Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Show Me Your Smile...

I love this look... the 6-7 year old grin.
Hannah *swallowed* her first front tooth during breakfast last Friday.
Without missing a beat... "Do I get extra for that?"
And last night, out came the second one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Autumn Color

Thank you to that artist woman for a fun, easy craft to celebrate fall's arrival... and with a beautiful finished product!

(photo note: I quickly realized that the glue/water mixture was getting
all over the table, so we moved to a plastic surface.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Field Trip Friday : Maryland Science Center

My husband has Fridays off, so it's a perfect day for field trips! The Maryland Science Center on Baltimore's Inner Harbor has a Home School Event every September offering classes and free admission for home school families. We skipped out on the classes - there was plenty there to fill our visit. Hannah's buddy, Lacey, came along with us. It was a blast! And another spectacular September day!

The Science CenterBaltimore's Inner Harbour Archaeologists Lacey and Hannah
What would it be like to lie on a bed of nails? Not so bad!
This look of wonder was on his face all morning.Ben and Jerry's - the perfect ending to our first Friday Field Trip! : )

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homeschool : Week Four

As I look back on the first four weeks of homeschooling, I am very thankful. I have had more good days than bad. My kids are happy, refreshed, energized. I have seen Hannah and Will's friendship grow... they are encouraging one another, creating forts in the backyard and having grand adventures. Sure they fight and aggravate each other, but not as much as I thought they would. Our lives are just moving at a more tolerable pace. We are staying organized and doing daily chores - which actually really makes a difference in my work load. I am amazed how structure at home helps keep us all sane. I have only called my husband crying once. : )

I am learning what works and what doesn't. A friend had, what I thought to be, a great idea of filling a big plastic bin with dried beans, cups, buckets, measuring spoons, etc. to entertain Peter. An indoor "sand" box if you will. Bad idea. Beans *everywhere*. Last night, a veteran homeschool mom was telling me how she would give her toddler a bucket of water and a paintbrush and send him out to "paint the fence." I am so going to try that next week. The reality of having a two year-old has meant that we do some school during naptime. I'd love to get through all our lessons in the morning, but that doesn't always happen. I have discovered that Hannah likes to see all she has to do for the day and check it off as she goes. And that she *loves* to "teach" 2 year-olds - she has incredible patience with little boys! I now know Will could spend hours playing with math manipulatives and needs to run around in the backyard during every break.

Today, we finished our lessons early, packed a lunch, and headed to a park. It was a beautiful, early fall day. I am really enjoying my kids! So, so thankful!

Glimpses of our week....

Hannah painting her name on an Egyptian scroll in hieroglyphics.Watercolors and the color wheel.
Wednesday's lessons for Hannah to check off....Will loves math!Sorting colors (almost). These kept Peter's attention during math lessons.
Proof that Hannah does math, too. Not just art. (Did I mention I have an art degree? We do a lot of art!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The First Game

My husband loves soccer. He played it from birth through college and ends almost every day with "just a few minutes" of the Fox Soccer Channel. This was a day he's been looking forward to since Hannah's birth. Thankfully, Hannah had as much fun as her dad.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Starry Night

Working on their own versions of Van Gogh's, The Starry Night.

Reading and Writing

Will and I are working through The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. So far, he is doing well and really getting it. Teaching reading is the thing I am most nervous about in homeschooling. Hannah skipped off to school for two years and came back reading, so this is a first for me. Will and I like his phonics lessons because it's our time. We can cuddle up on the couch while Hannah reads to or plays a game with Peter. Hannah claims entertaining Peter is the hardest part of her day. I totally agree, sweetie. : )

Will is also loving the Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K program. He is a lefty and very reluctant to write. The little slate chalkboard/chalk bits is his favorite. He seriously begs to write on it.

He is so proud of what is learning to do! (me, too!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Science

During our morning "recess", Hannah spotted a small yellow butterfly enjoying some flowers in the front yard. A quick grab of the bug box and we had ourselves a living science lesson. Hannah picked a bit of the plumbago flowers and placed them in the box with the butterfly. It was quite a show! We witnessed the butterfly's proboscis (pro-BOSS-iss) roll out and drink the sugary nectar. Hannah named her Dandelion and started planning the adventures they would have together.... then she was convinced Dandelion would be better off out of the box. After coming inside, we discovered Dandelion was a Southern Dogface butterfly. (LOVE Google!)

And then I found myself urging Hannah to sit down inside for her planned science lesson. I have a lot to learn....

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Each month we will be studying a different artist. I picked Vincent van Gogh to start - primarily because of his Sunflowers painting fitting the season. Hannah painted the bunch we had on the table in Van Gogh's impasto style. We used popsicle sticks instead of brushes to spread the paint thickened with corn starch. I got this idea from a fantastic book - Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters. It was a fun mess with a beautiful finished product to add to the bulletin board.

Playing in the Rain

Enjoying Tropical Storm Hanna

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Hannah and Will are sketching "Autumn" as they listen to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons: Autumn. Our plan is to study a different composer and section of the orchestra each month. The Story of the Orchestra is getting us started.

September : Vivaldi, string section
October : Bach, woodwind section
November : Haydn, brass section
December : Handel's Messiah/Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite
January : Mozart, percussion section
February : Beethoven, keyboard instruments
March : Schubert, the Conductor
April : Wagner, review


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