Thursday, September 23, 2010

Field Trip: Arboretum

I have mentioned before that we are apart of a local christian homeschool support group. I get emails every week, if not every day, about fun field trips we can sign up for. And one thing that I really like is that the whole family is welcome! On Tuesday, the kids and I went to the Dallas Arboretum with our group. We have never been there and it is a beautiful place to walk around.

During the Fall they have pumpkins EVERYWHERE throughout the arboretum. Also they have a pumpkin village with houses made out of pumpkins.

Charlie is sitting inside a pumpkin house in this one. This picture kind of remind me of an old school picture where the kids are looking off in the distance smiling (minus the melon of course).The arboretum is definitely the place to go to take pictures. We saw 4 brides getting their bridal pictures done, and a few other photo shoots going on as well. I had it in my head that I would get a great shot of all three. But this was the best I was getting: So I gave up and let them get their faces painted.

They really did have pumpkins everywhere, even floating in some of the water features, which the kids thought was neat.
There was a village set up with cabins and a tee pee and a wagon for the kids to explore.
Emma spent most of the day enjoying the view from right here: Near the end of our day, Spider man started to melt:
It was a fun field trip! It is a great place to take the kids and hopefully we will go back there soon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zoo Day

We are part of a great playgroup through our church (that includes Ginny and Catherine) We meet twice a month and I love getting together with them! Last Friday we went to the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville. The last time we went the kids were a lot smaller, so this was like going to a Zoo they had never been to for the kids and they had a lot of fun with their friends.
Frank Buck Zoo is a small zoo, great for this age group, and the big attraction there is the giraffes. The kids even got to feed them! They were suppose to lay the lettuce on his tongue and the giraffe would then curl his tongue around and eat it. Charlie did it just like that. Macy was a little apprehensive and would just throw it in the general direction of his tongue. He did have a long tongue!

How often do you get to take a picture of a giraffe from this angle??
After walking around the zoo, we enjoyed a picnic together.
And rode the train around the outside of the Zoo.
And then finished our playgroup by playing at little bit at the nice playground outside the zoo.
It was a fun morning!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ist Day

We had quite an eventful day for our first day! Our day was filled with rain, a tetanus shot, a double rainbow, flooding and even a tornado warning and somehow we even fit some school work in.

Macy was really excited about her first day!

I left the schultute on the table for her to see in the morning and she was sure excited! It was a big hit, and she somehow managed to eat almost all of the candy in the morning.

It was pouring like crazy here today, so we had to skip our walk and instead the kids got extra time to play while I caught up on some cleaning. Macy read to Charlie and Emma during that time.

We had our first morning board time followed by Bible.

The kids then had snack and more time to play. Emma was sort of a grump for most of the day.

After snack we had our craft time. Earlier in our bible time we read the creation story and so for our craft we talked about how God created the beautiful world and everything out of nothing and we created beautiful pictures. Looking back, I should of said to "paint your most favorite thing that God created", oh well. We made homemade puffy paint that you put in the microwave, the kids seem to really like and even Emma got to do it.

Our finished artwork: (clockwise:mine, Charlie's, Macy's Emma's).
Then we had extra time, so we took our first official field trip as homeschoolers! We went to drive around in the rain. Like I said earlier, it was POURING, so we wanted to go look at the water behind our house. It was definitely flooded and the most high I had ever seen it.

The kids thought it was pretty exciting.

