Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Giveaway Winner!!

A couple of weeks ago I announced the winner of the giveaway I hosted. Grand prize winner, Julie, responded with her address and has received her package!

However, second place winner Susan has not contacted me with her information. I am going to give her one more week to do so, but if I don't hear from her I will be selecting another winner to receive her package.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Phonics for Treyton

Phonics for us the last two weeks has been without a doubt an eclectic approach. We are working slowly through our Explode the Code book 1 (which was the plan). In fact, after spending over two weeks in it we just finished up lesson 1. Which I feel like is totally fine at this point. We have been taking it pretty easy in schooling in general and because we are just starting out Treyton is learning a lot of new concepts, concepts that I don't want to frustrate him with.
At this point, I am basically just using the ETC as a guideline for which concepts to introduce when and for worksheet practice. Because most of our phonics/reading learning is coming from hands on activities and manipulatives, I guess you could say our primary phonics curriculum is hands on with ETC as a supplement. 

Treyton is absolutely loving the Happy Phonics we got and was doing so well with it that I have ventured out and found more games/items that go along with what we are doing, because it just works for him!! I highly, highly recommend this program for any hands-on learner. While most of the games could be found on-line or made yourself the convenience of having it all done for you (minus the cutting up prep work... which can take a while) is great.

I, of course, have to tweak and add to everything - even the good stuff so here is what I have managed to find that we have used and enjoyed in the past couple of weeks:

Hands-On Printables:
KidzClub - The Word Family Worm, Happy Phonics has a "reading house" similar to this that Treyton gets TONS of use from so this is just another way to practice our word families and sounding-out.
* Side Note: I did have to extend the cover for the pictures because Treyton was able to remember the pictures and instead of reading the words he would remember the pictures - it wasn't hard though.

Sight Word Flashcards from SparkleBox (they call them 100 high frequency words) - to be honest, I have not done a good job of learning how to teach Treyton sight words so this is an area that we're both struggling in... I should get on that. Right now all I do is show him one of the three sight words that ETC had us introduce in the 1st lesson and we read them together.... I know... pathetic :) (any pointers though - feel free to send my way, this is something I need to work on!)

Rhyming Word Flashcards - found at Have Fun Teaching these I actually cut up and wrote the words on the back of the cards to copy a happy phonics game that Treyton particularly loves. On one side of the card is the word, after you have the student read the word you turn the card over and it has the word as well as a picture of the word - I was wanting more cards so instead of making my own I am using these. 

One of the things that has helped Treyton the most with his phonics is a game I got called "Read and Spell" made by Key Education. I picked it up at the Learning Shop here in town and WOW!! Treyton and I love it. I had been looking for ideas to teach Treyton how to blend his sounds together while reading (instead of them being choppy sounds) and I found this.
It is 86 interlocking cards/puzzle pieces. Each letter attaching to any other letter. There are lots of game ideas that come on the back of the box, but so far Treyton and I have only used it to make and read our words that we were working on. He takes each piece individually and will say the sound, he will then connect them and once he does this he properly blends the sounds together to make the word!! It was like magic the first day we used them, I could believe it!!  
Any time we start to work on phonics Treyton runs to grab the box and says "Don't forget these mom!". They have been a priceless addition to our phonics program. 
Word Whammer - I talked about this before, and we're still using it. Today after doing three fairly difficult pages of math Treyton says to me "okay mom, time for fun school" I said okay " what would you like to do?" and he says "close your eyes, hold on!" he runs to his room and grabs his Word Whammer so we spent the next 30 minutes spelling words together.... now that's what I call fun school... and here I was expecting an art project!! 

I printed off some Word Family Worksheets from Have Fun Teaching, I didn't print all of them I only printed the simple "a" sheets off for now.
Kidzone - Free Phonics Printables (For this week I printed off several "at" family worksheets as well as the "at" family reading book, but there is more here. 

I printed several little readers off (as well as using our Bob Books) but we haven't really started working on them that much yet. We're taking our time on these because Treyton isn't a smooth reader yet, sometimes the books can overwhelm him, plus he is VERY distracted by the pictures. The bob book 1 which we haven't read in a WHILE Treyton still has somewhat memorized by the pictures so we have to be careful anytime we use it - sometimes I will have to say to him "That's right, good job, but can you show me which word is 'sat'?"

