Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Who has time to go to school when you are busy being an artist?

We've had so much fun over the last week creating beautiful paintings, drawings and crafts that we haven't had time to do any blogging at all!

We started E's art curriculum this week with a trip to Michael's and bought a whole bunch of really nice and very enticing art supplies. As soon as we got home, E got right into them, creating many beautiful pictures:

Later she did her first lesson, and part of it was to draw something that she could see around her using her new special ebony pencil. We were sitting outside and so this is what she drew: (our front yard)
A few days later she did the second lesson, which was to draw and then color with watercolor crayons something that she loved about where she is growing up she should use her imagination and creativity. This is what she drew: (mom, E and Z watching a movie on our laptop, H and a friend eating at the table, and daddy making breakfast for everyone in the kitchen)
We also did a lot of playing with modelling clay this week. E made among other things, a bird and a triceritops:We also spent some time doing History drawings (Noah and his ark), and Religion (St. Anne). Whew! What a busy week, and that was just the fun subjects!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oh, the joyous sounds of home...

Z: ahhh! Ahhh!!

E (my little tattler): "Mommy!! H is hitting him!!"

Z (indignant): "No!! I'm hitting her!!!"

E: "Mommy! Z is hitting her!!"

... to which mommy says nothing and pretends she didn't hear for fear of three small children running to her and crying.... oh good, it worked! they are all happy again.

where did she learn that??

My always entertaining and somewhat exhausting little 16 month old girl H learned a new trick today:

She can make farting noises by blowing on her arm.

I thought only teenage boys knew how to do that??

She quickly taught her big brother, and now the house is filled with peals of laughter from the kids and daddy too.

Hope she doesn't use her new trick in church!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Queens and kings and mary

Yesterday was the feast of the "Queenship of Mary" and so today we had fun making a little crown for our mary statue, and some big crowns for the kids. They had lots of fun wearing them around the house, and even wore them to my midwife appointment later in the morning.

H enjoyed the crowns too, although in her own way of course. At lunch time, while she was in her highchair I noticed she was eating something before I had given her any food... whatever could that be, I wondered, as I pulled out 5 sequins one at a time from her mouth. I guess she prefers to eat crowns. Maybe she was listening last week when we read Hansel and Gretel? I hope she didn't hear the part about pushing the witch into the oven :-)

The crowns inspired E to dress up in her cinderella dress, and then later to put H in her other princess dress (waaaaay too big). H just beamed as she looked in the mirror at herself beside her big sister. Then H spent the rest of the day wrestling with her big brother.

10 weeks to go until the new baby is here!! I'm not sure how much more fun this house can take :-)

Later on we spent time doing our new spelling words (some big ones including school and mother), and then E drew a lovely picture of Noah and the Rainbow in her timeline book.
She also did a math test and got 6.5/7

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

God must really love me :-)

After wrestling both mentally and physically with 3 children all morning, I climbed into my bed for a much needed nap after lunch time only to find out that my neighbours are having a garage built , and there is a bobcat digging dirt, and a big dump truck driving back and forth right under my bedroom window... sigh. I was so tired (urgh! my iron is low again, so my doctor tells me)...I prayed that God would help me rest regardless of all the noise happening out there and I closed my eyes...

... only to open them two hours later and wonder why it was so quiet, thankful for the long rest.

I looked out my window and what do I see? A firetruck, the Gas company truck and the workers looking rather sheepishly into the big hole that they have dug. The firetruck just drove away, so I'm assuming I don't have to evacuate my house... thank God, but I am very grateful for the quiet nap time that I was given.

Monday, August 21, 2006

How can you argue with logic like this?

The whole family is in the car coming home from a long day somewhere. Mommy looks back at the kiddies, and notices that E's shoes are on the floor of the car, and not on her feet where they belong (again).

Mommy: "ummm.. why are you shoes on the floor?"

E: "Mommy!" (with this tone of unbelief at my stupidity in not knowing the answer)... "there's dirt in my shoes and so I don't want my feet to get dirty".

Mommy: "uuuuhhhh" (speechless) "ok"

back at school

After a week of fun at Vacation Bible School, we have started back at schoolwork this morning.

We woke up early, made it to morning mass with daddy and then came home and got a good start on the day with

Religion (at snack time): learning about guardian angels, our 5 senses, and the difference between animals, rocks, plants and humans

Spelling, reading and writing: reviewing the 60 words that she has already learned to spell and read, and practicing her phonograms

Grammar: reviewing the poem she learned, and then illustrating it for her binder, and reviewing the difference between proper and common nous

Math: orally going through place value and reading and writing numbers from 0-999

Then at lunch time we pulled our food and an extra chair out onto the porch and had a lovely lunch of Macaroni and cheese (don't forget the ketchup!) together in the shade.

