Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our Routine

Pet care.

I don't like schedules; they automatically make me want to rebel! However, we do have a very flexible routine...

By 7-ish: I'm up, letting the doggies out, getting the coffee started, putting away the clean dishes and switching out the laundry loads. Once the coffee is ready, I get a cup and sit down at my computer to look over what we're doing that day, check email, and maybe look at a blog or two. And if I'm feeling really, really ambitious, I put something in the slow cooker or prep something for dinner.


By 8-ish: The kids are up, eating breakfast (or picking at it, in Dude's case.) They may or may not get dressed. They are supposed to feed and water all animals before we begin our school time. I'm supposed to water our tomato plants, but I frequently forget! I make sure all our materials are ready for the school day, and I get dressed for the day or put on my workout clothes.

We have a lot of interesting conversations during breakfast time! I like to listen to the news on the radio in the mornings, and the kids will ask Dad and me about what they hear. We also get really silly sometimes, making up songs and goofing around with the dogs. I'm SO grateful that we don't have to hurry through breakfast, because this is such a pleasant time for our family.

Problem solving.

Around 9-ish: We start our school day. We might decide to knock out math and language arts first, or we might decided to jump into our unit study first. I work out two mornings a week, and during that time, the kids can do math practice sheets, spelling packets, or they can practice typing or piano.

Between 9 am and about 1 pm we do language arts, Typing Pal, math, and whatever unit study we're working on at the time. The goal is to get the bulk of our "book work" done before lunch so our afternoon is mostly free.

Nature study.

While one kid is doing the typing program, the other sits with me and we read Voyages in English together, do some of the questions aloud, and then I have them write maybe 4 or 5 examples in their notebook. As they get more comfortable with this system, I'll have them work more independently.

Math is still a big ol' review at the moment, so both kids work together. They do problems on the white board or worksheets, and play math games. Once we get into new instruction, math will take more time and I will probably have to do two separate lessons.


For the next three weeks, we're doing a homemade unit study called "Be A Scientist." I put it together after Super and Dude asked to do more experiments this year. So far we've reviewed sound waves and the parts of the ear (from last year) and we've done a fun experiment where I asked the kids to identify things using only their sense of smell. We have discussed what scientists do, learned about the steps of the scientific method, and made notebooking pages for the vocabulary words.

Science notebooking.

12-ish: We have lunch together and read our family read-aloud, or maybe some poetry. (Dude will be absolutely starving at this point, since he wouldn't eat breakfast.) Sometimes the kids help me prepare lunch, but sometimes they want some time to themselves and they go off to play with dogs or rats until I call them back to the kitchen.

1-ish: Finish up school work and read together. We are still reading The Swiss Family Robinson because we took a break from it during the summer. I thought the kids would be tired of it, but they wanted to pick up where we left off. Dude really wanted to make a map of the island, so we're filling in details as we read.

Field trips.

After all school work is done, the kids are allowed to watch TV, play Wii, or do stuff on the computer. (They get two hours total e-time a day.) We are also trying to swim at least once a week. If I have a lot of boring errands to run, I'll bribe the kids with a smoothie or a treat from the yogurt place. If we don't need to go anywhere, they might read, draw, write letters, or use their e-time.

Playing games.

Our "official" school day goes from 9 to 2, and I don't subtract the lunch hour since we read and talk about what we're learning during that time. However, we go way beyond the required hours: we read even more in the evenings, we watch lots of science and history shows on TV, and we visit lots of interesting places on the weekends. We're really trying to live the learning lifestyle, so there isn't a clear line between "school" and life.

Karate is two evenings a week, there is always something going on with scouts, and there is usually at least one after-school playdate a week. Our local homeschooling group is very active, so we often have a cool field trip or class in the afternoon.

Scout projects.

Dinner happens at some point, but the time and place depends on the above activities. Life is so much easier when I've done a lot of cooking over the weekend! Otherwise, we have a quick and easy dinner, or we go out.

By 8 pm, all evening activities are done and I'm doing a bit of housework or messing around on the computer. We might all watch a movie together, or just sit outside and listen to the crickets.

9 pm: If I take my own book into the bedroom, I can count on at least one kid joining me to cuddle up and read.

That's another thing I love about homeschooling: if we want to stay up late and read, we can!


Not Back to School Blog Hop

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Gateway Auto Museum


Our second field trip of the school year took us to the gorgeous Unaweep Canyon...

...and the amazing Gateway Auto Museum.

What a fun place!

There are early cars from the days when they were strictly for Sunday drives.

And there are super-cool hot rods!

There are ooh la la cars...

...and muscle cars!

And even the rarest car in the world! The Oldsmobile F-88.

The kids learned about gears...

...and aerodynamics.

While I drooled over the interiors of some of the luxury models.

Oh, baby!

Hubba hubba!

I have always loved the details on classic cars!

Swooping sirens...

...graceful swans...

...speeding jets...

...and zooming rockets!

They don't make 'em like that anymore!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cool (figuratively, that is)

Summer festivals, street fairs, outdoor concerts and other opportunities to spend hot days with big crowds are SO not my thing...

In all honesty, my kids are much more stoic about heat and hassle than I am.

But when you have a kid who is crazy about big, noisy flying machines, you are willing to do these things!

After I got over my initial griping, I had to admit the air show was actually pretty cool!

Can you spot the teeny tiny parachuter? He's the little white dot next to the sun.

There he is!

The aerobatics were amazing! And no, this photo is not upside-down!

Here is the broken wing formation.

What's that whisper-quiet wafer headed this way?

Just a B-2 Stealth Bomber. We didn't hear a thing until it was nearly on top of us!

There was even a WWII battle reenactment, complete with "bombs."

(That's not a WWII plane in the foreground, as you can see!)

The kids loved the show, and we stopped for ice cream on the way home,
which helped to cool off Mom's cranky temper!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Field Trip of the Year

The Blue Sky people have lived in the Southwest for over a thousand years.

They lived mostly in Colorado, Utah, and northern New Mexico. But their hunting trips took them as far away as Wyoming, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle.

Once the Utes had horses, they were able to travel farther, and they had more contact with other tribes. They were known as excellent horsemen, and enjoyed riding competitions, as well as foot races and other games.

The Ute people lived in brush shelters called wikiups, until they learned to make tipis from the Plains Indians. Ute women were very talented; they were known for tanning soft, beautiful buckskin, and for intricate beadwork.

Ouray and Chipeta tried hard to save the traditional Ute territories, but settlers, ranchers and miners wanted that land!

Other Utes fought to save the land as well, but the U.S. Government eventually moved them to tiny reservations.

The Bear Dance is an important part of Ute culture. Musicians play a rumbly instrument called a "bear growler." It sounds like a cranky bear waking up from a long hibernation!

Women choose their dance partners and line up for the dance. Singers sing, drummers drum, and dancers dance until they are exhausted! Then there is a big feast!

Chipeta outlived her husband by 44 years. She saw the lives of the Utes change forever during her lifetime.

What did you like best about the museum, kids?

Super: The bear dance! I liked the bear growler. I also found it interesting that the dance ends whenever someone falls down!

Dude: I liked just about everything. My favorite thing was how they actually had a shirt that belonged to Chief Ouray. And I loved the arrows, that was awesome.