Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas fun

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

Sock snowmen--they had fun with these

Our first Christmas craft.  They look good in the pics, but I guess I got the paint too thin because most of it slid off the sides of the ornaments.  Trying to decide if it's worth buying another set of clear ornaments . . .

Working on our teacher gifts for Sunday school teachers (and others)

The finished products . . . which reminds me that I still need to bag them up!

A little of this, a little of that

We ARE here.  We HAVE been getting school done.  But picture taking has been rather random (or non-existent), and I just haven't been getting around to posting weekly updates!  So I'm just going to post a bit about what we've been doing lately, school and non-school.

Connor has hit his stride with math over the last couple of weeks.  All the slogging through some things that were challenging has laid a good foundation--he can now add two-digit numbers mentally, something that I couldn't always do until teaching him with this curriculum (that was an unexpected bonus!).  He's pretty proud of himself, and it's been nice to have fun doing math lately instead of the battle that it had been for a while.  We're on track to finish the book right at the one-year mark, which was my goal.

In history (and reading, since our reading is tied to history!) lately we've been learning about King Tut, Moses/Egyptians, and the Phoenicians.  We had fun making unleavened bread when we read about the Exodus.

We've been plugging along with grammar, spelling, handwriting, and Latin as well.  Steady progress!

For Bible, we've been going through one of our story Bibles, reading a story or two per day and doing an activity to go with it.  We've been learning about Elijah over the last week or so.

A few random school pics (the couple of times that I've actually remembered to grab the camera!):

Working hard!

Using blocks to explore spatial reasoning

working on cursive "e"

Coloring the Sri Lankan flag in a mini book for our apple lapbook (based on How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World--Sri Lanka is one of the countries the girl visits in the story)

The finished flag

Recognizing/entering 10's on the abacus

And finally, some hands-on life learning: Connor's first dishwashing experience!  He did great, and insisted that he loves doing dishes--it's his favorite thing.  Yeah.  We'll remind you of that in a few years, kiddo!  And yes, this is the same episode--he got pretty wet and couldn't be convinced to wait until he was done to change.  Which meant that he had to change when he was done too. *grin*

Hmm . . . we have some Christmas stuff we've been doing, but I think I'll make a separate post for that! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I love our vet

When we got to keep our sweet, "dropped-in-our-laps" cat (who is doing great, by the way), another person naturally came into our lives--the vet.  Dr. Kelly, to whom we went on the advice of Aaron's mom, has been wonderful.  She's been great with Confetti, her prices are reasonable (actually, much less than I expected), and she's always happy to answer questions.  One of the best things about homeschooling is the flexible schedule, so the boys have been able to go with me and/or Aaron when we've taken Confetti in for shots and when we picked her up after she was spayed.  During that last excursion, Connor (the animal lover) saw a horse in a large pen near where we were parked and asked if he could pet it.  Kelly was very gracious, even getting a halter and offering to let him put it on the horse (he declined, but watched, fascinated, as she did it).  We didn't have much time to stay that day, but she offered to let us come back the next week so that he could learn how to put the halter on, brush a horse, etc.  He was thrilled with the idea, of course, so I called early last week and we ended up going over this past Friday.

She had Tank, a beautiful, chestnut 1400 lb quarter horse, ready in a stall for us.  Connor was over the moon as she helped him put on the halter and then helped him up onto Tank's back.  The weather was cold, windy, and threatening to rain, so we stayed in the barn.  Connor was so excited as he actually got to use the reins and Tank responded by moving the direction Connor wanted him to go.  Brennan had a go as well, and I think he had fun, but he was definitely a bit intimidated.  His smiles waited until he was done!

Then Kelly let Connor lead Tank out of the stall, helped him tie him up, and let both boys brush him.  I loved the way she was diligent about teaching safety around the horse without saying things in a way that would scare them--she was clearly intentionally teaching them to not be afraid.  She also showed Connor how to lift the horse's hoof and clean the bottom of its foot, although that was a bit tougher--even when he figured it out, he had to have help because the foot was HEAVY!  He found that out first-hand a little while later when Tank ended up stepping on his foot while Connor was walking him around the barn--ouch!  He was a trooper, though, and thankfully the only injury was a bruise.  The boys got a kick out of feeding him treats, too.

I'm so thankful that Kelly was willing to take the time to share with us--and invited us to come back this week!  What a blessing.  The only other way I know of that we could get anything like this would be to take horseback riding lessons--something we definitely wouldn't be able to afford.  We're very thankful, and I'll be calling back tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

River Legacy Park and Science Center

I love how many incredible and inexpensive learning activities there are in the Fort Worth area.  Aaron's brother's family found this one a while ago, and I've been wanting to check it out ever since.  We finally went a couple of weeks ago, and it was wonderful!

River Legacy Park is in the middle of Arlington, and it has beautiful paved walking/biking trails, a playground, open fields, and more that we didn't get a chance to explore on this trip.  The boys loved riding their bikes while Aaron and I walked.

After we had made plans to go, it occurred to me to check and see if there were any letterboxes in the area--there were three listed actually in the park!  So we added in a little letterboxing as well.  We found two of the three.   I think we were in the right place for the third one, but it was missing.

We didn't have nearly enough time for the second part of the trip: the River Legacy Living Science Center.  We'll be making a trip back out there before long, I'm sure.  The science center had exhibits about various animals native to the region, terrariums and aquariums with all kinds of native critters, exhibits about the land and different things that impact nature (weather, human activity, etc.)  They had kid-friendly microscopes and leaf and bark samples to explore, science-related toys to play with, animal track information plates to do crayon rubbings, and more.  You can check out binoculars and go on the trails around the center to do bird watching (we didn't have time, but it's definitely on the to-do list!), and they regularly offer nature walks guided by naturalists and other organized activities.  And all free!  They do have a preschool and they offer other fee-based classes and programs as well.  Here are a few of our pictures from the first visit.