Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year, 2013

Here it is another year gone. My husband and I are spending our New Year's Eve at our jobs. Super exciting right?! Someone has to do it. My boys are at their aunt's house getting to stay up to bring in the New Year with family. I am okay with it as I have the next 4 days off work! We start back to school on January 2.

I have enjoyed our break so much! I sure hope we jump right back into the swing of things though. To make our first day back go a little smoother we are going to start out with some 2013 activities. I have been scouring Pinterst and the web for some fun ideas.

For Luca we are going to start working on some calendar skills. I thought the first project we would do is to start making a calendar. We will do each month as it comes along. I found this idea on Pinterst, My Handprint Calendar. They are the cutest handprint calendars ever! Luca had a lot of fun making the handprint Christmas tree (in my last post) that I think he will really enjoy this (and I will have a keepsake).

Nico will be doing some writing activities for 2013. I found this Poster Freebie on TeachersPayTeachers. He really enjoyed the "If I Were Santa, Elf Application, and Reindeer Application" so hoping this one will be fun too.

We had some snow fall today, New Year's Eve so tomorrow should be fun for our last day off. We will do some sledding and ATV riding.

I have two minutes until midnight, so I am out of here to call my husband and kids!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Art

I have totally become hooked on viewing things on Pinterest. I have actually even completed some of the projects I pinned. I use many of the recipes. I love how organized it keeps my things.

This holiday season we are working on some of the holiday crafts. Here is one the boys did yesterday. I love the way they turned out. I plan to keep them and hang them up each of the following years. I also have many of Nico's previous Christmas art work framed. They get hung up during the season.

Setting up the paint

Green hand prints

Nico had free range to do what he wanted. I loved listening to him tell me how Ms. Flavia, the art teacher, taught him how to place the colors.

Luca may not like to draw with crayons but he sure loves a paint brush!

Adding details

Finished Product

Luca adding details

Another beautiful project.

Elf On The Shelf

Our little Elf is named Christopher. He arrived for his first time last year. Christopher is getting braveer and having more fun with the boys this year. Here are some of his shinanigans and spy missions.

Christopher arrived this year in the Aloe plant.

He was fishing in Nico's fish tank.

Playing spy games in Luca's room.
Hanging out with some "Angry" friends.
Taking a ride on the Hot Wheels track.

He left some Elf Kisses to encourage good behavior.
He delivers weekly Elf Reports.
I have a few more but for some reason the blog is not liking them to load. He has TP'd the Christmas tree which Luca thought was "AWESOME". He was using marshmallows to build a snowman and has been seen hiding out in the plants throughout the house. Just a few more days left for Christopher to send back full reports to Santa!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

EEK! Where Does The Time Go!

Wow, I haven't blogged in quite a while. So much for keeping up! Life gets busy.

We have been trying to keep on track with lessons. The year is flying by and it seems we are behind. We decided since the weather is turning cooler we will be spending more time at home doing lessons and less time hanging with friends. We still have co-op and the holiday parties coming up.

Luca is doing well with his reading. We are advancing on our letters and he is getting excited about remembering them. Numbers are coming along as well. He actually told me today he likes Math. I decided that I needed to take smaller steps with him and do his lessons in smaller segments. He seems to grasp it better. Luca is loving hip hop dance and still takes jazz, ballet, tap, and gymnastics.

Nico is also doing great. He has finished Delta MUS and moving onto Epsilon. He absolutely loved roman numberals and I actually learned how to read them while teaching them to him. Onto fractions! I just bought Muggins Math game and am looking forward to incorporating that into our school days to break up math and get his multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction skills sharpened up. We started reading "Cricket In Times Square" (a book I have never read) for reading. I am enjoying reading the classics with him as we are both learning together! Who would have thought!? Gosh I love homeschooling.

Nico is preparing for his solo in hip hop and will also be performing with his team, OZONE. He has his solo video taped so he can practice it, but has asked that I don't watch it or him until his first performance. He knows I love surprises, but this is killing me! I know he wants it to be perfect before I see it. I love the talent my children have!

I had Brian home with us for about 5 days. We had a 50th anniversary party for my mom and dad and made sure he attended. He then stayed with us so he could vote in his first election! It was nice to have him home for a while. I miss him, but he is still not ready to conform to my rules at the house. He prefers to live with friends not working and hoping he gets a meal. I did go to GoodWill with him and bought him some warm clothes. We also made a stop by SAM's to stock up on some healthy food for him. In 5 months he will be 21! I just don't know where the time has gone.

