Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Still Sick

Just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here... and still sick. In fact, yesterday was my worse day yet. But, I'm off to the doctor later this morning! I think I've got a sinus infection on top of the virus.

Yesterday, I took Alexandra to one of her 2 weekly days of enrichment classes. She was there for 2.75 hours. I went out to the parking lot and took about a 1.5 hour nap and read the rest of te time. :-) Thankfully, our weather was GORGEOUS - about 70 degrees. And, I was so glad to have Alexandra out with her friends again. She's been "locked up" since last Monday!!! I plan on taking her to her classes again tomorrow, but it's a longer day so I'll come home to rest.

The house is falling apart and the laundry has piled up, but I guess it'll wait! I was hurting so bad yesterday (mainly my face - sinus pressure) and feeling weak that I didn't make the beds or anything! But, I was SO thankful that a friend brought dinner over!!! She brought us some chicken & dumplins and it was GREAT!!! Just what I needed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

thanks

Thanks to all of you have left words of encouragement and prayers! I'm feeling better, though weak, this morning. The medicines have taken care of my fever and pretty much my cough, though I did lose my voice this morning. I'm glad it's the weekend and my husband is home to help out!

I've been lying around reading a magazine I picked up yesterday called Nature's Garden. In it, they show photos a man has taken of butterflies. They are close-ups of the butterflies wings. Over many years, he's collected these and has now "found" the entire alphabet and numbers 0-9 on buttefly wings!!! Pretty neat! You can see them (and even order things) at Butterfly Alphabet, Inc. He's also found letters in nature. And, they have some of his books at my library!

I'm off to lie down some more! :-)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Prayers Please

Well, looks like it's my turn! I have a fever, aches painful cough. Please pray! Thanks. :-) (And, Alexandra is feeling better, but still not over it.)

Penguin Fun & Other Sites

I just came across this March of the Penguin "Save the Egg" game and thought it might come in handy to someone studying penguins. There is also a quiz and other things on the page. We studied penguins here, here, and here.

And, National Geographic Kids is just a resource I haven't been using, but it looks like it has a lot of great "stuff" - video clips, activities, games, and stories. You might want to check it out!

And, while Alexandra was sick, my friend at martinzoo sent her some links to online games to play. Our favorite was Numberz!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Intellectual Food

I've been reading more and more about Charlotte Mason and her ideas and how to implement them. Tonight, I came across an excerpt from A Charlotte Mason Primer. I really appreciated this sentence: Charlotte Mason believed that the minds of children need to be fed on the best intellectual food - God's Word, great literature, fine art, beautiful music, real living history, and direct contact with God's creation!

These are the things I've been concentrating on more and more. How am I doing?

  • God's Word - We are using a devotional during the week. We do look up the day's passage in the Bible and this is a time Alexandra reviews the books of the Bible. We were doing good at memorizing a passage of scripture in December, but haven't been doing very well in January.
  • Great Literature - We are currently reading Charlotte's Web. We will finish in a few days and I need to pick another book. (I also won Heidi from The Educational Life!)
  • Fine Art - We just finished studying Chagall and got to go to a museum and see some large reproductions of his work. Next, we'll be studying Georgia O'Keefe.
  • Beautiful Music - We just finished studying Mozart and read a Living Book about him, Mozart, The Wonder Boy. We also listened to music by him and I even played some of his music! We read, and acted out, 2 different stories of The Magic Flute.
  • Real Living History - We are trying to use Living Books for history, like A Story of Us: Making Thirteen Colonies. We also do a lot of hands on activities and I'm wondering how this fits in with CM. It seems to take up a lot of time, but Alexandra really enjoys it. And, I think she retains more from it. But, is it worth the time??? (Any comments?)
  • God's Creation - We get lots of contact with birding in our own backyard and through going to the park, just observing nature wherever we go, and through our nature group.
I like having these 6 things to "concentrate" on. Well, and math of course! I think I need to work harder on God's Word, Great Literature, and Real Living History, which has been neglected lately. That's all on my thoughts about CM for now!

New Bird: Red-Breasted Nuthatch



Oh, I'm so glad I finally got a photo of this elusive bird! I've seen it a few times over the past week or so, but I didn't know what it was! I watched it for awhile today and then she landed on our feeder and just sat there. I slowly opened up the door... in short sleeves... in 40 degrees... and crept closer and closer. I got right next to the feeder before I accidentally moved to suddenly and frightened her away! It was really neat. And, I was really shivering and just hoping the photos would turn out!


