Monday, June 22, 2009

Now we're cookin!

Nicholas LOVES to help in the kitchen, so I have been using that eagerness to help us move along with math and other basic life skills. Several times throughout the 2nd grade, Nic and I have read thru kids cookbooks from the library and he was given the opportunity to chose a recipe for us to make together. He makes the grocery list with me and also does the majority of the cooking himself with my supervision/help. One time he chose to make French Toast which was real surprise because he never likes it when I make it for breakfast. Well, he absolutely loved the recipe we used and requests it frequently now! This is something we will be carrying over into the 3rd grade for sure. I love that it is teaching him some basic skills that everyone needs to know: how to make a grocery list, how to read a recipe, how to make simple foods, and even the importance of trying new foods.

The library also had an interesting video series called "Meals in Minutes" that we checked out. The video host is comedian Stevie Ray and he made the videos fun to watch. The videos we selected covered basic kitchen food prep and safety. It said grades 6+, but Nicholas thought it was great. He also loves to watch Good Eats with Chef Alton Brown on the Food Network and get new recipes and learn all about foods.

Another way we have incorporated Nic's love of the kitchen into his lessons is by signing him for classes at the local Young Chef's Academy. There he gets to be with other homeschooled children (some from one of his playgroups even!) and cook up a new recipe each month. Their brightly colored kitchen serves as a classroom as well and the kids get to feel like real chefs in their hats and aprons while they cook. Parents are invited to sample the classes creations, but I have noticed that the desserts never make it that far. Last month's Tuscan Bean Soup was delicious, and Nic tells me the cake was great but of course I didn't get a taste hahaha. I am greatful that this company offers homeschool classes at a discounted rate, the same rate that the school field trips get.This is not going to be something we sign up for on a regular basis, but just from time to time as our budget and schedule allow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Field Day for the Homeschooled

Can childhood be complete without a day in the sun with friends, juice boxes, and a tug of war? Sure, but we found out that even the homeschoolers in our area were attempting a Field Day this year, so we joined in too. We all got together and had sack races, three-legged races, long jumps and of course a big Tug-of-War finale. The 1st attempt was hilarious, boys vs. girls, and the rope (sheets) broke right down the center and all kids went down!! Sydney was even participating in that one and thought she had won somehow LOL. We of course had a do-over, and girls won, even though they had the disadvantage of pulling uphill! I awarded Nic with his very own Field Day medal at the days end and he thought that was pretty cool :)

When Nicholas was in Egypt land....

I was so amazed at the King Tut exhibit that came here to Atlanta this year. Nicholas and I were excited to get to go with Bill, Cindy and Matthew while Jeff stayed home with Sydney. It was amazing to see so many ancient artifacts under one roof! This was really perfect timing since Nic is so into anything ancient Egyptian right now. Nicholas' favorite was a pair of golden sandals, but I quite enjoyed all the jewelry. The end of the exhibit featured some short video clips of the tests that the King Tut mummy has undergone throughout the years. Nic got to play with a computer program that allowed him to close in on specific areas of the tomb as well.
There was a rule against photography while in the exhibit, so I brought along a sketchbook and pencil for Nic to document what he saw instead. I honestly wasn't sure how much he would draw or write, but was pleasantly surprised when he wanted to sketch almost everything he saw! He seemed to enjoy sketching the heads of all the Pharaohs the most. The sarcophagus is not allowed to leave Egypt, but a replica was just as nice for us to view. We were also spoiled to the earphones (self guided tour) that told us about much of what we saw. We spent hours just gazing around! I had promised Nic a postcard from the gift shop, but wound up finding much more than that to take home. There was a really cool sketchbook that taught hieroglyphics and also a Pharaoh coloring book that was pretty detailed in its drawings. The gift shop also had a machine that sold certificates with your name in hieroglyphics that we had to go home with as well. On the drive home, Nicholas was figuring out how to spell everyone's names in hieroglyphics and it was determined that Dad's was the coolest because the letters "J" and "F" are both snakes hahaha. We spent the rest of the week reading all about King Tut and completing both art books from the museum.

The Middle Ages

One of the fun topics we covered this school year was The Middle Ages. The library had a GREAT series of dvds that I was able to request for us to enjoy. They are categorized as grades 4-8, but Nicholas really seemed to learn from them as well as enjoy them. He watched the Knight dvd 3 times! We also used library books to learn about the food, clothing and even the games for children that were popular in this period. The Magic Treehouse series also provided us with some fun reading about castles and knights. Best of all though, Nicholas was able to go to the Renaissance Festival and get a better idea of what life was really like back then!! I had a migraine that day and missed all the fun, but I heard that Nicholas, Sydney and Jeff had a fun time with Bill, Cindy and Matthew. They got to see mock villages, a King's Joust, period costumes, weapons and more!