On The Road Again….

September 29, 2006 at 12:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Just a reminder this Saturday is Free Museum Weekend!  We decided to make a vacation out of it.  So we are leaving town today and headed off  for some rest and relaxation!

Since I won't be posting for a few days I thought I would tell you all about the current Usborne Internet Specials.  Did you know that Usborne offers selected titles each month at huge discounts when bought online?  Here are a few of the current specials…

Stories From The Old Testament was $19.95 NOW $10.95

Going to the Dentist was $4.95 NOW $2.97

Easy German was $12.95 NOW $6.48

Things To Make And Do For Christmas was $13.95 NOW $5.58

What Shall I Draw Kid Kit  was $14.95 NOW $6.73

Pocket Artist Kid Kit  was $18.95 NOW $9.48

How To Draw Horses was  $5.95  NOW $3.57

These are just a few of this months GREAT specials!  If you wish to see all the specials click here.

Christmas is just around the corner!  Don't forget if you purchase over $85.00 you get $15.00 in FREE books! 

I'll see you next week!

Jamin

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There, Their and They're…

September 28, 2006 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized)

Today was a day full of laundry and housework around here…Since I don't want to blog about that I thought I would tell you all how I teach my kids which “there, their, they're” to use…

There –  Contains the word “here” which is a place and therefore refers to places.  “We went there on a field trip.”

Their – Contains the word “heir” which is a person and therefore refers to people.  “Their children were homeschooled and loved it!”

They're – Contains 2 words squished together…”They” & “are”..it is to be used where the 2 words could also work.  “They're the ones who love being homeschooled.”

I don't know where I learned this.  I just assumed everyone knew it, but the other day I said something about it to my husband (Who is way smarter that me!) and he had never heard it before.

So there you have it.  Now wasn't that more interesting than me telling you how may loads of laundry I did today!  LOL

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Rasin Bran Muffins

September 26, 2006 at 10:13 pm (Uncategorized)

The topic of conversation on one of the
Yahoo Groups I am in is fast and easy recipes for breakfast.  The
discussion reminded me of this recipe my Mom always had in the fridge
when I was growing up. 

“RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS” 
1 (15 ounce) box Raisin Bran
1 tsp. salt
5 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 qt. buttermilk
Mix
dry ingredients, flour, Raisin Bran, sugar, salt and soda. Add liquids,
blending as they are added. Bake in muffin tins or refrigerate for
later cooking. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

This will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Makes approx. 4 dozen muffinsAll you do is preheat the oven and spoon the mix into muffin tins, bake and eat!  They are wonderful too!

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Awana Fun!

September 26, 2006 at 11:39 am (Uncategorized)

This week at Awana we had a Let's Make
A Deal night.  It was so fun I thought I would share the idea
here.  All the kids were told to bring a bag of stuff…pens,
pencils, rubberbands, chopsticks, etc….I basically dumped the junk
drawer into a bag!  LOL  Then during gametime they had the MC
(Dressed in a chicken hat and grass skirt!) call out items.  The
first kid to produce the item came up on the stage and was given 
dollar.  Then they had to decide between keeping the dollar or
trading it for 1 of 4 boxes on the stage.  The boxes contained
anything from a package of Koolaid to Christian kids DVD's.  My
daughter got a Bibleman DVD!  It was  lot of fun!

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Ready for Awana! 
This year we are all doing Sparks! 
Mom is a Leader, my oldest son is a
Leader In Training and my daughter is a Sparkie!
We are having a blast!!!!

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The Grinch Who Stole Summer

September 25, 2006 at 10:00 am (Uncategorized)

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Well, it is officially Fall!  This weekend I came across this article called The Grinch Who Stole Summer and I couldn't help but yet again be thankful we homeschool!

The article gets my attention with it's opening paragraph…

“THE END OF SUMMER brings
a sad little dread that tugs the heart downward. Truth is, though,
summer as it exists in our nostalgic memories — long days of swimming,
playing and, best of all, accomplishing absolutely nothing — has been
withering, and gone, for years, like a worn-thin autumn leaf.”


It goes on to tell us how the lazy days of Summer have vanished due to
the advent of Summer school, year around School, competitive Summer
camps, back to school getting pushed up to August, etc. 

The article wraps up with this statement:

“There
is only one sort of skill we are afraid to nurture in our kids — the
ability to do nothing more constructive than make a blade of crabgrass,
pressed between our thumbs and blown, blast a reedy note into the
summer air.”


