Sunday, November 23, 2014

Botanical Gardens 2014

One of our favorite places to go each fall is our local Botanical Gardens (aka Mechanical Gardens to a sweet five year old several years ago...).  It is a beautiful place to just sit.  Well, that is if you go alone.  With my bunch there is no sitting!

Each year the Gardens host a scarecrow walk where various individuals and businesses around our area put together a scene using pumpkins and other fall things.  I suddenly realized that I don't really know the criteria for one of these entries. They are usually pretty original and we enjoy going each year to see whose will be the best.

 Ice Bucket Challenge

 Mine Craft was a hit!

 No visit is complete without this picture in front of the pond.

 She still has a little silly left even though she is 12! (But don't tell her this is on the blog!)

 Frozen was another cute one!

 Camille cannot be out done!

 I liked this Tree Hugger entry made out of soda bottles. 

 I got a kick out of this one showing the various cell phones through the years. I won't say which of these I have had...the 2024 has a ? beside it because who knows what is next!

This little fella was tuckered out after this visit!

For a walk down memory lane, check out posts from 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Peanut Festival 2014

This was a big year for us at the Peanut Festival.  Alexander got his first taste of all the fun! We almost backed out since it was FREEZING the day we went, but who could pass it up?

He did very well and loved being in the stroller and seeing all the people and rides.

As usual, Lillie wanted to ride lots of rides and Camille did not.  We seem to forget each year that Camille likes kiddie rides and we should just split up.  Alexander was too small to ride anything, even the Ferris wheel.

We ate a lot of yummy treats, saw some pretty art work, rode an elephant (well, two of us), and had a great time!


Camille-Foundations and Essentials

I started this post sometime in August and decided to wait until we had most things nailed down and working.  I think we can safely say it's working seeing as we are halfway done with most of our subjects.  

Camille is really coming into her own as far as school goes.  She has had to be more independent this year since I'm with Alexander a lot, and she has done an awesome job of staying on task.  And her memorization skills are blowing me away!

We have really pared down her school work this year.  Gone are the days where we do a lot of busy work and even crafts.  She is okay with some hands-on things, but tires of them easily.  And kill her instead of giving her meaningless worksheets.  I've taken that into consideration when I planned her year.  I simply don't have time to do those things either so it's a win-win as far as I am concerned.

We start each day with Math.  She is still doing Saxon, as we plan to do from here on out.  I know I sing the praises of Saxon a lot around here, but it just works well for us and follows the Classical model pretty well.  She loves having more problems this year.  Yeah, she says she LOVES math.  I'm not sure if it's because her mom loves it and her sister doesn't or if she genuinely likes it.  Time will tell.  I also throw a math "living book" into the mix each week when I can find a good one and we try to play a math game too. Since my surgery, she has started reading her lesson by herself and doing all her problems.  I go over them and then we work any she got wrong together.  This may change if I see she is not getting some things, but right now she begs to do it alone, and Saxon is actually designed that way.

Language this year is a lot different.  We do not use a set curriculum anymore and let me tell you, it is freeing!  She started the Essentials of the English Language class that meets in the afternoon of our Classical Conversations community day. She sat in on the English grammar part last year and I am amazed at how much she retained without really even being too involved.  Because this is a three year class with each year repeating the same things, I am taking it slowly with her.  I did not have that option with Lillie and it was hard.  We also use Our Mother Tongue to reference as we study each different Essentials lesson each week.

Right now we work a lot on memorizing definitions for parts of speech, sentence structures, and patterns.  We do a lot of diagramming and copying charts.  She hates the charts, but I can already see how they are helping.  We also are still using All About Spelling and I'm still in love with this.  This is definitely one I will save for Alexander!  On days we don't do a lesson we go over our rules for spelling.

In addition to English grammar study, the Essentials class goes over writing as well.  We use the Institute for the Excellence of Writing (IEW) and their America based history text for what to write each week.  This is slow going for us, but I keep telling myself this is her first formal writing class.  She at least seems to like most parts of it.

For Latin this year Camille is finishing up Prima Latina and will move into Visual Latin when the time comes.  I have a renewed passion for making sure she gets the Latin now, because I see how much it helped Lillie to have had that coming into Challenge A.  I'm more vigilant with learning declension endings, conjugations, and vocabulary than in previous years.

Geography and history this year are all about America.  We have never studied this so I am thrilled!  And Camille is amazing me with what she can memorize!!!  Right now she is tracing a state or two each day, free hand drawing the outline of the United States map, and blob drawing (more on that later) the entire world each day.  Again, I can see how much this will help her down the road so I don't budge on this at all!  She is also learning the states and capitals and abbreviations and using Rand McNally's Kids' Road Atlas along the way.  When we start back in January, she will not only draw an outline of the United States, but will begin to put the state borders in as well.  Our goal is to draw the entire United States freehand and label all states, capitals, major mountain ranges, waterways, and features by May.

I have taken a more laid back approach to history this year. I mainly center it only around what they are learning for CC.  She reads a couple of short books that go into more detail if I can find them on our shelves or at the library.  I read a brief synopsis of the history sentence for the week that is provided through CC.  I will typically let her watch a video I have found online about that week's sentence and an episode or two of Liberty's Kids.  We read through the seven time cards for each week and will soon be working on our timeline journals again. This is fairly time consuming on my part so I've been a bit delayed in starting. She also looks at the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and the series A History of the US before doing a notebooking page and illustration on the CC history sentence.  She also can listen to our audio CDs of The Story of the World and color a page if she wants to and has time.