Resources (articles and sites that I have used for idea)
Reading Rockets: Word Families
ABC & 123 - Teaching Word Families (alot of the links I have here are from here)
A Blog Post on the Importance of Teaching Word Families

Well, I hope these links help some of you - I am having a lot of fun with phonics. I am glad we are taking our time and am excited about all the resources I was able to find that Treyton enjoys AND that work for him. I am grateful that I am teaching during a time where there are not only so many hands-on resources available but that you can also get them for free!! (My mom, who home schooled me and my 3 sisters would have LOVED this!!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Postcard Swap!

My sister in law passed along this blog to me that is putting together a postcard swap.

How it works: 50 families (one from each state) will swap postcards over the next year. Each state will have their own week and will send out 49 postcards, one to each state, during that week. We will go in alphabetical order of the state. At the end of 50 weeks we will all have received a postcard from 49 other states!

I had seen a couple of these but they were already full so we couldn't become a part of it - so far she has started 3 separate groups to participate - I e-mailed her, I believe we will be in group 3. I wanted to pass it along, to anyone else who might be interested in participating. This is a great way to get all 49-other states!! How exciting!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Art: Drawing

For a while now I've been wanting to help Treyton improve his drawing skills, but didn't really know how to. My stick people are worse than his ever would be and I don't know how to draw ANYTHING! So I kind of let it go, until I stumbled across this book:

I ordered it a couple of weeks ago, but we just started using it this week.
Yesterday, using the white board Treyton and I worked on drawing a chicken - my expectations were low but they shouldn't have been - I was AMAZED! His chicken turned out great. (He says his chicken is running)
This morning he asked if he could teach Alexa how to draw a chicken. I thought it was a great idea, knowing that by teaching he would really retain what he learned by having to explain what he was doing. Obviously Lexie didn't go for the lesson but Treyton did awesome drawing chickens completely on his own. After we drew the chickens on the first page, we did another page where we added in a little background - something that up to this point Treyton has not even considered. He drew grass, a house, sun and even a person. It looked so good.

He was so into drawing today that he really wanted to learn to do another animal. He looked through the book and picked the cow. I was really nervous about drawing the cow because I didn't want him to become discouraged and let's face it... a cow is.... a cow!!

Needless to say he convinced me and look how it turned out!! 
I had a hard time teaching him to draw legs (seriously, his are better than mine were:)) so that's more my bad but I think it turned out awesome!! He was really proud.
In this picture we attached a few of his favorite drawings into his art book - on the top picture are two chickens with eggs. On the bottom is a cow (and this time I just told him to do stick legs) and a chicken, on grass with a sun. 
I am loving this art book!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unit Study: Ocean - Links

We are starting our Ocean theme this week, this may be a slightly longer unit only because we will be studying the different animals that Treyton likes (sharks, jellyfish, octopus, etc.) individually so, I have no way of knowing how long it might actually take :)

So, to get the ball rolling here, I'm putting a list together of some of the sites we plan on using or that we have found. (So far, I will be adding to this list as we go so be sure to check back):

* Homeschool Share - Hello Ocean Lapbook 
* Homeschool Share -  Jellyfish
* Homeschool Share - Whales
* Homeschool Share - Sharks

Ocean Units and Printables 
* Lessonsense Ocean worksheets
* Prekinders Ocean Unit Theme (ideas and printables)
* Seaworld's Ocean Discovery Teacher's Guide
* Enchanted Learning Ocean Them Printables
* Pre-K Pages - Ocean theme (books, printables, crafts, activities and more) 
* Math - Match Fish Numerals to Dots 

* Perpetual Preschool
* ABC and 123 Ocean themed ideas
* Preschool Education 

Ocean Videos 
* National Geographic - click on "enviroment" and "ocean now"
* All About Oceans

Artist helping Childrens - LOTS of ocean craft ideas.

Items for Purchase
* Hands of a Child ($9.00) Under the Sea Project Pack

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unit Study: Snakes

We started our unit study on snakes last week. It was only meant to be a week-long unit but we really didn't do much beyond just reading books last week so we carried it over to this week as well. 