Halloween with friends. Luca is the creepy Zombie on the right and Nico is Scream. Halloween is my favorite holiday and to me...the scarier and bloodier the better. Both boys picked out their own costumes this year. I was surprised Luca wanted to be so creepy...but I loved it!

Nico's artwork. This photo does not do it justice. Nico is so artistic. He does take art lessons from someone other than me. She is amazing! This year the focus is water colors.

The guys dancing at mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary party. This is Mike, Brian, my brothers, Vern and Vince, brother in law off to the side and Nico in front. I loved how they were not shy at all getting up there dancing the YMCA together!

Nico and I love watching So You Think You Can Dance. This year I made it a point to buy tickets to see them on tour! We had a great time having a mom and son night out. The show was amazing. I am so inspired by these dancers and their passion for dance. We were really hoping we could meet some of them in person, but it didn't happen.

Monday, October 1, 2012


We had a good time last week studying Egypt.

The boys painted a pyramid and wrote their names in hierglyphs.
I then wrapped them up like mummys. I had to laugh when I told Luca at breakfast I was going to turn them into mummys that day. Luca quickly said, "NO, don't take my brains out!" (glad he had been listening)

We then moved into the kitchen to create small mummys.

Nico always loves a messy project

The mummys

I love Luca's face...he is not so much on the messy part.
To make the mummys we took little army guys and covered them with paper mache. This is Luca's first time with a messy project like this. This week we will be painting little coffins I bought at Micheal's and covering them with a colored in Egyptian top.

We then took a week long break for a fun trip to California to visit family. (and do some school work-aquarium, Legoland, the beach, Hollywood) Pictures to come!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Catching Up - Sept. 14, 2012

It has been a busy week! My aunt suddenly passed away last Saturday. It was a shock for us all. One of the many blessings of homeschooling is flexibilty. It was so nice to be able to take a day off school and spend it with family. One of my uncles didn't see Nico standing with me and said, "I guess Nico is in school." My mom laughed and said, "Yes, his teacher is right here." (He forgot we homeschooled). I didn't have to rush off after the services. We even went to my cousin's house and spent time with them and their children. Very special times.
With that we had to catch up today. I have the next 3 weeks planned in my planner and didn't want to erase it all :-) We did it though. Another thing I am happy about is splitting our 8 lessons into 4 on each day. Perfect for situations such as this. We spent today doing all 8 lessons and staying on track. It was a longer day than usual, but still finished by 2pm.
We had a lot of fun this week teaching a class on Robotic Arms. It is a grant program through Duke University on Engineering. Another mom got involved with it and asked if I would teach it. Mike helped me with the first one and enjoyed it so much we decided we would co-teach them all. I love that my husband is involved in what we do. He has so much knowledge and adds so much to these classes.
Here are some pictures from the class.
Learning about circuits. They had to add a touch sensor to their arm that had a buzzer. They also had to design their own switch. First they experimented.

Building the arm

The group!

Mike giving some instruction.
Never a dull moment!
Our lessons went well this week. Both boys worked very hard. I feel we are finally getting in our groove again. Summer break is wonderful, but so hard to get back into it.
We have been studying plant cells and animal cells in biology. One assignment for Nico was to make cell pizzas for dinner. We have been waiting forever to find the time we could fit them in for was the day. His friend came over and they made pizzas for us. Colton said he had a great time (He is not homeschooled). They turned out delicious! I only had two pieces left.
Ready to make some pizzas!

Making the pizzas. They used diagrams to figure out what veggies would be what.

Ready for the oven! Can you see the nucleus and vacuoles?
I can't forget to add the fun Luca has been having. He is working on Hideaways in History from WinterPromise. It is so fun. Some of the readings are advanced for him so I modify them. The most fun is the hands on activities and building the hideaways. Our pyramid didn't turn out quite big enough to hide in, but I will get his picture standing next to it next week.....when he is wrapped like a mummy ;-)
Here are some pictures of Luca...having fun and hard at work.
A little MUS Decimal Street.

In his cave hideaway with his fire. Hanging are cave paintings. He also made a vest to wear.
Next week will be a short week for us as Nico's birthday party is set for next Friday. We take the day off of school to get everything ready. It is going to be a blast.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal, Sept 2, 2012

Blog Hop!

