Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Posts tagged “holiday homeschool

May Flowers – Spring 2017

I can’t believe it’s May already! When I was a kid, May meant ‘summer’ in full force, but it seems like over the last few years, it’s been cool well into May. This year has been no exception to that; the daytime, though warm, has been lovely. Mornings and evenings are darn near perfect. If I could bottle this weather and keep it forever, I would. I keep trying to convince Loverly Husband that we could move to some place where the weather’s like this all year round, but so far no dice. Ah, well… maybe some day!

In the mean time, we’re making the most of spring! We’ve been eating dinner on the patio – well, I call it the patio. That’s a generous term, I know. We once had a covered carport, but hurricane Rita carried it away and we never replaced it, so now it’s just a concrete slab where we usually park my car. Loverly Husband has a giant work truck, so he doesn’t park on the slab, leaving the whole right side of the slab open… for my table, chairs and plants (now). It’s turning into a lovely little space that is shaded well in the afternoon due to the trees that are on the fence line between us and the neighboring house (which was once my grandmother’s, before she moved to Longview). In any case, it’s nice to have an outdoor seating area, and dining area, whatever you want to call it.

 

In between our outings, the kids have been doing more in the kitchen. Cooking is not my ‘thing’, so they have had to learn to experiment with foods and cooking to figure out what they like. They’re pretty intuitive though, and even offer to cook dinner for the family on occasion. PeaGreen’s favorite things to make are Corn Casserole, and (Easy) Chicken Alfredo. LBB is more of a ‘fix something to eat’ over a ‘prepare a meal’ kinda guy. Hopefully he’ll either learn to cook more things or find a partner who loves to cook!

As always of late, music practice dominates our days and week. We have a seat test for orchestra once a month, and this time around, we only had the music for a single week. Not only that, but some of the songs required notes or position shifts that were totally new, that we also had to figure out for ourselves. It’s the kind of move that, as a teacher, I wholeheartedly approve of. But as a student, it was harrowing. I didn’t do as well as I’d have liked; I still got an A, but I feel like I could have done better. The boys also were disappointed with their performances, both receiving B’s, but in context (first year students with no prior music experience; new notes; brand new music; a long piece; with only one week of practice), I think they did well.

We played The Sound of Music for our test. Oh! That was the other thing; we were given THREE pieces of music; The Sound of Music, Fireflies, and Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, and told that the test would come from one of those pieces, so practice all three.  We didn’t know which piece we’d be playing until the day-of, about 15 minutes before the test. So yes, adding that factor in, I’m overall fine with everyone’s grades.

In our homeschool co-op, the kids are taking a class on Teen Mental Health. They’ve had a semester-long project to work on that is coming to a close, and each week has been focused on a distinct method of awareness or coping with life and self-care and maintaining good mental health or managing mental health issues. To help focus on living things and the slowness of thought that comes with managing plants (and relaxation that many people find), the kids made succulent and cactus terrariums. In addition to the little plants and moss and rocks common to this style of container, the kids brought a variety of little trinkets to put into their containers.

LBB’s echevarria variant with moss and glass beads

PeaGreen’s cactus and succulent with Zelda

In our art class, we started art journaling to explore mixed media art.

And just because this was such an enjoyable little evening, here are some pictures we took when my dad joined us for dinner on our little patio (and more pictures of my plants, because they’re making me super happy these days). He said that this was the first actual ‘dinner’ he’s had since my mom died. Apparently he’s also more of a ‘fix something to eat’ type. That’s kinda sad, because he used to cook dinner fairly often, but Sunday Breakfast was his specialty throughout my childhood. He even had a special Tupperware container that lived on top of the refrigerator with his secret, proprietary mix for making homemade buttermilk biscuits. He and my grandfather and brother used to deer hunt every fall and winter as well, so homemade deer sausage was always on the menu… with eggs of some kind and coffee. I miss those days.

