Saturday, July 18, 2009

Things are lookin' up!

One day last week I left for work like usual. But then when I reached the end of our street, I noticed two hot air balloons up in the sky. Just a few nights before, we had read about hot air balloons for bedtime stories. The kids were so tickled with the story that we stayed up for an extra 20 minutes watching You Tube videos about hot air balloons. So I just knew that when there were real live hot air balloons up over our house, the kids would be so excited to see them. I circled the block and ran back in the house to call the kids to come out.
The Remax balloon got pretty close to us. At one point the kids were waving to the people in the basket and the people were waving to the kids.

The Leslie's pool supply balloon stayed off in the distance.

The kids were very excited. I ended up being just a little late for work, but it was worth it.
On another note, Keith will be doing some temporary work at the Orlando Coast Guard recruiter's office for the next 6 weeks. Which leaves us in a pinch for child care. Grandpa suggested Keith's niece, Ashley was needing a job, so we called her up and offered her the job. She'll be staying in Megan's room for the next 3 weeks. Megan will bunk in Daniel's room, since he has bunk beds in his room. I'm excited to have a 17 year old girl in the house. And even more excited to have the first 3 weeks of childcare taken care of in a way that provides the LEAST disruption to the kids' schedules. Now to figure out those last 3 weeks - anyone else wanna come to Florida to live with us temporarily? :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dinner with the Broadway family

My friend, Amber, and her family are visiting Orlando this week. We decided to meet up at a Bennigan's close to their hotel. The kids and I hit some traffic on the way out there and arrived a couple of minutes late.

With a table full of 2 six-year-olds, 1 five-year-old, and 2 three-year-olds, we attracted over the balloon sculpting guy. I totally loved how Amber's littlest, Logan, wanted a balloon creation of one of their dogs at home, but then Logan was all upset because the balloon sculptor did not make the balloon look exactly like their real dog.

Joshua and Chase could easily be best buds. The talked Legos and PBS kids shows, and all sorts of important six-year-old boy business. They both have seriously long eyelashes, too.

Amber and Daniel. Amber won Daniel over when she gave him a piece of breaded zucchini.

Megan was thrilled to have her gigantic balloon flower. I asked her if it smelled good and she responded very matter-of-fact with "umm, Mom, it smells like a balloon".

I was trying to get a picture of how sad Chase looked. Joshua gave his balloon to Chase when Chase's balloon got broken. Chase was teary and hugged Joshua and called him a "nice boy". It was too sweet.
Dinner was great. All the kids behaved very well. Especially considering Amber's kids had been in the car all day driving from Louisiana. Seriously, her boys are troopers!!

It was so fun to chat a mile-a-minute, eat good food, let the kids play and just enjoy each other's company! I wish they lived closer to us so we could do this more often!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cleaning up the Beginners Room at church

Last Friday, I was off work for the holiday, so I invited the kids, Grandma and Grandpa and the Dutton family to clean up the Sabbath School classroom to prepare for the new school year. We had some scrubbing to do, and some re-arranging of the room to do, and some re-decorating to do. Tonia Dutton and I are coordinating the classroom activities this year. I'm so excited to be working with someone that is so organized and has so many great ideas! Megan and Daniel went to work scrubbing all of the kiddie-chairs. It was sweet to listen to them singing and cleaning!
Joshua cleaned all the big surfaces.

The kids lasted cleaning for about an hour, then went to playing. They all had a great time, and we got tons of work done in the room. Grandma and Grandpa had the hardest task: resurfacing the already existing "temple" in the room with a smooth surface for the kids to "paint". I'll need to get more pictures next week of the temple, it looks great!

A Keith of all trades

I've had a couple of people ask me how I managed to get my husband involved in homeschooling. Actually, it's his desire to homeschool next year. He'll be doing the majority of the teaching. I'm helping to organize and make sure we are hitting all of the objectives for the year, but he will be the one actually doing the hands-on teaching. And I know he'll be fabulous at it!

Homeschooling Dad isn't the only hat he wears. The man is also quite handy...he put up a new ceiling fan in our bedroom.
The old fan. Sheesh...I guess I shoulda done a little dusting before taking a picture! :)
The handy-man at work.

The handy-boy assisting.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Organizing homeschool stuff - 1st grade

Keith and I have been reviewing all of our homeschool materials this week. We have a system pretty much in place, and are just about ready to start for the new school year. School will start August 3rd for us. Reason being that it is just so bloomin' hot in August, it's not like we'll be spending tons of time outside. We might as well get school up and running, so when the weather turns a little cooler, we'll be able to enjoy visiting different things around Florida.

Our subjects are divided as:
* Language Arts and Literature: we'll be doing units based on poetry, Aesop's fables, folk tales from different countries, tongue twisters, common phrases "when it rains it pours". Then there's the normal word/sentence/paragraph structure stuff: punctuation, prefix, suffix, contractions, spelling words, nouns, verbs, etc.

* History and Geography: we're starting off in the Ice Age, cave men, using pictures to communicate - which will bridge into hieroglyphics and Egypt, pharoahs, pyramids. After the Egyptian Unit, we'll move into Central America: Mayans, Aztecs, Incans. Then European explorers and the founding of America. The 13 colonies, Boston Tea Party, Declaration of Independence. Then American Explorers, and other biographies. On the Geography days, we're learning about each of the 7 continents and each of the 50 states.

*Arts and Music: we're starting with a unit on colors - warm vs. cool, primary vs. secondary. Then moving into lines, shapes, patterns and textures. We'll be studying some famous artwork as well as creating our own artwork to reflect the technique we are studying. Who's up for some Jackson Pollack style painting? :) The Music days will begin with learning about the classification of instruments: woods, strings, etc. Then we'll be making our own instruments. We'll be studying and able to identify some classical composers. And finish up the school year with studying some patriotic songs and old hymns - who wrote them, what they mean and memorizing them.

* Math: Well, there's really not much to go into with 1st Grade Math. This is the one area that we will be strictly following the flow of a work-book. I had considered purchasing Math-U-See, but I had a hard time flipping my brain around to use it correctly, and I find that Joshua is like me, he does a lot of math in his head. I remember when he was 4 years old he would tell people he was "2 plus 1 plus 1". We have a couple of workbooks from Learning Horizons that we'll be using.

* Science: We have a goal of doing one science experiment each week. Science will be a series of Unit Studies and I'm considering having Joshua do his Science lap-book style. We are starting with Animal Habitats, Dinosaurs, The Ocean, The Human Body and each of the Systems, Matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas; Measurements: How long, how much , how hot; Electricity; Astronomy: The Solar System, Constellations; Earth; stories about different scientists

* Bible: Each of the kids' Bible lessons will line up with their Sabbath School's quarterly guide to facilitate them working harder to memorize their Bible verse.

We have quite a few fun things mixed in here and there. I still have to work on Megan's Kindergarten curriculum. For simplicity's sake, she'll be doing significantly less work than Joshua. Her main focus will be counting, practicing writing, learning to read, enjoying artwork projects and being read to.