The bird was about the size of a Chickadee and it had a dark grey back. The crown of her head is black and then you can see the rest of her head is white except for the black streak through her eye. (Isn't he cute!!!)
Well, I had originally posted asking for help identifying her, but I just went to my "other" book and the first page I opened to had this bird - a Red-Breasted Nuthatch!!! I like how the book describes her: "black cap and eye line, white eyebrow, rust underparts." I believe I have a female because it has duller underparts.

Sick: Day 4


Yesterday was day 4 of Alexandra being sick - and she's STILL sick this morning! Still running a temp and has a pretty bad cough. I sure would appreciate some prayers for quick healing and that my husband and I don't get this. Thanks!

Her energy comes and goes, so we took a few breaks from TV during the day and did a little fun "school." On our first break, we read a couple chapters of Charlotte's Web which needs to be finished for our book club next Friday.

On our second break, we did some Sweetheart math. First, we graphed the Sweethearts from the box. Then, we wrote fractions for the number of each color compared to the whole amount. For example, we had 6 white Sweethearts and a total of 26 Sweethearts. So, the fraction was 6/26. Then, we talked about how to simplify it to 3/13. This is a new concept we are working on. Our 3rd Sweetheart math was division. I had her eat 2 Sweethearts so we'd have only 24. Then, we worked on dividing them into groups of 3, 4, etc. (We got some of the ideas from mathwire and the rest I made up.)
Our last break was spent with a great art book called Art Auction Mystery by Nilsen. (There are 2 other books like this from this author and we've tried The Great Art Scandal.) We actually worked about 1.5 hours on this book and got about half done! In the book, there are 34 pieces of artwork by famous artists (really). 16 of the pieces are forgeries and you have to detect the forgeries and find out how many mistakes were made. (We usually have to cheat a little.) There is also info about each artist and their artwork.
So, not only do you learn about the various artists and pieces of art, you also get to study the art and find the mistakes. I'm not doing this book justice with my "review" - I just encourage you to try it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sick: Day 3

Yesterday was Alexandra's third day of being sick. And, yes, she's still sick today. She still has a fever and yesterday added a stuffy nose and a cough. At least the last 2 nights have been very easy!

Yesterday, we decided to do a science experiment that martinzoo had done in December. (Check out her site - they did a great job of sharing the experiment with photos and videos!) Alexandra has been going through spurts of energy, but then she tires quickly. So, we got about half-way done and took a break. Later, we finished it but it didn't turn out as it should. We still had fun, though.



We also made this Valentine's tree from a kit we got at Michael's. We had lots of fun with this, too, until she got too tired. We're going to try to do a few things today, too, but I'll watch her energy level. She's been watching LOTS of TV, which is a real treat to her.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Feeling Better & Signing Up

Alexandra is feeling much better today. So, her virus lasted less than 48 hours - and only 1 night! We'll try to do some crafts and fun "schooly" things today, but we'll return to "real" school tomorrow.
UPDATE: I spoke too soon. Her temperature has been rising all morning, though she's still feeling pretty good right now.

I did go ahead and sign up for
Project FeederWatch today. They told me it'll take 2-3 weeks to get my kit, but I can start taking data right away. So, I'll read over it better today so we can get started.

I also signed up today for
Tomatosphere . My friend over at martin zoo did this last year and really enjoyed it. Here's one of her posts, but if you search her sight for "tomatosphere", you'll find several more.

I also enjoyed the photos of this
hummingbird's nest that I got from a yahoo group. Can you believe how small they are!!!
I have lots of planning to do today - we need to get back into our history studies, our book club starts next week and I'm in charge - we're doing Charlotte's Web, and our co-op starts next week and I'm teaching about genetics. I also need to post about our Mozart studies. We had a lot of fun, though it was really just reading - no projects. I think I mentioned it yesterday, but today was our big field trip to see The Magic Flute, and we of course won't be there.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sick Day

Well, we're officially having a Sick Day at our school. We had a fairly rough night, but got to sleep in. Alexandra woke up at 10 and is still awake now at 3 pm. Despite a high fever, she has been very hungry and has eaten a piece of bread, a pancake with syrup, and she's now eating some cereal. So far, she's keeping it all down. (Though that wasn't the case during the night and earlier this morning.) In fact, she's been asking if she can have McDonald's for dinner!



