Saturday, December 26, 2009

Homemade Timeline

I made a timeline for our school a while ago, but haven't had the time to post on it - as I was cleaning out the pictures for Christmas I thought... might as well do it now before I forget.

I actually decided to make a timeline after I was researching ideas for our unit studies and I thought of doing one on "Kings and Queens" and thought... I would really like to teach Treyton a little bit more about time and what "a long time ago" means.

So... my mind started rolling. I was homeschooled my whole life, and my mom used a KONOS timeline until my sisters and I were in high school. I really liked the concept that KONOS used but to be honest at this time I'm just not willing to give up that amount of wall space in our living area. So, I decided to make my own. Right now, we don't need a large timeline because we're not filling it up with tons of historical figures so I decided to use two different colors the pink color represents 100 years worth of time, once we got into more modern times (starting in 1400) I started using 50 year periods, which are represented by green.

Write now we only have our favorite Bible stories/figures and our immediate family.
I made most of my figures from an AWESOME free clipart site I recommend this for ANY of your homeschooling needs :)

I then cut out strips of paper (sized for my liking). I laminated everything and posted them with sticky tack.

Here is the finished product:

Because it is in the entry way to our Master Bedroom, I couldn't get a great angle of it for a picture, but here is the entire timeline.

Here is the top where the bulk of our characters are placed - finding the times of life for the Bible characters is actually harder than you think because there are many conflicting theories on WHEN the exodus happened and etc. so I did some minor research (as much as I would allow myself) and went with the theory that I found to be most convincing out of the material I found in my ESV study Bible and online.

This is just a closer view

For our family I just made a word document with our pictures and birthdates... these are Treyton's favorites.

We haven't done a lot with our timeline yet, besides going over which Bible characters are which, but I have no doubt this timeline will become a great resource in our schooling. It took me one afternoon to put it together, laminate and hang. Treyton helped with some of it, but I mostly did it on my own.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Pictures

My kids are so stinkin' cute I can't help but share pictures of them. If you want to see pictures of our Christmas (so far) check out my Journey of Grace blog.... ADORABLE!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unit Study: Human Body

This week we started our unit study on the human body.

Starting Out 
I guess we technically started last week. We started simply by reading books on the human body. (see our book list below). This really helped Treyton get some basic concepts and our discussion rolling. Treyton was takin' immediately by the digestive system so that is where we have directed some of our focus. 

To begin our unit this week I decided to get a big piece of paper and outline Treyton's body on it. From there we talked about how part of our body we can see (on the outside) and part of it we can't. We discussed specifically the parts we could see and the parts we couldn't see (brain, heart, stomach).
Treyton asked if he could draw on the picture of his body (on the side), I didn't want to say yes, but we were done with the activity so I said he could and man am I glad I did!
He ended up drawing a simple digestive system, what he thought the brain look like, a spinal cord, intestines, bone and more!!
I was so proud of him, I called Tim to come home for lunch just so he could see it!! I took a few pictures for you all to see.
I have to just add my happy little mom note in here and say - this is why I LOVE homeschooling. This was Treyton, entirely on his own, drawing what he has seen in books and what he has imagined from the questions he has asked us, knowing his body and living life! During this time (which lasted about an hour btw) I was very careful not to correct or add to anything he was saying or drawing... this was a learning moment for me as his teacher - I was able to see what he already knew and what he didn't know. PRICELESS and AMAZING!


Here is Treyton, waiting to be drawn!

 Of course we drew a picture of little miss Lexie too and allowed her to color and draw on her body as well. She LOVED this!
Here is a picture of the final project (hanging on our wall)
This is a picture of the back of the mouth, the tube (esophagus) and stomach 

 I tried to label everything exactly as Treyton was describing it. Treyton isn't always clear so sometimes I had to ask questions, but he was patient with me and explained things to me the best he could :)
It was a very casual activity, but it was kind of like Treyton was the teacher and I was the student.... and I really was... just learning more about him and what he knew and didn't know... how he thinks and how he processes things.... awesome!