We went to McFaddin Ward for ‘Manners Mater’, a social etiquette class for one of our homeschool group’s Teen Socials. We’ve been having two each month lately, and the kids are enjoying it. The kids dressed in a variety of styles of clothing, from ultra casual to business casual (we couldn’t get them into formal wear, lol) and performed skits to help identify polite behaviours and impolite behaviours. We actually went to the museum first, because I wasn’t sure where our class was going to be at, so I got a couple of pictures of the boys on the porch while we waited. We’ve been homeschooling for almost 7 years now, and haven’t been to the museum yet. We’ve been all around it, at the carriage house, in the visitor’s center and on the grounds, but never actually inside. ‘Gotta do that, H.I.’.

Afterwards, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with lunch at Elena’s Mexican Restaurant. *so yummy*.

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Afterwards, we had music lessons (because Friday). PeaGreen worked on his piano solo, and LBB practiced violin. He was going to add guitar, but opted to stick with one instrument for now. I don’t blame him; finding time to practice two isn’t easy. Our homeschool group’s ‘end of the year talent show and recital’ is coming up the first week of June, so we’re all in preparation/practice mode. PeaGreen is planning a performance with two of his friends in addition to his solo and playing with the orchestra. He’s working hard!

Here are the books we’re using for our piano class, in case you were wondering.

Overall, a busy and productive few weeks, as always. Stay tuned for another update soon!

Warmly,
~h


Mid-March Update

I thought that it was April that was supposed to bring spring showers, but this year, March is taking all the credit for rainfall. I’m sure you’ve probably seen it on the news; eastern Texas and western Louisiana are pretty much submerged at the moment. Interstate 10 was closed for several days at the Texas/Louisiana border due to severe flooding – in fact, I think at the time of this writing, it’s still closed. I’ve gotten quite a few messages and emails from concerned friends wondering about our safety. I appreciate your love and concern, but we’re well out of the flood zone. Luckily, everyone in our local group is also safely out of the flooded areas as well. Unfortunately, many families in our area have been affected though, and it’s nice to see the communities around Orange rallying to support those who lost everything. If you’re interested in helping, The Orange Leader has a couple of options, or you can donate to the Red Cross for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Our local Humane Society also recently had a fire, and is accepting donations through their GoFundMe page.

This month hasn’t been all doom-and-gloom, though. Even though there’s been quite a bit of rain, it hasn’t had that much of an impact on our activities. Even so, we’ve missed a couple of things this month. It seems like the first of the year was a constant host of activities, but things seem to have leveled out just a bit lately. It’s been nice having a bit of a break. We needed the ‘catch-up’ time. I’m happy to report that we’ll start fresh this coming week with no make-up work! It’s been about 3 weeks since we’ve been able to say that. Unfortunately, I am having dental surgery next week, so we’re probably going to have to take an unexpected break to deal with that… but we’ll see what happens.

Earlier this month was our group’s art class. The book we’re using for the basis of the class is Discovering Great Artists by Kohl and Solga, which is a hands-on approach that we’ve been testing for the last few months. During the 6 weeks between classes, we study the artist, and at the group class, we watch a video or have a presentation on the artist and then the kids (and some of the moms too, if I am honest), attempt to create a work of art in that style. This month, our artist was Henri Toulouse Lautrec, and the project was an Event Poster. The lesson was great! I had no idea that he was responsible for the kind of advertising that was so popular in that time. It was also quite an interesting experience to cover an artist who featured prostitutes so often in his work with a group of kids. Le sigh…

 

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It was a super fun project – I get frustrated with the kids because they don’t put as much effort into it as I’d like to see, but what’cha gonna do? Art’s my ‘thing’, but I know it’s not theirs, so I try to rein it in. I’m actually not all that displeased with what they did (I just know they could’ve done better). LBB’s been on a Bob Ross kick lately, so it was nice to see that represented in his project.

