Sunday, September 30, 2012

Painting Part 3

The living room is officially finished with painting!  Hubby moved the t.v. entertainment center for me and I finished painting the area behind it.

You can see the white walls with my color samples behind the t.v.

The white border really lightens the room and makes the ceilings look higher.

The corner is finished!

After I finished painting, I got the fall and Halloween decorations out of the attic.  The weather is starting to really turn cooler and I am in the mood for the holidays.

Now to finish the hall bath and the master bedroom!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Them Dry Bones

Yesterday didn't go as planned for schooling.  Our internet connection was down, so Little Man couldn't complete his online work.  Egee couldn't type her personal narrative on Google Docs, so we improvised.

Little Man and I curled up on the couch and began reading various stories.  We learned about primary colors, musical instruments, and read poetry.  Egee worked on updating her Aikido technique flip chart and vocabulary work. 

Soon we were all gathered in the living room and I read a story about Mozart as a boy.  After I finished the story, we flipped through a couple of pages and I found the song "Dry Bones".  Instantly, I knew what we were going to do next.

I had bought two sticker skeletons for Halloween on Wednesday.  I had planned on using them later in October, but yesterday just happened to be the perfect day.  

Found these at JoAnn's in the dollar section.
We gathered manilla paper and the stickers.  Next, we sat down on the living room floor and began our science/music/art project.  

Before we started, I sang the "Dry Bones" song and then the children joined.  They were having fun.  

Then we began to assemble the skeletons.  Unlike the song, we started with the skull and worked downward.  So we sung the song in reverse!

After we finished, we sang the song again.  Then I started telling the children the correct scientific names of the bones.  They loved the term phalanges!  We then sung the song using the correct names for bones.  Little Man graced us with a dance.  Then Egee joined him to 'move them bones'!

Egee's finished skeleton waving.

Little Man's finished skeleton dancing.
We had a terrific time learning about 'Dry Bones'!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Painting Part 2

Okay, I will admit that I haven't been keeping up with my painting schedule.  Life has gotten in the way.  Between homeschooling, running errands, housework and just needing to take a break, painting has moved to the back burner.  Then I looked at the calendar.  It is the last week of September and I have got to kick into high gear!

The kids and I went to the flooring store to on Monday to finalize the order.  Now I am waiting to hear back on the date for installation.  I can't wait!

Monday, I painted the wall behind my display cabinet.

Wall paper border almost completely down.  The walls use to be a maroon color at one time!

Wall painted and display cabinet back in place.
Tuesday, I painted the wall in between the living room and dining area. 

Wall paper border coming off, hutch emptied and ready to move!
Wall turned out great!  Decided to paint the spiced vinegar color instead of the stony fields.

Today, I worked on painting the mantle. 

I had painted three color choices and then decided to go with off white.

Looks totally different! 

Tomorrow, I will finish the last corner in the living room if all goes as planned.  Then off to finish the hall bath and start on the master bedroom!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Beautiful and Productive Weekend

I love this time of the year.  The temperatures are in the mid to upper seventies during the day, the sky is the most gorgeous blue with an occasional wispy cloud, and a slight breeze stirs the air.

I have a ton of things to get done inside the house (finish taking down wall paper, paint walls, declutter, etc.) and many outdoor projects call my name as well.  Outdoors won this weekend.

After a trip to Lowes on Saturday, Hubby began removing the rotted fascia board from our out building.  It came off effortlessly.  The entire length of the board was rotted and looked like cardboard.

As he worked on repairing the out building, I began cleaning the inside of it.  It is amazing how much dirt gets tracked in over the course of the summer.  I straightened and swept and threw away junk.  I placed two plastic shelving units we took out of our garage into the building.  I put kid toys back where they belonged and lugged in pool noodles to store over the fall and winter.  The lawn mower deck needed to be cleaned, although the lawn mower is not retired yet for the year.

After I finished, I had to get supper started.  The in-laws were coming over for supper and I had fix it. Normally after an afternoon of hot, grimy work, I would have just called in a pizza.  However, I managed to pull together oven fried chicken (it didn't turn out crisp though), mashed potatoes, and bake beans.  For dessert I whipped up pumpkin muffins and homemade ice cream (the ice cream never froze solid in the maker, so we will have it later!).

