Monday, July 25, 2011

First Quarter

We're just finishing up the first quarter!
I'm stunned.
We love the curriculum. We love the books, the projects, the things we're learning. (yes, "we" are learning. I'm learning as much as she is!)

She has a handful of un-fun things she needs to finish from last week, and then we'll be finished with the first quarter. I'll write my quarterly, but not hand it in to the school until late October (I've scheduled it to be due November 1st).

We're always hearing questions about if we'll give the kids vacations.
I love the way we're doing it now. We'll be taking off a week in mid-August to have a "stay-cation" (I hate that term and insist that we call it a vacation, but it really does tell you that we're not going anywhere!)
At this point I don't see a need or have a desire to take a long vacation from school. This way she's not forgetting it all, but more importantly, she is a different girl on the days we do school. And in a very good way.
So here's to three more quarters as smooth and fun as this first quarter has been!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Contests: a request

I'm SO excited!
I've been chosen as a finalist in a contest for the place where I get my pictures printed, . They chose 14 pictures out of 100, one of them being mine, and now people are voting for their favorites. The top 8 pictures will be featured on the paper packs they send to all their new customers. How amazing would it be if my daughter's beautiful face was on one of those papers?!??!

So...would you mind taking 30 seconds and helping me out?

There are two ways to do it. If you're on Facebook, go to their fan page here, "like" it, and then "like" the picture of Jasmine here.
this is what you're looking for:

If you're not on Facebook or don't want to do it that way, you can email it to them. Go here to see the pictures, and then email them here  with the name of the picture ("Howdy, Girl!") and that will get me a vote too!
(please only vote once) :)

Thank you!!! I'll know in a week if I won and I'll be sure to let you know!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Great Transition

This morning Aya Sofya underwent a huge, dramatic transformation.

Well, it changed, anyhow.

The mosaics were pulled down or painted over.
There are now minarets on the corners.

(first picture: a Byzantine church. Second: a mosque!)

We're taking it slow this week. It's hot (like everywhere else in the country), and we don't have central air, so out of necessity we need to take it slower. I can't even do as much reading as I'd like to, because I have to speak over three fans and a window a/c. It's LOUD in here.
But we've had fun learning and exploring, and I'm letting the kids do yoga because I know that this DVD is very low-impact so won't make them too hot.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 9

Week Nine means:

1. Ancient History is, well, ancient history
2. we're definitely in a routine now. They know what's expected of me. I know how to get the new week's stuff set up in next to no time.
3. Jasmine knows what each workbook will demand of her and which ones to put off as long as possible.
4. School is getting easier and harder, at the same time.
(easier because she knows what's expected of her and it's easier to write now, harder because it's building on itself)
5. when this week ends, we will be a QUARTER of the way through the school year!
6. excuse me for a minute while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

7. when this week ends, I will tackle my first quarterly report. The school won't get it until late October, but I'm doing it while it's fresh in my mind.

No pictures today, sorry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Totally cheating

I'm worn out. I've done a TON today.
And tomorrow's going to be insane.
So, rather than repeat all the same stuff, for anyone who reads both blogs, here's the story of what we did today for our Byzantine Turkey Week!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Aya Sofya

We now have the structure of a Byzantine church sitting on our porch.
At one point I considered dragging it into the air conditioned kitchen to work on it...but it's wider than the doorway. So on the porch it stays!

First we made a support for a dome.
Yes, that is two swimming noodles.

(testing it out)

Then I cut door holes in what used to be the Colosseum and hot-glued them to the main "sanctuary."
and let the girls start painting it.
We ran out of pinkish-orange paint before it was finished, so I did some patch-up work. Any tiny globs of paint got relocated.

It's not perfect but it's pinkish-orange!
Next up is decorating the interior. I've been having the kids cut little pieces of construction paper that will get glued to the walls into "mosaics." I'll cut (or have Jasmine cut) circles to make the floor.

Then we need to add domes to the roofs....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Upcoming Excitement

This week we are taking a detour to Byzantine Istanbul.
It's perfect. There's a decent amount of it in the WinterPromise books, and my Mother-in-Law kindly sent us a large pile of books from her Christian Library.
I'm teaching the kids how to say a handful of things in Turkish. They love learning a new language, and I love being able to use that part of my brain again.
(in case I've never written it on this blog, I lived in Turkey for two years after college, teaching music at an international school. LOVED the country. Wasn't such a fan of being a classroom music teacher. I love the food, the culture, the language, the music...thus the planned detour!)
And to push us to really make this big, I'm planning an Open House for Friday afternoon. It guarantees I'll get the house clean, I get the opportunity to make a bunch of Turkish things Josh and the kids don't like but others might, and it motivates the kids to keep moving in the school stuff!
Next week (week 9)'s Hideaway is a Mosque. But I'm going above and beyond.
This week we're going to construct Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia to those of you who don't speak Turkish), complete with orangy-pink paint and mosaics inside.
And then next week, instead of starting from scratch, we'll turn our beautiful Byzantine church into a mosque. Put up minarets. Whitewash over the mosaics, pulling off some of the pieces. Pull off the crosses. Show them what it was that happened in 1453 and why it is that so many of the the pictures of the mosaics have huge sections missing. Why you can see holes in the walls where there should be crosses.

