pinterest-dd591.htm Oak Creek Academy: August 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wrap up of Knights and Castles

The family and I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival yesterday to wrap up our unit study on Knights and Castles. Fortunately, it was a fairly nice day for it! We watch guys swallow swords, joisting, how to be a Knight, tried to learn to juggle, watched jesters and story tellers.

The guy that swallowed swords, spoons, and balloons!

Sign says Glutton!
Thing One above, Thing Two below

Next three photos are
from the jousting arena.
It sure was warm in that area with
no shade. Can you imagine
wearing all that armor?

The jesters were funny!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another blog hop

and this weeks theme - "A Day in the Life Week" from over at Heart of the Matter. What follows, is a tentative schedule of our days. There are so many variables, that can make it change. So here's what a day looks like around here:

  • breakfast
  • get ready for the day
  • few chores
  • school - in random order, we change it around to keep it fun
  • possible free time if school is finished early
  • lunch
  • finish up school, if needed
  • extra activities (field trip, nature walk, fun stuff, bikes, scooters, library, etc.)
  • errands, if any are needed
  • straighten up some before dinner
  • dinner
  • family devotions
  • free time
  • bed time routine (showers, reading, etc.)
  • lights out
Do you like how I don't list times? I've found that if I try to keep strictly to a clock, some things get missed, for example, when they're really getting something and want to do more or almost finished and just need a few more minutes. That's an advantage of homeschooling, being able to give a bit more time when needed. We do have general guide lines, however, for when things should happen. For example, we try to get a bulk of our school finished during the morning hours. We also try to keep lights out around 8:30 to 9:00.

That's our life, in a nutshell!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Medieval Feast

On the menu tonight~

  • meatballs
  • apples
  • cheese
  • lemonade
  • apple cider
  • chicken
  • potatoes
  • bread
  • cheese cake
  • rice pudding

As there was no electricity during this time period, we dined by candle light.

To make our 20th century home a bit more castle like, decorations were provided by Thing One and Thing Two:

Friday, August 20, 2010


Absolutely LOVE when the kids toys can be used for educational purposes. A number of years ago, Thing One and Thing Two asked my parents for a castle similar to this one. They both have one and enjoyed playing with them for awhile. It got to the point that they became occasional toys, but I wasn't ready to "retire" them. This week, I'm very thankful we didn't. It has been very useful to point out various words like:

  • battlements - stone walls
  • crenels - gaps in wall to shoot arrows out
  • merlons - solid place to duck behind
After today's reading from "Castle Diary" by Richard Platt, I'm thankful this castle doesn't have a garderobe in it. You see, in medieval times, it was their version of a toilet and indoor plumbing. The major difference, is that the plumbing, instead of leading to a sewer system like we know, lead to a whole in the castle wall where things got dumped into the moat. How would you like to be the Gong-Farmer who's job it was to remove the piles of waste or unclog the pipes?

Anyhoot, Thing Two put on a short show with the castle and knights. Here's his "short":

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blogging . . .

lately has been a challenge. We've been in school for a few weeks and in past years, I've usually by now blogged by a few things. Some how a unit study on "Magicians Nephew" doesn't lead to many photo opportunities.

This week and next, we're working our way through Knights and Castles, using the companion guide to Magic Tree House "The Knights at Dawn". This has been a great reference guide and the print outs from Homeschool Share have been wonderful. So far the boys have learned about which kinds of castles were better for protection, the Feudal System, Lords & Ladies, parts of the castle. They've gotten a kick out me being able to hook up my Mac and do Power Point presentations for vocabulary, bring up pictures of Castles, among other things. They've also enjoyed playing with their castles while being read to from "Castle Diary, The Journal of Tobias Burgess, Paige".

Cool activities to follow: making catapults, going to Maryland Renaissance Festival, and having a Medieval Banquet. Those should be more photo worthy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not so school photo's

The other evening, during dinner, things got silly! Okay, life without silliness is just BORING!!! What then transpired where the following photos and as it's "Student Photo Week" at Heart of the Matter these will be perfect.
Head of our house and school ~ Kevin!
Can you see what shirt he is wearing? We think he's the
best. Here, he looks so calm and leader like. As I
recall it though, he's the one that instigated the fun!
Thing Two's fingers in the photo!

