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Everything posted by happykate

  1. Landmark flash cards from the Target dollar section (the Parthenon, Machu Picchu, Mount Kilamanjaro, the Eiffel Tower, etc.). I got ours a couple of years ago when I happened by them and I did see them again last year at back-to-school time just FYI. We run through them in the morning or whenever we do memory work and the kids love them!?!? It is so funny when something random ends up being a hit! It has been amazing how often you see landmarks in daily life once you're aware of them...on TV, magazines, billboards, etc. I think that's why the kids love them. I think it's fun to them to feel like they know something adult-ish and to make a connection! Best single school dollar I've spent! :)
  2. I love Pentime! My oldest 2 have used their Transition book and the first cursive book. I think those are grades 3 and 4. My 12 year old ds prints atrociously (not a curriculums's fault I don't think!) but has the most beautiful cursive you've ever seen! It really almost brings tears to my eyes when I see it! :)
  3. Perfect! And as much as I love laminating and having things spiral bound you'd think I would have thought of that! :) Thank you so much!
  4. How do you store your BSGFAA pages? We are really enjoying it by the way, but I didn't realize before I ordered that the pages were not just plain old 8 1/2 x 11 and I'm not sure what to do with them. Obviously not a huge problem, but for now the kids have been just stacking them on top of our short bookshelves and I'd love ideas for a more permanent solution. Thanks!
  5. Sweet tea or Coke! I can cut out food far more easily than my drinks! Sonic Happy Hour here I come! :)
  6. http://www.deepspacesparkle.com This isn't really laid out like you mention, and I'm sorry if it's completely unhelpful, but we've enjoyed it so much I wanted to pass it along! We have done many of the things from her site and they've all been simple and turned out exactly like they were supposed to! Good results for us since I am NOT an artist! :) She has plans laid out by grade and subject. I love her site and all of my kiddos get so excited when I tell them we're doing art that day. I did make some plans last year so that we would actually do it. I printed the instructions for the things I wanted to try and had them spiral bound, then ordered all the materials at once. We're still working through what I planned last year. This year I bought the $5 Native American plans and they are so cute! Everything else I've ever done has been free, but I may buy another couple of things because we enjoyed this one so much!
  7. Hi all! I'm out of my usual lurkdom to ask for some quick help please. DH is principal at an inner city middle school and is really working this year on encouraging reading outside of their school work. He's reading aloud in school to the student body and assigning reading as incentives, etc. Anyway...he just called to ask me for some stories about hard work and determination that pays off in the end. His kids' reading levels vary greatly from hardly reading at all to at, or just above, grade level, so any levels of books would be fine. I'm basically drawing a blank which is embarrassing since we have ALOT of books here and I've read and researched just about every reading list out there for our own school stuff! :) Thank you so much for your help!
  8. We stayed there a couple of years ago and I'm sorry that I can't answer your question, but I just don't remember. :) My advice would be to call them at the Polynesian and ask. My experience with Disney has been that they are happy to answer any question and often bend over backwards to make your time there a pleasure! I know that at the very least they will be able to tell you what they have to offer and they may be able to do something so that you don't have to bring one from home. Hope you have a great trip!
  9. What a sweet surprise! We just went in May for a conference dh had to go to and had so much fun! I will admit that besides being with dh, my favorite part was laying in the hotel room in the quiet with my ipad and the remote! :) But our favorite things together were taking the ferry and walking around Sausalito, riding the cable cars every chance that we could (dh teased me b/c I refused to sit down on them. I only wanted to stand on the outside and hang onto one of the poles! ...such a tourist I know!), and poking around Chinatown. We also thoroughly enjoyed the huge farmer's market on Saturday morning. And it was really neat to walk out onto the Golden Gate Bridge. We kind of regret not walking/biking across, but we just didn't squeeze it in. Oh...and we loved eating in North Beach (San Fran. Little Italy)! We went twice for supper. One night we waited a looong time for pizza at Tony's (worth it!) and one night ate at a table on the sidewalk (can't remember the name of the restaurant)...so picturesque and fun! I hope you have a wonderful time!
