Saturday, December 14, 2013

When Mommy Gets Sick

I don't get sick often, but when I do the whole world turns upside down. I haven't posted in a week because I have been sick.  The in the bed, don't feel good, leave me alone and let me rest type of sick.  Thank goodness the worst part hit on a Saturday and Hubby was home to deal with the kiddos.

By Monday, I was able to deal with the children.  However, we did not formally do school work.  I couldn't read without coughing and I could stay upright for about thirty minutes.  That was just enough time to try and catch up on light house work.

Finally, by Tuesday, I was able to get the kids back on track with school work.  We caught up on the advent reading and other stories.  We continued to catch up on chores and crafts.  With a built in mandatory rest period in the afternoon, I had gained back an almost normal feeling.

I'm not sure what I contracted, but I have found that Black Elderberry syrup is wonderful to fight off the cold or flu.  Along with sudafed for a decongestant, I recovered faster than with all the other over the counter meds.  I'm definitely going to grow elderberry this next year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holidays and Home School

It is so nice to have flexibility during the holiday season.  Traditional lessons are laid to the side and unit studies begin.  In November, we concentrated on giving and traditions of Thanksgiving.  Now, we are focusing on Christmas.

Reading is centered around various stories of Christmas:  Funny stories, life changing stories, nativity stories, etc.

We have incorporated South Carolina history by reading "The Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina" by Melinda Long.

Our bible studies are taken from our advent Christmas countdown.  Everyday, the children are excited to remove another link and listen to the bible story.

Math lessons are centered in the kitchen.  Adding fractions, measuring, keeping time, and reading recipes provide a dose of real life concepts.  Little Man enjoys the fruits of his labor!  Money skills are quickly being learned, as well.  The Christmas wish lists and buying for others with a set monetary amount makes searching for bargains a must!

Science lessons are also taking place in the kitchen.  Cooking is mostly chemistry!  Follow directions in an experiment and a recipe are important.  Experimentation with a recipe by adding this or that is just as much fun as adding things in a chemistry experiment.  Although, cooking allows tasting!

Fine arts comes in the form of Christmas programs, theater shows, musicals, holiday brass ensembles, arts and crafts, etc.  There is plenty of singing and dancing around the house!

Home Economics centers around shopping lists, shopping, cleaning, planing for parties, etc.

The rest of the time is spent on activities the children want to pursue.  Egee is knitting and crocheting hats, scarves, and anything else that catches her fancy.  Little Man is busy making an improvised drum set, connecting snap circuits into different configurations, and imaginative play.

Learning is happening all over the place, but just not in a traditional style!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Elf on the Shelf Fun!

The children wanted an Elf on the Shelf last year.  Santa did not send one so late in the season last year, but remembered to send one this year!

Santa sent Tinsel Mistlestar to our home a week before Thanksgiving.  The children were delighted!  They did not want a naughty elf, like their friend's elf.  In his letter to the children, Santa promised that Tinsel would be a good little elf, but could be a bit mischievous at times.  The neighbor's elf was not sent by Santa and was a flunkie from Elf Scout school.  That is why he is a naughty little elf.  Our Tinsel was an Elf Scout graduate!

Tinsel moves around every evening and finds a new place to perch.  Although, one evening he forgot to move!  Little Man assured me that he had not touched the elf.  He was so disappointed that Tinsel had not moved.  But, then something magical happened!  Tinsel moved while Little Man was fixing breakfast and I was in the shower!  Oh, what excitement that brought!

We went to a home school class later that morning.  When we returned, Tinsel had moved again!  Our little elf was playing games!

Tinsel has hid in some obvious spots and a few places that have really caused a wide spread search.  He has shown up at MeeMee's house to keep an eye on Little Man!

With the Christmas season fully upon us, who knows where or what Tinsel may be doing!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Choir

The children have been involved in our church's children's choir (G-Tunes) program this fall.  It started in September and the fall session has concluded with a lovely Christmas performance. 

All dressed up and ready to sing!
The people that have given their time to volunteer and work with approximately one hundred children are priceless.  They have provided the children with a wonderful experience and growth in the relationship of Christ.

The choir performed during Sunday morning service and sang with the adult choir.  The children that showed were just a small percentage of the children in the G-Tunes children's choir.

 Singing "Bring My Praise" with the adult worship choir.

The G-Tunes children's choir put on the production "Meet Me at the Manager" later in the afternoon.  They did such a terrific job.   Several children had solos or duets, speaking parts, sign language parts, dancing, silent drama parts, etc.  All did great!

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings enjoyed every moment.  The program was not designed to be a kid cute, laugh fest.  It was a wonderful message of why Christ is the reason for Christmas.  Through song, the message was relayed to the audience.  During the course of the fall session, Pastor George has relayed the message to the children.  I know in my children, the message has stuck.

These songs will remain in our holiday listening and singing repertoire.  The lessons will stay with us.  What a wonderful program!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Countdown

Tis the season!  I wanted to do something a bit different this year in our countdown to Christmas.  I have a snowman that helps countdown the days.  If the children have been good that day, a special candy treat is left in the pocket.  If they have been naughty, no candy!  That really makes an impression on Little Man.

However, I wanted to integrate the true meaning of Christmas more into our daily schedule.

We read the nativity story and different books about Christmas, but I really wanted to take it a step farther this year.  I found a wonderful resource on the internet!  Advent Paper Chains: An Easy Christmas Craft 

Last night, Egee helped me cut out the links and make the countdown chain.  She loves to make things like this.  We used staples to hold the paper links and make it easier to detach from the chain.  Then, we hung the chain on the wall.

Little Man is in charge of removing the red links and Egee the green links.  Each day we read the bible passage and discuss it.  Both children are enjoying learning more about Christmas. 

