Thursday, September 23, 2010

Field Trip - Maidu Historic Site

This year we are studying California history in our co-op. And this month Nancy is teaching us about its earliest history, the California Indians. She had found a preserved area near us that was where a tribe of Maidu Indians onced lived. So one morning we all gathered and headed off with our guide.

There were lots of really neat petroglyphs. This one was meant to depict a bear, with a hole to put food for the bear in. Ideally the bear would eat this food and then not come over to and steal it from their campfires. We'll never know if this worked or not....

They had reconstructed a framework house for us to see. 

 Like 2 of my kids could have fit in this one. 

There were many bedrock mortars used for grinding acorns. Backbreaking work, I am sure.


One brave volunteer got to grind an acorn for us to see.

This is what ground acorn looks like. So they ate acorn mush, fish, and any greens they could find. I am so glad I live in the 21st century!

That afternoon at our co-op meeting, the older children talked about life in Indian villages and learned how to write a topic sentence and supporting sentences from the material. The younger ones listened to a couple Indian stories and made a bear rattle.

Here are the Littles.....

This field trip really made our study on the California Indians come alive for our co-op. Next months subject? The first explorers arrive in California!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Up In The Wild Blue Yonder

Our family loves to listen to the local Christian radio station. Most of the songs on there are good, and occasionally they have call-in contests. Well Mr. Lego loves calling in and winning things. And up until last week, had only ever won 2 Veggie Tale DVD's. Not completely our cup of tea. But then last week he won a really great prize....4 tickets to a local airshow!

So off we went.....

We saw lots of things like this....

The F-22 flew by and opened his missile doors so you could see what the bad guys see after the missile falls.

Of course there were cockpits to sit in....

And Navigators to talk too.....

And this....can you see the hand prints on the whatever thingy is inside the engine?

If anyone knows why there would be hand prints on that I would love to know....

This was a fun show....the Jelly Belly Airplane landed on the shortest runway in the world; the top of that moving truck. It took him three tries but he finally did it.

Both Fed Ex and UPS had big planes there....right next to each other. We joked about what kind of craziness would have happened if they had been given water balloons and what kind of fight we would have seen. We went in both planes...Fed Ex gave out stickers and let us sit in the cockpit, while UPS let the kids run around like crazy in their cargo hold and go in the cockpit.

The smallest UPS truck I have ever seen. Mr. Lego had the bright idea of putting his Fed Ex sticker right on the steering wheel, but we talked him out of it.

Another cockpit....this one with sweet little girlies inside.

Another humongous engine with 4 cute kids in front of it. I kind of like this photo, because it makes my kiddos look smaller then they really are.

This was a common sight.....everyone set up their chairs and sat under the wings of all the airplanes for some shade. This is California and we were having a 97 degree day that day.

The local precision flying group; The Patriots.

This was a great outing for our family and one I am thankful we got to go on!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Joy In The Morning

In The 

So last week was week 2. The week really flew for me so I will try to remember how each day went.

Day 6 - I got up at 6am, did everything that I needed to and was ready for the day at the right time. 

Day 7 - This morning I think I kept hitting the snooze button and was about 15 minutes late for everything. I still had time to have my Bible time and exercise.

Day 8 - Got up on time and accomplished my morning list. Whoo-hoo!

Day 9 - I start to fade. I did get up at 6am, did my Bible time, but kept drooling falling asleep while having my computer time. Didn't get the exercising in.

Day 10 - This was a very busy day for me (monthly errands) so I did get up at 6am, had my Bible time and we were out the door at 8am.

Notes: So I think I am sleeping more soundly now; maybe that has to do with the fact that I felt more tired this week. And when 9pm rolled around, I was ready for bed. I guess I am the kind of person that really needs 8+ hours of sleep. Some good things I have noticed....when I think of something in the evening that I need to do, I know I will have time for it in the morning. And that morning that we needed to be out of the house by 8? It went really smoothly, all the kids were dressed, the house was relatively clean and my second load of laundry was in the wash. But then I fell asleep 45 minutes into our Friday night movie....that's the payoff I guess.

So week a different week. I will only get up half the week at 6am; we are going on a camping trip towards the end of the week and I am not planning on stirring from my sleeping bag until at least 7:30. Most definitely.

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That my blog posts are piling up. I have a post about the airshow we went to last week, homemade freezer tomato sauce, our co-op's field trip and of course my Joy in the Morning update. Maybe I will have time later today....with the start of our schooling, life has suddenly sped up. This blog is a bit down on the priority list....I'm a wife, mother, housecleaner and cook before I am a blogger.

What I'm reading: This last week I previewed another historical fiction book for school, and read reviews about a new spelling curriculum we are going to go with.

What I'm listening to: Silence. Absolute silence. I'm up before everyone (everyone except my Sweetie, who was up before me and gone to work), writing this blog post.