  10. Label, label, label! People who have helped us move always make fun of my labels but they are real life savers when you know exactly what is in each box! I use index cards and as I'm filling a box I write down each item as I put it in. Then I tape it on the top left corner of the box with packing tape. The ones from the kitchen are especially helpful! It's just nice before everything's unpacked to be able to grab what you need if you really need it! (or to be able to send a kiddo to grab it!) Of course, I still have unpacked boxes in my attic from our move 5 years ago! Yuk! But I could grab anything I need out of them! :)
  11. DD and I went in April and the Bean (sculpture) was one of our highlights! I know it seems crazy to be so carried away by a big silver blob but we truly loved it! We almost skipped it because it was quite a hike, but we were so glad we went! I promise it is worth it! We also loved the John Hancock tower and the Art Institute. The miniature rooms at the Art Institute were completely amazing! DD could have stayed in there all afternoon. It was also fun to see some "real" art and she was more interested in the ancient stuff than I would have expected. And of course the whole point of our trip was the AG store and it lived up to expectations for sure! Oh, and it was fun to stand in a line outside the door of Garrett's Popcorn (it was good by the way!) and to eat a sundae at Ghiradelli at 10:00 pm! We obviously had a ball and are big Chicago lovers now! Have fun!
  12. When we saw it at the theater I couldn't enjoy it because it was so gory (and I don't think I'm particularly prudish or anything :))! Anyway...several years ago I saw it on TNT and because of TV they had removed most of the worst gore. It is now one of my favorite movies! I won't let my kids watch it any time soon...even that version, but for those of you who didn't like the blood, etc. it's an option if you notice it coming on again. Just thought I'd mention it.
  13. We have tried duct tape, but what I've found to be better is apple cider vinegar. My 4 1/2 yr. old had a wart on the tip of her finger a few weeks ago that I had let go until it was really huuuge and painful. (great mothering I know!). Anyway...a friend of mine recommended the vinegar and it worked perfectly! Each night at bedtime I dabbed a little piece of cotton ball in the vinegar (make sure you use apple cider vinegar, not just white), put it on the wart and covered it with a band aid or 2. In the mornings we took it off and just didn't worry about it during the day. After just a few days the wart was way smaller and after about a week it was practically gone. Eventually it just kind of flaked off. Hope that helps! The duct tape and banana peel options have both been satisfactory for us in the past, this was just much quicker and more thorough so I thought I'd throw it out there.
  14. I came up with some plans a few years ago and we had a really good time! It was so much fun to plan AND to implement which is usually my downfall! :). Anyway...we did it 3 days a week after our afternoon rest time and the kids all really enjoyed it which is not always the case around here! I scheduled in books and found fun videos on YouTube for us to watch together (sumo wrestling, figure skating, henna tattoos, etc.). We did the Geography Songs CD and read about missionaries, watched a few movies and really had a good time. I would love to share my plans with you, but I'm not sure the copy on my computer still exists, because dh had to clean everything off to get it to work at all. We're deep into the stomach bug here right now (yuk!), but I will take a look tomorrow and see if I can find them. I will go ahead and tell you that in the end I really didn't actually use GTG so much as lots of printables and ideas from the awesome mom at homeschoolcreations.net. Amazing stuff and she is one of my heroes now! Go check it out and you'll have more info than you thought possible! I'll post tomorrow and let you know if I could get my hands on my plans.
  15. I don't really have anything to offer, just wanted to say how interested I've been to read these responses! My ds #4 did things similar to this when he was starting to try to write. I never was really concerned because his reading and recognition were otherwise fine, but it fascinated me! An example of something he would do would be that if he started his name too close to the edge of the paper and ran out of room he would continue the word just underneath and write it backwards and with reverse letters. Like this: Fra kn Well I just previewed my post and I can't get it to right justify the name, but you know what I mean. His name should be all the over to the right with the "a" at the edge of the paper and then the "n" and "k" would be reversed. He did it without pausing and I never could believe that he didn't have to think about it. He's the only one of mine who's ever done anything even remotely like this and he's my quirkiest thinker so I just chalked it up to another of his "things.". Sure enough, he never does it anymore and now that it ended up being nothing, I kind of miss it! I'm glad I saved some of his notes to me that were done like this! Please don't think I'm trying to minimize your situation! I just think it's interesting to hear about other kids who do similar things! None of my friends had ever heard of anything like it when I would mention it to them.
  16. My favorite Target $1 find was a package of cards with pictures of world landmarks on them. I stuck them in our memory box and we learn them a few at a time. My kids love them and get so excited when I pull them out. I mean, I thought they'd like them, but I never can guess what's going to be a huge hit! Each card has a picture with a little blurb of info on the back. We've all learned a lot! And it cracks us all up to hear my 3 year old say, "Remember the Alamo!" :001_smile: I actually got ours last year, but I saw some more a couple of weeks ago. There are also packages with the Presidents and something else that escapes me right now. Love, love the Target $1 section!
  17. I'm not sure if you want art appreciation or just art, but for the just art part look at deepspacesparkle.com. It's the blog of an art teacher with tons of free step by step lessons. I did several of her lessons with my crew at home this year and they all turned out great! The kids loved it! I am not an art person, so if I could do it, anyone can. She has the lessons arranged by subject, medium, or grade level. I think you'll really like it.
