Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Playing with Picasso

Martin is naturally drawn to art and has been taking classes since January. The art teacher was quite reluctant at first. Teaching a just turned 4 year old? However, after seeing that Martin really did have some skill she took him on. They have explored many artists and today they did a project an Picasso.
None of my other kids want to take art class (which is fine for me) but are always keen to see what Martin has done. The Picasso project looked so fun they all wanted to do it. First they drew each others faces and then changed them so that they looked less realistic. This was fun! They then set up a "Like Picasso" area at their stall. It was more of a success then the other things. The goat cheese was fairly popular but there are too many others who grow rhubarb.

Goat cheese and rhubarb pie

The kids have set up a stall on the street like they do every summer. Right now they are selling (or trying to sell) our home made and home grown rhubarb pies and goat cheese. Sales aren't usually very big but we do sell a bit. The kids do most of the work. The baking of the pies, picking of the rhubarb, milking the goats, making the cheese, selling ect... What we sell changes frequently, mostly it's food but sometimes you can by Christmas tree ornaments, candles, once we even sold Italian "dictionaries".
When we first started (when Sarah was 7) we decided that the money would go to seeds, homeschool resources, and "Green Team". It has been like this ever since.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Our town has a school!

Our town (after 21 years without one) has a school, but my kids refuse to go. It isn't a public school, the curriculum will be followed loosely, kids will set personal goals ect.... The idea of having a school gets suggested on and of but now, the vote has swung from "no" to "yes. Ian and I have always been in favour of having a school (not that we ever thought our kids would go). Some kids (and parents) find school works for them better than homeschooling and most of those people leave not long after they get here since the nearest school is a long and sometimes dangerous drive. Also building a school means that our family (as owners of the hardware store) will get more money to by our kids resources.
When I told my kids that our town is now building a school which will open in September and asked them if they wanted to go I got just the response I expected.
Sarah said she'd had enough school (one day) to last a life time and that she would probably find the work to simplistic (the school will be K-8).
Lisa rolled her eyes dramatically and dropped to the floor saying "never!".
Noah gave me a look that said "no thank you".
Janet made a strict looking "teacher" face and said "Naughty Janet, you shouldn't pull apart your family computer even for educational purposes." Then shuddered.
Katherine said she didn't want to be inside all day.
Martin said he would have to "learn" how to read all over again, and stuck his nose back in his book.
Hailey said with glee, "I'm to young, so I can stay with goat." She actually calls me goat!

Mom, you're a goat!

Hailey, like everyone else at that age, is so cute. Last night she told me "Mom, you're a goat." I asked why and she responded "I'm a kid and baby goats are called kids so you must be a goat."
I laughed my head of, this girl is too funny.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Teaching Company

When I asked for a good intellectual challenge for Sarah I was told of The Teaching Company. I (and my group of kids) to a look at it and everyone seemed to find a course they wanted!
We've settled on : A History of European Art, Dutch Masters: The Age of Rembrandt (Martin is a Rembrandt worshiper!), World of Byzantium, Vikings (Katherine's request), Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies (Lisa will not miss anything Shakespeare) and High School Level-Chemistry.
Thank goodness our homeschool group like the sound of it and were willing to pitch in with the money!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another fun day

Today didn't look quite so drab, the morning was actually warm enough to go out for a hike and paddle on the lake.

However, the afternoon was very cloudy.

We retreated inside and had a wonderful afternoon. First we watched TV, ( we hardly ever do this in spring) Canada: A People's History. Then we did a few science projects from Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry 1& 2.After that we talked about ideas for the community "Green Team" and did some Latin. In between was 3 hours of cello lessons (thank goodness Grandpa teaches them and lives next door).

I'm loving life right now.

Sarah wants a challenge

Sarah asked me a few days ago if I had any good ideas for an intellectual challenge. She's already finished Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra and is eagerly awaiting Algebra 1. She's read Galileo's Dialogue, is on her first draft of a 521 page novel, is a talented musician and dancer. She can spell about 50% of words from "Spellbound", has been reading adult books since she was not quite 9, loves brain teasers, speaks Italian, German, French and some Latin. She seems to be good at everything. For many kids that would be plenty, but not Sarah.

When she asked me for a challenge we decided to put an article in the community newspaper. The suggestions we've gotten have been very disappointing:

"Take some high school courses."

This doesn't work because:
a. The high school is about three hours away
b. Sarah is only 11 y, she would feel very uncomfortable being there.

"Read, read, read."

She does read. But that doesn't challenge her.

"Get a curriculum, obviously unschooling isn't challenging her."

Where do they think she's learned what she has. She's only been to school for one day, many years ago. Sarah is becoming more structured with her learning, but she has told me she never wants to use a curriculum.
I'm sure we'll find something to do, but, right now, any ideas??

