Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back to School!

School is officially back in session! Our first two weeks back have been great and here is your peek at what we've been up to. We have a new student this year!! We are so excited to have Miles join the TLC Academy clan. Isaac and Ian are particularly happy that they are no longer out numbered by girls. I must say that I am so honored to be the teacher of these beautiful children.

We got right to work on the first day. I was amazed at how fast everyone flew through their review work. These little smarties didn't forget a thing over the summer, in fact, they kept right on learning! No back tracking for this bunch. We are doing a fun Spanish curriculum together and learned some of the rooms in our house. I minored in Spanish in college and I am really enjoying speaking it with the kids and using (and refreshing) some of what I know. We are also doing a nice music curriculum that goes through some traditional hymns. Everyone got started on their spelling, math and language arts and it's going well. Overall, I am excited about all of our curriculum. I am trying to focus on making sure the kids know how to use what they are learning and apply it to other situations when necessary. I am steering away from rote drill-type work and moving toward more critical thinking skills. I think it's going to make the year a lot more productive and fun for all of us.
We did a simple and fun art project the first day of school. I gave everyone a blue circle and told them to incorporate it in their picture as something. I just loved seeing how different everyone thought and created. Bella's was a blueberry on a bush, Hannah's was the center of a flower, Lexie's was the sun setting on the horizon, Isaac's was a tractor wheel, Ian's was a head and Miles' was the sun in the sky.

My friend Alison gave us a Monarch caterpillar. I was so excited. I love watching this amazing process and we didn't get to do it last year. He was already a big fat fatty caterpillar when we got him and he went into his chrysalis the next day. The amazing thing was that we got to see it! It's a pretty fast process (only about 5 minutes from beginning to end) and we just happened to be looking so we got to see it happen. You can't get better science than that!

One of Ian's major accomplishments for the first week of school was riding a two wheeler! He was a pro after only a few tries. Now the challenge is keeping him inside to do his work! He wants to ride all day!

But alas, there is some bookwork that needs to be done...and everyone has been doing it diligently.

...and even with a smile!
Sometimes we need a bookwork break though and the tactile fun of a bin of dried rice and beans is a perfect activity.
...unless of course you are in 4th and 5th grade and then it's work, work, work, work, work...
...and then do a fun craft. I gave the girls step by step instructions on how to make a 3D apple. They followed them perfectly with very little help. I was impressed.

We are very excited to be a part of many activities in addition to our regular school time. We will host a book club once a month. This month we read the first half of Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor. Next month we are reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are also going to be a part of Research Group again at a local library and will be hosting an Art Club. As if that isn't enough, we are also doing science clubs! My children have a science group after piano twice a month. We will be studying physical science. At our first meeting the kids learned about the Scientific Method. This is a tough area of science for me, one that I lack interest in. I am grateful that two of my very good friends have graciously invited us to their group and will be doing most of the teaching!
All of the TLC Academy is also doing another Science Club once a month. This month the topic was water and we learned so much! We did experiments on evaporation, condensation, a cloud craft, talked about the percentage of water on the earth and many more awesome activities! My friend Michelle did a great job packing tons of active learning into a few hours and the kids came away excited about what they have learned. They have been applying it in other areas which is always an indication that they "got it".

Now this is going to look like a food blog from here to the end. We did lots of cooking this week. For History the girls were learning about the Incas, Mayas, and Aztecs. An optional activity was to cook something with corn. Bella chose to cook corn chowder. It was soooo yummy.

Hannah made corn pudding and it was also really delicious!
She and her awesome mommy also made us an apple pie. Hannah's mommy Amira is the crust master. I envy her crust making skills, for I am a terrible crust maker. Just look at that beautiful whole wheat crust with no hydrogenated oil. I have mostly banned hydrogenated oils from our diets, with the exception of store bought pie crust from time to time because I am such a terrible crust maker. Lame, I know...but enough about crust!
Let's move on to cookies! Those I am better at. Isaac and Ian are pretty good at them too! They made a delicious batch of pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

We have been learning a bit about the traditional MA hero, Johnny Appleseed this past week. Hannah, Bella and Lexie made these delicious Johnny Appleseed treats. They were very easy (if you are lame like me and buy store bought pie crust that is) and very delicious. We had made caramel apple butter earlier in the week and they combined it with some diced apples, plopped a spoonful in little pie crust circles, sealed them and baked them!

All this fun fall baking and eating is not really conducive to maintaining my weight loss plan, however. It took a lot of running to burn of all these treats (especially trans fat loaded pie crust).
The next few weeks have some great things on tap, including a trip to the apple orchard, watching our butterfly emerge from it's chrysalis and lots of other hands on learning fun.


Anonymous said...

As always-your blog puts a huge smile on my face and makes me so proud that you are my sister!! It looks like you are all off to a GREAT start. I am also particularly proud of Mr.Ian who is riding on two wheels. (the first picture of Ian is also worth noting-because it gave me a good giggle)-I really love that you are all very involved, it makes me wish that I could go back in time and be home schooled by you. It's amazing to me that these children have little real idea what a difference their schooling experience is from the "average" kiddo. GREAT JOB!!!! xoxox love you

MW said...

Great job on all of the accomplishments so far in the school year! As always, I'm very impressed!!