Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beyond Co-op Betsy Ross

We have started back with our co-op group again this year.  Most of the group is the same from our last year's FIAR volume 4 co-op.  We've lost one member due to a move (and we miss you Laura & boys!) and added two new families.  I'm excited and think it will be another fun year!

This year we are co-oping Beyond Five in a Row - Volume one.  We are starting with Betsy Ross and will be spending 4 co-op meetings as we row this book.  I think my family will probably enjoy it a bit longer than that as we got a later start.  The first meeting was at my house and my co-teacher and I were the same ones that started off the co-op last year. 

Here is a little about the set-up of our group for those who are interested.  We meet every other week for approximately 2-2.5 hours.  We will be rowing/doing 2 books each semester.  We will be meeting 8 times over the course of the semester and so each book will have 4 meeting times.  We also have 8 moms who will be splitting the teaching responsibilities this year too.  We teach in pairs for each co-op.  Each mom will have 4 teaching times over the course of the year (2 each in the fall and spring) and 2 times to host (1 time each in the fall and spring).  We looked at the books and tried to divide them evenly over the course of 4 weeks.  Here is what our schedule looks like.

Betsy Ross - The book has 17 chapters.  Each time we meet, we will cover 4 chapters (and in the last meeting there will be 5).  What that means is that the teaching pair can cover any topics in "their chapters".  For the first meeting, we had chapters 1-4 and covered several topics in those chapters.  We try to notify the group of the topics that we'll be covering at least two weeks in advance so that those topics aren't covered at home. 

Homer Price - There are 6 chapters in this book.  We are doing something a little different with this book.  We decided to cover 2 chapters in each of the meeting times.  We will be rowing The Clown of God in the other meeting time.  This is because this is the book we will be doing for our group's Family Event this year.  I think it will be a fun way for this group to get excited about that event.  It ends up being just 2 days before the event.

Thomas Edison and Boxcar Children will be rowed in the spring and are similar to these two.

So for our first co-op we met at my house.  We did not read the chapters (as we did the books for Volume 4) because it would  have taken too long.  One of the gals had the group idea to have her children do a summary of each of the chapters of the book.  I think that is a great way to refresh their memories of what occured during the book and to prepare them for co-op.

We started off with a devotion from the Beyond FIAR Bible supplement on kindness.  Next we did Sensory Awareness Activities.  Interestingly, both of the teaching moms have children with Sensory Processing Disorder.  We used activities found in the book Sense-abilities as well as on the internet.

We started with a discussion on the sense of touch.  What types of things can you feel?  (cold, hot, prickly, soft, etc.)  We then had texture bag filled with similar sized fruits (apple, orange, avocado, kiwi, peach, plum).  The children reached into the bag and tried to identify the fruit by touch.

They pulled it out after the guessed to see if they were correct.

The next texture bags dealt with shape.  There were a varity of items (peppermint stick, thimble, bolt, feather, eraser, etc).  Each child reached in and selected one item.  They were asked to give three adjectives describing the object and then to guess what it was.   They were very good at this.

An experiement on hot and cold involved them placing one index finger in a mug of ice water and the other in a mug of warm water.  After 20 seconds, they put both fingers into a mug of room temp water to see how it felt.  One finger (from ice water) said that this water was warm while the other said it was cold.  Interesting!

The  next experiment was done in pairs.  One person touched their partners arm with either one or two pencils.  They started holding them apart and then moved closer.  The partner tried to say how many points he/she felt.  It's harder than it sounds.

Another experiment involved cold when the children held ice for 30 seconds and then tried to pick up a grain of rice.  They were able to do it, but many couldn't really feel it.

We transitioned to hearing by talking about vibrations.  Put your hand on your throat to feel the vibrations when you cough, laugh, hum, growl.

We could see vibrations when we hit metal rulers.

We could also see it in the ripples made by adding food coloring to a bowl of water.  The children paired up to feel more vibrations when their partner talked into a balloon pressed against their ear.

