All Girls School

Bones and Field Trip
October 23, 2008, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Bubba, field trip, mimi, science, writing

Bubba and I delved deep into the science of human bones recently. We read the information in our curriculum and then found a couple of sites that gave more detail about certain bones and had us guess where on the body one can find them. On another site we found the actual names of many of the bones and added two of them (femur and cranium) to our spelling list as bonus words for the week. We have a couple of human anatomy books that have sections on bones that we looked at, but the information beyond what had been discussed in the curriculum was beyond our level, so we didn’t look at those for long.

Mimi had her first field trip and got to ride the school bus for the first time. (A life long dream come true for her.) The other best part for her was that Dad got to go on the field trip with her class. When we told her that he would be going and riding the bus, too, she immediately asked him if he would sit next to her on the bus. He assured her that he would. They had a great time visiting a local vet, the fire department (her teacher’s husband was one of the firefighters), the police station and a local grocery store. For lunch they usually go to the park, but since it was wet and muddy, they went back to the school to eat their sack lunches and play on their asphalt playground.

Here’s Mimi trying out a firefighter’s bed.

Here she is practicing the skills she learned at the grocery store.

And here she is practicing some of her newfound letter writing skills with a Sharpie on the bathroom wall. It’s directly across from the toilet and beneath the towel rack, so bathroom users have something to read if they’d like and we can also cover it by hanging a towel on the rack. She’s so thoughtful that way.


Field Trip and Guitar Lessons
May 8, 2008, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Bubba, field trip, guitar, history, math, mimi, science, soccer, sports

Yesterday was designated “Put in as much of the new flooring as possible day”, so I decided to take the kiddos out of the house. We decided to go to the hands on Science Museum and spend the day there. I rounded up our friend and her boys and we set out to arrive as the museum opened. We happened to pick the day that five separate schools were taking field trips there, so there were a few chaotic areas, but for the most part we had a lovely time. There was a terrible movie that we were told was geared toward preschoolers. It was about ten minutes long and so short and void of any substance that I can’t believe someone actually took the time to create it. It ended abruptly and we just kind of looked at each other, not understanding why we had just paid two dollars per head to see it.

After that we spent a long time in the castle area. There was an interesting moment when Mimi felt the dress up clothes would fit better without her regular clothing on underneath. (Why does one of my children ALWAYS do this at a museum?) Then there was the issue of the ten minute shoe hunt to figure out where she left them. Then we moved to the toddler area where they always play with the water feature. I told them five or six times to play with it as much as they wanted, but to do their best not to get their shirts and pants all wet, as the temperature is always a little cool in there. Inevitably, they came away soaking and were later complaining about how cold they were. While I had the smaller two in the toddler area, Bubba went over to a math exhibit that explored things like measuring volume and folding paper incorporating geometry principles. She wasn’t happy to leave that area, but lunch was next, so she didn’t protest too long.

The next area was all about the flight and airplanes and animal and insects and the principles of aerodynamics that govern them. There were lots of fun hands on activities to see how these forces interact on different wing shapes. The last area held lots of examples of our local ecosystems, with many plants and animals, as well as a 12 foot tall tornado that the kids can climb up to and stick their hands in.

We were wiped out by that point and had made it through all the exhibits, so we left. We’ll be returning again next month as this exhibit was being unpacked there and we’re interested in seeing it in person. Maybe I’ll remember my camera, too, so I can put some photos up.

We had a quick ice cream stop on the way home, and then rested for a bit and looked at the flooring progress. Then it was off to Bubba’s first guitar lesson with her new instructor, Ms. J. I think she learned more in that single lesson than in all of her previous lessons with the college kid combined. I am really not exaggerating. At all. Not even a little.

In other homeschooling, we’re wrapping up on Ancient Egypt. Bubba listened to the unit, but wasn’t thoroughly engaged as we exhausted this topic about a year ago when she was interested in it. We learned plenty of new info, though, that we hadn’t read about before. We are also working on teaching Mimi how to play Crazy 8s and Uno. Mimi’s getting a stronger grasp on numbers and matching and colors and following rules, and Bubba is working on her patience and trying to keep a younger child engaged by letting her win every so often. I think it will help their relationship a lot when they can play games together without needing adult intervention.

Other than that, we’ve been outside a lot, watching the garden turn green and grow taller and taller. Soccer has proven to be lots of fun. Mimi cut her own practice short today due to her coach stepping on her hand by accident. Bubba’s team has set up a traveling match in the next town over, so it will be fun to watch them compete.

Tomorrow is Mimi’s preschool graduation. I’m likely going to cry. There will be pictures.

