"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Texas Nature Challenge #1

Challenge #1

1)  Take a Group Picture at Opening Ceremonies.  Okay so maybe this contest is coordinated for larger homeschool groups, schools and such, but, it is what it is.  Sometimes we will have daddy and/or Randy with us on our challenges and other times we hope to have Sissy and Chevy with us as well.  Today, it was just us and that's okay!!

2)  List all of the sites who were participating in opening ceremonies.

Mission accomplished, but I guess for the sake of the competition I will not list them here.  I will say that Caleb's favorite was the Texas Parks and Wildlife booth - they had a scaled down version of Geocaching and he had a blast!  Here he is with the borrowed GPS device, on the search, locating the box, and showing off his prize.  Normally with geocaching, when you find a prize in the box you are supposed to leave something if you take something.  But for today, he was told he could pick out one thing if he liked it.  He chose a pencil to use at school. 

Let's just say that he can't wait to do this again.  And after a review of all the challenges, I did see that Geocaching is in our future.  :)

3) Share which of these sites you are most looking forward to visiting.

For Caleb that has to be the Texas Zoo.  All he has talked about is the Texas Zoo and getting to see the alligators being fed their lunch.  I sure hope our timing is right and he gets to do that!!

Here are a few photos of the rest of our time at opening ceremonies:

Lots of handouts to help mom remember all the participants at opening ceremonies!

Until our next challenge.....God bless you and yours.

Educating in Christ,


Texas Nature Challenge - Opening Ceremonies

I have officially signed the Parker Family up for a Nature Challenge.  It began Saturday, August 25th, with the opening ceremonies at Hazel Bazemore County Park in Corpus Christi, Texas.  It will conclude on November 10th at an event in Austwell, Texas.  The official name of the nature challenge is the Texas Nature Challenge, and we're participating in the Coastal Bend Region challenges. 

The Nature Challenge is actually a competition of sorts.  There is a list of 25 challenges to be completed throughout the duration of the contest.  In addition to the challenges, the teams participating are encouraged to create a scrapbook documentaing the challenges they have participated in.   Each challenge has different tasks you have to complete while you are there. The scrapbook is the perfect way to document your participation.  Near the end of the competition, all scrapbook will be turned in so that they can be judged.  

None of the challenges are mandatory, but I must admit that it is a very creative way to get families to spend time together, to get them outdoors, and to give them a bit of a push into the realm of competing for the sake of learning. 

Apparently, there are prizes being awarded for best scrapbooks, photographs, and blogs.  I truly did not enter into the Nature Challenge with the idea of becoming a die hard, but I am excited for Caleb and I to participate as much as possible.  Additionally, part of our homeschool curriculum encourages a nature walk once a week.  Well, anyone who has been to our home or lives in the vicinity is quite aware that nature is suffering right now.  The drought is taking its toll on the animals, the wildlife, the flora, and fauna.  It's pretty sad to look around and see all that is suffering.  So with that, our nature walks are pretty uneventful.  The Texas Nature Challenge is the perfect solution to tying nature into our home school week.  It will take a bit of planning and coordination, but after reviewing the challenges I am even more excited to see all that Caleb will learn in the process!

If you'd like to learn along with us, check back here on our blog as I will be posting our Nature Challenge journey.  You never know what you might learn in the process!

Educating in Christ,


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MFW 2nd Grade - Week #2

Our 2nd week of school took longer than it should have.  I can't say enough how grateful I was that we homeschool.  In the mix of everything going on, I didn't have to run Caleb around and try to get him to school on time.   A couple of family medical emergencies interjected themselves into our life.  First, two days before Johnny's birthday and in the middle of my daughter's baby shower, I tore the retina in my eye and was out of commission for four days.  Following that incident, my daughter went into labor and had a precious baby boy four weeks early.  So, we missed five days of school there as well.  Finally, we were able to wrap up week two today and we are excited to start week three tomorrow!!

Even though it took us a while to finish, we had a great time!!  We start every school morning saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Then we go straight into bible time.

BIBLE:  This week we talked about Jesus' name and the Old Testament.   He also started his Names of Jesus poster.   Caleb is also learning how to look up scripture in his bible.

SPELLING and READING:   Caleb had another list of 12 words and worked through some spelling lessons with them, finishing the week out with a spelling test.  He still gets the 'deer in headlights' look with the spelling test.  I know it's because he doesn't want to make mistakes.  He's really doing well with it.  Nearly got a hundred!!

