Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I took a break from non-fiction (my fave!) this summer & focused on simple mysteries & thrillers. Deep, I know! But now it's time to get serious again and start reading some better material.
I'd love your vote for which one I should read first. I'll repay you with a review of the book when I've finished it. :) Each book is listed at the top right of my blog along with the author's name. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Here are the contenders:
Bringing Up Boys (you know, 'cause I have two of 'em!)
The Strong Willed Wife (uh, self explanatory if you know me in the least!)
Parenting by The Book (that's God's Book, ya know!)
And last but not least,
Cure for the Common Life ('cause I am working on being content)
This week, we headed to Culver Duck Farm about 90 minutes away. Since this put us in the heart of Amish country, we made a day of it! We stopped at a cheese factory to see how cheese was made (and try many samples!), followed by lunch and shopping at Das Essenhaus (including their famous bakery!).
By far the best part of the day, however, was touring the duck farm. There are only seven duck farms in the U.S., and Culver is the second largest. We learned about how they receive their eggs, clean them, incubate them, hatch the ducks, and then raise them for their meat. Somehow our tour ended at the part just before they use them for their meat! :)
The eggs that are orange (under bright light) are eggs that for whatever reason, the embryo never developed.
The eggs stay in the incubator for 25 days . . .
After hatching . . . (everyone say "awwwww!")
We were able to hold ducks that had just hatched that day, too! The kids all got to hold one, and the ducks were so soft and warm. Enjoy the pictures from our tour!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The workboxes are working out great; they take about 20 minutes for me to prep at night (total for two kids) but have been soooo worth it during school time! The kids can easily tell what all is finished and what is left to do. They can also easily move onto another box if they see I am working with their sibling at the time.
We also started a new curriculum this year called "Sonlight." It is heavy on reading and read-alouds - which would be great if I hadn't lost (most of) my voice this week! Ugh! I've had a sore throat for about 5 days and now am losing my voice . . . which my kids seem to love! :) Thankfully, Brad has been helping with some of the reading for the first few days!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
One of the things we implemented at the last minute are workboxes. I have been thinking about using these for awhile, but with trying to sell our house, I didn't know if I wanted any more large things taking up room in our school room. Brad encouraged me and said he thought it was fine to go ahead and use them, so we are! (Thanks, babe!) You can read a lot more about using workboxes for homeschooling here, or simply by googling "homeschool workboxes." I learned a lot about them just by reading other homeschoolers' blogs and viewing their photos. I especially liked Heather's boxes, so I copied her great look for ours! :) (Thanks, Heather!)
We are using these this year for several reasons: to help encourage independence for Riley & Quinn's work, to help them 'see' what they have done & what's left to be done, and to help keep them motivated! Here are our boxes before I filled them for the first day.
Riley's are green and Quinn's are blue. Owen has a small separate set on the right that are red so he can play along. :) The basic premise is that all of their work for the day is in the boxes. So, box #1 might contain Bible, followed my math flashcards in #2, reading assignment in #3, and so on. Everything needed for each activity should be right in the box (pencils, paper, books, etc.). As they complete the activity in the box, they move the number to their check-in sheet which looks like this:
Each number is backed with velcro and can stick on the boxes to start with, and then adhere to the check-in sheet as they go along. When all of the boxes are complete, they are done for the day! I included things in my kids' boxes (along with their regular lessons) like: work with Owen on his colors for 10 minutes, practice your piano lesson, have a snack, read a book to mommy, etc. My hope is that these workboxes will really help us get to the fun extras we never seem to have time for, as well (like logic puzzles, art projects, playing a game, etc.).
And honestly, I think the system is originally set up to be a lot more rigid than what I have. I am just using the basics. I haven't read the workboxes book from Sue Patrick, so I'm just using what I've gathered from other homeschoolers for now. We are using it primarily to make sure we don't miss anything and to keep the kids motivated about "what comes next." Last but not least, here is a photo of the boxes filled (mostly, not done yet!) and ready for the first day!
Monday, August 10, 2009
We are starting school on August 17th this year, and I still have a lot to do to get ready. We are looking forward to trying a new curriculum this year, as well as some new activities. But it also means a lot of prep work ahead of time! We also just listed our home for sale a few weeks ago (anyone want to buy it??), so life is hectic!
Hectic, but good. We are so blessed with where we are in life right now, and especially with our good health and jobs in a time when so many people are struggling. We are in the middle of a great series at church right now called "Stories of the Kingdom." We have had a lot of good teachings lately, but one of the best was by Suze Fair, our communications director at church. She is a very enthusiastic teacher and her lesson was very encouraging and motivating! You can hear the full lesson here if you are interested!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Nine things Riley loves at age nine: playing with her brothers, spending time with her friends, playing the piano, reading chapter books, cooking/helping mommy cook, playing cards, making art projects (jewelry, paper crafts, etc.), shopping with her mom, and hanging out with her extended family!
The past nine years have flown by, and I can't believe she has already been in our lives for so long. In some ways, it seems like she was just born, and in others, it seems like I've known her MY whole life! Riley, your daddy and I are truly blessed to have you as our daughter! You are a joy to have in our lives and such a blessing to our family. We love you!