Monday, May 31, 2010

The planning of a school year....

I do well with my beginning of the school year planning. It is one of my most favorite things about homeschooling! We start off with a bang, 110%, full speed ahead, and have a lot of our learning finished by Christmas. It's great! Then we have always taken the last part of the year a good bit easier, ha ha. Maybe we can keep the momentum going the entire year this year. My plans in the past have always included curriculum and daily schedule. This year I have plotted out our entire year with science, social studies, and art. Instead of doing each of those one day a week or so, we are going to do alternating units, with science every day for 4-5 weeks, then moving to another area for a while. Hopefully this will help me stay motivated in these subjects since these are the areas that I usually end up not doing so much with as the year goes on. I just feel like a lot of history will be retaught in later grades anyway and it doesn't interest me very much. Science has always been too high maintenance with gathering supplies to do fun stuff. My curriculum choice this year came with every last thing I would need for any of the experiments, so I have no excuses! ha ha! So here is how our year is looking:

July:
Science Unit on Birds from our science curriculum,
field trip to Chattahoochee Nature Center


August:
Art, field trip to Booth Western Art Museum on free night.


September:
2 weeks of health and safety, 2 week study of castles, knights, queens, etc.
I had four weeks of health here but decided that was too long so I gave the kids a chance to pick something to study and this is what they chose. I have found some neat lapbook ideas for the topic that will be fun to do together.

October:
American History
I have a textbook for this, and we will probably find some books from the library, and hopefully a fun lapbook to do as well. Maybe a visit to the Atlanta History Center.

November:
Magnetism Unit from our Science Curriculum.

December:
Christmas Projects
I need to go ahead and start researching this. I am not sure exactly what we will do, but probably some sort of gift-making, baking, and study of Christmas celebrations around the world. We also plan to go the Back to Bethlehem village again.

January:
More Social Studies, history, and maps.
Maps are one of the earliest tested skills on standardized tests for social studies. Not until third grade, but they are fun, so we'll find something to learn that skill with, maybe a lapbook.
There are lapbooks for everything!

February:
Astronomy Unit from our science curriculum.
I had planned on doing this unit first, but realized that summer would be a difficult time to observe the moon with it being daylight so late. I moved it here. It will be cold at night, but we should be able to get some good views of the moon and stars this time of year.
The Tellus Museum would be a good field trip.

March:
Art. I hope we can visit the High Museum for a field trip.

April:
I don't have anything planned for April. I plan to test Katie at the end of this next school year so we will be preparing for that, finishing up whatever core stuff we need to do to be ready.
If everything goes according to the plan, we will be finished with school at the end of April.

Part of their art curriculum includes displaying their work, so I plan on doing an "art show" for the grandparents, perhaps including some other friends in the show too if they want. We are going to do better on the music lessons this year too. That will be a year round activity.

I love having a plan! I am very excited about the all inclusive science stuff as well. It's not that I don't enjoy experiments, but I am just not good at gathering supplies for them.

Our daily schedule is the same as last year. I didn't really change anything expect a couple of format things before printing them out for the year.

We purchased all of our curriculum back in February, which has been great to not have to worry about. We only have a few things to get now...

1. a pencil sharpener!
my life is madness with the sharpening right now! ugh!

2. music books
a must. neat that they have this "all in one" book now!

3. physical fitness video for the kids
yes, it may sound silly, but my kids love to try and do my workout videos with me.
I wondered if there was something specially made for kids, and of course there are tons out there, so I want to get one just for them. I think (hope) they will love it!



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Promotion Day (and an instant classic)


The end of another school year and promotion day!!!!


Katie had a great year in first grade and is moving on to SECOND GRADE!
I can't believe it!!!

Noah breezed through Kindergarten and is most definitely ready for FIRST GRADE!
(Panic attack coming soon! ha ha!)
We celebrated with some friends at Kangaroo Jake's (bounce house play place) and then with a frosty at Wendy's...a HUGE treat for them, we never buy frosties and have pretty much given up eating fast food these days! ha ha!

It was a fun time, and I am so proud of them. They are so easy to teach and I have a blast doing it. I can't wait to tackle next year and start marking off those days, yet I know it will go by so quickly once again....

When we got home Noah got creative and I had to grab the camera:

Wearing dad's shoes and pajama pants.... an instant classic for the wedding slideshow! ha ha!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Projects: School and Porch!

