I feel a little guilty each morning when I call the boys to come to the table. They all come, and every day I hear "Mommy do you have anything for me to do today???" from Cohen. He gets a little grumpy when I don't but will work at the table on something- markers, playdough, sticker books- then go off and play, but what he really wants is school. Like his brothers. Something made and planned just for him.

I've tried this week. Not pre-planned, but spur of the moment. So here's a run down of what Cohen and Lakin have done this week:

On Monday we made paper dragons for Chinese New Year

On Tuesday we shelled peanuts

and painted with the dot paints

On Wednesday Paul emptied his pockets before work; pulling out about 40 golf tees he picked up from somewhere. Cohen and Lakin (and Rylan and Cale) have been hammering, or pushing them in Lakin's case, into clay or playdough for the past 2 days.
Today Cohen worked on a counting file folder game, and while he was counting I got inspired and made this up for him:
Quickly drawn and cut aliens in need of eyes
He was very happy to have work to do

And at (every)night they have acted out thier version of the song Mr. Policeman by Brad Paisley (on my sidebar playlist)over and over and over....from Hey, Mr Policeman, I bet I can drive faster than you can with trucks; to Hey, Mr Policeman, I bet I can run faster than you can on foot; to I'm in the jailhouse now complete with laundry basket jail.


Peanut Lapbook

Today we finished up the peanut lapbook I posted about yesterday. It was a quick unit, but they enjoyed it and I think they will retain the information well. Here is Rylan's completed lapbook:
And here is Cale's:

The books included:

Parts of a peanut plant (with the picture taken from here)
Time line of the Peanut- from seed to harvest
Mini book on George Washington Carver
From Nut to Butter: How to Make Peanut Butter
Uses of the Peanut accordian book
Where in the World? Peanut Producing Countries
Where in the US do peanuts grow?
The Peanut Butter Experiment (also explained in my previous post)
Other types of Legumes
On the back they glued thier copywork printed from here

and Rylan's also included peanut math. Where I wrote out 5 word problems like these: If 1 acre of peanuts makes 30,000 sandwiches, how many does 7 acres make? and If you have 200 peanuts do you have enough for each of your 5 friends to have 32 peanuts each?



Our second batch turned out beautifully!! We set to work shelling the raw peanuts just after quiet time, then roasted them in the oven for about 5 minutes, and set them in the processor. This time I used the larger bottom bowl...which I believe was the problem with the first batch...not enough room to move and mix. We added nothing other than maybe a teaspoon of oil, no salt. And it was SO good.
They ate the entire bowl for snack with a spoon. Except Cohen. He does not eat WHITE peanut butter. Good to know.

And on to something completely different....

At the store yesterday Rylan asked if we could get marshmallows. And since we are in the process of erasing corn syrup from our diets I said no...but we could make some. I've always wanted to make took a short search but I did find a recipe for corn syrup free homemade marshmallows. They were fun, and the boys watched the mixer the entire 12 minutes- watching it go from a clearish liquid to a big white fluffy mound. They take about 4 hours to set.....but fortunately for them.....

There is a mess in the bowl, paddle and spatula

Good thing it's bath time....
***ETA: Here is the link to the recipe for the corn-syrup free marshmallows....We've had them today after lunch and dinner....really yummy!

The Amazing Peanut

So I was going to do a unit on Ancient Greece...but then we had the books from the library, read the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, read a comic-like book about 2 kids going back in time to the first Olympics, and a few others....and well that was about all the interest there we moved on....
Yep...the peanut. I got the book The Life and Times of the Peanut at the library so we could learn a little bit about them before we dove into growing them this spring. So we picked up a couple bags of peanuts at the store yesterday....and I drew up the lapbook pieces last night...

This morning they got to work.... Cale cut out all his pieces, they did some copy work- Rylan has been very interested in Presidents lately, so for his copywork he learned that both Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter were peanut farmers. We talked about other legumes....clover was surprising to them...we labeled the parts of the plant. Then we got to the fun stuff...

We shelled. I got 2 kinds at the store...roasted and raw. We shelled the roasted, keeping the shells, skins and nut in separate containers....Did you know you can make paper from the skins? And wallboard from the pods?

Once we had a good amount of peanuts we took them to the food processor. We didn't have any peanut oil, but we added a little water and honey. We spent quite awhile without all that great of a result...the first try resulted in peanut crumbs, so we took the crumbs and roasted them in a pan for awhile to try and extract the oil a bit. We tried my hand blender and normal blender. They were making guesses as to what the problem was...not a strong enough food processor? Too dry from previous roasting in their shells? Need additional peanut oil? Eventually we gave up and tried it could squeeze it into a ball, but it wasn't spreadable, plenty of oil was left on our hands. My guess is the processor didn't do it's job. But we added more honey and some dry milk and made peanut butter balls.