I am so glad
that my kids know how to do nothing!  I think it is an important
skill!  Nothing makes me happier than seeing my 3 yahoo's camping
out under the dining room table with a blanket thrown over it to make
it a fort.  There will be time for them to be competitive in
College and their Careers.  For now I just want them to enjoy life
and love learning….I am glad the Grinch hasn't stolen the Summer's at
our house!

Who would have ever guessed when we started this
adventure called homeschooling that teaching them to do nothing would
be part of our curriculum!  LOL

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Poor Child…

September 24, 2006 at 3:19 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday I took my kids to a local
Children's Festival.  You know the one…Bouncy houses, face
painting, balloon animals, hotdogs and lots of ice cream.  We
arrived 30 minutes before the event started selling tickets because
they had been advertising the 1st 500 people would get FREE tickets to
a local museum.  The Museum is $21.00 per person and this event
was only $14.00 for my whole family.  (They don't call me the
Queen of Cheap for nothing! LOL)  Anyway, while we are standing in
line to get tickets ALL the children are running around playing in the
grass.  It is in a park and the line was right on the edge of the
grass where the kids were playing.  Behind me was a Mom with 2
kids. A 2 year old and a baby and the kids Aunt.  The 2 year old
wanted to run around and play with all the other kids.  The Mom
was apalled.  The answer was a firm NO! The two year old fussed,
squirmed and ran off to play  few times.  Each time the Mom
would scold him and say “Why can't you behave like all these other
children?”  (Well…hello, that's what he's trying to do!) 
That wasn't the only thing she fussed about.  “Get that hat on
your head, your too fair not to wear a hat!”,  “Don't stand on one
foot you will fall over, your not very coordinated!”, “Be quiet you are
bothering all these nice people!”  (Actually Mom YOU are the one
getting on my nerves!)  After about 5 minutes of the child wanting
to play with the other children Mom whips out the harness and
leash.  Poor child!  Now the crying really began!!! 
Don't get me wrong, I have a harness and have even used it a few times
when I have been trying to wrangle 3 kids in a busy airport or parking
lot.  But in a Park, come on….

I so wanted to talk to
the Mom and tell her to chill!  Part of me was recoiling because I
saw a lot of myself in this lady back in the days when I had only 1
child.  I was much more overprotective and strict than I am
now.  I wanted to kindly tell her “Let him be a kid, let the Aunt
watch the sleeping baby and wait in line and go run with him.  Let
him have fun with you!”  But, I chickened out….  The
saddest thing is a  saw this child 3 or 4 other times while we
were at the event.  Every time he was still on the leash and every
time he was crying and the Mom was yelling at him.  All I could
think was in a few years this will be the lady that will be telling me
“I could never homeschool my son, he just doesn't listen to me and he
behaves so much better for other people.”  Is it any wonder?

Yikes…Poor child…

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Lessons Learned At Children's Music Festival…

September 23, 2006 at 3:16 am (Uncategorized)

When I saw the Children's Musical
Festival come through on our homeschool groups email loop I have to
admit I thought it was going to be Raffi
type music.  It was free, close to home and was only scheduled to
last 45 minutes, which fits all my field trip criteria, so I signed
up.  We arrived this morning, me with all 3 kids.  I am
thinking my 2 year old will do fine because he likes to dance and sing
and this is for kids after all.  We get seated on the 2nd row
right in the center…..I open up the program and begin to panic! 

Breath (2005)
Joseph Harchanko

A Little Nonesense (1988)
“The Owl and The Pussy Cat”
Richard Pearson Thomas

Just Ok (Sans B)
Henri Bok

Twin Structures (1978)
Richard Tauchian

Trio per Uno
Nebojsa Zivkovic

Uh, where is Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels On The Bus?  I start
planning my escape…My stroller parked up next to the stage…How will
I get a screaming 2 yo out and up to the stage while dragging 
complaining 5 and 12 year old?  It's going to be ugly….

The odd thing is only the first 2 rows are full.  It is all
homeschoolers and I realize everyone is looking as nervous as me. 
I keep thinking they are soon going to start seating the other 500
school children.  When we arrived the 1st performance was just
ending and hundreds of kids were streaming out.  (I did notice
that public school children stand in line very nicely!) 

