Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Visit to the Grain Elevator

So one of the awesome benefits of having your grandpa own a grain elevator is getting to go and visit during harvest season. We went down today. It was crazy busy. Thanks to the super wet weather this year, harvest is very late and prices are pretty good for grain. We checked out the grain silos and augers.

Papa Gary gave us new Dayhoff Elevator hats that had just come in, and the kids got to help do moisture tests on the grain coming in, then read the results to Papa for the tickets.

We watched the trucks unloading the grain into the ground grates, where it's then augured up and over to the appropriate silo or shed.

Some of us were less interested in the grain, and more interested in the hats, and peanuts and candy Papa gave us, but whatever...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dinos & More

Anyone who knows Angus, knows that he is a lover of the dinosaurs. He spends a great deal of time trying to decide whether his future career will be a professional drummer or paleontologist. I have tried to convince him that he can easily do both, at least if he goes more amateur on the drumming side, but, you know, he is a boy who likes a concrete plan.

We spent quite a bit of time today reading from the dinosaur non-fiction readers we found at the library last week. He has long ago run through the entire picture book and reference dinosaur sections, but the readers have added a whole new area of dinosaur books to us. Of course, he is not "reading" them, but he is being read to, and there is a lot of interesting information aimed at his age range in there. We read about predators, teeth, and herbivores/carnivores today. It doesn't hurt that we were happly snuggled up together on the couch reading while Winnie was napping.

Tomorrow Zhara is going to the farm to spend a couple of days with grandma and papa before we go down there for Thanksgiving. She'll help grandma drive the tractor, clean the chicken coop, get Thanksgiving stuff together, and generally be spoiled rotten. She will love it.

Adam and I have started working on getting Winnie into her own bed. Mainly because when she's in ours (all the time) she is waking up and waking us up like 5-6 times a night and not sleeping. Ugh, mama's tired and wants her boobies back. I checked out the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers from the library. Gonna see if we can gently work it a little to help the girly (and us) get a better night's sleep.

How the Ball Rolls

We made a wonderful find at the thrift store this weekend -- a marble run set. The kids have spent hours putting it together again and again. Lots of fun. We're calling it fun with physics and geometry.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Our Unschooling Journey

We had such an amazing day watching our daughter make new homeschool friends. Everyday we unschool, I realize, is a better day than the one before.  I am so lucky to have the absolute support of my amazing husband on this journey.  I never thought that I would be so gushy about unschooling, but my god, what a difference it truly has made in our lives and our outlook on the world.

A Cupcake Girl

Well, we went to the first homeschool Cupcake meeting this afternoon. OMG, Zhara had a blast. Total blast. They did manicures, and made popcorn balls, and pulled taffy. They laughed, and ran, and played outside in the dark. It was wonderful. She is making friends. Really sweet ones. Ones that understand her, and what her life is like, and some of them are even girly girls just like her. She is excited, and so am I. These are several of the same girls that we see at the American Girls Club and a few other activities through E.D.U.C.A.T.E, so I feel like we are really really forming a good group for her to bond with. We have to miss the December meeting, which is an outing, so we are thinking about perhaps inviting the Cupcakes over for a holiday afternoon tea or something for fun in December. That way Zhara can have a get together with the Cupcake girls before Christmas. I am just so happy for her. She didn't want to leave, was calling them by their names, and really having a delightful time, just like any other 8-year-old girl would. And I talked a bit with some of the other moms, which was nice, as well.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Art Through History

Yesterday we went to our Art Through History class. We had fun learning about ancient Egypt. The kids made heads for body part jars -- go go mummification. And they drew themselves sideways in an Egyptian style.

Everybody loved painting and drawing.

