Friday, March 02, 2007

A Long Time Ago...

Last summer, to be exact, we went to Wall Drug in beautiful South Dakota. I didn't post the pictures here because our digital camera broke. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I asked Bob to fix it. Well, Bob had no desire to fix it because he didn't need to use the camera. Today he wanted the camera to take photos of the snow. Amazingly, he fixed the camera in 15 minutes. Grrrr. Oh well, the end result is I uploaded 190 photos this afternoon and can say goodbye to my blurry cell-phone photos.
Wall Drug is a tourist trap, but lots of fun nonetheless. If you're in the area, I highly recommended spending an hour or two there.
500 miles to Wall Drug!

The Fun of it All!

King of the hill!

For an idea of how much snow is out there, that little black thing that is below and in line with the tan house's window is our mailbox.

The Back Yard After the Storm

This drift is taller than I am.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mid-morning snow report

A rare site -- a cardinal at our milk-jug
feeder. Usually only the chickadees indulge at the milk jug.

It has been the most beautiful morning here! The snow is gorgeous. Great big fluffy flakes continuously falling.
Thomas curled up in my bed and read a book after working on his new time line. I actually watched The View ... both on TV and out the window.

I wish my good camera was working because the Razor phone doesn't take the best photos. You can't see those gorgeous snowflakes.

I learned a new term today. While watching The View, the Twin Cities news came on during a commercial. They talked about "thunder-snow." I had never heard that. Apparently there is a lot of thunder-snow in Minnesota today. Thankfully not where I live.
It's been fun watching my neighbor. They run a day care. The kids have not been out playing, but there has been a constant stream of cars. Even if the schools are closed, the work places are not. I bet it's crazy in her house today. At any rate, it's been fun watching them go out every half hour and snow blowing the driveway. They keep their drive very clean because of the day care. The snow is so heavy and falling so fast that they are working very hard to keep up with it. The snow is winning.

Bring it on!

The weather forecast keeps changing. At first we were expecting 4-6 inches of snow yesterday and today. Now we're expecting up to 21 inches by tomorrow night.

I got up this morning at 6:30 am. When I took the dog out, it was not snowing and we barely got a skiff last night. I saw my husband off to work, turned the radio on and settled down with a Sudoku and cup of coffee. Then I heard it: Schools were cancelled! I was scratching my head because it wasn't even snowing. Then I looked outside. In a mere half hour it went from nothing to snow so thick I could barely see across the street.

Thomas woke up while Bob was still at home and talked to us from the comforts of his warm, cozy bed. He threw out that he hoped schools were called off so that the poor public-schooled children could have a day off. Gee, how generous of him. (Think there was an ulterior motive there? I usually follow the public school's snow days.) He promptly went back to sleep. And I let him.

We will have school today, but we will definitely go into unschooling mode. I think a batch of cookies is in order. Maybe some hot chocolate, too. Today seems like a great day to curl up on the couch, snuggle, and read a good book or two.

I only wish my Rainbow order was would have been great to play our new games. Those new orders never arrive soon enough, though.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

We're back to our normal routine, finally. Thomas was sick, then I was sick, now Bob is sick. We all had "that nasty virus" that everyone is getting and taking forever to recover from.

Last week we did a little school every day. Ha, little might mean reading one book. On Friday Thomas and I sat down and discussed this year's school. He shared his likes and his dislikes. He really wanted to go back to Sequential Spelling. He did not like MegaWords. Okay. Done. We started Monday morning first thing with Sequential Spelling. This time I got my spelling rules book out and after his lesson, we reviewed a few lessons. A cheap little book with a good list of rules. That will satisfy my need for teaching rules for now.

Thomas also begged -- and I do mean begged -- to learn Spanish. I have fought this tooth and nail. I had no desire to learn Spanish. German was my language love, both in high school and college. I discussed this with Bob and he quickly produced his college Spanish text, tapes, workbook and completed tests. Ugh. I looked it over and quickly determined it was too difficult for Thomas. We listened to the first lesson together and he did the freak-out on me. He freaks when he doesn't understand something the first time. I closed the book and said the magic words, "I really think this is too difficult for you and I don't think that you can't do it." MEAN mom. Mean, nasty words.

Well, those mean, nasty words motivated Thomas. Monday morning the first thing he asked to do was Spanish. He quit freaking out, started listening and studying. We did the first two pages in the book. We will really have to go slow because this program moves fast. Surprisingly, I am actually enjoying it. I have been sitting at my kitchen table at night with the books and tape recorder and studying on my own. Go figure. Thanks to Thomas, I now have a desire.

I ordered a couple label books from Rainbow. (My time is worth something, right? I could have made these on my own, but it's so much easier to just order something.) When they arrive, I'll take my tape and cover the house in Spanish words. Hopefully this will help increase our vocabulary.

On the math front, we came to the decimals chapter Rod and Staff. Thomas had very weak instruction in decimals last year. My fault totally, because we were switching curriculum and it got left high and dry. So instead of forging ahead with Rod and Staff, I pulled the Key to Decimals series from the shelf. He actually started this last week (I don't remember when, I was in a fog) and has been working 5-6 pages a day. What a nice break from the rigors of Rod and Staff.

On the World History front, we both decided that History Odyssey is just not for us. Neither of us like the flow, neither of us have a good understanding of the time frame. It seems as if we're just learning little chunks or snippets here and there and that it is not cohesive. What to do? I spent a bit of time searching history curriculum. I just don't like anything I see. So I ended up buying World History the Easy Way as a guide and will incorporate reading lists from the net, SOTW CD's, Kingfisher, etc.

Geography. Last year Thomas loved geography. This year he hated it. I had purchased Trail Guide to US Geography. Thomas thought it was all busywork. So I looked at other programs and decided to wing it. We're going to study region by region using The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geography as our guide. This is not my choice book to use as a guide, it will need lots of supplementation, but heck, it was sitting on my shelf. We started yesterday and had fun. That's what counts, having fun while learning, right? I also ordered the Name that Country game from Rainbow. It had good reviews at Amazon. I read a great idea at Amazon for making more cards as the game doesn't have that many countries, so I ordered some blank flashcards, too.

It seems every year about this time I evaluate school and place a big order. This year is no exception. Sometimes we just need to stir the pot a little.