September 7, 2011

Galloping the Globe

This year we are Galloping the Globe! For anyone unfamiliar with it, it is a geography based unit study that includes history, science, literature, language arts, etc. Pretty much everything but math and reading.

Our first week was an introduction to maps and the globe and the continents. This week we started on Asia and we are learning about South Korea. Over the next few weeks we will be "visiting" China, Japan, and India, a few more Asian counties and then off to a different continent. We are using the library for resource books and stories from the counties. Our county system seems to have everything on the GtG list if I wanted to hunt them down but the branch down the road seems to have a more than adequate selection for our needs so I think I'll be sticking to that. Crafts and cooking (Eat Your Way Around the World) will help to make this a hands-on fun year (hopefully). As our science subjects come up we study them (tigers in India, coral reefs in Australia, etc). I picked up a bunch of Usborne beginners science books that I'm really impressed with - great illustrations, short but information packed books. These work well with GtG even though they aren't on the list.

I love the flexibility that GtG provides but while giving you the outline. You can spend as much time on a country as you want. From what I've read, some people take a year to do it all, some take two. Some people only do one country from each continent but spend a whole month on it. You can do all of the readings and activities if you wanted to. But everything is organized for you. They provide lists of age appropriate stories. They point out what science fits in where and books to read to learn about them. They list websites for the different subject matter.

Our plan right now is to spend a week on each country to go for an overview/exposure effect. December will be "Christmas around the World".

I organized Max's preschool list (the SL preschool I've used with K and A) to fit in the best it can. It doesn't always fit but it is fun when it does. All of the kids are listening in to that - who doesn't like nursery rhymes, fairy tales, classic stories and fun books!

As much as I love the idea all of the subjects working together, I couldn't abandon the workbooks all together. Some people are great using unit studies and getting kids to learn their language arts things just fine...I admit I like the security of a book. Maybe some day...but then again maybe not. So we are sticking with our Abeka language and math programs and Veritas Press for reading (with a little Abeka/SL reading to gain confidence since those seem to be easier for for Katrina). I'm also thinking we will read through the Abeka health and history books at some point this year. (Abeka history is US focused at this grade which I wouldn't mind Katrina hearing a little since we are focusing on the world with GtG).

So I guess that is the plan...we'll see what it shapes up to be!

August 12, 2011

Second Summer

This year our summer has been divided into two parts - Lake and Rochester. At first I felt that our summer was over when we came back to Rochester (we are renting the lake for the month of August) but I've realized it is actually just a different kind of summer. We are now in the middle of "second summer" and it is going much better than I thought it would.

First summer: hot, sun, laid back, no shoes.
Down at the lake we take a relaxed approach to life. The kids don't wear shoes and most of the time only wear bathing suits. I'm in flip flops, gym shorts, and tank tops. We are in a routine rather than a schedule. Most days include time at the beach, bikes, fishing, swimming. The kids go on walks with Pap (my dad) and the dog to pick berries. We sit around a camp fire in the evening. I got a great tan! The weather was very warm but a great breeze came off the lake making it very comfortable - warm enough to want to swim but not to the point you get miserable.

I can say that the great weather and fun definitely made it very hard to leave the lake this year!

Second summer: VBS, dance, friends, play.
I was not sure how it would go being in Rochester for summer - slightly cooler temperature have helped I think. The kids have been going to morning VBS. Max was able to go the first week which gave me just Tristan for the morning! I tried out public market since we didn't have our vegetable share we get down at the lake. This past week was a dance workshop so Katrina attended, I taught and the boys got to play at a friends house for the afternoon. We'll finish out the summer with a couple more camps and our church's family camp.

It was certainly a crash back into schedules and shoe wearing but the kids have had a great time!

July 7, 2011

Long Time No Post

Well, I see I have been quite neglectful here I see. Guess the first thing to do is play catch up. Here's a quick look at our year. Perhaps I'll elaborate on them, perhaps I'll just move on from here.

* Katrina and Alex took gymnastics
* Katrina took Irish dance
* Went grape picking in Naples, NY
* Tristan turned 1!
* Went to Alumni Weekend at UR - saw Jim Gaffigan and Yellowjackets as well as some friends
* Had a successful Oireachtas - Girls U9 Ceili 7th, Mixed U9 Ceili 3rd, Girls U12 Ceili 10th, Mixed U12 Ceili 6th, Girls O16 Ceili 14th, Figure U15 2nd
* Annual holiday Pops concerts
* Dance Ice Skating Party
* A multitude of Christmas - our family, Tallo's, Zink's - and a visit from Bear and Hannah
* Family trip to Myrtle Beach
* Max turned 3!
* Katrina danced at the Hooley, dance outs for St. Patrick's Day, and the Brockport Concert
* Katrina turned 6!
* Bear and Hannah
* Katrina started competitions for dance
* School ends, Academy ends
* Katrina and Alex's fun meet at the gym
* Moved back to the lake for the summer

October 9, 2010

Start of School

Well, I'm a little late posting beginning of school pictures but better late than never I hope!

Katrina is in Kindergarten this year! Where did that come from?!?!?! That is such a milestone to me and is filled with mixed emotions. The toddler/preschool years are over but new adventures are on the horizon.

Alex is following right behind his sister in preK. Totally a different bird, I'm learning that some things Katrina loved and worked wonderfully with her aren't his cup of tea. Definitely a boy in the roll on the floor, energetic, rough and tumble sort of way!

Max is catching bits and pieces at the beginning side of preschool. He's keeping up well in the superhero department!

Tristan is crawling and cruising and eating and smiling away.

We are at Academy again this year.

Some first day of Academy pictures...