After the in-laws left, Hubby and I put the leaf cover on the pool and secured it.  We found a few holes in it, but I think it will do its job alright. 

On Sunday, I had planned to paint, but had a change of plans.  I began cleaning and organizing the media cabinet.  I removed all my horses from the glass hutch and cleaned the glass shelves.  I just couldn't bring myself to paint the wall behind the cabinet.  So I will have Hubby help move the cabinet today for me to paint behind it.

Another beautiful day outside, so I decided to plant my fall flowers.  After that task was done, I took a short break on the hammock.  Missy (our border collie) didn't let me relax completely.  She insisted I throw her ball a thousand times!  Little Man then interrupted and wanted to go fishing.

We all went down to our lake and enjoyed a couple of hours relaxing.  Sally B came along on the outing.  Little Man caught one large brim.  He has more fun just casting and reeling in the line over and over again.  Egee fished for a bit, but was more interested in goofing around.

Finally, I grilled smoked sausage and made mac and cheese for supper.  A great end to a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Battle of Kings Mountain

Thursday was library class with Mr. Jack.  Little Man was so excited that we were going to see Mr. Jack.  Normally, Mr. Jack does some kind of science class, but today we were in for a treat.  There was a visitor in the classroom.

The visitor was park ranger, Ashley Barrows, from Cowpens  National Battlefield.  Mr. Barrows gave a wonderful lecture in form of story telling to the children.  He explained the events leading to the Battle of Kings Mountain.  The story of the Overmountain Men from Tennessee and their journey to Kings Mountain.  A very important turning point in the war.  The children listened and answered questions throughout the short presentation.  (A wonderful review on last year's history lessons.)

Mr. Jack brought in a map to show everyone the route the Overmountain Men took to travel from Tennessee to South Carolina.  We discussed how many of the roads or trails used in their travel were old Indian paths and how today those same paths and roads are modern day roads we drive upon. (On our way home from the library, I drove the children home on several of the roads used by the Overmountain Men.  They thought it was so cool!)

After the presentation, we all 'signed up' to join the militia.  No modern writing utensils were used!  Each person was provided a quill to sign their name.  A quill was not the easiest item to write with!  Several attempts were made by many to sign without having huge blobs of ink puddled on the paper.  It was amazing that anyone wrote letters or documents back then.  Much practice and patience was required.

Once the militia papers were signed, we went outdoors to begin training.  All were given dummy guns.  Mr. Barrows told us that even during the war dummy guns were used to train the army.  Not enough muskets were available for training during basic drills.

We learned how to stand ready, shoulder arms, present arms, fix bayonets, and march.  The children enjoyed the drill.

Back inside the classroom, we made posters to help recruit more able bodied men into militia.  The children learned that propaganda was used and that all promises on posters were not always kept.

Egee's poster

Little Man's poster (I wrote and drew for him.  He told me what to do!)

The class passed by quickly and all had fun.  Hands on history presented by people that truly enjoy their job makes it more interesting for those they teach.  Mr. Barrows definitely shows his enthusiasm and the children are ready to go back to Cowpens and onward to Kings Mountain for more fun! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaching Through Nature

When I set out to homeschool the children, I had visions of school at home.  The mimic of school type learning at the kitchen table was what I envisioned for my two young scholars.  We would study grammar, arithmetic, spelling, history, and science.  Lessons would be orderly and exemplary.  We couldn't be farther from my vision at this point in our homeschooling!

That is not to say, we don't learn the above curriculum.  It is that we learn the curriculum in a round about way many days of the week and over the weekend.  It is amazing what they retain from our round about way of learning.

Over the weekend, we went camping.  The children love going out and exploring the river.  Nature is vital to our studies.  The children question the world around them and it allows for the impromptu learning moments that really stick with them.

A beautiful place for a classroom!

Egee loves to pan for gold.  Panning holds Little Man's attention for a short while.  It is tedious and monotonous work that doesn't offer a quick reward for a six-year-old boy.   However, they both can teach another person how to pan.  They both understand the concept quite well, and Egee is better at it than I.  She is constantly giving me advise on how to better my panning technique.

