Monday, September 25, 2006

Aaaaah, it's finally FALL!!

It's amazing what having no humidity in the air will do to the temperature! It's 80 degrees, I think, but we've got the windows open and the attic fan on because the breeze feels SO GOOD!

The Kids and I redecorated the schoolroom today. I had gotten a set of leaves and acorns pumpkins and other fall-ish items last week and we stuck them up all over the walls today. I also
have a set of fall window clings on the window, so it really gives the room a feeling of autumn. I've been keeping a list of the books that Bear reads by writing them on little pieces of paper shaped like tulips, but I transferred them all over to paper shaped like fall leaves to go with the "theme". It all looks really great.

I've had a couple of good ideas lately, regarding school. One is what we call The Papa Folder. Each thing that we do in school, be it a worksheet or a journal entry or reading lesson, gets put into a special folder. That way, at the end of the day when Ched gets home from work, Bear can just take the folder to him and show him all the things that she's done. She gets to share with him and he gets an idea of what we're working on. It's cute to watch her show off her work.
Another idea just goes hand in hand with my lesson plan that I've been putting together this week, and that is that I remove all the worksheets that we're going to be doing and divide them up into folders marked with the day. That way I'm not shuffling through a bunch of books, trying to find the right page. If we don't do both sides of the page, it gets put back into the book until we need it. I try really hard to put the date at the top of each page to help keep track better.

School today wasn't anything extremely exciting. We've begun our "study" of the human body (we actually started that last week with a lesson on life cycles), so today she made a little booklet of different things that she could do at different ages, along with pictures, and we filled out a little worksheet on how tall she is and how much she weighs and things like that.
We did a lesson on time and clocks, which was super easy for her, but I was glad that I did the lesson anyway. I noticed that she had a little trouble with where to put the minutes and hours on the digital clock, soI used the idea of "place value" to reinforce where the numbers go and she really seemed to grasp the concept. She did an addition facts page that I made (some 0's and 1's, but mostly 2's) and I was very proud of how quickly she got it done.

Her journal prompt was "This Weekend" and she wrote about our backyard campout that we had on Saturday night. We had planned to go camping in a town about 4 hours away, but it was supposed to be raining, so we camped in the backyard which was a lot of fun. I had planned to
make s'mores over the grill, but our neighbors have our propane tank, so we made them over the gas stove (tee hee). The funny thing was The Kids both said "These are too messy!" and didn't finish theirs - weirdos! Then we went out and played a game of Chutes and Ladders in the tent before bed. The weather was PERFECT and beautiful and cool and I loved it! We're going "for real" camping this weekend, so that was a great practice run!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Our First Field Trip

I joined a homeschooling group last week called CHEER (Christian Home Educators Encouragement Resource) and we had our first field trip with them today. It was to the zoo, which is something that we do a lot anyway, but it was nice to meet some of the other moms and begin to get to know them. It was our first experience going to the zoo with a big group of people, and it was quite a switch for us since we're used to going with just the three of us (or four, if Ched's along), and the trip seemed a little unorganized at first. We were supposed to meet at 10:00 and we didn't even go into the zoo until 10:30, but once we got in there we had a lot of fun. I look forward to getting to know the other people more!

On another note, Bear had decided that she wants to learn cursive. I have a handwriting book that I got at Sam's (that I originally got for printing practice) but we haven't used it much because her handwriting is pretty good. It has cursive practice in it as well, so I gave it to Bear and told her she could practice all she wanted when she is in F.O.F. (Feet Off the Floor, her "rest" time during Deco's (and Mom's!) nap time) but that we weren't going to officially add it to school. She's had fun practicing and said to me today, "Well, I'm done with 'B' and I'm movin' on to 'C'!" She's so cute!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Have I said that I love the internet?

Well, just in case you were wondering if I'd changed my mind, I still do!