  18. We've done many configurations over the years. I've only once had to put any infant in with someone, but it worked out okay once they got used to it. Thankfully both of those are my deepest sleepers! :) Now though we're in a crazy, but our best so far, set up. Technically my girls 8 and 3 share a room and my boys, 10 and 6 share. The girls have twin beds and the boys have bunks with a trundle underneath. However, they all love to sleep with each other so we came up with schedule. For ex: on Mondays ds 10 and dd 8 are together in the girls' room and ds6 and dd 3 are in the boys' room, Tuesdays ds 10 is with dd 3 in the girls' room, and so on and so on. On Wed. and Sat. everyone is in his/her own bed, then on Sunday nights they're all together in the girls' room and they go to bed early for my at-home "date" night with dh. Clear as mud? It seems chaotic to write it out, but it works great for us! Now...yes, there are nights when I worry about them needing to get to sleep earlier, but dh and I LOVE to hear them chatting and giggling together at night, so we generally let it go as long as they're on their beds and not disturbing the rest of the house! It is so precious to me! It's so sweet to listen to them getting their things ready for bed together: books, cds, etc. My ds 6 loves to get the bed ready for whomever he's with that night with their lovey and pillows. And to hear ds 10 asking my 3 year old what book she'd like him to read to her?!?!? Melt my heart!!! :) And it is amazing to me that there is very rarely any arguing in their rooms at night no matter how they've bickered during the day. It is such a sweet time and I know it will probably change one day so for now we try to cherish it even though they're awake later than I would like! Sweet memories! I'm not sure what the plan will be when our 6 month old enters the mix! :) Okay...sorry that got so long! I haven't stopped and thought about how much I love it in awhile so you got all my sentimental overflow! And now I don't even remember if I answered anything from your post! :) I'm sorry if I didn't! Thank you for making me think about how much I love it though!
  19. I was just going to link you to an amazing blog and I see someone else beat me to it. http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com/ I wanted to have something we could all do together for fun, so we've been using GTG. I spent lots of time last summer on this blog and planned our year, printed out flags and currency, bookmarked some fun videos on youtube (sumo wrestling...big hit! Oh and the rangoli art from India!) and looked at books. We're actually going to do it over 2 years since it's just an extra for us and it has been really fun! It's my kids' favorite part of the day when we get to it! We're taking our time and not doing anything in depth, but it's been a great little extra. One more kid favorite...I bought little passports and flag stickers from Rainbow Resource. The kids keep them in their notebooks and after we finish each country we "stamp" them with the date. They love that part! Although, I'll admit it's a little embarrassing sometimes to see how long it was between countries! Oops! Maybe we'll spend 3 years on this! :)
  20. Love, love those coupon codes! I got a box of diapers a couple of weeks ago for sooo cheap! It was a thrill that only another bargain-shopping-mother would understand! :) Anyway...I am using mine, but I was just going to tell you that BabiesRUs usually has BabyTalk magazine free in their stores and I read somewhere that someone talked to a person at her store and at the end of the month they give her all the outdated copies. Also, several of those mags are free subscriptions and as soon as I found out about the codes I went and signed up for a couple. You may already know all of that, but I thought I'd mention it just in case! Hope someone has some for you!
  21. Forgive me, b/c I haven't read every post, I've only skimmed the thread, but I am just slightly baffled that this is even having to be addressed! I'm not trying to be naive, but I never cease to be amazed that people don't think that their children's noise bothers others. This drives me crazy in a restaurant, at church, etc., not just at a convention. I mean...where did general politeness go? I wouldn't sit and chat with a friend in a lecture, why is the noise of a baby considered less distracting? We had a friend who asked us when our oldest was about 18 mos. if we were more tolerant of noisy children now that we'd had a baby and dh and I looked at each other and said, "No. We're less tolerant!" Because now we know you can take a child somewhere and not allow them to disturb the people around you. Does it mean that sometimes you, yourself, may have to miss out on something? Yes! I may not get to sit and enjoy the entire, meal, sermon, lecture. That is part of having a small child. Just like I don't get to meet friends to exercise, go to lunch, etc. right now b/c I homeschool and have many children. Is it sometimes aggravating to me and do I often feel sorry for myself and wish that I could? Oh yes! But it is a season and I will not allow my children to become someone else's distraction. They are my children and they mean that I may have to miss something. They shouldn't mean that for someone else! I also don't think that "family-friendly" has to equal "please bring your children and allow them to make whatever noise and ruckus they'd like." I would think that saying families are welcome means, "Of course, bring your children," but that there can be an expectation of politeness and consideration for others. Goodness, that got a little rant-ish didn't it?!! I'm sorry! If we were talking in person you'd hopefully know that I'm not trying to come across as arrogant or unkind in any way! My children act up with the best of them and many times I don't even want to be around them! I just really feel like dh and I bend over backwards to keep them from bothering other people and I would appreciate the same effort from others.
