Saturday, April 29, 2006

Just a note...

Hey, I just wanted to point out to my VAST (I'm sure!) reading audience, that I've added links to two other blogs that I've started keeping! "A Day in the Life..." is chock full of my thoughts and things that happen that are outside of the homeschooling realm and "What's On the Shelf?" is the beginnings of my own personal book review blog. I read a lot and thought I'd share some of what I'm reading with my friends! Plus, it gives me something ELSE to do on the computer!
So, check them out! Enjoy! And, hey, thanks for coming!


I was having a bit of a dilemma this past week with Bear and her adventures in beginning to read. Having never taught anyone to read, and not being able to remember learning to read myself - as far as I can remember, I was born knowing how to read! :c) - it's hard for me to know what is typical for her age and grade. I DO know, however, that she's doing fantastically. She can sound out virtually any word that is put in front of her, and, therein lies the "problem", if there even is one. We've been going through The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, and have just passed the lessons covering ending blends and were getting ready to start beginning blends, when I realized that she still sounds out most words. Even small 3-letter words like "ran" and "hen", and, while she can look at any of the blends that we've covered and say their sound when I show it to her on a flash card, she doesn't blend it together when she initially sees it in a word.
So, being the fruitcake overachieving homeschooling mom that I am, I immediately begin to panic that there is SOME sort of thing that I've mis-taught and that she'll NEVER begin to blend the sounds together and will go to COLLEGE saying, "Th-ee, the, fff-aaa-t, fat, c-aaa-t, cat, rrr-aaa-nnn, ran."!
Then I realize (thankfully) that she probably just needs some practice!
SO, I went through the OPG lessons that we've done and took the little sentences and stories that they have in there, and typed them up on colored paper (to make it seem more fun!). I put these in a folder and, yesterday, had her pick one page that she wanted to read out loud. We put a stamp at the top of the page so that we'll be able to keep track of which ones she's read. I'm just going to review these lessons for a little while until she is a bit more smooth, and THEN we'll move on!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Science "Experiments"?

We've tried TWO science experiments out of a new book that I got from our church library, and BOTH of them have...not really failed, but have not worked as well as the book indicated they would! The book is Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials, by Muriel Mandell, and one of the things that is says in the intro is that they work. Well, I'd have to disagree with that statement, but I guess Bear has had fun with them regardless!
Yesterday we did an "experiment" where we put a green marker dot on a piece of papertowel and put the end of it in water. In theory, the water was to soak up the paper towel, erasing the green dot and leaving in its wake blue ink and then yellow ink because, according to the book, "...the colors that make up green - blue and yellow - do not move at the same rate, they separate." Well, we tried this three times with dubious results! The first two times, I think our dot was too big. The third time it worked somewhat, but by that time we were all tired of trying, so the impact was lessened a bit!!
Today, we tried to make 2 dull pennies shiny by putting one in lemon juice and one in vinegar. Well, the pennies came out SOMEWHAT shinier. I had thought that we could compare which made the penny shinier - the lemon or the vinegar....they were both pretty much a bust!
Oh well! Hopefully we'll have better luck with the next one!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Is it already the end of ANOTHER week?

We've had a mixed bag this week. We had a great Easter, and on Monday we planted the little "self contained" seeds that I put in Bear and Deco's Easter Baskets. It's a little paper pot that came with a dehydrated soil pellet and some sunflower seeds. You reconstitute the soil, plant the seeds, put it in a warm place and, presto! A sunflower sprouts! However, I was looking at the pots today, and there appears to be some sort of mold growing on the top of the soil, so I don't know if we're going to get any sunflowers or not! We're pluggin along well in reading, which I'm using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading to teach. We're up to Lesson 45 and have begun to cover consonant blends (lk, lb, lp, st, nt, etc.) as well as double consonants. Bear reads so well and sometimes we're able to do more than one OPG lesson in a day. I've started doing some math "drill" type activities with Bear to begin teaching addition facts. We've covered 0+ and 1+ with flash cards, which she knew right off the bat, and we've worked a little on 2+, but used the abacus for that so that she would have a visual aid. I don't know if this is coming too early, but I just really want her to have that base for math. I know that it will make it SO much easier for her in the future!
I'm searching, trying to figure out our curriculum and schedule for next year. I know that I want to add some type of science and spelling, and possibly beginning history. There'a just SO much out there to choose from that it makes it hard to pick! Plus, price always plays a role, and some of the "better" (most highly reccommended!) curriculums come with a hefty price tag! Oh well, it'll all work out!
On the home front, I made chicken and noodles for our neighbors for dinner tonight. They just had a baby two weeks ago and I thought it would be nice to fix dinner for them. Now, my mom taught me that when you make chicken and noodles, you add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring to it - it just makes it look more...chicken-y. Well, I go to add the food coloring this evening and the yellow lid had been put on the RED food coloring! So I had to take PINK chicken and noodles to them!! (Actually, it was more of a dusty rose....)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Aaah, the end of another week!

