Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Just a few snapshots from our life this week:

Dance Parties Galore. These are SO funny to watch!
Horseback riding lessons. Crumpet is doing so well with these!
Math review. Seriously! This was math. And Crumpet had no trouble with the concepts he's been struggling to learn during our regular lessons. I have to work on a way to teach with toys more often...
Halloween Events Galore:

We are also reading lots of books by Audrey Wood. Have you discovered her yet? She is so incredibly original and imaginative. We are loving her stories, and the artwork is almost always stunning...
I am reading A Thomas Jefferson Education, and being completely blown away by it. I'll have a lot more to say after I read it and have a little time to digest.
That's our week in a nutshell. Have a great Halloween. Crumpet has been counting down for weeks, and is so excited that it's only one more day!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A good school day!

This is just one of those good days where things seem to be coming together.

Crumpet has been very interested in his stickers this week. He has made a million pictures with them. He also decorated a bunch of old postcards so he could "mail" them. We have a bunch of the free stickers that come from Disney, Highlights, and non-profits... He used the animal ones that look like stamps and put them in almost-the-right spot for stamps. (I think he was afraid to put anything on the words on the postcard saying 'place stamp here'.)
When he ran out of "stamps", he cleverly asked me to help him spell the word stamp and he used his letter stickers to write it out in the correct place!
He used up all of our state stickers, and I was amazed at how many state names he could read. We've never formally studied the states, and many of them are not easy to read! We have traveled cross country though, and we use the U.S. map for a variety of projects, so he must have heard a lot of the names by now...
Crumpet also asked me to draw a map of the world, and he helped me identify the names of continents and countries that we've studied. Then he placed wild animal stickers in their proper locations. I LOVE these days when he shows me what he's learned through play!!
In addition to stickering, Crumpet is all about coloring today. He had me print out a bunch of Halloween pictures and he has been coloring all day. IN THE LINES! His control of writing instruments has improved so much lately! And he's interested in the process. Woo hoo!!
He wanted to name all of the characters in his pictures, so he started writing out their names! Writing. Voluntarily! He spelled some of the words properly, but he forgot many of the rules he knows because he was concentrating on the writing. That's ok - he was actually putting his thoughts down on paper all by himself. I know I'm overly excited, but it's just so nice to see the skills we've been working on come to fruition. He has fought me so hard, but he's learning. Phew! Also, this week, we've been watching some Bill Nye the Science Guy DVDs and enjoying them. We are also working on odd and even numbers. I found an easy card game to practice the skill - "Slap It". It's essentially War, but every time someone turns over an odd number, you slap it. Whoever slaps it first gets the pile underneath. I'm pretty sure he's going to LOVE this...

Monday, October 17, 2011

School Update

What's this? A school post? No way...! We really have been plugging along with the school work, but it just isn't the focus of our lives, and I love that. We've been busy with visitors and life learning. Fortunately, school time has gotten much easier, and Crumpet is willing to work with me when I say it's time. This is what school often looks like in our house:
He'd been building a fort, so we did school there.
Hmm, how is the learning going?
Reading is going well. Writing is actually one of his preferred subjects now. I never would have believed that a couple of months ago... Spelling is going pretty well. I don't think Crumpet really knows the rules though - he just intuitively spells the words right now. It will get more challenging soon, I'm sure.
In math, we are working on adding 2 digit numbers. This is not going terribly well. I'm not convinced that he really grasps the concept of place value. Some days, it seems clear to him, and some days he has no idea what I'm talking about. I think we'll take a break and move onto the next topic, and then revisit the subject.
I have slowed science down so we are just doing one topic a month. We do a lot of reading about the subject during the month, and I try to discuss it during the day when appropriate.
We are VERY slowly working through our Artistic Pursuits curriculum. Sadly, art is always the first thing to be skipped when we get busy. I really do like this book though, and Crumpet is willing to try the projects, which is something of a surprise! This was his first pencil drawing. It's a picture of his best friend with a crab and a mouse...
A pigeon using water color crayons:
I loved the crayons, but it annoyed Crumpet that adding water totally changed the look of the picture...
And a bowl we made using air dry clay:
We have also been working on history. We just finished the first part of our Egyptian studies. We turned one of Crumpet's tiny teddy bears into a mummy. Being a boy who loves gory stuff, he loved the study of mummies!
I am having some issues with our history studies. I bought Pandia Press' History Odyssey, and
I don't think I like it... They tend to jump around the Story of the World book, and the order they use isn't making sense to me. I like a few of the extra projects they use, but I think we will stick to the Story of the World and its activity book for future history studies.
We are also having a problem studying both geography/world culture and history. Crumpet seems to be getting confused about what country we are studying, and what happened where. I am seriously considering putting history on hold for a year while we work through our Expedition Earth curriculum. I'm not sure how much history he will truly retain at this age anyway. I'm not as concerned about the geography that he remembers, as long as he gains an interest in the world around him, and begins to understand that there are many different cultures and beliefs in the world.
Outside of school, we've been very busy! We had visitors and we got to do a few new-to-us touristy things. We toured some movie sites. One of them was the site of Jurassic Park! (You can read about our recent travels at my other blog, Crumpet Moves to Paradise, if you are interested.)

We rode through a haunted lagoon at the Polynesian Cultural Center. This was the kid's version, but it was still borderline too scary. Crumpet is just between that little kid fear of spooky things, and that big boy fascination with horror... We checked out the medieval family day at our local art museum and it was a blast. Crumpet built a shield and a working catapult that is awesome! He will be starting a month of horseback riding lessons this week. And we've been doing a lot of this:
Life is good!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 651-675

Wow, where have I been?? We had visitors a few weeks ago, and it's taking some time to get back into the swing of things...
I have so much to be grateful for:
651: Visitors!
652: I finally got to hug the good friend who lost her mother in May. It was SO good to spend some time with her.
653: Having a friend who understands me and has the same thoughts at the same time even though we live thousands of miles apart. I could not live without this friend.
654: We got to visit some tourist sites that we had not been to yet.
655: Hand feeding wild birds.

656: Great books and time to read them.
657: My dad is out of the hospital.
658: I've been married 8 years today!
659: The fall t.v. season has started.
660: Netflix is not splitting into 2 companies.
661: An all in one copier-scanner-printer- fax machine. Who knew how much I needed that?
662: Fresh macademia nuts.
663: Great, crazy tour guides.
664: Caramel flavored calcium chews.
665: I gave up Facebook, and it feels good to be free!
666: Friends gave us an ice cream maker - I'm excited to use it!
667: Unlimited texting.
668: School is easier these days.
669: New swim fins for Crumpet - he can swim across the whole pool with them!
670: Leftovers.
671: Exciting vacation plans for December!
672: Another visitor will be here in November!
673: Good chats with my mom.
674: My grandparents just turned 85 (on the same day!).
675: Discounted gym classes.