August 31, 2008

The Primary Boys

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I stayed home from church with Chase because of his ear infection.  Spence and Hayes headed off in their matching outfits to primary. Spence plays the piano and my mom is the music leader.  I think they have a lot of fun. (Hayes' Sunday pants we're in the dirty clothes so he wore jeans and didn't bother with a's been that kind of a week! At least he brushed his teeth...I can tell by the water dribble down his front :) I love these handsome boys.

The Many Uses of A Dog House

Our cousin Lauren spent the night on Friday.  She and Hayes had big plans to catch tadpoles the next morning.  They waited and waited impatiently while I helped Spence with the sprinklers, fed, dressed, and medicined Chase, and finally was ready to go.  When Chase and I got outside, they had left without us on the four-wheeler.  So we took my car and went in search of them.  I was pretty sure they were headed to the new ditch behind the canal.  We found them slopping through muddy clay to catch tadpoles with their hands.  Hayes told me he couldn't remember where the "lake" (very loose term) was that we had gone to last year.  Luckily it's just across the road, so with Chase on my back, we set off to the lake.

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Hayes and Lauren canvassing the lake.

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They return to inform Chase and I that we were out of luck and must return to the mud hole behind the canal.

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We made it half way and had to take a break.  Chase was sick, but wouldn't be left behind.  I'm going to blame his crazy hair on the sickness.

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I was too muddy to get any pictures of the actual fishing/hunting.  We used a combination of plastic bags, my only kitchen sieve, and bare hands to fill our jars with tadpoles and frogs.

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That's not a giant, mutated, prehistoric tadpole, I think it's a piece of clay off of the bottom of Hayes' boot.

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Taking a moment for a famous Potato Farm Clay beauty treatment.  Luckily I had brought a good kitchen towel to clean one hand off good enough to take a picture.

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Kind of mean that I took this picture, but Chase was freaking out crying, "Clean, clean!"  He'd had his fun and wanted the mud off NOW!  I think it's time to go home. Oh that hair!

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After maneuvering all of the fences (quite a trick and only one bloody back...Hayes'), all four of us hopped on the four-wheeler and headed for home.  There was no way I was going to let anyone get in my car that muddy.  I made Hayes stop so I could take a picture of the sky.  I love skies like this.

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Out of focus, but that's what you get with one with only one clean hand and 3 little punks bumping you.

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I noticed that bloggers (especially Pioneer Woman) are into taking pictures of their feet.  So here are mine....thank goodness I opted for my old boots.

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Checking out the spoils.

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We had to find frogs in all stages of the life cycle.  Here's the end result.

Meanwhile, we had to come up with a place to keep them all after we rinsed the mud off them and us. I went down to the field and stole back the bottom half of our dog house that Spence had been using as a generator cover.  We poured all of the tadpoles through the sieve, gave them a quick rinse with the hose and deposited them in the water-filled dog house.  This process only claimed one victim's life.  A weird fish-looking creature that Spence says was a salamander in an early stage.  I'll have to look it up to check on him :) It also looks a little like a craw-dad. Can anyone confirm?

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Now we've got to figure out how to protect them from Chase.  He squashed his fair share last year.

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And then there's Jack. He seems quite interested himself.

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I think we really did get most of the stages.

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All-in-all a pretty successful Saturday....until later when I had to take Chase to the urgent care for his "sickness" which turned out to be a double ear infection.  Poor boy...what a trooper.  Too bad they don't do sedated haircuts at the urgent care.

The Cub Scout

Hayes went to his first cub scout activity last Saturday (we're on the "slow" program---he's been 8 since January).  He loved it.  They made marshmallow guns, shot guns and bow and arrows, and he got his face painted like Jack Sparrow. 

I didn't have a shirt for him, but luckily Tim Udall has the thrift shop save any that get donated.  They only had a long sleeve that would fit his scrawny body, so I was going to cut and hem the sleeves.  Hayes wouldn't let me touch them.  The moment he put it on, he started saluting and using "sir" and "mam".  He was so proud.  He went the the activity Saturday morning at 7:30 am sharp with his long sleeves buttoned snuggly claiming that the 90+ degree weather felt "cool" to him.

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Cub scout Jack Sparrow at your service.

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Bridger Nielsen came over to my mom's to play afterwards.

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Spence relaxing in my parent's back yard. Enjoy it while you can Spence...those sprinklers are calling :) !!!

