Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What we've been up to- homeschool part 1

Thought now was a good time to play catch up and focus on a few things A has done in school this year.
She wrote this research report on leaches after becoming interested in them from her online class.

We are using Build Your Library as our main curriculum this year, and this awesome book is part of the 8th grade curriculum.
Several sections are assigned each week and it opens up a new way of looking at math and mathematicians.

A read this section leading up to our study on Fibonacci....

...and then illustrated the story with her own comic.

After reading about both Fibonacci and the golden ratio...

...A graphed her on.

Stay tuned for more of what we've been up to!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Growing so fast

Little W is growing so fast. He's not a little baby anymore. Everyday he is more and more his own little person. He knows all his letters and their sounds, can count to 30, knows a few sight words, and is constantly exploring an on the go.

We had an exceptionally warm November day last week. The temperature soared to almost 70. The sun was out and A went fishing with dad. Little W and I took a walk and enjoyed the wonderful day.

So like his sister; he hates to stop long enough to get his picture taken, but I did manage to get a few.

This little guy makes me smile.

I love the beautiful sky. It's no wonder Montana is called "Big Sky Country". The Rocky Mountains on the horizon make my heart sing.

My little guy looks so grown up in this picture.

It was nice to have some one on one time with this little man.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Grasshopper dissection!

I am so glad we found Athena's Academy ! A absolutely loves the online classes she is taking this semester. She not only is exposed to so many new ideas and concepts, but she is retaining so much as well. She honestly can't say whether she likes Microbes or Comparative Invertebrate Anatomy more.

She does love the dissection labs in CIA though! Last week was her second lab and she dissected a grasshopper. Now let me tell you, that was tricky! Even thought this was a massive grasshopper in terms of grasshopper size, it's still a tiny creature. After examining the external structures, she removed the legs, wing coverings, and wings. Then she proceeded to cut away the exoskeleton while attempting to leave the muscular structure intact. That took quite a bit of patience. Once done, she was able to begin to remove the muscle structure and observe the internal organs. A very cool experience for a kid that has caught many a grasshopper over the years.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tot school time!

I've been meaning to post this for so long. Little W and I are having so much fun doing tot school! He can even read some words now. I forget how amazing this age is. 

We spent a few weeks studying apples. We read The Apple Pie Tree....

...then we made apple stamps and painted an apple tree...

...and made apple prints!

We painted the word Apple too. W loves painting just like mom.

So much fun with this little guy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Earthworm Dissection!

A is taking two online classes this semester for gifted students. Both are through Athena's Academy. Comparative Invertebrate Anatomy is a semester long course exploring all aspects of invertebrates. Professor Becky is great and the students are really learning a lot. It has an optional dissection component which of course A decided to do. A couple of weeks ago, they had their first earthworm. 

These little creatures are a great deal more complex than I ever knew.

Did you know that earthworms have 5 hearts? I didn't.

A was fascinated... and learned that birds are not the only animals that have a gizzard.

This was right up her alley and really brought what she had been studying to life. They have a grasshopper, a crawfish, and a sea star to dissect as well. She can't wait to dissect the grasshopper which I believe is their next assignment so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bioethics- designing our own homeschool course

A has developed a deep interest in the questions modern technology and biological advances raise. It all started with this Usborne Book. Genes and DNA is a great book and address the surfaces of these biological advances. A started reading this one night and we dove into a deep conversation at 10:30 at night.

The next day I gave her the Jodi Picoult book, My Sister's Keeper. She LOVED it and the intense questions it raises.

I then pulled out some books from my college freshman seminar class and gave A an article from it to read.

This is the paper she wrote after reading it. I am loving the conversations she and I have over these topics.

So now I am designing our own homeschool curriculum to count as a half credit for high school.
For the spine I am using the NIH Exploring Bioethics curriculum. You can take a look at it here.
It is a great curriculum. We started with examining types of questions and researching what exactly bioethics is and why it is needed.

I will be posting more about this later once I have the curriculum more fleshed out. We will be using lots of extra books, both fiction and nonfiction books, to round out our curriculum. Stay tuned for the complete list!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Little Nature Study

The weather has turned cooler, but in the past month we have had some great days to get out and enjoy our world.

A still enjoys playing and dressing up. I love that, and her imagination is incredible. I know at 9.5 these years are moving so quickly. Here she was dressed in her fur trapper outfit. We were in the front yard observing the many grasshoppers that were around in the beginning of September. A loves these little creatures.

A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of meeting this little guy.

He flew right into our big front window and we found him in the grass lying still on his back with just his legs twitching. We took him and gently held him until he seemed to regain his senses.

After about 10 minutes or so, he flapped a few times and off he flew. It was an amazing experience for the kids.

And of course no summer nature study can be complete without ..... ladybugs!

Ladybugs have been everywhere! Little W now searches for them everytime we go outside and he has a keen eye. We captured about 30 to observe and released them all back into the yard.

Our orb weaver spider friend from last year is back and has been busy. He makes the most beautiful webs and it's a pleasure for us to go outside each day and see what he has created.

I will leave you with the dragonfly W and I rescued. We observed it for a while and noticed it didn't move. Then ants came and the dragonfly started twitching but still did not fly. We lifted the pine straw and found it's leg was stuck. Shaking it gently it was able to dislodge and off it flew. He was a beauty!

I love seeing the natural world though my children's eyes.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A peek into our tot school- 26 months

We are a month into our school year, although last week we really didn't do much as all of us were under the weather. So far this year has been pretty AMAZING! A is LOVING her curriculum and I will be posting more on that tomorrow. For now, I want to focus on little W. He is 26 months old now. He is constantly on the go, amazingly smart, and makes me laugh all day. He's also stubborn and headstrong just like his sister.

Somehow, just like A, he has learned all his letters. Yes, at 26 months he knows all letters, both upper and lowercase, and their sounds. He is constantly pointing out letters in everything he sees. This morning he stretched and crossed his legs and said "look legs make x". He reminds me of A so much.

This weekend I was busy making this awesome tot school board for W.

He had a blast today choosing the weather and dressing the bear.

Just like I did with his big sister, we have lots of Montessori trays out. This one is currently his favorite.

I finally ordered some dot markers and they have been a hit. He loves dotting pages upon pages of paper. Thankfully DH brings scrap paper home for us.
Today he used the markers to identify capital and lowercase As.

Of course with Fall on it's way. We have been reading about apples!
 More dot marker fun!

File folder games keep him busy while I help his big sister with her school work.

We've been exploring patterns as well.

Working on number recognition is fun when you get to play with rice.

Anything to keep this little guy busy.

This is his favorite game. He tells me to write letters. I write a bunch on a page and he takes a dot marker and marks them as I say the letter or the sound. It's so adorable and of course the grandparents have received many a video of this.

These puzzles are now to simple for him, but he loves them just the same. *and I love to hear his cute little voice naming the vehicles. Helicopter, just so cute! It's time to order some more complex puzzles I guess.

Well off to bed. Morning comes early, but I hope you enjoyed a peek into our tot school.