Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our First Webquest!

Ok, so I was inspired by my friend Jenny, who does these great webquests with her dd. You can view her blog here. So, I googled it, and came to this site on Webquests. I looked at what they had, and modified one of the examples to get myself going. After some practice, I can see making up my own as I go along. But, for now, I'm happy to modify. :-) So, without further adieu....

Our First Webquest:

You've been selected to be the first explorers to journey to Mercury! Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to learn more about Mercury.

On your voyage, you will accomplish these great tasks! Investigate Mercury's surface, atmosphere, and core and write a short essay to compare and contrast it with planet Earth. Investigate what causes craters, and how long ago scientists believe those on Mercury were formed. Investigate how scientists have obtained the data we already have about Mercury.

After your expedition, make a list of similarities and differences between Mercury and Earth. Use your list to compose your essay. Read about Mercury here, to help you form your list.

Click here and look at pictures of Mercury's craters. Answer the following question: What is the largest crater on the surface of Mercury?

Draw a picture of Mercury's surface for your lapbook.

Read the "Description" here and, answer these questions:
1. What was the name of the craft that went to Mercury?
2. What were it's primary objectives?
3. Did it go anywhere else?

Add a picture of the spacecraft to your lapbook.

We hope you've enjoyed your journey to Mercury. Please stay seated until your computer-craft has come to a complete stop.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Week of October 29, 2007

Here are our ghosts. One is a shot of the one on the mailbox and the tree, then a close up of the one by the front door.

Today we did some of our review work, we played Mercury and Venus Jeopardy again (which is fun) and added a couple things to our lapbook. I like the way it's coming along and can tell that it will be a useful tool. It will be a good first effort anyway!

The girls wrote acrostic poems using the word AUTUMN. They were cute. DD#2 drew two scarecrows to compare and contrast. And DD#1 reviewed the parts of a newspaper and read an article about wind tunnels (which she was VERY into). She now is outside seeing if it is windy enough here for her to fly. I'll keep you updated on how that turns out. ;)

I'm waiting for the leaves to start changing colors, but at least it's finally starting to FEEL like Fall!!! Woo hooo. Fall is my favorite season.

Here is a video of my walking baby....I can't even believe it:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And, then I got sick.

Well, my big plans last week were dashed to tiny bits strewn around my home! Because I, and the baby, got sick. I am finally feeling better, but I still have a lingering cough and the littlest has a runny nose. We managed to get only a minuscule amount of our review done. We completed some of our timeline, but only managed to play Mercury and Venus jeopardy and didn't really get into our lapbook. SO, we'll be doing another "Review Week" this week to finish up the things I really want to get to. I think this lap book is going to be awesome, and I'm at least as excited as the girls (maybe more so). I also decided on some really awesome fall crafts for the kids.

We'll be making luminaries out of jars. We made two already (we plan to make more), they are very cute! We just watered the paint down a little, and painted the entire outside of the jar with orange paint. We let that dry, then we painted on jack-o-lantern faces with black paint. Set a votive candle inside the jar, and voila! They turned out very cute...

We'll also be making ghosts! These are made out of garbage bags and smaller plastic bags. I made one as a "prototype" to see how easy they would be and if it would turn out the way I intended. I'll post a pic of these once the girls make some. But, the directions are simple. Take a garbage bag. If it's the drawstring kind, you need to cut out the drawstring. Stuff smaller plastic bags into it (originally, I thought I'd use newspaper, but then, I didn't have any on hand so I used plastic bags-like Target bags-and they worked fine!). Gather them into a HEAD, then tie the bag under the head (I used ribbon, you could use yarn, string, rope, a bread tie, whatever you have lying around...even a pipe cleaner would probably work). Then use a permanent marker to make a face (or not). Put a small hole in the top to run a string to hang it! Voila. You're done. It's super cute too. The girls were itching to make them, and then I got sick.

Lastly, well, for right now anyway, we will be making a scarecrow from paper bags. I have two of the large sized bags (grocery size) that we'll put together and stuff for the body. Then we'll make arms and legs out of smaller ones. My idea is to cut the bottom end off of one bag then join three bags together to make the legs and maybe two bags for the arms. These dimensions may be changed as I don't know how it will'll be a work in progress. Then we'll decorate a head and draw on some clothes etc. I think it will be fun, and hopefully it will be cute too. We'll see? :-)

The only project that did get completed this week was my oldest dd's centerpieces for our Girl Scout ceremony. They turned out beautifully! The flower one she made while I nursed the baby! The candle one I had to help some because we found out that school glue, and tacky glue won't glue silk leaves to floral foam AND hot glue will burn you through silk leaves. So, she directed and I did the sticking.

Hopefully, we'll have a more productive "Review Week #2"! Hopefully, we'll all stay well! The girls also made some "Discovery Bottles" for the baby, we've got two done-one is a red one (red glitter and red dyed water) and the other is a "stuff" one (it has STUFF in it! A heart shaped doily, some pom poms, some feathers, some popsicle sticks, some confetti, etc) They were very proud of themselves, and I updated the links to include the site that I am getting some more ideas from.

