Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shark Bait! Another field trip, thank you HEAV!

Home Educators Association of Virginia sets up these wonderful homeschooling days and today we got to enjoy one!  The discount was great, the drive was a little much (3 1/2 hours one way), but it was SO worth it.

We went to the Virginia Aquarium.  The volunteers were so nice, and they knew everything!  The exhibits were fantastic and the boys LOVED it.  You know what though, I loved it too.  You know it was a good trip when, after 7 hours of driving, you can tell your kids you had a wonderful time with them.

Now for the pictures:

Andrew loved the stingrays.  He wants to write a report on them.  I think we'll try to make a lapbook together.

They have so many hands-on exhibits.  Here's Drew petting a variety of crabs.

Luke was more interested in looking.  These little bubbles are a riot.  They put the kids into the exhibit.  Just behind the log, peeking over if you can see her, is a komodo dragon.
  That's her in the next picture.
Eek!  Sharks!
Andrew was followed by one fish.  He did not notice, although Luke and I both thought it was hilarious.
Luke loved the turtles.
He also liked the sea horses.  You can't see them, but Luke did.
Here we see a caiman:
At this point, Luke is just starting to get comfortable with the tanks, but that comfort did NOT last long...
The caiman woke up!  We all three were amazed when it finally moved, okay and a little frightened.
We had such a wonderful time.  Thank you HEAV!  Thank you Virginia Aquarium!  Thank you all you wonderful volunteers, you really made the day special.
Andrew getting help stretching a penny.  Always a fun souvenier.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The results are in, 91% in Spelling and 97% in Latin!  I cannot believe he retained so much after the week we had!  Way to go Andrew!

On Thursday we'll be doing homeschooling day at the Virginia Beach Aquarium.  Another exciting bit, as neither boy has ever been to an aquarium before and dd will be skipping school to join us.  I've sort of decided it was time to start taking advantage of homeschooling days, so this is my not quite New Year's resolution.  Next month we'll head out to the Science Museum in Richmond and in March we'll be going down to Jamestown and York.  The prices are good (Virginians, head to and it's about time we started doing something fun :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week 19 in Review

Is it over yet?  Great.

Okay, it's not really over, but I'm posting, because we have to get to the library and ....  I've had enough of this week already.

Andrew has managed to keep up with most of his work.  We fell behind in grammar, but the plan is to catch up today and tomorrow (Saturday school?!?  You bet!).  His spelling is getting better, his writing is getting better, his Greek is getting really phenomenal (love Hey Andrew, but modified and now we're declining and conjugating ala Latina Christiana, instead of one at a time like they recommend), Latin continues on (we can almost converse now)...  What else?  He's reading "Stuart Little" as our library STILL hasn't gotten "Through the Looking Glass."  Oh!  History, Andrew made salt dough yesterday and then breached the walls with his Sea Beggars.  That was fun.  For science, we did not do Chemistry, but we've been doing some really interesting stuff with plants.  We disected celery that had soaked up some dye for 24 hours.  Then the boys ate it.

Luke is working on his plant book.  He's made a little book, cut and colored some "vegetable soup," made a plant time-line and other such stuff.  We'll keep working on plants next week, he's really enjoying this.  The picture is Luke making dough seeds and planting them in his little dough garden.

Now, I'm going to bed...  er the library...  what a week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Luke's Vegetable Soup

Luke and I sprouted some seeds last week.  I did not expect them to do well, they were from store bought veggies and I really thought those were incapable of growth...  I could not have been more wrong!  By Sunday, our acorn squash needed to be put in a pot (we'd grown them in wet paper towels) and our potato looked pretty desparate too.  We spent Monday potting them:

<---acorn squash

potato --->

We've been reading Growing Vegetable Soup and so in January Luke is learning about plants...  aren't I the best planner?!?

We're heading out to the library to print out some things from here and this may be Luke's first really coehesive, everything works together week!  Granted, it's starting on Tuesday, but Monday would've just ruined it anyway.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bad case of the Moooondays.

