Friday, March 31, 2006

Doing Math - Standing?

This wasn't a very exciting week as far as school goes! I love this picture because it's so typically Bear - standing to do her math!

I love the Horizons math curriculum that we chose. The pages are very colorful without being overwhelming or distracting. Here she is doing some adding with a number line.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It was a CRAZY week!!!!

Well, I'm glad it's the weekend because that way I can not do school and at least not feel like I should be doing school! We ended up not "officially" doing school on Friday because I needed to go up to hospital and be with my dad, who has been there for almost two weeks - first with pneumonia, then with a perforated ulcer. So Bear did some Study Dog lessons and I called it good! Oh well, we can start afresh on Monday. We did, however, complete her "cooking craft" from the American Girls cookbook, and it turned out so cute!
I'm going to take it to a ladies brunch next weekend!

Look at that - complete with chocolate cookie dirt and gummi worms!

It sure was a fun project, even if it wasn't officially a school project!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What a week!!

Well, this has been a less-than-typical week, let me tell you! But it's ok, because the rest of the world is on Spring Break, and while we're not officially taking a break, I don't feel bad about skipping Monday and Tuesday! Monday I was flying back from The Rumpus in Atlanta - a.k.a. my cousin Natalie's wedding - and Tuesday I was recuperating from The Rumpus in Atlanta!

(Aren't they beautiful?...sniff...)

BUT, on Wednesday, we got back in the swing of things! It was pretty neat because the math lesson that I was starting on involved doing some addition using a number line for a visual. I made a number line on a dry erase board using a permanent marker (of "promenade" marker as Bear would say!) so that she could practice without erasing the line, and she LOVED it! She kept saying, "This is fun! Can we do some more?" Then we were doing some patterning with blocks and she loved THAT! I'm beginning to think she's a "tactile" learner, if there is such a learning style!

There was a cooking "craft" out of an American Girls cooking book that she was just dying to make, so I had her write out the shopping list for her handwriting practice. It's a pudding layered in a flower pot with chocolate cookies crushed up and sprinkled on to look like dirt and fake flowers stuck in - very cute! We can't wait to eat it tomorrow night for dessert night!

Today, Thursday, we did some more number line addition and got out the pennies and dimes and counted some money. Again, Bear loved this activity because it was hands on!


Wow, the last week and a half has been CRAZY!!!!
Last week was nuts because my brother came for a "surprise" visit on Wednesday and Thursday - I knew he was coming, but our mom didn't! So we didn't have school on Thursday. Plus, all week I was preparing to leave for Atlanta on Friday to attend my cousin's wedding, so we didn't have school on FRIDAY because I left at the CRACK of dawn. But we did do school Monday through Wednesday!
Where to start? One of Bear's favorite things were the St. Patrick's Day crafts that we made. On Monday, I got out some shamrock-shaped cookie cutters and used them as painting stencils. Then, on Wednesday, I cut shamrock shapes out of card stock and then I tore up pieces of green construction paper and let them glue them on to make the shamrock green.
I swear, if I could find ways to teach all subjects through crafts, Bear would be a happy girl! She ADORES doing crafts! As evidenced in the picture, Deco isn't into crafts as much!
We've discovered a computer game (with the help of my homeschooling friend Jo from Australia!) called "Study Dog" which is a reading program. Bear seems to LOVE it and will often request to play when we're not even "in school". There are lots of different activities, ranging from alphabet recognition to reading comprehension. Each game has several levels and all of the games tie together in that the player and Study Dog are working together to get the ingredients to make the Lost Island Potion which will help Dr. Z become visible she became invisible in the first place, I couldn't tell you! They get "ingredients" when they complete all the levels of a certain game. It's really cute, educational, and Bear likes it, so I let her play!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Yay! It's FRIDAY!!!

Today was a fun day! I started by reading a book merely titled St. Patrick's Day, which was just a simple kids book about the holiday. After we were done, we decided to go on the internet to see if we could find some information on Ireland. Unfortunately, most of the info that we found was travel info, and I didn't want to take up a lot of time today searching for other stuff. We did see some pretty pictures of scenery, which was nice because I was explaining to Bear about why they called Ireland "The Emerald Isle" and why green is a St. Patrick's Day color. So at least that was able to tie in! Then we made a St. Patrick's day bear, as shown in the picture, which was a lot of fun. Bear LOVES crafts! The funny thing is that when I say "we" I don't mean Bear and Deco, I mean Bear and myself! I enjoyed coloring, cutting, and gluing the craft for ME!! (OK, one of these days I'll grow up!) Another funny thing that happened was that Bear said, as we were getting ready to glue the flag on the bear's chest, "When I saw the flag on the computer, it went 'green, white, red'." So I asked her if she was sure, and we came back to the computer to make sure and realized that the flag of Ireland is actually green, white, and ORANGE!!! Oops! We were able to correct hers, but I had to make a whole new one for my bear! She was right, though, the order of the flag starts with the green stripe.
(Note: The reason I'm doing all these St. Patrick's Day things now is because next Friday, my mom and I are flying to Atlanta for my cousin's wedding, so we won't be having school on St. Patrick's Day. Plus, there's really so much stuff that can be done, that I hated to cram it into one or two days!)
Bear read a book to me while I cut out her "bear parts". It was called Cats! The Sound of Short A. I love the library because it has a whole slew of phonics readers!
Well, off to do other stuff today! I've got to get lunch...pick up the house...go grocery shopping...get my cousin's wedding present...go on a date with's going to be a busy day!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wal Mart Schooling!

