Monday, September 13, 2010

Our First Day of School

We had a wonderful first day of school.  I was really expecting it to be not so wonderful since it was our first day after having such a long much needed break.  The kids actually jumped right back in and did wonderful! I was so proud of them today.  We started our day with Math.  We switched to Christian Light Publications this year from Math U See because I noticed a lot of gaps after using Math U See for  two years with Leanna.  She was still struggling with telling time as well as subtraction and regrouping even though we have worked on it for half of last year.  I was so glad that I decided to start her in the 200 Light Unit since it started right off with telling time.

Here is today's work:

Devin also did a great job with his math.

Then they both moved on to their Explode the Code worksheets. Here they are working diligently. 

Leanna started All About Spelling, Level 1, this year.  I have to say, I really think I am going to love this program! I have never seen her do so well with a spelling program.  She finished the first two lessons without one complaint.  We went through all Phonogram Cards 1-26 and she knew most of them except for the "I", "O", and a couple others.  We will work on those over the rest of the week and she will probably have them mastered by Friday. She had so much fun putting all her little bug stickers on the photograms she had mastered. 

Leanna started Writing With Ease 2 this year.  She completed her first lesson and her narration skills were wonderful. She wanted me to video her doing her narration, but the I've been waiting an hour for the video to upload so I am guessing I will need to find another way to upload it. I'll try again later. 

Leanna also started Growing With Grammar this year which was new for us.  She did really well considering we have started using so many different curriculums this year.  Here is a photo of her first Growing with Grammar lesson.  I almost fell over when I saw her handwriting.  She has never written neat.  She took her time today and was so proud of herself. I don't think she even knew she could write so neatly.  She usually wants to speed through everything and just get it done quickly.  Our favorite slogan in our house is, "Slow and steady, not fast and lazy....".  She FINALLY got it today! Yay! 

If you look at #1, that is how she normally writes.  For some reason, when she got to #2 today, she decided to buckle down because she wanted to make me proud.  When she saw how excited I was, she continued. You can see when we get around #4, she started going a bit faster and getting "lazy" again (i.e., "friends", the capital "L" in "love", and the huge letters). 

Devin continued with McRuffy Color Phonics this year.  He used McRuffy Color Phonics last year for K and he absolutely loves it.  He loves the stories in the readers and does so well with this curriculum that I just couldn't switch him to anything more Classical.  He will continue this until the end of First Grade.  I may try using All About Spelling with him also after I get the hang of it by using it with Leanna.  I am thinking about adding in a writing curriculum for Devin since I feel McRuffy is lacking a bit in this area.  I may pick up Writing With Ease for him to use alongside it.  

We then went on to Science.  We started using REAL Science Odyssey this year.  We were going to take an outside class that was going to cost a couple hundred dollars. I opted out this year and decided to purchase my own Science curriculum.  Leanna and Devin both absolutely LOVED this curriculum.  They had so much fun and learned so much today in just one lesson.  

They learned all about living and non-living things and then had a lab to do to determine whether certain things  (people, rocks, plants, bikes) were living or nonliving based upon certain characteristics.   Below is Leanna's lab. 

Here they both are working on their Science.  They both decided they wanted to leave their school desks and do Science on our "reading rug".  They both got their lab sheets, attached them to their clipboards and made mom move to the floor. :) 

We then hopped in the van and took a trip to the library.  I reserved a bunch of books online last night to go along with our Galloping the Globe study.  We came home, snuggled in bed and read a few of them. Here is some of what we read: 
Maps and Globes (Reading Rainbow Book)Toot & Puddle

Katy and the Big Snow Book & CD

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

On September 4th, we left for Pigeon Forge, TN to celebrate Leanna's birthday.  It was only about a four hour drive for us from North Carolina.  Here is a picture of the view of the Carolina Mountains.
Here is the view from our cabin: 
Devin wouldn't stop talking about the jacuzzi in our cabin so Mom decided to throw him in all clothed! He was mad at first, but quickly got over it! Here are the photos of my soaked little boy! LOL

The first night we went to The Comedy Barn. I don't have any pictures from that, but the next morning we went to the Ripley's Aquarium.  We used our homeschool discount which was wonderful! Here are some of the photos of our morning:

Nicholas seems to think that he needs to kiss everything around him!

The below pictures, I did what I could to "save" them.  They were very dark to the point of not being able to see them so I put them in a picture editing program and did the best job I could to where you could actually see the subjects, but now they are very grainy.  I didn't get many pictures of my oldest so I really didn't want to delete them off my phone. 

After the aquarium, we took Devin to go on a pony ride.  This was really a big deal for us because he is our "shy, afraid-to-do-anything child".  We could not believe that he actually got on the pony! We were so proud of him!
There was a sweet white pony named, Snow White, that the kid's can't ride any longer because she is too old and sick.  Leanna fell in love with this pony and stayed at her side for at least thirty minutes and was so upset when we had to leave her.  She is my horse loving little princess. I have still heard everyday for the last week about Snow White. 

Then we went to the Pigeon Forge Gem Mine. This was so much fun, but so expensive.  You pick the size bucket you want and use the shovel to put the sand in the "sifter" and run it through the water to sift through the sand. 

We found so many neat gems.  In Leanna's hands are a "pretty rock" and a ruby.

When you are done sifting through the sand, you go inside and sit with one of their "gem experts" who tells you what you found.  You can then choose to have any gem you want cut and set into jewelry.  This is where I spent way too much money.  I am still waiting to get my jewelry in the mail though.  I will post pictures when I receive all of it.  I had a necklace and ring made with the Citrine I found since it is my birthstone.  My husband also had a ring made with the Smokey Mountain Topaz he found.

Here is my sweet Nicholas trying to kiss a statue again! LOL

There are doll stores all over Pigeon Forge. Of course, we had to go in all the doll stores.  Here are some pictures of the beautiful dolls in the Three Bears Gift Shop which was right outside the Gem Mine. 

Here is an Alice in Wonderland doll.

Here you can see Nicholas standing right in front of one of the dolls in the previous picture.  The doll was the size of a 3 1/2 year old. 

The following day, we went to walk the streets of Gatlinburg.  Our first stop was go-carts.  Brittani went with Nicholas and Michael (Brittani's boyfriend) went with Leanna since the kids were too young to drive their own. 

Leanna and Devin in front of one of the shops.

We found another Gem Mine! Oh no! Tony sifted through the sand this time.

Here are our treasures at this gem mine. We had a ton of Rubies this time (my favorite gem). 

Brittani's New Haircut

I have always been one to love keeping my girls' hair long.  I love long hair on them! My oldest has always loved short hair and constantly complains when her hair is long.  For the last couple years it has been worse because she is all about beauty and fashion, especially her hair and makeup.  She has been waiting for a first paycheck so she could treat herself to the haircut she has been wanting for months.  On September 2nd, she went to the hair salon, had her hair died black and cut VERY VERY SHORT! I wanted to cry! You can see the before picture to the left of the blog.  Here are some pictures of the experience that made a mom cry.  LOL

She didn't feel like "posing" for pictures so this is all I have of the final result right after it was done being cut and styled.  Of course, she is still as beautiful as ever, so I really can't complain.  

Leanna's Pre-Birthday Treat

The date on this blog post is going to be way off because I have been so busy that I haven't had any time to post, besides being out of town.

Leanna's birthday is on September 4th.  We were out of town on her birthday.  We went to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN  for her birthday so we took her out to the local cupcake place for a birthday cupcake treat.
Here she is enjoying her yummy cupcake. In the first picture, she was trying real hard to be goofy! LOL