Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Homeschooling Through the Alphabet: G is for Games!

We play so many games together that I honestly could not have used G for anything else!  We spent January breezing through a Gameschooling challenge; adding games into our homeschool day for the whole month.

It was a breeze for us!  We have always enjoyed playing games for learning.

I find that games keep our homeschooling days light and fun.  They help keep us focused and motivate us to keep on learning.

Playing Beat the Parents-- the boys did in fact beat the parents!

We've purchased many games over the years but we enjoy making up our own games too!  Just about anything can be turned into a fun game.

Of course we can't always play games... well, we could but it would take up a lot more of our time.

A few years ago the boys convinced me to add regular workbooks into our days and just sprinkle in some games here and there.  We try to play at least one game a day but even on those days we don't manage a game in our school day we often end up playing together as a family in the evening.

Some of our very favorite games for homeschooling include:

Scrambled States of America, Brain Quest States Game, and World GeoBingo for geography.

Yahtzee, Zeus On the Loose, and The Clumsy Thief for math.

Scattergories, Scrabble, and Spill and Spell for Spelling.

American Trivia and Presidential Bingo for History

Harry Potter Scene it 1 & 2, Ooga Booga, and Story Cubes for Language Arts

Ion and Animal Tracks Memory for Science.

Of course we have many, many, many other games that we enjoy playing just for fun or those that span several different courses at once.

You can read about Our 25 Favorite Family Games here:

And 25 More of our Favorite Family Games here.

Homeschooling Through the Alphabet:

A is for Awe
E is for Expectations
F is for Fun

Linking Up With:

Hopkins Homeschool

Epic Mommy Adventures
Hip Homeschool Moms

Monday, February 27, 2017

Art Project #75-- Making Cupcakes

My middle son has been on a real kick of making cupcakes this past week.  He started recording Cupcake Wars and by the time he had watched the third episode he really wanted to start making his own.

He has been experimenting with different flavors of cake and frosting.

He has been playing around with decorating tips and different candy/ food toppings to garnish his cupcakes with.

He has been creating edible art all on his own and I just knew I had to include these cupcakes as part of our 100 Days of Art; they don't call it Culinary Arts for nothing!

His first cupcake: vanilla with blue buttercream frosting and sprinkles:

He decorated the rest of his vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting and conversation hearts for Valentine's day:

His brother asked him to make some chocolate cupcakes and since Alec is not a big fan of chocolate, he decided to make some Oreo frosting to go on top; along with an actual Oreo cookie.  He also played around with Russian cake tips:

Alec made vanilla Oreo cupcakes; actual vanilla cupcakes with bits of Oreo baked inside.  He used the leftover Oreo frosting to decorate them and topped them all off with even more crumbled Oreos. 

Alec also made mint swirled cupcakes.  He wanted to make a marble cake but asked if there was some way to make marble cake using different colors.  We mixed up a batch of vanilla cakes with a tsp. of mint extract, tinted 1/2 green and swirled them together.  He then mixed up some mint buttercream frosting and topped them off with Andes thin mints. 

Our other art projects:
Project 3: Star Wars Crafts
Project 5: Floral pens
Project 6: Watercolor outlines
Project 13: Water gun art
Project 14: Watercolor Kits
Project 15: Dragonfly Silhouettes 
Project 16: Painting pet rocks 
Project 17: Spray Paint Resist
Project 18: Water bottle windsock
Project 20: Tin can windsock 
Project 21: Firework glue art
Project 22: Qixel art kit
Project 26: Spray Painted Canvas
Project 28: Tin Foil Art
Project 29: Oil Pastel Bubbles 
Project 32: Drip Painted Pots
Project 33: Sun Art 
Project 36: Art Museum field trip. 
Project 39: Painting Pikachu 
Project 40: How to Draw Books
Project 42: Splatter Paint Canvas
Project 46: Tissue Paper Leaf Art
Project 50: Drawing Cat Faces 
Project 51: Making Homemade cards

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Books About Grandparents

There are so many great children's books out there and though my boys are starting to get a bit too old for many of the picture books I have so many fond memories of reading to them.

We loved reading about families and found so many great stories about grandparents.  Here are a few of our favorites:

What Do Grandma's/ Grandpas Do Best?-- My boys always loved this reversible book about what Grandmas and Grandpas do best. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Weekly Wrap- Up: The Week it Felt Like Spring In New England!

We had such beautiful weather here this week!  It was sunny and in the upper 50's/ low 60's all week.  This meant a lot of snow melting, lots of time spent outside, and the definite clawing of spring fever.  Alec has continued to bake up a storm; making lots of cupcakes for us all.

Friday we got a late start on our schoolwork Friday since all the boys had been up late on Thursday night.  We started by watching a few more episodes of Cupcake Wars and Alec told me he REALLY wanted to make some more cupcakes; Cookies and Cream flavored this time.  We sat at the table looking up recipes and writing up a shopping list while Ian made waffles for everyone for breakfast.  While eating breakfast the boys listened as I read aloud two chapters in A King's Ransom.  The boys then took their Friday spelling tests and their math minutes.  Each of the boys worked on either 2 pages math or on Khan Academy.  Alec read The Five Kingdoms Rogue Night.  Evan read a few more pages in Batman's Guide to Being Cool. Ian read Making Tracks. All three boys did some writing too.  I had writing prompts but I told them they could have a free write too if they'd rather.  Evan chose to write about 5 things most people don't know about him.  Alec wrote about describing his day in the life as a penguin and Ian wrote about the one thing he'd like to change about himself. With schoolwork done we ran to do errands and bout the supplies we needed to make cupcakes.  Alec dove in and started making cupcakes just after lunch.  Ian and Evan went outside to start making a snow tunnel/ fort.

