Sunday, March 15, 2009

Learning is fun!

It's pretty much been party central around here lately. The term "learning is fun" has been an understatement. I'm convinced they don't even think they're learning some days because they are just having too much fun. It's come about because I have actually been quite a slacker lately in my planning and therefore I have been looking for more learning opportunities in our daily experiences. Up until February break I had everything planned out to the minute but I think I slept through February vacation when I should have been planning for now and I have been planning week to week since then. It has it's pros and cons. One pro was that when I received a giant shipment of vitamins and supplements I saw the packing peanuts as a perfect medium for art later in the week. These are the edible kind that are made of corn starch or rice. We all ate some, just because we can, and then we made some projects with them. If you dab a packing peanut onto a wet paper towel you can stick another peanut to it. They stay together like they've been glued and they are stuck instantly. The kids loved making crazy creations with them and I loved having a use for the packing peanuts and an art project with virtually no mess.

This is Bella's bathtub and faucet with a tiled wall on the side

Ian has continued to do his school work diligently. He is asking to do his "phonics" all the time. This week he completed his Kumon workbook and got a certificate of achievement. He is now moving on to another workbook that has less letter tracing and gives him more independence in his letter formation. He's officially writing with his left hand so I am in uncharted territory in helping him make his letters. His natural inclination is to make his letters opposite of how he "should." I'm realizing it's party because he's lefty and partly because, like most things, if I tell him how to do it, he likes to do it a different way. For now, if a G looks like a G then it's good enough for me. In addition to Ian's hard work, everyone has been working a lot on their story for the Reading Rainbow contest. We are all working through the story writing process like Isabella did last year and the kids have come up with some very creative stories. This week we will illustrate them (also very creatively) and send them off next week to the contest. We've also been reading Mr. Poppers Penguins over the last week and doing lessons to coincide with that. The kids love this book!
Last week was Nova's birthday! She turned 6. We of course had a fun party here at the TLC academy. Nova's friends Quimby and Clementine joined us for the afternoon too! Nova and Seven made a delicious cake, they had fun destroying the rainbow pinata and they made a cute Penguin craft that went along with our study of penguins and Antarctica. See, we even slip "school" activities into birthday parties!

St. Patrick's Day is a very celebrated day for us. I'm 1/4 Irish and my dad is 1/2 Irish so we have always celebrated St. Patrick's Day with my dad's side of the family. Up until recently I didn't realize that it wasn't a big holiday for everyone else. On Saturday my sister hosted the family St. Patty's Day dinner at her house. I co-hosted. We had to make corn beef and cabbage for about 30 people. My mom was away for the weekend so we had to accomplish this daunting task without her. I think we did a pretty good job. I only called mom once and it was more for reassurance than anything else. I even sliced the meat w/ the electric knife. My dad usually does this but he was busy. I felt very accomplished to be trusted with the "power utensil." I don't normally do well with other power tools like drills and such (you should see what I did to the window frames trying to hang curtains) so I was very proud that I cut the meat well without losing a finger. The weather was beautiful and it was a nice day indeed.

Hannah and Bella in their matching St. Patty's Day shirts.

Me, Crystal and her Diet Coke thought these feathered antlers were no laughing matter.

But Madi did!!
The kids all loved their Irish dinner!

After a long day of playing outside on Saturday it took a very long time to untangle Isabella's long hair. The tangles and tears have been a common occurrence over the last few weeks and Isabella decided it was time to chop it off and donate it. She has been growing it for this purpose for a long time. On Monday afternoon. Seven came over and did the honors of snipping the 12 inch ponytail and fashioning an adorable haircut for Ms. Bella. She is simply elated with her new "do" and was very excited to share her hair. We are learning about generosity this week and have been talking about different ways that we can be generous to others with talents and things we have been blessed with. Bella has certainly been blessed with lots of hair and it was a perfect way for her to show generosity. The Locks of Love website gave us the instructions on how to properly donate (you need at least 10 inches to donate to them) and we got to see pictures of some of the recipients and learn more about the wigs that they receive. It was neat to learn that 80% of the hair that is donated for these children comes from other children. It's such a great organization and a great way to help others.

