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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seasons Greetings comment

DD's School Pic

DS's School Pic

So our school pictures came in. I am very pleased with the photos that were kindly taken by a local photography studio for a discounted price for the homeschooling group. My kids are growing like weeds and it is never more noticeable then when the school pictures come in.
Goodness we have been busy this past week. Unfortunately school has gotten a little off track. So now with three days left in Super Science Month it is up to me to grab the reins and get this buggy back on the path.
We have Albert Einstein and a few odd experiments to finish. And now that I have DD reading I need to make sure she practices daily. I think she is progressing really well there.
Christmas is on my mind a lot as I tidy, paint and decorate. And time to get those Christmas projects for school on the go as well. I have a list of ideas that I need to compile into a more concise school unit. And of course end of month means our bulletin board will need changing. Unfortunately I have planned an excursion this weekend which means I have no time to get any of it done. I shall just have to pour the midnight hours in to get it finished.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flat Travelling Disappointments.

Awhile ago in the summer my kids decided to participate in a flat travel situation that was set up through a homeschool forum I belong to. Well the person, who I won't name, who got my DD's first ever flat, did not return it. She is needless to say more then disappointed. She is five here and this was her first homeschool mail lesson. She had to watch as her brothers flat was returned with great pictures and brochures. And still nothing from hers months later. To further add insult to injury it was the person who set the whole trade up that never returned her flat. The experience has left her and I feeling flat.

So a word to all who travel through flats. Please remember to return them or at the very least be honest enough to say 'hey I lost it.' Or 'I forgot to mail it.' Honesty is always better then making a child wonder.

Also too having done this now a few times I think it would be great if we looked at those flats as travellers returning home. What would you take home from a vacation? Would it be merely brochures. Or would you take a souvenir or other small memento of your trip. Perhaps something as simple as a small, unusual rock, leaf rubbing, favorite recipe the family had whilst you visited or the like. Let's remember when sending those flats back to kids that brochures are a wonderful geography and social studies tool but not all that interesting for small tots. I am not saying this to be unappreciative of the wonderful trips our flats have taken. I am saying this as a creative plea to make it more inviting for kids to participate. I am saying this from a child's perspective.
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To All My Readers.

You may have noticed that things have changed here at Adventure Hollow. I am currently working on making the blog more holiday friendly. I hope you like the new layout and I apologize if you are finding it hard to read the link list. I am working on finding a way to make them more separated. However I am new to Javascript and so am having a bit of a time locating the 'magic' spot in the code to change that bit of information. Thank you for you patience and your visits.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Electricity...not so much

 Electricity week left me feeling flat. We didn't cover things the way I had hoped. It was overshadowed with our other lessons that needed attention. And in the back of my mind there are these tunes playing over and over. 'Christmas is a coming, hurry up, hurry up' and by that I mean here in Canada the stores turn their merchandise over to Christmas fare right after Halloween. People throw their artificial trees up at the first snowflake or sooner. And everyone starts to talk about it. There is this impending feeling of rush that surrounds the holiday season. As I age and develop more of different view of the whole season I feel the rush more. I am less prepared then days gone by when my shopping was done early and plans were made months in advance. Now as a homeschooling mom there is more added to the plate of life. The kids age with each advancing year making them more aware of the season. I am all for youth and exuberance, I just wish I could reclaim some of that youthfulness for myself.
 All of this aside we did manage to make a few small breakthroughs. DD is beginning to read with great success. And DS is continuing his mathematical advancement learning division and is now giving himself spelling tests. He will pick a word at random and spell it for us to see if has the correct spelling. It would appear that he is very adept at it. The only thing he is getting caught up with are those sneaky, silent 'e's'. Overall I am happy with what we have covered as we near the end of our first term this year. I am also thinking of making up a test for DS who in 'grade two' should have some to prepare him for the eventuality of testing later in his in life. I would just like it to be a general knowledge test of all that we have covered. At first when I thought of the idea of testing I thought it would be to see how much information has been retained. And then I realized that was silly because I already know that from listening to him speak. So I think as said before it is to prepare him for that later eventuality.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Super Science Month Off to a Great Start.