It all started badly.  I needed to cover in the church office today.  Instead of getting up and dressed, Drew decides to argue:
'You don't work in the office on Monday, Mom.'
'I do today, getupdressedbrushedandlet'sgo!'
'No, you don't work on Mondays.'
Twenty minutes later, Luke is dressed, the car is warmed up and Drew is...  asleep in bed.  It took everything I had to keep from dragging him to church in his pjs.

I was on time, just.  Then, I start working and it turns out that someone else needs to use the printer.  That's okay, it just meant I had to put off doing any of the printing/typing (99% of the work).  Then, the boys start getting antsy.  Then, they start arguing.  I was climbing the walls, trying to be patient with everything...

Then, Luke climbed on the stage.  This wasn't in the chapel, it was downstairs in the common room.  Luke climbed up there (like he always does), only this time Drew took it upon himself to get Luke down.  He grabbed Luke and promptly tripped and fell backwards...  slamming Luke's face into the floor.  Thankfully, he still has a mouthful of teeth.  The only difference is the lovely kissy lips that swelled up... and the blood...  everywhere (it seemed like it anyway).

By the time we got home I was ready to implode.  We've managed to take our quizes, but very little other than that got done.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Well, it wasn't free, but I'm glad we went all the same :)

Today was, according to my Pack Leader (Cub Scouts), a free day in honor of Robert E. Lee's Birthday (which is Tuesday) at Stratford Hall (his birthplace).  Little Drew and I scrambledish to get there an hour late...  I had to go to the coffee shop this morning and pick up some joe and then ran over to the bakery to get breakfast, so we were late.  Anyway, we get to the ticket gate at Stratford Hall and...  the gate keeper denied us entrance.  He said it was most definitely NOT a free day.

Now, I love Stratford Hall, it's beautiful and educational, and beautiful, but...  it's 10 big ones for an adult (rediculous when you consider George Washington's Birthplace is HALF that) and 5 smackers for a kid.  We usually only go on Lee's birthday, when it's free, because I'm a tightwad...  This time, though...  those big brown eyes next to me pleading, I shelled out the $15.

I am SO GLAD I did!  We were, literally, the only two visitors.

 We had a private tour of Lee's home with a grandmotherly type guide that made it feel like she was telling us gossip about people she knew (she was not a period worker).  Here's some more pics!

The oval site is a new archaeological dig.  They found a basement and some other stuff underneath fields that have been farmed as long as there have been records.
Andrew took a few pictures, this is one of the carraiges.  These aren't all display only, they actually use them for carraige days.
This is the view out of one of the lower floor doors.  You can see the family tomb (forgot who's there, I'm terrible!) and the compass/weather vain, they all line up, I thought that was pretty neat.
This is the bridge you cross to between the visitor's center and the main touristy area.  It's really hard to show the drop in the middle, but years of erosion mean that you're quite a ways up.  You can just see Andrew halway down the bridge.
These are the cliffs.  When you hike down to where the mill is at you get some really nice views of the Potomac and the cliffs.  These are in worse shape than the others in the area.  Andrew and I watched rocks and earth slipping down.  It seemed like anytime you looked at them bits and pieces were falling off.  It is beautiful, though.
See how happy!

This is the mill.  It's rediculous, I've lived her over 20 years, I've been to Lee's birthplace countless times, yet this is the first time I've ever wandered down to the mill.  It was, of course, not open, but splendid all the same.  We have about 14 pictures just of the ice under where the water goes and around the big wheel.
The mill pond, it's much larger than you might think and besides sporting a mill, it also has a nifty little overrun ditch that has rapids and waterfalls.  It's a concrete ditch, nothing fancy, but I think we spent about twenty minutes here, just dropping gumballs into the little creek to watch them bounce over the rapids and go flying into the oblivion off the falls.
The hike back from the mill.  It's always harder going back than it is embarking.
We really had a wonderful time, my boy and me, but now we must run out and procur dinner for Dad and Luke (who were out doing manly shopping).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday review!

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were, to my recollection, well enough.  Thursday brought with it the terror of a Science Fair Project due...  Friday.  To be fair, my mother informed me Wednesday evening, after Jo had already gone on to her youth group meeting.

