Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Georgie is 5!!

My one and only baby boy is 5 years old!!  He's such a big kid now - playing soccer, reading, playing games. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Vicki has been getting very into the pretend play lately.  Tinkerbell and all her Fairy friends talking about having tea while the stuffed turtle, fish and frog listen closely.  But instead of her cute, high pitched, little girl voice her friends all speak in a deep, rough voice that reminds me of the little kid from The Shining.  

Redrum anyone?

Totally creepy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NJ Farm and Horse Show

We went to the NJ Farm and Horse Show/Sussex County Fair last week.  We went on the first day that temperatures were predicted to be in the low (instead of high) 80's.  Of course, we ended up getting rained on but it was still a fun day.

When we went into the first of the livestock tent, where the chickens and rabbits were, Georgie tried to hold his nose, because of the smell, and his ears, because of the noise, at the same time.
Thankfully he got over it pretty quickly.  The kids were fascinated by the baby chicks and were able to see a few hatching from their eggs.
One little girl had a rabbit out and allowed them to pet it.  We had a pet bunny until a couple of years ago but it was outside and the little guys didn’t see him too often.
One building had a Farm Fun area set up for kids to play.  Both kids had fun in the pretend grocery store stocked with foods from the farm.  Georgie stood on line to purchase his fruits and vegetables (very interesting since he barely eats either)….
while Vicki worked the cash register.
Both kids had fun riding the small tractors.  I had to explain that the idea wasn’t to play bumper-tractor.
There were stick ponies for them to ride around a hay maze.   “Yee Ha!  Ride Em Cowboy.”
They had a wood cow to “milk”……
as well as corn to shuck and pop the kernels off, wood eggs to get from under stuffed chickens, wood apples to pick off trees and potatoes to dig out of the (hay) ground.
We went over to the petting area.  Vicki had a great time feeding the goats entire handfuls of food….
while Georgie would keep his main stash in one hand and just put one or two pellets of food in the hand he offered to the animals.
We went through the 4-H tent where Georgie was fascinated by the robotics exhibit.  The boy running the exhibit let Georgie play with a couple of the robots, which appeared to be made out of Legos.
I could definitely see Georgie being into this stuff when he gets older.
We had a light lunch and then sat in the rain eating ice cream.
We played a few games on the way out.  Kids under 12 win every time playing the arcade games so they were each able to win a turtle and a fish (all stuffed, I avoided the “win a goldfish” booth).
IMG_4502 IMG_4505
Surprisingly, neither kid complained about getting soaking wet walking in the rain.  At least not until we were back in the car ready to go home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Almost Ready for School

While I've been busy preparing to start school, the kids have been finding ways to keep themselves amused.

Georgie has been enjoying drawing on the chalkboard.  I had just cleaned it off with a wet sponge and he really liked the way the colors looked brighter on the wet board.  He's getting to be quite a good draw-er.

Meanwhile, Vicki was playing on my I-Touch since it's the only way for me to brush her hair without a big fight.  Of course, it's not that easy to get it away from her once her hair is done.  Want to know how long that ponytail actually stayed in her hair??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting Ready For School.

We've been taking it pretty easy this summer but it's getting close to time to start school again.  Georgie is going on vacation next week with Granny Franny and I'm hoping to start when he gets back.  We mostly played around with school last year, trying out different things and seeing what worked well and what didn't work at all.  Georgie is technically kindergarten age this year (although the public schools have expressed the preference that he not come to kindergarten until he was 6) so we are going to get a little more structured now.  He is actually doing a mix of kindergarten and first grade work.

I have all my core lessons filed for the year.  There was an extremely long thread on TWTM forums outlining a crate filing plan.  I modified it slightly since we are doing History and Science in a block schedule, rather than doing both daily or weekly.   My Core crate includes 35 hanging file folders, each containing two manila folders - one for Georgie and one for Vicki.   Each week a folder will be taken out and the contents distributed among our magazine holder workboxes.  I do weekly workboxes since I know better than to think I will set them up every night.   Only the Language Arts (reading/phonics, spelling, writing) and Math are in these folders.  The entire years curriculum was divided up into these folders. For things like AAS and RS that I didn't want to take apart the book, I made a check-list of lessons that will be moved from week to week.

For Language Arts:
Georgie will be finishing up Explode the Code book 1 (probably very quickly judging by past performance) and starting Explode the Code book 2.   We're also starting All About Spelling 1.  Georgie always asks how to spell words so I think he will enjoy this.  It will also help reinforce the Phonics/Reading we're doing. We will continue to use emergent readers from Hubbards Cupboard.  I've also added a checklist of literature selections I want to do as Read-Alouds this year. 

Vicki will be starting Get Ready for the Code. She already knows most of her letter sounds thanks to Leapfrog videos but she doesn't seem ready for putting sounds together into words so Get Ready seems a good place to start. She wants a workbook just like Georgie's, so this should satisfy her.   She also has a variety of letter activities including collage pages, dabber pages and coloring pages.  I'm sure she'll be observing Georgie's AAS lessons as well (hopefully we'll be able to keep her hands off the tiles).

We are continuing with MEP Year 1 for Math.  This worked well and Georgie usually enjoyed it.  We are adding in some exercises with the RS Abacus and lessons on Time and Money since these are two topics Georgie is fascinated with.

I thought about starting MEP Reception with Vicki but decided to not press my luck for this year.  I did print off a variety of activity sheets, coloring pages and dabber pages on numbers for her to do.

As always, we will continue to play lots of games together.

For History and Science, we will do these in a block schedule.  We will do one or the other every afternoon (core subjects will be done in the morning).  The kids will do these together since a lot of it will be fun activities, experiments and read-alouds.   I have a second file crate for History and Science (and will at some point add Art/Music and Language).  Each hanging file folder is for a specific topic and contains all printouts, activity descriptions and a supply list and book list.   I have four large plastic drawers that I will use as workboxes for these topics.  At the beginning of each week I will divide the books and activities into the four drawers - one for each day and add all the non-perishable supplies that are needed for that day.  I'm hoping not having to search for stuff will keep us on track.

Once the weather starts cooling off (it has been a brutally hot and humid summer) I hope to integrate more Nature walks (which will also count as PE) into our days.  Georgie will be starting soccer in a couple weeks and both kids will be taking a homeschool gymnastics class.

I'm looking forward to our first full structured school year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Girl Turns 3!

Last week Vicki turned 3 years old.  It's amazing how quickly the time goes by.  Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bug Hunt

We have a ton of cicada/locust type bugs jumping and flying around the yard this year.  The kids went on a bug hunt to try and catch one.  

With a little help from Daddy they managed to get one into an old jar with holes in the lid and spent some time observing him.

He wasn't real happy in the jar so we let him out after a short time.  I tried to find information on what they were but wasn't able to find much.  We did discuss how we could tell he was an insect (counted legs, wings and body segments).

We live in an area with a ton of interesting wildlife both on land - bears, fox, lots of birds, a possible coyote, squirrels, chipmunks and many, many insects - and in the river - crawfish, tadpoles, frogs, turtles, fish, slugs, etc.  I'm planning to add lots of nature studies to our upcoming homeschool days.