Our school this month is continuing forward with our English, Math and so on. Our unit of study though which is on top of those areas was science. I came up with some areas or subjects I was hoping to cover. And seeing as though we are dealing with a level of learning discrepancy since DS is two years older then his sister and has covered some of these topics, I tried to delve deeper into them and cover information he hadn't learned yet.
So this past week we discussed atoms and molecules. We attempted to make a buckeyball from the kitchen chemistry book mentioned in my earlier post. It was a flop but a fun flop. I introduced scientific method to the kids and we started science notebooks in binders. Included in the notebooks are lab reports, a diagram of the scientific method (taped to the inside of the binder for easy reference), and a chart to list when all experiments were completed and what they were called. It's an attempt for the kids to see how real scientists keep accurate records. Over the past week I have seen a major improvement in my son's work ethic and in my daughters ability to take dictation. She also has started to show more interest in learning to read as well as a deepening understanding of phonics. I was so thrilled to see these improvements in them and know that given more time they both will turn into gems for students.
We also had fun this week talking about the five states of matter; Bose Einstein condensate, liquids, solids, gases and plasmas. We made cornstarch goop for an experiment which my son loved playing with so much I had to pry him away from it. And we did an experiment freezing water to illustrate the Mpemba Effect on water. We also talked about physical and chemical change in states of matter.
This month is proving to be fun for all of us. And I hope to see continued improvement in school.
I also got a chance to go out with some women from our local homeschool group and really enjoyed having fun with some adults for a change. We took in the movie Secretariat and I recommend it for all families. Disney has made a come back in my books with this family movie.
My deck was stained even though the weather is turning colder. I am grateful for the brief window of opportunity I was given to get that job done so I didn't have to stare at bare wood all winter. I chose a cappuccino stain from the Behr line of stain at Home Depot. Again I am not sure how it seems to have more red then I would like but I am hoping it will fade some over winter. In any event it looks far nicer on the front with the brickwork then the other plain wood.
I managed to find at DD's request a pen friend for her and will get her started on that this week coming. I hope it turns out well. I recall with fondness some of the wonderful pen friends I had growing up and as a grown up. Unfortunately I have since lost touch with all of them. It's funny how small relationships like that throughout our lives can touch our hearts so much.
DD's Spark troop may be laying a wreath this week at the cenotaph and I would be most honored if she can attend. So I would like to end today's post with a well known and beautiful tribute to all of those who have fought and died. Not only for us in Canada but all over the world throughout the ages. Without whom we would not be who we are today.

Thanks to the man, John Macrea, who wrote this.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

November Begins with A Whirl!

I love Scribd it is awesome! I found a complete book on kitchen chemistry! Mind you I had to join for a month for $9 it was sooo worth it. And yes the ink to print it out was a lot. But this book is fabulous. I think we are going to use it the rest of the year cover to cover. It has easy experiments you can do easily in your own home to illustrate the ideas behind the facts. So I was as you can tell thrilled to find it. The timing was perfect as we head into November which I have deemed Science Month. Note our new bulletin board theme.

Last year I covered both magnetism and electricity with my DS so I have developed a more complex lesson plan for him. I encourage my DD to listen and pick up what she can. I also have her lesson plan to run concurrently with DS's. Today we covered atoms and molecules. We completed one experiment and failed miserably at another. I am going to have DH look into where we went wrong tonight. We learned about the scientific method and how to organize our new science notebooks we are doing for the year. I had them tape a chart to the inside cover of the notebook to remind them of the order of the scientific method. The each had a periodic table with pictures ( link for that in my link list). They learned how to fill out lab sheets for their experiments. And yes they balked at all the writing. But in time I can only hope to instill good methodology.
I tried to compile a complete curriculum/lesson for the month. However I found that as I gathered information it was growing exponentially. So I am taking DH advice and taking the sketch of the month and compiling it a week at a time.
There are several historical figures I am hoping to cover as well. Along with science DS is learning decimals and fractions more indepth and DD is continuing to learn the concepts she needs to master. It's proving to be a interesting and busy month.
And as if all of this and housework weren't enough. I dashed outside this evening to start staining our front deck. Tomorrow is also supposed to be nice and I hope to finish then. Snow will be coming sooner rather then later and I just can't stare at the nakedness of blonde wood against red brick all winter.
That about puts us back on track for where we are at thus far.

