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Monday, March 31, 2014

Wisteria and Allergies

A few weeks back, we did a lot of yard work. I like to trim back the shrubs, and prune the over hang of the trees. If I don't do this, it grows all out of control and looks awful, plus it pushes on the fence so that it knocks it over. This is the side of the yard, we don't frequent often. This is where the beautiful Wisteria hangs into my yard, from the neighbor's yard. This means it is not mine to cut down, but I can cut the overhang. As beautiful as it is, I am severely allergic. As you can see we could not get all the overhang, and some remains. Actually I am not sure that even if it did not hang into my yard, if it would still trigger my allergies or not. It probably would. All the usual remedies do not seem to be working either, which is only making it worse.

Still, I plan on getting a whole week of schooling in. I thought Biofuels was done for DJ, but he has one last experiment this week, and then possibly next week. We still have Run Club, if I can, and DJ sprained his ankle on Sat, what a weekend. The flashcards are working amazing for Caitlin, and the money game too. We only played it twice, and I can already see improvement.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Talented Cookie Company and Train Museum in High Springs

I love the little town of High Springs. We don't get there a ton of times, but that might have to change. Today, we visited the new Train Museum, with the Gainesville Homeschool Cooperative. Our first real trip with this group. The museum is small, and I only shared some of the images, because I don't have permission to add other kids to my blog, but it was a nice experience. They had tons of history, and told us that they will be opening up services to ride the trains again. How nice is that? They had a 1924 Fire Engine, you know the crank em to start em kind, that was neat, complete with the hand crank for the alarm as well. It was just a nice little place to visit. I won't give too much away, but I recommend it. It will only take about an hour or so out of your day.

The first two pictures, is where the group met, at the High Springs Sink Hole. It has been turned into quite a lovely little park with gazebo. My kids, and their friends, loved it.

The last picture is DJ drinking his hot chocolate at the Talented Cookie Company. A great place to stop by also. It was no nice and quiet, and the food was good too. The owner told me that on Friday, and Saturdays, she does a cupcake bar. I will definitely have to check that out with Caitlin. Oh, and they have an old, and working, movie theater, I really want to check that out too.

Be sure to read below about the Davey Crockett Springs. You can not visit it, but you can see it from the road. I will be looking for it the next time we go.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It Was A Good Math Day!

We had Run Club, but we mostly walk these days, this morning. So, I had to squeeze in an hour of lessons before and then regular schedule after lunch. It went OK. Caitlin did Easy Peasy days 102 and 103, minus the Math, because she is not quite ready for that yet. However, the Reading and Writing went very well today, on Easy Peasy. She says she doesn't like it, but I don't believe her. For Math she did her addition flashcards, which she did very easily today and I am glad for that. I want her to be faster, not just right. She did a page of 3 and four number addition problems, which went smoothly. She got a few wrong, but she is getting the hang of it. She did Psalm 23 copywork, and played a fraction game from Easy Peasy just earlier in the 4th grade school year.

I have pretty much decided, that for this Summer, I will be getting Life of Fred for Caitlin, and Rummy Roots for both kids. Both of these are fun ways to learn, and I have friends that use them, that say they have so much fun they don't even know they are learning. We always do Math, and some other lessons over the Summer, but this year I am getting specific. Our evaluations are set for July 16th. If anyone needs an evaluator, mine is awesome, and looking for more kids to evaluate. She is in Levy County, so if you are in the area, and need an evaluator, message me.

Tomorrow we are going to the new Train Museum in High Springs. It is not very long, but expect lots of pictures, and a trip report on DJ's blog.

DJ got all his assignments done, even with the shorter class times.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Blue Footed Booby Homeschool Art: Birds

I will get to the art work in a minute. We have finished 3 quarters of school, and DJ got an A in Math. This is a huge deal for him, and something he has been working very hard at obtaining. He continues with all his regular studies, as all of them are working well for him this year.

In previous years, up to 8th grade, I have always done Science and History lessons once a week. That way I could focus on Reading, Writing and Math. This year, with DJ in 8th grade, he started to do every subject every day, or most days, so I started to do the same with Caitlin. I now regret doing that. So, she will be going back to just once a week, for History and Science, and concentrate on the others. I have an Abeka 4th grade Math book, so I started her on that today. That way, even though this is hard for her, by 5th grade she will have a good grasp. Abeka is said to be a year to year and a half of other Math books. I can tell you, I agree with that. We also did flashcards, and played the Math dice game, I shared to other day. Of note, if you try it, I had her identify the coin, say the value of the coin, then on paper write the coin's amount as a decimal and a fraction. Then she added them as decimals. I didn't attempt adding the fractions yet. I only did six problems with her, and that seemed perfect. She also started Easy Peasy Homeschool, banner on this blog if you are interested, day 101. Even though she is reading well, their writing lessons are good and extensive with each chapter read. So, I have opted to use that the rest of this year, and then re-evaluate. I found a website called Bedtime Math, and we have started doing that as well. Both kids do it, but not at bedtime. I am tired at bedtime, so we do it right after Dinner.