I decided to add spelling to our "Things That We Do In School" seemed right. I've gone around and around in my head about it, wondering if we should buy an official curriculum or just learn by "osmosis" - meaning correcting things that she misspells when she writes, etc. etc.) and I could not decide what was best. So I went online (shameless internet plug #1 Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting) and downloaded the weekly spelling lists from some first grade teachers website in who knows where school and we've been using those. I print out the list on Monday, have Bear write them out, review them daily Tuesday through Thursday, and then have a spelling quiz on Friday. The first week she missed two of the words, so I put them on the list for last week. During the daily review I have her write them in different ways - once it was in shaving cream, she's written them with a pencil in play doh, she'll write them in marker (which is a big deal to her!). THEN, yesterday, I was looking for more ideas of ways to practice the words, and I went online (shameless internet plug #2Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting) and found two fantastic websites. One takes the words and puts them into a crossword puzzle and the other takes the words and puts them into a word find, both of which are activities that Bear loves to do!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I know, I know, I'm a SOOPER JEENYUS!! OK, not really, I'm sure someone else has done this, but it is SO EXCITING to me when I'm given ideas like that and I make it happen. (I had asked the moms at the homeschooling board at JM for advice)
On another note, my mom and The Kids and I are going to go to Ohio in a couple of weeks to visit my aunt. I'm very excited about the trip, although I'm a little afraid that the drive will kill us! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Shameless plug for Comments

OK, this seems quite pathetic and sad, but I was wondering.... if there are any people out there who actually read my blog, could you please drop me a comment every once in awhile? Sometimes I feel like I'm writing just to hear myself write and that's even MORE pathetic than talking just to hear yourself talk! Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThanks! I appreciate it!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yet ANOTHER picture of Supey!

I swear, it's like we've gotten a third child! I can't stop myself from taking pictures of him!
(And picking him up to snorgle* him when he walks by.)
I've captioned this picture "Maybe if I stay in here, she'll stop picking me up to snorgle me!"

*snorgle - as defined by - "Snort + Snuggle. Summarizes the situation when you moosh your face into a fuzzy wuzzy smoochie wiggle and make googoo noises." Check out the link in my sidebar - you'll be sucked in for HOURS saying "Awwwww!"

Show & Tell and Shaving Cream

This morning I told Bear and Deco to go into their rooms and pick something that was special to them to share for "show and tell" and then asked each of them to tell us why it was special.

Deco picked his Wiggles Guitar, and this is what he said about it, "You know what's special about my piano? Because....I don't know what to say. Since Gram gave it to me it's just really special and it's like a real piano." He says all of this while demonstrating all the buttons that can be pushed. (I chose not to correct him and tell him it's a guitar - life's too short to quibble over instruments!)
Bear chose Sara, her porcelain doll that she got for Christmas. When asked why this was special to her she said, "My doll is special because Uncle E. gave it to me and it's porcelain. Her dress is very beautiful because it's got silk and jewels and little flowers on it. Her hair is very beautiful because you can pull it back in a ponytail like this (demonstrates ponytail) and I like the lace on her dress. My favorite thing about her is that she's porcelain and I have her (with big grin)". I know that show and tell might seem silly since they're always showing things that we've all seen a bajillion times, but they think it's great fun and it's good for a change every once in awhile.

I decided last week to make a weekly list of spelling words for Bear, compiled from several lists I got on the internet from first grade teachers class websites. I introduce the new words on Monday, we review them each day, and then have a quiz on Friday. One day last week I spread PlayDoh on the table and had her write the words with a pencil. Today I broke out the shaving cream and let her write the words with her finger. Needless to say, I think that if the Mom of the Year voting was today, I'd definitely have at least two votes! (OK, four - I think that Ched would vote for me!)

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th, 2006

This morning we began school with prayers, just as we always do, and I said a prayer for the families who were remembering their loved ones lost on this date, 5 years ago. When we were done, Bear asked me if this was a "special" day, and it lead into a very great discussion of the events of Septeber 11th, 2001. I got out a book that we have that is published by LIFE and which is called One Nation: America Remembers September 11th, 2001 and showed her some pictures of what the towers looked like before the attacks and we talked about what happened and where I was when everything began. It's hard to try and explain the concept of true evil to a 6-year-old, but I think that I did a good job of helping her to understand, on her level, this bit of history. When she was looking at the pictures in the book of the planes hitting the towers, she said, "That was a dumb, dumb thing to do." and I just agreed with her. It was a dumb, dumb thing to do. Later on, when we were at lunch with my mom, Deco said the prayer over lunch and Bear asked if she could add something. She then went on to lift up prayers of her own on behalf of the victims and their families, which was quite touching and heartwarming.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I LOVE the internet!

