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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Photography Class at the Nature Refuge

What a crazy, busy, fun day. We all met at the nature refuge, where we volunteer, with some new friends too for photography class with Ranger Pam. Since I now have a new camera, the first shots I took were so huge they wouldn't download, now these ones seem too small. At any rate these are the ones I took. The last picture is of the old boat dock along the Suwannee that is on protected land. It is so old we weren't allowed to actually walk out onto it. After class, we had a picnic lunch then went to the park for play time. I am pooped and still have a lot to do, but it was worth it. In two weeks we go back for the second part of the class. Each child will use their own pictures they took to make a nature journal, and write about why they took each picture they did. Both kids are standing under a bat house, well not directly under it because they drop guano at will and you don't want to be standing there when they do. You can also tell from the two pictures that I took Caitlin's without flash and DJ's with flash, very dramatic difference. This new camera has a setting where it takes two pictures at the same time, one with flash and one without, very neat. You just have to be sure the subject stays still while the second one clicks through or you end up with nothing there or someone walking away, lol! DJ has gone through all his pictures and picked five to have blown up and printed off for his 4H events starting in January. He still has a lot of time to take pictures and finish his book, but it is always better to be prepared. Now I must go do some work.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Insects, Insects, Insects

We have been studying Entomology with our 4H curriculum book. Those of you who know me, know I do not like bugs. But this has actually been quite interesting. Today we are making a sort of bug's eye. Using straws that is. Bugs have compound eyes, and if you care to read about them you can here. The video below is a nice little instructional video about insects. Tomorrow we will be at the nature refuge for Photography class. It is actually a two day class, but I am unsure of when the second class will be. Since I thought DJ broke our other camera, by dropping it, I bought a new one. Only problem is I don't know how to use it well, LOL! DJ was given the old one for his photography lessons. Oh, btw I found a cool moisture experiment for Science which I will share one day this week.

Lesson Plans For 11/29/11:

Cursive Writing
Science: Entomology, matter, insect eyes, moisture experiment
Social Studies: Map skills
Language Arts: Commas in personal letter
Math: Saxon 65 chapter 50
4H Photography: Rule of thirds, chapter review

Head of the Class: 2 cycles
Science: Wetlands, Entomology, moisture experiment, turtle word search
Printing Practice
Math: Place value, fact families
Spelling and Reading
Christmas dot to dot
Social Studies: First Thanksgiving
Language Arts: Poem with activity

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back To Classes

Even though we did watch a lot of education programs last week, and one writing assignment, we were officially out of school for the Thanksgiving break. Now we are back in school, and back to lessons. We do have a playdate at the park today, at noon, as long as it doesn't rain. But, this morning is all lessons. DJ wrote his own Christmas song, and it is his writing assignment for today. You can find it on his blog. I hope everyone has a great start to their week. What is everyone's kids hoping for, for Christmas?

Lesson Plans For 11/28/11:

Writing: Christmas Song
Math: Saxon 65: Chapter 48
Reading: One chapter of the book, The Great Brain Reforms
Social Studies: Middle Ages: Chapter 13
Cursive Writing

Head of the Class: 2 cycles
Math: Place value, tens and ones
Cursive Writing
Social Studies: Fire Safety
Language Arts: Synonyms
Sight Words

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving was a bit different for us. My husband was not here. He went to NY for a surprise gift for his Dad, and was he surprised. At first the kids were sad, but we had a lot of fun all by ourselves. We watched movies, ate popcorn, painted our 25 days of Christmas ornaments, and my mom was here for dinner. It was a nice and relaxing day. Plus since my hubby wasn't here I didn't cook the huge turkey, just a turkey breast in the crock pot, plus everyone elses favorites. Craig will be home this afternoon, and we will resume lessons Monday. From now until after Christmas, as with all families, our social calendar is just overflowing. As much as I love this time of year, it seems we are distracted all the time by the fun, to concentrate on school work. Thank goodness we put in extra time over the Summer. It pays off this time of year. Oh, and no I am not a Black Friday shopper. Matter of fact I have completed my shopping, minus a couple of donation things, and stocking stuffers. Everything should be delivered today. Now I just have to wrap, yuck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Am I Thankful For?

DJ had one last assignment this week, before Thanksgiving break. He had to write about what he was thankful for. He decided to write in the form of poetry, and you can read it on his blog. Now I get to write out mine.