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Drab looking day, lots of fun

We woke up today to big black clouds and rain. The kind of day you would expect to drag on and on. But it didn't. Its sped by. First the kids did some splashing and rolling (yes, rolling) in the mud. Then, they came inside completely soaked and covered in mud so they went in turn and had showers/baths. We had some hot chocolate and dandelion muffins then played numerous games ( 10 Days in Africa, Europe and USA, Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan and Mystery of the Abbey) and read some books aloud, (International Children's Bible, Anna of Byzantium, Story of the World:Ancient Times and The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way).
The kids (except Hailey who can't read yet) are all reading their own books too, of course:
Sarah: A Tale of Two Cities and Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last
Lisa: Romeo and Juliet
Noah: Chemical Chaos and The Amber Spyglass
Janet: Run
Katherine:D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
Martin: A Weekend with Rembrandt

They spent a while reading these while Hailey and I baked bread.
After lunch we had a mini concert with the pieces we'll be playing for the upcoming recital and had a run thru of Hamlet.
In the mail we found both Rosetta Stone Italian and Japanese as well as Martin's handwriting program. We installed Rosetta Stone at our community library and left Sarah and Noah to try it out while the rest of us went home and did some table work (math and handwriting).
Lisa, Katherine and I made dinner and Ian is now reading poetry as the kids knit/weave.

It's been such a wonderful day and I find myself wishing for another tomorrow or at least soon.


Just testing my link.

Homechool site

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tech Help

Okay, I need some help.
I would like my posts to look a little tidier by not having long rambling links like but would like to have it so that I could just write "Hailey is doing Singapore math 1A" and have the link on 1A or something like that.
If you could share your expertise that would be appreciated.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mathematical Triumphs

It's not exactly world news breaking but my kids are proud so they are triumphs:

Sarah has finished Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra so we've ordered Algebra 1 and also Algebra 2 (so its there when she's ready).

Lisa is halfway through Math 7 loving it. Which is strange (but good) as she's always hated math.

Noah has just begun Singapore 5A

Janet is almost done Singapore Math 3B

Katherine is working steadily through Singapore Math 2B

Martin recently asked if he could do formal math and amazed us all by being ready for 2A

And if everyone else was doing math Hailey wanted to do it too so she pulled a very used copy of 1A and got working!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reading the Bible

About a month ago Martin said he wanted to read the Bible. He took a look at a copy we have and decided that the full version was not for him. So I looked into more the storybook kind of style. Many we found were too simple but finally we found the It's great. Even Thor loving Katherine poked her head around the door and listened last night. Sarah and Lisa wanted to read the real thing, but are finding the International Children's Bible to be helpful for those parts they don't understand.
We aren't Christians (despite what many people think) but knowing about different religions has always been something we think is important. Reading the Bible is so far proving very interesting so we shall continue.

The time they had

Sarah and Ian came home on Sunday and told us all about their adventures.
It was cold but both of them have wanted to go and do an arctic camping trip so they put up with it. There weren't many berries out for them to eat, which is a big hit. They stargazed, imitated the birds and all in all it sound like they had a great time.
Lisa, who doesn't want to be an arctic explorer, has asked to put of their trip. Noah is still unsure whether he wants to go now or wait until the weather is warmer.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Daughter and Dad

Sarah and Ian left for a daughter and dad camping trip today. They've been doing this every year since Sarah was 8y and it's great. They go for about 3 or 4 days and do what ever they like to do (they've kept it a secret). Lisa has started going too and is going to go next week and then Noah and I are heading off. It seems to have become a yay you're 8y thing.
The rest of us have been busy looking after our animals, in the garden, reading and at work on a large world puzzle.
We're hoping the weather is warm enough for our campers as last year Sarah was a little on the cold side.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A bit more about us

My intro really wasn't that great. So I'm going to tell you a bit more about us.

Ian, 34 is my dh and is a very supportive and loving man. He is the owner of a hardware store, gymnast as well as he main farmer on our family farm. He loves to build, read, play cello, spend time out doors and play with the kids in is free time.

Me, 32 am a part time ballet teacher and hardware store worker as well as a full time unschool mom and farmer. My hobbies include reading, violin, weaving, knitting, baking, crochet and hiking.

Sarah, 11 is a bright and talented girl who has been to school for only one day of her life. She is an very good musician and plays violin, piano, cello and voice. She also loves dancing, reading, writing, animals, nature, figure skating and drawing.

Lisa, 10 is passionate about poetry, Shakespeare, cello, dance, piano, figure skating and nature. She has never been to school but is very happy to spend her days at home, with friends or on an exciting field trip.

Noah, 8 loves math and science and excels in both. He's very proud to of been home educated is whole life. He currently is very interested in forensics and is both a violist and gymnast.

Janet, 7 is the only harpist in the family and is proving to be very good. She loves computers and the most likely place to find her is at the computer, playing harp or having a good look at the natural world with her binoculars.

Katherine, 6 is the most extroverted of the bunch (and she's still an introvert). She is always keen to try new things and is a violinist, dancer, author, figure skater, and viking lover.

Martin, 4 is already a historian and especially loves the baroque period. He is an avid bookworm, cellist, dancer, and artist. If you met him you would probably think he was a very small 7 or 8 year old.