What we're learning: Our school week is shortened this week; we will be learning about Masada in history and squirrels are the focus of our co-op's weekly nature study. I did decide to change our grammar we are back to Shurley English, and I have decided to go with Spelling Power, obviously for spelling.

What I'm watching: The sky turn pink. This is when I wish we lived in the country and I could see the sun come over the horizon. But it will hit my kitchen windows in about 25 minutes....

What's cooking: I'm making Rotisserie Style Chicken in my crockpot from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow tomorrow. I'll make roasted potatoes and carrots and a salad to go with it.

What I'm buying: Stuff for our adventure later this week. More on that below.

What I'm thankful for: That God is on control. Our pastor said something very profound in the sermon yesterday: If we were as wise as God and knew everything that He knows, we would not change anything about our trials or the troubled times we go through, because what He wills for us is perfect.

What I'm creating: I made homemade tomato sauce last I need a recipe that calls for it so I can see how it turned out.

What I'm praying: For those I know who are struggling with health issues: A mom in our congregation begins cancer treatments today, another lady is in the middle of her radiation treatments, and 2 other friends that are struggling with chronic pain and back problems.

What we did this last weekend: We did some work around the house on Saturday, then spent the afternoon with friends yesterday before heading to our monthly evening service. Our pastor is going to spend the year preaching through Ecclesiastes in the evenings.

What I'm looking forward to: We are going camping this week to the beach! And then we will extend our stay in the area with a visit to the grandparents.

A picture to share:

~Our co-op on a field trip to a nearby Indian Interpretive Center.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That we had a good school week last week. I am ready for the second week and pretty stoked because my son just asked to do his math assignment. Probably to get it over with, but hey, that's a great start to the week.

What I'm reading: I need to get back into reading time for me. Last week I previewed an early church fictitious novel and decided it was too mature for the kids. I still need to finish my book list from last August....

What I'm listening to: The washing machine going, voices upstairs, and water boiling in the kitchen for my second cup of tea.

What we're learning: Nero, early church martyrs and Josephus in history; grammar and math pages that happen every day, and California Indians in our co-op.

What I'm watching: The seasons change. I am not ready for fall yet, and I am realizing that I love the weather in the summer. As my Sweetie tells me often, I would do well in Africa.

What's cooking: I am making Chicken Divan old recipe from when I was young. I'll probably have white rice with it (a staple in our home), and a green salad.

What I'm buying: I am trying to cut white sugar out of our diet. Last year I got 3 big quart jars of raw honey from a friend and her bees, and now I need to go out and find a small jar to store it in to sweeten tea and coffee.

What I'm thankful for: For my husband and his faithfulness in providing for our family. I am so thankful for him!

What I'm creating: Book lists for the extra reading I want the older two to do this year during school. Last night I borrowed a few books from a friend that I am planning to have them read this year: The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow by Allen French, Crispin, the Cross of Lead by Avi, and Against the World by Henry W Coray.

What I'm praying: That the Lord would continue to give me wisdom as I raise and teach the precious children He has given me.

What I'm planning: I am going through Charles Wesley's hymn, O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing in co-op and I need to sit down and plan out my lesson plan and vocabulary words for the quarter.

What we did this last weekend: Mr. Lego won tickets to a nearby airshow so that was where we were on Saturday. Sunday was church and Sunday School, then over to a friend's house for munchies, ping pong and fellowship.

What I'm looking forward to: Our co-op is going on a field trip to an historic Indian site and preserve this week and our first 4-H club meeting of the year is also this week.

A picture to share:

~Checking out the big airplanes at the airshow on Saturday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joy in the Morning


in the


So I am at the end of the first week of my challenge. How has it gone? Well Monday was a holiday. That morning I woke up in a sleeping bag, on the sofa at our friend's house where we spent the night. And not to make excuses or anything, but we didn't get into bed until almost 1am and then were serenaded by coyotes and crazy dogs. So Tuesday morning I had good intentions, but both my Sweetie and I didn't even open our eyes until 7am. Scratch day 1. That afternoon I bought an alarm clock.

Day 2. I learned something. When you know an alarm clock is set and is going to go blasting off in your ear, you don't sleep as soundly. I also learned that it is still dark at 6am. And God gave me an extra challenge that morning; cloudy weather. The one thing that really wakes me up is the sun, which is why I love living where I live with its 188 days of sunshine per year. No exercise today...too dark and gloomy.

Day 3. I learned that my alarm clock will start with 1 beep every second, then 2 beeps, then just beep continually until you throw it against the wall hit the snooze button. Once I could open my eyes the morning went well. They kids got up when they were supposed to and I had my Bible time, exercised, and cleaned up the kitchen by 8:15.

