Monday, April 23, 2012

A glance at what our 8 year old has been doing

This is somewhat of a copy and paste of a post on a homeschool forum I made. I have since had time to read it over and make changes/additions that were needed. 

Please keep in mind that I only wrote the subjects down as if I had been looking at what she's been up to through schoolish glasses. I'm sure I left a ton out. I don't look at our days trying to find the education value anymore. It's just unavoidably always there. It is impossible to learn nothing. Sandra Dodd has a funny little thing called Learn Nothing Day to which I've linked at the bottom of this post.

Summer's curriculum (8):  


The Bible, Star wars and a few Magic Treehouse books, two of the Twilight Movie Guides, recipes, directions, signs, grocery lists, penpal letters, emails, and magazines. She reads her brother a bedtime story each night and helps read him game directions as they play. They spend time together each day or night with her reading him some of his Lego Star wars books and Star Wars movie guides. She also looks up in a safe online search, on her kindle fire, things she wants to know about some of their favorite characters or things about their costumes.
She likes listening to older sister Skylar summarize books for her (ones she doesn't want to read on her own). And then she asks questions to find out more.

Some of this could fall under listening skills and computer skills.


She's been covering various science topics out in our backyard, such as gardening, catching bugs with the bug vacuum, observing the stars (astronomy) and clouds (weather) and talking about them with Bry. She's also covered prosthetics, rock collecting, gem discovery and digging, birds, various aspects of animal care, cooking and baking, health, bacteria. We take nature walks, talk about the upcoming weather, go to the park when it's not to busy, climb trees and pick flowers. She often goes out and cuts roses and other flowers to decorate the table. And will put vases of flowers in our bedrooms or in our bathrooms as a surprise.
We try to go observe animals in person once a week. Many times we end up watching videos or digging further into something we saw. And we watch you tube videos on anything they might ask about. Today we are watching one on making Tar after the kids asked me about that while driving about yesterday.

Fashion design / Cosmetology: 

She's interested in fashion and likes to pick out clothes for Ember and Decklin to wear each day. She takes great pride in helping them get ready for the day and bringing them down to surprise us with the outfits and hair styles she did. She also likes to play around with doing fancy make up from a make up kit book she got for Christmas. Baby sister likes to be the model.


Math is something she covers a lot, in the form of using, saving and planning her allowance, playing games like Harvest Moon, Tap zoo, Sims Kingdom and Star wars, (in those she has to practice time management, money management and financial transactions). Measuring in recipes, as well as patterns and matching via dressing herself and younger siblings, picking out patterns that match to decorate our family room and her room, patterns while setting the table, measuring laundry detergent, she also covers percents, division and multiplication via daily encounters. We are reading Life of Fred at night as a bedtime story for any of the kids that want to sit in for that. Not because I have a desire to specifically cover math at this time, just because they are a fun series to read and all the kids enjoy the stories. 
She creates/builds playsets, with varying items she picks up. One might be for the barbie's or another for her castle people, or the lego people for Decklin.
She builds a lot with pattern blocks and legos and uses play money here in the house and does a lot of puzzles on her kindle fire and jigsaw puzzles in person. We are saving for a house so she is taking part in that as well as the family spending money portion of our budget.
We play princessopoly a lot, so that covers a lot of making change and money transactions.

We have baskets of pattern blocks, bristle blocks, crayons and coloring books and other things which I change out from time to time. I found that if something is strewn on the table 95% of the time one of the kids grabs for it. It may be while waiting for a meal, or while waiting on others to finish eating, or while keeping me company in the kitchen while I cook.


This would be covered via the bible since talking about God and the bible is something very natural in our home and history is essentially His Story. I read a lot about the life of Jesus so we talk about that often. And Bry is taking a class at church which he shares with us. But other topics covered lately have been, indians, slavery, women's suffrage, modern times, Jane Goodall, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Great Depression and the varying topics of history my 10 year old reads about and shares with her. Skylar reads about history a lot and Summer loves to hear her stories.


She is writing a story for Decklin, that would cover creative writing, art (drawing), writing in general, spelling, and reading. She's doing an outline first.
She knows how to look up words she's having trouble with in either the dictionary or the Star Wars books we have when she needs help with a character name or something game specific. Or to ask Bry or myself for any help she needs. 
She also writes in a journal, responds to penpals (though I think she is closing the chapter on the penpals she had. She does not hear from them enough and she gets tired of writing and waiting lengthy periods to hear back.). She also writes emails to family, makes lists, writes down plans and reminders for things.

