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29 November 2011

24 Hours: A Day of the Life

I saw a number of "Day in the Life" posts at the beginning of the school year and thought they looked like fun, but I keep forgetting to do one. Since I remember it now, I'm starting RIGHT NOW and I'll finish tomorrow. Not the typical format, but it will get done! (I'll be back and make updates for the next 24 hours or so.)

4:00pm - I'm visiting teaching tonight and it's her birthday, so I'm making pumpkin bread to take her. The boys are both napping.

4:05 - I realize (A)this bread is not healthy and (B)it's making a huge batch and is difficult to stir. I should have done this in my mixer. Can't wait to taste it.

4:30 - I add ginger, even though it's not in the recipe. The batter is delicious. Then I have A Moment of Panic as I realize that I have no idea if I've got carseats or not: they were both in the van, which Daddy has taken to work. I make myself finish the bread before I look, so it will be baking. I'm trying to think up alternate plans, just in case. I almost forget to set the timer on the bread.

4:40 - Peek out the window; the carseat is there. I should have known Daddy would remember. Close the curtains because it's already dark, and turn on the Christmas tree.

4:45 - The dishwasher is running, but I realize I forgot a few things. Dragon wakes up. I wonder what he did with his other sock. Monkey is still sleeping. This is typical: he's older, but his naps are still regular and usually longer. I'll have to wake him up soon so we can discuss the rules (No saying, "Are you done yet" or anything like it) before we go Visiting Teaching. I also should feed the boys a snack.

5:10 - Finish reading some stories to Dragon. He's a tough audience, but we made it through 3 this time. I remind him again not to pinch. And again. I think it's time to wake Monkey up.

5:12 - Monkey comes downstairs before I can go up. We negotiate for good behavior while Visiting Teaching: if he doesn't complain or ask to leave he can earn an extra TV token. Then we have a snack. While the boys eat, I read some more of Gilgamesh. When Monkey is done he works on his coloring sheet. We stop and talk about the difficult vocabulary: lintel, enraged, Ishtar, and frieze are some of the words. We look at a picture in the Assyrian Art book I'm reading when the explanation of what a frieze is falls completely flat. I have him do mini-narrations to check his comprehension. It's pretty OK, and we talk about the parts he's fuzzy on.

5:38 - The bread is done (I hope) and not a minute too soon! We need to get on shoes and leave... as soon as I look up where she lives again.

5:45 - My sister calls to firm up plans for this weekend. I say, "Can you call me back in 2 hours??"

5:55 - On the road. We're more or less on time. The boys are awesome. They play with the toys and books we brought and I don't have to say anything to Monkey and only have to chase Dragon off the lady's tree once. (It's not fully decorated yet; that helps.)

6:55 - We finish the visit. I heap the praise on the boys for their awesomeness while we drive to Walmart.

7:07 - Arrive at Walmart. Spend a minute unloading all the toys and books from my purse so they don't arrest me for shoplifting. I didn't check my recipe, but I can kind of remember what it calls for. It's only been 2 years... what could go wrong?

7:30 - Back in the car with what I hope are all the ingredients I need for the cheesecake and also some deli chicken for dinner and some dish soap. Dragon is frantically signing, "more! more! more!" so I tell Monkey to pray on the food while I get rid of the cart and they dig in.

7:40 - Home again. Put Dragon in his high chair and he's happily working on chicken. I also give them both a bit of the pumpkin bread. It turned out good... except for the spots where I apparently didn't stir enough and there are nice white flour bits. Ouch. Not what I like to give away. Definitely in the mixer next time. But it's tasty. Since nap time went so long, we still have school to finish. I need to find my list for today and decide what's next.

8:30 - We've practiced sixes, fives, and fours (he'd done the others another day), which Monkey thought it was fun to join like trains, and then we added a few more elements to our Raptors lapbook. Dragon gets a diaper change. Now, we pause for a lightsaber battle. Monkey is ferocious, but I can take him! Dragon has a brand new saber too, but he hasn't quite figured out the game yet, so he's sort of milling around through the battle, but manages not to be a casualty.