Alec had a friend sleeping over Saturday and since Friday's cupcake recipe only made 9 he ended up throwing together yet another recipe!  He made some vanilla cupcakes with Oreo chunks baked right into the batter and used the leftover Oreo frosting to decorate them.  Evan and Ian continued working on the fort. They made the tunnel with a lookout opening on top and worked until the cold and wind got to them and then Ian brought in some sand to play with his trucks in the basement.  After lunch Ian headed off with his father to start making his toy sized screening plant... which is now 6 feet long and about 2 feet high!

Look at those chunks of Oreo! yum!

Ian lying across the top of the fort helping to open the lookout hole

You can just see Evan's feet sticking out the bottom hole and the wind wall
they built to block out the wind from entering the tunnel.

Ian's job site got moved indoors for a day

The completed vanilla Oreo cupcakes

Sunday the boys spent a lot of time playing video games.  The sun was shining and it was close to 60 here in New England so we did spend an hour working in the woods. The boys discovered that their entire tunnel melted and caved in! When we got home Alec worked out with his father lifting weights.  Evan asked to finish reading his Ninjago Spy vs Spy book with me and we played a round of Harry Potter Scene it 2.

Long jump contest in the snow.

Their snowball face on the tree.

We had a whole day of schoolwork planned for Monday and ended up setting most of it aside to head out to a park for the day with my sister and nephews.  The boys did work on spelling, math, and reading though.  Alec and Ian had worked on another page in their English and Grammar book while Evan worked on two pages in his word family book.  We started a new read aloud; we're re- reading the book The Candymakers.  A second book came out and we could not remember that many details in the story to start book two.  We had a great, relaxing afternoon playing by the water, throwing snowballs, and just talking and walking around.  Once home the younger boys asked to play Harry Potter Scene it with me while Ian spent the rest of his afternoon outside digging in the dirt.

Throwing snow in the brook

Throwing snow and stones at the ice and open water

Ian found some sand to dig in; he was happy as a clam!
Tuesday the boys amazed me by zipping right through their work.  They were all just about finished by the time we left for karate.  All three boys worked on one page in spelling and cursive and two pages in math (even Alec chose a book over Khan Academy today).  Ian read a few more pages in Making Tracks.  Alec read another few chapters in The Five Kingdoms Rogue Night.  Evan read The Bear Ate Your Sandwich and What To Do With a Box.  Ian watched the movie Bridge of Spies and filled out a page in his Film Study Journal.  We talked about the cold war, Berlin and the wall, other movies we've watched on atomic bombs, and the time in history that the movie occurred.  During lunch we read a few chapters in The Kings Ransom and read the book War Game.  Then we headed outside for some fresh air.  Ian showed me the fort he's been working on in our woods then Alec and I wandered around checking out the various snow levels in the woods and field and comparing it to how high the snow as just a few days ago.

Wednesday was a great day!  All the boys slept in and started watching Atlantis The Lost Empire before and during breakfast.  They quickly started in on their schoolwork when the movie was done.  They each worked on a page in spelling and two pages in their Multiplication Games journal and took a math minute.  Alec read The Five Kingdoms Rogue Night, Evan read a chapter in Saving the Sun Dragon and Ian read aloud a chapter from The Candymakers to us all.  Alec and Ian worked on a writing page while Evan worked on two pages in his word family book.  All three boys pitched in and we cleaned the entire upstairs.  Alec and I made marbled mint cupcakes and we all settled down to lunch,  I read aloud a chapter in The King's Ransom and read the book Getting to Know the U. S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson.  It was warm and sunny out so we spent quite a bit of time outside.  Ian started building a second fort using all of his tools while the younger boys and I looked for tracks in the snow.  Evan started reading the first chapter in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to me; the small writing was hard for him to read and many of the words were hard to sound out so we took turns with him reading one page and then I'd take over and read the second page.  I was stunned that he wanted to do this!

Atlantis - The Lost Empire




Evan found a frozen spider web!

Ian's second fort

We were supposed to head out hiking Thursday afternoon so the boys worked hard all morning to get their schoolwork done and help me clean the whole downstairs.  They each worked on two pages in math, took a math minute test, did another page in their spelling books and read.  Alec read a few more chapters in The Five Kingdoms Rogue Night, Ian read a few chapters in The Quicksand Question and Evan read Memoirs of a Hamster.  Alec and Ian had a free write while Evan worked on two more pages in his word family book.  Together we read another chapter in The King's Ransom and The Candymakers.  We also finished up our World War I unit looking through the Eyewitness book World War I.  While I read the boys used different window markers to draw on our windows. Our hike was canceled and so we headed out for a few quick errands and then spent the rest of the day outside.  Ian worked on his fort and the two younger boys played, rode bikes, and enjoyed all the warm weather. After dinner Evan went to the woodworking shop to work on his shelf.

Linking Up With:
The Homeschool Post

Family Friday Link-Up Party