Thursday, September 27, 2012

A few vacation photos...

In a perfect world, these would just be the first of many photos. But we all know how much I suck at posting pics, lol, so I guess we'll take what we can get. :D

Here are a few shots of our week so far (these were all taken with my phone, so my apologies if they look horrible once enlarged or anything)...

Crabby Joe's on the pier at The Boardwalk.

The view from our room! :)

Next to the pool, the hotel has a little fire's been awesome just sitting around it in the evenings.

The other day it rained most of the day so we took a little field trip to a local chocolate factory...

I loved seeing this on the wall, lol. One of the best scenes from the show! :)

A plate of awesome! Candied orange slices, white chocolate "eggs" and chocolate covered bacon! I could eat that for breakfast, couldn't you? ;)

Yuh huh. That's a 15lb chocolate turkey. And yuh huh. It costs $140.00.

Look! I knew chocolate was healthy. *Totally* healthy. :P

Braeden had crab legs for dinner last night, for the first time ever. He loved them! I think he liked the bib and the fact that he needed tools and a special fork to eat it with better though, lol.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homeschooling on Vacation...

I know, I know...who does that? Well. We do. Kinda. :)

As homeschoolers, we generally find something to do that we can deem "educational" every place we travel. Nature centers, historic sites, local museums, etc. But that's generally all we do because, after all, it *is* vacation.

We are about to leave for a week in Daytona Beach. This is an unusual vacation time for us, and one that is not going to be commonplace. 

Because of the unusual time away, and because we have really only just gotten into our school year, I don't want to risk an entire week off of our normal schedule. If we want to maintain our pace so we can take our normal Thanksgiving-New Year's break, I'm going to have to plan a little more than I usually do (and a little more than I'd like, lol), so we can have things to take with us that the boys can work on next week.

When we are at home, the boys each have their own computer to do their core curriculum. While we are fortunate that T4L travels well...we only have one laptop to travel with. And in this particular situation, they are going to be limited as far as an Internet connection goes (Can you believe there are still hotels that don't have internet in all of their rooms?! Thank God for mobile phone tethering, lol!). So, I need to have activities that one can do, while the other is working online. Even though we don't always use them, T4L has some printable worksheets that correspond to many of the lessons/activities. That's handy, and I have gone through and printed some out of each boys' grade level for them to work on next week. Mostly math, with a little science and social studies thrown in.

Screen shot of one of the math worksheets Bailey will be working on. And I wonder why he looks at me funny when I mention math... :/

They both have iPads, but we are still faced with the limited connectivity issue. Even so, the app from SpellingCity can, and will, be used offline. They just have to go through and click on their lists to "open them" while we have internet, then they are cached and the boys can access them anytime. So I have some spelling and vocabulary covered. Yay! ;)

As far as other activities they can work on, I can use the VSC word search maker and handwriting worksheet maker (for the wee one) to make additional worksheets in case I need them. They are also googling, as we speak, a couple of educational places (There's a Marine Science Center that they both zeroed in on really quickly) that they want to go to while we are there because...well...yes I want them to have school time while we are gone, but I want them to enjoy their vacation too, lol!

Here is a word search I printed for
Braeden using some fall words...can't wait for autumn! :)
Other than that, we're traveling with a stack of paper books, a ton of books on our iPads, a few board games and we are even taking our bluray player and some movies with us. Seems like a lot, but I like to plan on down time and rainy day fun stuffs. :)

What about you guys? What types of things do you plan for/pack when you need to take your school on the road for a little while? Share what you do in the comments below, and have a great week! Be on the look out for some beachy photos...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Feels like Fall...

The mornings have been cooler this week, and I've loved it. Just knowing that fall is around the corner and I will soon be able to pull out my hoodies is awesome.

The boys have been enjoying soccer practice. Their games start this week and for the first time, Bailey's age group will have some traveling games. They've never played any of the other counties before, so this definitely brings new excitement for the season. Braeden's age group isn't traveling though, so we will have some conflicts for a few of the games. But it'll work out.

