Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lesson 2 - Moon

Lesson 2 went great and pretty smooth. I'll just get into some of what we did:

Weather Observation: We cut out a four day forecast from our Sunday paper and then recorded on each day two times what he observed. He wrote the days and times and I wrote the descriptions that he gave me.
Moon Observation: We also put a moon observation page in his Observation Journal to record one moon cycle (which does take about a month).
Calendar: He completed his July calendar.
Moon Art: Monday he colored a moon. Wednesday he made a moon mosaic. Thursday he painted a moon.
Badges: There are some different ideas on what to do with the weekly "badges" in the teacher's manual. However, I liked this idea better than finding a place to put up a poster or make a necklace that will get tossed. I took a piece of card stock and he's gluing the "badges" on in order and keeping them in his school notebook. It works great. Tactile Letters: He does this on Mondays and Thursdays using the Cuisenaire Rods. Worksheets: Still one worksheet a day which is perfect for kindergarten, I think. Books: I forgot to include this last week. I didn't check out any of the recommended books for him because if you follow pretty much any Mason Reading List (which we have) then your child read these anywhere between ages 2 - 4! So I've only been checking out informational books, which he loves so it works, other children may need a break in between. I've checked out 3 for each subject so far. The hard part is most info. books on the sun or moon involve things like the big bang theory, evolution, or billions of years ago... Not our thing nor what we want our children to be taught. So make sure you read ahead to know what to skip. In addition, I explained to him that other people don't believe what we believe (because he can read and knows when I skip) but based on these verses (and read them to him) this is why we believe this. The two he liked best were The Sun Our Nearest Star by Franklyn Branley and Usborne Beginners Sun, Moon, and Stars. The Franklyn Branley book says a few times "billions of years" but other than that it's great. The Usborne Beginners book does teach that the sun was formed by thick clouds of dust and gas other than that it's great, especially in comparison to the details in some of the scholastic books in great length on the big bang theory.
Chris seemed to really enjoy the sun and moon lessons so I know he's going to have a blast next week. I have lots of neat things planned for his "leaf" lesson. Also, the activity the MFW teacher's manual has you do on the first day for the moon is awesome. This seemed to really help him grasp the moon reflecting the sun. Which is you go in a bathroom and turn the lights off. Shine a flashlight on the mirror and position it to shine on their face. The flashlight is the sun, mirror the moon, and their face the earth. Well, I think that's it. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

After watching this amazing video on how to pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox I felt so inspired! She tells you how to pack a frugal box and not to be cheap but to stretch our money to go further to help more children. I loved it and had my husband watch it too. Even though he didn't want to at first (only b/c I bore him w/craft you tube videos LoL) he did and has been looking out for sales since! Give a man a mission right?

I would like to have the shoe boxes in mind all through next year to pack as many as possible but for this year we are sticking to three. They will be for each of the boys and they will pack them for a boy their age. (except the baby, I'll be packing his)

My husband found this clearance at Jo-Ann's:
Flip Flops .50, all crafts .50, scrappy .97/each
Total Spent: $5.68
The flip flops and three of the crafts are for our 5yo shoebox. Then the scrappy stuff he bought for me and one craft for our 5yo. I think it's neat. I'm looking forward to see what deals come our way because I've found that when something like this is on our hearts God is always faithful to provide abundantly! Please click on the link and watch the video!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week 1 - Sun

We finished our first "real" week of school! It was pretty easy. Most days took 45 minutes, 1 day an hour and another day 20 minutes. Chris loves it and is looking forward to his next subject.

I didn't capture everything but here's some of what we did this week:
Tactile Letter Activities
Four worksheets throughout the week

Paint a Sun

Science Experiment

Day 1

Day 5
I'm really enjoying this curriculum and so is Chris.

Broom Painting

After last week's art day being not so fun, I was determined that this week it would be different. After all using the Paint without Brushes book was part of the school that I was most excited about.

