Sunday, May 30, 2010

Week 21 2010

We've fallen into our summer schedule starting this past week. The big girls got up in the mornings and knocked out their online lessons, language arts and math. They are still doing really well and seem to be enjoying the lessons. I've had Mary put aside her math program for the right now and just work on her multiplication facts. Too much frustration on her part because she understands the math concepts, but she just cannot remember her multiplication facts. She is using Timez Attack and extra worksheets from Math Mammoth.

The lessons are only taking the girls an hour or so to complete online, then there is generally a writing assignment for the day. I'm so over-the-top thrilled that the girls are actually writing!!

This week we also watched all three seasons of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" thanks to Netflix. A show we really enjoyed on cable, but never sot to see Season 3 because we had the cable disconnected. As far as children's cartoons go this has to rank up there as one of the best.

Mary has decided to write short stories and made a notebook to keep all her stories in. Again, can I just say how excited I am that they are writing!! This is her book and she has let me take a peak at one or two of the stories. Her spelling is much better than I expected, but it looks like we need to keep hammering in the capitalization rules. In addition to writing stories she has also thought it would be fun to make up Word Find puzzles for Katie and Emily. That has been interesting to see her work on those.

The 39 Clues: Book 7 has sent us on a mini-study of South Africa and Apartheid. Mary is currently reading "Journey to Jo'Burg" by Beverly Naidoo. And, this month's National Geographic had a very interesting article on South Africa and Apartheid since the World Cup will be beginning there next month. We found out that Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman will be available on June 15th...very interested in watching that movie together.

We've made it to the park a couple of days this week and Mary has spent a lot of time outside working on striking the soccer ball harder. She had try-outs this week for classic soccer. Mary made the team for our area but one of her weaknesses was striking. She has decided that she will work on that throughout the summer. We hung a net from the old, metal swing set and she has been practicing every evening when it cools down enough to go outside.

On Wednesday, we finally made it out strawberry picking. Were able to get a bucket of late season strawberries to enjoy this week/weekend. Yummy!

Not to leave all the other kids out of the report this week, but they are just doing what they always do. A lot of games and puzzles. Katie is probably spending too much time on the Bulld-A-Bear website, but is doing a lot of neat math games while she is playing. She is still reading through some of the Magic Treehouse series, but has slowed down a bit.

Robbie loves to put boxes over himself and pretend he is a robot, so Mary decided to make him his very own 'Robbie-Bot' suit. He and Emily are having a lot of fun with this.

Otherwise, nothing too exciting. This weekend DH is working a lot (got to figure out how to pay for soccer now) and the big girls are spending time at their friend's house. Mary also has a job this weekend taking care of neighbor's pets. It has been kind of quiet around here at times and I am trying to use that to do some much needed cleaning.



Friday, May 21, 2010

Week 20 2010 - Already!!

Well, we are way past our required number of days for the year. Everything is going so well right now that we are just going to keep on going.

This week was a good week back after the testing last week. All the kids are still liking Time4Learning so that is getting done with a minimum of fuss. Even adding in more of the worksheets from the program has not been a big deal. I'm somewhat surprised at Katie. The child who used to tear up at a two-sentence copywork assignment willingly completed a two page worksheet answering reading comprehension questions in complete, original sentences.

Mary spent most of the week working on a quick 'Amelia Earhart' unit study inspired by The 39 Clues book series. We've watched a biography on her, watched a BrainPop video on her and one on how planes fly, Mary completed some vocabulary work regarding airplanes and painted a model the plane Earhart used in her 'around-the-world' attempt.

It is actually a styrofoam glider I found at Dollar General for $2 and looks more like a modern-day passenger jet, but was as close as I could get.

Here they are testing out the principles of lift and thrust.

Emily took her first 'tests' this week on T4L and was very excited to earn 100% on both of them. Mary's work with planes inspired Emily to learn more about birds and we have been reading about them. She has also been continuing to work on writing her numbers. I think '8' is her favorite number this week "because it looks like a snowman."

Katie is reading, reading, reading. I think she is averaging a "Magic Tree House" book a day. She also did a few more pages for her North Carolina notebook we are working on with her. This week we focused on some symbols of NC.

Today we went to the 'Got To Be North Carolina' festival at the fairgrounds. It highlighted NC agriculture, crafts and products. It was a great day for it. Very few people there since it was a Friday and still clean since they had just opened.

We arrived just in time for the antique tractor parade which was actually kind of cool. Then we headed over to the petting zoo area.

