Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween and we had a full and fun day. We started out with Social Studies, making a poster for manners and doing a few other homework assignments from our Cub Scout handbook.  We had an early detour in our plans when Natalie wasn't feeling well and had to be taken in to the doctor.  Poor baby has walking pneumonia!  I am glad we got her in early and caught it before she got really sick.  After that we visited the Arbutus library to take back a bunch of books and to get a new stack for this coming week, including some new drawing books by Ed Emberley that are Dakota's new favorites.  He as a "creation" book now for all his writings and drawing. We came home for lunch and then I let Koda do a little reading before he and I read a stack of Halloween books.  We read Stellaluna, Charlie Brown and more.  We then continued our Digestion lesson for Science and Health by watching Bill Nye the Science Guy and then did our math.  We had religion this weekend at Sunday School and PE, as well, with tag and pick up football outside.  After math we carved our pumpkin, made a pumpkin pie, listened to Ghostbusters, Thriller and the Adams Family  song on Youtube before wrapping it up at 4.  We handed out candy for a few hours and then Koda got his costume on and we spent an hour walking the neighborhood with some old Charger friends and then coming home for a late dinner and some pie for dessert.  I can't believe that Halloween is over already and now it's time to get ready for Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Clark's Elioak Farm

Today was our annual trip to Clark's Farm in Howard County.  I've been going there for many years now, since Brian David was little.  I remember some of my friends with their babies, who are now older than Dakota!  Today I had my baby boy, who is almost too old for the attractions, and my daughter with my granddaughter, who was really too young this year to enjoy it.  We met three of our favorite families there along with some other homeschool friends and spen the morning feeding the animals, going on a hayride and picking an itty bitty pumpkin.  My favorite part of the day was going with our friends to the evergreen maze and watching Dakota and his seven little friends running with each other through the maze, laughing and chattering with each other while we mommies tried to keep up.  I am so glad that Dakota and I have found close friends who we see at most events and that our group is slowly growing to include more wonderful women and their awesome kids.  Paige, Barb, Kelly and know I am talking about YOU!  :-)  After the farm my daughter and I took our two kids to Pizza Hut and spent some time together chatting.  I love spending time with her.  It's very rewarding to see her mother her own child.  She's a natural, but that is not unexpected.  I have learned so much for her, as I hope she has learned so much from me. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trying to make it all work

Yesterday was a really busy day.  We are working on bones and the skeletal system right now for Science and Health. We are having fun with that, making pasta skeletons and reading fun books.  We also started reading A Good Night for Ghosts, a Merlin story in the Magic Tree House series.  I love those books and I'm glad that Dakota does now too.  This one is all about New Orleans in the early 1900's and they go back to find a young Louis Armstrong and set him on the right path to becoming the King of Jazz.  Not only was I able to pull a great music lesson out of there, introducing Dakota to both jazz and Armstrong, but we are also adding to our vocabulary with alot of words he is unfamiliar with from the time period like streetcars.  He had no idea what they were until we saw some great drawings in the book. 

Every kid has their hot button....the one that will make them do just about anything to receive it.  For some kids it's M&Ms.  For some it is a sticker.  For Dakota, it's a strip of paper with a vocabulary word on it to put on his word wall.  I print them out ahead of time, usually already pre-made by, and we go through them before we read each day to see if we know any of the words or have learned them in our reading.  When he can give me a good definition, I put two pieces of rolled tape on the back and he gets to put them on his wall.  He LOVES this.  He will turn himself inside out to get one!  He tries to trick me as the day goes on, asking me "Hey, Mom.  What is a document?"  He listens closely to the story to hear the words and he points them out days later when he hears them.  I love that he loves something so simple and wonderfully educational!

We sat outside at our deck table doing our workbook pages and spelling and got in just about everything except history and spanish.  After school time he got to go outside for a little while and play with the neighbors and then we headed to the middle school about a mile from here to test out wrestling and see if he liked it.  I am NOT a fan of the sport, but my daughter is and my son in law used to wrestle.  All three of us were there for him and wouldn't you know, he loved it.  Today I took him to get his wrestling shoes, bright blue and $50 and then tonight, at Cub Scouts, I realized that we have scouts on the same night that wrestling will soon be on.  Great.  Have to work that out.  And basketball.  Wants to play that too.  Sigh.  Just when I was starting to enjoy the downtime it has taken off again with a flash.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to Work

After a day off for Columbus Day, another day off because I couldn't get enough done on our day off and then co-op and a game day playdate on Wednesday, we finally got back to the routine today.  WWe started working on the human body for Science and Health....talking about skeletons around Halloween seemed too perfect to pass up!  We are going to continue learning about bones and the human skeleton for science and go through the systems of the body for health.  Everything came together for geography/social studies/history.  We read a few different sections of 100 Explorers and talked about Columbus and then Magellan and Drake.  We had previously mapped Columbus's route on a world map on the wall and today we added the route around the world for the other two.  We talked about how their adventure and success traveling around the globe convinced the rest of the world that the Earth was indeed round!  Then we read a great book about maps and globes and did a mapping workbook that introduced latitude and longitude and gave Dakota practice in using different skills for finding places on the map. 
We finally got back to regular math and language arts, completing problem solving and subtraction practice and working on "D" stories, Super Sentences and Language Arts 2.  On Monday we had started a new bulletin board for our Bible stories crafts and we added Noah's Ark today and a handprint rainbow.  Dakota listened to his Ipod for music, singing along (loudly!) and for art, Dakota did some woodworking, sanding his raingutter regatta boat and putting on three coats of paint.  Tomorrow after school, Dakota will be going to his first boyscout campout!  It will be interesting to see how that goes!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day

Today was the observed holiday for Columbus Day and since my older son had the day off I decided ot give Dakota and I the day off too.  We had covered Columbus in great depth (for a first grader, that is) last week.  We read books, mapped his route, talked about his ideas, did some fun papers and then on Friday we made stand up replicas of the Nina (that Koda pronounces "Ninna"), Pinta and
Santa Maria and of good old Columbus himself. 