  The picture to the right is of your back - we go to the chiropractor regularly, and there is obviously a bone statue thing of the spinal cord, I believe that is where Treyton got this image in his head... pretty good I thought.
 The blue line Treyton didn't know the name of it but he said "it's turny, but not turny, it's bigger than this, I made it small, it makes your food smaller so that it can go into your arm without getting stuck." I was a little confused until he pointed to the lower stomach and said it's right here... he wad drawing the small intestines... he meant "curvy" not "turny" and he was trying to describe food/nutrients going into your blood stream and through the entire body (including the arm!)

 I didn't take a picture of this one, but Treyton's picture actually started out with his weiner - Treyton recently discovered that he has a "ball", it's been the topic of a few discussions around our home lately. So naturally I wasn't too shocked when he drew a little ball and said "a ball in my weiner and then here comes the pee"... and he drew a stream coming out from the "ball"

At the top of the picture (if you click on the finished project you can see it) he drew layers of hair standing up he said "when you get hot, your hair all stands up.... like this" (I think he meant cold) 
It was pretty neat because a day or so later after this happened Treyton was writing our world vision girl a letter and I said "would you like to draw her a picture?"
He said "yeah"
I said "what would you like to draw?"
He said "the stomach or tube or bones" ("the tube" means the esophagus)

For our lapbook this week we labeled a picture of the outside body parts that Treyton knew (he knew them all except for ankle and chest (he called chest something else but I can't remember what now).
We got our picture to label here at first school years.

Treyton also drew a picture of the digestive system (without me asking)... I was impressed. The circle in the middle is the stomach - the circle at the top is a mouth (open)

Field Trip (Kinda)

We've been talking more about the digestive system so far compared to anything else (as you can tell) but we've talked a small amount about our bones... right now Treyton is trying to remember that there are 206 bones in the body - he says "two hundred....." and I supply the 6.
Anyhow, today at the chiropractic office for our appointment I made a point to show Treyton the spinal cord bone thing (does anyone know what that is called?) and he asked what the nerves were (coming out of the spine), what the discs were for, and what the pelvic bone was. It was really nice to have a "hands on" example of some of the pictures we've been looking at. I think it helped him alot.
Living Life
Last week Treyton asked me how babies come out of mommy's bellys? He asked if the baby doctor has to cut open my belly. I told him that sometimes, mommy's have to have a doctor cut open their belly to have the baby come out but most baby's come out of their mommy's private parts (yes, I went with the honest answer here...) Treyton got a strange look on his face and said boldly "I don't believe you!"
I said "okay", cause I'm okay with that for now!

Books We Used
"Me and My Amazing Body" by Joan Sweeney I highly recommend this book for preschool/kindergarten age
"The Magic School Bus Goes Inside the Human Body" Treyton absolutely loves this book, but from a teaching aspect, this book as messed him up more than helped him understand... he keeps asking questions about how the bus got small and inside the body than understanding anything about the human body
"The Usborne Flip Flap Body Book" I love this book, I think that it was this book that has taught Treyton the most - there are three sections - one on Digestion, one on the senses, and one on babies. I have decided to skip the one on babies (for a couple of reasons) primarily because Treyton hasn't asked any questions yet we have answered the questions he has asked simply and he has been happy with that. This book is pretty descriptive... not too descriptive, but it does talk about the sperm and egg, and at this point, I see no need to go there.
"Head to Toe" Eric Carle

Moving On - Unit Study Break Down:
Digestive System

Advent Calendar 2009

We have continued on with our Advent Calendar and things are going GREAT, better than expected!
I thought I was aiming high when I wanted to teach Treyton the symbols of Christmas and what they meant - boy was I wrong - he is more than able (and willing) to learn what our traditions mean.
This has been the best Christmas by far for our family for implementing the real meaning of Christmas into our holiday season, and I am so thankful for how much the Lord is revealing to our little man's heart.

