Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fun Giveaway Going on Right NOW!!!

Confessions of a Homeschooler is having a great giveaway right now!  She and EI have teamed up and are giving away The Squeaky Squirrel Game!  Be sure to go to her page and check it out right now to get yourself entered!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

What we have been up to...

We have been doing a lot of nothing the past week and a half.  We have rested and are getting started on redoing the entire area we have to include another bedroom and a classroom!  I am very excited about the changes that are going to be taking place soon.  In the mean time I am gathering things that I can use in the classroom and teaching tools.  Some of our great family has donated items for us to use in our classroom and I cannot wait to get them up.  Do you have any ideas that you think I should try or use in our classroom or for teaching next year?  I would love to hear it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Science is EVERYWHERE!

The other day we were setting up for a yard sale.  S found a snail shell on the retainer wall and brought it to me.  It was very neat looking and very small.  It was smaller than a dime.  We laid it on the table and continued working on the yard sale.  About 30 minutes later N comes running and shouting... It's out, it's out!!!  So when we got to the table I was shocked to see the snail sliding across the surface.  I don't think I have ever found a snail still alive with its shell before.  (Or maybe I did and I just wasn't patient enough to wait on it to come out!)  Here are some pics of the snail...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And To Think...

I thought we were done with school work for the most part until this coming August.  My children, have other ideas!  They have been asking each night if we can PLEASE do school tomorrow.  Each help lay out a few things they would like to do the next day and we have a shortened version of our school day.  I am so happy that they love doing their school work so much that they are eager to keep on going!

In other news!  I just ordered S's math curriculum.  Did I mention that I changed my mind on what to use?  Well I did!  We decided to go with Horizon's Math.  I love the spiral approach that it offers and I am confident that it will grow with her over the years.  The reviews are outstanding!  For Phonics/Reading we are using "The Reading Lesson".  She is doing it off and on right now and doing very well with it.  I have to slow her down because she wants to do an entire lesson a day.  For handwriting we are planning to use Handwriting Without Tears.  I have heard great things about that program as well.  I cannot wait for all of our items to come in.

Now, Momma wants some pretty new things for the school year as well.  I want "The Well Planned Day Planner" and the binder that goes along with it.  It looks like the perfect tool to keep the entire family organized.

I am very excited about the upcoming year.  I look forward to teaching my children new things and important life lessons each day.  That is what being a mom is all about!

Monday, May 16, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We have a garden.  A rather large garden, that my wonderful husband has worked very hard on.  He built a hot house, planted plants and stayed up hours on end seeing to it that the temperature never went below freezing.  The plants grew and are now starting to bear fruit (ok, vegetables!).  The kids have helped a great deal with planting and helping water and care for the plants.  Here are some pics of how our garden grows!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Bear"y Fun!

This week our unit is on the Smoky Mountains.  We have several books about the mountains and the animals who live there.  We read about Black Bears yesterday and did a lot of circle time activities about bears.  It was lots of fun!  It included: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain", "Going on a Bear Hunt" - which is a favorite now!, "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain" and a couple of other silly sing songs.  What fun!  I love circle time the most during the day.  We get to let loose a bit.  I am even doing a short circle time at the end of the day just to close things out.  After we did shelf work yesterday the kids started their art project, which was a black bear mask.  I did not have any black plates so we used a white one.  I also didn't have any black paint (wow I am not prepared at all, am I?!) so we used a few different dark browns together ::side note- black bears are not always black.  They can be tan, brown and golden.  Who knew?! ::end side note:: and came up with a great dark shade of brown.  The kids painted their plates...

While we were waiting on the plates to dry I gathered up all kinds of small things in our manipulatives containers and dumped them into 2 piles.  I then got each one of the kids a dozen and a half egg carton, a plastic spoon and fork, tweezers and a half of a plastic egg.  I instructed them to pick up the things on the floor and sort them into the carton.  Here is how it went...

Here are the piles and the kids getting started.

Turns out tweezers were the favorite tool and the spoon was the least favorite.  I thought the spoon would rank much higher than that.

As you can see, S sorted only by item type.

N tweezing his items into his container. 

He took this project very seriously and sorted each thing out by color and type.

This project kept them busy for almost an hour!  I couldn't believe it.  I think it will be done a bit more often with different things thrown in the mix and different "picker uppers".  I love seeing how each child has their own ways of doing things.

