Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our trip, part 1

This is going to be long, and it may very well end up being in two parts. We'll just have to see. :)

We left here early in the morning on Tuesday, October 13th. We had a pleasant drive down to Williamsburg, VA. I would highly recommend going down 301 rather than taking 95--there was virtually no traffic, and it was a much nicer drive. Jamie really enjoyed going over the Bay Bridge--he was quite impressed with its size. :)

Once we got to Williamsburg, we drove directly to the Visitors Center to pick up the tickets that I had purchased online. I'd gotten us the "Key to the City" passes, which are one-day admission with a second day free, plus tickets to the Governor's Palace tour. Since we were getting there in the early afternoon, I knew we weren't going to have time to get everything done the first day, so I decided to head over to the area where the Revolutionary City presentations were going to be going on, see the buildings down there, and see the Revolutionary City program. It was very cool and I'm glad we took the time to see it.

During our first afternoon in Williamsburg it was fairly warm, and we quickly found out that a) there are a lot of bees in Williamsburg, and b) they really, really like root beer. I had purchased a bottle and started being followed all over the place by bees. I finally had to abandon the bottle after like 3 bees fell into it and drowned.

Some Williamsburg pictures:

Jamie at the apothecary. They got to crush sugar and cloves to be used in some sort of medicine they were making.

Jamie with two of the actors from the Revolutionary City re-enactments.

Fifes and drums marching to the Capitol building to see the resolutions for independence passed.

After Williamsburg events ended for the day, we headed over to our hotel to check in. We had booked a room on Priceline at the EconoLodge, which was very nice. I had hoped we could find someplace interesting to eat that night, but as it turns out there are really not a lot of options in the general vicinity of the front gate that aren't super expensive, so we ended up just driving through Wendy's and heading back to the hotel.

The next morning we got up relatively early and headed over to the Capitol Pancake House to eat before going back to Williamsburg for another half day. This time, we concentrated more on the area where the shops are and we purchased several souvenirs, including a tricorn hat for Jamie to wear.

More pictures:

I joked to Jamie we were going to get some stocks for the house. He wasn't amused. ;)

Visiting the blacksmith was a highlight of the day. We had a lot of fun watching them make nails.

After a quick stop at the visitors center gift shop to purchase some Christmas ornaments, we were on our way to Charlotte. This was probably the hardest part of our trip. Driving 5 hours, walking around Williamsburg for 2 half days, and then driving 5 more hours....let's just say that was not well thought out! I was very tired by the time I got to my cousin Carey's house that evening.

We had a lot of fun with him and his family, though. They have 2 boys, one of whom is just about a year and a half older than Jamie, and they had a lot of fun together. I enjoyed catching up with my cousin and his wife, too--I haven't seen them in a long time. Although Michelle and I both take a lot of pictures normally, for some reason neither of us thought to take pictures of the boys together! Oh well. :)

On Thursday morning we were up bright and early and after seeing the boys off to school, Jamie and I headed over to Discovery Place to spend some time there. It's a really cool museum--part of it is currently under construction, but we were able to see some cool things anyway. Jamie and I enjoyed watching the trained rats play basketball (yes, really!) and making boats out of aluminum foil, which we then tested to see how many pennies they would hold before they sank.

Rat Basketball!

The hurricane tube--it simulates Category 1 hurricane force winds.

Floating boats!

From here, we drove down to Greensboro to visit with my friend Andria and her sweet little boy Wilder. It was so much fun hanging out with them. Jamie got to play with Wilder for a while while Andria and I chatted, and then we went out for really yummy Mexican food for dinner. :) That night Jamie and I got to stay in one of the buildings at the girl scout camp where Andria lives. I really wish I'd taken some outdoor pictures there, it was beautiful. :)

Jamie playing with Wilder. I love this shot. :)

This is getting long, so I will cut it for now. Stay tuned for part 2 picking up in Spartanburg! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekly Wrapup: Week 3 (a bit late!)

Here it is, Monday morning, and it just occurred to me that I never did my weekly wrap-up for last week. So here we go. :)

Latin: We are continuing to love it. We just finished our second review lesson. So far Jamie is still having a blast learning.

Math: We are still reviewing in Horizons. Not much to report--we had a week just about the same as last week. I'm hoping we will get into some new stuff soon.

History: We started learning about the Vikings this week, which Jamie is enjoying. In Geography Songs we did the song about the Middle East. I'm still pondering what to sub in for Windows on the World--I have a few ideas but haven't settled on anything yet.

