Thursday, April 23, 2015

Running low of curriculum

We are nearing the end of the school year and we are also running low on curriculum. We have officially finished all of our main curriculum, except for science. We are now reviewing and relying on our Schoolhouse crew review products more and more. The girls are enjoying the new products and I am enjoying writing about them. This is a busy time for me with lots going on. I have to decide on what curriculums we will be using for the upcoming school year. Summer is on its way, the garden is in the ground and starting to sprout. Lawns need to be mowed, brush needs to be cleared. We are getting engine mounts set on the 53. So much to do and so little time to do it all in. Its a good things days get longer this time of year. I need the extra hours in order to try and get everything done. Soon we will take a break from school for a couple of weeks so the girls can attend camp and do a little horse back riding, go camping with the family etc. Then we will start back to our regular school routine. Hopefully I will have our curriculum choices decided on by June. We are going to do some really great things in the upcoming school year. The girls are excited to be getting ready to go to the next grade. We have decided to try a color coding system this year. I am hoping it will help keep me from getting the girls books mixed up. They are fussing over what color of binder and note books they want for the new grade. I think we will even color match the pencils this year. What do you think good idea or bad? Does anyone else color code your kids school supplies?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Memoria Press Review

Memoria Press Review
For the last few weeks the girls have had the honor of working with a great product by Memoria Press. We received a copy of new American Cursive 1. You can check it out here This level 1 book is geared for grades 1+ and sells for $22.95.

American Cursive 1 teaches beginning cursive writing. The book was developed by Iris Hatfield. She has over 35 years of experience in handwriting. By using NAC's simplified strokes New American Cursive helps children learn cursive at a younger age. The book uses a character Mr. Meerkat, to guide your child through making letters step-by-step. The directions are clear and easy to understand. It uses arrows to show your child the correct directions for forming letters. It gives lots of practice pages for both tracing and free hand. The New American Cursive book is also bound at the top instead of the side. This type of binding is a HUGE thing for us Lefties. We don't have to fight the binding.

I am using this book with Snoopy my 5 year old lefty. Though I started out with Hotrod girl using it. Once Snoopy realized it was bound at the top she threw a fit that it was for lefty's only. She thinks all books with binding was at the top are for lefty's. Sister is a good sport and gave up the book. So now Snoopy is writing in the book and Hotrod girl is waiting for hers to come in the mail. Snoopy has declared that she loves the book. She says that it is much easier than the last cursive handwriting book we tired. The directions are written so simple that even Snoopy can read them on her own. She says the arrows really help her out a lot. Being left handed she tends to want to start her letters from the right hand side. The arrows are a nice reminder of where to start and which direction her pencil needs to travel in.

It takes snoopy about 20 min to do the days lesson. A teachers guide at the front of the book will help you get started. I like that the program uses steps to help your child learn the letters.
The steps they uses are:
Introduction: How to form the letter.
Practice: They trace and then write the letter.
Play: These are exercises with a free space for drawing or trying out a new letter.

The teachers guide has you use a simple multi-sensory approach to learning the letter. This is how we are doing it:

1. I say the letter and use a few words that begin with that letter. 2. We feel the letter: This means we write the letter in the air and on our boogie boards. We talk about the strokes that are used in the letter. Are they curved or straight etc. Then she traces over the large letter on the instruction page in the book.
3 Write the letter: This is where the practice pages come in. Snoopy will basically trace and write the letter free hand on these pages. While I make sure she is holding the pencil correctly and is sitting straight at the desk. I also check to make sure she has the paper angled the right direction. For my righty she would tilt hers to the left. For my lefty she tilts hers paper to the right. After she has  finished the practice pages she is free to draw or write what ever she wants in the blank play space.

This is a picture of the one hand writing pages HotRod girl
did before snoopy took the book from her. Snoopy wouldn't let
me post a picture of hers. She says its not good yet.
So far New American Cursive has worked out really well. Snoopy's hand writing is improving and most importantly she is having fun. Hand writing is something she struggles with. It is good to see her starting to enjoy writing in cursive. We cant wait to try the next book. Hotrod girls is waiting for her book to come in the mail.

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Memoria Press Review
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Field Trip Time

This last weekend we took a trip to Twin Pines Conservation center. The conservation center does an annual Heritage day event.  This event helps kids and families see how pioneers in Missouri lived. There are so many things to see and do it takes us several hours to see it all. They have a historical log cabin complete with stone fire place and a rope bed with straw mattress. I can only imagine what it would have been like to cook for a family of 5 in that fire place.