This afternoon we are off to a Halloween Spooktacular! Our homeschool group has put together a "Trunk or Treat" sort of thing. It should be lots of fun!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Look back, and ahead

Well, it's been a couple weeks since I blogged. We've taken almost that entire 2 weeks off for "fall break". We did school a few times (or activities that I deemed worthy of being called 'school'...a lot of our regular activities involve learning, so I count those as school days). But, mostly I've been trying to reclaim my house. My home has been lost to a mass of school projects, homemade christmas gift projects, and a very mobile baby (a 9 month old walker!) who enjoys creating the messes in the areas I just straightened. Also, I've been trying to tweek our schedule into something that makes us all happier and allows more freedom. I'll post what our new schedule is another day when I'm done working out all the bugs!

We attended a theater performance of The Velveteen Rabbit last week (it was great, performed by the Drama majors at one of the local colleges), as well as the state fair. We were able to find a friends entries into the fair, which was great. Oldest DD has decided she'd like to enter some things next year (a cooking project, and probably a sewing or knitting project as well). Younger DD was impressed with her friends rocket that was entered, and several other "building" type projects, so she may decide to enter something too. We also earned a Girl Scout badge while at the fair. We had soccer and dance and bowling league as well.

Since this will be our first week of school since the first week in October, we'll be doing a Review Week. Sort of refresh our memories on the things we've covered. We've been covering the Solar System (we've covered Sun, Mercury and Venus so far), and we'll be making a lapbook-our first-of the materials we've covered so far. I also found a great site with a printable review crossword puzzle (see links). We're also painting styrofoam balls and will eventually put them in order for a model (although, not to scale). I made some planet fact cards ( for the girls to sort, and we'll probably also play a version of Planetary Jeopardy later when I have all the sets made (what I have so far is only Mercury and Venus). We've covered chapters 1-11 in Story of the World, and we'll be reviewing that and constructing a timeline-our first-of what we've covered so far. I just have to be sure to put it up high enough that the littlest can't reach it on his tippy toes, as he really loves ripping things down (the US map, and the skeletal system poster have been his mosts recent victims). We'll be reviewing everything we've learned about the states we've covered so far (this is my oldest DD's favorite thing so far this year, who knew she'd be so into US geography). We'll also be reviewing grammar, and math concepts we've covered so far this school year (just to make sure they "got it" and still have it!).

I did get some work done on my math materials. I got a set of addition and subtraction facts cards printed, and partially cut out. I'm going to work some more on them this afternoon, and then tomorrow move on to social studies materials again. I'm going to continue working on state fact sheets, and flag sheets to complete our US geography units (although, that will actually take us the whole year). If I have any extra time, I'd like to work more on the world map units I'd like to do, but since we won't be doing world studies until next year...those can wait if need be. I'm also still working on felt sets for the littlest and finger puppets. I scored a puppet theater (table top sized) on craigslist for cheap (it even came with the puppets for the story of Puss in Boots!). My kids were very excited.

I also hope we'll get in some Fall crafts this week. I'd have some silk leaves, and I'd like to paint a couple of the pumpkins we got at the corn maze and farm (they are on the mantle currently, but they'd look even nicer painted). But, I need to look for some more ideas!!

We'll be making food for our Girl Scout ceremony on Friday, and my oldest dd is on the "decorating committee" (there couldn't be a better task for her, seriously) so we'll be making two centerpieces to take with us. FUN!

Stay tuned for pics..... Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A busy, crazy, wonderful week.

Hello all! I hope you've had a great week. We were busy and it was crazy but we had a wonderful time! :-) We had bowling league on Monday, and soccer. Wednesday we did a corn maze (a maze cut through a corn field), and dance. Thursday we went out to a farm and spent all day, it was amazing and I can't wait to go back! We also had soccer on Thursday. It made for a busy time, but we had a lot of fun, so it was worth it.

DD#1 made lunch on Tuesday, Pita Pizza's. They are simple to make, and YUMMY. You just need pita's, pizza sauce, cheese, and any other topping you might like (we used cubed ham). Smear and bake. Easy peasy. Here are pictures of her making them:

Step1: Open pitas

Step 2: Add sauce

Step 3: Add grated cheese

Step 4: Add ham, and sprinkle parmesan.

Step 5: Bake!

Step 6: Enjoy!

I got a few things accomplished. I got my art cards laminated and cut out. I got my sound bottles made up, but not my smell ones. I'll have to postpone those until next time I guess. I also made a felt set for "Five Little Pumpkins" for the littlest. Here is the set, I printed from, and then a shot of him "finding" it.

I also copied and am working on cutting out the pictures from Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? for the felt board. Then I'll laminate them and put some velcro on the back so we can use them along with the story. I also got started on finger puppets for Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. I finished Goldilocks, but still need to work on the bears. I'm really surprised I got even this much done, since we really were only home 2 days this week. The next zone is: Language. I want to get some new grammar materials made for the girls, and also maybe some Spanish things. We'll see where my brain takes me as I get the grammar things done. It looks like a calmer week, so maybe I'll get more accomplished. I also need to finish our sign language cards. I have one set done, but I made 2 sets. The second is laminated and about 1/3 cut out. I'll get that done this week as well.

Here are some pictures from our trips to share:

Kids at the farm:

DD#2 almost completley buried in corn!

The littlest, not quite sure he liked the corn (he was being so very dramatic all day):

Deciding maybe it's not so bad after all:

Heading into the corn maze at the farm (we had done one the day before too):