August 29, 2008

Homeschool Curriculum

Here's some of the stuff I'm trying this year.  It takes so much time wading through all of the curriculum available.  Next year I'm going to try to go to a Homeschool Convention so I can look at it all in one place instead of spending hours online trying to figure it out.  I'll try to include some of the stuff that I want, but don't have, as well as some online resources that I'll probably use. 

The cover of The Well-Trained Mind, first edition.

The Well-Trained Mind

Saxon Math 3 Kit

Saxon Math 3--this site had the cheapest price I could find for the workbooks

Stock photo

 Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia

Jean Fritz History Books

Easy Grammar 3- Wanda Phillips


 Exploring American History - Christian Liberty Press


A Child's Story of America- Christian Liberty Press ( I haven't received this one yet.  It got a few bad reviews (christian slant), but I got it so cheap that I thought I'd check it out)

Language 3--New Edition

 Abeka Language 3

Arithmetic 3--New Edition

Abeka Arithmetic 3

Our American Heritage--New Edition

  Abeka Our American Heritage

Our American Heritage Map Skills Book--New Edition

Abeka Map Study Skills

Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime!

  Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference; Solve the Crime

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times

The Story of the World- Susan Wise Bauer (Early Modern Times)

Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age

Getting Started With Latin

Stock photo

The Usborne Book of World History--This is one of the main history books that WTM recommends to use throughout your child's school years.  I was a little disappointed when I received mine.  I thought it didn't go into enough depth. 

9 Troll Biographies,Mozart,Washington,Lincoln,Adams....

Troll Biographies

Writing Strands- National Writing Institute

Adventures With Atoms and Molecules- Chemistry Experiments

I also wanted to buy "Shakespeare for Kids", but was running out of money, so I found a website called The Baldwin Project, which has all kinds of ideas for teaching Shakespeare to kids as well as a link to Tales from Shakespeare  by  Charles and Mary Lamb which is available online for free. 

I have been searching around for some online multiplication games.  You can download Timez Attack for free from BigBrainz.  Another good site for multiplication is  It also has a sister site that covers addition, subtraction and division called Exuberant Games

Another cool thing I found while searching around was that Google's Book Search has a lot of older books (like good history books) scanned in in their entirety.  I don't know if you'd want to print them, but at least you can look at them and read a few chapters before deciding to buy.

For geography, I found the same site Maren suggested in my comments.  Sheppard's Software has free online geography tutoring games.  They are pretty basic, but use repetition to really help you memorize your geography. I can't stand programs/games that are so random that you never actually end up learning anything. 

I'll let you know how it goes since we are "officially" starting the day after Labor Day (don't you wish the school's would do that?).  Since public school has been in for three weeks now, we sort of started to get in the swing of things, but nothing serious.  We've done some hiking, a lot of reading (Huckleberry Finn), journaling, and a little bit of science (I'm wanting to teach Hayes the scientific method this year).  Since the WTM suggests chemistry for 3rd grade, I thought why not and we started in on Thursday.  We used the Adventures in Atoms and Molecules and Hayes really dug learning about them.  He had all kinds of questions that I'm going to have to look up the answers to.

  Not all of my curriculum is in, so we'll have to just do our best. I'll try to write some short reviews of what worked and didn't work for us.  Happy Homeschooling!

August 26, 2008

This Could Be Addicting

I stumbled across this site while looking for an online geography/map skills game for Hayes. Very cool. See if you can beat the fastest time!

Click to Mix and Solve

Spence and I stayed up late trying to perfect the 6 piece and 12 piece puzzles. We're trying to ward off alzheimers! :)

August 23, 2008

Bad Luck

Sonny Boy   b. 2004- d. Aug 2008

In loving memory of our favorite horse Sonny.   Son of Socks and Sandy.  He died of colic last week.  Spence raised him and trained him.  He was gentle and obedient and 06 18 08_0947_edited-1loved people.  I thought Spence's heart might break.  He was so sad.  He takes great care when picking  the final resting place of our animals.  He always wants to bury them where he thinks they would be happy.  We have our dog Spook buried in the back yard with a cottonwood planted over him. We call it the Spook Tree.  We buried Sonny on a hill overlooking the barn and fields.  When he died, Spence was leading him up to be with the other horses so that he would be happy.  Hayes loved him too. He always told us he was part-owner with his dad.  We were going to sell him one time and while the guy was looking at him, Hayes hung on Sonny's legs and cried. Needless to say, the guy did not buy him.  

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