Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Disney Appreciation

The Disney "Bookstore"
There are a few things that I really do love: my kiddos, homeschooling, and anything Disney.  The past couple of weeks, I have been able to combine those three things for the perfect storm of magical learning fun!  Once we arrived at the "20 Days Until Disney" countdown, Cecely and Titus lost focus and interest in school work.  I decided to take a break from our normal studies and write out some Disney Appreciation Lesson Plans.  It has been so much fun for the three of us.  I used some resources from TheMouseForLess.com as well as FamilyFun.com.  Both of these websites had some great activities for writing, exploring, and creating.  I was able to use our "movies of the day" to put together math word problem worksheets.  It is amazing to me how much more interested in adding together double digits and multiplying my kids become when their favorite characters are the stars of the math problems! 
Titus is all "ears".
With our upcoming trip to Disney World, I thought it would be fun for us to have a Disney movie marathon.  Each day we watch a couple of Disney movies, follow up with arts and crafts, have a writing assignment, and do math.  We have really enjoyed watching the Bonus Features on the DVDs and Blu Rays.  We have learned a lot of Disney history and watched some really neat footage of the olden days of movie making magic.  We have compared and contrasted princesses.  We have discussed the differences between computer-animated movies and hand-drawn movies.  We have learned of many of the pioneering efforts of Walt Disney and his cohorts.  It has been very educational as well as fun.
Our informational chart about the World Showcase.
On this upcoming trip to Disney, we are going to spend a day at EPCOT.  Last time, we weren't able to enjoy all of the World Showcase.  But, this time, we are planning on visiting every country.  The World Showcase at EPCOT has been a great inspiration for this week's learning.  We discussed geography, culture, and language.  We categorized which continent each represented country is on.  We looked up what kind of money each country uses, what their flag looks like, what their capital city is, and tried a few native words.  We also made our own EPCOT passports for the World Showcase.  In each country, we are going to look for some kind of sweet treat, write it in our passport, taste them, and rate them.  If the country has a ride or movie, we are going to participate.  If we meet any characters, we have places for them to sign our passports.  I have read that there is a fountain in each country, but some are harder to find than others, so we are going to check off every fountain we find.  Finally, we also have a spot to ask a Cast Member for a stamp of each country!
Our EPCOT passports (I could not get the image to adjust for some reason).
While we won't be going to the Animal Kingdom Park this visit, we are staying at Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Upon arrival, we will get a field guide of all the birds and animals who live on the different savannas.  We have made our own field guides where we are going to locate the animals, take some notes (was it sleeping, eating, playing, relaxing?  Was it alone or in a group?  Did we see it in the day or at night?), and attempt to draw the animals.  When I told the kids about this project, Cecely lit right up.  She said, "We'll be just like Jack in Magic Treehouse!".  I LOVE that she made that connection!
Animal Kingdom Lodge Field Guide
So, as we anxiously await for our departure to Disney World, we are filling these last couple of days with a few more movies, making a few more crafts, and enjoying all of those fascinating Bonus Features.  We are also beginning to prepare around the house.  Today, the kiddos wrote (or drew) their packing list for the trip.  Tomorrow, we will begin the adventure of packing...I'm going to try my best to NOT be a control freak and let the kiddos be in charge.  Wish me luck!
Fun art from FamilyFun.com.

Our chart identifying where Disney movies have taken place.  For example, Three Caballeros is under South America, Peter Pan is under the U.K., Cars in under U.S.A., Mulan is under Asia.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tyler's 27th Birthday!

Yesterday, my brother, Tyler, turned 27 years old!  Today, my family and I were able to venture down to my parents' home in Greer, SC to celebrate Tyler's birthday with him, his wife, Britney, my parents, and my Dad's parents, the Great Duprees (as we call them).  We had a wonderful day of fellowship, food and fun!  Some of us played ladderball, some rested and relaxed, all of us enjoyed some scrumptious goodies, and most of us sang some songs.  I think it was an absolutely perfect way and day to celebrate James Tyler Ross.  I LOVE YOU, brother!