A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
Our homemade aquarium in its infancy...
...after a few days of fun fishy projects...
...and the finished product was very cool...but it's too bad I didn't get a picture of it!!!! :( Oh well. It's time to dance about and burst into song:
"It's lovely bobbing along...
bobbing along on the bottom of the
beautiful briny sea!"
We have now begun our new unit: The Weather! Andrew is over the moon. He loves (understatement) the weather. He dreams in weather. He draws pictures of weather. He wants to be a storm chaser when he grows up. He's saving his money so he can buy a motorhome and make a storm chaser car and drive around Tornado Alley and chase tornadoes. Good times.
So, now we are on our way to learn many of the ins and outs of the weather! We've made a weather center with a weather vane, anemometer, thermometer and rain gauge. We have a barometer/hydrometer/thermometer right outside the window of the classroom so we can do some predicting by checking out the atmospheric pressure. We've made a chart about what makes the weather...we're making some big plans for science projects, outings, and fun books to read! New units are always exciting! :)
So, homeschooling isn't a piece of cake. It really isn't. It sure takes a lot of work. And even when you put in a whole lot of work, it still may not even seem to work. Such is the way of everything, really, I suppose...
However, today, we had what seemed to me as the epitome of homeschooling days, so I just had to share, because who KNOWS when and if this will ever happen again! (I really am trying to think positively and hoping that it will happen again someday, but if it doesn't, at least I have one shining day to look back upon...)
First, we started out our day with our usual fun: Calendar, Pledge, Life of Fred (the BEST math book series in the ENTIRE WORLD, by the way!!!) Then we went on to some other fun subjects...
For History, we're doing The Ancients this year, and right now we're looking at the Indus Valley. I read a little snippet from Story of the World (a great history book, by the way!), then we put on 'sari's (wrapped sheets around ourselves in a decorative fashion, as seen in the picture), and I read them 'Once A Mouse' which is an Indian legend. (Peter put the Viking hat on his head and ran around the house yelling, "I'm Burger King!" I have no idea why he was doing that, but it was sure funny!)
We learned that the people of the Indus Valley used elephants to help them farm, so that let right into our Unit study this month, which is animals. So, we did a focus on elephants. We read from a National Geographic book about elephants and talked about how funny it would be to farm with elephants.
Then, off we went for snack time. We ate hummus and veggies, I threw a one hour loaf of bread into the bread maker (my best friend, by the way) then we had a half an hour (yes, a FULL half an hour) of quiet reading time! Andrew lays on my bed, Peter sits in the reading corner in the play room, Josh bundles up on the couch in the family room, and Claire curls up on the couch in the living room (I sit in the hallway on the floor so I can supervise...)! And they all read books (even Peter!!!!) for the entire half hour! WOW!!!
At the end of our half hour, the bread was ready, so we popped in a Planet Earth documentary (BBC just rocks. You can't beat their documentaries narrated by David Attenburough Seriously. If you haven't watched any, you should.) about Deserts to see if we could see any elephants (we did--and it was pretty awesome), while we ate our hot bread (well, the KIDS ate the hot bread anyway...I ate some peanuts...) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! :)
Cutest thing EVER!
After our documentary time, we had our individual time: Andrew and I did some reading lessons together and read some books and did some fun math lessons; Claire and I did some fun math and read some stories together and drew some pictures; Josh and I read a funny math book, did some reviews on square roots and multiplication of large numbers and read "Island of the Blue Dolphins" together...and while I was in with the kids individually, all the others took care of Peter! They played with him outside, and showed him their typing games on the computer, and did puzzles with him, and Claire and Peter played with stuffed animals on my bed for well over an hour. Wow.
After our individual time, Claire and Josh decided they wanted to make cookies. By themselves. So they did. I was not allowed to even enter the room (well, except to take pictures)! They also planned a side dish for dinner, and made mashed potato ghosts--which turned out REALLY well--and were very yummy!
After dinner, to wind up our best day ever, we had an art class with grandma via Skype and did potato prints.
We had such a fun day learning and playing together. But I have to admit, that even on the days when I feel like we don't get ANYTHING accomplished, I'm still SO thankful that I have my kids home with me. I sure love them! I wouldn't have it any other way.
We're doing a 3-in-1 day, since it's the last day before holidays!! So, we're doing Rudolph, Frosty, and Charlie Brown Christmas! We have coloring pages, mazes and word searches, as well as the all important art projects! We each made a Rudolph head (including me!) and talked about what happened in the movie. We came to the conclusion that the whole idea behind Rudolph was to show that we're all different and that's ok. We all have something special to contribute. We made large snowflakes to show that we're all different (and also in honor of Frosty). For Charlie Brown, we talked about the difference between the message of that show vs many other Christmas movies. We colored some nice pictures while discussing. Then, we made some snow cones and sat down for our 3 movie marathon! :)
Andrew even made it snow! We had a great time playing with glue and glitter and pom poms and making our little projects unique. I love Christmas crafts!
Enjoying our Who Pudding!
Continuing with our movie/book theme, we had another day of fun! I found some fun Grinchy worksheets (dot to dots, word finds, mazes, coloring pages, masks, etc.) and we played with those while we talked about why someone might hate Christmas (or other holidays/celebrations). Then we talked about the traditions of the Whos, and how they related to our family traditions for Christmas. They really enjoyed seeing that they correlated and knowing that lots of other people have some of the same traditions that we have! I also loved the comment from Andrew, "The Grinch wasn't mean because his shoes were too tight--it was because he was following Satan!" Sounds about right!
