Simple Womans Daybook

FOR TODAY... May 31, 2010

Outside my window...Sun, glorious sun!

I am thinking...that red velvet cake for breakfast is very yummy!

I am thankful....for my wonderful, relaxing weekend with family.

I am wearing...black pajama pants and a t-shirt.

I am remembering....funny things that Conman has said.

I am going....to probably have about 20 more pounds to lose after this weekend! Ha! Ha!

Some plans for the rest of the week...going home tonight; Lulu's final quilting class this week; a niece's 8th grade graduation; a field trip and a yard sale. I'm tired just typing it all out.

I am currently reading... Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer, The Bible, The Original Homeschooling Series, New Moon.

I am hoping....Conman is getting sick. He's a little warm and a little grumpy.

On my mind...not a lot. It's been a good, stress-free weekend.

From the learning room....a couple field trips this weekend while we're in San Diego. Continuing to read about the railroad. Lulu will be completing her math this week. Winding down.

Noticing that...I really like waking up naturally to the sun coming in my window.

Pondering these words...???

I am creating...next year's school plan still.

I am hearing...family talking in the kitchen.

From the kitchen...Memorial day bbq. Ribs, chicken, red beans & rice, peach pie, homemade ice cream and more....

Around the house...when I get home, unpacking and laundry. Weekly menu and grocery shopping.

One of my favorite things...my new laptop!

From my picture journal...a photo of us at the San Diego Mission yesterday. Lulu is missing from it because she went to a youth group meeting with the cousins.

Til tomorrow~


Creation and Earth History Museum Field Trip

I'll warn you ahead of time-this post has a lot of pictures!

We are currently visiting family in Southern California and took a "field trip" to the Creation and Earth History Museum in Santee, which is about twenty minutes from San Diego. According to the brochure, the museum was opened in 1970 by the Institute for Creation Research. The Institute has recently relocated and is now operated by the Life and Light Foundation. Their website is currently under construction, so you won't find much info on the musuem located there just yet. We spent about an hour and a half in the museum and admission was FREE! There is also a bookstore/gift shop inside the museum.

The exhibit start with day 1 of creation and continues through the fall of man, the flood, the Ice Age, the building of the Tower of Babel, history of Israel and other ancient civilizations, the reformation, and current scientific research done by creation scientists. Other subjects include fossils, dinosaurs, volcanoes, origin of linguistics, earth dating methods, and the creation vs. evolution debate.

We began with a photo of the kids taken
by a huge fossil.

Next, we walked through the days of creation. Each day was illustrated with large photos, wall murals, scripture verses and detailed biblical history plaques. These show a definition of what science is-I love it-and an explanation of how significant the 7 days are to every culture.

Here is a large display of creatures. There are preserved butterflies and bugs. Some of them are extremely beautiful making one wonder how they could not have been lovingly created. Others are just plain scary!

This one explains its display well.

The room about Noah's ark was phenomenal. Descriptions and measurements of the ark gave examples of just how large this ship was, how many animals and supplies it could hold, how it could float, be waterproof, etc. There were also several accounts of photos taken from aircrafts of what is believed to be the ark, sketches based on eye-witness accounts of Mt. Ararat, and this scale model comparing the ark to a modern day car.

The variety of fossils was amazing. Here is Blakester near a dinosaur footprint.
The three of them in front of a volcano simulation.

The guys on the trip were able to help a museum volunteer put the case back around the Tower of Babel.

Here is Conman walking like an Egyptian by of a replica of the Rosetta Stone.

A couple of my favorite artifacts: A shekel from Jeruselum and burned wheat from the city of Jericho.

This is an Egyptian cuneforms. It is much smaller than I had imagined.

In the end, this is what's it's really all about.

When I asked the kids what their favorite part of the museum was, Conman answered, "The mutation room." Hah!

To see where others have been on their field trips this week, visit Live The Adventure's Field Trip Fridays.


