Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Feb 28

Today Georgia continued working on her Australia poster. She outlined the continent with black marker, as well as the states and territories. She also colored the map to show the different climates and ecosystems. She decided on a list of animals and labels she wanted to add to the poster. We collected pictures on the Internet and wrote out the text of the labels she wanted and printed them out. We cut them out, and tomorrow she will finish the poster and glue on her labels and animal pictures. She'll also need to complete a map key to go with her poster.

On the computer, Georgia explored the National Geographic website and read up on different animals. She also printed out some animal fact sheets and is collecting them in a folder.

We saw a show on the Animal Planet on flying foxes (bats) of Australia. They were so cute! The show discussed their habitat, food, predators, and the fight with some of the human population. There was a disease scare and people were shooting the bats in fear. The show's host, Jeff Corwin, was with a group of scientists who were studying the bats for the disease, and taking blood and saliva samples.

We also received our National Geographic Geo Bee Challenge Board Game that Mark ordered for us. We tried it out last night. We actually played it twice, it was a lot of fun! It is targeted for fourth to eighth graders-the grades eligible for the National Geography Bee. I hope to watch the bee on television this year if I remember, and if it is showing in our area. This game is going to be a fun learning tool for expanding our knowledge of geography!

Livy was quite the fussy girl today...she and I have had some cold symptoms. She had a runny nose and frequent sneezing. I had that, with a sore throat and sinus pressure. Olivia did play her Reader Rabbit computer game in the morning, however. But she grew more ornery as the day went on. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Feb 26 & 27

We got to watch Moby Dick last weekend. It was nice to see the story unfold on screen, but the special effects were definitely lacking. But what can you expect from a movie made in the fifties? Georgia enjoyed it, though.

Georgia finished reading Ramona and Her Father and is now on the fifth book of the series, Ramona and her Mother. She browsed the author's website,, and read character profiles, looked at the neighborhood map, and took a trivia quiz on Ramona. She can't wait to read the Henry series so she can try that quiz as well. I looked up the address for the author at her publisher, and Georgia wants to write her a letter. I think she is in her early nineties now. I used to read her books when I was little, too!

Georgia played her Zoo Tycoon computer game again. She has learned so much from that game. She gets to create her own zoo, including it's location in the world, biome, even landscaping and what type of gates to use for the animals. She also has to hire the employees; zookeepers to feed and groom the animals, and maintenence workers to fix things and clean up the zoo. If she doesn't put out trash cans then trash starts to collect on the ground and her guests start complaining...her zoo will lose popularity. She would need to add more garbage cans or hire more maintenence workers to take care of the problem. It's really neat. It makes you think of everything. There is also a "Zoopedia" where she can read up on the animals that she chooses for her zoo. She reads about what type of food they like, enviroment, enrichment equipment, etc. She has learned a lot of tree and plant species from playing, too. If the animals aren't taken care of they will get sick and eventually die. And yes, the animal dung needs cleaned from the cages or the animals will not be happy and the guests will complain about the smell! It is quite the game! I don't remember when she received the first Zoo Tycoon. I think she was four years old. Then she received the upgrade with additional features and endangered animals. The one she received for Christmas was the African Adventure Expansion Pack that added more animals, a jeep vehicle for tours, enhanced predator/prey behaviors, and more. Olivia likes playing zoo, too. She loves making the sky tram and going for a ride, or making an elevated path and walking it.
Today, Georgia color-coded an Australian map by following the instructions. She also took a quiz on Australia, read some of the library books on Australia, and worked on her Australia poster. The poster will be her final project on the topic. We are making a smaller poster this time.

At lunch she wanted to know why heat rises...something she learned about when we did our unit on weather. I told her about the properties of the molecules of hot and cold cold molecules squeeze together and hot ones spread out. I likened it to if she was cold, she would want to bundle in a ball to keep as much heat as she could. But if she was hot she would want to spread out to cool off quicker. We briefly discussed atoms, molecules, and the periodic table. (she was also interested in the lightest elements because I had explained why a helium balloon rises) We will explore this topic in depth at a later time.

