Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Biltomore Homeschool Festival

The kids and I were so fortunate to be able to attend the Biltmore Homeschool Festival in Asheville, North Carolina yesterday. We headed to Asheville on Tuesday - after spending some time in a gas station line waiting to get gas in East Cobb for around 20 minutes. My parents have a second home in Asheville and so we were able to stay there. My Mom, is currently homeschooling my youngest two siblings - Emily (18) and Mike (15). For those of you who do not know me - I am the oldest of ten children in my family. My parents were able to homeschool my youngest three siblings and my Mom is a huge supporter of our decision to homeschool.

The Biltmore House has held a Homeschool Festival for the last six years during the Fall but, I just found out about it this past July at a homeschool expo I attended. My mom, my two youngest siblings, the kids and I all were able to go yesterday and it was so much fun. We spent all of our time at the River Bend Farm on the Biltmore House property learning about farm life for the families that lived on the property during the early 1900's. This is a sampling of our day in photos ...

Lawn Bowling ...

Lexi with a Baby Chick ...

Ava Mae Driving a Tractor ...

Devin and Ava Mae ...

Ava Mae Dancing to Bluegrass Music dressed in Period Clothing ...

Lexi putting a Chicken to Sleep by scratching it under the chin ...

We are back in Atlanta tonight and I am missing the cool mountain air in Asheville that we were able to experience but, I am looking forward to heading back to The Biltmore House soon!

An American Girl Birthday

This past Saturday, Lexi turned 6! We celebrated with an American Girl Birthday celebration. She was allowed to invite her best friend, Grace, to join us at the American Girl Bistro for Lunch. A few close family friends attended along with myself and Lexi's little sister. This year we are focusing more on small birthday celebrations rather than our birthday extravaganza's of the past. Though those were great also a small gathering is just so much more fun without all the stress that goes with a large birthday party.

Lexi was able to pick another AG Doll and this time she chose Kit. We loved the movie featuring Kit and now with the doll and some of her fun toys she can act out the movie and the book we are reading.

Another special treat ... Lexi was able to get her ears pierced. Something she really wanted to do and so we agreed.

Sometimes I look at Lexi and wonder where the last six years have gone. A friend of mine posted a quote on her Facebook page and it rings true ... "When you are a Mom the days can be so long and the years so short."

Friday, September 19, 2008

A French Meal

One of the great pieces of curriculum we use and love is Five In A Row. That paired with World Culture and Cook Books from Usborne rounds out our study this Fall of World Cultures. We needed a little break from Story of the World and this World Culture Study has fit really well into our studies this Fall.

Five In A Row is great. It uses a great children's book that you read for five days and each day you choose an area to focus on out of the book. For instance, one day you might study the artwork in the book or what we have chosen to do is the Geography and History. These past two weeks we have read "Mirette on the High Wire". The book is set in 19th century Paris and features a boarding house and a tight rope walker. My kids just love studying France and think taking a field trip there is something we should do. So far, they have had to settle for France in Epcot. :)

Cooking is something we like to incorporate into our cultural studies. We have fixed a few recipes over the last two weeks that friends (thanks Ivette and Michelle) forwarded to me. Yesterday, the kids got to cook by themselves. We opted for simple recipes for them to prepare. They made a quiche with bacon and cheddar cheese and; chocolate croissants. Both recipes used easy prep items such as a frozen pie shell for the quiche and Pillsbury refrigerated croissants that the kids rolled chocolate chips into.

The meal turned out well, though I ended up making the fruit salad to go along with it, as the kids were done cooking after twenty minutes.

Next week you can join us on the road as we head to Asheville, North Carolina for the Biltmore House Homeschool Festival. We are also planning a trip to an apple orchard and gem mining, one of the kids' favorite things to do.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fall Begins with Six Flags

Today was my husband's company picnic at Six Flags. It was our once a year visit to this amusement park. The kids really look forward to it. The first time we attended this company picnic was in 2004 and I was just two weeks away from giving birth to Ava Mae.

I think today was probably the warmest of all over visits. With high temps around 90 degrees it was not the most enjoyable experience we have ever had at the company picnic. I think the kids were even done after walking around for around three hours.

I did get some pictures I liked. I think I forgot to share in my last post that my daughter, Ava Mae, had played around with my camera this past week and I think changed every setting I had on my camera. It took me forever to figure how to reset everything to how I like it.

What is funny about today is that the kid's equate the beginning of Fall with Daddy's company picnic. So I guess today officially begins Fall for our family. Next we can look forward to our annual visit to the pumpkin farm, picking apples, making lots of apples desserts and Halloween.

A Walk in the Park

Yesterday was Friday, and all three kids were in a co-op school at JFBC. Most of the time I have plans for those three hours on Friday without kids - running errands, catching up with friends, cleaning house, etc. but, yesterday my housekeeper was cleaning the house and I had no other plans. I ended up spending most of the time at a bookstore. It is amazing how reenergized I can feel after just a couple hours reading books and magazines by myself in a coffee shop at the bookstore.

After picking the kids up we had plans with another homeschool family at JFBC. Devin's very best friend is a girl who was in his class last year at the school. He tells anyone who will listen how smart she is. Devin also really enjoys spending time with his best friend's older and younger brother. Lexi and Ava Mae love these kids too so, a playdate in the local park was put on our calendar. We ended up at the park for three hours. After picnicing the kids rode bikes and scooters, we hiked trails and ended the day at the creek where the kids tried so hard to build a bridge across the creek out of sand - a great lesson! We also found an interesting spider building a web on a section of the bridge over the creek and a unique carving in a tree on one of the trails.

