Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break

We have been on Spring break from our classes at Village Home for about two weeks now. I have thoroughly enjoyed this time. I've had the opportunity to get more things done around the house and our life has felt less rushed. It has been awesome and the time has flown by so quickly! Unless you ask Princess.

Princess thinks the break was entirely too long and can't wait to get back to classes. I get a giggle out of it every time it happens. It happens every break and every time we're in term. It's so different from what we hear from public school families, and not just for Princess, but for all the learners at Village.

At Village, the kids can't wait for classes to start and hate when classes end. They enjoy short breaks, but are always excited to be back and that excitement doesn't fade as the term goes on. The parents, on the other hand, love the breaks and look forward to them. And while we are excited about the term starting, we aren't quite as excited as the kids.

I hear public school kids complain about going back (or may be excited at first but that disappears quickly) and look forward to breaks. They wish their breaks were longer. Parents often complain when their kids are out of school and can't wait for breaks (especially Summer break) to end so that the kids can get back to classes. It's funny how different things are.

And so, I prepare myself for the return of the crazy schedule.

Happy end of Spring break, everyone!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Play It Safe

We often talk about safety -- real world safety as well as internet safety. This is something that Princess has learned about from us as well as the BrainPOP video on internet safety.

Princess discovered a new online game from National Geographic, called Animal Jam. This is her current passion and therefore, she spends most of her computer time playing it . . . with a little Minecraft thrown in here and there. It's a free membership, but she is using her allowance to pay for a premium membership. Yes, it is just that cool!

She's picking up some animal facts and is having a fun time playing in the Animal Jam world, collecting animals, making friends (or buddies), buying a variety of things using points, participating in contests and more.

Princess has really been having a lot of fun with it, until the other night. Another player asked her for two pieces of furniture. At first Princess said yes, but then changed her mind and said no. The other player told her that if she didn't give the furniture, Princess would be reported. Being a researcher, Princess found what happens when people are reported -- 24 hour suspension from Animal Jam. She was in tears, scared and texted to me to come downstairs.

I assured her that there was no way she would be suspended for that and she sat with me as I sent an email to the support staff at Animal Jam. I received a response the next day, a Saturday. They assured me that they have moderators staffed 24/7. All reports are reviewed for validity and they are going to research the situation. Princess and I talked about what to do if this happens again. Now that she has had this experience, I think she will be calmer should she experience something like this again.

Fortunately, these sites make it relatively easy. Princess knows how to report, unfriend, and block other players. And of course, she knows to let me know when anything happens that she doesn't like. We talked about the situation again and she is feeling very confident about it now.

It may sound silly, but I am so grateful that I get to be her mom. I am so grateful that I am the one who is there to help her navigate this world. This is, hands down, the best job ever!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Indoor Skates

Princess went skating again. She is really having a blast with it and wanted to get her own skates. Of course, the skating rink sells skates and Princess wanted to check them out. We did and we looked at the prices. OUCH! Skates cost A LOT of money there . . . much more than I am willing to spend.

Amazon and PerkStreet Bank to the rescue! Amazon is my "go to". I hate shopping. Amazon makes it easy, especially with Amazon Prime ($79/year gives you free 2-day shipping). PerkStreet Bank gives you 1%-2% cash back on non-pin debit card purchases. With our PerkStreet cash back, the skates cost a little over $1 and we had them in two days.

The moment they arrived Princess put them on and started skating around the house. Hurray for hardwood floors!!

The skates stayed on for hours and she would hang out on the couch wearing them while playing on her computer, then she would get up and skate again.

Sadly, I have no photos of her skating in them. Oh well, that will have to wait for another time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We Each Have a Vote

And that doesn't always work to my advantage. Darn it!

Both the Lizard King and I loved the green we chose for the kitchen. Princess, not so much. Next we chose the main house color. Here are the choices we narrowed down to:

I like the lightest one best. LK and Princess, well, they liked the middle tone. I know, I know, they're about a half to one shade different. Still, I liked the lighter one. But it was two to one. They win. I'm sure it will look lovely once it's done. LK just needs to find the time to do it. It might be a while, but hey, I'm getting used to living with random patches of color throughout the house. It's conversation piece!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Onion

"Google it!" is an expression often heard in our house. Princess has even gotten quite adept at "Googling" and often finds answers to gaming challenges by researching, often, all on her own. Here in the royal household we are big on researching, especially with this Paleo thing we do. While living this lifestyle can be a little more expensive, there are things you can do to make things more affordable.

 The Duchess came across an article about green onions. It said that if you keep green onions in a glass of water you can use the tops and they will keep regrowing. Being quite curious and frugal, we decided to give it a try.

It worked! See that line on the one in the front? That's where it was cut. Yes, it really grew! Princess thinks it is super cool that we may never have to buy green onions again!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Snow?

Wednesday evening the snow started. Thursday morning, we woke up to this.

We haven't had any accumulation of snow all winter. It's Spring! I think the weather fairies are a little confused.
I thought this looked so cool, the way the snow slid down the slide.

Happy Spring everyone!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roller Skating

My sister, the Duchess, took Princess roller skating.

They spent time on the practice floor . . .
Don't you just love this outfit?! If you're out of pink, go with floral!!

Ready for the rink? Here we go!

