Tuesday, December 8, 2009

School Days

Thought I'd give a school update! We are finishing up our 3-4 week study of South America, Brazil, and Rain Forests in My Father's World ECC this week. We made some paper mache masks last week and they are dry, waiting to be painted this week. We plan on having a little Brazilian mini-carnival next week sometime complete with the shirts and masks the kids made. Of course, I've found a few authentic recipes I've got to try out!

Abby is almost done with the first grade book in Sing, Spell, Read and Write. She is an amazingly smart little girl. She informs me that she can do her math "in her head" and doesn't need the blocks (Math-U-See Primer). And she is incredibly cute with her missing two front teeth!

Zeke has an amazing work ethic and gives his all in each subject. I am impressed at his math skills. I think Singapore really pushes him to use logic and mental math. It is getting to the point that I am challenged too! It takes me longer to check his work now, for sure! He is writing a persuasive essay this week in english. He really seems to grasp things quickly and apply what he is learning.

Eli has been really working on his reading, and it is ALL self-motivated. He can read all of the first BOB books and Animal Antics and Playful Pets level 1 books! He read the Macy's sign today at the mall. He said it phonetically "Makys" and I explained that that was a "c" that steals the "s" sound because of that y! It melted my hear to hear him trying to read all the signs he sees. He has no fear and will just give any word a go! I am going to go ahead and start the kindergarten curriculum in Sing, Spell, read and Write after Christmas for him. I'm bored with the stuff I'm doing with him and it isn't challenging him at all. He's ready to read those little stories!

Micah continues to, well, be two. :) He LOVES glueing and painting projects, so I've been trying to let him do a little more of that the last couple of days and it helps keep him out of so much trouble. Just leaves a big mess to clean up!

Here are some samples of our work from the last couple of weeks:

Zeke's Anaconda Report:

Our egg experiment to see how strong arches are (I may be missing something here, but I'm not sure how this fit in with anything we are learning in science right now...but it was listed as an experiment to do):

It held all of these books before breaking!

Eli and Abby drew an illustration of our read aloud, "Jerry Muskrat". I was so impressed by Eli's interpretation of the "merry little west winds": those little swirly lines in the sky!

An example of Zeke's science notebook sheet. He is never very fond of this assignment, but I love his little drawings! This is a Roseate Spoonbill. And I am having real problems with my camera. It will only focus on the left focus box in my viewer; I don't know how to change it! I've got to have Steve change some setting for me...that is why this picture is not the greatest!

I'm REALLY looking forward to the next two weeks to casually finish up some projects (mask making, a rain forest mural to name a few), make lots of homemade ornaments and christmas projects, bake Christmas cookies, visit the library (which we never do any more!). We are going to try to make it to Grand Rapids to take advantage of the Meijer Gardens Christmas trees from around the world display. That will fit in perfectly with our curriculum! Lots of fun and good learning going on here!

And this has just made my night! If you know me well, you know that I love snow!!!! It is a pretty wet snow, so I'm sure it won't be around long, but WE HAVE SNOW, HURRAY!


I have to admit it: I was a scrooge today! Why, you ask? Because of this:

I H.A.T.E. gingerbread houses. GGGRRRR. I just don't have the patience for them! Who can sit for a half an hour and HOLD the house together while the 4 kids crawl all over you, spill the little round candies all over the kitchen floor, eat most of the candy that is supposed to go ON the house, lick the frosting off the table...need I continue? Clearly, these are a grandma-only type of project. My grandma was so sweet and wanted to enjoy this activity with the kids. The darn thing collapsed before I even made it off her front porch. *sigh* I will NEVER be tempted to buy another one of these again. I've actually never purchased one...and now when my 4 year old pleads for one at the store this week, I will remind him that they turn mommy into "the, the, the , THE GRINCH!" (I hope some of you have seen Jim Carrey's Grinch!)

Now mom, don't worry. I know you are sending us one this week. I will save it for the babysitter this weekend : ) HA!

There. Now with that off my chest, here are some things I LOVE about the holidays:

Advent Calendars

Christmas tree hunting

Cozy, footy pajamas on 2 year olds!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giving Thanks

Well, we had a nice and busy Thanksgiving break in Wisconsin. We all worked hard to help pack up Steve's mom because....she's moving to MICHIGAN!!! Welcome back, Marilyn! Anyways, we had a very nice time with Uncle Jeff, Aunt Chris, and Marilyn. We are back home and hoping to have a good 3-week block of school before we take our Christmas break. As always, pictures are worth a thousand words in my book :) so, here you go! Oh, and we can't forget the cuteness above: did you know Eli has his own vineyard where he makes sparkling grape juice? :)

A last memory in Wisconsin:

Uncle Jeff having too much fun carving the turkey!

No packing allowed on Thanksgiving! Instead, we enjoyed a great meal with all the trimmings!

Aunt Chris' piano lessons

Fun with Michigan Rummy (or Tripoly?)

Zeke's game face

Shhh...don't tell Oreo, but we think Micah might have peed in his water dish! (not really...but Micah does have a habit of wondering around with his pants around his ankles after he visits the potty...poor guy can't pull up his own pants!)
We got a little rest in :)

And we were all very thankful that one of Abby's really loose teeth finally fell out!