The above book is for our data. Our plan is do try and make peanut butter from commercially roasted nuts (above), raw nuts, and raw nuts roasted at home- both of those we will do this afternoon. To see which tastes the best and which makes the best peanut butter.

Then Rylan read this little book on George Washington Carver that I wrote up. And we read some more about him in the The Life and Times of the Peanut. We'll finish up tomorrow with a timeline of growth, where in the US/World peanuts are grown and uses for peanuts other than peanut products to eat.
Now I need to go vacuum up peanut shells off the floor....


Homeschool Blog-N-Tell

Jessica over at A Path with Promise has started a new award called the Homeschool Blog-N-Tell as a way to showcase all the great blogs out there and to share them with everyone else. Each month will be a different category:

January - Lapbooking
February - History
March - Homeschooling Basics
April - Notebooking
May - Homeschool Humor
June - Nature
July - Unit Studies
August - Science
September - Organization
October - Math
November - Encouragement
December - Crafts & Projects

So hop on over and vote for your favorite Lapbooking Blog, and think about who to nominate for your favorite history blog!


The Winter Blahs

I have a serious case. It's cold- though not as cold as it has been. I haven't had my camera out nearly as much as I should. Rylan and Cale have been working in the back yard with wood scraps making a fort in the "woods" (AKA the tiny grove of trees behind our shed) On Monday we ran out to get something from just down the street, and I had to move the seat of the van forward- and I realized we had not been out of the house since the previous Tuesday! I changed that this week....Friend's house on Tuesday, Library on Wednesday, Scouts on Thursday, and a short trip to the co-op and taking eggs to the 2nd hand shop on Friday. Now I am ready to stay home again.

I guess there is something to be said about being at got done, taxes are done, gas is saved...

I wish I could say we have caught the mice that are giving us trouble....although we leave Socks- our best mouser in at night- and he eats them whole, so he may have caught one. And we did get one on Monday- but I don't think I will share that story- I'll just say it involves me forgetting to drain the sink after doing dishes on Sunday night.

But there is a light at the end of winter- my seeds came in the mail today: cauliflower, 2 types of peas, carrots, rainbow carrots, zuchinni, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, cucumbers, sweet corn, onions, and peanuts. I just need my melons and tomato seeds, and to wait for March for the new blueberry and strawberry plants. Is Spring here yet?


Snow Day....

It's been cold here. Really cold. Finally today it snowed, and that makes the cold okay. It's been hard to get everyone concentrating on school the past week, since our school room is unheated and the space heater just couldn't keep up with 20 degree highs. We've moved to the dining room table and keeping the younger 2 occupied with most of the toys in the frozen room has been difficult. Today the distraction was the flurries outside the window. It was okay when they were just flurries but when big fluffy flakes started to fall all was lost.
"Mom, can we call daddy and tell him it's snowing?" (Rylan)
" Can I just go on the deck and see if I can catch one with my tongue?" (Cale)
"Look!! Mommy!!It's a big snow!!" (Cohen)
"no! no! no" (as in snow! snow! snow!

So we went out for a few minutes...not all bundled up but enough...

But after lunch and quiet time they piled on the southerners don't usually stock the it was PJs under the clothes and socks for mittens.... Here's their attempt at at snowball fight....
After coming in for the must-have hot chocolate, they went back out. This time Lakin was awake and they had their hearts set on a snowman. Okay....more of a snow, mud and grass man....

They were so excited to actually use the snowman kit we received a few years back...

Its amazing how big the snowballs got considering what little snow was in the grass....good thing the dogs have given us a considerable amount of lawn with no grass growing. But Mr. Snowman has just fallen over and I am being asked to go repair him so they can show their dad when he gets home tonight....


Woodworking 101

For Christmas this year we got Rylan and Cale this:

Looks like fun, huh?? Maybe not complete fun by itself, but paired with this:

And this

And sandpaper, wood glue, a hammer...It makes for a lot of fun. My mom got Rylan a few tools for his 6th birthday from For Small Hands: a drill, hammer, level, sanding block and tape measure. The drill came in handy for Rylan's first creation:

I believe we have a total of 3 trucks now.... They had to drill the holes in the little caps for the wheels.

Then Cale started hammering tacks. In the end he decided it was a "rubber band board" like the geo board we have. Rylan, of course had to make the same.

Here's Cale's first creation. He set to work immediately gluing and hammering all the random shapes onto a block of wood.

