Wednesday, December 30, 2015

18 months?!?!

My little guy turned a year and a half today. 18 months.... Where has the time gone?

He is so smart, mischievous, and lovable! He completes our family and brings us all such joy! He is seriously a major goofball!

He LOVES all things cars, trucks, or trains. If it has wheels or flies he is fascinated with it! There is almost always a vehicle in his hand!

His favorites books are Dino Bites, Dig Dig, Diggers, and Dancing Dinos Go to School. He adores books and we can read for hours each day. So like his sister.

He loves to watch Little Einsteins and Chuggington and his favorite movie is,of course.... Cars! 

He follows his big sister everywhere and wants to do everything she does. He loves to play with her.

He can understand ANYTHING you say, taking us quite by surprise at times with his comprehension. His language skills just took off in the last few days while Nana was here. He went from being able to say 4 words which he only used occasionally to having more than 30 and using them quite frequently.
As of today, W can sign....
Thank you

He can say...
Ansley (Ana)
Night Night
Ho ho ho
Uh oh
Ka Chow (from the movie Cars)

He also knows lots of body parts and when asked can point to his....

He can run, kick a ball, and can throw both under and over hand. He is down to one nap a day most of the time and likes to take his favorite toys to bed with him. 

We are so blessed to be able to watch him grow and change each and every day! Happy half birthday little W!

Winter Soltice

Do you celebrate the winter soltice? We do because, well heck, I like to celebrate every little thing. Somehow it just makes life more special to have those moments!

I love living where we have snow in winter. Growing up Southern, I never really felt in touch with the seasons. Here the rhythm of the seasons is unmistakable.

We started out our soltice celebration making bird seed treats for our feathered friends who didn't migrate South for the winter.
These are super simple to make and turn out beautiful. You can use any cookie cutters you have as a mold.

You will need:
Wax paper
4 cups birdseed
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 envelope unflavored gelatin 
Non-stick cooking spray
Cookie cutters
Ribbon, twine, or yarn

Stir together water, flour, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large bowl. Fold in birdseed 1 cup at a time till combined.

Spray your cookie cutters with cooking spray and place on wax paper. 

Fill the molds with the birdseed mixture and pat smooth. Use a straw to poke a hole all the way through in the place you want the string to go.

Let sit for 3 hours and the gently remove the straws and press bird feeders out of molds. Place back on wax paper and let dry over night.

String and hang outside for your feathered friends to enjoy. 

We hung ours in several place both in the front and back yard.

After hanging the tasty treats, I headed in to warm up while A stayed out to play in the snow and work on her snow fort.

I warmed myself by the blazing fire until she headed back in.

After warming up with some hot tea, A and I set to work making paper snowflakes. I had forgotten how much fun these are to make!

We hung them with string in our front winter to look at all season long!

We ended our celebration with some yummy sun and star cookies!
How did you enjoy the day?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A day at the creek

I'm looking back to the end of October on the blog tonight.
Cut Bank creek cuts through the western edge of our town. Dh and A spent a great deal of time there this fall, fishing and exploring. One weekend in late October, little W and I tagged along.

It's quite a hike down into the gorge. Going down wasn't too bad, but climbing back up with W strapped to me was ROUGH! It was worth it though to see the beauty of this land.

Little W loved being able to run and play, exploring the fall prairie grasses, splashing about at the edge of the creek, and throwing rocks into the water.

A showed me all the spots she likes to explore. We found deer and mountain lion tracks by the water, and A pulled out numerous crawfish to show me. She also collected the bleached shells of deceased ones to bring home in her pack.

Dh spent his time fly fishing of course! What else would he do? If there's a river, stream, or creek, he will fish it!

It was a spectacular day. The golden light on the prairie cast magnificent shadows and poured peace over my soul.
Life is good.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Astronomy- technology and homeschooling

More Science! Our favorite subject in this house! We have been dabbling in Astronomy and A studied the life cycle of a star and then created this poster. It's now hanging in the school room above her desk.

Last Wednesday A attended an online astronomy webinar put on by Aurora Lipper from Supercharged Science. She's an actual rocket scientist who has worked for NASA and taught at Cal Poly State. Who better to learn astronomy from?

A loved it and was engaged the entire 2 hours!

Needless to say, she enjoyed it so much that we purchased the curriculum and will be starting an in depth study of astronomy after the holidays! We can't wait!

I love how homeschooling is enhanced through the power of technology and the internet. While I miss Unalaska with all my heart, I have to remind myself that this is one reason we moved. The spotty and slow internet made these type of experiences impossible. For a gifted child, technolgy allows her to access great minds throughout the world and connect with students far and wide. In fact there were over 1,500 students watching and interacting during this live webinar....that is INCREDIBLE!

Thanks for checking in and taking a peek at what we've been up too,

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A bit of beauty

Just a bit of beauty to brighten your weekend. A view from town.


These cuties are my heart and they are two peas in a pod.

Truly blessed.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ancient Israelites, India, and some snap circuit engineering

I love how Oak Meadow incorporates history and language arts. That and the fact that there are SO many choices for assignments, make my life much easier as a homeschooling parent. In the last few weeks A studied the Ancient Israelites as well as Ancient Indian civilization. Both are such fascinating cultures to focus on.

