Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just another day...

This morning

still wearing his pajamas


in his fort

doing phonics

Just another reason we LOVE homeschool :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


It has been a whirlwind of days over the last couple weeks or so. With 2 visits to 2 different zoos, baseball on the weekends, and even a field trip on a Saturday morning (not to mention Bible study, MOPS, book club, baseball practices, library trips, etc.), I feel like I need to get us back to the basics again in school. Monday holds yet another interruption for us to our regular homeschool day, but then it's back to business...hopefully!

I also have 2 new curriculum paths we're going to try out, so we'll see how we like them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Another "Field Trip" :)

Much to our happiness, "Santa Fe Days" occurred quite coincidentally right on schedule with our study of Native Americans. This festival is a place for many different Native American tribes to gather, dance, sell their CDs and art (of MANY different types!!), and sell produce and seeds/beans that are unique to their specific area/tribe. The boys were able to see this fascinating group of people firsthand. I was so glad we were able to go and teach the boys about appreciations for a different culture...and our appreciation for everything their culture adds to our world.

The boys love looking through the books from the library about the different types of dress, headdresses, etc...but they were excited to see it up close and personal (especially on children around their ages.) We were privileged to watch the different types of dance they performed and hear music from quite a few instruments....drums, flutes, bells, etc. T and E even got to practice a little music on their own.

We walked around and looked at bows and arrows, knives (made from coyote jaws and buffalo ribs), amazing paintings, the most colorful jewelry I've ever seen, and more...all made by the hands of these Native American men and women. The boys got to watch a couple people in the midst of their work and even helped make a couple things.

This lady made a belt at last year's Santa Fe Days with the help of every child who stopped at her table. It was over 100 kids. She let the 3 oldest boys pick out 8 beads each, and then she used those beads to make the next 3 rows on her belt. Pretty cool!

J and T colored paper tepees while I made a mental note to search for the cut-out pattern online :) J got to grind some corn, and T and I (or well, really just me....and more truthfully, the man "helping" us :) ) made a dream catcher to take home.

We ended our time at Santa Fe Days watching a World Championship Hoop Dancer. This guy had TALENT, to say the least. I had no idea you could do some of the things he did with hula hoops. I'm not sure if they were even as big as the classic hula hoops. He picked them up with his feet, threw them around and they came right back to him, and he even portrayed different animals using the hoops and his body...all while dancing with bells on his ankles. It was so fun to watch.

Even S enjoyed the festival :)

Oh yeah, and he played a flute-type instrument for us, too. Like I said, man had talent!

As a side note, with the study of a different culture comes the realization that there are lost people in the world who have not put their faith in Christ. People have many different beliefs about where they came from, what to do in times of trouble, etc., and I want to be careful not to put too much focus on the "fascination" of this beautiful group of people. God gave these individuals their gifts and talents, and while they might believe that dream catchers actually "catch" bad dreams (and different arrows hung around the house or wooden figures can bring peace and protection for your home), we have to be careful to explain to OUR children what the Bible says, what we believe, and WHY we believe it. One thing that hit home in my heart was the fact that Native Americans are so intentional in sharing their traditions and beliefs that have been passed down through their families to their own children. That is not some kind of "rumor" we hear about this group of people. We saw it in action today with numerous generations represented and stories told of grandparents and great-grandparents who had passed down various traditions and skills. What we have, as believers, is much more than "traditions" and folk tales. We have the truth, based on both Scripture and historical evidence...let's learn what we can about different cultures, take inspiration from them, and teach our children the truth of the Gospel so they can possibly go into these cultures one day and tell them OUR story :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lions, Tigers, and Bears...Oh MY!

I wonder how many blog posts with the same title are going up today around our part of Texas...Yesterday was Homeschool Day at the Ft Worth Zoo. I took J and T, and while the live animal show, animal exhibits, and various lessons around the zoo were wonderful, I think the best part about the trip (learning-wise) was the map-reading practice.

This guy LOVES reading maps...and J even got in on the fun. They were constantly both wanting to see where we were on the map, where we had just been, and where we were going next. They got pretty good at telling me which way we should head for the next animal exhibit. It was a really fun part of our zoo visit (both for them, and for their mom ;) to watch them grow, learn, and develop these skills.)

We had a few things planned for the day, in order to declare it part of our homeschool week :)
I made each of the boys folders with pages for Day 5 (fish and birds) and Day 6 (land animals and man) of creation, as well as sections for each letter of the categorize the animals according to the starting sound of each. We didn't actually do it AT the zoo, because I wanted them to just run around and enjoy the day (plus, that would have made our 4 hour trip twice as long!) Today, we printed out the photographs I took of the animals and glued them to the correct pages accordingly. J also has a number journal* in the works, where he draws things he sees on the correct number page, so he worked on that for a post-zoo activity as well. (a group of 4 elephants drawn on "Page 4," etc.)
*This idea was taken from the book, Emily's First 100 Days of School

Flamingos for the F page
(Please excuse the really weird neon coloring?!)

Penguins for P

Kangaroos, K :)

Macaw, M

Birds, B and Day 5
This is my favorite part of the Ft Worth Zoo. There are more birds than one could even begin to count, and you can buy popsicle sticks covered in birdseed. J was SO excited that he even got to carry one on his stick. He was so careful...I think he was afraid he was going to drop the bird :)

T apparently had a very yummy stick. These 3 birds couldn't get enough seed from his stick, and they even started pecking at each other....T thought it was hilarious.

Turtle for the T page

Lazy bears, B

Another turtle. This one cracks me up.

The mighty eagle, E

I can't remember what kind of bird this is, so we put him on the B page for bird.
*Please note the turkey in the window, though :)

Gorilla, G

Elephants, E

White Bengal Tiger, one of my favorite animals

Duck for our D page

The tiger, one of T's favorite animals (helps that it starts with T :) )

The lazy lion, I think it moved once. T declared him dead on arrival.

the cute Meerkat, M

and one more for our M page, Monkeys!
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