Don't know what is going on with Thing Two's right hand, but
it wouldn't be a photo without bunny ears. In fact, two sets are
better than one, right? Life with a child always in motion!

Thing One needs to be original in his
bunny ears. He always has "walked" to the
beat of his own drum. This photo started out as
my token, get in the shot. I just don't care
for photo's being taken of myself.

This is it, our happy family of four! We can be goofy and serious, happy and sad, lots of energy and dragging, but all in all, it's cool to have them to hang with.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just thinking aloud!!!!!!!

Still wanting to "name" our home school. Not sure why I have such a strong desire to do so, but I do. What has come to mind lately is "Brockville Academy". It sounds pretty good, sounds formal, sounds official.

A while back, had looked up names, for everyone in our family, to find out the meanings of their name. Brock means badger! Think that's kind of interesting because I was born in Wisconsin, my parents were born there, and my grandparents and their sisters & brothers all lived there. The state animal is a badger. Makes me snicker just a little bit! Doesn't Brockville sound a bit better than Badgerville though?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


So far, I really can't say enough good things about Queens Homeschooling Supply and their Language Lessons. My guys are really enjoying the short lessons. I am enjoying the fact that lessons are guided. One lesson you read about limericks, the next lesson you fill in the rhyming words of a new poem, the following lesson gives you the starting line and space to write your own. It's building their confidence in things "language arts". We've found a keeper for this subject ~ Woo Hoo!!

Here is Thing One's limerick that he filled in the missing words:

There once was a man from New Britain
Who got for a pet a new kitten.
When his pet went to dine,
He got chills in his spine
So the man covered him with a mitten.

Happy schooling,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where is your class room?

Not Back to School Blog Hop
At Heart of the Matter, it is "Not Back to School Blog Hop: School Rooms" week {click here to see post}.

As a homeschooling family, school happens many different places, mostly where ever appropriate, comfortable, room/area best equipped with the things we need! Have you ever tried teaching math and money at a register and the cashier just blurts out the answer? We have!! LOL

Anyway, from Wednesday on, last week, I had an insane idea that I could get my house clean and staged, just so, that the pictures of our various school rooms would be perfect. Then HELLO, reality set in and it's not so staged. What follows are some of the areas we school in, but quite honestly, I could have easily taken hundreds of pictures for where we school (anyone want to see the inside of a not so clean van?).

Probably our most favorite room is the living room because it has the Lazy boy recliners in it. They're nice and cozy, a lot of light comes through the window, and for the last two years it's just where we've gotten a lot of our work accomplished. Plus, the boys and I love to snuggle on the smaller couch to read. Hard to believe that it won't be long before the three of us don't fit on the couch together anymore. Also, our tv is in there, which surprisingly isn't a distraction, which makes watching the Math-U-See videos easier.

Our boys absolutely love science! The love to see how things react with one another (especially the brotherly love kind of experiments where one ends up crying ~ I'm not so fond of those ones!!). We've had fun on hikes looking at Beaver dam's, looking at erosion, and other wild life. Also fun, science wise, was the time a couple years ago, when we worked on chemical reactions. So, here are pictures our kitchen, mostly cleaned up!

"Stashing" school stuff happens, mostly, in our fireplace room. We've got a number of varying kinds of bookcases in there. It has most of our school related books, arts and crafts type stuff, math manipulatives, file boxes holding current school work. In the winter, it's probably the boys favorite room to work on school stuff if we've got a good fire going!

Also in this room, to the right of the brown bookcase (on the right of this photo) we have a piece of metal hung on the wall, a calendar for the boys, and some cork board. Really thought they would have gotten a bigger kick out of the sheet of metal, but not so much. Hoping to make better use of it this year. Possibly doing stuff with the word magnets we have or with the letters. Oh! Can you see that we have MORE bookcases to be put together in the photo to the left. Love the IKEA shelves that come in flat boxes. These are for the boys rooms for all the books they have. And possibly a few crates of toys!

So, this is a tour of our school rooms. One last thing, we do have maps and things like that. We decided to home school after a couple years of public school and we had already decorated the house. The maps and white boards, when not in use, get stored behind some chairs.