8:40 - Dragon is picking up food off the floor and eating it (I just fed that kid!!) so I call a halt and sweep. Then lightsaber battles continue.

8:45 - Monkey is sent to get his jammies for a shower. Dragon and I place chase, do a few jumping-jacks (he's been watching us do PACE), and then settle in with the legos to play a few rounds of "baby towers." That is, I build, he destroys, and we both laugh.

9:00 - Monkey finally comes back with jammies. Dragon is throwing legos over the gate into the bathroom. It's very distracting, but they are having a ball. Dragon turns up with his brother's shirt on. We play more legos.

9:10 - The water is finally on. I go wash Monkey's hair supervise while Monkey washes his hair. I also remind him that he doesn't need permission to get out of the shower. Dragon needs some jammies, so I find those while I'm waiting for Monkey to finish up. He gets cute monkeys with bananas. I also pull up All About Birds' page on mallards and pick out a couple of mallard clips from YouTube. And remind Monkey to finish up.

9:50 - Time for scriptures and prayers. No, we're not doing it at the computer. "No pinching, Dragon. Soft touches." Don't pinch your brother either.

10:08 - We call Daddy. "Are you going to be home in time to tuck boys in?" It's going to be close. He says goodnight to the boys on the phone, just in case.

10:15 - Brush teeth, go potty. All that good stuff. We're doing the scripture boxes when Daddy gets home, and pause for hugs and kisses, then finish the  box. Monkey asks for a story, so I tell him about Christ's birth, and then insist that he go to sleep. "No pinching, Dragon. Soft touches." Again.

10:55 - Back downstairs. Dragon is asleep; Monkey still is not. I still need to read scriptures myself and look at my plans for tomorrow.

11:38 - Looking at Pinterest for "just a minute" doesn't work so well. I need to get busy again and finish things up before bed.

11:45 - Finished reading my scriptures. I want to read the whole Old Testament, but it's hard. I started 2 years ago, and I'm still laboring my way through Numbers.

11:50 - List of school work for tomorrow is written out on a post-it. I think I need to go through my lesson plans and make some adjustments, but I'm going to have to pray about how much is the right amount of work for Monkey. If he didn't nap it wouldn't be a big deal, but the inconsistent amount of time to do our work is killing me - 2 hours naps, but only some of the time?! Blarg. I don't know how to plan for that. I'm turning off my computer, touching up the kitchen, and going to bed.

12:45am - We're going to sleep. It's a little later than we'd prefer, but not out of the ordinary.

1:15 - Dragon's fussing so I bring him to my bed. It's sooner than I'd hoped (he was starting to sleep through the night before he got bronchitis last month), but he'd had an impressively runny nose all day, so I'm not surprised. He's getting used to being weaned, and hardly fusses when I offer him a water cup rather than nursing. He seems restless.

1:45 - He's still restless, and coughing. We think the snot is bothering him and decide that he should sleep sitting up a bit. I take him downstairs and we settle in on my new chaise lounge. He seems more comfortable, snuggles in (I love that!) and falls right to sleep.

Sometime after 2:00 - I wake up because he's coughing a lot, and decide I want a bucket handy in case he pukes while we're on my new chair. As I'm getting up with him, he pukes. On me, all over himself, and on my chair. We head for the bathroom and I aim him at the pot. When he's done I check the damage, and decide to wake up Daddy. Dragon and I shower; Daddy takes care of the chair and the floor. I get the bathroom once we're done.

2:45 - We're headed back to bed. Dragon is playing and happy, until I make him go back to bed. He fights sleep for a few minutes, then drops into a very restless sleep. He wants his feet on me, but keeps kicking them around to get the blankets off. It's chilly! I try to recover him a few times, then give in to the inevitable. His sleepers should keep him warm. Now that my boy is doing better I am slightly miffed because I'd wanted to share a normal day, not a sick day!

