Monday, February 27, 2006

Lots of stuff

We've been busy here at OLT academy ! Today we learned about the Careless Caddisworm, and talked about their life cycles. Then we did a reading lesson where E practiced reading words that start with bl, cl, fl, and gl. She's coming along very nicely in her readings. We have also been working on writing neatly, counting to 100, counting by twos, adding, and promptness when doing what mommy or daddy asks.

Later on in the day she was very excited to see a letter arrived in the mail for her from her very special great-aunt-val! E got right to work on something to mail back to her. She especially loved the very cool postage stamps that had a picture of aunt val and Sara the dog. What a treat!

The kids also spent a long time playing Noah's Ark- although in this version, Thomas the tank engine was also on the boat. I guess God didn't want the trains to drown either. He must like them as much as Z does :-)

Little H spent the morning pushing things around the house: paper towel bundles, chairs, baskets, etc.. .anything she could stand up and push on basically. She also practiced her little sister skills by bugging her big brother.

She should enjoy it while she can, because God-willing, we will be adding another little baby to our school next fall.... little H won't be the littlest for much longer!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Typical homeschool moment

Here is a homeschool moment: 10 minutes ago the kids were dressed up in all of the warmies, playing outside in the falling snow, and now E is sitting at the kitchen table in her swimsuit doing math and handwriting.

We have done a reading lesson (-ank, -onk, -ink- unk words), a math lesson (counting by twos, adding 1+1 2+2 3+3 4+4 5+5), and a handwriting lesson (the letter I i).

Now we're going to have a snack and then the kids are going to do their current favorite game 'house'. How do all kids inevitably come up with that game? and why do they all seem to call it the same thing? They sure do have fun, anyways.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

art show

untitled: a picture for the art show
At E's art class this morning her teacher pulled me aside and asked if I would give permission for E's red/pink painting from last week to be included in their annual art show at the centre. I guess the instructors pick works from their students that they consider 'exceptional' and then have a mini art show that is jurorerd in the spring. Then from that show they choose works that are to be exhibited in an art show downtown. Here is the link to the show they had last year. E is pretty excited, although she couldn't come up with a name for her painting. Her teacher is so good though... she just said that sometimes artists can't name their work because there is no name that does it justice.

My little artist :-)

Here are some of her recent works. You can all say 'you knew her when'... Spotted puppyprincess horsevalentine castle

Thursday, February 16, 2006


For valentines day, E had her art class in the morning where they learned about mixing tints and shades of colors. Her teacher is so good and E loves going to this class. They were given blobs of paint (red, white, black) in a plastic egg carton and mixed them together as they wanted to make different shades of red. This is the picture she painted... I just love the way she swirled the different colors around and around the paper. What fun! I want to take an art class.

Later on in the afternoon, E's friend came over and we had a mini-valentine's party: we had tea-time with heart shaped cookies, talked about good manners, listened to cultured music (Mozart again), read some Norwegian fables about a sneaky fox, did a fun craft where they painted their own jewelry box, and had a lot of fun.

I was telling my mom that I think I have turned the corner of domestic goddess LOL: instead of making homemade cookies to decorate, I bought some, brushed off the decorations that the bakery put on them, and let the kids decorate them themselves. Sigh... Where or where did that bread-baking, pie-making, cheery and bright-eyed housewife go?? Maybe she'll come back when I start getting more sleep.

uh-oh! gotta go, I smell my lunch burning in the toaster oven LOL!

Pond Visit

We're still reading Among the Pond People, and really enjoying learning about all of the interesting creatures that are found around a pond. Last Saturday was a beautiful day here (not like today, where it's minus 37 degrees Celsius with windchill... that's Alberta for you). We took advantage of the spring-like weather while we could and went for a nice long walk in the ravines that run through our community.

We were very excited to visit the pond that is just down the hill from our house. Of course, it is frozen solid right now, as it is winter time, but we had fun anyway thinking about the tadpoles and the minnows and the muskrats and the geese. We got to walk on the ice out to the little island in the middle, and the kids thought that was really fun! Especially since the grass growing there was taller than they were. It reminded me of the time that my grandpa Pete took us kids to visit his Oat fields and we got to run around in the tall grass.