  22. Bless your heart! 3 years ago my then 3 1/2 year old ds had a spiral tib-fib fracture and was in a hip to toe cast for 6 weeks! Yes...non-weight bearing for 6 weeks! I sent out a plea to everyone I knew and asked for ideas! Here are some of our favorites: *indoor "tennis"...blown up balloon and badminton rackets and just keep the balloon off the floor. We all had to find a spot and stay in it so that no one had an advantage. ALL of us had a ball and we did this very often! *I went through all of our toys and pulled out some things he didn't remember. One of his favorites was a set of vehicles that you take apart and put together with a little battery-operated screwdriver. Kind of like this: http://www.amazon.com/Battat-68025-Take-Apart-4X4/dp/B000N5RT2O/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1299564593&sr=8-3, but our set had 3 vehicles included. On a similar note, I think the Design and Drill set http://www.amazon.com/Educational-Insights-Design-Activity-Center/dp/B00012O42W/ref=pd_sim_t_7 would have been perfect for this time. *He pretty much watched whatever he wanted on TV, but he's not really a TV lover so that didn't hold his attention too well. *I got him an easy maze book and he loved it. I think it was a Kumon workbook. He flew through it and still loves mazes! *He also was able to do a simple dot-to-dot workbook, although that required a bit more help. *We read lots of books! Good snuggling time! And it was great to get out some of the wonderful picture books I'd neglected because we usually spent most of our read aloud time on chapter books by then. I'm not making that mistake again with my youngers! *We did rent a wheelchair b/c obviously we couldn't stay home for 6 weeks and he was not able to be on his leg at all. He LOVED his wheelchair and people at church still talk about it b/c we had VBS 2 weeks after he broke his leg and all the big kids begged to get to push him around! I know I'm forgetting something, but those are the things that come to mind quickly. It is hard! This ds is my energy-boy (my older ds on the other hand would think it was a dream come true to be forced to stay on the couch and read and watch TV while we all brought him food and drinks and carried him to the bathroom! :)). And dh and I could not imagine how it could be anything but awful, but it ended up being actually a good time. Sounds crazy I'm sure! And, I know that in some ways my situation was probably easier than yours because we had no choice in the matter. Sometimes things are much simpler when you don't have options! At first he was unable to walk and by the time he probably could have figured out a way, it was just the new normal to stay on the couch. But just to encourage you...it really ended up being a sweet time for all of us. It was a great opportunity to talk to my older 2, who were 5 and 7 at the time, about serving others. And we have some really fond, fond memories of that summer. (And it was nice that for 6 weeks I did not have to say, "Stop jumping on that chair!" one time!) Haha! Hope that helps!
  23. Hi there. My ds also loves, loves Calvin and Hobbes! I think it's funny since he doesn't get some of the references. But it has actually given way to conversation explaining what some of them are. School done by comic strip! :) Anyway to answer your question...ate 8 he devoured the entire Hank the Cowdog series, joined the fanclub, etc. The books on CD are great too. They're read by the author they are pretty hilarious even dh and I had to admit! He also has enjoyed some things already mentioned: Magic Treehouse and How to Train a Dragon. Another of his favorites is The Mad Scientists Club (from the 40's I think, but now reprinted.) and one of our most dogeared books is D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths.
  24. I can't really speak to the others you mentioned, but we got Just Dance for Christmas and it is FUN! We all like it and laugh as much as we dance!
  25. Well, of course, I don't know your reasons for wanting to homeschool or your dh's reasons for wanting you to look at the public school, but I had a friend recently whose husband was concerned with her homeschooling their son and she showed me a list that the school had given them of what the K kids did during the day. I will say that it made me have a moment of "Yikes! My poor kiddos!" So I showed it to dh (who is, by the way, a pub. school principal, although at a middle school) and he laughed and said, "Honey, 'interactive role play experiences' is just a dress up box!" There were several other examples like that, but I can't think of the wording. I just laughed at myself! That is just my long way of advising you to be sure of what all the jargon really means if any of that would be instrumental in your decision. I will also just say as the wife of a very pro-homeschooling (obviously!) public school principal...give him/her the benefit of the doubt until you find out differently! My dh has his eyes WIDE open about the yuck of the educational world at large and has no delusional ideas about its perfection! I know he's a rarity...but maybe this principal will be the same and you'll get some honest assessment. :)
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