Saturday, May 28, 2011

End of the Year HomeSchool Extravaganza

The real challenge at the end of the year in homeschooling is to finish well. I chose to give my students a 'challenge' in creativity and research. The older boys and girls created a country in the Cartographers' Challenge. They colored world maps with a red X to place their country on an already-existing continent. They created physical maps with at least 10 land forms, and they created political maps to tell us about where people live and what they do. A 3-paragraph essay was the last requirement which encouraged us to go visit their country. So, it was kind of an advertisement for their country's resources. There were extra-credit options including creating a flag, song, clothing, food, language, etc. Abigail created Pigamunga where everyone speaks Pit Latin.
Emma Rose created a soft and sweet place where Joy abounds in Zequillis Quinterra. You can see her 'cover' for the research file.

Aurelia created The United States of Military Dog Handling. She went all out in the extra options, dressing up for the presentation of her essay and creating a cardboad statue.

You can see Grace pointing out to us where Pigslovokia is on her world map.

I graded on accuracy and neatness.

She made a fine example of a political map for her country and keeping with the 'pig' theme she had states named PorkBelly, Bacon, etc.

The next day Grace brought us a sample of the 5-legged candycane pigs for which her country is famous! It was minty and delicious!

Grace's brother Dillon created Mythania where characters from games live.

And Carson created Swaden located in the familiar country of Sweden. He had a great time coming up with a new language.

I wish the pictures had turned out well of Lauren too. She created a country called Cowboy with states called Mane and Tail.

For the little boys, my third-graders, I assigned the Arachnid Challenge in which they chose a spider to research, write a report, and build a diorama for their presentations.

You see Wyatt and his habitat for a Black Widow spider.

And William created a habitat for a Tarantula.

After the presentations the girls got to make Flubber to finish up their science unit on chemistry. They shared the finished product with the little boys who did what you see below. Only the boys would do this with the Flubber!

It was a wonderful ending to a perfectly wonderful year. The big boys have graduated on and will be students of my husband Jay upstairs in his junior high/high school classroom.

Some of the girls with join them too.

And I am making big plans for a significantly different year next year with only 6 students, mostly boys, fourth through sixth grades. Yippee!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SoggyBottomBreakdown Garden Tour

Today my face is as long as the title of this blog. It is raining hard...AGAIN!!!

I just checked the rain gauge, and we've received 3/4 of an inch today already

and it is just 5:00.

You can see the small lake growing below.

I've a mind to order some trout to stock this little lake so we can at least benefit in some way.

I planted rosemary and sage yesterday in the sunny 65 degree weather.

We've had two days without rain this month!

I found a place for the Annabelle Hydrangea that Connie gave me.

And the raspberries have begun 'showing'.

More 'lakes and rivers' growing too.

The plants inside have begun to rise to the occasion.

I love it when the seed pods and dirt cling to the squash plants as they rise.

These are my biggest tomato starts, Cosmonaut Volkav. I will put them out after Labor Day in hopes they'll take off while I'm away from home for several weeks.

The sunroom is lit up with the 'starts', and the perennial garden is beginning to come along.

The Forsythia and Leopard's Bane continue to be my glowing substitute for the sun.

Last, the Mother's Day bouquet sent by my son is still fragrant and lovely;

thank you, Kelly! It brightens up this rainiest of days.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crank Up the Heat on Garden Tour Number One

Rachel and I have been chomping at the bit to get where it is warm and sunny and colorful; and that would be Connie's Cottage Garden. Oh my were we blessed. Here was the scene that greeted us. It is just beginning, mostly with bulbs, but we have only yellow daffodils and leopard's bane blooming where I live. So this was a treat. Not only was it colorful, it was warm, and I got a sunburn on my exposed arms!! Connie always fills interesting containers with flowers placed perfectly.

I want to bury my face in these neon lavender flowers!

Connie is growing a myriad of pansies for a wedding in a few weeks in which

the bride has a tie-dye theme. These are just a few of the varieties Connie will take.

And how about these sunrise/sunset tulips?

I enjoyed the afternoon so very much, its slowness, the sweet conversation, the darling little girls accompanying us with their grandmother, Hildi, too, that it felt like I'd been to a spa.

Thank you, Connie. And thank you for the hydrangea too!

I spent some time in my garden this morning putting up the tomato pavillion.

More pictures will follow on that subject.

It has been another very wet spring; in fact, we continue to have snow for at least five minutes regularly, so I may be dreaming of having a garden rather than really having one! be revealed!