The rest of our walk consisted of searching for the perfect walking sticks for the kids, climbing on big rocks, 'drawing' with stones, 'eating' snow (yuck!), and then closer to the end of the walk, whining about being tired. We had a great time and wondered why we don't go out for walks more often. I can't wait for spring time to come!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Word Cloud

from you can put in a website and it will generate a word cloud for it. fun!

Little Feet

Yesterday we went to the funeral of my friend's baby who died in utero at 19 weeks. It was so moving... the priest had such a beautiful homily talking about how everyone in heaven is a child, and speaking to the sufferings and sacrifices that parents make having children. The little coffin was so beautiful, and so tiny. It was a very sad morning - to say goodbye to a little baby who was here for such a short time, but at the same time, it was a beautiful lesson in the gift of life.

The children came with us to the funeral, and were very well behaved. They especially loved the little bookmarks that were lovingly made by the baby's mommy: they had his real foot prints stamped on them. Even though they were maybe 1/4 inch long, they were perfectly formed with little toes and everything. What a miracle life is!

We love you little Xavier Raphael. Pray for us.... like only a child can do!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Learning about Dentists

Part of many Kindergarten classes include learning about Dentists, and what better way to learn about them then to make a trip to the dentist office?.... and what a trip it was! It began in the waiting room where they were treated to a movie about dinosaurs. (E informed me she had seen previews of this movie before SO MANY times)

Then they met the dental hygenist and got to take turns sitting up in the big dentist chair. When it was their turn, they got to put on some very snazzy glasses to protect their eyes, and went for a ride in the chair as it leaned waaaaaaaay back for the dentist to look at their teeth. They were both so good during the whole appointment. They had their teeth polished and rinsed out, flossed, and and counted. No complaining from either of them the entire time.

Afterwards, they got to pick out a new toothbrush, a sticker, a helium balloon, and then a treat out of the treatbox. What an exciting morning!

Our Lady of Tuscany Preschool

This morning we had some spontaneous preschool fun. It's hard to believe that Z is almost 3 years old, and if I wasn't homeschooling, he would be off to preschool next fall. He just doesn't seem old enough to be gone from me so soon! One of the beautiful things about homeschooling that I am seeing in our family, is the wonderful relationships that are being formed and nurtured between siblings because they are at home with each other, instead of at school all day with kids the exact same age as them. Also, they are allowed to grow up at their own pace without being pressured from many outside sources to conform.

Anyways, I digress. Today Z pulled out the magnetic fridge letters and was pretending to spell words all by himself! Wasn't it just yesterday I was doing this with my oldest? Later on, he also pulled out all of the puzzles and began to put them all together one by one, doing a great job! When did he get so smart?? Even the baby wanted to join in on the fun. It won't be long before she's learning her ABCs too. They really weren't kidding when they told me this baby/toddler phase goes by faster than you know.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Please pray

My dear friend Michelle just found out her 19wk baby has died in her womb and my heart is breaking for her. Please pray for her and her family that they will be comforted in this very sad time in their lives.

Blessing After a Miscarriage
For those who trust in God,
in the pain and sorrow there is consolation,
in the face of despair there is hope,
in the midst of death there is life....
as we mourn the death of your child
we place ourselves in the hands of God
and ask for strength, for healing and for love.
—From "Blessing of a Couple After a Miscarriage,"Book of Blessings (The Liturgical Press

where are your crayons?

Try this out and email your picture to me if you do one :-)

Crayon By Number

Yesterday E had fun drawing out of a book we got from the library last week: Ed Emberley's big Purple Drawing Book. This is her version of a penguin sticking his head out of the water (bottom), and the instructions from the book (top).

Right now E and Z are down in the basement playing 'camping' and having a blast in their kiddie tent. All three kids have this yucky cough and so we've been taking it pretty easy here. I've been busy looking into what curriculum we are going to use for next year (Grade 1)... I can't believe the wealth of resources that are out there to pick from!! It's hard to narrow it down to what you want to use. Homeschoolers in today's age are so lucky.

