The kids have been really wanting me to decorate our house for fall. Apparently, "Everyone else's house has decorations up, but ours doesn't." "Everyone" being a couple of friends of ours. So we got some Jack O' Lanterns for the out-side, and I told the kids that if we got the inside looking clean and pretty, I'd do some inside decorating too. They helped out and got the house clean, so we got some pretty little gourds, (Samuel has named all of his) and I made this leaf garland with the twins while Anna was getting her allergy shots. It was so easy, the twins were able to help a lot, and it didn't take long to make.
First we gathered leaves to use as patterns. We have oak trees, so that's what we used. Then Samuel and Abriel traced the leaves onto freezer paper, and cut them out.
I then let them iron on the pattern to different leaf colored wool felt.
I cut out the felt. Samuel really wanted to do this step, but wool felt is hard to cut through, and I really wanted them to turn out nice, so I did this part.
After we had about 16 leaves, we then lay out the leaves on the floor in the order we wanted them. I had the twins take turns handing me leaves off the floor, while I stitched them down the center with the sewing machine.
All that we had to do then was hang it up! Super easy and quick, and pretty, too. It's also a good way to use up felt scraps, if you have a bunch, like I do.
It's that time of year again. Seems like October has just begun, but the reality is, we're over half way through. We spent yesterday carving out pumpkins, and enjoying the beautiful but brief sunshine.
They love scooping out the "guts". The slimy goopyness of it all. Last year we tried cleaning the seeds and roasting them. It really wasn't worth the effort. This year we just let our hens have a treat.
Dave came out and serenaded us, and everyone was happy, except for Anna. She had aimed for something really grand with her pumpkin this year, and it didn't go as she had envisioned.
Anna's is the middle one. It has a tree, moon and stars, and an owl. I think it looks great, but not quite the Pinterest perfection she had imagined. Which is frequently the case.
I spent today trying to get the kids Halloween costumes made. Anna is going to be an owl. She's very into owls, so when I saw this really neat bird wing tutorial online, I suggested she go as one. Now I'm wondering what on earth I was thinking. There's a lot of feathers in those bird wings, and I haven't even started the sewing them on part.
Thursday is our co-op day. First we have our "regular" homeschool co-op, which is mostly for socializing and getting used to a class room environment, then we have our Konos co-op. It's just four families, so it's more low-key. We do Konos activities at home, and then get together to do group activities and give the kids a chance to show off some of the thinsg they worked on at home, such as a written report.
We've been going through the Responsibility unit, so we've learned about taking care of pets, beavers, ants, and now, the early settlers. This weeks focus was on Jamestown; that classic bad example. To prepare, I fed the kids gruel, and read all sorts of horrifying facts about the "starving time". During which, they apparently ate everything that it was possible to eat, including themselves. Bleck. Disturbingly enough, my kids didn't seem very horrified by this. "Well, yeah, they were really hungry." Really, kids? It's called cannibalism, and it's wrong. Even if the person was dead before you started chowing down on them.
Today, all the kids worked on a wattle and daub structure.
First they worked at weaving saplings and small branches through some T posts. (I'm sure the Jamestown settler had those, right?)
Then we mixed up some daub, and they packed it on to the woven branches. Abriel has plastic bags on her hands, because the daub mixture consisted of mud, straw, and horse manure. I guess we could have been a little less authentic, and omitted the manure, but the kids thought it was gross and funny, and will probable remember the whole experience better for there being poop in it.
We then led into learning about the Pilgrims, (the good example) by fixing a Mayflower lunch. It consisted of hardtack, salt pork, cheese, and beer. Non-alcoholic, of course.
We then gave our kids a real lunch, because we're not really pilgrims, and hardtack is really hard.
I thought I'd post a little update on how school has been going for us this year. I now "officially" have three school aged children, so things are a little different. I wouldn't say harder, though. It takes much more effort to teach one, while preventing two from distracting the very easily distractible, one. That's not to say that there hasn't been some hiccups along the way. I've had to switch Anna's math curriculum yet again. That's suppose to be one of those homeschooling no-nos. Go ahead and experiment with everything else, but stick to one math program, or you'll hopelessly confuse your child and doom them to mathematical failure. The problem with this statement is, the chances of finding what works best for your family and your child in the first go, is infinitely small. So we switched- again. In the middle of the year. (Something I swore I would never do with any curriculum.) And it's been a very good thing.
Something I was worried about but didn't turn out to be an issue, is the twins competitiveness. They still compete, but not with the same blood thirstiness of last year. Samuel has realized that he doesn't have the same zeal for school that Abriel does, and he's OK with that. No one could have quite the passion for school that Abriel does. I think she has the one learning style that traditional school is designed for. She loves workbooks, coloring pages, and cutting and pasting activities. Boring little readers thrill her. She also loves being the "the best". She already has her entire Awana book memorized and it's only the fourth week. However, she doesn't voluntarily do academic activities just because something has sparked her interest. She likes to be put to a task.
Samuel is completely different- from everybody. Traditional school was not made for him. He hates writing, unless he's writing his comic book full of teeny tiny drawings and writing. Then he'll spend hours on it. He hates math, unless he's doing multiplication. (why??) He hates his readers, but will read much harder books that he picks out at the library. His basic motto is, "If you want me to do it, I wont." He's not the easiest child, but just when you think you really are going to strangle him, he does something incredibly sweet.
I have been making an effort to do "fun" school stuff this year. It makes such a difference on everyone's attitude about doing the less fun stuff. While learning about Columbus, we painted maps and then made rice crispy boats.
After doing this, Samuel went from hating history to loving it. The only problem is, I am having trouble thinking of new craft ideas. I need something for Pocahontas, but I'm stumped. Any ideas?