Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for you, our friends, who share this journey with us. We hope your pies are as yummy as ours are!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fire Station Field Trip

We visited one of our fire stations for our field trip this month. We had planned to go in October, but we had to reschedule. Andrew and Coleman were beside themselves with excitement the day we finally got to go! Our friend from church, Mr. Horace, is a firefighter for Gainesville, and he gave us a private tour one afternoon. I think Andrew and Coleman got a kick out of seeing someone they knew in a totally different environment than usual. Mr. Horace was very kind and patient, and went over every nook and cranny of the truck with the boys.

Jonathan got into the spirit of the day with his firetruck shirt. The guys at the station really liked it!

Mr. Horace is the driver of the truck, and when they get to the fire, he runs the pumps. Here he is showing the boys how he does that part of his job.

Learning about an air tank

The Jaws of Life

Trying out Mr. Horace's seat

Check out these huge grins!

We got a tour of the inside of the station too!

As soon as Jonathan saw the ATV rescue vehicle, he made a break for it and jumped in the driver's seat!

Thank you Mr. Horace! We had a great time visiting your station, and we all learned a lot!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Recital

Andrew has been taking music lessons from Mrs. Pam this fall. He goes on Tuesday evenings and has made lots of progress. In the spring there will be a big recital, but for the beginning students in the fall, Ms. Pam does a small, parents only recital during class. We went last Tuesday for his first public performance. He did great! Here are a few pictures and the video.

Andrew and the class waiting to get started

The whole class sang a couple of songs to start off the recital. Then they were seated and played and sang one at a time.

They could choose any song from their book to play and another one to sing. Andrew played "Singing Sounds" and sang "Mr. Knickerbocker."

I missed the very beginning of his performance due to two little people asking for blue suckers. They will be staying home for the spring recital.

And here he is with the greatest music teacher on earth!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Science Club

This month's science club was held on a Tuesday night at Elachee. Brent went with Andrew and they learned about nocturnal animals. They had a guest named Owlbert come and visit with them. Owlbert is a Great Horned Owl, the most common owl in the state of Georgia, who was hit by a car and subsequently lost an eye. Since he no longer has any depth perception, he is unable to survive in the wild. He now lives at a rescue center and travels around the state teaching children about wildlife.
Here he is with his trainer getting out of his cage.

After the visit with Owlbert, they got to dissect owl pellets. This was Andrew's first dissection, and I was so sad to miss it!

A few of their findings. . .
They also went on a night hike in the woods. Needless to say, Brent didn't get any pictures of that activity. I really don't know who had the most fun, Andrew of his daddy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

St. Martin's Day

We have some neighbors down the street who are from Germany. We have gotten to know them because they go to church with us and we are in the choir with Christiane, the mother. They are a sweet family and we have been glad to meet them. On November 11th, they were kind enough to share a European tradition with our neighborhood. For the first time ever, we celebrated St. Martin's Day. The two older boys were going to participate in a lantern march on that night, so the Saturday before, we headed down to the clubhouse for Mrs. Christiane to teach us how to make paper lanterns. Andrew and Coleman worked very hard on the project.

The finished lanterns were quite impressive!

So on the evening of the 11th, we met at Horseshoe Park for the celebration. We started off by lighting everyone's lanterns. It is very difficult to get good pictures in the pitch black dark, but here's a shot of our two lights.

Then the Maass family led us in a traditional lantern song, complete with recorders for accompaniment!

After the song, the children sat in a circle while Mrs. Christiane retold the story of St. Martin.

Martin was a soldier in Julius Ceasar's army long ago. The army was marching through France, pillaging towns and villages they came across. Martin and his friends were heading into a bar to warm up when a beggar approached Martin and asked if he could spare some money. Martin didn't have any money, but he gave the man half of his cloak. He could only spare half of it because the other half officially belonged to the Emperor. So Martin walked away to find his friends. The other soldiers laughed and made fun of Martin with half a cloak and called him crazy. Martin began to feel badly and that he might have made a mistake.

That night, in a dream, Jesus came to him and said, "Martin, what you do to the least of these, you do to me." Martin instantly knew he had done the right thing and shortly thereafter he left the army. He spent the rest of his life serving God. The church eventually made him a bishop, and after his death, a saint. The children in Europe remember St. Martin by lighting lanterns on his birthday to remind them to shine brightly in our dark world, just as he did.

Christiane asked for volunteers to act out the story as she told it. Coleman volunteered to be the beggar. Here is St. Martin (Mitchell) taking off his cloak and getting ready to cut it in two to share with the beggar (Coleman).

Now the beggar is nice and warm thanks to Martin's generosity!