This is Jo at about 11p, we weren't even close to finished.  I don't know how much coffee I drank.  My darling husband showed up at about 7:30p to pick up the boys and brought me a tankard he ground and brewed himself.  Needless to say, the coffee made me a little jittery (I held off eating with the hopes of having chicken cooked by the same darling man), so most of our pictures turned out slightly out of focus.  The next picture was taken at 1a when we were finally finished.

It was a hard won victory for science.  Right.

Anyway, there are two more kids to talk about..........................................................

Luke has been growing a few things in the kitchen.  There a potato suspended in some tubberware full of water and some acorn squash seeds wrapped in moist paper towels and dangling in a ziplock bag from the light about the stove (warmest place in the house).  I am very happy to say that all are sprouting (score another one for science).  At library time today Luke learned about different kinds of bears, those that hibernate and those that don't.  The craft was really neat.  We used epsom salt in water and painted it over the bear pictures.  It ends up really nice and sparkly:

Luke also played outside on Wednesday...  in his pjs...  I'm so cool!

All that time up last night has made me feel a little sick and pretty tired.  I wanted to sleep today, but I had pretty well given the boys Wednesday and Thursday off.  Drew and I did a little bit of work outside Wednesday (it was above freezing, we HAD to spend some time outside), but Thursday was mostly spent with me trying to gather everything for the estupido fair.  For all the moms worrying over kids spending an hour doing five or ten math problems... Drew has been on the same math review sheet for two days.  The same kid that thinks finding the orbit of an astronaut is fun, turns into a mule the moment you put a page of, I kid you not, simple multiplication fact families infront of him.  For pity's sake, really.

History was great, though.  We've just done chapter 1 in Story of the World Vol. 3 and we have the dubloons to prove it!

Latin, Grammar, and everything else plodded on as usual for the most part.  All his reviews at the beginning of the week went well, we'll see how the slacking effects his grades on Monday.  I'm just glad we get all the heavy stuff done at the beginnning of the week.  It makes it so much easier for me to slack off while he just reviews all the new stuff for the rest of the week.

Is it bad that I thought today, well we're so far ahead no one will know if we just put it off?  Ugh.  I hope I win first place in the fair...  er uh...  I mean I hope Jo wins.  Really, she did most of the work.  I gathered the stuff together, but made her run the experiments, tally the data, record it, etc.  I did do most of the glueing onto the backboard, but who'm I kidding?  That is the best part!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Hive?

I don't know what happens if you end up banned from a forum.  I don't know why I would have been banned, so I have to wonder...  can anyone else get into the Hive?  I've been trying all morning, but can't even get into Peace Hill Press, so I'm assuming they're down (or my internet company is evil).

Any thoughts?

Nothing to do with anything, really. I'm just curious.

Does anyone else read the captchas before they post?  I've noticed that they are almost words (and normally hilarious words).  I think I'm going to start posting the captchas at the bottoms of my comments, because for some bizarre reason I enjoy reading those wierd little letter mixtures.

So, if anyone cares to, could you comment on this with your captcha code?  Just so I can see what mine look like LOL.



with the captcha.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, Monday

As Mondays go, this has been a pretty good one.  We finally got to crack open Story of the World Volume 3, new books are always so exciting!  We started Chapter 2 in Challenge Math and Andrew had some fun doing seemingly impossible problems:

Luke and I looked at various seeds today.  This is Luke pulling out some of orange seeds:

We wrapped some acorn squash seeds in a damp paper towel and put them into a ziplock bag full of hot air (straight from Mommy's mouth) and hung them in a window.  Luke even drew a picture of his seeds.  I don't even know why I decided to do this today, I meant for us to work on habitats, especially the arctic, goodness knows it's cold enough, but for some reason acorn squash seeds won out!
For physical education, hard-dee-har-har, we made stilts:

And that, my friends, was our Monday!

How was yours?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

For my friends who are suffering...

