Monthly Archives: May 2012

summer, summer, summer

Summer, summer, summer.  Public schools are getting out for the summer, pools are opening and parks are getting full.  No longer can you assume the family at the park at 10 am is a fellow homeschooler; and now the school playgrounds are fair game.  Now is the time of year when the discussions among home school families start talking about “do you school all year or will you take a break?”

I’ll be honest, this is our first official “summer” and I feel our plans changing under my feet.  I had planned (ah the best laid plans of mice and men…) to school this year from Aug 1 to June 1 having all June and July off before starting up again in Aug 2012.  Well, then life happened.  Isn’t that always the case?

Daddy got as job transfer; so our family will be moving either the last week of August or the middle of November.  So if we move the last week of August, there is no way school is starting August 1.  If we move in November school in August, September is going to be ok, but then you have to think of the time off in October and November.  So the move is going to effect when we get to the table and really dig into our school work.

Beyond that, I find that I don’t want us to stop. I really enjoy our homeschooling, and rather than stopping I find myself wanting to challenge Big Brother all the more and actually start pushing him as we move into solidly First Grade level work.  Big Brother is really an emergent reader and we need to keep reading every day (I should not that most people I know that take summers off, public school families too, usually do reading and math daily all summer too) if anything we need to read more, not less; and we are just mastering math facts (addition) and that can’t be left for very long.  Ok so we are doing reading and math most every day all summer.  Big Brother really enjoys history so there is no reason to stop THAT; read-a-louds and hands on activites.  His handwriting really needs more mastery, so we can’t just take 8 weeks off from THAT either.  We do memory work and Bible work all the time as an element of our family’s faith as much as we do it “for school”.  Pretty soon the question becomes apparent: what, really, are we NOT doing all summer.  Grammar, so far, Grammar is the only subject that has been tabled for the “summer”.  Also the structure is good for us.  Even if we do not get to the table everyday because of other commitments; on days we are home having that activity on the list really helps fill the day and keep things “normal” for the boys.

Granted we will have a lot of summer activities going on : VBS (2 of them), pool family pass, zoo family pass, various park days and play date get together that we are part of, nature club, and nature play dates.  Thus, we won’t be doing 2 to 3 hours of table time each day like I strive for “school year”; but I really think we can honestly say we are schooling all summer.  Again, not leaving off the books I feel is a good thing for the boys, keep them in the habit; help them keep moving forward so we do not have to repeat a lot of material in the fall.  Also we’ll be adding more art, especially messy art that can (should) be done outside, and more science labs and hands on “play”.

Summer Activities:  (see more here)

  • VBS:  the boys are going to two VBSs this summer; one that is at the church we currently attend and a second one that is in the small town right by us.  They are back to back weeks in June; I’d love to find a VBS for them in July.  Might have to look into that.
  • Pool:  we’ll be getting a family pool pass again.  Zero entry, and a cool slide in the kids section keeps us happy for hours.
  • Zoo:  we have a family pass again this year, if momma gets it together maybe we’ll do a bit more talking and thinking about the qualities of the animals and their environments and not just look at them and giggle.  The zoo is a bit of a drive, but done right I think we can get there once a week.
  • HEED Club:
  • Nature Scape Play Dates: 
  • Little Ninjas:  for Big Brother goes all summer, and if we do not move till Nov he’ll take the fall session also.  Once we move I think I will try to enroll him in a more ‘real’ martial arts program, but this kids program is great and I am seeing improvement in his body control.

On Going School:

  • Phonics: We are one Exploring the Code book 1.5; and I hope to have book 2 done or mostly done by the end of the summer.
  • Math: MATH FACTS – we are drilling, and practicing, and learning all the addition math facts up to 10+10.
  • History: studying the ancients with Story of the World Vol 1 both the text and the activity guide.  Bibloplan year one; and also the reading list and activity suggestions at GuestHollow.  YES that is THREE resources I am pulling our history work from.  It is amazing; with 3 books lists to pull from I am finding things that we can get from inter-library-loan and also things that catch the boys intrest and are on their level.  It is more work for momma, but makes things more complete for Big Brother without creating more work for him.
  • Social Studies:  we are starting with Vikings and their discovery of “America” after that we will be looking at the native population, then start with the earliest colonies (Jamestown, Roanoke); that should take all summer.  We are using Truthqest for our book list and a lot of ‘Net research on the part of momma.
  • MORE ART (check out some of my ideas here)
  • MORE Science

So I guess, though it is not what I planned, nor what I expected: we school year around (with limited changes for the summer).  Gee I did not think that was going to be my answer!