Like all of our unit studies reading is our primary source of information and much of what we learn and do originates during our story time and the questions Treyton asks.
We had a lot of fun reading our snake books. I am so afraid of snakes, but for some reason I also am fascinated by them. It's weird because on one hand I hate looking at all the snake pictures (they are so gross) but on the other hand I can't tear my eyes away... snakes are truly AMAZING animals. 
If you are interested in our reviews and links to the books we used you can go here.

Snake Resources: 
Snake Videos on National Geographic (you will need to type in "snakes" to find the snake videos) - Treyton LOVES watching snakes on TV, anytime there is an education snake show on he begs to watch it. I found the national geographic link for 23 snake videos - Treyton watched almost all of them and wanted more!!! (I excluded a few like the anaconda breeding ball... I'm just not prepared for those questions :)) 

Pop-up snake book - we didn't actually do this one but thought I would share it in my list of resources 

DLTK Snake Activities - crafts, printables and more 

Snakes on Kidzone - printables, worksheets, online activities and other links. 
Lapbook Lessons - reptile page 

Homeschool Share - Snake Unit Study & Lapbook 

Itsy Bitsy Snake Book - from Kidzone

Fun Activities and Crafts:
~ Eat like a snake: cut oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit into small sections, place one of each on a paper plate have your child “smell” each piece of fruit with their tongue and guess which fruit they “smelled” after each child has smelled their fruit like a snake, give them a glass of juice – they can eat the slices separately or in their juice (we did not actually do this activity either, but I thought it looked like fun so I decided to add it anyways)

~ Snake Maze from DLTK - Treyton loves mazes. This one was actually a little bit hard for him but he still did it!!  

~ Make a Scaly Snake - for this craft I drew a simple snake on a piece of construction paper - Treyton then painted it with glue and put a bunch of little circles from our three-hole punch all over the snake to represent scales.
Treyton, fully concentrating on painting 
Now the scales 
Finished product - don't judge the snake - it was harder than I thought to draw one.

~ Spiral Snake: Take a piece of construction paper and cut out a circle - draw a spiral. Cut out the spiral - draw a face on your snake and a pattern of a scaly skin. (found this at enchanted learning)  

~ Make a snake out of do-a-dots 

Lexie really got into this craft - she loves the do-a-dots!!
~ Make play-doh snakes

For the lapbook we add the pieces as we go, usually. This time we did most of the lapbook all at one time, but below, (in the lesson plan portion) I have the lapbook pieces highlighted in orange to show you where they would normally go. Most of the links are attached below, to the pieces we used. 

Lesson Plan 
To Begin the Unit:
Fill out the "My Snake Book" before we do any reading 
Read snake books 
Color a picture of a snake discussing - what makes a snake a snake 
Complete the Snake Maze 
Snake Craft: Make a scaly snake

What is a snake? 
~ what it means to be a reptile (a reptile put simply means that it is scaly, cold-blooded and lays eggs) complete the reptiles t-book for the lapbook
~ Snakes do not have any legs

~ Most snakes eat rats, lizards, frogs and other small rodents but big snakes eat bigger animals and smaller snakes eat smaller things (like bugs).
~ Snakes smell with their tongues (possibly insert the "eating like a snake" activity here)
~ They don't chew their food but swallow their food whole. 
~ Some snakes use venom to kill their prey other snakes are constrictors (discuss the difference and what that means) but both kinds of snakes swallow their food whole without chewing it. 

Life Cycle of a snake 
~ Some snakes lay eggs others don't - discuss their life cycle - add lifecycle page to lapbook

Snake Predators and Defense 
~ Snake Defense Shield for Lapbook: I wanted to be sure to include a section for this but wasn't sure how to do it for the lapbook. I ended up making my own pages of clipart to represent means of defense (camouflage, digging a hole and hiding, puffing up/rattling, playing dead) I had Treyton cut them out and glue them to the defense lapbook shield. 
~ Predator Lapbook Accordion: For predators I made up another clipart page with lots of animals - a rat, hawk, coyote, fox, spider, lizard, frog, snake, etc. Treyton had to cut out only the animals that were predators of snakes. This worked out well for him he had a lot of fun but learned alot at the same time.

