March 30, 2011

It's almost time...

has anyone else been as addicted as we are to this bald eagle viewing?  She laid three eggs back in February, and we are anxiously waiting for them to hatch.  The "approximate" date is April 1st, right around the corner.  My kids and I can not wait to see the babies.  Check it out, if you want, but don't blame me if it forces you to spend more time on the computer.


March 26, 2011

Midwest Homeschool Convention

I'm so excited that in less than a week, I'll be attending classes at the Midwest Homeschool Convention here in Cincinnati!  I love, love, love convention.  I've been every year since we started homeschooling, and I find it to be a great way to get re-energized about homeschooling. 

This year there are some fantastic speakers that I haven't heard speak before - but have read about extensively online - Ed Zaccaro (math) and Michael Clay Thompson (language arts).  I have several talks marked that those two are presenting (individually, of course).

I also would love to go hear someone talk about high school credits, etc.  There are so many choices, it's hard to narrow it down.  My mom attends with me, so we can divide and conquer - and hear two speakers live at the same time.  Yeah! 

The other part that I love about convention is the vendor hall - I want to touch, feel, page-through items before I buy, and at convention - I can do just that.  I have a few things that I'm interested in looking at for next year (mainly writing curriculums - and maybe some other math items - although I still am loving Math-U-See for my younger kids).

Are you attending a local convention?  Will you be in Cincinnati?  If so, let me know, maybe we can meet!

March 23, 2011

Field Trip - Adams Co. Recycling facility

Our 4-H group went on a great field trip on Monday.  We went to the Adams Brown Co. Recycling Center in Georgetown, Ohio.  We toured the recycling sort facility.  It's amazing how they sort the recyclables, then they drop them into balers, and squish them into compact blocks of recycled materials.  J-Guy asked a LOT of questions, he was very interested in the whole process. 

We also toured the Glass ReFactory where they recycle old glass bottles into really awesome sun catchers.  I love watching people work with glass - I think I missed my calling!  It's very cool, because they break the bottles,  melt them down to molten glass in their kilns, gather the glass and then press with a variety of graphite-presses that the staff has created, then the glass is cooled in the annealer.  They offer their suncatchers for sale - my kids want to go pick some up for possible Christmas presents this year.  They are very cool !

You may check out their website at 

We'd give this field trip 5 stars - it was excellent!

March 21, 2011


We've been busy decluttering, and organizing, and more decluttering.  My sister-in-law sent over a computer desk / armoire that she was replacing - it's awesome!  It's so nice to be able to close up the computer (and associated desk mess) with a door.  It's the simple things in life that make us happy, right?

She also sent over a huge bookshelf, that I quickly moved to the school room / living  room/ dining room - it's perfect.  I moved a bunch (really, truly a bunch) of books, pottery and miscellaneous items right into the bookshelf - it's making me actually love that room again.  Thank goodness!  So nice to see the floor and not piles of stuff. 

We still have more to declutter - and pass along, but for this week, I think we've made great progress.  I even listed a few curriculum items that I know I won't use.  Feels good to let them go.  Big relief.

What are you up to this week - any organizing or spring cleaning projects?  Please share!

March 11, 2011

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Yesterday we took the morning to try something new -- we attended a student matinee of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  We did read the story ahead of time so that we all had a background idea of what to expect.  A Midsummer's Night Dream is about four mortals (who are in a love rectangle, of sorts), and some wood fairies who place spells on said mortals and fellow fairies.  There is also a play-inside-the-play, which was absolutely hysterical.  Even J-Guy loved that part.  His favorite line of the whole play was, "Tatania loves an ass" (the donkey type) - what 11-year-old boy wouldn't find that funny, right? Oh, yes - and also the phrase "asshead" was used a few times, to describe the donkey-headed clown.

The actors and actresses were wonderful.  I was worried that the poetry would be a little difficult for S-Doll to follow, but she seemed to grasp it very well. 

It was one of the best plays we have ever seen.  The kids loved it, I loved it.  Definitely will add some additional Shakespeare student matinees to our schedule next year.

J-Guy is actually taking a Shakespeare course at Leaves, so I thought it would be good for him to see another Shakespeare production.  He enjoyed it, although it did get a little long for him...

Overall, we'd give the show 5 stars (on a scale of 5) - if you have a chance, go see it.

Another nice thing that the actors / actressed offered was a 10-minute question & answer session at the close of the show.  It was great for the kids to show how each actor got into acting (all had college degrees in something related to the theater).  Very interesting.

March 10, 2011

It's cookie time!

Part of our schooling this week has been focused on Girl Scout Cookies - organizing them, selling them at booths, calculating our profit, practicing marketing skills, making bank deposits, counting money, recounting money, reconciling money to cookies sold - wow!  Lots of fun, practical, real-life learning going on.  My kids especially liked the "old" $10 bills we received from a few customers - it seems so crazy that the money I'm used to (i.e. grew up with) looks so different from the money my children are used to. 

We will also be practicing construction skills after our cookie sale is complete - we've been saving the cookie case boxes to build a large-scale fort in the basement.  Each child has a different plan, but teamwork will need to be part of the process - there's only so many cases available!  Joseph is thinking about an igloo shape - or at least a hexagon or octagon type base.  We'll see what happens.

Until next time!

Mardi Gras King

Our 4-H group had a Mardi Gras party on Monday complete with games, crafts, friends, food and of course, a Mardi Gras King & Queen.  Joseph was voted into the King position.  Isn't he royal-looking? 

He was also supposed to dance with the queen (Emily) - that lasted about 5 seconds (maybe), and then he left the room!  Poor baby, a couple more years, and he'll be into dancing with the ladies.

Until next time!

March 3, 2011

Illness - yuck and lots of reading

I think we're finally all on the mend.  We've battled strep, some infection that wasn't named, stomach bugs and more - and I think we're all finally getting well.  Yeah!  Being ill made our schoolwork go to the wayside, but maybe today we can get back to some work.

One thing I really need to work on with my two youngest is reading.  I've noticed that fluency has decreased significantly from where we were a few months ago.  I hadn't been requiring out-loud reading, but I have since realized that at least for a season we need to...  The one I'm most concerned about is my son - we went through some reading tutoring last year, and I can see it in his future again.  We're going to put reading as our top focus everyday during March, and see where we are at the end of the month.  Hopefully by focusing on reading, his skills will improve.  Any advice for me?  Feel free to share!

March 2, 2011

Curriculum Hoarding

Does it count as hoarding, if what you are hoarding is curriculum?  I hope not!  I realized after our big basement flood last week (sump pump failure - no fun), that I have a LOT of curriculum, most of which I'm not using.  I have a really, really bad tendency to flit from item to item, and be sure that this is the perfect curriculum item for us.   Not realistic, I know.  But anyway, my point is I have way too much curriculum.

Free Clipart Picture of a Stack of Books. Click Here to Get Free Images at School Clipart
So, that brings the question of what to do with all those books?  I asked a friend of mine - she said, "Sell it all, if you miss something buy it used down the road."  Good advice, but I do know that I don't want to sell everything!  Ack...  So, I guess it's time to analyze what I have, what I realistically think we will use, and get rid of the rest.  Talk about pressure!

I guess it's time for a big clean-out - keep your fingers crossed that I make it through.

I'd love to hear from you - are you a curriculum hoarder?  How do you manage it all?