Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cute Quote

My three year old has such a sweet, little voice, and he says the funniest things. I get sad when I think about not having that sweet little voice in my life - when he gets older, and it gets deeper...Recently, we had this conversation about one of Tornado's new teachers (he has for his lessons).
"Who was that?" He asked.
"That's Tornado's new teacher, Chris."
"Oh. I never heard of Chris. He's a guy?"
"Yeah, he's a big guy - like tall and big muscles."
"Oh. He has muscles?"
After a moment of thinking about it, he asked very sweetly, "He has bones, too?"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Than You Wanted To Know About Our School

I haven't been posting everything we've been doing lately because we've been out of town a lot, had out of town company, and I got a little obsessed in a facebook competition with my friend. Hopefully, now I'll get back into the swing of things...well, maybe next week as we have a pretty busy week going on right now. This is the kind of life that drives my hubby crazy. He is in much need of a little down time.

Our home school does not follow the school year, and we pretty much have school all year round. We're actually more along the lines of "unschoolers," if you've heard that term, although I have too much elementary teacher inside me to shed ourselves of all typical schooling. I have an addiction to curriculum and books. I could spend all day in Mardel or any other teacher store. Plus, the boys love workbooks and all things "lessons." They are constantly asking to do "lessons," which couldn't be a bad thing. I've been in a bit of a slump since we had our third child. Everything is so much harder now, but I've been really trying lately to get back on top of my game.

It also helps that Sissy is 18 months old now and a little less clingy. It's still not easy to work at the table with her - or to play games or put together puzzles - all of it she pretty much wreaks havoc upon. I went to the toy store the other day and bought some gimmicky, noise-making toys in the hopes that would occupy her while we do our thing. They really haven't helped like I was hoping they would. We also try to do a lot of our activities while Dad is at home, at night or on the weekends.

I have really tried lately to get us on a schedule. It is so far away from my nature to have a schedule. I can't seem to remember to stay on schedule. We never had to have a schedule with the two boys, and it seemed to work out just great. I thought maybe it would help to pull together some semblance of a schedule since we have three now to manage. Wish me luck.

One of the things we are using right now is the free online curriculum at There are different sections for babies and preschoolers, as well as ideas for older kids, which will work for Tornado. We have started with the preparatory curriculum. It has a weekly theme with suggested book list and related poems, a letter and number, and a color or shape. It includes a gross motor and fine motor activity. It also has a suggested nursery rhyme.

We will use that along with A Rhyme A Week activities found at and ideas from the nursery rhyme unit I did with Tornado a few years ago.It seems to be working out well for us so far because I can use it for both of the boys to do at the same time. While Dash is practicing recognizing and writing a "1," Tornado can practice that, along with spelling the word "one," and reviewing his 1 addition facts. While Dash practices recognizing and writing an "A," Tornado can also practice it, along with writing additional "A" words. When Dash drew a square, Tornado practiced a 3-D square. We put our own touch on things, as well. For example, we watched a Michael Rosen "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," video on youtube, which they both LOVED, then we turned it into our own "We're Going on a Square Hunt" as we pointed out squares around the house. Tornado also worked on the "ow" sound like in "cow." Next week, we will switch over to the "sound of the week" section.

To begin our Cow week, we went to the free summer movies to see Barnyard. It was a really cute movie, even if the male cows did have udders (I have no idea). Above, the boys worked on gluing (huh, I always thought it was "glueing") their cow pieces together.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The No-Occasion Pinata

Who needs a "reason" to have fun with a pinata? Not us! Aunt Cary came to visit and promised the kids she would get them a pinata to hit after our taco meal at Googie and Papaw's house. Dash, in his completely sweet three year old voice, called it a "pie-yata" all night. Sissy whacked it over and over again as hard as anyone. We've had a great time playing with Aunt Cary and my niece all weekend. Our favorite activity is making my four month old niece smile and squeal. It never gets old.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let's Party