I haven't done great with taking pictures of our journey, which on one hand I regret a little bit, but at the same time I have been able to participate more fully by not being distracted by taking pictures.

For each symbol we have discussed the meaning behind it, filled in the meaning in our lapbook and for some read a book to go along with what we are teaching as well as an activity/craft of some sort.

Since my last post we have gone through the following symbols:

Gifts - The kids received a gift from us... Elefun! Tim and I were a little disappointed (I think we were expecting a little more "power" in the blower) but the kids have just LOVED this game and played it everyday since.

Ornaments - We made a homemade ornament for a family member whose name we have in the family ornament exchange

Wreath - We took our wreath out from the basement and the plan was to hang it on the front door, but for the life of me I couldn't find our door hanger! Either way we brought it up, talked about it and let the kids touch and examine it.
We also printed off a paper wreath that we colored, cut out and glued together as a family. This craft took a little longer than I expected (cutting was hard!) but the kids thoroughly enjoyed it so we were able to complete it - it turned out beautiful.

Nativity - We took our nativity out and talked about the characters. Treyton struggles with the concept that the stable is not a house as much as it is a barn. For him our little people nativity set looks more like a house... I can see the confusion.

Candy Cane - Treyton made a candy cane out of pipe cleaners - and him and Lexie enjoyed candy canes while watching a Christmas movie. Lexie also "dotted" a candy cane with the do-a-dots which I plan on cutting out and putting on the front of the lapbook.

If you are interested in more resources or in my previous post regarding our advent calendar please see my previous post here

Letter Gg & Letter Ww

Treyton is 4 years 4 months old

This week we studied letter Gg and Letter Ww. Treyton did great with both letters, that he struggled with writing both of them at first but it took him a little practice and he got the hang of them.

Of course we did our Code book, and the letter page sheets from Homeschool Creations. As well as practicing our handwriting alot this week. We went back and worked on n, j, s, p, r, c, l, g, h and d. He did great with this. we did 5 a day and it was actually after the 4th letter he was ready to stop but I pushed him to do 5 and he did.... I was proud of him.

Treyton also impressed me this week by writing his entire alphabet on the dry erase board in order, almost completely on his own (he needed help with a few of the letters we haven't covered yet but there were only a couple).

I made an animal letter folder game a while ago but it took me a while to get it laminated. Last week I finally got around to bringing it in. This week we read the book "Animal Alphabet" and played the file fold game. Treyton really enjoyed it. My only complaint would be that it's hard to do the alphabet with animals... urchin(?)... seriously? It doesn't even make a proper /u/ for preschoolers.

The cool thing though was that Treyton still learns from the alphabet animal things... today when he ate his apple (we always turn the stem singing the alphabet, whatever letter the stem comes off on we list words that start with that letter) the stem came off on "I"... I said "igloo", Treyton said "Iguana"!

Letter Crafts & Activities 
Gg is for Glitter
Tthis appears to be an "easy" craft but I let Treyton do the entire thing on his own... which was challenging (to say the least!) I wrote the Gg on a piece of paper, handed him a bottle of Elmer's glue and a tube of glitter! He did a great job.

Gg is for Green Grapes 
I don't remember where I got this craft... DLTK maybe?
For this craft we took a roll of TP and put it in green paint, we then stamped green grapes all over our page and added a stem at the top.
Lexie even got into this craft, which was cute to watch.

Treyton enjoyed this one so much that he wanted to do it twice... since all the supplies were out, I was happy to oblige :)

Ww is for Watermelon 
This craft I got off of My Family My Forever's blog.
I cut out a red and green W and placed them like a watermelon on paper. Treyton then punched out and added black paper dots to the watermelon
(Sorry but I forgot to take a picture of this one) 

Ate Gummy Worms
Combining our two letters this week I couldn't resist the urge to eat gummy worms!!