Weekly Wrap-Up #9

Our week was somewhat short and easy. To see what others have been up to, head over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-Up post.

I am happy to announce I am posting this from my brand new laptop!! While out running errands last week, we stopped off to research laptops. I found one that seemed like a good deal and had everything I wanted, so with my husband's blessing, I brought it home! I am so excited to be mobile. I am actually blogging right now from sunny San Diego, where we're spending the weekend. I'll post more on our trip over the weekend.

As a family, we attended a wonderful FFH concert at our church last weeekend. Inspiring music and an amazing testimony were enjoyed by all.

Conman completed one of his science sections this week and I gave him his first Charlotte Mason style "exam." I used the examples in the text and asked him to tell me all he could about several different items, such as the solar system, atmosphere, water cycle, etc. He did really well informing me about everything he learned-with a song! He answered every question by turning his answers into some sort of rhyme and singing them to me. If I was grading him, he would definitely get an "A" for creativity!

Blakester spent some time outside the orthodontist office this week during Lulu's visit exploring the landscaping and came out with a snail which he proudly showed off. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera handy.

Lulu has been working on her quilting project and should have it completed next week. I'll be able to show it off to everyone at that point.

I'm still working away at next year's lesson plan, and am happy to be able to plan on the road. I will be completing the entry of our poems for next year over the weekend.

Til tomorrow~


End of the Year Clean-Out

As I near the end of our "official" school year, I find myself buried under piles of completed work. And that's not just work from this year. There is also work that's accumulated from the previous two years.

I am not normally a keeper of stuff. However, during the first year of homeschooling, I kept mostly everything. Just in case the neighbors or the authorities came knocking. Then I would be able to say "Look at all we accomplished!" and actually have proof.

Now, as I finish up our third year, I'm more confident in what we are doing. I'm more aware of my rights as a homeschooler and the appropriate action to take if someone does show up at my door. And I know what papers I really need to keep.

So what am I going to keep?

Each kiddo already has a cumulative file that includes, in Blake's and Laina's cases, their public school records, health records and up-to-date immunization records, report cards and attendance sheets that I print from Homeschool Tracker, and their id cards from our homeschool group. A current "school" photo and summary of curriculum for the current year is written on the front of the file.

I think as I go through my boxes I will hang onto a couple of the best samplings of their beginning, middle and end of year work for each subject, tests, and special projects or papers. These I will put in a portfolio, along with field trip reports and book lists for the year. My lesson plans are all input into Homeschool Tracker and are easily accessible if needed.

I think that's it.

As we make our full transition to Charlotte Mason, I will have even less stuff to hang on to. No worksheets, few tests, some projects, and lots of memories. That's the best stuff to have hanging around.


Just a Few Small Changes

I've been reevaluating a few things lately and have made a few small changes to my blog. Nothing that will affect anyone adversely, but I thought I'd share.

In the spirit of simplifying, I've decided to no longer post book reviews for Booksneeze. I've found I prefer posting a review on something I feel is helpful to the homeschool community or a book that I really enjoyed and feel I must share it. I don't want it to be an obligation, a have to.

I rearranged a few of the buttons on my right sidebar. You'll notice that the Top Mommy Blogs button is now positioned closer to the top of the page. This is so all you wonderful readers out there will remember to vote for me when you visit my blog!

I've removed the Amazon banner ad in my header. I felt it was a distraction. I also expanded my Amazon a-store widget in my right sidebar to show more of the books I recommend.

I've removed the Google adsense banner that ran across the top of my header. Some of the things it was advertising just didn't make sense for my blog.

I also removed some of the other ad buttons that were cluttering up my sidebar. It feels so refreshing to declutter!

Hopefully this will make my blog easier to read with less distractions!


Wednesday Nature Study

Our first stop on our nature walk today was right next door at Grandma's house. My niece acquired three adorable little bunnies yesterday for her fair project. We took another little niece, Kassady, over there to see them. She liked them, but kept calling them "kitty."

