Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Horrid Prose is my goal.

Finally doing our first 2 science tests today. We did the reading so long ago that I let them do the tests 'open book'. We just have Rosetta Stone French left to do today. I have to load the program onto their new computers for them I guess.
I need to spend some time prepping for my novel writing, I don't even have characters yet. My main character will be a Mom, like me. Write what you know is the phrase that keeps coming to mind, so I guess I will. I really have no idea for my plot yet, I love mystery stories, but nothing is coming to mind yet. I hope to get some rough planning drawn out, research done, but I have a feeling I will be mostly winging it. The point really is to get a really terrible rough draft finished, just get the words hammered out and see where that takes you. Quantity over quality at this point, and I have to say that may be the only way I ever do this. I am such a perfectionist that my creativity is often snuffed out by my need to have everything just so. I want an awesome rough draft that requires little editing. Well that is never gonna happen. Evah!
My fingers are itching to get started on this, to get dirty and make mistakes as the esteemed Miss Frizzle likes to say. What freedom!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

a novel?

Well, not much to say here. We haven't done much lately. We have fallen behind in science and I have fallen behind in my marking, but it is all good.
The boys are terribly excited because their new laptops finally arrived last week. Dad has spent hours installing drivers and software and working out bugs with tech support. But right now we are all sitting on the couch blogging. Yay!
I signed up the 3 of us for Nanowrimo next month. National Novel writing month. We are gonna write novels, for me that is 50000 words in a month. Should be a crazy, carpal tunnel syndrome filled, caffeine fueled month.
The kids will write less, I think about 12000 word for my 10 year old and 30 000 for my 13 year old. The kids nanowrimo site is really great, I printed off their workbooks for us. The wb takes you write (I mean right;p) through the whole process, helping with character and plot development, etc. There is a teacher area on the kids site that I am finding helpful as we prepare.
I can't wait to get started on our novels, there are a bunch of nanowrimo activities in the city for us to get involved with although mostly for adults. I am hoping to attend a bunch of write-ins and get my word count up sans children.
I need to go mark math so my son can do his test. my favorite thing to do. marking. hm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peace in the Storm

My head hurts from the frustration of today, I think my blood pressure has been elevated all day. My cheeks are flushed, I feel a bit light-headed, my shoulders are hunched and tight, so I am sitting down with a cup of tea to vent and relax.
Why can't they just do as they are asked. Why is it when I put their little sister in the tub and am not in the room, they run downstairs to play computer games. Why is the flippin' computer on? Why can I not stop getting after them and watching like a hawk for even one minute without them goofing off/sneaking off? Why do I think getting upset, or yelling is gonna make one iota of difference to them getting their chores/school finished.
This afternoon their close friends were coming over, I thought this would be great motivation for them to get done quickly. Apparently not. I had to run to the store this morn as we had no groceries for breaky or lunch. Did they do anything but make a mess while I was gone? no. So when I got back I had a new mess to deal with. And their dad is trying to sleep with all the kid noise and the yelling mom noise. Not good.
I disliked them immensely today.
My little monkey boy came up at the point when I was ready to completely go over the edge. He had just put pants on after his bath and was clean and damp and cute. He crawled in my lap and asked if I would cuddle him. So I made a choice. I wrapped him up in my arms, inhaled his sweet scent, felt his little arms wrap around my neck and his little voice coo, "I love you Mommy."
I felt my pulse settle, my muscles relax, my breathing slow as I looked in his beautiful hazel/green eyes and said, "I love you my sweet."
Thank you God for my beautiful children, and moments of peace.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the Science Centre

So yesterday turned out much better than expected school-wise. We were done at noon, so that is a major bonus. We still haven't done our science test, so no science this week, but not that concerned. They did spend the day at the Space and Science centre. I think next time we go there I will take them to a show in the planetarium, I LOVE the planetarium! And there are a bunch of new Imax movies out that we could see, but only the 13 year old likes to go to those.

