Friday, December 19, 2008

We're kinda vacationing

We've been doing a bit here and there, over the last two weeks. Watching science videos, playing our new 4 way countdown game, and playing learning games online. I can't wait till the holiday season is over so we can get back some order around here.

The hubby and I made a couple of great educational finds that I wanted to put up here for anyone who happens across my blog. We discovered a treasure trove of National Geographic publications while we were in Austin. Apparently, in April of each year the society decides where they are going to have their gigantic warehouse sale. They hold the sale at the end of the year. Here's an article talking about the sales that just passed. Watch for one next year. It is definitely worth a drive to attend. We purchased many books for $1 and large reference books for $10. This is something worth setting aside money for so you can get everything you want. We wanted one of everything. Of course, the pictures in the books are all amazing. It was very difficult to choose.

I, also, read about this site. I can't remember where I got the information, but I'll let you know when I remember. This is a site that offers, according to them, "100% FREE K-12 Tailored Tutoring Programs in Math and Reading". There is a free assessment test which is supposed to help tailor the program to your child or to you. Adults are welcome to use the site, also.

I thought I'd add a few pics of my kiddos, too, because that's really what this blog is all about.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Budding Three Year Old Photographer

Connor loves to take pictures. I love to see things from his perspective.

Mac n' cheese and Aria are synonymous

Connor and bowling are synonymous

Who would have thought to take a picture of the inside of a potato chip bag?

This is my favorite, but please don't tease him about the painted toenails. He just wants to be as cool as his big sister.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gingerbread Demolition

The beginning of our day was blissful and a bit misleading. One might have thought that this was going to be a cozy, cloudy day in which a young family might bond over some board games. Not so much.

Casey and I played with our new game, 4 Way Countdown. We had a great time adding and subtracting to our hearts content. Connor woke and was fairly accommodating. I woke (i.e., dragged) Aria and the disharmonious-ness ensued.

The whining and petty arguing between Aria and Casey was like a fork in the garbage disposal. It was so melodramatic that I just had to laugh. We played another round of 4 Way Countdown with Aria. Casey won to the consternation of Aria.

Then Aria and I went to the Internet to practice grammar and usage. We played Grammar Gorillas here. Which went well and we checked out National Geographic for kids, online. That was pretty cool. We played a holiday quiz while Casey looked on. We, also, watched a video of one of Aria's favorite singers who was helping to provide bed nets to children in Africa. Malaria runs rampant there and kills many children. She was impressed that her idol would do something like that.

Casey and Connor played on Between the Lions again for Language Arts. We, also, discussed our word of the day which was 'fiction'. Both the older children, later, used the word in our conversations. I love to hear them implement these words. I praised both of them for their usage.

Last, but not least, we demolished the gingerbread house and the eating of candy ensued.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread House

I managed to get a little academic cooperation out of the children today, but it seems that they will be in a state of perpetual excitement until Christmas. I started a Junie B. Jones book which received a lukewarm response at best. We did all laugh when Junie accidentally says that no one in her family is 'normal'. I can totally identify, Junie.

We watched a couple of videos about Pandas and talked very briefly about their habitat being destroyed and the probability of losing pandas forever. We, also, watched a video about cats' ability to right themselves in a fall. They are amazing creatures.

Aria and I talked about the difference between fiction and non-fiction. She played a game online which practiced this concept. We also discussed the 'word of the day; prudent. She then did a quick worksheet practicing her math facts. She wanted to get through these things quickly so we could get to our gingerbread house building.

Casey played on He played most of the games on Between the Lions. I got him started and told him when he was done he could do his math sheet. Then we'd work on the gingerbread house, but he was engrossed he didn't want to stop. He played much more then I told him he had to. That desire to learn is so nice to see.

Finally, to the kids' delight we started on the gingerbread house. They had a blast putting it together and eating the candy and licking the frosting off of whatever it got onto.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Tooth Fairy and the End of the World

We had an exciting morning. The Tooth Fairy came and left Casey two dollars for his first lost tooth. (He is actually missing two teeth. The first one was damaged and had to be pulled. That one earned a present from Mommy and Daddy since it was so traumatic.) Casey's eyes were lit up this morning. I heard him say, "She came!" He found me in the kitchen and told me the Tooth Fairy came. "And I KNOW she did 'cause there's glitter on my pillow." He exclaimed. Priceless.

