Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Collage of FUN!

 We finished our official 180 days almost three weeks ago, but of course the learning has NOT never does! Here's a look at our highlights from the week!

We enjoyed two huge all day field trips this week. The first to the zoo and the second to a Renaissance festival. Below is a collage of photos from those two events. You can read more about our zoo trip (and a movie surprise) here and our experience at the Renaissance festival here.

I will be leaving soon to pick up a bag full of books from the library ~following rabbit trails the Renaissance fair and zoo has sparked.

R6 learned to whistle this past week and boy has he ever been practicing! In the center just to the left, in photo above, you can catch a shadowed glimpse of the whistler in action.

 Our five Bluebirds (two pictured on the right) are growing bigger and gaining new feathers each day! Today our Chickadees are beginning to hatch! We are so excited about watching these little guys grow! This is the first Chickadee nest we have had an opportunity to observe!

A late night spent reading, pretending and listening to music at 'the fort'. Some of our best family memories are being made in our backyard.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Renaissance Festival

What an exceptionally fun and educational day spent at our first Georgia Renaissance Festival! Here are a few highlights of our day in pictures.

In our first performance, Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, the actors used comedy and audience participation to introduce plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet,  and Julius Caesar to name a few.

Here we learned about Language and Mannerisms. For example, one would not say "Good Morning". Morning was known only as mourning. The lady in the picture is showing a lady mourning and asked if she did a good job mourning... instead "Good Morrow" was used.  We learned that the calf was the impressive part of a male's body and the men did quite a lot to show off the revered calf muscle. For ladies, the wrist was most impressive. We learned about the French Kiss, and how ladies greeted one another by touching each other on the shoulders and kissing the air on both sides of the cheeks three times. We learned many more interesting facts on renaissance manners and language during this performance.

Conversation with DaVinci was excellent! We learned secrets of The Last Supper, his ideas about the Vitruvian Man, and facts about Mona Lisa~a very, very good presentation.

We enjoyed The Six Wives of Henry VIII from afar.  A few minutes before the show, we met the 'Jane Seymour' (in off white) while I was sitting on the ground holding a very distraught J4. He had lost a very dear stick he had found on the ground earlier in the day. We had retraced our most recent steps and no stick. Sweet Jane came over to comfort him and offered him a stick she found in a nearby flower bed. J4 smiled and thanked her through his tears. She then invited us to the performance that was about to begin. J4 was still not quite ready to be in a crowd, so we found the perfect spot to view the show AND fill our tummies with an afternoon tea party at The Peacock Tea Room. We enjoyed a Berry Blend Strawberry Moon Tea, Fresh Fruit, Tea Sandwiches and Ambrosia Devon Style Trifle with Vanilla Bean Custard and Strawberries...delightful.

Who doesn't love a free petting zoo?!

example of one of the many merchant cottages

example of one of the many 'man powered' rides. Rather funny because it was explained that there were NO (man powered or not) carnival-ish rides back in that period.

My three knights just before leaving the festival. They are busy, as I am typing,  painting their daggers and shields....
The kids are interested in learning more about DaVinci, Henry VIII and his wives, manners, and Shakespeare, knights, etc... ~ along with apes, tigers and carnivorous plants from our field trip yesterday.  Google, Netflix and library here we come....and to think, we completed our 180 day school year requirement weeks ago...

~ Hope

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Zoo and a Surprise!

Today we traveled to the zoo for a field trip. We explored the zoo with friends we haven't seen in a while. You can visit my friend at Kathy's Cluttered Mind. We get to see this sweet family twice this week! (We will all be going to a renaissance festival! That should be interesting...)

We observed many, many animals (many more than photographed) and plants at the zoo.  We watched the feeding of the gorillas and orangutans-such a special treat!

An Australian Blue Tongued Skink

The petting zoo is always a must. Today, the pigs and freshly sheared sheep accompanied the goats.

