About once a month this school year Delilah has attended a painting class set up through a local homeschool group. The class is at an art studio geared toward kids in Salem, OR called Young At Art! Delilah joins other homeschoolers and learns to paint a different painting every month. The paintings are based upon a famous painting and she learns a little bit about the famous artist that created the painting. She has really enjoyed these painting classes, if I didn't have to take Ayden with us I would join her and paint also. Below are some pictures of her paintings and her having fun.
While Delilah is in her painting class I supervise Ayden in the crafting area, which he loves. The crafting area is pretty much a room full of different ways to create art at your own pace. One of Ayden's favorite things to do is to play with a large car and escavator that are paintable. He also loves to paint at an easel, play with Play-Doh, and do spin art with markers. There are always different crafts set up that we usually do together. Today we tried something new and created a paper craft monster out of the free crafting area. There are enough activities at this place to usually keep Ayden busy for the hour to hour and a half that it takes for Delilah to finish her class. Below are some pictures of Ayden having fun.
We try to do different art projects at home but we are limited to what we have, which actually is a lot. Going to this place is fun because it's a different atmosphere and gives you different ideas. I definitely recommend the Young At Art! studio. These two kids certainly enjoy it! You can just walk in to do art free play or join a class or even have a party there. If you are in the Salem, OR area check it out.
Not too long ago the 2 older kids and I went on an Owl Prowl. Silver Falls State Park hosts Owl Prowls at least once a year for free. The park is about a 45 minute drive but well worth it.
The program started at about sunset in a large log building. Since it was early spring, and a little snow on the ground in spots, there was a fire going in the giant fire place in the middle of the building. While waiting for the program to start we tried out a couple of games that were set out. One game was matching real life feathers to a picture of what bird it belonged to. The other game was some owl trivia, we love trivia games.
The first part of the program was a presentation where we learned about the types of owls that could be found in our area. We learned a lot of facts, saw pictures, listened to owl sounds, and even were able to touch owl wings and claws.
After learning all about owls we were able to do an owl pellet dissection. Each of the kids were able to do their own and I helped out. It has been a long time since I did an owl pellet dissection, way back at 6th grade camp. I thought it was cool then, and even cooler this time, probably something to do with seeing your kids enjoy something new. I wasn’t sure how the kids would react to the dissection but they enjoyed it way more than I thought they would. Delilah was finding bird parts in her pellet, while Parker was finding rodent parts in his. We received a diagram to be able to identify what we were finding. The kids had a great time trying to figure out what they were finding. I believe their favorite parts that they each found were full skulls. Parker and Delilah were excited to be able to take their bones home with them, even though I don’t think they have done anything with them since then.
Next we went on a little hike into the woods to listen for owls. On the way to our listening spot we could hear an owl already. When we arrived at our location we turned off flashlights and listened quietly. One of the program leaders used his phone and a speaker to make owl sounds to call to other owls. I don’t know how long we were out there because time goes by really slow when you have to stand still and quiet for a period of time. We never heard any other owls but we were able to see one. An owl swooped in and landed in a tree near by, it looked just like a large shadow coming in. It never made a sound so if we wouldn’t have seen it we would never have known it was there. After a little while of waiting to see if the owl would call out the leader shone a light toward the owl so we could all see it. The owl was just sitting there starring at us.
When we got back to the building we were able to enjoy some hot cocoa and cookies while looking at some displays of owls that were sitting around. We each were also able to pick out an owl pin to take home with us.
This was such a fun program to attend and I would definitely do it again in the future. Hopefully they still run the program when my younger two are old enough to participate.
I have gone through so many ways to help keep myself organized with chores, food, and whatnot. I think I have finally figured out a system that works best for myself and my family, for now at least.
Last summer my husband and I put up a command wall in our dining room. It consists of a dry erase calendar, 3 dry erase boards, 2 magnet boards, and a hanging file organizer.
The file organizer holds things such as mail, catalogs, coupons, and various things that probably should be in a different home.