Day 4. I am going to tell you something. Sunday is, of course, my favorite day. Saturday naturally falls into second place. My third favorite day is now Friday. Because when that blasted alarm went off this morning my first thought was, "I get to shut you off and not turn you on again until Sunday night!!" And that was enough to get me up this morning.We had a busier day planned so after my Bible time, computer time and clean up we headed out at 8am for the Farmer's Market.

The week went good...3 out of 4 mornings I got up at the right time and I worked out twice. I am also happy that a couple of you are doing this along with me; modified to fit your situation of course, but it is really encouraging to know that I am not the only one who struggles in this area and needs accountability.

On to Week 2!

*For some reason my Joy in the Morning thingy at the top has too much space between the words and photo. I edit it the way I want but Blogger is being stubborn and not changing it like I keep telling it to. I will try to work on it later....anyone want to help me figure out how to design a button and link to it?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Homeschooling Curriculum 2010

I cannot believe it is already September and the 2010-2011 school is upon us. Time sure flies.

I have finished my prep work and with the first couple days of school behind us, I thought I would share my plans. Some things are old, some things are new but all, I pray, will further my children's (and mine!) education.

Bible - Balancing the Sword and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds

We will continue to read a chapter of the Bible each morning then do the questions in Balancing the Sword. Currently we are in Joshua...

Each week we will memorize a new question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism using Training Hearts as a study guide.  For the first couple weeks I'll be reviewing what questions we have already memorized before we pick back up with question #20.

History - Mystery of History Vol II, The Early Church and the Middle Ages

I loved this curriculum last year and I think I will love it again; very thorough, Bible based chronological program. There are some literature books I want to read aloud to go along with this....The Crusades by Anthony West, Adventures and Discoveries of Marco Polo by Richard Walsh  and The Magna Carta by James Daugherty. All of them old Landmark books.

Vocabulary - English From the Roots Up

This is one of my new curriculum choices this year. Each week we will learn two new roots either from Greek or Latin and then study the derivatives and meanings.

Logic - Red Herring Mysteries

Another new one; this one really looks fun. We will do one story a week using critical reasoning and problem solving. This has actually been a huge hit the last two days....the kids LOVE trying to figure out the mystery.

Grammar/Spelling - Language Arts by Christian Light Publications

The older ones will be using this curriculum for the first time. I love the simplicity and straightforwardness of these books who came recommended by a friend. But we are having slight problems. Before this we did Shurley English which I loved, but that course doesn't teach diagramming in the traditional way. (Don't get me started, but I have a thing for diagramming.) I wanted them to have a different perspective of grammar, hence the curriculum change, but I am not sure how jumping into 6th and 7th grade grammar of a totally different curriculum is going to go. We'll see what happens....

Writing - Writing Skills, Writing With Ease and Spell, Say, and Write.

The older two are using Writing Skills for the first time which is a very incremental approach to writing. We like it a lot so far. (Which isn't saying that much; it has only been two days.)

Dasher is doing Susan Wise Bauer's Writing With Ease which, using excellent literature, has copywork, dictation and narration exercises.

Then both Dasher and Nutsy will work through Spell, Say, and Write. This book is a great way to introduce spelling. I have downloaded it onto my computer and tried to find it online but it has disappeared so there is no link.:-(

Math - Math U See

Really loved this last year so it is a keeper. The three older ones love their workbooks and watching Mr. Demme.

Science - Apologia's Land Animals of the Sixth Day

We did Swimming Creatures last year and really enjoyed it. This year I am adding notebooking activities and simple experiments that are suggested in the Land Animals book.

Phonics - Explode the Code and Phonics Pathways

Both Dasher and Nutsy will be using the Explode the Code workbooks to help them learn phonics. I have never used them before but like what I have heard from my friends.

Nutsy will be starting with the letter A in Phonics Pathways.

Co-op - Matres Magistres

In our co-op this year we will be learning about Beethoven and Vivaldi, 4 different hymns, memorization passages and a weekly nature study. The core part though will be on California history. We will study the native Californians, Spanish explorers, gold rush and modern times using the book, His California Story. The older children will learn note taking skills, read biographies, and have book reports and oral reports to do. The younger children will read books and do crafts and coloring pages. And living where we are in the heart of gold country, I am sure we will be heading to lots of fun field trips this year too.

So that is it in a nutshell; I hope to update in a few months on our progress!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday Musings (On Tuesday)

What I'm thinking: That 6am came way too early this early that I failed my challenge on the first day!

What I'm reading:  This last week I was reading curriculum prefaces in order to familiarize myself with some of the new stuff we are doing. It got me really excited and I am ready to start now.

What I'm listening to: Breakfast sounds, the bird chirping, pages turning.

What we're learning:  We start school today! In history we are learning about the Pentecost, Saul/Paul and his missionary journeys, the older ones are starting a new grammar curriculum and I will be beginning to teach a little one to read for the last time. :-(

What I'm watching: My kids trying to wake up. We all deserve a bit of grace this morning; Sunday night we all slept on sofas and floors and were serenaded by noisy coyotes.

