Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weekly Highlights: Lots of Family, Tellus Science Museum (again), Coyotes, and a Major Decluttering

This week was super, super fun! My sister and niece visited for a whole week! It was absolutely awesome having them here plus their cute little hamster Snowflake, snugly little puppy Stormy, and sweet little dog Ellie. We played a lot, learned a lot, and my fabulous sister even helped me clean - a lot! I am not a great organizer. She is. I am thankful she enjoys getting rid of stuff and cleaning up the mess. She kept me on task and helped with ...letting go... We were able to donate many, many things. It felt so good!

Tellus Science Museum

We talked about Tellus so much that my sister and niece (all of us!) decided we just had to take a field trip there. We spent all of Wednesday at the museum. We had a blast showing them around.
Jonathan came home with a Gold Panning Kit (great Christmas gift idea!). He spent hours being a prospector. He chose to not use water in the beginning. He watched the person running the gift shop use the kit dry at the checkout desk and decided he would mimic his method. Jonathan did pretty good, too.

Awana and a surprise!

We went to our first Awana meeting for the year and brought my sister and niece. We have a great Awana program at our church and I was so pleased to share how we run our club with my sister. This will be my third year as a leader. I've served in Cubbies, Sparks and now T&T.

 It was an interesting night for sure since a film crew for a popular A&E show was using the back  of our church parking lot as a staging area. As we were leaving, we saw a handful of people camped out on the side of the road with signs that read, "Autographs Please."

A cute puppy.
Here's a picture of one of our guests, sweet little Stormy.
Arcade Fun
Saturday afternoon we took my sister into the big city to do a little shopping and treated the kids to some fun at Dave and Busters. This place never gets old. I enjoy the racing and skee ball type games, too! We ended the night with a nice dinner with my dad and one of his very good friends.

We got in a lot of science this week. Besides the turtle Ellie the dog found - that spent a night lost in our house...long story. (Thankfully we found him early the next morning and released him unharmed.) Plus, the youngest kids were practicing their coyote howls inside our fenced backyard one afternoon and actually called up a pack of coyotes - a neighbor saw 3 to 4 of them. No one was harmed and apparently the coyotes have since moved on to another hunting area thank goodness. But boy was that ever the topic of conversation for a few days.

We finally got around to making our crystal experiment this week, too. We made a hot water and salt solution and then placed a paper clip tied to a string into the water. Hopefully after a few days of evaporation we will have some good crystal formation!

And our Luna moth caterpillars are getting so close to making their cocoons! Look at how BIG this guy has gotten!

MFW: Creation to the Greeks

We completed all of our history and Bible studies for week 7. We learned all about God's covenant with Abraham, the destruction of Sodom, the birth of Issac, Hagar and Ishmael being sent away, and more about hieroglyphics.

We used all of the MFW history resources, and then I added in The Greenleaf Guide To Old Testament History.  A friend had recommended it  a couple of years ago and I bought it soon after to aid in my own Bible study. It is a great resource for pulling more from the story through questions and the guide even gives a little more background information for some of the passages. This just helps us dig a little bit deeper into the scriptures and is a great narration starter. I plan to continue using this guide through the rest of the year.

We also looked through a book called Hieroglyphs without Mystery. It's an interesting read for sure!

We studied the Greek word tropos which means turning and learned many English derivatives of the word.

The kids completed a few English and reading lessons and then we just enjoyed our family!

This week I am linking with our friends at Homegrown Learners for Collage Friday.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Highlights: Lots of Field Trips! Tellus Science Center,Booth Western Art Museum, High Museum of Art and a Visit with Family

We completed Week 6 in My Father's World Creation to the Greeks and managed to squeeze in some great Atlanta area field trips, too

Here are some highlights from our week:

Since we knew we would be going out of town for a few days, I assigned homework last weekend - gasp.

We learned about Job, mapped Abraham's journeys, learned more about Abraham, Sari, Lot, Hagar and Ishmael and read more about Sumer, Ur, and the Indus River Valley. The kids also completed their other core subjects.

We finished up Pyramids (Learn About Series), the book we've been using for science for the past few weeks. We were supposed to grow crystals but decided to save that activity for next week when we will actually be home! We learned about modern pyramids which was great since we traveled into the big city of Atlanta - at night no less. Seeing the bright lights of the city exaggerated the building shapes. It was awesome! We found lots of examples of modern pyramids and continued our discussion on the strength of pyramids and how in earthquake prone zones a pyramid structure is ideal.