Egee and Hubby panning
Other patrons of the campground have given the children tidbits of information to help in their panning.  Egee files all this away in her head and spews forth various bits and pieces during our trips.  I am amazed at her knowledge.  She really is into rocks and minerals.  Something that I never really had an interest.  I now find myself looking for material to expand her knowledge and learn more myself. 
Heading to the river

Showing the sand Little Man scooped for her.

Looking for gold
Little Man at the moment is more interested in picking up rocks and tossing them into the water.  He likes to categorize his rocks by color and size.  He understands that gold is heavy and the best chance at finding any is to dig into the sandy river bottom.  He shovels and fills pans for us.  He scouts out areas that look to have black sand.  This is his element - rocks, sand, water, and the ability to dig holes!
Scouting out the 'right' spot to dig up sand for sister.

Looking for the perfect rock to throw.
When we are out camping we walk a lot and the children ride their bikes.  As we walk, we talk about all sorts of things.  How to spot poison ivy, what kinds of trees are around us, how the river has shifted over time, identifying the various types of insects, and other miscellaneous topics.  These are things that our ancestors taught their children.  Things that have been pushed aside in schools today.  Many children hardly set foot outside to learn about their surroundings.  They only learn from the textbooks and never get their hands dirty in the real world.  That is not how we learn!

 Riding bikes

Playing Uno - great way for Little Man to learn.  We reviewed basic number in Spanish along with our colors.

I have read numerous books to children about life during the Revolutionary Period, Slavery, Pre-Civil War and Civil War.  Most of the books we read are centered around children.  Egee thought it strange that most of the children never attended school.  Little Man did not (he has never attended public school).  He pointed out the children learned at home just like they do!  He loved hearing about Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and wants to learn the way they did.  Most of the children were taught reading and writing and computation.  However, they also were taught skills essential to living.  Skills we are slowly losing or have lost as a general population.  What will happen if we must one day revert to a lifestyle of one hundred plus years ago?  Children need nature and nature needs children.  We must create good stewards that will pass the information on to the next generation.

Learning to tend the campfire.

Camping has allowed us to take our learning to another level without even realizing it!  It has opened many doors for discussions of various topics.  I hope my children will become good stewards for our natural world.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Helping with the Business

Hubby has decided to branch out and begin a marketing campaign for his business.  I have been helping in creating a monthly newsletter for electronic publication for the past few months.  He has now decided send printed newsletters to various businesses in our area.

The children were excited to hear that dear ol' Dad would need help stuffing envelopes every month.  This creates an opportunity for them to earn a few extra dollars.  As Mom In Charge, it was my job to fold the newsletters, print the envelopes, fold any inserts and supervise the all to eager stuffers.

Folded newsletters
Insert awaiting the folding process.

So, after their school lessons were complete, we began the process of stuffing and sealing envelopes.   A wet cotton ball works great to moisten the glue strip on the envelope.

Stuffed and ready for mailing.  The bread box was perfect for holding the finished product!

Once finished, we took the newsletters to the Post Office.  The children can't wait to stuff envelopes again next month!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Trip to the Zoo

It has been a busy couple of weeks in our house!  Between school lessons and trying to get the inside of the house painted, there has been little time for anything else.  Today, however, we made time for a fun field trip to the Greenville Zoo.  It has been a while since we have visited the zoo and the children were eager to go.

We met my sister, niece and the two little boys my sister babysits at the zoo.  The little ones couldn't wait to see the animals. 

Little Man has been pouring over his animal book in great anticipation of seeing the real, living creatures at the zoo.  He had his pages ready to take into the zoo for reference.  A-Man, who is three, had to hold the map in order to be like Little Man.  The two were inseparable during the trip.  Little Man isn't use to having a little shadow following him.  He enjoyed being the big boy.

The zoo was nice and quiet during our visit.  A few families with little ones walked the trails leading to the various exhibits.  The Greenville Zoo has updated many of its enclosures and added exhibits to make it even more child friendly.  The zoo was a perfect size for smaller children.  They are not overly stimulated or tired when they are done visiting.  

A-Man, Egee, and Little Man having fun at the zoo!
After we finished visiting the zoo, we took the children to Cleveland Park for a picnic and play.  The park is adjacent to the zoo and has a fun playground. 

Playing on the twisty things.

 A perfect ending to a fun morning out at the zoo!