Saturday, June 14, 2014


I moved the blog to Wordpress.  All of the previous information can be found at the new site!  Please stop by and visit us there!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Time for a Science Experiment!!

The rain let up for a little bit today, so the boys were finally able to get about 10 minutes of outside play.   I have never been so happy to see the sun, even if it did mean that there would be muddy footprints through out the house.

Today we rocked day 5 in the workbooks.  The kids have finally adjusted to the new schedule, so they tend to get right into it.  Next was the journals.  They each wrote a story about their masks that they had made yesterday.  A's was pretty straightforward and filled with facts from yesterday's assignment, K's was more imaginative (somehow iron man was involved).  

I decided to end the day's lesson with a simple experiment regarding chromatography.  It was designed to see how ink dissolved into water.  We took a standard coffee filter (I only had the basket type), crayola markers (not permeant), and three glasses of water.  Used those plastic cups that the boys always get when we go out to eat because I could throw them away when we finished the experiment.  We cut the coffee filter into three strips.  Each strip got a different color dot about 1/3 of the way up the filter strip.  We used Blue, Red, and Yellow as our test colors.  Next we dipped the filters into the water leaving some dry area between the dots and the water line.  Finally we watched and recorded how each of the colors reacted when the water finally reached them.  The whole thing turned out pretty neat and the boys seemed to enjoy it as well!

Coffee filter chromatography

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another Rainy Day

This rain is driving me and the boys nuts!  We have not been able to have any outside time for three days now.  The most we have been able to do is run outside and take the dogs out before the next thunderstorm comes.

Today we worked on day 4 in the workbooks.  It was pretty much all math, so it was a relaxing break for the boys (they both love math).  Then we moved on to the journals.  The topic for today was "How can you help prepare for a hurricane".  A wrote about 2 pages, K was having a grumpy day so I was only able to get the bare minimum out of him.

I picked Social Studies for today.  It is my favorite subject, and I really look forward to these lessons.  The topic was the Calusa Indians of Southwest Florida.  They are a bit of a mystery because they disappeared in the late 1700's, so the only accounts that we have are from the very first Spanish explorers.  When I had visited Tallahassee a few years ago the Florida History Museum had several masks from this particular group and I was absolutely fascinated by them.  I found a reading and worksheet page at the Florida History Curriculum website.  It has tons of worksheets for 4th grade students regarding Florida History, and they are all easy to download, pdf files.  They are all still based off of the old Sunshine State Standard, but I figured that they would work well for my purposes.

I couldn't leave K out of the learning process.  After A had finished the reading section and the corresponding worksheet, it was then his turn to play teacher and explain to his brother what he had just read.  After they had finished, it was time for them to make their own masks.  I found some really neat ideas on the website for the Historical Society of Palm Beach County.    The handout is really long (like over 100 pages), so I just skimmed through it until I got near the end where the art projects were.  They had two ways to do the masks, the first being paper mache, but I was not in the mood for the mess, so we went with the coloring sheets.  They turned out really cool though!  Now I am trying to convince the husband that we need to go on a field trip this weekend to South Florida. ;)
A in his Calusa Mask

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Stormy Day Lesson

Today was rather difficult to get outside like I had planned.  It seemed like every time we went to put our shoes on to go out to play the sky opened up or there was a loud clap of thunder.  Thankfully I had planned on discussing storms as part of the science lesson today, so the outdoors was a wonderful exhibit.

We started the day by completing Day 3 in the work books.  There was no cursive writing today, so A was a happy kid.  Instead we discussed different types of sentences.  K's page was rather simple because it was the letter "C", since he is already reading basic books, letters are "easy peasy."  The boys really enjoyed writing a fiction paragraph yesterday, so I continued the theme.  The topic was a story starring their Lego people that they colored in yesterday.  True to form, they both came up with some real cool stories.

As I stated earlier, storms were the topic for today.  I wanted to really cover Hurricanes with the kids. We live in a hurricane prone area, and neither one of the boys has actually been through anything larger than a Category 1, so the thought of a hurricane can be rather scary.  We started out by watching Bill Nye the Science Guy-"Storms".  I found the video on YouTube and it is the complete episode without commercials.  Then we went to our local new station website and watched a video on how we can prepare for a hurricane.  We went over the hurricane prep list and discussed why each of the items was needed and how much we as a family would need to acquire.  You can find the list at the Bay News 9 website.