Then, we made Who Pudding (we made a sugar/dairy/gluten free baked custard--SOOOOO yummy!) while we listened to the book--I found it as an ipad app and you could either read it yourself or have it read to you. The little boys were happy to have it be read to them and look at the pictures while the big kids and I threw all the ingredients into the bowl for our Who Pudding! We ate that while watching the movie and talking about the difference between it and the book.
Since it's the last week before official holidays, we're doing just what you're supposed to do...lots of Christmas crafts and movies! :) We're having a book/movie theme each day. Today, we're doing The Polar Express. The kids helped me find boxes (or laundry baskets and a cooler) and we drew a track on the floor. Then, they got in their train cars, and while I read them The Polar Express (wearing my santa hat, of course) they drank hot cocoa "as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars"! We talked about what it might be like to have a magic train stop at your house... Would you go on? Where would it take you? and they drew where they would want to go on the backside of the train track. Then, we watched the movie! Good times.
After the movie, they spent the rest of the day playing train. They tied all the baskets and the cooler together using old scarves and pulled each other around. They had a great time!
Our Unit on Inventions went out with a bang! We found a kit for a rocket (a VERY simple rocket: think 'volcano' ingredients--vinegar and baking soda just to give it some good thrust) and went out to a big parking lot near our house to have ourselves a 'blast'! He he...I'm full of bad puns today...
Sadly, it really only worked once. We need to sit down and figure out what to do better. It made a fun mess, though, and when it did work, it was pretty spectacular (and scared the heck out of me, because I was actually holding it at the time...my bad)!!! Our good buddy Jazamin came to play with us, too, so she joined in the fun and started up a rousing (yet short) game of football (American style) and a race across the lot with bikes! Hooray!
Our Unit this month is on inventions. We've studied a little about levers and fulcrums, inclined planes, wheels, and now we're looking at gears. We looked over the gears of bicycles and how they work--the kids loved turning the bikes upside down and pushing the pedals to watch the gears! It was especially cool when Josh changed gears while the littles pushed the pedals and we could see all them work together.... After we took our time looking at bicycles, we put our newfound knowledge to work: We made a working mechanical clock! I found this at the gift shop of the Jordan's Children's Museum and it is the coolest thing! It's in pieces with directions to fit all the gears together. After you've got it together, you wind up the back, give the pendulum at the back a little push, and watch it go! Every 15 minutes the bell rings. We really enjoyed that and the kids were so proud that they put together a real clock! :)
Andrew is 6. It's hard to imagine my little boy is 6 already. To celebrate, we had a bonefide Medieval Feast! We invited some friends, showcased our hard work on our unit on Medieval times, and ate a LOT of food!! :) The kids put all their artwork up on the walls and around the room, we set up castles, had performances during each course, and had a lovely time! Andrew was quite literally the king for the day. We even had Grandma and Papa Edwards on Skype for a few moments during our presentations. Our theme was the Michaelmas Feast, which is the Medieval feast of September. A good time was had by all...and we all went to bed very full!! (I also appreciate the fact that the nobility, when called upon to do these feasts, had a huge HOARDE of servants to help with preparation, serving, and clean up. Feasts weren't meant to be ma
Did you know that there are Jr. Ranger programs at the National Mall in Washington D.C.? Well, I didn't...until today! We were walking downtown to the Main State building (to get new passport photos and update Devin's stuff) and we walked past the Lincoln Memorial. As we were nearing the monument, we noticed a small ranger station (kiosk-esque style) and noticed that it said it was the Department of National Memorials and Parks... Hmmmm... So, we went to the information person and Voila! we are the proud owners of three Jr Ranger booklets! Luckily, we still have almost 2 weeks left here, so we can do them at our leisure and learn a TON about the monuments at the National Mall! Super cool! This will fit perfectly into the mini unit we're doing while we're here about the founding fathers/presidents/United States! Josh is Uber excited to add another badge to the hat (just wait until I get his Jr Ranger post up! What a hat he has!)--Andrew and Claire...not so much. But, they're going to learn things anyway. The Jr Rangers tend to have a lot of writing in them, and while I think it's important for the littles to do some writing, I think over-doing it is not a good idea. So I ask them questions or tell them cool stuff and they answer everything orally and I write it down. That works for us and they retain it better and are having a blast, so I have no problem with it. We learned all kinds of things about the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial today. The best thing about all of these Jr Ranger programs is that we learn more about the parks/memorials than we would otherwise. We seek out the rangers and ask them all sorts of questions and the kids are genuinely interested. We go on hikes that we wouldn't otherwise do. We look at memorials more thoroughly and with a more observant eye. It is such a great program. Everyone should do it. Seriously.
We didn't finish our Jr Ranger today, though. We got to Main State, the kids and I got our photos taken, then Devin had to wait to get his badge. We waited...and we waited...and we waited...and an hour and 40 minutes later he was done. Man, it was hard to keep 4 energetic kids occupied in a hallway for that long. We survived...barely. Then we had to run (literally) to the car as our time for parking was almost up! The kids were troopers and ran right along with us (well, Peter and Andrew were in the stroller and Devin pushed them. They whooped and yelled about how fun it was to go so fast! Ha!) and we made it just in the nick of time! Whew! It was HOT, and while we were hoping to float around and see some more things and find some cool D.C. t-shirts (always important when we're here to update the cheap off-the-street-vendor-touristy t-shirt), we just decided to sit in the A/C and go home with a quick side trip to Target to get some ice cream! Good times.
On another note: I love watching the Olympics. I can't help tearing up a bit as I watch cyclists tearing down the road, or synchronized divers execute something I couldn't even dream of doing. It's inspiring, even with all it's craziness and hype and politics. The people who compete are amazing and ALL of them deserve our awe. They're all Gold Medalists in my book.
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
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