Saturday, November 15, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavor liftoff!

Last night was the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Because the kids were having a sleepover at our house we were unable to drive over to Titusville to watch the launch from across the bay. Instead we popped out the door, all 4 kids in tow, and watched it ascend through the night sky from the yard across from our condo.

We've been studying the American Space Program this last week or so, and the kids were excited to see this launch, because they actually understood what was going on.

It was somewhat cloudy last night, which affected how the light from the engines was distorted. We didn't get the huge glow we did when we watched a different night launch a couple years ago. This time is was subdued, but still breathtaking to watch.

Here the shuttle has just passed by the moon (from my point of view)

Here you can really see the vapor trail. During the day it would be a stream of white cloudy smoke. But at night it's a whole other experience.

Here the shuttle is now out of view in the large clouds in the top left of the frame. But look at that trail! It's so beautiful with the silvery moon partially hidden in dark clouds. I love this picture :D

We were unable to hear the massive boom that comes with a launch because the wind was moving away from us going north. The kids were dissapointed they didn't get to hear the explosion. And I was too. :P Even without the boom, it was still a sight to see!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

National Doughnut Day!

Yesterday was National Doughnut Day. And super-mom/teacher thought "What a great project for the afternoon."

Photographic proof of my insanity:

J mixing the dry ingredients.

K mixing the wet ingredients.

Rolling and cutting of said doughnuts.

Did you find the hidden mickey?

The frying of the doughnuts. eeww...

The sugaring and the powdering. K set up an assembly line. She'd move fresh doughnuts to the appropriate bowls and "encourage" J to move quickly!

Happy Doughnut Day! :P

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Life after "Fall Break"

Originally it was only a week, just enough time off for our vacation to St. Louis and then on to Michigan for a bit. But when we got home we were all just too tired. The kids wanted to open the boxes they brought home and I just wanted to sleep. So Fall Break became a 2 week vacation, culminating in the celebration of Halloween and Daylight Savings Time ending. What a way to go out. Extra sugar and extra sleep!

Now I'm forcing myself to get back into the thick of things. I have lots of plan rattling around in my brainbox. But I fear I may need a can opener to get them out!

With more holiday coming right around the corner, we're also preparing for more travel. This makes me nervous about keeping us on task for school. Yesterday was our "first day of school" since break. (We don't do Mondays - Dad's day off) It was a rocky start, but then K, thankfully, jumped right in. J, bless him, dragged his feet as long as he could...isn't that what little boys do? He's just too cute to scold sometimes, with those big blue eyes and lopsided smile...

So, before the day gets away from me, I should sign off and get going. Today is National Doughnut Day, so I think for Home Ec we'll make some homemade doughnuts. :D That should make 'em smile. And give me more dishes to wash :(

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kiddie Blogs!

The kids now have blogs in place. I'm hoping this will help them to hone those writing skills at the same time they are chronicling their lives and sharing experiences with family and friends. :D Isn't that why we all do this? :P

K: thedolphinrider-kpb.blogspot
J: flyingninjamonkeys-jmb.blogspot

Please follow along. And leave lots of comments to help encourage their continued blogging!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Math success!

K learned about ratios and proportions this week. It was an exciting time for me to finally see a "light" flip on. She's getting it! She is doing so well with her math! Hurray for girls loving math! Next week we begin solving for unknown numbers! eek! :D

J is finally beginning to understand fractions a little better. We've been going over how fractions work and how they can be manipulated this week. Of all the worksheets I gave him this week he answered only a couple problems incorrectly! Way to go J!

So this week went well. We're settling into a daily routine. Each week I add a little bit more to the assignment lists. We're not up to full speed yet, but it won't be long.

We've been reading poetry every day for the last two weeks. I have found some of the most wonderful books! I was so inspired by one that I had to make a scrapbook layout!

We're just getting into our art and music now. In fact, I have to go to the library as soon as I'm done posting! We're studying classical music and it's composers. I'm hoping to have a keyboard in a couple weeks so the kids can begin learning an instrument. In art, we've been reviewing the color wheel, color mixing, and learning about color values. I haven't chosen an artist to study yet, I'm still thinking about where I want to start.

As far as our other subjects, we're moving right along. They are both moving quickly through their science. K is doing well with her english, but J is struggling just a bit. It doesn't bother me, because a lot of people still struggle with using "good" or "well" in a sentence correctly. :P

It's been a good week. Hopefully, this next week will run as smoothly as I add in some more lessons :D

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2 weeks

We now have 2 weeks under our collective belts. However, we're only doing half our work. The SOS I ordered came in late so I got us started with what workbooks I had to hand. I did go pick up new math books. J stayed with 6th grade math to do some review work and K moved up to 8th grade math :D

The plan is to start adding in some more lessons next week. I'm working on art and music lessons and I'm trying to put together a government course. Not having much luck with that.