A is also in charge of tracking the storms each day on his very own hurricane tracking map.  I printed it out from the NOAA website, the numbers are rather small and hard to read.  Normally the local stores have maps and "hurricane season guides" out in the stores, but I haven't seen any so far.  Honestly, it scares me that so many people in the area are completely unprepared because it has been 10 years since we have had a hurricane, and the community has become rather comfortable.  So far there is nothing in the Gulf or the Atlantic, but that has a habit of swiftly changing at a moment's notice.
A's tracking map- There is one in the Pacific!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Getting Silly!

Yesterday was about goals, but I didn't want them to think that the whole summer was going to be serious!  Today I went with a more creative feel.  The boys started out with their workbooks first today, I think they just really wanted to get them out of the way.  A got a bit frustrated because the books are teaching him cursive writing (something that is NOT taught in the schools here, but I feel is an important skill to learn).  After the grumblings of having to "learn a new way to write", it was time to crack open the writing journals.  Today's topic was super silly and encouraged the boys to write a fictional paragraph.  Each boy had to start off their journal entry with "Today the dog took the car for a joyride..." Both boys came up with very imaginative responses and even wrote more than the few sentences that I requested!

Then we moved on the electronics.  Now, before anyone freaks out, I was (technically still am) a substitute teacher for the boys' school district.  I know which sites the school has the children use during their computer lab times (ask your child's teacher for ideas, 9 times out of 10 the sites are completely FREE).  One of them is  if you have never checked it out, I highly recommend it.  It has site word bingo, math games, reading games, and even grammar based games and all of them are arranged by the child's grade level.  I am having the boys play the games for the level that they are entering, so that way the games are a bit more challenging.

After lunch (and a call to maintenance for a backed up AC), we decided to finish up with some Art.  When I was substituting for an art class, I was inspired by this one teacher's fantastic idea of coloring Lego people.  The classes that participated in this activity loved it, so I figured that my boys might as well.  I scoured the internet to find the coloring sheets, and found them!  You can download your very own PDF for this project at The Happily Uprooted Blog.
The boys' Lego people

Even Mom got in on the coloring fun!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Break is here!

Summer break has arrived, and I am doing my best to keep myself contained.  I am going into this stay at home mom thing with a positive head.  I had created a schedule to keep the kids busy, and more importantly, quiet while Daddy is sleeping (he works the night shift).  Both of my boys are very bright and very active, so I have to constantly keep them engaged to keep them out of trouble.

First of all, I bought them both Summer Bridge Books.  We have been doing these from the summer that A went from preschool to Kindergarten, and I absolutely love them.  There are several different brands, but I prefer these.  I was especially happy to learn that they now meet the Common Core Standard that our state has just adopted and is in the process of implementing.  Since A is set to take Florida Writes! test this coming year, I also picked composition books for each of the boys to make into summer writing journals.

Day One

We talked about different goals that we all have for summer.  Mine was completing college (graduation is scheduled for August), A was to become a better swimmer, and K just wanted to have fun.  Then both boys wrote down their ideas in their journals.  Since K is entering 1st grade, I am only asking him to write down three sentences, A on the other hand has to give me at least 5 complete sentences (for now).

After journals we moved on to the Summer Bridge books and completed Day 1.  The books are set up for a 60 day summer, but our school district is not that generous, so some days we have to double up on the work in order to complete them on time.  It took the boys about 5 minutes each to complete front and back and then I allowed them to play some educational games on the computer and some apps that I had downloaded for them on the iPad.  While they were playing it allowed me a small window of time to do some much needed folding of laundry (I swear it never ends in this house!).

The journals and the worksheets took about 20 minutes of time.  So, I loaded the boys into the car and headed off to the local Library to grab some reading for the two of them.  Our library had reading lists for each of the boy' grade levels, and were able to help me find several challenging reads for them to keep them busy for a few days.  A also was able to enter in a reading incentive program that was offered by the local pro baseball team.  They offer prizes for reading such as autographed posters, baseball team souvenirs, and even a free ticket to one of the games.  After a stopover at the park, it was time to head home and wake up Daddy.  The first day went much better than planned!

The boys' summer workbooks