Casey and I spent the morning watching videos on We watched a couple of videos on the strangest ways the world could end, like nano technology turning all living things into grey goo. Maybe not so great material for a little kid, but he saw it as fantasy, which it is, basically. We also watched a bunch about colonizing the moon and Mars. We had a tough time tearing ourselves away. Aria didn't want to join us, but she spent about half an hour on, exploring the science games on there. BTW, did you know that the sun flips its magnetic poles every 22 years?

Aria read a chapter in her fairy book and Casey and I finished his book. I read four books to Connor while he tried to go potty. He doesn't want to wear diapers but he also doesn't want to pee in the potty. It is not very much fun to sit in a wet spot on the computer chair. He'll get it though.

We played a neat Internet game to practice our math facts. It's very simple and yet addicting. It practices the facts that add up to ten.

I attempted to get the kids to help me write a rhyming Christmas poem, but we just ended up with a lot of words that rhyme with poo. So, I abandoned that idea. Aria decided to blog and Casey practiced a bit on starfall.

Connor impressed me with his ingenuity. He built a cool little lane for his ball and he rolled it over stuff and into stuff. He kept changing it up and watched what it did each time. He such a little scientist. A scientist who is liable to knock your block off with whatever he's rolling/throwing at the time, but a scientist nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Solar Oven

I've been excited about this idea of a solar oven since I found the instructions for one online. So, I made one today. Unfortunately, it was not sunny enough today to really get it going, but the temperature neared 140 degrees at times. It warmed the hot dogs I put in it, slightly.

I'd love to build a real one to take camping with us, to cook with on the beach or cook on in the summer when it's too hot to turn on the oven. I know I could use the slow cooker, but this is neat because it doesn't require any energy but sunshine. There's a very cool site about the benefit of solar ovens to energy poor countries.

Today, we played on a fun science site called Wonderville. Both kids found it entertaining for quite awhile. The 3d environment is really neat.

Aria read twenty-five pages of a chapter book on her own! I read to Casey who wanted to continue the book until chapter six. Awesome-ness on both counts. Aria hasn't read a book on her own since I can't remember when. I'm sure the aversion was because she was forced to read a whole lot of books in school that were of no interest to her and I think her comprehension of the material has improved, considerably. She came to me after she read and relayed all of what she had read in those twenty-five pages. Casey, in turn, told her about his story.

Aria wanted a worksheet to practice her math facts. She finished 50 problems in a relatively short time. I think I'm seeing a light bulb go on with those troubling things. I see her putting in the effort to commit them to memory, finally.

Casey played addition pinball online. He read me a few books on Aria played a game practicing recognition of nouns and verbs. We finished up by about 1:00pm.

Connor played a pinball game and on, too. He watches everything we do. He recognizes a few words like go, stop, and play. He can type his own name and tries to write a little sometimes. He's learning a lot just by watching from the sidelines.

I productive day over all, I feel.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving, Camping, and New Friends

We survived the Feast. We spent a nice afternoon and evening laughing and eating with our family. We played some games. Connor managed to dampen the evening by breaking a sculpture which had been an anniversary gift, but other then that we had a great time. We brought home plenty of leftovers.

Friday we went camping. We met up with our new homeschooling buddies. We had a blast sitting around the campfire all weekend. The kids ran with their friends and played in the woods. It was really, really good for all of us. We haven't had a vacation in a long time.

I needed yesterday to recouperate. Today, we got back on with a bit of the academics. (When you say it like that it almost sounds like a disease. 'I came down with a case of the academics.') We read a short picture book called "Too Many Toys" by David Shannon and started a new fairy story.

We went to the Internet for Language Arts. Aria practiced identifying types of sentences. (i.e. exclamation, statement, question, command) Then she corrected the capitalization and punctuation. Casey read a short story on

We played a math card game called Twenty-five and Addition War.

Finally, we watched a video about hurricanes and tornados, which Aria loved. The boys were not so interested in it. We found out that Texas has the most tornados per year and then Kansas.