It's also going to get interesting when baseball kicks in. Monday is our first game. And then it's non-stop til Dec 4!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Right around the corner

The new school year will be beginning next week. I'm excited. I don't think the kids are. Not that it surprises me. They don't like a lot of busy work.

So this year I'm going way out in left field. This year we're using the Switched-On-Schoolhouse. We picked up a science disc in the spring and tried it out. K loved it right away but J took a little longer to get used to the idea.

When I started putting together the curriculum this year I asked them if they'd like to continue using workbooks or would like to switch to the SOS format. K was all for the SOS format, J was so-so. He wasn't against it, but wasn't excited.

Thankfully, we had some extra income at just the right moment so I could order the curriculum. These programs cost wa-a-a-a-y more than if I put it all together myself. But, I'm hoping the investment will pay off: i.e. they'll enjoy doing their work!

Which now leaves me teaching Bible, Art, Music, and various Social Studies lessons. We will be using SOS for Science, Language Arts, History, Geography, and Spanish. We will continue to use our books for Math.

Using the SOS will free me up quite a bit. Plus, I'll be able to put more into our other lessons, only having those few to plan out. I'm really looking forward to expanding our art and music studies!

Another project we will be working on is blogging. I know that seems odd, but I think the kids will have fun keeping a blog of what they're are doing and feeling from their own perspective. It'll make for some interesting reading, I'm sure! Keeping a blog will also count towards credit in L.A. as well as improving their typing skills. I can't wait to read some of their entries :D

So, until next week!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Break

Now it's August we are officially on summer break.

With me working this last month we may as well have been on break, though we did get some work done. We did not finish Science like I had hoped we would.

Ah well. We're getting there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The end is near...

The end of the school year, that is. :D

K&J finished their final tests in level 6 math on Tuesday. K breezed right through it but J seemed to struggle a bit. I walked him through a few problems to help refresh his memory, but it didn't seem to click. After the test he said he wants to do level 6 again in the fall for extra practice. As he says it, "I'm just not ready for 7th grade math, mom. I think I should work on this some more."

He looked so cute while he was expressing his thoughts on the subject of 6th vs. 7th grade math. When they start up again in September, we'll warm up with the basics and do some more review work from the end of the 6th grade book. Then we'll see where we need to go.

J also finished his grade 4 Vocab book and now only has English and Science to finish up this summer. K has English and Science to finish as well. K is a bit behind in Science so she'll need to double up on work to get caught up. Which doesn't seem to be a problem at all since she likes the SOS Science and usually works ahead anyway.

And that's that. As long as they keep working everyday we'll be ready for summer break by the first of August. That will give me time to collect next years workbooks and purchase the SOS discs I'll need for K, since she wants everything computerized, and a couple discs for J, since he really doesn't care either way.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


As the kids are working on their science lessons, I'm finding more and more errors. Like pigeons are extinct?

While we all like the computerized lessons, I'm wondering if there might be something better out there?

Summer is a good time for internet research. When I have internet, that is. :D

Saturday, June 14, 2008

short break

Our break has officially begun. The plan is to leave sometime Sunday to head north for the ProLife Festival. So the kids are off school during that time. Except to catch up on the science they haven't gotten done yet. Even with computerized work, we still get behind! Life happens.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Week in review

This week has been a whirlwind of activity! I can't believe it's Friday already :D

Monday was a field trip (see previous post)

Tuesday was a work day. The kids helped clean up the yard and do some cleaning and detailing on the trailers to get ready for June's road trip.

Wednesday was J's last ballgame. It was hard to get him to settle into his schoolwork he was so wound up for gametime. We managed to get most everything done. Just as we were getting ready to work on science my computer decided it didn't feel like working and changed it's settings back to factory. Effectively ending our schoolday, since I couldn't find any of my files! I had an extremely awful moment there....I actually came to tears for a bit, I was so frustrated. But then a deep breath and I grabbed a book to read and just waited for Chad to get home and fix everything for me like he always does. :D

Thursday was K's day to flake out on me. She just had no desire to do anything. So instead of fighting it out we went swimming. After some fun and relaxation we went back to the RV, had some lunch, and then got our work done. Computer was nice and tidy so we did some SOS. Unfortunately, we're a day behind and I can't figure out how to change the due dates. So, we're just going to pick up the slack over the weekend. (Yes - the kids actually agreed to it!)