Arts and crafting: 

Latch hook, clay, drawing with chalk in the backyard, painting, working with playdough, clay and other modeling mediums.

Character qualities:

These we cover through the way we treat each other in our home and others outside our home.

Phys ed: 

We have water blaster fights, water balloon fights, play indoor Frisbee, walk, run, swing, ride scooters, hit golf balls, throw foam golf balls at each other in a golf ball fight. When we go to the park she likes to roll down and run down the hills. 


The kids don't have chores, but I do. I do a weekly clean up every Friday. And she helps out a lot. I ask, if anyone would like to help, they are all free to say no as well. But most often she enjoys helping in the kitchen. She takes pride in making the counter and tables look neat and tidy and cleared off. 

If I see something in my travels online or in real life that may interest her I will save it, buy it, take note of it. Sometimes I'll get it and sprinkle it about, sometimes I get it and give it right to her, sometimes we talk about it to see if it's something she'd be interested in. It depends on what it is. 
This week I downloaded a huge bunch more apps on her kindle for her. They had games that are her game type of preference so I put those on for her and then a few that just looked neat so I put them on and she could add them to her fire if she wanted to. They finally had Oregon Settler, which I love on my Iphone. So now both girls and I have it to play and can chat while we are managing out towns. 

Here is some great info on Sandra Dodd's page about an unschooling curriculum

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to my husband!

I am so so lucky. He is such a great father and husband!

On his birthday he worked a modified shift. His squad was doing some training at the gun range which he didn't want to miss.
We had birthday cake for breakfast. Which was not so great. I gave him a cake choice and he picked a mix I had for vanilla cake that was a healthy organic version. It was not so great. I mean it wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't what I'd call good either. The frosting was yummy though so that was the saving grace at least : ).

After cake he opened presents. The kids had made him a mini putting green with golf balls and a club out of crayola model magic. And we picked out some new golf shorts and golf shirts and work out pants. All things he enjoys.

From there he and the kids went out back to have a water gun fight. It's not super hot here yet so the water got some of them pretty chilly. I made us some veggie scrambled eggs while they were playing. We needed something better than our disappointing cake.

He played some Star Wars on the Wii with Decklin and I sat in with them watching and doing some stuff on my blog.

The girls played upstairs in the loft (overlooking the room where Star wars was being played).

The kids played together and after lunch they had more of the not so great birthday cake.

Later the kids helped me cook dinner. Ember helped Skylar bake cupcakes. Decklin made biscuits. Summer cut up the vegetables and pealed the hazelnuts.
After he came home from work we had dinner. He did the dishes while I read to Ember on the balcony and then she fell asleep on my shoulder. I moved her into my bed and stayed with her a bit since she kept waking up.
Bry played some Star Wars on the Xbox 360 and the kids watched. I came down and watched for a bit and we all had snacks and cupcakes. Then I went up to bed.
The older girls peaked their heads in my room to tell me they were going to sleep, I was laying there watching TV. And the Decklin followed soon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things we've been doing lately

Learning to Read: 
Decklin has asked me to teach him to read. He learned the phonics sounds from playing Starfall online which he began playing at about age 3. Back when we did seat work for the older girls that's what he enjoyed doing. It wasn't my intent for him to do anything beyond have fun and have something that would keep him from grabbing his sisters things off their desks.  I'm really glad he enjoyed it though. He's asked to do some Starfall again lately. And has asked me to do "his reading book" as he refers to it, with him. The reading book he is referring to is Alphaphonics. I grabbed that last year I think it was and it's just an option if/when he wishes to do it. We do it whenever he asks for it. It's on the shelf next to our fireplace in the family room in easy reach for him. Ember likes this book too so sometimes she grabs it and asks that she and I do it together. And she just recently began playing Starfall. She's not yet adept at the mouse use so we do it together on my Mac book while snuggling on the couch together. She is so cute when she says the letter sounds out loud like the folks on the Starfall videos. Today she was playing Pocket Phonics on the Iphone while she sat with me on the sofa. She also made me a cupcake in her cupcake game and asked how I'd like it decorated. She put lots of M's for Mom on it. : )
Decklin is really into Star Wars right now. At the library the other day I grabbed him some of the graphic novels and comics to look through and have read to him if he wanted. So far he likes the General Grievous one the best. From Amazon I purchased some of the Star Wars DK leveled readers as something I or the older girls can read to him, when he wants. And we purchased him the Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary - The Ultimate Guide to Characters and Creatures from the Entire Star Wars Saga, The LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia and a Lego Star Wars Sticker book. He looks at his books every night. And we have read them when he's asked or when I've asked him if he'd like me to read any of them to him. 
Ember is reading the Elephant and Piggy books from memory. She and I also read them a lot together. Often if everyone is reading, she will grab a pile of her books and read them too. And we've read some of the Bob books together also. 