Looking forward to planning some fall activities. We enjoy Oktoberfest in Helen, and there's a great apple festival in Ellijay. We're also hoping to find a good pumpkin patch and corn maze. We haven't done that in a few years...

School is going really well. Even though we are slackers, lol. The boys haven't fought me this week at all, which is nice. They knew I was studying for a tax preparer test I had to take (which I passed, btw...yay for me!) so they collectively agreed to make things easy on me. ;)

Braeden enjoyed some educational videos (shockingly, they weren't from YouTube!), and will watch some more this week. Both boys surprisingly had fractions in math, and they did well with them. The whole reduced fraction thing is a little hard for Braeden (why can't I just leave it as 2/12...why do I have to make it 1/6?), but after a while, he got it and moved on, lol. I can't say that he enjoyed it, but he did do well with it so I'm happy. Spelling was good; Braeden worked on finishing up some 2nd grade lists, and Bailey worked on the 50 states and their Capitals.

Science is kinda stalled right now. Both of the boys blew through the science in T4L, so we are trying to find a good alternative program for this year. We usually just try experiments we find online, but they've asked for a program with a little more structure, so I'm looking for something. We want to really explore creationism, evolution AND intelligent design, so I guess I will be looking for several programs, lol. It's important to us to teach the boys about our belief system, but we also want to expose them to other scientific theories. When it's time for them to decide what they believe, we want their decision theirs, not ours that we projected on them, lol.

I'm also continuing on in my neurotic freak out about NEXT year. Ugh. I wish that I could put off my worry, and just get through this year, but I can't. I don't know that it's the high school thing that scares me as much as knowing that we will have such a drastic change in our homeschool curricula. We've used T4L for almost six years now, and it's hard to really process that one of them is leaving that behind. :(  Anyway, in that regard, I did come across a new site for high school homeschooling. They have a curriculum directory (YEEEEES!), as well as a forum for both parents and students. Pretty cool.

This week will be soccer, soccer, 4H, soccer and getting ready to leave for Florida. Yes, again! This time we are going with my parents to Daytona Beach. We used to vacation with them quite regularly, but we haven't been able to do so in several years so we're looking forward to next week with them.

I'm waiting until tomorrow to worry about the upcoming week though. For now, I'm going to curl up with a book, with the sounds of the hubs introducing the boys to D&D in the background.

Our geeky life is soooo good. ;)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's really hard to follow a D*C post, lol...

This week was hard to manage, time wise. We had a lot of unpacking and winding down to do from D*C, we had soccer practice, we had doctor appointments. Seeing as how I'm not really the best scheduler/time manager anyway, well you can imagine how much we accomplished this week.


The boys worked on SpellingCity on their iPads. They read. They  played some games. Risk counts as educational, right? We really should be on a better roll with our school year, but it's hard for us this year, and none of us can pinpoint why. We also know that we have a week at the beach coming up at the end of September. Yet another distraction, lol.

This upcoming week should be a little better. I have to study for a tax preparer test I am taking on Thursday, and of course there's soccer, but we should be able to get some stuff done. I bought a couple of workbooks (hiss, snarl, boo, gak) recently, just to kinda gauge where the boys are. I don't know that I really needed to do that, but they were on sale at The School Box and they were for transitioning from 2nd to 3rd grade, and from 7th to 8th grade. So I picked them up and showed them to the boys. I tried to pretend to be all excited about them. I failed. And they continue to avoid looking at them every time they walk by them.

I am going to find some homeschool fiction books for the boys. They have so much they want to read. They start a series. Then start another one, lol. I want to say finish one before you start another, but I'm honestly just so damn glad that they are reading because they want to, that I don't want to push my luck. I was browsing the homeschool literature site, and I came across a book that looked good. Banished. Then I discovered that I can "borrow" it for free with a Kindle. Would you believe that as much as I love gadgets, and as much as I love my Amazon Prime account, that I didn't know you could do this?! I can't do it with the Kindle app on my iPad sadly, but they did just bump the price down on the cheapest Kindle model to $69. I see another gadget in our future... ;)

Also, I found a totally free program, Book Adventure by Sylvan, that I can use to find books for Braeden and quiz him on. He's improved so much with his reading, but I don't want to read everything that he's reading, lol. Having said that, I do want to see how he's doing with his reading comprehension. That's where the Book Adventure site comes in. They have over 8,000 books in their program. I have already found several that Braeden has read, or wants to read. They have quizzes already made up for those books, so I don't have to go through and come up with questions. Yay!