Our read alouds this year are going to coordinate with history too. I can not overstate the value of reading aloud, so I'm trying to do this twice or more a day with Camille.  We have been going through the Little House series and will continue, but we also plan to read The Landing of the Pilgrims; Pocahontas and the Strangers; The Witch at Blackbird Pond; Johnny Tremain; The Sign of the Beaver, Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark; Toliver's Secret; Amos Fortune, Free Man; The Cabin Faced West; Across Five Aprils, and a few others that we see along the way.  We are also reading from The American Story when we have time.  Camille loves to be read to, so as long as my voice holds out she will listen!

Science for CC this year is anatomy in the first semester, and physics and chemistry the last semester.  I bought both Apologia science books to go along with that and we are (slowly) working our way through Anatomy.  My goal is to have her learn the key systems in the body and maybe all the bones.  I have not even cracked open the Chemistry and Physics book yet so I'm not sure about that.  We are using Lyrical Life Science and My Body to aid us in some of this too and we have drawn a big "body map" of Camille to put on all our different organs.

All of this revolves around our Classical Conversations weekly work for Foundations class.  It is a rich curriculum that is more than enough to cover.  Each day Camille reviews the different parts of information that was introduced in our class on Tuesday in various ways (writing it, saying it to me, playing games, etc) and by the following Monday she writes it all from memory.  Her days are much more full in a good way.  She has a set schedule and knows what she is to work on if I cannot be with her.  No more wandering around looking for things to do.

She is also helping me tremendously with Alexander.  I lamented to Alex the other day that I needed a mother's helper to help with Alexander while I cooked, cleaned our was helping Lillie or Camille with school.  I realized I had one in Camille.  So I have started paying her a little extra each week for all she willingly does to help with her little brother.  She loves him and the responsibility of her "job" and actually begs to help.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween-2014

Happy Halloween from Sophie Foster, Alice in Wonderland, and the cutest train engineer ever!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What a Week!

This boy is NEVER still.  Unless he is listening to a story or "reading" one. He is in constant motion and likes to wear his poor mama out!  This was the day before he got so sick and I'm so thankful we are done with that!

This past week has been full!

This time last week I was in bed with severe pain and nausea (and it's not what you may think!) while poor Alexander was crying constantly because he felt miserable.  Oh, and did I mention we were trying to get ready for a yard sale we were having the next day?

Thankfully I have a husband who can take care of us and in-laws in town who are always ready to help when needed. They managed to get the kids fed and in bed and also set up some stuff that I had laid out.  Our friend had already set her stuff up.

By Friday morning I was able to get up and around even though I was not feeling great.  Saturday was a little better. And it always feels good to rid your house of unused junk stuff!

Poor Alexander was much improved by Friday morning, but still yucky.  He was having to take a steroid and breathing treatments for bronchiolitis.  And whatever virus caused it spread to Camille by Sunday.

These are the types of things that really can get me down.

We had to miss our CC day since Camille had a fever, and we got behind with school.  I try to say it's okay and we can make it up, but that typically has to happen over Christmas or summer break.  But there are far worse problems to have.

My pain improved but never went away so I had some tests done and found I need to have my gall bladder removed.  That will fit nicely with our anatomy lessons this year.

We did have some fun this week despite the bad stuff and seeing it in writing reminds me just how much I have to be happy about and how little I have to complain about.

We made several smile boxes to send to Nicaragua.  We made one special one for the little girl we sponsor, and then Alex and Lillie helped pack 500 more with the kids at church.  We welcomed our nephew (though some of us are still dying to get our hands on him!), we had a couple days to relax a bit since Camille was too sick to do much school, we had trunk-or-treat at church, we had a visit from Granny, we made a trip to the local pumpkin patch (our usual one was closed this year), and we made our annual trip to the Botanical Gardens for the Scarecrow Walk. 

Now there is pumpkin carving and etching going on in preparation for the big night tomorrow night!

I will make sure to post pictures from most of the list above, but for tonight I am thankful for a beautiful fall night where a little boy is sound to sleep and two girls are occupied with pumpkins.  I think I may go to bed early!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Great Day for a Walk

Yesterday we got up really early and headed out of the house to go walk in a breast cancer fund raiser in honor of a friend who recently began her treatment.

 Camille was the "flag bearer" and held this up most of the walk.

Our crew after the walk.

We had a LOT of people in our group and raised the most money as well.  I love this walk because all the money stays in our area! 

We thought the walk was only a mile, so imagine our surprise when we kept going.  And going.  And going.  It was actually a three mile walk!  I assumed Alexander would sleep at some point, but he never did. 

 A shot of all our little ones before the walk.

It was a beautiful day and we had a great walk!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Boy and His Dump Truck

Dump trucks are pretty popular around here.  Especially those that carry asphalt.  Alex comes from a long line of men who worked in road building.  My dad also was in this line of work just on the DOT side instead of private industry. 

We recently had our street repaved and this was a long awaited day for many reasons.  The girls could not wait to ride their scooter down the smooth road!  I could not wait to drive my car down the smooth road without having it rattle.  And Alexander could not wait to watch the excitement.  Well, he really didn't know that, but I was excited for him.

I took him outside as they were nearing our section of the road and we played with his dump truck while watching the big dump pour the asphalt into the paver and smooth it out.  It is interesting to watch and makes you appreciate what all goes in to the roads we ride on each day.