The is a historical one room school house on the property. It is open to the public and contains all the things that would have been in a school house of the time period. Most of the items are historical and were donated to the conservation center. It is complete with oil lamps, wood stove, real black boards and desk. The girls got a kick out of seeing the old desk. The fact that there Nana sat in one when she was in school was even funnier. They were surprised to see that the school house had the same type of slate boards that we use in our class.
There were people making lye soap. This is something my grandma used to do as a child. I heard her tell stories of stirring the soap over a open fire for hours. Grandma told of how her mom made the lye from wood ash. We finally got to see the soap making process from start to finish.  Soap making is a skill I have been wanting to learn.
There were two women weaving baskets. They showed step by step how they were made. Everything from splitting the wood down to thin strips to soaking it to make it pliable. Basket weaving is not a skill I have learned. Though it would be fun to try. We may use this as a art project this winter.
This year the girls got to climb up and sit in a real working stage coach. The stage coach has been restored and they man that owns it travels around to different events and trail rides. He still drives the coach which pulled by a team of horses.
The girls got to make jump ropes by hand and they even got to go fishing for the first time. The conservation center is a great place to learn to fish. They keep a stocked pond and offer poles, bate, and tackle for anyone who wants to try it out. Both girls caught good sized fish. I am told they are blue gill. Though I wouldn't have a clue if they really are or not.

We always have a blast at these events.  If you are ever in Missouri I hope you get the chance to catch a Heritage day event.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Field Trip

We were blessed to have a friend of my sisters offer to let the kids come out to there ranch and visit with a calf. They are currently bottle feeding a calf named Titan. His momma would not take care of him so he is being bottle fed. The little guy weighed almost a 100 lbs when he was born. He was a huge calf. I don't know how much the girls actually learned but they had a blast trying to feed the little guy. They even got to take him for a walk. Check out the pictures of our fun filled afternoon learning how to feed a calf.

There is a gallon of milk in that bottle. It was heavy and the girls had to have help holding it up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easter Egg Hunting

We hit the first of the Easter egg hunts this week. This one is by far our favorite. The local outreach cam host it every year. They offer a horse ride, an egg hunt and a bunch of games. The girls mostly go for the horse ride and the marshmallow shoot out. Those are there two favorite activities but the really do seem to enjoy them all. We had loads of fun and the girls spent most of the day there.

Its a great organization and they really help a lot of families in our area. Hear is a couple of the pictures as the girls got ready to hunt there eggs.

Spring is on its way!

Temperatures have finally warmed up hear in MO. The girls have been spending more and more time out side. This last week we got in some serious time at the archery range and the park. They also spent a great deal of time playing in the mud in the front yard.

With the warming temperatures comes gardening season. We are planning what will be going into our garden this year. We are keeping it to things that we eat. We only want to grow what we can use since we have a limited amount of space available. So far the girls have settled on broccoli, spaghetti squash, pickling cucumbers, white radishes, carrots, tomato's, green beans, and artichokes. Everything but the artichokes will go into our raised beds. We will be trying out a small straw bail garden this year. Lettuce will be going into those since they are higher off the ground it will be harder for the rabbits to get to. We will also be planting a large plot of calendula flowers, herbs and spices. The girls started blueberry seeds about a month a go they have finally sprouted. We had a lot of excitement over them as blueberries are the girls favorite. I don't know if they will make it but we are giving it a try. If they do well we should have about 6 or more blueberry bushes. How ever it takes about 2 years before they start to produce any berries.

We have begun to prepare the garden. This mean turning in compost and peat moss to try and improve soil quality. The girls find this process quite enjoyable. Mostly because they get to get dirty and play in the water. 

We are also getting out and doing some hiking and just visiting some of our favorite places. Big Spring which is about 20 min up the road from us. It is a huge spring that bubbles out of the ground. It has this amazing boiling action and its absolutely beautiful. We stopped by for a quick visit Thursday just to see how it was looking. With all the rain and snow melt its interesting to see the changes in our water ways. Normally this spring is crystal clear. But on this trip is was sort of a green color and you could not see through it. There were no rangers around on this trip but we think its is due to all the extra water that was coming out from the rain and snow melt. The spring tends to flood the area at times. The sound from the water coming out of the spring is so loud. That when you are standing next to it you have to almost yell to hear each other talk. I though we would share some quick photos that we took so you can get an idea of what we saw.