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March’s Teen Homeschool Book Club was a lot of fun. The kids were supposed to read either a fiction or non-fiction book about Texas, in honor of Texas Independence Day, which is March 2nd. We visited the San Jacinto Monument earlier this month, which was fantastic, and bought a couple of books from the gift shop: Mirabeau B. Lamar, Second President of Texas by Judy Alter, and Davy Crockett: His Own Story by David Crockett. After hearing the boys flounder on their recitations for the book club, I am not sure if they actually did the reading they were assigned, so we’ll be going over those again, but afterwards, they got involved in the LONGEST game of Uno, ever… and loudest, too – at the library, no less!

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We went back for our second game of D&D, and our mission is going well! We’re getting the hang of it. It’s slow-going though (as I am sure it always is with newbies), and I so appreciate our DM’s patience and understanding with us as we learn/play. I have also discovered that playing any game with kids that is as involved as Dungeons & Dragons is can make for a very long evening. Between distractions, side conversations, snack breaks and bathroom breaks, even though we’re playing for several hours at a time, not much gets accomplished ‘in-game’. Even so, we’re making progress – slow- but measurable. We added a new player to this round, too – an orc!

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My very dear friend, The Hauswife, had her 30th birthday last week, Her husband contacted me about creating a custom planner for her, which was so much fun to work on! I had it printed and wrapped, and we threw her a surprise dinner party. I also made her a set of custom planner stickers so she can keep track of her life in style.

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We also had our third D&D game night. LBB ended up with a set of magical keys (that somehow disappeared when no one was looking), and PeaGreen was less than thrilled with my photo-documentation of his game-playing. We did manage to make it through a third battle, with our merry band in tact (barely). I think our DM is taking it easy on us! We added a new player this round as well, The Hauswife.

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I wanted to show off my newly-made dice box, too! I started with a small wooded box from the craft store. I used ‘ArtMinds square wood box (4.13″ x 3.942″)’ item# 10308297 at Michael’s. (I am not affiliated with them; that’s just what I used – I don’t get any kickbacks from them for linking to them or anything.) I found a picture of a mermaid that I liked, and re-drew it, then burned it into the wood with a wood-burning tool. I also found an art-deco pattern for the sides and front, and then burned those sections as well. Then I painted parts of the box with watercolor, and painted her tail with a glitter glaze to make it stand out. It holds a set of Chessex dice, as well as several loose dice and miniature figures inside quite nicely. It’s bigger inside than I’d have thought, and is perfect for storage as well as carrying things back and forth.

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The last thing on our list was our group’s Social Studies Club. Our country of discussion was Turkey this month, but we weren’t able to go to class. I did find this lovely little drawing though, and still wanted to use it, so I am adding it anyway. Istanbul-travel-illustration

Hope your spring is off to a lovely start!
Warmly,
~h


Halloween Fun

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Halloween really is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, this Halloween has sucked, because we’ve all been sick. We never get sick – like, seriously – NEVER. But this year, PeaGreen got a cold, then Loverly Husband had the flu, and LBB and I both have been feeling off-and-on sickly for the past couple of weeks. I’ve felt so drained and not holiday-spirit-ish that I didn’t even decorate the house for Halloween like I normally do. Boo to that (and not in the fun, scary way).

We did have some friends over for pumpkin carving though. Much fun was had by all:

Costuming went well; well enough, anyway. I think the kids are kinda getting out of the ‘let’s dress up’ phase and into the ‘I want to look cool’ phase. There are some aspects of growing up that aren’t worth it, I think. But they did turn out rather well, despite the last-minute-ness of it all. Our homeschool group had their Halloween party this week, and so that’s where the bulk of our costume effort went. We had company all Friday afternoon, and neither LBB or I felt up to ToT’ing, so we ended up grabbing pizza and bags of candy from the store and staying in to watch a scary movie this year (Cabin in the Woods, if you must know). CAM00907

Other than Halloween mini-goodness, we’ve been hard at work on the school front as well. I started making up a list of all their work for the week and giving it to them on Mondays, with more freedom to choose the order they want to work in. If they want to work ahead, that’s their call (though the must finish the day’s assignments each day).

