Monday, January 18, 2016

Seriously Messy Fun - States of Matter - Solids

In kindergarten at our one day a week homeschool program we're spending the month of January exploring states of matter as we talk about how the world works.  States of matter is easily shown through water since the liquid/freezing/steam temperatures are easily achieved in the classroom.  The first week in January we explored ice, water, and steam.  Last week we focused only on ice as a solid.
 We made lists of attributes of a solid and played with ice all day long.  We started off with an ice painting activity.  This worked so well.  The colors were phenomenal and the kids had a blast.  I had frozen ice cubes with food coloring mixed in and then let the kids go wild.  When they were done with their paintings we dabbed off the extra liquid with paper towels.  The paintings dried more quickly than any of our other art has which made it easy to put away and move on to playing with ice blocks and "fishing for ice cubes".  
Next week - liquids!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cripple Creek and Mount Rushmore

This summer we spent time camping at different KOA's around our area.  We headed up to Cripple Creek for a weekend and loved hiking the trails and learning about mining there.  CJ thinks he'd like to be a miner when he grows up.
 Camping and Hiking - what my boys do best.
 In August we enjoyed a long weekend trip to Mount Rushmore, or as EMan calls it, "Mountain Rushmore".  We have enjoyed staying in cabins at KOA's and Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch deserves 10 stars.  My boys asked if we could please just live there.  The cabin was comfortable and the grounds had tons of activities to participate in.  There was a swimming pool, splash pad, jumping pillow, mini golf, bicycles and gem mining (the last two had a fee, but the other's didn't).  
Mount Rushmore was simply amazing.  We hiked the trail, completed the Junior Ranger Program and explored all the museums.  It has been great to reference that learning as we're working on our US History curriculum. 
 I would highly recommend looking into the Junior Ranger programs at each of the National Parks.  It has given our family learning opportunities and direction for our visits.  It is phenomenal and I never need to front load the kids with other information and work on a lesson plan on my own.

Monday, November 30, 2015

New Glasses

CJ (6 years old) went to the eye doctor with me this fall for his first visit.  Following in his parents footsteps he got his first pair of glasses.  He doesn't have to wear them all of the time and is supposed to remove them when he's reading or playing on the computer.  He reads a TON and loves his screen time so it's quite common that he goes a few days between wearing them.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park

This year we have gone quite a few places as we have tried to explore a variety of locations around the US.  It made sense to start with exploring what is nearby - the Sand Dunes, Cripple Creek, and the Rocky Mountains. We spent the weekend exploring the east side of the park hiking to Cub Lake and a few other locations.  We loved the Ranger lead program at the visitors center where the boys worked on their Junior Ranger assignments as we searched for signs of animals, weather (there was a lightning stuck tree), and looking for different plants.  The boys made best friends with a family from New Jersey that was also participating in the Ranger led activity.  CJ LOVES making new friends at all the different places that we go.  And nearly every time they are deemed "best friends" for the short time that they get to play together.  I find that the dreaded "socialization" question that everyone asks about homeschoolers is bazaar.  Just spend a weekend with us at any KOA and watch how quickly my kids make friends with individuals of all varieties from all places in the world.  They aren't stuck in a single classroom with 30 kids to choose from where they are asked to sit quite and not socialize except for 15 minutes at recess at each day - the whole world is theirs for the taking. They are so creative in their play and exploration.  Time and time again they get to practice asking others if they would like to play together. Ok, stepping off the soapbox now...
 I was very pleased with the Ranger that did the Junior Ranger swearing in with my boys at the Rocky Mountains.  He spent time talking with them about how to take care of the environment and be safe in the mountains.
We completed a number of hikes while we were in the mountains.  The boys in our family love the experience.  I like the idea of hiking, but don't enjoy actually doing it.  On an eight mile hike over this weekend we heard non-stop from CJ about Minecraft.  He developed a world as he was describing it to us.  In his new Minecraft world he was going to be the emperor and we would be workers.  We could go to school and get a better job and we would have to pay taxes to him. Though I give kudos to his creativity I got tired of hearing all the details.  We also heard non-stop from EMan about Super Mario Galaxy.  In fact, the boys ended up needing a timer to give them each an amount of time to talk.  When their time was up the other child would pick up right where they left off on their chosen topic.

As a side note: EMan, who wants to be a zoologist, cried when we went home because he was so sad that he couldn't bring "Fishy" home.  "Fishy" was a small gold fish in Cub Lake that EMan watched for about 15 minutes with complete fascination.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Steve and I are not huge sports fans, but we do love going to the minor league baseball games a couple of times each year.  This year the boys got to be in the kids club and run the bases after the game.  They had so much fun that CJ is ready to join a baseball team now.  Too bad the season is over.  I guess we can keep practicing until baseball season starts up again.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dance Party

I have a unique family full of energy and craziness! While we were visiting in July my sister put together a dance party.  Each person was assigned a character from the Wii dance game and had to show up in character.  We had such a fun time dancing to all the different styles of games and earning points to see who would win.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Thankful for the Ancestral Walk

As our thoughts turn to thanks giving I'm reflecting upon the Ancestral Walk that I participated in with my father, brother, and in-laws this summer.  It was an experience organized by my father to remember my great-grandfather Hyrum Hatton. We followed in his footsteps in a hike from Alpine, Utah to Draper, Utah.  Hyrum Hatton would walk to the quarry every Monday and then walk back for church each Sunday for 5 years in the 1880's.  Walking in his footsteps as closely as possible with all the construction that has happened in the last 130 years we experienced a little of what he did as we honored his service to the building of the Salt Lake Latter-Day Saint Temple.
Though I walked only a portion of the whole trip I made it 11.69 miles, 24197 steps and 108 flights of stairs (all tracked by my FitBit).
To my father who made it 24 miles and my in-laws who made it 35ish miles (the whole distance) I am awed at your dedication and thankful to you for the bonding opportunity and the inspiration of completing the task to honor both my great-grandfather and my father.  I love you guys!
Hyrum Hatton