Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homeschool Art

Ever since I was a child art has always been one of my favorite things. As an adult though, I do not take time to enjoy creating often enough. In fact, this summer my mother in law brought some of my old art that she was storing, to give to me. It was so fun to see but I'm not sure I will put it on my walls, lol. Maybe some day I'll get brave and post some pictures of it though. 

I do try to periodically do art with the kids as they both really enjoy it. With soccer and baseball ending for the season we will have a little more time at home. I'm hoping to get Z~girl and possibly A~man involved in an actual art curriculum to go along with the fun art we do. Last week one of the homeschool groups I belong to had a fun arts/crafts festival! It was so much fun. Of course part of the art we were going to bring to it fizzled...and wasn't done in time. So instead we brought some arts and crafts that they had entered in the fair this summer.

Here are two of A~man's creations. The dark spot on the sunflower is a bumble bee! :) I especially LOVE this John Deere tractor painting with the cat beside it. I need to get it framed and put on his wall!

Here are Z~girl's creations. The fabric with the Z on it is actually felt she felted while on a Girl Scout field trip. I would LOVE to make some more of this as it was a lot of fun. The other bottom one is a crocheted dish towel that she received a red ribbon on at the fair. 

Time goes by so fast. I can hardly believe I have two middle school age children! Just like my parents kept my art on their walls,(until a few years ago actually as my mom had to move to somewhere smaller) I hope to keep A and Z's art around me to remind me of this very special chapter in our life. It's always full of ups and downs but I have loved our homeschool journey!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My homeschool mom confession for the month...

This week I came to the realization of the fact-I spend way too much time on Facebook. I can hear a few of you that are on my facebook snickering. 
It took her long enough!!

I can come up with some excuses for myself; I do not watch TV and rarely watch Netflix, it's a good way to keep in touch with my family as they all live far away, I have to check the Homeschool Literature Facebook page for work, it helps me unwind and vent after a stressful day filled with special needs challenges. I was able to converse about the pros and cons of homeschooling with other homeschool moms. I'm sure I could come up with more reasons but what they are is excuses for me using my spare time in a very unproductive, noncreative way. It is a way for me to divert my attention away from where it really ought to be.

I used one of those Facebook applications that processes all of your status updates to tell something about yourself. Most of it was right on target about my interests and what I like to write about. One thing in particular that I saw did not make me happy, although it is a bit amusing too.

It said that I had written the equivalent amount of words as a Harry Potter book. 


It was then that I looked around at the state of my home right now. Late spring it was looking so good when my inlaws were visiting. In fact I maintained it well for a few months. Now? Not so much. I must add that I mean normal messy not "call the show Hoarders" messy. Still I cringe looking around. 

September was a very stressful month and I was doing well to do daily homeschooling lessons, feed the kids, and fit a walk in daily. Yet, I still was able to fit in time on Facebook so the stress is not a good excuse but instead a handy escape. It has also caused me to not use the God given creativity I have to do something marvelous.  What could I do? What should I do? (well after I give the house a deep cleaning) I have various sewing projects that are 3/4 done, I have photos that I need to get printed and put on the wall, right now there are beautiful leaves outside just begging me to photograph them. I have a gorgeous yard that needs a lot of maintenance done to it to prepare for winter. I have this blog that needs some serious updating. Heck, if I have that many words in me maybe I should write a book

Instead of wallowing in my humiliation I am going to make a change. I am going to be more productive, more creative and I am going to do something marvelous. Yes, I will still be on Facebook but it will be extremely limited and will only happen after my daily tasks are complete. So, my friends, if you see me on Facebook on more than an occasional basis could you direct me back to this blog entry?

I will do something marvelous. For now though, I'm going to take a walk with my marvelous husband and children. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Wizard of Oz

 I cannot believe this week has flown by this fast! One of the many advantages of homeschooling is the fact that even though we arrived home much later than we had planned...we didn't have to worry about getting up early to put the kids on a bus. (A~man had to get up at 6 am to get on the bus for special needs preschool way back!)  

So anyway...we did end up going to a super fun Wizard of Oz event, higher up in the mountains from us. Here's a picture I took of the family on the ski lift up to Oz. I'm surprised the photo isn't blurry from me shaking as I was NOT liking being up so high. 

We had put a lot of thought into this trip as we do not have a lot of extra money right now and for us it was quite an extravagance this month. But as much as A~man loves everything about The Wizard of Oz we thought it would make a good addition to his birthday as we won't be having a formal birthday party. 

There was singing, dancing, and "real" characters at each turn in the road.

The VERY stoic tinman!

