Saturday, April 30, 2011

Houston Nature Challenge... 2011

We went to Herman Park today to the opening ceremony of the HOUSTON NATURE CHALLENGE....

really that sounds much bigger than it was! There was registration and we are officially known as ...


WE got to visit some of the booths and get a few of the challenges.

We need to download the rest from the website-- if you would like to join in go sign up at The Houston Nature Challenge- click on Bayou Region

There are 14 MISSIONS this year- although in a few places they have more than ONE thing to complete.

The Missions

Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Bison Mission

Big Thicket National Preserve

Hermann Park Conservancy

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Houston Audubon Society

Houston Audubon’s Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center

Houston Zoo

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center

Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Missouri City Parks & Recreation

Sea Center Texas

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center

W.G. Jones State Forest – The Nature of Things

Some people do big scrap books and stuff to log all their missions, we are just going to do a note booking page for any that we complete.  It is fun, it gets you outside DOING, and takes you to places you might not go otherwise.  It is free minus the gas to drive and occasionally an entrance fee to a park. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up--- Week 36


This week we are getting back on a better schedule- I am trying to wake up earlier and that is helping a lot!  The house is clean from having Easter here yesterday!  So nice to start out the week with everything all clean... I am going to wait a while before I start a new project- if I can help myself!  I need a little normal, a little routine and a little just every day stuff! 

We got school started....

Math- just plugging along

Bible- the kids did review cards and then we read more about Elisha

History-- simply going over review cards

Science--- We will be starting Apologia- Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day next week (May 2).  I am using this whole week to get ready for it.

Spelling--- we are working on All About Spelling--- we are reviewing all the "rules" from the last book this week and starting our new book next week.  I don't know why I can't just DO spelling!  But I got determined with science and got it done--- so I will do it with spelling too!


Kate- is being allowed to read her Heartland Series
Matt- started a bio on Jesse James

Emily-is reading an Animal Ark--she is resisting reading anything other than simple books so I am trying to simply interest her in some chapter books so it looks like a little fluff is needed for a while!
Kate worked on Scripture Ty per

and Matt and Emily played Ty per Island.

We watched The Magic Flute- in English (well some of it was in English, but we got through it and the kids enjoyed the music).  This week we will finish up Mozart and next week start a new composer.


Math- just plugging along!

Bible-more Elisha

History- review cards-- tomorrow we have a big history day though!

Spelling- review of spelling rules


Kate- still reading Heartland
Matt- Henry Reed, Inc.

Emily- Pilgrims Stories (off our book list- she has had it read to her but is reading it for herself right now)

Matt had an appointment with the ENT today- it was a re check from 3 months ago.  His tonsils are still REALLY large and with his snoring and dark circles and odd sleeping habits we are going to do a sleep apnea test in May.  


We spent most of the day at Bayou Bend for their Early American Colonial Day...

We were able to see a portrait done by John Singleton Copley in Ima Hogg's house... so that was a neat tie in for the kids!

The kids did do math also, but that is it!


Math- Kaitlin was able to skip ahead a lesson for rounding, but we are still going back and forth having some issues with division--- she just seems to be confusing herself!  So we are just going to print out a few more practice pages for additional work.

Bible- We are at the story of Joash--- which I cannot honestly say I remember much of!  In fact I don't know if I remember it at all.

History- I had the kids write 5 sentences about things they learned at Bayou Bend yesterday. 

Here is Matt making his journal at Bayou Bend yesterday, he choose to write his sentences in his journal.
We also started in on all the books we have for the Midwestern states!  We looked at some of the
  tornado damage in a lot of the Midwest states of the past couple of weeks.  We watched parts of
 Twister the movie- to see the destruction and talked about tornado warnings now vs. what happened
  in the 1700's and early 1800's.

Spelling- still reviewing spelling rules but actually started Step One today!  Whewww.


Kate started Calico Bush

Matt is still reading Henry Reed, Inc.

