A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Our Week Learning About Mexico

We're hitting our stride now, getting into a "school at home" routine now, and I'm going to set aside the country studies for the time being, as the more official school work has gotten straightened out and is flowing at a reasonable rate. 

Speaking of home, my volunteer snapdragons are doing well.  Notice the cat in the window?  Grumman loves windows. 

One of Katie's projects was to follow directions to make an origami pinwheel.  Katie's work is assigned each weekend, and I've found that she does best when I write her assignments on the board each night, and she starts on it after breakfast the next day. 

Remember the paper dolls?  We did glue outfits on them (you can see one of them on the right side of the circle rug) and the girls made K'nex houses and cars for them as an engineering challenge. 

I was reading another blog recently and saw a MOM key chain as a Mother's Day gift idea.  I had an idea inspired by that.  Hoping to work on this project some more once my sewing room is more under control. 

We made a couple Figures In Motion, Queen Isabella of Spain and Michelangelo to go with our study of Spain and Italy. 

The school asked us to start recording 20 minutes of PE every day.  So I made them a couple bean bags to toss, and ordered them a ball and some sidewalk chalk.  When the ball arrived, I thought, "This is going to end up going over the fence."  So I wrote on it, in the hopes that it will come back to us when that happens. 

Speaking of outdoors, we've dined al fresco a couple of times now that the weather is nice here.  Josiah made spaghetti one night. 

I think the girls are over these coloring pages.  They're not making as much effort with them as they did at first.  Probably a good thing we're going to take a break from country studies. 

Even though the libraries are unavailable, we're still reading!  The girls read these (as well as other books) during the last couple of weeks.  I've now placed at least 3 book orders since The Big Q started. 

Oh look.  More masks.  :sigh:  I know I said I was about done, but I guess I was wrong.  I posted this picture on Facebook and got several more orders. 

Part of my problem is that it's really easy for me to go overboard on the cutting part.  The ironing part and the sewing part are less fun for me. 

Jack and Hannah are getting used to regular zoom meetings and Google Classroom assignments.  I'm getting used to, "Is _______ going to be joining us today?" and "___________ hasn't done their assignment," text messages.  It's a process, but we're figuring it out.  I'm hopeful that classroom schools will reopen in the fall, but Paul and I have started discussing our plan if that's not the case. 

Stay healthy, friends!  Let me know if you need a mask. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Learning About Spain and Italy

Happy Easter!  I know many of us missed our "usual" traditions, but I hope you enjoyed the day nonetheless. 

Our Easter dinner was ham, so I used part of the leftovers to make fried rice.  Twice.  Without Eli here, we're not going through as much food. 

Shameless brag.  I used my Cricut (affiliate link) to make the girls' t-shirts.  They say "Hanging with my peeps!"  $3.49 t-shirts, some vinyl, and a couple $12 skorts from Kohl's, and I'm pretty happy with their Easter outfits! 

The wooden dragonfly puzzles were dropped on our porch by a friend. 

So, I was binge watching Madame Secretary (affiliate link) and this scene made me realize we will never take TP for granted again.  Paul did our shopping today, and STILL has not been able to purchase any.  My Amazon attempt is showing "not yet shipped" and "we'll email you when we have an estimated date." 

You know how everyone is posting pictures of stuff they've baked on Facebook?  I thought, "I should start a batch of Amish Friendship Bread!"  The expiration date on that yeast packet?  5 years ago.  I tried it anyway, but I will not be sharing any baking pictures because it didn't work.  I guess I'm not much into baking. 

I had Paul bring the bucket of K'nex (affiliate link), thinking I would ask the girls to build houses for the paper dolls I showed last week.  I got as far as dumping them on the rug, and then got distracted and never gave them that instruction.  Never fear, they're absolutely being played with.  There's about a dozen planes down there right now. 

Even the cat wants to go out.  Grumman loves outside.  Bummer for him, he's an indoor cat.  He's usually pretty close to wherever I am.  I know he won't mind when the kids go back to school, but I'm guessing the first few times I go out he'll be really happy to see me when I get back. 

I found a site with paper dolls in traditional costumes from different countries.  Our Spain dolls look better than our Italy dolls because, um, there was blue paper in the printer when I printed the Italy ones.  Whoops.  They're glued onto empty toilet paper tubes to make them stand up. 

Every time I look at this picture, I think, "I should put some pleats in that mask."  But yeah, I'm not going to do extra sewing for a teddy bear. 

I'm kinda over the mask making thing.  I did 90 in a little over a week.  I have a few stragglers left to sew up, and then I think I'm done, unless I get a special request from one of my kids. 

There's a happy kitty!  Grumman loves going out in his harness.  He always rolls around on the patio first, and then goes to eat some grass.  Weird cat. 

Nothing says quarantine like having your house draped in plastic. 

At every window.  Totally freaked the cat out. 

Fortunately, it was just for one day.  Our house got painted! 

This was my "going out" pile one day.  Completed schoolwork to drop off on the bottom, 6 packages of masks to mail, and 2 individually ziplocked masks to give to Katie's teacher and the office lady.  Confession?  Those mailing bags were ones that I received in the mail during that weird LuLaRoe phase a few years back.  I saved them, thinking I'd reuse them someday.  Well.  Not only is my hobby useful in the apocalypse, but so are my hoarder tendencies.  Someday is here. 

