Monday, March 30, 2015

Hanging with The Hens!


We got the honor to hang with some pretty, cool chicks today!
They were so laid back, so easy-going and so much fun.
And ladies around This White House just don't exist...until the teenage years, right!?


When Mrs. Angel emailed us invited the boys to her home (aka The Chicken Coop), I immediately RSVPed with a BIG YES!!!.  What kid wouldn't want to learn how a chicken coop works and get the chance to chase them, clip their wings and EVEN give them a bath?  

We started with clipping the wings - which I never knew needed to be done!  And the 4 year old will tell you if you ask... "You have to do this so they won't fly out of Mrs. Angel's yard!"  And he is so right!

So with 9 chickens and 8 kiddos - everyone got the chance.  AND NO!!! IT DOESN'T HURT THE CHICKENS!


I have never seen my 6 year old so excited about teasing and chasing these chickens around.  "Gives them good exercise!" said Mrs. Angel!  A few kids, a few chickens and a big yard = a good cardio workout for all!



After a delicious sack lunch and a few wrestling matches on the trampoline - it was time to wash one of the gals up!  Just add a few drops of dish soap on the hands of these lil learners and watch them scrub away!  And that chicken just chilled and enjoyed.


And we even made it home with a good dozen eggs!  Fresh eggs!


After we got home, the 4 year old drew this...

A is for Angel; N is for N; S is for the scissors and Ch is for Chicken (Mommy helped draw that one!)  And I dictated his words for the sentence.

This day will go down in our Homeschooling History books!  
The Day we hung out with all those hens!

And I can almost guarantee if you want the same-type experience for your little learner - just ask!  Ask a neighbor that has a coop, find a farm, maybe even a trip to your local General Store.

When people have a passion - they are willing to share it with ANYONE!  We just need to be willing to listen and learn and bring our children along.

Happy Learning with your Lil Ones! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Something I regret not doing for my students...


Something that I didn't do as a classroom teacher is teach, discover and base our learning off our upcoming class field trips.  I guess we did read animal books before our Zoo Trips or research sea life before the trip to the Aquarium.  But, I'll be honest (and I think most school teachers will confess)...class field trips were just a day out and about!  A day we didn't have to plan lessons...a day we have EXTRA adults to watch 40+ kids.  And best of all...a day that we got to wear jeans and tennis shoes!


So if you were one of my former students, I'm sorry!  I am sure you are doing just fine without my intense planning before field trips.  And I can assure you that I am changing my ways.

I have made a promise to myself, as a homeschooling mom, to take time to plan, to learn and prepare my kids for their monthly field trips with our homeschooling group.

Tomorrow is a BIG day in this house!  We have researched and learned all about The Hill Country Science Mill for a good month now. And tomorrow is the day we've all been waiting for!

With the help of a "pre-visit" lesson plan that was emailed out by our group organizer...today was our final prep for tomorrow's big trip.
(You can usually find online lesson plans on the websites of wherever you are visiting - I have found them under "educators" tab or drop down menu)

During snack time, we used the computer to look up and discuss the exhibits!



 The "pre-visit" lesson plan invited the students illustrate themselves as a scientist, engineer and a mathematician.  It made my heart flutter with happiness to see what their idea really was when it came to these 3 professions.  They are so young, but know so much!  And they shared that knowledge through some awesome art work!




And here are their final products:
This is J's scientist illustration - him in a Chemistry Lab

J, as an Engineer, working on electrical wires.

And my favorite, J as a Mathematician, working in his office, just like his Daddy.

Here's N, as a scientist, that works with circuits

N, as an Engineer, using rockets (of course) and volcanos

N, as a Mathematician, creating computer phones "with the apple on the back"

I just love children's art - its such a great form of communication!  After this lesson, I am pretty sure that my Scientist, Engineer and/or Mathematician will be ready for their trip to the Hill Country Science Mill.  