Georgia also had her gymnastics class tonight and had a lot fun with that.

Olivia received her Wild Animal Baby magazine today. We read it together. We also made the shape picture that was in the magazine. I cut out different shapes in different colors and Olivia glued them onto her paper like the magazine picture.

Livy with a glue stick making her picture.

Olivia's picture on the left, the magazine on the right

Olivia worked on matching upper and lower-case letters together. We also talked about different words that started with each letter.

Olivia practiced counting using her fingers. We followed along with a rhyme and had to count as the rhyme progressed.

We read some books together. One of them was an I Spy book. I Spy has a series of photographs of several small objects. There is a list of objects to be found. Olivia loves trying to be the first to find the object in the jumbled mess. This helps with visual discrimination by observing the picture and identifying and naming specific objects. Sometimes there are a couple objects that look similar, but she needs to pay close attention to the minor differences.

Friday, February 23, 2007

2/17 to 2/22

The girls received the rest of their Valentines cards from the exchange. We had a lot of fun reading them together and learning about all the different kids and where they live. Olivia has put the rest of her pins on the map, but Georgia will still need to do this.

We watched another Australia documentary...but it wasn't as interesting as the first. Georgia visited a few internet sites on Australia and took some quizzes online as well. She was really interested in reading about the fossils found in Australia. She was interested in reading how fossils are formed. She can't wait to study geology. I still need to gather some things for that unit, and we want some nice weather for some rock hunting trips. I am ordering a rock and mineral field guide to help us identify what we see...but this will come much later.

When I read a news article I know Georgia would enjoy I print it out or have her come to the computer. They are usually on endangered animals, or of a topic we have studied or that she is interested in. One we read recently was of a frog entombed in amber that was found in Mexico and is possibly 25 million years old. Another article we read was on the recent and recordbreaking collosal squid catch off New Zealand!

Georgia had finished typing her report and today she drew an illustration for it.

Georgia had me quiz her on locating countries on the globe. Every single one I mentioned she could find it pretty quickly. Chile, Jamaica, Sweden, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Iraq... Olivia wanted in on it too. I quizzed her on the continents and she did amazingly well. It helps that we have maps hanging on the walls and will always point out to where an animal is from and where we live. Ask her where an anaconda lives (a library book she was interested in) and she will go to the map and point to northeastern South America. Pandas....she finds China. And of course, penguins are found on Antarctica. She amazes me more and more each day. Yesterday she did a map activity on identifying the continents. She loved it.

Olivia also practiced puting the letters of her name in the correct order. She does it correctly more times than not. And if she does put a letter in the wrong place she realizes that it is not right pretty quickly.

We did number cups today, as well. She counts better everytime. She used to count faster than her finger could point and she would always count more than what was there. But she slows herself down and will double-check her counting on her own. After the number cup activity she had fun stacking the cups up...

And then knocking them down...

Olivia also worked on recognizing and completing patterns. I used coins to make patterns and she had to add what went next to the series. This also helped her in recognizing and learning the names of each coin. We also worked with patterns using worksheets.

Georgia has finished reading Ramona the Pest, and tonight finished Ramona the Brave. She has also been reading up on whales with the library book Meeting the Whales. We also got some books on dog breeds. We'll be studying dogs, pet care, safety, etc, when we finish up a few things. We did play veterinarian, where the girls brought their pets to me and we weighed and measured them and talked about its needs and how to take care of the animal. As a vet, I saw several dogs, cats, a polar bear, and a fennec fox. Quite the practice I have, huh?