Thankful means to feel relief or great gratitude. So what am I thankful for? Well, how can you just pick one thing for which you should give thanks, yet how can you say you would be thankful for all that encompasses your life. Hmm, well for me, I am one of those annoying people who sees the glass as always half full, never half empty. I am an optimist, yet realist. I don't believe in misery, depression, or even being sad for any length of time. Before you assume I must have lived some rosy perfect life to have such an attitude. No, this is the furthest thing from the truth. I have had awful, sad, really bad things happen to me. But, I have also experienced the wisdom and strength those things have afforded me. I have also had beautiful, wonderful things occur in my life, that have shaped and molded me to be the person I am today. So, on this Thanksgiving Day, and every day I am thankful, grateful and relieved for all the experiences that have encompassed my whole life to this very day. Without them what would I be thankful for? I wouldn't be me or where I am. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, family, friends, and all who celebrate this wonderful holiday.

Thanksgiving Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics
Thanksgiving Pictures Comments - Photobucket

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Story Harbour Children's Audio Folktales

One of the things I would like my children to improve on, is listening to a story and being able to tell me what the story is about. For me, I have a very active style of teaching my children. So, once they both were old enough to read well, they both read to each other, or to me. I no longer read to them. It has worked well for both of them. But being able to listen and visualize in your imagination is very important as well. So I was thrilled when I got the chance to review Story Harbour vol.1, performed by Zetta Harbour. So far we have only been able to listen to one story, and both of my kids were very interested, so we are moving in the right direction. I am hoping these lovely stories will be a mainstay in our weekly lessons, until they both master them.

The Story Harbour stories travel the world, and tell of the virtues any parent would want a child to learn. Such as honor, gratitude, being fair, respect and so many more. These stories are not just for children, but adults too. The stories on Volume 1 are:

Track 1: Anansi & Stories
Track 2:Master Of All Masters
Track 3:The Little Old Woman Who Lived In A Vinegar Bottle
Track 4:The Crane Wife
Track 5:The Sound Of The Money
Track 6:The Innkeeper's Clever Daughter

If you would like to order Story Harbour Vol.1, just click the highlighted link to go to their website. This would make a great Christmas gift for any child on your list. For children too young to read on their own yet, or children who are very much into learning by sound.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How To Bake And Carve A Turkey

Who usually cooks and carves the turkey in your home? Here in our house, Thanksgiving is my husband's favorite holiday, but this year it will be my job to cook and carve the turkey. I have done this in the past, but not since I met my husband. I had to do some review, and so can you with the videos below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What We Have Been Up To

I have posted so much about paints and pictures, that it seems that is all we have been doing, but that is not completely true. We have been busy rearranging and planning for the holiday next week, and the following week we are going to a photography class at the nature refuge. This took some juggling, and it now has turned into a two day class instead of one. That only complicated schedules, but no matter we really want to do it. We also decided with my mom, our painting teacher, that this next class will be on Thanksgiving day and we will be painting ornaments into advent ornaments. Each ornament will be numbered 1-25 on one side, and something pretty on the other side. Then starting Dec. 1st through the 25th a new ornament will be added to the tree until they are all on, on Christmas. It will all work out, it always does. Today we did a lot of book work, and will do some tomorrow, though both kids caught up nicely. DJ has a bit of math left, and a Science chapter. Caitlin is pretty good. So we might be able to have a light day after all. Next week my husband is off the whole week, so there will be no school. This was not planned, but unavoidable, again more juggling of lessons and days off in the future, but it must be done. One of the many things I appreciate about homeschooling is the flexibility it affords me. I am sure I have mentioned that before, LOL! The National Geographic Kids Photography contest has ended and winners will be announced Dec. 5th. Wish DJ luck! Then we have all these 4H meetings, events and commitments, boy we are busier than I realized. I didn't even mention Christmas events.

Lesson Plans For 11/17/11:
Social Studies: Map skills, Chapter 12 Middle Ages
Cursive Writing
Math: Proportion and percentage
Science: Entomology
Reading Comprehension
Language Arts: Commas

Social Studies: Fire Safety
Science: Turtles, wetlands, entomology
Reading: Animal Camoflauge
Language Arts: Antonyms, words ending in ED
Cursive Writing
Head of the Class: Two cycles

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet The Snowman Family

These are all four snow bottles on the front.

DJ did not paint the back of his bottle, so this is my mom's, Caitlin's and mine is the side because I wanted to show my fancy writing.

This is the back of mine. Since we live in FL and I am trying to master the rose stroke my bottle is full of flowers and grass. Snowman in the grass, LOL!

Caitlin wanted to do a second one, so she made an angel on this one.

