Monday, June 30, 2008
Before we left: We did a neat "garden" craft for Unplug Your Kids that I'll have to post when I get home. I'm on dial up right now! :-)
Friday: Mainly just drove to my mom's.
Saturday: My brother came down. We were planning on camping in the backyard for National Backyard Campout (I'm not sure if I got the name right), but it stormed. Alexandra played with her cousin and the neighbor down the street and the cousins went swimming that evening (before the storms).
Sunday: My brother, sister and I went on a nature hike. It was great! We saw birds, dragonflies, a rabbit, a toad, a mouse!, and some animals in cages. I'll have to post photos when I get home. And, Alexandra and her cousin went with Grandma to American Girl place to have dinner and buy something for their dolls.
Monday: Our plan was to go to an Impressionist exhibit, but we forgot that most museums are closed on Monday! So, we ended up at the zoo. AND, I didn't have my camera! My favorite part was a "parrot" building where you could buy a stick with seeds stuck to it and FEED THE BIRDS!!! It was so fun! They actually landed on your stick and ate!!! They were beautifully colored parakeets. It was amazing!!! I can't believe I didn't have my camera. :-(
I'm not sure what we're doing the next few days. I'll try to get back on the computer in the next few days and check in. I'm not getting to read any blogs right now, but I'll catch up soon!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I found a list of the first 5 books of the fiction genre from The Well-Educated Mind online, and decided to use these as my first 5 classics to read. The first book was Don Quixote, so I've completed that one. The second book is The Pilgrim's Progress, which I'm currently reading. I've decided not to study it and take notes and follow a group's discussion, etc. I'm just planning on reading it and enjoying it. So far, I'm about 1/4th through and really liking it.
So, my first 5 books will be:
- Don Quixote (done)
- The Pilgrim's Progress (reading)
- Gulliver's Travels
- Pride and Prejudice
- Oliver Twist
Monday, June 23, 2008
The new posts are given on Monday and last week's theme (which you would post today) was "old." So, we pulled out a kit about "old", actually ANCIENT, Egypt. (The kit is a "Tresure Chests" called "Ancient Egypt" by "Running Press" which we bought used a couple of years ago.)
Here Alexandra is working with some of the hieroglyph stamps. She also worked on a necklace.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
While she was in one of her camps, I went on a little nature walk. The camp is out in the country, surrounded by trees, and it was actually a very beautiful day.
Outside, I found 2 neat webs. They are webs of an argiope spider, commonly called a "banana spider" around here. One of the webs had a small spider, probably a male, sitting on it "eating", but it was out of my reach and the photos are blurry. This site gives some info about these spiders.
Inside, we ran into this "scary" insect. We were a little scared of the HUGE stinger. It turns out this is a type of Robber Fly and the "stinger" is an oviposter. Robber Flies eat other flying insects. I enjoyed reading about them at Wikipedia. And, check out this cool photo of a Robber Fly's head!!!
So, "no", they can't sting - but they can bit, though they are not aggresive. You can identify a Robber Fly by its "stout, spiny legs, a dense moustache of bristles on the face (mystax), and 3 simple eyes in a characteristic depression between their two large compound eyes. Others are fat-bodied bumblebee mimics. Adult robber flies attack other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, dragon and damselflies, Ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, and some spiders."
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I also thought we might try (again) to learn how to play chess this summer. We got out the chess board and book (Chess Basics by Schneider) and she is almost begging constantly to play chess! I guess we have a keeper! In the Chess Basics book, there are lots of games to help you learn the strategy. For example, we've played some pawn only games and now are ready for some knight & pawn games. We both enjoy the games, but she really enjoys playing a "real" game of chess.
The photo above is of some peanuts Alexandra is growing. One of the weekly classes she is taking this summer is about botany & gardening. For the first week, she learned about the parts of a plant, the parts of a flower, and about George Washington Carver. She planted a raw peanut in this pail and it is doing really well!
