Saturday, May 30, 2009

A few random bb gun shots

Stems & Celery experiment

We put celery stalks in water w/food coloring and then let them sit out overnight. This is similar to the one w/white carnations, which you apparently have to get at a florist shop. This would be ok, however, I refuse to take my children to a florist shop while I get white carnations. I'd be a basket case. So, instead of doing both carnations & celery, I opted for the celery only. :-) Here are some shots of the celery and you can see the colors coming through the leaves. The hardest to see is the yellow but in person,you can see the tips of the leaves turned yellow. Very cool. Niles & Luca both enjoyed this. Niles successfully predicted the outcome too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Thank you to our veterans and their families. We honor you on this day, for without you, we would have no freedom to celebrate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life keeps moving on and

still no picture of the cucumber plant, but it seems to be doing ok. I will try to remember to get that tomorrow. Today was spent running some errands in between the morning homeschool routine & the afternoons tae kwon do.

A friend of mine told me about a great website called and I've been using that to create some good puzzles with spelling words, math games as well as critical thinking stuff. I know the unschoolers don't use worksheets, but they make for a good filler for us while I go to switch laundry, run dishes, etc. It works for grades k & up so it's certainly worth a subscription for all the varied things it offers.

Niles is reading Blackthorn Winter right now for his literature. It's a bit ahead of where we are in History but it has pirates, adventure and is a story about a young boy who heads off to sea and his ship is captured. He really likes it so far. It's a bit more difficult but it's certainly not too difficult for him. I also have the Carole Marsh mystery book about Blackbeard lined up next. This will be the third mystery by her that he's read. These are excellent books that have kids as the main characters and contain facts, as well as are just a good read. I may save this one for when we go to the beach, but that's a whole month away and I think he can finish the Blackthorn Winter book and this before hand. I guess we'll see. There are a couple other Carole Marsh books about the Outer Banks and NC to choose from if we get there.

Tomorrow, we'll be reading Straight From the Bear's Mouth - The Story of Photosynthesis and The Reason for a Flower in Science. I have a great workbook to use by Evan Moore which contains experiments, a plant log as well as lists of books to look at and read. Very cool stuff. We're using that to go along w/our garden. The great things about the book suggests is that they aren't simply textbooks. They also have stories, great illustrations and are written to entertain, as well as teach a lesson. Good stuff. Books that you like to read vs the plain old textbook that makes you want to fall asleep.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cucumber Vine

I need to take a picture. We have a cucumber vine that is almost as tall as me already....what do I do w/this crazy thing? Train it to grow back down the other side?!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

our first tomato

is growing!


Continuing in the same vein as yesterday....

When I started h/s'ing Niles, I had a general idea of what it would be like. I was both right & wrong. It is easier & harder than you'd think. As is true of most things. I've learned that right now, I need to be more organized or we lose focus. Niles would just as soon make lego Halo guns all day then do work. While using legos is an actual learning experience, it isn't helping him with division.

I found out I'm very anemic currently so that's why I'm so exhausted. Without having things written down, in terms of where we are & where we are going, I think I'd be lost. Setting concrete goals is important. I sor of muddled through a bit at first. Figuring we'd get to everything w/o a notion of how that would work. Which might have been ok w/a more motivated student. But I don't have that so I work w/what I got.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A constant adventure

There's so many things I want to put up on here, that I compose in my head while driving about to this or that errand. Then I get home and completely get side tracked on something else. I think that I'll make the time to do this or to do that, but then I get busy preparing for lessons, correcting things he's worked on, or just with various life in general type stuff. I suppose if I don't get started, I won't ever get anything done, just endlessly spin my wheels. So here goes...

One thing I keep getting asked is 'why do I do this' especially when I say I'm adding Luca next month when preschool is out. Sometimes, I don't know the answer. And I think it's because I'm crazy. Next year, all 4 kids will be in school, 3 of them for most of the day. I might get something done. But then I remember that they would have been in school for most of the day [if at Brooks still the school is from 9:15-3:45, which means we weren't home before 4] with fighting over homework lasting anywhere from an hour to two, depending. Add in tkd & religious school 4 days a week....when do they get to unwind? play? is it just me or is i ridiculous that a 3rd grader, let alone a kindergartener has that much homework....But that's because schools have to meet standards set up by No Child Left Behind aka The Holy Grail.

Education becomes an assembly line of facts, figures and busy work. Teachers have to accomplish x goals by certain times so the maximum number of kids can pass the eog's and make sure that their school/grades are doing ok. Now I'm all for accountability and making sure that kids are learning and teachers are doing a good job. What no one seems able to prove is that this is the way to do that.

So, that's part of why I keep doing this. There's no love for learning fostered in my kids. They aren't the ones who want to acheive on their own, read ahead, look for stuff outside of class. They don't care about the grade [it's hard to care about a 3 when you don't know what it means anyhow] or pleasing the teacher. They want to know their motivation. ha! Maybe I have actors, or late blooming geniuses in the house.

I know there's more I want to say about this, but Elie is running around, I need to wake up Luca so I can take him to preschool for the Art Museum field trip and I have to drink 32 oz of water for an ultrasound to determine if I have fibroids this morning. Sometimes I wonder if I have my own attention issues. Maybe I take too much on because I don't know how to be bored.