School Days

This school year is just moving right along!  Today we finished week 7.  Woo Hoo! 🙂  I am excited about how fast school seems to be going.  I’m pretty sure it has to do with our new curriculum and how it keeps us going every day.  I love not feeling lost and actually having a direction we are going in.  The kids are learning a lot of new things this year.  I probably have said that so many times when I write about school.

Last week we finished up our Columbus Unit in our Paths of Exploration book.  It being the 6th week, we finished up some projects and enjoyed a field trip last Thursday.  We took a field trip to the Imagination Cruise that is put on by Jennings.  We met some other homeschool friends there and had a pretty nice time . . . until it started raining so hard that we had to stay in the boat.  It was so nice cruising along the Three Rivers of Pittsburgh on top of the Empress.  Just hanging out and chatting and taking in the sites.


My friends, Liz (who is also my running buddy) and Katie and their children were all there.

While we were on the Rivers, we saw where the replicas of the Nina and Pinta were parked.  Unfortunately we did not get the chance to see them while we were in town that day.  They left on the 3rd of this month.  So that is a bummer, but at least we got to see them as we rode by on our field trip!

Last week we also learned about the phases of the moon and I found this fun idea on Pinterest.  The kids had a fun time learning out the different phases of the moon and enjoyed the tasty snack while sculpting their Oreos just so.  It made for a nice activity!

This week we started our new unit on Jamestown!  It’s been a pretty good week, though today was not so good.  To be honest, I was just glad to finish the day and have the weekend off!  We did have a field trip again this week!  This time we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo!  It was a rather sudden field trip.  My sister in law asked me Wednesday if we wanted to go Thursday since the weather was to be wonderful (oh, and it was PERFECT)!  So we did!

I love taking pictures of everything the kids do and see.  Well, almost everything.  🙂  I had to be sort of selective yesterday since I realized my battery was almost dead and I had left my charged one at home!  Thankfully I made it the whole field trip and my battery didn’t die!  Anyway, the kids had a blast with their cousin and I had a nice day chatting with my sister-in-law.  We enjoyed all the sites the zoo had to offer.  I loved seeing the baby rhino!  So cute!  🙂  The sun was in and out of the clouds all day and it was a warm 75 degrees.  I got a tiny bit pink on my nose, but I didn’t mind at all!  I figured we all could use a dose of vitamin D before the long, cold winter sets in.

We are going to start using the S.O.A.P. Bible Study method daily.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to use and what to do for Bible Study time and this is such an easy method.  I recently purchased the kids some new study Bibles and am excited for them to put them to use.  It took me a long time to find just the  right ones for them.

That’s all for now!  I’ll write more as our school year moves along!

God Bless!

Youth Field Day 2012

 Learning about bees and beekeeping.

 Tug of war was so fun to watch!
I love how the adults got in on it with the kids.
 Eric even got a grass stain on his pants!
Unfortunately this team lost both times.

 Grace was having a great Stylin’ Saturday.
Totally using this picture to link up this week with

There were lots of Strobel winners this year!
My 3 and then 3 more from Eric’s family that were there, too.
We always have a great day, but it’s very long.
Very Long Day!
7:30am until after 4pm this year.
But it’s worth it to see my kid’s smiling faces!

Flea Market Finds

 I got 5 boxes of k-cups for my Kreuig for a really good deal!
$31!  The Dunkin Donuts isn’t a box, the bag is just behind the stuff.
I got the big box of tea because I haven’t tried any tea to this point.
 I got 2 of these shampoos for $1.00. 
They are sulfate free and my hair feels so nice
and soft today from using it! 
If we go back again, I’m totally looking this guy up to
get some more (if he has it or is there).
I and the rest of my family got terrible sunburn on our faces.
I didn’t think to pack the sunblock, duh!
This picture even takes away from the redness of my nose.
My poor kiddos and husband are all fried, too.
Funny how you can get burned in 50 degree weather.
I need to keep a small sunblock in the car all the time.
Did I mention the dirt there was horrendous? 
It made us all gross and nasty feeling.
My hair was so matted that I was sure we’d have
to get out the scissors.  I’ve never had my hair so bad
that I could barely get a brush through it.
We were quite grungy, tired (we left home just after 6am), but
had a wonderful day!
Some family favorites we always get out there are:
Smoked Cheddar Cheese blocks, meat sticks (SO good!),
onions – my husband and son really like eating the cheese
and onions together.  I just can’t do it.  The onions would kill me.
Anyway, we also get some candy and gum and whatever
other good deals we see that strike us at the moment.
I priced washboards and crocks (love them both), but they were all
pretty expensive.  Must be the hot items these days and
I think they were all in competition with each other.  Shopped
around to see what the going prices are for those things.
While there I carried my camera around, but I just could not
get it out and take pictures because it was so dusty and dirty.
There was a nice layer of dust on everything, everywhere.
On the way home we stopped at HHGregg in Boardman, Ohio
and were not impressed at all.  I mean it was crickets in there
and there wasn’t really much to choose from.
No wonder the parking lot was mostly empty!
We decided to visit the Best Buy close by and felt
much more at home.  Yesterday I bought my chip for my Nike
and a case to carry the ipod in while running.  Now I just need to get
something to listen to it while running. 🙂
My husband also indulged me and we stopped at Dairy Queen.
I love Eric.  He’s so good to me! ❤ 

