Saturday, August 29, 2009


Eventful day! Cullen lost his first tooth - pulled it himself.

Actually he was attempting to pull it as we were driving home from a shopping trip, but quickly stopped and announced that he couldn't do it. He said this with the little detached tooth stuck to his lower lip.

"Son, it's already out!" I had to pull the tooth off of his lip and show it to him.

Then he just kept giggling at himself in the mirror.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Love Math!

We began exploring DIVISION today. Check out our fancy manipulatives! Yes, dried beans are fun at our house!

Cullen loves math - learning new concepts and solving problems that are challenging. I've discovered that if I go too many days with only review and drill, he becomes significantly less cooperative. (Did I say significantly?) Keeping the supply of interesting and new ideas steady keeps him engaged and happy and much more receptive to the daily review and drill of things he just needs to practice. When our Singapore curriculum doesn't have a fresh concept, I've been using some "living math" books on things like estimating, probability, really large numbers, etc.

I think we're finding our groove here!

Cullen actually burst out a few times today in shouts of "I love math!!!"

Now if I could just figure out how to draw out half this much enthusiasm for writing...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer's End and First Week of School

Our summer break was filled with a good balance of crazy fun and lazy quiet days. A few highlights that I probably could have/should have posted along the way include Cullen's first flight in an airplane. His Uncle Drew took Cullen and his cousin, Justin, along with Papa, their grandfather, up for a quick trip in this little plane. (Yes, I was praying the entire time.)

A week-long, half-day Kid Chess camp was a highlight for our little guy in July. Here he is playing against the Caveman, who, by the way, never makes a good move. When a kid beats the cavemen (and they always do) the winning child is rewarded with a small rock as an award. Cullen displays his rock right along with his other chess trophies. He did win "Most Improved Player" for the week, so apparently he learned a thing or two.

There were a few Cub Scout events, including the pack's annual Luau and Pool Party. We also hit the pool a few times with family friends.

Our first week of school was supposed to begin Monday, but my plans were hi-jacked with a few urgent errands that came up suddenly. Oh, well! One of my goals this year is to be a little more relaxed about what we actually accomplish, as I can get a little obsessive sometimes. The first day provided a big opportunity for me to examine the importance of this goal!

On Wednesday, Cullen and I went with my Mom and my youngest sister, Tia, to the Georgia Aquarium. We all are in love with the place! Cullen has talked about it constantly for the past few days. His favorite was the male Beluga Whale that spent so much time entertaining spectators by blowing air bubble rings, then catching them in his mouth! I didn't realize how expressive these creatures are. I could have stayed right there all day.

By Thursday, our new routine was beginning to gel, and Cullen was enjoying himself with his favorite subjects. He even worked ahead 7 extra exercises in his Explode the Code Phonics on his own! He read Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie and A Long Way Westward this past week, and reviewed a few math and grammar topics that might have been forgotten over our break, even though he repeatedly insisted that he did NOT need to. Over the summer, he has been enjoying learning the states. We are only about halfway through the 50 right now.

One book that we both enjoyed was this from the library about large numbers. We both like this one so much that I might buy it just to have on hand all the time.

Outside activities this year include Scouts, gymnastics, weekly classes in chess and art, as well as church and a new playgroup through a local co-op. When we are home late in the day and he still has energy to burn, which is more often than not, Cullen usually spends some time on the trampoline in the yard. He jumps until he is exhausted, but then a trampoline is a great place to lie back and look for pictures in the evening clouds.

Sometime over the next few days, I'll share our curriculum plans and field trips for the year and show a few photos of our school room. I have to finish cleaning first!