Monday, October 24, 2011

All My Children... in the Corn

Stephen King novel fan? Yes, I am.
Stephen King novel to film fan? Yes, I am.
Soap Opera fan? Well, I was until they cancelled it.... not homeschool related, just wanted to whine for that one sentence. Yes, I'm done.

I adore and appreciate when local businesses have a "Homeschool Day." We really try to take full advantage of what each place tries to do for our (semi)small community.
Last week, the Cajun Country Corn Maize had one of their two annual Homeschool Days. With a lower entry price and a chance to beat the crowds, we definitely wanted to be there. I personally have never been to a corn maze. The very idea of entering a field of corn (which are few and far between in South La) in the last 15+ years has left a slight chill up my spine. Thank you Stephen King!
Our stroll was uneventful, in that we did not come across any small children with white hair and creepy eyes, but we did have a great time.
Our adventure begins!
The brave ones who came along with us.
We chose the longer of the two routes through the maze. The Cow Man (owner, organizer) handed out a map along with questions to answer and designated points to help you out along the way. Wrong answers lead you in a winding path right back to the same question. Fun, until you answer one wrong. And of course we did... but only once.
Our adventure was much more than just the corn maze.
The kids really enjoyed the corn crib. Getting them out of there was the hardest part of the day.
"Bury me! You know, like at the beach."

Duck races, giant pillows, petting farm animals, hay rides, cow riding (train style) and of course the free ice cream were also highlights of the day.
As close as they will get to riding a school bus.

My little plastic duck will beat your little plastic duck if I pump hard enough!

Buckled in? Yes, Mom. Hold on, ok? Yes, Mom.

That's a mighty haul for a tractor build during WWII!
Cow Man explaining the maze.

Hopefully next year, Daddy can come with us. Maybe we will venture into the Haunted maze next year... but I'm probably much too chicken for that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Consistent Affirmations

I'm not a very ritualistic person. Besides the obvious daily routines (eating, sleeping, hygiene, etc), there aren't too many things that I do everyday.
I get bored with repetition.
We never have the same thing for dinner more than once a month.
I like to add or remove ingredients when I cook.
I buy a different flavor of creamer almost every time... boring coffee takes so much longer to drink... which of course makes our day drag on. (confession: my mornings revolve around the amount of coffee I can consume before school starts)
This is something that I am trying to change (a little).
At the end of each school day, I try to think of something positive to remind myself that we are making the best choice for our family. I'll admit that some days it's not nearly as easy as I would like it to be. There are days where I am just too tired to think of anything that went the way I had planned for the day.
Then there are days like today. Today was a great day. And it's not even over yet!
Some moments in life you can't duplicate, even the best storytellers would have a difficult time.
I'm going to try to describe to you what may seem like a minor, run of the mill, everyday type of event that made my heart smile and giggle.
W (my 1st grader) was on his way to his room to finish the last of his chores for the day. He stops at the pantry door, walks in, and closes the door. This is not a "walk-in" style pantry. It's merely a closet. A small, small closet.
"W, what are you doing?" - me
Ding...Ding...Ding...Ding. (coming from behind the door)
"Come out of there son." - me
The door opens to a curly haired 6 year old with a huge smile on his face. You know that guilty smile they give you when they are trying to make you laugh. Yeah that one!
"What are you doing?!" - me
"What floor is this ma'am?" - W
"Huh?" - me
"The elevator stopped on this floor. I guess that means I need to get off." - W
Off he went, with a huge smile on his face and a swagger in his step, to his room to finish his chore.

I stood there for what seemed like an hour. (it was really only about 2 minutes, max)
Confusion was replaced with amazement. Amazement replaced with overwhelming joy.
If he were enrolled in a B&M school, he would have been sent to the principal's office and reprimanded for a stunt like that. Instead, he made his mother smile and feel all warm and fuzzy when she was all set to fuss.

So why am I so happy that he was being so silly? He used his imagination (and his sense of humor) on a whim. The end result was joy and laughter. You don't see that everyday in a 1st grade classroom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mollusk Discoveries

Since the temperature dropped after Lee passed through South Louisiana, I figured it was time to attack the herb, vegetable, (who am I kidding) weed garden in the back yard. I pulled the stalks of shriveled tomato plants, grasses, and various other flora that made it's way into our 6x4 pack of goodness. I wasn't the most proficient horticulturalist  last season... so the weeds took over in no time.
My job was to pull them out. The kids' jobs were to gather and toss them (note to self: buy that darn compost bin already woman!).
The more I pulled the more life came to the surface. The little ones were amazed at all the critters and creepy crawlers (ie. I don't know what they all were, exactly) that were shocked out of their comfy cozy hiding spots.
We heard lots of..
"WHAT is that?"
"Why is that one red/white/little/UGLY?"
A multitude of questions I didn't have a chance to answer before the next came flying from their lips.

