Thursday, September 30, 2010

Volcanoes and Earthquakes at the Davis House

We have been studying earthquakes and volcanoes in science. This is Mateo making a structure to see how long it will withstand an earthquake. (a kid shaking it back and forth!) made out of marshmellows and linguini- fun to make and even edible!
My serous builders!

More building- even Isabella is interested and gets in on it.
Here is the composite volcanoe made out of newspaper, paper towel roll and lots of tape. Izzy wanted her own volcanoe so the boys took a dollar store megaphone and covered it with playdo!

A fun school day. The next day the kids had fun pouring baking soda and vinegar into their valcanoes and shaking their earthquake structure until it fell apart.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reward System

I thought I would talk a little about our reward system. My kids don't get any kind of allowance. Instead- they earn "Stars" for work well done. When I am grading their papers I give a check, check plus, or a check minus. 3 check pluses gives them a star. A check minus means they have to correct the work that was done. If they get an 85 or better on a test they get 2 stars. They also earn stars for other things that may go over and beyond what is the norm. The stars can be traded in for money, treats or trips. I have from time to time taken stars away for bad behavior or attitudes. I have tried many "reward" systems in the past but this is the one that works the best and we have stuck with.

I did learn early on that the only way to make a reward system work is to stick with it. Sometimes it is a bother to remember to give out the stars (I draw a star on an index card and put it in the little homemade envelope that you see in the picture) but in the end it is worth it. The reward system is also great for those times when you are at the store and they ask for something. I always tell them that they can purchase an item with their "star" money. It amazes me how much they ponder about their purchase when they are paying for it!

This year I am planning on adding tithing to our star system. Once they turn their stars in for cash I will help them calculate home much of that money is a tithe.

I am always open to better systems. I am not sure my high schooler is crazy about this system so I may work out something different for him in the near future.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the "TO DO LIST"

MY TO DO list is never ending. I have tried many methods when it comes to how to organizng my day. I have used planners with very little success. I keep going back to the same method and it seems to work the best for me. It is very simplistic.

1. I keep 2 list pads of paper (the long narrow list pads that you get at Michael's for 1.00) I keep one on my refrigerator and one on the kitchen counter. The pad on the fridge is for any items that need to be bought at the food store. The pad on the counter is my "to do list" I check my to do list every day. I mark the things that must get done that day. At the end of the day I check off all the things that got done. (I love that part!) Whatever doesn't get done gets put on the list for the next day.

2. I keep a family calendar. This is where I write any and all plans. The children in the house that work keep their work schedules (because it changes) on the Refrigerator . I have a special magnetic pad (from Michael's-gotta love that place) that has the days of the week on it and they write out their schedule for the week on that pad.

3. I keep a pocket calendar in my purse. I may not have everything on this calendar but it at least will show me dates when I am out and need to plan something. When I am not at home and something comes to my mind that I need to do, I write it in the pocket calendar. WHY? because I have the WORST memory. Once I get home, I transfer the items to my "To Do Pad"

and that is it. It is very simple but it works.

How do you organize your day and priorities?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

HOmeSCooL PosTings!

I thought I would do a series of homeschool postings. Every year the dynamics of our homeschool change because I have children in different grades and children that have graduated. This year I have made a lot of changes and thought I would do some postings on them. I had 4 major goals for this year: 1. Be more organized 2. Create a method that would track progress. 3. Spend more time reading- out loud and silently. 4. Be consistent with family bible time. Every year I make a schedule that we follow. Most years we stray a little from the schedule. This year I have decided to really try and stick to it as much as possible.

The Picture above is of our schedule which is posted in the kitchen. I am also planning to make smaller copies of it to post around the house so the kids can keep track of where they should be.

Here it is:

6:30 -7:00- Mom goes for walk

7:00 -8:00- Mom's quiet time/breakfast/start laundry /check e-mail

8:00-9:00- Kids wake up/Morning chores/ Breakfast

9:00-9:30 - Family Bible Time

9:30 - 10:30- Math/ Isabella's seat work with mommy

10:30-11:00- English/ Jeremy -Spanish

11:00-12:00- Science with the boys

12:00- 1:00- Lunch and Read Aloud time

1:00-2:00 - History with the boys

2:00-3:oo Reading and spelling / read aloud with Isabella

3:00 -4:00 - Kids exercise

4:00-5:00- Mom starts dinner/ kids afternoon chores

5:00-6:00 - Free time/ Jeremy practices music

6:00-7:00- Dinner and evening devotions

7:00 - 8:00 Baths

8:00-9:00 - Silent reading

9:00- bed time unless tv/dvd has been earned.

