Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Counting Down the Days

We are in our last two weeks of the 2015-2016 school year, and it has been a great one! Really, I don't think I can think of one thing I would have changed about this school year. That makes planning for the next one super simple because we will just continue doing what we are doing. We will shift our literature, history, and science focus to our new topics and move up a level in math. Otherwise, we will stay the course which is very exciting and a huge relief!

Since we completed our WWII curriculum from the World War II for Kids book a couple of weeks ago, we are just concentrating on wrapping up a few things.

We finished The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne M. Frank and the kids were faced with the realization that Anne and the majority of her family and others hiding with them did not, in fact, make it through the holocaust alive. It was actually devastating for them to learn. Brynne, in particular, had become very close to Anne, and it took her a couple of days to deal with the news. I am not sure she has completely.

Anne Frank inspired Brynne to be a writer. She has been working on a novel called "The Life of Grace" for the past month or so. She told me this week that she has decided to set the era during the civil rights movement and have Grace's best friend be an African-American girl. I cannot wait to see where this story takes her. She has even told me that she needs to do some research to make sure she gets it right.

Do not ever underestimate your investment in educating your children. When it clicks, it clicks big.

We also focused somewhat on the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII because the National WWII Museum in New Orleans has completed a project of restoring a P51 Mustang flown by this group of African-American airmen and moved it to the museum this week with a dedication service along with two living Tuskegee Airmen. On Thursday we participated in a webinar with these two men. It was astonishing to hear about their contributions to the end of segregation in the military. This next week we plan to watch the documentary "Double Victory" by George Lucas and the movie "Red Tails".

At our enrichment class we made shrinky dinks of WWII naval instruments of war and WWII planes (including the P51 Mustang). Next week we will be preparing May Day baskets that we will deliver to the residents at the local nursery home early on the morning of May 1st. The kids have participated in a penny war to raise the money for that project. They plan to donate the remainder of the money to the Gary Sinise Foundation: Serving Honor and Need. He recently took a group of WWII veterans to the museum in New Orleans and the foundation's mission is to "serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need."

We were back into a regular routine this week completing daily lessons in spelling, grammar, math, watching CNN Student News (hi Carl!), and getting in some reading time out of our personal books. Brynne continues to read out of the Warrior Cats series and Eli has moved onto Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.

We only have one more week before we are on our scheduled May break.

When I was telling Brynne that at the end of next week we would be a few hours shy of our 1,000 required hours, but that I wasn't worried about it because I always include their state bowling tournament hours that we will earn in May, she said, "I think we should be able to count all hours because our life is learning."

Ahhhh .... this homeschooling thing is worth it!

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 972.5 hours out of 1,000 required hours (287 3/4 hours outside home)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Spring Clean! What do you do to prepare for the new Season?

What a timely post after the weekend we just had. Almost four years ago, when we moved to Missouri, we absolutely did not have the energy to sort through all of the boxes we had in storage at our house there before we moved to our house here. Those boxes have been sitting in our garage since our move. Our garage is detached and leaky. It's had neighborhood cats taking up residency there so it stinks. So to say that we have been putting off purging and cleaning out the garage would be an extreme understatement.

Our small town has a city-wide clean up week twice per year where you can haul pretty much anything to provided dumpsters. We decided it was time to tackle the garage so we can utilize this free service.

We made it through half the garage this past weekend resulting in about 10 boxes/tubs of items to donate to the Historical Society garage sale and a huge pile of garbage bags of trash for the dump day. We plan to finish the other half in two weeks.

It's not fun, but it does feel good to have some of that junk gone!

Otherwise it's just been regular cleaning happening around here. I had already switched out all of our winter and summer clothes a few weeks ago in preparation for our recent vacation down south.

I have been doing a little exterior sprucing up, though. After enjoying the outside space at my parents' house in Florida, I decided I needed a space at my own house where I could enjoy my mornings. So I cleaned off our worn wicker patio furniture chairs and table, added new cushions and a rug, planted some flowers, and added a neat little arrangement I bought at a garage sale this past weekend.

I love this space! And so do the dogs. I've been sitting in my space in the mornings doing my crossword puzzle or reading and enjoying my coffee. I have really enjoyed it so far!

I also did a bit of rearranging and spruced up my garden entrance.

I still have tons of flowers to plant, mulch to spread, a house to power wash, and a garden to plant. I will be working on that over the next few weeks.

For me it's not all about sprucing up the house, but is also a time for me to begin to spruce up myself. I always feel reenergized in the Spring to get into a good morning routine (lazy winters always seem to get the best of my good intentions), to have my quiet time, to eat healthier, and to get back into a regular exercise routine.

I have been getting out of bed about an hour and a half before the kids to accomplish those things, and have started doing 21 Day Fix again. I have also dusted off my MyFitnessPal app (my user name is NicoleTaulman so you can add me as a friend if you'd like) to start keeping track of my eating and exercise. Rick and I are going to Puerto Vallarta at the end of May and I need to do a tad bit of work before I put on a bikini.

Spring is definitely in the air.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Where in the World is the Taulman Family?

It's been a while, huh?

That's because Journey Homeschool hit the road a couple of weeks ago for some learning, fun, and relaxation. We put in a full week before we left primarily wrapping up some World War II studies in anticipation of our trip. We had books to read and videos to watch to get us ready. In addition to that we put in one final week of reading, english, and math.

So where have we been?

We hit 9 states in 9 days with our Oklahoma friends Megan, Paige, and Maggie. First we travelled to Atlanta. We spent the first evening enjoying dinner at the Gladys Knight and Ron Winan's Chicken and Waffle Restaurant indulging in some authentic chicken and waffles and then enjoying the water show and blooming azaleas at Centennial Olympic Park.

The next day the  dreams of my kids came true ... they got to meet Carl Azuz from CNN Student News on the CNN Student News tour. It was such a great opportunity! Carl is exactly the same in person as he is on his daily broadcast. The thing that impressed me the most was his obvious love for educating children through his show. Spectacular!

After the tour we drove by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, childhood home and toured his church Ebenezer Baptist Church.

On the drive from Atlanta to Pensacola, Florida, we took a detour to Selma, Alabama, to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr., across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Then we drove through Live Oak Cemetery and Brown Chapel A.M.E. church where MLK, Jr., spoke and where the bombing occurred that killed the little girls.

Then it was finally time to get to Pensacola for some relaxation.

That relaxation included:

Watching the Blue Angels practice ...

Playing on the rope swing on the bay ...

Climbing the Pensacola Lighthouse ...

Going to the National Naval Aviation Museum ...

Touring Fort Pickens ...

Taking a nice walk through the Palafox Pier and Yacht Harbor Marina and Historic Pensacola Village to celebrate Megan's 40th birthday ...

Visiting Joe Patti's to buy fresh shrimp, look at the fishing boats, and eat some beignets ...

And of course we hit the beach ...

At the end of our trip we drove through New Orleans to go to the National WWII Museum. Our entire school year of learning about WWII was in anticipation of this trip to the museum.

Afterward we walked around Jackson Square and the French Quarter and had more beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

We collapsed at our hotel room after dinner and then got up super early the next morning for the drive back to Oklahoma to drop off our friends and then drive on home to Missouri.

We spent the last few days of the week resting and recuperating.

It was an amazing, busy, whirlwind trip with lots of learning and even more fun!

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 944 hours out of 1,000 required hours (283 3/4 hours outside home)

We will have our 1,000 required hours complete by the end of April. Then we will take off the month of May and start our new school year and summer hours in June.