Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Zoo in the winter

The kids just went to Trevor zoo this week on a field trip. They were freezing but had so much fun seeing the otters play in the cold weather. Orla also really enjoyed the red wolf and red panda. The only complaint was that the monkey indoor room display was SMELLY! At least, there won't be any pet monkeys added to the christmas wish lists:)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday field trips and educational fun. . .

With the Christmas just around the corner, it's hard to completely focus on "traditional work" so we've been adding a lot of fun and educational field trips to our daily activities. The kids had so much fun doing a "who dunnit" day at Staatsburgh Historic house with costumed characters and props. They interviewed the suspects, toured the old hudson valley mansion and learned a bit about Fulton (inventor of steamships). It was a letter of Fultons that was framed and "stolen" from Mrs.Mills' mansion. Since we did units on the hudson river and inventors, the mystery tied perfectly into our learning! The kids also enjoyed a "board game/card game" day at the local library and met up with some of their local homeschooling friends. They had so much fun together that after the time was over they all went sliding down one of our local park's hills. Lots of fun! We learned a little more about the Jewish holidays playing dreidle with Eoghan's speech teacher . She gave him one and taught him how. Then he showed us. Lastly, the kids might be taking a field trip into the city tomorrow. Santa is on his way soon. Eoghan is looking for more stuff for his science lab (he loves chemistry!). Orla got one present early (a puppy!) which has taught her a lot about responsibility. She has been reading books about golden retrievers to help her learn more about her puppy. Two fictional books she enjoyed were Runaway Retriever and One Golden Year (about a girl who raises a assistant dog).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Christmas video for 2009

Science on the mind. . .

We are in the midst of our "inventors and inventions" theme unit and the kids are LOVING it! We have been studying Edison, Tesla, Bell, Franklin, DaVinci, etc. as some of the great inventors. Eoghan was so inspired he created his own invention lab in a room in our house. Now, I can find Orla or Eoghan sneaking away to look through microscopes at prepared slides (by Learning Resources) or playing with magnets. They also have fallen in love with the Periodic Table (unusual, I know:)! They read a book, The Periodic Table, elements with style and the author made the elements sound like pokemon critters complete with fun drawings and descriptions of the good and bad things they do. What a different way to introduce the table than the way I remember as a child!

The kids submitted this to our local Homeschool Journal

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Enjoying Old Fashioned Learning

Lately, I've really taken a liking to some of the old-fashioned books for primary education. It's interesting that probably due to the expense of printing back then the books are so concise and clear. Eoghan seems to be thriving from the McGuffey Readers. He likes the stories and illustrations that are definitely from a different era, but are not babyish like many of the emergent reading books available now. I also love the old language used in the stories and spelling books, words that have gone out of general use, but make it richer reading. Even the math book, Ray's Mathematics, uses old words - zero is said as "naught". Fun and inviting to wander into the old books used a century ago to educate the youth of America. I will post links to some of these old books and resources. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Highlights of our First Quarter 2009!

One of our current favorite blogs. . .

We check in daily with Jessica Watson's solo sail around the world blog. She's only 16 and aiming to be the youngest ever to sail solo around the world unassisted. Lots of educational little tidbits and excitement in her postings. Also great for the kids mapping skills. Here's the link to her blog: and her website is on the links section.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Simple Machines. . .

Today, we went to Samuel Morse's house in the Hudson Valley for a field trip. Both of the older kids had a lot of fun with their homeschool friends learning about pulleys and inclined planes, etc. They also learned a little bit about the famous former owner of the house as well as toured his gallery of paintings. I guess he was multi-talented as an inventor and painter! There was lots of hand-on learning, group discussion and partnering up for the lab work. A great class/experience all around. I'll post the link below to the house. Now they are both off to a library book club, Magic Tree House series. After spending the morning at the barn and the two meet-ups today, I'm exhausted:) But well worth the energy since the kids enjoyed themselves so much. Eoghan hasn't stopped talking about machines and all his future plans for robots, building radios, etc. so the trip left a great impression on him.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Orla has gone on a language craze! She has all of a sudden taken an interest in learning Japanese, Chinese, Irish and French:) Eoghan seems to prefer just sticking to Spanish. So the past 2 days I've heard all sorts of ways to say hello, thank you, etc. from all around the world. Since it seems to be her "thing" at the moment, I've helped her find fun ways to learn some of the foreign words. We subscribed to the hello-world website which has some fun learning games. Even more fun, I discovered a whole world of podcasts in itunes that has amazing audio and even videos for language learning - all for free! I was really astonished at the amount of stuff on itunes that people have taken time and effort to make for their podcasts. It's such a great thing to find a free treasure:) I added the link to hello-world on the link list below.

Our Pets

Just thought while I'm playing with the blogging tools I might take the time to introduce you to our family pets. The kids are huge animal fans (like their mother, NOT their dad:). We have a a quarter horse (allie), a bulldog (henrietta), a shih tzu (puff), 2 hamsters (peanut and thimbletack) and a fish. My daughter is trying to add to the family by researching irish wolfhounds and telling us one would make a very nice and very LARGE addition to the family! Photos of Puff with his "rock star" shirt on and Thimbletack.

Our First Post. . .

We have been really busy with our homeschooling this year! I thought starting a blog would be enjoyable for the kids to share with family, friends and their Clonlara school. We'll add lots of photos and school projects soon. Thanks for stopping by:)!