I know there’s a lot of debate about this, and we’ve taken a long time to finally decide if it was right for us, but we attached monetary incentive to their work (both schoolwork and chores).  Overall, our kids are pretty fortunate/spoiled – they have always had chores to do (which they have to do as part of their contribution to our family), and when they want something, we pretty much buy it for them or give it to them. But lately, they’ve been asking for either money, or larger things that we don’t necessarily want to spend money on. So after much thought, we decided that a job well-done is worth rewarding. For schoolwork, we decided on 10 cents per completed assignment, plus $1 per day for completed chores, and instituted a savings plan on money earned. They put a minimum of 20% in their primary saving account (which we match), a minimum of 10% in their secondary savings (which is a shadow box frame with a picture of an item they are saving for, and a dollar amount to reach before they’re allowed to open it), and a minimum of 5% to be donated to a charity (or put in savings towards a larger donation later in the year).

We’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been interesting to see how they feel about it and how it’s affected their willingness to work, and has brought into question ‘work for reward’ and all that jazz. Interestingly enough, it hasn’t really affected their willingness to work all that much, either on school assignments or chores. They are still required to do their same lessons, and same chores, and *if* they complete them, they earn their money. If they don’t, then they still have to complete the lesson/chore, but haven’t earned their money. The good thing (for me, at least) is that they’re not constantly asking *me* to buy them things, which is awesome.

Another thing we’ve been working on again pretty hard-core is labooking. We were pretty gung-ho about it for a while, but then kinda slacked off because it seemed too ‘young’. After the workshop at NASA, and taking a look at some of TheBusyMom’s lapbooks, I got inspired, and took out some of the older lapbooks we started but never finished and have been working on them again. I also helped the boys start new ones, lapbooking their research project instead of writing it all out in a form like we had been. They are enjoying it – maybe just for the switch in format if nothing else. For my own assignment, I’m working on a lapbook for the Waverly Hills Sanitorium, which is one of my favorite places to read about. I haven’t been, but I plan to go one day!

I will post each book on my ‘Lapbooks’ page, and on its own page with links when they’re finished, but I wanted to give you a sneak-peek.

Something I also wanted to mention is that we’ve been schooling pretty consistently now since mid-August. Normally, we school for 4 weeks, then take a week-long break, then repeat. After about 4 weeks, we all seem to lose focus, and get grouchy and tired, and the week break is revitalizing and gets us back on track. This is the first time since we started homeschooling that we’ve gone this long without a break, and I am pretty impressed with that! I don’t know if it’s because we took a longer break during the summer, or if the boys are just older and better able to concentrate/focus for a longer period of time, but I am pretty thrilled with it. We have another 4 weeks to go and we’ll break for December (at least that’s the plan now – we may school into December this year). That puts us ahead of schedule for the school year, which is great.

Till next time!

Warmly,
~h

 

 


Summer 2013 – Week 5

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This week was another one of those ‘super busy’ weeks. With a holiday, a birthday and special karate seminar, we were rockin’ and rollin’ all week long!

Monday was the usual – Tennis Camp. I wish I could make the write-up from this more exciting, but it’s not particularly interesting unless you’re actually playing. After spending much of the early afternoon at home, I had a consult with an oral surgeon for my wisdom teeth. That was all kinds of fun, let me tell ya.

Tuesday, we called a break and stayed home. Wednesday, we were supposed to have our homeschool group over for 4th of July crafts, but everyone was preparing for the holiday weekend, so we decided to call the group meet-up off for this week and reconvene next week.

