Monday, May 28, 2012

"Big and High"

First of all, I need to tell you about the tree in our front yard. It is a nice big red maple tree that is one that can be climbed but even more exciting is the monkey swing and the other two ropes that are hanging from the tree. I can't tell you how many people go home from our house saying, "we need to hang a rope in the tree at home".

Miss K was enjoying the swing and asking for "big and high". She loved being pushed. She was doing a great job of holding on.

Then they both got on the swing together.

When you go this together you do have to sit close together.

Daddy was pushing and they were going "big and high". I was trying to get a few pictures and got a number of pictures that had part of a body. It was a fun photography challenge.


We currently live in an area with Chess clubs, chess tutors, chess classes, chess camps, and chess tournaments which all works for the chess lovers in the family. I know how the pieces move and that is where I stop in my play. Miss K is learning and likes to plays king and pawns. J has learned to play chess and enjoys it. Stuart usually has a game or two going online with two friends and so he is analyzing his next move or two.

J has played in a few tournaments this past year. Last week he won a medal for the May tournament. He lost the first game but was reminded by his tutor to slow down. He did and won the next three games. Parents are not allowed to watch the games so they sit in another room waiting and wondering what it happening.

I am thrilled that he won and has a metal for all his hard work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cutting Practice - Life skills

Miss K is very independent. She loves to help and is quick to offer her help. It is a balance between allowing her to help and knowing what she is not ready to help with. I want her to learn to cook and one of the best ways to start is just helping in the kitchen and cutting things.

I have decided that cucumbers and zucchini are easy things for her to practice her cutting. We do have to watch when she is cutting cucumbers as more go to her mouth than to the salad.

We have two ceramic knives that we allow her to use. One is a bit chipped but still does a good job. It is about 12 years old and still cuts. I didn't realize how dull it was until I got a new one. She does cutting with someone watching to make sure she doesn't cut herself. Maybe I need someone to watch me as I cut myself last week twice.

It is fun to see her develop life skills and help the family. We ended up eating zucchini that evening because she had wanted to practice cutting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Classical Conversations and J

Since I wrote about the benefits that Miss K received from Classical Conversations, I thought I should write a bit about how it was good for J. My goal for him was to do Memory Master. I didn't push it much until we got to spring and then we talked about it.  At that point I knew he could do it and so I encouraged him to do it. He took some of the ownership for this.

I think for him the memory work was excellent. In math he learned his multiplication tables to 15. That was quite a challenge for him but good for him. He enjoyed his history sentences. The fact that there was a song with it made it easier to remember. I will say that when it came to testing he gave a few of us some grey hair. We knew he knew the material but he got nervous and froze so it took some time to get it out of him.

J was did the afternoon program. Essentials was not my favorite part. Personally, I had a hard time following what we were learning and felt that it was presented in a scatter fashion. I did like the charts. J was quite impressed that he learned to diagram.

I loved the IEW portion of the afternoon. We have not done a formal writing program up to this time and I did like IEW and the skills that were taught. It is great to see how something learned is later transferred to something else. J was writing a journal entry and read it to me pointing out that he had used a who/which clause, a prepositional opened and an -ly word. He also started a story and got to chapter 2. That was impressive. I liked it so much that I bought IEW for us to use next year.

Because of travel and moving we will not be part of CC next year and there is part of us that is sad about that. I learned some things that I am including in our lessons. We are writing history sentences and working to make sure we understand the list of major events. We will use IEW and add some Latin into our lessons next year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

National Garden Day

Today was National Garden Day. Last year we enjoyed a free visit to Longwood Gardens. J has talked about that at various times which tells me that he did enjoy the day. This year Longwood Gardens was not on the list. The Morris Arboretum was on the list. My mom had shown me an article in a local events magazine that described some of the things there so we decided to go. I was thrilled that it wasn't that far away and I didn't have to really go to the city.

The first place that we went was Out on a Limb.

That is an area where you can feel like you are up in the trees. There is a giant bird's nest -- maybe Big Bird moved in.

There were big robin's eggs in there.

We walked quite a bit. Miss K got her exercise for today.

There was a sculpture garden where the kids were climbing and playing.

It was much more trees compared to Longwood Gardens. We did enjoy our time there. There was a children's passport to explore book which the kids did. I like things like that to be able to include in their portfolio.

It was a fun morning and we saved about $30 because it was National Garden Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Miss K and Classical Conversations

We finished our year with Classical Conversations Cycle 3 (Miss K had listened to the CD enough times that she started to add Cycle 3 when she talked about Classical Conversations. When we began the year, my goal for her was to learn the timeline. She did that and was given a special award, Timeline Memory Master. Some of my other thoughts and observations from the year include:

One day she asked me, "How do you spell epithelial?"

Jack was asking what we think of when we think of the Pilgrims. Miss K replied, "Mayflower Compact."

She can probably locate 20 states on the map.

The other day Jack was reviewing the Rivers (West) and could not remember one. Miss K walked past and said "Red" which was correct.

She loved the kids in her class. Everyone is her friend. She talks about all the girls.

I was impressed with how she did following along and sitting for the 9:30 to 12:00 time. There were toys in the room but only 1 week was she distracted (she was next to the toys and no one at her table giving the positive peer pressure). I see this helping her in other areas.

Playing school to her means giving a presentation. We all had to give presentations the other evening and ask questions.

The thing that she really loved was the timeline. Each week in opening some of the kids would go up to help and she wanted to be part of that. One week I heard her crying and it was because she couldn't find me to ask if she could go up. She did it along with the kids.

CC was worth it. I am so glad that we did it for Miss K. She was exposed to lots of new facts and information, she learned quite a bit. Even now she will mention something or want to do the timeline.

Part 1

Part 2

Tonight we were reviewing again and she was still silly. Part way through she does "teapot".

Monday, May 7, 2012

My computer has a cozy

I have been wanting a computer case for some time. I have looked at the cases on Vera Bradley but wasn't sure I wanted that kind and didn't have the money to spend. I tried to make one but didn't like the way it fit. I kept looking and hoping that I would find something that I liked. Then I looked at a sweater that I bought at Goodwill for $1.88 and thought maybe I can try to felt it. The sweater had a small hole and I didn't wear it that much but I did like the color.

Three times through the washer and dryer and I had it felted. Then I cut it apart. That was a bit nerve wracking but I get that way sometimes when I start to cut fabric hoping that I am cutting it the right way and that I am going to like what I am making. I measured my computer. I realized that this will give a little bit and also that I wanted a tight fitting case. I sewed it up and now I have a computer case.

I have to say that was fun. I wonder what else I can felt and what I can make then. I have the sleeves from the sweater remaining. What can I make with two sleeves?

Money and the world

We have a collection of coins from various travels. These are the coins left from the visit which you can't exchange back into US Dollars. They are used for a therapy event putting the coins in a bank. The other day they were used for a learning activity and not one that I assigned.

J had a map out and was matching the coins to the countries. I think he could have created a bar graph to show the number of coins for each country. It was fun to watch the kids work together and talk about the different countries.

I enjoy watching them find an educational activity when our school work is done for the day.


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