8:22 am - Dragon wakes up. He's coughing and restless, but clearly still tired. I try to get him to go back to sleep. I'd really like some more sleep!

8:45 - I bring him downstairs to keep him from waking up Daddy. I sit down at my computer with him on my lap and his coughing eases, he snuggles in, and finally falls asleep again. I think sitting up is helping him, and Monkey will probably wake up soon, so I type one handed for a while, then go look at pinterest again. That seems like just the right amount of mental effort.

9:30 - Monkey's up. I send him back for pants, because he likes to sleep in shorts. While he's getting dressed, Dragon wakes up too. We're all hungry, so breakfast is next. I grab the scriptures to read to them while we eat our cereal and pumpkin bread.

10:30 - Breakfast is finished, Daddy's up, and we start doing math. Monkey loves it, so we usually do it first because it's an easy way to start. Today is "Math Lab," which means it's somewhat choose-your-own-adventure, and he chooses to play Skipbo.

11:00 - Daddy leaves to run some errands; we all wave goodbye, then return to the game. In addition to counting as we build piles, Monkey practices the partners of 5 to figure out how many cards he should draw. We use fingers to figure it out. It's easy; I don't think he really needs the fingers, but he likes them, so we keep using them.

11:15 - We finish our game. I probably should have made it just a touch shorter, but it went well anyway. Monkey wants to read some books, so we do. Dragon listens to most of the first one, then wanders off.

11:20 - I chase Dragon out of the tree. He brings me an ornament. He runs off with the globe and leans on the tree. It's cute. I chase him out of the tree. And try to read to Monkey about the Euphrates. Monkey's attention is wandering (with all these interruptions, who can blame him?). Dragon wants the wipes to pull out of the box, so I offer to let him empty the diapers from the basket instead. The tree is more interesting.

11:45 - I give Dragon some benedryl to try to dry up the river that keeps flowing from his nose, and try to put him down for a nap. Monkey plays with legos. Dragon, having had more sleep than me, outlasts me, and I give up on the nap and get myself dressed. Monkey comes upstairs to see what's taking so long, so the boys play in their room for a couple minutes while I update the blog and put the ornaments back on the tree. "Only" the bottom half is mostly naked. I hear regular thumps, so I know they're not doing anything too interesting, just jumping around. I need a nap.

12:20 - Since the boys are still playing nicely, I look up the recipe for the pumpkin cheesecake their Daddy asked me to bake for this weekend, and get the ingredients out so they can warm up to room temperature. Monkey tells me that they're bored, so I grab Dragon and we start doing more school.

12:25 - The boys are both saying they're hungry, and Monkey wants to make a "Super Hero map, that requires 3 pieces of paper and some tape, and the white parts are going to be bridges." So I give him paper, tape, and markers, give both boys cheese, and try to figure out lunch. This starts with finishing putting away the groceries from yesterday. I got so distracted that I didn't even open the dark chocolate I bought. How did that happen? This oversight is corrected, and I enjoy a piece of Giradelli dark chocolate. I still don't know what's for lunch or when Daddy's coming home. But the chocolate is good. Think I'll have another. We'll practice reading after lunch.

12:35 - I'm still trying to clean the kitchen so I can think. Monkey has decided that the map is in his head, so he's done with his project, and heads back to the lego pile. Daddy comes home and shortly is at the legos too, playing with the boys and also playing referee. Even with him there, there is a lot of crabbing from Dragon and more than a little whining from Monkey. Naptime anyone? Oh, yeah. That food. I start making enchiladas.

1:00 - Monkey is putting cheese in the enchiladas for me, and Dragon falls asleep in his Daddy's arms. Once the food is in the oven we play "Build a Sentence" to practice phonics while it cooks.

