Friday, October 28, 2011

Life-Sized Lincoln Logs & the Freedom Train

Another week down, and all's quiet on the home front aside from the laughter of my children.  Oh, how sweet "quiet" can be...  I keep wondering when this school year will "start."  It. has. been. so. interrupted.

As of now, the boys have homework this weekend.  We just couldn't get it done with the saws and sanders in full swing with the added dose of the 1000 dB air compressor kicking on and off. OH THE NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!!   I feel like the Grinch right now, though I haven't raided the house in a state of malicious deception just yet.  What would I do, anyway?  Tear off the wallpaper?  I've got to do that, anyway.

Oh, I forgot to mention that it was raining the past few days, so we couldn't even escape to do schoolwork outside.  So imagine me hollering, "Okay, Stephen, what type of quality adjective do you think should go here?" over the noise.  It's just plain ludicrous! I laugh at the thought of what we look like right now....

Even though building onto our home has been challenging in some regards, we have gotten to do some really fun stuff, like play with GARGANTUAN Lincoln Logs.

We built a fort out of scrap pieces and pretended it was the Alamo for about 30 seconds, and then it became a secret hideout for some Hot Wheels cars that had magical flying powers.

Speaking of the Alamo, Stephen made me laugh during his presentation this week - zooming around with all sorts of animated excitement.  And then when he ran out of time: "Mom, there's STILL SO MUCH STUFF I want to TELL THEM!!"

We made up a history sentence and song to go with it, though we didn't record that part.  I'm too embarrassed at the way my voice sounds to do such a thing...

History Sentence: 
Tell me about the Alamo
Tune to The Home on the Range

In 1836,
William Travis, Davy Crockett,
and James Bowie lost their lives
defending the Al-
amo from Santa Anna
and his Mexican army.

Later, Sam Houston won
the Battle of San Jacinto
claiming Texas inde-
pendence from Mexico,
crying, “Remember the Alamo!”


The biggest deal this week for history has been Adventure Tales of the Civil War & Reconstruction.  If you have a student in 3rd through ??, I highly recommend this free download.  We worked through page 17 this week, and I had to slow Stephen down because I want it to sink in!  It is so fantastic!
We also caught up a bit by visiting some sites that tell about the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay  and his impact on Abraham Lincoln.
And we spent a good deal of time learning about the history of slavery in the United States:
In the coming weeks we hope to:
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Audio
. . . If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
For our history readings, we will use some of American History Stories by Mara L. Pratt: 
Volume 3:  The First President through the Fugitive Slave Law  pdf
Volume 4:  Abraham Lincoln through The War Between the States  pdf 

For science, we're still working on it.  But, here's what we hope to get around to doing?  One of these days?  Maybe?

We at least caught up on our CC Human Body Cut-outs.
Anyone notice the nice, black, plastic, trashbag-looking
drapery there?  One of these days that will
open up into our new family room.  Right?

Oh, and we also read Unit Nine of Elementary Life Science curriculum.  (For the parent copy, which has a unit test and science experiments & activities, click here.)
Fine Arts

For Tin Whistle, I really just tried to keep the kids from playing it.  I know, I know, I know.  I'm terrible.  But I'm already insane enough right now!

My Big Accomplishment!
I have FINALLY figured out a planner that will provide us our memory work at-a-glance plus the categories in a daily format (especially for Essentials because I just have to break down and organize our week by days, even IF I like weekly lists better).   My inspiration came from Money Saving Mom's Homeschool planner, which is great just by itself; it has attendance forms, 6-week subject plans, goal sheets, and 1-week daily plans. You can even input information into it! But here's my personal creation after seeing the Money-Saving Mom Planner.

Cycle 3 Planner
Now I have it all right there, along with my children's presentation schedule.  For those that like more room to write, I also created a 2-page version. If you're interested in using this, go to 4Shared to download it:

Cycle 3 Planner 1-Page
Cycle 3 Planner 2-Page (for those who write a little bit bigger!)
Email me if you want the Excel spreadsheet instead.  Or if I missed something in the proofreading process, which is VERY likely!

A few random things...
We just now noticed that our calendar was still on September.
This has been one of the greatest tools to teach the calendar
and counting to David and Levi. The key is to upDATE it.

Levi was ready to ship himself earlier this week.  Funny how
we learned about Henry "Box" Brown this week...