Read-Aloud: We are reading Ginger Pye. I'm liking this book a lot, and so is Jamie. We have the audiobook on reserve at the library and I am hoping it will come in this week so that we can listen to the chapters--between that and all our history reading, my throat is getting sore! :)

Language Arts: Jamie finished up Prairie School, read Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, and started Riding the Pony Express this week. We have been continuing to work on the "curve letters" in cursive, as well as working with Diamond Notes. He's starting to balk a bit at Diamond Notes now that they're actually making him write sentences--I was hoping that wouldn't happen but I can't say I'm surprised, based on how he has been with creative writing in the past. He can (of course) write creatively all day long when it's at a time and on a topic of his choosing, but for schoolwork? Just forget it, it's like pulling teeth.

Science: Finally, an experiment! I have to say I was confused about the materials list Sonlight gave us for this week. It included a box of pudding and milk when there was no experiment, either on the DVD or in the book, that used them. We did think the experiment with the Jello and the kiwi fruit was pretty cool.

Extracurricular activities: Homeschool bowling club started this week. Originally, we were scheduled to be in the Tuesday at 1 pm club, which would have worked out much better for us schedule-wise. However, only 2 kids signed up for it so they moved us to the Wednesday at 10 club. We can deal with that. Jamie is enjoying it--he's on the bumper league currently, but I think if he keeps improving we will switch to the regular league for the next session.

Hope everyone else had a great week last week!! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekly Wrapup: Week 2

Here we are at the end of another week of homeschool. Some successes and some frustration this week, as usual. :)

Latin: I think I have already gushed about how much I love SongSchool Latin. I had been trying to keep Latin to 2 lessons a week--this week Jamie begged to do Latin every day except Tuesday! The 31 lessons in the book are not going to last long at this rate. :)

Math: Things were better this week. I haven't implemented the bingo idea yet, but I may not have to--I think Jamie and I inadvertently hit on another solution together! In Horizons Math there are almost always two rows of problems in each set, and I almost always let him skip one row unless it's something he is having trouble with. So this week instead of just crossing one out to begin with, I gave him a time limit for the first problem set and told him that if he got them done in the required time he could skip the second one. Seems to be working like a charm thus far. :) We will see what next week brings--math is still pretty much review for him as of this week so it's not really challenging him.

History: We have been studying the Byzantine Empire this week, as well as the rise of Islam. We looked at some really pretty pictures of the Hagia Sophia and talked about mosaics and how they are made. Thinking about doing a mosaic art project at some point soon...I saw a neat Magnetic Mosaic kit that looks fun. (Side note: we buy almost all our paper and art supplies from that site I just linked. They are awesome!)

Read-Aloud: We finished up Red Sails to Capri this week. I liked it more than Jamie did, I think, although he enjoyed looking at pictures and video of the Blue Grotto. It is really an amazing site--something to put on the wish list for world travel. :)

Language Arts: Jamie's continuing to like Diamond Notes, although he also continues to balk at more formal writing assignments--I'm hoping Diamond Notes will at least make them easier for him. We are progressing with cursive slowly but surely, and we read "The Long Way Westward" and part of "Prairie School" for readers this week. The dawdling seems to have moved over to LA this week which I really can't explain--he usually is great at doing his LA work.

Science: Jamie is upset about the lack of actual science experiments so far in Science 2, but I assured him there will be one for next week so he's very happy about that. In the meantime, we're still learning about animals. I am often somewhat amused by the notes in the teacher's manual about the Usborne books, let's just leave it at that. :)

Extracurricular activities: Nothing huge to note this week. I did get the forms sent in for Jamie's zoo classes and his classes at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, and I will be excited for him to start those soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I honestly just wish we could do Latin all day long right now. Jamie and I are both enjoying SongSchool Latin SO much. It is a really fun program. I was thinking about going from it to Prima Latina at the end of the SongSchool program, but I was looking at the website for the SongSchool program and I noticed that they have an older kid program that starts at 3rd grade level, so that would be perfect for us! Thinking about it...Jamie has also expressed interest in doing SongSchool Greek after we finish Latin so we will see. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Trying to get back in the swing of things with menu planning. It's hard when your garbage disposal is broken and your sink is leaking! Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

We're trying a couple of new things this week. First up is the recipe for tonight--I hope it will be good!

Monday: Crock-Pot Peppercorn Steak
Tuesday: Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with french fries
Wednesday: Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
Thursday: CORN/DIY night
Friday: spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread
Saturday/Sunday: Chinese Lemon Chicken with rice and veggies one of these nights, and we'll probably go out the other night.

