Monday, May 19, 2008

No baby yet

I went to the doctor today and was 3 cm dilated and 60% effaced. I'm hoping that labor will start soon. Now the waiting begins. I am anxious to get it all over with and anxious to meet our new little baby (and find out what it is so that I can quit calling it "it"). Grandparents are here to watch the other 4, so we are ready for it to happen now :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Congratulations Ellie ;)

Finale by Andrew White
Finale


Ellie is so proud of herself (and we're proud of her too of course!). She has worked very hard and will be moving up the Ballet 2 next year instead of spending another semester in Ballet 1. She is very excited about taking a more challenging class. I look forward to seeing her improve even more over the next year :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Denial

I must be in denial. My due date is in 9 days and I haven't even packed my hospital bag yet!! What is wrong with me?? I have had quick labors in the past too, so I might not have time to think things out and pack when the time comes. I will have to get that done today or tomorrow. Part of me thinks that since all of my babies have come right around the due date (usually after) and all between midnight and 2 in the morning, that is going to be what happens this time. I have to remind myself that I could go into labor during the day - tomorrow!! It is totally possible :) Ok, I think I've worried myself enough that I will actually get this done finally :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

How do you convince a 4 year old...

How do you convince a 4 year old that it's bedtime even though it's still very light out? Lexie insists that it can't possibly be bedtime since it's still "morning". The sun is setting at 11 p.m. and rising at 4:30 a.m. right now - and it's only going to get later and later as we get closer to June 21st. All of us are having a hard time getting to sleep. I think that I need to invest in some good drapes - the blinds don't seem to be cutting it and are letting in too much light. Plus, we have lots of neighbor kids (and adults) who are taking advantage of the light and riding 4-wheelers and motorcycles up and down the roads. I think it's an Alaskan rule that you have to own some sort of ATV - I wonder how long they'll let us stay here without one :)
Well, it's now 11 p.m. and I'm going to try AGAIN to put Nick to sleep. Maybe he will realize that it's bedtime now. Wish me luck, because I'll need it :)

Dance Classes







This week was "Parent Observation Week" for my daughters' dance classes. Lexie is in Intro to Dance, Kate takes Pre-Ballet and Tap/Jazz, and Ellie is in Acting and Lyrical Dance. We are busy with our little ballerinas :) I am looking forward to having summer off from dance and gymnastics. Hopefully, I'll conserve enough energy to be ready to go again come September!!









Ellie's find


This is the second butterfly of this kind that Ellie has found in as many days. They seem to like her, because they perch themselves right on her hand :)


Friday, May 9, 2008

Kate is now a Brownie




Last night, Kate bridged from Daisies to Brownies. We are all so proud of her!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quarterly Reports

I'm busy today finishing up the kids' fourth quarter reports for the correspondence school we use. I have to fill out their grades and give one work example for every subject that we are taking through them. It's not fun, but it's definitely worth the funding to me. I get $1800 to spend on Ellie and $1600 to spend on Kate for the year - for classes, books, curriculum, supplies, etc. The kids have been able to take dance class, we bought a nice stereoscope, and TONS of books of course. I am already drooling over everything that I want to buy for next year. The year after next, Lexie will officially be a Kindergartener too - which means another $1600 :)

We have had such a good experience homeschooling here in Alaska. On top of the money we get for the year, we get $30 a month for our internet access, and they have a computer buying program (you get paid back quarterly for a computer that you buy). It has definitely been worth it to us. We get to choose our own curriculum (and even the classes that we want to take through them). I made my own "parent-designed courses" for science and social studies this year and I will probably do the same for next year. The teacher contact is VERY minimal too. I just have to have contact (phone, email, or in person) with our resource teacher once a month - just to say how we're all doing. There are 4 quarterly reports to do during the year and we have to participate in state testing. It's a great trade-off in my eyes. I am able to afford things for the kids that I otherwise wouldn't be able to.

We had a completely different experience with a charter school we used for a year in California. We were not given any money to spend, but had to choose from certain textbooks and classes they offered. We had to meet with our resource teacher WEEKLY at our house! I can't even believe that I put up with that intrusion for so long. It was during Ellie's Kindergarten year and the only reason we kept with it is that she liked the resource teacher so much :)

Well, I had better get to work. I need to get these turned in before the baby comes. I would hate to go into labor and have to finish it later!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Notebooking

Ellie's history notebook from this year. Isn't it getting thick???
I really love notebooking. It's so neat to look through the kids' notebooks at the end of the year and see everything they have learned, written, and created. When we started homeschooling a few years ago, I would simply have Ellie draw a picture and either label it or write a short sentence about it. It is such a treasure to look back through her kindergarten year and see everything that she created.
I have since purchased a number of notebooking pages from various sites and they have helped us in our notebooking journey. I still make my own when needed and sometimes the kids still simply draw a picture with a caption to add. Ellie is older now though and I usually require more writing from her. I still like to have her add pictures to make it prettier for her notebook.