2:30 - Lunch is over. Monkey's getting ready for his nap. Dragon wakes up from his. So much for mine; Daddy's got work to do - he's telecommuting, not off.

2:45 - I'm done tucking Monkey in for his nap. He's not happy about it, but he clearly needs it today. Dragon grabs my face, turns it to look at him, and signs, "More! More! More!" I give him enchiladas and he chows down while I sweep the floor and consider cleaning that nasty bathroom. I also need to look at the plans I neglected last night before I run out plans to do. That would be a problem. I need a nap.

3:15 - It's starting to get dark. I turn on the tree, but put off closing the curtains. Dragon's cough sounds awful, but at least he's eating nicely. He's supposed to be rechecked from his bronchitis next week. I call about moving up the appointment to tomorrow. 11:15 tomorrow morning? Yeah. I can do that.

3:45 - Snuggles and lightsaber battles... at the same time. But it makes Dragon happy. I like that.


22 November 2011

Smart Ideas for Math

I've been reading blogs and message boards and email list archives and there are some smart people out there with good ideas for teaching math! I'm collecting some of them here/.

  • I have saved a page in sore need of correction for a week later...did some teaching in the meantime...and handed the page back to the child for an "Oh, I get it now!" (Forum post)
  • Make a rod-shaped tube from a trimmed 3x5 card & play puzzle games. "This end is dark green. What color is the other end?" Or, "Both ends are pink, what color is in the middle?" (Sep. 2003)
  • To teach division or fractions, cut some string into sections about 1 foot long and tie them into loops. Then put some kind of counter evenly into the loops. (List archive)
  • A Goblin Gaitor math game for learning greater than/less than. (blog)
  • A place-value game where they roll the dice and trade in for 10s and 100s as needed, stopping to write the numbers every 60 seconds. (List archive)

There are so many good ideas out there - and math is way more fun than I ever imagined it could be!

16 November 2011

Learning about Rosh Hashanah

We learned about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as Joseph in Egypt last week, and this week we're still reading some of our extra books about Judaism. But some things are easier to learn with better pictures, and the shofar just needs some video, so we head to YouTube again. Amazing how educational that site is!

First, your basic overview. Lots of this was also in the book, Dance, Sing, Remember, that we're reading to learn about Jewish holidays.

The shofar is a long, twisted trumpet made from the horn of a sheep, and is traditionally blown at Rosh Hashanah.

And, because like any self-respecting holiday, there is food involved, we'll probably make some Challah - but next week because this week is a zoo, what with my brother coming home from his mission in 3 days. I think it would be fun to do this lady's braided Challah, but I think we'll let Monkey choose, and I'm betting he'll choose the one with the bird on it.

Placevalue and Writing

I've discovered that 10 + 3 = 13 is a relatively difficult problem for Monkey at this point; he hasn't caught the concept of placevalue yet. Which isn't very surprising, since it's a pretty new idea, this writing of numbers and matching them with their correct meanings. I realized this as we were doing some problems at Khan Academy. I like a lot of things about Khan, but there isn't much explanation or practice in the arithmetic section. It jumps from single digit problems to triple digit with no in between, and relies heavily on number lines. But as a supplement, to see how he's doing, and what happens when I sit back and let him do his thing, it's wonderful. So now, we're working a bit on some of the ideas that I've realized are weak. I thought that I might share the lab sheet I made up for him. To use it, copy, then paste into your word processor. Let me know how it goes for you!

Browsing the Nominees

My favorite blogs nominated for Best Homeschool Photo Blog

4 Little Men and Girly Twins 
Wow, the pictures on this blog! When I grow up, I want to take pictures like this!

A totally different feel, but so much fun. Love the Jedi pictures.

Finding Joy
I like this one. I like the peaceful quality to her photos.

Home is Where You Start From
She's got a fun variety of photos to look at.

