Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Art Work

Gracie did some work making gifts for her classmates last week. She painted each of them an ornament, I added glitter and then she pasted decorations on them. She also made them each a snow ball soap which was basically grated white soap that you smoosh up and around a small toy. I don't have any pictures of that because I was elbow deep in it with her, but I do have pictures of the ornaments!

 IMG_6341 IMG_6332IMG_6333While we were painting Ian was playing with our pattern stacking blocks. He had a creative world of some sort going on!   IMG_6346IMG_6339IMG_6345

My Girl

They took school pictures of all the kids at Options, the enrichment program Gracie attends.  Her picture turned out so great!  I can’t believe how big she is, my kindergarten girl.

I took a picture of the picture so the real thing is not quite so washed out, but you get the basic idea.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

November Art Wall

I’ve decided that with all the art the kids do it’s time to make a monthly display.  So I’ve started hanging all the pictures that are made on one wall that’s between the kitchen and living room.  They also always have stuff all over our fridge and freezer.  At the end of every month I’ll take pictures of everything and take it down so they can start the next months projects!  I really want to keep a record of what they are doing and I think photos are the best way since I have no idea how I would keep all this stuff forever.

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I love this one, Gracie made all the leaves using her finger prints on a stamp pad.  So cute!!

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Peter Pan and Captain Hook

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The turkey Gracie made at Options for the turkey song her class sang.

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Space man picture by Gracie done with stamps.

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Leaves that Gracie traced and colored.

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Thanksgiving turkey by Gracie

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Thanksgiving turkey by Ian

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Apples falling from the fall trees by Gracie

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Circles and dots by Ian

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Fish by Ian

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Gracie’s list of the things we needed to do to get ready for Christmas.

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These next three totally crack me up.  Gracie used some stickers she had to make pictures with Disney characters.  She was so busy and quiet and I was doing something else.  When I saw what she did I just thought they were so cute, and so creative!

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Blue and Green by Ian

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Thanksgiving Turkey Song

As performed by Gracie and her kindy class this morning!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Museum!

We were headed to the zoo yesterday for a free day.  Once we got there though we decided never mind and headed to the museum instead.  The free day combined with a holiday made the zoo, well, a zoo!  There was no parking to be had and I could tell we would barely be able to move once inside so a change of plans was needed.

We love the museum.  Our membership this year has already paid for it’s self and then some.  We were glad to go this time and get to see the children’s area was put back together.  We plan to go back soon for the Genghis Kahn exhibit that is there right now, it looks very neat!

So here’s some of what we were up to.

Greeting the parking garage dinosaur!

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Ian carefully moving magnets to the right place.

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Building with fish!

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Gracie participating in an experiment about the effects of pressure on objects.  It was very cool, she loved it!

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My two space cadets!  We had an awesome time in the space section too, there was a museum worker who spent about half an hour showing Gracie the entire solar system on this computer program and there was no one else there with us the whole time.  It was pretty cool.IMG_6162

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An update!

I realize it’s been way to long since I wrote anything here, sorry about that!

Our classroom of life has changed a lot the last couple months.  Gracie started her one day a week in the enrichment program through Aurora Options and she is loving it.  We are doing morning swimming lessons again and Gracie has also joined the Douglas County Children's Chorale and to say she enjoys that is the understatement of the year.  We have had a season of change as far as our home school support group and I’m currently looking at our options to find something that may work better for us. 

Mostly we are just playing and living life as normal, learning as we go.  I say we because this home schooling journey is just as much a learning opportunity for me as it is for the kids.  I’m learning about my strengths and weaknesses and figuring it all out as I go!

I’m going to work on documenting our journey again, so hopefully there will be more interesting things coming soon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Hike

We love our weekly hike with our home school group.  Seriously, sometimes I think this gathering of good friends and nature is what helps me stay sane through my week!!!
This week we went to Castlewood Canyon again.  This state park is very quickly becoming one of my favorite places to hike, it's so beautiful and so diverse.  Today we were lucky to have a guided hike set up by one of the dads in our group who had taken a guided hike with Ron the park ranger before and thought he would be awesome for leading our kids.  And he was right!!  Ron was great with the kids and very knowledgeable.   I think we all really enjoyed him.
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Looking at owl pellets(or as Gracie said “what the owls puke up”).

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I think this was Ron showing them a flower.

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The group on the rim of the canyon.

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Sweet little waterfall.  There were neat little pools all going down into the canyon from here, it was so pretty!

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Beautiful wildflowers.

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Gracie and her buddy Payge, both looking precious in pink!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

EEK!

I did it. I contacted the local public school home school program.