Backpacks ready!

Max is ready

Katrina's excited

Alex (with the Wii remote)

The gang

A quick glance back to make sure Mom is coming...

And they're off!

Katrina has science (S. Avila), Five in a Row (M. Avila) and gym.
Alex is in the same science class, preschool (Stear) and the same gym class.
Max and Tristan are in the nursery but Max sometimes joins the preschool class with the other "nursery seniors" Noah and Caroline.

Katrina and Alex are in the Academy bowling league so get to bowl one game (with bumpers) each week. After that is done they may start Irish dance in the afternoon or free play...that is TBD.

At home we are using a variety of things for each of them. I still feel I'm in the trial stage so some of what I planned for the beginning of the year may be stretched over two years, saved for next year or scrapped altogether.

Katrina: Abeka K for math, Veritas Press K for reading. Sonlight K (Intro to World Cultures) for history/read-alouds/. Abeka K Social Studies (complements the world cultures and adds in community helps and some US history) Explode the Code 1. Reason for Handwriting.

Katrina was very excited to receive her books

Alex: Abeka ABC-123. Abeka K4 reading though I think I want to move him to the VP reading program. Sonlight K and Abeka K Social Studies with Katrina. Explode the Code A, B, C. Reason for Handwriting.

I have some more pictures but can't seem to find the folder they are hiding in so that will have to be all for now.

Extra adjectives

If you are going to get in your car, most people don't say "I'm getting into my automatic minivan". If you are drinking milk most people don't announce "I'm having a glass of 2% white milk". If you are putting on a tshirt most people don't inform you that they are going to be wearing "a cotton/polyester blend tshirt".

Why then do many that eat organic foods feel the need to clarify that they are eating such foods?! "I'm cooking organic chicken with organic green beans and organic brown rice" "My son is eating organic gluten free cookies" "For dinner tonight I had a salad with organic lettuces".

Are they seeking approval from their fellow organic peers? Are they trying to elevated themselves above the non-organics out there? What is your agenda? There has to be a reason why some feel the need to prove they are eating this way.

You had rice for dinner. In this context, rice is rice - white, brown, organic or not. I can see labeling packages and menus as such and but in conversation it makes me wonder your motive for adding in that adjective. If you tried a new variety, sure, provide the descriptive (I tried Spanish rice; it was delicious). Otherwise, just eat rice.

Now I have no problem with discussions of food and life style choices, blog post, conversations, etc. My radar goes up on the constant insertion of these "extra" adjectives into millions of statements and status updates.

And yes, I do know a number of people who eat organic or natural foods or special diets that do not broadcast their choices, thank you to you!

September 1, 2010

Summer Reflections

Today is September 1st. September to me signals the beginning of fall but the weather certainly doesn't seem to remember that. For awhile things had been cooling down but the last few days have been back to 90. It's putting me back in the summer mood.

A quick glance through our summer...

Time on Cayuga Lake
Aunt Mary's memorial service which brought a visit from Uncle Mark's family
Katrina's 5th birthday - yikes!!!!
Weddings, bridal showers and baby showers
Katrina danced in the end of the year Irish Dance showcase
Annual trip to Sea Breeze
Bear, Hannah and Ava visits
Luissa's highschool graduation party
Hidden Valley 65th Anniversary Alumni Weekend
Swimming at friends' pools
A couple dance lessons for Katrina
Alex's 4th birthday
Vacation Bible Schools
Family Camp

In general it was a pretty low key summer - mainly spent at the lake doing lake things as a family. Lots of boat rides, trips to the playground, a couple wineries, playing in the water, fishing, etc. Katrina and Alex gained confidence swimming, still with a lifejacket though, Katrina learned how to kayak and both are accomplished paddle boaters.

Oh I almost forgot a highlight...Katrina learned to ride a bike! She pretty much taught herself with the help of the slope in the driveway.

It is nice that my parents are at the lake most of the week so we get to see them a lot. Katrina and Alex go on walks with my dad and his very tall, white dog. Justin and my dad fish. We all enjoy time around the campfire.

June 11, 2010

Transition Time

Confession: I am a creature of habit. I like planning. Keeping to a routine comforts me.

Twist: I like the ending and beginning of things.

How that works: I like the accomplishment of completing something. I like the planning of something new and a fresh routine. I just don't always like the settling into a routine time.

Which is what I am in now.

We are currently bouncing back and forth from the lake to the city which means packing and unpacking food and clothes. We keep stuff at both houses but perishables have to go back and forth since lately I never know how long we are staying at either home. I don't own enough clothes (that fit) to keep things at both houses. The kids drawers at the lake seem bursting while home they are wearing PJ's for lack of clothing. Three hairbrushes in Rochester, coming my hair with a fork Wednesday morning at the lake.

Katrina and Alex finished up all of their preschool stuff from last year but the concept of summer vacation is completely foreign to them, not to mention I don't really like the concept but more on that another time. But we are in the process of ordering their next level of stuff so we can't really work out a routine yet. Plus I haven't figured out how to work them both into the day with Max and Tristan without loosing all my time during naps (for house things, bills, Academy work, and "productive" things like email and this!). I can't complain that they are hounding me to do school but I'm looking forward to when I feel under control with the routine of it.

I am also trying to figure out our summer schedule - family/friend visits, renters at the lake, when to be there or Rochester, family camp, kid fun activities, etc. I think this is where my main head spin is coming from...I like to have the calendar all laid out (and stick to it!). So many options.

Really all of it boils down to the fact we are fortunate enough to have these options. I just need help remembering that. Well, and maybe help weeding out some activities. Probably could use a little help with the housework too...