12 November 2011

Weekly Wrap-up

Early in the week, we tried to get the last of our garden chores done before the snow came. It's been unseasonably warm, and it makes it feel like early fall, rather than late fall. I even briefly contemplated moving some strawberry plants, but decided that it's too late. Good thing I left them where they are: now we have snow on the ground. But it was a balmy 50F the day we worked in the garden.

Our Little Golden Dragon is struggling to get over a relapse of his bronchitis that he had a while back, but he's a trooper and is mostly cheerful most of the time. He and Monkey enjoyed an art project this week. They painted egg cartons, and Monkey has ambitions to turn his into a caterpillar. This is one of several crafts that Monkey thought up this week. It's fun to see him gaining enough confidence to think up his own crafts and then get them started! These caterpillars, being a painting craft, he had to ask for help. But one day this week I finished putting Dragon down for a nap and found him hard at work on a new folder game for us to use in phonics. We worked together to finish it off, then played with it right away. I need to find my contact paper and cover it, so that it will last through many games.

Speaking of phonics, it's going so well! We introduced the silent e this week, and Monkey had no problems with it. There for a while I felt like we were going sooo slowly, and wondered if we would ever get to the long vowel sounds, and now here we are! OPGTR actually breaks the silent e words into several lessons, but we covered a couple of them this week, in spite of not doing anything with it on Monday and Tuesday. We used a "magic e machine" (a cardstock frame we put the CVC words into to change the vowel sound) and his new folder game to practice. I just love hiding our phonics drill in games. We'd have fights over it every day if it wasn't for Happy Phonics and the other games we play!

In History, we covered Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as Joseph in Egypt. We also had a look at the royal burials in Ur, since that's where Abraham came from. We were working with the Scripture Storybooks the Church puts out, since SOTW doesn't quite match up. Ur is pretty interesting. We spent some time exploring Queen Pu-Abi's tomb. Monkey didn't know what a lyre is, so I found a youtube clip to show him. It's Anglo-Saxon, not Sumerian, but it's the same general idea, and was enough that the picture made sense to him. We talked about the cylinder seals they used, and a little of what they used them for, then we used the clay that was leftover from making our cuneiform tablets to make a cylinder for Monkey and put a little cuneiform on it. Unfortunately, it was a short night last night, and so when I was putting Dragon down for his nap I passed out too... and the cylinder was burned black. We may make another one. Which would be OK. Turns out they had holes in them to string them onto pins and wore them. So if we do it again we'll try to make a hole through the middle (a needle maybe?) to make it more accurate. He had a great time working the clay and made quite the collection of little balls and even a turret while he was "getting it soft." The Sculpey being hard didn't seem to bother him much! In any case, we had a good time looking at pictures of cylinders, checking out Queen Pu-Abi's cylinder, and later I did some reading about them too. Interesting stuff.

 Here's his narration of the story of Joseph in Egypt. I'm thinking that we may look to see if Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is still on YouTube. A while back we watched it, since someone had helpfully put it all into a playlist.

Joseph was a righteous man. He taught his brothers about his dream, and then they sold him some Ishmaelites. They took him to Egypt. Potiphar bought Joseph. He was happy that he had Joseph and he put him in charge of his whole house. Potifer’s wife tried to make him kiss her, but Joseph didn’t, and he ran away from her. Then Potiphar’s wife told Potiphar that he kissed her. He put Joseph in jail.

He got out of jail when the king put him in charge of his whole land. Joseph was supposed to give them food for the seven years of no food. His brothers came to buy food. He told them that he was Joseph because they didn’t know it at first. He told them to come to Egypt. They did it.