Book Basket Books:

Telling Time, Jules Older
Tell Me What the Time Is, Shirley Willis
Clocks and More Clocks, Pat Hutchins
Pigs on a Blanket, Amy Axelrod
Mr. Large in Charge, Jill Murphy
Task Time, Cynthia Klingel & Peg Ballard
Smiles, Robert B. Noyed & Cynthia Klingel
Teddy Bear Math, Barbara Barbieri McGrath
The Mess, Patricia Jensen
Otto the Book Bear, Katie Cleminson
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark, Deborah Diesen
Benny and Penny in Just Pretend, Geoffrey Hayes
Zoomer's Summer Storm, Ned Young
Christopher Columbus, Carol Greene
Adam and Eve God's First People, ZonderKids
Bats and the Ballgame, Brian Lies
Don't Know Much About the Pioneers, Kenneth C. Davis
You are My Miracle, Maryann Cusimano Love
Little Quack's Bedtime, Lauren Thompson
FIVE - Scholastic Science Readers on various topics


Each day this week we read from our American Pioneers and Patriots book.  We read aloud the story of Pedro and Catalina, two pioneer children from Spain.  It's a story about their travels on a ship as they leave Spain.  We learned about the food they eat, the difficulties they faced with bad weather, and living life on a ship.  The story was so good that on one particular day, Caleb did not want to stop reading.  He wanted me to go ahead to the next days reading!!

HANDWRITING:  Practiced handwriting for letters C-J

HISTORY:   We talked about Christopher Columbus this week.  Caleb learned who he is, where he traveled, and some of the difficulties he went through in getting financial assistance for his travels.  He watched his first DVD for the year - Christopher Columbus.

We added Columbus to the Timeline

History Activity - Caleb had to build the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria and try to float them in water.

Yes - he left the "i" off of Maria.  But, what I've come to learn with homeschooling is that there is a time and a place to make the student correct mistakes.  In the middle of a fun activity isn't really the time to point out mistakes.  This time, it was all about having fun.  

We took the foil "boats" out to the fish pond and Caleb provided the wind to toss them around in the "sea."

SCIENCE:   This weeks activities were about Science with Air.

The beginning of his science notebook.

Activity #1:   Scoot the paper across the floor with the cardboard.  Caleb did better than I the first time.

My paper turned sideways while his sailed across the floor to the blue finish line.

Activity #2:  He learned that air takes up space inside of things.  Such as this bottle.  When you submerge it under water, the air leaves the bottle in the form of bubbles and the bottle fills with water.

MATH:  We took off like a shot this week in our Singapore Math books completing a lesson each day.

ART:  Caleb just tickles me.  He really doesn't like art very much, but some of his art lessons he actually gets excited and tries to do his best.  This was one of those lessons.

POSTCARD COLLECTION:  Caleb's postcard collection is growing.  We mailed out quite a few to children in other states and Caleb has received quite a few as well.

Adventures is My Father's World has gotten off to a great start!  Eye is better, baby has arrived, so I am encouraged that we can really dig into the year and continue the learning process.

Homeschooling is the BEST!!

Educating in Christ,


Friday, August 10, 2012

All in Review - What's in a Hurricane? Part 1

Knowledge Box Central at www.KnowledgeBoxCentral.com called out to homeschool mom's asking for reviews of products from their website.  The first 25 responders would get to choose their top 3 choices from the website and one of those items would be sent for free, with the stipulation that a review would be forthcoming.

Hey - what can I say?  I like "free."

I can't begin to tell you how many choices there were on this website to choose from.  Science lapbooks, State lapbooks, literally TONS more, and my first choice, the Hurricane Lapbook.  If you don't know what a lapbook is, well, you're missing out.  Anyone with kids who like to be hands on, cutting, pasting, etc, etc, would love a lapbook.

You use file folders and cut out little booklet type things to paste inside it.  The little covers have questions and the insides are full of information.  It's really a neat way to learn while one makes use of their artistic abilities.  Caleb and I have done one on Weather Words:

What I learned with this one was that my son, well, he isn't into that stuff so much, when it involves crafting, but he LOVES science.  So, when given the choice, I chose a lapbook on Hurricanes.  Living where we do in South Texas, we're in the midst of hurricane season right now.  It's on the news every night while the meteorologists are watching tropical depressions, tropicals storms, and yes, sometimes full-blown hurricanes.

As an adult, I know the basics about hurricanes and I know to stock my pantry with non-perishables and lots of water in the event one should head in our direction.  But, more than that, I could stand to learn a bit more about them.

