Back From Austin Texas!

June 29, 2009 at 9:18 am (Uncategorized)

Downtown Austin from the Palmer Convention Center Window

And another view…Austin is very pretty and reminds me very much of California.  (Without the ocean of course!  LOL)

Whew, I am tired though…I got back late yesterday afternoon. Homeschool Conventions are always informative and exhausting! I enjoyed the convention but the best part of the trip was spending time with my friend.  I had a GREAT time! 

Here we are together!  She is a like minded homeschool Mom that I have had the pleasure of knowing for over 10 years.  It is always fun to hang out together and we don’t get to do it often enough!


It is great to be home and see my hubby and kiddos again!  I MISSED THEM! I will post more later about the convention and my other adventures in Austin…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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All By Myself

June 24, 2009 at 8:13 am (Uncategorized)

I can’t remember the last time I took a trip alone.  I know it was over 8 years ago because I have never done it since my 2 littles were born.  But, tomorrow I am heading out and won’t be back until Sunday afternoon!

Were am I going?  To a homeschool convention!!! I wasn’t able to go to our local homeschool convention this year, so I got online and started looking at upcoming conventions in places I have friends.  I found a winner, made my travel plans and am ready to go!

The kids are not thrilled. (Especially my daughter.)  But, I haven’t been to a homeschool convention in several years and I really NEED to go get renewed, revived and excited about the upcoming school year. 

I would appreciate prayers for travel mercies and for the kids to have a great time with dad while I am away.

I look forward to telling you all about it next week when I get back!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Just Another "Magic" Monday!

June 23, 2009 at 6:35 am (Uncategorized)

Monday is the best day of our week this Summer!  We have been meeting up ever Monday morning for the last few weeks with a bunch of friends from our homeschool group to play at the water fountains at a local mall.  It is SO fun!

Here are some shots of the gang having FUN!





It is great for the Mom’s too!  We sit in the shade, talk and take turns making runs to Starbucks or the bakery for cool drinks.  Monday is my favorite day of the week!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Cooking and Homeschooling

June 22, 2009 at 9:12 am (Uncategorized)

The kids and I love the Food Network.  We Tivo Good Eats, Throwdown, Food Detectives, Ace of Cakes and the Food Challenge shows.   One things that never ceases to amaze me is the shows where they can give several people the same ingredients and challenge them to make the same dish and they come out completely different.  The other day while I was scrambling eggs I got to thinking about this.  My husband was making breakfast tacos for us.  He had made the tortillas and bacon and then he said "Can you scramble the eggs, the kids like your scrambled eggs better than mine."  (Which is true, they do.)  The weird thing is that my husband and I do make scrambled eggs very different from each other.  But, the weirder thing is that we both ONLY use one ingredient….EGGS.  How can that be?  We us the same pan, the same spatula, the same stove and yet mine come out as one big fluffy pile of eggs and his come out way more scrambled.  I personally like them both ways, but it’s weird how different they are. The difference more than likely has to be in how much each of us stir the eggs.

This of course got me thinking about homeschooling. Homeschooling is not a one ingredient fits all kind of things.  Lucky for us nowadays there are almost as many curriculum choices as their are homeschoolers.  But, here is the thing…you can take 10 families and give them all the same curriculum and the learning will be different for each family.  This Fall there are several of us that do American Girl Club together that will all be using Sonlight 3 as our curriculum.  I am looking forward to it because even though I have known many people who used Sonlight I can’t ever remember us doing the same Core the same year as anyone we hung out with.  But you know what?  Each of us will end up learning in complete different ways!  What will the difference be?  The way each mom will stir things up!  LOL 

Mom’s are a HUGE factor in homeschooling!  Each of us are different and because of that each of our homeschools are different. Some are more hands on, some are crafty, some add a lot of writing assignments and others focus more on Science and Math. And this doesn’t even begin to bring in the factor of perspective!  (I am quite sure that this year I will teach American History differntly now that I have been to Washington D.C., Virgina and Philly!)

