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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Shortest Fall and Bats.


Well I know we live in a northern clime but fall usually seems longer. This year we had a short sunny bit followed by rain mixed with snow and hail. Not too much too enjoy.
So we turn ourselves back to our lessons for enjoyment. DD had requested awhile ago that we learn of bats. She was in the I want to fly stage and had to learn all there was to learn about creatures that fly. As I have said before we do celebrate Halloween. So that being said I thought it would be good to have more indepth look at bats nearer to Halloween. So we found a tonne of wonderful information and things to look at. Books from the library which of course included a copy of Stellaluna. We used some of the lapbook resources from and we got a copy of the movie also at the library. I reread the book before we watched to movie and asked the kids to watch for differences between the book and the movie. The spotted quite a few.
We looked at the anatomy of the bats arms and fingers and how they are similar or dissimilar from birds and people.We read about bats from the Hinterland Who's Who website. We focused on echolocation, hibernation, migration, and delayed reproduction. And we made notebooking sources for each.  DS made a flip book using this. We also used the mega bat vs micro bat comic to read and discuss the differences between the two. Lubee Bat Conservatory Mega/Micro Bat Comic
Admittedly we did not even cover all that I was hoping to cover on the subject. Some more links of interest are below.

href="http://www.gamequarium.org/cgi-bin/search/linfo.cgi?id=9701" This is a Magic School Bus bat page.
href="http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=8588"This is a printable workbook on bats.
href="http://www.abcteach.com/free/b/border_bat_primary.pdf">This is a pdf notebooking page with bat border.

During this time we also had a field trip to a local corn maze. Since I don't personally drive one of the other hs mothers was generous enough to offer the kids and I a ride. Well we got there an hour early, a slight oversight lol. So we made our way back into town where we stopped at the local MacDonalds playland to kill time. The kids didn't mind the diversion. And before we knew it we were back on track. At the farm where the corn maze was located there was also a petting barn where the kids were able to feed some grain to the cow and goat. Of course the horses didn't need the extra feed so they had to content themselves with pets from the thirty or so odd hs kids that came.

DD and DS looking at a pygmy goat

We also we lucky to enjoy a wonderful hayride on this unbelieveably chilly fall day. Packed onto the wagon the two large horses, one pictured above pulled for all they were worth and made a wonderful ride around the tree farm and back again. From there we entered the corn maze. I was so busy trying to keep up to the eager kids I didn't think to take a picture. It was a small feat of engineering that maze. And very well done. The kids and I really got a workout trying to find the way station points. Afterward I spotted this wonderful stump near the old house on the farm. Which incidently is the oldest house from our city.
It has been a busy time of year which may be part of the reason that it seems to be a very short season. DD is a member of Sparks and has been busy selling cookies door to door and had a campout scheduled. Well she was so thrilled. Myself I was more apprenhensive afterall she is only five. However she was quite insistent that she go. So not to stiffle independence and fun I said she could. It was a job in itself packing for her from the kit list supplied. She got there on time at ten and seemed a little less sure of herself. I reassured her it would be fine. Well she made it until 10.30pm then I got a call with the smallest we voice 'Mom I can't sleep I want to come home.' So home she came. I give her a big thumbs up for trying. And the camp leader said there is another campout in the summer so who knows maybe a big six year old will make it.

Sugar Shack cabin where the campout was
Also in the past couple weeks. DH and DS have been working tirelessly on our front deck. So far it is almost complete. The stairs we just added yesterday. I am looking forward to having it finished.

Well in other news my FIL has gotten remarried and is coming for visit with the new "MIL, SM, Grandma" next week. Although it will be a short visit we are all anxious to see what she is like as it has been a sudden marriage and they live far away so we haven't met her.

