Waterpolo, Valentine’s, and Writing

The kids LOVE  the periodic waterpolo night at swim practice! 

A couple of friends have gotten off the bus at our house over the last couple of days to hang then head to swim practice together… Valentine-making seemed like a perfect afternoon project one day. 

Although the boys have been more excited to play Axis and Allies each afternoon 😉

Oh, and Will made it through his compare and contrast essay yesterday morning…he is not super thrilled about the process or the product, but it was an excellent exercise in pushing through multiple edits on a project to the end that you HAVE to complete even if it is not something you WANT to do…

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Writing Process

Sisters pleasure reading and working on chess strategy after dinner while big brother finishes his daily lessons.  Will is being appropriately responsible for getting his work accomplished daily in order to stay on track for a June completion date for his 7th grade curriculum.  I am so proud of him!  He was feeling pretty exhausted today after a late night return from swim practice last night, followed by after dinner “math with mom”, an early morning for first period art class at the school, then homeschool coop, then work on a paper he was totally un-enthused about…  You know, one of those compare and contrast essays…  And this is coming from a kid who LOVES to write.  Usually he adores the papers he is required to write for his moving beyond the page curriculum, but this one?  Not so much.  Still, I think he will be extremely proud of himself tomorrow when he edits, rewrites, and produces a final draft and ends up with a tolerable product…

Brainstorming process…

Frustration high tonight…

Yes, the (temporary) title of his essay was “Boring Essay”.

Meanwhile, he keeps asking why he can’t write an essay on Denmark’s role in WWII like his sister got to write the other day.  Well…you got to write that essay last year.  And you are not studying WWII in your current lesson.  You are focusing on ancient Asia.  

My mantra tonight: He will get through this.  He will be an even stronger writer when this is complete.

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Molly is thoroughly enjoying rereading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for her current unit.  Despite her familiarity with the story, rereading it independently and spending time digging into the various elements, characters, setting, etc. of the story has proven to be a delightful experience.  This is the first time we are doing a unit using a book that is a familiar read for her and I have been pleasantly surprised with how engaged she has been, even reading the story for a second time.

It has been exciting to see the progress in her comfort level in tasks such as dictionary use…After the resistance encountered last year to this activity, I am extremely pleased with how she now takes this step in stride…No big deal anymore.  It gets quicker and easier each time!

This extra craft the other day was kind of fun – a pipe cleaner snowflake set overnight in a borax and water mixture left us with a crystal encrusted snowflake the next morning – fit for an ice queen/witch!

Making good progress in third grade math… Part way in to Singapore Math 3B.  I just love all the mental math strategies.

Molly has decided to join the chess club at our homeschool coop.  We have a new successful method for working through homework problems.  Set them up on the chess board! 

 

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Swim team this winter

We have been spending a great deal of time this winter at the pool.  All three kids are members of a swim club and are working hard to improve their event times.  

Homeschooling is going well this year.  We are again using and very happy with our Moving Beyond the Page curriculum.  

I had been struggling last year with fitting everything in, so ended up taking a long break from this blog space.  I am hoping to post a bit more regularly now that I have a different smartphone and am hopeful that the WordPress app will work better on this phone.  

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Chemistry – Buckyballs

We are diving back into chemistry with Will’s current Moving Beyond the Page 10-12 unit centering around “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. Yesterday was one of those leisurely days when we did not have piano or sports practice or a class to run off to, so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted on schoolwork. Will is loving “The Giver”. The variety of projects thus far have really gotten him excited about the unit and science and chemistry!

For his first project he designed his own utopia using collage as a medium. He had a ton of fun with it.

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And yesterday he spent time using Microsoft Word’s drawing functions to show what an oxygen atom would look like complete with its protons, neutrons, and electrons in more realistic cloud form rather than the typical concentric circle illustration.

Next, we read about Buckyballs and had the opportunity to build one with gum drops and tooth picks.

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The final product…looked an awful lot like Will’s beloved soccer balls 😉

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We are both VERY happy with the the recommended book, Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself” by Cynthia Light Brown. Brown makes the concepts both easy to understand and interesting for both mom and tween.

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Coop, The Family Under The Bridge, And Girls Lacrosse

Every Tuesday morning, the kids and I head down to our local library for our homeschool coop day. We are fortunate to live close enough that we can walk or bike back and forth easily.

On coop days the kids have yoga, Spanish lessons, and a chess master from the community who spends the morning teaching the kids chess strategy. Parents then rotate supplying a craft project to fill in the time between classes. Today’s project was a really neat. We all learned how to make Ukrainian eggs using wax and a tool called a kistky. The mom who led the project bought her supplies from Hearthsong – she started out with the Ukrainian Egg Decorating Kit and then added individual supplies (a couple of extra kistkies, more wax, etc. from there…). I highly recommend this project.

