Monday, November 14, 2016

Start With Just Today

In our 3.5 months here in North Carolina, we've had some very cool experiences and visited a lot of really great places.  Field trips abound here!  It's really fun to be somewhere new and have so many places to explore and discover.  Everything is an adventure when you are living somewhere totally different!

Unfortunately, I've also been very busy.  Aren't we all? It's no excuse. But I've been very slow to document all of the fantastic trips we've taken.  I feel the need to backtrack and catch up.  But not today.  Someone once counselled  me to always start journaling with Today.  Just today.  if you try to back up and catch up, you inevitably get overwhelmed and give up.

I think that was great advice and can apply to lots of areas of my life: Laundry, relationships, weight loss, pretty much everything.  Just start with making today better.  Then do it again tomorrow.

So I'm taking that advice and just starting with today.  If I happen to find time to backup and cover past events, I will surely do that.  But here's where we went today: Yates Mill!

What a gorgeous fall day to visit an old working corn mill.  The park was hosting a home school day and we were able to attend with the younger 4 kids.  Such a treat!  I learned a lot.  We started in the classroom (no pics) to learn about artifacts and archaeology.  The lesson and activities were very fun.  But the best part of course was taking the short walk to the mill on the other side of the lake and watching the hydro powered mill come to life!  Talk about living history!


After looking at the mill from outside, we headed up to the front porch for a corn shucking demonstration.  Very cool to watch the hard dry kernels pop off the cob when run through this old but very efficient machine.

Then we headed inside.
The kids waited in line two by two to take a look at this
And then they got to poke their heads in through a little window in the wall to see the inner workings and cogs and belts of the old mill. Pretty incredible!
It was pretty loud too.
That's under the mill! And the little window is original.

We sat down to learn more of the history and how the mill operated.  We learned that a group of boys  claimed the mill as their clubhouse in 1967 after it was shut down.  They called themselves The Church Keys and their graffiti is easy to spot.  There is also graffiti from the 1800s and early 1900s.  Kinda cool!

After the tour we took a moment to just soak up the sunshine and the beautiful view.  Gorgeous day! We also learned that local churches used these waters for baptisms up until the 1950s.  

Super fun day.  I would do it again. And what a great place to take family photos.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

UNC Homeschool Day

Being totally new in the area, there is always so much to explore! Today we went to the UNC Chapel Hill campus to participate in their homeschool day at the planetarium and science center.

We saw a show called Cosmic Colors in the planetarium followed by a viewing of our night time sky. Very cool! I'd recommend it if you get a chance to see it where you are.  It was a great tie in with our astronomy studies from last year, as well as my 6th grader's study of light and energy this fall.

Unfortunately I had to miss quite a bit of the Phantastic Physics presentation because the little one was getting tired and loud! We had to head outside for a while.  But when I came back in guess who I found standing up at the front volunteering to help out in an experiment?

I think it must be a childhood rite of passage to play around with a van de graaff generator!

The science building is really neat!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Future of Education

Does this stir your soul and bring the fire back to your homeschool vision the way it does for me?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home

Does it make us real North Carolinians that we have actually picked cotton now?  Well, some of us have anyway.  I found a private co-op that was inviting homeschoolers to attend one of their field trips to this cool historic farm with lots of hands on activities.  

And guess what?  I didn't have to go!  It was the FIRST time ever that I dropped off my kids at a school and said goodbye as they went off on a bus to attend a field trip.  Then I took my oldest to  a Spanish class (also a drop off!) and then went home and gave the baby a nap.

Um...for the first time in forever.....I had time on a weekday to clean, read email, make dinner EARLY, pay bills, make phone calls....It. was. awesome!  I mean, really, it felt sooooo good.  Is that what it's like to drop your kids off at school every day?  I'll confess it was kinda nice.  But on the other hand, the whole time they were gone I was missing them, thinking of them, wishing I had been there to get my own photos and experience the learning with them.

Picking Cotton?  That's something you can't do in WA!  Glad some of the kids got to have this southern experience so soon in our new home state.  On our way to the bus I was singing this song for the kids

Looking forward to more exploring in our new home state!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Did I tell you we moved?

Yeah, it's been a bit of a whirlwind.  But we moved!  Not down the street, or a few neighborhoods over.  Not even a few states over.  Baby, we moved from one coast to the other.  We left our home of the last 14 years on Pacific North West and we are now Tarheels!  Yep, We're in North Carolina.

It has been such an adventure!  I'll catch up on the details as we go along.  But let me just say that the cool, cloudy, breezy weather we have today is a refreshing gift!  It reminds me of our Seattle home and is such a relief from the record breaking heat we've had the past 7 weeks or so.

Seems like just yesterday that we left....

We sold our house in a week!  Packed up the house

Loaded the truck

Said goodbye to our house of 10.5 years. Four of my six babies were born here.  It was the only house my kids could remember. SO many memories contained in those walls and in my heart.  Good times, bad times...happy and sad times.  Holidays, birthdays, family visits, homeschool adventures.  That house witnessed it all.

We hopped a plan out of Portland and headed east!

The hardest part, was leaving 1/6 of my heart behind.

