Chasing Cheerios

Monday, July 14, 2014

Picking the Bounty from their Birth Trees

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We planted fruit trees (or bushes) at the birth of each of our girls.  O(7)'s peach and fig trees produce abundantly each year, and E(4) was THRILLED to see pears on her pear tree for the first time ever this summer. (Unfortunately, it appears that her blackberry bush has died...hopefully, it will come back).  We picked almost all of the peaches today, but have barely even scratched the surface of the figs.  We really need to learn to make fig preserves because there is no way we can eat that many figs!  Hopefully, E(4)'s pears will be ready to pick soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Our Cucumber Dome

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We planted our cucumber plants over our old climbing dome, and they is doing wonderfully!  (we did this last year, but all of the plants died)  The girls are reluctant gardeners, but they love to pick the cucumbers.

I planned on the cucumber dome being a fun outdoor playhouse for the girls, but it hasn't worked out that way at all.  The cucumber plants are covered in bees, which is great, but O(7) is allergic, so we certainly don't want her to be in an enclosed area surrounded by bees!  Also, I'd forgotten how prickly cucumber vines are...it would be no fun to play in a house made of them!  So, next summer we may grow a more kid friendly dome, but this summer we are just enjoying our delicious cucumbers!

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 4th Tradition...American Flag Cake

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The girls and my mom decorate a flag cake for July 4th every year.  I love that we have this tradition (and so many more).  Doing these same simple and fun activities every year creates the memories that  our girls will cherish and will hopefully repeat with their own children one day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Absorption Color Wheel Revisited

As I mentioned before, we are big on re-doing experiments that we've loved, and this color wheel was a fun one!  (Following the link for instructions)

We put 6 glass jars in a circle and filled every other jar with water.  The girls took turns putting food coloring (red, yellow, blue) in the water.  We then connected every jar with rolled white paper towels.
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The girls were THRILLED to watch the paper towels absorb the colors.  They were calling out excitedly which colors were moving the fastest up the paper towels.  You know your kids don't get much screen time when watching water travel up paper towels is so thrilling!

We were all pretty excited when the colors started mixing!
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We left the color wheel in the center of the table until the paper towels absorbed all of the water and dried.  The girls are now excitedly making plans for things they can make with their beautiful paper towels!
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Bubble Room Revisted

We found the plastic from our bubble room this weekend while cleaning out our shed.  I was excited to blow it up again, but we only left it up for a few minutes.  The plastic smell was just too strong, and we didn't want the kids breathing in any fumes.  They had fun in it for about 5 minutes though!
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Eventually, I'll tape around all the edges and fill it with water for the kids to jump on.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just an FYI...

I thought I should make this clear...

Whenever I post about our curriculum, I am including everything that I have planned.  I love to plan, and I always plan wayyyyyyyyyyyy more than we have the time, inclination, or motivation to actually do.  The good thing is that there is always something to fall back on if something falls through.

So, I just thought I should let you know that we are, by no means, doing all of the things that I planned to do in this post.  There really just isn't enough time in the day :)   The huge emphasis in our homeschool is reading aloud (followed by narration), spending hours out of doors, and free and independent play.  Everything else is just gravy!

The things we have NOT done yet this summer are...

Discovery Streaming Elementary Spanish...I'm not sure why we haven't done this...it's easy and fun.  I guess the main reason is that I don't like for the kids to watch tv during the day, especially during the summer, so I'm just not turning it on at all, even for school. 

Sequential Spelling...I decided to give O(7) a break from spelling this summer, so we'll begin this again in August. 

Typing...O loves this, but we are waiting to start again in August.  She is really looking forward to getting back to this. 

Woodworking...It's wayyyyyy to hot to do woodworking during the day around here.  This will be a fall and spring activity. 

Meet the Masters...I just can't seem to get this going.  I really want to, but I haven't made it happen yet.  I can't remember my password, so I guess getting a new password is the first step...

The things are ARE doing this summer....

We do fun art and science projects outside almost every day.  These activities are very simple, fun, and quick.  We basically do the same things that we love every summer, and the girls look forward to these specific activities.  

They swim, play, and "cook" on the beach for hours.  They love to lay in the water and listen to me read and read and read.  

We've done a few cooking projects, but nothing major.  We'll do more of that in preparation for O's upcoming birthday.

We've played a few brain games, but we haven't played games everyday like I'd hoped we would.  It turns out that I love the games a lot more than the kids do!  Although, they enjoy them once we get going :)

The girls love Life of Fred, and we read about 3 chapters per week.  The main thing "school" thing we are doing is reading and narration.  They both are excellent narrators, but neither of them enjoy it very much, unfortunately. 

Plaster of Paris Beach Art

This is a fun activity that we haven't done in a few years (we basically do the same activities every summer, so if you are looking for new, innovative ideas, go somewhere else)!

