Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Olivia Has Worms!

No, really. She has worms.

We put the worms in a plastic cage with some dirt, sand and oats in layers and them put them down in the basement. Over the next few weeks, we'll check on them and watch as they gradually mix the layers together into a uniform soil. They are already beginning to tunnel and mix the soil. Olivia enjoys going to check on them.

Our science for My Father's World is ecology this year. For the last two weeks, we read about how all living things interact in their enviroments and we talked about how they each have a niche or niches. That is the job they do or the role they play. We also discussed the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the water cycle.

We have incorporated nature observation into our school year too. This is part of the MFW curriculum and then I added some resources. We have talked about what you need to take with you to help observe nature, safety guidelines, and where and how to look around. We have started to draw pictures, write about what we observe, and collect some materials. We staked out a 9 sq ft area in our back yard to watch and observe throughout the year. We are taking more nature walks. This has worked well for the boys too. They can explore and get dirty and keep busy while Olivia and I do some school. And actually Gabe is getting to participate when he can. It is lots of fun for all of us Well, certainly the kids and I'm learning to enjoy the outdoors and all that it holds more and more. :) It helps that the weather is cooling down a bit here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making the Round World Flat

School is in session. Well, we actually didn't stop for long but now we have picked up some of our beyond essentials curriculum. We are doing My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. It is a bible based curriculum that includes history, science, music and art. This year our history is actually geography. To start off the year, we did an overview of geography, learning about maps and globes. We learned the equator, north and south poles, the continents and the oceans. We learned about maps, reading them, and the different types of maps and what they tell us. We did some fun hands on activities to reinforce our learning.

JR worked with her to show her how flat maps are distorted because you can't flatten out the Earth without something getting messed up. By drawing the continents on an orange and then peeling it, she was able to see that flattening the earth is harder than it looks!

With help, Olivia also made maps of her room, our backyard, and the nieghborhood. We look at a Greensboro map. Then she was given the opportunity to give us directions to get from place to place.

And then to celebrate and reinforce our learning we made world cakes. Why did we make three? Well, I know there is only one earth. :) But it was good practice several times over for O to identify and place the continents and identify the oceans. Also, the cake pan I used (Thanks Kim!) to make the rounds made 3 so that is what we did. :)

We read from the Bible, the last two weeks, how there is only ONE God for the whole world and that he created and loves all people on the earth. He separated all the languages of the world but one day he will gather all the people of the world to worship him together.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tree Class

Daddy took Olivia and Gabe to a "class" about trees at the Wildlife Center at Bur-Mil Park.

They got to color pictures of trees, talk about what trees give us, like food, shade, oxygen and lots of the things we use every day (toothpaste!?!)

Gabe had to point out every tall tree in the forest.

They had a great time getting to walk the greenway and pick up leaves and look at the different types of trees.

Gabe just being silly and cute after tripping over his feet for the millionth time. :)

After the walk, they took the leaves they had collected and made leaf rubbings.
This fit well with our nature study topic of trees we have been learning about with our Cottage co-op. While it was certainly more of an appreciation class, it did reinforce many of the things Olivia has learned recently.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ezra thinks he is a big boy now

So Ezra has decided he won't stay in the baby float anymore. He managed to make his way to the shallow step and climb out. I let him crawl around on that for a bit but after he tried to jump in before I was completely ready, I had to come up with another solution. And no, he wasn't content to let me hold him. He wanted to play and "swim". I put the second float like what we have for Gabe. It certainly made him a happier (and safer) boy.

Ezra doesn't look happy here because I was having Olivia hold him. He doesn't like being confined. ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Firm Foundation Homeschool

We are now "properly registered" and may "officially begin operation as of 8-11-11". That won't change much around here but it is that time. Time to register with the state. Oh and I do have to keep attendance records now and administer a standardized test to Olivia at the end of the school year.
This summer Olivia has been doing a curriculum called Who is God? It is the first textbook in a worldview curriculum put out by Apologia press. We all have a worldview and it affects our daily lives, the decisions we make and how we interact with people. We get our worldview in many ways, family, friends, school, circumstances, etc. I love this curriculum. It is intentionally laying the foundation for a biblical worldview that is solid and hopefully will not be so easily rocked by influences that she will encounter growing up and then throughout life. We used the textbook and made our own sort of journal as we went. She copied key things and drew pictures and wrote notes/letters about what she was learning. They do now make a fun notebooking journal that goes with the textbook. I got a look at one that my friend had and I would highly recommend it. It give a concrete way to process some less than concrete lessons in this curriculum.

In addition, we have worked on some math review and language arts. I am using Busy Times, from pathway, as our reader right now. We are using Language Lessons for the Very Young to teach some basic grammar, picture study, copywork and recitation. It is a Charlotte Mason style approach. We have also done more work in her nature journal. She will be observing and drawing the large dogwood in our backyard through the year. We have read a couple more of the Little House series this summer. Olivia really enjoys them. We are simply reading them and sometimes she does some dictation. She has continued to work on her knitting. She has had some ups and downs with that. There are times when she gets easily frustrated. She decided to bind off her the simple rectangle she was working on. She is now going back to try again and improve her skills. This was a bit of a hard lesson for her. I think she thought she would do it perfectly the first time. ;)

binding off

The finished product.

