Seed Tape

This morning I made seed tape for the carrot and onion seeds. I've never made them before but always look at them in the seed catalogs and think that it might make planting the smaller seeds a little easier, with less thinning later.
I used a 'recipe' from an older gardening book. Basically you dissolve 1 T of cornstarch in 1 cup cold water and stir and cook over medium heat until it boils and turns translucent and gel-like. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
While it's cooling, take a length of paper towels....4-5 still connected and cut into 1 in strips. When the gel is cool place it into a plastic bag and do one of 2 things:
1. If the seeds are bigger, cut a tip of the bag and place dots along the towels at the desired spacing. Place one seed per dot and let dry.
2. If they are small seed, place about 1/4 tsp of seeds per 1 tsp of gel into the bag and mix. Squeeze out one seed at at time at the desired spacing.
I tried mixing with the first batch of carrot seeds and it was hard to get just one out, so I tried the dots with the onions and remaing carrots and found it much easier. The book said one they were dry you could roll them up and save them until you are ready to use them, but we used our today.
The peas are in. The carrots are in. The onion (seeds) are in. The lettuce is in. And a few radishes too. Now it can rain again.



He's my free spirit. My artistic child. My emotional child. And at the current moment my completely out of control child.
I am at a loss.
And I feel as out of control as he is.


Growing and Growing up...

Some good things that come from a cold week spent at home with colds:
1. The seeds are planted and beginning to sprout. Little signs of life are pushing their way up through the soil in front of the playroom window.
2. Little ones learn new skills. Lakin is nearly 22 months more diapers (well during the day anyway).

It's like he's leaving all things little behind. No more crib, no more booster seat, no more diapers.
At least he still cries "Mommy" and comes after me if I stray to far from him...


Homeschool Review

With less than 60 days left in this school year.....


Language: He's finally reading chapter books, on his own, because he wants too. He's re-reading all the Magic Tree House, currently going through some of the Magic School Bus, used his quarter he brought to the second hand shop today to buy a Scooby-Doo chapter book...not the best literature....but he's reading, and that is all I care about now. He's also reading an abridged version of Treasure Island right now. We've not done much in the way on language lately. The extent of his work right now is a 3rd grade skills CDrom- today he learned about helping verbs and being I call that good.

Math: The one subject that is going really well. The boy can't remember addition facts, or subtraction facts for that matter.....I mean he can add and subtract up in the millions, but he uses his fingers....but he is whizzing through the multiplication....he's up to 8x8 and has them all memorized. We use Mastering Mathematics, which included a bunch of fact games and he's learned most of the 9's playing that too. Within the next month we will be moving on to mutiplying by a 2 (3..4...) digit number.

Other: I'm going to clump these together. We haven't done a ton of science and SS this year....we did our peanut unit and geography unit. We've done some on aviation and read a lot of biographies. We do a lot of natural science just living life....and they own a lot of toys that involve magnetism and electricity. Plus they will get their fair share of plant science since the growing season is almost here.


Language: I have been going slow...I haven't done a lot of teaching but he's reading. Pretty well too. He's reading books Rylan read last year in first grade, so I am happy. He is a bit of a I-am-not-doing-it-just-because-you-told-me-to phase so I am not pushing it. I have him set up with a book log- read 100 books and get a huge ice cream sundae of his choice (Rylan too). Pizza Hut wasn't incentive for him. His writing is coming along too- for awhile he was writing sentences for his terrible back talking habit. Didn't do much for the back talking but did wonders for his handwriting. He wrote an illustrated a little book called The Cat Jumped. And he really likes writing random 1-2 sentence letters to family and his penpal.

We haven't done too much with math lately either. He finished the K math workbooks I had for him long ago. He can do all the K skills. I haven't chosen a new math program yet. He's not ready for fact memorization or anything like that. He is definately my artistic child. And I am thinking math and science may not ever be his thing, so I am choosing carefully and hopefully I can find a program that suits him.