Today was a day for accomplishing projects at the Thompson house! I cleaned out and reorganized all the school stuff for the next school year starting in July! We officially finished our 180 days, though Katie still has a few math things to do during her "break" (probably get that done next week). Here are the newly organized shelves and my favorite portable cart in our bedroom....

We finally replaced our ink cartridges so I got busy on the printing bandwagon today as well. I cleaned out and stored all our 2009/10 grades and records, and made my nice new shiny notebook for this next year....


I have heard of and browsed the Donna Young website in the past, but I actually went through and printed several forms to use this year for the first time..including a very nice grading record sheet. I have two students to keep grades on this year, so I gotta get ahead of the game on organizing the info.


Some up close shots of the shelves...because I am a dork and I am so proud of the work I got done today! ha ha.

Top left shelf has my organizer and our Bible/character ed. materials. I kind of slacked on the character ed. this year and I could tell a difference. We will just pick and choose from this shelf daily (that's the plan anyway). The box that has the Beginner Bible pictures actually has a bunch of cards inside. Each one has a Bible symbol or word with info about it and some of them have stories as well.

Middle left has our Reading, Language, Spelling, and Handwriting stuff. I have each of their sets of readers in the magazine holders, and a bin in the middle for games and activities. It's all Abeka for these subjects.

This shelf has our Math stuff on it. Math-U-See has been awesome so far! I have Alpha and Beta, and if Katie finishes Beta before the end of the year we can go ahead and order the next level. Right now we have about five more lessons to finish for her in Alpha and Noah is about a third of the way through Alpha. That tissue box actually has oversized coins that we use for practicing our money counting.


Middle right shelf: Art. We kind of slacked off on art throughout this year so we still have stuff to use this year also. I will put our music on this shelf too. We are going to start the Alfred's Basic Piano Course. The Music for Little Mozarts set I bought for last year turned out to be way too "preschool-y" for them.

Last but not least: Science and Social Studies, bottom right shelf. I have our Homeschool Science Adventures curriculum, and a new History reader from Abeka... We will be doing science units on birds, astronomy, and magnets. I plan on doing some independent Social Studies/History by getting books from the library. The top right shelf has my office supplies and index cards. We use a lot of index cards around here!

Next on my planning agenda: finish up Katie's last few math lessons and get the lesson plan form ready to go. Since I am so far ahead I may end up writing the first few weeks of lessons as well!

While I was busy at work in the bedroom/schoolroom, Corey was busy outdoors! We got our settlement check from the insurance company but we are hoping to get everything done for much less by doing it mostly ourselves....

The unpainted rail is a teeny bit lopsided which can be easily fixed, but Corey was starving and ready to come in...he can fix that when we paint. I think he did a great job on it!! A lot of the previous pieces were reused...a great way to save money! The plan is to pressure wash and paint next weekend. The siding is a whole other can of worms...ugh....

I can't remember the last time we got so much done on a Saturday! Staying home on the weekend really pays off!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Simple Joys Saturday


I've never been particularly great at sticking to weekly memes...but I like this one and will give it a try. For some reason it just appeals to me today. I heard about it from my mother in law's blog, and the main link for "Simple Joys Saturday" is here. Join in if you like!

My simple joys this week....

Playing board games with my kids. I happened to think last night, that one day when they are all grown up, they may "remember when" and think of all the nights we sat in the living room playing Disney Scene It, or Sequence for Kids. It is so fun now that they are old enough to actually read questions aloud to the grownups, ha ha. Time flies!

Cinnabon cinnamon rolls....Mmmmm..... brought me a very simple joy Wednesday after a particularly bad day. They...are.....soooooo.....delicious!!!!

And one more simple joy coming tonight: fresh clean sheets on the bed! I love it!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back from the Beach

It is crazy how completely NOT rested we were when we got home from the beach! ha ha! I thought it would be a lot of sitting around and doing nothing....we even brought a bunch of board games and video games to fill our nights with tons of fun..but ended up just falling into bed exhausted every night!

Noah kept us totally busy the entire time..and everyone else for that matter! He wanted to be constantly digging, building, playing in the water, walking, running, playing football, collecting shells, swimming in the pool....and on and on and on. We didn't even make it all the way through our beach read books!

Katie was content to sit and dig, but she also had her moments... they didn't get to bed on time any night, and with so many people up and about in the house early in the mornings, they were slim on sleep. By about the 5th night they were fit to be tied for whiny-ness. But, they really were having a great time.