Practiced Winking 
This is absolutely a great time - Treyton has been "winking" for a while now, and by winking I mean he takes his hand, presses down one eye and makes a click with his tongue... it's priceless.
He tells me while we were practicing our mad skills "Wow, I'm getting really good at winking"
All I could do was smile and say "Yes you are buddy!"

Weather Warriors 
Living in the midwest we've received a little snow in our area :) Treyton loves to shovel, most days he asks to go out and shovel something. Here are dad and Treyton being our weather warriors - shoveling our driveway so we can get out :)

Daily Binder
This week while working in our daily binder we added Montana as a state and have begun working on our home phone number (Treyton has completely memorized Dad's work number).

Treyton actually requested to work with Mat Man this week so we pulled him out and had a little fun. We talked about our shapes and read our Mat Man book. Treyton was interested in some of the more unique shapes (like pentagon, star, etc) instead of the more basic ones (square, rectangle, triangle) which was encouraging to see.

We reviewed writing numbers 1-5. For some reason Treyton is struggling to recognize 7-9 so we are working a little bit on that, but I think that will get better when we get to writing those numbers.... which will be soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Third Blog Award

I actually received two blog awards today, the second one I opened was from Michelle over at Delightful Learning. 

Michelle is a great inspiration to me personally, and many others. I am amazed at her devotion, her realness and motivation.She has a litter full of beautiful children that she home schools... like I said an inspiration! She helped me a lot in understanding and even in my decision to use Explode the Code with Treyton. She has another blog, Steadfast at Home which is also great!

To pass this award on, here are some guidelines:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

The seven blogs I would like to nominate are:
1. Jaime at For His Glory 
2. Jessica at Mom for Him
3. Lisa over at Mom Blog
4. Catherine & Matt over at Priority 1 Mail 
5. Karen, Catherine, Sara and Hope at Tapestry of Faith
6. Debby at Heavenly Humor
7. Moziesme'

A Blog Award!

Today I received a couple of blog awards, the first one I read was from Virginia Lee over at Roger's Family Blog.

I absolutely love Virginia! We have kids that are the same age (which is just too cool!) and her blog has inspired me in more ways than one. I have used MANY of her ideas in our school and I ask her questions all the time, which she never fails to answer. She has become one of my best blogging friends, and I look forward to watching our families "grow up together" over the years! By the way Virginia, I think you may be the only person I know without a cell phone (and that's not a bad thing!)

In order to receive this award I am supposed to answer these questions in one word... Can we say impossible?!?! But I promise to do my best! 

1. Where is your cell phone? Here
2. Your hair? Confused
3. Your mother? Knowledgeable
4. Your father? Cajun
5. Your favorite food? Most
6. Your dream last night? Nightmare
7. Your favorite drink? Soda
8. Your goal? Growth
9. What room are you in? Bedroom
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Fear
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Grown
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something you aren’t? Slow
15. Muffins? Undecided
16. Wish list item? Books
17. Where did you grow up? Wisconsin
18. Last thing you did? Blinked
19. What are you wearing? PJs
20. Your TV? Addicting
21. Your pets? Reptiles

22. Your friends? God-sent
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Busy
25. Missing someone? Sure
26. Vehicle? Mini-van
27. Something you’re not wearing? Makeup
28. Your favorite store? Amazon
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When was the last time you laughed? Morning
31. Last time you cried? unknown
32. Your best friend? Husband
33. A place that I go over and over? Church
34. Someone who emails me regularly? Family
35. Favorite place to eat? Chive's 

To be fair, I should be honest and say I didn't have to change the answers for questions 8-12, 23 and 32 as they were the same as Virginia's! 

That was fun! 
But now the real fun begins... passing it on! 