Besides looking after Alexandra (and washing all of her linens from last night.... and accidentally turning everything blue...), I've been redoing my sidebars. I'm hoping to add a slideshow showing our backyard birds. In the meantime, I thought I'd post a photo of this little female Downy Woodpecker that visited us yesterday. She seems so small for a woodpecker! And, this is only the 2nd time we've seen her.



The male Red-Bellied Woodpecker found the metal at the top of our fireplace yesterday and has made quite a racket both yesterday and today. Unfortunately, we were sleeping on the couch (after the bed was "ruined" for the night) and the bird woke me up. But, Alexandra slept through it.



Leila over at Freedom Academy is one of the new blogs I am reading. She posted some links the other day and one of them was for Newton's Apple. So far, Alexandra and I have only watched one of the videos, but I plan on watching a lot more! (I enjoyed some of Leila's other links, too.)



Barb over at The Heart of Harmony reminded me that the Great Backyard Bird Count is coming in mid-February (Feb 15th - 18th). We've never participated before, but I plan to this year.



I also want to learn more about Project FeederWatch. (Has anyone participated in this?) They even have an online curriculum for homeschoolers.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Regular Visitor and Feeling Sick

Our hawk has become a regular visitor. We've seen him every day for the past 3 days. We haven't positively identified it - it seems to be either a juvenile or a female, which are harder to identify. (Try enlarging the photo.)

School went pretty well today, though Alexandra was complaining of a sore throat. She had her piano lesson today, and near the end she just seemed so tired. She was freezing on the way home - 1/2 mile - and wanted several blankets. She laid down on the couch and quickly fell asleep. An hour later, I checked on her and she had a fever of 102. When she woke up an hour later, her fever was 103.

She's taken some medicine and is feeling better and eating now. (And, watching tv.) So, we'll skip school tomorrow. If she's up to it, I hope to do some crafts with her. She'll also get to lay around and watch tv. I hope she gets well quickly - our Mozart field trip is Wednesday!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Beginning Dictation

I am using more and more of Charlotte Mason's methods in our homeschool. Since school restarted a few weeks ago, we have started using both narration and dictation. This month we are reading Charlotte's Web for a book club I started for young girls. I am using short passages from the book as our dictation passages. I thought I'd share an example of how dictation works in our house.

To choose a passage, I look for some element(s) that we've been studying in our language arts book - which I hope to "give up" when I'm more confident in dictation. Last week, we talked about using a comma after the name of someone you are addressing. So, you might say, "Alexandra, please feed the dog." We also just finished up our study on pronouns and have just started studying verbs.

Here is the passage I picked for tomorrow's dictation:
Mrs. Arable fidgeted. "Fern says the animals talk to each other. Dr. Dorian, do you believe animals talk?"

I will actually show this passage to Alexandra and point to the comma and ask her why it is there. Then, I will ask her to find any pronouns and then explain what noun the pronoun is being used for ("you" for Dr. Dorian). Then, I'll ask her to find the verb of each sentence (fidgeted, talk, believe). I'll also ask her why there is a period after Dr and why Dorian is capitalized since we've covered both of these. I might ask her to find all of the proper nouns and all of the common nouns. And, I'll ask her why the quotation marks are there.

Then, I'll ask her if there are any words she thinks she'll have trouble spelling. If she doesn't say some that I think she might have trouble with (like maybe "believe"), I'll ask her to spell it out loud. We'll study these words for spelling.

Next, I'll ask her to look over the passage carefully and ask her if she has any questions. Then, she'll go to the dry erase board and I'll read a few words at a time while she writes it down.

When she's done, I'll ask her to look carefully over her work for any spelling errors... than for any punctuation problems... then for any capitalization problems. When she's done, I might tell her I see one spelling problem and ask her to see if she can find it. If she still can't find it, I'll hand her the book and have her try to find the mistake that way.

This is pretty much how we are doing it right now. I'm excited as it seems a great way to cover so many language arts "issues" at once. And, it only takes about 10-15 minutes to do a passage like this. And, it's very little work for me, too.

Like I said, we're new to this but excited about the possibilities!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Uninvited Dinner Guest

Yesterday afternoon we were geting ready to go to our homeschool's spelling bee when Alexandra saw a bird land on our fence. At first, she thought it was one of our doves, but then she said she thought it might be a hawk. I went to look, and it was a hawk!

