Friday, September 24, 2010

More than I Thought

This past week or so has been so busy. There were times when I wasn't sure if we were coming or going! Last Tuesday (Sept. 14) Mark and Austin went with Mark's dad and brother to the Astros game. They had a lot of fun on their guy night; Austin was given a foul ball by an Astros staff member, which made his day. He also got his baseball glove autographed by one of the pitchers.

My oh-so-handsome-boys!!!!

While the boys enjoyed their guys night, Abi and I enjoyed some much needed bonding time! Girls night started at gymnastics practice, then to dinner for two at Texas Roadhouse Grill, then we went to Bath and Bodyworks for some smelly treats, then to Target and Famous footwear- Abi tried on all kinds of shoes- we just went from store to store in the shopping center!!! She talked about it for days afterwards!
 Abi touching a cactus at dinner to show that it was fake!

Me and Abi at Bath and Body, after treating ourselves!

Some of the crazy shoes Abi tried on!

 Gymnastics week 2, in the special leotard we be-dazzled together!

Austin also started his Anatomy and Physiology class last Thursday (Sept. 16). He came home super excited about the things he learned and about what he was going to be learning. This was the product of his first lesson:  a CAKE, decorated and labeled like a cell. The family sure enjoyed his lesson also!  Even better, he remembered all of the parts of the cell. 
Austin's cell

This past Monday (Sept 20) the kids and I decided we were in the mood for some pumpkin cheesecake. So, I brought out my recipe and let the kids go through the ingredients to see what we had and what we needed to get from the store. Austin was in charge of wet ingredients and Abi was in charge of dry ingredients. Each made a shopping list, and were responsible for making sure we got the items at the grocery store. Both Austin and Abi each made their own:
1 8oz fat free cream cheese
1 8oz regular cream cheese
1/2 cup splenda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch cloves
pinch nutmeg
frozen or homemade pie crust
fat free whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350. Mix cream cheese, splenda, and vanilla until creamed evenly together. Add eggs one at a time. Scoop out a cup of mixture and spread in the bottom of pie crust. Mix pumpkin and spices into remaining mixture in the bowl with spatula. Spread pumpkin mixture evenly on the first mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes (cover pie crust edges with foil for first 25 minutes to prevent burning). Cool to room temp, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Add whipped cream before serving.

Austin and Abi with their game faces

This past Thursday Austin had his second A&P class, they started the skeletal system. His teacher brought a plastic skeleton named Fred. Austin and Cameron made their very own Fred Jr. Another successful class!!!
Austin and Fred Jr.

We also made blue goo for our science experiment.

Today, Friday (Sept 24) was our first Co-op experience. The kids and I were both nervous about the whole adventure, but we registered and put our best attitude forward. We were all glad that we did. Each of us had a great time. Austin is taking 3 classes: Little House in the Big Woods unit study, US Geography, and Elementary Science Experiments. Abi is also taking 3 classes: Hands-on math, Little House in the Big Woods unit study, and Children's choir. I am assisting in two classes: US Geography and Creative Crafts. Austin actually woke up very grumpy because he didn't even want to go. At the end of the day, Austin was running down the hall in excitement to tell me about all the cool things he did. They made butter in the LHitBW unit study and blew up balloon by mixing ingredients and making a gas in the science experiment class. Needless to say, we will be returning next week. We certainly enjoyed it a lot more that we thought we would.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Science on Tap

Well, don't be too disappointed, but this post isn't entirely about our science projects. But we have done one more experiment that we wanted to share with everyone. This, in my opinion, has been the coolest one so far. Supplies needed:

wide dish or sink (must be clean, soap and dirt free- we used an 9 x 13 baking dish)
dish liquid
index card

Cut the index card into the shape of a boat, pointed tip with a flat bottom. Cut a 1 inch square in the center of the flat bottom. The following video shows the whole experiment:

Pretty neat, huh?

Also on tap for school today was a craft for our maple syrup study. We have been learning some pretty neat things about how maple syrup is made and even more about where maple syrup is made. Austin and I have decided that we really want to visit Vermont in the spring when they have their maple syrup festival! We made 3D maple trees.
our supplies: maple leaf confetti and brown pipe cleaners

twist 8 pipe cleaners together, and then spread the ends like branches

we used hot glue to attach the leaves

the finished product, cute, right?

We must have felt crafty today. After finishing our maple trees, we made 'Halloween cards' for our pen pals Jonah and Jillian. I cut all of the card stock paper but the kids did everything else.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Falling into Place

I was skeptical before beginning this journey into homeschooling. Mostly because there are people in my life that rain on my parade from time to time (and sometimes even daily) by stating their disagreement with my decision to HS; which, in turn makes me question my ability to do so. I have learned to take each statement of criticism in stride as I press on with my plan to teach my children to be contributing and morally graceful members of society. It comes in baby steps though. Each new day there is a new challenge. Lately, Austin has doubted his intellegence. He even said one day, "I am not as smart as I thought. My brain is already full, I don't think I can fit anymore stuff in it." That was followed by a melt down and complaining that his math assignment was too hard. I let him take a break to go play with his legos for a while. I talked to him while he played and told him that his attitude about the work will make all of the difference. If he begins the lesson thinking that it will be too hard, then it will be. However, if he goes into the assignment thinking, 'I got this' then he would be surprised by what he would find. Today I saw I think a little glimpse of what God means when He says, 'the Faith of a child'. Austin is wearing his shirt that says the verse Phillipians 4:13 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'. He began his day saying that today his work was going to be easy because God is where his strength comes from. Amazing.

I make it a goal each week to do at least one science project. This week our project is 'String of Spikes', taken from our $1 book that I purchased at Target. This experiment references the 'Grow a Gummy Bear' experiment while discussing osmosis. Items needed are:
  • two plastic cups
  • water
  • baking soda (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 12inch piece of cotton string
Fill each plastic cup with water and then add a a tablespoon of baking soda to each cup.
 Then dip each end of the string into each cup. The string is supposed to grow spikes after two days.

We are still waiting to see what is going to happen. This worksheet has a spot for the child to draw a before and after picture.

Tuesday was Abi's first gymnastics practice. Her first response once running off the mats was, "Mommy, I had so much fun, do I get to come back tomorrow?!" She did a really good job focusing on her coaches instructions. She looked so cute out there, attempting to do jump-n-jacks alongside the other equally uncoordinated girls! Even though her practice wasn't until the afternoon, she had her leotard on 3 hours before we even needed to think about leaving!

me and Abi before practice

Abi outside the gymnastics place

Abi waiting to start her practice


Abi about to start the bars

All in all, it seems as though our schedule is working out and starting to fall into place.