And we're off!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grammar Geek

I am, admittedly, a grammar geek. I correct grammar in my head all the time. (Sorry friends, I can't seem to help myself.) I'm horrified when I make a mistake and will correct myself out loud. A mistake in print is simply tragic. I wish I was as geeky when it comes to punctuation. My sister, the Duchess, is the same.

The other day Princess said something that included "Daddy and me" when it should have been "Daddy and I". The Duchess shared our trick for knowing which one is correct. It's super simple.

Remove the other person and repeat the sentence.

Daddy and me are going to the movies.
Me am going to the movies.
*Daddy and I are going to the movies.
*I am going to the movies.

Mommy is going to the movies with Daddy and I.
Mommy is going to the movies with I.
*Mommy is going to the movies with Daddy and me.
*Mommy is going to the movies with me.


See, "I" isn't always correct.

Princess totally got it! In fact, she was on the phone last night . . . and she corrected her friend and explained the thought process behind figuring it out.

How about that?!?!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mini Golf

One of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to do things when everyone else is in school. We had the whole mini golf course to ourselves! Sadly, I had only my iPhone for photos.

This was so much fun! We definitely have to do it again soon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two Best Friends

My best friend's son, Blue-Eyed Boy, is best friends with Princess.

They have known each other since Princess was 3 1/2 and Blue-Eyed Boy was just turning 4. They are now 8 1/2 and almost 9. Their friendship has grown and evolved over the years. They have so many common likes -- Pokemon, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lego Ninjago Master of the Universe, Legos, and more.

They create the most imaginative scenarios and role play a lot. They spend hours on the phone, talking while playing on the computer, Nintendo DS or Wii.

Freckles and I often watch the two of them play. He is so tall and she is so small, it's kind of funny to see, but they play so beautifully together! Is it too much to hope that they'll be best friends forever?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Things get busy here on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Those are the days we have classes scheduled at Village Home, our homeschool resource center. Princess chooses all of her classes. We have no requirements for what classes she takes. This year the schedule (I have also included class descriptions) looks like this:

Detective Agency -- Be a detective as we explore word and number puzzles, brainteasers, and unlock secret codes together. We'll spend some time looking at clues up close with magnifiers. We'll also read stories about detectives and solve mysteries as a group. There will be lots of detective work in this problem-solving time together!

Knights, Castles & Dragons -- Ever heard of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? Or the famous Sword in the Stone? If you want to know more, come explore the Arthurian legends with us. We will study the history of the Arthur and the knights, Merlin, the sword Excalibur, the Green Knight and the fall of Arthur's kingdom. We will immerse ourselves in the time period--including reenacting a jousting match and building our own Excalibur swords. We will study famous castles like Bamburgh Castle, and you can decide if you would want to live there (it's a bit cold!). We will even write our own legends once we decide if Arthur was even a real person!
For the last day of class, Princess and her best friend, Blue-Eyed Boy, presented their castle project that they had worked on together for several weeks.

Foundations in Computer Programming -- Unleash your creativity with designs and games we develop from scratch. We will write our own programs using FreeBASIC, a BASIC language variant available for free download.

Then I have my workout class, during which Princess plays.

Drama for Kids -- Have you ever pretended to be someone else just for fun? Maybe you've played dress up with mom or dad's old clothes and acted out a story with your friends. Or maybe you just like to move and play! 

Using picture books and popular tales as our jumping off point, we'll begin to put stories into action through a series of physical activities, improv exercises, and role playing. Together through play we'll learn the "who, what, where" of narrative structure using costume pieces, props, and anything else we find lying around in order to develop our creativity, connect with each other, and think on our feet! 
Artist Trading Cards -- Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are simply pieces of art that are made out of cards measuring 2.5” x 3.5”. You can use special paper already cut to this size, or better yet, use any sturdy paper. Old file folders, card stock, greeting cards – any paper that is not flimsy – can be cut to the right dimensions and used as an ATC. Once you have your 2.5 x 3.5” card, what you do with it is up to you. Draw on it, paint, collage, sew, embellish, write words. Use your imagination. The options are endless!

Rhyme Time --
Poetry is often
we think it must rhyme
for it to be good.
While this is not true
it's easy to say
that most of us first
do learn it this way.
From Silverstein to Seuss
and Dahl to Goose, 
we find such joy 
in what rhymes may produce;
the pictures and sounds
the places and things,
the adventure and wonder
that poetry brings!
To miss so much fun 
would be such a crime,
so join us everyone
for an exciting Rhyme Time! 

In this class, we'll look at both new and classic children's poems from authors including Mother Goose, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson and more! We'll explore creativity and movement as we set poems to music and perform as characters from our favorite poems, creating the world of the story through play. We'll discover our inner poet as we draw pictures of what we see and hear in the words and write our own poems together! 
I then have another class, during which Princess plays some more! This play is often creative play, but sometimes she will play alongside a friend on her DS or iPad.

When we get home, most of the time, Princess will turn on the TV and grab a device to play. These days are quite full of variety and activities. The subjects covered, if we were to break them down, would be everything covered in a "regular school day" but in a much more fun, learning friendly environment. I wouldn't have it any other way.

This was our last week at Village Home for Winter term. We've got a couple weeks off before we return for Spring term. I wonder what we'll do to keep ourselves busy. I can't wait to find out!