Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Are Better Than One!

I'm not sure I can say that I've got it all figured out with having two boys at once since my nephew has joined us a few days a week, but I can say that it's much more lively around here! They keep me on my toes, to say the least. We're all having fun so far.

Shenanigans of all sorts are just part of the routine.

Hands-On Equations as part of our math is a big hit here. Shirts optional.
Both boys are reading Holes. What a fun book!
Walker's bobblehead sculpture: an alien from a video game.
Cullen's bobblehead sculpture: a camouflaged duck.

I appreciate the quiet moments!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cloudy and Drizzly Sunday Afternoon

Justin is here in the basement playroom with Cullen, and they have been making so much noise. I just went down to see exactly what they were playing and found that the the yelling and shouting was actually coming from the little Lego people. Imagine that.

Cookie's idea of how to spend a Sunday afternoon is a little more appealing to me personally.

Well, I might stretch out on the sofa since I'm allowed on the furniture.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hands-On Equations

Last summer, I bought a kit from Hands-On Equations to use as a fun supplement to Cullen's math curriculum, but never actually got very far into using it. He is taking enrichment classes this year through the Timothy Ministries at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, and I was excited to see that one of the available classes was Hands-On Equations using these same materials. So he gets to work in a small group with beginning algebra concepts and simple equations once a week, doing follow-up work and practice at home with me.

Cullen likes very much the logic of math, the assurance that if certain rules are followed, then the outcome is predictable. The visual and hands-on elements of these materials make it much easier to grasp the concepts of working with an unknown quantity, and keeping both sides of the equation balanced feels more like play with colorful little game pieces. The word "variable" can sound intimidating the first time you hear it, but it looks kind of cute and very non-threatening as a little blue game pawn.

I was really impressed with these teaching materials when I came across them earlier. Now that I see how well they work with a young mind, I am even more enamored. After two weeks, my nine-year old is solving equations that I was never exposed to until 7th grade.

The best part is he thinks it's fun!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Starting With a Bang! New School Year Begins

Not one but TWO field trips made for an exciting first full week of school for us. This year, my nephew, Walker, will be joining us a couple of days each week. You've seen him here on the blog before many times for special events and outings. Now he'll be part of our regular days sometimes.

Monday was a day for outdoor adventure. Along with new friends and also some favorite cousins, as part of the Genesis 1:ten club, an off-shoot of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Homeschool Support Group, we canoed down a six-mile stretch of the Chestatee River. Most of the river was smooth and serene, but there were some mild rapids. Being late in an unusually hot and dry summer, the water was a little low, which meant greater danger of getting hung up on the rocks. Since our canoe was first in line, we pretty much found all of the rocks to get hung up on!

Taken by my cousin, Jamie, or her husband, Ken, as they paddled by.

At the halfway point, everyone beached the boats and got out to explore the river, play and snack a bit.

Kathryn and Cullen looking for gold, unfortunately finding only mica.

Catching a cool ride on the current.


Wildlife spotting was fun, especially counting turtles before they plopped into the water at our approach. We even floated by a beaver home, which was a first for me. The boys learned a great deal about the physics of paddling a canoe - the law of equal and opposite reaction, resistance, velocity affecting the size of the impact when we hit something in the water, etc., etc. Of course, to them it was just figuring out how to make the boat go where we wanted it to go and that dragging one's paddle in the water while Mom's in the back trying to make us go will cause her to growl and grumble.

Then Thursday we made a visit to the Tellus Museum with more homeschoolers from the JFBC group. The Tellus is a favorite of ours and close enough that we've been several times. New this visit was a planetarium show featuring wild rollercoaster rides (virtual, of course) on various planets and moons in our solar sytem. Each was designed with special regard for the surface and atmospheric conditions, which made for some really cool rides. At least it felt like we were riding!

The pendulum is beautiful and mesmerizing - demonstrating the rotation of the Earth.

At the solar house on site, a volunteer explains the water heating system.

"Don't eat me!"

Hands-on exploration of light and reflective properties.

Petrified wood. Stone or tree?

We did manage to get started on the more mundane reading, writing and arithmetic, but I'll save it for another post. It all sounds pretty boring next to this!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Jamestown and Yorktown (a little late!)

Exploring a recreated Powhatan home near the Jamestown fort.

Learning how to make rope and all the ways it was used.

Scraping a hide with sharpened oyster shells is tougher than it looks!

The ships were very exciting to tour, with sailors on hand to answer questions.

Belowdecks, our guide explained different types of shot used with the cannon.

The reenactors were so authentic and eager to talk with us.

Except we couldn't understand a word from these two.
Everything was hands-on!

We each got to test the weight of the sword.
These two were entirely in their element here!
On to Yorktown and forward in time to the American Revolution...
Learning all about a REAL musket. (Note the toy one.)
Possibly the highlight of the trip for my son.
Details about the camp surgeon's work were a bit difficult to hear.

I especially liked the camp laundry area! Very interesting undergarments.