We had fun, and look forward to doing it again. Corey and myself got very sunburned, and now my skin is completely scaly and flaked from peeling. (ew!) We had some really awesome seafood while we were gone and enjoyed being away from everything for the week.

Here are the only two shots of the entire group....



Corey, me, my mom, my dad, Hannah (brother's girlfriend), my brother, and in the front Katie and Noah of course. I think this is the only time Noah didn't have his sunglasses on!

Silly shot!

We took the very long way home on Saturday..via Tallahassee and lots of stops. And on Sunday, Katie and I went to see Mary Poppins at the Fox Theater. The Melting Pot had a special offer for seats in the first 13 rows and three courses at the Melting Pot for $99/person. A group from church went together...six girls. It was fantastic! I didn't get any pictures except one of us after we got home, ha ha. The show was wonderful though... even the plot differences from the movie were really good and added to the story. I guess it is more like the book which I will have to try reading. Honestly, I don't think the movie will ever be the same for me...this version was so good!



I found these pictures of the musical online.The pic above is the amazing main set... it looked like a giant victorian dollhouse that actually opened and showed these rooms. It was so neat how it would close with the actors still inside and turn for different views. There was a "top floor" that would lower down that was the nursery, and the back opened up for the kitchen. Of course there were also several times that Mary "flew" through the air on her umbrella.

This was my favorite song: Step in Time. LOVE it.. I never would have dreamed a different storyline for this classic of a movie would be this great.

We are slowly getting back into a routine around here...well...actually.. we are finishing up our last week of school this week. We will be off for the rest of May and June and plan to start back up July 5th. Gotta get a head start on that next year so we have plenty of time for time off! ha ha!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cape San Blas


Our first night in Port St. Joe (the actual town area), dinner at the Sunset Coastal Grill and WONDERFUL seafood!!!


Just bumming around in the sand....



Relaxing views....and waves...


Noah loves playing on the boogie boards


Katie doesn't get bored sifting for shells and other treasures...she's done it for hours.

Flying kites...


Beach football.....
Noah has kept everyone pretty busy..

We are having a wonderful time. We went over to Panama City Beach one day because I had never been there and Corey and myself were sunburned. We did a mirror maze and Noah and Corey played laser tag. I can't believe we only have two full days left. :( But we've definitely had a great week!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

SURPRISE!

YAY! We did it! We pulled off a surprise party for Corey's 30th birthday!!!!
Although the entire plan for the party changed only TWO days before, it turned out to be PERFECT! He was VERY surprised! The family did a great job keeping it all a secret!



The cake, and some of the guests...

He opened many sweet cards, and funny gifts...including this one from lifelong friend, Andy...


I was very proud of the gift we got him as well...
Tickets for the Braves and Cubs...AT Wrigley Field!!!!
Yay, we're gonna speed up to Chicago in August for the game!
(and we have till then to figure out how to do it, lol!)
He received money and gift cards that will help!





When we had to change the party VERY last minute, we ended up switching from a Friday night party to tonight... and NO restaurants would take reservations for a large party on a Friday night....BUT it turned out to be perfect because Thursday night at El Nopal is.....


Mariachi Band Night! YAY!
Not only did he get the sombrero and song...he got a full band too! It was awesome!

They sounded so great! It was like we had planned it this way from the beginning....ha ha!



Of course, the kids had to try on the sombrero...


We left the band members and servers so they could clean up our table and not take much more of their time, but we gave them some cake for their trouble...
And went outside for pictures!

Corey and Memaw (we missed you Grandaddy!)


My parents getting practice standing with a 30 year old...
(I'll be there next year)

Corey with Memaw and Pawpaw


And the Birthday Boy with his own parents.... his mom's Mother's Day gift 30 years ago... the birth of her first child.

Our family


And, Corey with Andy...friends since kindergarten...and silly as ever for pictures. We were thrilled that it worked out so well for Andy to have to get away from Bethany for the weekend...(haha, click link for explanation) while she had a treatment done, and we missed her terribly, but it worked out GREAT for them to be able to make it up for the party! yay!

Katie with Kaidence


The kids, copying their dads with the silly picture


Brothers....

His other brother and sister in law were there too, but left before we got pictures with them.


And one final picture....taken at home later after the party during the after party visit with the Freeman crew.
If these two don't get married, we have to make a slide show anyway... we have too many cute ones to not show the world! ha ha!
Katie and Canaan...
I asked Katie if Canaan was back on her "love list" and she replied, "Canaan has always been on my love list!"
I am so thrilled that the party went well and that he was SURPRISED! We are so blessed with GREAT friends and family....such a blast!!!!