Well, today after Bible study, we did indeed go and get new tires for the car, which meant two hours spent at good 'ol Wally World. We ate lunch at McDonald's, always a big treat for The Kids, and then I got out Bear's Big K Phonics workbook and had her do two pages. One page was a "short a" words review and one page started exercises in "short e" words. I really like this book because the pages are colorful and fun, with lots of varied activities to teach the different sounds. Then, we went and looked at clothes and, of course, TOYS!! It's great, my kids are so used to NOT getting a toy when we go to the store, that they usually don't fuss when it's time to exit the toy department. We just go and browse and play and leave! Plus, if I do get a "Can I have a _____?" I just say, "Well, we'll out that on your birthday/Christmas list!"
They also watched the second half of the sign language video this morning, so I feel like we've had a full day of "school" without sitting down in the schoolroom! Yay!

Wednesday, the flaking day...

I think I kind of flaked off school yesterday. I don't know - can going to the Library for Storytime and getting some books and then coming home and watching a Sign Language video count as school? What if I add in "Playing Outside" as recess? We WERE going to go get new tires put on the car and I took some workbooks so that she could do something while we were waiting, but ended up deciding, after we had already left the house, to wait and talk the tire purchase over with Ched tonight. By that time it was already 10:00 (storytime is at 10:15) and we had lunch to eat, nap, gymnastics at 3:45 and church tonight....I'm feeling guilty, which is why I'm rambling. I guess that in the grand scheme of things, one day of complete "unschooling" isn't going to kill them. In fact, it is probably a good thing! Bear asked, "Mama, why didn't we do school today?" and I explained to her that the whole time we're awake, we can be learning SOMETHING. I pointed out that she was practicing self control while she sat and listened to the Librarian read, and that then she came home and learned sign language from the video. She seemed pretty intrugied with that whole concept, and I wasn't even stretching the truth! She was showing all of us at dinner what signs she had learned, and has in fact, continued to "practice" today!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another GREAT day!!!

Well, I've struggled a little bit lately with making school too...schooly for kindergarten. Too much "sit down and do a worksheet" type work and not enough "fun" things. Well, today we had a fantastic day in school! We did a math lesson and one of the sections was simple addition. The instructions were to count by coloring blocks on a line to match each number and then count them up, but I let her stack up Unifix cubes instead, and she really enjoyed it. No complaining!!! Then I got out a whole bunch of magnetic letters that I bought and we just made words on a cookie sheet. This was very interactive because she'd make a word and then I'd switch a letter or two out and she'd read the new word, etc. Last week I bought some Disney Time/Money flash cards at the dollar store, so we played with those a little bit and talked about telling time. Then she colored a shamrock picture.At one point she even said, "This is fun!" It was music to my ears!

Reflections on a hard day

I realized the other day why I have to run my house with a "school at home" type of schooling. Bear can be SO opposed to learning if we're not "in school time"! I was reading some really simple phonics books to them before nap one day last week, the words of which Bear could read in a heartbeat, and all she could do was say, "It's not school time! Why do I have to read? We're not in school!" So I didn't make her read, but it was frustrating to me nonetheless...sigh.Sometimes it seems like she's in a permanent bad mood. And she's not even 6 yet. It makes me sad. We started Kindergarten knowing that she would end up "ahead" just by default. Just due to the fact that we can spend as much or as little time on a subject as we need to, and that her education is "concentrated" because of one on one attention. Somewhere along the line I've gotten sidetracked, I think, and caught up in curriculum and things like that. I come here and read all the posts and everything sounds so great and I think, "I've got to try that! Or that! Or that!" And I read about other kids and think, "Well, could Bear do that? Is she up to 'par' with other kids?" and forget that all are different and that she is doing great for her. I hope she's not getting burnt out, but maybe I'm pushing too hard. I SO want her to love learning and reading that it really worries me to think that I may be burning her out already....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Getting back into the GROOVE!!

Well, this has been a GREAT week so far! I'm still following my "lesson plan" to a certain extent, but I've changed some things around so we're not doing so much book work, which has made things so much more smooth. And enjoyable for EVERYONE! We're still doing math each day, but only one lesson instead of the two that I had planned for. (I was going to do two yesterdaybecause the first on was super easy for Bear, but we ran out of time before we had to be at our neighbor's house for Bible story time. No biggie.)
Bear loves The American Girls, and we're presently reading the Kirsten's Story Collection (for the second time!).
I checked out a book from our church library called Kirsten's Craft Book which is full of things that they would have made back in the pioneer days, Kirsten's time period. So far this week we've done two of the crafts - a "chromotrope toy" which is a spinning disc on a string and a yarn doll that Bear named "Rainbow". She also used a piece ofcardboard and made a "bed" for the doll - she loves making things!
We've also begun to do some lessons from Five in a Row, using the book Madeline. I love how FIAR uses things from the books to teach all different subjects! Yesterday we colored a French flag and learned about the Eiffel Tower on the internet. Today we talked about what Madeline's friends did to make her feel better when she was in the hospital and made a "Compassion List" of things that we could do to make people feel better. Some of the things that Bear came up with were "Make a flower crown" and "Help someone clean up their room."
The best game we've done so far this week is The Croc Game, the idea for which I got off of the homeschooling board at On cards, I put all of the short vowel words that she's read over the last week or so and placed them on the floor. I would tell bear to look for a specific vowel sound word, grab the card and toss it into the "croc's" mouth, which was a big green laundry basket turned upside down. She loved it and even asked to play a few extra rounds! I also played this with Deco, having him pick up a particular color of bead.