Friday, November 5, 2010

Weeks 8-9: Fun Outings and Some School, Too!

I knew my streak of posting two weeks in a row would not last! October hit us like a ton of bricks, and now here we are in November, amazingly. We took a Fall Break week this year after week 7, which was perfectly timed as I was definitely feeling the need for a respite by that point in the year. Among our fun Fall Break activities was a visit to a local farm to pick out pumkpins, enjoy the attractions, and meet a few animals up close and personal:

"I don't think I'm ready to hug you quite yet!"
"We did it!!" Celebrating the accomplishment of going down the two-story slide.

Once our break was over, we finished up our time in North America by getting to know Canada, which our boys enjoyed as Canadian citizens themselves (their dad is a Canadian citizen, so our kids are dual citizens.) We had fun understanding the difference between American and Canadian currency, which still makes them laugh--what other country has coins called "Loonies" and "Two-nies"?

The boys also tried their hand at Inuit-styled soap carvings, and we ended our time in Canada with a high tea such as is common British Columbia. (Only in our case, it was a "high hot chocolate"!)

Notice Ron's two little Lego minifigures he brought to be his audience.

Harry creates a lovely cross!

This week, we have moved onto South America, and Harry in particular has devoted time learning about the ecosystem of the tropical rainforest. Our curriculum suggested a trip to the zoo to experience the climate and see the animals in that context, so our kids and I willingly complied.

There are two monkeys in this photo. Can you spot them?

A gorilla lounges comfortably on a tree limb.

This life-sized sea turtle model was not in the tropical rainforest section, but it was fun to take a photo with!

Up close and personal with a polar bear. Thank goodness for that plexiglass!

In other school news, Ron has been working in his kindergarten curriculum on different objects which teach a Bible principle and which also allows opportunities for fun activities. "Apple" was one of the recent topics, which reminds him that "If we stay in Jesus, we bear much fruit," and he discovered the hidden star in each apple, plus how much fun it is to make caramel apples!

Harry couldn't help but join in. =)
We also started Ron on a typing program, which he appreciated as he has been looking longingly at Harry's increasing ability to use email and programs such as Microsoft Word. Kids today have to be technologically savvy, so it's definitely a part of our homeschooling experience to give them exposure and facility with these skills.

Harry writing his original story on how his bicycle was crushed by a recycling truck!

I still find myself wrestling with numerous questions in this second year of homeschooling...such as, are we doing the appropriate activities for writing for Harry? (I have been going through Writing With Ease 2, as I felt Harry needed more work in narration and dictation, but it feels a little tedious and I am thinking about adding something to give him more experience with original writing.) Am I doing enough "academic" work with Ron? (We keep it very short and simple: a reading lesson in Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading, a handwriting lesson, and a math lesson, plus whatever activities we can from the My Father's World-Kindergarten program, such as the apple lesson above, plus any geography activities that he is interested in because he loves geography!) Will I ever find ways to do more with Dobby for school? (He knows his letters and numbers but I wonder if I need to be more proactive with him...)

And surrounding all these questions is, how do I fit any more in? Already our schedule feels tight; we are not fast-moving in the morning and by the time we finish breakfast and music practice, "school" doesn't usually start for us until 9:30 a.m. at the earliest! It's a blessing to be able to take our time but it means we're still doing school up to 3:30 p.m. The homeschoolers who can finish everything by lunch have my admiration!

So, that's our long and overdue update. I'll close here with a photo of our Harry, Ron, and Dobby, dressed for the parts for Halloween. Thanks for visiting!


  1. What fun things. Loved the turtle and the HP character halloween!

    My 8yo is currently doing NaNoWriMo. I am starting to wonder why we shouldn't do a 120 word free write 4 days/ week! Not fiction like NaNoWriMo necessarily, but free writing on whatever he is studying. Why couldn't he just do this instead of a writing program for the rest of this year?

    Also, I think your link may be broken in your WTM sig. I had to cut and paste to get here.

  2. Hi Mandy--thanks so much for the comments and for letting me know about the WTM sig! I wonder what is going on, I will check that out. Oh, I would love to do NaNoWriMo myself! That's definitely an idea--I hadn't delved into free writing due to the WTM approach to writing, but if my son is showing interest I should encourage it, right? Thanks for the tip and for visiting!

  3. Fun, fun, fun! The costume picture made me laugh--they are so adorable.

    I have two writers. I encourage to write whenever they wish on whatever topics they choose. School writing has to be done first, of course, which in dd10's case is mainly in history and science. However, I'm not following WTM/classical writing as this is our first year hs. We're just going along with the basic path started by her (very good in language arts) private school.

    NaNoWriMo has been a great hit with dd10. You might want to look at the downloadable elementary-level workbook for some additional ideas :)

  4. Looks like you had such a fun and learning-filled week! Thanks for sharing, I loved all the pictures. :)