I would like to pass this blog award on to a new blog that a friend of mine just started with her neighbor! 
Jenna and Tanya over at Percolating Projects in less than a dozen posts have already inspired me to get my crafty on!! I can't wait to see more of what they have up their creative little sleeves. Jenna is the person I email whenever I am looking for a crafty idea (even if it's for Treyton) she sends me cutesy little art project ideas and sites all the time!! I LOVE IT! 
Thanks Jenna for keeping my creative side inspired and for starting this new blog, too fun, and Tanya, I don't know you, yet, but I can't wait to learn more from you too! 

New Background

I am sad to say the Template Mama has decided to take a break from blogging for a while and that means that my backgrounds, after the first of the year were no longer going to be available.
Needless to say this meant I was on the computer MOST of the afternoon trying to get my blogs in order... sigh.... this is not one of my favorite pastimes!!

However, during my hours of labor, I was able to find some good, and fun, websites that you may all find helpful (sometime).

I have referred to some of these before, but there are some new ones as well:

There are tons of template sites out there, but most of them are fairly basic... I am really into headers that match my background but am NOT at the skill level to make my own so, I like to find sites that either have matching sets or that make the template and header together - the following are some sites that I liked and used:
Almost Ready Blogs - there isn't a ginormous selection here or anything, but there's enough to get you started and it seems as though she is fairly regular at updating and adding new things, so make sure you check back here. (this is where I got Journey of Grace's template)
Leelou Blogs - this site seems to have a lot of variety and has more than one designer which is nice. (this is where I got Refined Metals Academy's template)
Amybayliss Templates - these weren't my favorite style but I did like some of them
Rainy Day Blog Design - this site has alot of great tutorials, including how to put a border around the images in your post a border around images in your post and how to add snow to your site. The most amazing thing about this blog is that it is made and run by a 13 year old girl!

I used Kevin and Amanda's tutorial and font prints to customize my pages

Template Mama was gracious enough to leave a list of other blogs and blog design sites to help! Here it is!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Calendar Update

So after posting such a beautiful post here about our advent calendar tradition and what we do.... I went ahead and changed it. After a few days of reading the verse, I realized that the kids were just not that into it and they weren't exactly getting the real meaning of Christmas through what we were doing.
So.... after a little research I switched it  to doing symbols of Christmas and what there original meanings were. This was actually a unit I was planning for school but when I put the two together it just seemed to go better.

Now, our advent calendar has 11 symbols of Christmas that we are going through (one at a time) we are discussing what the symbol is (Christmas tree, star, ornament, wreath, gifts, etc.) and what they mean to us as Christians. We're not going too deeply into the origin (except on a couple biblical ones... like the star and gifts) because Treyton isn't interested at this point but in future years that's certainly a possibility.

Obviously we have more than 11 days left on the calendar. I filled in the remaining days with simple family traditions that we do every year (make Jesus a birthday cake, pick 3 Christmas cards we've received and pray for the family that sent it to us, walk to the trail of lights at the botanical garden, etc.)

So far it is going.... AWESOME! We do our calendar right after dinner, this is something that dad, mom and the kids are all involved in. Our kids love crafts so I have a small craft for every symbol and have gotten some books from the library to read. We discuss the symbol, read the book and do our craft. (Even dad & mom). It was been so fun to have this special family time - a time that is organized enough to learn something and entertain but flexible enough to have fun with still!!

We are compiling a family lapbook as we go through our symbols that we will be able to pull out in future years to use and add to.

 As of right now, with the kids being so young, I pretty much put the lapbook together and I write in what each symbol means as we come to it, and the family together has decorated with Christmas coloring pages.

This is what the lapbook looks like on the inside - I have one folder for the mini-books and flaps and the other folder I set up as a "folder" for our coloring pages and projects that we do - that way they will stay all together.

We've only done two symbols so far, the star and Christmas tree. Here are our crafts for both.

