Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day #50/175 Days - Field Trip

Today we journeyed to the big city and say a wonderful performance of the Nutcracker. What made this unique was that it was a behind the scene look at how they stage it. It was geared to school groups. Some of our favorites were the mice who came out before the show started (since we were asked to be there 30 minutes early) and entertained the kids. Here is Happy giving the Mouse King a "high five."

There was a "guide" to the show who explained the story and what was happening in the dances. Not only was this good for the kids but it was also good for me. I'm not a dancer and never have been. I think ballet is beautiful but I don't always understand the story.

The dancers were simply beautiful and did an excellent job.

While riding two & from the city we listened to some Jonathan Park cd's (science) and Adventures in Odyssey (character).

After we went to the Nutcracker we surprised the boys with a visit to the mall. Why? Because this was set up in the middle of it....

Conductor was thrilled. Of course, all he really wants to do is drive the train. We also treated them to two rides on this....

Their first ride they all sat on horses. The second ride they were able to snag this "teacup" and spin themselves as they went around. I could only watch for so long before I would get dizzy. They had a fantastic time though!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day #49/175 Days

  • Piano Practice
  • Advent preparation
  • Jotham's Journey
  • AWANA verses
  • Listened to an audio book (Christmas Every Day)
  • Piano Lessons
  • Mission India - Day 9

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day #48/175 Days

  • Piano Practice
  • Piano Lessons
  • Independent Reading 
  • PC
  • Educational TV (Myth Busters, etc.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day #47/175 Days - Fine Arts Co-Op

Today was another day of our "Fine Arts Co-Op" my sister & I are doing this year. It's working rather well overall.

Our focus today for music was on the celesta, tubular bells, and Tchaikovsky. (Tomorrow we're going to see a performance done of the Nutcracker.)

On the drive to my sister's house (it takes about an hour) we listed to "Tchaikovsky Discovers America." We really love these Classical Kids stories and listen to them often.

Here is a breakdown of what we did:

  • Read about the celesta in Story of the Orchestra and listened to the track 
  • Created a mini-book about this instrument
  • Each boy gives me one thing about the instrument and I write it on the wipe board. They then choose three to copy in to their mini-book.
  • Read about tubular bells in Story of the Orchestra. No track to listen to
  • Created a mini-book about this instrument (same process as above)
  • Read Famous Children: Tchaikovsky by Ann Rachlin
  • Read about Tchaikovsky in "Young Scholars" book
  • Answered "Student Review" questions as we went along
  • Created a mini-book about Tchaikovsky (same process as before)
The boys then enjoyed their favorite part of the day...lunch & play time. After lunch it's time for art.
  • Watched Lesson 4 in "God & the History of Art" on the "Byzantine Period." (This is a great series with Barry Stebbing. I purchased it here.)
  • Discussed the video
  • Watched the next section of "Beginning Drawing" (purchased it here)
  • Read about Claude Monet in Art in Story (great book!)
  • Watch "Linnea in Monet's Garden" (via Netflix streaming)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day #46/175 Days

Today was our second craft fair for Money Camp. It was a brand-new fair at a local elementary school - the first year they have hosted one. It was probably the best one for the boys.

Lego-Man sold three computer games. However, we discovered that many of the disks he burned were not working. (Update: I have been trying to burn replacement disks but they just aren't working. It shows they are burning but when I go to test them after it shows they are blank. We need to get some burned in order to replace ones that we know aren't working. Any ideas?)

Conductor again made roughly $6 in sales. I'm so amazed at this little guy! He is very happy at the table. He greets everyone there and is eager to show off his product. A born salesman perhaps? I have said he's never met a stranger and that is a great selling point at the fairs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day #45/175 Days

  • Piano Practice
  • Play Wits & Wagers (an upcoming TOS Crew review item - super fun!)
  • Play Sum Swamp (great math game)
  • Read to self for 30 mins.
  • Read to Happy for 15 mins.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day #44/175 Days

A lazy, laid back, unschooling type of day. We ended it with two hours at AWANA. I'm sure there was more that happened today, but I can't remember just now - almost a month later! ;-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day #43/175 Days Co-Op

Today was an interesting day at co-op. We were happy to have a guest speaker with us. Julienne Lebrun joined us to talk about Haiti. She is the co-founder of a group called A Heart for Haiti Missions. What a blessing it was to have her here to speak with the children. She goes to Haiti every 3-4 months to continue support there. The group has adopted an orphanage and thankfully each child there now has a sponsor. Prior to that they children would only receive one meal every three or four days. So sad. She had a great slide show plus videos she shared with the children. Her heart really is for these poor unfortunate people. Haiti was a very poor country prior to the earthquake and now the cholera outbreak and riots that are going on there.

Julienne shared a story of a recent trip when they were traveling through a village. They stopped and asked a woman there to cook them some rice to eat in exchange for payment. She replied that she had no rice. They then asked her to direct them to someone else in the village who might be able to help them. She replied, "You don't understand. There is no rice in the entire village. There is nothing to eat here at all." Can you even imagine?

Julienne spoke for about an hour and then left to get ready to actually fly out to the Dominican Republic that very night - well early morning. The last I saw on the Facebook page for their mission trip, she had successfully made it in to Haiti. Please keep them the mission in prayer.

