Snowy Day Activities…

What did we do on the first day of snow?

We baked a banana bread, reconstituted crayons, continued to make beeswax candles, and decorated for Samhain.  We also took some time to learn about making mozzerella cheese!

Snow!

This morning I woke to this!

Insectapolooza 2008

Cornell University hosts a gathering of thousands of insects, mostly live, annually in the Comstock Building called Insectapolooza.  We attended last year and found it facsinating and creepy!  We just couldn’t miss the opportunity to see all the little and some big critters again!  T. has his favorite sensory spot at the wading pool filled with water type insects you catch with cups.  I found my dreams come true in the Butterfly room, where I witnessed the birth of a Luna Moth.  We ate crunchy yummy cricket cookies.  Tasted honey from different seasons.  Bet on cockroach races, Pollinated flowers, and got insect tatoos.  It was a great morning of fun and learning.

Side Hill Acre Dairy Goat Farm

Wednesday we took a field trip with another family to Candor, NY.  Home of Side Hill Acre Dairy Goat Farm.  They produce delicious goat cheese, milk, candles, and bath/beauty products.  Once we got there we were given choices of cheese with crackers to munch on.  There were many herbal varieties.  I loved the “herb de Province” , my new favorite!  We brought many logs home with us and a couple candles, too.  We really enjoyed playing with the over 250 goats in the barn.  There were many varieties of goats.  I was surprised by this as I know many folks really like to focus on one type at a time.  I also discovered she uses no vaccines or selenium shots, other than rabies vaccine.  That is due to the tours and classes held on the property.  She is used by Cornell Cooperative as their Goat Classroom.  Apparently Cornell doesn’t have an onsite goat barn, as they do with many other aniamals.    I found this to be really freeing.  Having goats of my own, I am inundated with information about there care and knowing what is considered natural care for goats is something I have not been given guidance on.  This really helped me see that I can be natural with m y goats and not have so many concerns that some goat afficiandos have predicted.  Rita Kellogg, the Owner, brought us into the room where she empties all the full milk cans and pasturizes it at 145 degrees.  She even showed us a bucket made for feeding many of the kids that she has yearly.  What a funny device!  Then we were brought into the milking room.  She milks twice a day, 4am and 4pm.  Then off to the barn full of meandering goats, lounging around or stuffing their faces with hay.  They loved being petted and followed us around everywhere.  We were used as straching posts mostly. LOL  T. had a great time with that!

What a great trip!

Middle Ages lesson 1

So, I introduced B. to an overall picture of the Middle Ages on Monday.  I used several powerpoint presentations I found online, a few books from the library and the Story of the World chapters 1 and 2 audio.  I briefly described the feudal system and the importance of the church during that time period.  He freehand drew his first map of the Mediterranean/European continent.  Then I introduced him to Beowulf.  Since yesterday, Tuesday, was one of my days to recoup from emotional exhaustion, I allowed him to watch the movie Beowulf.  What a gory film!  He drew a picture of what he thought the “Hall” looked like from listening to the story on Monday.  I think for an intro lesson it went okay.  I am trying to find ways to come up with m ore fun and creative lessons, but most of the time that means more materials.  More materials equals more money.  Se Va!

Here are some pics of the work he did for this lesson in his Main Lesson Book:

Some lessons…

I have been trying to get through some of the many lessons I have planned for the boys this year.  Slow going, at best, is really what is happening.  I do want to share a few examples of some of the work done in their books so far.

T. has been working through the the Old Testament Stories, but they aren’t really sinking in enough to remember the nest day yet.  I hope that will change soon, but I am also having a challenge creating something physical or crafty that he would enjoy doing to help him on that.  I think after we get further into the stories the easier that will get.  He is learning cursive and has completed three whole lessons.  He is actually doing fairly well, so I am thrilled that introducing cursive to him is working so far.  He accomplished three pages of writing and if you know T. at all, you know this is huge!!!  He wrote the months of the year, a letter to a Jewish Oma, and the Jewish calendar months.  He painted some of the months towards creating a calendar, but never competed them.  Every lesson we go over skip counting with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10s.  We bounce a ball back and forth to do this.  He has done one Nature Walk drawing about Frost.  Not so easy to draw frost. 😛  We have been putting together a nature table/Samhain alter.  Pics to come closer to Samhain.  We went online to check out Stawbale housing and I would like to try my hand at building one, but will have to wait till Spring, so the weather gives us plenty of time to plan and budget.  We are venturing to farms, even though we live on one, to see what others do on them during harvest season and we are exploring dairy farms to express the importance in history and our lives today.

B.’s lessons have been the least successful.  I hate Math!  I can’t teach it, I can just do it.  So, we had a few lessons, then I couldn’t answer his questions and gave up.  I am a total failure for him.  I am going to proceed with the lessons I have created for the Middle Ages, as feably as they are.  I hope he will get something out of it all and we will find some creative things to make from this lesson block.  He is, of course, attending all the field trips and farm trips.  His constant reading and guitar practicing has been keeping him very busy per usual.

The last pic is of T. shaking our way to homemade Butter!