I started taking photos through the glass door, and then slowly opened the door and went out barefoot on the wet and cold walkway. I creeped closer and was able to get a few shots before he flew up to the rooftop behind me. I got a few more shots, this time from the backside.

This was so exciting for us! But, I was worried for our birds. I was prepared to scream and try to scare the hawk away if any of the birds returned.

The hawk did run into a squirrel - it was pretty funny. The squirrel came near the hawk while it was sitting on the fence. The hawk opened his wings up wide, trying to scare the little squirrel - I wish I would have snapped a photo, but it happened so fast. The hawk is actually the one who moved out of the way. The squirrel ran up in a tree and puffed himself up.
I'm guessing we haven't seen the last of the hawk. I hope to get better photos, but I sure hope he doesn't find dinner in our backyard!

Pole Vault (Subtraction Game)

Alexandra and I enjoyed a subtraction game called Pole Vault this week. You need a deck of card with the 10's-K's removed. (The Aces will act as 1's.) Then, both players start at 250.

The first player turns over the first 2 cards and can make a 2-digit number. (Ex. if you have a 4 and a 5 you can make 45 or 54). Then, you subtract that number from 250. You go back and forth with each player taking 5 turns or pole vault "jumps." At the end, the winner is the one closest to "0" without going under.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Queen of the Night

I had to share another youtube video from The Magic Flute. Alexandra and I both LOVE this song from The Magic Flute. We actually first heard this song, The Queen of the Night's Aria, and Papageno's Song on The World's Very Best Opera for Kids... in English. (Could someone please leave a comment explaining how I can get photos of books and CDs from Amazon on my blog? Someone talked me through it once a long time ago, but I didn't try it and I've forgotten. Thanks!)

I'm not sure how kid-friendly this clip is - there is a dagger in the scene and the Queen of the Night is quite angry and her daughter, Princess Pamina, is very upset. Like the video of Papageno's Song, (previous post) you might want to fast-foward this one. The singing starts at about 2:10 and our favorite part starts at about 2:48. It's incredible!!!

In this scene, (it's in German so you probably won't understand it), the Queen of the Night is angry at Sarastro, the King of the Light. The Queen of the Night gives Princess Pamina, her daughter, a dagger so she can kill Sarastro. We love the Queen's voice and sometimes I sing that song, especially the part where the notes are so high. (by Alexandra)

 

Plans

I've got so many plans going right now, I'm not sure what I'm doing! :-)

We are continuing are study of the Pilgrims and the Colonists. We've been reading a few books and doing the Colonial American History Pockets which we will hopefully complete after a few more days. Then, I'm not sure if we'll move on or cover The Great Colonial America Projects book.

We've also been studying Thomas Edison and electricity. This hasn't been part of our school day - we started by watching a movie and then we've read several books at night. I'd like to get into this, as I mentioned, and actually study electricity and use Alexandra's new Snap Circuit kit.

We also did some dentistry experiments this week using martinzoo's ideas. Alexandra loved Dr. Rabbit and the Legend of the Tooth Kingdom and has watched it several times. We also enjoyed the experiments at martinzoo.

We're also studying Mozart in preparation for going to see a kid's version of The Magic Flute next week. This has been a really neat study, but we haven't really done any projects so I don't have any photos to share. I'll share all of my ideas and resources after the opera!

Lastly, today I met with my friend that I did a co-op with last year. She was on the road most of the fall, so we haven't really had time to get together. Well, we've decided to start up our co-op again! We're going to be studying for exhibits coming to our local museums. Our first study is genetics for the upcoming "Genome: The Secret of How Life Works." Does anyone have any ideas (or links) for hands-on genetics studies for younger children? Or a book recommendation? I've requested Gregor Mendel: the Friar Who Grew Peas from the library, but that's it.

We're just running all over the place, aren't we? But, we're having lots of fun!

I'll leave you with a video of one of our favorite songs from The Magic Flute. It is called Papageno and it is very lively and fun. You might want to fastforward to about 5:30 to get to the "best part", though it's all good. (The first part of this clip might not be suitable for all children. You might want to check it out first, though Alexandra really enjoyed it.)