Then on the way home we started to listen to The Story of the World on cd that we had gotten at the library. We learned about Rome, it's fall, and the Celts. The kids are really enjoying it and another HS mom cued me into the fact that there is an activity book that goes with the cds/books that have really fun activities in them. Yay, have to pick that one up!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two Falling Voices

We went to the library today and heard a wonderful storyteller, Two Falling Voices. She told us stories of the Seneca people. The kids sat, completely rapt for an entire hour. They loved it and got to participate in a corn dance, thanking the Earth for the corn; got to hear about the importance of trees to the Seneca people; and looked at many different animal skins that would be found on the animals of the forest.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun at Lakeside

This morning we drove to Lakeside Nature Center to take part in E.D.U.C.A.T.E.'s Preschool Power Pals program for Angus and Winnie, but we all ended up having tons of fun. Wow, that is a neat place. We had never been before. It definitely will not be our last time there. And the kids had a blast at Power Pals, even Zhara. There were tons of kids there of all ages, and lots of parents to talk to. It was a really good time, and definitely something we will do again soon.

Zhara quizzes Angus on types of animal tracks and fur. It was a great exhibit, and they had a blast figuring it out.

Winnie and a friend, James, put on several puppet shows.

The kids loved this immense snapping turtle. It was huge, and put on quite a show by moving about and opening and closing it's mouth for them.

We could hardly get Winnie away from this microscope. Perhaps she has a science career in her future???

Everybody had to measure their "wings" next to a bald eagle's wingspan. None of us were as wide. The real bald eagle in the huge flyby enclosure next to this seemed to think we were crazy for trying.

Coloring owls while we looked outside at the real birds flying around the feeders in the rain.

Winnie can't pass up a good puzzle, especially if there are animals involved.

We are off in a few minutes for another free afternoon swim at Coco Key, and then after dinner, Angus has drum lessons. Never a dull (or quiet) moment here at the Rebel Kids Homeschool.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Productive Saturday

Today started out with Zhara and I helping her girl scout troop rake leaves for a older neighbor who was no longer able to do so anymore. It was part of the Extreme Home Rakeover Project in KC sponsored by the Shepherd Center.

Then dad and I started building the shelves in the basement storage room that had to be completed so that we can organize the things downstairs in anticipation of remodeling the basement. The kids had fun, though I think it did go infinitely quicker prior to them getting interested in helping.

Zhara practiced her hammering...

and learned about tree rings from dad, who used to work for the state park.

Angus and Winnie much preferred pretending the shelves were extra huge bunk beds. They moved in, complete with blankets, and Angus's huge bear for company.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Science at the Park

Angus took this photo all by himself. Isn't it gorgeous this time of year?

So we did end up going to the park today, despite what started out as very chilly temps. We walked all over and took pieces of the microscope kit to collect "samples." The kids picked up pine cones, acorns, rose petals, pond water, and lots more. Tomorrow I think we will prepare slides and look at our finds under the microscope. They love that so much.

Zhara collecting berries for tomorrow's microscope project. She was amazing at spotting stuff, and then had a great time putting it in it's investigation container.

Can't pass up a sweet moment between a brother and a sister. Give her a hug, Angus. Everyone thought this ravine was gorgeous, we had to stand and look for awhile.

We're being crazy... look at our butts. So I took the picture for them. What else was I gonna do??? Heck, later they hugged and were super cute, you saw the picture.

Look What We Can Do

Just think of it as pattern making. I turned around and Winnie was trying to look exactly like the dog. Adorable, especially when trying to mimic the world's fattest Basset Hound.

Going to the big park today to collect samples of stuff to look through in the microscope and to have fun hanging out and playing. It's freezing cold, though, so first we're headed to the library to give it a chance to warm up.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

King Henry and my girl

So, Zhara and I started reading the Princess Diaries Elizabeth I today. She loves it. Loves it. We read like 1/4 of it in one fell swoop. She loved finding out about King Henry's wives and the beheadings and Elizabeth's banishings. Just loved it. Wow, this is amazing. I cannot wait to work our way through all of them. Zhara loves history, but she doesn't like reading it in textbook or non-fiction like form. Well, heck, neither do I, I mean it's history -- it was made BY people who lived and loved and died and did bad and good things. It's so much better to read and learn it as it actually happened, albeit with a bit of fictional license in diary first person form. Plus, as a child of a British citizen, I feel it is almost my duty to help her learn about British history.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Weekend in Photos

Lemonade, anyone? The kids constructed a very elaborate lemonade stand, complete with play bike structure, and massive mobile advertising. Sadly, Adam and I were their only customers, but they still seemed to enjoy themselves.