Hope you all are having yummy stuff this week for dinner! We are making progress with math--today Jamie completed it in under 30 minutes! So happy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Wrapup: Week 1

I have decided to try and write a little bit about our schoolwork for the week at the end of each week. Even if it's short I think it will still be good to have a record of what we've done at the end of the year. So, without further ado...

This was our first week of homeschooling for 3rd grade! Both Jamie and I were excited to get going. We are using Sonlight Core 2 this year with Sonlight 2 Intermediate LA and Science 2, and Horizons 3 for math. In addition we are doing "Conquering Cursive" as a cursive workbook and SongSchool Latin. I will be adding in some music theory/music reading lessons later on in the school year as we progress, but I wanted to ease in with a little less work at first.

This week in math: Completely review. Unfortunately this did not make Jamie dawdle any less. Worst length of time to complete 1 page front and back this week was 2 hours. On the up side, he had cut it down to around 40 minutes by the end of the week--but I know he can go faster. Trying to think of some creative solutions to get him to focus. We are also trying to do a Calculadders drill 2-3 times a week. This week we did Calculadders on Monday and Wednesday.

This week in history: We reviewed all of what we learned last year in the Usborne Book of World History. I did more of a question/answer format than the "reading names/dates while your child follows along" method the IG suggests, and it went well. We are forging on into new territory next week. We also started reading Explorer's News (like it), Red Sails to Capri (it's ok), and Window on the World (hated it so much I gave it away to a friend today). We are going to be looking for something good to replace WoW with--I have gotten a bunch of good suggestions from the Sonlight forums. We also started the Geography Songs book/CD. Jamie listened to the "Continents and Oceans" song and proclaimed it "One of the dumbest songs I have ever heard." Let's hope they get better! :)

This week in LA: We started Diamond Notes which so far seems to be a great writing program. Jamie read "Clara's Bookwagon" and started reading "Long Way to a New Land". We began cursive work as well as doing lessons in MCP Phonics C and Wordly Wise B. Jamie continues to have no problem at all with spelling words, and his handwriting has improved.

This week in Science: We have studied several different animals, including chimpanzees, bears, and tigers this week.

Electives: We worked through 2 lessons in SongSchool Latin this week. I am trying to alternate days with this and cursive, doing cursive on M/W/F and Latin on T/Th. Once cursive is easier for him I will move cursive in with LA every day and probably switch Latin to M/W/F and do music theory on T/Th. Jamie is enjoying learning Latin so far.

Extracurricular activities: Friends came over on Friday for a playdate and a trip to the bowling alley. The children's choir Jamie is in at church has their final performance on Sunday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Long time with no posts, I know! I've been sort of addicted to Facebook recently so I have been doing a lot of my writing over there in tiny little bits. :) That said, we've been doing some fun stuff lately. Jamie is continuing to enjoy his classes at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The class this month was called "What's Humming?", and it was about birds/insects of spring. Fun stuff! I am thinking about sending him to the summer camp they have there for a week or two this summer just for something fun for him to do, but I haven't made up my mind yet. Another option is the YMCA day camp for a week or two.

I have started to plan next year's schoolwork and will be placing my order shortly with Sonlight. I've decided to go with Core 2 (the followup to the world history we're doing this year--we are going up through the fall of Rome this year and next year we will go up through the beginning of the 20th century) with the 2 intermediate readers. I was thinking of doing the advanced readers because they are more his reading level, but looking at the language arts program that goes along with those readers, it's clear he needs the intermediate one. The advanced program has a lot of independent writing involved and he is just not there yet. One of the main things we're going to be working on next year is learning HOW to write.

Along with Core 2, we'll be doing Horizons math 3 (the Sonlight cores don't really correspond to grade level and in fact most people think it's best if you do them a year "behind", but he really is supposed to be in "third grade" next year and so we'll be doing third grade math) and probably a Latin program. I am excited about it--I think it will be a lot of fun, but I am also very looking forward to our summer break. We have about 8 more weeks of school to go which means we should finish up in mid-June.

I have also finally gotten back into meal planning! After I got back from my mom's earlier in the month I got lazy and we spent too much money eating out, but no more of that! I went to the grocery store today and was so proud of myself that I mostly purchased "ingredients" as opposed to prepackaged stuff. :) So here is my meal plan for this week:

Monday: spaghetti and meatballs, garlic cheese bread, salad
Tuesday: Citrus Roasted Chicken, Crash Hot Potatoes, veggies
Wednesday: pork chops, mac and cheese (for Jamie and me), mashed potatoes (for S), salad
Thursday: CORN/DIY night
Friday: meatloaf, mashed potatoes/mac and cheese, veggies
Saturday: chicken cutlets, french fries, salad
Sunday: fajita quesadillas