Emily is still reading Pilgrim Stories

The kids played Rush Hour and did a few Mind Benders today also!


I do not know that my children know ANYTHING about the said Royal Wedding, but I guess I should touch on it!  So in honor of the Royal Wedding today we all had a tea party! 

We colored the British flag and made royal crowns! 

 Here are a few other craft ideas...

We did our handwriting for the day on a Royal Frame...

and we watched Royal Wedding for fun!

It however is not a national holiday for us here in the Americas... my kid does still have to do math and everything else!

History-- while touching on the wedding and celebrating in all the realms-- we shall remember today that we are NO long a part of the realms of Britain!  We will continue our study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights
 Daddy left for a work trip- yuck!  We have a full Saturday though so I guess I will be too busy to miss him!  Nah!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Early American History

We visited Bayou Bend a historical sight, that is a part of the Museum of Fine Art. 
 It was home school day, they were portraying early American history.  It was very interesting.. they did a demonstration on the clothing of the period. 

These are some shots from the beautiful gardens, we did not spend much time as it was hot and we were all hungry!  But it is wonderful and I would love to go back soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011- 2012 curriculum choices

Our new Bible Curriculum:

Classical Academic Press God's Great Covenant, New Testament 1

It is a little text book "ish" but we seem to do better with this approach for Bible so I am going to go with it.  It is meant for 4th grade and up so I am hoping to meet all the kids needs with it- Emily is used to material a little above her grade level.

I also like that it has audio- which is great for us!

We have a few more weeks of our Old Testament but will be done by June--- this curriculum says it is available summer of 2011 .... so we will do some smaller studies like Armor of God,  Fruits of the Spirit,  maybe work on memorization, or just focus on our Word Of Life Curriculum for a few weeks until we get the new curriculum.

Math curriculum:

Math U SEE-- we are keeping for math, just need to order the new book for Kate and new workbooks for Matt and Emily!

Science curriculum:

We are doing a May - August study of Apologia Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day, but we will shorten it of course.

Starting in September we will be doing Physics.

We will be either using Christian Kids Explore Physics

Here is a review of this series...


English curriculum:

I am stuck on this.  I would really like to get away from using three different books to do one subject, I think the kids would prefer a more text book like approach to this and just be done!  I don't want to over "teach" this either simply because I THINK I am supposed to be teaching it!  I am thinking about doing LLATL and each child doing their own level-- which is more work for me of course, but it give the kids "what they need to be learning on their level". 

Here is a review-- most mention that it teaches the "subject" matter but in a whole way which is more what I am looking for- I can say I am teaching grammar but not be all text book about it!

If not I will probably use Rod and Staff English.

We will continue using All About Spelling.

Literature- we will continue with our reading lists, history period readers and books from LLATL.

We will begin Institute for Excellence in Writing Kate, the full program in the Fall
Matt- will continue working with him- without pushing
Emily- we will simply work on sentence structure and fun books and stories OR I will possibly use Write Shop with Emily and Matt with the story builders.  But I would be real laid back and easy about it-- YOU know because I am so laid back and easy!  :0)

History curriculum:

We will continue with our study of American history, we should get through 1850 by August and start our next school year with the Civil War!  Over the course of next year we will study 1850 to present.

Along with our state study and president study.


We will continue using for our study of American artists.

We will simply continue studying composers/ artist and terminology.. choosing one a month and going from there with living books, listening, watching and hopefully experience "real life" performances as often as possible.

I am hoping for Kaitlin to continue art at the Glassel School of Art next semester-- I would like her to take a sketching course. 

Unit Study--

I will continue to base these on

NEED- like for instance us doing a baking unit because the kids were struggling with measurements.

Opportunity- if a play like Pinocchio is coming up I would like to utilize the weeks leading up to it by reading the book, seeing a movie, studying the author, learning about marionette puppets etc.

Season-- of course Fall is a great time to study weather or "elections", winter is great for snow, Advent study, spring- you can learn about planting, butterflies and summer is great for fun stuff- the water cycle, geology.