Here is Aunty Em telling us we must go down to the cellar as it's the safest place during a storm. The set up for the house was SO COOL. It reminded me of the set from the movie. Going down the stairs everything was all off kilter as if the house had been in a real twister. The floors were not level and it was hard to walk.

This picture has a lot of significance to me. A~man has loved The Wizard of Oz since he was probably 4. BUT he has been terrified of people wearing costumes,(as well as obsessed)especially the lion character. Even just two years ago there is no way he would be able to stand next to the lion!! He was very brave. :)

It was a memorable little weekend away (we stayed at a hotel with a pool which the kids loved!! hubby and I enjoyed the hot tub)I count this little adventure as "homeschooling" too. After all The Wizard of Oz is literature right? I may even follow it up by making up my own vocabulary list to go along with the book itself!

Oh and I'm including a rare picture with me in it. I'm rarely in a picture as I'm usually the photograher and well...I'm not real thrilled with the way I look right now as I need to lose weight. But...I do want the kids to see that I was with them on these adventures. KWIM?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: ZooWhiz


Recently we were fortunate to be able to try out a Premium Zoologist Subscription. Normally the cost of a subscription is $59.95 but right now they have a special going on for $14.95 which I think is an awesome price for a year!  My 11 year old and 13 year old love doing some of the their school work on the computer so we were excited to try it out!


What exactly is ZooWhiz anyway? 

It is an interactive online learning program for children ages 5-15. It uses game like activities to improve math, reading and word skills. A bonus for any animal lover is that you can learn a lot of information about a wide variety of animals. You earn game coins for completing the learning activities and then are able to "buy" more animals for your collection or play arcade type games.


Here is some additional information about this fun program from their website:

  • The 17,000 educational activities in ZooWhiz were developed by a team of highly experienced educationalists and teachers to provide meaningful and effective learning
  • Each of the educational activities in ZooWhiz has been included to meet specific learning outcomes identified in the comprehensive, rigorous planning that preceded their creation
  • Because each and every activity in ZooWhiz was designed with a particular outcome in mind, there is absolutely no time wasted on superfluous content. The resulting educational content closely follows the key curricula from around the world and has been rigorously tested by millions of users!
  • ZooWhiz activities provide scaffolding for weaker students and enrichment activities that will engage and extend even the most enquiring minds
  • Learning sequences are designed directly into the sequential, finely-incremented educational content.

 Your child is also able to customize their own zoo keeper character. My music loving son of course chose the kid with the headphones. 

The parent can customize each level for the child to make it appropriate for their individual learning level.  My son has developmental delays and being able to adjust the levels for him is a must to ensure he doesn't become too frustrated. There is also an area where you can check to see how your child is doing.

What do I think of the site?
I really like the colorful graphics and the fact that the kids have to earn tokens to either buy new animals for their zoo or to play arcade games. I also find it very beneficial that the parent is able to change the different levels based on what their child already knows.  The animal theme is a big plus for us as both A and Z love to learn more about different kinds of animals. I think it would be a great supplemental activity for homeschoolers as well as children that go to traditional school.

What I do not care for is that even though my son can read, (although at a much younger level) he cannot do the activities independent as I have to be here to help him with the instructions. I know they are rapidly expanding the site and I think it would be a plus if for the younger levels the instructions were read to them.  This goes for the Zoo too. He isn't overly thrilled with it as I have to read all of the information for him.  Hopefully they will also be adding some additional arcade games as there are only a handful to choose from.

Overall though I think there is a lot of great potential for this learning website and I look forward to the kids trying it out over the next year!


Disclaimer: I received a year Premium Zoologist Subscription to ZooWhiz free of charge in exchange for giving my honest opinion of this product. My opinions are completely my own.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Any guesses where we went this weekend?

This weekend we took a break from doing math and english practice worksheets and decided to have an early celebration of A~man's birthday that is coming up later this month. I will give you a few clues to one of the places that he has ALWAYS been fascinated with ever since he was a munchkin. (although this is OUR first time actually visiting!)

This is a strange sight we saw upon arriving.

We had to ride one of these to get there. Have I ever mentioned I am afraid of heights? It absolutely made my head spin!! On the way back down, because of where I was sitting, I got absolutely soaked to the bone!

Needless to say I got chilled and now feel very under the weather.

Plus, on the way home we took a wrong turn and got just a little lost.

 Honestly, it was pretty scary!

 We arrived home a lot later than we intended. So fill in the blank_______ if you think you know where our little adventure took us. I will post more details in a few days. All I can say is, there's no place like home!