By this time, all 4 of us were tired, so we cleaned up (after picking H off the kitchen table 3 times... she thinks it's fun to climb up there and play with the salt and pepper), and read some stories.

E picked out a book on archaeologists, so we learned about how they search for clues about the past in their digs. This encompased both science and history for today... good choice!!

Now everyone is sleeping, and I am about to climb up to bed too... gotta get my rest in while I can before the new baby makes an appearance on the scene in a few months.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Vacation Bible School

We've taken a break from formal studies for an end of the summer field trip to vacation bible school each day this week. E had a wonderful time going all by herself to VBS each morning, doing crafts, learning songs, playing fun games, and eating candy.

The Vacation Bible School was a Catholic Kids Net and the organizers did a wonderful job. Today was the last day and they had a carnival for all the kids and their siblings. I should have brought my camera, because they had a great time there eating cotton candy, popcorn, chocolate, brownies, getting their face painted, watching the clown, playing games, and singing songs. Even the little monkey H got into the action... all the sweet little 8 and 9 year old girls kept bringing her candy and treats to eat. She's now zonked upstairs in her crib after all that sugar. :-)

Next week we'll start back with regular schoolwork. It's getting harder as my due date approaches, but I think we'll manage. My only real big goals for the year are to get Elizabeth reading well and adding and subtracting. She's really taken to cursive writing, so we don't have to worry too much about penmanship as she's already ahead of the game there. We are also looking into enrolling her in a Girls Choir this year. It's a teaching choir that has a few performances a year and 2 of her friends are in it as well. I'm sure she'll love it.

I'm off for my daily nap :-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm not THAT big!! am I ?

E is at VBS again (vacation bible school) all week. She is loving it!
I'm having fun at home with the little ones. I can't believe that our youngest is already 16 months old!! how has the time gone by so fast?

Yesterday evening we went to the library, and the kids all picked out their own books. Little H was the cutest of all, going from shelf to shelf with pure delight in all the books, occasionally bringing one back to mommy or daddy to read to her.

Just before we left, everyone had to pick out which one they wanted to bring home. Elizabeth chose 2 magic school bus books (her current favorite,... a series on science). Z chose a book on dinosaurs which he was really pleased with, and a book on spaceships.

Heather walked over to a shelf, picked a big book from about 50 of them and brought it over... "There's a house inside my mommys tummy". Lovely.

Monday, August 14, 2006

camping with little ones...

camping kids
YAWN is about all I can say

Seriously though, we had so much fun camping this weekend. On friday night after work, we packed up our new tent trailer, convinced my sister and her husband to come with us, stuffed almost everything we own into the van, and drove off to a camp ground a few hours away.

We didn't arrive until after dark, and lucky for us, homeschooling family that we are, our science class (we've been learning about weather) followed us out there in the form of big clouds, lots of wind, drizzle, downpours, lightening and thunder, etc... The only thing the kids missed seeing were a hurricane and a tornado. That was the first night.
how we kept her from runing into the fire
The next morning when we got up, we got to see some of the fruit of our homeschooling efforts when our darling little grade one was explaining to her auntie that the drops of water falling on her head from the roof were not coming from the outside of the tent, they were from the water vapor in the air inside the tent that was condensing on the ceiling. LOL... I'm sure this didn't make auntie M feel any better about having a wet pillow and blanket, but I was happy to see that some of what we've been teaching is sticking.
water vapor
One thing that I'm starting to see about homeschooling is that school teachers don't get that pleasure of seeing the fruits of their teaching as often as a homeschooling parent would. It's such a treat for me to be able to watch E understand and then apply her knowledge slowly over the progress of each year. For instance, later on in the day, when it was still raining and we were all having so much fun crammed into our tent trailer with a crazy toddler bouncing around, E eased her boredom by drawing, and then writing a story for us spontaneously.

My cat is red.
My cat is a good cat.
Good cat!

These are all words from our spelling lists, and I was delighted to see that she is actually learning them and not just straight memorizing them in one context.
Anyways, the rest of the trip turned out lovely. We spent the rest of the day at a very fun dinosaur museum where the kids had a great time running from exhibit to exhibit, thankfully burning off some of the energy that had built up over the past day hiding from the rain. My favorite quote of the day was my little 3yr old boy:

" mommy, why are dinosaurs called dinosaurs?"
....."ummmm... I don't know sweetie"
"hey I know!! Maybe they are called dinosaurs because they die all the time".

(He is becoming much more aware of sounds in words and breaking words apart into the sounds they start with. This is the first step of learning how to read, so it is really neat to watch it start. With my first preschooler, I was trying to hard to push her from one stage to the next, trying to be a good 'teacher'. With Z I don't have time to do that and I really enjoy watching him learn things as his development unfolds naturally.)

