Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nature Study at the Zoo

Today we took a trip to our local zoo to meet up with one of our friends. We were fortunate enough to arrive at the zoo in time for Animal Adventures - where they bring out animals for the kids to see up close and to touch, and for the Alligator/Crocodile Feeding. What's neat about the Alligator feeding is that they only get fed 3 times a week. Normally we're not at the zoo in the afternoon because of naps, but we made an exception today and boy did it turn out great!We started our afternoon, as we always start our day at the zoo, with the giraffes. Rafiki, the male bull, was in time-out while we were there. He had been swinging his head around at people, so he was put in a time out. I was explaining to Brian and Sean that Rafiki didn't obey, so he was in time-out.Next up was the Animal Adventure. Brian was a little timid about petting the tortoise and would only go up with Sean. But they were really excited after getting to pet Shelly.

After Animal Adventures, we went over to the Alligator/Crocodile Feeding. It was such a neat experience!

After watching the reptiles eat, the kids got in line to touch a baby alligator. This alligator is about a year old and is only 19 inches long. However, he has razor sharp teeth already. The keeper told the kids to hold 1 finger in the air. Then she let them know that that was how many fingers they could use to touch the baby alligator.Brian petting the baby gator. He kept his 1 finger up in the air all the way through the line.Sean gets his turn at petting the baby gator. He is my adventurous boy. He went back for a second turn!And even Colin got to touch the baby gator. He was very brave, and didn't even hesitate.

We had a fabulous time at the zoo today, and I was amazed at how many facts about alligators the boys were able to recount to their daddy over dinner! Learning and's what this is all about.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

In honor of all of the soldiers that have served or are serving to protect our way of life, the boys and I are going to create a care package to send to one of my high school friends whom I just reconnected with via Facebook. Brian and Sean were fascinated with the picture of my friend in his uniform.

In keeping with our Alphabet Path journey this year, our care package will include an item for each letter of the alphabet. I'm still working on the list, but I know that I will be including something for St. George and St. Michael - patron saints of soldiers. I will follow up with a picture of our care package as it is put together.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I is for Ice Cream

Today we continued down the Alphabet Path along with our friends the Iris Fairy and St. Ignatius.

We made Ziploc Freezer Bag Ice Cream for our snack today. So easy and simple - both qualities I strive for!

And here's the finished product:Just out of the freezer bag.

Ready for some eating.

Brian can't get the ice cream in fast enough.

Another satisfied customer.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Today we veered off the Alphabet Path to embrace our Guardian Angels on this their feast day.

We had lots of snuggling on the couch and reading today. We read many Treasure Box stories about Wupsy the guardian angel. We read The Littlest Angel - a favorite of mine from my youth, and the original 1974 copy! Of course Brian asked me to stop reading as I got to the last paragraph! We read Pascual and the Kitchen Angels. And we also read Angel in the Water. Overall I think that Pascual was the biggest hit - especially since the book references St. Francis, our saint of the week.

We colored a wonderful coloring page from Charlotte - she is such a blessing to so many people with her fabulous talent. I also created some guardian angel coloring pages from some images I found on the internet. We talked about our guardian angels and how they are specially chosen for each of us by God Himself.

For dinner we had angel hair pasta with chicken - well the boys had chicken nuggets. Angel hair for angels, and chicken for the wings. When I asked the boys who else had wings besides chickens Brian shouted out "angels!"

Overall it was a good day. Tomorrow we'll head back out on the Alphabet Path, but part of the beauty of homeschooling is the ability to incorporate our faith and these wonderful feast days of ours into our daily life.

Friday, September 26, 2008

E is for Eyebright and Elizabeth Ann Seton

Here's how our "E" week looked:

P.E. - Brian - t-ball
Religion - Talked about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and colored her coloring page
Literature - Read E is for Eyebright in Along the Alphabet Path
Explode the Code -completed a couple of pages

Reading - Discussed different words that start with the letter "E" colored a book of "E" words
Religion - Brian attended CCD - learned about the seasons

See "And E is for Emma"

See "And E is for Emma"

Made an egg word wheel with different "E" words
Looked for more "e" words - including words that contain an "e" also

Saturday - yes we did school on Saturday since we went to Disney a couple days this week :-)
Math - Cuisinairre Rods Letter E pages
Poetry - Learned the Eyebright Fairy song
Explode the Code - worked on 2 pages
Music - Early Music - discussed what Early Music is, listened to some examples and talked about Bach and Vivaldi

And E is for Emma

When I was a teacher, before Brian was born, I became friends with Joelle. She and I taught together, went through our first pregnancies together and delivered within 16 days of each other. Despite the distance, when she moved to PA, and when we eventually moved to FL, we have remained close friends. We share the same values and are even homeschooling our children together - just 1000 miles apart! E week saw us take a break from our studies for a couple of afternoons to meet up with our friends Abby, Emma and Baby Ian.
So when I heard that Joelle and the family were going to be in Orlando, I just knew we had to take advantage of this opportunity to get our kids together.