Here are some of the resources we are currently using/have used:

1. http://www.notebookingpages.com/
2. http://www.holdthatthought.com/
3. Blackline Maps of World History and Blackline Maps of American History at http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/
4. The Map Aids CDs that go along with Tapestry of Grace http://www.lampstandbookshelf.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=M1
5. http://www.notebookingnook.com/ (I love the animal pages the animal study pages they offer)
6. http://www.thehomeschoolshop.com/ (I really love these pages!)
7. Dover Coloring Books (available at Rainbow Resource Center or Amazon.com)
8. Social Studies Activity Books from Mark Twain Publishing by Cindy Barden (There are different workbooks on topics like "The Roaring 20s", "The Civil War" etc. and they have worksheets with writing assignments and vocabulary on them).

Faberge Eggs

Kate's Eggs:
Ellie's Eggs:

Today we were talking about the Russian Revolution and Russia in general. The girls made pages on Faberge eggs (which of course they think are just wonderful!). We also listened to music by Tchaikovsky. They all love his music - especially the Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty. I can't get them to stop dancing - they just can't help themselves :)


Lexie's handwriting


Today, while we were working on other school things, Lexie took the initiative and decided to practice some writing. This is what she brought to me when she was done. I was pretty impressed since I didn't give her any guidance and she didn't copy anything. Not bad for a new 4 yr old :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Gymnastics Meet




Ellie and Kate participated in a Recreational Gymnastics meet yesterday. They both take a homeschool girls' gymnastics class once a week and have really enjoyed it. This was a non-competitive meet which let them show off to us what they have learned. Other than the place being super crowded, it was nice to see them do their thing :) Kate was so proud of her ribbons! Ellie is 3rd from the right.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Gas Prices

I thought I was going to have a heart attack today when I filled my gas tank. I even went on post - which genearlly has better gas prices. It cost me $91.23 to fill it up!! Isn't that insane??? I am going to have to cut back on our driving, that's for sure. Is anyone else feeling the gas crunch yet???

Snow

Here is a short video of the snow we had 2 days ago (April 30th). I was pretty depressed to say the least - we have seen enough snow in the last 7 months to last me a very long time. Fortunately, our yard is completely clear again and the weather is supposed to be in the 50s all week!! Maybe the kids will get to start their nature journaling soon :)
video

Vincent Van Gogh


Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
Starry Night


We are all enjoying the artwork of Van Gogh. Such pretty colors and beautiful scenes. What a breath of fresh air after Picasso!!

Picasso Comparison


Bather with Beach Ball by Pablo Picasso
Bather with Beach Ball


Here is the comparison between Picasso's and Ellie's :)

The Titanic Sinking

Finishing Schoolwork

I Want You for the U.S. Army Recruitment Poster by James Montgomery Flagg
I Want You for the U.S. Army Recruitment Poster


We are now desperately trying to finish studying WW1, the Russian Revolution, the Roaring 20s, the 30s and the Great Depression, and briefly talk about WW2 before the baby comes. There are a lot of topics to cover and I hate rushing it, but I really want to be done with it all soon and we're planning on starting over with Ancient Times next year. The kids are all still so young that they will go through the whole history rotation a few more times before they graduate, so they're really not missing anything important right now. So, I'm off to go discuss WW1 (and War Propaganda like the above poster).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Home School Curriculum Fair

I was able to *briefly* make it to a local home school curriculum fair earlier this week. I didn't get a chance to listen to the speakers since I didn't have a babysitter and I really didn't want to try to keep them all still and quiet for an hour at a time. I did however get a chance to go through the vendors' hall and look through different books and curriculum. It is so nice to be able to flip through the books to see if you like them before ordering.

I found a new French program for Ellie. She is going to continue with Rosetta Stone, but we will add a more traditional textbook so that she can get some better conversational skills. It is called "Breaking the French Barrier" : http://www.tobreak.com/ I also found some great French readers that come with CDs. I think she's really going to enjoy them :) http://www.emcp.com/product_catalog/index.php?GroupID=2115

Next year, I plan on getting a babysitter and enjoying the full two days of seminars and browsing :)

One Year Anniversary




One year ago today, we arrived in Alaska. It's hard to believe that a year has passed by so quickly. We have made it through our first winter. It snowed a few inches yesterday (which really discouraged me), but almost all of it has melted again and we are expecting 55 degree weather the next few days. I'm buying myself a swing this weekend. Hopefully it will be dry enough to start cleaning up the yard :)