When we got back, I was starting on lunch, opened the pantry and stepped right on a thumb tack. And I managed to use all my weight when I stepped on it because was all the in and was totally painful. I had to hold my breath to pull the thing out. I bandaged myself up and continued preparing lunch and the thought crossed my mind about possibly needing a tetanus shot. So I called the doctor's office, just to ask a nurse if she thought it was something I might need to get a shot for since I can't remember the last time when I had one or if is something that I don't really need. Long story short, she said I did (which of course she is going to say to cover themselves), so after lunch, Sethw as able to stop by and I put Charlie and Emma down for a nap and I took Macy with me to the minute clinic at CVS and quickly got one, no waiting or anything, it was nice! So we had our second official field trip as homeschoolers.
After all that, we did Math. We counted Cheerios with the "The Cheerios Counting Book" and she did a couple pages out of her workbook and then she read me one of her Abeka readers. We didn't worry about the other stuff today since we had already had a busy day.
Plus we had a tornado warning when Seth got home, but then we saw a double rainbow and went out for ice cream. I am worn out and my foot and arm hurt, but really glad that I am able to be Macy's first teacher!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow will be our first official day of Kindergarten!

I wanted to start a family tradition for when the kids started school, so I made her a schultute! I spent many years in Germany growing up and a tradition that they have for their child's first day of Kindergarten is to present them with a big decorated cardboard cone filled with candy, school supplies and a little toy, etc to make their first day extra special. So, to honor my time there, I thought this would be a fun thing for our family to do.

Traditionally it is just for Kindergarten, but I think we will make it a yearly tradition. To read more about the history of these cones, you can click here.

I am excited about tomorrow and will post an update at the end of the day!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Chore Pack System

This week, we started our Chore Pack System! I don't know why I have struggled with implementing a formal chore system. I seriously have been meaning to do this for about a year.

Months ago, I ordered and read Managers of Their Chores.
This is the same system that the Duggars use and it is a great book and I highly recommend it if you are wanting to teach your children about doing chores. I was stuck though because I wanted to combine it with Dave's Ramsey's Financial Peace Jr ideas. We definitely wanted to include some of the Dave Ramsey's ideas of "work=pay, don't work=don't get paid" in our chore pack system and teaching our kids how to correctly handle money; giving, saving, and spending. Anyways, so that is where I got stuck for awhile, I just wasn't sure how to combine it and I was making it too difficult, so I didn't even start. However a few weeks ago, I saw this post on one of my my favorite blogs: Women living well. And she showed how she combined it with getting paid, so that really helped me get started.

Last week, Seth and I came up with a list of chores that the kids were capable of doing and I took pictures of them and made cards with a gold star and "Done!" on the back and laminated them.

We found some credential holders at an office supply store and I also made a daily chart to use and had it laminated as well, so it would last awhile.Macy and Charlie were really excited about it! Especially since they knew they were earning money!

They worked really hard and Macy especially set a good example for Charlie with having a good attitude.

Charlie had one day where he just flat out did NOT want to do his chores (the chore he was working one was putting the shoes neatly in the cabinet, which would of taken a total of 3 seconds to do, but he stretched it out to about 10minutes.) Thankfully after daddy intervened, he got back on track.
Every morning and afternoon they had chore time.

Charlie's chores were pretty basic: put pillows back on couch, put silverware away, wipe the table, etc. Macy had a little bit more: feeding Bailey, putting away laundry, wiping bathroom sink, etc.
I also included made this chore card:
We used it a few times and they were SO EXCITED to get it. After they did what the special chore was and if they did it with a happy heart, they got a little piece of candy.

Today, after all their chores was payday! I had ordered these banks earlier this week but they did not make it in time, so we just used envelopes today. We talked to them about what we do with money in a basic way that hopefully a 5 year old and 3 year old can sort of understand and they put the money in the envelopes after we split it up for them. We put 10% for church, 10% in save (like for a big toy they want), 10% invest (we told them this was for their car, waaaayyy in the future), and their favorite: 70% in spend. Macy was paid a 0.20 a day and Charlie 0.15 a day, plus we told them they would get an extra .25 for the week bonus if they had a good attitude. So Macy's got a whopping total of $1.45 and Charlie $1.15. Hey, we have to start somewhere and wanted to allow room to give raises, etc... Seth took them to Walmart with their "spend" money and they both happily bought a package of gum and are excited about taking their "give" money to church tomorrow. Macy said she is saving for a Barbie Jeep, that should only take about 500 weeks, but I didn't tell her that. :)
Overall it was a great first week with the chore packs and I really glad that we started it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The All-American Postcard Swap!