Lessons Learned: 
~ Snakes have scaly skin that molts (sheds) 
~ Snakes swallow their food whole 
~ Venom is poison juice that comes out of the snakes teeth
~ Constrictors kill by squeezing 
~ Snakes smell with their tongues 
~ What camouflage means

Before this week I picked up a plastic rattlesnake for Treyton - he actually has a bunch of different kinds of plastic animals (they are probably one of his most played with toys). He has been collecting them for the last two years, he usually gets one or two for each holiday, and if we're at a store and see one for cheap we will pick it up (they can actually be a little pricey).
Treyton got a lot out of playing with his rattlesnake and other animals. Particularly a little lizard that often became lunch for the rattlesnake. 

Field Trip
Our local Children's Museum is offering a snake exhibit this weekend where the children can even hold some of the snakes. We are planning on going, I'll post our experience and pictures later!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snake Unit: Books

For us, reading different books is the primary we learn about the subject of any unit we are doing. Both of the kids love storytime, so we have storytime everyday. Even when we don't get other school done that day, we typically will still read. When we are in the middle of a unit, I try to read at least 3 books based on our unit of study a day, along with any other books the kids are interested in that day.
Because of this, we get LOTS of books from the library on any given unit and will typically even purchase an average of 3 books per unit from amazon for our own library.

This means I have long book lists... so let's get started :)

The three primary snake books we used for our snake unit are the first three, the other books were extras, primarily more specific books based on types of snakes (venom vs. constrictor) and species of snakes.

* As a little disclosure on all of the books we used, they are all graphically detailed. Treyton prefers real-life photos to anything animated. Most all of the pictures are of snakes killing/eating prey so if you aren't wanting your child to see that or if they aren't at a stage to handle that, I would avoid a unit on snakes (or at least the use of these books)

"Snakes" by the editors of TIME for kids - I actually really enjoyed this book - the pictures were excellent quality and clarity. The information was good. Its more of a general book covering snakes in a general sense - like "most snakes lay eggs". It's a great starting point for a unit. This book is reasonably priced (like $4 I think, in fact I think that all three of these first books are under $4) 

Amazing Snakes by Sarah L. Thomson - Treyton seemed to like this one alot, I liked the information in it, but the book we had didn't have the glossy paper which made the pictures a little less in quality. The information was good, and like the TIME one it was a more general snake book, which is nice for a lower elementary level.   

DK Readers: Slinky Scaly Snakes! -  This was a glossy paged book helping with the excellent quality of the pictures. This one was my least favorite of the three as far as the information in it goes. The information was good, it just didn't seem as smoothly laid out as the other two. However, we still thought it was an excellent book and I would highly recommend it. 

Our library had a series on snakes available called "Rourke Discovery Library" we got the books on Rattlesnakes, Cottonmouths, Boas, Pythons, and Copperheads - Rattlesnakes and Pythons were Treyton's favorite but we read them all (several times), some of the information was slightly more in-depth than what we needed so I would change some of the words to make it more easily understandable for Treyton, and I would also stop frequently to make sure that Treyton understood what I was reading - and he typically did. I would say they are mostly age appropriate for preschool/Kindergarten and certainly early elementary. 

Snakes by Gail Gibbons - to put it simply, I do not recommend this book, it was a last minute pickup off the library shelf and after looking at the first two pages I put it in a pile to go back to the library. The first line in the book says "Snakes have existed for about 125 million years. Throughout history some people have believed snakes have special powers." It is an illustrated book. After you get past the first several pages the information actually isn't too bad, but with the number of good books out there on snakes I decided to just let this one go.  

"Pythons" by Rothaus - We really liked this book for the pictures but it was above Treyton's level.
"Snakes: Biggest! Littlest" by Sandra Markle - This was a pretty good book. Based primarily on snakes of different sizes (obviously). I liked the pictures in this book, they weren't quiet as high in quality as the TIME and DK Reader book, but still pretty good. They had some nice close up shots of scales, and this was the only book (I think) that had a picture of a snake skeleton. 

Another series I picked up at the Library was an older series called "Eye to Eye with Snakes" They are slightly above the preschool/Kindergarten level but Treyton still seemed to enjoy them (I did change the words). We read these books when discussing the different types of snakes before we got into the different species (constrictors vs. venom snakes, etc. The books we read in this series were called "Snakes that Squeeze and Snatch" "Living with Snakes" "Secret Lives of Snakes" "Snakes on the Hunt" "Snakes with Venom"

If you are interested in learning more or purchasing any of the books from the list, you are able to click on the links above and it will take you directly to the book on amazon!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Treyton's Questionnaire

Virginia over at Roger's Family Blog posted an interview/questionnaire that her 4 year old son Caleb did, and I just couldn't help but copy the cute idea with Treyton!!