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 6
It was another good week of school, even if I did want to pull my hair out most days.  Between some bad attitudes (kids) and some thundering headaches (my headaches), it’s a week that I’m glad is done.
Since we’ve done 6 weeks of school, I am seriously considering taking some time off here soon.  Just a break for the kids and I.  We might press on until we reach and finish our 9th week of school  I’m going to think about this one for a couple weeks and then decide.  
MATH:    It amazes me how the kids struggle through their lesson all week and then get a 100% on their tests. All 3 of them!  Whew!  
GRAMMAR:   Nathan did 7 pages in his Easy Grammar book this week, plus a couple extra pages I printed from  He seemed to do ok with these, for the most part.  He is not liking that I am making him write his work in cursive, but he’ll get used to the idea.  
EXPLODE THE CODE:  Ryan and Grace are working through their books and doing fine.  Ryan seems bored with it, but I think he needs the extra spelling/reading/writing practice and a lot of what he does in these books reinforces what he is learning in his spelling.  Reading is still a struggle, but we are working through it.
SPELL TO WRITE AND READ:  Everyone did well on their lessons this week.  Nathan missed one word on his test and was so disappointed.  This is probably his favorite subject.  Grace got a 100% on her spelling test and was very pleased.  Ryan missed 4 words on his test.  We’re still working on sounding words out as we write them with him.  Don’t know if he feels self conscience about it, but he is not thrilled about doing it.  He does much better spelling when he does as he’s told- if only he wouldn’t fight it!  Always one in the crowd. 😉
SCIENCE:  We didn’t do much formal Nature Study this week, but the kids went on a field trip with their aunt, cousin and students and staff of Homeacre Christian Academy (which I didn’t go on due to space and cost) to ride around on a local lake (Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park) and their aunt took them for a walk and some ice cream afterwards.  She’s very sweet and kind like that!  Nathan did do some reading in his Creation or Evolution book this week.  He’ll be taking a unit test next week.  
HISTORY:  We read through the Declaration of Independence this week and answered some questions about it.  It was a good week in this subject.  My lesson plans are ok, though sometimes not as structured as they should be, but ok for the first time doing such a thing, I guess.  For the 2nd semester I’m thinking we’ll learn about Civil War history.  Still have to work on that.
BIBLE:  This week we studied being Cooperative.  Psalm 133:1 was the verse the kids learned this week (I already knew it).  They still need some work, but we are using the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memorization System so they will review all these verses, often.  Today I picked up a neat devotional book at Ollie’s (I LOVE that store) called The Wisdom of Solomon Lapp  by Wanda Brunstetter.  We’ll probably incorporate that into some of our character studies!
ART/MUSIC:  We didn’t do any music this week.  My pounding head didn’t want to hear the sound of squeaky recorders. 🙂  The kids love to draw and do that frequently by themselves.  Ryan is my budding artist and I was talking to my husband about maybe getting him into an art class or have lessons or find a good art course.  I am interested in the Art Class from site and Ryan, and all the kids really, enjoyed that free video we used earlier this year.  If anyone has any other good art programs they’d recommend, please do let me know!  I am personally not an artist, so I don’t really know where to begin with this. 🙂  

Ryan set up some of his army stuff and decided to draw a still life.
He did a good job on this!   At least I think so.  Of course,
being his mom, I am biased just a tad. 🙂  

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 2
I haven’t had the chance to sit and do a weekly wrap-up and I really don’t have the time to now, but will make it short and sweet!  
We had a productive week and got our goals accomplished and enjoyed a field trip to this cool place called Inventionland.  
The kids all finished a lesson in their math books and tested on Friday and did fairly well.  It does amaze me how they do forget their multiplication tables, I have to say! 
The kids learned a Bible verse last week to go along with our Character Studies.  Last week’s verse was Proverbs 8:33 and we learned about Attentiveness.  We reviewed the verse this morning and started learning our new verse for our new study this week.  We’re learning about Compassion this week and are learning the first part of Matthew 9:36.  
They’ve been reading 20 minutes each day and it’s amazing to see the progress Grace is making with her reading.  She’s really putting things together, sounding words out (even hard words) and seems to be enjoying it!  Ryan is doing a little better with reading, but we’re still working.  He often still likes to guess words instead of sounding them out, but he has to re-read it when he does that.  He gets the sounds/words correctly when he takes the time to do so.  Nathan is enjoying reading about James Watt in a book I found at the homeschool convention in 2010.
It was a great week of school and I am so glad we’re enjoying this school year so far! 🙂    