In this scene, Papageno, the bird-catcher, is very sad because he can't find a wife. He has decided to kill himself. Three gentle spirits stopped him and told him to ring the magical bells. Papagena comes and they sing "pa...pa...pa..." back and forth and hop like chickens. And, at the end, we thought it was funny that Papageno carried Papagena away. When it was over, I thought Papagena should have sat on Papageno's hand like a bird. (by Alexandra)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Turkey Vultures

On the way home from church Sunday, I saw an unusual visitor in our neighborhood - a turkey vulture. (The turkey vulture has a bald, red head.) By the time I drove the 3 blocks home and back, another turkey vulture was there to enjoy the feast. They were actually sitting on a rooftop waiting to continue their meal, but I didn't wait around long enough for them to come back down. It was lunch time for us, too.



I grew up in Kansas and Oklahoma and the site of vultures here in Texas - both turkey vultures and black vultures - still surprises me and makes me want to stop and watch. They are so big! And, kind of scary and ugly. I've only seen one in my neighborhood once before - and he was sitting on the roof across the street from me!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nutria at the Park

Alexandra and I spent some time at the park yesterday, which has become our weekend tradition lately. We went to a different park - one that has a duck pond with nutria in it. It was getting dark and I didn't have my new camera, so the photos weren't turning out very well. I took over 30 photos and this was the only one really in focus.


I enjoyed talking to a lady who used to own 2 of the ducks at the pond. She knew a lot about the animals in the park. She showed us where the nutria's nest was and told us that the mamma had 8 babies in the summer and had recently had another litter. We saw many of the summer babies and we saw the mamma several times - the lady had said the mamma hadn't really been coming out since having her babies.
The lady's husband had hand-fed these nutria earlier that day. They were trying to explain to Alexandra how to get them to eat from her hand. I told Alexandra "no, way!" Have you ever seen the teeth on a nutria? If you enlarge this photo, you should be able to see part of its orange teeth. Pretty scary looking!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Animal School

This gives me chills... and makes me appreciate homeschooling all the more.

The 5 Browns

We did have a great end to our day last night. We went and watched a concert performed by The 5 Browns! They are 5 siblings, ages 22 to 26, who all went to Juilliard and play classical piano together. They were actually all born in Houston and their first piano teacher, who started teaching them each at age 3, and their parents were in attendance at the concert. It was a wonderful concert!

The Highs and Lows of a Nature Day

Yesterday, we went on our monthly Natue Day with our local homeschool group. The day definitely had its highs... and lows.

As we drove up to the park, I saw this pile of wood. I was wondering if it was a beaver's dam, but I figured it was just man-made.

I was so excited to see this tree - gnawed by a beaver! I have honestly never seen a tree which has been chewed on by a beaver!

Then I saw this tree. Cool! Why did he leave it? And, will he be back? And why do the chew the tree so high up - see how high the bark is stripped?
And, why is there another place (towards left of photo) that the beaver chewed on more? Was he planning on cutting it in 2 here? I think we'll have to study some more about beavers. And, this was the highlight of my day!

I also watched this turtle - a red-eared slider. When I took the kids to show them, he quickly jumped in the water.


We had a large turnout for our Nature Day - around 12-15 moms and maybe 50 kids. The older kids hid some "treasure" and made a "treasure map" and the younger kids went on a treasure hunt. We were under a boardwalk when I spoted this wasp hive.



And, in a pavilion, I saw this mud dauber "organpipe" nest. Today was the first time I really got to test out my new zoom lens. The photo above was taken of a nest about 20 feet above me! Now, that's zooming in!

But, I didn't bring my regular lens and found out how hard it is to take closeups with a zoom. So, to take a photo of this daddy longleg, I had to step several feet away from this girl who had it crawling on her.


Our leader led a demonstration where the kids built compasses out of cork, a needle, and a magnet. They worked pretty well!

Now for the "down" part of our day. At one point, we moved from one site in the park to the next. We got word that one of the mom's purse had been stolen. She said she'd left it on the seat of her car. Several of the moms prayed about it and we went on with the compass demo while a few moms went back to help her look and see if the mom could find her purse.

A while later, a report came back that 3 cars had windows busted out of them. I immediately went and checked on my car which was OK. But, we were ready to go home, though some of the families stayed to go on the hike. As we left, we went back by the original site and were sad to see one of our best friends standing by her car, with the window busted out, talking to the police. I called her later and sadly, yes, her purse had been in the car and it had been stolen.

This was such a sad ending to our nature day. It is sad that you can't go out to the park and just have fun without the possibility of something like this happening. But, on the other hand, we have been to parks many, many times and never seen anything like this happen. So, you just need to be careful! (And, don't leave your purse or other valuables in your car.)

