Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hi! We’re still here! And here’s the pics to prove it

Wow, it’s really been a long time since I posted.  My job went from temporary to permanent back in September, so things have continued to be crazy.   I’m hoping to get back to regular posting soon.  Meanwhile, here’s what we’ve been up to:

The kids are doing great with Time4Learning. 

Vicki is now working in second grade for Language Arts and will be doing third grade Science and Social Studies once her reading is strong enough. 

George has moved on to fourth grade in everything except Math. 

They are moving very quickly through T4L.  It’s not a very rigorous program but they are learning.  Vicki’s reading took a huge jump once she started T4L and she is now working her way through the Magic Tree House books (among others).   They frequently share interesting tidbits from science and social studies. 

I’m very glad they are showing progress with T4L because we’ve been really bad about getting to the supplemental stuff.  I’m hoping to change that once we get through the holidays.

What else have we been up to….

We celebrated the kids’ 8th and 6th birthdays in August…


We reviewed bear safety thanks to a visitor to our yard…


The kids went to the beach with Daddy and some of his friends, and it turns out they LOVE the ocean.  We might have to visit more frequently next summer.

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We had a great time visiting Big Sis Steph at school for homecoming and seeing her dance (she was Ginger Spice in a 90’s tribute)!

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The kids were a pretty pink unicorn…


and a Purrloin (a purple cat Pokemon) for Halloween…


and had a great time getting candy and dancing to the DJ at our town’s Trunk or Treat.


We celebrated Thanksgiving, where I once again attempted to get decent pictures of the kids together….

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This one isn’t bad if you ignore that neither of them are actually looking at the camera.


We did get a nice girls picture…


and a boys picture.


We’ve already enjoyed playing in lots of snow.  We’re currently experiencing our second snow storm in a week.  I think this is going to be a fun winter.

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And then they decided they were tired of me taking pictures of them through the window (I stayed inside where it was warm!).


Now the kids are doing Christmas crafts with Granny Kaye and we’re getting all decorated for the Holidays (more on that later).

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Big Changes Coming

It’s been a really long time since I posted but I have a good reason.  :-)

I recently returned to work.  Full time, out of the house, Monday through Friday work.  A too good to turn down job basically fell into my lap when I wasn’t even looking.   It all happened very quickly – a phone call on Tuesday, an interview on Wednesday and starting work on Thursday.  

We will continue to homeschool but we are taking some time to work out routines and plans and catch our breath.

The plan so far:

Grammy Kaye is watching the kids during the day.  I wouldn’t be able to work and homeschool without her help.

The kids are doing Time4Learning while they are at Grammy’s house during the day.  Vicki is doing 1st grade, while Georgie is doing 3rd grade.   Time4Learning is nice because they can work at their own pace, and even work in different grade levels for each subject (one up and one down from their core grade).  We initially started Georgie in 4th grade math since that’s where he’s working in Math Mammoth, but the difference in format along with the different scope and sequence were giving him a lot of trouble.  He is now moving fast through the 3rd grade math.

They will also do independent reading while at Grammy’s house.  George has been doing great with his reading lately.  He finished Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, 3 Diary of a Wimpy Kids books (he read them more than once, really likes these), a couple Pokemon books, and he is currently working on The Wind in the Willows.

In the evenings we will do “homework”, which will consist of handwriting, educational games, some activities from The Wand and possibly some AAR for Vicki, since she tends to give Grammy the most trouble with these subjects.  Georgie is very good at doing his work independently so his homework will consist of logic puzzles (which he needs help with), writing activities (The Arrow and I’m thinking of getting WWE), and maybe we’ll continue with Math Mammoth and let T4L be mainly a supplement/review.

We will do Science, History, and Geography on Saturdays.  

I’m hoping to sign them up for classes for Phys Ed (martial arts, swimming lessons), Art and Music.

It may be a few more weeks before I’m back to regularly posting (and probably that long before we actually start those Saturday topics).  I’m still adjusting to working, and working on getting the house reorganized for our new plans.

Monday, July 8, 2013

4-H Cultural Awareness/Asian Adventure

Our latest 4-H theme was cultural awareness, and we started by visiting The Newark Museum for their Asian Awareness guided tour.  Our tour guide was AMAZING!  She had just the right touch of firmness to keep the group under control and moving along.

We started with Japan, when our tour guide put on a beautiful kimono…..



and we saw an exhibit of beautiful carves cases, and ornaments (called Netsuke when worn from the obi, or belt for the kimono).


In the China exhibits, we saw a beautiful garden carved from semi-precious stones and metal.IMG_2661

We moved onto the Southeast Asia exhibits, where George was fascinated by the Dharmachakra or Wheel of Law (from Thailand)….


and a statue of the Hindu God, Ganesha.


The museum has a Buddhist temple that was Consecrated by the fourteenth Dalai Lama.   Our tour guide explained to the kids about being respectful, about the different types of offerings (offerings are intended to be pleasing to the five senses and would include food, flowers, incense, lamps and music).


Next we visited the Look/Touch/Learn: Tibet exhibit.   The exhibit features a mural (by Tibetan Artist Phuntsok Dorje (that depicts various aspects of life in Tibet).IMG_2681

The kids were able to check out a small Tibetan tent…


play a pretend tea ceremony…..

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and spin a Buddhist prayer wheel.


After our official tour was over, we checked out a bunch of the other exhibits, including the Egyptian…

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the Native American….

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the Dynamic Earth, which was full of interactive exhibits and games….

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Generation Fit, another interactive exhibits with exercise equipment, health information, and Just Dance!


We finished up with a visit to the Fire Museum, which featured an interactive exhibit where the kids searched for fire hazards, learned what to do to escape a fire, saw the actual results of a fire on some vinyl siding.  In addition, there was historic protective clothing, equipment, illustrations and memorabilia, an 1853 Fire Hose Cart built for the Neptune Hose Company No. 1 of Newark, and a piece of the World Trade Center to honor the NJ Firefighters who assisted on 9/11.

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The Museum was a great place to visit.  I can’t believe we are less than an hour away and have never visited before.  We will be going back again (actually this month to visit the planetarium) to further explore.

If you live in the area or are visiting NJ, check out The Newark Museum.  I highly recommend it!


When we met at the library, we learned more about Japan, India and China. 

First we discussed some of the various holidays they celebrated in those countries, that we don’t celebrate.  We learned about Children’s Day and Doll’s Day in Japan, Chinese New Year in China (and learned which animal each of the kids are in the Chinese Zodiac), and Diwali and Holi in India.

We learned how to say Hello in the primary language of each country (konnichi wa – Japan, Nin Hao – China, Namaste – India).

We discussed how chopsticks were used to eat in China and Japan, and the kids tried picking up pompoms using chopsticks.


For the first time I utilized the overhead projector and the kids danced to Katti Kalandal – the Bollywood style dance in Just Dance 2. (I tried to find something more authentic but most were not appropriate for children).


We talked about Rangoli, the traditional Indian folk art designs that are displayed on the floor of the house near the doorway to welcome guests and celebrate special events.  Rangoli are usually symmetrical designs made with colored rice powder, but we made ours out of fuse beads (and not so symmetrical).  

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Our next 4-H topic (for July, this post is really late), is Space and will include a visit to the planetarium at the Newark Museum.