Homeschool Edition

We finished CC a couple weeks ago now, but that doesn’t mean we are done with school, yet.  (Although, I did just calculate our hours and we technically only have about 35 school hours to go until we’ve reached the official Colorado mandated hours…but I can tell you that we will surpass that since I am estimating our last day of school to be Friday, May 18th.)

We’ve been having some fun taking schooling outside on the nice weather days:

And we’ve had some fun indoors, too.  One day, for instance, we made a homemade game that outlined all of the main happenings in “The Hobbit” – including losing a turn when doing riddles with Gollum and other such things.

You’re seeing lots of books in my pictures because we are really loving read-aloud time.  Some of our more recent books: The Sign of the Beaver (boys loved it!); My Father’s Dragon (again, boys loved it – especially Micah as it’s a much shorter chapter book with pictures often); The Green Ember books (Ethan and I – and sometimes Micah – are reading the third book in the series); and A Wrinkle in Time (E and I hope to go to the theater to see this when it comes to the cheap one near us).

Updates

A few Saturdays ago Mike was out of town.  It’s been a pretty busy couple of months for us with a lot of solo parenting going on.  I am so thankful that we have FaceTime for the days he’s gone and intentional time when he’s in town!  Anyway, I was sure to schedule a nice day for us that Saturday.  We spent the morning at church so that E could work on his pinewood derby car.  For those that don’t know, this is an annual tradition within the CRC and is something that I did as a kid, too. =)  Uncle Joel worked patiently with a bunch of kids, including Ethan, that morning.  He’s such a blessing!!  Meanwhile, Micah and I worked on his pigeon activity book throughout the morning.

That afternoon, we headed to the library to make dinosaur dioramas.

Other updates include…we still like Legos around here:

And we love to read.  I’ve finished something like 18 books already this year (keep in mind that a lot of them are young adult books and/or books I’m reading with boys).  I discovered a new series that I LOVE and can’t wait to introduce to the boys – The Green Ember.  I highly recommend them – fun, action-packed reads.

We finished another good read-aloud book recently called, “The Prairie Thief”.  It was a fun story and both boys enjoyed it.  A lot of the time I have them color or do puzzles while listening.

E has a love for good stories and has pretty good taste, in my opinion. =)  He’s read a bunch of just silly, fun books (i.e. Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and he still tends to like books with a little more plot (i.e. The Hobbit – his current favorite that we are listening to and almost done with already!!).

We also recently learned more about a series called, “Who Was…” about various famous people (there are also books about living people and places), so I’ve been collecting them from thrift books.com whenever I have a coupon. =)

And the boys have lots of fun picking out their free monthly book at the Book Rack after a day at CC.

The boys reached their reading goal for February so we got to celebrate with pizza hut again.

We just started our final 6 weeks of CC this month.  I hosted all of the tutors for our final planning session.  Mike took the boys out for dinner so we could have less distractions. =)

We still sometimes play school:

And we’re busy finishing this school year strong:

Again, I can’t recall what the boys’ present on during CC without pictures…and I only have pictures of Ethan since I’m his tutor.  He gave one presentation about a lego creation of his and one about…we don’t know because it doesn’t have a prop. Haha!

We had dinner with Reggie sometime in the last month and then he and Mike headed out to float. =)

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in the park.  One day we invited cousin Matthew to join us for some parkour.

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And we got a new game – Life – from Grandma Cleve.  I had only played it once as a kid, so we had to spend some serious time getting re-aquainted with it.  I accidentally made up some rules the first time around. =)

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And lastly, I started doing a little more decorating in the office.  =)  Thanks for the canvas idea, Dad!

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The days that make up our life…

Each week holds some of the same things: homeschool at the house, piano lesson, CBS, Classical Conversations, and PE+.

Here’s a little glimpse of Classical Conversations this past session.  We were studying famous artists and trying to copy their work for art.  This is my favorite part of the year each year – it’s really neat to see their creativity and to learn about each artist.

E finally got to give his presentation on his Vex creation.  I can’t quite remember now what Micah chose to present on, but he’s been doing a nice job in his class, apparently.

