Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prairie Days

Sunday we went to Prairie Days at the Nature Center. First we went inside the Nature Center and the girls had fun looking around and showing Dad some things. Olivia looked at the creek insects under a microscope. Then we browsed the art gallery that the local art guild was hosting. The girls wanted pictures with their favorites. We all got to vote on which one we liked best. Next the girls made a craft, a bead and feather necklace. After that we went outside and went on a horse and wagon ride. We saw the blacksmith working, toured the log house and sampled some onion pie, we saw a Native American camp, hunter camp, woodwork station, and enjoyed a hay ride. The girls made a corn husk doll, made some pottery, dipped candles, and made apple cider.

Some things we missed were the face painting, honey extraction, corn grinding, making a tussy mussy, quilting, old-fashioned games, the melodramas...and probably others that we didn't even know we missed. We are thinking that next year we will have to go both days instead of just the one!

Here are some pictures of our trip. (I had to put them into two slideshows, as the free account only allows 50 photos at a time.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This Week...

This week Georgia worked on some math, phonics, her cursive, and re-read a lot of her favorite chapter books. She received her Ranger Rick magazine and has read that cover to cover. She also had her gymnastics class on Tuesday, and went swimming on Thursday. Wednesday she came up with an idea for art. She thought of finding a picture of a horse and covering it with ripped pieces of paper. Here's what the girls came up with....(they both wanted to make a horse like Spirit)

Georgia added a bald eagle and some trees. She told me she made some trees smaller so they would look farther away.

Olivia had gymnastics on Saturday. She went swimming on Thursday, too, and I was really impressed with how much she has improved. She is a lot less timid about playing around in the water. The shallow end is 3 feet, which is still too deep for her to stand in. The water would go to the middle of her face. But she used a noodle (long foam that she puts accross her chest and under each arm) and she even put her head under water a couple times! She does need to remember to keep her mouth closed, though! She smiles so big when she is having fun, but then a wave will go up her chin!

Olivia is also improving her reading! She is picking up more and more words everytime we read together! She also likes to just take a book and look through it, studying the words. She's used some of Georgia's chapter books that do not have pictures. Today she layed down on the couch with the rather large American Heritage Student Thesaurus and quietly looked it over, studying the words. She was so engrossed in her word searching that a good thirty minutes passed! She still likes to do her copy work where she'll take a notebook and copy down words she sees different places. Her writing is improving, too. The copy work and perusing books is something that she came up with on her own, I don't tell her to do it. If I do try to help her sound something out or ask her what sound a letter makes she gets irritated and does not want to hear it. She is truly an independent learner! When I read to her I usually point to the word I say with my finger so she can follow along if she wants to. Sometimes she tells me to stop, but sometimes when I don't do it she asks me to do it. That is how Georgia learned to read.

Tomorrow we plan on attending Prairie Days. Should be lots of fun! We were just talking about life without electricity, and Olivia picked out a Little House on the Prairie book that I was reading to her. Should be neat to see it all reenacted for us. Mark is excited to see the cider making, and the girls are looking forward to the horse & wagon rides. I'm interested in seeing the honey extraction, blacksmith, spinning, quilting, pottery....okay....all of it!

Livy's Gymnastics

Today Olivia had her gymnastics class. They worked on the bars. The girls learned and practiced the different grips and swings.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunday's Picnic at the Park

Last Sunday, Gramma treated everyone to some KFC for a picnic in the park. She even made the girls a brownie cake! Here's a slide show of it....

They've already filled and hung up the bird feeder they received.

They haven't started on the puzzle yet, though.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Georgia's Nature Class....Raptors!

Georgia had her nature class on Saturday. This month's topic was Raptors. Here's Georgia to tell about the class.....

In the Raptor family there are owl, eagles, vultures, and hawks. But they did not talk about the owls because we had an owl class before.