We will be starting Exploring Countries and Cultures by My Father's World in the coming weeks. This is the description from the company: "Take a trip around the world and explore diverse countries while learning geography and being challenged by true stories of missionaries." I am excited about this curriculum. I did get a few resources from a company called Winter Promise to add to this curriculum. It should be a fun year! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Safety Town

Olivia enjoyed the past two weeks at Safety Town. This is a 2 hour a day camp run by the Greensboro Police Department (local Resource Officers) and funded by may organizations, but mainly the Kiwanis Club. It is a 1/2 acre replica of a town. In the middle of the town is a crossroads with a working stoplight and crossing signals. The kids are taught lessons on safety there in the town as well as indoors using videos (Danger Rangers, a team that keeps kids safe) and verbal instructions from the police officers and the volunteer instructors. They learn fire, pedestrian/traffic, animal, stranger, gun, playground, ems/911, bicycle, and water. They got visits from the characters like Eddy Eagle (gun), Reddy Fox (EMS), and McGruff (stranger). They also got to see an ambulance, fire truck, and a bicycle officer. Of course, the most fun and memorable part of Safety Town is the little pedal cars that they get to ride around town. This is done in a very controlled fashion like it is a real town with road rules. They test the kids on the skills they learned and have a graduation ceremony at the end of the 2 weeks. The optimist club is a sponsor and they provide us with child identification kits (ID cards, fingerprinting, DNA swabs/hair samples) to have just in case. It is very difficult to get pictures. Due to privacy and protection of minors, they are strict about when cameras come out. But here are a couple of pictures of Safety Town itself to give you an idea. I would highly recommend this program. It is fantastic. And what is a more safe place than to drop your child off every day with about 10-15 police officers. :)

Sorry these graduation pictures are blurry. I had two discontent children in my lap at the time I was trying to take them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Arriving sometime around the first of 2012

We got to see the newest addition to our family. The whole family was there to see the little one. So sweet! 4 Baby will surprise us with his/her sex upon delivery although both Jeremy and I admit to glancing and making opposite guesses. :) 4 Baby was 7oz and measuring at 17 weeks instead of 19 as we thought. So I will have a repeat ultrasound in a month to get a better idea if my due date needs to be pushed back. That would put the due date closer to Daddy's birthday. Although, I must say it is not nice to tell a pregnant women she is not as far along as she thought. ;) I mean I have already done weeks 17 and 18. The other possibility is that the baby really is just small. Tanya was happy with everything she saw on the ultrasound and actually wasn't worried about the size either. She said that 7oz is a weight at which discrepancies often pop up. So time will tell. We thank God for this little addition to our family! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Blueberries

We went to Watts Blueberries in Belews Creek Monday evening. We shared some great company with our friends and picked tons of blueberries. Well, Jeremy and myself picked the majority. Olivia did her part and the boys did lots of eating. :) This time the blueberries were definitely in season and tasted yummy. We came home with a gallon. The kids are eating them by the handfuls right now but I may manage to freeze some too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swim Lessons

Olivia had swim lessons again this summer, with the goal of getting her comfortable in the water without her floats and to work on her kicks and arms and to jump in and swim a short distance. She was very brave! The first day was hard for her but she overcame her fears and was eager to try all the skills during the rest of the lessons.

She is under water holding her breath.

Here she is kicking. They progressed from noodles or kickboards to no help at all. She was encouraged (and mostly managed) to straighten out her legs and thereby improve her kick strength and speed by the end of the lessons.

This is when she just started jumping in to her teacher. Then she progressed to jumping in and swimming a couple of those black line distances to her teacher.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


We went peach picking early last Friday morning. I wanted to beat the heat. We went to Buttermilk Farms in Alamance County (same place we picked blackberries). We got up early, had breakfast in the car and were picking just after 7:30am. It was on JR's way to work so he was able to join us.  

These are red peaches. Olivia took the time to draw a peach tree and then do a leaf rubbing in her nature journal before we started picking.

Here is our meeting at The Cottage co-op. We had this meeting a few days before our peach picking trip. The kids got to smell, feel, cut open and taste peaches. We learned that the peach tree came from China. They are stone fruits, and they can be either clingstones or freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone. We learned that it is a deciduous tree and that it blooms these beautiful pink flowers early in spring before the leaves come out on the tree. Olivia drew the flowers and a cross section of peach in her nature journal that day.

Our Cottage meetings this summer have been similar and just as much fun as the Winter/Spring meetings. Our nature study focus this time has been on trees. We started with the Oak Tree. We looked at some saplings, leaves, acorns, and then identified several varieties in our area. Next we talked about the Dogwood, our state flower. The most interesting thing we learned was about is about the bloom. The white petal-like things we think of as the flower are actually bracts and they surround many small heads of inconspicuous flowers. We talked about God creating the trees. This time since our focus was on a fruit tree, we talked about bearing good or bad fruit (Matthew 7:18) and then we talked about the fruits of the Spirit.
We are learning How Great Thou Art, words and sign language. It has been something the kids are really enjoying. We are also learning the folk song Skip to My Lou which is a lot of fun for the kids. Our habit this time is Attentiveness. We have explained what it is to the kids. Our bible verse this time is Deuteronomy 12:28 (Amplified Bible) Be watchful and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. Our games have been ones that require them to pay close attention with eyes and ears. We have played Follow the Leader, a clapping patterns game, and Charades. It has been lots of fun. Our artist this time is Mary Cassatt. She lived during the time of the Western Expansion, around the same time that Skip to My Lou and How Great Thou Art were written. So far we have looked at 3 of her works that each show a mother and child in a very intimate, loving manner. The kids have really enjoyed her work. Of course, the kids do their poetry recitation each week and it is such a wonderful thing to hear. Gabe has volunteered to get up 2 of the 3 meets this summer to share a Nursery Rhyme. Olivia has been responsible for memorizing her selections without much help from me and she is doing well.