Our Family

Our Family

Friday, October 30, 2015

October Nature Seekers Meeting

It has been a long time since we have had a 4 H meeting.  Our last one was in August before school started back.  I had a meeting set up and scheduled for September, but had to cancel because that was when I was feeling well.  Then I was trying to wait until soccer was over and I could breathe again.

Anyway we had a meeting yesterday.  I decided we would have our meeting outdoors at the park by the new nature trail.  I found a scavenger hunt page that had the children find:

something round
something smooth
something straight
something rough
something that makes noise
two different kinds of leaves
something they think is beautiful
a pine cone
something fuzzy

We gave each child a sack and let them walk the half mile trail looking for the items.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, sunny and in the upper 70's.  They had fun looking for the different items and then we talked about what everyone found.

I had been searching for a nature craft that was one that we had never done before and would not cost much money.  I found this cute hanging decoration that used canning jar rims, fishing line, ribbon, beads, and leaves.  I had a bunch of the canning jar rims and found the other items at Dollar Tree (love that we have a Dollar Tree now!) We tied the fishing line to the leaves and strung the beads onto it and then tied the top of the line to the jar rim.  They did four of them.  It made a wind chime like decoration without the noise.

the beads did not show up very good in this picture

All the kids said they had fun.  I was so glad the weather cooperated!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Maestro Classics

Maestro Classics Review
I was first introduced to Maestro Classics back in 2011 when we had an opportunity to review Peter and the Wolf.  My children loved this CD so much and listened to it so many times that they actually wore it out and I had to buy it again!  In 2012 we had the opportunity to review The Story of Swan Lake and in 2014 Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  We have enjoyed each one of these CD's and were excited to have an opportunity to review The Nutcracker.
Maestro Classics Review
Maestro Classics makes it so easy to add classical music to your homeschool.  They have a series of wonderful stories that have been set to great music and are enjoyable to both children and adults.  Each CD comes with an activity guide with activities related to the CD.  They have also started offering curriculum guides that cover subjects such as history, science, geography, language arts, art, music, and math.  You also have have the option to purchase a downloadable version of the music (Mp3) and activity guide (PDF).  

The Nutcracker's music, originally by Tchaikovsky, has been adapted by Stephen Simon who is also the conductor.  It is preformed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with Jim Weiss as the narrator.  In the Nutcracker, Clara is given a nutcracker on Christmas Eve who comes to life.  After battling the Mouse King, the Nutcracker takes Clara to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  The next day Clara wonders whether or not it was all a dream.

The Nutcracker has a total playing time of 58:01.  It has 22 tracks:

1. Overture
2. Christmas Party
3. Children's March
4. Parents Dancing
5. Drosselmeyer's Mechanical Dolls
6. Clara, Fritz, and the Nutcracker
7. Grandfather's Dance
8. Good Night-The Christmas Tree Grows
9. Battle with the Mouse King
10. Nutcracker Becomes Handsome Prince
11. Snowy Walk to the Land of the Sweets
12. Sugar Plum Fairy Welcome
13. Spanish Dance
14. Arabian Dance
15. Chinese Dance
16. Russian Dance
17. Dance of the Reed Pipes
18. Mother Ginger
19. Waltz of the Flowers
20. Sugar Plum Pas de Deux
21. Clara Back Home

Included with the CD is the Activity Guide.  The guide is in full color and contains: a description of each of the scenes, information on the history of ballet, music to the overture, information on the harp, information about Tchaikovsky, a word scramble, a crossword puzzle, and information about the conductor and narrator.

The music CDs can be purchased for $16.98 and the mP3 downloads are available for $9.98. At the time of this posting, The Nutcracker mP3 has a sale price listed of $8.49.  Several of the selections can also be purchased on iTunes.  If you are on Facebook, Maestro Classics shares sales and coupons on their Facebook Page.

I was interested in viewing The Nutcracker because I have loved it since I was a little girl. I actually was in a play of The Nutcracker when I was in first grade.  My two little girls have seen many different cartoon versions of The Nutcracker and I thought they would enjoy it, plus we have a study of Tchaikovsky and The Nutcracker coming up in our curriculum soon so this review gave us a little head start.

