Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Do EEET!

Go check out this new blog.  Just go. You'll be glad you did... great new blog helping to teach our wee ones about nutrition and the importance of eating healthly. :)

Nutrition for Healthy Kids

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"We're leaving, on a jet plane..."

Well, not really on a jet plane. But we are leaving! Our annual multi-family jaunt to sunny Florida starts later today!!!!!!! YAAAAAY!

This will be a much needed vacation for all of us, especially the hubs! It happens every April (homeschooling benefit 713: going on vacation before the rest of the kids in the country get out of school for the summer), but this year it really feels like it snuck up on us. In a good way of course, but snuck up nonetheless.

I have no idea where the month of April has gone and how it came to be that we are leaving today. I still have packing to do, which means that I will be in a stupid rush and forget something. Then the first stop we have to make once we reach our destination, is to the local department store to BUY the things I shouldn't have forgotten in the first place.

Ah least I know this about myself and budget a teensy portion of our vacation fund for the forgotten items. ;)

We are all so excited about this year. We are always happy to go and just relax. Normally it's just beach days and pool days. No big trips or touristy type activities. However, this year we made arrangements to go to Kennedy Space Center! The B's have been before, but it will be the first time for Walter, the boys and myself. Even more exciting is the remote possibility that we get to see the Endeavor launch.

How freaking cool would that be?!?!?!

The launch was originally scheduled for the 19th of April, but got pushed back to the 29th. We can't go to Kennedy to see the launch, but we are hoping to take the boys up the coast a little bit to Cape Canaveral or Cocoa Beach so we can all see it. Fingers crossed that it doesn't get delayed or anything. :)

As far as school goes, I'm sure we won't get much accomplished. Sure, our curriculum travels (online = awesome) and we never go anywhere without a plethora of laptops, netbooks, etc., ... but it's vacation. Everybody deserves a break. Even me...err...them.

The drive down is about 10 hours and they can only watch so many movies before they are fidgeting and squirming in their seats. Bailey will be able to read on the way down (oh hey, that can count as "school"). Braeden will be able to play some of the games that he likes, like the online music games and art games (oh hey, that can count as "school" too).  The hubs will be snoring at some point. Thankfully, I will have my 90's alternative music to wail along with, courtesy of my trusty Sirius radio.

I'm hoping to post some pictures or something while we are down there. We all know how well I keep up with pictures and all.


If nothing else, you can check out my facebook and see what I've posted there. Or what Tracy has posted and tagged me in. :D

Hope everyone has a fabulous Easter weekend with their loved ones!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Big, Ugly Words. Math Words...

That's right. Math words.

I've said many times that math is a mostly disliked and often struggled with concept in this house. The hubs has never liked it and he will be the first to admit that he sucks at it. Sucks. As in, sucks so bad he's forbidden to have a hand in the boys' math studies, lol.

Bailey definitely struggles, but he doesn't struggle across the board. There are some concepts he just catches onto really quickly. Then, there are others that take a little extra time. Or a lot of extra time. One of the things that was the hardest when he started learning math, was learning what math words meant.

You thought math was just about numbers, didn't you?

Of course the action of math is numbers. But if you are asked to multiply numbers, you have to know what multiply means. Equations, variables, denominators... all key words in mathematical functions.

A website that we use for vocabulary and spelling recently added a math vocabulary section. Even I was surprised at how many terms I saw that we kinda take for granted. The site allows you to use the words in vocabulary lessons or spelling lessons. You can use them in handwriting worksheets, have flash cards with them, even play games with them. It's really cool, and more importantly, not as tedious or as time-consuming ("yes, I realize it's been 9 1/2 hours. Yes, I realize you have only written down 4 words. Yes, you still have to write down the other 6 words.") as our older way of just simply writing down our spelling words in a notebook.

Both of the boys are benefiting from those math words, as they have some for every grade level. They also make it easier on me. And easier on me is never frowned upon.  :^)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Busy. But how?

This week has been really busy...without necessarily having anything to show for it. Don't you love when that happens? You run, run, run and at the end of the week you kinda look back and go "really? what did keep me so busy?"

We finally had a chance for soccer practice, at least part of the week. The boys are excited about their teams and they each have their first games of this season next week.

Our homeschool group is starting to wind down for the year. We generally take the summer off, but may occasionally meet for a field trip or a play date. Everyone stays so busy in the summer, it's hard to keep a schedule for meeting. At our last meeting, we discussed some pretty big changes for the group. Exciting changes I think! We are going to try to go from a bi-weekly meeting, to a weekly meeting. We are also hoping to bring in some students from a local college who are studying education and/or physical fitness to run a PE program of sorts for us.

