Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hh Horse

Today we wrapped up our farm theme by completing our Hh Horse unit.

One of our favorite books this week was one called Ponies and Horses that we had right here at the house. It was actually one of Daddy's when he was growing up. It's a non-fiction book written from the perspective of the horse, and it covered a lot of material such as what horses eat, where they live, what their babies are called, different ways they can be used for recreation and for work, the difference between a donkey and a horse, what type of gear you need when you ride a horse, etc. (And after typing all that, I think the people at My First Animal Library should give me a kick-back every time they sell a copy of that book, if it's even still in print!)

When I was younger, I loved horses; and since Hannah and I are so much alike, I went ahead and checked out three horse movies from the library, just knowing it would absolutely make her day! I got My Friend Flicka, Black Beauty, and The Black Stallion. I had no idea what My Friend Flicka was about and I vaguely remember a beach scene from The Black Stallion making me feel a little tense when I was young, so I decided to start with Black Beauty and ease her into it. Pish...shows you know well I know my own child! Anyone standing outside our window (or within a 15-mile radius, for that matter) probably thought this poor child was being beaten within an inch of her life with all the screaming going on! She hated it! I guess this really shouldn't be too surprising since she seems to hate all movies other than kid shows like The Wiggles or The Backyardigans, but it just seemed to me like this should be different. After all, it was a school assignment, for Pete's sake, and she should be required to watch it!

Well, it didn't take long for me to see that no one was going to get anything out of this movie with all of Hannah's screaming, so she was sent to her room for an hour and a half until it was over. In hindsight, I don't really know if I agree with what I did or not. On the one hand, I have a kid who loves books and doesn't enjoy movies. Umm...doesn't really sound like a problem! On the other hand, I have a kid who has an incredibly stubborn will and loves to over-react to try to get her own way. One of those toughies that I still don't have the answer to. I did, however, put on My Friend Flicka the next day, and she absolutely adored it! Score: 1 for Mom, 287 for Hannah...or so it seems!

There really weren't many activities to take pictures of in school this week, but I did catch Hannah playing cowboy at a friends house earlier today, and I think that should qualify! That's what we educators call "transferring what they've learned into everyday life." Yeah...that's it!

We did spend some time this week talking about various ways horses have been used throughout history, but since our special words were "I obey right away," our main focus this week was on horse training.

We talked about the way a well-trained horse immediately obeys the commands of its master, and how we should also obey the commands of our Master. We also spent some time singing "Trust and Obey," which is Millie's favorite hymn. She calls it her "BSF song!"

This unit was definitely short and sweet, but I have a feeling we're not really through with it yet. I think those special words will be a part of our life for a long time to come!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mom of the Year (Part 2)

Told ya there would be more than one of these "Mom of the Year" posts! So what did I do this time? Well, remember how we were waiting for the weather to cooperate to go feed the goats for Hannah's Gg Goat unit? The weather has long since been cooperative, but life has just been getting in the way. So today I decided we were going to feed the goats no matter what!

We picked Millie up from Mother's Day Out at 1:30, went to Wal-Mart to get some carrots, celery, and radishes, and headed straight to Beaumont where we found . . . an empty goat pen.

I'm going to call a friend who has goats at her house and see if we come for a visit, but at this point I'm thinking I need to forget about college accounts for my kids and just do therapy accounts instead.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cc Cow

Man oh man, was it ever hard to get back in the swing of things after Christmas! Somehow—between BSF, AWANA, dance, and Mother's Day Out—we managed to get back in our groove and even finished our Cc Cow unit.

You may not remember, but Hannah found a DVD about apple farming at our local library that she absolutely fell in love with. Well, our library also had Vrrrooommm! Dairy Farming for Kids, which is the dairy farming DVD from the same series. Needless to say, that was an essential non-fiction resource for our study! We also found a couple of non-fiction books (Milk from Cow to Carton and Cows in the Parlor: A Visit to a Dairy Farm) and several very fun picture books (The Cow that Got Her Wish, The Cows Are Going to Paris, Grady's in the Silo, The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down, The Cow Who Fell in the Canal, and The Story of Ferdinand.) If you're familiar with those picture books, you'll understand why I feel like Hannah and I trekked the globe this week!

We used the dairy farm DVD and the non-fiction books to learn about life on a dairy farm. The DVD was a hit with all of us, especially the part where a newborn baby calf was trying to stand up and walk. So cute! Hannah learned that cows have four stomachs, and that they swallow their food and then bring it back up later to chew on it. Today, as we wrap up our second unit with a farm theme, she insists that she wants to be a farmer when she grows up. Life on a farm in the country seems so simple, but it also sounds like a lot of hard work! Until this week, I have never in my life stopped to think about the fact that a dairy farm has to operate every single day of the year. Either that or come back to some very engorged and irate cows!

In addition to looking at life on a dairy farm, we also talked about how cows' milk is good for our bodies because it gives us calcium to make our bones strong, Vitamin D to help our bodies absorp the calcium, and Vitamin A so we can have healthy skin and hair. (My apologies to my soy-loving, lactose-intolerant, dairy-allergic friends! Yes, I know cow's milk isn't for everyone, but we sure do enjoy it around here!)

Our family drinks a lot of milk. I mean, a lot. Like 5 gallons a week, just for the four of us. But somehow we have never really talked with our kids about other types of dairy food. So this week we headed to Wal-Mart to purchase a little bit of everything dairy, then we waited for Greg to come home from work so we could have a dairy party for our afternoon snack!