Then we paraded through the neighborhood to the clubhouse. Jonathan rode bundled up in the wagon. Here he is trying to throw out his blankets as we are getting underway.

When we got to the clubhouse, Christiane had hot tea and German cookies and cakes for us all to enjoy.

It was a fun night with our neighbors!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

October Recap

October was a great month at The Academy. We started off with a field trip to see the play James and The Giant Peach with our co-op group. We read the novel in September in preparation, and Andrew was very dismayed when some of his favorite parts didn't make the play. Here's a picture of us in our seats, and then one of the stage before the play began. He didn't want to make his picture with any of the characters this year.

We also began our participation in Pizza Hut's BookIt program. Each month, Andrew will get a certificate for a free personal pan pizza after he reads a book. Here he is with the first library book he read by himself, and his pizza. I'm not sure if we'll do this every month though. He only ate a couple of bites of his lunch and then told me he didn't like Pizza Hut pizza. Oh well!

At the beginning of the year, I asked Andrew to think of some goals he wanted to accomplish during Kindergarten. The first thing he said was "learn to tell time." So we started working on that in October. He was super excited the morning he saw our clocks out on the table for math!

We also practiced estimating and measuring volume.

Other math topics were counting by 2s, +1 and +0 addition facts, and counting dimes and pennies. He has made a 100 on every math assessment so far, so great job Andrew!

In reading and language arts, we finished our short vowels. He made this flip book to help him remember the sounds. We started working on our consonant blends next, and even learned about that Bossy E who makes the vowels say their long names. He has completed the pre-primer and primer sight word lists and is well onto the first grade list. Our read alouds for the month were Dolphin Adventure, Dolphin Treasure, The Light at Tern Rock, Five True Dog Stories, and The Family Under The Bridge. We are really enjoying our curriculum and the publisher's choices for read alouds to include. I don't think I had read any of the books from last month, and Andrew and Coleman loved them all!

History brought us the study of France and the French Revolution, along with the Wild West. Science had us reading about all the animal groups and ocean life. We even had a little hot chocolate with whipped cream one morning during math!

November is shaping up to be just as exciting as October around here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homeschool Co-op

This fall we have been part of a homeschool co-op on Tuesday afternoons. When we decided to homeschool, I knew we would need to be part of a larger group for Andrew to have his social needs met. He's a very outgoing child, and I knew he would miss the group dynamic of school if we couldn't find the right outlet. We are very thankful that God led us to this group to fill that need. We have really enjoyed our new friendships with like-minded families. And I was thrilled when the very first week I met another mom who has five boys! You can be sure we've had many conversations about family life and homeschooling!

Each week we arrive and start off with some PE games. The moms took turns leading the group in a new game each week. We played dodgeball, four square, volleyball, soccer, and kickball when the weather was nice. When it was too wet, they played four corners, relay games, and duck duck goose. Here are a few pics of Andrew and the gang. I can't remember what the game was in the first picture.

Four corners
Duck duck goose

Then we broke up into our classes. The group offers lots of different classes each term and the students and parents choose two to participate in for the ten week period. Andrew's classes were about the Pilgrims of Plymouth, and Pumpkins!

In his Pilgrims class, they made a pocket book. I was so excited when I saw what they were doing, since I used to make these with my classes at Woodland Forrest Elementary! Here he is showing off a little of his work.

Each pocket of the book focused on a different aspect of Life in Plymouth Colony. They had new vocabulary words, reading activities, and an art activity of some kind in each pocket. Here he is with a model of the pilgrim house they made.

Here are some pilgrim puppets and a stew of good manners they made. Pilgrim manners really stuck with him and he was able to contrast them to our manners very well.

They also made this handy little tool. If folks fell asleep in church, the usher would brush under their nose with the furry end of the stick, thus waking them up.

But if someone was talking or misbehaving, they got whapped on the head with the hard end of the stick!

In his Pumpkins class, I was a helper, so there are many more pictures of that class than Pilgrims. Here are Andrew and his friend Elijah working on some pumpkin art.

Each week, they read a pumpkin story, had a snack, and did an activity of some kind. The snacks were Andrew's favorite part. Here's a pumpkin they made out of orange sherbert with a tootsie roll stem. The dirt is crushed chocolate graham crackers.

They did lots of experiments and explorations with pumpkins too. Here he is making his predictions about his pumpkin.

And here are Andrew and Hannah measuring around their pumpkins.

We really enjoyed our first co-op, but are glad for a break until January. Tuesdays have been pretty hectic around here! We'll have a fun Christmas party with the group in December so be watching for that post to come!