It is a wonderful way to share such an amazing story of God's love for us.  It goes beyond just the Nativity story and brings the coming of Jesus full circle.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we are!

Native American Games

The Landrum Library Home school class was about Native American children's games.  Ms. Nancy had different stations set up in the room for the children to make a variety of games.  She explained the purpose of each game and had the children play the game.  It was a small class and they had a delightful time.

The shell game forced the child to focus on an object.

 The firewood stealing game forced the blindfolded child to use her sense of hearing and the child stealing the wood to be quiet and quick.

 Ball rolling made the child learn to be accurate.

 The ball and hole games made the child focus on hand and eye coordination.

The pattern game made the child focus and use memory recall.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Radio Rescue

I picked up a book at the main library branch the other day.  'Radio Rescue' by Lynne Barasch.  The book caught my eye and I placed it in my bag.

Today, we read the book.  I figured Little Man would like the book.  My dad and husband are both ham radio operators and he knows a bit about the operation of the radio.  This book was a delightful read.  Based upon the author's father's boyhood desire to become a ham radio operator.  It illustrated how hard work and not just desire is rewarded. 

Little Man found the book exciting.  Especially the communication with the naval ships.  It gave us an opportunity to discuss focus and determination.

This book would make a great read for any ham operator to share with a child or grandchild, as they introduce radio operating to the child.  Who knows, it may spark the desire for the child to approach the hobby.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Can You Hear Me?

Mr. Jack had a fun surprise at the Chesnee Home school class last week.  He had the children make mechanical (tin can) telephones.  Oh, boy!  The eyes lit up and excitement built as Mr. Jack discussed the origins of the telephone.  He explained how the wires must be hung and how they only could transmit so far.  He related it to how the tin can phones they were about to make would work.  The children couldn't believe how crude the first telephone actually was.  That is, until they used their tin can phones.

Mr. Jack had an assortment of materials to use.  Large and small tin cans, plastic cups, and string.  The children paired up and selected their materials.  Some chose the large tin cans for each.  Others decided to mix it up with a large and small can.  Still some decided to use a tin can and a plastic cup.  Which combination would work best? 

They tied string to the cups and cans.  They tested the sound quality.  Learning how to stand correctly and keep the string tight was hard for them.  They wanted to face each other! 

Finally, after they tested their creations, Mr. Jack took the class outside to test the quality.  (The library room was too loud and small.)  Mr. Jack had the children line up in a chain fashion.  They were to play the game telephone with their telephones.  He told one child the word to transmit and the journey began.  Many had to repeat what they spoke into the can.  Deciphering was hard at times.  The word didn't always get to the last person the way it started.  Although, it was close.  Dog became dot.  Hot became hat.  Bog became log. 

This fun experiment left a lasting impression on the children.  They understood how far technology has improved the most used communication device.  With my techno driven children, they had a new appreciation for the cellular phones we now take for granted.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Visit to Australia - Headquarters Library Home School Class

The children visited Australia today.  Thanks, to a fellow homeschooling family that presented and shared a piece of their three month adventure to Australia. 

We entered the classroom and saw tables filled with different things representing the Land of Down Under.  A table with wood pieces that resembled rain sticks, which we learned were didgeridoos.  Another table was filled with stuffed animals that represented different animals of Australia.  Boomerangs sat upon another table.  Books were displayed about the country at the front table. 

Ms. Jane introduced the Woodfin family to the children.  The Woodfin boys had created a powerpoint presentation to share with the children.  The younger Woodfin boy played a game of what sound is this.  He was really outgoing and eager to share his experiences. 

The children liked the sound game and learned some interesting facts about different animals and instruments of Australia. 

Mrs. Woodfin passed out a scavenger hunt list for the children.  She explained how they were to explore all the things in the room.  The children were eager to look at the treasures and partake in snacks. 

At the end of the program, Mrs. Woodfin played a couple of videos for the children.  One was one the 'unofficial national anthem' of Australia, "Waltzing Matilda".  She explained the meaning of the song to the children.  We learned about the different vocabulary used in the song and then wandered why they chose such a song. 

It was a lovely introduction to the country.  Thank you, Woodfin family for sharing your experience!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Beautiful Day to Walk in Nature: Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous outside.  The forecast for the remainder of the week looked grim, so I decided to take advantage of a lovely morning.  November seems to be an ugh month for schooling.  The upcoming holidays add anticipation to the schedule and everyone is ready for a break.  So, I try to come up with clever ways to learn.  The clever idea for the day was a trip to Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve.

I have been wanting to take the children to Hatcher for a while.  It just never seemed to fit in the schedule.  However, we were going make a go of it.  Our morning lesson had consisted of a Thanksgiving story and a math/art related lesson on shapes in nature.  I used the math/art lesson to segue into our trip to Hatcher.


We stopped by the dollar store and purchased drawing paper and drinks.  Our nature study was going to include an art lesson.  This, of course, thrilled Egee.  She loves to draw and create.  Little Man only draws on occasion, but he did do one drawing.  He was more interested in exploring his surroundings. 

We saw plenty of squirrels and birds.  Leaves were spiraling down from the tops of trees.  We watched them spin like helicopters to the ground.  Little Man searched for turtles in the pond, as Egee drew the landscape.  We let him pick the trail to take and followed.  Hidden treasures appeared around every bend in the trail.  Small ponds, creeks, drainage ditches, benches, gazebos, decks all offered an appeal to him.  Beautiful fall colors surrounded us.  It was hard to believe we were in the city. 

The children and I identified plants during the walk.  We discussed the natural water filtration in the area from the street water run-off.  They learned about retention ponds and bogs.  They noticed the slopes of the land and how the water ran. 

The garden is a lovely getaway that we will continue to visit.  It is a place to step back and enjoy nature for an hour or two.  A true gem in our county!