Sunday, January 14, 2018

Summer School is Inevitable

Just incase anyone was wondering, there has not been another absolutely "perfect" day again. Very close on a few occasions, but yeah. Not perfect.

And yet my school will have to be on hold while I go to Mexico in a week for a business vacation. And then Dustin and I feel like we need to take a quickish trip to Vanuatu (just him and I) to check on things.

This is why I think summer school is inevitable. How can I hope to get through all the material I want to any other way? You know what? I have a busy life as a homeschool mom to these wonderful lovelies with learning disabilities! Check out my schedule to see what I mean:

Yeah. I'm little overbooked.

As far as the last month goes, (oops....haven't posted for a month....but hey, at least I'm in Cardston again, so I'm having regular contact with Westwind so no one is frustrated with my lack of writing but myself.) science has been the biggest visual accomplishment, so let's go through what we've done week by week before I talk about other things.

We did end up learning more about Mars. We even did this experiment where we had three jars of sand and one had a chemical reaction, one had no reaction, and the other had a reaction with something living (yeast.) This was to show how we can test for living things on Mars.

That day we also learned about the outer planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. I had the kids learn the saying "Many Vampires  Eat Monsters Jumping Squares Using Nuts" to memorize the planet order. I know most people learned "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" but I learned the Vampire one as a child, so we did that one.

The next lesson we learned about other elements of the solar system. This included the outer edges of system which of course includes Pluto. We learned about it's weird barycentre and created a model (btw my phone was in for repairs, so that's why I have horrible photos.)

Also, it included comets and we learned why the tales always point away from the sun.

The next class was about space exploration. We talked about natural and artificial satellites. We talked about propulsion, gravity, and exploration. Umm I can't find any photos. I think we actually did comets this day because we ran out of time on the other day.

Anyway, next class we talked about the moon. We talked about the phases and we had ourselves be the earth, this Styrofoam ball be the moon and a lamp be the sun. It really helped bring it home.

Although our faces weren't as close as this. It was just a cute photo. Anyway, I finally realized that the "dark side of the moon" is actually lit up by the sun as much as any other side, but is called the dark side because we never see it!  I don't know why this took me so long to realize.

The next lesson we learned more about the moon, but we also learned about the earth's rotation.

IT WAS PERFECT! Serendipity often happens with homeschool. It just so happens that I got to the point in the book where we’re learning about solstices on the day of winter solstice! We also learned about the Zodiac and why the suns rays effect different parts of the earth differently. 

Our next lesson (boy, just going through all these lessons makes me realize how much science we've really done! Go us!) We learned more about the earth's rotation. We learned about different evidence of the earth being round and the sun going around the earth. We watched this awesome youtube about the earth not being flat. It talks about a group of people who insist that the earth is flat. I loved it!

We talked about sundials, and I guess you can make a compass out of a sundial, but I couldn't figure it out.

Then we went on Christmas break. I told everyone that we could only do one science class a week from now on, and it was really good timing. One: because I was getting burnt out, and two: I was done with astronomy.

The first lesson of the year was about the study of the earth . We talked about fossils and geological history. We briefly talked about energy as well because of fossil fuels.

As part of this, we made our own "fossils" by taking tiny toy dinosaurs and pressing them in play dough and then putting plaster of Paris in the indents. 

And that's it! Whoo hoo for science!

Okay, so there were some good reasons why I did not have "perfect" days of checking off lists. One of the best reasons was when we went to the Buffalo jump field trip.

It was awesome! and such good weather. I thought it was really funny when they separated us by gender at one point. Hahahaha, they don't know how homeschool works. We don't care about being mixed boys and girls. To be separated like that is weird for us.

But anyway, they did an excellent job of teaching history using every method of teaching imaginable. I loved how First Nations were the ones teaching. How beautiful that they are the ones passing down their own history!

Hyrum made this video of it all:

Another reason we missed some school is because of the dentist. Unfortunately, we need more of these visits.

And of course it was Christmas. I planned on teaching throughout the break, and we DID, but, well, it wasn't as "check off everything on the list" as I would have liked it to be. 

My parents came, and it was wonderful because they would read to my mom which was a huge help. We all miss them!

And we did do all our classes, including swimming. This is not turning out like I had imagined. It was meant for Abraham mostly, but our swim teacher says he only knows how to teach my older boys. Not sure to do, but I'm teaching Abraham in the mean time.

