Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today We Went To Ur

Today is History and Geography day. The globe is out and it follows us from the couch - where we do our reading aloud - to the computer - where we look at pictures.

This is Sargon. We read about how he rose to power, overthrew the king of his city-state in Sumer and went on to conquer all the other city-states in the land of Sumer. Which is southern Mesopotamia. Which is modern day Iraq. We learned how he was the first known military dictator. He named the first Empire, which included all those conquered city-states: The Akkadian Empire.

Fast forward a few thousand years and we read how Leonard Woolley spearheaded the excavation of the city of Ur, one of the city-states of Sumer.

Kori is so excited to know another famous archaeologist. The nitty-gritties and many more pictures are found at this link: The Royal Tombs of Ur After reading the story of the excavation of Ur, we went on to play the game of 20 squares. Very popular with the kids. We had to finish up quickly as we had to get Brian at work but the kids were talking about making our own game of 20 squares. I have to admit, it would be nicer to play on a real game board than just using the mouse to point and click our way through the game.

We will have a day #2 in Sumer as I was reminded by the children that we didn't have time to colour a map. So tomorrow, while we are out getting the car fixed (don't ask), I will stop at Staples to photocopy maps and colouring pages.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Silk Waves Poncho

This is a work-in-progress with a deadline. My mom has asked me to finish it for her by the 10th of February as they are going South and she would like to take it with her. She's been working on it for two years. I am going to do my best to get it done...wish me luck! Whenever I do finish it, I'll post a pic after it's been properly blocked so you can see the lace pattern to it. Who knew I could knit 'wave-y'!?!

It is knit with a ball of varigated handpainted silk and a ball of varigated handpainted silk chenille. It's a Canadian creation (www.sweaterkits.com) knit in an easy lace pattern.

There Is A Method To My Madness

As haphazard as I may seem, it appears that I have been getting more organized this year. I knew something had to be up if I could coordinate the children's over-lapping activities not once, but twice in a week. Not only that, but I don't believe we've been late for hockey nor have I forgotten Brian at work.

This marvelous piece of equipment is the family calendar. It lives on the fridge. The kids' activities have little stickers - colour coordinated - and I write them in every week. Even if I think I won't forget, I write them in. You can never be too careful. Since I have been keeping the calendar up-to-date, Brian has been able to keep up with our running around. I like having him around for our outings.

I've been reading about Household Notebooks. Many a stay-at-home mom are using such a system to keep track of housework, menus, activities, spending, family holiday plans, etc. The idea is to have the notebook set up in such a way that someone could come into your home - cold - and keep your household running the way you like it to run. Of course, you probably have to have a pretty good system of running said home in place for such a magical thing to happen. I'm not there yet.

This colourful little number is a beginner's effort. That is a table of contents of sorts on the left. Each coloured tab is a section with a corresponding divider.

2007 Schoolwork Goals
Lesson Plans
To Do's
Read Aloud Books & Resources
Menu Planning
Household Miscellaneous

So far, this has been a very easy binder for me to open every day. I have refused to get fancy by printing off pretty pages to fill the sections with. I add loose leaf where I need it. Lessons plans are scrawled on half a page. When we do that lesson, I write the date and highlight it. Then I know it's done. Menu planning has been a challenge for me. Now, every couple of days, I spend a minute and write down what we've been eating. I figure after about three weeks, I should have a pretty good idea of what we like to eat, what we should be eating more of and realistic quantities to shop for.

The binder has a calendar on the front. Inside the calendar, I plan the particulars for our school work. I'm a little freaked out by being so 'schoolish at home'. The kids seem to be excited about knowing which lesson to expect on a particular day of the week, so we'll stick with it for now. I'm finding more time in our day. I think I feel less overwhelmed with providing interesting things for the kids to get interested in each day. Each day, we have one lesson expectation. If we get to it, great. If not, then we can move it to tomorrow. The kids are looking forward to adding 'Daily Work' to the weekly plan as their math books are due to arrive any day.

You may be able to see the little tags on the inside cover. There is a tag under each weekday telling us which lesson we do that day (science, hist/geo., errand day, music, language, family meeting/calendar). The small colourful bars I made for Raiden's benefit. There is so much that he wants to do in a week, although he frequently complains that we never do anything. We can add a bar to each day and we make sure to get to that activity: craft, field trip, skating, hike, magazine day, library, treat, family dinner out, board game, card game, baking, workbooks, swimming, etc. The whole page is attached to the month by two brads at the side. At the end of the month, I just pick up the whole thing and flip forward to the next month. I like it because it's colourful and I am getting some use out of the scrapbooking supplies that mom and I split on this summer. The kids like it because they get to plan their month.
I suppose it is true that you need to find a system that will work for you. For me, at the end of the year, I'll have a fairly accurate account of the things we've done - schoolish, extra-curricular and family. Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Weekend So Far

Ok, I missed you all by a day. But I am making up for it by having family tidbits to share.

First, I direct your attention to the beautiful chalk drawing above. (Above?! It's supposed to be on the right!?) Can you believe the detail?

My youngest brother (ok, the youngest of my only two brothers) and his lovely lady breezed into town yesterday evening and graced us with their presence. We took in a local Braves game. My brother so very nicely repaid our hospitality by winning a $10 gift certificate to Ogie's Cafe. I wish I could find a link for you...they make the best chocolate chip cookies EVER.