Other than the reading stuffs, I am hoping to see a good jump into their new grade levels on T4L. We'll see, lol.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to Reality...

Yep. That's what it feels like when we return from Dragon*Con. Like we've had a little fantasy vacay. We had a fantastic time this year! Tracy, Lisa and I had a blast working together and honestly everything went so smoothly that it didn't really feel like a lot of work! :)

I had a couple of fangirl moments. One of which was getting a hello and a hug from Sherrilyn Kenyon (one of my favorite authors). I listened to Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) sing happy birthday to a couple of friends who couldn't be there. I sat quietly at a table watching Joe Manganiello (Alcide from True Blood) sign autographs. I was supposed to be listening to a conversation, but I got distracted by his pretty. Hehe. Chatted a couple of times and had a quick photo op with a lovely young man, James McCune (Jimmy from this past season of The Walking Dead). Got a quick glimpse of Adam Baldwin, from Firefly. Lotsa YAYs, lol.

The boys had some big moments, too. They got to meet and get an autograph from Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in LoTR. They also got to meet and get an autograph with Niall Matter who played Zane in one of our favorite shows, Eureka (they got to meet "Sheriff Jack," "Zoe" and "Vincent" last year!). They got to get made up like Zombies from the people who do the Face-Off show.

But they had one unbelievable moment this year. They got to meet, get an autograph of, AND have a photo op with Stan Lee. How awesomely crazy is that??? They were excited, but I think it's going to take some time for them to realize just what an opportunity that was. We are huge fans of the Marvel Universe here, so it was pretty freaking cool for all of us! Thanks to Tracy for doing her magic. And a very special thanks to Hank...if he hadn't have had THE best question to ask Mr. Lee, this might not have happened. :)

Now, we have to get back into our September. Soccer practice for both boys on Tuesday and Thursday, a doctor appointment on Wednesday, Master's on Thursday, and possibly a friend coming down for the weekend. Which means cleaning the house. Gak.

The boys will do some T4L, and will honestly spend a lot of time on YouTube (we have discussed internet safety for kids so often that I'm comfortable leaving them to this) looking up clips from the Con this year. Other than that, I'm thinking we are going to have an unschooling like week. :D

Hope you all enjoyed your long weekend, here are a few pics from ours...

The boys and their Minecraft costumes. Yes, Bailey is wearing a fez on his. :D
Me, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tracy. It's a crappy pic, but she was picking up her badge and we only had our phones with us at that moment.
4 of the 5 boys. All zombiefied. :)

I loved this pic with the flash, because it made Bailey have red eyes...and it just worked with the make-up, lol.

Braeden's was the craziest. While all the other boys looked like themselves, just made up...Braeden looked totally different to us!
Zombie Braeden, snacking on my face. :D

Zombie Bailey, eating my BRAINZ. :D
Billy Boyd! He was so sweet, and very engaging with his fans. Awesome. Why is it a side photo? He wasn't doing posed photos, so this was the quickest shot I could take with my phone before I got caught, lol.

James McCune, from The Walking Dead. Kinda cool that they looked like zombies with him. 

Niall Matter, from Eureka. This was not my year for remembering my camera, so it's another phone shot. :/ While I loved the boys' zombie look, I was a little bummed that this was our only opportunity to see him. Would have liked a nice photo where my kids didn't look all dead and creepy. ;)
The 5 boys and STAN LEE! It looks weird because this is a photo of a photo, lol. It was too expensive to buy a photo with each boy, so we did a group shot. And we haven't made copies for everyone yet. :)