I got do-a-dots recently and held them until we did the Christmas Tree just for this craft. Dad got bored while waiting for the green, so he did a house instead. Lexie was much more enthused about a black pen, so most of her paper is scribbles :)

Lapbook Printables 

I got most of the printouts from Carissa over at 1+1+1=1
The Candy Counting Layer Book I got from homeschool share
The Christmas Symbol Booklet I found here
The Legend of the Candy Cane I found here

Books we are using (so far): 
* Jesus, Me and My Christmas Tree
* The Legend of the Christmas Tree
* Our Together Time Bible
* The First Christmas
* The Stable that Bob Built
* The Jesus Storybook Bible

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lapbooking Resources

We have somewhat taken this week off of school so that I could devote some of my "free time" while Lexie is napping for about an hour in the afternoon to planning Treyton's future units. So far I have put together our Christmas Symbol Unit and Lapbook - which we are currently doing together as a family as part of our advent calendar, as well as our Human Body unit and lapbook which I plan on starting next week when we get back to doing school.

Next I am working on a unit on Snakes (Treyton's most recent request), and The Ocean . I am actually partially finished with The Ocean already so... I'm optimistic that I'll finish them up this week.

As I have gotten into the thick of planning units and even the pleasure of doing one complete one (on Spiders) I have fallen in love with Lapbooking. I've always liked lapbooking, but the more we do them and use them, the more I realize how much I like them.
I am absolutely AMAZED by how many resources are out there for our use so as I've been working on compiling my stuff I have been saving all of these incredible resources... there are more which I will probably continue to add, but I wanted to start sharing what I have on the top of my mind:

Homeschool Share - absolutely one of my favorites, and one I have mentioned before and recommended to most of my friends.
As a part of homeschool share they have a section of miscellaneous lapbook templates (I was able to find a really awesome book log for our ocean lapbook here) - as well as blank lapbook templates

Lapbook Lessons - you do have to become a member to use this site but it is free and it is well worth the time to sign up! They offer some free lapbooks, which are great, but my favorite part is the laplinks and places they have to share your own lapbooks... I have found TONS and TONS of awesome resources through them.

Kidzone - this site doesn't have a lot of different themes but the ones they do have are great - I found both snakes and spiders on this one (as well as sharks) that have been extremely helpful.

Perpetual Preschool a site with lots of different themes there are different crafts, songs, games, science, food/snack ideas for each topic. Some themes are OVERLOADED with ideas... a great resource for putting units together for younger students 

Homeschool Helper - offers free unit studies, free lapbooks, worksheets, notebooking pages, and even record keeping forms

Making Learning Fun - I found a lot of age appropriate printables to go along with our units at this site.

Extra Resources 
Create your own crossword puzzle

Have fun planning your own units and lapbooks!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Letter Cc & Letter Ll

I was planning on taking a break this week from school but Monday morning rolled around and Treyton actually asked to do school, who am I to say "no", right?

Luckily I had finished up my lesson plans for the Go for the Cod books a couple of weeks ago so I was set as far as phonics was concerned, adding a little math and Bible was easy and I just extended a little bit of our Spider Unit study for scieance... so there you have it a quickly put together week of school that was relatively successful!

Letter Learning & Activities 
The first half of the week we worked on the letter Cc. I wondered why they waited so long to introduce this letter because it seemed relatively easier than some of the other letters introduced but after we started working on the sound I realized why! /k/ and /c/ are impossible to explain as different. At this point when we worked on our Consonant Sound Card Game I just would tell him if he guessed right or wrong as to whether it started with a Kk or Cc and we just moved on. Go for the Code did a great job of not implementing any/much review of the letter Kk during the Cc week which was helpful because I think it would have thrown Treyton for a real loop.
Writing Cc was an easy lesson for Treyton - he really enjoys writing which is nice to see.
We continue to do our letter book page from Homeschool Creations which I just love, it is an easy supplemental activity that continues to not only reinforce our phonics lesson but also cutting and gluing skills for Treyton. Cutting skills are one of those things that are very tempting to just "pass over" during school, so I'm glad I have the reminder to let Treyton do all the cutting and gluing on his own for at least two activities a week.
We also worked on letter Ll this week which was particularly exciting for me, because upper and lower case Ll were 2 out of the 6 letters that Treyton has yet to recognize... this week changed that! He did great learning them and writing them. I was very proud. 