And take the time to prep and plan for ANY type of trip with your little learner!  Make the most of moments away from home - use the world as your classroom - even if it's just a trip to the grocery store to look at the live lobsters in the tank!  Or searching for birds nest in the trees at the park!  The possibilities are endless and so are the memories that you will make! 

Happy Learning with your Little Ones! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Oh Coconuts!

My newest saying is from The Homegrown Preschoolers website... #SAYYES!  So when we were at the grocery store and N asked if we could buy a coconut, I paused, thought, then said "Yes!"  And he happily went and picked out his favorite!

I have NEVER in my life opened a coconut but that didn't stop us!  So on a rainy Friday morning, we got everything we needed and opened our first coconut...together!

We started by watching a YouTube video.
How to open a Coconut by The Produce Man

Then I asked the kids to go and play for a bit while I gathered everything up!

I am a HUGE fan of prepping-before-doing ESPECIALLY when I have an 18 month old tornado in the house.

I knew we needed Daddy's electric drill, a hammer, a cleaver knife, a measuring cup and a few spoons.
 So I gathered it up, set it up and then called down the kiddos.


First we drilled hole into the "eyes" of the coconut.  This is how you drain the coconut water...
which is the next step.


We were amazed with ALL the water that was in this lil guy.  1 cup of coconut water - 
that DIDN'T taste very good at all!


Now that we had the water out, we needed to crack it open!  And this was tricky!!!!

We tried a hammer around the circumference of the coconut - didn't work!

Then we decided to try sawing using the meat cleaver knife - didn't work!

So we need to call in Daddy (thank goodness he was home sick that day!)
He used the cleaver knife in a slow-chopping motion around the coconut - just like in the video.



And now we have an opened coconut!  
Thanks DAD!

The coconut smelled awesome!  The texture was "slimy" according to the boys.

Next we needed to scrape the meat out of the coconut!  We decided to try a number of different tools.  Spoons, butter knifes, 
ice cream scoop, vegetable peeler - you name it, they wanted to try it.

Once we had enough to taste, we did.  And it just wasn't that great!  Honestly, the packaged kind has SO much more flavor or maybe we picked out a coconut that just wasn't ripe?  Who knows....

All I DO know, is that we had a great time doing this!  I left out the coconut the rest of the day for the boys to do "whatever" with.  

My favorite was MiniM - he rein-acted the whole experiment in his own little way!   



So I challenge you!  

SAY YES!

I'm not saying to everything!  
But to say yes to the things that make memories, explore new ideas or create laughter!

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The day the world was our classroom...

It was a Wednesday - and I had a NEED TO GET IT DONE list.  And that list included going to the bank and stopping by the pet store ALL before nap time...

Oh, and did I mention that one of kids actually slept in!  This rarely happens - and when it does, it really get ME of schedule!

But this sweet, simple Wednesday proved to me, once again!, that some times we should SLOW down, look around and embrace the moment!  And on this day...I am so glad that I did!




When I go to the bank, I always invite the kids to trade in their bills for different amounts or use the coin computer to see how much they've been saving.  This money all comes from their chore money.

First stop .... the bank!  OH, yes, the bank with 3 children.  It's not my favorite but I alway try to make it fun for all!  But today...on this sweet, simple Wednesday...it was a patience test for ALL!

First, the boys cashed in their money and picked out a Dum-Dum pop
(which is part of why the bank trips are so cool!),
And now, I had a few other things on my list that I needed to do...and those things ended up taking over 1 hour!!!

YEP!!! 1 hour - we had to wait and wait and wait....

Still waiting..... and it's a long story....

but here's how I made the best learning experience out of the longest waiting game.


When life hands you a newspaper - circle the words that you can read in that newspaper!  Brother vs brother!  Who has more and who can find "the" or "at" or "Austin" the fastest.

We all sat in front of the window that faced the interstate and try to spot "cool cars" - yellow ones, BIG trucks, ones driving way to fast!

And then we grabbed another Dum-Dum Sucker!

J has been working on Area and Perimeter - soooooo - we used the bank's ceiling tiles to review area.  And can you believe that our bank has 456 ceiling tiles in their lobby?