We learned that the white dots on the back of the tiger's ears are called "eye spots". It was explained that if approached from behind, the spots may fool predators into thinking the tigers are looking at them.

Did you know that the Venus Fly Trap is native to North and South Carolina only? Their conservation status is at risk.

Pitcher Plant- also native to the US. It's diet can consist of frogs and small mammals. They are on the endangered list.

Who doesn't love the otters?!

Ryan discovered this plant excretes water when pressed lightly!

Just before the gorilla feeding. There are two babies. This mother is nicknamed the 'helicopter' mom. She will not let her little one out of arm (or toes) reach-literally.

This mom has the youngest baby and will let it explore some on it's own.

So sweet! We enjoyed the gorillas so much. Our friends told us about Disney's Chimpanzee movie that is out right now, and how much they enjoyed it.....hummm....

"Helicopter Mom"


The king of the jungle resting so peacefully his tongue is hanging out!

My little monkey...or bat.. =)

Two sweet friends

More sweet friends

After several hours at the zoo, we went home to say a quick goodbye and get a hug from Daddy. He had an awards dinner in the city. 
We decided to head back out again, after Daddy left, to grab supper AND a movie! We went to see Chimpanzee. We were the only ones in the theater, which was great, because there was A LOT to be discussed. All in all a good educational experience.
 Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice treat at the mix, a new little yogurt shop-another first for us. 
Now, I'm tired and ready for bed. We have another huge day of learning tomorrow.....


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Field Trip: History and Frogs

 Today, we took an all day field trip into Atlanta with another homeschooling family to tour the Swan House on the ATL History Center's grounds. We had to go through the History Center's main building in order to get to the Swan House. The children could not pass up exploring the Civil War exhibit and the Folk Art exhibit before venturing outside.

C8 found a lady bug!

 Catawba Rhododendron

Bridge leading to Swan House

The famed Swan House is one of the most photographed sights in ATL.

Isn't it gorgeous!  ~  The big kids and mommies learned so much about the early 1930's on our tour.

Victorian Playhouse

Chick-fil-A Lunch!

We made an impromptu stop at the GA Aquarium. Poison dart frogs are a favorite! 

More poison dart frogs

I don't remember what this guy is, but we enjoyed observing his suction cup toes!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our New Bookshelves!

I am truly thankful for my husband! We needed new bookshelves for the schoolroom. My handy dandy sweetie got to work and pieced together a wonderful wooden picture-book shelf. It replaced our forward facing rain gutter shelves of nearly four years (Jim Trelease style). We might get around to painting them white one of these days...

I am tremendously happy with my sweetie's handy-work. Although tempted, I cannot overfill the shelf by stacking books in front of one another. This wooden shelf is purposefully made to accommodate one book and a cassette tape in depth. The idea is to change out the top shelf books every couple of weeks. I'm planning to keep the books with a tape or CD out much longer. I'm hoping they will get a lot of use from my new reader and pre-reader now that they are easily accessible. ~ I am still on the lookout for a couple of magazine racks to hang on the wall just to the left.

 Here is our before photo of our rain gutter bookshelves. I love them, but one can see how easy it would be to overfill.

The next picture is our schoolroom closet area. My sweet hubby put the wire shelving in last summer.  I would be lost without the wire shelves and organizing drawers! We found those at Wal-Mart and Target. I keep our crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue, tape, a  magnet set, and other craft supplies organized in the plastic drawers.

Here is another organizational home run Hubby and the children put together last week. Before this large bookcase, books could be found all over the house - some in smaller bookcases and others in random piles. Books are still a little scattered, but this IKEA Expedit shelving unit has helped tremendously! Books are arranged by subject, type and reading level. (I have Lego, wooden blocks, and toy animals in the rattan baskets, also from IKEA, to keep little hands busy during read aloud time.)   I am so happy with our efforts to organize.
(not in the schoolroom, but nearby)


Here's a little collage to show what the hubby used to make the shelves in case you're interested. If you want more details just shoot me an email or leave a comment...