So, to continue with our bird art lessons, today we painted the Blue Footed Booby. One of my favorite birds. I just find the blue feet so amazingly beautiful, and no I do not have a foot fetish, lol. DJ does not paint, so his is drawn with colored pencils. I also painted two napkins to go with the bunny plates I painted last week. That post is not up yet, but will be soon, on craft blog. Check it out if you want.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Earth Kids Meeting: Mediterranean Monk Seal and Making Water Colors

Well all my pictures would not load again, but you will get the idea. When we do Earth Kids, we have two teens, and then two younger kids. So I try to do an experiment one month, and then an art project, or craft the next month. This month was both an experiment, and an art project. DJ picked the Mediterranean Monk Seal, as the marine topic. You will find links below, to learn about them and repeat the project too.

2 days before the meeting, we collected some flowers of different colors. We already had some daisies that we had bought, and put in a vase. So we saved a couple of them. They were already colored enhanced, so they were very vibrant. There was blue, purple and green. Then I got a hot pink Azalea and a light pink Camelia, from my garden, and one yellow rose bud, also from my garden. We had no orange, those roses had not opened yet. Then we crushed them up a little, using a rolling pin, put them in a zip lock bag with hot water, and let them sit until the meeting. Each child was supposed to guess which color they thought would be the most vibrant. Two picked the blue, one green, and one purple. You can see from the paintings that the blue definitely one. Of interest, the hot pink Azalea actually turned an orange color, very pretty, but definitely not pink. The light pink Camelia, released no color what so ever, and the water was clear. The green, and purple, though they looked very vibrant in the bag, were not so vibrant on paper, and the yellow rose bud was a very pale yellow.

All in all, a fun activity, and good learning experience for all. We also discussed who would have used this to paint and went over vocabulary terms in the reading.

The kids don't know it yet, but I am picking the topic next month.  We will be going to Cedar Key and we will study the Horseshoe Crab, and then do an experiment on properties of sand.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Learn Money With Dice Game

Do you have a child that is reluctant about Math, or counting money more specifically? I originally saw something similar to this on Pinterest. The other day we were at a consignment shop, and they had a bin full of these plastic craft squares already completed. Perfect, now I didn't have to worry about making the squares. I just simply hot glued different denominations of coins, and combos, to each side of the cube. Now, we can start playing and learning. The idea is obvious, the child rolls the dice and adds up the coins. You can make prizes for correct answers, or so many right and you get to stay up late or have extra dessert, whatever would be fun for your child. I can't wait to give these a try, with Caitlin.

I am looking at Life of Fred, for Caitlin next year. I think she will actually enjoy Math if it was more fun.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Break and Spring Cleaning

In years past Spring Break has been taken when family was coming to visit.  That way we did not have to take an extra week and miss school.  I thought this was a good plan, kids would have preferred the extra week off, lol.  This year we have no family visiting in Spring, but rather they are coming in the Summer.  Summer is a rough time to visit Florida, so we will see how it goes, but we will be done with school.  Basically, anyways, both kids will do Math, our Geography game, and DJ wants to learn to make a video game. 

This week we are Spring cleaning.  I love Spring cleaning, sure I do.  I have some homeschool books I need to find, for another homeschooler to borrow, and I need to weed out books I will not be using.  This weekend I finally got to sit down and grade papers, plus check out the new books I bought for next year.  I told DJ I think he is going to like Math U See, he just laughed.  The Apologia Marine Biology, looks really awesome, and some of the experiments we have actually done before, so replicating them shouldn't be hard. 

I have been thinking about Caitlin, and her progress.  She has made great progress, but I still feel she is not where she needs to be for Math and Writing.  History, Science and Reading are all very good.  With that in mind, for fifth grade, she will be doing only Math, Reading and Writing.  She did not want a blog, like her brother, but I think I am going to give her one anyways.  I also have decided, that she will start Easy Peasy day 102, fourth grade, to better get her organized where I need her to be.  Also, we will be doing more on CWIST, one of my favorite websites of all, but that I have to work into our lessons.  I am always tweaking and evaluating what we do, and where we are.  Caitlin learns completely different than DJ, and they both love Science,  and neither likes Math, so I have to adapt to both of them.  I have to say fourth grade, into fifth grade, was an exceptionally hard transition time for DJ as well, so the fact Caitlin is having a hard time is no surprise to me. 

We have our Earth Kids meeting on Wednesday, and I can not wait to share the fun Science experiment and art project we will be doing. 

Happy St Patrick's Day too! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fossil Digging Field Trip #2 and What We Do With Them

Today we went digging for fossils, for the second time. Last time was in November, and the water was cold then, but let me tell you that was nothing compared to today. It was 40 degrees when we left the house this morning, and that water was bone chilling cold. However, it is a fairly shallow creek and we found a nice sunny spot, where the water was at least bearable.  Plus it has been such a wet winter, I was hoping it would have stirred up lots of good stuff.  Boy did it, and we only kept some of it.  I always find tons of shells, but since they are all the same I only took a couple.  Last time I only found one shark tooth, that was not very big at all.  I found some nice size ones this time, but my son and our friend found two huge shark teeth.  I mean huge.  Also of interest was manta ray jaw bones, some white rocks with blue spots I found some of those last time too, petrified wood, and a rock that actually had a shark tooth fossil embedded in it with other fossils too. 