So the night before I checked the weather (sunny w/no chance of rain) and laid everything out. As I was making breakfast I looked outside and everything looked great. From the time I looked outside and we actually went outside was probably 20 minutes. When we walked out I had all the materials out and ready - we were broom painting! Yeah, in the 20 minutes it rained!! It's a little hard to broom paint on wet pavement! I said we're going out anyways and experimenting until we find something to paint w/our brooms! (in a happy voice, my attitude was much better :)

We tried the sidewalk and it didn't work.
We tried the rocks and dirt and that didn't work as well.
After awhile I got the idea to move the car and there would be dry pavement underneath. But before I did all that work I stuck a broom under there and gave it a shot. Didn't work! In addition, we tried the trees and grass.

Conclusion: broom painting doesn't work. - not with just water and food coloring as the book suggests anyway. Chris was a little grumpy about it but Zack loved it even though nothing was happening. It was still a fun morning and I wasn't worn out afterwards. I think the preparation helped a lot with that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Creation - Part 2

We finished our second week of Creation last Saturday. I still wanted to post about it before this Saturday's posting of Lesson 1: Sun. The Creation study was easy and quick taking about 30 minutes or less a day.

Finished Number Poster:

MFW Notebook:

We put all of his Creation pages in here and plan to continue putting his worksheets and other activities in here. So at the end of the year we'll have a complete notebook with most of his work and in order.

I think the Creation study is a great intro. to school and it's easy, fun, quick, and teaching them the foundation of the world.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Finds

Staples has been rocking these past two weeks. A fellow homeschooler informed me that you can sign up for their Teachers Rewards card. With this card the 1 cent specials that usually have a limit of 2 - 10 become 25 and sometimes the .25 deals limit doubles as well! So far Office Max and Office Depot school specials hasn't impressed me so I've only gone to Staples.
Last week's special:

4(24pk)Crayola Crayons .99, 25 3prong folders .01, 8(8ct)pencils .01

Total Spent: $4.50

This week's special:25 (4oz)glue bottles .01, 2(100ct) index cards .25, 2 (10ct)Bic mechanical pencils .25

Total Spent: $1.31

Last week when I went to Wal-Mart sometime later I seen their Crayola crayons were .25! So I had to look at the price of everything else I bought at Staples and it still saved me around $3 to buy the materials at Staples (which is closer to us than Wal-Mart).

This week's special the mechanical pencils aren't pictured in their packs because as soon as I got home my husband broke into them! He seemed very pleased with me buying him mechanical pencils.

I'm looking forward to more Staples deals! & maybe Office Max & Office Depot stepping up their game :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

July Tray Extensions

After two weeks of our trays I got a better feel for where the boys are at. I do still want to stay w/the same activity monthly but I wanted to adjust them to their level. In Mommy, Teach Me! there are extensions for all the trays. I picked the ones that Chris (5yo) could do in one minute and added to them. So here's how I changed them:

Sorting: Stayed the same for Zack because he will only complete the tray correctly if your reminding him. ("what color is that button?" "where should that color go?", etc) For Chris I added two more colors and tweezers.

Spooning: Here is the original tray. For Chris I changed his measuring cup to a spoon. Zack's stayed the same because he still doesn't complete this activity. He does it correctly though.

Scissors: Zack (3yo) has amazing gross motor skills well developed for his age however, his fine motor skills are not as developed. The suggested cut out strip for his age is a 2"x8". He could not do this. It's been two weeks with no improvement whatsoever. So I cut his strips into 1"x4" and today was the first day he was able to successfully complete his scissor tray and he was so happy about it! His strips will stay like this until he's developed those muscles and ready for the 2x8.

Chris (5yo) is the opposite - amazing fine motor and not developed gross motor. Just to give you an idea at 4 he completed a first grade level scissor workbook but still has a hard time riding a bike, hopping, skipping, etc. Needless to say, cutting the strips got boring quick. I changed out the textures w/bubble wrap, tissue, etc. Still he was ready to move on. I came up w/the idea of relating his scissor activity to MFW theme for that week. This week it is the sun. I plan on varying this like tomorrow he will have yellow and orange construction paper to cut into tiny pieces and make a sun mosaic, Wednesday he'll paint the sun, etc.

