Friday, September 30, 2011

Renaissance Festival

It was education day at the Renaissance Festival and we had a beautiful day for it.

The festival had a huge castle museum of torture devices.  We did NOT tour through it because my girls would have freaked out - and I probably would have freaked out (or passed out!) with them.  Stuff like that makes us nauseous.  It was bad enough having to explain the skeleton (below) hanging in the cage off the side of the castle.  This was just a very dark period in time.

I told the girls we just might try our hand at making our own leather pouches... 

Aren't they cute!

We stopped and watched this guy several times.... 

This guy was messing with Emily, not letting her through!

Pirate Show... 

A glass-smith (?) - Look closely; his torch is a dragon! 

I had to include this one
with her flower strategically placed! 

While the kids went through a maze, I bought them a funnel cake.  Oh, let's face it, I wanted it too!   Believe it or not, Katie was the one who led the way out! 

Yep, they had a church...

And bells... 

Don't you just love the colors of the buildings? 

A very friendly soap maker...

The quilts in this shop were so beautiful.  I would love to make one like that some day...

Jousting drew the largest crowd.  It was neat but if I had to complain about any part of the festival, it would be that we could hardly hear or see what was going on.  If there was some way they could provide crowd control during the jousting (to keep people from talking so much), we would have enjoyed it more.

Don't you just love his shoes?!! 

Speaking of shoes, we learned today that it takes anywhere from a few hours to several days to make a pair of Renaissance period shoes.  A man was there making and selling them.  I would have loved to have a pair but didn't have a couple hundred dollars to spare!

The weather was gorgeous.  It rained all day yesterday but was pleasant and sunny today and just the right temperature.

We met a really nice lady who makes pottery, along with her husband and she showed us some of their work behind the curtain, which made us feel extra special.  We bought a few pieces from her at an incredible price.

I also gave in and bought the girls each a feather fan, which is exactly what you would imagine... a fan made from feathers.  Katie's is black & pink and Emily's is black & white.  I'm usually not a big spender at places like this, but these were unusual items that were reasonably priced.  The girls were very appreciative because they know I don't usually buy them things like that. 

The festival was a neat experience and I would definitely go back again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Projects & Pictures

Since I haven't been great at posting pictures each week, here they are...

Yes, there's always a hairbrush around!  We have a lot of hair to maintain around here!!! 

Cell experiment made with jello.
This was a great project to illustrate parts of a cell.  I love the Human Body for Every Kid book!

These are cake pops gone bad!

I was a sucker for the Baby Cakes maker at Kohl's one day while shopping with a friend.  We both bought one.  It looks like a waffle maker and we thought it would make cute little cake balls.  NOT!!!  This is how mine turned out.  After I cleaned it up, I packaged it back up and returned it to the store.  Yes, I'm one of those people!  I've since learned that real cake pops/balls are very easy to make, perfectly shaped, and quite tasty!

This is the cake I made for my niece & nephew's birthday.  It's supposed to be a baseball field and since they turned 9, each candle represented a player. :)

Emily decorated this one.  I think she did a lovely job! 

Katie and her clay tablet.

Emily and her clay tablet (goofy face and all).

The tablets are similar to wax tablets the Romans used.

Somehow, my portrait made it on the clay!  Emily actually did a pretty good job.

 That about covers it.  I've been taking pictures at co-op too but I'll save those for another time. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ready for a Full Week... or Not

We've yet to have a full week of school since we started.  And just when I thought we would have one this week, I remembered that we have a field trip on Thursday!  No, I am not kidding!!!  The field trip will be great though.  We are going to the Renaissance Festival, which will go along with our studies this year.  I'm sure I'll have pictures to post!

Speaking of pictures, notice I haven't posted any in a while.  I've been too lazy to download them.  Or maybe I've just been busy - yeah, we'll go with that!