Historical period-- breaking down time period, doing a unit on a particular person and studying them more in depth, learning about a custom or particular event...

Living events- the tsunami or earthquake can start questions and doing a unit on this can help Or obviously an election or important vote coming up can spark an interest in the election process or how you get a bill passed.  A re-do in the bathroom can be used to learn carpentry, color palettes, measurement and planning.   Baseball season can be used to study players, history, the math of baseball or terminology.

Physical Education...

HA.  No just kidding.  We will swim all summer, we will look into starting tap and gymnastics up again in the fall.  I would love to find a christian karate some where close-- I am looking into it again.

The kids often do 20 straight minutes of workout/ type active Wii activity a day.  We scooter, walk over 2 miles regularly, play at the park and HOPE to go back to the YMCA or find a different program, as that is not working out very well for me right now.  We will see.  Mostly whatever I say is subject to change, due to no motivation, scheduling issues and just plain too many balls juggling!


They will all be using cursive next year. We will probably continue using A Reason For Writing. It is four days a week and then on the fifth day they have  sheet to write out the whole passage and they can color it.

But I will possibly simply use Write Start-- which allows me to print what I want on the sheet, so I could really conform it to scriptures we are already learning, dates, name of history and or quotes.  I could even use vocabulary or spelling words for each child! 

Those are my thoughts SO FAR.... what are you doing next year?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Stealing
for you Sarah Jean...

Four Places I go:

1. Wendy's
2. Garden Oaks Baptist Church
3. Kroger's
4. Sonic

Four Crushes I Have:

1. my hubbie
2. I don't know
3. I don't know
4. I don't know!

Four Smells that I Love:

1. candles vanilla of any sort!
2. Pinesol
3. Exclamation
4. Eternity for Men

Four Favorite TV Shows:

1. Army Wives
2. Glen Beck
3. The Office-- sometimes
4. Chicago Hope

Four Favorite Movies:

1. White Christmas
2. Nemo
3. Knight and Day
4. Star Trek

Four Recommendations:

1. Pretty much never say never.
2. When you eat at Chuys... eat the ranch sauce with the chips.. YUMMO
3. When people make a choice that you don't agree with... just smile and wave
4. Remember the old adage "Walk a day in my shoes...", you never KNOW what someone is going through.

Four People that I'd love to read their Fours:

1. Aneisa
2. Lisa
3. Brenda
4. and Sarah with ALL knew answers!

Four Things about me that you don't know:

1. I have never been drunk
2. As much of a libertarian that I am.... I still want laws against people sanding in FRONT of buildings and smoking on their lunch break!
3. I went to a home school conference before I even had kids!
4. when I was little I loved to watch Murder She Wrote.

Four bands that I love:

1. Mercy Me
2. Third Day
3. Brooks and Dunn-- sadly breaking up
4. The Newsboys

Kaitlin Thompson

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap up-- Week 35


Last week-- do we need to talk about that? Me with all my lack of motivation? How about we don't and we just move on?

Okie Dokie!

So this week...


My mom came over to help finish painting.

The kids got started on independent work though so we got a good start!



Kate and Matt had a  writing assignments:

Matt's Lego project where he picks 20 bricks, builds something and then writes a minimum of 7 sentences about it.

Kaitlin is working on her IEW... we having worked on it for almost two weeks so we gotta get back to it!  She did her vocabulary quiz-- we need to spend more time on vocabulary!

The kids started watching Chariots of Fire but we stopped it-- they were totally not interested!

We are done with science but did make these stand up skeletons-- the kids had fun and you REALLY had to follow directions!


We did math-  I graded Emily's and on one easy problem 7-4= she actually put 3 or 4.  I have ZERO explanation on that!

I pushed Matt ahead one lesson because all he is having an issue with is the measurement.

Matt rewrote his paper.

The kids did handwriting..

We did our bible lesson--- there were whirl winds! 