Corey will be at the beach on his actual birthday...May 11th, so I am happy we were able to celebrate with everyone before we go!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Quit

I deactivated my facebook account today. It has been a while coming, but today was the day. I have several reasons for it.... many of which the answer given would be, "Well, you don't have to be there" so I'm not.

I know some people do not participate in the following things that I am going to list, and some people are not guilty, but if I pared it down to exclude all of these, then I would actually only have about 6 friends left, so I figure we can just talk on the phone and face to face.

First of all...one thing that has bothered me for a while...is pictures. People post pictures that I don't want to see and really, are inappropriate to share in this widespread format, in my opinion. I know people who train for fitness competitions, and pictures they post are so borderline nude, that I am truly uncomfortable seeing them. Also, pictures of their parties and get togethers just really give me more information that I really care or need to know. And, it seems that the people who post them do it just to get a reaction many times.

Secondly.... it's becoming very "cliquey." I find that I could list "groups" and "cliques" of people from among my friends. It excludes people and just isn't nice.

Is this sounding familiar? I am finding that my list of complaints about facebook very much resembles a list I might make of things I disliked about middle school.....popularity contests, PDA, bad language, jealously, bragging, the rich people showing off to everyone else...arrogance, red-necks being offensive, trying to fit in, trying to be cool, everyone in everyone's business....and I'm not even friends with any middle schoolers!

Another thing is status updates. People go WAY too far in many ways... one big problem is language. I did NOT need you to show off that you know all those words in order to shock people. Other things.. none too subtle hints directed indirectly at OTHER friends either in complaint or disgust. Complaining is another issue. Some people just whine whine whine. Some people use it to post ridiculous "copy and paste" forwards that usually turn out to be a hoax, or what not.

Another thing people love to post in their status is BRAGGING. Bragging on what they just bought, or did, or saw, or participated in. I don't mean legitimate things like "just won a contest" or something neat...I mean like.. "was just voted best person ever in the best world contest" now you know that's not a real thing, but the bragging is obvious and if you've seen it you know what I'm talking about when someone posts something just to let people know, not because they are sincere.

What really put the final nail in the coffin today was the problem of GOSSIP. A friend of mine was "anonymously" but very successfully drug through the mud by another "friend." Then left it for completely uninvolved and non-mutual friends to comment on and add to the muck with their completely irrelevant and misguided opinions and assumptions about the situation. The original poster did not respond to anything all day. The entire situation was out of context and it just really opened up my eyes to the power of gossip left to grow and spread via the web. It's the new three way calling but now it's unlimited in participants. Not only can people spread gossip through their statuses or wall posts, but people can stir up interest and speculation about their own lives through changing information on their page, etc. It's just a breeding ground for all kinds of trouble that I refuse to participate in any longer.

And, there's always the old standby evil: facebook destroying relationships. I know of serious trouble in marriages that started over a facebook issue. Something said to someone else and misconstrued by outside parties...or true infidelity. Or in the case I mentioned..... friendships and reputations destroyed over something petty that could have been brought straight out of a 5th grade classroom.

I know that facebook can be great. It can reconnect old school friends, or keep people in touch across the miles. It can be a place to encourage others, or share prayer requests. But, for me...the positive does not outweigh the negative and I will not be returning this time. I'm going to let real life provide all that "good stuff" for me from now on.


And, I am going to try my very best to not allow "real life" to provide all that stuff I dislike about Facebook either!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Unexpected Surprise!

I came home to find cars and people in front of our house..... I wondered what was wrong until I saw this:


A tree had fallen from the neighbor's yard all the way across our driveway and onto the side of our porch!

The wind was really bad Sunday, so we are guessing that's what caused it.

The left railing on the porch was broken off. Yes, those are some chairs we had used one day to sit on the porch while the kids were playing... I would love some "real" porch chairs!

Here are two places in the siding that were damaged...
The insurance adjuster is supposed to be coming out tomorrow morning...so we'll see how it goes. We have a $500 deductible...not sure if it will cost more than that to fix it all or not. That limb did not go all the way through the outside of the house.

I am still surprised that a tree that skinny was able to completely break the side of the porch! I am also very thankful that Corey and I both drove to church that day. He leaves before me for band practice and sometime he and his brother ride together...I had told him that morning to be sure to drive because I had to leave immediately after church to get Katie home to eat before Girl Scouts. If his car had been sitting there it definitely would have gotten damaged too!