AND....We have a bedroom!  Hooray!

And here's our Scooby Doo secret room.  Can't wait to install
the moving bookcase....
Our latest family portrait

Without further ado...
...let me introduce you to a few great blogs by other CC Moms:
  • Melissa at The Corkums:  Great resources for Cycle 3. She inspires me by the interactive things she does with her children.  Instead of just reading a book, they'll cook a recipe to go with it -  and then study how the food is digested by creating a full-scale model of the digestive tract.
  • Lindy And Jeanne:  These sisters always post such great ideas that correlate with Cycle 3!  They've just now started posting History Highlights Q&A's.  Love it!
  • Karen at Wisdom and Righteousness:  Karen has just finished making a wonderful lapbook that covers all material for Weeks 1-12 of Cycle 3. You have to take a look at it!
  • My "Be Real" Buddies:  Tina Marie at Chasin Raisins (she just had a baby!)and Shannon at Discovering God's Creation (who inspires me with her incredible nature walks.  What? It's 10 Degrees F outside?  All right!!  Let's go check out the icicles!).
If you visit them, be sure to post a comment letting them know you dropped by!  It really will make their day!

In closing...
I wanted to tell you why I invest the time to blog when I could be taking a long, hot bubble bath instead.
  • Our number one reason was my husband.  This blog was originally created as a tool for connecting with Daddy when he's on the other side of the world.  Even though he's gone half the time, he finally feels like he's a part of what we do in his absence.  It helps him to keep up and engage with the kids over the phone, too!
  • After creating my first Blog2Print book last school year, I discovered that now I can create a yearbook for us at the close of the school year with very little additional effort.  It's great to flip back through and read the memories, but it's also a great portfolio.  When someone asks what we did, I can finally tell them.  (Because I would normally just blank out and say, "Nothing." At the close of each day I could never remember what we did, having depleted all my brain cells on managing our school daze.)
  • I finally decided to use it as a tool to help me organize all of my ideas.  Since most of my ideas were on-line, it has helped me tremendously!  So, if you see me updating our Cycle 3 Resources Page, it's so I can find stuff myself!
  • I never wanted it to be about popularity, or about making myself feel more important by being "followed", or about making money, or about being a "resource queen." (In fact, lots of people do a much better job than I do in coming up with activities to go alongside our Classical Conversations curriculum.)
But I kept asking God to give me some way to minister to others in this season of my life.
    ...And so God granted me what I requested.... 
    I never knew that He would use my silly anecdotes and simple thoughts to touch other people's lives, but He has.
    I didn't realize that some people were floundering in this homeschooling (or parenting!) journey, and, by some act of God's grace, they would find solace in knowing that I'm imperfect, too.
    It would have never occurred to me (in a thousand years!) that some people needed my ideas and organization because I am probably the last person to lead anyone along that path!  (What a nutty idea!)
    And so...

    Thank you for following me and allowing me to minister to you.  I am honored and humbled that anyone would not only READ what I write, but also find comfort, joy, and direction in doing so.  It ministers to me to be able to reach through to you in a time when I just don't have much else to give.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your life.


    1. So much more neat stuff!
      My favorite is "Blog2Print", oh my, never even thought to look for such a tool, been wondering how to save my blog and that's just awesome! Watch out, now I have more motivation, my iphone just arrived (finally caved because of the new camera lens) so I can take photos easier than lugging my 35mm, what fun! And I can justify it all now as "documentation" Hee! Hee!

    2. I am a new follower and love all of your ideas! I tutor Essentials and have two in Foundations as well. I would love copies of your planner pages in Excel so that I might personalize them. Thank you! gwensmith93 at gmail dot com

    3. I know I am thankful!! I appreciate how the Lord is using you to encourage others along this journey.
      ~ Lisa

    4. Your blog is a blessing. We are attempting CC at home and I am thankful for resources like yours that I find online. We also built a log house, and I never even considered the kids stacking some for a fort or anything else. Yet another example of why I visit here- thanks so much!

    5. Well, I'm new to this CC stuff and homeschooling or any schooling this year. My boys are 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 so we are having a ball. Your blog is a tremendous blessing!!! A girl at the practicum gave me your blog and here I have found you again on Pinterest:) I am all teary eyed at how the Lord used you when and how He wanted to and you are just a great vessel for all of us!!! Keep up the fun memory making with your babies!!!

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