First, he helped the girls make homemade ice cream.

While the ice cream was freezing, we put together our other dairy foods and sampled them. Here's what was on our menu:
  • Chocolate teddy grahams with cream cheese t-shirts. (Everyone liked it.)
  • Fruit cocktail in vanilla yogurt. (Everyone liked it.)
  • Crackers with homemade butter. (The butter was made from heavy whipping cream. Millie and I loved it, which is really not surprising since we will most likely be Weight Watchers partners someday! Greg and Hannah thought it was okay.)
  • Ricotta cheese. (Everyone hated it and thought it looked like it had already been eaten.)
  • Flavored yogurt. (Everyone loved it.)
  • Cheddar cheese cubes. (Greg, Millie, and I loved it.)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese. (Hannah and Millie liked it, but I think it had more to do with the fact that it was shredded than with the taste.)
  • Whole milk. (The girls prefer this.)
  • Skim milk. (Greg and I prefer this.)

Our special words for the week were "God's Word helps me grow."

For whatever reason, Hannah had so much trouble remembering her words! We talked about how God's Word does for our spirit what milk does for our body: makes it strong and healthy. Maybe it was a little too abstract for her; I'm not sure. She ended up getting them down by the end of the unit, but didn't seem too interested in the Bible part of our study this week, so I'm assuming it was because she just didn't quite "get" the words.

Overall, it was a great unit and a fun way to ease back into our school routine.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Master Bathroom (Part 2)

Good news . . . our master bathroom is completely tiled! Bill and Shirley came over for the day so Bill could help Greg and I with the grout.

While we were working, Hannah and Camille set up their tent and played "house" with MeeMaw.

Next project to tackle: the master bedroom!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun day!

Grandma and Grandpa came down for a visit today and treated us all to a fun day at Chuck E. Cheese's. Greg was even able to come for a while between school and his basketball game!

Hannah has mastered the Sponge Bob game. She always seems to hit the 50-ticket jackpot!

Millie loves to talk about how brave she'll be next time she sees Chuck E. Cheese. (She's the same way with the Chick-Fil-A cow). As you can see, however, there's only one child in the picture with him; the other one was clinging to Grandpa for dear life!

Thanks for a very fun day, Grandma and Grandpa! We love you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Master Bathroom

Today Bill and Shirley came in so Bill could help Greg and I tile the master bathroom. We didn't think anything was wrong with our master bathroom and had no plans to do anything to it, but our adjuster pointed out that because the place where the tree came through our bedroom ceiling is right next to the bathroom . . .

. . . there could be mold behind the shower tile and the only way you're ever going to know is if you tear it out. They gave us money to redo it, so we decided it's better to be safe than sickly (hee hee).

We're glad we made that decision, too, because this is what we found when we tore out the old tile:

See the nasty black stuff in the middle of the picture? Mold! We also found some in our bedroom, which required yet another call to Uncle Allstate.

We finished tiling the shower area and started on the floor before Bill and Shirley left, and Greg is finishing up the floor right now. Although I can't say that he enjoys working with tile (in fact, I think I heard the word "hate" thrown around a couple of times), I can say that he's doing a great job with it—especially since this is his first time to do it! His parents are planning to come back again next week so Bill can help with the grout and Shirley can help with the kiddos!

Thank you for all of your help, MeeMaw and Kimpaw! We love you!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Betsy Ross

Today was History Presentation Day at co-op. Hannah's curriculum doesn't start history until second grade, so this one was totally up to me. After much thought, I finally decided last week to teach Hannah about Betsy Ross so she could tell her co-op friends about her. Just to make that clear, the Betsy Ross decision came last week; the Betsy Ross teaching did not.

I knew that we were going to be gone on the trip to Bertram Bobb right before co-op met again, so like a responsible homeschool mom, I printed out information from several web sites, packed it up, and took it to Oklahoma with us. But because I'm not just any responsible homeschool mom and I'm me instead, we didn't exactly take it out and look at it while we were there. Any. At all. In fact, I kind of forgot about co-op until 9:00 last night when I was sitting in Greg's truck waiting for him to finish returning the rental car.

So from 9:00 until 9:30, I told my sleep-deprived, recovering-from-a-trip, 5-year-old child everything I could think of about Betsy Ross. I thought I did an outstanding job myself, but when I asked Hannah to relay the information back to me, somehow Betsy Ross ended up being the first President of the United States of America. "Oh no," I thought. "What will the other moms think?!" Fortunately, we were all exhausted enough that we just came home and went to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, I had an idea. I got six brown paper bags and put props in each one to help her remember the story of Betsy Ross. The bags were numbered, so all she had to do was find the next bag, see what props were in it, and tell her friends what they represented. For example, Bag #1 had a Little People girl, a plastic needle and a piece of yarn, and three pennies; so she emptied the bag, looked at those props, and told her friends that she wanted to tell them a story about a lady named Betsy Ross who earned money by sewing things. Bag #2 had a small Bible and a dollar bill, so she told her friends that Betsy Ross went to church with a man named George Washington. And so on.

It ended up being a really neat presentation. I think it gave her confidence to have props to rely on rather than just relying on her memory, and I think it might have also made it fun for the other kids to see the props and wonder how they related to the story.

Oh, and an added bonus: Millie heard Hannah tell the story enough times this morning that she knows that Betsy Ross made the first American flag and that "Washington America" was our first President. How cute is that?!