Monday, April 23, 2012

School's ALMOST Out!

What a beautiful spring we are having here in Montrose!  Unless you live here, you can't possibly understand how nice it has been to NOT have our terrible gusts of wind that normally bombard us this time of year.  Of course, at our elevation, we have a standing rule that you can't plant anything until after Mother's Day, because we still have a chance of frost, but this year I am sorely tempted to ignore the years of experience that tell me it would be foolhardy to put anything in the ground yet.

We are really looking forward to our week long trip beginning Thursday.  We have studied Colorado history this year, and thanks to our school program we can  use funds to take a field trip to Denver and the surrounding area to see that we can cram in.  Yes, it is a typical LaJoy trip with every moment packed to the gills to take advantage of our time there.  We plan to do the following:

State Capitol Tour
Denver Mint
Museum of Science and History
Colorado History Museum
Garden of the Gods
Mine Tour
Denver Art Museum
Molly Brown House (of Titanic fame)
Traveling Leonardo Da Vinci Machines exhibit
Lego Fest

Whew!!  That's in 4 1/2 days.  Yea, we rock! HAHAHA!

Then, you want to hear something really crazy?  We are going to attend a "Food Show" in Salt Lake City, and will be driving there from Denver on Tuesday.  Our food supplier, Sysco, has an annual show which is enormous and which we haven't been to in several years.  We need to get ideas for the restaurant at the airport, and Sysco pays for a hotel room for their customers to attend...and of course they hope you'll find equipment and new products to purchase from them.  It's hard to describe what it is like, but today I told a friend that it was sort of like the samples at Sam's Club on steroids.  We were going to try and reschedule the trip to Denver, but were very limited on times we could go, and the kids said "We're LaJoy's, we can drive 10 hours, no problem!" we go!

It's nuts, I know, but we're always up for an adventure.

I am so glad I have replaced my camera battery charger so I can take photos again.  Sorry, you'll probably be sick of them by the time our trip is complete, but since I am a neglectful scrapbooker, this blog is all we have other than individual digital files saved on a hard drive, so I have to post our life here so that we have at least some sort of record!  That means you all suffer through the more mundane stuff, and the equivalent of our "vacation slides".  However, as you will see below, I could make you suffer through much more!

Hmmm...what is Joshie doing?  Olesya doesn't stick around long...

What is that in his hands???

EEEKKK!!!!  A snake!!!

The dissection begins.
 We went out on a bike ride around the block a couple days ago, which by the way a ride around our country block is actually 4.5 miles long, and Joshie found a dead snake on the side of the road.  He carried it home in the Pepsi cup and said he wanted to examine it.  Of course he did, it's Joshua, the future taxidermist or internist.  So, he settles himself down in the driveway, wisely not even asking if he could dissect it in the house, and whips out his trusty pocket knife.  Thankfully, since we homeschool and this was sort of "science class", he wasn't expelled for having a knife at school...hahaha!

What did he learn?  Well, let's see, he discovered that rigor mortis had set in and that even with a tiny little snake he could not make it's jaw close.  Have to admit that surprised me a little.  He also discovered that dead animals by the side of the road begin to decompose even before you can really tell just by looking at it.  How, you might ask, did he discover this?  When maggots crawled out from the inside as he sliced it open.

Aren't you glad I didn't show you the close ups of that??  If ever I have earned the title of Super Mom, it'll have nothing to do with parenting skills and everything to do with somehow managing to keep from vomiting as my dear son dissected dead baby birds, a duck, a worm, a crawdad, and a maggot infested snake.  When he asks to head to the morgue, I draw the line...and I actually think I will one day see if I can arrange that for him.  Mortician school in the future maybe?  Who knows?  All I know is that I have hung in there through it all, and think I pretty much deserve a medal by now.  Considering I never took biology in high school, I have been thrust into the dissection battlefield with no training whatsoever.

However, I must admit, I just hit Wikipedia for decomposition, and they have some VERY cool photos there of the stages of a decomposing pig...gotta show Josh that tomorrow, he'll love it!

Avoiding the Dissection Station
 Matthew completed a 2 day beginning archery class a couple of weeks ago, and now REALLY wants a compound bow.  He is saving for one, and even asked Dominick if he could go work with him detailing cars a few days to try and earn the money for one.  Our next door neighbor happens to be an expert hunter with compound bows and kindly brought Matthew over an old styrorfoam target this week, and told him he would see if he knew anyone selling a used bow.  Our kids are a little different than others and have no interest in Scouts or 4H, even when I have encouraged them to consider it.  They could care less about earning patches or medals, or competing against others and are just not motivated by it like I was as a kid.  None of them will even seriously consider it. When I asked Matt if he wanted to join 4H to learn more and practice, he said "Mom, I just want to shoot, I don't care about competing or paperwork.  I don't need that stuff." and for the first time he said he would really like to learn to hunt, which is a surprise, and he wants to hunt deer and elk.  He's never shown any interest in hunting before, but as he told me "Well Mom, we live in the best area in the world for hunting and people come from all over for it, so I think I ought to learn how! Besides, when I go live in the mountains someday I'll really want to hunt."  He has a dream of moving to a small town in the mountains here in Colorado to live some day, he is such a total Colorado kid.

