Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dragon*Con, Baby!!

Yep, it's that time again. Time for costumes and weapons. Time for fangirl moments and geek squees. Time for people watching and photo ops.

And time for me to let my freak flag fly. ;)

Oh. And also time for me to buy socks because this is the first time all summer that my boys are required to wear tennis shoes instead of crocs and we can never find enough socks, lol.

This is our sixth year going to D*C, and we are always just as excited every time it rolls around as we were the first time.

We are heading down to the ATL Wednesday morning-ish, so I have a lot to do between now and then. Trying to cram in a week's worth of stuff into two days. Since I'm so organized and together (insert mucho sarcasm), that should be a piece of cake.


Seeing as how the boys have woken up every morning for the last week and put on their costume...then vibrated around the house...I think trying to get them to do any type of schoolwork is going to be fruitless.

Bailey has been working on a character/plot outline for a story he's writing. His dad showed him how to download Evernote and use it on his iPad. It syncs with his PC, so he can write from either and have everything saved. Pretty cool. The creative writing help he received from T4W has stuck with him, and I'm really glad about that. Anyway. I'm thinking writing/editing/spell checking/grammar proofing is enough "formal learning" for this week. :)

Braeden is very much enjoying the Beast Quest series he's reading, so if I get him to read for an hour each day, I will consider school successful for him this week, lol. I might be able to get him to work on some puzzle games on VSC, or at least log on to the VSC iPad app, but I won't be holding my breath.

I know. Stellar parenting. But I'm just as excited as they are! :D

Every year I say I hope to post some pictures throughout the weekend, and every year I mostly fail. But I will say it again now...hopefully I will have a few opportunities to post pics and share our weekend with you guys.

Until then, I will leave you with a photo from one of our best D*C moments of last year...

The boys with Colin Ferguson. He's Sheriff Jack Carter on one of our favorite family TV shows, Eureka. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I can tell the summer is almost over...

This week we had our parents meeting at Masters, which starts next week for Bailey and the week after that for Braeden. We also had our first 4H meeting, which is something brand new for us. Bailey really wanted to try it, and he seems very excited about the upcoming year!

They are officially registered for the fall soccer season.

Yesterday we wrapped up the last of our August birthday celebrations with a surprise 40th party for a very dear friend.

Aaaaand...the boys' Dragon*Con costumes are ready!

Once we are through with the birthdays and the extra curricular registrations/orientations, and we start our official less-than-two-weeks-until-con countdown, then we know our summer is almost at an end.

With trying to make sure I got everything taken care of this week, I was really grateful for all of the teacher resources lists that are on SpellingCity. I didn't have to worry about what they were going to work on in spelling - I just picked some random lists from that section of the site (Capitonyms anyone? ... Anyone?).

They also did some independent reading. Bailey is finally starting the Harry Potter series! I know, seems crazy that he's read stuff like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and hasn't read H.P., but he reads want he wants, in his own order and time frame, lol. Braeden has found a new series called Beast Quest. He's very excited about this because this is the first series he's started completely on his own. This isn't one that we suggested, nor is it one that Bailey read when he was Braeden's age. He found this in Barnes and Noble, while searching through the section that was appropriate for his reading level. :D

As always, we won't have our official back to school (or as homeschoolers like to say - NOT back to school) kickoff until we return from Dragon*Con, so I will post on that later. Since so many other homeschoolers have already started their school year, I'm enjoying reading a lot of blogs and seeing what curricula and resource materials/supplements are being used. Even though we don't usually make many changes from year to year, that doesn't mean I don't find some great information and useful products! :)

Ok, off to grocery shop (gak!) and then come home to sloth in the family room with the boys (yay!). Our shiny new copy of The Hunger Games arrived yesterday from Amazon...can't wait to see it again!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More birthdays and some reminiscing...

This weekend we visited family, and we helped a very special girl celebrate her first birthday!

Birthday girl, sitting with her mommy...