And we've really enjoyed art. Look at some of the fun stuff we've done:

This is Daniel's Fox

And maxwell's nativity,

And Hyrum's Mushroom village.

Art has inspired us to do some art at home as well:

And even though we didn't check off ALL the boxes, we did do quite a bit English and math. William is plugging along. He's learning his lower case letters!

We've done more Barton. Not enough, but some

And I bought a new Grammar curriculum for Maxwell. It's The Great and Beautiful by Jenny Phillips. It's ALL THE RAGE in the homeschool world right now. Especially among LDS. I started out with level three because honestly Maxwell needs that level of grammar help.

Okay, so I think I'm caught up. We'll see about school in the future, but my MOTHER-IN-LAW IS HERE!!! We are decorating/renovating our house, and it's super exciting, but takes up all my time, and then it's off to Mexico and then who knows, and that is why I have to calm my worries by just telling myself I'll teach in the summer, but we'll be in England in the summer!!! 

That's an education in itself. Right?!?!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tuesday was a Perfect Day

Usually this time of year I'm counting down the days until we can have a Christmas break from school. But this year is different. I'm finally got on the school wagon, and I'm excited to keep chugging along! No Christmas break for us except for Christmas Day itself.

We've moved into our house. Well, we've moved our stuff into our garage, and some of our stuff is kind of where we want it or maybe where we know where it is. Hey, I was at least able to decorate for Christmas!

I feel like I am now on top of things. Well, as much as I ever have been. And, as my post title says, Tuesday was practically perfect.

We did EVERYTHING on our charts that I had wanted to do:

This includes spelling, reading, typing, writing, math (for those who were supposed to do it that day) and BARTON!!! You heard that right, I'm teaching Barton again.

I've always had Hyrum and Daniel read "Stand Alone" books to me, but I as for actual Barton lessons for them, I've left it up to tutors for the past year. Amalie was their first tutor in Sidney BC, then Joshua tried for a couple of weeks, and then Analaea (and sometimes Eliza) tutored them in Vanuatu.

They went through the whole book 4. (The hardest book in the Barton series.) But Analaea was burnt out by the end, and I seriously have no idea about the adherence to the system. So I'm reviewing the whole book and slowing down when we get to the Schwa lesson. On Tuesday we got through three lessons each!

Also, another thing that made Tuesday perfect, is that after they went to Westwind classes, we went SWIMMING!!

We went to the hotel here. I've got it set up so we can go everyday if we want to and have our whole family go (I paid for November and only went ONCE!) But now we'll go a lot because I've arranged an actual swim instructor to come Monday, Tues, and Wen. I need the accountability of an external person. I want Maxwell to have some aerobic activity and for my babies to learn to swim enough that they won't die when we go back to Vanuatu.

So yes, Tuesday was perfect. But that was the only perfect day in the past fortnight.

Last week Dustin was still gone. Enough said. Things are changing with his school there, and it looks like he will have shorter (one week to ten day) trips more frequent. That's the only way they think they can be effective.

I'm not very effective when he's gone, especially when I have a silly goal of getting all of my scrapbooking done by the end of's sales. But hey, I've gotten more scrapbooking done, and ALMOST caught up with my three oldest.

We did accomplish SOME things. We went to the Cardston's festival of lights:

It was weird but nice not to be on the committee or a volunteer.

Maxwell continued on his Write into Winter. He won quite a few things which made his day:

We also had the FIRST science club in this house!!! We focused mostly on constellations. I thought we had some pretty magical moments. We went into my dark storage area and brought out Maxwell's constellation globe. They passed it around while I read greek myths about the constellations.

They also made their own constellations and we talked about how constellations are completely dependent on your viewing perspective. The kids had a good question: How far away from earth would you need to be before the constellations don't look familiar? I have no idea. Good science fair question.

Also, they did go to all their scheduled school things, including Robotics where Maxwell made an epic robot he's very proud of:

This week was way more effective at school work, but it still was hijacked by things.

Monday we slept in so we missed the morning routine.
Tuesday was perfect.
Wednesday was Dustin's birthday and Blurb's deadline.
Thursday Naomi's family came over for a visit during school hours
Friday I needed to take Dustin's cracked phone into Lethbridge and went shopping for moving into our house.

This is homeschool. Things happen.

Thankfully, the optometrist's appointments were after school hours.

