PaperPunk Review

My mom has a blog. You should check it out. It’s a review site, so she gives away a ton of cool things. She got PaperPunk to review last year and so she sent it over to our kids to create and have some fun. They did.

Both of my kids LOVED doing this project, and they proudly displayed their creations until they (unfortunately) fell apart… about 3 weeks later. *On a side note, if you used glue they would most likely hold to together longer.

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If you are looking for a neat birthday gift that’s original between the ages of 6 and 10, I would recommend PaperPunk. Super neat! *Added bonus: there were a TON of left over stickers so the kids enjoyed those for other projects as well. Cheers!_JAS8130

The Trash Squad

Recently we came up with an idea to go around our town and pick up trash. I know it doesn’t sound like the most amazingly fun thing to do, but actually it’s pretty cool.

Both of the kids really enjoy it, and like to see what they can find. We usually weigh our bags at the end and keep track of the biggest/heaviest/yuckiest items we find.

They created a Facebook page to keep track of what they have been doing and to hopefully encourage others to join in and pick up around their communities, as well as to not liter.

You can check out the Facebook page here with some photos of the kids. They were pretty excited the first time out and received a $2 donation from a random women driving by. She stopped and asked what we were doing, we told her picking up trash, and she said why, we said because we hate seeing the side of the road covered in garbage, then she handed the kids $2 and said thank you. It was sweet and they decided to get some ice cream after all their hard-work.

The kids came up with the name btw, we are working on getting some shirts made for them too.

The Castle, Renaissance Festival-Muskogee, OK

We had never been to a Renaissance Festival until this field trip. I came across this website a few months back and bookmarked it because I knew it was something I’d like to check out with the kids.

When we arrived and drove up towards the ‘castle’ it looked so-so, but the people helped make it a day to remember. Everyone was so kind and best of all, in character. There were so many people in costumes and all dressed up, it was really neat to see.

There were a ton of booths and shops. We enjoyed looking through them, although we didn’t really buy anything.

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We came on a ‘school day’ and got a special price of $5 a ticket, which is really good considering they are normally around $15/person. (I would have been disappointed to have paid that, but it was probably worth $10…..). I thought activities were free (for some reason) and I was wrong. Everything, besides some of the ‘shows’ (music, juggling, magic show, jousting show, etc) cost an extra fee.

Plan on spending around $50 easy for a family of four, and that was with us being tight-wads!

We really enjoyed the day, you can see most everything in about 4 hours, and we found this amazing park right down the road and had a picnic afterwards.

I would recommend visiting during their school days, I believe it’s worth the trip at least once.

 

Camping/MTN Biking at Devil’s Den

A few weeks ago we drove about 2 hours away to Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas to camp and hangout at their annual mountain bike festival. I had wanted to go last year, but we didn’t get too, so this year we made the reservations so there was no turning back. Fortunately, we also went with some friends (who also happen to be our neighbors). Each of our kids had someone to hangout with and it was great because they all seem to get along well.

The festival itself wasn’t too exciting. There weren’t a lot of booths set up, but it was fun to ride with a group of MTN bikers (even if I was one of the slower ones).

Lilly went on her first trail that weekend. At first she thought it was awesome, then she started to freak herself out, but in the end she pushed through it and ended with a smile on her face, which is all I could ask for.

Everyone had a blast, except for the undeniably COLD conditions we slept it, that was pure torture at its finest. It was actually painful. Cold camping is the opposite of fun.

Some photos to document our trip….

 

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Teach Your Monster to Read

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I just wanted to share this website because my daughter really enjoys it. I know she is 8, and she doesn’t really need this website (she reads pretty well), but we stumbled across it about two months ago and she likes getting on here almost everyday.

I can hear her laughing and squealing as the game plays out. I would say it’s probably best for ages 8 and under.

Check it out Teach Your Monster to Read

Time has flown by, and somehow I’ve completely neglected this blog…

It’s crazy to me that my last post was back in July and Thanksgiving is next week! Ahhh! What happened? I’m not sure, life I guess. I did think about sitting down and writing a post a few times; however, that proved to be easier ‘thought of’ than done.

Anyhow….

Homeschool is going fairly well. It has been somewhat of a roller coaster these last few months. We started off strong, like most homeschoolers, then sort of dwindled unexpectedly. Caden, my nephew, also stopped coming here about a month ago. His mom will be teaching him since she is able to stay at home now. It’s nice to be back to just two kids, but the kids miss playing with him. Luckily, he still goes on field trips with us.

I started a part-time job in August, so that has taken a small toll on our schooling. Mainly, we we actually get things done. It’s not bad, it’s just not consistent each day, so we just do things as we feel like it right now. Although, sometimes (most times) I leave the kids with a small list of things I would like them to accomplish while I’m at work it I have a long shift. It works nicely and gives them something to do other than resort back to their screens.

In September, I started a homeschool Facebook group for taking field trips and to take advantage of some awesome group discounts. We have had two trips so far and both turned out well. I encourage you to find a group of people you really like and plan things with them. I always wanted to do this, but never had the guts, this year changed when I really noticed my kids wanting that extra social interaction and to make some friends who weren’t related to them, so I put my shyness away and went with it. It’s been great for both of them and myself.

My guy also turned 9 in September and we celebrated with a party then a limo to laser tag with his friends.

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Our daughter turned 8, and we also had a party then a party bus to a local skating rink and ice cream. Both parties were a blast and so much fun. Not sure how we will top those in the coming years!