So suddenly the announcer comes out and introduces the 1st piece. 
A clarinet that was plugged into a computer and was accompained by
prerecorded electronics.  The piece lasted 6 minutes and my kids
set spellbound.  Even the 2 year old loved it and stopped pushing
his seat up and down during the music.

I start to relax….

The 2nd piece was an Operatic performance of the wedding between the
Owl and The Pussy Cat.  Very beautiful and very SILLY!  The
singer told the kids before hand it was okay to laugh, and we all
did!  Especially when the pianist interjected a few pig
snorts!  LOL

Piece number 3 was a duet with a Saxaphone and Clarinet.  Very upbeat and very happy.  We all loved it…

Piece number 4 was AMAZING!  2 pianist, 1 piano.  They
explained before they started that it was written after the death of
the composers friend and starts out sad, becomes violent and then goes
back to sad.  It did just that!  The kids were fasinated
watching the dance of the 2 pianists playing the one piano.

The final piece was INCREDIBLE!!!  It was a drum Trio.  There
was 1 large drum in the middle and 3 guys playing it.  They had
other percussion instruments around them too.  Because it was such
a small group they invited all of us to come on stage and surround them
so we could really see them playing.  It was so cool!  My
kids loved it!

I learned a lesson…My kids can handle more than Raffi
LOL  Had I had seen the program before the concert I would not
have signed up.  I am glad I didn't see it first.  My kids
talked about the concert all the way home!  They couldn't even
pick a favorite piece they liked them all so much! 

It was a really great lesson for all of us!

(Don't get me wrong….We actually listen to Classical Music at home
frequently and we don't even own any Raffi!  LOL  I was just
concerned about them sitting quietly in public and listening to such
mature music!  Especially the 2 year old!)

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A Day In The Life…

September 22, 2006 at 9:28 am (Uncategorized)

Our local homeschooling group has
started sending out a weekly email written by a different local
homeschool family each week explaining “A Day In The Life of a
Homeschool Family.”  This week it is my turn tp write it.  I
thought I would post what I wrote here too.

******************************************************************

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When
I was asked me to write a day in the life of our homeschooling family
to share with the homeschool group it took me a couple of days to
figure out how to do it. I finally realized that I can't do a day in
the life, I have to do a week in the life. Here is why…My husband
works a very sporadic schedule. 2 or 3 days he works 9-6, 2 days he
works 2-11pm, every other week he is one day off during the week. No
two weeks are ever the same and I usually don't know what his schedule
is for the next day until the night before. Oh, and also he travels
occasionally and when he does we frrquently go with him. The only day
of the week that is consistent is Sunday, which he always has off. We
don't do school when Dad is home. One of the reasons we homeschool is
to have more time together as a family. If I required the kids to do
book work from 9-3 every day they would never have time with Dad. So,
as far as schedule, everyday is different at our house. We also do a 4
day school week. We started this years ago when we started using
Sonlight and they offer a 4 days schedule. This has always worked well
for us because it leaves one day a week for field trips, classes and
Dads day off.

With all of
the above caveats in place I will try to explain how we are “doing”
school right now. It has changed many times over the years as we have
moved around, taken different classes, had more children, etc.

On
Friday afternoon I write out the children's lessons for the next week.
For my 12 year old I give him his assignments and try to tell him as
best I can what activities we have for the week so he can work around
them. I usually tell him what day I think it will be best for him to be
his off day. (Like the week we go to homeschool skating he takes Friday
off, unless it's like last week where we had 2 other field trips that
same week! Yikes!) He is really in control of what he does when. He
just knows it all has to be done by the end of Friday.

Here is what my oldest son is studying currently for 7th grade:

Bible – He is reading through the Bible in a year

Math – Math-u-See Zeta

History– Sonlight 7 American History (now called core 100)

Poetry – From Sonlight 7 – A Treasury of Poetry for Young People

Geography – Usborne Encyclopedia of Geography

Grammar – Usborne Improve Your Grammar

Science – Usborne Encyclopedia of Science

Art Appreciation – The Usborne Book of Art

Lapbooking – He will be doing several Lapbooks on American History throughout the year.

Japanese – He does this on his own.  He has several computer and audio programs he uses.

