Greek Drama!

We just finished up the fall semester for our co-op! I was in charge of history class and we covered ancient Greece. For part of our class, we worked on drama presentations and were able to perform them for the parents on our celebration night.

Ivy coached the 6-9 year old class in several of Aesop’s fables. Click on the link if you want to watch a particular production.

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The Dogs and the Hide

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The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The Lion, the Bear and the Fox
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The Boy who Cried Wolf

The older class did a Greek drama of the myth “Pandora’s Box” from Drama notebook.

We made theater masks – a tradition started by the Greeks – to represent the emotion of each character.

Zeus tells Epimethius and Prometheus that fire is only for the gods.

Hope, the last to escape the box, gives comfort to the distraught Pandora.

The entire cast! Enjoy the production here.

Last Day of School

This week, as everyone was posting their first day of school pictures, we were actually celebrating the last day of our co-op semester! So here we are posed, not as starting out on a learning adventure, but in the final stages of knowledge application. I give you, Ancient Egyptians:     Since I was photographing all the kids in the co-op, somehow Ryder got missed in the shuffle – but he dressed up too. We had all kinds of fun learning about different aspects of Egypt over an 8 week period. The following pictures are just a sample:    Pre-school made the crook and flail carried by Pharaoh. They painted the chariots of the conquering Hyksos warriors. IMG_7810 Ace enjoyed acting out mummification.  The middle group made costume pieces, IMG_7807 Painted Tut masks,  And enjoyed an archeological dig.  Girls of the older group created dioramas…  while the boys made weapons and shields. IMG_7822 Tomb paintings were a big hit with everyone. Our final day finished with a potluck feast of Egyptian food and a museum showcasing what we had done!  The kids wrote articles and Ivy put them together into a newspaper.  Artifacts from the dig. Canopic jars and the coffin/burial layers of a Pharoah. Dazzling treasures from the tomb! All in all, we had a great time with this unit, learning about another time and people.

Enjoying summer!

Ah summer, a break in the pace of life, a time for family, fun, independence and of course, library reading programs! Here’s a random assortment of big moments and small ones from July:

Independence Day was celebrated with cousins on my side of the family and a puzzle working competition with all the US puzzles we could find.

After BBQ and swimming, Uncle Brian provided lasting memories with a home fireworks show.

We enjoyed more family time the next weekend with Cahill cousins

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We spent a lot of time in the pool! Ryder (4) worked on learning to swim. He is very methodical about the whole process and it’s quiet enjoyable to assist him in reaching his personal goals

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A family fun night for Father’s day gave us the idea for playing minute-to-win-it water games. We split into teams of all ages, mixing up the families.

Each team member could participate or sit out a round, depending on the game.

Very flexible and lots of fun! The heat keeps us inside most of the day but we venture out as the sun goes down, often staying out until dark

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Several new rabbits left us needing more cage space. Ivy and I spent many of those evenings working on this double decker hutch.

A slanted roof panel under the top cages protect the bottom pens and deposit waste at the back. I got this idea from our visit to The Ark Encounter.

A cool breeze inspired kite flying one evening. I was able to stop and watch for a while, enjoying their exuberance.

The current litter of kittens make for evening entertainment as well.  The simple pleasures in life.

Two community events provided a change of pace during our days and were enjoyed by all.

The Chemistry Road Show was hosted by the library reading program and included about 30 different experiments!

A fundraiser for foster work included a hosing down by the fire engine – what a great idea!

I really think the firemen had just as much fun as the kids! Happy July!

PACE co-op

Hi there! Been a while since posting – I had trouble with photo uploads, but that has now been fixed, thanks to my brother-in-law. Hopefully that means I can blog a little more often.

Anyhow, new things are happening here, as always, and one of those things is a homeschool co-op. I’ve hosted a co-op in my home in the past, but the last few years I farmed our family efforts out to other locations. With that experience under my belt, and at the hopeful request of a few friends, I once again find myself spear-heading a group of learners!

PACE stands for our core values of:

Peers – because it takes a village, right?

Accountability – so often we moms have good intentions, but the day slips away and those intentions didn’t happen.

Commitment – If you’re in, you’re in.

Engage – This is not a lecture and take notes class, we get our hands dirty and delight in the process.