Last night she stayed up late to watch a hippo show on Animal Planet. The hippo is one of her favorite animals. We'll be seeing one when we visit the National Zoo in Washington D.C. this May. They also have an adoption program where you can choose an animal to adopt. The money goes to providing direct care for that specific animal. And you also receive some neat things, like a photo of the animal you are helping, and a newsletter. We plan on each of us choosing an animal to adopt. Georgia will no doubt choose the hippo. Mark is thinking of adopting a wolf. I'm leaning towards the Indian elephant. And Olivia has not narrowed down her top choices yet.

Georgia was going to play indoor soccer at the YMCA but the class was full when we called. She will be taking another gymnastics class, though, and has decided she wants to take swimming again in the spring.

Stay warm and have a great weekend!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Feb 16

Today we watched the rest of the documentary Australia the Beautiful. This episode was on the mountains and rainforest. Georgia also watched a show on the Animal Planet about the now extinct Tasmanian tiger. We also watched a little bit of Anderson Cooper on CNN. He was in the Amazon rainforest in South America and was showing different types of animals that are losing their homes and are endangered.

We gathered our school books and started arranging them on the bookshelves. Of course, while doing this the girls saw books they hadn't seen in a while and sat on the floor reading them while I organized the shelves. Olivia was into the Human Body , and Georgia was reading North American Birds and other animal books. While moving the books, our Mr. Bones took a spill and we had to put him back together. Mr. Bones is the name the girls gave to our little model skeleton.

We had a family movie night and watched Barnyard. It was cute and we had fun.

Tonight Georgia is reading Ramona the Pest.

I looked on Netflix and found a Moby Dick movie. I also found one titled The True Story of Moby Dick, or something similar. It is about the stories that Moby Dick may have been drawn from. Georgia and I read a bit about the authors of the books she reads. We found it fascinating to learn that Herman Melville himself joined a whaling ship when he was eighteen. He also had a crazy captain, possibly similar to Captain Ahab, and Mr. Melville jumped ship at one of the stops. It was a remote island and he was captured by cannibals. What an experience! I put those two movies on our queue and we will receive them when the others are returned. I also added The Swiss Family Robinson to the queue.

For her final project on Australia, Georgia said she wants to make another poster. So we will be brainstorming ideas for that. Also, tomorrow it is supposed to be warmer....high of 27! We may go outside to play for a bit. We'll have fresh's just entering Indiana now.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Feb 15

Today we finished reading the Life book, and also read The Tree of Life. We had fun choosing an animal and talking about its adaptations. Georgia also read the rest of her papers on Australian wildlife and completed a matching activity with photos of the animals she learned about.

We received our bookshelves we ordered from Staples and the girls helped put them together. Georgia looked at the directions, step by step, and identified the part or tool needed. The girls also helped with inserting or placing certain parts to where they needed to go. I also taught the girls what the names of certain tools were and what they were used for. But we could only get so far before we needed Mark's help. With him home, we were able to finish both sets of bookshelves without a problem.

We also received the books I ordered for Georgia...twenty-two used Beverly Cleary books. She now has the complete Ramona series, the mouse series, most of the Henry series, and a lot of books without a series that were also written by Beverly Cleary.

In the evening, Georgia finished reading The Swiss Family Robinson. She then started and finished Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.
Here's a picture of Olivia with her fennec fox.
Georgia's sperm whale is temporarily missing!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Feb 14

Tuesday evening we watched the deserts and grasslands episode of the Australian documentary. We also baked some heart-shaped cupcakes and mini cakes. And Georgia sat down and read the entire book of Moby Dick in less than three hours! I let her stay up later because she wanted to keep reading. I love that she loves to read!

Wednesday we decorated the cakes. We don't have heart shaped cupcake tins, but we rolled up some tin foil balls and stuck them in behind the cupcake papers to shape the cupcake when it cooked.

The girls went out to explore the effects of the near-blizzard we had. The roads were still closed today, level three still in effect. But the girls had fun climbing the snow mountains.

The snow was either packed tight like ice, or powdery and blowing in the wind. We were not able to make snowmen this time. And we are not able to open the back door because of the pile of snow in front of it.