We made a hydrophone by cutting off the bottom of a plastic bottle and placing it in a bowl of water.  The children put their ear to the bottle.  Two coins were hit together under the water and then above the water to note the difference in sound waves.

Pictures are going to be a little more scarce now as I was leading (and thus not taking pictures).  In order to get their snack, they had to first play a guessing game.  We had clues for various foods and they had to guess what they were.  The foods were either mentioned in the story or available during that time period.  Would you like to try it?  Answers are at the end.

1.  What is something that starts wet and becomes dry in order to eat?  Oldest recorded use is in Ancient Egyptian civilizations.  A bakery in San Francisco has a culture that has been in use since 1849. 

2.  Used to sooth tummies (it relaxes the smooth muscles around the intestine aiding in digestion).  An herb honored in Greek myth.  Something sweet enjoyed for hundreds of years.

3.  Originated in China and was a favorite food of Emperors.  Books on making jam were published in colonial America in the late 1600s.  It grows and is popular in the South.  It has a fuzzy skin.

 4.  This has seeds on the outside.  The most famous public eating of this food is at Wimbleton each year.  (It is served there with cream.)  US is the leading producer of this food. 

5. A snack enjoyed all over the world for hundreds of years.  It probably originated in Mexico.  It was an integral part of Aztec Indian ceremonies.

6. First introduced by a South American tribe in 1550.  It is and has been used as a staple when travelling long distances via ship, wagon, etc.  It is made by covering food with salt and then drying.  It is still popular today.

 7. This food was enjoyed in Ancient Rome.  Name was not given until the 18th century.  Term was used to describe fiery, spiced dishes condiments. 


1.  sourdough bread, 2.  Peppermint sticks, 3. Peach (peach jam), 4. Strawberries (strawberry jelly), 5. Popcorn, 6.  Beef jerky, 7. Deviled eggs

We had all of the above for snacks and while they were finishing up, we had a discussion about Quaker children and what their lives would have been like at that time period - what types of chores did they do, what games did they play, what was life like?

We learned that riddles were popular and try our hand at solving some.  Here they are in case you want to try them out.

1.What flies up, but is always down?
2. When is a boy most like a bear?
3. What kind of room is not in a house?
4. What has teeth but cannot eat?
5. What has a tongue but cannot talk?
6. What has 3 feet but cannot walk?
7. What has a mouth but cannot talk?
8. What falls down but never gets hurt?

9.  What has four legs, a head, and a foot but does not live?

10.  What gets bigger the more you take away from it?

11.  What is more useful when it’s broken?

12.  What can be seen but not touched and when put in a barrel makes it lighter?

1. Goosefeathers. 2. When he is barefoot. 3. A mushroom. 4. A comb. 5. A shoe. 6. A yardstick. 7. A river. 8. Snow.  9.  A bed.  10.  A hole.  11.  An egg.  12.  A hole.

We then tried a couple of games.  The first was Blindman's Bluff.  I really wasn't sure how this one would turn out, but they really seemed to have fun with it and everyone wanted a turn to be "it".

We also played a game called Nine Men's Morris.  Sometimes people had a game board and other times they made one from materials they had on hand.  We did this by making a board out of chalk and then using different colored beans for markers.  We played one round so that everyone understood the rules.

Then we made up more boards so lots of people could play at the same time.

It was a fun morning - co-op always is fun!  I'm thankful for this fun way of shared learning with a delightful group of people.  I"m looking forward to our next c0-op later this week!



Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Club and Friends

Catching up a little on last week's happenings! 

Book Club

I thought it would be fun to have a book club for the teen girls in our homeschool group.  I'm looking for ways to connect some of the older kids in our group.  We have 6 families in our group and we are meeting once per month.  The moms met together in the summer to make some plans for how the club would work. 

Rebecca hosted the first book club.  Each girl is taking a turn hosting which includes coming up with a list of questions, leading the discussion and making/providing food/snacks for the group.  The book we started with is Esperanza Rising. 

