Friday, September 11, 2009


For teaching Science and Social Studies, I decided to try using Unit Studies. A Unit Study is defined as “an in-depth study of a topic (space, trees, cars, etc.) that takes into account many areas of the topic, such as geography, science, history, art, etc. It is a complete immersion into the topic so that the student will see things as a 'whole' instead of bits and pieces learned throughout their education.” We started out with a simple subject. One I knew we would all find interesting – Dinosaurs.

I found so many fun things related to dinosaurs. I gathered books, puzzles, games, DVD's and other activities. The kids and I work on Unit Studies two afternoons a week while Banana is at preschool and Mr. H takes his naps. So far it has been working very well. We just finished our three-week study of dinosaurs. We have been very busy reading, doing hands-on activities, and we even took a field trip.

I checked out no less than twenty books about dinosaurs from the library. Some were for the kids to read, some were for me to read to them.

We made a terrarium after reading Dinosaur Habitat, a book about two brothers who find themselves inside of the younger brother’s terrarium. Not only did the plants become life sized, but so did the plastic dinosaurs the boy had carefully put in there. And they were no longer plastic!

Thankfully our dinosaurs are still plastic.

I bought a Dinosaur Dig kit from an educational retailer that I thought would be fun for the kids to try. Then I found small kits at the dollar store that I picked up just in case we needed something extra to do. It turned out that those little kits offered much more fun for a dollar than I ever thought!

The kids scraped away layers of clay to reveal tiny dinosaur bones.

Then they used the bones to make their own fossils out of clay.

They took a longer time excavating the Velociraptor bones in the bigger kit.

But the bones they found actually formed two whole dinosaurs.

We were also able to visit “Sue” before she left the St. Louis Science Center.

“Sue” is the most complete set of Tyrannosaurus bones ever found.

Her skull was HUGE!

There were bones to dig up at the exhibit as well. The kids were pros by that time!

Big D enjoyed the T-Rex vision. His body looked pretty funny with a new head.

We also watched a Discovery Channel movie telling all about the types of dinosaurs that lived in America millions of years ago.

We learned a lot AND had fun doing it!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words (or more)

Since I posted hardly anything all summer long, I went through my pictures from May through August and found quite a few worth sharing. As you can see, we had a fun summer!

Dad at an Alumni basketball game

Grandpa shoots a free throw at the Alumni basketball game

We definitely brought the most fans to the game

These two are just too cute together

Miss M's Girl Scout troop

A self-portait

Banana on a boat with a couple of her cousins

Miss M in the parish picnic parade

Big D in the parish picnic parade

C.B. in the parish picnic parade

All three kids were in the same area in the parish picnic parade group photo

Me and my kids on Mother's Day

Banana and a big ole fish in the hippo habitat at the Zoo

Banana performs in the Tiny Tot Circus

Banana becomes an elephant in the Tiny Tot Circus

Mr. H gives his baby cousin a kiss on her two-week-old head

Mr. H in a sea of bubbles after a Babaloo show

Miss M and her friends at a swim party

Mr. H and C.B. read a story on the couch together

Banana and some of her cousins at a family birthday party

Our tired niece falls asleep while playing at our house

Big D took this cool picture of his uncle from under the water on a float trip

Floating cousins

Big D entertains his baby brother in church

These two look up to no good to me

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Baby, a Birthday, and a Wedding

I have a lot to catch up on. Homeschooling does not allow me as much time to blog as I had gotten used to. In case I don’t get another opportunity to blog again soon, I decided to condense several big events into one post.

First, we have a new nephew!!

This “little” fella weighed in at 9 pounds, 10 ounces! His parents and three older brothers are ecstatic about his arrival. Miss M and I got to snuggle with him for a little while this week.

Secondly, Miss M turned TWELVE last week! You may detect a hint of shock in my words here, but that’s only because there is NO WAY I am old enough to have a twelve-year-old!! But seriously, she is everything I could ever have hoped for in a tween-age daughter. She is bright, polite, responsible and super sweet. She has been helping me with the younger kids since she was four years old, and she rarely complains.

She is starting to help my sisters-in-law with their kiddos as well, which is great because she loves her little cousins.

I don’t think I would be homeschooling right now if it wasn’t for her. Not only is she an excellent student, she is a wonderful teacher’s assistant as well.

Happy Birthday, Miss M!

And last, but not least, we had a family wedding last weekend. With a family as big as my husband’s is, there have been a lot of family weddings. But it has been four years since the last one and we were ready for a PARTY!!

The bride and groom were all smiles all evening.

Everyone looked so nice in their fancy clothes.

Big D was an excellent reader

Mr. H was ready to dance,

But he didn’t last long. He and Banana cut out early.

The rest of us had a ball.

We did the Y.M.C.A.

The Sprinkler

“Shout” (a little bit softer now)

The Macarena

And I always get a special bonus at family weddings. My husband actually dances with me!!!

It was a great night. Congratulations Uncle Beaker and Aunt Mad-dog!!!