This is Caitlin's flower garden, rainbow and sky. DJ spent a good part of the second part of the class doing the rose stroke on a plate too. He didn't want to keep it though.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Middle Ages

These next two weeks of school will be different and interesting. Because of the holiday next week, we are doing more hands on learning, than book learning. There has also been online and TV documentaries and work. It is a much different way to learn than a tradition book learning style. It allows for much flexibility that we need right now, yet still encourages learning and growing. Today I squeezed in a playdate which was unexpected. Next Tues is when we would normally do a playdate, but due to the holiday it has to be this week. So we are off to the park in just a little bit. I have posted the remainder of the Middle Ages videos, and DJ will begin watching them tomorrow. The first four are in the archives. You can just use the search bar at the top of this blog to find them easier. I hope everyone has an awesome day today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Woohoo Extra Day Of Painting

Today we got in an extra day of painting class. Even though my mom was not here to teach it, she will be here Wednesday, I spoke to her over the weekend. We discussed a few things, and she thought if the kids could practice more than every other week, it might go better. Since DJ has blending down pretty good, he needed to start working on very specific strokes. Since the only two I am comfortable with are the scrunchy, and one leaf design we decided to concentrate on those. My mom also suggested all three of us draw out what we wanted to draw first, so we had a visual of what we wanted it to look like. So, I found a cute snowman in one of my counted cross stitch books and each of us drew two snowmen, trying to make them exact. They weren't exact LOL. Since I can not draw I was very disappointed, but after I painted him he looked much better. So we drew, then we practiced the strokes on dry paper with just the brush. Then, I made them choose the color blends they wanted to use first, and we all used the same. Only one color blend at a time, then wash and dry brush, and move to the next. This worked very well for all of us. DJ swears he does not have the hand dexterity to follow the strokes, but he improves every time. Caitlin is still having an issue following specific directions, but she is only 7 after all. DJ's snowman looks like it is blowing in the wind. He decided to pose with all three paintings below. Caitlin said no, she wanted to play outside. Can't blame her there, it was gorgeous today. We will save the other drawing for Wed when my mom is here, to paint the snowmen onto bottles.

DJ did a blog post book report on A Christmas Carol. Any of you who have reluctant writers, or do not like book reports, blogging forces them to do a better job as others could read it. It has been so much help for DJ. He also read one chapter in Darien's Rise, house chores, and of course Art and painting class. Tomorrow we are squeezing in a playdate at the park, before the holiday, and bookwork in the morning before we go.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day Parade In A Small Town

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, and while we had no school we did go down the parade sponsored by our small town. Now we went last year too, and this year was slightly improved, but I think someone needs to learn how to put on a parade. When I was a kid, and there were tons of parades back then, it wasn't just the one town that participated in the parade. Other town schools, bands, fire dept, American legions, and groups were invited to represent themself in the parade. Now I know other towns didn't do a parade, so this could have been done. We will have to see for next year. It was cold, last year it rained, but the sun was warm and beautiful. Here are some pictures DJ took of the parade.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What A Beautiful Day

These pictures are in chronological order, backwards. You would think I would remember to load them backwards so they come out forwards, lol. Remember last month I told you if you frequent state parks a lot you can be a volunteer photographer? It is easy just go to to sign up. Last month I uploaded two of the pond pictures we took and now my pictures are on the home page of the Cedar Key Nature Refuge page. Cool!

Yesterday, was the most beautiful day to be outside. It was crystal clear blue skies, a nice breeze, and about eighty degrees. We started our day by going to the nature refuge to sweep leaves and debris off of the boardwalk and rest area on the River Trail. Since it has been chilly at night there where no reptiles to be seen. Not enough sun on the trail for them to find a spot to get warm I guess. Tonight it is going to be 34 and tomorrow 29 at night, brr. We did see rooted up areas that wild pigs do, but no pigs. Thank goodness because they are aggressive and mean. The bottom set of pictures are from the River Trail and the Suwannee River which is at the end of the trail. Ranger Pam will be doing a photography class that is free, and we are looking forward to that.

Then we headed to Cedar Key for a picnic lunch, and play time. Cedar Key is a small fishing and resort type town on the Gulf of Mexico. If you look at the one picture, and make it bigger, you will see a factory looking thing out in the water. That is actually the nuclear power plant which is actually in Crystal River about fifty miles away. That is how clear the sky was. I have been to Cedar Key several times and never seen it before. DJ took most of the pics, with myself shooting just a couple. He is really getting to know this camera very well. Even with its limitations he is doing quite well with his photography. Some of the birds pictured are Seagulls, and some are Sandpipers.