Because
we use Sonlight (Which is literature-based curriculum) for History we
do a lot of reading. He is now at an age that he can do a lot of the
reading himself, but because I want to be able to discuss what he is
learning I do part of the reading aloud to him. (Plus the books are so
good I don't want to miss out! LOL) when we get started on school,
(Whether it be in the morning when Dad works early or in the afternoon
when he works late.) I usually try to get some of my read aloud time
with him done. It usually takes 1 – 2 hours per day for me to read
aloud to him. During this time in an ideal world the 5 and 2 year old
would be peacefully playing in another room. In reality we usually have
to stop many times to put on educational videos, refill juice cups and
change diapers! LOL I try to have the younger two doing something
educational while I work with my older son. They might watch videos,
play with Play-doh, color, build a fort, etc. Everyday it's something
different. Once I am done reading to my older son he goes off on his
own to do the rest of his schoolwork, which he does pretty much on his
own. In case you are wondering we do have a schoolroom. It is used
mostly for storing all our school stuff and school seems to take place
in every inch of our house. A favorite school location is the
stairs. Don't ask me why? I have yet to figure it out, but if they get
the schoolwork done I don't care where they do it.

Once my older son goes off to get his work done I get to work with my 5 year old. This year she is doing:

Bible – Awana Sparks

Math – Misc. math games, later in the year she will start Math-U-See

Phonics -Sing, Spell Read and Write

American History – Discover America Series
Science – 10 Terrific Weeks The Human Body

Crafts – Misc.

Cooking – Misc.

Lapbooking – She will be doing a lot of lapbooks on the Discover America Series as well as other topics she chooses.

A
lot of what I do with her is very hands on. Because we are playing
games, singing songs and drawing a lot of attention to ourselves the 2
year old usually wants to join in. We just include him as much as he
wants and pretend he “gets” everything we are doing. It takes twice as
long, but there is less crying and fighting so that works for me.
Sometimes I can distract him in the other room with blocks or Play-doh.
Usually if he is distracted I use that time to read to my 5 year old.
This seems to be the activity I most need peace and quiet for.

To
be quite honest if someone was peeking through the window of our house
they would probably think at best we have a little organized mayhem at
our house! LOL The important thing is to me that we get the work done.
That is why I write everything out for every week. If I didn't I could
never keep everything going.

With
all this said I also want to say that when I talk about “school” I am
referring to bookwork & deskwork only. The truth is I consider
everything we do as part of our kid’s education. Whether we are going
to the grocery store and they are using there Math skills, the Park and
they are getting excersize, a field trip where they are learning social
skills, Church where they are learning about God….It is all part of
their education. I am always on the lookout for teachable moments. We
listen to educational songs in the car, watch educational movies
together as a family, travel on business with Dad as much as we can so
the kids can see the world. The world is our oyster! We love learning
together as a family.

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Studying Art With Children

September 21, 2006 at 10:34 am (Uncategorized)

Over at the Natural Elevation
blog she has posted about a long awaited Art book she finally got and
then found it was 85% nudes!  This led me to start thinking about
all the Art books I have done with my kiddos and I thought I would
share a few of the titles we love. 

Here is a list of
Art books we own and have used through the years.  I have put them
in order from youngest to oldest. 

Dancing with Degas (boardbook)
A Picnic With Monet (boardbook)
These are sweet little boardbooks that use the artists work and then
have a simple rhyming story for preschoolers.  There are also
other titles such as:

They are $6.95 each.

Puzzle Gallery Games this
is a book that has 5 Masterpieces as puzzles inside.  There is a
paragraph of info on each picture and several questions about the
pictures to get kids looking at the art. You can buy it from Amazon
used as cheap as $1.91.  Good for Preschool – 3rd grade
approximtely.

Baby Einstein The ABC's of Art
is a great book for ages Preschool and up.  It has a painting for
each letter of  the alaphabet, a little info on the art and
questions to get kids involved in the Art.  It sells for $15.95
new.

Paintings A First Discovery Art of Book  and Portraits A First Discovery Book of Art
is one of those neat little books from Scholastics tht has acetate
pages that you can see through to complete the pictures.  They are
$11.95 new.  And is for elementary students.

Diego
is the story of artist Diego Rivera told in both English and Spanish.
This is the first  art book I owned.  It was a gift from a
friend when I was pregnant with my 1st child.  We went to a Diego
Rivera exhibit together in Los Angeles and he bought the book for
me.  It sells for $15.00.  This is for elelmentary students

The First Stary Night is a story book about Van Gogh painting Starry Starry Night.  It is $6.95.  For elementary.