I'll be honest here, I injured my eye over the weekend and truthfully can not take the time to print out the document and read it in it's entirety.  And really, I'm not sure they would want me to do that because the lapbook itself should be done in colorful file folders and all the tidbits of information need to be printed on colored cardstock.  Ooooh, the ink that would be wasted in printing it just to read it.  But, I read (skimmed) through it, reading it on my computer screen so I could make the font bigger and easier for me to get through.  I had a retinal tear and as a result nasty floaters (that should go away) are swimming around in my eye and I'm still fighting the blurry vision.

ALL that aside, this file is STOCKED FULL of information on hurricanes.  There are step-by-step instructions on how to create the lapbook.  All the pertinent information is present and accounted for.  You can develop the lapbook to absolutely any level depending on the age of your child.  Easier for the littles and more in-depth and complicated for the older ones.  It is so creative.

I'm really excited to work through this lapbook!!  The writer has thought about everything.  While not all the topics on their website would be very much fun for my son, just because he's that way, I know he is going to be very interested in this topic.  I expect I'll have to help with the cutting, but only because he's lazy and won't want to do it.  I can't wait as I know we'll have a good time learning all about Hurricane's together!

When the time comes, I'll be going back to get the lapbook on Texas State History....Week #25 of Adventures in MFW has us learning about Texas.  I want to take a bit more time during that week to talk about OUR state.  What better way to learn it than with a Lapbook!!

I encourage you to take a jog on over to Knowledge Box Central....they are sure to have something your own kids will enjoy!!

Educating (and Reviewing) in Christ,


Friday, August 3, 2012

MFW 2nd Grade - Week #1

Whew!  Our first week of Adventures in MFW is now finished.  I have to say we had a really good week.   This year has an entirely new format to follow and we both are having to get used to that.  After a few weeks of the lazies, it's been a bit of adjustment for Caleb (and myself) to get back into the groove of school.  I'm very pleased with him and how his attitude is taking in all these changes.   And I'm pretty pleased with my own attitude as well.  Homeschooling is a big responsibility, not to be taken lightly.  So, any time I'm giving it MY best effort as well, it's a blessing all the way around.  ;o)

BIBLE:  We haven't dug INTO the bible yet.  That's coming next week when we begin our Names of Jesus poster.  But, we did talk about Caleb's name, what it means, and why we chose it.  He had to write its meaning on some handwriting paper and we also had a bible activity where he made a necklace out of beads spelling out his name.  Mommy and daddy also had to write a letter to him, explaining why he was named Caleb.  I did manage to read through the letter in its entirety, but still had watery eyes.

I also introduced him to his new Discoverer's Bible for this year and wrote on the inside front page for him.  He was rather tickled about that.

SPELLING:   Spelling lessons are a whole new thing for Caleb.  We started with a list of 12 words on Monday and worked through different lessons throughout the week using those same words.  He's never done a spelling test before and really did well for his first time.  I was so proud of him.  I had to help him with two words.  But, I am certain that now that he knows what we're going to do with those words throughout the week he will be paying more attention.  He is quite the perfectionist, so I see him improving in this area as he adjusts to the concept of remembering how to WRITE the words he knows how to read.

ENGLISH:  Caleb will begin English in a couple of weeks.  For now we are going to work on his handwriting and practicing the letters of the alphabet, writing two letters each day.  This is part of MFW's soft approach to the new school year.  We don't pile every aspect of 2nd grade on him the first day or even week.  He is going to tire of writing the ABC's again, but after writing some of the Aa's and Bb's, he was laughing sorta to himself.  You see,  I told him to write 4 of each letter for Aa and Bb and to do it in his best handwriting.  If he did a good job, he could stop at 4 each.  But, if he wrote messy, I'd make him write more.  Well, he did a great job, but he just kept writing and making small a's and I think he was teasing me because he said, "is that 4?" and there was like ten or twelve on the line.  He had a cheeky grin on his face when he was asking me.  Stinker.

HISTORY:  We reworked and prepared last year's timeline so that we could continue using it this year.  I had a packet of neon colored card stock and asked Caleb which color he wanted.  He chose all of them and said he wanted it to look like a rainbow.  I figured since the rainbow was God's promise to us to never flood the earth again, that was a super way to display his timeline.  Not exactly rainbow colors, but with neon it is definitely bright and colorful.  I think it turned out well.  Nice and neat this time.

Here are pictures of Caleb at his birth and I put one in the current year spot.  The very end is a marker for the New Heaven and Earth after God comes back to take us home.

It's accordion style and works really well.  We can fold it up or pull it out and look at it.

Here are a couple of pages from last year showing how we reworked it to use this year.

Maps:  We went over the U.S. Map and talked about our state and then looked at the World Map and talked about the countries and continents.  You can't really see in this picture, but Caleb had to labels some places on the US Map - Canada, Mexico, and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.  