Today we are back to regular school business. Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and there is no school. Well not for the kids. I get to catch up on grading papers. I hope everyone is having a beautiful week so far.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Man Oh Man

I consider myself to be a very tolerant person, who can see both sides of a story. However, the line stops at pedophiles and I don't mean the 17 year old that has sex with the 16 year old and then has to register as a sex offender. No, I am talking about predatory sex offenders, that have no use whatsoever to this society. In case you have not heard the former defensive coach for the Penn State football program has been arrested on several counts of child rape of young boys. I will not share the grand jury indictment because it is very graphic and disgusting. You can, however find it on Twitter very easily. Before you make an opinion read it. These are not just accusations but results of a three year investigation into the allegations. It is very difficult to read and if you are not disgusted by the time you are done, then I feel sorry for you. To make it worse it appears college officials covered it up, rather than dealing with it properly. I was so disgusted that it just makes me realize how low humanity really is. Society reviles people who abuse animals more than people who abuse children. Society finds it disgusting and abhorrent to torture and abuse a dog, yet child molesters, child abusers, and pedophiles very often get off with a slap on the wrist. Will we never see the error of our ways? Beware for your children these pigs are everywhere. They hide behind the foil of being educated, kind and lovers of children who only want to help them.

Lesson Plans For 11/08/11:

Cursive writing
Science: Chemistry, vertebrates test
Reading: The Golden Serpent
Persuasive Writing
Reading Comprehension

Head of the Class: Two cycles
Language Arts: Words ending in ed, word order in sentences
Math: Saxon 1
Science: Clouds
Cursive Writing
Printing Practice
Sight Words: Fill in the blanks

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet the Elements

Do you remember learning about the elements and The Periodic Table, in school? How much of it do you remember. I do remember a few of them, but in no way could recite them all. DJ is just starting to learn about Matter and the Elements and all that goes with it. The cute song below may help you remember them.

Coming up this week we have our second trip to the nature refuge for volunteer work. That will be on Wednesday. Because DJ is doing book two of The Story of the World, I have picked some extra American history to add in to Social Studies days. We have begun learning about The Constitution. DJ had a writing challenge on the Constitution that will be posted to his blog. I can't share the whole challenge because I got it from Edhelper which you have to pay for. But it is only 20 bucks per year, so it is well worth it. I use it all the time.

Lesson Plans For 11/7/11:

Math: Saxon 65 Chapter 46
Writing: Constitution challenge
Social Studies: The Constitution
Reading: Chapters one and two of Darien's Rise

Head of the Class: Two Cycles
Language Arts: Words ending in ed, and telling sentences
Sight Words: Fill in the blank sentences
Printing Practice: Sight words
Cursive Writing
Social Studies: The Constitution
Math: Saxon 1, and counting pennies

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nothing Exciting Today

I guess all the excitement for the week is over. I have to work tomorrow night, so no lessons tomorrow except grocery shopping. I am in a bit of a mood because someone started some trouble and I am now being asked to forget about it. This is not easy for me, but I will try to be the better person. Oh, and I ran out of printer paper so I can not print any of the extra lessons I wanted to print, grrrrr.

Lesson Plans For 11/3/11:

Cursive Writing
Health: The muscular system
Math: Saxon 65 chapter 45
Science: Elements
Language Arts: Commas

Cursive Writing
Head of the Class: Three cycles
Social Studies: Mayflower Compact
Language Arts: Action words
Math: Saxon 1, telling time
Shape Words: Crossword puzzle
Word Play: Worksheet

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Painting Class #3: Turkeys

OK, first off let me explain what you are looking at. I thought we were painting turkeys on glass bottles today. I got my cable communications mixed up with my mom, the teacher, and we were going to draw and then pain the turkeys on paper so we got an idea of how it would look and if it is what we wanted. So that is what we did. Since we are concentrating on learning to blend in one stroke, I saved one of the blending plates to share. I would have taken pictures of them all, but the kids already threw them away. The yellow and purple feathered turkey is mine. I figured since this was a sort of experiment kind of turkey that I would practice strokes taught on the video. It was going great until I got to the face where I practice her fancy leaves and his face looks like a giant pansy, LOL! He also has eyebrows and a vine type mouth. Oh well at least I got the strokes better. DJ is doing well, and I am going to have him start practicing the strokes with a dry brush in the instruction book. That way he can follow the strokes without making a mess, and get a feel for how the stroke should go. That has helped me a lot too. Caitlin is still working on blending and has not moved to strokes yet. But she is having a ball painting and I don't think she much cares about the rules of it all. If you are not familiar with the Donna Dewberry method, you are supposed to be able to load a paintbrush and blend your colors all in one stroke of the brush. If you look at the turkey feathers that are yellow and purple, each feather is one stroke of the paint brush, so you can visualize what I mean.

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