The Slide-Show Presentation

When the class started, Rhonda had a book about eagles and hawks. Then they turned off the lights and they had a screen and the laptop was on something that made it go on the screen to make a slide show presentation. First they did hawks and they said that Buteos were the hawks that like to soar more. And the Accipiters were fast flying forest birds. They hunted the tinier birds, like sparrows and finches. And then they showed Falcons. The Peregrine Falcon they showed had some special nest boxes on sky scrapers but they were just flat. They have them up high so they can dive fast and put their feet in front and then punch pigeons with their feet to knock them out completely. They were almost extinct and then they discovered that they liked the nest boxes on sky scrapers. And then they showed vultures. They showed only the Turkey Vulture. And they asked why they had bald heads and I said, "So they wouldn't get germs from their meat because it was hard to wash off." Rob said it was right. And then it was Eagle time. It showed the Osprey had poles with a four square foot platform on top so they could make their nests on top of it. And then they said that the Osprey was a bird that hunted fish by swooping down and had their feet with their talons and grabbed the fish out of the water...and then ate it.

The Game

And then we all went to the binocular box and grabbed some binoculars. We went to sit down and focused it right. We went outside and played a game before we walked, though. The game was where someone was the Hawk. They had a picture of a hawk with yarn attached for a necklace. The person that was the Hawk wore the Hawk necklace. And there were two people who were bunnies with the bunny necklaces. And three people were plants with flower necklaces. I was a plant. Then Rob got little poker chips, white and red. White chips were the nutrients, and red ones were the pesticides. And everyone took a cup and we had to pretend it was our stomachs. The plants had to collect the chips, as much as they could, in 30 seconds. And then the bunnies came out for 30 seconds. They ate the plants by tagging people. If a plant was tagged then they had to dump all their chips into the bunny's cup. And then the Hawk was released for 30 seconds. The Hawk caught the bunnies by tagging them. Then the bunnies had to dump their chips into the hawk's cup if they were tagged. But when the hawks were released, the plants stood still then. Any bunny that bumped into a plant had to dump their chips into the hawks cup anyway because they fell down and the hawks found something to scavenge. This game was called Food Chain and showed the transfer of nutrients, energy, and even pesticides along the chain. We played the game twice, two rounds.

The Walk

Next we went on a walk up the hill and looked for raptors. A few people found some. They didn't identify them because they couldn't tell. Then it got too hot, so we moved into the shade of the Buckeye Tree and a bunch of people noticed the buckeyes. Everyone wanted to collect them so everyone was allowed to bring one home. But one person cheated and got two. We saw a bunch of migrating birds and there was a hawk that they were chasing it because it was bothering them. We saw it through the telescope and then we didn't find anything else.

The Ending

And then we went in the bathroom to wash our hands for snack time. We put our binoculars away and then we went outside to the picnic tables. We had fruit snacks that were shaped like fruits and some juice. Rob gave us each a paper on raptors to take home, and an invitation for a party. He also told us about a show on PBS about Raptors. Then mom came to pick me up and we went to the gift shop in the Nature Center where I used some of my birthday money to buy an Audubon American Goldfinch plush doll that makes the song of the bird when squeezed. (an actual recording) and a Killdeer on, too. I also got a desert rose rock.

Livy's 5th Birthday

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Olivia's Gymnastics Class

Olivia had her gymnastics practice on Saturday morning. She worked on backward rolls, cartwheels, and learned new strengh exercises and stretches.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cloud the Wild Stallion Documentary

The girls both watched the documentary Cloud: Stallion of the Rockies.

Afterward, Georgia checked out the Return to Freedom website. They have a section about Spirit, the wild stallion from Dreamwork's movie. Olivia hasn't checked it out yet, but I'm sure she will soon. Spirit is her favorite!

Georgia's Gymnastics

On Tuesday, Georgia had her gymnastics class. She worked on the bars and on the beginner vault.

She also worked on doing chin ups.

Olivia colored with her friend on the bleachers.

Language Arts

The girls both made a sample of their handwriting for their portfolios. They'll repeat this again at the end of the year for comparison. Georgia wrote the alphabet (upper and lower-cases) and numbers in cursive. Olivia printed manuscript letters and numbers.

The girls both had a great time laughing while reading their Mad Libs they made at FunBrain. It was a good review for Georgia for parts of speech, and a good introduction for Olivia.

The girls have also worked in their workbooks. Olivia has worked with opposites, starting sounds, upper and lowercase letters. Georgia reviewed some phonics, consonant blends and teams.


Still having fun with learning more about archaeology...the first part of our world history book. We are also learning a bit about prehistoric man and his world.

The girls picked out the BBC series Walking with Prehistoric Beasts at the library. We watched the entire thing in one sitting, they were enjoying it very much. The Discovery Channel website also has a page on the show. The girls tried their hand at being a paleontologist with this game.