File Folders: The boys love their file folders and I change these weekly if they have mastered them well by the end of the week.

Basting: Well I was way off on the basting activity. This was hard for both of them. As I read the directions on basting more carefully I realized I had set the tray up wrong! Hey what can I say I'm a tray beginner ;) So after some evaluation I gave them both bigger bowls and FYI: do not buy the sponges you see in the first basting tray pic! They are from the dollar tree and do not work for soaking up water! I suggest the o-cel-o brand I bought at Wal-Mart for $2.78/6. For the basting activity you can cut one in half for two trays so I still have 5 left for whatever. These babies work the way sponges are supposed to.

Rice Pouring: This tray stayed the same for both boys.

An Awesome Tray Thing: Before we started our trays our 3yo spoke mainly one words and a handful of 2 - 3 word phrases. About 1 1/2 weeks into school (which for him is only the trays and art) he started speaking in sentences almost all the time! His vocabulary has expanded greatly for the short time as well. I'm not 100% sure if it's related to the trays or not but I can say that that is the only change in his day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Drip Painting & Fly Swatter Painting

Yesterday we had our first Art Day! I planned to have one once a week but I didn't manage one last week. I would like to say that it was a grand time with fun had by all but I'm real. It was hard! I was having several third trimester symptoms that morning and decided after a quick name that I felt better and could tackle it. NO! I should have recognized that I was having a bad preggo morning and did it another day.

Without going on and on about all the horrible things that took place, I'll sum it up. Everything that could have happened happened. I laugh at myself now thinking about how silly I was and how the construction men working on the house behind us probably thinking I'm a psycho pregnant momma. LoL. I did learn a few things:
1. Try to have Art Day when Daddy is home
2. My attitude is 90% of what's going on
3. If I'm having a "pregnant morning" - take it easy

Here are some pics. of what we did and there were some fun times!

Drip Painting: You take sponges and ball them up into the bottom of socks. Tie a rubber band to hold it down tight.

Their finished paper. As you can see Zack liked smearing it.
Fly Swatter Painting: no details needed (i hope :P)
Finished Paper. As you can see Zack enjoys smearing.
Hopefully I'll have a nicer art post for next week with planning, preparation, use of wisdom, and showing self-control. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

July Habits

I purchased this book at the homeschool convention this year and love it! I plan on using this book throughout the first years for all our children.

Charlotte Mason says that decency and propriety habits are the habits that in a sense make us. They are the habits that we do without thinking. Also, they are the habits that people judge us by. The ones that she elaborated the most on are: Cleanliness, Courtesy, Kindness, Manners, Modesty and Purity, Neatness, Order, Regularity. Others include: Candor, Courage, Diligence, Fortitude, Generosity, Gentleness, Meekness, Patience, Respect for Other People, Temperance, and Thrift. I would have to agree with her. In general when someone says "so what did you think about so & so" I tend to think back on things like how they acted when I was with them (their friendliness, manners, in all how they presented themselves).

The other habits I want to work this year are moral habits. Which are: Integrity, Obedience, Personal Initiative, Reverence, Self-Control, Even Temper, Truthfulness, and Usefulness. These moral habits are so important to me and I want these buried as deep as possible inside of our children. I feel that these are the habits that will help them to be open to hear and be used by God, a good husband, and a good father.

I decided to divide them up and concentrate on two a month. The book gives application for each. We will be using that and I will be checking out books from library and/or using what we have to reinforce and give different perspectives on each habit. In addition, our whole family will be concentrating on how where we can improve in each of these habits.

