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Monday, June 21, 2010

Almost done! The race is on!!

This week we begin our final scheduled week of school. There is however a race between the last day of school and when the baby will actually make an appearance... as I type this I am wishing to wake up tomorrow morning in labour! I am 8 days from my due date so we will see!

Before that happens I wanted to briefly reflect on our year... We made it and we are all still alive :) Some days I didn't know if I was coming or going, other days I felt like a homeschooling pro.. we had ups and downs but we have all learned and grown. Mostly I learned that this role of a homeschooling mom takes perseverance, commitment, prayer, support from others and unconditional love for my children. It is not an easy road and some days I'll admit I HATED my job but there were those moments that made it all worth it.

We will continue to work on some things during the summer. I don't want them to completely forget about what they have learned both academically and discipline/ structure wise. We have not completed Kai Kai's math curriculum so my aim is to work on it a couple times a week so we can finish that before we begin his grade 2 work. We will also continue with spelling since he is really enjoying SpellingCity . I will continue LiLi's reading lessons since he is really getting the hang of reading... he is sounding out words and gaining more and more sight words each day. Most of all he wants to read so I don't want to quench that in any way. Buttercup will have lots of time to play and learn how to be a big sister... which shouldn't be too hard. She's been turning any inanimate object into a is hilarious to watch her carry a broom or a trash can like it is her child (yes she does have dolls but if you have kids you know they go for the everyday objects before the real toys.)

Before I end I'll fill you in on some things we have been doing over the past couple of weeks...

We continued to work on our Ocean Animals Lapbook which we should complete this week. The kids have enjoyed learning about jellyfish, crabs, sharks, whales, wahoo, marlin and other sea life. I am looking forward to doing more lapbooks with them next year as they are very engaging. The boys really got into this one and remember lots of facts about the animals they studied.

We did some cooking science... a cake experiment. We baked 4 mini cakes. The first one we made together, the second one Buttercup made and left out the oil, the third one LiLi made and left out the eggs, and the 4th one KaiKai made and left out the baking powder. We wanted to see what the end result would be for each. All LiLi wanted to know was if we would be able to eat the cake when we were done!

Once baked we cut each in half and observed the texture first and then we tasted each. None of the cakes turned out stellar taste wise- even the one we all made- but as expected that one was the most edible and had great texture. Needless to say LiLi was quite disappointed that it wasn't yummy cake! Buttercup on the other hand didn't seem to care, even asking for more!

The cake without oil was dry, the one with out eggs took much longer to bake and was quite stodgy and the one without baking powder was drier than the one without eggs, but was very heavy.

Of course I couldn't pass on the opportunity for some character building. I explained to the kids that we all have a role to play and when we don't work together we won't get the best result. It was a good object lesson in spite of the disappointment of not being able to eat cake!

LiLi and Butercup have been taking swim lessons this month. We have been spending as much time as possible in the pool which is where we will be for most of the sumer!!

Last week we met up with my friend Mari-Ann and her son for a play date. She is a true inspiration to me with all her ideas she uses to teach her little one (check out her blog it is awesome!). She is the crafting queen and was kind enough to make us a spinny speller which she featured on her blog not long ago (you can find the tutorial there to make one yourself if you so desire.) Thank you so much Mari-Ann!! LiLi is loving his new "toy!"
picture by Mari-Ann

And finally, like most of the world, we have turned our attention to the FIFA World Cup 2010. I decided to structure school around the World cup fever. KaiKai is loving it as he is so much into sports. We started by printing out blank flags for each country playing and KaiKai coloured them in using a coloured printout of flags as a guide. It is amazing how many flags he now recognizes... many more than I do! We have been tracking the scores of each game and will continue to track which teams make it to the next round. We then printed out a world map and began shading in the countries that are participating. This week we will finish the map work and then choose one or two countries to study in a little more depth. It has been exciting to follow along and has been one of those "reasons I love homeschooling".

Hopefully next time I update I will have baby news!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Look at May

Wow... the month of May flew by... I can't believe I didn't make one post in May. I'll blame it on the 3rd trimester tiredness! We have just over 3 weeks until my due date! I thought I'd better post something before the baby makes an appearance :)

Here is a glimpse of how we spent our May...

JDF & I had a wonderful time away at the beginning of the month. The marriage ministry at our church had a retreat at Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, GA! We had 4 days without the kids!! (thanks Granny & Grandpa, Ma & Pa) It was a great time for us to reconnect, spend time with some other couples and just rest. We enjoyed the ministry of Michael and Amy Smalley, walks around the creek each day and some delicious southern food. Some of the other couples enjoyed the thrill of a zipline, horseback riding and kayaking... I will definitely have to go back to enjoy some of those activities!

We attended our first Homeschoolers sports day. It was a great day that brought together many homeschooling families on the island for some fun competition. The kids loved it although Buttercup didn't like being cheered for... in almost all her races she burst into tears just steps from the finish line!

Buttercup turned 3 ...

She wanted a pink bike and to have a princess party... she has really turned into a girly girl!

We had one of her friends over for a princess dress up / tea party. Her grandparents came as well so we had a nice little party. I think she enjoyed being the center of attention for the day!

We did get to some school work in May too!

LiLi made it to Z in our alphabet curriculum so we celebrated with a alphabet cake. I have now started him with reading prep... he loves to try and sound out words and is recognizing many sight words. We are using the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and Bob Books and he is catching on very quickly. He also enjoys Starfall which is a great online resource for learning to read.

KaiKai is working on a Ocean Animals lapbook as we finish up our study on creation. They all painted coral reefs and have enjoyed learning about life in and around the sea.
I also stumbled upon a GREAT site for Spelling... Spelling City... it allows you the parent/ teacher to load in your own spelling lists (you can also access other public lists) and then the child can go on and play games and do activities using those words. It also has a Teach me component and Test me component. KaiKai is loving it and I no longer get complaints from him when it is time to use his spelling words to make sentences! We are using the free version for now but in September I think I will purchase the full program ($25 per year) and it will keep track of all his test scores and activities he has worked on.

Buttercup continues to enjoy tot school activities and has also become much more independent in her playtime. This makes life easier as she will entertain her self for long periods of time allowing me to focus my attention on teaching the boys. She also gets one on one time with Mommy and lots of attention from her brothers. I am gearing up for the fall when I will add some more focused activities to her workboxes using the help of a curriculum I downloaded from Confessions of a Homeschooler... if you have a preschooler check it out!

Enjoying the outdoors...

We have started having Wacky Snack Wednesday... I try to find a creative snack (sometimes healthy... sometimes not :) that I can prepare for them or they can help me to prepare. Here they are enjoying making cookie pizzas....

I made sugar cookie dough and they shaped it into little pizzas and baked them. Once they cooled we used vanilla pudding with red food colouring for the sauce and the toppings were crasins, chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles. They were fun to make and even more fun to eat!

So that was our May. For June we are winding down the school year and I am busy planning for next year. I am going to post about our curriculum choices for next year and how I have developed as a homeschool mom over this year very soon. Other than that stay tuned for baby news in a few weeks!!