Sunday, January 31, 2010

Southern Snow - A Rare Treat

From Three Weeks Ago: This is Anna Kate standing in flurries excitedly exclaiming, "I have snow on my finger!" (swiped from the bag of mulch.) That was pretty much it for that time.

Yesterday and today were our annual Ice and Snow days for the year. that's about how often we get a snow that you can play in. and it was a good crusty snow this time, perfect for sledding.

that's how far the sled would go

my family loves the way the ice molds, then

comes off the magnolia leaves in imprinted sheets

Anna Kate handed Bella a piece of ice, which
she thought was very neat for about one minute -
then she started yelling about how could it
made her little fingers!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black History Month

This is kind of my pros and cons on the topic.

The first con is the way these things change names. I suspect that African-American History Month is the pc name nowadays, but I'm not looking it up right now. The name thing is, I think, irritating to many "European" Americans. Seriously. Can't we all just be Americans?

That, I suppose, is, albeit it in a somewhat convoluted way, the point. Equality of all Americans, and the historical lack thereof.

Which is why I do, typically, observe in our home school, this focus of history. If we haven't previously focused on the lives of prominent African American, I make a point in February to point out some of the movers and shakers. Read books about their lives. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman. The latter, by the way, was one of Ethan's first favorite historical characters - she was one of mine in elementary school too.

These men and woman truly made a difference in history to change this inequality. so learning about them, and how they changed things that were horribly unjust is my biggest "pro" for a month with this theme.

This year we spent a day once again learning about the work of Dr. King. Our primary American history text this year follows a simple timeline of American history with each chapter being a biography, starting with Columbus and ending at the turn of the century with Billy Sunday. Along the way we will learn about Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver (who I fear will generate as much confusion as Martin Luther of the 95 Theses and Dr. King).

But here is my big "con" question. Why are people focused on and studied this month just because they are African American? Famous football players, an astronaut, a newscaster, whatever. If they were the first to break into a field dominated by bias and prejudice,marian Anderson, for example, then, yes, this is historically significant. But if they just happen to have a certain skin color, why are we spending time learning about them anymore than the guy beside them that is white, yellow, or brown? I think it's missing the point. Or at least, what I think the point should be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homeschool Freebie Newsletters That You Want in Your Inbox

I love freebie newsletters. I'm building archives in my documents folders. Just save the free files in your documents, creating folders for each subject as you go along. Then when you're putting together a unit on the American West, just check and see if you have anything in you Social Studies folder. The free stuff may even inspire a whole new unit idea.

So here are some of my favorites. I've probably shared them before, but I'll put them all here together this time.

Dover Publications - these samples come to your inbox once a week. Fine art coloring pages, clip art, presidential paper dolls, preschool activities, origami - it'll make you jump up and down and clap. :^)

Currclick- note the "free stuff" link on the left side of the front page. You will get a weekly e-mail with a free product download each week. This is a great site for buying lapbooks and copywork files that you can instantly download. I've gotten great sets of illustrated Scripture copywork for $.50 - $1.50 here.

Learning Page - sign up for a free membership that gives you "no strings attached" access to the worksheets. You'll also receive an e-mail to notify you of new sets of worksheets. This used to be once a month, but the site's been undergoing some changes recently. However it remains a treasure trove for the 3rd grade and under set. Mine it!

Time for Kids - this is Time magazine's student publications newsletter. It will link you to the new worksheets for each month. Most can be done without the publication, and they are usually very relevant. Recent newsletters have contained New Year's resolution and Olympic worksheets, for example. There are also lots of archived articles and worksheets. Find the newsletter link at the bottom right corner of the page.

The Homeschool Freebie of the Day - Add this one to your bloglines! Each day you get a new download. Free products offered by other, often independent, publishers. Books that are public domain in pdf format. Radio shows from the 30s-50s on mp3. You're gonna love it! Right now they're downloading The Big Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, in several parts. Don't miss out. Add this one to your bloglines, or sign up for their mailing list.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ethan's birthday party

his actual birthday

The Party

He originally wanted a Zelda theme, but it was rather difficult to put together due to the Zelda games serious undermarketing, so eventually he morphd it into a general game theme. We borrowed a wii, put out Twister, board and card games, hooked up the Nintendo 64, and played.

The balloons on the chairs were his idea.

pin the tail on Epona :^)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jesus' Birthday Party

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is having
a birthday party for Jesus.

We'd done a pageant a few years ago, before she can remember,
but it was that Rose angel in the middle that just had to act
out this story - and she wanted to be an angel - the one
above the manger, to be exact.
The outifts are made from clearance ($2!) fleece blankets
from Walmart and since there were no white blankets -
plastic tablecloths and gold garland from the Dollar Tree.
With a few belts and scarves thrown in, of course.
Everyone agreed that the perfect Mary was dark haired and lovely.
Ethan, however, was a little less enthusiastic about being
Joseph. I think he was afraid of all the "married" jokes
that his sister might inflict upon him.
The children all insisted that Bella be the baby, even thought she's
not "quite" a newborn - and the wrong gender for the role.
She really didn't want to lie in the manger - she was much more
interested in crawling around.

I thought the cake was pretty, but I'm never sure what to
do about the candle, and I never think about
that ahead of time. It is tradition, though, for
all of the children to blow it out together.

They also enjoyed a beaded wreath craft,
watching "Small One", a hot potato-like gift passing
game with a gift that was wrapped several times and
contained party favors, and Christmas charades.

Aunt Eloise's birthday

It started with asking if Aunt Eloise was doing anything for her birthday (a few days before Christmas) and then a request to bring her over and I'd have a cake to surprise her.

But I am me, and they are my children, so it kind of morphed into a bit of a birthday tea party.

Bella thoroughly enjoyed her first tea - I think it was tangerine zinger. :^)

Silly Boy