Yes, mine, too, was in the car though I'd hidden it pretty well. Next time, I'll just take my wallet and put it in my backpack and leave my purse at home! And, we'll say a prayer for God's protection over all of us as we enjoy our day out in God's incredible creation.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Zooming in on the birds

I got my zoom lens for my new camera yesterday! And, our backyard has been so active with birds. So, I had plenty of subjects to try and shoot! What's nice is I can just crack my back door open and take these photos!

Here's a femaled red-bellied woodpecker. The male would have more red on its head. We've only seen this female.
This is a beautiful white-winged dove. We had 5 of them hanging around today and we'd never seen them before! I love seeing "new" birds!

Here's a photo of one of the white-winged doves at the feeder. They're so much bigger than most of our other birds!

And here is a Carolina Wren that has been faithfully visiting the past few weeks. He was going around our pool pecking under the rocks. I think he was looking for and possibly finding bugs. I guess I need to research what they eat, but he seems quite happy at our feeders.

I hope to get more photos of birds tomorrow. And, we have a Nature Day on Friday. I can't wait to try my new camera and lens out then!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Amelia Earhart

Recently, I started recording shows from The History Channel on our DVR. I recorded one about Amelia Earhart and Alexandra and I really enjoyed it. And, she wanted to learn more about her!

We started with Amelia Earhart: Adventurer in the Sky. Then, while I was online, I came across The Adventures of Amelia the Pigeon. It's an online game that takes you around New York City.

The story is about a little girl who has a pigeon named Amelia who is named for Amelia Earhart. She receives a package from her great-grandfather who had been in WWI. He hadn't fought with guns. Instead, he'd used pigeons! He'd trained pigeons to fly with tiny cameras strapped to their chest to get a look at the enemy from above.

Now, her grandfather was giving the camera to her! So, she straps the camera on Amelia the Pigeon, and sends the pigeon out in NYC. It's a great adventure and actually teaches you not only about NYC but a little about the history of photography. Like, did you know that people used to send cameras up by kite to get a bird's eye view so the could paint it?

Tonight we read about Cher Ami, a WWI pigeon hero who saved the lives of about 200 American soldiers! It is a very touching story with a happy ending - including a new wooden leg for Cher Ami. At the bottom of the page I linked to, there is a poem about Cher Ami by Harry Farrington. We really enjoyed the poem, and then Alexandra realized it was in AABB form!!! How cool is that???

After the poem, there is a link to a coloring book about Cher Ami. I just used the book to print off the poem as Alexandra wants to read it again. And, we both want to go to the Smithsonian to see the real (preserved) Cher Ami and his French award! You can see a photo of him on the site.

I just found another (Charlotte Mason) site here that will lead us into further adventures with these amazing pigeons! Until next time...

Other resources:
  • A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart by David A. Adler - we always enjoy these books
  • Pigeon Hero! Based on the True Story by Redmond - this book is pretty simple as a Level 2 reader, but the story is about a pigeon named G. I. Joe in WWII who "saves the day" and a lot of lives, too

Monday, January 07, 2008

AABB Poetry

Today we talked about poetry including AABB rhyming patterns, couplets, stanzas, and quatrains (4 lines of poetry with a rhyming pattern.) Then, we had fun completing our own poems. (The starter lines we were given are in green- our lines are in blue.) Alexandra wanted to write more and more! I think we'll have to try some more poetry this week. Hope you enjoy them! (I found the idea for this lesson at the Baltimore Curriculum Project.)


In winter I get up at night.
My hair is messy - what a sight!
The humidity in the summer I hate.
All day my hair ain't looking great.



Cookies are my favorite snack.
While I eat I smack, smack, smack.
Each flavor is so very sweet,
But chocolate chip cannot be beat.

My sister sits on them without one care.
I said, "Mom, it's just not fair!"
"Don't worry dear," my mother said.
"Cookies are hidden under my bed!"

Maui: Day 6

I just noticed this post had never been finished... or posted! So, thought I'd post it as a wordless post. :-) It's our last day in Maui from December.























video

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Black Out

This was so... strange! We were reading a book about electricity tonight - The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip. Alexandra got a Snap Circuit kit for Christmas (and it is fun!!!) and we are considering studying electricity very soon. But, we were actually reading this book for our local museum's book club.