Crafts & Activities
Because I am expanding our school so much into other subjects I am really trying to keep our letter crafts down to two per letter or 3 smaller ones.
This week we did:

C is for Caterpillar which I found at delightful learning and ABC&123
I took my paper cutter set from creative memories and cut two size circles to make rings, I then cut out part of the rings to make letter Cs

I had Treyton glue the letter Cs and attach them to a caterpillar head/face on white construction paper.

I think it  turned out really cute.

C is for Cat which I found at ABC&123
This was an easy but cute craft to do.
I took my circle paper cutters, again, and cut two different size circles, I then cut out a tail and two small triangles.

I gave all the pieces to Treyton to assemble his cat.
He used a white crayon to draw on the cat's face which he just thought was the coolest thing - he tried several times to use the white on white paper and he would just giggle when it wouldn't work! (This is something we've done before but for some reason it just never gets old for him!)

Ll is for Leopard
I printed off this template at DLTK - I cut out the pieces and allowed Treyton to assemble completely on his own - he did great!

Ll is for ladybug
We had such a great time painting rocks for letter Rr that I decided to implement that again but this time we painted ladybug rocks. Treyton was thrilled!!


I didn't have any black paint so we improvised and used brown (Treyton didn't seem to care)

Ll Minibook from DLTK
Knowing that Treyton didn't already know the letter Ll I wanted him to have extra practice and exposure to it this week so I also printed off this minibook from DLTK that talks about different things that start with the letter Ll.

Books We Used 
Llama Llama Red Pajama has always been a favorite of Treyton's we read it 4 or 5 times this week!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Cat and the Hat Dr. Seuss
Ten Little Ladybugs - this has been one of Treyton's favorites since he was 18 months old... I have it practically memorized!

This week for math we worked on writing the number 6.
I am continuing to use the Kumon workbook which I'm not very impressed with as well as the Rod and Staff Letter C book which I like alot more. I also supplement other number worksheets from various workbooks we've picked up along the way.
We didn't do much else with the number 6 besides practicing write it because Treyton already knows that number 6 but we did continue practicing counting to 30+ which Treyton is getting better at.

We are about halfway through Charlotte's Web which went along with our Spider Unit. We are taking our time to get through this book because we can only do small sections at a time before Treyton gets bored. I think it's a great exercise (reading more sophisticated literature) but we're slowly increasing our expectations with him as he learns to just sit still and listen to me read with minimal pictures to look at.

We continued reading more real-life picture books of spiders, which, again, Treyton can't get enough of... I don't know why but he just loves the real-life books and videos.

Our verse for this week was "Love one another" John 15:12
We also read "The First Christmas" book that we read every year for advent as well as Luke 2 out of "mom's bible" to begin our Christmas season.
I'm not sure yet but I am planning our next "unit" to be on Christmas and Christmas symbols which I plan on taking mostly from Carissa over at 1+1+1=1 she seems to have a lot of great ideas and resources to start with. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Unit Study: Spiders

Treyton and I just completed our first unit study - of course, I just had to share with you what we learned and found!

For as long as I knew I was going to homeschool I knew I was going to use unit studies in some form or fashion. I was planning on waiting until at least next year but a friend of mine sent me some information regarding our local museum and the spider exhibit they are hosting until may of next year. Along with it she sent me a link to a great resource that the museum had compiled for students/teachers to use.... as soon as I opened that attachment I just KNEW we had to do a unit study on spiders!!! From this point on I plan on implementing small unit studies throughout our schooling when and where I can.