July 4th fell on Thursday this year, and we were all about Patriotic Fun! We had a bunch of friends over with their kids for BBQ and swimming, then fireworks. The mamas all crowded the pool with the littles while the dads got their grill on, then we fed everyone and herded the small people into the yard for sparklers. We did have an injury – one of the sparklers backfired on a mama’s hand and burned her pretty badly, which sucked (but she was okay). Sparklers aren’t like I remember them. When I was a kid, they were long and burned for a long time. These as so short – they basically fizzle for a second and then are out. Lame.

The rest of the fireworks went off without a hitch. We had snakes and Black Cats and Roman Candles and quite a few that went way up and had a big shower of sparks. It was definitely a great holiday for us!

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Friday was, of course, PeaGreen’s 10th birthday. We didn’t have his actual party until Sunday, but the day-of, we went to

lunch at his favorite restaurant, then went to karate for a special seminar. The form of karate we take is Shotokan, and our dojo is part of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation. The Kancho (head) of SKIF is Nobuaki Kanazawa, and our dojo (Beaumont Shotokan Karate) was honored to host him and several of the Board Members for SKIF over the July 4th weekend. This is the second year in a row that we’ve had this honor, and it so happened to fall on PeaGreen’s birthday. For my little green-belt, this was an awesome way to spend his birthday!

 

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Saturday, Loverly Husband and I went to The Woodlands for the second day of the seminar, which was 4 hours of training. Sunday, we actually celebrated PeaGreen’s birthday by taking a couple of his friends to see Despicable Me 2, then had 12 of his buddies over for a sleepover. That was a wild evening! This was really the only clear(ish) picture that I got – I need to remember not to try to take action shots with my phone!

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His cake was awesome. Though you can’t really see it here, it was made with plain chocolate cake, whipped cream (colored green) and topped with tons of fruit – grapes, cantaloupe, plums, and berries (and candles). He was very happy with it.

What a week!

Warmly,
~h


Summer 2013 – Week 1

summer (2)Our summer is off to a great start!! Technically, we’re not out for the summer; we school all year through, but summertime still deserves its own special attention and curriculum, I think. Recently, I decided that our school year basically has 3 semesters: Winter (Jan. – May), Summer (June – August), and Fall (Sept. – December).

In Winter, we do literature units, unit studies, lots of lapbooks and notebooking in addition to the basics (reading, writing and arithmetic… and history and science). In Summer, we have lots of activities – tennis camp, hiking every week, plus other activities, so we kind of unschool with some desk work as well – but far less than ‘normal’. The Fall semester is hour hardcore, sit-at-your-desk, this grade’s curriculum time. This sort of schedule keeps things lively. We don’t get bored and there’s always something new right around the corner.

Last week, I sat down with a few of my friends who will be hanging out with us a lot this summer, and we planned the calendar. In our area, there is a LOT for kids to do, especially in the 8-12 age range. In addition to that stuff, our homeschool group also keeps the calendar running through the summer, so we have that stuff on the books as well. If you read last summer, then you may remember my niece, Appleberry, and our friends Red Butler and Huckleberry Pie, with stepmom Bridey. They’re back this summer, and our long lost friends, PBJMom and kids (JellyBean, Bella, AngelBoy and PuddleJumper) are back, and new/old friends SmurfMom and her son RedRanger are joining us as well. I figured I would introduce them now, to save time later.

I also made their Summer Passports for 2013 this week. Last year’s Passport was really fun, and is fun to have now as a reminder of all the cool stuff we did, so I wanted one for this year as well.  At one point, I will post the blanks for this year’s (which has a different cover), but the old one is generic, so you can either use it, or make a new cover with MSWord.

So let’s re-cap Summer, Week 1: June 3-7, 2013!

Monday was Bad Wolf Day! Unless you’re a Whovian, that won’t make sense. If you are, then I bring you this:

In less exciting news, I also had a dentist’s appointment. The kids brought schoolwork to do with them. They used an isolite while they were doing my teeth and LBB came in and thought it would be a neat topic for his research project this week, and PeaGreen decided to research teeth and cavities and dental work. So great for them, not so much for me. I have severe anxiety and was far from ‘okay’ even though each and every one of the thousand times I was asked if I was, I said yes. Let’s skip to Tuesday, shall we?