My children are 4,6,8,10,11, and 13.  We finally got some rain in Arkansas (yay!) and this CD was great for something to do on a rainy day. When I started the CD, I asked my 4 year old if she recognized the music.  She said, "It's the Nutcracker!"  We loved it!  I have to say that I think this is my favorite from Maestro Classics so far!  This CD would be great for any one who loves The Nutcracker, or those who have never had an opportunity to listen to it before, especially with the upcoming holiday season.  The music is outstanding and the narration was just wonderful.  We look forward to listening to The Nutcracker over and over again!

The activity booklet has some great information and a couple of fun activities for the children.  It is a fun little complement to the CD.  

Members of The Crew reviewed The Nutcracker and Peter and the Wolf.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Schoolhouse Crew Review:IEW Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level B

IEW Phonetic Zoo
Over the last several years, I have had many opportunities to review products from The Institute For Excellence in Writing.    I have been so impressed with the products I have reviewed that I have purchased many others on my own and highly recommend them to homeschoolers.  Not only do they have products that are great for students, they also offer many great resources to help parents.  I am always excited to see IEW on our vendor list and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level B Starter Set.
IEW Phonetic Zoo
Phonetic Zoo comes in 3 different levels: A, B, or C.  A placement test will guide you in choosing which level is the best fit for your child.  Phonetic Zoo is a phonics based program that teaches children spelling using animal names and jingles, hints, or rules that match the rules for spelling that list of words.  For example in lesson one the animals are caiman and manta ray and the jingle is "When a-i says a as in claim and chain, it comes in the middle as in train or pain.  But when a-y says a as in jay and portray, it comes at the end.  See decay and delay."

The Phonetic Zoo is based on Anna Ingham's Blended Sound Sight Program of Learning.  This program.  This program was developed because studies showed that students learn better when what they see is reinforced by what they hear and when what they hear is reinforced by what they see, thus blending sight and sound.  The Phonetic Zoo Spelling Program uses a multisensory approach by having students see and hear the words and rules and then have them write the words.

Phonetic Zoo Level B Starter Set ($99) comes with:

5 audio CDs (and mP3 downloads)
Lesson Cards that contains the spelling words for all 3 levels and the jingles
Personal Spelling Cards to keep track of student's misspellings
Zoo Cards to practice jingles 
Downloadable Teacher's Notes
Spelling and the Brain video seminar (link to streamable video)

Your student will need:
CD player to play audio CDs or electronic device to play mP3 files
Head phones or ear buds

There are 47 lessons in Phonetic Zoo.  For each lesson, you read the rule on the lesson card (or your student reads it if they are working independently) and your student reads and spells out loud the three words on the front of the card.  You also give the small zoo card to the student for that lesson. Students prepare their paper by numbering 1-15, writing the lesson number and the number of times the lesson has been attempted. The student listens to the lesson on the CD, takes the test and then listens to the lesson correction while correcting the words himself.  The student continues on the same lesson until they achieve mastery of that lesson by scoring 100% twice in a row.  Every 5th lesson is a personal spelling lesson.  A Final Exam is given at the end of each level. 

Once you have one level of the starter set, you have an option to purchase only audio CDs of the other levels since the words for all three levels are included on the cards.  There is also an option to purchase Phonetic Zoo as a download 

IEW also offers a budget pack of Phonetic Zoo that has just the printed materials and no Audio CDs.

There are samples for you to download here.

I was interested in using Phonetic Zoo with my 6th grade son.  He is mildly dyslexic and has had issues reading and spelling.  I have a spelling curriculum that we use and really love, but as he has gotten older, he prefers to work more independently rather than have me work with him.  He learns best by hearing and doing so when I saw the description for Phonetic Zoo I knew it would be perfect for him.  I had him take the placement test which recommended Level B.

I was very impressed with the curriculum when it arrived.  The cards are made of a thick card stock and are very sturdy.  When you read the description of a Phonetic Zoo using animals on the cards you may get the impression that it is babyish.  This is not at all true.  The drawings are in black and white and not at all cartoonish or babyish.  The jingles help the students remember the rules.  The process of listening to the words, writing them down, and self correcting has really helped Alex become a better speller.  He has been completing one lesson per week, achieving mastery on the lists by the end of the week.  He loves being able to work independently and it makes life easier on me as well.