Honestly, I don't know how people homeschooled before the invention of the internet! We have been using Madeline this week for our Five in a Row. Today, our activity was to compare the drawings of places in the book with photos of the real sites in Paris. So what did I do? I was able to google the names of every single site and find at least one, if not many, good pictures to compare! It was GREAT!!
This week we also talked about compassion and ways that we could show others compassion. It was an interesting discussion, really, making the distinction between compassion and helpfulness. Bear also wrote a poem because on Thursday we talked about how Madeline is written in rhyme.
She wrote:
"The man was up high in a tree.
He saw something that looked like a pig.
But then he realized that it was a bee.
And the man started to jig.
The man started to fall out of the tree.
But he landed on his feet.
He said, "Yippee!
That was sweet!"

I helped her a little bit by throwing out some rhyming words and things like that, but the bulk of the poem is all her!
On Wednesday, we got a special treat in that my mom was off work! We decided that it was a perfect day for a field trip to the planetaruim to see a "movie" about the stars. They're currently showing a kid-oriented animated movie and, while I found it a bit cheezy, The Kids loved it! My favorite part was when the man showed all of the constellations that could currently be seen in the sky; I never realized there were SO MANY constellations! Did you know that there's a GIRAFFE constellation? Neither did I!
So, here they are, first preparing for the Big Show, and then completely engrossed in the Big Show. I was glad that we were the only people in the theatre because otherwise, my flash would have been REALLY annoying!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

At the Water Park and Finishing "Ping"

Well, here we are, at the water park! (OK, you're right - obviously I'm not in the picture) Bear was SOOO excited that we finally got to go there - she's been wanting to for ages.! She loved the wave pool and the big slides. I was amazed that she liked the slides because they were REALLY fast and she had to go down in an innertube that was su huge that she could barely hold onto it. If it hadn't been for her old, party pooper parents who got tired of climbing up 5 million steps to GET to the slides, she would have been happy to go on those all day long! Deco really liked the kids pool with the toys, which is where this picture was taken. That place was nice for US because we could sit on the sidelines and watch The Kids play, which was a welcome break after jumping the waves in the wave pool. I think we're getting old!

To finish up our Five in a Row study of Ping on Friday, Bear took a "quiz" all about China at This website is great, and the quiz that she took was called the "China Find-It" quiz. One example of a question is "This word starts with the letter A. It is the name of the continent in which China can be found" and then Bear would go to the "a" section of their online picture dictionary and find the word. She loved it! (That's what she's doing in the far left picture. Gotta LOVE the laptop!) Then she learned how a Chinese person would right the numbers 1 through 10, another activity from EnchantedLearning. We wrote in crayon first (yes, I participated!) and then I got out black paint and vellum and we wrote with paint brushes.

We topped off the night with a "real homemade" Chinese dinner of chicken stir-fry, fried rice, won tons, egg rolls, and spring rolls. (Only the stir fry was actually homemade - the rest I "made appear"!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

20 Books!!

We told Bear, at the beginning of the summer, that if she read 20 books out loud we would take her to a water park here in town. Well, yesterday, she completed her 20th book! (It only took 3 months! Tee hee!) She is SO excited that she can hardly STAND it! Unfortunately, there is a 40% chance of rain today and the high is only supposed to be 82, so I'M not looking forward to going swimming too much! BUT, I'm game to going because I'm very proud of her. She can be kind of hard to motivate because she mainly wants to do things in her own time frame, on her own terms, so saying, "If you do X you'll get Y" sometimes doesn't work.

So, off to the water park we go! Unless it's actively raining, in which case we'll go to Plan C (I refuse to say Plan B - that phrase is ruined!)....
now I just have to figure out an "acceptable" Plan C!