Thursday night we volunteered at the ball field. They needed help with the coach-pitch tournament. Chad did the field maintenance and I did scorekeeping (in the book) and K&J did the electronic scoreboard, until they got bored and Chad had to take over. We signed up for one game, but no one showed for the 2nd game so we stayed and helped out. I think we're going to sign up for some more over the weekend.

Friday (today) I didn't even try to get them started on school work right away. Instead I asked if they wanted to go for a swim. I've never seen them move so quickly! We relaxed for a bit, swam 2 laps, and relaxed for a bit. When we got home we had lunch and got to work. K&J both did 2 quizzes and a project in Science. They're getting used to the SOS program, which is nice. J said he'd like all his work on the computer now. Good thing I have the summer to save up for those discs! :D
We're also working on a couple things in Geography: learning the States (and capitals, postal codes, major landforms, etc) and about Biomes. We've finished the general study of Deserts. Next week we'll study the American deserts.

We're sailing right along in math. Should be finishing up about the first week of June. I'm not sure if I'll have them start grade 7 math just yet. We might take a little break.

We're pushing our way through Ancient History. A lot of the timelines overlap, which can get confusing. Right now I'm hitting the major sections. It's difficult to decide sometimes what they should know and what can be skipped or just mentioned. A lot of the ancients will be covered again later when they are in HS, so we don't have to do a lot of detailed work right now. I hope to get us up to 400AD by the end of summer, since that will put us on track for the Middle Ages next school year.

English and Vocabulary are going well. They are both almost finished with vocab. English will take us a little longer - most of the summer in fact.

I could wish they'd put a little more effort into their spelling words. I'm going to try some new ideas next week and see what happens.

All in all, it's been a good week. Only a couple hiccups. :D And they never last long!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Field Trip!

Alas, no photography allowed :(

Today we went to the Orlando Museum of Art. J's been wanting to go for some time and we finally got around to it.

Boy was it disappointing. They've got nothing on Chicago!

J was so mad. He didn't want to see art he could make himself! (his words) He wanted to see the old stuff! (as in really old, where the artist is dead, OLD) I kind of had to chuckle. I did explain that some of the works here were by artists that had passed away some time ago. But he wasn't interested in landscapes, and he said the portraits were creepy. Their eyes follow you around! So what does he think OLD art is, I wonder? :P

We did get to see an exhibit of Norman Rockwell. I loved every bit of it! I really enjoyed seeing his orginal full-sized works and then the covers of the magazines as they chose what to publish. Fascinating stuff, and a little saddening when you realize how much power the media has when it comes to what we actually get to see.

We also ran across an early "coffee mug" made by the Anasazi of Colorado. Made between 900 and 1000 AD, they were in really great shape. I love the black/white designs.

After the art museum we popped into the science museum just across the street. They were changing out exhibits so there wasn't anything new to check out. We popped into the hurricane simulator and then went over and uncovered some fossils from the dinosaurs. We were having fun until one of the docents came over and began a lecture on how the earth is 65 million years old and the dinosaurs blah, blah, blah, blah...

We listened politely for about half an hour. He did have some really fascinating stories to tell about Dinosaur Sue and Dinosaur Stan. But when he drifted off into the extinction by meteor thing and started in on the whole 65 million thing again I just couldn't take it anymore. At some point I mentioned that we didn't believe that and that was that. You could tell he really wanted to try to convince us that science was right and the Bible was wrong. But we just smiled and changed the subject and asked some questions to keep the topic elsewhere. Eventually it was time to go and we headed out to grab some lunch.

On the way out Chad asked the kids how old the earth is. J looks up and shakes his head, "well it isn't 65 million years that's for sure". Enough said.

Next week: Museum of Salvador Dali! ooohhh! I hope they allow photos!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Making Progress!

It is always a wonderful feeling when you know you are accomplishing something. I am almost giddy at the thought. We've been working so hard this year, I thought we'd never get everything done, but last night I came to realize that we've surpassed my expectations!

K has almost completed all of her 6th grade level work! It's only April! And J has finished all but his English in 4th grade level work!

When did this happen?

I'm so excited to see how much they've accomplished. And they are excited to realize that their hard work is paying off. K is looking forward to an early summer vacation and J can't believe he's actually skipping a grade! (All the other kids his age will be starting 4th grade in the fall, but he's almost finished!)

Admittedly, there are a few areas I feel we are lacking. And I will concentrate on those as we finish up the school year.