So, now what do we do with these?  I use them for various crafts, three of which you can see below.  My kids have not attempted the resin craft yet, but they will be doing it in April.  Resin does have some safety issues that you have to follow, so I know some people use Modge Podge.  I have never tried the Modge Podge method.  I myself, am fairly new to resin, but I love it.  You can go to my other blog, to see all my resin, art, and crochet craftiness. 

The kids can also read about fossils, why are there so many fossils in Florida, and the laws on collecting fossils.  There are very strict laws on fossil digging, not really the digging, but the keeping of the fossils.  Also what makes Petrified Wood.    This is a fun way to learn some cool Science, and enjoy nature.  We will definitely probably go back again.  The little area where we dig is so beautiful and peaceful.  The blue piece below is actually resin with blue food coloring and a shark tooth in it.  It is really cool.  It will be in my Etsy store soon, as my son found a bigger one today and will be making a piece of his own with resin.  The clear piece has a shell, that stone I told you about, and part of a shark tooth I think.  The top piece I used one of the shells I found, put a little hot glue in there and a coral flower then poured the resin in.  It will be a pendant eventually.  All of these were made from our first time digging.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Homeschool Lessons and Games for Free or Low Cost

I have been a member on Pinterest for at least two years now, maybe three, and I have compiled quite a list of things on my Homeschool Board. Some of them I have used many times, others I have completely forgotten about. We are nearing the end of our third quarter in this school year. That means it is time for me to start planning for next year. Since typically I make my own curriculum, it takes me a long time. For DJ, who will be in High School next year, I have decided to buy some curriculums rather than trying to make my own credits for those subjects. I still have to decide for American History, Language Arts, and any elective he wishes to take. I really wanted to buy My Father's World, for Caitlin next year, but my oh my it is way too expensive. I have no idea if it is worth what they charge, but I am not in the position to pay that much money for fifth grade lessons. So, in the next weeks, and maybe months, I will be sharing websites from my Pinterest board, that actually work or are good for what they say they do. Caitlin loves the Evan Moor books, so I probably will buy the one shown below for her next year. The Astronomy web page is for us to try to follow along in the night sky with major events. My kids really enjoy this, and in April you should be able to see Jupiter. Hopefully by putting it here I will remember.

Friday, March 7, 2014

3 Day Auction, and Crochet For Charity

Ever other weekend, I will be auctioning off an item from my Etsy store. People love auctions, and this is a fun way to move some inventory. If you would like to participate go to my craft blog at Melissas Jewelry and Gems.

One of the homeschool groups, I belong to, does a Warm Up America blanket every year. These blankets are handmade, and then given to families in need. I donated about 10 squares, and you can see the finished blanket below. I want to teach Caitlin to crochet, so she can participate too. If you can crochet, and you would like to participate, just click the highlighted link for details.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

9th Grade Science and Math Books Purchased

We went ahead and bought some of DJ's books for 9th grade, next year. We knew we wanted these sets, so these ones are taken care of. American History will probably be online, and I found where he can learn Japanese, and the Ocarina online as well. Those are both his choices, not mine, lol. I just need to figure out for Language Arts, and what books I want him to read. He already read a bunch of 9th grade literature this year, for 8th grade, so I am probably going to give him 9th grade credits this year for Language Arts. He read The Outsiders, A Separate Peace, and is currently reading Romeo and Juliet, and I think I will have him read To Kill A Mockingbird for his last book. We will watch Romeo and Juliet first and discuss it in great length. He also does book reviews for each book, on his own blog. So, he can do 10th grade Language Arts next year, and I would really like it to focus on writing and research. So, that is what I will be looking for. Over the Summer we will be doing some Math, Geography and he wants to do a video game making class.Oh and the dissection kit shown is not the one I bought.  I can not find the link to the one I bought, but I assume any would be OK.

I am still undecided for Caitlin.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Migraine on Monday, and Celery Experiment

Our celery experiment is complete. As you can see from the images the leaves did in fact turn pink, not red though, but pink. The stalk however did not change color, as I was lead to believe they would. I think a darker color, like blue, would have stuck out more, the pink was very faint. But, the kids did get to learn through, a hands on lesson, how plants get nutrients from their roots to their leaves. The second part of the experiment, I won't know if it worked, until the other family lets me know how it went. I will report on that later.

Yesterday, I had a terrible migraine, so there was no school. Today, was a normal and full day of school. Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain, we will have Run Club and school, plus church later in the evening.

Starting next year, this blog will again take on a record keeping mood. My son will be in High School, and rather than losing papers, or discs, I can record everything I need right here, and it will never get lost. I will of course continue to blog about all our fun stuff, and my daughter will be in fifth grade, so there is lots to talk about there.

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