As expected, the girls were a little quiet during our first club.  I hope that as they get more comfortable with each other, they will realize that there aren't right and wrong answers and that they will be able to share their thoughts and opinions.  This can be such a hard thing at any age - and maybe especially at this age. 

The girls posed for a picture after the discussion.  (We are missing two of our members who unfortunatly had to miss the first meeting.) 

Rebecca made some wonderful foods.  She made Mexican wedding cookies, a licorice cookie, a 7-layer dip (not in the picture), a lime drink and cinnamon chips with a fruit salsa.  It was all delicious!  It was fun to see the girls relaxing, laughing and having fun over food. 

I pray that this time together would be sweet - for everyone.  I pray that God will bless it for His good and that friendships will be strengthened during this time.   More in September on our next meeting.


Speaking of friends, it was a delight last week to have my best friend from high school and her son come stay with us for a couple of days!  Her son is going to college locally and they came up for the orientation.  I'm looking forward to more visits in the future too!

We had fun talking and catching up.  My boys loved playing with her son!  I frequently have them asking me now when he can come over again!   It's fun to watch them. 

I'm thankful for the gift of friendship and for the many ways that God has blessed me with friends!



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Room Makeover

We gave Rebecca the gift of a room makeover for her birthday - and it has taken this long to get to selecting everything and painting.  Here are some pictures of her room "before". 

View from the door.  We painted the room and added the border.  I loved the bright cheery colors and chose it because I thought it would last a long time.  She's had it there about 9+ years.  The large red/black object is the back of a dollhouse that Christopher made and I painted for her years ago.  She loved it and played with it for year.  It is turned around so that Eliana doesn't pull everything out.  We are saving it for her to play with when she gets a little bigger.  I haven't had the heart to put it in the attic for fear it would get messed up (though I probably should to make room.)

A view from the bed.  Please excuse the really dirty mirror.  I had the dresser hand-painted by a friend of my sisters to match the wallpaper.  She did a great job. 

I sponge painted the bookcase to match the room.  Can you see that there is a lot of painting needing to be done to change it all?

A closer look at the border and curtains.

First job was to pick out the new bedding.  From there we chose colors to paint the room.  She picked two shades of blue - one as an accent wall and the other as the main color.  We added a third color for the bookcase.

We are still finishing up the painting.  We have the bookcase and dresser to go.  Hopefully we'll be able to finish it soon and mark this OFF of the "to do" list.  More pictures soon ... I hope.



Monday, August 23, 2010


Hi friends,

Several people have let me know that the comments feature on my blog isn't working.  It seems to be a host problem (not just my blog) and hopefully will be fixed soon.  I apologize if you are getting errors.

Have a great day. 

Sorry this is short and not news-worthy.  It's been a full day and I need to get some sleep.



Sunday, August 22, 2010


Rebecca is playing on a homeschool volleyball team this year.  This is her first year playing volleyball so there is a lot to learn.  Her sport for years has been soccer.  She started playing when she was just 4 and has been playing since.  For many years, Roger coached her team.  As she got older and our family grew, this wasn't an option for us any longer.  Also, the league that she played in went through some changes and unfortunately, there isn't a strong group of teams in the older ages. 

When the opportunity to attend a volleyball clinic came up, I strongly encouraged her to go.  She wasn't sure she wanted to - but I told her to just give a try to see how she might like it.  Well, as you can imagine, she became quite interested in the sport.  One of her coaches is the same gal that directed the play she was in this past spring.  She also knows a couple of girls on the team which is nice too.  (They had not yet gotten their team shirts to wear under their uniforms in the picture below.)

They began practicing once per week in June and then upped it to twice a week in August. 

They had their first game last week.  They won the first match, lost the  second and in a close match also lost the third.  They played well though and kept a great attitude.  The coaches of this team really stress the importance of being encouraging and being a positive example to others.  I'm thankful for the Christian values that are stressed.