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Nature Club

Today was the monthly Nature Club at Brenton Arboretum.  We saw many families we knew there and the kids had a great time tearing apart an old log and exploring.  Our next day at the Arboretum will be Play Date.  After the guided hike the kids all played on the nature-scape playground.



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Mrs Doyle Little Brother’s Pre-school teacher for the last 2 years.

Jester Park the water feature…

and some playmates

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When I was younger (a  lot) a freind of my mom’s gave her an idea for a bookworm (Thanks Karen).  It is a simple idea and simple to implment too.  You build a catipiller from circles of construction paper then youi log your books, one book per body segement and thus “grow your catipiller” by reading more.  The lady that suggested this to mom had more than one child, thus the inherent compention angle covered.   While my boys would love to compete in any way they can; neither is reading independently.  So I thought it would be cool to have a family caterpillar for our read-a-louds; our chapter books.

I hoope it will be nice for the kids to look back on — I think when they are older maybe I have them write a comment or rating of the book on the body segement too; i made it kinda of big for that reason.  We’ll also have to name him / her at some point.

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Moving up to a TAN Belt

Tonight Big Brother tested for the 2nd time in his Little Ninja class at the YMCA.  They have their own belt systems and strive to have the kids (4 to 6) ready to enter a standard class for their white belt (real) by the time they finish the program.  For their tests they break a broad with hand and with foot.  The kids are always amazed when they accomplish it.

Here he is actually breaking the boards.  One with a kick and the other with a palm hand.

Getting his new belt.

Daddy took the photos tonight and I had a very challengeing time choosing which ones to share here; i have at least twice as many great ones I did not share.

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A Galley of Big Brother’s Art from his Kindy art class

He loved art this year (duel enrolled with the Kindy class at the local elementry). He went to art (and PE) with the class he’d have been in if he was not homeschooled. They had art once a week; Big only went second semester. He loved his teacher, and she was really responsives to him. she always took time to really talk to him and she took a genuien intrest in the art he brought in to show her.

But as much as Big really did like that class and seemed to do a great job. i am kinda netural on the whole thing. I am very glad he had fun, and i am very glad he was excited to go each week. I am very glad see too the time to talk to him, and to look at his art and to engage him. She is a great “relationship” teacher and he bonded with her and looked forward to calss and talked a lot of what they did in class.

Nevertheless; the projects do not amaze me. frankly the projects that i could have done with them, all paint and a little glue. he also brough home a number of marker drawings from “free draw time”. again, he has free access to crayone and markers here. So I am coming away with the feeling he did not expereince anything in his school art class that he has not expereinced here with me.

I work really hard to try new things. I was just dissapointed that he didn’t have any new art expereinces in the school class.

I believe they spent 2 weeks on the Kite.  I know they made smaller practice kites with crayons to design before getting to the paint.

this is 2 layers, the frog was painted and cut out and glues on to the background.

this fish took 2 weeks (more?) the drew the entire piece in crayons then painted with water color.

this projects was 2 weeks also, the drawing that is, the lady bug is a project Little Brother brought home (the wings move)

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A Police Display

today the local police department held its annual Court Avenue bridge display from 8 a.m. to noon. It included police vehicles, the mounted patrol, police canines, the bomb squad, Metro STAR equipment and hospital helicopters. Officers, reserve officers, civilian employees and members of the Community Ambassadors Program were also on hand, as was Mr McGruff the Crime Dog himself.

Daddy tool the boys and they had a great time, and they really seems to paying attention too.   Little Brother wants to be a police officer when he grows up, so he was super excited.

Little Bother drives the SWAT truck.

Check out the crowd behind them for farmers’  marker downtown.  a huge deal locally.

I love this picture.  I made it my desk top.

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