M is as cute as she can be. I loved this outfit...if I'm not mistaken, her mom received the outfit at her baby shower last year, just for this birthday celebration, lol! She seemed to have a good time today, and she enjoyed opening gifts about as much as any one year old does. You know, it's all good until they pull the first bow/ribbon off, then that's ALL they want to play with from then on. :)

She did enjoy her smash cake. It was honestly the best smash cake evah. She was absolutely covered and at one point, we thought she was finally going to get the entire cake off the table and to her face! :D

Not the greatest picture, but it's what I could get in a hurry with my phone...

On the way home, we stopped and had a special dinner so just the four of us could celebrate our boys' birthdays. Yeah, we already had a party. But this was just for us. We enjoyed dinner, and the boys were surprised with sundaes and a song (is there anyone that doesn't hate when this happens to them at a restaurant, lol?!).

Man. Where does the time go? Bailey turned 13 (omgIhaveateenager!!!) yesterday and Braeden turns 8 tomorrow. I could have sworn I just gave birth to them. :/

Not only am I shocked at how fast they have grown, I was also shocked when I realized that this school year, we will be embarking on our 8th year of homeschooling! When I think back about everything we have learned together, I sit in awe.

I remember the first time Bailey and I got stumped on something. It was venn diagrams. You know those moments when you look at something and you go "When in the name of all that's holy is that going to apply to real life?!" Yep. That was venn diagrams. Sure, they're easy enough. But whhyyyyyyyyy?

Braeden and I haven't gotten as stumped, but you live and learn with the second one, lol. I had a different perspective with him that I didn't have with his older brother. With Bailey, I was always scared that people knew I didn't know how to homeschool. That I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I was just waiting for DFCS to show up and take them away because I was failing.

Sure, Braeden and I have had our battles (handwriting is *still* a bone of'd think he would have given up and conceded to me already, lol), but I learned along the way that there are things and concepts that they just have to be ready for. Like learning to read. Everyone kept telling me that he was behind and I wasn't pushing him hard enough. But I knew better.

And lo and behold, the mommy was right. ;)

Ok, enough reminiscing. If I don't stop, I'll just keep sitting here all weepy eyed. Besides that, I keep trying to grab them as they run by, hoping to fit them in my lap like when they were little. It's kinda freaking them out.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A little funny for your Friday...

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning, and I had to share! Loved it! :)

Messy Mondays: Seven Lies about Homeschoolers

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Guest Post!

A homeschooling friend of mine and I thought it might be fun to guest post on each other's blog this week. :)

Here is her post about her back to school plans...


 Back To School Plans

I want to thank Katie for allowing me to guest post on her wonderful blog. I appreciate getting away from my own blogs every now and then.

I realize it's a bit cliché to write about my back to school plans, I usually never do that, but I really wanted to explore a few of the supplemental plans I have for my daughter.

Technically my daughter is a sophomore this year, but I held her back a level when she was in second grade because I thought since she has ADHD, CAPD and dyslexia, an extra year might benefit her…NOT! We don't really believe in grade levels anyway, it's more about where you are at the moment and moving forward.

We use Time4Learning eighth grade level, Vocabulary Spelling City, Drive Thru History, and Vocabulary Can Be Fun as our base. We supplement with various areas of interest. I will lay out some of our supplemental plans below.

Last year my daughter used a cool Forensic Investigations book as a supplement to science. We basically completed that series, so I ordered a huge book for this year. It's a fun way to work in science without her getting frustrated and bored. I enjoy it too. 

I will continue with her Steck-Vaughn Core Skills Writing book since we didn't finish it. She will also continue to write her online blog. She writes fan fiction and we edit together. The blog is a super way to get her to improve her writing skills because she cares about what her readers think. If you haven't tried this idea, I would encourage you to do so. Your child can begin by taking a free Pre-blogging course to get started.

I bought a book called Use It! Don't Lose It! at Barnes and Noble for quick daily language practice. I have the 9th grade level spiraling sequence book. The idea is to have the student complete really quick five question lessons each day for 36 weeks. Like T4L, the questions are correlated to state and national standards.