The big discovery of the day was that goats and camels have 'people' teeth according to Emily.

We wandered around for a while a looked at the fiber art displays watching people spinning wool and weaving. Stopped by the antique farm machinery building where there was one tractor the kids could climb on.

Stopped for some overpriced lunch and tried to keep Robbie from taking a dip while listening to Bluegrass music.

After that I finally let the kids loose on the midway.

This ride goes against every instinct as a parent. First you let them climb into a deflated rubber bubble, then a really loud air pump is attached and inflates the bubble.

Then the kids get to go try their feet at walking on water.

But, most of the time they ended up looking like gerbiles in a ball.

Mary and Katie said it was a lot of fun, but it got very, very hot in the bubble.

This was the ride chosen by Emily and Robbie.

All four of them rode the spinning strawberry ride.

By this time we were very hot and tired. All of us were ready for a we headed home to chill.

It was a great end to a very good week.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer is coming fast!

It is that time of year that everything begins to finish up. Slowly activities are falling off our calendar and I don't have quite as many days figuring out how to be in two places at once. It is bittersweet. The girls have had such a great time being involved in their activities this Spring I know that they will be missed, but it sure is nice not to have to rush around so many afternoons.

Of course, the break will not be very long as we have summer camps and trips already filling up the calendar and several 'unknowns' still floating around out there to add. My problems become less how to get to two activities across town on the same afternoon, to how to be at two camps across the state on the same day ;). Thankfully I have very helpful family members.

The girls are still doing well using computer-based lessons and spending the afternoons working on unit studies. Yep, totally the reverse of the whole Classical/Charlotte Mason method I tried to force on them. For whatever reason this just seems to make more sense to them. They are actually getting it for a change and not so frustrated. They are actually okay with continuing through the summer with schooling (when not out of town).

Personally, I'm finding so much more time in my day. Time that we can use for all those interesting studies we never got around to finishing, time to sit and relax, time to do chores.

Last week we did our required standardized testing. Mary has such severe testing anxiety that this has always been one of the worst weeks of our year. But, this year, she was much better. She understood our beliefs about the tests and hopefully finally realized that the world wouldn't end if she didn't do perfectly on the test. This was Katie's first year sitting for the test and she also did fine, although the whole testing language and having to fill in those tiny circles threw her for a loop at first. Thankfully, it is over and done for the year and we can move on with our regular lives until next year.

On Thursday, we took the day off from testing and visited the newly, re-opened NC Art Museum. The new space is wonderful. It is bright and lots of space to sit back and enjoy the art. Lots of new pieces are out that had been in storage because of lack of space in the old space. The architects tried to blend inside and outside with little garden areas outside. Looking forward to many more visits in the near future. Already planning to go to the Norman Rockwell and Eric Carle exhibitions when they open in November.

In our extracurricular world Mary finished her soccer season this past weekend. Next week they have tryouts/team placement for Classic level. And, then there will me mini-camps over the summer to prepare them for Classic play.

Katie has her last Brownie meeting for the year tonight. Last week her troop went to Build-A-Bear with their troop money from the cookie sales. She made a really cute owl instead of a bear after falling in love with Molly and the owlets.

Recreation soccer and softball will continue into June, but with nothing else going on that almost seems too easy.



Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Soccer Tournament Pictures

This past weekend we spent in hot & muggy Myrtle Beach (yes, already) for a soccer tournament that Mary's team was participating in. We were not sure what to expect, with it being our first overnight, out-of-town soccer tournament. We had a blast!!

The girls spent a lot of time together when they were not out on the fields. They played in the ocean, swam in the pools and had dinner together as a team Saturday night. Lots of team bonding went on, and as parents we could see the affect that it had on the team.

Saturday the girls split their two games. They beat the first team 8-0 and lost the second game 6-0. On Saturday they looked much like they had all season, playing well in one game and not so much in the second. But, Sunday, they came out with team spirit and a won't give up attitude.

Their first game on Sunday was against a regionally-ranked U-10 girls team. Our girls scored 3 goals in the first half and then let them back in during the second half to tie. In overtime, Mary scored her fourth goal of the tournament to put us ahead and on into the finals.

The final game was against the team that had beaten us 6-0. Even after playing overtime in the first game and having a short break, and the 90-degree temps the girls still gave it everything they had. The girls lost that game 2-1, but left everything they had out on the field.

We were so proud of what they did this weekend.

Go AC Milan!!


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.