The kids have been keeping up with their swimming classes and both are improving. DS has even started jumping into the pool from the side. And he is braver then I ever was and keeps his eyes open under the water. Since I told him he could be a lifeguard when he is older for a summer job he is now determined to become the best swimmer he can be. He has always loved the water so I can see that being something he would enjoy. DD is being braver now also and not just clinging to the sides of the pool. It is such a wonderful blessing to watch the people they will be unfold.
I am also very proud of my son for taking a stand with his friend. The boy came over for a sleep over and is a bit more verbal if you will, then I allow. Well I have told DS before that I don't mind friends over but it is up to him to make sure they follow the rules. And that they need to in order to be allowed to stay. So his friend was using some bad language and he said 'Stop saying that we don't talk like that in my house.' I thought it was great that he stood firm and I was happy to see he has been listening.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrating the 1000th Visitor to Our Blog

Has it really been only three months since I started blogging? Time has been whizzing by as school got into full gear.
I am thankful to everyone who has come by our blog and hope that some of you have found the links helpful. And that perhaps a small percentage of you have found my blog of interest :)
I haven't recapped for the last week as it has been an ongoing unit and will likely recap that at the weekend coming up.
We recieved our first snowfall here today. Well it really wasn't all that impressive really. It's gone already although they are calling for more.
I have met a few wonderful ladies through our local homeschool group. And hope to meet some more. I am debating setting up either a craft or lego group for the winter for a small group of homeschoolers. I just have to work the idea out more and get some details before I submit it to the local group.
I also want to look into a field trip I have formulating, thanks to my wonderfully ingenius husband.
Again thank you to all those great people who have come by and made us reach 1000 visitors since we began.
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Plump and Perky Turkey Thanksgiving.


Well it's that time again in Canada. Turkey time or Thanksgiving :). We spent the last week of homeschool working on botany as our theme. We made leaf collection books for each child and using Kidzone we made up pages to identify our leaves and make observations. Below are images from DD's leaf collection book. The second image shows her intrepretation on what happens during photosynthesis. The words on the cover are a fancy rose font she picked out as she loves flowers.


 We haven't completely finished the books as we still need to find elder specimens. Not sure if they are local or not. And a few more entries need to be completed. Below are images of DS's leaf book. He is starting to forget to hold his pencil correctly and so again his letter formation is becoming fragmented. I sat with him through his writing last year to get him to use the tripod grip and saw a remarkable improvement. One step forward two steps back sometimes. Back to reminding him. And I am just letting DD be forming her letters how she wants so as to not instill a perfectionist attitude. Next term I will try to be more persuasive in getting her to hold her pencil in the correct grip. The second image below is son's diagram idea of his own creation to show the how photosynthesis is effected by the seasons. I am not sure if it conveys the whole message. But I was pleased that he chose on his own the idea of a diagram over a drawing as it shows a more mature understanding of analytical data.

 Because we are behind I have shifted my plans for lessons for the rest of the month from my original intent of a parliamentary lesson to just fall and Halloween. Yes we celebrate Halloween here. Anywho my original method of teaching my son last year is somehow not wpanning out with two kids to teach. Some days are a struggle to maintain order in the class. Maybe I need a gavel lol. And so I am finding that instead of small weekly units sometimes there is a bit more crossover of learning from week to week. Which I guess is ok. I find it can be a little tiresome having to remember all the lessons we have going on. For term two after the new year I think I shall have to find a more defined system so as not to get too off track from the main focus areas. So aside from the leaf books we also made leaf prints on canvas and handprint turkeys.

Our science experiment was chromatography. We are still steeping the leaves as the color 'packets' didn't get into the alcohol as it should have after a few hours. So if it was done for someone else I would recommend beginning the experiment earlier in the week and then returning to it later after it has time to sit more.

Leaves are sitting in alcohol and warm water bath.
 For our field trip we went to a local hiking trail and enjoyed a big walk through the fall leaves.