There are other factors too.  Those who have children all approximately the same age may keep everyone working together, people like me with kids spread all over the age spectrum may find themselves doing 3 Sonlight Cores in one year!  (Yes, it’s looking like we will be doing 3 Cores next year.  Pray for me!  LOL)  Some families have dad’s that are more involved in teaching than others, some have their children work more independently, some add a lot of extra materials like lapbooks and field trips.  The differences can be endless.

I say all this to remind us all of something.  At this time of year as most of us homeschool mom’s are pouring over curriculum catalogs, going to conventions, and making curriculum decisions we need to remember that who WE are is as important as the curriculum we chose.  It is important to find something we like because if it doesn’t work for mom it is not going to work for the kids either. We need to remember that we may need to change curriculum over the years as our circumstances change.  (For example the year I had a newborn a 2 year old and we moved to a new State I chose not to do Sonlight that year.  Not because I didn’t want to do Sonlight, but because I knew that for the situation I was in it was too parent involved and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. But, trust me the next year we were ready to get back to Sonlight!)

If there is one thing I have learned over the years each homeschool mom can pull together what is perfect for their family! God has differently enabled each and every one of us and given us the kids that we are perfectly suited to teach! (Even though some days it doesn’t feel that way!  LOL) That is the beauty of homeschooling.  Our homeschools can grow with us, change with us and become what we need them to be. Plus, we as mom’s get to grow and change and learn just as much as our kids do!

I am telling you scrambling eggs can be very inspiring!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin



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Fun Math Re-Run

June 19, 2009 at 8:31 am (Uncategorized)

I am allowed a re-run on my blog?  LOL  Last night I was at a homeschool mom’s coffee and everyone was talking about literature based math.  It got me thinking about a post I had written in 2006.  (Wow, I have been writing this blog for a long time now!) So here is the post the conversation brought to mind…

Fun Math Books Mar. 24, 2006


Wow, I just used the word fun and math in the same sentence.  Until I started homeschooling I can guarantee that never had happened!  Here are some fun Math books we love at our house.

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table
A Math Adventure


by Cindy Neuschwander

Okay, this is a fun way to learn about (Lady) Di Ameter, (her son) Radius & (The King) Sir Cumference.  One reading and your kids will have these the concepts of diameter, radius & circumference down.  Of course they will want to read it again and again!

Sir Cumference and The Dragon of Pi
A Math Adventure


by Cindy Neuschwander

In this one Sir Cumference is changed into a fire eating dragon.  Radius must go on a quest through the castle to discover the magic number that is the same for all circles (Pi) to save him.

Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone
A Math Adventure


by Cindy Neuschwander

How else could you explain Euler’s law to kids?  If you add the number of faces on a geometric solid to the number of its edges, the answer will always be two. It works for any polyhedron.  Yeah, I had no idea about this either, until we read this book!

Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland

A Math Adventure
by Cindy Neuschwander

What could be more fun than dodging danger and dragons while learning about the degrees of an angle and using  a Protractor?

We love these books.  I would say they are aimed at about a 3rd grade level and up.  But, my 5 year old daughter loved the stories too.

For a look inside these books click here.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Cleaning Closets

June 18, 2009 at 9:31 am (Uncategorized)

I have never much enjoyed cleaning closets.  It is a thankless job that is only noticed if you DON’T do it!  But, eventually it just has to be done.  Well, believe it or not blogs have their closets too!  I just finished up doing some major cleaning on the categories on my blog.  Here is what I did…

Whew!  I hope that this makes things easier to find. It sure feels good to be able to close all those closet doors again!  I just wish my irl (in real life) closets were as clean as my url closets!

:^)

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Our Trip To Washington D.C., Virginia and Philly

June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am (Uncategorized)

Whew, I think I am finally done posting about our recent trip!  It "only" took me 30 posts to say all the things I needed to about our 2 week vacation!  LOL  At least no one can say I didn’t make the most of it!

Here is our trip from beginning to end…

Travel Notebook – Getting ready to leave

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Augustine – Heading out!