The girls made impressions in the sand with the bottom of an old cooking pot.  They then arranged shells, pieces of old glass, and other random objects in the impression. After I took this picture, I explained to E(4) that she would need to place her shells upside down so that she would be able to see the front after she poured her plaster on them.
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We mixed up the plaster of paris (2 cups of plaster of paris and one cup of water).
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And then poured it over their creations in the sand.
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We let the plaster sit for at least 2 hours before popping it out of the sand.
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We all love their beach art!!!!!
This is E(4)'s...she said that she loves the glass mouth because of the ridges in the glass.
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And this is O(7)'s butterfly and shell art.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Favorite Summertime Activity...Ice Excavation!

Excavating treasures from ice has been one of our favorite summer activities for about 5 years!  The girls and I had fun making their ice treasures yesterday afternoon, and they had a great time excavating this morning!
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They were excited to see that their ice hadn't frozen all the way, so they had ice caves which then melted into very large ice bracelets.
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They poured salt and water on the ice to melt it.
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We couldn't find a hammer, so O(7) brought her softball bat to the beach to beat her ice.
They enjoyed playing with the ice in the lake even more than excavating the treasures, so we are going to make a lot more icebergs just to have in the lake to play with until they melt.  Fun times at Lakeside Homeschool!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer School is Fun!!!

Our girls might groan when they say that they have summer school, but it's all for show because we have nothing but fun!

We spend our mornings on our tiny beach...lately, they've loved making "potions" with shaving cream, food coloring, water, and sand.
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I suggested placing cardstock on their shaving cream/food coloring mixture to make prints, but they were not interested.
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They've painted Van Gogh inspired canvases (and then painted their bodies before jumping in the lake).
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We've had TONS of fun exploring the properties of goop (cornstarch and water).
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E(4) learned how to kayak by herself.
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We've painted with popsicles (food coloring and water).  It didn't work that well, and they much preferred using their popsicles to "cook" on the beach rather than paint.
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And we've read lots and lots and lots of books!

(Now that dropshots is up and running again, I'll be back to blogging on a weekly basis!)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Summer School Curriculum for 2014

We homeschool year round with breaks throughout the year.  However, our summer school curriculum is a little more relaxed and fun than our school year curriculum.  I asked for lots of input from the girls, and I think we are going to have a fantastic and fun summer!

Math

Rightstart Math card games.  We LOVE these card games and will continue to play them throughout the summer.

Life of Fred-  Both girls LOVE the Life of Fred books, and they cheered and jumped up and down when I told them we would do Life of Fred again this summer.



Science

Both girls requested that we do Magic School bus science kits again this summer.  The kits were disappointing to me, but the girls love to get them in the "mail."

Engino -  This is a surprise for the girls, and they are going to LOVE it!  We are going to learn all about and build simple machines this summer.  Elliott (the daddy) is excited about this summer school class!



We'll read Archimedes and the Door of Science.


We also plan to read the Burgess Seashore Book.  We read this book last summer, but didn't finish it.  This summer the girls will keep a science journal as we read each chapter (drawing pictures of the animals and narrating).



daily nature study via kayak rides, nature walks, boat rides, and playing in the lake

Circuits-  The girls love to complete circuits projects.



History

We will continue with our study of American History via American Girls.

We're reading Our Island Story.


And we're looking forward to starting Robin Hood soon.


Spanish

We will continue with Elementary Spanish via Discovery Streaming throughout the summer.


Art

I'm hoping to finally start the Meet the Masters program this summer.  We'll also do tons of messy and creative art activities on our beach on an almost daily basis.


English Language Arts

We will continue to read chapter books aloud together, and O will read chapter books independently.  E enjoys reading BOB books and Hooked on Phonics books aloud.


Spelling-  O will continue to complete her Sequential Spelling lessons throughout the summer (probably just one or 2 lessons per week).



Typing  

O(7) recently started a typing program,and she LOVES it!  She has requested to continue it over the summer.




Music

E(4) has requested a more in depth study of the Carnival of the Animals, and O would like to learn more about Handel.  I'm hoping to find library books about both and to use the materials available for download from the Maestro Classics website.






Cooking

Both girls are interested in learning more about cooking, so I'm planning to set aside at least one afternoon per week for them to focus on cooking.  I'd love suggestions on a great kids' cookbook!

Woodworking

Both girls (especially O) love to build things with their daddy.  Elliott is planning to order a woodworking with kids book and complete several projects with the girls over the summer.  Again, I'd love suggestions on a great book (with plans) for woodworking with kids.

Logic Games, Brain Games, and Puzzles

I really love logic and brain games, and I think they are so important for building thinking skills in kids.  We will devote one afternoon per week to playing logic games.  This is what we'll be playing...
























My plan is to get the girls outside early during the summer, so we can have several hours (4 at least...I hope) to play in the yard and in the lake before it becomes too unbearably hot.  Then we'll do "school" during the hot afternoon hours (probably less than 2 hours per day) before going back outside to play during the late afternoon.  We'll also have Bible School, dance & theater camp, and vacations, so it's going to be a busy and fun summer!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our "Books for Eliza" Read-A-Thon was a Success!!!