We have a work bench for them too. Adult sized....but it will work, and it was free. Now it just needs to warm up outside so they can use it!


My World: Earth Lapbooks

They are done!! Rylan was a trooper through the continent books and did 90% of the writing, dictating the rest. Originally I was going to make 2 of the same, but as I was creating I realized Cale would not be able to keep up- with the writing and the attention span, so I scaled his down and made a K version.

Mini books in Rylan's version:

  • What is a Galaxy
  • Solar System: listing the planets in order
  • Geography terms pocket. We made a salt dough map and labeled each of the terms. Then we looked them up in the glossary of one of our books and wrote the definitions for the pocket.
  • Iside the Earth. We did a little activity with construction paper circles for the different layers of the earth and labeled them
  • 7 continent books: Each book contained a map, a world map for him to locate and color the continent, a page to list and color a flag for a few countries, a page on languages, georgraphy and interesting facts.
  • World's oceans petal book.
  • A label-the-oceans book
  • Ocean Facts book
  • 4 mini-matchbooks for random US facts
  • a TN book: included state flower, bird, nickname, flag, date joined the union, abbreviation...
  • Major Marks of the US: Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate, Old Faithful, Washington DC, Mt. Rushmore, and the Grand Canyon
  • Map of the US: he drew/colored the Mississippi River, Appalachians, Rockies, TN, Washington DC, Great Lakes then numbered and labeled them on the inside.
  • Flag Facts on the US: We made paper flags and discussed the flags nicknames and the meanings of the stars and stripes
  • 4 books on some important buildings around the world: The Great Pyramid, The Coliseum, The Eiffel Tower and The Great Wall of China
  • 6 books on 'extremes' : The longest river, the tallest building, the oldest moutains, the tallest moutain, the lowest point on earth, the largest volcano
  • On the back I made a game board and 3 sets of colored cards: one on geography terms, one on random world fact (biggest continent, which ocean is the largest, which continent includes France, etc...) and US facts. We will be playing it the next few days to help retain all the info they have learned.

Mini books in Cale's version
  • Solar System, inside earth, 4 US mini matchbooks, TN facts, label-the-ocean book, US major marks, and labeling the US map and 4 of the 6 'extremes' books were the same as Rylan's
  • Wonders of the World. These were the same 4 buildings as Rylan's but his was in a circle book and had no fact writing involved.
  • Flag Facts: same as Rylan's except that he had 2 specific questions to answer instead of blank lines to write on.
  • World map. The major change was he did a map similar to the US one for the continents. He colored each one and labeled them on the inside. He drew flags as well after his writing- but that was his choice :) I think he could copy flags all day.
Here are the pictures from inside the books:


Hard at Work

We've been hard at work this week. Rylan and Cale have been working through the "My World" lapbook I created, which spans from the Milky Way to TN and everywhere in between, with a focus mostly on geography.
So far this is the most writing intensive lapbook we've done, and they are doing really well with it. I think Rylan is close to the point where writing will stop being work and become something natural- if I could only get him spelling on his own.

Cale is improving. He's been sick with headaches all week, but in the mornings when he is at his best he's done a lot of hard work .


Little Hen's First Egg

Rylan and Cale headed out to fetch eggs this afternoon....a minute later I hear running and the door slam....And Cale appears, all excited, with this:
Little Hen's first egg. They've been waiting; since she is well over 20 weeks old, and our original flock was all laying by 20 weeks. They want to use the little blue egg tonight for dinner....too bad I have about a zillion eggs in the fridge to use before I use today's eggs:)


Around the House...

I was going to do a wrap up of 2008- type post, but to tell the truth, New Year's is not real big in our house. We don't do much to celebrate. Nothing's not the end of our year in any way....
But around our house....these little guys are growing up and almost ready to leave their mama. Both- Thumper and Cottontail- have turned out to be lop eared. And whoever ends up being thier owners will recieve some very tame bunnies. This little one (of mine) in particular loves them. He sits with them and when they run away he'll grab them yelling. "Back! me!" Cottontail is good with him. And just his size.
They are going to have a hard time giving them up.

In school new....we've taken off of scheduled work for about 2 weeks and we start back on Monday. I've finally gotten myself back in planning mode....and have a couple lapbooks planned. One on Ancient Greece...which I haven't started and one on "Our World"...which I am just about done with.

I really like planning out our lapbooks, but it does take quite a bit of work since I make almost all the minibooks/templates myself- as well as the activities to go with them. At least I always have someone willing to help with the scissor work. Next week all these books will get filled with words and knowledge