In all reality, the start of another school year has wiped me out.  Especially that first week.  I was so exhausted!  I've been going to bed earlier (which is still late by many people's standards) and sleeping fairly well.  All the talking from reading aloud is tiring.  And all the thinking involved in lesson planning and teaching is also exhausting.  At least I'm on a better schedule though.

So here's what our coming week will look like.  Co-op on Monday, regular school days Tuesday & Wednesday, field trip Thursday, and regular school day Friday.  It's a bit of a broken up week, but I'm sure it will be great.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekly Review: Another Short Week

Learning about Rome is very interesting.  We like all of our books so far but we are having a bit of trouble keeping up with all the reading.  There is a lot!  Augustus Caesar's World is the longest.  We are starting to adjust to it though.  Sometimes the girls color while I read but that's not usually their favorite thing to do.  Other times, they hang upside down like monkies or I let them play with my hair! :)  That's my kind of reading!  I love when they play with my hair and it makes them feel special to get to "do" mommy's hair!

Math is going well with Emily.  We've kept up with that every day.  She forgot some multiplication facts over the summer, but they are returning to her memory quicker than I expected.  We practice frequently and I found a great website for math games that has been incredibly helpful, and fun for her!  There are so many games to choose from, which helps those children who bore easily.

Math for Katie isn't happening as much right now.  I'm focusing on her reading, which is showing signs of improvement, praise God!  I'm finding that if she really wants to, she can do it.  The reading ideas I read in forums are helping.

Emily still hasn't started language arts, writing or spelling.  We will, I promise!  Maybe next week.  We are going to start doing McGuffey Readers but I'm not sure what that will look like yet.  I've read the beginning of the parent guide a few times, now I just need to read more about the lessons and actually do them!  She is reading every day, often without being told; a big step from last year. :)

We were supposed to finish week 3 in MFW, but since we had a 3-day week and lengthy history readings , we didn't even start the 3rd week.  We'll catch up at some point and it will be fine. 

I'm actually in Pittsburgh, PA right now, attending a Relay For Life leadership summit.  I'm homesick for my family and rumor has it that my dog is moping around.  Poor poochie!  My kids are doing ok.  Although, Katie has a cold and Hubs isn't feeling well.  Maybe it's better than I'm not there so I can avoid the germs!

Linked with Weekly Wrap-Up

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Help with Reading

Here are some ideas I found on the My Father's World forum, that would apply to anyone needing some ideas to aid the reading process.  (I think you have to register to enter some portions of the forum and make comments.)

1.   Read the story from her phonics reader (or any phonics book) first.  Then read it together.  Then have her read it by herself.

2.   Do 3 separate reading times each day.  The first one would be the reading lesson in MFW.  The second is re-reading a previous story (or easy reader) that she still needs to work on (this is when I would do the I read, we read, she reads, from #1).  The third reading would be at bedtime where she reads something I know she has already mastered.

3.   Continue with the scheduled phonics lessons, and go back to review previous lessons (especially the ones she struggles with).

4.   Do the daily phonics lesson, take a break, then review it.  Or, review it just before or after dinner.  This would be a quick review.

5.   Play the games suggested in the appendix of the TM.

Since I have a struggling reader, I'm implementing these ideas right away.  I hope to report progress in the next few weeks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Gentle Start

It just dawned on me that I don't think I've written a weekly wrap-up since we started school.  Or maybe I did.  This is how my brain functions!  It's only been two weeks since we started school but it already seems like a month.  Not because we've done so much work that it seems like an entire months worth, that's for sure.  We actually haven't an a full week of school yet.  And that is driving me crazy!

Our first week was the week of Labor Day, so we had no school on Monday.  It seemed to take us forever to get through just a portion of a full day.  I wondered how on earth we would work in Emily's language arts and writing.  Let alone do art or any form of music.  But I think some things have a way of working themselves out.  This is why a gentle start is good for us.  It takes a while to adjust to a new schedule.  And thankfully, the girls are taking art at co-op.

