30 August 2009

And then you drift away on a summer's day where the wildflowers bloom

This is the weekend review: live from my back porch in lovely cool weather. I heard geese a moment ago, and I just spotted one, lonely firefly..
Pictured above a caterpillar that we found this week..
Why does this child ALWAYS pose like this for a picture??
It is soccer season again in the Rayburn household, and we are loving it. Ollie is of the older kids on his team this year, instead of amongst the youngest, so he's able to score more goals, know where the ball is going, etc. This week we had a game on Saturday and Monday, Evan has practice on Tuesday, then a game on Thursday, then a game again on Saturday! Phew! We are getting right comfy at the field..
Crepe Myrtle, Mum, Monkey grass, and sedum from my great grandmother, Mimi's old place are all in full bloom in the garden.
And, I am also growing children. Group picture from the backyard play group pictured above, and Pumps (aka Eli) in picture posing stance..
This we week we also rode the Rover to the library, followed a map, used the public transportation system, and had a blast.
On Thursday we went to Cumberland Caverns and explored the difference in stalagmites and stalactites with our friends..
And Friday, met with our new educational co-op to swim for a bit.
We are worn out this weekend, and so need to stay close enough to home to finish up some projects in our pjs, but I have a feeling education will find us even if we hide out!

21 August 2009

Wherever the children go I'll follow them

I am a list maker. I have been ever since I was young. My friends and family make fun of me and my list, but hey, I get things done (usually). As a teen, I took great pleasure in marking off even the morning routine of -getting up, -use bathroom, -take shower, etc..

Well, of course I approached homeschooling with same organizational and detailed thinking assuming that I absolutely had to write everything down. I have blocks of unit plans, folders of printed standards, bookmarks of ideas, and a huge calendar with classes and workshops. Don't get me wrong, most of the plans are brilliant, designed to stimulate creativity and discovery, but I have to admit that there is still something better than obsessing over crossing things off the list. Last minute field trips, following our own questions, and pursuing our own interests have proven expediently more valuable than my best made plans.

I can't decide what my favorite lesson was this week: Playing soldier at a friend's house, an impromptu visit to the Tennessee Ag. Museum, Zoo class wherein we followed a map, made up a Continent song, identified the continents on the map, used symbols, or just stayed at home finishing subtraction books and baking bread from China in conjunction with our study of the Great Wall of China.

All of these loosey-gossey, follow the kids plans go against my grain, but I can see the sparks flying, the uninhibited question asking, and the skills that they are developing. Oh my.

20 August 2009

He said, "Ya always help out around here with the chores?"

We had great fun yesterday, but I forgot my camera. Look here for exactly what I would have blogged had I been prepared. My boys are even in some of the photos. Thanks Sherry.

15 August 2009

Well, let the caterpillars spin, let the ferris wheel wind

Mr. Grouchy face in the car ended up having a blast at the county fair, aka the no-fair fair.
We got free tickets through Evan's work, and the Fair was PACKED full with educational opportunities. Above Eli is in the science center comparing wind-powered cars to solar powered-cars. In this station we also found DNA. Cool.

Above is Grandma Pearl who sat in front of the history museum complete with old fashioned ice-boxes and cassette tape. You know who is below.

We also got cheap unlimited rides so the boys rode a plethora of rides that did the same thing as this. We did the cars, motorcycles, boats, and bees. Plus the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars.
The simulated farm was well manned, well planned, and great fun. Complete with mini-ice cream sandwich as a prize at the end.
Cow milking. They did have to feed the cow corn, which I found strange. They said cows eat 120 lbs of corn a day. Corn?! Um surely, they'd prefer something unsubsidized..

Giant horse snout.

We also saw a BMX show and a dog show. So a day in the life of the Rayburn kids was pretty eventful.

14 August 2009

Oh, and what is a pirate's favorite country? ----Arrrrrrrggggentina.

It was put together down in Argentina

My favorite lesson this week, though there have been several great learning experiences like: learning about Carolina Ferns, Mosquito Fish, Rams horn Snails, and Sun Fish with a fantastic group of homeschooling buds at the Discovery center, art class at the GoldenHouse Art studio, science experiments disrupted by the cat, blowing Ollie's mind with a number lines and thus discussing infinity and negative numbers, Eli completing his numbers workbook shown above, and swimming at Patterson Park community center, my favorite by far was an impromptu geography lesson. We picked up the above workbooks on the dollar rack from Target this week, and we love them. We chose the countries book, and dove in. Ollie has to practice handwriting in them and do mazes (which he loves). We then discovered that in Argentina the national game is called Pato. We watched a match on Youtube, and compared it to other sports. We then found Argentina on the globe, and compared it to Tennessee. Next we listened to Tango music, and then found it on the electronic globe pictured above that was a gift from grandparents that they scored at a garage sale. Next Ollie matched South America to the Animal Atlas that we found at a yard sale, and we looked at what animals can be found in Argentina. This includes a chinchilla, of which we have pet at our Discovery Center recently, also. Phew. All this took about an hour, but with each new unplanned development and discovery, I thanked God that I am able to watch the spirit of inquiry. Love my job.

PS. I am discovering also, that it is hard to have these "moments" when I over schedule the children. There is so much to do outside of the home, that my goal for next week is to spend more time at home. We'll see how that plays out, but for now I am marking things off the calendar.

PSS. I need a faculty meeting with other homeschooling teachers to chat about what we've learned and how we do things. Where's the lounge??

09 August 2009

See the craters and the canyons where the waterfalls run

It is the summer of the waterfalls!
We have found several fantastic watering holes this summer within 2 hours or our home, and we are loving it. The above pics came from Rock Island, and they do not do this place justice. We went last weekend and today. There are several waterfalls that you can frolic under, lots of rock climbing, cliff diving, clean air, and cool water. I did not take my camera today, but it is by far the least crowded, most lovely of parks we've visited this summer.

01 August 2009

And reciting the alphabet

Alphabetizing our books...(One of the standards) :)
More creek splashing. (Not a standard, but way more fun.)