Saturday, August 22, 2015

ECC: Japan

Konichiwa!  We have spent the last two weeks "in" Japan.  This has to have been one of our favorite countries to study so far!  The kids had a blast watching Godzilla with Daddy and obsessing about ninjas all day.  In addition to this, they...

...made koinobori...

...created an entire menagerie of origami creatures...

...wrote original haiku poetry...

...drank ramune style soda pop...

...fell in love with mochi ice cream...

...turned up their noses at green tea mochi...

...learned about the beach...
(Miss M made this image in PicCollage to illustrate her geography vocabulary word).

...and created a relaxing rock garden.

We're heading to the Philippines next, Hubby's homeland.  We're closing in on our final push to the end of the school year (remember, we started back in January).  It's been fun, but all good things must come to an end.  Sayonara!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Day in the Life

Do you ever feel like all these amazing homeschool mamas have it ALL together. They get up early, prepare a scrumptious and nutritious breakfast for their families, start school by 8 o'clock and, well, generally have everything well in hand.  Well...that's not what life looks like here on Sycamore Hill!

I don't even bother to have a written schedule because I know it would be complete fantasy!  But one day this week I did take a few moments to track what really took place.


This is my "Day in the Life" from Wednesday.

9:30 -- a long-distance phone call from my brother wakes me up
10:00 -- still talking on the phone, Hubby calls during his break so I hang up and switch over
10:15 -- admining duties on Facebook, check email
10:30 -- actually get out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast (make sure the kids have eaten; they have)
10:40 -- Geography Game
11:00 -- have 4th grader rewrite her poorly done sentences from the day before
11:15 -- read Matthew assignment
11:20 -- Singapore Math assignment
11:50 -- Writing Strands (Our very first lesson! She loved it and begged to do the next one too!)
12:20 -- vocabulary from Geography from A-Z
12:30 -- 30 minutes Book Basket while I sweep the floors and load the dishwasher
1:00 -- everybody pitches in to clean up for the knitting class we host
1:30 -- realize we've been cleaning, people are coming and we haven't had lunch: make popcorn
2:00 -- Knitting Class
4:15 -- last knitting class people leave, Hubby comes home

At some point in the evening we did our read aloud and everybody clamored to tell Daddy what they learned about Japan during the day. There may or may not have been some Godzilla watching going on too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Hands-on Math: Weights and Measures

One of the most common questions I am asked about homeschooling is "What math do you use?"  Since the time we started using My Father's World a few years ago, we have stuck with their recommendation of Singapore Math.  Aside from one little foray into Math Mammoth (which I also loved and highly recommend), we have not found it necessary to supplement at all.

This year Miss M has been working through Singapore 3A and 3B.  She was so pleased with herself when she completed level 3A.  Of course, I was proud too!


Level 3A focused on working with larger numbers (up to 10,000) and really nailing in those multiplication and division tables.  One day I sat down with a pile of flashcards to drill Miss M and since my camera was handy, I snapped a few shots of her in constant motion.  Apparently acrobatics help with math fact memorization!


Level 3B moved on to some topics that really lent themselves to hands-on learning: length, weight, and capacity.


Miss M measured liters of water to see how many would fill a bucket, a tub.  She weighed out a kilogram, a pound, a gram, and an ounce of rice to see just how much each of those units is.  These are some of her favorite lessons, and with good reason!

The weight activity I saw on Pinterest, but the capacity activity was written right in her textbook.  And of course no study of capacity would be complete without this great video!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pretty Tween Dresses for Summer

If you have a daughter between the ages of 8 and 12, you may have noticed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find appropriate clothing for her.  My 8-year-old is most definitely still a little girl.  She is not a small adult.  I would prefer her to dress like a little girl in clothes that provide appropriate coverage and allow for the freedom of movement needed for active play.  Toward that end I spent a weekend sewing up some sweet summer play dresses for Miss M.


This is the Flower Hexagon dress from Ottobre 3/2013 (pattern #16).  I made it of some beautiful vintage cotton printed with roses in size 128, but cut the length to 146 because Ottobre dresses tend to run a bit too short for my tastes.  It has hidden pockets in the side seams!


The second dress I made is also from Ottobre.  This is 3/2013 #13, the Hollywood Cerise dress.  I didn't have enough of the fun paisley patchwork print to manage the whole dress, so I scrounged up some contrasting plaid seersucker.  I love the combo!  There are patch pockets on the front and mismatched buttons from my vintage button collection all the way up the back.

These two dresses are long, cool, and airy.  Miss M loves them!  Even better, come fall she will be able to layer these over leggings, boots, and a long sleeved tee!

Monday, July 13, 2015

ECC Highlights

We started My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures about 18 months ago and though I have blogged about very little of it, we have been having a wonderful time!  I won't be able to give a rundown of everything we've done the past year and a half, but here are a few quick highlights.


We made clay sun faces while in Mexico.



In Brazil we studied the rain forest and made a terrarium with tropical plants.



While traveling through Germany we read lots of fairy tales and ate delicious plum cake.



For France we took a little picnic in the park with a baguette and some imported French cheese.



I bought some unfinished wooden boxes to paint in the traditional style of rosemaling while we learned about Norway.



We loved learning about Morocco and trying our hand at some leather tooling.



A trip to the zoo yielded a close encounter with a bongo during our study of Zambia.



For Kenya we fashioned some simple items into a musical instrument. This thumb piano is much more simplistic than the ones we saw online that actually come from Africa.



Our friend from Benin came and cooked a traditional meal for us. The sauce is typically made with peanut butter, but we substituted butter made from sunflower seeds.  It was delicious!



A few lengths of fabric were fashioned into traditional Indian attire -- a sari for Miss M and a dhoti for Mister E.

These are just a few of the countries we traveled to with the help of great books from the library and documentaries from Netflix and Amazon Prime.  We have less than four months left in our school year, and while it has been fun, I am just about ready to be done with ECC and move on to our first year of history.  We are in the Orient now and will finish up with a stint Down Under before the end of the year.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Celebrating 100 Days of School

We started our school year here on Sycamore Hill back in January.  We've been trudging along following a rough "Sabbath Schooling" schedule (that's 6 weeks on, 1 week off) and this week finally hit our 100th day of school!  The kids have been so excited counting down and wanted to have a big party to celebrate.  While that didn't quite happen (parties are fun for kids, but lots of work for mamas!), we did celebrate with a little 100 pizza!



We each got to put the toppings on our numeral just how we like it.  I had a shredded zucchini and a little leftover ham on mine with extra sauce.  Miss M had light sauce and pepperoni on hers and Mister E had regular sauce with pepperoni and extra cheese on his. He thought it was funny that his "pepperonis" slid down the cheese and off the pizza during baking!

After lunch we went to the park.  We were supposed to meet some friends there, but they thought it was going to rain and headed to an indoor venue instead...and since neither of us are living in the 21st century (i.e. we do not have smartphones), we weren't able to communicate our whereabouts and missed out on playing together.  Oh well, I think the kids had fun anyway.  The best part, according to them, was that when we got home they got to go swimming in their little pool!

It's an 8' by 18" wading pool with a kiddy slide going into it. I call it the poor man's water park!

I didn't get to any of the other amazing 100 days of school activities I have saved on my Pinterest board dedicated to the topic (I really wanted to do the 100 days smarter t-shirts!), but there's always next year, right?