Below are some more pics of our trip... my favorite one being the first with H climbing into the exhibit... notice the sign right beside her :-)
dino museum2

Friday, August 04, 2006

Life with little ones

This is a beautiful post written by Elizabeth Foss, a catholic homeschooling mom in the states... I've been thinking more and more about how I need to limit computer time, and just really 'be' with my children. I love them, but I find that I can get into these ruts where I'm always trying to find something to occupy them away from me so I can get a breather. But, like I tell my eldest child all the time when she can't wait for the next fun even to come... Stop wishing your life away!!

They are my life and my vocation, and this period with them all so young is so shortlived that I want to savour it and enjoy it.

I know I'm one step ahead in the game already by not having a television to distract me or the kids with, but there are so many other things that can grab my attention and mind away from them.

Go ahead and read her post... it's very beautiful.. and then check out the rest of her blog and look at her series of posts on teaching and playing with preschoolers in the home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sleep, cookies and other deep thoughts

I have a new philosophy that I've adopted as my motto in life, since becoming pregnant with my fourth child in 5 years. It goes like this:

"Never think farther ahead in life than past my next sleep"

Now this doesn't mean I can't plan fun vacations next month, and I can't daydream about what I'm going to be when my kids grow up... but it does mean that I don't have to worry about how I'm going to handle making dinner tomorrow when my one year old has kept me up all night, and I'm not to even start thinking about how I'm going to teach my 6 year old high school physics when she's a teenager.

In fact, I don't worry about laundry, dishes, vacuuming.. or even what time I'm going to be woken up in the night by assorted children who need their mommy.... Because it's all after my next sleep and therefore is out of bounds.

Miraculously, without all the worry and angst that I used to put into everything from laundry to when I'm going to hit menopause... Life still seems to go on. Laundry and dinner get done, because I'm not as stressed out anymore. Children get attended to, and husbands get clean socks and underwear, and I even get naps in.


Now I am wondering how I can transfer this good motto over to my cooking skills somehow... Like don't think farther ahead then when your timer buzzes.

I'm not sure why, but every single batch of cookies I have made in the past 5 years or so has managed to have at least one tray full of burnt hockey pucks. The first tray always comes out perfectly, but after the initial excitement, all the kids wander in search of greener pastures, and I am left in the kitchen all alone with a timer waiting to beep, mess everywhere, and a tray full of warm fresh cookies. What am I to do but to ignore the mess and sit down to taste-test one or a few of our freshly baked treats.

This is where I go wrong every time.... I'm eating a cookie, there's a mess I'm trying to ignore, and there are no kids around so I'm trying madly to think of something to do to take advantage of the quiet. I start thinking beyond the end of the timer, and inevitably phone someone, start checking my email, or settle into a good book, and then poof!! Where did the time go? All of a sudden that telltale smell drags me out of my state, and I realize I've wrecked yet another batch. Urgh!

I think I'm going to have to set a rule of only baking one batch at a time and freezing the rest of the dough for another moment of 'domesticity'. Or maybe just eat the cookie dough raw... Yummy!!

More Science

E has told me that her most favorite part of school is doing science. Today we learned more about rain and hail. We are basically learning about the water cycle.
We did a simple experiment where we filled a glass with water and ice and watched as the outside of the glass got wet (why we need coasters, i guess). We learned that the water vapor in the air turned back into water or 'condensed' when it touched the cold glass, because when water vapor gets cold, it turns back into water.

Then we read a good book that explained it very clearly in grade one language. It's called Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn Branley. This series of books is very well written and I highly recommend it.

Below is her drawing and her 'narration' to me of how the water cycle works. Water vapour comes from rivers and oceans and seas. It turns into water vapour by the sun. Water vapour is always everywhere. Even in the house. It’s on trees, horses, cows and us too.

The water vapour turns into a cloud because if you go further away from the earth it gets colder and colder. The water vapour turns back into water to become a cloud.

The little droplets stick together, and the clouds become bigger and bigger with more water vapour and then the little droplets fall down as rain.
 Posted by Picasa

Science with Daddy

Last saturday....  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My 3year old meterologist

In a very serious (but with the added 3 year old cuteness) voice,

"mommy, look at all the cumulus clouds outside... I think it's going to rain."

Science With daddy

On saturday Daddy is the science guy. This week the kids got up early, helped make a nice breakfast with dad and then started on their science project. We have spent the week learning about weather and the seasons, and their project was to make a wind vane.

First, they pulled out all of their materials, started reading the instructions, but then got sidetracked talking about the compass and directions. E decided to draw a picture of a compass in her science notebook, and then draw pictures of what was to the N, S, E and W of our house.

Daddy introduced her to the amazing world of google earth, and they spent about an hour together exploring all the interesting pictures of the world. Personally, the program makes me very dizzy and sick, so I was happily scrapbooking at the kitchen table.

Later on they eventually got back to their experiment, and discovered the wind was coming from the SE. I think Science with Daddy will be lots of fun this year!!