And I should now get back to planning this party...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Swing Low, Pink Chariot

We are officially finishing Ancient History, on to Medieval History.

We'll be taking next week off of the normal curriculum and learning about Turkey for a week. I'm planning it all out. We're going to do a spelling list consisting of all the words she missed on past tests. Should make it easy, but also very important.
We're going to spend the week listening to Tarkan, Sertab and Candan, three of my favorites. And maybe some Kurdish music too, though that's pretty "out there," even for me.
We're going to spend the week creating and enjoying Turkish food. Eggplant, lamb, feta, yogurt, pitas...we'll make bread and maybe even try for some cheese, if we can find rennet at Wegmans!

But for this week, we're still following the course schedule. Week 8! After one more week of the schedule, if I want, I can fill out my quarterly report!! (and I will, too. They just won't get it 'til November. They don't need to know what our real schedule is. I love following the rules and pretending I don't!)
(for anyone who is curious about what I'm talking about, this Squidoo does a good job explaining what's required of me as a New York State resident. If you ever move here (which I pray never happens), it's well worth your money to get/keep an HSLDA membership. We're contacting them for the second time and I've only been an official homeschooler for 6 days!) 

So. On to chariots.
After Jasmine got enough other things done today, we tackled our new Hideaway, a chariot. And for the first time, we had a little more flexibility in naturally, pink was the chosen color.
(by the way. Anyone looking into doing Hideaways, I highly suggest you find a cheap source of 8-ounce acrylic paints. As best as I've found, Hobby Lobby sells them cheapest. They currently have an endcap of them for $1.77 apiece. I'm hoping that's their permanent price, but I'm also hoping we have a large enough stash for awhile)

We started working on it while Hudson napped. I hot-glued the bottom so it was pretty strong, since these boxes came flat.
Then they went to town:

When Hudson woke up, he jumped right in.
With both feet.

This was a tragedy of epic proportions. I had to clean his feet immediately.

Bekah finished while Jasmine knocked on the door.
I don't know either.

We'll put the wheels and the reigns on it tomorrow when we know it's completely dry, and I'll get more pictures. I'm thinking togas...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Filling out our education experience

I'm a musician.
One who isn't doing much with her music these days.
But, I am proud to say, I have found a way to use my wealth of knowledge and high-quality records (yay for an awesome garage sale! We got a collection of close to 100 records of GOOD classical music, by excellent orchestras, for next to nothing a few years ago! Good thing we have a record player!).
I went through the year's hideaways, as well as the Bible and science topics, and chose a composition that fit in with whatever we were learning. When nothing worked, I went through and chose an instrument (obviously starting with winds. They are going to appreciate a clarinet, no two ways about it!) to focus on.

These past three weeks, we've been learning about ancient Rome.
So out came Respighi!
I have to say, we accidentally spent more time listening to the Pines of Rome than the Fountains of Rome. Because I know the Pines (played it in college orchestra), I wanted to start with that side of the record, so week one was Pines.
Well, week 3 (week two was make-up work) included making a Catacomb. So how could I not listen to the Pines again, with their visiting the Catacombs?!
Oh well. Sorry, fountains.

I'm also trying to add in songs for the kids to sing each week. This week was "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" because we're learning about the human body. They love it! It's nice to know that all those kids' songs I learned in my two miserable years trying to teach general music came to be of value!

Catacombs: for reals

How many kids go from memorizing a Bible verse in their "catacomb" to doing Yoga?

Yay for freedom!

This morning Jasmine is pretty motivated to finish all her badges for the "fun" badges she can earn. She's now finished three of her four colors. Unfortunately she has 7 pink ones left and they're her least-favorite activities (handwriting, spelling, Right into Reading workbook and Explode the Code workbook. She doesn't mind the last one when it doesn't make her write out full words. Sense a trend here??)

Want to see their catacomb? We left it very unadorned because, after all, the early Christians didn't do much decorating in their worship hideaways either.
Letting you know that you are entering the catacomb: Jasmine calls it "P.X." instead of "Chi-Ro," the first two letters of "Christ" in Greek.

And inside the hideaway, they memorized their Bible verse for the week and prayed it together:
"Lord, hear me.
Show me your favor.
Lord, help me." (Psalm 30:10)

Then they came downstairs and did yoga.

while Hudson fell asleep :)
Oh, and while I was writing this, Jasmine surprised me and did her handwriting on her own and is bringing me her spelling work. So it's time to finish up our Friday school!