After a late night, the aforementioned brother arrived bright and early to pick up his PC - that Brian ever so nicely cleaned up for him - and bring us an early morning coffee. And for those of you who have been paying attention, no, I did not have a coffee....I had cappuccino. So there.

After a quiet afternoon at home with the McComb's, I'm just making a late dinner. On the agenda for tonight is a little bit of lesson planning.

Maybe a bit of creative creation i.e.'visual resources'. I'm thinking of making a colourful list to remind the kids about the Scientific Method. Also, a reminder of the different branches of science and how all the areas of our life fit into at least one of the branches: chemistry, meteorology, biology, geology, physics (electromagnetics) and ecology. We've finally finished our unit on Egypt's Old Kingdom and the kids are looking forward to exploring some more history. I squeak in map skills and other geography-ish things into our history. I'm awaiting the arrival of the Saxon Math books. I've received Saxon 3. Now I just need the Saxon 1 Kit and the worksheets for 3. The kids - more than I - are enjoying our daily work on 'lessons'. But hey, if this is what works for them, then that's what we'll do. After all, I've already had my turn at the school thing.

Tomorrow we're scheduled to help at my mom's house with some painting. The kitchen renovation is moving along at a snail's pace. Apparently, there is something ready to be painted, so I will go to help paint. After lunch, we'll be off to a friend's house to see if Brian can revive their computer. I know this family will appreciate his knowledge...he doesn't ever do this sort of thing so it's sort of a big deal...to me. I don't think anyone else will notice.

The eBlogger thing seems to be working out so far. You may have noticed that I've moved some of my archives over. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my pictures yet. I may just keep the myspace page or I may move them over here. I really like the editing features. I have little editing knowledge, but there seem to be lots of buttons and choices that make changes I can see when I play with them. The pages seem to load and save quickly. The ultimate test will be to see if my dear mother in law is able to have the page show up on her screen when I send her the link. That will be the 'Grand Opening'...invitations are in the mail.

iVillage has a chat room. And I think some of you homeschool-ish types should stop over there on Sunday night, 9 - 11 EST to add some flavour to the discussion. I've only popped in a few times since September and it seems that the chat is sparsely attended. I think we should fix that. So, register at iVillage and save the Homeschool page to your favorites. Get the kids into bed and grab your beverage of choice. Maybe I'll see you there.

eta: ok...not sure what's going on with the picture editing...but at least I tried. I see it will take some more effort on my part to get it jsut right. Please bear with me...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hello World!!

This chalk drawing was done by Julian Beever. His work is just amazing. There is no hole in the sidewalk...it's just chalk. You can Google more or just wait...I'll post another tomorrow.

I just wanted to check in with everyone and let them know that I'm going to try out this eBlogger thing. I think the clincher was the photo editor.

And thanks to those of you who commented and messaged to me over at my other page and to those who went so far as to check in at the even older page. I hope you'll continue checking in.

Love & Laughter,


Monday, January 8, 2007

Alive And Well And Checking In

Hello all!

We are all alive and well after a busy holiday season. The tree is still up with a few things underneath still waiting for homes to be found for them. We are all back into our regular schedules. Today the kids' activities started up again after the Christmas break.

Bit of an update for you: Raiden's scheduled for his kidney scan this week. It's a fairly invasive test and he is not looking forward to it. The test is Thursday. Hopefully we can pull a positive out of the day somewhere along the way. The day after, Friday, he gets to play during the Braves' first period intermission. He's been telling everyone that it's a 'once in a lifetime opportunity'...he's a little excited. Hopefully that will keep him going this week. He's been having lots of headaches and not eating very well due to his tummy pains that are caused by his kidney. It will be very nice to get this treated and fixed.

Kori is looking forward to starting pick-up basketball this week. Swimming lessons start up again as well. She has been writing non-stop throughout December. She finished a story and is working away at others: a few are being typed and others are being written. Once she slows down, we're going to edit the finished story and see where that process takes us. I'm hoping the editing process will be motivation for her to finish one of her longer, more involved stories so I can have it printed and bound as a book for her.

Brian is back to work with a busy workload. Quite a change after the slow and quiet December at his job. I have been able to keep up with the housework and daily chores. We enjoyed a tidy and clutter free holiday. How cool is that?! Now that we have a daily routine down, I'm hoping to sneak in a few regular organizational tasks. Things like calender and menues and lesson planning would be good, I think. I figure by next Christmas, you'll be able to call me Martha.

We have given up fast food. I'm very excited about this and I am so blessed to have a husband who can keep me accountable. We've also cut back on the coffee. Brian has his two coffee breaks at work and I have the odd cappucino at the rink. Otherwise, I'm off the caffine and I am so glad about it!

So, that's it in a nutshell. I'll get some blogging done in the evenings now that we're back into the swing of things. I'm looking forward to sharing some pictures of my kids' first green Christmas. And there are definitely some entertaining Nuk The Dog stories from the holidays. Having a dog is like having a two year old forever. The next big thing will be getting ready for my sister's wedding. Hope all is well with those who pass by my wee blog.