I want to share an excerpt from the book I'm devouring now (this is ruining my 52/52 plans, because I've read three books this week and they were all great and one was supposed to be my classical for this coming week).  It's Madeleine L'Engle's "Two-Part Invention" (you might know her from the Wrinkle in Time series).  At this moment, in the book, her husband is suffering from cancer:

     "My friend Dana and I talk about how we want to make everything all right for those we love, and cannot.  Her mother died of pancreatic cancer only a few months ago.  We say to each other that if we were God we would make everything all right, and then we stop.  Look at each other.  Because we suddenly see that making everything all right would not make everything all right.  We would not be human beings.  We would then be no more than puppets obeying the strings of the master puppeteer.  We agree sadly that it is a good that we are not God; we do not have to understand God's ways, or the suffering and brokenness and pain that sooner or later come to us all.
     "But we do have to know in the very depths of our being that the ultimate end of the story, no matter how many aeons it takes, is going to be all right."

This really is an incredible book.  I'll review it once I'm done.  I wanted to post this, because I know a few people that have been suffering so many losses and I am such a dunce.  I hope this helps them, it is far better than I could've ever said.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Groovy Geometry: Games and Activities That Make Math Easy and Fun (Paperback)

I really can't believe I did not blog about this?!?  I thought I did, but apparently not!

This is a fantastic book, I can't say enough great things about!  For every lesson there is a ton of activities and games.  I didn't even know there was anything fun to be done with Geometry.  All these great things Andrew has been doing in math (creating angles, various card games, scavenger hunts etc) are from this book.

Silly me!  Next time I won't hold out!

Week 17 in Review

This has been a great week! After our two week holiday, I really wasn't sure whether we would be able to get back into the swing of things. There were a few things we did not get done, but for the most part we're just where we need to be.

We started using Groovy Geometry. This is such an incredible resource! Andrew has made angles (above), found angles throughout the house, and learned about angle relationships. He's really loved math this week. Groovy Geometry also has a ton of games to play and they're fun enough that we've played them in and out of math class, by popular request. Below is Andrew's diagram of parallel lines with a transversal.

Reading, writing, grammar and spelling

Luke has read "Mat" a few times. We've been enjoying "The Wind and the Willows" for our read-aloud at bed time. He is getting much better at reading the words, instead of the pictures. Luke's also taken it upon himself to learn how to write. He still chooses the bigger kids' trash books at the library (Goosebumps and others like those). Drew has decided to start reading them to Luke, out of the kindness of his heart (and probably because I don't normally let him check out the vast quantities of those that Luke will sneak into his book bag).

Andrew is still reading "Alice in Wonderland." I'm so glad that he's enjoying this book. It was one of my favorites growing up. He's also read a few other books this week, written thank you letters to his grandmas (we're sending them out today), done a complete review of his poetry memorization, and kept up in spelling.

Latin and Greek

Andrew slogs on! He got an 87% on his review of the last lesson in Latin and he's learning the ending for "they" in Greek.

We've finished up everything in Story of the World 2, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Story of the World 3.
We didn't do everything I wanted to this week. We are so far behind, I had planned on doubling up, but we only finished one chapter. The science experiment, though, went swimmingly! Dad made us wait until he was home, so it was all done in the dark. Also, the reaction was a bit bigger than I had expected, so the pictures are blurry.
If you ever wanted to know what happens when you mix Mentos (fruit flavored, we couldn't find mint anywhere?!?) and diet Coke… Viola!
Picture one, is our supplies (resting on the tubberware container of science). Two depicts our holding chamber for the Mentos.

That third blurry one is me leaping away and attempting to catch a picture of Mt. VisCokeulus.

I don't know that we learned anything, other than… Mentos and Coke do not mix.

It was a good week. We didn't get everything done, but we there was enough done for me to be able to rest easy this weekend. Oh, and this morning we woke up to more snow!!!! There's supposed to be even more dropped throughout the day!!!! Eeeeh!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ah, the sound of reading :)

It started out so quiet.  Luke was practicing his reading.  Andrew was enjoying a new book.  Then, I just had to break out the camera and then the reading stopped and the giggles and goofies ensued.