We have 4 books from the Great Artist Series Degas, Monet , Renoir & Van Gogh.
These books are a nice little intro to the life and times of each
artist.  They also include a lot of pictures of their art. 3rd and
up.

The next series we have a few of are the “What Makes
A”  we have Brugel A Brugel, Picasso a Picasso and Goya a
Goya.  I could not find a resource to buy them online.  I am
guessing they are out of print.  They are not my favorites. 
They are a little dry!  LOL  I like the Great Artist series
mentioned above much better.  These were put out by The
Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1990's.  If you find them cheap
used I'd say go for it!  3rd and up. They were $11.99 new.

Rembrandt The Christmas Story
is a neat little book that tells the story of Christmas illustrated
with the art of Rembrandt.  You can buy it on Anzon for as cheap
as .1 cent!!!

Sister Wendy Beckett A Child's book of Prayer in Art is an awesome little gem. The inside cover says:

“…Sister Wendy has selected  paintings that can speak to
children the inportant values of life, such as love, resepct, and
forgiveness.  She helps children to look and listen, gaining
insight into art while developing a greater understanding of their own
spirituality.”

It is $14.95 new and is a lovely book!  This is good for elemetary students.

Masterpieces a Fact-Filled Coloring Book
is just what it says!  A cool coloring book with info on each of
the Materpieces you get to color.  This is a favorite in our
house!  It is $9.95 and well worth the investment!  Good for
preschool to highschool!

Hello Out There! Speaking Through Pictures
is  cool book that look at the people communicate through art
using signs, symbols, photographs, design, advertising, cartoons and
visual communications.  Upper elementary.

Secrets of Art
is a book that helps us understand the why of art.  Why does art
make us feel the way it does?  How artist make us feel happy or
sad.  The tricks of the trade to understanding art. Upper
elementary

How Art Is Made explores the many different mediums that artists use.  From mud, car tires and even garbage. Upper Elementary.

Going To The Getty
is a book about the Getty Center in Los Angeles.  This book helps
kids understand how museums come to be and gives us fun facts about the
Getty.  Elementary. $16.95.

Looking At Pictures
An Introduction To Art For Young People is an excellent resource! 
This is high on my list of favorites!  It includes 150
illustrations and more topics than I have time to list here!  It
is $19.95 and I highly recommend it!  Upper elementary.

How Artists See Cities is just what it says.  Lots of pictures of cities through the eyes of different artists.  Upper elementary.

All of the above mentioned books to NOT include pictures of nudes. The
suggested ages are mine.  Ages may vary depending on your
children's interest.

The book my 7th grader is using for Art
this year has approx 12 nudes in it.  There are 196 pages in the
book.  It is a really good book that is a complete introduction to
Art.  It is called The Usborne Book of Art and is internet linked. Here is the description from the Usborne website:

“Here
is the story of western art, told clearly and simply, and illustrated
with over two hundred of the world’s greatest works of art. This
fascinating book covers it all – from ancient Egyptian tomb decorations
to the great masters of European painting, right up to the latest
controversies over contemporary art. Throughout the book, there are
Internet links to recommended websites where you can view thousands
more artworks, find out more about the artists and play art games.”

This book is recommended for ages 10 and up.  I think 12 and up is a better recommendation.

So
that is what the kiddos and I have done through the years for
Art.  Most of these books I have picked up over time as we have
visited Art Museums.  All of them have been read by us and will be
read again and again as the 2 little ones get older.  I hope
someone finds this helpful!

Oh,  by the way, here is the book I most want the next time I have $50.00 to spend on an Art book!  The Story of Painting by Sister Wendy Beckett.  If anyone has it please leave me a message and tell me what you think of it!

Jamin

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Free Kids Music

September 20, 2006 at 11:16 am (Uncategorized)

I came across this AWESOME Music site called Free Kids Music
It is a site that has a lot of different kids music that is free to
download.  They are the complete songs and there are a LOT of
them.  My son is putting together a Educational CD for us with the
following songs:

Multiply X 2
Water Cycle
Science Fair
Sing About Manetees

Como Esta Usted
The Shape Song
Vowel Village

Undercover Creatures
Let's Make  A Sound
Muscle and Bones
Weird Words

Opposites
Gonna Name Our States
Can You Predict It?

This is a great place to not only get some free music, but to
find new artists you kids will enjoy.  We are going to be very
busy downloading!!!

Here is an Artist that has several Christian songs to download.

Enjoy and get dancing!!!

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