I have a difficult time teaching Sciences so I will be looking for some new ideas and options to help on that front. The kids aren't as excited about History as Mom, so I need to spark some interest there. And who really likes studying Government? We'll give that a go this next month, covering some of the basics and looking into the political news for the presidential race, and checking out the whole process. I'm not excited about that, but I think I can put a good face on it! :D

I'd also like to spend some more time in the classics. It's so difficult in today's plugged-in world to get them wrapped up in a good book. And finding really good childrens' literature is difficult at best. I really struggle to find reading materials that pull them in and get them excited about reading everyday.

J has opted for a new fiction series based on the Bioncle series. K has taken an interest in non-fiction books about animals, insects, and snakes. She is one interesting girl. J has no interest in slimey things. But at least he doesn't mind the dirt now! :D

I'm finding a new interest in clean-living. I've been reading clean eating books and reading articles about vegan lifestyles. I'm becomming more "earth conscious", I guess, because I find myself thinking in a whole new way: eating foods closer to the earth; using my feet or bicycle to get around rather than the car; using cloth bags to transport books/groceries rather than paper or plastic. And I find myself constantly thinking about how I can reuse an item I may have previously thrown away without another thought! It is a truely eye-opening experience!

So we are all learning new and exciting things this month. I hope the cycle continues! There are so many wonderful things out there waiting to be discovered!

I'm ready for the journey :D

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Early Vacation

It wasn't supposed to be now. But that's how it worked out.

Last week we were on our own as Dad had to fly to Michigan to be with family. At the last minute there was no way we could all go. So while he was gone all week we just chilled out and relaxed.

This week we're still in no-school mode. Dad's new work schedule doesn't make this easy.

K asked me tonight to give her some spelling words tomorrow. She wants some super hard, long words! I wonder why? :D

J has no interest in learning anything. He just wants to play video games and baseball.

So I think I'll get school going again at the end of the week when Dad goes to work. We'll start with some reading time and maybe some crafts. I really want to do a study of Egypt. We'll see what happens. No pressure. :D

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Thursday: We pretty much just stuck with the workbook theme. I really didn't want to do much else than work on my hair.

So we are getting no where. They just aren't interested in learning anything. Now what do I do?

That night we went to the Casting Crowns show. The kids stayed with the neighbor and her lovely dogs.

Friday: The kids went about their day and I did cleaning: dishes, laundry, and various other messes caused by 2 active children cooped up in a small space. I did take out some time to do some origami and relax. Later I took K to the church for a girls sleepover. J watched Naruto on the internet and I read a book until Stargate Atlantis came on. Then called it a night.

A quiet, relaxing end to the week - don't you think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday with Dad

This morning we had the special "dad breakfast". Lots of eggs with lots of stuff in them, some OJ, and biscuts with jam.

Then the kids did their schoolwork while I worked on my project for the day. They think I don't check their work apparently because I discovered that J thinks every multiplication problem equals 500 and K can figure large sums in her head! So I had to make them do those worksheets again.

Then we grabbed a super quick bite to eat and rushed out the door to go to Downtown Disney. Well, the kids went there anyway. Dad and Mom went on a "date" to the movies! This doesn't happen all that often. We saw Jumper - a sci-fi film. It was okay.

We came home, chilled out and had a smorgasborg (sp?) of frozen chinese food for dinner. The kids ate whatever they felt like having and finished it off with some yogurt.

The best part of the day, well, night really, is the Lunar Eclipse! Since 8:43pm ET we've been watching the eclipse of the moon! This is a first for all of us. Dad had to go to bed, so he didn't see any of it. J just popped his head out every once in a while. And I popped out every 15 minutes or so to see what was happening. K spent almost the whole time with her eyes on the sky. Right now the moon is covered and will begin to start peeping back out again soon.

I'm hoping to be able to download some pics of the eclipse to save here and for the scrapbook. My camera just wasn't up to the challenge. (I need a super-lens.)

So it's been a good day.

Leu Gardens

Tuesday with Dad we went to Leu Gardens. We were expecting something a bit more formal, but we still had fun. We almost made it through the entire garden. There's still a bit left to discover. At one point in the path you come to a lookout point over the lake. Along the water's edge we found all kinds of turtles, a few birds, and a baby alligator sunning himself. That's always fun.

check out the size of those leaves!

I can't believe how intricate and delicate those petals look.

The bamboo is lots of fun, and incredibly smooth to the touch.

There is a section for arid plantings as well. Besides the cacti, there are some pretty cool flowers.