O(7) and E(4) successfully raised $520 through their recent read-a-thon!  O read 42 books, and E read 30 books, and their parents, grandparents, cousin, aunt, and uncle paid them for each book they read.  They raided their piggy banks, and their cousin donated her birthday money.  We are so proud of all 3 of our girls!    All of the money went directly to savingeliza.com.  If you haven't yet, take a few minutes to watch the video.  Then donate as much as you can...every little bit helps!

Monday, April 21, 2014

2nd Grade Curriculum

I've had lots of questions about the curriculum we use over the last few months, and it's much quicker to just write a post for everyone to see rather than answer individually. So, I'm going to briefly tell you about the curriculum we have used for O(7)'s 2nd grade year along with links (when possible).   I hope this will help those of you who are making curriculum decision for the 2014-2015 school year.

English Language Arts

We used First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind (Volumes 1 and 2 combined).  We started this book during O's 1st grade year.  She liked it at first, but didn't like it towards the end.


First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, Volume 3-  We started Volume 3 in February, and O LOVES it!  She said every lesson is like playing a game.  We have the teacher's edition and workbook.  The lessons are quick, easy, and fun.



Writing with Ease, Volume 2-  O was not enjoying this book by the end.  However she loves Volume 3 which we started in February.





We are reading the Little House on the Prairie chapter books together.  I read 2 pages, O reads 1, and we go back and forth.  She reads very well with these books, and she loves them, but she is intimidated by the length of the books.


O(7) reads books of her choice from the Reading A to Z library.

Both girls record their thoughts in calendar journals weekly.  These journals are calendars that have just enough room to write a sentence or two.  I'd like to write in them daily, but it usually only happens once or twice a week.  The girls tell me one thing about their day, and I record it in the journal for them.

Reading selections from Ambleside Online

Spelling-  O really doesn't like Sequential Spelling lessons, but she has made a lot of progress since starting.   I recently purchased the dvd, so that she can type her answers on the laptop.  Hopefully, she'll like it a little better since she'll be able to do it independently.


Typing

O(7) recently started a typing program,and she LOVES it!




Math

Rightstart Math Level C.  We LOVE Rightstart Math!!!!!   O is learning math extremely effortlessly, and we are all having fun with it!

Challenging Word Problems-  O completes several word problems per week from this workbook.


Handwriting 

O is learning cursive using Handwriting without Tears.  She is completing this workbook independently, and she is doing a great job.



History

Story of the World, Volume 2.  Both girls love SOTW.  We usually read one chapter per week and complete the mapwork from the workbook.  The girls occasionally color the pics from the workbook, but we rarely do the extra projects.  I doubt we'll order the workbook for 3rd grade.





American History-  We are studying American History through reading the American Girl books.  After we read the AG books, we read other books from the same time period.  We also complete craft and cooking projects from each time period.  This has been LOTS of fun, and we all love it.  I know that the girls are learning and loving history when I overhear them having conversations with each other about the Revolutionary War and Civil War.

reading selections from Ambleside Online

Science

REAL Science Odyssey-  We are studying Earth Science this year.  I really liked this program last year, but we are going to try something different for 3rd grade.  It's just not flowing for us this year.  The projects are fun, and the kids are learning, but something about the format (and I'm not really even sure what) just doesn't work for me.


We have been studying pond/lake life through reading several books and studying our lake.  We all loved Among the Pond People and Pond.






weekly nature walks and nature journals

Music

O takes weekly online piano lessons that my mom facilitates.

We listen to Maestro Classics daily.  We all LOVE Maestro classics.













Spanish

Elementary Spanish classes via Discovery Streaming
Professor Pocket cds
Spanish books and other Spanish music cds



Art

I have tons and tons (way too much) of random arts and crafts materials that are available to the girls at all times.  I am amazed on an almost daily basis by their creativity and levels of concentration and independence as they create with these materials (with no outside influence from me).

I have a 3 year subscription for Meet the Masters, but we haven't used this yet...maybe we'll start this summer.

We've studied several specific artists on Fridays with our group, and we read books about specific artist fairly frequently.  We also have several art memory and card games that we play periodically.




Latin

We love Song School Latin, but we don't get to it as often as I would like.



Geography and Culture

We are studying Russia, Ukraine, and Poland via our cultural exchange packages.  We also enjoy geomaps, google earth, our talking globe (the girls love dancing to the national anthems), and our wall map.  We love the Children Just Like Me books.









Links to Amazon are affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Chasing Cheerios.

I'm working on posts describing our upcoming summer school curriculum, O(7)'s upcoming 3rd grade curriculum, and E(4)'s upcoming 5K curriculum.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Books for Eliza

O(7) and E(4) have been reading books to raise money to help save Eliza for the past month.  They call this "Books for Eliza."  They are sponsored by their grandparents and us, and they earn a specific amount of money for each book they read.  All of the money goes to Eliza.

What can you and your children do to help save Eliza?


Please watch the video and share!!!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maestro Classics - Peter and the Wolf

My girls LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Maestro Classics cds!!! (In fact, I can hear Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel starting now!)  Peter and the Wolf is on sale for 5 dollars for this week, so hurry and buy it!  Here's the link...http://peterandwolf.weebly.com/