The science centre is a pretty cool place. On the main floor there are 3 permanent galleries. The Police services gallery has a mystery for the kids to solve, you get to walk through the crime scene and collect clues; watch news clips about the 'crime'; listen to witness statements; and then take all your evidence to the lab where you learn all about forensics. I love that part. You compare fingerprints, DNA strands, fibres, learn tons of stuff about forensics through hands-on activities. Then you decide who you think did it, enter all your evidence in a computer program and it tells you if your case against the defendant was successful. It is so cool, I love the little news clips you get to see-all recorded by local newscasters.
Next is the human body gallery. It is set up like an old-time carnival fun house. Very bright and noisy and has hands on activities to learn all about your body and senses. The boys love the gallery of gross, containing jars of boogers, feces, urine, stomach acid, any icky thing in your body. (all fake of course)
The third gallery on the main floor is the Green's Garage and Garden. You learn about the environment, weather, recycling, gardening/growing, water and erosion, etc. In the Garage, they have a remote weather forecast studio, where you can record your own weather forecast complete with real footage of real weather. When you are done you get to see yourself on the 'newscast'. Huge hit with my kids.
On the main floor there is also a stage for live science demos about various topics and the Imax theatre.
Upstairs there are tons of hands on activities/brainbusters on all sorts of topics. There is the outer space gallery with tons of computers to do simulations, view NASA photos; there is a space shuttle to walk through (my kids love to sit on the space toilet), a solar powered mini Mars rover to try to maneuver across the terrain; oh tons of cool stuff. They have a computer lab and a Lego Mindstorms lab in there as well. Next to that is the discovery gallery for the younger kids. There is a blocks and trains area; a water table area, complete with wave machine; a science crate, preschool computer area that has a beehive in the summer; and the top area has a giant floor piano, funhouse mirrors, puppet theatre, giant puzzles. All my kids can spent hours there. Up from that are some classrooms.
The last gallery is the feature gallery that changes themes several times a year. They had an awesome dinosaur display recently and now have a Lego Starwars display. This area also has a bunch of hands on physics and body mechanics type displays and a huge lightning in a box.
On the third floor is the planetarium, can't wait to go there again!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday. ugh.

I don't want to be a teacher today. I kinda want the day off from being a mom too. I haven't managed to shake off the blahs that have been doggin' me the last week. Started as pms, but hasn't really gone away, guess I should have got into bed before 12:30am and then actually gone to sleep instead of reading til I couldn't see anymore. I have a hard time falling asleep when I am in bed alone. ugh.
It is 10 am and I am yelling already. I have asked them to clear the table and wipe it so we can get some schoolwork done numerous times. There are still bowls on the table. I didn't do my marking last night. I watched tv and read blogs. My house is a shambles, I didn't clean last night either. Often during the week I make the excuse that I can't do a good job teaching and keep a perfect house at the same time. But to be honest, neither has happened this week. And I would honestly rather have a clean house, but I think education is more important.
I get really tired of the constant vigilance needed to be here with all 4 kids everyday and trying to raise them to be Godly, responsible, educated, etc...... It is not like they often show any self-motivation to do any of the things I think they need to do. I have to constantly remind them to get back on task; to get back upstairs and back to work; to turn of the flippin' tv, get upstairs, and get their blinkin' work done! I hate that! I want them to love learning, not think it is some job to be done.
Sometimes I just want to give up. Sometimes I am just tired of it all. That is today. I want to go get prettied up and go out into the world of grownups. Anybody want to go for coffee?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Science Centre Homeschool Day

Our first homeschool day at the Space and Science centre! So exciting:) I haven't signed up for many homeschooly things since we have lived here, we have a pretty busy schedule of outside activities as it is. And with Daddy's often extremely busy work schedule, we like to spend whatever free-time we have with him. And I am not that connected in the homeschool community here. anywaysss...
I did it. I signed the kids up for some classes, even my almost 4 year old! We love the science centre and go quite often, and I think this is a great opportunity to see science in action in a way that is difficult at home. And a very awesome bonus is the likelihood of meeting some other home-educating families in the area. I did see a few familiar faces there, and the kids had a blast in their classes, even if they are little know-it-alls. We asked them what they learned and were informed that they knew all that stuff already. hmmm. well.
They did think the new Star Wars Lego display was pretty cool! And the Robot wandering around, and the lightning-in-a-box. One thing I appreciated is that there were lots of staff on hand and all the displays were operational. Often when we go during the week, it is really quiet and certain things are not up and running.
Everyone here is sick with a cold, but we are managing to keep up with most of our bookwork. I do need to catch up with our marking though.
Off to drive the big kid to Bible study, Mom's taxi is never idle:)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Daddy teacher