Happy schooling~

P.S. Forgot about the one thing I made for school last year that I really like. I purchase this wire basket when we were first homeschooling to contain the weeks worth of books. Over the years, our curriculum seems to be morphing into other styles of school and not AS many books. I had the thought that dividing the basket into three sections would be a great idea. The sections are labeled "school", "seasonal" (which I intend to change to "mom"), and "returns" as we use a lot of library books. The last one helps on library day to pick up those items that need to go back.

This next picture is a close up of the dividers. I used scrap, thin plywood and tried to paint it like a barn. I had left over letters from another project and was able to spell out the words I wanted. Even have enough letters to spell out "mom" when I get around to it. I just used Elmor's glue to put the letters on.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Squeels of fun!

Have you ever seen a new craft "toy" that just looks so cool, you just want one? Over at "Soft Place to Land", there is a give away for a Silhouette Craft Cutter. Here's a number of the things it can do:
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    • Works with vinyl, vellum, craft paper, cardstock and more
    • Transform designs anywhere from .25 inches to 8 inches tall and up to 39 inches wide
    • Cut any true type font on your computer
    • No cartridges or CDs to lose, damage or store
    • SD capability lets the Silhouette SD cut on the go without being connected to a computer
    • Choose from over 1,000 available digital designs to download anytime
    • Easily adjust your designs and text to any size
    • Built-in blade cap holder for easy storage
    • Replace blade holder with a Silhouette sketch pen to sketch digital designs
    • LCD screen lets you select, cut and resize designs without a computer
    • Silhouette SD digital cutting tool
    • USB cable
    • AC adaptor
    • Power cable
    • $10 gift card for purchasing additional digital designs online
    • Silhouette software CD and instruction manual
    • Cutting mat
    • Blade, blade holder and three adjustment caps
If this looks like something you'd like a chance to win, head over to and leave a comment for a chance to win. Enter by August 9, 2010 by noon EST.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Morning

This may be the last morning, for awhile, that I enjoy my coffee in total silence sans the clicking of the keyboard and "normal" house noises. Thing One has been at camp, since this past Sunday, and Thing Two LOVES to sleep in (plus he's been having trouble sleeping since big brother has been gone).

So, raise your canister of caffeine and say a quiet "c h e e r s" with me!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Finalized - wish I could use that word!

Over at Heart of the Matter, they are having a "Not Back to School Blog Hop" where everyone is posting their curriculum for this school year. From what I have been seeing, it looks like everyone has there full year planned out. Sure things might change, but a basic road map has been laid out. And here I felt pretty good that I had through Christmas pulled together. So, without further hesitation, here IS the curriculum we've got lined up:

Math ~ Math U See:
Thing One: wrap up Delta and move on to Epsilon
Thing Two: wrap up Alpha and then onto Beta

Language Arts ~ this is from Queens Homeschooling Supply and the boys seem to be doing well with it so far (I'm excited because this is the first LA program where the boys are excited about it. The lessons are short, to the point, and easy to grasp. I've already had Thing Two looking through books for silent E words after finishing his lesson).
Thing One: Language Lessons for the Elementary Child 2
Thing Two: Language Lessons for Little Ones 3

Spelling ~ Sequential Spelling for both of them (still need to figure out where Thing One is in the books, Thing Two will start at the beginning)

History ~ we're using Mystery of History vol 1. We started it mid year last school year, so we're still working through this one. We'll move onto volume 2 when the time comes.

Unit Studies ~ Lined up so far, and carrying us through Christmas or into January:

Five in a Row & Beyond Five in a Row
~ various titles I'll pick in the Spring

Science ~ both boys love science. We've got a few books for various science projects. We'll use those or Google for more.

Bible Studies ~ we actually do a lot around here for that. We've been working through "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade over the last few months, reading the boys bibles before bed, and during the school day, we'll be adding "An Honorable Boy - A Bible Study for Elementary Aged Boys" (one for each boy).

Co-op ~
Thing One: Dangerous Boys and Cooking
Thing Two: Free Play and Galloping the Globe

Field Trips ~
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Cedar Creek Reenactment
Plays at George Mason University
Possible trip to Jamestown, VA

When written out like this, it seems like a lot of school stuff. Amazingly, with 11 days under our belt for 2010/2011 it's not to overwhelming.

Happy Schooling,

P.S. Forgot to mention (and know it is posted elsewhere), but Thing One is in 5th Grade and Thing Two is in 2nd grade.