We also measured the perimeter of the area rug in the seating area!

For N, I gave him a piece of paper that had these questions?

"How many chairs?"
"How many cameras?"
"How many doors?"
"How many squares?"

He is 4 - so he got 4 questions!

And his job was to search and find those answers!

(And grab another Dum-Dum sucker while working on this)

MiniM - yes, he was there with us!  And I grabbed a few coffee straws and a styrofoam coffee cup...all he worked on was stabbing those straws into the cup and pulling them out.  And this task only kept him busy for a good 5 minutes - but I'll take it!

We turned into "door greeters" when the elderly would walk in.  And THAT created lots of smiles and verbal compliments which my kids NEED to hear from someone besides me!

But, we never pulled out "Mommy's Phone" (which was SOOO tempting)!  It's such an easy thing to give into (and I have)... but I really saw this as a challenge and the perfect time to use the world as our classroom.  And slowing down, accepting the situation and just embracing the moment (while asking God for mini-doses of grace and patience), really turned this sweet, simple Wednesday into one we will never forget.

And remember after the bank - we still had to stop at the local pet shop for Guinea Pig food - and what a treat!





Happy Learning (using the world as your classroom) with your Little Ones!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Our "Class Pet"



There's so much to having a Class Pet!  Remember those days?  Didn't it excite you when you looked up on the class chore chart and you were the Pet Feeder!  Big time job, right?...when you were little!

I wanted my kiddos to experience these moments and memories of a class pet - 
so with the help from others we made it happen!

Meet Sparkie!  



She's a year old Guinea Pig that is so sweet and so loving!  
And she is our NEW Class Pet - Oh, but wait!  Yall homeschool?
Are you confused?

Well, let me explain this fun mess!  

About 2 months ago at our Book Club, I had fellow Homeschooling Mom approach me about the idea of a "class pet".  We both have animal lovers in our families, but didn't want the responsibility of a pet in our home.  

Our pet story  - 2 people fall in love, get 1 dog, add another, get married, have a kid, have another kid - dogs need to go!  So they (the dogs) are enjoying their retired life up in the panhandle of Texas with my lovely in-laws.

Others pet story - You ALL know how it turns out - Parents get a pet for the kids...Kids LOVE it for a few days (a few weeks if they are lucky), and then parents become responsible for that pet that was purchased for the kids to teach them about responsibility!  RIGHT?!!?

Well with THIS class pet idea, the pet was going to "house hop" and rotate in and out of homes of families within our homeschooling group.  

I came home and mentioned the idea of a "class pet" to my husband and we both agreed it was a GREAT idea!

So we started searching and searching on the internet.  And we just couldn't find the perfect one!  I really didn't think it was going to work!  We even had a Mom write a class pet grant and actually receive it!  How cool!  But nothing...

AND THEN...

We found her!  (Another Mom that knew we were looking and sent me a lead!)  

Long story short - Another homeschooling family needed their sweet pet to find loving home due to allergies.  And we needed to be that family!


Next week, I'm hosting a REVEAL party for Sparkie and the families that are participating.  The kids in our group will be coming up with responsibilities and rules.  And we will create her travel schedule then as well.

So here we have a pet, our class pet - only for a few weeks - and then she will go visit another family!  Then she will come back in a month or 2...and while she is gone, she will be missed!

During her travels, we are sending her away with a photo book about her needs and her schedule that my boys will be making.  We are including a journal for other members of our "class" to write and document the fun they had with Sparkie. 

So why am I mentioning this?

Because this idea is so "do-able" for any type of family, homeschooling or not!  

Gather up some like-minded, responsible friends...adopt/rescue or purchase a pet...and let the memories and fun begin!  

I'll keep you posted on this precious project! 

Anybody else up for this one?  Would love to hear about it!

Happy Learning with your little ones!







That's a Wrap - Another Homeschooling Year at a Glance

Really? It felt just like yesterday that I was snapping these pictures of J & N... my Kinder and 2nd-grade kiddo! And before I kn...