It was also week two of the homeschool associations swimming classes through a local rec center. They split the kids up according to age and level of comfort in the water. There are 30 or so kids all told and two classes a week :) Which means somewhere in this great city there are more parents who are taking the time to homeschool. I am liking to outing during the week as are the kids. Although this time I am going to consult the bus route map so as to not be stuck on the bus needlessly long.
And also DD continues with her weekly meetings with Sparks for little girls instead of Girl Guides which is for older girls. She is loving the interaction and comradery of the group. They have a camping trip of all the strange events to undertake in our cold fall clime coming up in two weeks. I am uncertain that she will enjoy being away from us for two whole days and one night. But she is so excited and insistent that she will be ok I am loathe to decline. I want the kids to have friends and independence. Granted at five I am leaning towards calling the whole thing off. But then I think back and think that perhaps I am too protective. And there is going to be over 15 kids attending. Soooo.. I shall let her test the waters of freedom for the sake of her self esteem. And I will also have both cell phones in one hand and the car keys in the ignition. Which is kind of funny since I don't drive. But that's why hubby will be sleeping in the truck. lol no not really. But I digress. DS still hasn't found anything to his liking. Although I am not certain he ever will he is such a independent fellow with a set of ideas in his head that sometimes it worries me that he is so unwavering in his opinions. However perhaps more time is all that will be needed to see him blossom in a more team oriented group.
DH is a great man. He works endlessly to make us all happy. And he worked really hard this weekend trying to get our front deck made. He still needs some more boards on top, stairs and railing but otherwise it is shaping up really nicely. I will have to give it a stain though as the lightness of the wood is rather drastic next to the brickwork on the front of the house.
And my kitchen will need painting in the next week or so. I am still uncertain as to what color to go with although I am leaning towards robins egg blue as I have always had a liking for the color but never been brave enough to use it.
But all of this blogging me is keeping me from organizing this weeks school lesson on bats. So I shall go with a wish for everyone in the world to have a wonderful weekend as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Absent Now Back Again.

You may have noticed I haven't posted in awhile. That is mainly because I was so busy working on a yearly craft show and sale that I attend. I have attended it for the past fourteen years.
I let the kids have time off from formal learning for those two weeks while I prepared my crafts and baking. They spent a large portion of their time unschooling. They watched me sew webs and spiders. They made pom poms with me. And they baked and helped to package items with me. DD helped me wrap suckers the large round ones in cheesecloth and then I let her put little ghostly faces on them before I tied the cheesecloth on. These were surprisingly popular with the little craft sale goer's, much to my daughters delight as she was earning the money from those sales. They also busied themselves with drawing elaborate murals on newsprint and making pipecleaner spiders and pipecleaner playground equipment for their spiders. They wrote more then they do with formal learning lol. Asking how to spell this and that. I discovered my DD has an interest in cartooning as she made her funny pics have speech bubbles with humorous comments.

My DS helped me with making virginia creeper wreaths. I understand they are more dry in the spring to work with but time was of the essence and I needed some more to fill the small country porch I was to show out of. So he learned that the vine did the walking and your hand just follows it through to completion. He also learned how to weave the ends in neatly and start another vine intertwining.
DD contented herself bouncing on and amongst the felled birch tree in our backyard. Seemed like great fun for them both to make little dens inside the pile of branches. And all the backyard birds seemed to chirp happily there also for the week. The tree has now been removed from the yard. A sudden dip in temperatures into the near 0's Celsius has spurred us to make quick pickup of things in the yard. Snow can come anytime now here in the north. Although usually it isn't until after Halloween. There is still some cleanup to do. And a lot to finish on the deck.
So for the baking I made pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips, pumpkin muffins with Cinnamon chips, brownies, pumpkin pie blossoms, sugar cookies on sticks, chocolate fudge, peanut butter and chocolate fudge, cappuccino fudge, caramel corn and pumpkin pie taffy. The taffy was wrapped like old fashioned candies in waxed paper. I also made caramel apple and chocolate covered apples. The candy was set up on a table to look like an old fashioned candy store and then I had taste tests of the candy. People loved it and candy was flying off the table. Baking not so much. The sale is unique in that it is based in several homes around in a rural area so there is a drive to find new and exciting crafts and ideas to present every year.
It was my first time away from the kids for two whole nights and days. I left them with Dh and hoped for the best lol.
If you have ever seen the show 'the week the wives left'..welll...that will give you some idea of how things were upon my return. Hoo Boy not sure I want to repeat that. Below are some pics of the sale :)

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