Finally the bears were dry enough to put together.  I didn't get to take pics of the process because I was busy being glue monitor.  But here is the final result...

S gave hers a hair bow and a very large mouth.  N (which is not pictured) gave his a bow tie.  They are both darling.  I am so happy we did this craft.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Theme - Tennessee, First Week Unit - Smokey Mnts.

Well, I finally figured it out!  I will do a monthly theme and then break it down into smaller units.  I want to implement several things I saw on the blog last night and I think this is a great way of doing it.  Even though we lost a week due to being sick we will finish out the month.  I want to start out this idea with Tennessee.  After all, that is our home-state.  Then I am going to break it down into units.  We are planning a trip to the mountains soon so I think that learning about the Smokey Mountains will be a great way to start out.  We went to the library today and checked out several books about the mountains.  While I was there the librarian and I brainstormed a bit ::side note, I have a great library and the children's librarian is amazing and knows so much about the books on those shelves:: and decided that tying black bears in with the unit would be a great way to start introducing some Science in with the unit.  So the kids and I picked out several books about black bears as well.  Now I must plan.  (That is my favorite part!)  I am on the hunt for a poem for the month and some bear and mountain themed crafts for next week.

Here is how I plan to do Themes and Units
Monthly we will have NEW
  • Themes
  • Poem - with activities around it
  • Sensory Tub
Weekly we will have NEW:
  • Songs
  • Movements
  • Art/Craft Projects
  • Library Books
  • Games
  • Coloring Activities
I will add more to this list as necessary but so far this is what I have.  Of course this is just added into the curriculum that we will do each day.  We have chosen to use "Rod and Staff" for both of the children.  S will use grade 1 and N will use the preschool curriculum.  Now that I have a plan in place I am very excited!  I am brainstorming some new themes and trying to come up with units for them then I will plug them into the calendar as I go.  I want to be flexible with this so that if something comes up we can change our plans and move on to something else.  If you have any ideas for Themes or Units we could do let me know.  I would love some inspiration!

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I love blogs!  I am not the best at keeping up with my own, but I love reading other peoples work.  I have been going over several homeschool blogs tonight and I have found some that I think are very interesting.  I love the ideas and the methods that people put in place while teaching their children.  I will try to introduce one every few days or each week as I come across them and tell you what I LOVE about their blogs.  Today the blog I am LOVING is "Counting Coconuts".  She is following the Montessori approach and it is very interesting.  It is not the approach that I plan to use but I do love some of the things she uses.  One thing I want to make sure we incorporate are the Sensory Tubs.  I think they will be great for both kids but especially N.  I also like the Poetry Baskets she uses.  I think it will be lots of fun to incorporate those things into our daily routine.  I will have to make sure that I plan out the day well so that both children get to take time with each activity on their own and maybe some time together but I am not sure how well that will work out mess wise!

On another note... We have not done much in the way of school so far this week.  I just have not felt up to it. My allergies are kicking my butt.  Our schedule has gone haywire because of it as well.  The kids are not going to bed at our normal times, the house is messier and I feel a bit out of control.  But the other night we played all kinds of card games and had fun floor time.  Today S did do some handwriting practice and N usually does all of the puzzles each day.  What can I say, he loves puzzles!  I am feeling some better this evening so I am planning to get back in the swing of life tomorrow and wrap up this crazy week on Friday.

I am still unsure of the theme for next week but I have got to get moving on it because we are going to the library tomorrow to get our new books.  I will allow each of them to pick out some for reading but I will also pick out some for our daily school work.  Any ideas on themes?  Hurry!  I don't have much time left.  I should have these ideas already down on paper and the week planned out but like I said, I just haven't been up to it.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sometimes Plans Change

I planned and planned this week out.  I had each day down to the minute what we were going to do and guess what?!  N got sick then S got sick.  SO...plans changed.  We did not get to go to the carnival :(  BOO!  We did get to go to the library and get our carnival books so that has helped break up the boredom these past few days.  Here are some looks at what all we did this week...

Pom Pom Math  S counts out the pom poms and either adds or subtracts them to get the answer.  She will make them in patterns or in rows by color depending on what I ask her to do.  It is lots of fun for her.

N matching letter magnets to the ABC game.  It is easier for him to do it this way and it will keep him occupied for a very long time! 
This coming week we will be doing Cinco de Mayo things - coloring pages, art projects and books.  We plan to end the week with a fiesta!  I can't wait!