Then I saw it, well them. A pair of large, slimy, squirming Gastropods of the Veronicelloidea family.

Yep they sound as slimy as they look.
We watched as they slowly crept around looking for a nice, dark & cool place to hide.
The questions started again until A gasped, "It has a hole in it's head!"
Off to the interwebs we went...
After many, many, MANY pictures and multiple mutilations of the Latin language, they were finally satisfied. They now know the difference between a snail and a slug AND that it breathes out of "the side of it's HEAD", as B would put it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Back to School Party

Cel-a-brate. Good Times. Come on! We beat the 100 degree heat inside with a HUGE A/C and played games for hours!... while other kids were bored and sleep deprived in their desks on the first day of school.

Each year we celebrate our freedom of education by having a party the first day that B&M (brick & mortar) schools start. This year we went to Chuck E. Cheese on a beautiful Monday morning. Over 15 families joined us that day! The kids had a wonderful time. They hadn't seen some of their friends all summer. What better way to spend a HOT Monday morning!

Thanks to all the "Adventures in Homeschooling" members that came out to play with us. We appreciate you!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There, Their, and They're - Grammar is so very important!

I have very few pet peeves but the the ones I do have really jump on that one nerve I have left some days. Living in South Louisiana and having an issue with grammar is not an easy thing to handle. I won't even get into spelling issues today (z's and s's are not interchangeable kids!)

Since we started our homeschooling adventure, we have been using the Easy Grammar workbooks. Taking a few minutes each day to reinforce correct usage of verbs, prepositions, and so many other grammar rules is definitely the easy way to teach grammar at home.

There are 3 workbooks for almost each grade level: Easy Grammar - Student Workbook, Easy Grammar - Teacher Edition, and Daily Grams.  Each book has 180 lessons (one for each day of the school year). They are very reasonably priced for consumable products. 

The Easy Grammar workbooks focus on the same lesson for multiple days in a row.

Daily Grams review a variety of topics in the same lesson. There are always capitalization and sentence combining exercises in each Daily Gram lesson along with variety grade appropriate lessons. You can see sample pages of each book on the links above.

My 13 year old has used Daily Grams for the last 2 school years. We prefer Daily Grams over Easy Grammar because of the variety. She doesn't need the repetition at this age. By 8th grade, there aren't many new grammar rules being introduced. They only become a little more complex.

Grammar lessons usually aren't introduced until 3rd grade. A child's reading level and comprehension are a huge factor in this reasoning. The better their reading skills are the more likely they are to understand what is needed to make a complete sentence.

Easy Grammar is not a flashy, colorful, over-stimulating program. It's quick and to the point... just the way we like it.

This year we are starting Easy Writing by the same author. This book focuses on sentence structure and complexity for middle and high school students. It uses the same type of exercises that are used in the last section of each Daily Grams lesson. I'm hoping that this will help my daughter to be a better writer. 

What grammar books do you find helpful with your students/children?

*This review was not endorsed or compensated in any way*

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Picky Picky Picky

I feel that I am constantly looking into new curriculum. Whether it be for my 13 y/o or my 4 & 5 y/o, the search is certainly never ending. Researching curriculum is probably the most time consuming part of homeschooling. Throwing in the fact that we are looking for strictly secular homeschooling curriculum it is definitely not an easy undertaking.
If I was willing to omit certain lessons and/or black out a few passages, there are many publishing companies that have wonderful well written curricula. This is not a lesson I want to teach to my children.
I realize that we are in the minority as far as homeschooling families nation wide but it would be so nice to have a bigger selection of secular material to choose from.
I'm going to gather a few reviews of the materials we've used both successfully and unsuccessfully, as well what we use on a consistent basis.
These will all be items that I have personal paid for or passed on from a friend.

Of course I would be willing to write reviews for a company who wishes to send me secular material for my family to try. Contact me for my mailing address and I'd be happy to help.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Linky Loooooo

Click.... Click.... Click... Cl-Cl-Cl-Cl-Cl-Click
Yep that's me when I find a fun new clicky helper.
I LOVE finding new websites that make educating my kids easier!!
So much fun! And in such an abundance!

I started passing on some of the wonderful links to my local HS group but organization and accessibility weren't as easy as it could be. SO I found a better way! Diigo!!
No, there is no paid advertisement for Diigo here. It's just a great site to keep all your bookmarks in one place that can be accessed anywhere!

As of right now I have over 110 sites listed in all age and study levels, a large variety of subjects, videos, games and even articles for parents. Just pick a topic on the right and have fun.

Hope you find a new favorite today or at the very least something helpful to you and your family.