Hailey, 3 is all energy and joy. She is determined to pass me in her violin skill and wants to be able to read, ride a two wheel bike, knit, bake cookies by herself, count up to trillion and meet a fairy by the time she's 4.

Well that's our family!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Viking Fractions

Katherine has been trying and failing to get a grasp on fractions for a while now and today she just about completely gave up. But once again Thor and his worshipers saved her.
I took a sobbing Katherine and showed her that if 1/2 the percentage of Vikings were men and 1/2 of them were brave and only men could be warriors and all men were worriers then 1/4 of the population would be brave worriers. She loved this.We went on to say that 3/4 of those brave warriors went to Valhalla so 1/4 don't. If 1/8 of the Viking women decided to go be worriers then 7/8 decided not to be worriers.
Later when I was folding laundry and Katherine was sitting there watching me she said "You just folded Martin's shirt into 1/4. "

She really seems to have the hang of fractions now.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Another Birthday

Yup, another birthday! Only this time we celebrated Constantinople's b-day. Because on May 11 it was named and this according to us was need of a ceremony. So our history club had a last minute meeting and, just about read the complete Byzantine Empire magazine from Learning Through History, made mosaics, ate Byzantine Food, sang "Happy Birthday" and read some of "Anna of Byzantium".
It really was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Even Katherine who plugged her ears and left the room when I began reading it as it was "no where near as good as the Viking magazine" enjoyed herself. Maybe her idea in Thor as all mighty ruler will change!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Attic Discoveries

Every year we have a few major clean outs and every year one of them happens in the spring (when else would you do spring cleaning?). But this year we decided to go beyond the main floors, to the attic. The kids play up there a lot, it's their space and it's never, ever seen by the adults, until now. Its a real mess up there, boxes everywhere, artwork from 4 years ago falling of the walls, a mock bird nest, a real bee hive (without the bees), seed catalogs from 10 years ago ect... But we've found that the messier the place, the more interesting your discoveries. So despite it looking like a lot of hard work, the kids were pretty excited.
We did discover some quite interesting things : some old fiddle music, a big box of water colours, a Venetian mask, famous quotes from Shakespeare (Lisa is in love with Shakespeare right now so this was a BIG hit), a sweater Sarah had as a baby, a vegetarian cookbook (we're vegetarians so this should gives us a few more meal ideas) ect...The best discovery however was "Great Northern?" by Arthur Ransome from the Swallows and Amazons series which we are almost ready to read and we would of had to buy it because there was no other way to get it. Even Noah who had said he'd rather read Zoo books then S&A was thrilled (I think he changed his mind about which he preferred).
Same as every year we also found one of Noah's socks lying around, its become a tradition to find it during spring cleaning!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Science Magazine Mania

Yesterday 3 of our 8 science magazines arrived in the mail. Yes mag Know magazine and brand new for us, Zoobooks Noah must of read Zoobooks cover to cover as his nose as been in it ever since it arrived and despite Swallows and Amazons being one of his favourite series he refused to listen to it last night as Zoobooks was "10 zillion times more interesting" and then as an after thought "Sorry Arthur Ransome". So between reading Zoobooks and looking up the animals in our Animal Encyclopedia he must be the animal expert in the family, although he probably already was.
The other two magazines Yes mag "On Top of the World" and Know "Kitchen Chemistry" were not quite as popular this time, although we did have a lot of fun making chocolate chip cookies and we're planing on making mock apple pie and serving it to our friends and seeing if they think it's apple pie. Martin thinks that the most likely reason for them to guess is Katherine will be so eager to tell them she'll spill the beans. We'll have to see.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Hailey's birthday song

How could I of forgotten this!

Happy Birthday to me
My name is Hailey
I've just turned three
Happy Birthday to me

She loves it.


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Hailey!

Hailey turned 3y on Saturday!
She didn't want to have a regular kid party just a small (being a relative word) family party. Grandma and Grandpa came plus our family so that's 11 people.

So to make the party memorable we held a concert with musicians dashing from violin, to piano, to signing. What a lot of fun! Hailey after hearing Happy Birthday, Ode to Joy, several Minuets and Gavottes, Rigoletto, and numerous other works, (mostly Mozart's as he's Hailey's favorite composer) could not resist getting up and playing Twinkle, Twinkle on her violin. Then there was cake and after much playing with her new fairy toys, and reading of her new fairy books she resigned herself to bed, as did the rest of us. But it sure was a lot of fun.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Thor vs. Tooth Fairy

Katherine lost her first tooth today! She is so proud of herself and goes every where with a big grin. I asked her if she was going to put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy. She looked at me like "are you crazy???". Then said "Mom, it's not a tooth fairy that comes its Thor." Since Katherine is currently a Viking fanatic, thanks to Learning Through History Magazine I wasn't really surprised, but Hailey didn't believe a word.
H:"It isn't Thor that comes it is a tooth fairy!"
K:"Sorry Hailey but you're wrong."
H:"No I'm not, I'm the fairy expert and there is a tooth fairy!"

I sent them outside to continue there debate.