 (We had the privilege of staying in Atlanta at the W Atlanta - Midtown at for a few days while Daddy attended a convention.)

Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, GA

We've been wanting to visit this museum for a long time now. Poke around on the website and you will, too! We stayed for four hours and still didn't see all the fabulous exhibits - so we bought a membership! We plan to go back to a few of the special educational days they host.

The kids had so much fun panning for gems. Each child got a small bag to collect their stones in to take home!

This is where the kids spent the majority of there time: Fossil Dig. The dig sites are filled with REAL fossils and lots of them! Jonathan had the hardest time picking just one to take home

He decided on an ammonite, one of the oldest fossils in the dig area. Here he is comparing his to one on display. Is that not super cool?!

Who wants to see a mammoth and saber-tooth cat? We sure do! And we got our chance at Tellus. There are so many cool dinosaur fossils there!  There is a huge megalodon mouth, full T - Rex, pteranadons, dino eggs and so much more. Dinosaur lovers will be in heaven.

We also saw two shows in the planetarium. One was a live astronomy show. We learned a plethora of information from the 35 ish minute show. It's digital, so the interactive features were amazing. I highly recommend seeing Tonight's Sky if you get a chance to go.

The second show we saw in the planetarium was a thrill ride. Totally just a fun activity that the kids loved! We rode futuristic amusement park rides around the ice rings of Saturn, on a moon of Jupiter, near our sun, and more. Caraline and I just weren't thrilled with the choice of lyrics to the music. They could've left the voice off and just let it be instrumental. The music was fabulous - but that is just our opinion.

Our next stop - The Booth Western Art Museum also in Cartersville.

This museum is amazing. We've only recently become aware of its existence. It is a gem for sure. If you are studying American history, this is a must see. If you have a horse lovers, like I do - this is a must. If you are interested in cowboys and Indians - this is a must. In fact, I've mentioned this before, but four of my great grandparents were pretty much full Creek. One was more European and the another had a lot of Native American blood, too. I'm not sure about the other two. So, we have a special interest in learning more about Native American culture.

The exhibits are beautifully displayed in this modern museum. Here are a few of our favorites from a couple of the galleries. If you decide to go, I encourage you mamas to find the painting "Wind Beneath Their Wings." It is one of my many favorites.

I often found the kids sitting and quietly examining the beautiful art work.

There is also an exhibit area with either a handwritten or signed letter from every single president. The presentation of each is beautiful. I heard a docent tell a group that teachers will give their students an hour and a half to explore this one room with instructions to read each letter and to pick one to write a paper on. What a great idea!

We loved this large painting with many of our presidents sitting together. My little ones picked out the portraits of Washington and Lincoln inside the painting and thought that was super neat (they noticed before I did!). Plus the idea of having presidents, who could've never meet each other, in the same painting and looking so real was truly awe inspiring.

There are a couple of stage coaches to explore too. We took special notice of the gas lantern. The Lamplighter audio drama we listened to last week, the Robber's Cave, spoke of lighting the lantern on the outside of the carriage. It was really cool to see this one. Once we walked over to the other side, we could see in the carriage since the door was open.

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

We love the High. We try to go at least four times a year. We only had a couple of hours to explore on this day. Big thunderstorms were quickly approaching and we wanted to get home before the storms.

There is a special program called Discovery Backpacks at the High. Inside the red backpacks you'll find three activities designed around three different pieces of art in the modern collection. I recommend each child borrowing the same color backpack so that they can each work on the same pieces of art together - on the same floor. I was impressed with the backpack activities and we truly enjoyed our experience - once we figured out how to find the art pieces. The Discovery Backpacks take about 45 minutes to complete.
After returning the backpacks, we toured the Dream Cars temporary exhibit once again and listened to the iPhone app  on Dream Cars.

Visit with Family

We spent the weekend with our north Alabama family. The grandparents have a chicken coup (thanks Cousin Taylor!) and the kids got to gather eggs each day. 

We enjoyed the local highschool Pep Rally and cheered on our favorite #42, Cousin Sam, at a jamboree game.

Cousin Taylor plays volleyball in the fall and she's always so good about practicing with Caraline and giving her pointers on the game. Caraline eats it up. We also got in lots of target practice, swimming, and frog and katydid catching, too.

So, our week was filled with museums and family and fun. =)

We are linking our Weekly Highlights with our friends at Homegrown Learners and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Highlights: Carschooling Favorites, Pyramids and our Luna Moth Eggs Hatched!

