Thursday, September 30, 2010

Renaissance Festival 2010

Hear ye! Hear ye! Queen Elizabeth I requests your presence at her annual Renaissance Fair! Aye, today was the day that we presented ourselves at the court of the Queen. After attending the jousting tournament (in which our patron knight had the victory), we meandered through the market place hoping to barter for some trinkets to bring home. We enjoyed our time at the fair and trudged home weary, but well pleased with our outing.

Skyler Ray (a.k.a. "little" Skyler) and Aly found a suit of armor to pose by

The joust: the tourney was very enjoyable this year, our knight was from "Scotland" and is on the horse with the purple trappings

Back (l to r) Tommy, Riley, Calleigh, Elizabeth, and Tori; Front (l to r) Matt, Nina, Max, Aly, Skyeler, and Skyler Ray

Skyeler found a very cool hair ornament that actually holds her fine hair

Aly also found a very pretty hair ornament. It looked very nice in her long hair

Riley comes to Aly's rescue with a piggy back after her shoes (which got a soaking in the dewy grass) began to rub her feet

"I'm only here for the food" (name that movie!) Actually, it is always on my list to get a funnel cake :) Surprisingly, I ate more of the candied pecans than this funnel cake. The kids descended on me once I bought it :)

Skyeler wearing her Sweet 16 Birthday present (a little early). I'm such a bad mom, I forgot to get a formal picture of her wearing it (oops). She had been drooling, I mean looking, at this dress for two years. It is very pretty.

The back of her very pretty dress :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meeting Author Bryan Davis

(Skyeler made a banner of the book covers of all the series in PhotoShop)

It has been quite a few years now that Bryan Davis has been among the top favorite authors of Skyeler and her friends. His "Dragons in Our Midst" and "Oracles of Fire" series have been read, reread, and passed around between them. Skyeler loves to listen to the audio books before bed at night. Now that Aly is 10, she is listening with her sister and getting to know "Billy" and "Bonnie." When Skyeler, Elizabeth, and Calleigh found out last May that Bryan Davis was going to be near our area, they asked if I would take them to a book signing. So we loaded up the car and drove an hour to meet him. Skyeler and Calleigh brought the few books that had not been signed personally and Elizabeth bought a new one to have him sign. He graciously posed with the girls for a picture. The girls love the stories he has to tell and getting to know the characters within them. I love that he is a Christian author who provides them with a clean fantasy series to read. A win-win situation :)

Skyeler has asked me to post a few links for anyone who might be interested in checking out her favorite author... to check out all the great series he has available! a direct link to his brand new book out this month. a song that was written for the book "Masters and Slayers," set to music, and performed. Look for Skyeler's YouTube link coming soon. She got a copy of the music and has recorded herself playing it on the piano.

Calleigh, Bryan Davis, Skyeler, and Elizabeth

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Back to School Post

Finally, we have made it back to school. Today finishes up our second week. Things are moving along nicely. My plan was to have the whole school year planned and the paperwork ready to pick up and go in file folders. Well, I'm am still working on that. However, the first two weeks that I did get planned out, worked out very well for Aly. She enjoyed having her own checklist to mark her work off. Of course, this led to an Aly funny this week when I noticed that she had marked off something we hadn't accomplished yet. The conversation went something like this...

Me: Aly, you marked off Bible. We haven't done Bible yet today.

Aly: Yeah, I know.

Me: Well, why did you mark it off then?

Aly: I just like having things marked off on my list, it makes me feel like there is less to do.

So I guess she's liking the checklist idea, even if she hasn't really grasped the concept :) This year we will be doing a study of countries and cultures. We began with just an overview of geography and our hands-on project was to make a world cake showing the continents. Much harder than it looked. Aly finally had me try to draw the continents and I didn't do any better. Aly, being the little chef that she is, loved baking and icing the cake.

Teaching Textbooks Math is great. Aly does the lessons on the computer. Totally takes this non-mathy mom out of the equation. I love it and so does she. Aly loves her new grammar book (Junior Analytical Grammar). We are picking up the pace a bit in spelling and handwriting. This year I'm having her do more writing. We are starting out with some story starters and she has had a couple creative little paragraphs. Our read aloud is The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I had to make her pick from a few classic books for her reading assignment. She doesn't like to try new things in reading. So her first book was The Mouse and the Motorcycle. She finished it this morning and decided she really liked it. For fun she is reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Last week she had all her Playmobil figures lined up in the Roman arena and they all had Greek Mythology names and were acting out various battles and scenes (and a few make believe ones) from the book. For science we are planning a study of biomes and habitats, as well as adding in the Land Animals of the Sixth Day book. We went outside and looked around our backyard for nature and found a bunch of rotting apples from our apple tree were feeding butterflies, flies, chipmunks, and the groundhog (or hogs, not sure how many there really are). There were between 6 and 10 butterflies flying around the bottom of the tree. Aly got this picture of one of them...

Skyeler's work is going well, too, though she's working pretty independently. We have tried to incorporate her interests into her schooling this year and still leave time for her to explore some of the extras that strike her fancy. History is the Middle Ages. A time period she loves. Right now it is mostly reading. We hope to add some field trips to make this come more alive. Algebra is Algebra in any language. She's just trying to plow through. Same with grammar, where she is just doing a refresher workbook. Literature will be two fold. She'll be reading some Medieval Lit along with her history assignments (for instance, this week she began parts of the epic poem Beowulf). Also, we will be doing the Movies as Literature course with friends of ours. In science she is working on finishing up biology from last year and then will be moving on to chemistry. She is most excited about her two electives: Photography and a Jane Austen Literature study. Photography began last week. She's beginning with an Amanda Bennett unit study and then we will move on to various online resources from there. One of the biggest things with photography will be to have her out practicing with the camera multiple times a week. She has already been roaming around outside the house looking for something interesting to photograph and I am hoping to get out to some of the metro parks for more practice. Our Jane Austen Lit Study will start in October with friends and we are all excited. We are going to have the girls keep a blog of their work during the study, so stay tuned for a link. Skye has been using her free time to practice her piano and brush up on some Photoshop skills. She has been using Photoshop in our co-op Yearbook class and this year she has branched out to try some other things. She was excited to have a montage of book covers that she had Photoshopped together posted on the Bryan Davis Dragons in our Midst forums. I am trying to foster this talent and let her have time to explore and experiment.

All in all a great start to the new school year. Co-op begins in a week and a half and then we will be in the full swing of things. I always have hopes to update weekly or so, but life does happen and I have no idea if I will be able to keep up or not.

For Granny & Papa

Granny and Papa sent Aly this adorable hat (and money) for her birthday! She loved it. The hat totally fits her style.