It's really cool. I would have never thought that a practicum could be done for a group of homeschooled students. I always thought those things had to be done in schools. I guess with homeschool trends growing the way they are, times they are a-changing. :)

Our school year isn't even close to winding down. But that's normal for us.  We go through the summer. We'd rather take our breaks in the other seasons (vacation is this month!  yippeee!) than in the summer.  When it's 100 degrees outside, with a heat index of like 407 degrees, the boys don't really want to go outside. I don't blame them, lol.

I was hoping to get Bailey started on at least one of the homeschool writing courses I wanted him to take by now, but our schedule just hasn't cooperated. It may be something we do this summer, replacing a part of what he would normally work on with the writing.

Benefit #972 of homeschooling? Being able to adjust our school schedule to accommodate changes like that. :D 

Oh!  One last thing...

Look!  My wee one lost one of his top teeth, FINALLY! Isn't that face just the cutest??

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Showers...

We only just started April, but we have a reaaaalllly good jump on that "April showers" thing. There has been so much rain! You know, it's really hard to complain about though. Sure, everything is a muddy mess (country livin' ya know), but honestly the rain is the only reason I can sometimes almost occasionally breathe out of my nose. :)  The pollen count has been ridiculously high, and everything else is blooming as well. This week the boys missed all of their soccer practices, but considering that it was quite chilly, on top of wet, they weren't horribly disappointed. 

April is a busy month for us. We have a crazy soccer schedule, a few scout activities, we're visiting my parents and my mother-in-law for the first time since Christmas (super excited about that!), we have a play we're attending, taking a trip to the Ga Renaissance Festival AND leaving for a much needed Florida vacation! Whew.

Oh... and... my birthday is this month. Yep. That got a line all by itself. Nope. No shame in my game. It's the 16th. Birthday wishes welcome. ;)

It's a good thing that our homeschool schedule is so flexible. And portable, lol. Since we travel with iPads, iPhones and laptops, the boys can hop online anytime they need (and anywhere we have wi-fi and/or cell service. God, I love technology) and work on some stuff. Of course, we find "learnin'" everywhere. Can you imagine what their homeschool day is going to consist of when we go to the Ren Fest? 

When we go on vacation, we probably won't make them do any lessons. But we will make them read. That's our thing. There always has to be reading involved. Since we are such gadget junkies, we can load up an ereader with books now, rather than loading up a duffle bag with books.

Bailey has a Nook ereader that he loves. LOVES. We have a list of things that we are going to make sure are on there before we head out. He hopes to finish the Lord of The Rings trilogy before we leave (*sniff* I'm so proud! *sniff*) so we will have to get some new ones for him.

He's already enthralled with books BY homeschoolers (like Christopher Paolini's Eragon series), but we are hoping to find some books ABOUT homeschoolers for him. Any books that he's read over the years about school children involve kids who go to public/private school. He wants to give a book a try that involves kids that stay at home for school. I have to admit, until I found the Homeschool Literature website, I had no idea there were so many books by and about homeschoolers. I'm really hoping we can find one at his reading level. And about boys. I tried to suggest "Little Women," but that didn't even get me a response from him. He just blinked at me.

Braeden doesn't have his own Nook, but he does have my NookColor at his avail. He has made such a great improvement in the last few months. Part of that is his wonderful reading curriculum.  The other part of that is he finally reached the point where he was tired of asking everyone to read something for him. Oh, and then there's that part of him that thinks once he's a fluent reader he will get a cell phone to text with.  I've tried to tell him that won't happen for a few years, but whatever motivates him, right? The NookColor works well for Braeden because there are some cool interactive kids' books you can buy and download from Barnes and Noble.  These books the kids can read themselves, but there is an option for the book to be read aloud to them if they want.  Kids can also touch on pictures throughout the book and find little bits of info.  Since anything with a touch screen is appealing to my boy, this is exciting enough to keep him sitting with the ereader for a while. :)

This weekend is going to be so exciting for the boys. Bailey got tickets to Wrestlemania for Christmas.  The hubs hates wrestling, but he's a trooper for going, lol.  It's actually a group of them going, so I think both of them will have so much fun, even if Walter won't admit it.  Braeden is a little young for that, so he and I have a special day planned.  We are heading out to see the movie "Hop" and then playing at Chuck E Cheese for a little while.  *shudder*  Hop I can tolerate.  The Chuck E Cheese thing terrifies me.  But we do what we do for our kiddos. ;)

I want to leave you with an image. It's an image that makes me so emotional, it's hard to put into words. An image that makes me want to yell "YAAAY" and burst into tears, all at the same time.  And It's an image that has been 10 years in the making...