A great day though having my children playing in the creek in clothes we would not normally call play clothes was a little out of my comfort zone. I am trying hard this year to let those little things go.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

It is that question that I am sure people will ask for years and years ... where were you on 9/11? I remember it like yesterday and sometimes it is so hard to believe it has been seven years. I can clearly see myself sitting in our bedroom holding our newborn son who was just two days shy of a month old. I am a Today show morning person so I was watching Matt Lauer and can hear him saying how they were following a breaking story of a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. At the time I am sure I thought small plane, pilot error, a horrible story but, little did I know.

As I sat glued to the television, I remember calling my Mom and wondering why she had not called me yet. My Mom at the time always had on CNN during the day. That morning she had chosen to redo the hardwood floors in the family room and had the television off. I can clearly remember the shock in her voice as she yelled at one of my siblings in the background to turn on the t.v. In that moment all I could think about was my brother, who was home with my Mom waiting assignment to a boot camp, as he had just enlisted in the Army.

Recalling that day to my children this morning during our morning devotional was so hard. Hard in the sense that they can not comprehend the gravity of how our world changed in that moment. Tonight we listened to a song produced by an affliliate of our local christian music station. It is called "Silent Night 9/11". Devin cried, Lexi had a million questions and Ava Mae just wanted to know why it sounded like God was flying away at the end. In the past we have made a meal for our local fire station in honor of their lost colleagues on that day. Today, we chose to just pray for all families who lost loved ones on 9/11. I am sure as the years go by more and more people will find this day easier to get through but, I know we will always remember.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day Pictures

Devin, Lexi and Ava Mae ready for the first day!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of School and a Trip to the High Museum

I can't believe the first week of school is behind us. Albeit, it was a short week and with a field trip thrown in.
I think we are starting to settle into a little bit of a routine. Beginning school work no later than 9AM has not been easy but, the kids are slowly coming around. Our school day looks a little like this right now.
8AM - Kids Up, Breakfast, Morning Chores
9AM - Bible
9:30AM - Poetry
9:40AM - Handwriting
10:00AM - Language
11:00AM - Math
Noon - Reading
12:30PM - Spanish - History - Art - Science (depending on day of week)

Of course, this schedule is in a perfect world but, it is at least a rough draft of what it is we do for schooling each day, Monday - Thursday. Fridays the kids are at JFBC for Timothy Classes and afternoons are being saved for service projects we are working on. Right now, I have taken on the responsibility for the food at our Church's Fall Festival. So the kids and I will be working on pricing and then securing everything we need for that in the coming weeks.

Last Thursday, was our first field trip for the school year. We were able to see the special exhibit being housed right now at the High Museum. Seeing ancient artifacts from a time period we studied last year was so fun for the kids. Devin and Lexi both commented that they could not believe they were looking at items that were made before Jesus walked the Earth. Our youngest little one was sick on Wednesday and so my husband offered to stay home with her so we could attend the field trip. I think it was a blessing in disguise as it was so nice to walk through the exhibits without a three year old in tow, who more than likely would not have liked the fact she could not touch anything. After the High we ventured over to my sister's restaurant, Quattro, just a few blocks away. We all enjoyed a great lunch and the kids had fun running around in Piedmont Park. After we got home I asked both kids what their favorite part of the day was. Lexi replied, "being with all our homeschool friends and singing Miley Cyrus songs with Muriel in the car on the way to the musuem". Spoken like a true social butterfly. Devin said, "I was a little disappointed as I was hoping to see mummies but, it was still fun." He said he was also happy that one of the moms let all the boys ride in her mini-van to the museum.

After finishing this first week of the school year and now rolling into our second week I am pretty happy. I feel so blessed that God has placed this calling to homeschool on my heart and that he has put such wonderful women in my life that are also taking this same path.

I will post pictures soon of the field trip and first day of school. My plan had been to do that this weekend but, I came down with this yucky virus my kids have all had. So, I spent two days in bed.

Monday, September 1, 2008

And So It Begins ...

The summer has flown by and now I find myself reflecting back finding it so hard to believe that tomorrow we begin our first day of school for the year.

We are enjoying a weekend of swimming at our club and cooking out to celebrate the end of summer and beginning of another homeschool year.

We have had a great summer! We were able to get away to Asheville, North Carolina to visit my family and then a few days in Hilton Head. We enjoyed lots and lots of swimming this summer and with both older children swimming on their own and our youngest finally old enough to be in the pool by herself it was a relaxing summer by the pool for me too!

This year we are doing an eclectic mix of Charlotte Mason and Classical Schooling. We are in a great homeschool support group which is comprised of families from our church and all three kids are in a co-op school on Fridays. This year we have added a school area to our home. I am sure we will still homeschool around the whole house but, it is nice to have an area for all of our stuff. Thanks to IKEA it was not real expensive.

I have also, finally, decided on the bible scripture for our year ... "To every thing there is a seaon, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

This blog has come about as a way to document our year and for all our friends who always ask what it is like to homeschool. Join us on our journey as we begin our third year of homeschooling!