A spent two weeks learning about the Ancient Israelites, their stories, and their symbols. She made this page to add to her notebook after researching many of the symbols that have carried over into today's Jewish customs.

She had several writing assignments which included an interview with Noah as well as a short paragraph on how she would feel if she were Sarah after studying the story of Sarah and Abraham.

Of course we went over the ten commandments again. She copied them down on parchment paper and they are now hanging in our school room.

We only spent a week on Ancient India, although we could have spent much longer. We listened to Indian music, read Indian folk tales, and learned about the caste system of Ancient India. For her assignment, A had to chose a caste to be a member of and to write a letter to a friend about how she felt being unable to move between castes. She used an online name generator to come up with the names :)

Of course, she never stops learning. She spent this past Saturday hanging out in her room playing with her snap circuit kit away from the grasping hands of her little brother. She came out with a big smile on her face! She had built a working AM radio and spent the rest of the weekend listening to the radio while playing in her room! I love her passion and enthusiasm for everything she does!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Science- a little bit of chemistry

We've been having fun with science lately, skipping around through chemistry and earth science, whichever she is in the mood for that day, with a little bit of quantum physics thrown in for fun. 
A few weeks ago, we spent some time on atoms and valence shells. She had some fun filling the shells with left over skittles from Halloween.
You've got to love eating your electrons after a science lesson!

I picked up this Cartoon Guide to Chemistry on Amazon and A is LOVING it. It's basically high school chemistry in cartoon form. I catch her reading it at completely random moments, That's when you know its a good book.

We spent some time on the whiteboard learning about electron orbitals and writing them out like a chemist.

Then we found a cool game where you can make your own atom. I think she played on this for over an hour.

We are still loving The Elements that we picked for part of our curriculum this year.

Science is probably one of the subjects we are most relaxed with in our homeschool. We jump around, follow rabbit holes. and use so many different resources and curriculum that it would make your head spin, but it works for us. A's grasp of science concepts reaches into the upper college level on some sub specialties. She reads everything she can get her hands on that is remotely scientific, so I am okay with this approach. It's a bit more unschoolish than anything else we do, and it gives us a nice break from scheduled work. Some days it's all we do. As the years go on, I relax a lot more and realize that we learn more when we don't follow my set schedule. Maybe one day I'll relax enough to take this appraoch with everything!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ancient Egypt study

It is time to play catch up and spot light some of A's work from our study of Ancient Egypt. 

We have since moved on and covered the Ancient Israelites, Ancient India, and we are now on our second week of studying Ancient China. 

We spent quite a bit of time in Ancient Egypt so to speak, and learned a great deal.

A learned about the development of mathematics, the calander, and the Egyptian Water Clock. She created this page for her notebook.

We spent time learning about Egyptian architecture and she added this page, as well as a page about the Sphinx, to her main lesson book.

We concluded our study with a research paper on the Egyptian afterlife and their belief system. This was a great opportunity to really sure up her research skills. A took notes and used many different sources in her research. I then taught her the steps for creating an outline for this type of paper. She did a terrific job. She found that creating such an outline first helped tremendously when writing the actual research paper. Here is the finished product.

We are still loving Oak Meadow's 6th Grade Ancient Civilizations. It is such a great fit and the project choices really stretch A while allowing her to showcase her creative side.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Egyptian Art

I'm going to be playing catch up on the blog this week. I've been super busy but loving every minute of it.

 In my last post, I mentioned that I have started two new business ventures. I am sure you are curious to what I've been up to. Well for one, I am now teaching violin. That's right, all those years of lessons and playing and I'm now giving back. 

I've taught A right from the start and she is really progressing. I have yet to live in a place where there is another violin teacher for her to take from, so it's been something I've done with her myself. This summer, I was approached by a mother I met about giving her children lessons. Her son already played and had been traveling across the boarder for lessons but his teacher quit. At first I said no, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided "why not!" As of now I am teaching 5 students a week (not including my own sweet girl) with a 6th starting in December. It has been a lot of fun and I am really enjoying it!

My second venture that I have taken on is one that is near and dear to my heart! BOOKS!  That's right, I am now an independent consultant for Usborne Books and More! I have always loved their books and when the opportunity to join presented itself, well I jumped on it. This is a picture of my second success story kit I recieved last week!
You can check out these AMAZING books and more at my site and be in the look out for some GREAT Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. 

Of course all of this along with homeschooling a child with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge with busy toddler running around, means I am busier then I have ever been before! Tonight as I listen to the wind howling outside bringing back memories of my windswept island,  I am looking back on the Egyptian Portrait project A worked on in October.

 Our study of Ancient History of course took us through Egypt, and as westudied  Egyptian art,we took note of the forward facing body with face turned in profile that is prevalent in much of the Egyptian art from this time period. A spent one afternoon drawing a portrait in the Egyptian style on unbleached parchment paper. On a second day we pulled out the chalk pastels and I have gave an introduction on working with them. She spent the next few hours completing her Egyptian portrait.

I love the holistic approach of educating. Involving not just the brain, but the heart and soul in learning is paramount. It really is the extras, the music and art, that creates a balanced and soulful education experience.Unfortunately, this is missing from so many schools today and it is one of the beauties I find in creating this homeschool life.