Math Concepts:
The kids cover this so much in varying games they play. Be that from buying new lego figures in Lego Star Wars or other Lego games we have. Or the girls in their Harvest Moon games, which involves money savings and spending and time management. And we've been playing Uno quite a bit lately. We are showing Ember how to play. We also played Princess-opoly where everyone took turns being the Fairy Godmother - or God Father Monster (which Decklin preferred when he was the banker). I think the older girls and I are going to start up playing regular Monopoly this week. That's a game I think they'd enjoy. I've been playing a DS game that involves me needing a certain amount of money or points to be able to buy certain plants to play. They have been playing along with me. 

The older three children (10, 8, and 5) all get an allowance to spend how they wish. Next Friday is Bry's birthday so they want to buy him something with money they have saved up. They all received gift cards for Easter from my parents and would like to spend those tomorrow.

And then there is the library which we recently got a card for Skylar to use there. She can take up to 50 books out at a time! Whoa. So all the kids got books out on her card and we noted on the calendar their due dates. So this would have covered counting (counting up the books they got, how many more they could get) and time management, (how long it might take them to read the amount of books by the date they are due), oh and money because we talked about the fines that would be required if we are late with our return.

The kids pulled weeds today while they were out back playing. This was something they did on their own, not something I asked, hinted about or even mentioned. I picked them up four little shovels from the Target dollar bin and strewed them near the back door for easy access just for digging and playing a few weeks back. They did a fantastic job on the weeds. They even swept the patio with the broom when they were done. (this could fall in a chore heading too if we did chores anymore : ).
They also picked some roses, observed and fed aphids, looked for ants, picked some plants that we tried to identify and made their own container gardens using things they were digging up out there. We talked about how some seeds spread when they blew the "flowers" that they picked. And they let Ember blow the seeds all over. This should give them plenty of things
And I've been playing Plants verses Zombies so some of them have sat and played with me and we've talked about the plants together.

Skylar recently read a biography of Jane Goodall that she picked from the library. Which led to us looking up Diane Fossey and looking up things about them online. I think she wants to Watch Gorillas in the Mist also. And we were talking about a machete (which is what they say killed Jane) and her beloved Gorilla Digit that died. I actually began to cry when reading to her out loud about what happened to Digit and Jane. I guess she got to see empathy there if I were to say it was a teaching moment. But she knows stuff with animals or kids being treated badly gets me really emotional. She is much the same as me if she watches things on say Animal Planet, but reading the items she is able to handle.

A few weeks back the girls opted to buy some plants for their bedrooms with their allowance. So they have been keeping up with care of the plants. We are going to try and see if one plant we got will go dormant until next spring, and come back again next year.

Summer read 4 of the Magic Treehouse books we grabbed at the Library.

Skylar has been reading lots of history books. She read a book of biographies on several people and a few of them she wanted to read more about. From the Library she got a book on Eleanor Roosevelt and one on Harriet Tubman, both books she picked out.
She had read about both of them in the compilation biography book. She reads a lot of the Dear America books and quite a few of them have been from the view point of a slave and the things they had to endure. Those books really hit an emotional chord for her. And she finds it frustrating and incomprehensible that humans could be treated in such a way when God made us all exactly the same inside. She's also very interested in women's rights and has followed the timeline of changes for women in America. She recently finished a book on True Stories of Children of the Holocust. And is interested in the Great Depression. My Grandparents lived during the Great Depression and I did a report for college on my Grandfather (on which I received an A+). And she has enjoyed reading that as well as the Dear America books covering the Great Depression era.

Summer read through some of the Twilight movie guides I picked up at Big Lots the other day. I'm a huge Twilight Fan. We have the Graphic Novels, the Novels and of course all the movies and some of the songs on Itunes. One of the songs is even my ring tone on my husband's phone and his on mine. For any Twilight watchers it's the baseball scene music from Twilight. : ) Every once in a while I'll invite the kids to have a Twilight movie marathon with me. I know some Christians have issue with this series. But we find it to be a beautiful story that we have no problem sharing with our children. 

Today we had an Easter egg hunt in the house. Which also covered math I guess since they each got to find 12 eggs, counted them out and counted out and identified what was inside them by type. 