Spring Break
March 6, 2008, 5:03 pm
Filed under: art, Bubba, field trip, garden, holiday, party

As of tomorrow afternoon, we will be on Spring Break! It doesn’t coincide with public school’s break, but since our schooling only takes a couple of hours per day, it doesn’t matter – Bubba will still have lots of time to play with all of her friends when they’re out. It does, however, coincide with the week that her Dad is taking off of work, so our whole family will be home for the whole week. We are very excited about this. We will be attacking the basement and purging out everything that is unnecessary so that we can sell it at our garage sale and/or donate it to one of the local organizations that takes second hand goods. We will also be cleaning up the back yard, filling the garden bed, and setting up the secret garden area. It’s still too early to plant anything outside, but we’ll be starting our peppers inside on Monday. Bubba’s art project for tomorrow is to make toothpick flags for all of the different starts so we can tell them apart. We’re doing a bunch of other little home improvement things, like touching up paint, over the week. We’ll also be doing a big Spring Clean, getting the baseboards and vents and ceiling fans and windows and all of the other areas that don’t get weekly attention. The week will culminate with a big St. Patrick’s Day party with friends and family coming from out of town. Dad is pushing for a day trip somewhere, too, but we haven’t been able to figure out a good place to go at this time of year, so that may or may not happen. I have big hopes for this coming week, which likely means we will accomplish about half of what we’ve planned and end the week a little let down, but the intentions are there.

January 20, 2008, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Bubba, family, field trip, history

Our field trip was awful. The youngest two had ear infections, making them crabby to begin with. It was freezing and snowing and windy and miserable outside. We ended up in the car for too long. The actual exhibits consisted of a long time line full of text with very few images and no interactivity. There were very few exhibits showing artifacts from the era. The little two were running through the museum, stomping their boots on the wood floor, causing huge echoing footfalls to reverberate off the walls. The littlest decided to strip completely naked inside the kid-sized Victorian playhouse so that she could more comfortably dress up in the clothing in the trunk. When we went upstairs, the kids whined to go downstairs. When we went downstairs, the kids whined to go upstairs. Bubba lost her notebook somewhere in the library, requiring a second traipse throughout the facility. Dad accidentally fed the wrong side of the meter when trying to keep kids from darting into the street, resulting in a parking ticket. Yay!! This is what home schooling is all about, right?

We were able to see a few of the Underground Railroad locations and I really enjoyed those. We spent about an hour in our favorite toy store and I picked up some great books. We ate lunch at our favorite restaurant and it was soooo good. The kids got to play with their cousins for a little while, in fact, Bubba spent the night. I think, in retrospect, it will be remembered favorably, just not yet.

Writing Contest
January 11, 2008, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Bubba, field trip, history, writing

Last year we saw ads for the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest and Bubba was intrigued, but not motivated to actually enter. This year, though, she is really excited about it. She had a great title for her story and a good rough outline of how it would play out. We sat down and brainstormed a little bit to refine some of her ideas and talked about the main points of a story to make sure it followed a logical progression. I asked a lot of questions, but let her supply all of the answers and solutions. She then dictated it to me and I typed it up on the computer. I am going to have her write it out neatly on the final paper. She has decided that to illustrate it she wants to draw all of the outlines in black, help scan them into the computer, and then color them in with Photoshop. That will be another lesson for her as soon as she’s finished drawing. I am trying to let her do the picture thing on her own, but keep taking her back to the site that shows previous winners and how their images are detailed and brightly colored. We talked about focal points and how the main action in the picture should probably be the biggest thing drawn on the paper. She’s getting it and we’re really excited about the finished book. I think I may go to lulu or something and get one printed for her after she enters. Maybe we’ll do this every year, so that when she’s finished she will have a progression of 12 years of fully printed and bound books. That would be such a treasure for a bookshelf.

One thing that I’m struggling with is her desire to win. She wants to win. Badly. Very very badly. The prizes are great after all. First prize is a flat screen television, second is a laptop, and third is an MP3 player. All the winners also receive a set of Reading Rainbow books and videos for themselves, their local library and their school. I’m trying to explain to her that this is a nation wide contest and although winning would be great, the real reward is in the process of creating a work that is all her own. If I remember correctly, all entrants get a certificate signed by LeVar Burton, so at least there is something. I just hope she isn’t so set on winning that she will be crushed if she doesn’t. My one consolation is that winners aren’t revealed until August, so there’s a lot of time between then and now for her mind to be taken off of its “winning” focus.

Also, we did see the National Treasure movie. While it was a fun movie and we all enjoyed it, it held far fewer history storylines than the first. This one was more about action and treasure than history. That’s ok, though, it’s fun to have something fun and somewhat educational for the whole family to enjoy. We are continuing on with Bubba’s interest in Kansas Civil War history. I found a book on Harriet Tubman in one of our boxes and pulled that out since she had shown a keen interest in the Underground Railroad. We read it and I kept crying as I read. It was ridiculous of me, but I’m just so moved by the courage and determination of all those that lived in that time and fought for their freedom. Bubba though I was crazy. She asked about visiting some Underground Railroad stops some time. I told her that I thought they were all east of us and that some day we would definitely take a trip to do so. But, in researching our local history I found out that an Underground Railroad did indeed go through parts of Kansas. So, we’re taking a trip next week to do a whole tour of Lawrence. I contacted the Underground Railroad Association of Douglas County, KS and they gave me a detailed listing of places in and around Lawrence that were part of it. I was so excited to find this out. I also contacted their Community History Museum and a woman there was delighted to tell me all kinds of stuff about their exhibits and things. They have a localized Civil War exhibit there, as well as information on a self-guided walking tour of the area. So, a week from today we will be tooling around to find all of these places (as well as having lunch at our favorite and most missed restaurant ever). It’s funny, but I lived in and around that area for a long time and never once tried to find out anything about the history of the area. Pictures to come after our field trip.