A unique aspect of this co-op is the non-traditional schedule. I’m of the opinion that the school year was designed for the northern states – where summer might actually be the best time to enjoy the weather. But this is Texas – it’s hot y’all. No one wants to go outside except to swim. So we’re putting those inside days to good use with the intention of taking our breaks when we actually want to go outside. With that thoughts, we are already in full swing for our summer session. We have a cooking class and a math games class, preschool and history.

My part is teaching history and we’re doing Ancient civilizations, starting with Egypt.

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Mummy wrapping and sarcophagus

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More mummy wrapping!

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Canopic jars

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Making papyrus

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Guest visit from an Egyptian woman who told us about her country and wrote our names in Arabic

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Reed boats

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Learning hieroglyphics

Our pre-school enjoyed Egyptian themed projects as well:

Dress like an Egyptian

Making Papyrus

Learning about the Nile

When classes are over we have free time. Currently that mostly centers around water play while the moms supervise and visit

So there you have it – the beginning of our adventures in learning!!

 

 

Winter wonder (part 2)

Several weeks after “the big snow,” we were enjoying balmy spring weather by taking our school outside – campfire cooking in several styles used by the Native Americans. (but that’s another post for another time)

My sister mentions that snow is forecast for the next week. I figure it’s just wishful thinking by the weatherman, no way this could happen twice! But as predictions of extreme cold and snow persist, Brian and I start covering plants, pipes and animal pens!

Well, snow came! Along with record low temps (went down to 6 degrees!) and power outages! The loss of power was somewhat expected – surely ice would knock a pole down somewhere, but we heat with a fireplace so we weren’t too concerned on that front. As the power stayed out however, other aspects of life had to change a bit.

Our heat option for the cat and kittens didn’t work so they enjoyed a number of days inside (doesn’t she look happy?) The dog spent three nights inside in her crate but then let it be known she would prefer to stay outside. Brian did a lot of hauling water out to the barn for the cow and chickens. The milk machine also needs power so we were hand milking for several days. Also had to gather eggs several times a day so they wouldn’t freeze.

I got a new, walk in freezer! So strange to just walk out on the porch and rummage through coolers (fridge replacement) and a laundry basket of frozen items.

Cooking also presented a new challenge. Since I cook largely from scratch I didn’t have things like cereal stocked in our pantry. Our stove is electric, so we had to get creative. We put coals from the fire place in a cast iron skillet and then put another skillet on top of that to fry eggs (which were coming in from the barn in dozens). I boiled water in the fireplace and poured it over oats to make a decent oatmeal.

I did have a gas grill so it was burgers one night and sausage and hot dogs another! My menu plan for the week had included several soups – but the power was too intermittent to have enough time to cook them. Eventually we were able to expect an hour of power whenever it turned on, so we’d jump up and do various chores  and I was even able to make some brownies!

Let me tell you – we just thought we’d cozy up inside, read books and watch movies! Not a chance – we worked out tails off!

In between chores we did take time to have some fun though! Here our dog leads the human sled team!

Exploring on the first morning, I was awed by a sight I never thought I would live to see – the neighbors pond frozen solid!! It wasn’t thick enough to walk on, but you could throw snowballs all over.

Beautiful ice crystals.

The creek under our road was a different story. Much shallower than the pond, this froze thick enough to hold the weight of 13 kids and a few adults!

We grabbed a few reeds from the side of the creek and attempted a game of ice hockey!

Garrison begged to go sledding again so he and Uncle Dan got to try out the slopes!

Labradors are built for the cold I guess, because this pup grabbed a piece of ice and took off. Later she lay in the snow and crunched the ice like a popsicle. Crazy mutt.

After a few days of clear cold, we had sleet that weighed down the trees.

My sister (lives next door) and her kids joined us for several days to enjoy the heat. Cousins played a lot of games (and enjoyed the kittens).

Brian’s brother had also come for a weekend visit….that turned into a week long visit. He was great at entertaining kids and holding little Ace.

With that much inside time, the kids still needed an outlet for energy so I had several wrestling matches with the little ones.

Also, spontaneous pillow fight broke out one morning.

Overall, it was a grand adventure, but I’m sure glad this happens at my house only once in a lifetime!

(In case you’re wondering if we had damage, Brian did such a good job of weather protecting our house and farm that only one thing froze and it was a sprinkler valve he had recently installed. Even the plants in the garden made it!)

 

 

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