Field Trip – Carnegie Science Center

 Met my friend, Tricia and her girls at the Science Center – along with a friend
of hers that had passes for us.  What a blessing! 
 The kids enjoyed this machine.
 Grace programmed the above machine to make a design with the dots.
 Of course C-3PO was a hit!
 As was R2D2!
 Grace playing in the sub.
 They were checking out what was under a microscope here.
Nathan noticed I was taking a picture and decided to be silly.
 The kids love playing in the water.
I don’t know what they were trying to build, but they
were working together!
 Building an “earthquake proof” building.
It really didn’t fall over!
I haven’t mentioned that I am so thankful for my GPS!
I was unusually nervous driving into the “‘burgh”
yesterday morning, but we made it there with
no problems.  I’m totally a country bumpkin.
It was an educational, fun day!
I’ll be adding more of our trip’s pictures to my facebook page.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 31
This was a rather interesting week of school, but still good! 🙂  We had regular school days Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday we were to go on a field trip, but it was cancelled, so instead we took a  “sick day.”  Grace had been sick on Tuesday with a fever all day.  She was doing better by Wednesday and is ok now, but seems to have developed a cold.  Poor thing’s nose is a leaky faucet!  The boys are doing well at the moment.  Nathan was complaining about his throat hurting a little bit ago. I’m hoping it is nothing.  Time will tell.  
Anyway, Thursday was to be a beautiful day in our area, so instead of having a normal day of school we headed to the Pittsburgh Zoo!  It was a perfectly beautiful day and the kids and I totally enjoyed our day out together!  I was pretty sure we weren’t going to get much done at home that day anyway, so we walked around the zoo looking at the animals.  We loved it!
Yesterday the kids did a little extra in their Math, Grammar, Spelling, Explode the Code to make up for the “sick day.”
I’ll spare all the details of the week, but it was a productive one!  Everyone finished at least one lesson in Math, did 4 pages in Grammar books, Grace and Ryan did 12 pages in the E.T.C. books and yesterday all 3 took spelling tests and did well.  Nathan and Ryan each missed one word on their tests and Grace did very well, but does need to work on her abbreviation – Mr.  
Bible, we listened to Keys for Kids and the kids are now writing out a Bible verse each day for a letter of the alphabet (they wrote 4 verses this week).  
We didn’t do Music or Art this week.  I did purchase notebooks for our Gratitude Journals.  We didn’t start writing in them, yet. They’ll decorate the first page for Art in the coming school week.    
Tuesday Nathan is going to take his CAT test.  Ryan will have to take one, too, but on a different day.  
I’ll post a few zoo pictures after I play around with them.  I LOVE my new camera, but I am still getting used to using it! 🙂  I have to convert the pictures from one format to another.  I’m terribly slow! 

Maple Sugaring

Yesterday we had a field trip to this camp called Lutherlyn.  It was such a neat field trip!  We learned lots of things about maple trees and how to get sap out of them.  I really enjoyed this field trip because it was a hands-on trip.  We got to haul buckets and collect sap.  Then we found a tree and got to drill and put in a spout, bucket and lid on the new hole.  It was quite fun!  I’m always amazed at how the moms seem to ask more questions than the children.  We have to learn  in case our  children ask us something they didn’t think of on the field trip (at least that’s my excuse).  I’m excited to learn new things right along with them!  Teaching and learning go hand in hand.

I’m working on resizing ALL my blog pictures so I will not put pictures on at this time . . . I do have them, though! 🙂


Succop Conservancy

WARNING: There are LOTS of pictures in this post. We had a wonderful time today at Succop Conservancy! The kids had such a great time and enjoyed trying the different Colonial activities. I enjoyed being there!

Look how beautiful!

The kids found this neat-o acorn!

The barn where we learned some things today!

Isn’t he a doll! 🙂

Writing their names on a piece of walnut.

Cool name tags they got to bring home.

Waiting for Mr. Ryan to knock some apples from the tree.

This is out of order for some reason.
Apples inside the press.

Carrying the bag of apples back to the cider press.

The fruit of their labor!

Nathan decided to hang out and make a candle.

Everyone else was learning about wool.

Nathan made a very thick candle!

Ryan enjoyed doing this!

Grace loved twisting it by hand.

Mr. William describing the differences
between the bullet sizes.

Firing the muzzle loader.
(I hope that’s the right name for the gun)

Mr. Ryan is an excellent blacksmith.

Working the metal.

I would have loved to get a good close-up
of the hammer and tools on the anvil,
but this was as good as it got.

Making a nail here.

Explaining wheat to the crowd.
Seriously, the guy knows A LOT!

Grace’s wheat berries.

Oat seeds.
I love macro shots.

Everyone was learning how to thresh the wheat.

It was so fun to watch!

Yep, that’s a deer bone.
The bones and sticks were used to separate the wheat
from the stalks.

Then the kids got to do a little weeding.

Then they got to plant seeds!

Making a bullet here – the 2nd one.
If you look to the left you can see one that is finished.
My kids just had a wonderful time and we loved the hands on learning.
The only bummer is that we couldn’t try the apple cider. 🙂
It was such a beautiful fall day!
*Thank you, Liz, and everyone in the homeschool
group that worked on these field trips!