We also have been reading more Polacco books (which we first encountered because of Author Fiesta). We are both LOVING her books! She's amazing and I almost always have to cry during part of it. We read two books that are about Jews during WWII. They are beautiful, sweet, sad stories.
And, lastly, I found another good reason to sign up with Google Reader (or something like it). A friend recently had her blog deleted by the place where she hosts it. I was able to help her recover some of her posts because they had them saved at Google Reader back to January 2007! So, if you ever lost your blog, this would be a good way to recover some of it!
Hope you all are enjoying your summer. I'm off to read now (I have been reading SO MANY books the past few weeks!). I hope to post about some of the books soon, as many of them are about eduation.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Well, early this morning, Alexandra woke up with a sore throat and stuff nose... and she felt hot. When we woke up, she was had a fever. So, we've been hanging out at home.
We had started growing this sweet potato about 3 weeks ago and have been shocked by its growth! This photo was taken earlier this week and the vines are now 32 inches tall! It's been growing in a large cup with water with toothpicks poked into it to help it "hang" on the lip of the cup.
Alexandra went to a second week of classes for homeschoolers, including her photography class. This week, they were learning about taking macro photos and they took a walk outside to photograph flowers. This is her shot of hydrangea.
And, this was her camp this week... basketball! She really enjoyed it and wants to play this fall. I was very proud of her as she learned SO much this week. She couldn't even dribble the ball when she started her week! (And, I was proud of her for sticking it out - she was the only girl in the group with 8 boys.)
Her she is taking a free throw. Oops! It missed...
And, I really want to do more cooking with Alexandra this summer. One night this week, we made bran muffins from scratch. We used my grandmother's recipe which uses All Bran cereal. They turned out really good, though a little dry. And, Alexandra is doing really well measuring, stirring, etc. I think the only thing I did was to help find the ingredients, read the recipe (which I know she could do), and take them in and out of the oven.
A couple of months ago, I noticed the "old one" had some horrible "disease." It had this growth all around the inside and I was so sure it was going to die. But, it recently produced more leaves, so I wasn't sure what was happening.
Then, about a month ago, one of our palms in the backyard started to develop this unusual growth (above). (I took this photo last week after I noticed it had started to fall over and was sad I hadn't photographed it earlier. The cone is over 2 feet tall!) So, I started doing some research, mainly on this site.
First of all, you can not tell a male or female sago by looking at it until it is mature. Most sagos must be 15-20 years old before they are mature enough to bloom, and they also must be established in your garden or landscape.
Continuing from the site: In late spring, a mature male Sago produces a golden cone, shaped like a giant pine cone which may grow over 2' tall as shown in the photo above. A female produces a huge golden flower which slowly opens when it is fertile, then closes, and begins to produce viable seed if pollination from a male sago was successful. (I also read on the site that when the pollen is ready it will produce a sweet perfume odor! I guess I missed that...)
So, the photo above (of a sago we planted only 4 summers ago) is of a male sago with its cone. This will only happen very 2 to 3 years. The other years, it'll just produce more leaves.
The "diseased" sago we have in the front yard was actually a female with seeds! We must have missed seeing the flower last spring, as the seeds appear the following spring. You can grow new Sagos from the seeds, but you're supposed to gather them in January through March.
The site also said that rarely a male Sago will have more than one cone. We saw a Sago with 2 cones near one of Alexandra's classes last week, but I didn't get a photo. Too bad!
Another cool site with a photo of a male and female Sago. And now, some more photos.
This is our large female - she's about 6 feet tall!
This is the view when you look straight down on the male Sago Palm (near the base of the cone.) Neat, huh? I think it kind of looks like Medusa's hair.
And, this is how I thought Sagos reproduced before realizing there were male and females. These are "baby" sagos which I learned our called pups. (See this site) I loved visiting this site and seeing how you can grow your own Sagos from pups! Unfortunately, it looks like we should have removed our pups earlier this spring. I might try it anyway.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
I'm just amazed at this man and what he is doing for these kids. It makes me feel like I'm not doing enough! But, the book also encourages me as to what kids can do and gives specific ideas for how to do it.