We read the book Archaeologists Dig For Clues. Georgia said she wants to be an archaeologist.

We checked out the American Museum of Natural History's Archaeology site for kids. There we read about Piecing Together History, played the Tools of the Trade game, did the What's This Quiz, and took an Archaeology Quiz.

The girls also played the Mythic Mystery Map Challege and made some masks and puppets that they printed from the site. They chose the Barong, Dragon, and Pegasus.

We also checked out the Kids Dig Reed website and started learning about surveying a dig site.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This Weekend...

On Saturday afternoon the girls went to the Butterfly Day event at the Nature Center. They tried on butterfly goggles to see how butterflies see, learned the life cycle, saw chrysalises, live butterflies, and made a butterfly craft that will be on display at the Nature Center.

Saturday night, Georgia went to a pool party and had fun playing games and eating pizza.

The girls both checked their e-mails and typed e-mails to friends and family. Olivia would ask me how to spell words and I told her as she typed. Sometimes she already knew how to spell them, like the words hi and go.

We watched a show on the Animal Planet called Weird, True, & Freaky featuring strange cuisine from around the world.

We also watched a show on the History Channel called Clash of the Cavemen.

Sunday was Georgia's 8th birthday. We had quite the eventful day. When Georgia woke up, Olivia wanted to give her the gifts she picked out for her right away. She had picked out dark purple nailpolish and a pretty pink top with horses on it.

We had strong winds that knocked out electricity for a lot of people. All the shops and restaurants downtown lost power. There went our plans for the day. But we had fun playing games, decorating and eating her birthday cake, talking about days without electricity, or having our own solar power. At 8:30 PM the girls were playing their version of chess by candlelight when the power returned.

Georgia was so surprised that they would be out there in the dark and in the rain to fix the electricity. She said we should send them some money as a thank you. I said, "We already pay them...maybe you could write a letter instead." And so she did....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Olivia's Gymnastics Class

Today Olivia had her gymnastics class. In the picture above, they are doing their stretching before starting. Olivia is wearing the black leotard with the black shorts.
Here's a video of some of her class...

NPS Webrangers

A couple days ago we read the introduction and first few pages of our new world history book together. We learned about what history means, the dating systems used, and how we know what we know. We are also reading about archaeologists and historians.

Yesterday Georgia signed up at the National Parks Service (NPS) Webrangers site. She has her own ranger station and can complete different tasks to earn badges. Between yesterday and today she has earned nine badges. She loves it. She also sent her mom, dad, and sister an e-card through their site. She loves the webcam section where she can view webcams from parks all over the country. She likes looking at the weather charts and noting the differences in temperatures, visibility, humidity, etc.

Some of the badges she earned dealt with archaeology and our past. The NPS also has a great website called Archaeology for Kids. It has a lot of information about what archaeologists do, how they work, and the various fields within archaeology.

More Painting Fun

Friday, September 12, 2008

Word World

Oliva watched an episode of Word World on PBS this morning. Afterwards she played games at their website. She sounded out words, distinguished between upper and lower case letters, and some other activities. We printed out some coloring pages and will return again. We'll have to remember when they are on television so we can see it again.
They also have some snippets on YouTube here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Week....

Here are some of the things the girls did this week...

The girls both worked on making pipe cleaner animals. They each have a kit that they received from Grampa T. Olivia has a forest animals kit, and Georgia has a Noah's Ark kit.

Here are the first two that Olivia made: a rabbit and a fawn.

Georgia checked out the new world history book we ordered.

And both girls read more of the library books we have.

Olivia did some painting...

...and colored pages from her Africa book.

She's also been doing copy work. She takes books or magazines and will copy words into notebooks. It's great practice for writing!

Georgia crocheted some more.

More coloring for Olivia....this time in her dinosaur book.

Coloring is great for working her hand muscles to help with writing and other fine motor skills.

September 11th

Today we watched some BrainPop videos. We watched a video on September 11th, Terrorism, and one on Airport Security.

Back from Camp

We got back from the unschoolers camping trip on Sunday. We had a great time. Here are some of our pictures......

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bead Flowers

Georgia worked on her bead flower craft kit and made this pretty bead flower.


On Tuesday Georgia had gymnastics class. She practiced different moves on the beam.

Here's a little video of it....

Olivia's first class of the new session is on Saturday, but she'll miss it because we'll be at camp!