Monday, February 06, 2006

playing with money

This morning we had lots of fun learning about money. We made a pretend store and took turns buying things with our pennies, nickels and dimes. We talked about how a nickel is worth the same as 5 pennies, and how a dime is worth 10, and then we practiced counting money too. It was really neat for me to see how easy it is to teach math in a more 'real world' situation, and it was fun for her to be able to apply her knowledge too!

Then E came up with a great plan to make some extra money. She told me that she will look out the window for people walking by, and when she sees someone I am supposed to open the front door and yell out that we are having an inside sale (as opposed to a garage sale)... and then we can sell all of our old stuff in the house. Now wouldn't daddy be surprised by that homeschooling lesson when he came home at night to find all his tools sold for pennies and nickels!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

More Adventures with the pond people

Yesterday we read about the Father Stickleback, and learned that it's the daddy fish that take care of the eggs, build the nest and make sure the baby fish are ok (although don't tell E, but later in the day I read that he also has been known to eat his own babies too!)... We also learned that fish have three things that make them fish: gills, scales and fins.

Today we read about the dance of sand-hill cranes, and E narrated it back to me, and then drew a fabulous picture of two cranes standing by a pond with their baby crane. I just love watching her draw, because she is so unafraid to mess up! She just jumps right in and draws it how she thinks it should be. I wish I had that sense of confidence in myself like she does.

The kids spent the rest of the morning building a long train track down the hall upstairs while mommy cleaned and dusted and the baby napped. It's funny how some days are so good and fun, and others are so hectic and crazy (like yesterday where I found myself yelling and pulling my hair out before 9am). Guess we can't have it perfect yet... we're not in heaven afterall.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


E's new art class she's taking is really great, and her teacher is fabulous. She loves going and comes home with some really fun projects.

This week they learned about mixing colors from the three Primary Colours (red, yellow, blue) and then they also got to color with chalk pastels on black paper to do a night time scene. Here's her picture she drew... That's her sleeping in her bed on the bottom left. The yellow swirls are stars. She told me her teacher said that was a neat way to draw stars. This reminded me of VanGogh's painting Starry Night, so being a smart homeschooling mom I printed it off for her to look at.

"mom... I already KNOW that painting. My art teacher showed it to me already".

Well fine then! At least *I* think I'm smart!

Anyways, today we did some painting at home and had fun mixing colors again. She knows that yellow+red = orange
blue+red= purple, and
blue + yellow=green.

This is her picture of mommy and daddy getting married, and my picture of a duck in a pond (aren't I talented?)

Nature Stories

I have a subscription to the neatest magazine that comes four times a year called the Home Educator's Tutor that gives a quarter's worth of enrichment material for a 'liberal' education (like music appreciation, art studies, nature study, handicrafts, classical readings etc...). It's a great resource and I highly recommend it.

This morning we were reading a story from it, called 'The young minnow who would not eat when he should". It's a selection from a book written in 1900 called 'Among the Pond People' by Clara Dillingham Pierson. As we were reading through it, E and I discovered the joy of what Charlotte Mason calls learning from "Living Books". It truly is a living book, because it's not just a happy dumbed-down kids book about happy little fish. It has lots of neat facts woven into the story about the pond creatures. We learned so much from the story, and it spurred us on to seek more knowledge about pond animals.

I searched for the book online and to my great joy, found out that it's part of a collection of classic children's books that have been scanned and put on the internet for all to enjoy. The website is called The Baldwin Project, and there are many many good quality books there including a whole series of books written by the same author. We read another chapter from the book, this time about frogs, and then made a notebook page about the story. The picture on the left is from the story we read, and the typed story on the top right is her narration to me. The picture she drew is a frog in rainbow land :-) We are going to make a new notebook page for each chapter of the story and then put it together as a book.

Now we are off to the library to get some books out on frogs and fish to learn some more. I love the excitement of children learning new things... it's contagious.