Most weeks they have one game and some weeks two.  There are two groups on their team - middle school and JV.  Rebecca is playing on the JV team.  There is a lot of work involved in pulling off a team sport like this - from the coaches, girls and parents too.  I'm thankful we are able to do this and pray it is a positive learning experience for all of us.  (Picture is blurry because one of my assistants smudged the lens and I didn't notice.) 

More as we work through the season.  If you are local and want to see a game, let me know and I'll share the schedule.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Day of School

We started school this past week.  It wasn't a particularly good week to start as we had a lot of other things going on, but I didn't feel like we could put it off any longer.  I've tried to schedule out our weeks so that we have some room in case things come up (and we all know that they do).  I want to have Christopher be able to finish most of his work by the end of April/early May - again with some breathing room in there.

One of our traditions for the first day of school is to go out for breakfast.  Roger likes to join us on this outing and he couldn't go on our actual first day so we went a few days early.  Before we headed out I took some photos of the children (while they were still clean).  I took group and individual shots.  Unfortunately, many of the individual ones are as good as I would like with the sun in their faces.  I'll have to try again.

We chose to go to Golden Corral this year.  With so many choices, everyone was happy.  This was a treat for our family as we rarely go out to eat. 

A picture of me with all of our children.  These photos don't happen too often as I'm usually behind the camera.  I'm so very thankful for the privilege and blessing of being able to homeschool.  It has provided our family with many opportunities.  I look forward to seeing what this year will hold.

Another tradition is to surprise them with new things for the upcoming year.  These are typically some of the books that they will be using along with some fun things to add into our days.  I didn't add in all of the school books this year as we are using some of the same things (like Five in a Row), so the pictures are mostly of the fun things.  Some of these things I've been collecting for months.

Eliana has some books, counters and markers.

Her favorite item is the one she held onto tightly ... a new Signing Time! 

Daniel has a game, Reading Made Easy (he will be the 4th to use this book), handwriting book and new markers. 

He was excited about the Lite Bright (bought at a consignment sale earlier this year).  He made a picture right away.  I'm going to need to find some more patterns for him.  (The box was missing quite a few of them.)

Isaiah has a new spelling program (All About Spelling),  handwriting, puzzles, colored pencils and a lego book that I really thought he would be excited about.  It took him a few days, but now he is loving it!

His favorite was the math war game (given to us by a friend) and the balloon helicopter.

Joshua has some new books, pens, and balloon helicopter.

He is excited about the mentos experiment!

Rebecca has books (this will be a theme with my oldest children), CDs and copywork. 

The thing she is excited about ... pencils.  Yes, mechanical pencils.  She loves them.

Christopher has mostly books - and a fun book on bananagrams.  (Really a neat game if you haven't yet tried it!)  Christopher reads a LOT!  Most of these books are ones that he needs to read for school - though not all of them (or even close to all of them as I haven't ordered all that we need for the year).

Just a fun photo.

A few things for everyone to enjoy - new placemats, books and our new Bible curriculum.  (I'm really enjoy this one!)

I'm hoping to share more soon on how I've organized things for the year.  I'm hoping it will really help me to stay focused on our goals for the year.  It's only been a week, but so far, so good.

Hope your week is going great!



Friday, August 20, 2010

Link to share for adorable tutus!

I wanted to share a link for the Moms who made the cute tutus and hats that Eliana and her friends wore for the  photo shoot.  If you are looking for a great gift - these are adorable!!!

Here is a reminder of the cute outfits.

Here is a link to the post on the photo shoot in which they were worn.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010


We have been busy here and my computer time has been limited for fun stuff - like blogging.  I've been trying to get organized and think this may be my best start ever.  Some of it due to the fact that I have a lot more to organize this year than I ever have in the past.  Some of it too as I'm feeling the crunch of really trying to be prepared for my high school students.  It has worked fine the other way - but I'm hoping that the planning and preparation on the front end will give us a much more productive year!