Spotlight:  Our spotlight from history this week fell on Leif Ericsson and the Vikings.  What a fun topic to discuss and learn from.  Caleb did super at narrating the story back to me.  He was certainly paying attention today.  We used our World Map and looked at Northern Europe, also discussing where the Vikings started and how they moved over to Iceland, and then discovered Greenland - - finally learning the story behind Leif Ericsson discovering Canada.  Very interesting, even for me!  And we added Leif Ericsson to our timeline.

History Notebook:  We started his history notebook and have added the Pledge of Allegiance page, maps we discussed, and summary sentences about Leif Ericsson.  He'll have plenty more going into this notebook as the year progresses.  It's going to be a wonderful keepsake for years to come.  

MATH:  Additionally, beginning with the softer approach to the new school year, MFW recommends we start with math next week.  So, this week, we played some math games to work on our addition and subtraction skills a little bit.

SCIENCE:   We talked about science, what is science and what do scientists do?   We had one experiment using two glass jars, water, eggs, and salt.  Caleb learned that things will float better in salt water than unsalted water.  The salt make the water more dense, thus allowing things to more easily float in it.  I've said it before, but this little guy loves science.


We're back to lots of reading.  With Adventures, we'll do lots of book basket reading, which is a time that Caleb grabs a book, snuggles up on the couch and gives it a read by himself.  If he's not in the mood to read, it's okay, he can just look at the pictures.  But, it's all about learning to have a love for reading.  Caleb already has this, so I'm not concerned, other than he's used to us doing this together.  So, for now, we're still spending our reading time together.  I make sure he reads to me sometimes and then other times I read to him.

I Pledge Allegiance, Bill Martin Jr & Michael Sampson
The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, Trinka Hakes Noble
Jimmy's Boa Bounces Back, Trinka Hakes Noble
Pip's Trip, Janet Morgan Stoeke
Fish Had a Wish, Michael Garland
Life and Times in the Viking World, Sheila Clewley
My House, Patricia Jensen
Truck Stop, Bonnie Dobkin
Green, Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Cheetah, Suzi Eszterhas

READ-A-LOUD:  Next week we'll start with some assigned reading in our American Pioneers and Patriots book.  That should be lots of fun.  Then going forward, MFW will give us assigned reading and we'll have to make sure that gets done every day.  Lots of great read-a-loud books on the shelf for this year.  Sissy also found some great classics at Target for $1 each and passed those to us - Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, and The Story of Doctor Dolittle.  These are all great chapters books to enhance Caleb's reading skills.  

SPECIAL SNACK:   This week we prepared a special snack in red, white, and blue to commemorate the colors of the US Flag.  Strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream from the can.  Yummo!

ART:  Caleb had three art lessons this week.  In a fun way, he's learning some drawing techniques.  He's never been a huge fan of art, but he seems to be enjoying these short little lessons.  We're putting all his lessons in an art binder and he already seems proud of the few things he's done.  
He wanted the words green.  He was very specific about that.  ;o)

The first lesson was very simple, but talked about drawing straight lines.  Vertically and horizontally.

Then he had to replicate some designs and patters on these pages.  Too cute!

FOREIGN LANGUAGE:  Our foreign language lessons will begin next week as long as I don't feel that Caleb is becoming overwhelmed with the new schedule and workload.  If things are moving along well, we'll start up Spanish.  Otherwise we might wait another week before we start.

MUSIC:  Our music lessons won't start until the second month of school.  In glancing ahead, I see that  we'll be listening to and learning some patriotic songs.  We have some other CD's that came with the curriculum and those will be introduced at different times throughout the year. 


State Postcards - we'll be working on a project this year collecting postcards from the states in the U.S.  We're mailing some out to other homeschoolers and Caleb will be receiving some in the mail.

State Quarter Collection - I thought it would be fun to collect the quarters with the states on them.  We bought the little collectors book from Hobby Lobby and we'll try to fill it up as much as we can.

This week we did listen to one track, The Pledge of Allegiance.  It was a group of children saying the Pledge.  We have our small flags on the shelf in our school area and we recite the Pledge together every morning before class.  On day two I forgot and Caleb reminded me and said, 'mom, we should do this every day.'  Saying it every day is optional, but it was rather cool that Caleb offered that up on his own and wanted to do it.

Friday's are intended for a Nature Walk, Math, and Reading.  It will be nice if we can keep up this schedule and have a light day on Friday.  It will also be nice to know that if we have to miss a day for some reason earlier in the week, we will have a lighter Friday and can catch up then.  

What a blessed week.  Excited about what next week is going to bring our way.

Educating in Christ,