Our two for July that we have started on are Cleanliness & Integrity. I will be posting at the end of the month on what we did and how it went.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introduction - Creation Part 1

Our first week went pretty good. The first two weeks are introduction weeks so they are short and easy. The real work will start week 3. It's good though because it gives everyone time to "get in the groove". The introduction is a Creation study that integrates numbers and letters. For example on day one God divided the light and the dark so they have a number one that they color that is divided with light and dark. It's pretty cool. Here's some of his work:

Number Chart:
Calendar Work:
Creation Book:
Such fun to get started and they have enjoyed everyday. They absolutely love learning and it is my goal & hope to help them keep that love!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July Trays

In Mommy, Teach Me! Barbara Curtis talks about many wonderful things. One of them is the Montessori Trays. Due to space, money, and lack of experience for us all in this we are starting w/six trays and changing out the activity monthly. ( FYI: Barbara Curtis recommends 3 weeks) All of these can be found in Chapter 4 Small Beginnings Exercises (execpt FileFolder):


Foundational Value - Practical Living Skills, Eye-hand Coordination,
Developemnt of Concentration
File Folder:
These will change out weekly as long as they have mastered it.
File Folder Fun <-- Check it out!
Rice Pouring:

Foundational Value - Practical Living Skills, Eye-hand Coordination, Developement of Concentration, Perparation for Reading (left to right)

Foundational Value - Practical Living Skills, Eye-hand Coordination, Development of Concentration, Strengthening of Hand Muscles, Preparation for Reading

Foundational Value: Practical Living Skills, Eye-hand Coordination, Development of Concentration, Preparation for Reading, Pincer Grasp


Foundational Value - Eye-hand Coordination, Pincer Grasp, Development of Concentration, Development of Visual Discrimination

The boys are loving their trays! It is really nice and fun for them to do these as the start of the school day. Right now it takes us 1 hour to go through all six trays. The only "problem" I'm seeing is that with having only one table they tend to pay attention to each other. If the other is done with a tray the other wants to be done and go on to what the other is doing. I tried my best to encourage them to not pay attention to the other and concentrate on what they were doing and it went better this morning. I'm so glad I came across this book and look forward to reviewing it and applying more that's in it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our First Day

Well our first day of school is complete. It went pretty well. The My Father's World is short the first 10 days. I'm assuming so that everyone just gets in the routine of "school". We started at 9am and ended at 10:30am. The first hour was the trays and then 30 minutes of the MFW work. The trays required the most patience of me. :)
Our curriculum for 2010 - 2011:
Our "school room":
They each have their own bookshelf. Eventually they will have their own plant to care for that will sit on top of their bookshelf and turn into a fish and so on as they learn to care for other living things.

The boys on their first day:

They enjoyed their first day and so did I. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Good Finds

Well tomorrow is our big day! Our first day of Kindergarten! I just wanted to post on some awesome finds before all the school posts start. I have found each of these places to be great money saving resources:

Books A Million:
We only go here a few times a year b/c it's located in a mall that is about 30 - 40 minutes away. Following Charlotte Mason's artist/picture study, I picked two artists (one for each half of the year) to study. There were a few to choose from at Books A Million all for $4.97. I picked two and just spent yesterday going through all pics. in Van Gogh I wanted the boys to study and laminated them. I chose about 27 pictures and there were plenty I passed! Not bad when I see what some what some of the prices are for the like on Ebay!

One of my favorite places! I bought all three books on clearance for $3.97 each! They are for Zack (my 3yo) so he won't feel left out when Chris (my k) is doing his "paper work". I never heard of Gakken workbooks before but they are awesome! In addition to the amazing clearance section Borders never ceases to have, they send out coupons for 33% - 40% off regular priced items in email. This is how I bought the Melissa & Doug latches. I didn't realize until my last trip that Borders has a wealth of Lauri Toys and Melissa & Doug products that you are allowed to use your coupon with! These products link in great w/Charlotte Mason & Maria Montessori's ideas!
Dollar Tree:
This is a very small Dollar Tree trip. I've seen these items at our Wal-Mart (prices vary according to location :) for around $1.97 - $2.97. The Dollar Tree is another of my top favs.! I've found amazing deals for school, learning activities, crafts, floss, lipstick, eyeshadow, etc. There are things I never buy there though like food, almost none of their toys, or products like shampoo, lotion, etc.
In addition, BJ's is another great place. They are a wholesale club here that seriously rocks! I don't have any pics. but we recently bought this laminator for under $22 and the refill packs of 50 are $6.99 regular there!
Well that's all my Good Finds for now! Can't wait for tomorrow!!