Monday, February 23, 2009

My kid might be the youngest Obama supporter there is

Have I mentioned how much Nicholas loves to learn about the Presidents of the United States? If you missed it before, here ya go: He looooOoooOOves anything to do with Presidents!!

Last Monday was President's Day, so he learned about George Washington and Abraham Linocoln through stories, Internet word searches (another favorite of his) and crafts. We made Lincoln's cabin from a tissue box, strawberry frosting and pretzel sticks. We also learned that pretzel sticks dipped into strawberry frosting is quite tasty. Social Studies, craft AND snack in one! Haha. My favorite new fact, because YES, I am learning new things too : Abraham Lincoln was homeschooled by his step-mother and only had 1 year of formal schooling. And he could read, write, do math...oh, and became President of the United States.

President's Day may be the observation of Washington and Lincoln's birthdays, but we couldn't stop with just those two. Nicholas must be the youngest Obama supporter out there, so we had to do something fun with him too. We were number 45 on a waiting list for the library's copy of "Barack Obama: The United States Presidents" and we just happened to have gotten it 2 days before President's Day - perfect timing! This is a book that he saw the placeholder for at the library (they have the whole series) and he asked to get on the list - reading Jimmy carter in the meantime LOL. When he got the Obama one he read it eagerly, observing facts through photos as well such as Barack being left handed, just like Nic :) That little tid-bit made him so happy, you wouldn't believe! I found a small big-head Obama figure for Nic to make, but it wound up being a project for me because the cutting and taping was too precise for my 2nd grader. So I made it for him, he thinks it's cute but that his skin color is too pink (what can I say? The printer is almost out of colored ink!). Nicholas was able to make an Obama support poster instead, much more his level :)

Because Nicholas is so excited to learn about the Presidents, we are continuing on and will do so until he isn't interested anymore. For this week, I have a dvd and book called "So You Want to be President" - looks like fun! I also went ahead and ordered him a poster of all 44 Presidents, even though it was 3 times as much money as the poster that only had 43....I thought about gluing in an Obama head and saving myself the $16 difference, but changed my mind :) I think he is going to love it!! If any of you ever find a President book or activity, let me know! It looks like our 2011 vacation could very well be to Washington D.C. , that would be the ultimate vactaion for Nic I think!!

Our plants are growing! And other fun stuff :)

Our little plants are GROWING!! I can hardly believe they are growing, what with my black thumb and all. Of course I am soOoooO glad, especially because Jeff just built me a planting box to grow some veggies this spring. When they are big enough and the weather has warmed up for good, I will transplant. Here we have the carrots and the cantaloupe. So far the strawberries are proving to be duds. We have more to plant now: cucumbers, squash and lettuce. We are hoping to get to eat some of this in a few months!

We read a book called "Eye Know: Plants" that was full of quirky facts that Nic liked. He was surprised to learn that salad is just leaves, celery is a stalk and carrots are roots. He made a poster of the life cycle of a plant as well, and as we were hanging it he decided that his other work (from a prevous week) was sloppy. So he took it down and re-did it! My kid!! He CHOSE to re-write a paragraph for the sake of making it better. ON HIS OWN!! This is me in shock. This is awesome. So here it is, complete with a new nicely written and no spelling errors, his review of a gardening movie and today's poster on how plants grow and their parts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Apparently I am a cheap date and also easily amused

I try to be thrifty and pinch my pennies - if you know me than this is old news ;) But now I have something new to search for on my hunt - homeschool supplies!! So far, I have found discounts for homeschoolers on sites such as Scholastic, found cheaper admission rates on designated homeschooling days for many attractions, and been able to score big on used supplies at local thrift stores. I don't actually GO to the thrift stores as much anymore, seeing as how we are so busy, so when I do get a change I am excited to see what I can find.

This week Jeff and I made a quick thrift run while on our Valentine's date, and we found some pretty great stuff! For Nicholas, we got a NEW twister top (connects 2 bottles so you can fill and make a water twister), some uncut Saxon math fact cards (highly recommended maker of homeschool supplies!), BEST find....some math manipulative blocks!!! I had been looking for these blocks, I just asked my newly joined homeschool community board if they had suggestions. I was able to go to the makers website and get some FREE math lessons to go with them as well - AWESOME!!