What is your name: Treyton
When is your birthday: I forgot
How old are you: 4
Who is your Mama: Mom, Amber 
What does your Mama do: I don't know what her do, do school with me, play with me
Who is your Daddy: Tim
What does your Daddy do: Work, play with me, 
What is your favorite color: Orange
What is your favorite song: Boom Bop
What do you want to do when your grow up: Be a doctor
Where do you want to live when you grow up: I don't know
What is your favorite food: Noodles, um, maybe bacon
What is your least favorite food: Tomatoes, onions
What is your favorite animal: Snakes, dogs and turtles
What do Mama and Daddy do after you go to bed: Stay up a little bit, and talk about their day
Who does our family love the most: Mom 
Where do we go to church: Pathway
Why do we go to church: Cause I learn about Jesus
What is your favorite movie: Kung Fu Panda
What is your favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate and another favorite vanilla with sprinkles
Where do you like to eat: Sushi and Hu-Hot
Who is your favorite person: Mommer (this is his grandma)
Who is your best friend: Sammy
What is your favorite book: It's kinda hard to say, Joseph
Who is your sister: Lexa, Lexa Natalee
Where did your sister come from: In your tummy
What is your favorite thing to do: play with lexa, play with everybody I like. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And the Winner Is....

Winner # 1, who will receive the package of their choice as well as the human body book is:
Commenter #5 - Julie (who selected package 2)

Winner #2 is,

Commenter #7 - Susan (who actually selected package #1 as her choice)

This worked out so great, I am so happy that you each are receiving the package that you wanted.

If both of you could please e-mail me with your mailing address I will put your packages in the mail ASAP!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Updated Resources & Links

I have updated the Resources and Links post.You can get to it from the top menu bar or by clicking the link in this post.

I have added a Bible, Books, and Preschool sections as well as more sites to several of the other categories.
If any of you see any sites that I am missing that you get alot of use out of please pass them on to me, I am always looking for good sites and resources - including books!!


A Little Bit of Help Here!

As of right now I have two units planned - our next unit Snakes we are starting today (I think) and then we have an Ocean Unit that will take us at least 2-3 weeks to complete.

It's time to start thinking about what we're going to do after these.

So, I wanted to ask you all, where do you come up with your unit ideas? Up to this point I have been trying to go off of Treyton's interest, but my "laid back boy" is not very helpful.

When I've asked him in the last week several times if there was anything he wanted to learn about everytime his answer was "dirt".... dirt?!?! When I probed a little more, he just said "Our field has lots of bumps and dirt in it"

I'm fine learning about dirt, but what is there to teach a 4 1/2 year old about dirt? I considered adding it to a rock & mineral study or even doing a plants, flowers & dirt study (seeing as how spring is around the corner we could plant some seeds, etc.) But let's be honest, we live in Wisconsin and spring is a little further out than March (or even April)... sigh!

So, I am at the place where I need a little help, unit ideas, dirt ideas, etc.

Anything you could throw my way would be helpful!!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Unit Study: Dinosaurs

I put this unit together in a couple hours last Friday night - I'm really happy with how it panned out - thanks of course to homeschool share where I got most of my info and lapbook printables. 

We started this week out by reading some Dinosaur Books. (Click on the link for my "official" reviews, links and recaps) 
This in itself was harder than one would think (or maybe not) as there are very few books that do not talk about dinosaurs from a creation stand-point. I was surprised by how many books not only had an evolution starting point, but would go n-an-on about it throughout the book, making some of the books impostsible to incorporate into our studies. 

The primary source of our study came from the book "What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs" this book is soooo good! I highly recommend it not only for a dinosaur study but just to have as part of your home library.

