Sunday, April 24, 2016

Homeschool Fair

The annual homeschool fair with our PSP group was earlier this month and the boys did real well! It's one of their favorite activities.

This year Nathan entered the table decorating category...I encouraged him to do it but to put a masculine twist on it. Thankfully he ran with it and I think he did a great job. I simply showed him tables settings on Pinterest and he told me what he wanted to do.

He actually won 1st place!

Josiah wanted to bake this year! I showed him a few of my favorite cookie recipes and he settled on Chocolate Cherry Thumbprints.....he won 1st place. He baked them all by himself even though the experience wasn't without kitchen was a mess afterwards but that's all a part of the fun!

He also entered the hanging art category and got 3rd place for his entry entitled "The Union".

Way to go, Jojo!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Whale Watching

We got to go whale watching at the end of February and it was absolutely fabulous! We went last year in mid-April and we did not see one single whale. Scientists say though because of El Nino the migration patterns of the gray whale and humpback whale have been thrown off a little causing the whales to cross migration paths. There's also more food in the water closer to the shoreline bringing whales closer and closer.
We started off from the Channel Islands Harbor.

It was a gorgeous day in California.
Lots of beautiful sunshine.

Our first encounter were gray whales.... 
in total we saw 5 gray whales.
We then headed off to the Anacapa Islands...
and we happened to see a couple of humpback whales.

We saw a ton of dolphins...i mean a ton!

It was such a lovely day. We were all so amazed by God's beautiful creation. We also saw seals basking in the sun on the Anacapa Islands, a "sunfish", and different varieties of birds. We highly recommend Channel Islands Whale Watching company in Oxnard.

Look who took a day off and joined us!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

History and Homeschooling: Part 3 Civil War Re-enactment :

 One thing I learned at this event is that these "musical bands"...can't remember the proper name... played during battles on the sidelines.  They had special songs they played according to what was happening in the battle.  Also different drums would tell their side where the enemy was positioned. It was a gentleman's rule that you didn't shoot them but sometimes men weren't gentlemen.

After the Battle of Gettysburg the soldiers marched to hear Lincoln address the Union.  

Lincoln giving his Gettysburg address.
The defeated Rebels.
One of Jojo's Sunday School teachers, Mr. Kaya, is a re-enactor! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

History and Homeschooling: Part 2 Civil War Re-enactment

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Sweet Home Alabama is the one where Melanie goes to the battlefield to find her Confederate father re-enacting a battle from the Civil War. After seeing that movie I always wanted to go to a re-enactment but thought I'd never get a chance since we're not out on the east coast...but guess what? There are Civil War re-enactments here in California! Last weekend there was a small re-enactment real close to where we live at the Strathern Park in Simi Valley .

So since we recently finished studying about the Civil War I thought it would be awesome for History to literally come alive for Jojo. And thankfully, it was an amazing experience for us both.

When we arrived to the park he registered to join the Union and enlisted as a Yankee soldier.

Lincoln is telling the new recruits that they can join him after the battle in the parade to where he'll give the Gettysburg Address.

We also got to watch an artillery demonstration.

The Rebels told us about what it was like to be in the infantry.

Then there was the Gettysburg Battle re-enactment.

Old Glory still standing.

I found the whole day quite emotional actually. I even found myself tearing up a few times. I have so many pictures from the event and interesting facts I learned about the Civil War that I'll have to write another post!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

History and Homeschooling: Part 1 Abeka American History

This year I thought I'd give Abeka a try for American History. I have to confess that I have a love hate relationship with this particular curriculum. That's mainly because they require so much! There are 170 lessons and since we homeschool on a 4 day week schedule it can be a bit stressful getting all the lessons in. I have learned to make it work though by doubling up or even skipping certain lessons that require a lot of review for tests. Even though the curriculum has been a bit stressful Josiah has been learning a ton. 

April of last year Josiah was "diagnosed" with Dyslexia. It's been quite a year for us especially since we homeschool I make all the accommodations needed for him to excel. On my part this means a whole lot of reading, writing on  our whiteboard, etc. I'm happy to do it...don't get me wrong. I realize that if he were in public school, even on an IEP, that he would not be getting the help that he can get by me being one on one with him. He is excelling so much more this year and is enjoying school quite a bit.

Josiah for the most part is a visual learner and so this year I've added more books, and even picture books. Jon and I both are reading a lot to him. He has amazing auditory skills and has no problem retaining what we read to him.  He's also enjoying thumbing through some wonderful picture books we get from the library.

Now that we have a homeschool room I am also able to hang things up. One of our favorites is the U.S. map which is hung 10 feet in front of him. He is learning his U.S. Geography simply by having this map to look at all day.

There are also great apps which I utilize almost daily for him. Currently he is learning the State capitals and this app in particular is helping him out quite a bit.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Strathearn Park in Simi Valley

Cute gazebo for taking pictures!

We found another gem not too far from our home while Jon's mom was here in December. I've driven by this park so many times and kept telling the boys that one day we needed to go there! I'm so glad we did. It's like a little piece of California history right in our own backyard. The Chumash Indians lived in this area before the Spanish settlers. Then there are the remains of an adobe dating from the late 1790's. I copied this from the park's official website: "Our Simi Adobe was built at the beginning of the Spanish period, likely soon after the grant in 1795, as the local residents had to have some place to live while they operated the rancho. A part of that adobe still exists and is the focal point of our historical park. This was a stopover place between the Missions San Fernando Rey and San Buenaventura. In later years there was a stage stop nearby as well. There is little doubt this adobe was on the main route throughout all those early years."

Another plus is that it's free to walk around the park. There are docent-led tours for only $3 each person so we plan to do that as a family soon. Actually, in a couple weeks there will be a Civil War re-enactment at the park which I hope to go to with Josiah since we just finished our study on the Civil War in American History.
Simi Valley's first barber shop, which opened it's doors in 1958.

The Colony House

Simi Valley's first library built in 1930.

My mother-in-law with a tractor just like one her grandparents had on their farm.

Presbyterian Church built in 1902

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gardens of the World

One of the fun things about living in a new town is finding all the new places to explore. When my mother-in-law visited in December we took her to Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks. There is no entrance fee to these gardens which of course is a huge plus! The gardens aren't very large either so it doesn't take forever to walk through them. The only thing I didn't like is that you are not permitted to take pictures of people while you are in the gardens. They require you call them and get a special permit. Of course everyone does it but when you're trying to set an example for your children about following rules...well you follow the rules! I would love to go the gardens by myself to read a book and just relax. Maybe I'll sneak out one day soon!