I wish that I could say that we did something super-exciting today, but we really didn't.
Bear had had an idea to play "Store" for math, so I took her up on that. I made ten price tags, ranging from $1 to $10, and had she and Deco pick some things from their rooms to stick the price tags on. She would come into the "store", pick two items, and then figure out how much she would owe me, using her number line. She thought it was great fun, of course! I think her favorite part was getting to pretend that Deco was her son. She got to say things like, "Son, stay over here by me!" (It's so funny to hear yourself parroted in your kids!)
Altogether, we've had a good week! We read a book about Easter and learned that, in Australia, they sell more chocolate bilby's than they do chocolate bunnies. A bilby looks like a large-eared rat and is endangered, so they started producing chocolate bilbies to raise money for conservation. A good friend of mine brought her grandkids over yesterday and we dyed Easter eggs. We always have a good time when they come to play - Sophie is a year younger than Bear and they just play together SO WELL! No arguing or fighting, it's like heaven!
I'm excited about Easter on Sunday!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Resurrection Eggs

Last Monday we started our Resurrections Eggs, which are produced by Family Life. It's really neat because there are 12 plastic eggs, each containing an object that relates to Christ's last few days. The kids open an egg, then I read out of the little booklet that came with the eggs which explains the significance of that particular object. There are also Bible passages that can be read, but we've not been doing that, simply because of The Kids age. Some of the Scripture entries are pretty long and the booklet does a good job of explaining. We'll read the Scripture when they're older. The first day Bear opened an egg with a donkey in it, for Christ's entrance into Jerusalem, and the next day, Deco got three coins for the money paid to Judas to betray Christ. There's also been a cup (the last supper), praying hands (Gethsemane), a strip of leather (Christ's beating), a crown of thorns, three nails, a die (casting lots for Christ's clothes) and a spear. That's as far as we've gotten this year, and we've got to put off the last three until Friday so that we open the last on on Easter morning. That's one of the coolest ones - it's just empty! Ooo, gives me goosebumps just to think about it!! They have really looked forward to opening one each day. In fact, today they were disappointed when I said we were going to have to put it off for a few days!

Fun with "The Tens Place"

Well, our math curriculum has introduced "the ones place" and "the tens place". (This is one of those things that I never would have thought to cover) And, in trying to teach it, I'm having difficulty explaining it!!! I've run across several things to teach that I just take for granted that I know, therefore, I have problems explaining it in Kindergarten terms!

So, of course, I got on the computer and made a chart and some big numbers that can be stuck on with velcro. Ched laughs at me all the time because I don't ever just get out paper and a marker and make a chart, I have to get on the computer and make a "fancy" one. I tell him that it's not that I want it to be particularly fancy, I just want it to be neat and tidy, with straight lines and even spaces, and I would not be able to do that by hand! (I think there's a part of me that's a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to things like that.) But, of course, Bear thought it was neat, and I think it really helped her understand. Plus, it was just fun to play with.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Easter Basket Game

This game is a new take on an old favorite. At Thanksgiving time I made a game for school that involved "feeding" a pilgrim and an Indian card-stock food. Bear always found it a lot of fun, so I decided to make a new one, this time with an Easter theme. She picks either a sight word or a "letter blend" card from my hand, and then if she can read the word or blend, she gets to put an egg into the basket!
I came up with a clever way for her to remember "ought". I covered up the first and last letters and said, "You can say 'UGH, why not get rid of those extra letters so it can just say 'ot' '?" I've realized as I've taught her to read that there are SO MANY weird things in the English language! And as soon as I tell her a "rule" we run across the exception!!!! AAHRG!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hellen Keller

Bear has been interested in sign language lately because I've gotten some good sign language teaching videos from the library. A couple of weeks ago, I got a video on Hellen Keller from our church library - just a 30 minute cartoon video that I thought she might find interesting. She really enjoyed it, so I got "The Miracle Worker" (starring Patty Duke) from the library so that she could a live actor portraying Hellen Keller. (Patty Duke did an amazing job in that movie!)

We watched it and then last Friday we did an "experiment" so that Bear could get an idea of what it was like. I got some heavy duty earplugs and stopped up her ears, put a towel over her eyes, and put a band-aid over her mouth, and then watched her as she maneuvered around the house. The most interesting thing from MY standpoint was watching her imitate Patty Duke from the movie - patting things with an open palm, banging her laundry basket on the table when she encountered it in her room. I led her outside and let her explore the backyard, which was neat. Since there weren't walls to run her hand along she was much more careful as she walked. She peeked a couple of times :) but stayed true to "character" for the most part. Afterwards, I made an audio recording about her experience, but the best way she could describe it was "weird"! (I guess we need to work on the vocabulary!)

Holly Dog

This is what our dog, Holly, does while we're in school:

She looks like she's dead, but she's not...she's just LAZY!!!

Odd Olly, Even Elly!

There's a game that we play sometimes called "Odd Olly, Even Elly" - I think I got it off of a homeschooling ideas website. I haven't gotten it out in awhile, but I decided to last week, just for something different. You decide which character you're going to be - Olly or Elly. Ollie only likes odd numbers and Elly only likes even numbers. You roll a die (or a pair of dice if you really want to shake things up!) and then put a dot on your bugs back equal to the number that you rolled. If you have an even number, and you're Even Elly, you get a piece of leaf! If the number is odd, you don't get a piece o
f leaf unless you're Odd's a very simple game, but we love it anyway!
Bear chooses who she's going to be first and, after the first round, we switch characters.