After this was all over, the children did some activities about Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day #42/175 Days

Today we attended our monthly art class. The focus today was sculpture. It looked like so much fun, I paid to take the class as well.

The first sculpture was created with 14 gauge artist wire and river rocks. The children were given five strands. They twisted them together in the middle....

Then they spread them out - "like a spider"....

The next step was to plop a river rock in the center (on top of the twisted area) and then begin to fold the wires around the rock. Once that was done, they again twisted the wires together...

Then they began to create wire trees.

This is Conductor's finished product. However, once he got home he added a bit of sparkle to his tree..

Those are marbles. He ended up giving this away to a friend and made one for his brother as well (the friend's brother - also a friend of Conductor's...confusing no?). 

The boys had so much fun with this activity that they wanted to make more for gifts. We stopped for lunch at  a park down the street from the art studio and Lego-Man gathered river rocks. The next afternoon I picked up more wire. It wasn't the same gauge so it didn't bend quite as easily but it still worked well enough. 

This wasn't the end of the class though. After this activity they were each given a chunk of plaster and a bunch of various tools and began carving. It was super messy but super fun as well.

As I mentioned above we stopped at a park down the street for lunch. A friend joined us and the boys had a good time playing on the playground and visiting a bit. 

After lunch we headed off to piano lessons. We are all still very much enjoying them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day #41/175 Days

  • Piano lessons - postponed from earlier in the week due to Happy having strep throat
  • 4-H meeting
    • We discussed our upcoming year. Taste-tested our fundraiser (cookies and candy bars) and handed out order forms. 
    • Discussed banking issues and resolved those
    • I'm really  looking forward to the upcoming year! Our focus will be theater/drama/puppets. FUN!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day #40/175 Days

  • A low key day
  • Reading
  • PC
  • Wii play
  • AWANA (2 hours)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day #39/175 Days

Today the boys attended their first craft fair as participants. This was their "final" for Money Camp. They all did great. Every person sold at least three things.

Lego-Man was selling computer games he created. He used GameMaker to create them having bought the pro version but they do have a free version. He also used a free trial of Tektoma (a review product from last year) that shows how to use GameMaker. He had planned to make four games to sell but only managed two - a maze game and a platform game (think Mario Brothers).

Lego-Man was patient and didn't give in to discouragement. It took a bit before anyone bought one. He ended up selling three total at this craft fair.

Conductor surprised me when he announced he wanted to sell paper airplanes. He was very specific that was what he wanted to do so I let him. He sold $6 worth and he only charges $0.50 for a standard plane (not a standard design though) and $0.75 for a "catapult plane." It's a standard paper airplane with a hole punched near the front. A rubber band is added and it's launched using an unsharpened pencil.

Overall "Money Camp" has been great for the boys. They've learned a lot about business and how to market and such.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day #38/175 Days

  • Independent Reading (30 mins)
  • Piano Practice
  • AWANA club (2 hours)
  • PC time

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day #37/175 Days - Field Trip

Today was our last Maine studies focus at co-op. The rest of the year will be spent on holiday information. Conductor did a report on Maine blueberries. The younger group where Happy is - finished up making their Maine lapbooks. 

After lunch we headed to the Maine State Museum. I had set up a tour for our group. We had two classes (one on wool carding and one on the history of farming in Maine) and a tour of their Made in Maine exhibit. Sadly  my head wasn't on straight and I didn't realize I had set up a 12:30 start. We had been doing other classes all year that started at 1pm so that's what I thought. Thankfully the museum guides were understanding and able to accommodate us even though my face was a tad red.

Our group started out with wool carding (I won't be posting lots of photos as other children are in most of them):

They were each given a piece of raw wool to card and then once that was done they were shown how to hand spin it. It really showed them the hard work that goes in to making clothing. I loved how it was hands on.
Yes, he is stepping on it to keep it in place.

From there we headed to the Made in Maine exhibit. The boys and I have done this tour in the past but it was still fun to go through. I'm really amazed at all the neat things this museum has in order to tell the history of Maine. One day soon I'm going to go spend the day here all by myself so I can read all the information!

This photo is just an example of one of the exhibits we saw...

We ended the day at the farming exhibit. It was interesting but I personally felt he emphasized evolution a tad too much. The kids enjoyed it all the same and it gave us something to discuss later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day #36/175 Days

  • Piano Lessons (2 hours total for all four of us)
  • Discussion about the election
  • Independent reading (30 minutes)
  • PC - games and learning

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day #35/175 Days

A "Fun Day" of school. H&H were here.

  • Mission to India study
  • Twice Freed (this is a review product we are using)
  • H&H and Conductor and Happy spent quite a bit of time coloring fall pictures while I read.
  • Trees are Terrific - awesome link! Check it out. I chose the one that did the reading for me. 
  • Leaf Rubbings
  • Fall Pattern page 
  • Lego-Man did his research and paper for his co-op project
  • Conductor - ABC sorting page and a fall story page
  • Conductor - He is working on his blueberry research for his co-op project.
  • Happy - practiced writing his numbers 
  • Lego-Man is working on computer programming - making his games for his 4-H project.
  • Conductor & Happy listen to Adventures in Odyssey in their room during H&H's nap time.
  • Practice Piano