Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Progress

We're not getting a whole lot of academic work done, but we are enjoying the warm weather. It finally got hot and it is so nice to be outside in it!! I bought some summer workbooks at Costco and the kids are enjoying them. Those should at least keep them from forgetting everything. I think we are going to join the local swim club. That way the kids who know how to swim can do so often without me having to worry so much about the younger ones. I've pretty much decided that I don't like the homeschool community around here and I think that swimming and soccer will fill the void we have for team work and some social interaction until 9th grade when I'll have my kids attend seminary and possibly orchestra with the local schools. There are some great people I have met, but they all live about 20 min. away. So we will participate in some good homeschool activities like a talent show, economic fair, math club, field trips and 4-H. But I think my kids will benefit from participating in swim club. We definitely need to go swimming to brush up before I start them out. #2 scraped her elbow and knee when she crashed on her scooter so we've had to wait for those to heal before I could take them to a pool. This week!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer's fun so Far

We have been having a great time. I have been getting a little more organizing and cleaning done which I love. The girls have been doing math, Greek, piano and violin 3 times this week. I think#1 finally has speed and rate down so I htink she's ready to take the 6B math test. I sure hope she passes. #2 has really been dragging in academics this week and was reading the Harry Potter series for the 2nd time with plans to read them all a 3rd time. I told her she can finish reading the series through a second time after she reads 2 Anne of Green Gables series books or other like literary works and then no more Harry Potter. I told her it's O.K. to read it for fun once, but that she needs to fill her mind with more ennobling books and ideas. I am really tired of Harry Potter. I will be glad when she's through this phase. I need to keep better track of what she's reading. I think we'll start required reading again this week.

We had group time twice this week. I liked it, there's just not enough time for everything though and it has finally been nice outside so our focus has been cleaning, yard work and playing outside. We spent one day at This is the Place Pioneer Park in Salt Lake with some new friends we've met through blogging. That was very fun and all the kids have gotten along great and they actually don't live too far from us. We spent one day in Salt Lake running errands and going to vision therapy. We've had plenty of time to do lots of fun things all week. I am amazed at how much my kids complain when I finally ask them to do one little thing. I think they are a little spoiled and need to do a little more. I am getting a little better organized, but it is hard for me. Having lots of kids is really forcing me use my time better and organize this house better.
The boys did some reading, math and piano this week. I will have to be sure to give them all a piano lesson this week. We are looking forward to our sewing class this week.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

National Parks

We visited Arches and Canyonlands National Parks this week. We camped in the desert for 2 nights. The sand was so soft and orange. The kids had a great time playing in it. There were also some cool sandstone hills to climb. We had a good time. The kids filled out the Junior ranger booklets and earned their badges and learned some about the parks. Their favorite was Delicate Arch which we hiked up to the long way. We had a great time. We have all decided that we prefer camping in the forest to camping in the desert though. Not even the Indians lived in that area. The Colorado river was very high and some of the campgrounds and bike trails were flooded (that's why we chose the desert for our campsite-- we didn't want to be too worried about little ones washing away). The kids had to see Moab and Arches, it was their first time. Now they know!! It was fun, but we sure were glad to get home!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Science Fair

We participated in our first annual science fair this week. There were no judges this time around, so we did demonstrations instead of turning it into a question and using the scientific method. My husband thinks the scientific method is overrated. We would rather teach our kids why things do the things they do and help them see cause and effect. However, the kids who used the scientific method at the fair had very nice displays. They looked really good and were very interesting. Next year there will be judges, so we'll turn our projects into questions and hypothesis.

So #1 built an electric motor. It turned using the power of a magnet and battery. It was pretty cool to watch. #2 built a telegraph also using a battery and turning a nail into an electromagnet by wrapping several coils of wire around it. #3 built a lever with a folcrom and demonstrated the amount of effort used at various lengths. #4 built a pulley system which tok me a very long time to untangle the rope when we got to the fair. He demonstrated the amount of effort used with differing numbers of pulleys. They had a lot of help from their dad. That's pretty much what we spent doing on Memorial Day. It was fun and educational for us all.

I'm newly optimistic about homeschooling in this area. It's looking like we've got some people who want to do things with their kids that will be beneficial for them and others. I'm so relieved- homeschooling is so much easier when you have friends to do some of these bigger things with. There weren't a lot of participants, but there were quite a few people who came just to look. So I think come January when we have the next one and with judges, we'll have a better turnout. We've also got plans for an economic fair, talent show and field day. Yay!

Also this week we got a lot of gardening done which has been nice. It has also finally been warm enough to send the kids outside which has made a huge difference. We only did a little bit of school work this week, but we'll hit it hard next week. We essentially took off last week for my brother-in-law's wedding. It was so nice to spend time with family. Love it!