As part of the Phonetic Zoo Starter set, you have access to a streaming video called Spelling and the Brain, a talk given by Andrew Pudewa.  This video is a little over an hour long.  This is one of those helpful parent resources I referred to earlier.  Andrew Pudewa is a great speaker, very easy to listen to.  This video will give you a lot of helpful information about spelling and the brain and why auditory input is more helpful in teaching spelling then visual input.  He also talks about how information is stored in the brain and how it is retrieved. This talk is more than worth the hour investment.  

To see what my Crew Mates had to say about Phonetic Zoo, Timeline of Classics, Teaching With Games, and A Word Right Now from IEW, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 8

Week 8 in Our Homeschool

P.E.- We did lessons 32-35 in Family Time Fitness.  I am trying to stay consistent with this.  We do not do every activity listed in the lesson but we do at least part of the warm up, activities, and cool down every day.

Bible: We did lesson 3 in Grapevine Studies Old Testament Part One.

History: Nick and Alex did lessons 16, 17, and 18 in Mystery of History Vol IV on Beethoven, The Mexican War of Independence, and the War of 1812.  The boys did the corresponding worksheets, made memory cards, added the timeline figures to the board and did the map assignment.  We also listened to some Beethoven.

Science: Nick and Alex reviewed the chapter on muscles in Exploring Creation With Anatomy and Physiology and completed the What Do You Remember questions.

My Father's World Adventures: I doubled up one day this week to catch up from our day off last week that we were at the Family Farm.  This week we talked about the Pilgrim's in our history lesson. We finished reading Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims and did an activity showing why the Pilgrims put oiled paper in their windows.  In science we are learning about stars.

Math: Lesson 7 completed in Alpha, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Algebra 1.
Christian made this while I was reading aloud

Grammar/Literature/Handwriting: Completed Lesson 12 of Fix It! 1 and 2.  Nick finished Pudd'nhead Wilson and will move on to War of the Worlds.  Alex is still working on Stone Fox.  Anthony and Christian have started working back in their PenTime Copywork Books, since we finished our review of Brookdale House.  I need to get one ordered for Lily.

Reading/Spelling: Alex completed Lesson 6 of Phonetic Zoo.  Christian and Anthony started using All About Spelling Level 2 again.  We are reviewing and completed the word list for step 2.  They finished lessons 48 and 49 of AAR Level 2.  Lily finished lessons 12,13, and 14 of AAR Level One.
Lily loves her reader from AAR and rereads the stories after she reads them to me

Horizon's Preschool: Emmie and I did get some work done in her Preschool books.  She has now completed up to lesson 32 in Horizon's Preschool.  We started learning about soil this week in science and have learned up to the number 7 and the letter j.

Other Activities:

It was a pretty quiet week.

Monday night the girls had gymnastics.  After gymnastics, Christian had his last game of the soccer season.  Soccer is officially over for us this year!

Tuesday we didn't have any outside activities.
Christian loves stick bugs

Wednesday we had Kid's Club.

Thursday Lily woke up with a sore throat and a headache.  No fever.  Just like Anthony had the week-end before.  I gave her some medicine and she ate breakfast.  At 9:00 I found her sleeping on the couch.  She started feeling better on Friday but still today she has a sore throat.

Friday: It rained! I can't remember the last time we have had rain.  In the afternoon the children went out and played in the light rain for awhile.  We watched movies and played some board games.

Our dog seems to be better.  We have started mixing some canned food into her dry food.  I stopped giving her the medication on Wednesday and she has not been sick again so hopefully she is past it.  We did loose a rabbit this week.  The children had been playing with her on Saturday and it was fine but found it dead on Monday.

After we did the weaving activity at Grandview, it reminded me of when I was a little girl and used to make potholders.  I found a kit on Amazon and ordered it.  Since then Lily and Christian have been pot holder making machines!  We picked up more craft loops on Thursday and they have been through all of those too!