I mentioned earlier that I will do going a geography notebook this year with Macy and to make it more fun, I have decided to host a postcard swap!

How it works: A family from each state will swap postcards over the next 50 weeks. Each state will be assigned a certain week to mail out their 49 postcards. We will go in alphabetical order. In 50 weeks, your family will have received 49 postcards from all over the United States! Please include one or a few interesting facts about your state on the postcard.

To Join: Please check the list below to see if your state is available and if it is, please leave your state and email address in the comment section and I will email you to get your name and address.

Other Info: Please do not sign up if you do not intend to send the postcards out. Also, please keep in mind that you will have to purchase (or make) 49 postcards and postcard stamps. But in return you will get a postcard a week for 50 weeks! You don't necessarily have to live in the state you are sending out a postcard for, as long as you are able to get 49 postcards from that state and can include something interesting about it on the postcards.

States List:

1. Alabama-TAKEN
2. Alaska-TAKEN
3. Arizona-TAKEN
4. Arkansas-TAKEN
5. California-TAKEN
6. Colorado-TAKEN
7. Connecticut
8. Delaware-TAKEN
9. Florida- TAKEN
10. Georgia-TAKEN
11. Hawaii-TAKEN
12. Idaho-TAKEN
13. Illinois-TAKEN
14. Indiana-TAKEN
15. Iowa-TAKEN
16. Kansas-TAKEN
17. Kentucky-TAKEN
18. Louisiana-TAKEN
19. Maine-TAKEN
20. Maryland-TAKEN
21. Massachusetts-TAKEN
22. Michigan-TAKEN
23. Minnesota-TAKEN
24. Mississippi-TAKEN
25. Missouri-TAKEN
26. Montana-TAKEN
27. Nebraska-TAKEN
28. Nevada-TAKEN
29. New Hampshire-TAKEN
30. New Jersey-TAKEN
31. New Mexico-TAKEN
32. New York-TAKEN
33. North Carolina-TAKEN
34. North Dakota
35. Ohio-TAKEN
36. Oklahoma-TAKEN
37. Oregon-TAKEN
38. Pennsylvania-TAKEN
39. Rhode Island-TAKEN
40. South Carolina-TAKEN
41. South Dakota-TAKEN
42. Tennessee-TAKEN
43. Texas-TAKEN
44. Utah-TAKEN
45. Vermont-TAKEN
46. Virginia-TAKEN
47. Washington-TAKEN
48. West Virginia-TAKEN
49. Wisconsin
50. Wyoming-TAKEN

If you know of anyone in another state who might want to participate, please pass along the word!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Texas State Requirements for Homeschooling

Thankfully Texas is one of the most homeschooling-friendly states, so there aren't really any requirements at all. I do not even have to notify that we are homeschooling. We are legally considered a private school. If we were pulling the kids out of public school, we would have to submit a letter about why we are taking them out, but since they have never been enrolled, they will have no record of us.

Here is a map of homeschool regulations, so you can check out where you live:
Red are high regulation states (really glad we aren't in one of them)-they have a number of requirements including state testing, curriculum approval, home visits, teacher qualifications of parents and professional evaluations.

Orange are moderate regulation states- they are required to notification, test scores and/or professional evaluation of student

Yellow are low regulation-you just have to send notification that you are homeschooling

Green-No requirements for parents to initiate contact

I do plan to keep a notebook from each year with samples of the kids work, so we will have some sort of record if needed. When they are in high school there are resources to help create a transcript.

Also, next year we will join HSLDA which is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. For those who are/were teachers in OK, it is like APOE but for homeschooling families. Basically, it would help us out if there were ever any legal issues with us homeschooling. We didn't join this year because Kindergarten isn't even required in Texas, so we are saving our money for a year.

That concludes our homeschool mini series! I will be sure to post about our first day and week!