Our day started with friends stopping by early.  We ladies had coffee on the deck and the kids played inside.  After they left I decided to tackle the rest of the move towards getting all Dakota's toys into his room and making Natalie's room the nursery with a homeschool cabinet and closet.  It took me about 90 minutes to clean Dakota's room and finish squeezing the last of his little toys into the remaining nooks and crannies while he did a lite brite sheet.  The hubby came home for lunch so we stopped for a little while and then I tackled the playroom/nursery, which is now solely the nursery.  I got all Natalie's clothes either hung up on put in bins, her toys clean, with fresh batteries, on the shelves and all her diapers, wipes, bibs, blankets etc within easy reach.  Then I tackled the homeschool cabinet and closet.  I worked clear up until 6:00, but I finished and everything looks so neat and organized!  I know what supplies I have (at least up here...the basement is a whole other story!) and where they are and as long as I don't look at my two desks, I feel successful!  My hope was to be ready to have a full day of school tomorrow, but I will need one more day to plan and work for PCA before I can be ready for the rest of October.  That's the beauty of homeschooling, though.  Since I need it, I will take it!  And I will try not to feel guilty.  Dakota has plenty of good videos to watch and books to read to keep him occupied for a few hours before I turn him loose to play.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Making it happen

Today I had dozens of things that needed doing, but when Dakota woke up he was eager to get his school day started.  It was a laid back day, sort of fly by the seat of your pants.  We started out with science and continued learning about the layers of the Earth and volcanoes.  I put up a poster with wonderful visuals of the inside of a volcano and we talked about that.  We did part of the SchoolExpress Earth packet and then got out our Oriental Trading compass craft and used a hot glue gun to put that together.  Dakota really liked this part!  Afterward he watched a Magic School Bus video MSB Blows It's Top.  For literature today we read Little Quack's Bedtime and Ping for pleasure and then got into a lesson on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling.  Koda liked the story, but completely missed the lesson learned.  We talked about beauty only being skin deep and loving everyone for who they are, no matter what they look like.  Then we did a cloze activity that asked about setting, character and plot.  The last thing we got in was religion and music.  We read the Bible story about Noah and then sang the songs we had and watched them on Youtube videos.  Dakota got a kick out of some of them with the Who Built the Ark song.  He played a couple of Noah's Ark games on the computer and then we read All Afloat With Noah's Boat and called it a day. 

While I took care of the baby and tried to get some things done for co-op tomorrow and cleaned up from today Dakota went to the neighbor's to play.  I could hear them out there playing football and having fun but, of course, when he had to come inside at 6:00 he was full of tears and sad stories because he couldn't stay longer.  He got dressed for scouts and off we went, late again.  Once there, he loved seeing his friends and doing the scout activities and I enjoyed talking to Rhonda and Tom and meeting some new folks that will be in our den.  I let Dakota use his gift card to McDonalds on the way home, got him tucked into bed and finished planning and printing for the New Jersey class I am teaching tomorrow.  It's 11pm and I am exhausted.  Tomorrow looks like co-op early, a little schoolwork and then lots of PCA work for me in the evening while I watch my Wednesday evening shows.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  One day at a a time and it's time for this day to come to a close.  Good Night!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Date night

Last night my husband and had a date.  This doesn't happen often this time of year when time is short, work is piled up and football is in full swing.  We used to go to the Ravens games all the time many years ago, but when our older son got to be 7 or 8 it became the thing to do for father and son and I rarely went.  Then, as the son got to be a teen, I was no longer enough fun to take to the games.  I didn't yell loud enough or often enough, wouldn't paint crazy things on my skin or tolerate stupid behavior from intoxicated people. So I stayed home and really, I didn't mind.  The little son came along and he and I hang out on Sundays, although he's starting to want a little more fair sharing of the tickets!  So anyway, last night my husband asked me to go on a date with him to the Sunday nght game at M&T Bank Stadium between the Ravens and the Jets.  He even made reservations at Nick's Fish House for appetizers and we arrived at 5:00 and had cream of crab soup and a crab pretzel while we enjoyed a drink and some wonderful conversation.  When my husband is tuned in he is wonderful company.  I enjoy being with him and he has always been able to make me laugh.  After our appetizers we parked his truck at his BGE office and he took me inside to see his cubby of an office where he does his thing when he's not on the road.  It was tiny and sparse, but I could see how it was just the kind of place he would like.  No frills.  Just the things he needed.

Our walk to the stadium was dotted by friends, co-workers and acquaintences of my husband.  We finally got inside about 7 and found our seats, which were FABULOUS, just 20 rows off the field.  We got something to eat and drink and settled in.  I completely enjoyed the game.  It had been so long since I had been there and it is a beautiful stadium that is pulsing with energy.  The only less than perfect part of the night was that my husband felt progressively worse from a cold or bad allergies and he finally called it a night half way through the fourth quarter. 

Today he took off of work and I cancelled homeschooling.  He slept in, but I had my granddaughter so it has been a long day.  I did get some winterizing and decluttering done around my son and granddaughter's schedules but I had so much more I wanted to do.  This week is a slow one, however, so I wll just try to keep plugging along and see what I have accomplished by Friday.