Dinosaur DVDs 
We had a couple Dinosaur DVDs on hand that we watched. They were only so-so, I think in a couple years Treyton will get more out of them. Not that he didn't get anything from them, but he certainly could have gotten more. 
(Here are the kids and dad watching a dinosaur movie)
"Dinosaurs, Genesis and the Gospel" the speaker in this one talked really fast, it could have been much better if he would have slown down a little bit, but the message was good. 
"T.R.U.T.H About Dinosaurs"

Our studies centered mostly around discussion, reading books and our lapbook - so I am just going to attach the links to the lapbook pieces we used and explain how we did them, what worked for us. 
On-Line videos I really thought these were cute, Treyton watched 2 or 3 of them and seemed to enjoy them. But then again he LOVES watching videos on the computer (regardless of what they are :)) 

Creation Booklet I started out writing down what God made on each day but then we realized that Treyton could draw it instead. We both liked this alot better - he drew flowers for day 3, sun and moon for day 5 (I drew a start), fish for day 5 (I drew a little bird), and a snake and people on day 6. On the flap of the book I drew a little dinosaur and Treyton wrote the number 6 to remind us that God made the dinosaurs on day 6.

Reptiles T-Book 
We briefly talked about Reptiles Treyton wasn't really interested in what reptiles are or the fact that dinosaurs were one, but we still went ahead and put the t-book together.

Treyton did understand the egg-laying part of reptiles/dinosaurs. So we pretty much just focused on that. We had a great book, which was actually a gift to Treyton from a while ago, called "Dinosaur Babies" which we read. We then cut out an egg shape and wrote down what we learned on it to put in our lapbook. Treyton remembered right away that they covered them up with grass (instead of sitting on them) to keep them warm and that some of them were as big as a football. We couldn't help but get a football out while we were reading the book to illustrate exactly how big dinosaur eggs could get and I think this really helped Treyton remember. 

Dinosaur Diets 
We discussed Dinosaur diets, Treyton loves the T-Rex and the fact that he ate other animals and dinosaurs (I know, typical boy I guess). We had such an awesome discussion about the fall, sin and the affect of sin on the world (not just in the dinosaur diet but all of life). The book "What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs" book was a key part of our discussion.
Dinosaur Graph 
This was one of our favorite projects - I added stickers or clipart to the chart so that Treyton could "see" the dinosaur we were talking about - we measured out different dinosaurs and put them on the graph. One of the dinosaurs was only 6 feet tall, I told Treyton "This dinosaur is only as tall as Daddy" that got Treyton going, so we ended up adding another graph to our lapbook with the heights of our family members.
In addition to this we measured out with yarn the length of a T-Rex (40 feet) and a Triceratops (30 feet). Both of the kids got a kick out of this - theses are our yarns attached to cards so that we can keep track of which is which.

What Happened to the Dinosaur Wheel 
Dinosaur Shapes 

Here are some pictures of our finished lapbook:


I really enjoy lapbooking with Treyton but I am learning as we go that it is most important to keep him involved not just trying to write everything for him. He needs to be able to go back, see and understand what he did - having him draw/illustrate the answers, printing and cutting out clipart and stickers seem to really help us with this. Also, with the Human Body Lapbook I assembled it all ahead of time and had Treyton fill our certain parts when the time came, this lapbook we assembled as we went and that also went alot better.

My Dinosaur Book:
One of my favorite things that we did was make our very own "My Dinosaur Book". We took a different Dinosaur each day and made a page on them. Treyton would color a picture and glue it into the book, we would read a book on the dinosaur (or several) and then I would have Treyton tell me what he learned about that dinosaur (I would write it down in his book). 

Some More

Alphabet Worksheet we printed off some dinosaur letter tracing sheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler, but there are lots more of great printables there!!
PreKinders Dinosaur Unit Lots of cute printables, ideas and experiments to try.
1+1+1=1 Dinosaur Unit  

We made a stegosaurus craft out of a paper plates (I forgot to take a picture of it) but we found got the idea from My Family My Forever and tweeked it a little bit. 

We made a fossil page which we added to our lapbook. This was a fun craft for Treyton - we don't usually use Elmer's glue so Treyton really enjoys it when we do. ;)
 Time Line 
We added an item to our wall time-line representing when the first Dinosaur bone was found and the name "Dinosaur" was created, in 1841.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up Post

(Treyton is 4 1/2 years old)

This week we got off to a slow start, we had plans on Monday, Treyton had an emotional day on Tuesday and Wednesday morning I had Bible study. In spite all of that, we did manage to get a few things in.