I have some mental fitness cards I want to try this year. I will use one card a day. A few examples of the cards are: "Sugar is to Sweet as Lemon is to---", "How is a Store like a House? How are they different?", and "Name all the things you can think of that are found in a library." If you have more than one child, these would be fun to do in the car on trips.

I am going to include a quick map exercise daily. I will call out a location and my daughter has to find it on the globe. My hope is this quick hunt will lead to further exploration in geography as she gets in to it. I am also betting she makes this a competition between us. I might be purchasing another globe this year.   :)

For a little fun in math, I found a neat book called Origami Math. It is for a much lower level, but as a supplement, it will work great. You use vocabulary in geometry, fractions, symmetry, sequence, measurement, spatial you challenge yourself to follow the directions and fold the paper correctly to create something such as a pinwheel, hat, page-hugger bookmark, jumping frog, and more. There are only 14 lessons, but I think combining art with math will be fun while it lasts.
Finally, we will supplement with a Pre-GED book as a guide to knowing what she does and doesn't know at this point. She asked for this book during the summer and I certainly wasn't going to say no. I am proud that she is interested in knowing where she is and what she needs to focus on in order to get her GED.

The beauty of homeschooling is that if none of this works, I can simply change directions and try something new. Don't you just love it!

Jackie, a former public and private school teacher, enjoys the challenge of customizing a curriculum for her right-brained visual learner. Her daughter has been using the Time4Learning curriculum for three years because she enjoys learning on the computer. You can read more about homeschooing topics at both of Jackie’s blogs: Quaint Scribbles and 3D Learners


Thanks so much, Jackie! While we use a lot of similar programs and supplements, I definitely saw some that I would like to check out with my boys! Drive Thru History and Origami Math sound cool, and I would love more info on that Forensic Investigations book you mentioned...they both watch way too many crime shows with me on TV, lol, so I think they would enjoy something like that.

Be sure to look for my guest post on Jackie's 3D Learners blog later this week! :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pottery Party...

Even though the boys' birthdays are the 11th and the 13th, we had a little birthday celebration for them today. Next weekend, we are going out of town for a very special 1st birthday party, so the boys didn't mind celebrating a little early!

We did something we have never done before. There's a wonderful place in Athens, Good Dirt, that does pottery workshops, classes and parties. So the boys decided that's how they wanted to paaahty. With some clay, and some great people. :)

The instructor was wonderful with the kids, and I think everyone had a great time!

The party peeps!
Finally getting their hands on the clay...
Starting to take shape...

Having fun!
Adding "feet"...

Giving it some color...
While you can get a general idea of what they're making, you'll have to check back in a couple of weeks (they need time to dry and get fired in the kiln) to see the finished product!

It really was a terrific day, we are all glad that we chose to do something different...something that we had been wanting to try, and we're thankful for the time we got to spend with loved ones. :D

This week, I'm going to start getting ready for my fall cleaning. I know, most people do "spring cleaning," but that never works for me. I dunno why. But fall it is.

**Interrupting with a little side note - Bailey was behind me asking me to taste something he made, and he saw that I capitalized the words "spring and fall." He said that seasons aren't capitalized...he learned that in his T4W course. Yay for learnins! Heh.**

Anyway, we go through, thin out toys and clothes, and make room for growth spurts and Christmas, lol. I always end up taking a van full to Goodwill, so at least I feel like I'm doing something with the things that the boys have outgrown.

I will have the boys try to work on some schooly things, even if only lightly. They are still doing well with spelling and reading. Some online math games may be in order. I'm going to take some time to get acquainted with a new site for homeschooling high school, called Let's Homeschool High School. Since this is our last year of T4L with Bailey (*sniff, sniff*), I am hoping to meet some other homeschooling parents who are, or have, homeschooled through high school and can direct me towards some good programs/curricula. It looks like they will even have a student forum area...which might be really cool for Bailey!

Now, I am off to relax and reflect on my mucho fabulous Sunday. And watch more poor DVR...