Anyway, we had just finished reading in the book about black outs. And, all of a sudden, our electricity went out! And, it isn't raining or windy or anything. It was so strange! We got a big laugh out of it. And, usually, the electricity will just go out for 2 or 3 seconds. This "black out" lasted about a whole minute! We were still sitting on the bed trying to decide if we should go look for a flashlight and telling Daddy how we were just reading about electricity and black outs when the lights came back on. I couldn't have planned this any better if I'd tried!

I am curious if any of you have Snap Circuit kits and have actually made a study of them OR if you've just studied electricity with your kid(s) and perhaps blogged about it. I'd be interested in reading about it! (If so, could you leave me a link?) I wish we could study EVERYTHING at once! It's so hard picking just a few things at a time.

Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chagall for Children Traveling Exhibit

We are studying Marc Chagall right now, mainly because there was a traveling exhibit at our Children's Museum that is getting ready to leave town. Alexandra and I have both had a lot of fun with Chagall's art. Each piece of art is like a picture find where you can look for hidden objects like: animals, violins, 3candles, upside down people, etc.



As we went to the exhibit aimed at children from ages 2-12, I really wasn't certain how much fun it would be. (Actually, I just noticed the exhibit is for those ages and I really thought it might be too childish.) The exhibit was wondeful!
For each of the 14 artworks, there was an activity to do. (And, you got to see a pretty large copy of the artwork.) So, I'll just run you through some of them! Above is "Paris Through the Window." Although Chagall was born in Russia, he lived in Paris for quite some time. On this photo in the lower right corner (not seen in my photo) is a portrait of a man with 2 faces. They think this might be Chagall looking back towards his beloved Russia and forward to Paris. For this activity, we got to put magnetic pieces in the right place by studying the "real" piece of art.




This is probably the most well known of Chagall's artworks, I and the Village. For this activity, Alexandra put together a circular puzzle matching part of the piece. This is the painting we actually studied. It has 5 areas representing: his village, a self portrait, a special plant, a round object - I've read it was a ball and I've also read it was a sun/moon which is what we think it is, and a beloved pet or animal.



This painting is At the Circus. For this activity, Alexandra got to put on various smocks which were painted like parts of the artwork.



This was one of our favorite activities, though we wish it would have worked a little better. This was with the Green Violinist. As you can see, we got to take our own photos (mine in this case) and then "paint" it. It was fun making our faces green! The green violinist was actually Marc's uncle whom he evidentally really enjoyed.




This activity was with one of Chagall's stained glass windows, America Windows. We got to put together the puzzle pieces to part of the window. In the photo, Alexandra has turned off the light behind it.



This activity was for The Juggler. On this computer screen, you touched one of the small squares around the border and then found the corresponding picture in the artwork. And, the artwork became animated! For example, some people in the crowd threw their hats in the air or the violinist played.



This activity went with The Blue House.



This was with The Poultry Yard. We got to create our own mixed-up animals.




This activity was with The Flying Sleigh. Each section of the computer screen would change when you clicked on it. You had to make the painting look correct.

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And, this was our favorite activity. It was with The Concert. There were 6 different buttons representing different instruments. You could push any combination of the buttons and listen to those instruments play the song. We laughed and laughed. We even had a group of ladies stop to watch us. They were on some kind of a tour.

We had not been to this museum in a long time and had fun exploring the rest of the museum, too. We played quite a while in this building area. These kits are called Baufix. I've never seen them before and they were LOTS of fun. The room was very busy and there were lots of dads helping out, too!
We also tried a little rocked with a film canister, water, and Alka-Seltzer like we'd done here. But, they used water (not vinegar) and only 1/2 a tab of Alka-Seltzer AND they used the clear film canisters like live4evermom had recommended. What a difference!!! These things were popping up so high!!! I'm going to have to ask at WalMart and see if they'll let us have some.
So, we had a great day! We even stopped at a homeschool store and picked up some books on the way home. I'll share more about Chagall and our resources as we finish up this week. Then, we'll start Mozart. (We might put Van Gogh on hold.)
Other resources:
  • Chagall from A to Z by Sellier - this is a GREAT book with many neat facts
  • Marc Chagall by Mike Venezia - we always enjoy this series
  • Dreamer from the Village by Markel - we enjoyed that the artwork in this book by Emily Lisker looked a lot like Chagall's own work
  • Chagall: My Sad and Joyous Village by Loumaye - we didn't finish this book, but enjoyed what we read
  • A Picture for Marc by Kimmel - we didn't read this one, but it is a Stepping Stone book and looked good
  • Marc Chagall: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia - we always enjoy this series
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