And the driveway was also pretty full. Yup, that's our driveway behind Olivia...after shoveling numerous times!!

Georgia started reading the Swiss Family Robinson tonight and is over halfway through. I told her I think they made a movie about it, so we will look for that at Netflix.

We are now down to a level two, so Mark will be able to return to work tomorrow. As I write this, our current temperature is five degrees. I wonder how cold the wind chill is?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feb 13

We watched one of the episodes of Australia the Beautiful on Saturday. It was on the coastal regions and was very interesting. We still have more episodes and another documentary to watch. We will probably get to that today.

It is snowing right now. We have already received six inches and are expected to get a foot. There is a level three in effect right now, which means no one is allowed on the roads except for emergency vehicles. Mark stayed home from work today, and Georgia will not attend her last gymnastics class, unless they have it next week.

Yesterday we received a bunch of Valentines cards. We read them together and learned about different people from all over. Afterwards, we used pins to mark on our US map where the cards came from. Olivia used red pins, Georgia used pink ones. Then we used some string to connect them all to our hometown. We still have a bunch more coming, so we will do this with the ones we will be receiving as well.

Yesterday was Darwin Day. We read in our LIFE ON EARTH: The Story of Evolution book. We discussed Charles Darwin's scientific expedition on the Beagle, and his theory of evolution. We discussed natural selection, variation, mutation, and how new species are created through generations of this. We discussed the finches of the Galapagos Islands and their varied beaks. The finches on different islands have different beak shapes and sizes, and they eat different types of food. One finch may have a short, strong beak for cracking hard seeds, while on another island, the finch will have a curved beak for eating plants and soft fruit. We still have more to read, and will make a time line of the history of life on earth, starting four and a half billion years ago. We also talked about how some people believe other stories on the origin of species. We discussed how this was an issue when Darwin published his work, and how it is still in debate today. Then Georgia worked on her PowerTouch system with the science book on Dinosaurs.

Georgia created a menu for "Wetzel Cafe" with prices. She then made our checks, which we paid with play money, and she had to total the bills and give correct change. She then made a store in her room where she did the same thing. She had to add our totals and give correct change. We had fun shopping for things in the girls' room.

We made a game called "Chuzzle Ball" and played that for a while. And then we played monkeys in the middle. We played that for quite a while and we were all giggling and out of breath by the time we were done!

Right now we are getting ready to watch another episode of Australia the Beautiful, and then probably do some crafts or baking.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Feb 8 & 9

Yesterday, Georgia finished a chapter in her math book and took the review test with zero mistakes. Today for math, instead of starting a new section, she was curious as to how many days old she was, so we did that for math today. We used the birth dates of all four of us. She first calculated how many days we were on our last birthday. (Ex. Olivia was 365x3 or 365+365+365) Then she calculated how many days it had been since our last birthdays and added that. Then we accounted for leap years...last one in 2004, so she only had to add one extra day for that to both her and Livy's calculations. She did not use a calculator, but I helped her for us old folks. Turns out we are:

  • Olivia is 1238 days old today.

  • Georgia is 2339 days old today.

  • Mom is 10,717 days old today.

  • Dad is 13,919 days old today.

We read about Australia, its flag, history, location, population, cities, government, and some of its animals. So far we have read about the bilby, or rabbit-eared bandicoot, the black swan, the blue-tongued skink, the dingo, the duck-billed platypus, and the echidna, or spiny anteater. Australia really has very different types of wildlife. They have almost all the world's population of marsupials, and some other strange ones. For instance, the blue-tongued skink is a lizard, but it gives birth to live young as opposed to laying eggs. And the echidna and the platypus, both mammals, lay eggs. We also learned that they are both monotremes. We had to look that up and found out it means from a primitive group of mammals, and they are the only two remaining monotremes.