We didn't find many new things today, but the boys did have fun throwing pine cones into the canal and following along the bank with them as they floated down the canal. (The pine cones, not the boys.)

At one point we stopped for a moment and enjoyed the sweet smell of lilac as it drifted through the air.

Lovely spring.


Play Before Work

My boys are currently engaged in a battle.

A Playmobile battle.

All their little troops are lined up, fighting each other, taking prisoners, even playing soccer with an teeny-tiny soccer ball.

Earlier, Conman had not yet completed his schoolwork. I told him I would call him to the table at 1:00 to finish up.

1:00 came and I reminded him we had to complete his Thinking Skills workbook page and read together.

His reply? "Can't it wait until I speak to the king?"

By all means~


The Simple Womans Daybook

FOR TODAY... May 17, 2010

Outside my window...Dusk, some rain. Slight wind.

I am thinking...that I shouldn't have eaten so much at dinner. But is was very yummy.

I am thankful....that I know it could always be worse.

I am wearing...jeans, t-shirt, slippers and socks.

I am remembering....funny moments that happened when I was younger and sharing them with my family.

I am going....to get up in the morning and take a walk again. It felt really good this morning.

Some plans for the rest of the week...Lulu's quilting class tomorrow night. Babysitting my niece on Wednesday. Helping out my mom on Thursday. A concert at church on Saturday. Planning & cleaning in between.

I am currently reading... Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer, The Bible, The Original Homeschooling Series, Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker.

I am hoping...that my new Simply Charlotte Mason DVD seminar comes in the mail soon.

On my mind...a very nice postal counter worker was in tears today because her brother is very ill and she wasn't able to get off to go see him. It broke my heart.

From the learning room....we'll start reading about the Transcontinental Railroad tomorrow. Conman is going to skip ahead on this week's math lesson. It's about telling time, and he's ok with that already. Lulu only has 3 weeks of pre-algebra left. This school year is flying by.

Noticing that...I prefer it when things are quieter around the house.

Pondering these words...I don't have anything good to ponder this week....

I am creating...still nothing. All my focus is on the house and the school planning.

I am hearing...the printer spitting out notebook pages from Knowledge Box Central for Lulu's science next year. NCIS on tv.

From the kitchen...taco soup, with chips & cheese.

Around the house...catching up on laundry and ironing today. Noticed the bathroom sink is leaking.

One of my favorite things...coffee with friends.

From my picture journal...this is kind of a bizarre photo. Last year I had the distinct honor of being invited to the elite Club 33 in Disneyland. This did not happen on my own accord. I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend who needed someone to go with him and some clients for the day, and since his wife was unable to, it was suggested I go due to my extreme Disneyland addiction. So I went. And this was the toilet in the women's restroom. Enough said.

Til tomorrow~


Weekly Wrap Up #8

I spent yesterday afternoon with a few friends enjoying a wonderful outdoor concert by Britt Nicole and Natalie Grant. The weather was warm, but not intolerable. Afterwards, we had a leisurely dinner where we chatted and just played catch-up. A nice way to wind down the week for me.

The kids got to spend some time last night with their dad at a friends house, making smore's and hanging out. I met up with them when we returned from my big girl's night out.

School wise, Blakester did complete both his nature reader and Apologia science this week. He wanted to know if he had to start right away on his next science. I told him no, but there is supplemental reading he'll be doing over the summer for science.

The white board was what worked best for Conman this week for his math problems. He didn't want to complete the worksheets, but once I wrote the same, exact problems on the white board, he whizzed through them. Go figure.

I'm jumping in and cleaning the boy's room thoroughly today. We finished Lulu's yesterday. Only 3 more months til the move!

If you're interested in reading what others have been up to this week, check out
Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly-Wrap Up posts.