What's cooking:  Tonight I am making Eggplant Parmesan with a green salad and breadsticks.

What I'm buying:  Well, I had problems this morning getting up with my Joy in the Morning Challenge, so I'm off to buy an alarm clock this afternoon.

What I'm thankful for: For encouraging friends. I am so blessed by them!

What I'm creating: Lessons plans for little ones. I am helping out in the preschool Sunday school class the next two months so I am going through the lessons and figuring out how it works.

What I'm praying: That I would be constantly reminded of the amazing grace that God extends to me, undeserving; and to extend that same grace to those around me.

What I'm planning: I know our schedule will need some tweaking after the first week so I am planning for some planning....does that make sense?

What we did this last weekend: We were at church on Sunday then a bunch of us went and walked over the highest bridge in California, then up to our friends house to spend the night. Labor Day we had a party with our church with great food, volleyball and good talks.

What I'm looking forward to: Our co-op will start tomorrow. I have really missed getting together with these families and can't wait for this coming year.

A picture to share:

~Summer Roses

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

I was looking at my blog recently and realized that with the busyness of the end of the summer, I forgot to blog about the play the two older ones were in at the beginning of August. Sorry, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else who is interested.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is written by Mark Twain and is a humorous account of a boy who gets transported back into the Middle Ages. The play that this bunch of fine homeschoolers did was adapted to modern times and had nice and easy English; a welcome change from last years' Shakespearean language.

Mr. Lego was a bully named Hercules.

Those are supposed to be tattoos on his arms, although I don't think he would have gotten through the school door if he had had them. But it still makes him look mean.

Bookworm was the lady-in-waiting to Queen Guenevere.

Lovely ladies.

I took photographs for the cast and while I was waiting for some of them to get made up I had fun with my camera.

Mr. Lego's part was only in the beginning; he was in the modern part and he and Hank, the main character, get into a fight.

Here the teacher is telling them to behave.

Finally Hercules has had enough and wallops one to Hank.

The hit looked and sounded pretty realistic too. This big punch sends Hank back into time and King Arthur's Court.

Bookworm was ready and played her part well. Here she is with the other members of the court, including Sir Lancelot, Lady Alisande and Lady Dinadin.

That is pretty much the extent of  their parts; but I don't want to leave you hanging so I will tell you what happens in the story.

Hank fights Sir Lancelot and wins, then predicts the sun's eclipse which convinces King Arthur to make him a knight.

Bookworm does make another stage appearance with Queen Guenevere to announce the second act.

In the second half, a year has passed in Camelot and Hank has made modern changes. Merlin and Morgan le Fey don't like this and plot to kill him.

They trap him, strike him down and use a spell to send him back to modern times.

And that's the story! These kids did everything....costumes, stunts, props, hair and make-up. During the second act, Mr. Lego was part of the stage crew.

I am so glad that the two older ones had the opportunity to be involved in this play with such fun young people.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Joy in the Morning

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness."

Lam 3:22-23

I am not a morning person. I love staying up late and sometimes even feel a burst of energy around 9pm. I don't make it a habit to stay up really late; I do go to bed at the same time as my Sweetie, usually around 10:30 or 11pm. But I love my sleep. Too much, probably. Even when I stay up later I don't usually sleep in past 8am, but recently that has become my regular wake up time. Now granted, we have not been doing any formal schooling this last month and my responsibilities have been less, but this going to change this next week. I know that getting up earlier is a better thing. I have noticed in the past that when I do get up early I can accomplish so much more in the day. But my flesh is weak and when I hear my Sweetie's alarm going off, I cover my head with my pillow and go back off to dreamland.

God has also blessed me with a couple of children that love the mornings. Bookworm especially puts me to shame and is so cheerful and wide awake; even getting up before the sun has appeared. I know this is one of my weaknesses that I am needing to address, and I thought I would drag all you faithful readers into this and use this blog to help keep me accountable. So this is the challenge:

in the

On Tuesday, September 7th I am going to start a new morning schedule. It will look like this:

- Drag myself out of bed. Cheerfully get out of bed. Make tea. Have Bible/prayer time.

- Eat breakfast and have computer/blogs/Facebook time.

7:00am - Clean up room/kitchen/anything-else and wake up kiddos.

7:30am - Work out.

8:15am - Shower/dress.

Look at all I can do by 8:30am! The kids will have their own schedules that they will be following when they get up so we will all be ready for school to start at 8:45.

So on weekdays through the whole month of September I am going to be doing this challenge. I'll blog about it, not every day or anything like that, but just enough so that I you can see if I can do it. Please pray for me to be consistent and cheerful. And please, feel free to join me. There is strength in numbers!