I am continuing to refine our system - this week I actually improved our Daily Binder a bit. I plan on writing a more detailed post on it sometime, but for now I will just say that it reminds me a little bit of the workbox system. It's set up in more of a weekly style (because I don't break school down by day), a few things are not in his Daily Binder (like his workbooks, science and Bible). However, he now has 5 sections broken down into - Calendar/Weather, Geography, Math, Phonics, Health. We go through the book every day (some days we do all the subjects, some days we don't.

He continues to improve in his calendar skills - he knows the days of the week and their order, he is in the process of learning the months. The words are harder for him to say so that is part of the slow-down but more than that, I haven't done a great job at explaining it to him. He is getting to where he can do most of the calendar activities without much help from me.

This week for math I wanted to have Treyton start recognizing and putting in order numbers 1-20. He can write all of his numerals now so we are continuing to progress to the next step. I was surprised but he actually has a hard time recognizing 7, 8 and 9 still. I am glad that I decided to hold off on starting the horizons book to become more secure in the basics. It's a little strange (to me) how Treyton excels in some areas of math but lags in others (like number recognition).
Thirteen has always been a struggle for Treyton to say so it has messed him up alot in learning to count (rote) to 20. So this week we spent special time on learning to say thirteen. He says "Tirteen" but for now I'm happy with it (before it sounded like 14 which would cause him confusion when he tried to keep counting).

I printed off the number cards form Homeschool Creations - I cut out all of the pieces but so far we have only used the numeric ones. Treyton spreads all the cards out and then puts them in order. We then count to 20 a few times together.

After that I would ask him to find a number in the line. In addition to this I have also used them as flashcards. Displaying one card at a time, at random and asking him to tell me the number - on day 1 he knew 13 out of 20.
We have done this every day, the repetition and practice has been good for him.We will continue to do this next week.

He is doing well with counting by 2s he now has "2, 4, 6" down pat, and sometimes gets "8".

We also worked in our KUMON 1-30 workbook and Counting workbook throughout the week. Treyton doesn't like workbooks as much as the hands on activities but the writing and discipline of it is good as well as any added number recognition and writing practice is good for him right now.  

This week for phonics we started Explode the Code book 1 - which starts out with a pretest of letter sounds - Treyton got all of them right. Then it moved on to the letter a and it's short sound, focusing primarily on the "at" family. We took it pretty slow with the worksheets because I am trying to teach the blending (of words) and sounding-out skills from the beginning. For example in one of the first worksheets they have the child match words. It will have a word like "bat" and then "hat" and "bat" and the child puts an X on the word that is the same. No reading is required but I would have Treyton sound out and say every word. 

To further emphasize the skills from ETC we added in some of the Happy Phonics games: reading cards and the reading house "at" family. Treyton really enjoys these games and I cannot say enough about the Happy Phonics program. 
For further practice with the "at" family I had Treyton do a spelling test (I hate calling it that but I don't know what else to call it). I wrote "___at" on our white board in big letters and below it I wrote letters that would start the words I would call out "b, c, f, h, r, s, m". I explained to Treyton that all of the words I was going to say were going to end with "at" but that he needed to fill in the sound that the word started with. Then I would say a word Treyton's job was to write the word combining one of the letters on the bottom with the "at" sound at the end. It worked very well, but to be honest I don't think I needed to have the beginning letters on the board - Treyton would have been able to do it without them.

We continue to get a few more postcards in, which is exciting and we are busy completing our geography pages before we move on to learning new states. This week we did pages for Oklahoma and Hawaii. 

We also got a new game this week called Great States Junior.
Treyton has loved this game and we played it over-and-over this week. I would HIGHLY recommend this game for your early elementary students - it not only works on the US map skills, but also reinforces letter recognition, shape/color matching and seek-and-find skills. 

Treyton continues to love his Melissa and Doug United States Puzzle too. Here are him and Lexa having a little puzzle time!

We have an unpredictable couple weeks ahead of us - my sister is due with her 2nd child on Valentines Day. I have been asked to take pictures of her delivery - she lives 2 hours away so at any time the kids and I may be headed out the door for an unspecified amount of time. I obviously have no idea of predicting how long her labor and delivery could take (her 1st one took 3 days and still ended in a c-section.... don't ask!!) so if we disappear that is probably where we are at.