I am sick. ugh. I can`t bweede. My fwoat huwts. wah.
Dh let me stay in bed this morning til 10!! When I got up, he and the boys had to brag that they were already done 2 and 3 subjects! I was surprisingly just happy they had done so, rather than jealous that they were doing for Dad, what they rarely do for me. I have often felt a bit jealous of his ability to get them to listen in the past. But more recently he has had a taste of some of our worst days at home, so he is more understanding of my failings and I am just thankful for his successes.
Anyway, I felt really good that my trying to get them into the habit and schedule of doing certain schoolwork regularly and used to the fact that certain hours are for school, chores, meals, free time is working. wow, run-ON! sorry.
I did not have such a productive day. I need to clean my house. I need to wash and fold laundry. I need to go grocery shopping. So not happening.
Today I drank tea or coffee, wiped my nose, read science with the kids, blew my nose, did grammar with them, blew my nose, drove to Taekwondo, blew my nose. Now I am curled up on the sofa, blowing my nose and rubbing my itchy eyes and eating cough drops.
I am so thankful that dh is home, he has helped tremendously with the kids this week, and taught them a lot too. Hopefully I feel better tomorrow, cuz dh has yard work to do, he can`t be doing my jobs all day!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Day with Friends

Today was our bi-weekly get-together at a friends. She decided she wanted to do something for others with the house God has given her and wanted to have regular contact with other Moms. So she host an afternoon at her house where we bring snacks and have coffee and play games or just chat. All the kids get together and play, and the Moms can relax and reconnect. It is absolutely perfect. She has made an effort to reach out to some Moms who may be a bit isolated, or new to town, Moms who need to connect with other women. I am so thankful for her. I tend to be a bit shy and introverted, so I am so thankful that God has given me some extroverted friends. We as women so need to connect with other women, it fulfills needs in us that no man ever could. God created us for community, we are social beings and we need to interact with each other. It is actually physiologically beneficial for women to be in social situations with other women as well as being psychologically beneficial.
So we had a wonderful visit, ate lots of veggies and dip, drank coffee and played a game of Yahtzee. We have a lot of children between the four of us, but we barely see or hear them, they do quite well together.
We even managed to get some book work done this morning before we went over there, and now my big boys are playing a board game with my little ones. Man I love my kids, they are so cool about being big brothers and share so much of their time and energy with their younger siblings.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Civic Election

Yeehaw! So pleased with our evening last night. We put our little ones to bed and had some family time doing our bible reading. Then Daddy led a discussion on current events that he turned into an a lesson on civic elections, educating us on what the positions in civic government are, who is running etc. He showed us a website called Edmonton Election dot ca where we could find all the information for ourselves. Thanks Dear, you are a terrific teacher.

We then did our science reading about what science is not and are all ready to learn about scientific method today and to do our experiment.

Reading the boys journal/blogs today, I can see we have a lot of work to do on punctuation and grammar. YIKES! I try not to criticise or correct journal, as I just want them to write, to be in the habit of writing. But R is writing a great story that I had a hard time following as he used 3 or 4 periods for 300 words, and not one comma.
Tomorrow, first thing, USE OF COMMAS!
We are learning lots about Canadian rivers this week, for instance, did you know the longest CDN river is the Mackenzie, while the largest is the St. Lawrence? Every year when we drive through the Rockies into BC and cross the Continental Divide, Daddy explains what that means. That all the rivers to the East of the divide flow to the Atlantic or the Arctic, and all the rivers to West of the divide flow into the Pacific , so the kids had an even better understanding than I did on how the rivers flowed into and out of lakes and each other. I realize that the divide gets more complicated than that, but that is all we have covered so far:)
I think we had another fairly productive day today, and I am pleased with their progress so far. I need to have a bit more discipline in teaching writing, it is kind of the sore spot for all of us, but considering that I like to write so much it shouldn't be too hard to pass that along.