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Following coop, we typically head home for a late lunch and some school work time. Yesterday, Molly started reading the book, The Family Under The Bridge, for her latest unit.

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Finally, after a last minute trip to a local sporting goods store to grab a mouthguard that would work over Esme’s braces, we arrived at the kids lacrosse practice early enough to practice outside for a while…

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While Will has been pretty much playing lacrosse year round with a different travel team, this was the girls’ first practice. They did great!

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We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Schoolwork And Extracurricular Commitments

There are some days when I ponder how much more schoolwork we could get accomplished if we weren’t always running off to practices and other extra enrichment activities…

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But the fact is that we are able to more easily participate in these various extracurriculars, especially with the long distances we now need to drive to attend all these wonderful enrichment opportunities, thanks to homeschooling this year. Rural Vermont living mixed with making it a priority to keep the kids involved in many of the things they love is requiring us to put many miles on our cars. While we do our fair share of “carschooling”…

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We also manage to fit in plenty of more traditional table work…

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As well as floor work (this one shows Molly working while waiting her turn for piano lessons)…

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Somehow we are managing to fit in most of what we have prioritized as important for our family.

Seven months of this homeschooling gig under our belts and we couldn’t be happier with the decision.

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Thinking Ahead On The First Day Of Spring

This is what we did today…

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We spent the bulk of the day driving back and forth to pick up segments of a large shed. It had been torn down to clear space for solar panels to be installed in a field across the street from my husband’s work. He was told that we could have the shed if we could come and take it away. So that was our family task on this Sunday – the first day of spring.

Our plan is that the old cement pad on the left in this picture will become the site of the reassembly project with the intent of creating a summer building to house…goats!

The children are beyond excited at the prospect 🙂

Knowing the limited amount of home project time that we realistically have in our life these days, the goat acquisition will probably not happen until next spring. It is a good lesson in patience as well as the importance of making certain that we are fully prepared to bring home and care for these new animals. In addition to this summer out building, we also know that we need to secure strong fencing as well as a winter housing space appropriate for goats within our existing barn. It will be fun to dream and read about new farm pets…

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Spring Nature Field Trip And Lacrosse Clinic For Giants

Well, we certainly were not stuck inside all winter – we skied more than we have ever skied – having two of the three kids on an alpine ski team for the first time.

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But, I must say, with most of the snow gone and grass showing everywhere, we are experiencing a bit of spring fever. So, with the girls finished with their most recent unit studies and Will quite close to being finished with his, yesterday we headed off to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) for the morning.

First, we spent some time checking out the art installation in the VINS meadow consisting of  life-sized ice age mammals from the Pleistocene era. Mammals that could have walked in this very Vermont meadow included the Woolly Mammoth, the Dire Wolf, the Short-Faced Bear, the Western Camel (who knew there were camels in the Americas??), the American Lion (and lions??), and Clovis Hunters…

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We hung with Turt the Turtle and asked lots of wood turtle questions of the VINS representative…

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We also explored the raptor area, completing a raptor scavenger hunt and being completely wowed by the different types of owls, the Bald Eagles, and the Peregrine Falcons – up close and personal!

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The best part was that we practically had the place to ourselves since it was a school day.

Today was the first Saturday in many months that we did not have to get up at the crack of dawn to gather ski gear and pack lunches and head to the mountain. But, Will and I did head to Williston to a lacrosse clinic – most lacrosse events are for kids his own age, but this defense clinic was open to all ages and I got the biggest kick out of how short he looks (he’s the short kid in blue standing behind all the high schoolers in this picture!)

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Now off to do a bit of prep for the start of new learning units on Monday, then bed. Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. I think we will make some bacon and eggs…

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Long break…

So I wasn’t planning to take such a long break from blogging, but life has been so busy this winter… Wonderfully busy – lots of family time, more skiing than any of us have ever done (despite the bleak snow accumulation here in VT), oh, and this homeschooling journey…

Well, I just set the blogging aside for a bit.

But, we are still here. Still so grateful for this amazing opportunity to learn at home as a family. Still enjoying rural Vermont lifestyle.

Miss Molly has just finished up a unit on Charlotte’s Web and life cycles. Esme just completed her unit on Hugo Cabret and inventions. And Will is in the middle of wrapping up his Roar of Thunder, Here Me Cry/Civil Rights unit. We are struck on a daily basis by the excitement for learning that homeschooling as a family retains.

Feeling truly blessed.

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Molly’s two older siblings were super supportive this afternoon of her first teaching opportunity – she taught them a lesson on the properties of water and the water cycle as part of her unit final project.

Love Moving Beyond the Page!

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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