We have already studied the box jellyfish and the Great Barrier Reef when we studied the ocean, but we will probably be discussing these again at some point when we discuss poisonous animals in Australia, which there are many, and when we talk about the impact humans have on the wildlife and land in Australia. We have discussed how the European settlers brought their pets and livestock which reeked havoc on the native species, sending some to extinction. I like these discussions as it gives a good example of cause and effect with major consequences.

We also looked at the globe and map to see Australia's location and distance from other locations. And she could see why it got its nickname as "The Land Down Under". We received two documentaries about Australia from Netflix but we won't watch them until this weekend. Mark has always been interested in Australia, so we want to wait and watch them with him.

Georgia started typing her report today. I first gave her a quick tutorial on using Word. She picked up on it fast. She used the laptop because Olivia was using the desktop computer. The laptop has the little fingerpad instead of a mouse, but she got used to it.

Georgia also played "Crazy Machines" which is a computer game that requires logic. There are different parts to the game. One is where the scientist has a half-built contraption and you need to fiddle with it, and add new parts, to complete a certain goal. Another is a free form lab where you can make a contraption yourself. If you have played the game Mousetrap then you know somewhat of what it is like. Except this game uses all types of different sciences, from simple machines like the lever, inclined plane, pulley, etc, to electricity, magnets, solar power, wind power, and even explosives. It is really fun and educational too. The best pairings!

Olivia has continually improved on her alphabet recognition, both lower and upper cases. She even spelled out her name today with magnet letters. But the second time she tried it she had the correct letters but in the wrong order. She does know what letters are needed but not always in what order they belong. But I'm still really impressed with her!

Olivia also "read" books with me. We took turns. She "reads" me a story, and then I read her a story. I try to remember to point to each word as I am saying them. It is a little awkward for me, but really helps her.

She also worked on her Sesame Street Activity set that her grandmother had given to her. It is a dry eraser set where she can write on them, but they can be wiped off to do again another time. She worked on both letters and numbers today.

Olivia also did some worksheets on matching pairs, finding what belongs and what doesn't, etc. And she practiced tracing lines with a pencil. She did a lot better this time! She is really doing a great job with holding the pencil correctly, and controlling it to where she wants it to go.

We finished our Valentines cards yesterday and got them sent out today. They have received three cards so far. One was from an oil town in Texas, one was from Tennessee and was in the shape of a guitar as it talked about the state's music past and present, and one was from Florida near St. Augustine where it discussed the state's history.

We did have a mishap this evening when the girls were brushing their teeth before bed. I don't know how it happened, or why she decided to this.....but Olivia got her potty seat stuck on her head. I couldn't stop laughing. She is coming to me crying because she can't take it off, and I am in tears trying to stop laughing and help her. I had to tell Mark to grab the camera.

After I removed the potty seat, Livy was not impressed with the picture and the fact that I was still in hysterics. But I told her, "what if Mom comes to you with a toilet seat on her head," and Livy giggled. Then she could look at the picture and see that it was funny.....since the potty seat had been removed. But I told her DON'T DO THAT AGAIN!!! I'm giggling now thinking about it

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Feb 7

This week, Georgia has worked on math, science of winter, and her research paper. She has completed her rough draft and today she edited it. She has decided she wants to type the final draft instead of writing it. She'll need a quick tutorial of Word since she has never used it. I wasn't going to teach typing until next year, so it'll probably take a while as she henpecks through her report. It is just a page and a half, so it should be alright.

Tuesday it snowed...a lot. Temperatures were quite low as well, so we didn't get to play outside for too long. The girls did go outside for about five minutes while the driveway was being shoveled.

I signed the girls up for a Valentines Card Exchange. They each have twenty kids from all over the US, and Georgia has one kid from Ontario, Canada on her list. In our cards we are to add some info on the area we are from. This should be interesting to read the cards we receive and learn about other kids from all over. We'll be getting forty cards! But that also means we have to make and send out forty cards! We worked on them tonight and will need to finish them tomorrow so we can have them in the mail on Friday.