Math is going awesome as well. Monkey's fine motor skills are starting to catch up a bit, so I started teaching him his numbers this week. Not too shabby, for the first official instruction. He decided that he likes the other kind of 4 - the one that's open on top - better than the one in the font, and I'm fine with that. In addition to learning to write the numbers, we continued to work on addition with sums to about 15. We also bumped into multiplication, played with some inequalities, and did some dot-to-dots. The choose-your-own adventure style math that Miquan suggests is working out beautifully! He's requesting certain types of sheets, which makes me happy since he's practicing his facts happily, and it makes him happy because he gets to choose what he wants. His choices are based on the decorations, which makes this very easy right now! We even discussed negative numbers just a little bit, courtesy of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, our current read-aloud: If Grandma Georgina is 78, and she eats 4 pills that each take 20 years from her life, how old is she? Why did she disappear? We used a number line, and it took 2 tries to explain it, but I think he followed the logic of the negative numbers. He wasn't that interested, which is fine, but I think he got the concept. I like that.

Other than that, the main excitement in my week was getting nominated for the Homeschool Blog Awards - super exciting! (I'm under Variety and Methods.)  How was your week?

10 November 2011

1000 Gifts

I don't know if I can get 1000 on the blog before the end of the month, but here goes. I'm counting my blessings.If I can find the time for the blogging, it shouldn't be hard; there's so many I don't know where to start. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Medicine. Dragon got bronchitis about a month ago. He got mostly better, but then relapsed a couple days ago and we hauled him back to the doctor. And came home with 4 prescriptions. I've never seen our pediatrician look so serious in the 5 years we've been seeing him. Two days later, Dragon is nearly his old self again. Yep, I'm mighty grateful for medicine!

2. Snow. We got our first snow today. Monkey spent a good chunk of morning sitting and watching it fall.

3. Books. Nonfiction. Fiction. Comics. Dictionaries. But especially...

4. Scripture. The Bible. The Book of Mormon. I love that we have an open cannon. I love the the Lord hasn't said, "That's all you get, no more." I love that He loves us enough to give us more of His word from time to time.

"Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ."
-Richard G. Scott, "The Power of Scriptures"

5. My Warm Coat. With the snow here, I'll be putting in the liner. I love to be warm. And, being warm, I'm discovering that...

6. Outside in Winter is a lovely place.

7. Clean Water. And it's easy to get to. I read about the Church's efforts to bring clean water closer to homes in Africa and realize what a blessing hot and cold running water is.

8. Visiting Friends in NC. We went a couple weeks ago, and I've got some great pictures - but haven't gotten them on the blog yet. It was an awesome visit and I'm so glad we went!

9. My Husband. He's my best friend!

10. A Warm House. Did I mention that I like to be warm?

There. 10 isn't much, if I'm going to make it to 1000, but it's a start. And, it being late, it's going to have to do for tonight.

09 November 2011

Flamingos are Cool

I'm Nominated!!

I noticed this morning that the nominees for the Homeschool Blog Awards have been posted, and shortly after realized that I've been nominated! In two categories! (Best Methods Blog and Best Variety Blog) The voting's barely begun, but I feel like I've already won, just by being nominated! Thanks, guys! I can't wait to check out all the cool blogs and vote.

06 November 2011

Sunday Scripture

...faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
-Ether 12:6

01 November 2011

Birds of Prey Lapbook

We're just about done studying animals for now, and I offered Monkey the option of doing a lapbook for birds of prey, since they are his favorite. He thought that was a good idea, so I'm gathering up the parts and pieces I'll need. Since we spent so much time on them, and this is intended to be a review activity, I'm planning to do a larger book than we've done for our first two. He goes back to look at the frog lapbook we did, and thus it gets reviewed and remembered better than it would otherwise have done - I like that. And he likes to look at his completed work. Lapbooks, as a type of narration, make me happy.

Birds of Prey lapbook parts - they have a great cover sheet, and I Printed several of their lapbook elements.

We found this great owl mosaic idea that I think we might have to try; it's right up his alley!

I printed several of the elements from this owl lapbook site.

I also printed some of the eagle lapbook elements.

Wish us luck! This will probably take some time to put it all together, but I'll see if I can't get pictures posted when we have it done.


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