Tuesday was supposed to be our homeschool group’s regular field trip day, but due to the location’s schedule, we had to do it on Wednesday, so we basically just did school. Not very exciting, I realize, but stick around; it gets better.

Wednesday, the field trip ended up getting cancelled, so we did schoolwork in the morning, then had lunch and friends over for swimming! This was the first time since the boys got to see Red Butler and Huckleberry Pie since they got back to Texas over the weekend. They’d been asking when they’d get to see their friends, so I am glad the field trip got the axe.

 

Thursday, we had another field trip scheduled with our homeschool group, to the Clifton Steamboat Museum, which is in the back of a huge event center complex. Outside the museum is the 1938 tugboat, “Hercules,” standing at 36 feet high, 22 feet wide and 92 feet long.

The engine of the Hercules is inside the museum. It was constructed for a locomotive, and then put into the tugboat. It’s really huge!

The theme of the museum is Heroes of the Past, and they have tons of models, artwork and artifacts from the Civil War and WWII. There are portraits of boat captains, army generals and other ‘brass’, models of the warships (armoured in massive cotton bales since the South lacked metal, they used what they had), and other replicas. It was weird to see southern paddle boats kitted out for war!

Upstaris, they have model planes from WWII and other nifty old-timey stuff, like boy scout parephenalia and the processes of making bronzed states and figurines.

 

Friday was yet another field trip… we decided last year that during the summer months, we should do a weekly hike out to Village Creek State Park for some hiking and swimming. It’s a little over 2 miles out to the swimming hole and back, so we get a little exercise and some fun in the sun. We all (thankfully) remembered to bring sunscreen, so no sunburns for this crew!!

We also got signed up for the Summer Reading Club, which is always fun. This is the third (or fourth) year we’ve done it, and they just have so many activities for the kids to do! They’ve changed their program up a bit, which I think is easier now, so we’re looking forward to getting started next week.

The weekend consisted of karate for Loverly Husband and a bunch of loafing around for me and the kids, then spending the afternoon with my amazing BFF who just found out that the implantation for her first surrogate pregnancy took. So we celebrated with work, lol. And ice cream. Sunday, Loverly Husband took the kids to see their great grandmother and to make Monsters University clackers at the Lowe’s Build and Grow kids’ clinic while I cleaned house in preparation for the weekly hooping class that some friends and I started. We all are too embarrassed to go to a formal class, so we’re going to try it with ‘just friends’ who won’t point and laugh. Well, they will, but it’ll be WITH you,, not AT you. Okay, well it will be AT you, but nicely… not secretly being bitchy behind your back. In any case, we ended up cancelling because we’re all poor and didn’t have the money to make them this week… trying again next week!

This week was kinda light, but the local ISD isn’t out yet, so most of the community stuff starts next week (like Tennis Camp!!). We weren’t as busy as we will be next week.
Hope your summer is starting off with a bang!

Warmly,

~h


Happy Birthday, Dr. Suess

Last week, we celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday by making a new lapbook. I’d been seeing Dr. Seuss lesson plans popping up on Pinterest, so I already knew that I wanted to have a day filled with Dr. Seuss’ silly style goodness. I had all these great plans… but we had some car issues and ended up back and forth at the dealership and then a rental – so our fun was cut short.

But we still managed to have a pretty fun day! We started off with the Sneetches – book and video. Someone posted the movie a while back on YouTube, so we took a few minutes to read and watch, then compare.