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Koru Naturals

Koru Naturals Review
Back in March, I had an opportunity to review two great products from Koru Naturals: Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balm.  You can read my review on those here. For many years, the people of New Zealand have used what nature has to offer to treat ailments, protect the skin, and promote good health.  Since 2002 Koru Naturals has shared the products they have been using for years. Koru Naturals signed up for another Crew spot and this time sent us:

Skin Clear Cream
Manuka Honey Propolis Soap
Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil Facial Cleanser
Manuka Honey, Tamarind and Manuka Oil Facial Toner

Skin Clear Cream ($19.20) has no artificial colors, fragrances or parabens.  It does however contains two main ingredients: raw, unpasteurized Manuka honey and pure steam distilled East Cape Manuka Oil.  This formula has been around for over 20 years and they recently have improved the formula by adding:

Kawakawa and Herekeke which are Maori remedies for skin conditions
Burdock Root: Chinese root used traditionally for skin conditions
Thyme: natural astringent and anti-inflammatory extract
Canadian Aspen Bark: a natural preservative

All of the ingredients are listed here.

Skin Clear Cream is ideal for acne prone skin but also can be used as a day/night cream. It is recommended that it be used twice a day to improve the appearance of skin and to help place skin's natural moisture.  It comes in a short, round jar with a lid that has to be unscrewed to open it up.  A small plastic stick is included. The consistency is similar to mayonnaise.  The cream has a fragrance that my boys think smells flowery.  I think it is hard to describe.  The jar contains 4 oz, which does not sound like a lot, but is really quite a lot of cream.  

The Honey and Propolis Soap ($7.90) is a gentle cleansing soap made of Manuka Honey and Propolis.  It comes in a 4.93 oz bar. It lathers very nicely and has a pleasant smell that is not over powering.

Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil Facial Cleanser ($13.60) contains 4 oz and comes in a pump.  It is free of artificial colors and parabens. It is a gentle cleanser that will not irritate or damage your skin but will cleanse it deeply.  

You can see the full list of ingredients here.

The cleanser is clear and is a little thick like honey, but not sticky.  You apply by rubbing in circular motions and rinsing off well.  The fragrance is similar to the skim cream.
Manuka Honey Tamarind and Manuka Oil Facial Toner ($13.20) contains 4 oz and comes in a pump dispenser.  It is clear and thin and has a very fragrant smell.  It is designed for oily, combination, or acne prone skin.  You use this after cleansing by putting on  a cotton ball and applying all over your face.  

You can see the full list of ingredients here.

I was interested in these products for my teen boys who are having some difficulties with their skin. They have been using the products for the last several weeks.  I can tell a difference when they remember to use the cleaner, toner, and cream consistently for several days in a row (what is it about teenage boys that they have to be reminded of these things all the time!) Their biggest complaint is the smell.  They think the products smell like a flower garden and that it is not very manly. I have used the honey propolis soap and love the way it feels and smells. 

Members of The Crew reviewed a variety of products from Koru Naturals.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Brookdale House

 Brookdale House Review
One of the things about being a product reviewer is that I get introduced to companies that have great products that I had never heard of before.  When Brookdale House appeared on our vendor list, I had a really hard time deciding which product I was most interested in, they all looked so good!  I finally decided to choose Writing Through Early Modern History Level One Manuscript.
 Brookdale House Review
Brookdale House started publishing their own curriculum in 2006 after the author was looking for a writing curriculum for her elementary aged children that utilized copywork, dictation, and narration and when she couldn't find it  she decided to write her own.  The curriculum is based on the methods of Ms. Charlotte Mason and is organized around the 4 year history cycle.  Students learn to write by studying different models written by talented authors from history. A true handwriting font is used so students are also working on their penmanship. In addition to the Writing Through History curriculum they offer a wide variety of product including: Drawing Around the World (Europe and the USA), The Fun Spanish, The Grammar Workbook Set, Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons, and many more.

Writing Through Early Modern History Level One covers the time period between 1600 and 1850.  It is divided into 4 chapters: short stories, time period tales, poetry, and cultural tales.  There are two writing models for each selection.  The first one has lines below each line they copy.  The second one has the writing model written at the top and the blank lines underneath the selection.  Some of the selections include:
Historical Selections:
  • Pocahontas
  • William Penn
  • George Washington
  • The Boston Tea Party
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • and more
Poetry Selections:
  • Isaac Watts
  • Edward Lear
  • William Blake
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • and more
Fairy Tales:
  • Briar Rose
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Mother Frost
  • The King of the Birds
  • and more
Cultural Tales:
  • African Tales
  • German Tales
  • Indian Tales
  • Italian Tales

Writing Through Early Modern History can be purchased as either a printed book or an ebook.  I received the e book version for my review.  It is 351 pages long.  I chose this level to use with my 1st, 3rd, and 4th graders because it would go along with what they are studying in history.  We used this 3 days per week completing one selection weekly.  On Monday I would read aloud the selection and have them tell it back to me (narrate.)  On Tuesday the children would complete the first copywork assignment and on Wednesday they completed the second copywork assignment.  Since we received this review before we started our history curriculum, we started with the fairy tales and then moved on to Pocahontas and the other Indian stories.  