Science Website

World Wildlife fund has a neat educators site.
wwf dot ca slash school
"WWF-Canada is proud to offer Schools for a Living Planet, an educational program that provides educators with access to over 30 curriculum-linked, printable in-class activities for grades 3 to 8. Each grade’s unit has a unique environmental theme with material carefully designed to meet curriculum expectations in English, Social Studies, and Science."
This is Canadian and ment to meet Provincial standards in Alberta, BC, Ontario and all 3 Territories.
Subject areas are Grade 3: Forests Alive; Grade 4: Exploring Habitats; Grade 5: Mackenzie Valley; Grade 6: Diversity of Life; Grade 7: Marine Protected Areas; Grade 8: Water

Example of lesson outline:
The Water Unit Includes
One Reading Passage
Five In- class Activities
• Activity 1: Salt Water vs. Fresh Water
• Activity 2: Living With Water: Polar Bears
• Activity 3: Mapping Our Water
• Activity 4: Case Study: Drought
• Activity 5: What You Learned
Wild Ideas – Supplemental Projects
Curriculum Links

There is also a kids site that is very similar to the main site, I haven't had a chance to explore it much.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cool links

I found these today.
Homeschool Hacks, a very helpful blog site full of lesson plans; links for everything imaginable with reviews; jam packed with every topic imaginable.

News Flash Five from pbs kids: a current events/news site for kids, complete with lesson plans and 'how to teach' guide for parents/teachers. This site is terrific, I am gonna be using this with my kids.
as I am typing this, the pbs kids site seems to be not loading, so try that one tomorrow:)


Preschool was so fun today! When Meme got here we played play dough for a while and then we went for a leaf collecting walk. The three preschoolers had so much fun, as did I, snapping photos of them. We took a little jaunt around the neighbourhood, looking at the beautiful fall colours, saying hello to neighbours and racing.

When we arrived back home the kids sorted through their leaves and arranged them on the wax paper squares I gave them. I ironed their arrangements and then we framed our creations. They were so proud and our artwork looks very festive hanging in the window. The big boys were very into this craft too, B actually put together his own leaf collage, R was supposed to be doing math corrections, so he couldn't take part. Daddy and I talked to them a bit about autumn and the changing seasons, we let them play a game about seasons on the computer, and then Daddy printed some cool fall colouring sheets for them. After colouring they had snack and played trains til Meme's Mom came and got her.
For my school age kids, it seems that we are falling into a rhythm for school. There are a lot of distractions in our house though, so one or the other of them is often finishing assignments after 3 o'clock. I would really like to have things done by 3 or even noon each day, that will take a lot of discipline on all our parts, and keeping the preschoolers busy and out of the boys hair. Daddy is home this week, so he was helping R with area calculations - he is such a good teacher, way better than me actually. I organize well, but he is definitely the teacher of the two of us, I sometimes wish he could teach them full-time, rather than the 4 or 5 days a year he is usually home. This year is better than most though, he has already been home a number of days.
We did the usual basics today: Math, journal, Handwriting, Geography/SS, French, we didn't get to grammar or our report writing course. I am hoping I can get the boys to do some science before bed, science works better when the babies are sleeping!
I was so disappointed last week when I realized that we were not actually finished our geography unit. We were only done the sheets I had already photocopied, :) not the whole course. Oops! Today's sheet was about Canadian rivers, had to pull out the atlas today-I love to look at maps, so I was excited. Right now I am trying to get them to finish their chores, it is often like pulling teeth, be dh and I are getting much at following through and giving clear, step by step instructions. I actually need to type them up and post them for the kids, and for dh too;)
Feeling optimistic for the year ahead, we are off to a good start. I am gonna order some books this week, our funding is available now! Love new books! I have tons to order for our Canadian history units.