Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homemade Halloween Costumes (2014)

Every year since Builder Boy was one year old I have been making his Halloween costumes. For the past five Halloweens I have gone the much easier route of painting on bought t-shirts. Because that's what they are used to, thankfully the boys have never requested more elaborate (or expensive) costumes. So for as long as they're happy with it, I'm going to do it the easy way!

This year the boys decided they wanted to be Angry Birds from the App Game (and web videos based on the game.) They also thought it would be fun for all of our family to be various Angry Birds. Since it's mostly just painting on t-shirts with inexpensive acrylic paints, I agreed. My costume required an additional element, and we went a bit more elaborate with Lady Bug's, but on the whole it did not take too much work or money, and we are all pleased with the results.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Are You an Advocate for the Gifted?

Are you a parent of a gifted child? If you are, then you are a giftedness advocate. Because whether or not you are homeschooling or public schooling, asking for accommodation or going with the flow, chances are there are times where you have to explain your child to someone else. When you do that, you're being an advocate.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 4

I am not sure why Skedtrack added those three exclamation marks after the sick days. I know I was not thrilled about taking this week off just because it was too painful to talk. I did manage to teach co-op on Thursday, and the boys did half a math lesson every day to earn their screen time (half a lesson each was all I could manage to talk through.) Hey, we made it through three weeks of school before having to take a break for sickness. That may be a record.

No tea party means no tea party post on Monday, but I do intend to do a write up of what we have been doing for our geography co-op. Also have a blog hop coming up on the 29th, and this year's Halloween costumes will be posted on the 30th for those who might be interested in trying what we're doing this year.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Biscuits and Butter Knife Etiquette

For last week's Art Appreciation Tea Party (which now has it's own tag!) I had several things I wanted to teach the boys. I also was really hoping to try watercress, but alas, it was not to be. At least my other plans worked out.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 3

Good News: this expressive introvert survived leaving the house for activities three days in a row this week!

Bad News: we were all so tired and grumpy from the new schedule that we got even less done this week than we did last week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Story of the World: Ancient Times: Chapter 9

Last week we finished reviewing all the chapters of Story of the World Vol. 1 that we did two years ago. This week we started on new material; sort of. See, when we last did ancient India, we only did about half of the chapter. We did the brick experiment the first time around, which was cool, but not something I wanted to repeat at this time. There wasn't much else in the activity guide, so inspired by the memory of Colonel Brandon whispering in Margret Dashwood's ear, "the air is filled with SPICES!" I did some quick Googling and then went off schedule.

Monday, September 15, 2014

German Pancakes: Take Two

For last week's Art Appreciation Tea Party I tried again to do the pancake fruit cups/German Pancakes that facebook used perfect pictures of to taunt me. I found the original recipe: check! No cheap shortcuts. I followed the instructions: check! Well, at least, I thought I had, but apparently using Pam on the muffin tins wasn't the same as "grease well." And the result?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 2

Last week I gave a review of our week by subject. This time I'm going to do it by day. Because it has been A Week. *Warning!* This got really long. And involves what kind of looks like complaining. Feel free to skip this one. BUT, there is also a learning progression that happened for me, that might help others if they're in a similar situation with their homeschooling. So maybe it's worth reading.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Architecture School: Day 8

It's another Thursday and co-op doesn't start until next week. So that means another Architecture School Day! The big activity from the next lesson in Architecture: It's Elementary! was to draw their bedroom from memory. The perspective that they wanted the kids to draw from, however, is completely different from what they are used to. If I had just told Builder Boy to draw a picture of his bedroom, thanks to Beginning Geography, he probably would have drawn a pretty good top-looking-down view map. But that's not what the lesson had in mind, and I thought it would be good to stretch their minds and get them to think about it from a different angle. But how was I going to accomplish getting them to change their mind's eye?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

9/11 with Young Kids

(Picture from last year.)
Last year as part of an attempt to teach my kids about basic American holidays, we did a lesson on 9/11. Thanks to the gentle way we worked with the subject matter, my sweet, sensitive boys did okay. I did not show them ANY photos of the sight of the attacks, or anything that was not in "cartoon" form. I'm not going to teach them about it every year at this age; so we're not mentioning it this year. I don't want to overwhelm them; we'll do this lesson again next year. But I'm re-sharing the lesson for those who are looking for a way to introduce a very difficult subject to young or sensitive kids.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Guest Post at To The Moon and Back!

Did I forget to share this back in March? I keep looking and I'm not seeing a mention of it anywhere! Back in March, the fabulous Dusty who blogs at To the Moon and Back let me guest post on her blog! I wrote about the rules I have for working with a young learner who isn't up to a lot of output, but desires and is able to do a high level of input. Please check it out if you're interested. And look around her blog while you're at it; she's amazingly crafty! Dusty is the one who guest posted for me this great post about encouraging creativity that was posted here back in February.

Edited Later: OOPS! The link was wrong. NOW it goes to the post.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Art Appreciation Tea Party

On Thursday afternoons we have added to our schedule an afternoon tea party at 3:00 at which we will absorb and discuss various forms of art. I can't claim credit for this idea; I've seen it on several blogs, though I don't remember which blog I first saw the idea on. However, I was immediately in love with the idea, but it has taken a few years to actually get to doing it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 1 Wrap-Up

Our first week of the 2014-2015 school year was completed on Friday! Despite a printer breakdown right when I was trying to print out papers for this week, and a baby girl who thinks erasing the white board while I'm teaching from it is hilarious, we got school done! And I feel really good about that. Even some of the new things I tried this week worked!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Architecture School: Day 7

Today is Thursday. Most Thursday mornings we will be doing co-cop this year. But co-op hasn't started yet, so we did another day of Architecture school. We didn't do as many days this summer as I had hopped, so I am happy to continue through the school year when we can.

The next lesson from Architecture: It's Elementary! was about measurements and....a little bit boring. So I came up with our own lesson plan. I wanted the boys to actually experience the problems with non-standardized measurements.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Handwriting Without a Pencil

I never did any pre-writing skills with Builder Boy; I just gave him the pencil with a pencil grip to help and we started in the book. In hindsight, I'm not sure that was the best approach for him. Handwriting has been a tough subject for him, and we've been sadly inconsistent with it. I am happy with the handwriting curriculum I chose; I just think I should have prepared him better.

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Day of School!

Today proved that students aren't the only ones who learn something at homeschool. I learned a very valuable lesson that until now I thought wouldn't need to apply to us because we homeschool, but something that almost all parents know: bedtime must be strictly enforced when the next day is a school day.

Since before this "school year" we started at 10 am, it was never a problem if the kids slept in some because the night before they had gone to bed later. But with the increased workload this year we need to start at 9:30am at the latest. The boys slept in until 9am, and our special start of the school year breakfast took an hour to cook and eat. Add in pictures, and we didn't start school until 10:20. And the late start affected attitudes as well...

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