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We've been learning about pyramids this week (week 5) in My Father's World - Creation to the Greeks. One of our activities involved sugar cubes! Daddy was watching us build our square base, step pyramids in the floor. He must have thought it looked like irresistible building fun ;-) because he joined us! He is always so good at joining in on our activities!

The kids and I continued using the book Pyramids for science. We learned about mummy preservation. (The really cool preservation experiment will have to wait until we are home for more a couple of days at time. I'll be sure to post!) To go along with our introduction to mummies, we read Tut's Mummy: Lost...and Found. We also learned a lot about the pyramids of Giza and theories on how they were built. We explored friction and how rollers can be used to our advantage and watched a Magic School Bus episode on forces. We learned what the pyramids and stars have in common (so cool!). Plus learned how to find north and south using two methods, the sun and a globe. 

The kids completed a notebooking page about how rocks were quarried in ancient Egypt, and we threw in some more geography with a current map of the Middle East for our notebook. Plus we located Memphis, Egypt's capitol, on our map. We also reviewed the Egyptian and Mesopotamian geography we've been learning for the past few weeks.

We watched a few Youtube videos on how the pyramids might have been built and read the chapter titled "Ancient Egypt" in The Mystery of History.

Here's an interesting theory on how water could've been used to build the pyramids:

We explored the internet linked pages of Ancient World and discovered lots of interesting sites about mummies and the pyramids, and learned even more by reading in Ancient Egypt (Make It Work! History).

God and the History of Art Volumes I and II
Here is one of the art activities from the week. After reading a paragraph about King Tut, instructions were given on how to create a maze. All three kids drew one (freehand - not with a ruler as suggested) with traps and dead ends. They then exchanged mazes with each other to work through.

We completed a lot more learning, but I'm not going to go through the rest of our core subjects, read alouds, music or Latin/Greek during this week's highlights. I'll try to catch up later.

Remember our Luna moth story from last week? Well, her eggs finally hatched!  I kept thinking, We know your Mama, little fellas. I couldn't help but tear up.  It reminds me so much of  one of my favorite childhood books, Charlotte's Web.

There are five larvae in this zoomed in picture and the eggs are visible, too.
Field Trip
The last days for peach pickin' are quickly approaching, so we loaded up and took one more trip out to the peach orchard. Daddy came along, too!
We picked 1/2 a bushel.

Box Turtle Rescue
While on our way home from church last Sunday, this little cutie was standing in the middle of the road - it was near our home. We turned around and saved her from the highway. After watching her play in the rain in our backyard and in the stream that forms during heavy rain there, the kids released her close to where she was found.

Girl box turtles have brownish orange eyes and boys have reddish orange eyes. This is definitely a little girl.
Jonathan had his first ever soccer evaluation for Upward. He is so excited about playing.

Visit to my hometown

On the drive down we carschooled. We listened to Lamplighter's the White Gypsy. It's a fabulous story. All of Lamplighter's audio dramas are amazing. Then watched lots of Magic School Bus episodes. On the way home we listened to another Lamplighter audio drama. This time we chose The Robber's Cave and then continued DVD episodes of Magic School Bus. Hands down,  two of our favorite carschooling items are Lamplighter Theater and The Magic School Bus!

I also took some of our MFW books and completed some history and science lessons while at my mom's.

More nature in Alabama
The kids found lots of tree frogs, tadpoles and toads!

 We went fishing with my brother and trail riding. Isn't this pond beautiful. It was the perfect spot for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding.

This is my grandparents' dog, Malley. She's always reminded me of an Egyptian because of her dark eyeliner on both eyes! She's such a pretty and sweet little girl!

We also did some target shooting with a rifle and bow and arrow at my brother's. Safety is always first and a review of the safety rules always precedes target lessons. We all shot bull's eyes!
My niece and I checking out the next target.

My grandmother cooked for the family two days in a row which meant I got to see lots and lots of family and boy did I ever eat too much! We didn't think my dad would be able to make it home while we were there, but he surprised us! We got to spend lots of time with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and sweet little niece, and lots more family. It was so good to be home! We even toured a school bus.

We had a wonderful week of learning, exploring and....Jonathan learned to pronounce his L sound correctly. He used to say yizard, and yike, and rewey, etc. - but now he pronounces his L words perfectly. We also discovered his first loose tooth. He is certainly growing up...they all are...way too quickly.

I'm linking our highlights with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-Up