I finally decided to try a unit for each of them from Moving Beyond the Page. I have been thinking over this purchase since October and have always talked myself out of it. I have yet to be happy with any of my curriculum purchases, so I am cautious. But I bought one unit for each that will go 9 weeks- the end of the year- which will mean less stress for me and more productive days. I am really hoping I like it since it would make next year's desicions easier.

Cohen's Eggs

Cohen has been asking to learn to read. He has an amazing memory for stories and he can "read" word for word most of his favorites....and what he can't remember all it takes is a one word reminder....the first in the sentence to get him going again. He's been playing on Starfall a lot and listening to our Sing Spell Read and Write CD songs. I *think* he knows all his letter sounds...although I am not sure because his pronunciation is off on a lot...he's incapable of saying some of the sounds correctly.....

Last week I made these eggs for him....he finally used them this morning since they were sick with the stomach bug before and we all now have colds....

Inside are: an item, a word card, and the letters used to make the word. The goal being to sound out the letters in each word(item), and them spell it using the letters. The word card is to check the spelling when the word is completed.

He did really well sounding out the letters that made up the words. He does like to go right to left instead of left to right, but my goal was for him to hear the individual sounds within each word. He got the initial sounds no problem and when I said the word really slow he heard the rest and spelled them all correctly.

Here is his finished work- he did them 3 times. I only wish I had a greater selection of miniature items!


Bye Bye Bunnies

Cotton Tail and Thumper left us today. They were getting pretty big and we finally posted them on craigslist. I think they will be very missed...
Even by Chopper...

At least the man who took them seemed sincere and they will have a good home.


Fresh Air

After being cooped up inside for over a week, the 70 degree days are even more beautiful. School today consisted of a morning trip to the library and a scavenger hunt for learning library skills. Reading aloud, and that's about it...Tomorrow will be a garden-prep day, so no book work there either....should I feel guilty?
Sunday everyone was relatively well- still a little tired and grumpy- but well....My dad and Stepmother came over for a bit....(photo courtesy of my dad)They were pretty much outside until dark

This is Rylan's new bike. He bought and paid for it himself.

Today was even nicer....we have been letting some of our birds out with the dogs- with proper supervision- since our 2 wyandottes never go outside (the rooster won't let them). Today we let almost all of them out in the dogs's larger and has more grass. A lot of our yard is summer grass only so their yard is pretty bare...

Last year Lakin was a little scared of them, but he wandered all around with them today....
Come to think of it, I believe today is their birthday....we got them last Feb 11 and they were hatched the Friday before....


On the mend....

It's been an awful week around here....a solid week of puking, no energy, no eating, fevers and dehydration. My house smells too much of carpet cleaner- enough to make me nauseous at least. I haven't slept without a child and without interruption since last Saturday night. Hopefully tonight I will.

Cale got sick last Saturday night and missed much of the snow we had here on Monday. He was bad off and disoriented most of Monday. Lakin got hit Tuesday night and Cohen Wednesday morning. He had a rough day yesterday with 104+ fever and still vomiting. His lips were so dry and cracked they were bleeding. He finally got off the couch and ate with us tonight and seems mostly himself. A good night sleep should do it. Thankfully, Rylan seems to have outgrown the stomach bug age. Paul, Rylan and myself all felt a little sick, nauseated and lower appetites but that is all.

And since Cale woke up on Tuesday in relatively good spirits, and there was snow on the ground we headed up to the moutains. We had about 2 inches in our yard, so it was a little odd that the closer we got to the mountains, the less snow there was....but by the time we reached Cades Cove there was a decent amount- probably about the same 2 inches. But the day was beautiful and sunny. We played in the snow, snowball fights, made snow angels, visited the mill. It was a nice day. And I am also thankful that Lakin waited until about an hour after we got home before he threw up! My camera died (again!) about 5 min. into our trip, so all my pictures are on my phone and I can't get them uploaded...
But here is Rylan and Cohen's snowman....they were so excited on how big they got him!



...I wonder why grown adults don't have the common sense to stay home from a party when they are barely over a stomach virus.....

...if you just ate for the first time that morning stay away from kids!!!

....1 down, 1 in progress, 2 more to go....