We also read The Legend of the Easter Egg

 and started a lapbook--- it is a cute book  and takes place in the same town as the Legend of the Candy Cane.  We also made coffee filter eggs!

We also made Resurrection Rolls.

We went and met TRUCK  PAPA for his birthday!!!



History review cards-- because we have no history class this week. 

The kids also played the Presidents game

We also begin reading about Elisha and his ministry....


I decided to have a teacher in service day!  So we had a guilt free NO school day! 

I got a fair amount of printing done and worked on organizing the school room a bit more.  IT is NOT completely how I want simply because I am waiting on buying a few things money wise-- but we are getting MUCH closer. 

I have been wrapping my head around curriculum choices for next year-- which really isn't so much "next year" but as we finish up each subject.  I am trying to not over analyze some things I had trouble with this year. 

I will say this that I am over calling myself a "certain" type of home schooler.  I don't want to call myself a classical, Charlotte Mason, eclectic etc type home schooler.  I think I am JUST a home schooler.  How about that?  Otherwise I feel guilty if I choose X curriculum OR I feel guilty because I am not teaching the way THE WELL TRAINED MIND says too.

I have a goal.  IT is not education.  I mean my children are being educated.  They are learning and growing... but education is NOT the main reason I home school.  It is to grow my children.  It is to be there to be a part of God molding and shaping them.  Not simply education. 

I care whether they can spell, but not as much as whether they are kind.  I care whether they can divide but not as much as if they believe.  I care that we learned about the human body, but not as much as I care that they KNOW they were fearfully and wonderfully made by the CREATOR.

So one thing I know for sure is that next year we will be putting more emphasis on Bible.  We will be putting more emphasis on what HIS WORD says and we will be worrying LESS about what the world says to teach! 

This was a good week--- I feel like I am bringing all my thoughts together after coming out of my fog!  I feel like of course I CAN STILL change my mind a million times but for now... I feel ready. 

As you round up current school year (or school period) what are you deciding about for next year?


Hubbie is home and we are cleaning house and working on things around here.  We might head off to the park later, but first we must dye the SPRING SPHERES!  :0)

Have a blessed Easter Weekend....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dealing badly....

Emily was playing Lego's and took one of Matt's body pieces, Matt came in and took his part back and flicked her Lego head away.  I called him and sat him down by me and he just looked at me...finally I asked him if he had anything to say?  He said no.  I kept looking at him feeling disappointed in him.  I asked again, and he said zilch.  I asked him if he had zilch to say to me or he didn't feel he did anything wrong?  He answered that he had zilch to say, so I asked what was he going to do?  He replied that he was going to apologize to Emily and help her look for the Lego head.

I just gave him a kiss and sent him on his merry way.

This is the child whose heart I don't know about usually.  He is so guarded and has such extreme ideas and feelings.  I don't always know how hardened his heart is, how much of the seed I plant just gets crushed or how much is able to sprout down the line.

I was disappointed in him for acting that way but more for having zero repentance in his heart... but I cant always see his heart.  I want him to say the perfect thing to SATISFY me as a mother.  To make ME feel better about the job I am doing raising him.

It's is sooo not about that!  His heart must have felt immediately bad, he might have even apologized and helped her on his own had I left them alone.  But because he didn't want to have a blubber session with me or another LONG, DRAWN out talk---- he clammed up.

That is ON me!  Not him.  Somehow I am not dealing with him right.  But it is not out of stubbornness on my part or even ability... it is because I don't know how to reach him.

Sometimes that in itself breaks my heart....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

He is the Resurrection and the Life...

 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
 “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 
 John 1:29

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Matthew 27:50-53

So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices,
 as is the burial custom of the Jews. 
John 19:14

The tomb was sealed and at the demands of the chief priests and Pharisees,
 Pilate approved a guard of Roman soldiers.
(Matthew 27:62-66)

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.  And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again... (Luke 24:1-7)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
(John 11:25)