

As far as their test scores goes, the school really only looks at the average for all the kids. Their own scores will be sent to me so that I can see what areas they need to work on. I was pretty surprised to learn that their scores had nothing to do with me teaching them next year. I guess I had assumed that if their scores were low, I would have some serious explaining to do. I still do look forward to seeing the scores though, because I would like to know for myself what I can do better on with them.

Field Trips with Candy!

We took these two fields a few months ago, but I never got around to posting them. Needless to say, telling the kids that we were going on a field trip to a candy factory made their day, and when we had another one about a month later, I was the best mom ever (or so that is what they told me).

For the first field trip, we went to Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolate factory. They first had a video presentation on the history of chocolate, starting with the Mayans drinking it as a hot drink (although not sweetened like the hot chocolate we enjoy today). The video also included the famous scenes from "I Love Lucy" where Lucy and Ethel go to work in a chocolate factory and end up eating and stuffing chocolates in their hat to try and keep up with the candy on the conveyor belt. Just in case you do not know what I am talking about, it is this one...

Next we got to watch the work floor as the workers wrapped candy and got it all packaged up nicely. It was not too exciting, but fun nonetheless. The kids all agreed that the workers looked much more relaxed than Lucy.

Last, but not least, the kids (and accompanying moms) got free yummy chocolate samples. Hmm..I think that might have been my favorite part.

The second candy field trip was to Sweet's candy company. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share since they were not allowed, so you will have to take my word for it.

First things first, we had to all don hair nets and take off all jewelry. A nice lady explained the safety precautions of staying within the colored lines on the floor, and once we had all agreed to be on our best behavior, we were taken on our tour. We saw some pretty neat things like a gigantic bags of sugar, the taffy making machines, and candies being covered in chocolate. In one area, we saw a bunch of trays of small clear things. After looking at them for a second, me and the kids figured out they were the jelly beans that were awaiting their flavored covering. Another favorite thing of ours was seeing the room in which the jelly type candies were made. A tray of cornstarch is pressed with a master mold so that there are indents in the cornstarch which are then the candy molds. The molten candy is poured into these cornstarch molds and left to set up for a while. When we were watching they were making jelly bunnies. The kids really liked this field trip, and it sure did not hurt that they passed out samples of the different types of candy along the tour.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cells, Brains, and Stomachs...oh my!

Both of the big kids were studying a bit of human anatomy recently. Princess started with a unit on the nervous system, and Spike learned about the digestive system and a bit about cells. It was not until I was looking back through my pictures that I realized how much stuff we had done with zip top baggies.

Princess did this nice full-size drawing of her nervous system. It was hard to get it all into the camera frame. We traced her whole body onto some paper, cut it out, and then I let her go to work putting in a brain, spinal cord, and some nerves.

In order to understand the size, weight, and approximate consistency of her brain, Princess also made a brain in a bag. It consisted of sand, instant potato flakes, and hot water. To be honest, the smell of those things combined made me gag. Princess was really impressed with just how heavy her brain is. I am not sure it really was a good indicator of consistency, perhaps because she had a fun time tossing it around and calling out, "Brains!"

Here is Spike with his cell replica. The baggie is the cell membrane, the not-really-set-up jello-o is the cytoplasm, and although it is hard to see, there is a grape in there for the nucleus.
To learn about the stomach churning up food, Spike made a stomach in a bag. Inside was a tasty snack of half a banana, some saltine crackers, and water. Yum!