Thursday, July 29, 2010

Speaking of Weather...

Look what mother nature brought us tonight while we are studying weather...



Getting back into the rhythm

We have officially started school as of last week. The fact is we all needed a bit more routine into our days when we were not traveling and school is one of the easiest ways to achieve routine.

Katie has been at her last camp for the summer this week and after this we have a couple of weeks at home before our last trip of the summer. Tomorrow we drive down to the GS camp to pick up Katie. Today, we got a letter from her telling us that she missed us but is having A LOT of fun.

Since we never stopped T4L we have just continued on with where the girls are there. Mary has discovered that she really enjoys working with fractions, seriously. All three girls are working hard and doing very well. Mary has added in the Time4Art component and does one lesson a week. She does the lesson online at the beginning of the week and then turns in her finished assignment at the end of the week. Between her and Emily's art we have been experiencing a shortage of paper around the house.

This week Emily, Robbie and I began working through their first unit study of the year. We chose 'Weather' as the topic because Emily is fascinated by weather and weather forecasts. I am using a Unit Study created by Intellego. We are keeping a daily weather journal and have explored "What Weather Is?" by reading Usborne's Beginner series titled Weather. We also watched BrainPop videos on weather.

Today we built an anemometer to measure wind direction.

(See the nifty haircut she gave herself last week...thus the need for routine in our house)

It was Emily's idea to lift the anemometer up on the two cups. She figured that the reason we couldn't get it to work immediately was because it was too low to the ground (of course it was totally calm most of today). All the pictures she saw of wind gauges showed them high up, so this one needed to be lifted also.

Without Katie here, we decided to wait on starting the Economics Unit Study she and Mary will be doing in August. I spent most of the week pulling material together and making some final lesson plans. I found this awesome Economics education site while searching around for material. I decided to use their 4-part lesson on Money and Banking as the core of this unit study. We are also going to use BrainPop materials to flesh out the study. I like that this focuses on budgeting, saving money and making choices on how to spend money. Later we will do economics studies on supply and demand, taxes, and other more abstract ideas.

I'm trying to get as much planning as I can out of the way now as sports are starting back this weekend. Katie's softball team has already had one practice, with another one on Saturday. Mary has soccer practice tomorrow evening after we get back from picking Katie up. We have not had confirmation yet, but her coach is hoping to start regular practices next week. Their first soccer tournament is in less than a month.

I'm looking forward to fall and some cooler weather so we can get back outside again. The heat is oppressive and nobody wants to be outside for very long if they can avoid it. The children don't even ask me to take them to the park right now. I'm ready to do some hiking!!!



Monday, July 19, 2010

Cruising through the summer

Our summer is moving right along. After our trip to the beach over the 4th, we packed up and headed to the mountains for five days. Katie had a half-week camp up there and we wanted out of the heat.

We all had a great time hanging around the in-laws' cabin. They had trails all over the mountain to walk and explore. My MIL has a butterfly garden that enthralled Emily and Robbie.

We just had to keep reminding them to not catch the butterflies. The butterflies were so fat and slow that Robbie could even get his hands around them.

The first two days we were there the weather was very nice, but the next two (while Katie was at camp) it rained. We ended up being rained out of our day trip to visit the waterfalls in the area. Instead, I took Mary into Boone to see 'Eclipse'. It has been a long time since I have seen a movie in the theater. We really enjoyed the opportunity to spend some quiet time together.

The big news out of the trip is that Robbie was potty trained. We had started a day or so before the trip. I realized that as long as Robbie was allowed to choose to wear diapers he would keep choosing the diapers, but when we were out of diapers he used the potty just fine. So, the diapers disappeared ;-). We didn't have the first problem with him. He even made it dry through the 3+ hour drive home (with one pit stop).

He is getting to be such a big boy and is really very easy.

We came back home last Wednesday. Thursday we got busy with one of our summer projects. Last summer when we moved Mary out of the girls' bedroom we promised Katie and Emily that we would redo their room. Well it took awhile to find the time and money, but we managed to scrounge around and find enough pieces of furniture and helpers so that on Thursday we gave them a new room.

Here is the picture I took shortly after we moved the furniture back. We still had not had the chance to hang pictures on the wall or get Katie's new comforter. But, it is about the cleanest picture I have of the room.

We moved the two girls out of a bunk bed and took out the play table that had become nothing but a roosting spot for clutter. Katie and Emily settled on this 'Apple Green', they LOVED it. But, it is kind of bright. To bring down the intensity of the color, we also painted all the wood furniture white.
Here is a picture after more decorating has been done, and has a bit more of that lived in look. Emily is loving having the desk in the room. I don't know how many reams of paper she has gone through making her drawings. But, next on my list to buy is a wastepaper basket.

Here are the four of them enjoying Katie's space. I lifted her bed up a little to put storage under the bed.

Now that we have finished that project we will again re-visit Mary's room. The loft bed isn't working as well as we thought it would. This weekend a friend of DH's gave us a twin bed frame. We are going to take out the loft and just put a twin in the room. Mary wants to add large pillows around the bed to make a 'sofa' bed.

In between household projects and traveling we are managing to find time for school. I officially started to keep track of days today for the new school year. The girls are still working on Time4Learning for Language Arts, Katie and Emily are using Math Mammoth and Mary is finishing Teaching Textbooks 5 that she started in the Spring. Mary is starting French and Katie is working on her typing skills with a SpongeBob Program. Mary has started her study of 1900-1930 US History. Katie is still trying to decide what topic she wants to study to kick off the new year.

Emily has been taking off on her reading. She is finding a lot of the 1st grade materials pretty easy already, which is saying something since most of her pre-K year was hit or miss depending on her mood. Now, if we could just get her writing...

Robbie is just being a great 3 1/2 year old. Potty training is the huge developmental achievement. He will spend hours letting me read to him if I could, and don't let him anywhere near tools. If something stands still long enough he will try to take it apart.

I can't believe it is already getting to end of July. The summer does seem to flying by...I can't wait for the cooler Fall weather.



Monday, July 05, 2010

4th of July Family Trip

Just back from our family trip to the beach for the 4th of July. We are blessed that we have such a wonderful place to stay when we visit the beach. This trip is one of the best so far.

The weather couldn't have been any more perfect for a holiday weekend. Low humidity and mid-80s during the day. We could see stars at night that we almost never see during the summer due to haze. The tides cooperated to the point we could make morning walks along the sound.

With Robbie getting older trips are so much more easier than they once were. Constant vigilance over a baby/toddler is exhausting, but now that he is a preschooler I find myself able to relax a bit more. He is more aware of his own limitations and follows directions.

In one afternoon DH was able to get Robbie from standing on the steps of the pool to being able to splash around by himself in his floaties.

I managed to read three books while acting as lifeguard over the weekend.

DH was thrilled to spend time with the kids this weekend. He took the girls to the beach for some ocean time and played in the pool for hours at a time.

We watched the fireworks over the sound again this year and had a wonderful time hanging out with the other families in the neighborhood.

Now we are home and doing laundry to get ready to leave for the mountains at the end of the week to take Katie to camp.


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.