The second week was much better as far as moving at a better pace.  But we still didn't start language arts or writing.  And since we went camping last weekend, we had no school on Friday.  In addition, we started co-op last Monday, so last week was just a 3-day school week.  Bummer.  We managed to squeeze things together to prevent falling behind.  But I generally don't like doing that.  This is a problem I have with attending a co-op.  Sometimes I feel too strapped down.  Field trips are sometimes stressful because I feel like we shouldn't take a day off our normal routine.  At the same time, I feel they are important both for the kids and for me, to have a break from normal school while still learning.

So far, the Romans are holding our interest in our MFW studies.  The health book is wonderful!  We've used the Apologia Anatomy & Physiology book during co-op and I think it's too advanced.  I wonder how in the world elementary age kids retain all that information.  Well, they don't.  At least mine don't.  This is why I'm so thankful for The Human Body for Every Kid.  To look at the cover and just flip through it, it might look boring.  But the text and definitions are worded well and easier to comprehend.  The diagrams are clear, which make them easy to copy and label.  This is so much more reasonable for our kids and just another confirmation that our choice to use My Father's World is the right one. 

Once we get Emily going in language arts and writing, I will feel much more accomplished.  So, here goes week 3!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School & Movie with Friends

We had a long morning thanks to math.  I had planned on continuing math through the summer, but we didn't.  And boy did we pay for it.  I didn't realize we would have to review so much.  I felt bad for the kids because they got somewhat frustrated for not remembering some things.  On a positive note, they didn't whine too much and I think it will all come back quickly.  I'm seeing math games in our future to review the facts.

Terrific Tuesday started today, which was unplanned but needed.  Emily had this idea a few weeks ago for us to have Terrific Tuesday once a month - a day for playing games, doing random art or science projects, or just whatever.  It might even entail a field trip or lunch out.  Anything somewhat educational that is off our regular course.

Anyway, I let the girls do an art project of their choice.  Emily chose to shape beads around wire hooks to bake in the oven.

Basically, she traced a shape onto foil and then filled that shape with the beads.  Unfortunately, they didn't melt around the hooks like they were supposed to, so we'll have to try again.

Katie collected some clothespins and pom poms (or as she calls them, puff balls) for her art project and ended up making a butterfly.

She flattened the coffee filter and colored it with markers...

Then she sprinkled drops of water on it... 

Painted the clothes pin... 

Attached a pipe cleaner and voila... a butterfly! 

The only other thing we did today was our MFW history.  And we didn't even make it all the way through that.  We spent about five hours in school today and didn't accomplish near as much as I thought we would have in just three to four hours.  The beginning of each year is always like this for me and I know that it usually takes at least a few weeks to find that groove.  So I'm not discouraged yet!

Later on, I went to see The Help with my friends.  The book was excellent and the movie was great, too.  We went for a bite to eat afterwards, which was a great time to catch up.  It's been a while since we've gotten together and it was nice to get out for a while.

When I came home, the kids instantly wanted my undivided attention.  Really, these little people just can't get enough of me!  You would think that they would want some space after spending all day with me.  They acted like I'd been gone for days!  I have to admit, it's nice feeling that loved. :)

Bedtime is a chore.  Emily was still awake last time I checked at 11:45.  Katie was asleep but hadn't been for long.  She sang herself to sleep.  I could hear her precious voice.  I guess I'm just going to have to wake them both up super early one day so they'll be more tired that night.  This means I'll have to deal with two grouchy children for a day.  Maybe even a grouchy me!  I'm not great at getting up early, or going to bed early.  I need to discipline myself better.  If it weren't for us wanting to finish school by 2:00 or so, I wouldn't be bothered by starting later in the morning.  But for the sake of having dinner prepared on time, getting Emily to gymnastics and church activities, we need to have school work done earlier.  I pray for God to help me with this!

So that was our first official day of school this year.  I still believe this will be a great year and I believe we will push past some stumbling blocks.