Sunday, February 28, 2010

Penguin Parade at the Zoo

What a fun afternoon we had at the zoo on Saturday.  The penguin zookeeper brought the penguins out to parade along the walkway while visitors stood beside them amazed at their movement. 
As the cute little creatures were gathered behind a somewhat roped off area, the zookeeper talked about the King penguins, how they live, their habitat, why they are camouflaged in black & white, etc. Then he allowed time for Q&As. Of course, I was taking pictures the entire time!

This little guy here tried his best to slide on the snow, but the ground was flat and he just couldn't go anywhere!  It didn't keep him from trying again though!

Look at their cute little feet!

We had just completed a K lapbook on penguins, so seeing them up close and personal was a nice treat.

After the parade of the penguins, we explored other parts of the zoo and were amazed to see the tigers out.  This one here was either posing or sizing us up for dinner!

Most animals were inside or moved to warmer climates during the winter, but we did see the white tigers, pink flamingos, and numerous peacocks, as well as some animals indoors like some reptiles and birds.

This is the sleeping polar bear's paw.  Huge!

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the little squirrel.  I know we see them every day, but sometimes we forget to appreciate them as God's creation along with all the other animals!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Again, Off Again

All in all, I would consider this a good week.  We had co-op on Monday which gave the kids five different classes in which to learn!  Tuesday went ok; Wednesday & Friday were both great.  Thursday was a day off this week.  We had Bible study in the morning and Hubby was home sick.  I figure that we did so much on Wednesday and Friday that having Thursday off in between was a nice break.

We almost always start our days with Bible reading and move on from there.  We were a bit behind in our geography, so that's what we did next.  Katie (in K) was patiently getting bored with the ECC geography, so she took it upon herself to tear off her next K worksheet and begin working on it!  She had both sides done before I knew it and kept asking for more!  She even got out her blend ladder and textured letters to sound out the blends on her own!  Normally, I'm scrambling back and forth from child to child trying teach & monitor their work.  Today seemed like a breeze thanks to the initiative Katie took.  I can't help but to be a proud mama & teacher!

It didn't end there.  Emily willingly did all that was asked of her, without complaining and completed more than one math lesson almost every day.  She loves math and looks forward to it every day, just like me.  Katie proceeded to excel in her work, completing three days worth in her lesson!  She's in the beginning stages of reading and often gets frustrated when she stumbles on words.  Not today!  She zipped right through like an old pro!

I'm so thankful that God gives us days of encouragement, like this one, so that we remember them during more challenging times.  What a blessing!

Science in ECC is getting more difficult, but oh so interesting!  Some of the terms and concepts are hard to comprehend and I found myself reading some sections multiple times before understanding it.  Our reading today was about caves and it made me want to go on a road trip to Mammoth Cave for the "hands-on" experience!  Maybe we'll get there this summer.  Earlier this week, we learned about Animal Defenses.  We made a matching game with pictures found on the internet (pictures to come), and completed a chart to file in the science section of our notebook.  It was so much fun and we have played the matching game (and our own variations of it) many times this week.  I'm glad we decided to laminate the cards because we've played with them so much!  Emily is already wanting to add more animals to it!

I have more to write about but it will have to wait.  There's just not enough time to tell all at once!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Treat Box

Emily decided to get creative this year and made this alligator mailbox to collect her Valentine treats at co-op.  She saw a picture similar to this in the Oriental Trading catalog and did a great job using things we had at home to make her own.  I think she did great and the kids at co-op all loved it too!


Monday, February 15, 2010

More Math Games

Here we are playing our multiplication game.


Math Games

This one is subtraction bingo.  It helps to keep subtraction facts fresh so that we can quickly subtract in our heads. And it's so much fun!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More on Math & Some on Spelling

Friday was a an unusual day for us.  Emily didn't eat her breakfast and by lunch time, I realized that she hadn't asked for any snacks like she usually does.  When I reached to feel her forehead, she backed away.  Ok, something was up!  Katie ran for the thermometer and that's when I discovered that Emily's temperature was 101.3.  Where did that come from?  She didn't want to say anything because she has gymnastics every Friday and didn't want to miss.  Poor thing.  I hated for her to miss, but I'm not one to send my kids off with a fever.  So homebound she was!

From that point on, I didn't push for school figuring she needed to rest.  But she practically begged to to math!   Ask and you shall receive!  She completed the geometry unit with a couple of review sheets and then we played some math games.  Our math game book from RightStart is loaded with lots of fun card games.  I'm so glad that my friend introduced us to RightStart and that it's working for us!  I hear so many stories from homeschooling friends about how they've had to switch their math two or three times a year because it just wasn't working.

This brings me to discuss spelling.  We have tried several different spelling books but have stuck with one for a couple years now.  I'm thinking about trying something different for next year but I'm not sure what.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  Some prefer a program that teaches words in families.  I'm not sure that matters for us.  I don't put as much emphasis on spelling because it occurs naturally through reading and writing and we just correct misspelled words as we go.  We also use Bananagrams for spelling from time to time.  We use Spectrum Spelling right now and I've tried Spelling Workout, Spelling Plus, and Sequential Spelling.  Of all of these, Spectrum has worked the best.  But, we're kind of getting bored with it.  So after this year, I'm thinking it might be time to move on to something different.

Sequential Spelling was interesting.  It doesn't teach spelling rules.  The writer's belief is that these rules are usually forgotten and don't really help much because the English language has so many exceptions to these rules.  So every day, the student is given a spelling test.  They do the best they can to spell these unstudied words and when they are done, we go through each one and correct any mistakes.  That's it.  There's no review, there's no second test.  Nothing.  There is some logic to it and eventually some of the words are repeated on subsequent tests, especially words that are commonly misspelled.  And one list may have begin and the next list may have beginning.  So, I get it.  The problem we had with it was that my daughter never seemed to feel a sense of accomplishment.  She wanted the chance to work with the words.  You have to remember, she went to public school for K & 1st grades, so she was used to getting a spelling packet each week.  And she actually liked doing them!  That's when I found Spectrum.  It does teach spelling rules, but not in boring detail.  In fact, I have not had to "teach" most lessons.  I'm sure I will as the work gets more challenging though.

One last thought on spelling is that I'm going to borrow Spelling Power from a friend just to check it out.  I've read many reviews on this and they are all over the place.  Some love it, others hate it.  Being recommended by MFW makes me want to give it a chance.  But since my daughter enjoys worksheets, I'm not sure this will suit her.  I won't know until I look at it.

I'll end by saying that Emily was fever-free by bedtime, without the aid of any drugs, and was fine all day Saturday.  Thankfully, it was short-lived!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Math has been fun for the most part because it comes easily to both Emily and myself.  Right now, we are doing geometry and loving it.  RightStart's geometry incorporates some fun activities that helps hold interest.  We always do some drills with each math lesson.  This week, when I'd write a problem on the board asking for a verbal answer, Emily would almost instantly blurt it out.  I'd ask her how she did it.  Her response was "I don't know.  It's like I just see the numbers in my head!"  Now, even though I'm partial because I'm her mother, I think that's amazing!  This why I chose RightStart math.  It teaches in such a way that you are able to quickly do math in your head.  No calculator, no paper & pencil.  Of course, there is a time and place for that too.  I'm learning better ways to do math by teaching it!  I'm sure some of you will roll your eyes at this, but it's so much FUN!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wet Boots

We love the snow but not the wet floors!  So I found a plastic bin in the basement that is perfect for our snow-covered boots, shoes & gloves!