Thursday, November 11, 2010

Falling Fast

Lots of catching up to do!  The first few months of school have been wonderful and so busy!  Every year I like to choose activities for the kids to do to enrich their learning experience beyond the "classroom".  We are so fortunate to have such a great group of homeschoolers around us that the challenge is trying not to over schedule ourselves!  Between science club, book club, art club, field trips, music lessons, sports and our regular academics, busy isn't the word for how we've been lately!  That's my latest excuse for not blogging in a timely manner.  I seem to begin most blogs with an explanation for why I haven't blogged sooner.  I don't know who I make the excuses for though...people who bother to read it or myself.  It seems rather pompous of me to think that any one of you would even care if I never blogged another word so rather than think myself pompous I'll say the excuse must be for myself...

I left you with a cliff hanger last time...remember?  I showed you a plump juicy caterpillar and then the beautiful chrysalis it had transformed itself into that was seemingly sewn shut with God's golden thread.  Well, lo and behold, the beauty emerged!  I have had the privilege of seeing many a monarch from caterpillar to butterfly and never once have I seen it actually emerge from it's chrysalis.  I was waiting with bated breath, I could tell it was going to happen any minute.  I turned my back for 10 minutes to teach a math lesson and the whole thing was over!  I had missed it again.

 Loosed from it's transforming confinement, with wings unfurled, this majestic monarch was hanging where it's chrysalis had been only minutes before...
The children each got a turn to hold him before he flew off to begin the long journey to Mexico! 
Of course, no fall would be complete without a trip to the apple orchard.  We had a delicious time on our field trip.  The kids have all acquired very specific tastes for specific varieties.  No one likes Red Delicious and we were all fans of the sweet Galas.  Cortlands are our favorite for pies.

Hannah turned 9 way back in September.  She requested an ice cream cake with sunglasses.  It wasn't spectacular looking by any means but it tasted quite good if I do say so myself.  In my defense (because I'm sort of prideful and pompous you know) it is hard to decorate a melting ice cream cake...

This year the TLC Academy is hosting a once a month art group.  Each month we have a different famous painting to look at and study and then we get together and do some activities that give us an opportunity create something in relation to the masterpiece we studied.  At our first meeting we studied Jackson Pollock and his work entitled Mural.  He was very influential in the beginning of the abstract expressionist movement and really brought drip painting to a heightened popularity.  As a group the children created an awesome mural on the side of my house with chalk
After the mural was completed the little artists had a fabulous time drip and splatter painting. 

Another staple of the fall is soccer.  In the beginning of the season we're all in summer attire and by the end of the season we are in winter coats, hats and mittens shivering every Saturday morning...and I love every minute of it watching my little man play and enjoy himself. 

I have noticed that fall is full of traditions isn't it?!  Another one of ours is going on a fall foliage train ride with our church. 

This fall we added a new tradition of celebrating Annika's birthday!  I can't believe it's already been a year since she arrived, but there is no denying it, she turned 1.  A better auntie would have had pictures of the actual party and not just the cake but a prideful and pompous auntie like myself just has the cake pictures...

Have we done any schoolwork, you ask?  Of course we have.  We are learning wherever we go and whatever we do for homeschooling is a way of life but yes, we have done our regular work in addition to all this fun stuff.  It's just not usually exciting enough to take pictures of.  The kids made these artistic creations out of fall leaves and they were certainly photo worthy.
A fish

a ballerina in her tutu
For our October science club we dove into the topic of simple machines.  The kids had a delightful afternoon filled with hands on exploration of simple machines.  It proved to be a great catalyst for further study.  The kids are noticing simple machines everywhere now!

Ian was very proud of his first perfect spelling test!
For our TLC art lessons, in addition to our art club, we have been studying color.  We have done a few projects that involved using only the 3 primary colors.  It was really fun to see all the interesting diversity we could create with only 3 colors.  It has made for a lovely display on my basement door.

For our October art group we focused on the artist Thomas Sulley and a portrait that he painted of his son called The Torn Hat.  For our group activity we learned how to draw faces with proper spacing and details.  I had been given these really great face shaped papers and they were perfect for our project.  It was great fun.  Isaac particularly loved it and has drawn a whole "parade" of people. 

Every great piece of architecture has to be photographed because, as you well know, earthquakes abound in the rooms of 5 and 6 year old boys and with the unstable nature of these blocks, a palace can topple in an instant.
Isabella has been using some of the sewing skills that she has learned from my friend Nancy and making dolly clothes out of fabric scraps that we have in a box.  She was particularly proud of this ensemble (and so was I!). 
Our Wednesday and Friday work is a little more boring than our other days of the week.  We do a lot of book work on those days and to make it more lively, Isaac likes to invite his friend Monkey to help him.  Everything is more fun with friends.
Our study of history recently had us learning about Stonehenge. The kids did a great job recreating it out of blocks.

A blog full of fall traditions would not be complete without pictures of jumping in leaf piles!

Jason and the boys have been busy building in the basement as of late.  They have constructed boats, a helicopter, a car and are currently working on a chair for Monkey.  This particular evening they floated their wooden boats and some origami paper boats that they had made.  It proved to be a good experiment on buoyancy and absorbency.  In the end they realized why paper boats are just for decoration...

Moving on from primary colors we have enjoyed color mixing.  Mixing paint to create new colors is always a good time and anything that involves the whole rainbow spectrum is always fun.

We are still studying circa 2000 BC and that brought us to early Egypt.  The local museum just closed out a great exhibit on mummies so the kids were pretty familiar with the concept of mummification.  I had considered mummifying a chicken with them but the process is rather long and arduous and I decided to save it for when they are a bit older.  Instead we went with the traditional toilet paper mummy race.

In all honesty, I have been terrible about remembering to bring my camera out and take pictures lately.  This is a very small taste of all the fun things we've done.  Just this week in fact we had a field trip to see a play.  It was called Life on the Prairie and was a little musical about Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It was cute.  We had read Little House on the Prairie over the past few weeks and today we had pajama day and watched the original Little House movie.  I forgot how much I loved that show!  We're also reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls for this month's book club.  They are some of my favorite books and I love seeing another generation falling in love with the Ingalls family all over again.

The holidays are fast approaching and I am NOT ready but I intend to enjoy every minute of them when they arrive and not get "wrapped" up in the gifts and shopping.  My intention is to enjoy every minute I have with family and friends, be ridiculously thankful to my Lord and Savior for the amazing blessings and gifts He bestows upon me daily and rejoice that God sent Him!