So, I feel like I've been a terrible blogger and it may take some effort to get back into the hang of things.  I'm going to give it a try this week.  We'll see how it goes.   I realized just how slack I've been when I went to download pictures tonight and realized that I hadn't downloaded any off of my camera this month.  LOL  Guess this will be an easier month to scrapbook too as I haven't taken many photos either! 

Here is a peek at our current week:  Hosting 3 co-ops, working at 2 volleyball games, 2 volleyball practices, friends staying here from out of town for a couple of days and it's our first week of school.  :-)  So far, things are going well.

I'm going to start with a bit of catching up and then will post more (another day) about our week.  We celebrated my birthday last week.  My family was very sweet to me!  The children made or gave me cards.  Eliana's was a scrapbook card (that clearly her big sister helped her to make!).

I have a new screen saver with a sweet wish from Joshua.  (Note the amazing club sandwich in the background.)

Rebecca cooked wonderful foods for me to enjoy throughout the day.  I was also lavished with gifts and cards. 

No birthday would be complete without a cake. 

I'm thankful for this past year and the many opportunities and blessings that I have experienced.  I'm thankful for family and friends.  I'm thankful for a God who loves me without limit.  I'm thankful.



Friday, August 6, 2010

Quick update on various things

I know I"ve been a bad blogger.  I've really been spending a LOT of time pouring over various books and trying to plan for the upcoming year.  I'm also working on goals/plans for my children with special needs.  I'm not finished, but I have made great progress.  This is shaping up to be the most prepared year I've had.

It hasn't been all work though.  We have been attending the free movies as we could.  What a real treat!  I'm so thankful for this opportunity!

We went to a Lego event nearby with some friends.  They had very large games that the kids could try out.

The die was enormous.

And lots of fun to toss.

The games are available at Target and other stores.  I think we'll look into this for birthdays or Christmas.  They had regular sized displays you could look at of the games.

The big game pieces were quite a hit though.

One game was a giant board that you actually got on to play.

Just a picture of our little cutie!

It was a little odd being on an outing with just my 4 youngest.  It's been a long time since I had 4 that were 10 and under.  My oldest kids were busy and so we just made some fun on our own!

Rebecca attended a drama camp again this summer.  They audition for parts on Monday and go home with a script.  By Friday night, they are putting on a performance!  It is really amazing what they accomplish in a week.  In this play, Rebecca played a "character".  Her role was nutty, funny and off-beat - and she did a great job.

I think she had a lot of fun with it too!

This week, I've been writing to a friend in Eastern Europe.  Two years ago, I began praying for this little girl.

I fell in love with her just by praying for her.  (Can you imagine what God could do in our hearts if we prayed faithfully for each other?!)  God called me to pray for this beautiful little girl and I have prayed for her and prayed for her.  Well, this week, the family that is committed to her is in her country working on adopting her.  They have run into some problems out of their control.  Would you join me in praying for them that God would work out all of the details!  I know He can do this and she deserves to be in a family!

One last praise - and prayer request.  Christopher comes home tomorrow!!!  After having been gone for two weeks, we will welcome him home tomorrow.  I'm very much looking forward to talking with him and hearing more about his trip.  He has really enjoyed his time there and is already talking about going back again!  While he was there, he took on additional work to write a paper and take an exam in order to earn college credit.  (He was one of only 10 - out of over 180 - that chose to do this.)  I'm proud of him for his hard work.  More than all of this though, I pray that God would use this time to plant deep seeds of His truth that would bloom and produce much fruit.  I'm excited to see what God has in store for him.

He has a long flight home with a couple of layovers.  I know he will be tired from a long couple of weeks filled to the brim with lectures and activites (and not lots of sleep it sounds like).  Would you pray for his safety?  Thank you!

Tomorrow, I'm going shopping with some friends - for school supplies.  I love school supplies.  I've been working on a list and am hoping to get most of what I need while it's tax free week-end!  More on that later.

Hope your week-end is filled with blessings!