Yesterday was officially St. Patrick's Day and we had some friends over for another round of corn beef and cabbage and some fun activities. Amy and Nancy came and joined us for a fun filled day of school. Nova arrived dressed as a little leprechaun/elf in a little suit her mommy made out of sweaters. It was soooo cute!
We watched a funny little movie about St. Patrick and his perseverance that is on one of our favorite Veggie Tales movies (Sumo of the Opera). After that we did a brief discussion of the holiday and some of the leprechaun legends associated with it. We estimated, counted and graphed bowls of Lucky Charms for a math activity. I love to see how well the kids worked together with groups of kids that they don't have school with on a regular basis. So much for "unsocialized" homeschoolers. Nancy taught the kids a little bit about Ireland and they colored the flag of Ireland and did a Celtic Cross craft. Amy read them some adorable fairy tales about Leprechauns. We all enjoyed corn beef and cabbage with Irish soda bread and shamrock cookies and then headed outside to enjoy the beautiful day.

Bella and Hannah were very responsible traffic cops in the driveway with so much bike and scooter traffic coming and going. They managed to avoid any major collisions.

Unfortunately my curb attacked Nancy's tire and she got a flat. We tried to fix it ourselves, being three capable women, and we (mostly Amy and Nancy) did a pretty good job but in the end we just couldn't get the lug nuts off with the flimsy wrench thing they give you to change a flat (really it was the wrenches fault, not because we are girls so don't even go there) and I had to call my sweetie to come save the day. He did. I love having a husband who can save the day.

I'm not 100% certain about what's on tap for next week. I know we'll be working hard to finish up our stories and I think we'll be moving on to study Australia which I know will be fun, it's such an interesting place. I am still praying about what direction to go in for the kids Bible time since we have finished the curriculum I was using since September. I am in the process of writing a Bible curriculum for them but I'm not nearly done and not sure I should start it now...anyway, just thinking as I type, writing stream of consciousness which means it's time to sign off before you get a real glimpse into my odd mind...


Anonymous said...

I think Bella's contribution of her hair to another child is absolutely remarkable. As usual it looks like you are making learning a ton of fun! I hope you are getting some nice weather out there so the kids can continue to play outside!

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your blogs Mis. I think that the ability to teach, and make it fun is a wonderful and rare.

I might have to crash your St. Patrick's Day party next year. Being a quarter Irish myself, it seems only fair. lol

I have made a couple of attempts to donate my hair, but it didn't work out either time. I'm very pleased that Bella was able to give such a precious gift to someone in need.

I will say this, I don't think I can handle much more cuteness. I've heard the phrase "Kill them with kindness", but your kids are killing me with cuteness. rotfl

Love you,
Ben Wibby

Anonymous said...

This might be my favorite blog yet!! They are all just so great and I love getting a peak at your everyday life.

I can't believe how much Bella's haircut is bringing me back to little Bella's short and sassy cut when she was about 3 or 4?! I am so proud of her for donating her hair and I am so happy that we are a family blessed with locks of love.

Great job to you and Ang for cooking, sorry I wasn't much help, but I was keeping a close eye on the kiddo's for the most part!! Oh and you did a wonderful job cutting corned beef. Joe and I enjoyed perfectly sized rubens with the left overs on Tuesday.

Love and miss you already!! Can't wait to see you on Saturday :)


Anonymous said...


I too enjoy your blog each time. You are such a wonderful teacher. The children you teach are lucky. We just finished a unit on Australia and if you want/need any ideas let me know, I have several fun ones. I have donated my hair twice in the last few years. I'm so proud of Bella for her generosity. So many people identify them selves by their hair and it is wonderful to be able to share what you have been "working on" for such a long time with someone who really needs it!
I love you all!