The Rose Garden

I love all the spanish moss growing everywhere. I always try to capture the beauty of it with my camera, but the pictures never satisfy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday with Dad

We got up. Mom and Dad went for a grueling bike ride into 15mph headwinds while the kids had a quick bite to eat and work in their workbooks. When we got back, Dad took J&K down to the field to practice sliding, catching, and running. When they got back they took a quick dip in the pool.

After everyone was cleaned up and ready to go we headed to bd's Mongolian for lunch and then off to the Orlando Science Center!

The Earthquake table was a big hit.

We also spent quite a bit of time at the domino tables.

That's a day! We're tired! And J still has batting practice tonight!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pretty easy week

We've pretty much just done our workbooks this week. With Chad's schedule all mixed up we didn't go all out trying to get everything done.

I've worked up the plan for next week, but I know I'll have to tweak it since Chad is home Sunday through Wednesday all day long. We'll throw in a few field trips and hopefully Chad will take over some of the school lessons, giving me some extra free time for sewing and crafting :D

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Finding that groove thang...

We're slowly finding our way back into school. I'm starting to get excited about putting together lesson plans again.

With family visiting for the kids' baptisms, we took it easy and just did our workbooks, bible study, and our story time. We are now up to Lamentations in memorizing the books and we have 4 memory verses learned. We're studying the Plagues in Exodus. And we finished reading The Door to Time and have started The Long Lost Map, books from a series by Ulysses Moore. The second book is an adventure in ancient Egypt, which ties in nicely with our study from Exodus and the study of Egypt we are beginning. I love it when a plan comes together. (now where have I heard that before?)

Next week I hope to add in some more lesson time and get going on our science experiments again. I want to blow something up! :D I need to remember to take pictures!

The kids have progressed quite well in math. We're working on Pre-Algebra stuff right now. We should finish our 6th grade math books in the next couple months and be ready to move into 7th by May.

Jeremy has joined a baseball team and so he will begin having practices 3 times a week through February and then games begin in March. PE class is pretty hit or miss at the park as many of the families that have signed up don't always show up. I'm going to be looking into soccer for Kylie, which should be starting up soon.

Seems we're getting busier and busier.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Time Off Trouble

We've had way too much time off!

We took time off so I could make all the costumes for the kids Christmas musical at church. Then we took time off because I was sick. And then we took time off for travel at Christmas. And we took time off to rest up from all that traveling. Plus the New Year Holiday. Geesh....

We finally got back to school last week. But it's been tough. None of us were interested in a school day. It was touch and go those first couple days.

Chad's work schedule changed again. So now we school Monday through Thursday with no days off in between. But that gives us a 3 day weekend. That's nice.

We started with some warm up math, reviewing the basic operations. Except for division they didn't complain too much. And then we did some decimals. The remembered how to add and subtract with decimals. Now we'll see if they remember how to multiply and divide!

We finished reading Phineas L. MacGuire....ERUPTS! We had been reading it before the extended time off. So I thought about starting over, but they remembered where we were and what was happening in the story. So we just picked up where we left off. It only took a couple days to finish. Now we're reading the sequel: Phineas L. MacGuire gets Slimed! Cute stories.

We've begun our study of Exodus. And we're adding in some new memory verses and memorizing the order of the books of the Bible. Jeremy is able to recognize and read a lot of the names now, so it's getting easier for him. Soon we'll be able to do Bible quizzes.

This semester we're really focusing on science. So I'm working on putting together lots of science experiments. We did 2 last week. I wanted to do 3, but I can't find the right kind of thermometers. This next week we'll move on.

I also want to really work on History. I have this great time-line I want to use. And it works really well with the Bible study. I need to find a way to put the time-line up on the wall so we can see what's happening with the making of history. We're in the Egypt section now, so I'm looking forward to learning about Egypt and making some costumes and crafts and things. I need to go the library and pick up the books first.

Another goal for this semester is to improve the kids handwriting. I know they can do better. They have really nice handwriting when they make the effort. They just hate making the effort. Jeremy even wants me to switch to the computerized school work so he can type instead of write!

Right now, Kylie is at a 5th grade level on everything except Math (6th) and English (4th). Jeremy is at a 3rd grade level except for Math (6th) and Vocab (4th). So Kylie really needs to work on the English. They both need to improve in Writing Skills. If I can get them close to the same level for everything, switching to computerized curriculum will be much easier. On all of us.

This week the kids begin a P.E. class, along with some other homeschoolers, at one of the local parks. So that will be fun. Jeremy is also signed up for Little League. He'll begin with tryouts on the 30th. Then we'll find out which team he's on and when practices will start. The season officially begins March 1st and then we'll see some game time. He's really looking forward to it. So am I! :D

Now if I can just shake off the blahs and get moving...