The Screaming Has Begun!! – Arriving in D.C.

D.C. First Full Day

The BEST Thing to See In Virginia!

More On Virginia!  – Sully Plantation and Claude Moore Farm

I Had The Time of My Life! – Our Day at the National Museum of American History

Happily Exhausted and Overwhelmed
– Friday: National Archives, Natural History Museum and Ford Theater, Saturday:  Philly!, Sunday:  Mount Vernon and the Monuments on the Mall in D.C.  (Washington, Lincoln, WWII, Vietnam, Korea)

Friday 5-8-09 – National Archives, Nat. History Museum, Ford Theater

Saturday 5-09-09 – Philly!

Sunday 5-10-09 – Mother’s Day at Mount Vernon!


Sunday 5-10-09 – The Monuments on the Mall

A Whirlwind of Wonderful! – Native American Museum, Air and Space Museum and the White House

Bye-Bye D.C.

We’re Home!

Yorktown, VA Thursday 5-14-09

Colonial Williamsburg – Arrival, Traveling Back and Impressions

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National Air and Space Museum – Re-Visted

June 16, 2009 at 8:29 am (Uncategorized)

As promised yesterday I am getting back to posting about the National Air and Space Museum

Here are my excited kids right as we entered the museum

The first thing we did was head over to the How Things Fly exhibit.
This is where we spent most of our time.  The kids were the tour guides for this day and they all loved how hands on this area was.

There were knobs to twist…

Buttons to push…

We made things float…

We learned about lift…

And drag…

This was an experiement on how to steer.
The kids sat on a stool that would turn in circles holding a wheel.  Then the helper spun the wheel and let them steer themselves.

He liked it!

She liked it!

They all liked it!
I didn’t try this one.

But I liked this one!
I was supposed to be learning about pitch, roll and yaw, but mostly I was enjoying the great breeze from the fan blowing in my face!  LOL

My oldest gave it a try too.

I am not sure what they are looking at here…
But…it made me laugh when I saw this picture!  It must have been something interesting!  LOL (Notice my stroller in the front of the picture filled to the brim with stuff!)

The kids loved the section on space.
Just one of the many pics I took in this area.

Then we went to my favorite part of the museum…

The kids with the Wright Brothers! :^)

One of the only Wright Bicycles still to exist.

The first plane to ever fly! 
My daughter really enjoyed this area because she knew this was the same time period as the Samantha stories took place.  In the books the Aunt Cornelia talks about how she would love to fly and they Grandmother is shocked!  She can’t believe anyone would do something so foolish!  We really enjoyed a little jute box they had with all the songs that came out about flying in the early 1900’s. 

Then saw Amelia Earharts plane!


And her jacket, goggles and radio.

The Spirit of Saint Louis was cool too!

Okay, this blew me away!  This was in a section about how computers had changed the world of flight. Look at the little microchip that is in the center of the circle in the window below…
The sign said that one microchip replaces 1 million transistors…

Which are what is filling the tower!
This so impressed me I had to drag my husband over to show him. (Okay, now I get why computer have gotten so much smaller and faster!) He is a electronics major and he just looked at me and laughed!  Well, it may not have impressed him, but it sure did impress me!  LOL

So that was our last day of visiting the Smithsonian Museums.  I can’t wait until we can go again and see more!  There are 19 Smithsonian Museums in the D.C. area we "only" made it to 4 of them.  So we have plenty to look forward to next time!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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National Museum of the American Indian Re-Visited

June 15, 2009 at 7:41 am (Uncategorized)

I promised to post more about the National Museum of the American Indian when I had time.  So here it goes!

First off I just have to mention the Metro Rail that we took into D.C. each day.  The kids LOVED it!  My 5 year old still talks about it and wishes we could get rid of the car and just take the Metro Rail.  LOL

Here is my little man on the train.

