Friday, September 17, 2010

Math Gameboards and other stuff

It's been a long time since I mentioned these math gameboards from The School Bell.  DD and I have played these addition fact games.

Let's say DD and I were playing on the 5s gameboard. DD drew a 5 card, then she would move her piece to the next 0.  On my turn, if I drew a 4, I would move my piece to the next 1 on the board. The first player to have their piece in the final circle wins the game. 

Here are the gameboards and worksheet from The School Bell (on the right in the picture above) that LD and I have used lately.

I haven't been writing much about other things partly because they don't take good pictures! We read about 6-10 picture books each day. We sneak books in pretty much anytime, but especially when we're eating around the dining room table.  We read lots of Caldecott award winning books together along with other good picture books.  We got a huge lot (of about 75 or 80) Newberry winners.  They are longer chapter books and I've let LD choose what interests him. We're reading the Whipping Boy  now (I read those aloud.). I've been pre-reading the books myself (I sure loved Caddie Woodlawn and can't wait to read that with the kids sometime! I was really touched by Wringer, but suspect I'll wait a couple of years before sharing that with LD (found it really touched upon being humane and making the difficult choice to stand up to what you believe in.) Meanwhile, LD continues to work through the Magic Treehouse books by himself.  He seems to love those books and they've generated a lot of interest in history in general.

We're busy with lots of outside activities now -- soccer (LD), gymnastics (LD and a tot-class for ED), dance class (DD), music classes (for all three), homeschool group (all three) and other endless opportunities!   LD is still learning the piano.  We keep meaning to start back with science experiments, but for some reason I haven't had the planning time I've needed.  I'm thinking I should go back and simply repeat a lot of the ones we did last year (but I haven't even done that and we're already 6 weeks into the semester!)  There's never a shortage of science-based activities here at the homeschool den, but LD especially loves that hands on element.

Meanwhile, I continue to try to make a blueberry garden--digging out the grass/sod, beating the sod to get rid of the dirt, trying to loosen the soil, etc. [Later: I just had to add these pictures of ED helping me in her princess garb.  Too cute!!] It's slow, tedious and semi-strenuous work.  Unpacking is still an unfinished job.  Ugh.  I might spent an hour or two tackling one area of the house, but then the kids doing their creative things elsewhere, which usually winds up meaning HUGE cleanup times.  Creative messes, as I like to tell myself.  There just seem to be so many projects we need to tackle (putting gutter-guards over the rain gutters to keep out leaves is one of Daddy's big projects, for example). 

We're slowly meeting people and making friends, though I have to admit there are lots of times I'm still quite lonely.  We might have quality time with friends and the kids have a good play or fun at their activities, but somehow it's not been enough for me personally (just to chat, commiserate and complain with good friends).  I know that's often the life of homeschoolers as we've chosen such a different path to most, but I feel it more acutely as I have no contact with my Australian friends (time differences and such) and have yet to make those close connections here. It's also so different since Daddy is gone for such long, long hours.  So, there's my complaining for the moment.  I try to be positive about most things, but boy transitions are hard, right? Sigh...

Ending on a positive note, the kids just love, love the woods and creek area here near the house and we continue to see all kinds of amazing critters.  There were a dozen bats circling overhead the other evening.  LD has a little toad habitat he's been keeping (he always lets the frogs go since we learned their skin can be toxic to other little critters).  And today, for example, the kids saw a box turtle.   What a beautiful and special world we live in!
I thought this was so cute -- I know Grams is probably cringing seeing ED in her princess dress and sparkle shoes, but she was so determined to help, I thought it was adorable!
And with help like this, what Mom wouldn't smile?!


  1. You have made such a big move, it will take time for all of you to adjust and especially with making friends.

    That doesn't make it easier though does it, these are the times that you need/want friends.

    Hang in there, the real life ones will come along. :-)

  2. Thank you, Kylie, for your kind words! In some ways we're meeting and making friends surprisingly quickly, but the deep friendships always take time. It's always the worst when I've had a down day. But then on a day like today when the kids were fresh, engaged and positive; we went hiking in the woods for hours in gorgeous weather; we had treasure hunts and good school time; plus I had some good emails ... well then life feels great!

    Anyway, I'm grateful you took the time to send such a nice message my way.