Hannah is teasing Grumman with a blade of grass (which he loves).  Josiah saw him jumping for it, and they ended up having quite the game. 

Oh, and the girls are outside because...  We now have to start logging 20 minutes of P.E. each day.  So I made them a couple of double layer, 4" bean bags, to practice tossing and catching.  And I ordered them a playground ball and some sidewalk chalk.  If I'm feeling really pinterest-mom, I might dredge up some masking tape and make them a hopscotch. 

Miss Katie is working on fractions, and voila!  We happen to have (in our still very well stocked schoolroom despite 2.5 years of not homeschooling) a fraction puzzle!  Her math homework one day this week was "play a math game" so this was a good fit. 

Our country this week is Mexico, and I need to get cracking on my lesson plans.  I've got a few things printed, and I ordered the kids a new book, but I haven't really mapped out my expectations for the week yet.  I've been using a blank "week at a glance" printable calendar page for each week, both to plan and to record what we're accomplishing.  I want to be able to "prove" that we did enough for them to move to the next grade, if need be. 

Stay safe and healthy, my friends!  And remember, this crazy time will pass. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Puzzles and Masks

I decided this would be a good time for the girls to assemble the Mulan puzzle that Sam gave them for Christmas.

They'd originally started it on the school room table, but that wasn't working out for us, so we put up a table downstairs where they could work on it.  This wasn't easy for them, and I kinda had to nudge them along to finish it, but I'm glad I did.

Hannah pointing to the last piece.

We had our first quarantine birthday.  Being a quaranteen kinda sucks on a regular day, let alone your birthday, but he's a good sport.  When the world reopens, he wants a pair of boots.

Eli left birthday cards for Jack and Hannah before he went to boot camp.

This was about the time I decided to take matters into my own hands regarding school work.  The kids' school has not been a shining example of excellence during this time.  So I decided we're going to do an Around The World unit study, with an added look at how each country has been impacted by COVID-19.

Jack and I got out for a bike ride.

It was wonderful, and I discovered a Little Free Library in our neighborhood.  I've got a little pile of books and a clip on hand sanitizer ready to go next time we ride out.

Masks.  I made a couple and then started thinking, "Batch sewing these would be pretty easy if I started with tubes of fabric..."

So I did.

And it worked.  Cutting went very quickly. 

It was sewing them up that became a bit tedious.  So far I've given away or sold about 70, and I have more in progress. 

I have us doing a unit study of different counties each week.  It's something we can work on together, which is fun.  Our first country was Spain, and our next country was Italy, so I splurged on a puzzle of Europe (affiliate link) from GeoToys.  Great puzzles.  We have 4 now. 

I cut a bunch of paper spring shapes with my Cricut machine, (affiliate link) and let the girls design their own pictures to put in the windows. 

A friend gave the kids some little wooden model kits.  Jack's is a plane (jet?). 

The girls are still practicing piano every day.  They've been at it for over a year now!  Hoping to get FaceTime lessons going soon, but waiting to hear back from the power that be on that one. 

This was a fun activity!  I used my Cricut again to cut out a couple of paper dolls and half a dozen outfits.  I assembled the dolls, but left all the clothing and accessories in a pile and let the girls dress them up in different ways.  My goal is to pull these out again and have them pick a favorite outfit.  Then, we'll glue the outfit on, they can name their dolls, and make up a story about them, build houses for them, etc. 

Hoping this finds you and yours safe and healthy. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Sudden Homeschool Rolls On

There's a big difference between homeschooling and quarantine schooling.

I've tried to infuse some "homeschool" components into our days, by adding art projects and playing instrumental music in the school room.

One of Jack's teachers has assigned a major video project.  I asked Eli if he could help with this, but unfortunately, he wasn't able to get the stop motion camera working.

It's a bummer, because I would have liked to have seen where they were going with this.  I think.

Katie, measuring a table for math one day.  That was it.  Her entire math for the day.  I have taken to finding worksheets to print for her.

The kids worked on a puzzle over the weekend, but it didn't get finished.  We might have to set up a designated puzzle table.

I feel like homes all across the world are playing more games these days.  Blokus is one of my favorites.

We also played Uno.

One of Hannah's teachers decided to assign a "project" for the "two weeks" the kids would be out of school, instead of giving them their regular work.  Hannah didn't understand the project, but she did draw this picture of one of Columbus' ships, thinking it would work.  It's a video project.  I don't think this picture is going to cut it.  I also don't think it's fair for the teacher to plop a "30% of your grade" nightmare on us parents right now. 

Josiah didn't appreciate the rainbows in our window, so I tried to come up with something else.  I used my Cricut (affiliate link) to make giant egg stickers. 

We dropped liquid watercolors on diffusing paper with pipettes. 

Once the paper was dry, we attempted to put the stickers on the paper.  That part didn't go so well.  But now we have wonky eggs up in the window, instead of St. Pat's rainbows. 

Really bummed for the kids about the library being closed, so I got them a couple of new books from Amazon.  Katie's class is learning about ancient China, and the book about paper actually turned out to be a perfect tie in for her assignment last week. 

I also got the girls a couple more piano books, so they would have new things to play, even though they're not getting new assignments from their piano teacher. 

The school is finally admitting that the kids are not going back the week after spring break.  They're now saying that classes will resume May 4, despite the governor saying students will likely not be returning to classrooms this school year.  This is our new normal.