The magnet boards are low and are pretty much just for the kids. Right now there are Plants vs. Zombie magnets on one and Leapfrog magnetic letter and sounds toy. These will probably get more use once Ayden is ready to use the rest of the magnets I have stashed away.
The calendar is great because I can change it when needed and make it work for us. There is a hanging basket below the calendar that holds all of the dry erase markers and an eraser. Everyone in the family has their own color for the boards. When an activity is designated for just one person then I write it on the calendar in their color, otherwise it’s just black for multiple people.
Now probably my favorite part of the wall are the 3 clear glass dry erase boards. I really only use 2 of these regularly, the third one tends to get erased by a certain toddler. On one board I have the meals list for the week. This way we can all see what’s on the menu and helps us decide what we want to do for dinner daily. I also have written down what snacks or things that need to be made, so I see it daily to remind me that it needs to get done. And so the people in the house don’t need to spend forever in the pantry and fridge looking for a snack, breakfast, or lunch, I also write down some of the food that we have in the pantry and fridge. Things that get written down are usually cereals, food that we don’t usually have so we know it’s there, and left overs that are in the fridge. It took some training but now the kids tend to look at the board to see what they want to eat before grazing the pantry and fridge. Yet this does only work when we keep up on it, forgetting to erase something that we are out of causes groaning.
Now on to the second board, the daily board. On this board is the date and the daily to do list for this kids and I. Every morning I set the board up with our to do lists set up by times things need to be done, along with individual activities being written in their designated colors. I also have the older kids weekly check lists for their learning activities. When the kids are finished with an activity they are supposed to check mark what they have finished so I don’t nag on them to get something done, but of course there is usually someone that gets nagged on when they forgot to check mark an activity. I also put on this board things I need to remind myself to get done.
Having a visual of all these things helps me keep organized and sorta keep on task. This wall is in a place that there is no avoiding it, so it is staring me in the face all day. Now training the kids to look at it first thing and follow it is a job in itself. How is it that you can forget to do something that you are told to do every morning?! “What do I need to do today?” Look at the board!
There are also a few other things I need to do to make these boards work for me smoothly. My calendar I keep up with through my Facebook events calendar and the calendar on my phone (which syncs with my computer and iPad). My husband has gotten better at putting his activities in our shared calendar so I am able to put his activities on the big calendar also. As something comes up I try to write it on the big calendar so everyone knows it’s coming, even though the kids can see most activities shared on their phones and iPads.
For the meals board I go off of the list I create while meal planning. I have a digital list of meals we can currently make and meals to shop for. After grocery shopping I make sure I have all ingredients to make the new meals and then move the shop for meals to the current meals to make. When I know what meals we have I write them on the meals board.
The to do list board takes the most effort. I have a master digital list of what needs to be done daily for the week. Activities are marked with who needs to get them done and organized by what times they should be done by. If I don’t give times to the kids they would be doing things at 9 PM and then complaining they are too tired to get things done. We all work better at different times of the day which makes organizing things difficult, especially since I need to have the time and energy to either get them moving or help them out. I will share with you my master list (download at end of post). This list is always being tweaked to better fit our days and week. Each week will not be exactly the same but I still go off of my master list and change things around. I am currently trying to figure out how our days work best with this nice weather. Before we had most of the day to get our activities completed but now we want to get out to enjoy the sun so activities need to get done sooner, no one wants to take a break from playing to finish their activities. Changing our schedules doesn’t happen without someone complaining about having to get things done soooooo early or having sooo much to do.
We have been using this system for about 8 months now. Before the visuals on the wall we all had a hard time keeping up with chores and such. Now we have our lists in our faces and it sort of gets me motivated, I don’t want my husband nagging on us that we don’t do anything all day while he is at work. Some times (like once a week probably) we just take a day off of most of our responsibilities, but then we make them up another day.
Here is the file that I go off of to keep me on track with our weekly To Dos.
Take a step into the life of Auer (pronounced like our) homeschool. We are a family that likes to learn through life experiences. We would like to share our experiences so maybe we can make a difference in the lives of others. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook to get the smaller activities that go on that don't always make it to the blog.
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