On top of that my energy is beginning to decline and I'm not sleeping as well at night. I have gotten back to taking naps every other day or so. As you probably noticed I don't have nearly as many pictures as I normally do this week because quite honestly, it was just "too much work" (ha, ha).
I don't expect school to stop but I do expect for us to slow down a bit. I can't believe I still have 7 weeks left, as of this week I feel like I could explode at any moment :)

See what others are doing at "Weekly Wrap Up" at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Homeschool Creations - Preschool Corner 

Unit Study: Dinosaurs - Book List

This week we learned about Dinosaurs, we had a great time and I can't wait to share with you all, all that we learned, but for now, I have our book list put together, so we will start with that. I have attached links to all of the books so if you want to see more about them (or purchase them through amazon) all you need to do is click on the title.

What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book!! Seriously. I don't care if you are learning about Dinosaurs or not, this book belongs in your home library. (click on the link and you can get it from amazon for $8.79!). We read this book everyday this week for our study and sometimes more than once. It's obviously about dinosaurs but it incorporates, the fall, the flood, sin and Jesus on the cross!! This book lead Treyton and I to our deepest discussions EVER on sin, the human condition, grace and what Jesus accomplished on the cross. AND on top of all that (as if that were not enough), the dinosaur facts were EXCELLENT!! I cannot imagine doing any type of dinosaur study without this book. 5 out of 5 stars for me!!

Dinosaur Babies - This book Treyton actually received as a gift a while back but it was perfect for our unit study. I did change a few of the references to time as we would read, but it was simply written while being full of good information.

If Dinosaurs Could Talk - these books are a little older, in fact you can't even get them new from amazon and the Brontosaurus was still called a Brontosaurus. I found them at my library and checked out the Stegosaurus, T-Rex, Brontosaurus and Triceratops ones. They were great!! They are written as though the Dinosaur was talking too the child, with basic information about themselves. These were the best resources that we used to complete our very own "Book of Dinosaurs" - I did change the references to time (from 65 million years to "a long time ago")

The Magic School Bus Flies with Dinosaurs - I got this book because Treyton enjoyed the human body one so much - he again liked the school bus books but they were very evolution centered so I ended up changing most of the words/story throughout the book. This book is primarily centered on the fact that birds come from (are related to) dinosaurs.

Dinosaurumpus - This was a cute little rhyming beat book, it wasn't very educational but it was a nice break to facts and brought us back to just having a good time - includes colorful illustrations.

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones - This was a very easy read with colorful illustrations.  It is a very basic explanation of the process of putting together a dinosaur skeleton. It starts with the find, digging, transporting and continues to the placing the pieces of bones together. We used this book mostly on the day we talked about fossils and it was great! I would recommend it.

Tadpole Rex - I don't have too much to say about this book, I felt like it was extremely hard to follow because it was more concerned with rhyming than making sense. It is more evolution focused though I don't know if a child would pick up on that or not.... I read some great reviews on this book, and saw that alot of people used it, but personally I was disappointed.

Meet the Dinosaurs - This book is exactly what the title says - an introduction to different types of dinosaurs. Every page layout is of a different dinosaur with the dinos name and a simple fact about them. Very cute, good "real-life" pictures and great intro book (which was perfect for us). An example of one page would be "Here is the scary Tyrannosaurus. It has sharp teeth."

Three-Horn: The Adventures of Triceratops -

Triceratops (Pebble Plus) - We used this book to learn more about the "three-horn" for our own dinosaur book. Like all the Pebble Books, it is written simply but with solid information. I did change the dates in this book as I read it.

Long Neck: The Adventure of Apatosaurus -

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything - I will be honest, maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I was not expecting this book to be a fictional story of a boy who gets a dinosaur with every errand he and his mother runs one particular Friday. It is a cute story, and other than not being what I expected, we had a fun time reading it throughout our week.

Danny and the Dinosaur - this was another book that was gifted to Treyton as he was going through his infatuation with dinosaurs. It's a cute little story about a boy, Danny, who goes to the museum and ends up spending the day with a real-life dinosaur. I particularly liked how the story ended, the boy and dinosaur parting ways each going back home or to the museum - I don't know why, but sometimes it just bugs me when the kids in the story get to keep any and every pet they bring home. :)