Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Homeschool Plan - Review

Math - I feel like I can't quite find our sweet spot for math, although we are getting close.
  • Math U See - Finished Beta, will start Gamma next week
  • Finished and Reread Life of Fred Apples and started Life of Fred Butterflies as planned
  • Times Tales - both kids are pretty proficient at both Part 1 & 2
  • More Math supplements - Khan academy, IXL, XtraMath - Didn't really use these this month
  • ADDITIONAL - worked a lot on counting change. Both kids love setting up a pretend store and working with the money
Language Arts
  • First Language Lessons Level 3 - done through lesson 25
  • Writing With Ease - finished level 2
  • Completed online poetry class and started Techniques of Creative Writing class for Kate as planned
  • Improve Reading & Writing Skills Workbook with Jack - taking this slow & steady
  • Sequential Spelling for Kate as planned, Jack gets spelling through tutor and above workbook
  • Tutoring for Jack as planned
  • Sight Words app for Jack - as planned but could do more
  • Assigned Reading: My Brother Abe (Kate) and Mr. Klutz is Nutz(Jack) then A Long Way From Chicago (both kids) - Chicago ended up being a bit of a frustrating book for Kate to read. She is such an avid reader, that I took her opinion to heart and let her stop. Jack completed the audiobook
  • Start The Sentence Family - didn't happen...
  • Slowly work through What's Physics All About with additional resources from library - this has been fun, lots of books & videos from the library on Physics/Forces, lots of little experiments
  • Start Weather Lab - nope
  • Brain Study - nope
  • Praying Mantis Study - yup!

History/Social Studies
  • Continued study of Lincoln, Lewis & Clark, Chicago/Great Fire, Ulysses S. Grant, Midwest, Great Lakes - all done while traveling. Loved it.
  • Old Testament Bible Stories - nope
  • Pony Express Study - we've done some reading, have some more reading to do, Jack has been doing some activities in an activity book he got at the Pony Express Station in Gothenburg, NE, and we watched Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (kids loved it!)
  • Apple 1:1 - nope
  • Vision Therapy (Jack) - been pretty good, need to vary it up
  • Swim Team 2-3x/week - as planned
  • Logic (misc workbooks, games, etc) - some, not a lot
  • Keyboarding (Kate) - started, doing each lesson 2-3 times before moving forward
  • Computer programming (Jack) - have not started, might wait until after the holidays
  • Playful Learning ecourses - did Be A Peacemaker ecourse with handouts, waiting on some books from the library to finish up (Mom wasn't prepared!)
  • Baking - a little with Kate, ordered some beginner baking cookbooks to help us organize learning
  • Family Meditation - nope
  • Piano Lessons - nope
  • Horseback Riding Lessons (Kate) - nope
  • Road Trip: Chicago (Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science & Industry, Water Tower, Willis Tower, Lincoln Park Zoo, Grant Park, Millenium Park), Michigan (apple picking, cider mill, beach), Iowa, Nebraska (Omaha zoo, pony express station, sod house) YUP!! 
  • Field Trips: Boo at the Zoo, Homeschool Halloween Party
  • Weekly Homeschool Program as planned
  • ADDED: Couch 2 5K running program, volleyball for Kate, soccer for Jack

Right Now

It's sorta become our tradition to go get pumpkins and carve them the afternoon of Halloween (any earlier and the squirrels eat them!)

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Right Now

Wishing I could curl up in a pajama drawer...

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Chicago Highlights

We spent 6 days in Chicago. Rainy weather and our need for some downtime kept us from some sites. We'll just have to go back. I wish we could do a week every year...

Somehow I didn't do a very good job of documenting our trip with photos. No photos of the Shedd Aquarium nor the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Buckingham Fountain at Grant Park 
The Bean
Willis Tower
(aka Sears Tower)
The platform thingies were pretty cool
Sue at the Field Museum
(we did not do justice to the Field Museum...
just too much to see in one visit)
Driving a submarine at the
Museum of Science & Industry
Watching chicks hatch
(we also barely scraped the surface of the
Museum of Science & Industry. Wish we
could go once a month!)
Kate & I could have spent all day watching chicks hatch!
We kept going back over and over and over...
Watertower. Only building to survive Chicago Fire

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Omaha Zoo

I had heard that the Omaha Zoo was top notch and definitely wanted to stop on our road trip. And although I knew it was supposed to be a great zoo, I sorta thought, "How good could it really be?" Isn't a good zoo, a good zoo? I was very mistaken. I was blown away by how great the Omaha Zoo was. Will definitely go back. Maybe meet friends from Minneapolis half way for a weekend?

The photos really don't do it justice! I loved how they "layered" animals. Often different species of animals in the same enclosure. The indoor rain forest was amazing - with bat colonies flying/roosting all over. And the nocturnal exhibit (which was too dark for photos) was really, really cool, especially the swamp exhibit with beavers and alligators.
See the wallaby up there? Often it felt like
the animals were not in enclosures
Gotta get the gorilla videos on YouTube to share 
We loved, loved, loved the rain forest!
Call the zookeeper! The monkeys have escaped!
(my poor kids hear the joke every time we go to a zoo...
never gets old - for me!)

The aquarium was great, although we went through quickly
since we had just been to the Shedd in Chicago
On the Skyfari (aka skyfart) ride
(pretty goofy by this point in the trip!)
Jack was DYING to go to the animated dinos,
but once we got there was too scared to go
through! They were pretty realistic...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013


Must be careful with the mandolin!
This happened last night, and it STILL hurts and bleeds. You don't realize how important the thumb on your dominate hand is until you can't really use it...

Michigan Beach Time

Some photos from our few days... so lovely...

Day 1
A bit chilly after a storm. Jack stripped down to undies so he could get in. He came out PURPLE. Wish I had a photo of him that way!

Day 2 - Morning
Warmer and calmer at the beach. Lots of play.

Day 2 Sunset
Dinner and donuts.

Day 3
Calm and clear and beautiful all day. We went back for sunset and a bonfire, but I guess I didn't take any photos...

Few other photos...
Climbing sand dunes at the state park
Nina liked the enclosed front porch almost as much as I did!
Perfect lunch for a cool day.
(Loved that front porch!)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Right Now

Making hairy witch finger breadsticks with friends.

To go with our sweet potato soup (yum!) and pizza dinner.

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Apple Picking

In Michigan a few weeks ago. SO much better than apple picking in Colorado! Might have to make Michigan apple picking an annual event.

We drove 2 bushels home across the country. Munching away on them every day. Wishing we had more.

We also found 2 praying mantises (which we promptly researched at the library when we got home).
 1st smaller, one
(which we later learned was probably a male)
2nd, huge one
(which we later learned is probably a female)
Also stopped at a cider mill. Jack is the biggest cider lover ever, so he was fascinated watching them press and bottle the cider. I loved the cider donuts! Yum!