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And this past week we stayed after our morning of Foundations in order to see what the Essentials program will be like.  Ethan will be in Essentials next year and we’re both a little intimidated by it!  There is a bigger focus on writing well, grammar, and learning a lot of vocabulary words.  I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but that’s the big focus as far as we can tell so far.  E was very tentative at first, but ended up really liking it and is already looking forward to starting it next year!  In fact, he had some tears at the beginning because everything seemed like a different language (they were diagramming sentences and labeling them with direct object, object of the preposition, etc.!), but everyone was so kind and encouraging to him.  And he was even able to play the review games along with them.  Also, Micah amazes me – he can sit for hours very quietly without interrupting or doing anything disruptive.  It’s kind of remarkable.

Homeschool pics:

On Fridays we head to PE+ where Ethan takes a gym class with other homeschoolers from around the city.  He absolutely loves it.  Micah will start next year; he currently just hangs with me and reads books or draws.

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And Ethan has piano lessons (with cousin Matthew) every week.  He LOVES playing piano and plays songs scattered throughout every single day.  He has already surpassed my playing ability, I think, and I took lessons for a couple years. =)  Here is the video he sent to his piano teacher this week, as per her request:

Sometimes we “play school” and Micah is the teacher.  He gives spelling tests…like this one:

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In case you are wondering, a peeologist is a person who studies pee.  Obviously.  Sometimes I have to embrace the grossness that comes with raising boys. 😉

We’ve been enjoying the Olympics, too.  The boys even did their own version of figure skating at the house the other night.  We awarded red, green, or yellow (which eventually turns to red or green upon further review) squares for their scores.  And sometimes we threw Pooh bear out on the rink.

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And I’ll leave you with a funny story… The boys are planning to live in Canada when they are older and would like to live in a camper, or maybe two.  (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…this was very similar to my plan as a child!)  When asked if they’d like to get married, they both respond, “NO!  If we get married we might have to deal with babies and their drool and stuff.”  I said, “well, just because you are married doesn’t mean you have to have children.”  Their response, “Yeah, but you never really know.  If you get married, you might have a kid.  We just don’t want to risk it.  There’s no way of knowing if you’ll have one or not.” Hmm…

Life Lately

We go through phases around here with toys/games/activities.  Last week the boys were really into making homemade board games and playing the ones we had made a few years ago.  It was pretty fun!  And some games made a lot more sense than others…

Playing with cars is another cyclical thing around here.  They can go months without even touching them and then they will start playing with them every day.  We’re in a car stage right now.  The boys are doing lots of races and building various tracks.

Here are some shots from the last couple of weeks of homeschooling.  In honor of the olympics/par core they were doing with their cousins, we made an obstacle course and answered memory work questions from CC after they completed a run.  We’ve been reading a bunch of good books lately – we finished “Johnny Tremain” and then watched the movie (book > movie) and the “Orphan of Ellis Island”.  E and I are reading “The Princess and the Goblin” currently.  Micah continues to read Bob books and loves watching his preschool prep videos (especially if E watches with him).

The boys spent a couple of Saturdays with cousins (and aunt and uncle) recently.  We sure love living by these guys!  Auntie sent me some pictures of the boys playing and helping out:

Reggie joined us at church a couple weeks ago.  It was such a treat to have him there with us.  He married us in that church almost 12 years ago, so we grabbed a picture of the three of us again!  He’s a big blessing to us.

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The boys are still enjoying playing Risk with their Daddio.  Lots of new things have been happening in this game, so for those of you who played back at Christmas…just you wait! =)

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And we’ve been enjoying watching the Olympics most nights.  Sometimes they watch in costume.

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Life at Home

This guy officially finished his Vex robotic thing:

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And both boys reached their reading goals for January!  This meant personal pan pizzas for everyone!  I failed to fill out the forms this year…so we didn’t get to use the awesome free bookit program.  I’ll figure this homeschooling thing out one of these days. =)

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Below are some pics from our homeschooling life.  As you can see, it involves a lot of reading.  Sometimes the boys just sit and listen, but other times they color, do puzzles or paint.  One day I even had them draw comics to the story I was reading.  Micah started using a new handwriting book and seems to enjoy it.  Ethan has started tracking his Magic Tree House books on the website again.  He’s read all of the books and enjoys re-reading them in the mornings before he’s allowed to start playing.  I warned him that he’ll need to start reading more challenging books soon, but for now I love that he enjoys a good story! =)

The boys have a lot of fun using their headphones.  Sometimes they listen to their CC memory work music; sometimes they are listening to picture books being read to them.  I love to see them enjoying the headphones!