We couldn't leave without looking for something for Sydney as well. She has really wanted toy tools, so we found a bag of plastic kiddie tools that she is already enjoying. A bonus, Jeff also found a big bag of wooden kitchen foods for her! These toys have become really popular lately, kind of a pricey toy. They "slice" with a wooden knife and can then go back together with Velcro.

Our total was under $20 for all of this. And the wooden foods are worth over $20 all on their own!!I may be the most excited person in the house over the wooden veggies and math blocks, and that's ok with me :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It feels like spring is here!

General Beau Lee, GA's official groundhog, predicted an early spring this year - and I think he is right!!! The weather has been amazingly warm this week. The kids and I were able to enjoy a picnic at the playground and another Homeschool Academy trip to the zoo this week. Perfect outdoor weather has us all feeling relaxed I think.

We have even been able to enjoy a few days indoors without using any lights until around 4pm - we just open the blinds and let the sun pour in! I read in a recent edition of the AJC that a new high school in GA is being built with natural sunlight pouring in, as "research has shown a correlation between children’s access to natural light and higher test scores" according to that article. It's GA's first "green" school. I am working to make our house function more "green" as well, and utilizing the sunlight to our advantage is easily done.

I am hoping that our little potted garden is benefiting from all this good weather too. I will update when we see sprouts!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Our first month - a success!!!

Our first month of homeschool FLEW by!! Just a few days ago I filled out our first attendance record and faxed it to the county, as required by GA law. It doesn't seem possible, but this is already week 7! We have been very busy.

We are about half way through Charlotte's Web and plan to finish by Friday so that we can watch the movie and have homemade pizza for lunch while we watch. We had to get on a list to borrow the movie from the library, we were able to pick it up today. Both Nic and Syd are very familiar with the library now, as we are there every few days to pick up another hold. They both enjoy using the computers as well, so that is one more activity that they can do together regardless off the 5 year age difference :)

The past few weeks we have studied seasons and weather. Stone Mountain is offering a Snow experience which ties in nicely, but unfortunately it was rescheduled for later this month. We went ahead with our studies and will enjoy the real snow later. In the meantime, Nicholas made his own snow using a science kit called "Insta Snow"!! It is really a polymer that acts like a sponge and sucks up the water you pour on it - its a chemical "cousin" to what is in diapers. In fact, after we made the snow, we cut into a clean Pampers diaper and made some of that stuff too. It was not fluffy and light like the snow, it turned clear and gel like. Nicholas lit up when he saw the change, which takes only seconds. I grabbed my camera for the 2nd batch, but regret not filming the first. I love to see him so excited about learning!

Seasons and weather leads into life cycles, it's a natural transition. The library has been a huge help with lots of kid friendly videos and books on these topics. We read all about how apples grow, and will be planting our own from the apples we eat this week. In the meantime, we have planted cantaloupe, strawberry and carrot seeds indoors. Once they grow for 8-10 weeks, they will be transplanted to our outdoor garden (in the works). Our local nursery opens in 2 weeks, so we will be buying some small plants from them as well. I think Sydney will get a kick out of planting outdoors - she got herself into some trouble with the potting soil in the dining room, so this will be an adventure. Nicholas and I will be attending a luncheon on organic gardening this spring as well, hope that helps us! Jeff took the day off to stay home with Sydney so we can pay attention.

I am feeling more adventurous now and have looked into a homeschool group for our county. I think it would be nice to have friends to meet at the playground and other activities during the daytime. We are going back for a 2nd homeschool class at the Zoo, I found a history class that meets once a month, and found that the local Bowling Alley even has homeschool days twice a week. I am not sure if any of these will be the right fit for us, but we are ready to get out there a bit more I think, so we can at least try! I asked Nic if he missed seeing kids his own age everyday, and honestly, he gave me a questionable dirty look and said point blank "No". I guess that answers it. But I still want to try and help him make friends with kids that won't tease him. I think he is just scared of being teased again.I know he had no problems sticking up for himself, in fact he was so good at it that he wound up being the one in bigger trouble in school because of it mostly (not fair, but I won't even go there right now) but it still hurt him to be put in that position in the first place. Every kid needs friends.