There was a lot more leaf play on Saturday and Sunday, and then Sunday afternoon we headed down to grandma and papa's to play at the farm for the afternoon. Zhara colored a picture for Winnie on the way down and she showed it off as her new face. We took a nature walk at the farm, and the kids had a fun time getting dirty and tromping around the pond looking for things to take back to grandma.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Museum Fun

American Girl Club was a success. Zhara made two clay horses for her spirit animal and has been saying Katsee-yow-yow for thank you for two days. Love it. I think we're going to read another Kaya book, as she is really getting into the story.

We didn't get to go to Art Through History this time due to a younger child meltdown, but we will try again next time.

Yesterday at the Nelson was awesome. We took a Mythological Creatures class with KC Homeschool. It was lots of fun. The kids got to see examples of mythological creatures in several different art pieces in the museum -- mermaids, dragons -- lots of fun. Then they created their own. Wednesday made an orange bear, Zhara a futuristic penguin, and Angus a dragon. They turned out awesome. They cut, glued, drew, used oil pastels, collaged scrapbook paper onto them, and then painted over them with water colors. Our art teacher was very good, and the kids learned a lot. I think we will definitely do more HS classes at the Nelson. Each of the kids has a good time at them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Fine Fall Day

This afternoon was a perfect afternoon to play in the leaves. Goodness knows our yard has enough. We finished at the park, came home, and took to the front yard. It was a really good time.

It's hard not to get buried in leaves, especially when
you're encouraging your mother and sister to bury you.

Zhara spent some time riding Angus's bike. Then she joined us in the leaves. For awhile our yard was raining leaves.

Angus decided to remain completely buried for awhile after we went in,
so that he could ponder the world from inside a leaf pile.
Eventually the cat rooting around in the leaves rooted him out and into the house.

Where in the World?

Yep, Zhara has started playing Carmen San Diego. She is liking it, though sometimes it takes a little extra help.

Today I joined the Yahoo group for living math, as I think that she will really like some of the ideas that they have for math. She loves contextual math, and I think it will give us some fun projects.

Tonight Zhara is going to the art show with me to help me sell my soaps and bath products. She is excited to get to play cashier. There you go -- contextual math right there!

We have been working hard on reading our Kaya books for the American Girl Club tomorrow. One more chapter and we are done. The whole family is enjoying learning more about the Nez Perce Indians. Tomorrow she will get to craft her spirit animal out of clay at the group. She has decided that she wants her spirit animal to be a horse, so we can make that work, I think.

It's Alive!

We saw the It's Alive! the body systems play at JCCC yesterday. It was fun. The older two enjoyed it the most, as the guy who did it was pretty funny. There were lots of puppets and humor and a heavy dose of info about how the body works. Winnie was less than cooperative, but whatever. It was definitely geared towards schooled kids, though, as there abounded with school references, but the kids didn't seem to mind, so we lived with it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


At Deanna Rose, our local living petting farm. The kids, from left to right, Dalton as sorcerer Mickey Mouse, Angus as Sir Dino the Fearsome Knight, Wednesday as a black kitty, and Zhara as a scary fairy.

Angus, the knight.

Zhara, the fairy. We added much black make-up after this. This one was a little too sweet for her liking.

A Busy Week

Last week we painted and remodeled our TV room where the family hangs out the most, so we didn't post here much. Zhara turns out to be an amazing painter. She had a good time helping, and now it looks great.

We've also been insanely busy for the past two weeks with Halloween activities. From friends, to trick-or-treating, to trunk-or-treating, trips to the living farm, and parties. We've been quite the social butterflies in that respect. We carved bunches of pumpkins. It was awesome and we will definitely do tons of pumpkins again next year, as we got lots of compliments on them from trick-or-treaters. Costume pictures to follow.

This week we have a totally busy week of fun activities. We are going to see the Body play at JCCC, we have Art Through History, American Girl Club, and another art program at the Nelson... this time Mythological Creatures. So excitement, and most likely many more pictures here to come.

And for your daily, why I love unschooling moment... this morning Zhara rolled out of bed, stumbled into the kitchen squinting at the light and rubbing her eyes and the first thing she said to me was, "hey, mom, I figured out what 4 time 12 is. It's 48." Good morning, Sunshine, yes it is.