Since we received the ebook, the pages have to be printed out.  I am printing the selections as we go printing only one of the story since I am reading it aloud and the copywork pages I am printing for each student.  The pages are all in black and white making it more economical to print and with multiple children using the product it is definitely cheaper to make copies rather then buy a printed book for each of them.  If I had only one child I would purchase the printed book.

We have enjoyed the selections we have completed.  I really like that it is organized chronologically through history.  We already follow a lot of the Charlotte Mason method so that fir in with our learning style.  I did not have the children use their penmanship book along with this because it can be a penmanship curriculum as well which made my life a little simpler.  I like that they offer their books in both cursive and manuscript so you can choose what works better with your family.  

There are plenty of sample pages for you to look at here.

Members of The Crew reviewed a variety of products from Brookdale House.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: An Amish Christmas Gift by Amy Clipson, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin

Book Description:

  Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston Naomi has started to think that she isn't meant to find love, but she might receive more than she ever hoped for this Christmas. Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love, has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches-a time of family, faith, and hope for many others-Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

 An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares? Abigail Kemp has managed to frighten off every bu who's ever driven her home from a singing. Sure she will live to be an old maid, Abigail starts saving her money to buy a horse so she can at least have some independence. Micah Zook is looking for a caregiver for his grandmother, and Abigail needs a new job. He never expected that Abigail would talk so much . . . or that his grandmother would keep finding ways to set the two of them up. Despite Abigail's constant chatter, she and Micah become friends-until Micah makes a decision that leaves Abigail feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal what's on his heart?

 A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy. Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt Abigail and her husband Mordecai. After all, she knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome but Englisch farmer boy back in Missouri. It's best to put those feelings aside, no matter how hard it is. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

Who doesn't love a sweet, uplifting, happily ever after Christmas story?  What's even better is 3 sweet, uplifting, happily ever after Christmas stories all in one book.  An Amish Christmas Gift was a book that will get you in the Christmas spirit.  Three different Amish young ladies have given up on love but love hasn't given up on them.  They all learn that anything is possible in God's timing.  I enjoyed these stories by these 3 authors and look forward to reading more in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 7

This week was.....eventful.  In addition our ordinary craziness of soccer season and other activities we had a sick dog, overnight guests, and a field trip.  But we did get some school done along the way too.

Monday I had to call the vet because our dog Anna had been vomiting since Wednesday.  She was not acting sick at all.  She was outside playing and acting normal besides the fact that she was vomiting.  We got an afternoon appointment and loaded everyone up to take her.  They thought she might have an obstruction but did not have the correct equipment to xray her.  So we had to load up again and go to another vet in the area.  They wanted me to leave her overnight so they could run some tests and observe her.  We ran home for a few hours and right before I had to leave again with the girls for gymnastics the vet called and said no obstructions appeared on the xray and he didn't feel one when he examined her under sedation, although that didn't mean she didn't have a small one  (she has a tendency to eat clothing if she has an opportunity.)  He gave her some medicine to stop the vomiting and was going to keep an eye on her before they ran more tests.

Tuesday after lunch I called to check on the dog and they told me they would have the vet call me back.  A few minutes later the phone rang but it wasn't the vet.  It was a friend who had a medical emergency with a foster baby and needed me to pick up her three children while she took him to the hospital.  Shortly after the vet called and wanted to keep the dog another night.  On our way to soccer (all three boys had games at the same time) we picked up the children and they spent the night with us.

Wednesday the dog got to come home.  We had Kid's Club and our guests got picked up from there.