We played a game of bowling inside using a mini soccer ball and 4 duplo blocks as our pins. And then we played balcony frisbee (which is where I stand downstairs and try to throw a disk like flyer similar to a frisbee but soft) up through our Romeo and Juliet type windows to our second floor loft. I have no idea if they are really called Romeo and Juliet windows but we had a house guest here the other day who toured the house and called them that. : ) 

Friday night Bry stopped by so we could meet a new squad member of his. Ember got a kick out of seeing a female police officer all in her uniform dressed like her Dad. 

Last Monday we went and watched Bry take part in a skit he did for our Pastor at church. They are showing the video today, Easter sunday and tomorrow (which is the service we attend). So we had fun watching the filming and can't wait to see it in person.
After the filming we went and got ice cream. 

Today we looked online at bounce houses and ball pits. We are going to put our own ball pit together using a cheap pool from a local store and balls from Amazon. 

We dyed Easter eggs last night and watched The Chronicles of Riddick which Bry thought Decklin especially would enjoy. He did and he'd like some books on it. I hope they have a movie guide with pictures or a graphic novel, that's something he'd like. 

Tonight we watched Transformers while having ice cream cones. And then the kids played outside for a while. 
Summer and I played Uno in Ember and Skylar's bedroom on the floor while Ember was falling asleep in her bed. (She didn't want us to leave)
When we came down Skylar and Decklin finished up their Lego Star Wars game and joined us for a bit. Then the girls and I were making up a bare bones routine because Skylar expressed thinking we all should have an hour of quiet time each day. And we were looking at the day to see where it would fit good for everyone. We figured at 2 Pm when Bry leaves for work we'd do it and then I could sit with Ember to put her to bed while we have quiet time. And then we looked at Star Wars costumes on the internet.
Summer went up to bed and read a new book she got in her Easter basket. One of the baby sitter's club books. She finished the whole book in like an hour. 
Skylar had been reading on and off all day of a new book she got called Cinder and Ella. 
I read to Ember earlier from a Golden book collection that was in her basket. 

This week the kids used one of the art links I have on the Natural Learning Fun page. They took turns making pictures and printing them until we ran out of printer ink that is. 

We made Bryon a mini putting green, complete with golf club, golf balls and basket to hold the balls when not being used. We made it from Crayola Model Magic. This is something they'd like to give him for his birthday along with whatever they opt to purchase for him. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Idea books of fun things to do with kids

The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions: More Than 65 Wacky, Wild & Crazy Concoctions

A collection of TOP SECRET instructions for creating home made versions of popular toy store items including: Gooey Gunk, Funny Putty, Sidewalk Chalk, Creepie Crawlers, Treasure Stones, Lip Gloss, Grass Head Guys, Shake & Make Ice Cream, Squeeze Rockets and many more. All of the projects are created in minutes using kitched cupboard items. Kid Concoctions projects promote science, art, math, recycling and basic life skills.

This is a pretty vast series of books such as:
The Little hands nature book
Math Play
Animal Habitats
Art and Activities Around the World
Paper Plate crafts
Sing Play Create
Creating Clever Castles and Cars 
Wow I'm Reading  as well as many other titles in this series. 

Such as: 
Art with Anything (this one is set up in weekly themes and uses simple things around the house) 

This is a Klutz book and they have other similar to this. 

Modeling Clay Animals (easy to follow step by step pictures in this one) 
Art Labs for Kids

Family Math
Sample page can be seen here

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A neat menu planning website

I came across a website today called Supercook which allows you to input one ingredient and then asks if you have other ingredients available. You can either choose to exclude the other ingredients they let you choose from or say "yes" I have that.
Then it brings up a bunch of recipes for you to choose from that you can make from what you have on hand.
Today I have cucumbers and wanted to do something with them. It gave me a few recipes to choose from based on other ingredients I have on hand to make a nice cucumber salad to go along with the potato pancakes I planned on making for lunch.
I think this will be a huge help with meal planning too since I won't have to scan my cookbooks or existing recipes each time, aside from those old standby favorites.

Easter things to do

Here are some sites with some fun things to do for Easter:

The kids and I are doing:
-Resurrection Eggs
-Watched their Dad tape a skit with our Pastor for showing at Easter in church.
-Making the hummingbird nests from the recipe above.
-Coloring varying pictures I printed out.
-Making a cross and eggs out of air dry clay and painting them.
-Taking a trip to the dollar store to pick out some Easter decorations for our Easter dinner.