The boys all went in for their yearly checkup....that I never usually do... I had been worried about Abraham's one eye, but he's fine and William is the one who might need glasses in a year.

Also, on Dustin's birthday, I had the boys write to him for their writing assignments. Dustin thought they were so cute, and they really were:

Dustin got an aquarium for his birthday. A big aquarium. A really big aquarium. Even though we've just moved in and there a million honey does, Dustin has been spending his time with his new aquarium like a cute little boy on Christmas.

Now that I'm on track, William will get on track. He's usually the one to get put on the back burner, but not anymore. This week he's mastered his Magic "C"s in handwriting without tears.

For science this week we studied our solar system. Did I tell you we do science twice a week? (Well we're SUPPOSED to, and this week we did.) Well, I figured that since I was in Vanuatu for half this semester and who knows about next semester, we need to do double duty to get through the content.

The first lesson we talked mostly about planets' rotation around the sun and how gravity and the laws of physics (mostly inertia and centripetal force) effect all that. We also talked more about the sun.

As part of this we talked about how a spinning planet works like a gyroscope and gives it stability.

Friday's lesson (which I moved an hour later because I was late getting back from Lethbridge...I love the moms who are so easy going with me!) We talked a little more about the entire solar system, but then focused on the inner rocky planets. We'll need to talk more about Mars because we didn't get to some things.

And by the way, those books that were "lost" in the mail ended up being at Babb after all! So now I am definitely ready for teaching!

And that's it! yep. I know that I can do this! But don't ask about social studies. Oh bother, I need to figure that out now that I'm figuring out everything else! I've thought "oh bother, we travel as a family, they learn geography through osmosis." Not true I know. I made the next video in my geography songs series:

We'll get there.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Got No Rhythm

Well, we're in Cardston, but I still haven't found my groove. The boys are doing Robotics on Mondays: (which is now their favourite day of the week)

And Tuesdays they're doing Westwind where they've been doing things like field trips to local history sites.

And Wednesdays they're doing art and they did cute art pieces for Remembrance day:

And Thursday and Friday we're SUPPOSED to do science, but I've only done two classes so far.

The first class was an introductory to astronomy. We talked a bit about how to study stars, including how to find the North Star. We also spent quite a bit of time talking about telescopes and how they work. This of course brought up light and lenses and all that Jazz.

The other class we had, we learned about the expansion of the universe and red shift. We talked about why the milky-way looks hazy, why stars twinkle, and what makes a star bright.

We also talked about the movement of the stars in the sky, and used an umbrella globe to illustrated this:

but that's all the classes we've done because, well, MOSTLY because I couldn't get my science book! I was SO annoyed. I ordered all the books I needed to do science. I got two of them, but one got lost in the mail. I went ahead anyway, but then after two lessons I felt stuck. I ordered ANOTHER one of the same book. THAT ONE got delayed in the mail too! (still not here)

Finally our house closed and we moved all our stuff in the garage. The highlight of the move for me was to open a school box and find THIS:

Science is up and in full force now folks (ummmm except I'm gone to Calgary this Friday picking Dustin up from the airport......)

Yes, we bought a house, and it is all ours now.

And that will truly help me get into my rhythm. So we have all these classes, but being out on "the land" means it takes an hour out of my day in travel and inconvenience.

But I really should be in more of a rhythm than I'm in. We've had the expected interruptions like Halloween:

And the unexpected interruptions like having to go to Calgary to buy a van.

Also, I've been out of sorts with Dustin gone and spent way too much time trying to catch up on my scrapbooking and ignoring the world.

This week we didn't even do that much of Heather Burton's Write into Winter.

I'm very grateful Heather's done this. Maxwell needs encouragement to write. He's written about the change from fall to winter. He's described something to me in writing that Daniel and I had to draw. He's made a list of everything in the room (and I had to too, and he of course had more on his list.) He wrote all about the word "jockey" that he found in a book. AND he made a board game. All because of Heather's inspiration.

When Hyrum found out that making a board game was a SCHOOL assignment, he of course came on board as well. This is his cup of tea! It was as intricate and imaginative as any of the many, MANY games he's made in his life.

I guess I feel like there's too much to teach to each and every child at their own level. I'm hoping it will be easier when I'm in town. I'm always hoping that it will be easier sometime somehow it seems, and then I still don't get done everything I want to. Blah. Homeschool's hard.