My family on my dad's side got together Sunday for my Grandpa's 88th birthday. This is the only time we all get together every year, and it was particularly special this year because every single person was there - his three kids and their three spouses, his seven grandchildren and their four spouses and one fiancee, and his eight great-grandchildren. Even little Puddy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Little Monet

Tornado has been taking classes at an art school in town. Today we went to see some of his drawings that are on display at the library. It was fun to see his artwork hanging up, and he was very excited about it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Over in the Meadow

This morning we read "Over in the Meadow" to begin our next habitat study. We brainstormed and gathered materials for our meadow shoebox diorama. The boys included trees, grass, moss, flowers, turtles, bees, ducks, insects, a mouse, a squirrel, and a stream with fish. After they finished, they continued playing with clay for another 45 minutes or so. While I made lunch, Dash watched "Dora Saves the Prince" while Tornado played around on a new website we found - After lunch they both watched "Bill Nye the Science Guy: Marine Animals." I was surprised Dash watched it as well as Tornado alway does. He kept pointing out things we had talked about during our ocean studies - like he thought it was amazing they were talking about beluga whales just as we had. Now Tornado will do his Reader Rabbit lessons on the computer while the other three of us will head off for a little nap...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Little Bit From Our Ocean Unit

Ocean Party

We culminated our ocean unit with a Family Fun Night ocean party. We (when I say "we" I don't necessarily mean Dad, although he thinks it's great, too) are all about any opportunity to decorate and celebrate. We ate "Finding Nemo" shaped pasta and seaweed with rocks (really spinach with beans). I meant to buy real sea vegetables, but I forgot. For dessert, we made fish and starfish shaped cookies, and we also tried the seaweed candy I bought. I didn't buy it thinking it would be delicious - but just a fun experience. It really wasn't bad. It was kind of plain and VERY tough to chew, like very tough taffy. Tornado was hesitant at first, but he came back for seconds. Dash took a bite, and Sissy even enjoyed her piece, although it took her awhile to finish it.
After supper, we finished our *Rainbow Fish, and then the boys watched "Finding Nemo," of course.

Down By the River

Today we took a little day trip to the River. We played around for hours and also enjoyed a picnic. We threw rocks, played Shark (simply pretend you are a shark and come after someone in the water), admired all the beautiful butterflies, built a sand castle, marveled at the dragonflies landing on our bodies, and swam around. All three kids were asleep on the car ride home. You would think they would be waterlogged, but when we got home, they wanted Dad to spray them with the hose for a long time. Then they took a bath.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails

Like I mentioned below, Dash is all boy. He is obsessed with roly-poly bugs, and he isn't afraid of snakes. The other day, at my parents' house, he came walking up with a toad in one hand and a tiny baby turtle in the other. Today, he came inside with his Dad to show me the baby toad they found.

The Blogging Begins

Since I like to read blogs so much, I figured I should have one of my own. These pictures were
taken this week at a local play maze. I loved seeing them play together. My oldest stayed with his little brother the whole time. When the little one was stuck and couldn't reach the next level, his big brother pushed him with all his might until he could crawl up over it.
My daughter, who I'll call Sissy, is 18 months old. She is a handful right now. She is a very sweet cuddler, though, and I'm so glad I have a daughter because I was getting outnumbered. My youngest son I will call Dash (this is his middle name, anyway) because that really suits him. He is 3, and it would be hard to sum him up in one post. He is a total boy who loves bugs, dinosaurs, trains, riding bikes, and getting dirty. He's smart , active, and incredibly stubborn (he probably gets that one from me). My oldest son who is 8 likes to call himself Tornado because he is obsessed with all things weather. He loves to play computer games, watch tv, draw, do lessons and art projects, and read. When he gets a new magazine or book from the library, he reads it walking across the parking lot because he's so excited. I do the same thing. We are a homeschooling family of five. Our current state of affairs is semi-controlled chaos.