As promised, here’s a video of Ethan singing part of our Latin song for memorizing John 1.  We also are learning it in English.  It’s a super fun song, so that helps!

We ended up watching the Super Bowl at home this year.  We made sure to eat some fun snacks and had a really nice afternoon/evening.  It helped that the team we *all* wanted desperately to win won!  Oh my word, these two were cracking me up! =)

Also, throwback to 5 years ago…I took this picture of the boys and put the caption, “The boys just found out the Packers aren’t in the Super Bowl”. =)

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Speaking of long ago…we took out a game I made for the boys years ago for the first time in a long time again tonight.  We enjoyed playing the game of “Action” together. It involves things like push ups and squats and running up and down stairs.  =)

Life Lately, Homeschool Edition

We had the opportunity to attend a “Symphony through the Ages” intended for kids last week.  It started with Pachelbel’s Canon from the Baroque period and moved all the way through the modern era with Star Wars.  I learned something new – when Beethoven was composing, people listening would be eating, talking, singing along, etc.  The symphony wasn’t always a quiet and respectful event!  Interesting. =)  We even got to pretend we were watching his 5th Symphony during those days and talk while it was playing.  Such a strange experience!

We went with other friends of our from CC/church and had a school-related playdate during the day with them that day, too.  It was lots of fun to have 4 kids working on school together at various levels over different subjects.  They did really well together!

Here’s a little glimpse into our CC community day:

And a little glimpse into our daily life at home:

Micah has been making some serious progress with reading these days.  My friend, Amy, recommended the Preschool Prep Company videos and has lent them to us and they have helped build Micah’s confidence so very much.  He set a goal to read 15 books (mostly the Bob books you see here) this month.  He’s at 14 right now, so if he reads one more…he will be getting the Pizza Hut pizza he wants!

Ethan finished the first semester math book and officially started his second semester book today.  He was very excited about this and has been making some serious improvements in sticking with problems (especially word problems) that are hard!  He’s also doing a great job learning John 1 in Latin and in English (we’re all working on it, but Ethan’s got it done a little more confidently than the rest of us).  Hopefully we’ll have a video someday soon. =)

Life Lately

We’ve gotten back into our normal rhythm of life since our extended Christmas vacation.  We started homeschooling, CC, PE+, CBS, Cadets/Kids’ Club, and whatever else our weeks are made up of these days.  We’ve also had lots of time at home – a calming effect on all of us. =)

Ethan has spent some time working on his VEX thing from Grandpa and Grandma.  He discovered a missing piece, which delayed him, but the company promptly sent him a new one!  He’s still working on finishing the completed product, but it’s pretty cool right now!  He hopes to do a presentation at CC on it one of these days.

We’ve played a lot of games recently, too.  It’s pretty sunny in our home during certain hours of the afternoon.  E needed sunglasses!  Mike was being silly and refusing to turn his train so was playing from the kitchen. =)

It snowed quite a bit two weekends ago.  Ethan wanted to shovel as soon as he woke up, so we let him!  He’s a hard worker and really enjoys doing things like this for us!  We needed to do a little more shoveling after it snowed for a few more hours, so E and I did a bit and then headed to our big hill for some sledding.

I took the boys to the library for a cooking class last week.  We had a really nice time together.  We’ll be doing some more library activities this next month!

We did a little reorganizing of the playroom, again. =)

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My dear friend told me about Tinker Crates before Christmas, so we decided to give them a shot.  Essentially they have science and art projects in little boxes for kids based on their ages and the boxes come every month.  We’ve opened one for Christmas (a month late because I didn’t realize both of the boys’ crates were in the same big box) and one for January and have been really pleased with them.  The boys have thanked us every day for them since they opened them.  We’ll see if it continues to be a fun thing for them, but I definitely like that it teaches them things that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own!!  And you better believe this kind of thing gets to count towards homeschooling. =)  So far, we’ve gotten arcade games (i.e. making a catapult and a claw), a nightlight, and a my body kit (including a fun glow in the dark “X-ray”).  Pretty fun!

We also finally filled our first jar with beads!  This has been a fun and effective way to encourage habits like putting away dishes and school work, responding when you’ve been spoken to, doing your work with a positive attitude and going to bed well.  The boys were pretty jazzed when the jar was totally full!  This time we decided to get massive cones of ice-cream! Whoa.

Homeschool edition to follow… =)