Angela also avoided the dissection, and was totally grossed out by the idea of grilled snake for dinner, especially since she is studying rattlesnakes right now for science!

As I shared in an earlier post, the kids had their Art Show this weekend, and all had work displayed.  It was a little sad as it is the last one they'll have since their school is closing,  They have an amazing teacher in Miss Mary and have learned so much.  At least the had the opportunity to be exposed to some great art teaching for a couple of years. And now for more suffering as I force you to see the kids' art work.  This way though, I don't have to save it for the next 20 years and will always have it here on the blog for them to look at some day!:

Olesya's Pagoda

Kenny's, of course...I really like it!


Stonehenge had Angela so entranced, she couldn't even open her eyes for the camera! HAHA!

Another of Angela's.  Of all the kids, she probably has the most natural talent, but they all surprise me with their work from class, showing skill they'd never have without direction.

Joshie's horse

Matt's, obviously

Another of Kenny' his soul, he shows such sensitivity in his work

Olesya's, I never got a good photo of her with her work because she was off visiting!

This totally cracked us all up.  All the kids had photos taken to display along with their artwork, and none of them turned out well, but Matt's was the one we all found ourselves cracking up over.
This is his future mug shot.  He's never had a more terrible picture take of him!  Looks like a total thug!

Dear Miss Mary, Joshie looks as sad as well feel about the school closing!
School is winding down for us, as we enter this week with our field trip ahead.  I already have next year pretty well planned out and it will be so much fun!  Yea, I know, no one else would say that so I wear the Homeschooling Geek Mom hat pretty well.  That's OK, there seem to be many others that do as well, as is shown in the Ryan Gosling Homeschooling web page, in which he sexily whispers sweet nothings into the ears of homeschooling moms who are about the only ones who will totally "get" the inside jokes posted  I found myself laughing so hard I couldn't stop.

Anyway, because I know you all are just sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what we are studying next year (Yea, she says with a wry look on her face), we will be doing the usual grammar/math/spelling stuff.  But for social studies we are going to have a wide ranging year in which we are going to cover a LOT of ground, both figurative and maybe literally.  Beginning when we return home, we are going to finish our overview of World Leaders Great and Terrible, then move quickly on to an overview of the History of the Great Composers, and History of the Visual Arts with our Connect the Thoughts curriculum, which is the kids' favorite.  We will then move on to Elections so we can better understand the process this coming November and likely work a little at a campaign office for whatever candidate interests the kids.

We'll then move on to the year's main event...The Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Louisiana Purchase, and the Oregon Trail.  We are going to have SO much fun! (Oh, stop rolling your WILL be fun!!!  At the very least, thank me again that you'll only have to suffer through the pictures of it all.)  I found some terrific materials to go with this, and was even handed a book on Sunday from our adopted Grandpa who read on Facebook that we were planning to study it...and it will really help (Can you see why he is our adopted Grandpa?  How could we resist Mr. Miller who FB's at his age!).  Our dream?  To follow the Oregon Trail by car or maybe RV next summer.  Don't know if we can possibly make that happen, but at the very least we want to go see the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, which will fulfill my childhood fantasy. I know it seems early to have next year all laid out, but it was end of the year curriculum sale time and our funding needed to be used, so I wanted to get a jump on it all.

Oh yea, and we are going to teach the girls the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner! Haha!  Keep forgetting we have to do that!  When we were at Matt's Civil Air Patrol meeting this week and Angela ended pretending her way through the pledge with a rousing "Amen!" I was reminded of our need to do so...hahaha!

As an aside, thank you so much to the couple of folks who emailed or posted comments about app suggestions for the iPad.  If anyone knows of any apps that will help with the following, or knows who might know what to search for, I'd really appreciate it:

Syllables/Rhymes/Word Patterns for older kids
Hearing and discerning vowel sounds
Outlining for reports/essays/projects
Uncomplicated mind mapping app
Editing/proof reading
Expressive language development

We still have some work to do before leaving on our Colorado State Adventure, but we'll be ready soon!


Anonymous said...

Bon voyage. I'll plan to see you a week or so after you come home and sleep for 72 hours. You're hitting the high spots. There are stained glass portraits going up the stairs to the dome of the capitol. If you can make time, have a look at them. The last I knew there were two women among the men. I'll tell you about them when you return.

Have a great, SAFE trip,

Anonymous said...

I would so buy that artwork! It is amazing! I wish I had that kind of innate talent that your children have.

Safe travels!