So far this has worked for us. It will probably change a little as we add some outside activities. I try not to leave the house during our "school" time. If I have to go out I wait until 3:00. I try and do my food shopping for the week on the weekends so that I am not tempted to leave the house during school hours. It helps having two adult children living at home who drive! I can delegate when necessary.

This is our schedule Monday -Thursday. Our Friday is completely different. We get up and do all subjects except for history and science. I grade everyone's work for the week and they make any corrections that are necessary. After lunch we work on some other kind of work. Right now we are doing nature studies with another family which means we drive to a near by park. When the weather gets to cold we will change gears and work on learning art, music, creation, and whatever else I find of interest.

I dont want you to think that all I do during the day is homeschool. While the kids are on task, I put in laundry, pay bills, clean etc.... BUT the kids schooling comes first. I try not to answer the phone or check e-mail during school hours. (sometimes that is not possible but I do try and make it a general rule)

If you have never tried a schedule I encourage you to give it a chance. It takes time to really make it stick and work but I find when we stick to the schedule we get things done and I am a happier homeschooling momma!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Score at the Thrift store!

I have a love for crowns. I found this one at the junk shop by my house. I paid 3.00 for it. I am not a fan of brass so..................
I bought some silver spray paint at Michael's (.99) and covered up the brass!

I am not really sure what it is supposed to be used for but I knew It would come to live in my house as a candle holder. The candle was just a plain white candle-not fit for a crown. So, I wrapped the candle with a piece of old sheet music, added some torn fabric for a tie, and some bling! The pin and round crocheted circle were also picked up at the junk shop for pennies.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

fall is coming

I am not sure why, but I seem to go through a lot of crock pots! This is my third one in 2 years I am not sure why that it is but I have bought every kind and every price range. I decided to go back to just the plain old basic one. I was happy to find one at Wal Mart for 18.00! and I love the fact that it is white.

In the winter I use it about 2-3 times a week! It is a life saver and easy on the food budget. Any meal that I cook in it goes further especially when you are cooking meat.

This is my favorite crock pot recipe and one that I have taken to dinners before.

Crock Pot Lasagna:

1 pound of ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
29 oz of tomato sauce
1 cup of water
6 oz can of tomato paste
tsp of salt
tsp of dried oregano
8 oz package of Lasagna noodles UNCOOKED
4 cups (16 oz) of shredded mozerella cheese
1 1/2 cups (12oz) small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1. Cook beef, onion, and garlic together in a saucepan-drain
2. Stir in tomato sauce,water, t. paste, salt and oregano-mix well
3. Spread one fourth of meat sauce in ungreased slow cooker. arrange one third of noodles over sauce.
4. Combine the cheeses. Spoon one -third of mixture over noodles. Reapeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce.
5. Cook on low 4-5 hours

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quick laundry room makeover

I was making some homemade laundry soap and was inspired to do a quick laundry room makeover. I have a collection of enamel ware that I love! In the big pot is my homemade liquid detergent, in the middle pot is my oxi-clean (this too can be made from scratch) and in the pitcher is my Downy liquid softener.

The pictures that are hanging I framed about 7 years ago. While doing a big church clean up one Sunday I came across these old Sunday school pictures. I LOVED the vintage look they had so instead of pitching them in the garbage, I framed them. I could not find a place in my house to hang them and thought one day I would just sell them on ebay but yesterday I remembered I had them and decided they may look nice in my (very tiny)laundry room. I think they will live there for a while, at least until I find a better home for them in the future.

This is my dry homemade laundry soap. It is a labor of love. It takes me over an hour to grate by hand 3 bars of soap. I usually end up with about 2-3 cuts on my finger from the grater but it is soooooooooooo worth it.

So there you have it. The room really needs more work the walls need a coat of paint and there is a border that needs to come down. The shelf is MDF board and it is a bit warped but I just covered it in some linen and lace and wa-la........... I am happy with the quick results from just adding some fun things and getting rid of the clutter that was there before. As you can imagine, I spend a great deal of time in this room!