Big huge giant step for me. Seriously!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

As much as I know home schooling is what I want to do....

....sometimes I just want to pack the kids up and ship them off for the day. Or the week. Or maybe an entire month.

Yesterday was one of those days. My day ended with me on the internet looking at the forms to download in order to register Gracie for our local public school kindergarten. Yep, me, the woman who can give a litany of reasons for not putting kids into an institutional learning environment. I was ready to toss it all.

It can be so draining and exhausting and just plain no fun dealing with the emotional ups and downs of the same little people for 9 hours straight every day of the week. At least I get a break on the weekends, I get to go to work. Work tends to be the most relaxing moments of my entire week. Who knew driving a bus and hosting child's birthday parties could be less stressful than staying home and eating bon-bons? (Cause you know that's all I do.)

Anyway, I guess my entire point of this post is just that it is hard. Being the primary caregiver, teacher, comforter, and authority can be very draining. For those of you who are there with me know you are not alone. Then I factor in the sacrifices. The fact that we could be a double income family in just one more year if I enrolled the kids. The thought of that is huge, just huge! We could have a much nicer house, multiple vacations a year, and get James a new car. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't put a lot of stock in having a lot of stuff, I know money doesn't buy happiness. It sure could make things a lot more comfortable though. In a lot of ways I think it would make me a much more chill person too. I still don't think the benefits of working outweigh the befits of staying home for us, but I do have to recognize there would be benefits!

Home schooling would be so much easier if I could just subtract the emotion out of the mundane daily stuff, but I just can't! Little kids are such emotional time bombs!! I know for me it is a million times easier dealing with someone elses kids than it is my own and I guess that's just because the weight of being responsible for how these humans turn out is pretty huge. Gracie is a great kid, don't get me wrong. But she is work. High maintenance. High needs. However you want to label it the bottom line is she requires a lot of time, attention, and emotion. She is smart as a whip, is very independent, loves to question and always has a reason. She has very strong leadership qualities which is a great thing except that she doesn't have the discretion to know when it's time to stop. Also, she pretty much never stops moving. It gets wearing and some days it just plain becomes too much. Which brings me back to yesterday and how I probably would have traded her to gypsies for a yard of cloth had they knocked on my door.

I'm hoping to find some balance in this thing, quickly. I know home schooling is best for us. That's not a question. I am starting to realize though that as much as I don't want to get "on the radar" I am probably going to have to. I can't do it all. I'm a great mom but I'm not super woman. I have a breaking point and when I reach it we all suffer and it sucks. So I'm looking into some compromises. There's a local program here where home schoolers go to "school" one day a week. We have some friends that use it and really love it. I'm seriously considering it for next year. It's free (public school funded) and it includes any resources we would need for testing as well as the ability to check out curriculum for free. It would also feed Gracie's desire for socialization which is HUGE and give me the ability to get some things done and focus a bit on Ian who honestly gets the short end of the stick a lot around here.

So that's where we're at. Ever evolving in this thing. It's a learning process for all of us!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frog Hunt

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Today we went on a frog hunt at the Hudson Gardens, a botanical garden in Littleton.  It was a great activity!!

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We went with out home school group and I’m pretty sure the whole group had a great time.  The weather was perfect! 

Hudson Gardens provides self-guided activities to each group that comes based on the topic chosen.  Last fall we went there and did an activity about leaves.  I really think their program is great, the activities are fun and you choose the age group it should be geared towards.  Today we read a DK book about the lifecycle of a frog.  After that we went to the pond and looked for tadpoles.  We saw a bunch of them, all HUGE, I’ve never seen tadpoles so big.  I think most of them were at least 4 inches long.  After finding tadpoles we did a game activity where the kids were given cards of the frog lifecycle and they all took turns putting them in the correct order.  There was a really cool board included that had models of each stage attached to it and the kids used that to check if they had the cards in the right order.  Then we moved again to another spot and did a quick activity on the foods that frogs eat. 

Then we handed out the binoculars which were provided and we walked around a pond looking for full grown frogs.  Amazingly we didn’t see any although there were a billion tadpoles.  I’m not sure where they all were!

At this point the kids were all hungry so we got our lunches and headed to the picnic area.  On our way there we finally saw a frog and he was absolutely giant.  The frog in the picture at the top of this post is about 2/3 the size of the huge one, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture!

After lunch the kids played and played.  There was tree climbing as well as various other games under the trees.  It was great!

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At the end of our tour we watched the trains.  They have a wonderful train set up and the kids were in awe.

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All in all it was a wonderful day!  We will definitely be going back to Hudson Gardens for another field trip.