Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lawn Ranger

Daddy let Julianna take the wheel yesterday when it was time to mow the lawn.

I think she might have enjoyed it. (She is screaming, "This is Julianna's Show of Mowing" among other screeching.)

Of course, my lawn now looks like we have crop circles. Don't be surprised if you see us giving interviews to the media.

She's available for hire.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Hello, neglected bloggy friends.  Miss me?

Well, our new school year has begun.  Julianna wanted to start early, so we ended up beginning a week before than I had planned to.  I had believed her enthusiasm to start and proclamations of "missing school" as proof positive answers to my prayers of desperation for a student with willful compliance...now I see they were just a ploy to get the First Day of School prizes.  Silly Mom.  ;-)

First week went well.  Last couple weeks, not so much (Ashamedly I admit that it also included a drive through our neighborhood school's parking lot with visions of enrolling her in my head.  The only reason I didn't stop was there were no parking spaces.  True story. Divine intervention?  Lol!).  Homeschooling moves just like life, huh?  Ups, downs, bumps, smooth sailing...hardest part is staying consistent through the ever changing tides.  We shall continue on...or at least grip tightly to the rope and drag on until March when the homeschool conventions begin with their encouraging workshops.  And the exhibit hall.  Freebies make all things right in the world.

On to our year so far.  I can already see some changes in the curriculum that need to be made.  I just cannot seem to find our groove in the area of phonics/language arts.  We are using Institute of Excellence in Writing's new LA program, Primary Arts of Language.  It's okay, but it is WAAAAY labor intensive (printing off materials, preparing games, etc.) for the amount of time it actually takes her to complete the task.  Still pondering what direction to go with it. Math seems to be going okay.  We're using Right Start Math and while it is very hands on, it's kinda dry.  We'll see how it goes.  She's doing well using the abacus, though, so we're making progress. Science (www.areasonfor.com/article.php?id=16) is her favorite subject so far.  I like the way it's laid out - nothing overwhelming to complete daily and the experiments have been simple.  For social studies, we are using History Pockets from Evan-Moor (http://www.evan-moor.com/Product.aspx?SeriesID=64&ClassID=166&CurriculumID=7).  Love them.  We started with Ancient Civilizations.  Last week we did an overview of "what is history?" and this week we are starting Ancient Mesopotamia (followed by Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and Aztecs).  I will do a separate post about it when we are done.  The activities are great.  Next unit we will do is Colonial Times which I hope moves us through November. 

My school room is still not giving me a groovy feeling, but I'm working at it.  Not sure what I want it to look like, which is one of the problems.  Our calendar area is slowly coming together.  I love the date on wall rings that I did (I got the idea here:  http://www.mamajenn.com/MamaJenn/CalendarTime.html)  By May, everything should be hunky dory!

Hope your new year is going swimmingly.  :-)

Here are some pics:

We made tie dyed shirts.  They turned out awesome!  Colors faded only slightly. 

Pencil cake made for my "adopted" kiddos.  ;-) (Excuse the pan.  Shameful condition, really.)

My "flying WV" brownie.  Gotta represent!  Go Mounties!!  2-0

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TOS Review - Flea Circus - R&R Games

Game: Reiner Knizia's Flea Circus
Publisher:  R & R Games
Where to buy: http://www.rnrgames.com/Product.aspx?id=fb75153d-9627-454b-9db0-11f033e79ee4
For 2-6 players, ages 6 and up
Price:  $15.95

Overview (from the RnR Games website):
STEP RIGHT UP! Calling all Cats and Dogs! The Flea Circus is about to begin!
It's a wild time under the Big Top as dogs and cats race from one show to the next. Players use their best Flea Circus acts to attract the most cats and dogs. Play your cards right and you can steal the audience away from your neighbor! But watch out for the Animal Catcher... He'll snatch your cats and dogs away!
With all this excitement, how's a Flea Ring Circus supposed to keep up? When all the cats and dogs are gone, whoever ends up with the most animals at their show wins the game!

My Musings:
Oh, my, do we enjoy this game...and we have played it more times than I can count since receiving it just a few weeks ago.  The object of the game is to collect as many dogs and cats to come to your flea circus while avoiding the Animal Catcher and your opponent's sneaky fingers when they get a "ticket" card.  (Maybe that may just be MY opponent's sneaky fingers...and card hiding under the leg skills.  Little worried about her natural cheating abilities.  Guess "thou shalt not cheat" needs to be added to our character studies, but I digress.) This is not only a fun game to play, but it covers multiple math concepts:  addition, subtraction, one to one counting, and skip counting and the kiddos don't even realize it.  Fun and educational...win, win!  We have another product from RnR (the Hide and Seek Safari - awesome!), so I knew the great quality of their items.  This game did not disappoint.  

Special offer: 
For being my loyal blog buddy, RnR Games is offering 20% off your purchase through the end of the year.    Just use the code:  CREW20 at checkout.  Super cool!

If you would like to read other reviews (for this product and many more) from the TOS Crew Members, click here.  

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I was given a free copy of Flea Circus in exchange for my honest opinions.  No other compensation was received.**