Dear Baby Hazel, I will have to carry you in my heart from here on.  I can't bring you flowers or wash your stone or trim the grass. I can't bring your Easter basket or a Christmas tree.  But I wear my necklace everyday.   Your picture is by my bed.  I still buy you flowers.  Purple ones.  I miss you baby girl.  I always will.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Human Body: Final Presentation

It feels good to be wrapping up the year and finishing projects.  I'm so glad to be putting this year in the books.  It was a great year!  Don't get me wrong. But homeschooling is always a little extra challenging with a new baby in the house.  Next year I may eat those words!  Next year we'll have a toddler destroying all of our work and getting into everything you can think of.  Well, I've lived through it before. I'm sure we can make it work again.  :)  Big inhale.

Anyway, 5th grader just finished up her unit on the human body.  I've posted a lot of her work here recently because she had such a good time using the resources that came with her unit and doing all fo the fun hands on projects.  I will definitely be using this unit again in the future with my other kids.

I accidentally threw out her model of a human lung.  But here is a compilation of some of her other work that she put together for her final presentation.  So proud of her hard work!!

It glows!

My 7th grader did a chemistry class this year using Noeo Chemistry 3, which I think she mostly enjoyed.  I think the biggest thing we had to work on in this class was how to write up a good lab report without cutting corners.  I think the readings were solid and fairly interesting too.

The chemistry kit was fairly complete and came with some good resources. She found a few of the labs to be a bit trite and redundant.  But a few of them sparked her interest.  The last one was kinda cool.  We happen to catch it on video.  Her lesson was on chemo-luminescence.  Did I spell that right?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

It must be summer!

I always feel like summer has officially begun when the strawberries are ready to pick.  They were ready a little early this year but with the warm weather and all, it sure does feel like summer around here.  It was fun to take our little one to the fields with us and watch her devour her favorite fruit endlessly.  I think she finally got her fill by the end.  Check it out:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Family Book Club- Owls in the Family

We recently finished reading Owls in the Family together.  I loved it!  Another story based out of   Canada.  I loved that it was a shorter book that we were able to finish fairly quickly this time.  The story is so simple, and yet so endearing and entertaining.  My kids loved it too and they never wanted me to put the book down.

So to celebrate this book reading, we invited some friends over to dissect owl pellets with us!   Super fun.  A tiny bit gross.  Mostly interesting.

Here are some fun photos.

Look at these scientists hard at work!

Wow, this student worked very carefully and thoroughly to unpack this intact skull from the pellet.  I was impressed!  One of the pellets even had two complete skulls in it. That was a hungry owl!  If you're wondering what the bleach was for, some of the kids decided to bleach teh bones (3 minute process) and take them home to glue onto cardboard using the identification chart to form a complete skeleton.

Here we are talking about an owl's part in the food web.  I gave the kids necklaces that named their part in the web, and I used yarn to connect the producers and consumers in this web and make the activity a bit more memorable.

Fun times!  I was so glad to wipe down the tables with disinfectant and thoroughly clean the floors when it was all done.  Ick.

Kindergarten PE

I've been meaning to get these pictures up for a couple of weeks just because they are cute!  A friend from the co-op snapped these for me since I am monitoring the study hall while my cutie pie is in PE.  But here she is on the last day of class, making some really cool, very huge bubbles!

I love to see my kids having fun and enjoying cool experiences with good people.  Makes me happy.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Last year at this time I was fairly pregnant with baby six.  I remember we attended a really nice military service for Memorial Day at the cemetery where Hazel is buried.  Before the service  I remember kneeling by her grave with my big belly, missing her, but so grateful for a chance at a new life to join our family.  And so sad that I would be able to raise these two girls as siblings on earth.  A whirlwind of emotions.  Certain moments or events bring up a lot of memories and emotions for me.

This year, I feel like we commemorated Memorial Day a day early.  We almost always go visit Hazel on Sunday and bring her fresh flowers.  So this past Sunday the staff were putting out all the flags on the service men's graves.  There were so many.  SO many!

It was a good time to talk to the kids about just how many of our good citizens give up their time, talents, families and opportunities to serve our nation.  The cemetery was just a very small representation of the hundreds of thousands, no millions, of Americans that have fought for freedom in one way or another.

So on Monday, Memorial Day, we decided to go for a hike.  It was a gorgeous day.  Perfect for hiking.  We went to Wallace Falls.  We have attempted to hike Wallace Falls many times, but never have made it because we had a little (always someone different) that needed to turn around and go home.

But this time we were determined to make it!  At least to the Lower Falls.  And...we did!  Hurray! It only took ten years.  :)

It was so worth it.  What a site!

Can't resist getting close

This is funny if you know about the sibling feud happening at our house.  This guy thinks pigs are the best animals ever.  His sister things horses are the best.  It sometimes turns into all out war!  Seriously.  With tears and everything.  I don't get it.  But sometimes we can all laugh about it and this sign helped us do just that.
The Great North West!

We were certainly tired, muddy, and happy by the end.  At least most of us fit that description.  After dealing with some traffic on the way home, we arrived late for a yummy BBQ with friends at the park.  Fun day!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Salve Porcae Parvae

I don't know if I spelled that title right for this blog entry.  Cause I don't study Latin,  But my 5th grader took a super fun latin class at the co-op this year and she loved it!  Apparently, the title means "Hello Small Pig" which I found to be amusing. It's a line from their skit they did the last day of class about the three little pigs.  Photos and video below.

She also got to make this really cool Clue game in Latin.

I was a bit surprised when she asked me if she could sign up for Intermediate latin next year.  But hey!  She likes it so let's run with that.