In my life this week….
          Things will be getting busy again…dance/soccer/extras start back up!

In our homeschool this week…
          The boys had a good week. Things went smoothly.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
          Have fun with it~

Places we’re going and people we are seeing…
          Park day this coming Friday! Yay, homeschool fun.

My favorite thing this week was…
          Working with Luca on MathUSee…counting over 20, using the blocks.

What’s working/not working for us…
          Struggling with reading with Luca. Have decided to stick with Explode the Code and Hooked on Phonics cards and CD. We started with “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lesson”…it is not working for us.

Questions/thoughts I have…
          Sometimes I feel like I might be failing my kids…but then I see what is going on in the public schools and realize I am not. We just do things in our own way at my children’s pace and it is OK.

Things I am working on…

I’m cooking…
          Applesauce in the crockpot. Got 9 jars!

I’m grateful for…
          My family
I’m hoping for…
          Another wonderful week with my kids.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Luca working on Decimal Street (MathUSee)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal August 26, 2012

Blog Hop!

In my life this week….
          I got a new to me car.

In our homeschool this week…
          We had a Back To School Bash with our homeschool group. The group is in it’s 2nd year and is growing in numbers of families and FUN! It is going to be a great year.

Places we’re going and people we are seeing…
          Just booked a trip to sunny CA to visit my husband’s side of the family.

My favorite thing this week was…
          Seeing all the kids get along and have a great time at the Bash. All age groups had fun reconnecting after the summer and making new friends.

What’s working/not working for us…
          Darn computer programs....Our first day going to use Wordly Wise online failed as the logins didn’t work. Of course, it is being remedied, but not in time before our school day was out. Thus, Wordly Wise put off until this next week.

Questions/thoughts I have…
          Do all 10 (almost 11) year boys get so emotional? He has never been this way.
Very frustrating. He won’t talk about it either. (I guess I should be able to relate as menopause has set in here J

Things I am working on…
          Creating a chore check off list every day for Nico which has to be completed before he can play. Too many chores have been put off for later and they don’t get compelted.
I’m reading….
          Still reading “Dragonfly in Amber”.
I’m cooking…
          Applesauce in the crockpot. My friend gave me two boxes full of delicious apples. My job this week is to get them made into applesauce. One batch is complete.

I’m grateful for…
          The precious time with my kids every day.

I’m hoping for…
          A non-emotional week from all of us.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal

Linking up here for the Homeschool Mother's Journal. A way to try to keep track of my weeks, thoughts, and ideas.

In my life this week….
            I might be getting a new car! Super excited about this.

In our homeschool this week…
          Moving into week #2. It looks like we might have a wrench thrown in our week and not be getting as much completed as planeed. L

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
            It’s not how much work we get completed, but how much learning we accomplished!

I am inspired by…
          All the mom’s in our homeschool group. They are such a fun group. They inspire me to make our days fun and loving.

Places we’re going and people we are seeing…
          Possibly heading to TN this week. If so, we will try to catch a couple of historical sites. Also meeting new friends and old friends at two park days this week.

My favorite thing this week was…
          Hearing Luca repeat a verse from our FIAR book, “Madeline”. 
            “She said to the lion in the Zoo, “Pooh, pooh”.”

What’s working/not working for us…
          Wordly Wise Workbook did not go so well this week. Even though I had asked him which version he wanted to do…online or workbook. Lucky for us Homeschool Buyers Coop has Wordly Wise as a group buy this month….$35 instead of $300 – DEAL! Restarting Wordly Wise online this week (hopefully)- if not next week.

Things I am working on…
          Scrapbooking the boys dance recital photos.

I’m reading….
          Dragonfly in Amber”, by Diana Gabaldon

I’m cooking…
            Lots of crock pot recipes this week! It was a good week to eat at home.

I’m grateful for…
          My supportive and loving husband.

I’m hoping for…
          The weather to stay cool!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

                                           It’s a Dalmation Plantation I say!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Day of HOMEschool - 2012

We made it...our first day of school 2012-2013 was a success!
It was a good day, even though the teacher overslept!
I must admit, it is because I worked until 1am and didn't get to bed until 2:30am then forgot to set my alarm clock. Luca came in at 8:30 and said, "Mom, let's go!"

We got started at 9:30am and finished by 2:15pm. I little longer than I wanted to but the boys worked hard and had fun on their science and geography projects. I am so glad I am doing an alternating schedule with just 4 subjects a day or we would still be at it at 6pm.

