Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Amicalola Falls Camping Trip

3 girls and 3 bearsShelby and her ketchup mustacheAva
Us girls at the falls
Amicalola means "falling waters"
I got teased for insisting we bring
the inflatable mattress. Here's
Delaney enjoying it.
Papa Bear and Baby Bear
Enjoying breakfast al fresco
The other homeschooling families
My family at the falls
425 are SOME of the steps

A member of one of the Yahoo homeschooling groups I belong to organized a group camping trip to Amicalola Falls State Park. Not all the families that signed up went, but we enjoyed our first camping experience nevertheless.

County Fair

Friday, September 12, 2008

Toes Rhymes With Chicken

It looks like all I have to do is plant the seed, and Ava sees to it that it grows. We've been talking about rhyming for a few weeks now, and it didn't look like she was getting it. When she was learning her letter sounds, some conversations went a little like this:

Mommy: The "P" makes the zzzzz sound.
Ava: (amused and thrilled at my ignorance) No it doesn't, Mommy!
Mommy: Are you sure it doesn't make the zzzz sound?
Ava: P makes the puh puh puh sound! (very pleased with herslf at knowing something
Mommy doesn't.

So now a few times a day she'll come to me to tell/ask me whether certain words rhyme. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. But more and more frequently they do, and I am thrilled, because she's doing it on her own, without me bringing it up other than when we come across words that do rhyme.
So tonight's converstion went like this:

Ava: Mommy, does blocks rhyme with socks?
Mommy: Yes! You are sooo smart!
Daddy: And toes rhymes with chicken.
Ava: Da-deee! No it doesn't!
Daddy: Yes it does, listen: (pronounces slowly) to-es, chick-en. They rhyme!
Ava: (very amused by this) Daddy, are you being a goober? (a frequently used word around

I'm hoping that most (if not all) of her learning will be this self-driven. It seems to be more effective when things are her idea. Most of the time we do "actibeeries" (activities) on her request. I have to say that usually, she wants to do the easy activity book first (a pre-school book I bought at BJs a couple of years ago), but doesn't argue much when I suggest we do our letters and number games first. We rarely work for more than 20-30 minutes, but the material sticks, and that's what matters!...and she enjoys it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The girls with their cousin, Cory, playing in the dirt.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Flexible Teaching

Well, the bird house project is still in progress. Between the rain and not being home much, we haven’t had a chance to finish them and finding a proper place to hang them. We’re moving right along with Right Start Math and Handwriting Without Tears. While I work with Ava, Shelby “writes,” colors or plays with the wooden letter pieces that go with HWT. Yesterday, Ava and I were working on “H” and to my pleasant surprise, Shelby wrote it on her little blackboard (on her own with no one asking her to)! WOW! I thought I had another year before I started teaching her, but it looks like it’s going to have to be sooner than later. I love this flexibility and not having to listen to a “professional” tell me what she is or isn’t ready for.

As for extracurricular activities, Shelby is in gymnastics and Ava will be starting a “Creative Dramatics” class on Thursday. I’d signed her up for pre-ballet and a folk dances class, but they both got cancelled. I really want her to meet other home schooled kids so she doesn’t feel like she’s different. She’s asked several times over the last few weeks when she’s going to school. I’ve told her that school will be at home and I’m her teacher, but I’m not sure it’s sinking in. Because we refer to learning time as “activities” she doesn’t think of them as school. I prefer it this way so that she associates learning with fun.

Other fun things going on around here are playing in the dirt "mountain" in the back yard. Daddy bought it for the patio/yard grading project and needless to say, the kids have had a blast with it. Me, not so much what with having to deal with dirt stains that don't seem to want to come out. I thought daddy knew the difference between the nice clothes and the play clothes, but it appears that I was wrong. Daddy doesn't know the difference within his own wardrobe, but don't get me started with that!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Laid Back Approach to Teaching

My original plan was to have an actual schedule where we sit down and learn stuff three or four days a week. After a few half-hearted attempts I’ve come to the following decision: since I don’t hafta, I’m not gonna. If play is a child’s work, my girls are way into overtime! I see a lot of learning going on when they play: getting along (kinda), sorting, stacking, fine and gross motor skill development, physics (what’s the highest thing we can jump off of? What will happen when I drop, throw, slam this? Math (Can I have THREE Oreo cookies?) And so much more.
I concluded that The Explode the Code book is too advanced and not that interesting yet. We try to do Right Start Math and Handwriting Without Tears at lest three times a week and one craft project a week. We do it at no particular time, although it’s easier if we do it in the morning. We read at least a bedtime story daily and recently more during the day. I downloaded about 30 stories to the iPod, but they seem to prefer ME reading to them than listening to a story being told by a stranger with no book to look at. We’ll keep trying that one, since I see numerous opportunities for quiet time with it.
We are currently in the middle of a birdhouse project. Ava is so worried that if we don’t put them out, the birds won’t have a place to live. I keep reassuring her that the birds will be OK until we finish our houses.
Between playing and official learning, there are outings, house work, conversations and an infinite number of questions.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Have you ever seen such a thing? I'll have to
research it and see exactly what kind of caterpillar
this is. Ava confidently stated that it will turn
into a green butterfly.
From Ohio State University Extension Website:
The tobacco hornworm is the larva of the Carolina sphinx moth, Manduca sexta. It has seven diagonal white stripes, and its horn is curved and red. Sometimes you'll see hornworms with little white things on them. The white things are wasp cocoons! Small, parasitic braconid wasps often lay their eggs on hornworms. The wasp larvae eat the hornworm's innards (yuck) then form cocoons when they're done. Eventually they kill the hornworm. This is good for gardeners but not for the hornworm.