The Sneetches video (full):

Source: youtube.com via Heather on Pinterest

 

After that, I pulled a bunch of lapbook-esque resources from the web and we read The ABC Book, The Foot Book, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket and other Dr. Seuss favorites, then did an activity for each of the books. Here’s a list of the things I included in this lapbook:

  • Notebooking Page: Theodor Geisel “Dr. Seuss
  • You are a Star (page 5 from the Sneetches download at Homeschool Share)
  • How Many Feet, Whose Feet Are These?, Opposite Cards (Pages 2-6 of the Foot Book download from Homeschool Share)
  • My Tongue Twister, Sock cards (pages 2-4 Fox in Socks download from Homeschool Share)
  • pages 4 & 7-11 (One Fish, Two Fish download from Homeschool Share)
  • pages 7-9 Cat in the Hat download from Homeschool Share
  • pages 2 & 3 from Dr. Seuss’ ABC Book download from Homeschool Share
  • http://www.passportacademy.com/‘s Wocket in my Pocket pop-up
For a complete look at the insides of our lapbook, check out the re-cap page here: TAL’s Dr. Seuss Lapbook

Additional Dr. Seuss Resources that I’ll be looking at to add to our lapbook for next year:

I’d also planned on having green eggs and ham for lunch, making Cat in the Hat cupcakes and other fun little things… maybe next year!

How did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday?
Warmly,
~h


MLK Day Festivities and Notebooking

In celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, we’ve been working on expanding last year’s lapbook into this year’s notebooking. I came across a nifty ‘how to make notebooking pages‘ from Squidoo via Jimmie’s Collage (which has tons of really great notebooking info, and Jimmie also does The Notebooking Fairy blog) and whipped up a few for the kids to use instead of the dreaded handwriting workbook.

I’ve been meaning to get the kids into something other than a workbook for handwriting for a while now, and I think notebooking will fit the bill nicely. We’re taking it slow and easy – just working on forming letters and small passages – but I think that they need the practice and that writing real words instead of just practicing letters will help their writing become more fluid. I already notice that their cursive writing is significantly neater than their print, so we’re going to be stepping up the cursive writing portion quite a bit this year.

I know, I know – the debate about cursive is endless, but that’s a topic for another post! Moving on…

As our first real foray into honest-to-goodness ‘notebooking’, the boys have actually gotten off to a pretty good start. We’re going to be working on the Dr. King theme all this week; there’s a lot of information to cover and just one day won’t be enough time (and too much writing in one sitting makes fo grouchy boys).  I am using much of the info from the unit study I posted yesterday from The Homeschool Mom’s site, the kids are researching online, and they’re using the information we compiled in our MLK lapbook to complete their notebooking pages. We’ve been doing weekly research projects for the past few months, so this is a step in a useful direction – not only locating the information, but presenting it in a more polished form – still fairly simple, but more story-structured (with complete sentences and everything!).

We’re off to a pretty good start with our weekly field trips – it was wet and rainy so the rest of our group (who were all coming from 20+ minutes away) opted to stay out of the weather, but we had an… educational experience with just our own company. It’s not really a ‘fun’ park; there’s no play gym or anything like that – it’s just more or less a lovely rest area with concrete walls along one side that have information on Dr. King’s life and work, and quotes from various letters, speeches and papers. It’s a somber experience, reading about what he accomplished and endured, and how he was persecuted for standing up for something we pretty much take for granted in such a ‘big’ way. The concrete plaques that are engraved are as tall as I am and there are 12 of them.

It was interesting listening to the kids talk about Dr. King’s words. They’ve never experienced anything like the kind of atmosphere that Dr. King lived in; I don’t know if they really understand (for that matter, I don’t know that *I* really understand) what it must have been like for the average person (white or black) to live in such a climate. For what it’s worth, I am thankful that the kids don’t live in that type of limited environment, and for Dr. King’s efforts towards both a non-violent approach and the end of racial segregation.

Some pictures from our trip today:

We’ll be wrapping our week up with completing our notebooking pages on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, and continuing to adjust to our suddenly very busy schedule now that we’ve added the Couch to 5K program and karate. We had a nice long break and are finally getting back into the groove… at least until our first break, which is still a couple of weeks off.

What about you – any new and interesting MLK links for this year?

Warmly,
~h