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I’ll be posting some of the trips we have gone on over the last few months in upcoming posts this week. Hopefully, I can start posting weekly again! Fingers crossed. There is something soothing about sitting down at the computer in the morning, alone, just typing away.

Just finished our first week of school!

Actually, we only had 3 days of school last week, and 3 this week. That’s why we homeschool though, so we can go on trips or take off days when we need to :) We were supposed to start school on Monday last week, but I ended up needing to watch my sister’s two kids, and this week we took a field trip, so it was  another short week. It’s kind of nice starting off this year slow, to get into the groove again. We ended up having a 6 week break (WAY longer than I had planned)!

Here they are, proud to be moving up the ladder and getting more independent. Turner, our 3rd grader.

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Lilly, our 2nd grader.

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Caden, my nephew, also in 2nd grade.

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The kids said they had a ton of fun this week, my daughter even said she liked Math! (Although, I’m not sure why, because we didn’t do anything different, other than have complete one-on-one time, only her and I were at the table at once. Oh, and she loved writing on the window with dry erase markers!)

I really like our morning meeting time that I have implemented with things such as talking about famous quotes, learning a new ASL phrase, setting goals and plans to achieve them, assigning the kids an endeavor (they LOVE this!). We also meditate for 5 minutes, I recently read this interesting article about how good it is for you, which I’ll link to soon.

Another thing we do is have a character trait of the week. They each spell it on the board and we look up the definition in the dictionary, whoever shows that trait the most during the week wins the card and we will count them up at the end of the year to see who has the most with a small prize.

I am really trying to focus on character building, learning through natural ways and great discussions this year. There are so many ways to learn and grow without workbooks.

For History we started where we left off in SOTW Ancient, chapter 17. The kids really liked the story and compared it to The Hunger Games, it sounded just like it too (the people put names in a bowl then drew 7 boys and 7 girls to be sent off to another island with a Minotaur, then a prince ‘volunteers’ to go and kill it, which he does). They had fun working together as a group to build a Lego labyrinth (which Turner then compared to The Maze Runner!)

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We are studying a famous artist each week and this week we focused on Paul Cezanne and his painting, ‘The Blue Vase’. They used oil pastels and drew their own vase. I think they turned out amazing. I really like the look of oil pastels. Lilly has been crazy about them since we scored some for $1 at yard sale, and draws each day.

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For Physical Education we are working on our golf, bowling, and running skill sets.

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We call them skills, so the kids can see the progress they are making, and can see their progression each time. Just going and playing golf is fun, but to work on a skill set, such as putting 3 in a row, or hitting off the tee… they can then see how well all their hard work is paying off.

Actually, I’ve been calling everything a ‘skill’ this year and they love it. Instead of saying let’s do some Math, I say, ‘Hey, let’s work on your factoring skills, or you multiplication skills.’ In Language Arts, right now we are working on our ‘how to write a paragraph skills’. For some reason, it has helped them focus more when we work.

I think a big reason we are starting off strong, is that I have really taken a lot of time to plan and have a goal for everything. There must be a reason we are doing something, otherwise it’s a waste of time. With this mind set, I have been able to see the smiles on their faces, knowing they have accomplished something great.

New School Year 2015-2016

Two 2nd graders, and one 3rd grader this year! Such fun!

I’m am excited to start the year off next week.

We homeschool Mon-Thurs and start around 8am. Last year we started later and ended up not doing quite a few things because of it. Once 1pm rolls around we are all ready to go our separate ways. Our ‘breaks’ are centered around my nephews’ dad’s schedule: when he comes home, we take time off, generally 7-10 days.

Each day the kids complete Math (either Khan Academy or their Miquon books, Turner will finish with Miquon soon and go to Teaching Textbooks). They also have reading (which is usually done before bed), and their ETC books (which I believe they will all finish those this year). Oh, let’s not forget PE too, staying active is a big deal is this house.

Other than that, we are trying a new thing each morning before anything else, and I call it our morning meeting. We basically sit around our awesome new table fr IKEA and learn a new ASL phrase, discuss a famous quote and how it applies to life or what they think about it, discuss any goals they have and a plan to get there, and we are also have group vocabulary using Freerice.com, they really feel like they are helping others out and never complain about learning some new words! Win-win for us! A few others things we do are dictation and some group memory work every now and then.

It may seem super orderly, but it’s relaxed and fun. Nothing is forced or has a time limit.

Things that they will do a few times a week are keyboard practice, Coding (code.org), Art (we are studying one famous artist a week then creating similar art pieces),  History (SOTW), Science (Mystery Science), and Geography (Little Passports USA Edition).

Another new idea we are implementing is Individual Weekly Questions. During our morning meeting, they each decide on a question they want to know the answer to, then present that information to the class on Thursday during the morning meeting. They are responsible for researching the topic. It will be on something they want to know, whether it’s how Legos are made, or how old the trees in our yard are. I will guide them in finding the answers if they need it, but they are on their own during the presentation.

One last thing we have are endeavors. They love them. I basically write down their endeavor on a card and they work on it in their free time until they completed it. Once they have it mastered, we write a completion date on the card and they keep them so we can look back at all their endeavors each year. Endeavors are skill sets I want them to work on tailored just for them: shoes tying, counting on Spanish, writing their address, knowing the states that border us, writing their birthdate, etc. the possibilities are endless.

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