Georgia received her sperm whale which she has named "Spermy". And Olivia has received her fennec fox. I'll have to take pictures and post them later this week.

Hope everyone is staying warm!

Friday, February 2, 2007

March of Dimes WalkAmerica

We've formed our WalkAmerica team to raise money to help all babies be born healthy. Please join us in this important endeavor.

If you are from the Greenville area and would like to join us on walk day, please sign up and join our team. If you are not from our area, you can still help by sponsoring us with your donations for the March of Dime's WalkAmerica. Even if it is just five dollars, every dollar counts!

The money we raise helps fund research to find out why premature birth happens and what can be done to prevent it. Premature birth is the #1 cause of newborn death and the biggest threat to babies' health today.

Can you think of anything more important than the health of our babies? If you can't join us, please donate to our team page at It's fast, easy and secure.

Right now, we are walking in honor of all babies. If you or someone you know has experienced a premature birth or the death of a newborn and would like us to walk in honor of that child, let us know. We will put the name of that child on our t-shirts that we will wear on walk day.

Thanks again for your time in reading this and visiting our site. And thank you for your contributions for this worthy cause.

Team Canterbury Academy
Mark, Sarah, Georgia, Olivia

WalkAmerica website:

Feb 1st and 2nd

Yesterday, Georgia decided to take out her rock collection. She looked at each rock's size, color, shape, texture, pattern, and density. She decided to sort them by color.

The girls also played with playdough and made some interesting things. Georgia made a plate of spaghetti with sauce and meatballs. Olivia made the same, and some animal shapes with cookie cutter type tools.

Olivia organized her jewelry box and tried some on.

She also played BoggleJr. There is a set of cards with words on them, and blocks with letters on them. She needs to spell the words with the blocks.

Earlier in the week, the girls picked out some things to buy with their Christmas money. Georgia ordered a plush gemsbok and sperm whale. Olivia chose a plush fennec fox. (some of their favorite animals) Georgia's gemsbok arrived today! We are still waiting for the other two to arrive.

We also learned about syllables. Georgia worked on math. We use the Singapore text and workbooks. She also wrote another paragraph of her research paper and read some of her magazines. (Big Backyard and Highlights)

Another activity we do with Olivia is what we call her "Label Activity". We did this with Georgia when she was younger as well. What we do is write words on pieces of paper and tape them around the house. The word "lamp" is taped to a lamp. "Door" is on a door, etc. Olivia will think of other words for her label activity and we will write them out and stick them where they belong. Then we go through the house and she reads the labels. And yes, there is one on the toilet!

Tonight we are going to watch The Shaggy Dog that we got in the mail from Netflix.

Antarctica Lapbook

For Georgia's final project on Antarctica, she created a lapbook. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is a little book packed with information which is usually made from a file folder. We used a letter size manilla folder. We opened it up and folded it in thirds.

Here's the front...

The inside has different folded pockets and doors of information. On the left is a flip-up style penguin book. It has pictures and information on seven different species of penguins with their species name on the overhanging tab. There is an orange door flap that has a map of Antarctica and a picture of the volcano, Mt. Erebus. The yellow box opens to show pictures and information on four different species of birds. She chose the skua, cormorant, albatross, and petrel. The light blue doors in the center open up to give information on Antarctica's summer and winter. The dark blue accordian fold book shows the food chain of a leopard seal. The red flip up book tells about Antarctica's extremes. (temp, elevation, ice, precipitation, etc) And the bottom has a pull tab to show some pictures of common things found under the ice in the ocean.

Here's a picture of the inside...

Here's a picture of the inside with some books opened up...

For the back cover, Georgia made up a game called "Help get the penguins to the ocean!" The penguin pawns start at the rookery and have to make their way to the ocean to get food. Along the way they have three bonuses and three penalties to look out for. The bonuses let you move extra spaces, the penalties make you move back or lose a turn. The number of spaces to move is determined by rolling a die.

Here's the back of the folder, with the penguin pawns and die.