We started our unit the week before we went to the museum and we continued to study/read for the past week since we went. We will be finished after this week, though I don't see Treyton wanting to not read spider books for a good long while... he seriously could not get enough.

The Neville Museum that we visited, like I mentioned before, had a GREAT resource to start our studies with that you can find here

Next we visited the Kid Zone website to find even more fun things to do for spiders.

I posted on our field trip to the museum here.

I decided to go ahead and put a little lapbook together as we researched and gathered our information. This was lots of fun. And as  you fellow lap-bookers know, it's an excellent way to not only organize what you're learning but also a way to store and preserve some of your school memories and notes.
Below are the items that we added to our lapbook:
~ My spider book - which I filled out for Treyton (he answered the questions, I wrote)
~ From the lapbook Pieces from Homeschool Share's "Very Busy Spider" Eric Carle we printed the Spider Numbers Flap and
~ An Itsy Bitsy Spider mini-book from Nellie Edge
~ I also printed off this other Itsy Bitsy Spider Book that looks so cute!
~ I printed off a blank fold from homeschool share where we added our booklist - of the books we enjoyed and used the most (though there were more we could have added)
~ Treyton drew a picture of a spider with the primary body parts (2 body sections, 8 legs, feelers, and 8 eyes) obviously being in preschool and all we kept things pretty simple
~ We also made a graph to document a survey we conducted among our extended family - "Are you afraid of spiders?" we actually had to do it twice because once we started it we realized we would need to color code boys and girls because Treyton kept insisting the "no" column was the boy side and the "yes" column was the girl side.
~ We took the pictures of the spiders that came with our educational packet and decorated our lapbook as well as some spider stickers I picked up for $1.50 at a local bookstore.
~ On the other side of the center flap I just paper clipped on some of the spider worksheets we did as well as Treyton's documentation from the spider museum (so cute... it's a notebook piece of paper with letters randomly written all over it)

Make a Sticky Spider Web found at Free Kids Crafts & in the Neville Packet I referred to above. I boiled spaghetti noodles, cooled them, mixed in some elmers glue and away we went - starting with the spoke and adding noodles around and around just like a spider does.

We got tons of books about spiders from the Library - two of Treyton's first choices was one on Tarantulas and one on Wolf Spiders - these are both similar spiders as they live in burrows and hunt food rather than spinning a web so they coincidentally went well together. We read lots of real-life books with real pictures of spiders - these are Treyton's favorites - one was called The Life Cycle of a Spider
We also decided to read Charlotte's Web which we had started once before and Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider - these are both excellent reads!
Lastly we purchased a book called Are you a Spider? that we are really enjoying and getting a lot out of.
Little Miss Spider was a cute little book that after the first time I read it Treyton went through and recited almost the entire book to his sister.
Aughh Spider was another little storybook that we read, Treyton didn't enjoy this one as much because he doesn't necessarily enjoy the idea of a spider as a pet (though he's not afraid of them) he had a lot of questions about the family and the spider in this book... questions I just couldn't answer. :)

The Official Eric Carle Website
Step-by-step Spider Theme there were lots of additional links at the bottom of this page (which we also used)
First-School we printed off the spider and maze here... Treyton loves Mazes and is very good at them.
We watched several spider videos at the National Geographic Site Treyton absolutely LOVED watching the videos, which I knew he would - he would watch our Planet Earth DVDs all day long!

I think the neatest part about doing this unit study together was that, even at a preschool level I managed to learn alot! How awesome to be a part of not only teaching my son, but also learning along side him. Some of our favorite things that we learned were:
~ Tarantula bites are no worse than a bee sting
~ Most Spiders have 8 eyes
~ Wolf Spiders carry their egg sac on their back and once the spiderlings hatch they actually ride around on the mothers back for about a week (these pictures gave me the heeby jeebies)
~ A Daddy Long Legs is not actually a spider and is actually more closely related to a tick or mite