And here are my 2 older kids.
Notice the lady behind them giving me the evil eye for taking (none flash) pictures on the train.  hehehe The train was nice, but it was much quieter than I expected.  When we road the train in Philly it was more what I expected.  But, that was on a weekend and it was loaded with happy people going to a ball game.  I guess taking the train to work in the morning to work is less fun?  People mostly got on and stared at their feet or they stared at me for having the nerve to bring 3 kids on the Metro.  I found D.C. to be very friendly, but I got the feeling they wished tourist would keep off the Metro! 

Now back to the Indian Museum…This was a lovely museum that I knew nothing about before we visited, which made for some fun exploring!

You have probably figured out by now that I like to take pictures of signs. :^)

Here is one of the many shots I took of the unique architecture.  I thought the building was lovely and I loved seeing my 2 oldest holding hands in this picture.  So sweet!

These are statues out front of the museum.

The kids out in front of the museum.

Since we had made our own moccasins when we studied Kaya we enjoyed seeing these.
Wow!  These would be a LOT of work to make!

This just amazed me.  A whole boat woven like a basket.
I couldn’t even weave tight enough to make a basket that would hold water.  I can’t imagine what it would take to weave a boat!

A pretty woman’s head dress.

A woven vase

Pottery

Why Bibles?
I thought this was interesting.

Here are the Bibles.  The display went around in a huge circle.

This was a dress just like Kaya would have worn.

This is a parafleche like Kaya’s sister made as part of her dowry.
It is basically a piece of hide that is painted and made into a suitcase.  it was beautiful!

This was a saddle like Kaya received in one of the stories.

Lots of pottery figures.

Now we are in the section on the modern day things made by Indians.

This was a made by a modern day Salish Indian.  In the Kaya stories the boy Kaya escapes with after she is kidnapped is Salish.  We watched a video about how this was made.  My daughter was very excited to see an interview with a real Salish Indian!

I LOVED this!
They had all kinds of cool stuff beaded.  I just loved these little baby shoes.

This was showing how Indians of today use the skills of the past with new materials.
The basket in the picture on the wall is from natural materials the way the originally would have been done.

The modern day basket was made the same way except using old VCR film.
The kids and I loved this!

Here is a modern day pair of beaded shoes! (With the traditonal ones on the wall around it.)

A modern day mask made of kitchen utensils.

This was the only hands on area we found.  It had different furs and skins the kids could touch.

This was a lovely blanket they had on exhibit.  I thought there would be more blankets, we only say a few.

There were so many pretty things to look at.  I am amazed by the talent of the Native Americans.  They took the most simple materials and made the most beautiful things.  This was such a treat after having studied Kaya this year!

We enjoyed our time at this museum.  We only spent a half day at this one and then we headed over to the National Air and Space Museum.  Stay tuned for those pictures tomorrow.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Kiddie Pool Raised Garden

June 12, 2009 at 7:28 am (Uncategorized)

My daughter has been wanting a veggie garden for years.  We always had a nice one when we lived in Northern California. But, once we moved to the desert we gave it up.  So now that we are in a little easier part of the USA to grow things we decided to give it a try again. I knew we wanted to do raised beds. We don’t have the time, energy or equipment to till the soil in our backyard.  So I started looking around the internet for easy ways to plant a raised bed.  That is where I got the idea to use a baby pool!

Here is my daughter with her newly planted garden.  As you can see we still have more things to plant.  Which will have to go in another pool or some pots since this pool is out of space.
As you can see we also have it up on a old table. (I wish I would have painted it first with that can of black spray paint I bought last year!  LOL) 
Obviously we are not going to be getting a call from Better Homes and Garden asking us to put our yard on the cover of their next issue.  But, we are more interested in happy kids than magazine covers anyway.  :^) I thought having it up higher would make it nice for my daughter so everything would be right at her level and also it won’t leave a dead spot in the grass where the pool would be sitting.

So far it seems to be going well.    As you can see the plants are getting BIG.  We got a late start with planting since most of this really should have been planted while were on vacation.  But, I am hopeful we will get some goodies to harvest anyway.  We are looking forward to having our own yummy food growing right in our own backyard!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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