Thursday was our field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  We had a great time but it was so hot!  We only were home for an hour before we had to leave for soccer.  It was Nick and Alex's tournament game and they lost so their season is over.  It was probably Nick's last game because they haven't had enough players to do a 14-16 league and he will be 14 before next season.

Friday was a stay home day.  We did have some extras though.  I am going to be babysitting full time Monday through Friday for the same 3 children who stayed with us this week.  We painted pumpkins and had a quick science lessons on fingerprints while making cookies that were sealed with your fingers.

Saturday Anthony woke up under the weather with some sinus stuff.  No fever just feeling yucky.  Tis the season, especially when we drop 20 degrees in a day.  And the dog starting getting sick again.We are giving her the medicine they sent home for her.

We did get some school done this week too.

Week 7 in Our Homeschool

P.E. We did lessons 29-31 in Family Time Fitness.

Bible: We worked on the lesson on Creation in our Grapevine Bible studies.

Read Aloud: We are still reading through our Christian Heroes Then and Now biography of John Wesley.

History: Nick and Alex did lessons 13,14, and 15 on The Rise of Napoleon, The Louisiana Purchase, and William Wilberforce.  We did the worksheets, map, timeline figures, and memory cards.

Science: We started Chapter 3 of Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics on muscles.

My Father's World Adventures: We completed the first 3 days of week 4 of Adventures.  We are learning about the different Indian tribes.  To go along with what we are learning I ordered some craft kits from Hobby Lobby.  We made a tepee, and a tomahawk.  I also have a canoe kit will did not get to.  In science we learned about the stars and the planets.

Art: We painted pumpkins!

Math: Completed lesson 6 of Math U See alpha, gamma, delta, epsilon, and algebra 1.

Grammar/Literature: Completed Lesson 11 of Fix It! 1 and 2.  The boys are still working through Stone Fox and Puddin'head Wilson.

Reading/Spelling: Alex completed lesson 5 of Phonetic Zoo.  Anthony and Christian completed lessons 46 and 47 of AAR Level 2 and Lily completed lessons 10 and 11 of AAR Level 1.

Horizon's Preschool: Didn't happen.

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Family Farm Field Trip

This week we had an opportunity to take a field trip to a Family Farm in Malvern Arkansas with our homeschool group. It was a bit of a drive for us, but really anywhere we go is a bit of a drive!  The group price was $6 per person and there was no charge for adults or infants.

It was a really pretty place and had a nice set up.  For the $6 price they got to do all of the activities and take a pie sized pumpkin home.    I have to tell you it was very hot when we were there.  We had record breaking temperatures in Arkansas that day and it got up to 96 degrees! Each group's rotation started with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance and there were places set up to take pictures.

The sun was right in Lily's face when I was taking them.  I meant to take more before we left, but was so ready to get in to the van and some air conditioning that I forgot!

At our first station they talked to the children about the early settlers and the first Thanksgiving.  There was a giant tepee that we got to sit in (I didn't get a photo of it) and she talked to them about how the Indians lived and all of the things that we have that they didn't.

Then we got to go to the petting zoo.  The children loved that!

After the petting zoo there was a train they could ride.  Most of the school groups they cater too are elementary aged kids, but when they saw we had older children the owner opened up the lodge which had some ping pong tables, pool table, and other games for them to do while the others were on the train.  I thought that was very nice!

After that we had lunch.  There were lots of picnic tables set up in the shade.  And just as a side note there were actual bathrooms, not port o potties like the last pumpkin patch we went to!  They also had water coolers set up beside the activities.

After lunch we went to the hay play.  And for the big kids they opened up the rock climb which is not normally open for school groups.  Alex made it all the way to the top!

Next we went to the big slide.  They all loved this activity too!!

Then there was a puppet show talking about the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Next they got to choose their pumpkins.

And take a hay ride.

By then we had been there 3 1/2 hours and it was blazing hot.  There was one activity left that looked really fun called a carousel (but not with horses) but we decided to go ahead and head out.

On the way home I told the children we would stop at McDonalds for ice cream.  I pulled in and started ordering and wouldn't you know it the ice cream machine was down.  The last three times we have gone on a field trip and tried to get ice cream for McDonalds that has happened in 3 different towns.  That was the only one we had to pass on the way home, so we got slushies from Sonic instead.

It was a great day!