Update: Alexandra and I watched the DVD "The Hobart Shakespereans" this week, and really enjoyed it. It was great to see Rafe "live" and just added to my amazement of this man and his kids.
Update: I reread most of the book today. I'd forgotten that he sometimes uses offensive language and calls a list of writing instructions he made up "the Bible." I still think the book has tons of good info in it, but wanted to make you aware!
Saturday, June 07, 2008
- Monday: We had a regular school day and Alexandra started some a new class at the gym - a cheer class. I also worked out.
- Tuesday: We went to a music program, had lunch at McDonald's, and then saw the Geopalooza exhibit at our museum.
- Wednesday: Alexandra tried a day at a new "enrichment school." It was very inexpensive and she had fun - she took a photography class, a Bible study/character class, and a tea party/book club "class." I enjoyed the few hours by talking with other moms.
- Thursday: Alexandra loved the classes so much she went back for another day. She did a plants/gardening class, an arts & crafts class, and a writing class. I enjoyed this time by reading. Afterwards, we had lunch, went shopping in some little "shops", and bought some fudge - yum!
- Friday: We went to our homeschool convention. I wasn't sure I wanted to go. Our dog has been sick for several days and the house was a mess (because of her messes - I'd spent hours cleaning the "spots", but they still looked BAD.) But, my husband encouraged me to go.... and I'm so glad I did! I ran into some "old" friends and went to some lectures that were so encouraging and enlightning.
- Saturday: Bought a new carpet cleaner which I LOVE!!! (It's a Bissel SpotBot) and we cleaned the carpets. It worked!!! I finished a novel I've been reading and we played at the pool tonight - I just waded and blew up a new pool toy, but Alexandra and my husband went swimming.
I'm REALLY looking into switching to a more classical approach next year. I read The Latin Centered Curriculum this week, and am making lots of plan changes for next year. I'll write more when I have my plans better formulated.
Alexandra has camp next week (just 3 hours a day) and I plan on working out more (this week didn't go so well) and working on some projects around the house. And, I'll be planning for next year!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
I loved that Alexandra pointed out when she heard "Taps" being played - something she had not heard of until we did the lapbook last week.
It was neat to learn more about Arlington National Cemetery and how Robert E. Lee. had been a US officer. When the Civil War started, he resigned to go fight for the South. The North, regarding him as disloyal, decided to make his farm a graveyard for Union officers. And, this was the start of Arlington National Cemetery.
We also saw how to properly fold a flag and that it ends up as a triangle, which reminds us of the hats worn by the Patriot soldiers of the Revolutionary War.
Anyway, I just really recommend these holiday videos - they are enjoyable and educational. I'm off to request the one for Independence Day!
- "The female buils (her nest) by stitching the walls together with spider silk, gluing them with salive, and stamping a soft cottony down into the lining with her feet." She adds lichen and moss to camouflage the nest.
- "Each egg weighs less than one-half a gram."
- Mother hummingbirds eat 2,000 insects every day!!!
- Hummingbirds can't smell and depend on their eyesight to find food.
- Hummingbirds only have a few enemies. "Some frogs and large fish ahve been known to leap up, catch a hummingbird, and pull it underwater." Other things that eat hummingbirds sometimes: small hawks, kestrel, praying mantis (I found several photos online, including this one IF you want to see it - it's not as grusome as others: ), and dragonflies have been known to try to eat them!!! I had trouble believing this one, but also found this fact on EEK!
- They travel from Florida across the Gulf of Mexico in about 25 hours flying at a rate of about 25 mph.
- "Sometimes balloonists hang feeders from their baskets to give the voyager (hummingbird) a much-appreciated snack" during their long trip.
And, we did this grid drawing of a hummingbird. I thought Alexandra's turned out great!