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End Of October Wrap Up.

In keeping up with tradition the kids were treated to special foods before the night of treat'or'treating. Below are witches broomsticks and monster mouths. The broomsticks we made from Pillsbury Hot Dog wraps and the mouths are apples with slivered almonds for teeth. The little mummy is a paper craft I got off the web.

Below we made mashed potato ghosts and english muffin mummy pizzas.

Of course no night of trick'or'treating is complete without costumes. DD went as a pirate princess and son went as his current favorite game characters Ratchet and Clank. Clank was hung on his back. This costume I made. Now just for those who don't know I am not a seamstress. I love to sew by hand no machines. So this was cobbled together purely from my head. I must say I am pretty happy with the results. Except next time I would make a less complex head. The head was made from crafters wire mesh wired together, filled with polyester stuffing and then I sewed in his bike helmet to hold it all in place. The chest was 'muscled' by a little soft sculpture. I sewed in panels behind the shirt part of the costume and then sculpted them with stitching. Thankfully my daughter wanted a store bought costume. The Ratchet took two and half weeks of work on and off to complete.

Our bat books were completed and we learned alot. I did have more information with the lesson I prepared but we simply ran out of time to complete. But that kind of thing doesn't bother me too much because I will simply work those ideas into a later lesson.

foam bats, echolocation, facts and baby bat mini books.

Bat wing anatomy compared to humans and birds. As well a brochure of bat facts.
We moved from that week into the week before Halloween. So I took the time to make it a literary week. We discussed folklore surrounding Halloween. The tale of Stingy Jack which the kids got a kick out of my rendition via fake microphone. We also talked about similes and then they completed their own simile pumpkin books. We looked at poetry for a bit and talked about limericks in particular. Then I had them each make up their own. Now I was impressed with DD's unfortunately DS chose to 'make his own' off of hers. But it was the idea of the pattern of AA, BB, A that I wanted to instill. So I was ok with that. I did point out that perhaps next time he could attempt a little more at originality. I do suppose it would be hard for them at their ages to not have that situation happen once in awhile since they are in the same class and usually at the same desk. All of our work for the week was put in a 'scrapbook' we made up. I bought scrapbook paper for the covers from the dollarstore and cut cheap paper for the other pages. Then we glued the work in.

DS's Cover

Inside DS book

Halloween math inside DD's book

Inside DD's book with her mini books on Stingy Jack, the skeletal system, creatures of the night, and her limerick.

More worksheets for DD this one was a cute one hundred chart with ghosties.

Pumpkin fractions in cauldron pocket for DD with a fun craft from the toymakers website .
What toymaker you may be wondering? Well here is the website for the toymaker.
And if you think our school sounds like fun? Well it can be. But don't let all this craftyness fool you. I am still dealing with a lot of issues. My DS is a handful and most days pushes all the wrong buttons. I think though last week we may have made a breakthrough. I am not holding my breath though. He still needs almost constant reminders to accomplish his writing. He has toned down his attitude greatly though. I hope it lasts. It can be very wearing to make it through our lessons. But as my mother loved to quote and I do now 'pound on, pound on'.  

So I end this wrap up with DD's limerick about Halloween.

This night,
something gave me a fright.
Was it a ghost?
Was it a post?
It was a scarey sight.

Not bad for five :)
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