Here are some photos of our day.
Who needs a school bus? Not us....this is the boys ride over to the school house.

Time for school to start!

 Luca had to ring the bell too.
 I got these shoe boxes from work. Our steel toed shoes come in them. Perfect for travel cases on our journey around the world for Geography class.
 Here are the boys decorating their 'suitcases'. They will keep all the things they make this year and a their passports (making them Thursday) in their cases.

 Beautiful....although not sure why Luca is so sad.
 The boys sat together while we talked about culture. Luca was funny. He wanted me to write 'culture' on the board so he could copy it in his notebook. Nico even took notes without being told!
 Both boys hard at work. Of course, Luca was finished with his case way before Nico so he gets to work on other activities.
 Science today brought classify things. Luca had to find animals and classify them. He ended up making a poster with his different animals.
Nico has a tub full of things that he has to clasisfy in several different ways.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One More Week!

It's almost here - our first day of school for 2012-2013!
Where did the summer go?
I am so glad we took the time off this summer. It was nice sleeping in, not hurrying, and enjoying each other's company. It was a relaxing summer.
I am ready though to get started on our new year. I hope the boys enjoy the curriculum as much as I am anticipating them too. Also our new routine of 4 subjects each day with more meat to them.

Best wishes to everyone for a gret school year!

Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back to (Home) School 2012 - Where We School

For the first couple of years of homeschooling it all happened at the kitchen table. Four years ago we moved out to the country. There was a small out building on the property. Immediately I said I wanted to convert it to a school house. Instead we converted it to a chicken coop. We ended up doing school work in one of the extra bedrooms which was my scrapbook room/school room. It was perfect with just having Nico. Then Luca came along. It was always very distracting for Nico to have Luca running around the house and me trying to keep track of him. I once again got the idea of a school house. We often drove the out building place and one day I saw the perfect building! I stopped, looked at, discussed, and found out it was a repo and I could have it at a great price! I jumped on it. We had it delivered and my wonderful husband helped me by running electric from the house to the building, insulating, drywalling, and painting it for/with me. We absolutely LOVE it! Last year was the first year using it and our days went so much eaiser. Also dad works night shift so he can get some sleep in the house where it is quite while we get our school work done without worrying about waking him up.

This is our school house. I could sit out here for hours on end. It is so peaceful and comforting out here. We love having the space to keep all of our things out and all in one place. Often we can be found working on our lessons outside too.
As a wedding gift we received a school bell. The kids race out there to see who can ring it first in the morning.
This is Luca's desk. As you can see it has his alphabet chart and a nice work table where I can sit next to him and work with him. I love IKEA. We don't have one close to our house, but my friend took me with her on a trip to Ohio and we went shopping! My desk is from IKEA. I also absolutely love the wires hanging across the top of the room. I bought 4 of them while I was there to have on hand. This one holds Luca's pipe cleaner letters he makes.
 It also holds our timeline. This is the reading corner with a comfy futon. One the right wall is the daily schedule board. On this board I write briefly what the lessons are for the day. Nico can quickly see what is expected. Usually I let him decide the order of the day.
This corner holds our bookshelf full of goodies. This has readers and lot of reference material. The roller cabinet on the left holds science goodies, math flash cards, etc. The red hanging files on the right is the assignments for the boys. If there is a worksheet that needs to be completed that day it is in the appropriate subject slot. Nico also turns in his papers in one of the pockets if I am busy and can't check it right away.
 This is Nico's desk and the other half of the school house. It is heated with portable heaters as can be seen on the far left. Also my 'twirling teacher helper' is on top of it. I love to store papers in there. I found Nico's desk on Craigslist. I love it because he can keep all his books, binders, and notebooks handy in his desk. Another IKEA addition (above both boys desks) is the bar with the hanging cups. Love these for pencils, glue, etc. All those little things that you tend to lose elsewhere. We also have our bulletin board with current subjects posters on it. Our world map and another desk and bookcase. I have a printer on the desk now to use as a copier. (It gets old when I have to keep running in the house to make copies)
Here is our room looking in from the front door. I love my big white board (shower board actually). I also strung another IKEA wire across the front. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our space. It is only 100 feet from the house. The only thing missing is a bathroom but that's okay. It gives us a break to walk into the house. We usually grab a snack at that time.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our school space. Nico is working on making a sign for the front.