I'd like to say we went to Epcot to go along with "E" week, but we didn't. On Wednesday we met up at Disney Hollywood for some Disney fun. We began our adventure at Playhouse Disney where "Casey" introduced us to his friends, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy.
Colin loved pointing out "Mouse" every time he saw either Mickey, Minnie, or mouse ears - which are plentiful at Disney as you might imagine!
Sean, taking in the "city" scene. There were a number of cool visual effect (ooh, look - an "E" word!) sets around Disney Hollywood.
Normally Brian, and even Colin, are freaked out by the characters at Disney - but not by Lighting McQueen and Mater! This time Sean was not so excited (see, another "E" word!) about meeting these characters.
We went into the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Everything in the playground was larger than normal so it gave the effect ("E" word) of being small. Brian and Abby loved playing by the big Play-Doh, because it would shoot out water at them!
Then we tried to find a place to eat (another "E" word - see we were still learning!). We stopped by the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, but they were booked for the rest of the night (by 6 p.m. nonetheless). We had to get a photo op in the old-time car outside before we headed to the ABC Commissary.
We ended our evening in front of Mickey's Fantasia hat and were counting down the hours until we met again on Thursday.
Thursday afternoon we met up with our friends at their resort, Shades of Green. We parked the car and waited to take the bus over to Magic Kingdom. The kids ran around while waiting.
Once we got dropped off we got one more picture of kids (except the littlest guys). It was a good thing I got this picture since a couple hours later 3 of these 4 children were covered in chocolate ice cream!
We headed over to AdventureLand where we took a magic carpet ride.
Afterwards we headed over to the Enchanted ("E" word!) Tiki Room where Emma spent the entire show in her mom's arms - she's not a big fan of "mean" characters, and all of the loud noise scared her. We met up with Joelle's husband, Brad and headed out to Mickey's Toontown Fair where Brian, Sean & Emma rode Goofy's Barnstormer not once but twice - Abby went the first time around, but decided she didn't want to go on it again. This is how I left Colin when I went to take the bigger kids on the roller coaster. Can you say tired little man?
After a fun day at the park, we made our way to the special seating area to get ready to watch the fireworks. We had some time to kill, so the kids hammed it up.

It's kind of hard to tell, but that swishy-swirly light on the right side of this picture was Tinkerbell as she flew from Cinderella's castle right over our heads. I told you these were special seats!We watched an amazing fireworks display set to Disney music. We oohed and aahed at the light show that took place over our heads.
At the end of the night we said good-night to Mickey and good-bye to our friends. Abby and Emma skipped over the letter "E" week and did the letter "F" for Florida. Maybe we can go see them when we study "P" for Pennsylvania!

Monday, September 8, 2008

C Week

This week we begin cruising down the Alphabet Path with the letter "C". Here's what we will be accomplishing this week.

Monday -
Talked about "cat" care
Did "construction" puzzle
Read Caps for Sale, The Mouse, The Cat & Grandmother's Hat, The Carrot Seed, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Religion - read Sunday's gospel and discuss word of the week "eternal" - talk about their ideas of heaven
Math - Cuisinaire Rods Alphabet Activities for Letter C
Along the Alphabet Path - Read C is for Columbine and An Alphabet of Catholic Saints (St. Cecilia), and our faith activities
Handwriting & Phonics - Explode the Code pages, HWOT posture & grip
American History - read pages 21-25

Religion - read about St. Peter Claver, read Sunday's Gospel, prepare for Sunday's Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross - color vestments red, read the 1st reading and have kids illustrate what they hear
Math - Gnomes & Gnumbers Roman Numerals
Along the Alphabet Path - Language - play "c" games (find the "c", what starts with the letter "c", , make "c" collage, have a crawling contest
Handwriting & Phonics - Explode the code pages, HWOT wood pieces
Fine Arts - C is for Conductors - color a picture of a conductor, watch conductors conduct online, and practice conducting to music
American History - read pages 26-30, do activity from If You Lived in Colonial Times

Religion - Talk about St. John Chysotom's name, make a symbol for him, read Sunday's Gospel, make crosses and narrate to mom a prayer of thanks for everything Christ has done.
Math - Cuisenaire Rods - page 9, Building & Storytelling with the Rods
Along the Alphabet Path - Nature study - look at/color pictures of columbine flower, make cloud pictures with cotton balls
Handwriting & Phonics - Explode the Code pages, HWOT letter "F"
Fine Arts - C is for Conductors - read about and listen to Beethoven music
Science - read about creeks and pond, look at/color animals that live in creeks and ponds

Religion - read Sunday's Gospel, learn the "We adore you..." prayer
Math - Cuisenaire Rods - page 12 Follow the Leader
Along the Alphabet Path - Art - color the Columbine Fairy, read and look at "C" art in Museum ABC book
Handwriting & Phonics - Explode the Code pages, HWOT letter "F"
Fine Arts - C is for Color - read about Matisse, color wheel (primary & complimentary color), make a Matisse-like painting with hands, use the Crayola pages for color study