Sutter's Fort Field Trip

To continue our study of California history, we took a trip to Sutter's Fort State Historic Park and Old Town Sacramento today. I have not been to Sutter's Fort since my 4th grade field trip and I'm pretty sure I appreciated it a lot more today than I did 28 years ago!

As a quick intro for those who are not familiar with Sutter's Fort, Johann Augustus Sutter was a German immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1834. In 1840 he began building what would become a large adobe fort. It became a temporary refuge for pioneers between 1841 and 1849, including a group of 47 survivors from the Donner Party expedition. In 1847, Mr. Sutter contracted to build a sawmill about 50 miles from the fort, when one of the workers discovered gold. Not able to keep it a secret, the gold rush proved to be the downfall of the fort, as would-be miners overtook much of the land.

For starters, I tried to get a group photo of the kids under the sign. It didn't work very well. The sun was so bright that Conman insisted on standing in the shade, so that's why he looks like he's hiding in the back. And Lulu was busy trying to see what he was doing back there, so all I shot of her was the side of her head. The little cutie in the stroller is my niece Heidye, who came along with Grandma for the ride.

When you enter the fort, you pay admission ($6 for adults, $4 for kids, 5 & under free) and are given a map of the grounds and an informative printout of the history of the fort. As soon as we walked in, the fort bell rang indicating that a musket firing demonstration was underway. This gentleman showed the crowd how a musket was loaded and fired.

Next, we walked through an orientation room that, through photos, documents, artifacts and exhibits, took us through a history of Johann Augustus Sutter's life. There was also some other interesting facts about the gold rush, Donner Party and early California history. One of Blakester's favorites was Patty Reed's little doll, which survived the trek of the Donner Party. He read the book Patty Reed's Doll earlier this year and it was very neat to see it in person. One would imagine it was a large item, but in reality, is only a couple of inches tall.

Here is a fuzzy photo of the kids in what was the jail area. It's fuzzy due to all the dust floating around in there. No windows and underground. Yuk.

About a half hour after we arrived, the fort bell rang again. This time we were treated to a cannon demonstration. The volunteers loaded and shot this 1804 cannon.

There are rooms of exhibits located all along the fort. We were able to view the candlemaking shop, blacksmith shop, bastions for the cannons, kitchen, bakery, dining room, Mr. Sutter's office, doctor's office, clerk's office, vaquero's room, gunsmith, the guards room, immigrant's room, Mr. Sutter's bedroom, and the mill area. If we chose to stay long enough at any one area, an audio recording would play giving details of the area being viewed.

After a quick trip through the fort's store, and a purchase of a basket-weaving kit for Lulu by Grandma, we headed out to the park area for a picnic lunch. The time we spent at the fort was right about 2 hours.

We wound our way down to old town Sacramento, poured a couple dollars worth of quarters into a parking meter, and headed out to explore the shops.

At a hat store, Conman tried on this fancy Indiana Jones hat. A movie career might be in his future.

We wandered in and out of several shops, enjoyed the beautiful weather, perused the unusual items for sale and stocked up on salt-water taffy at the candy store.

One of the main attractions we wanted to check out was the Pony Express statue.

And here's a picture of Heidye just because she's adorable!

At the end of our day we visited the Old Schoolhouse museum. Conman had fun trying out the roll of teacher.

The school was set up as a one-room schoolhouse would have been in the late 1800's. Each desk had a McGuffey's Reader, a slate, chalk and a rag upon it. Chalkboards lining the walls were covered with information on the history of the school. One thing I found particularly interesting was the flag salute. I was unaware that this was the salute that was said in school up until 1897. (I think that was the date on it-I forgot to write it down.)

The Sacramento history museum and the California Railroad museum are also both located in old town Sacramento; however, we weren't able to make it through those today. The capital building is also a few blocks from the same area. Maybe next time.
You can see what fun field trips others have been on over at Live the Adventure's Field Trip Friday's.

What a wonderful day~


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