Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Unit Study: Frogs - Book List

The Icky Sticky Frog by Dawn Bentley This was the kids favorite fictional story for the unit. We read it LOTS of times. The pictures are beautiful. And even though it's a fictional story it is a great illustration of what and how a frog eats. We actually did our craft based around this story.

Growing Frogs by Vivian French this was one of the first books we read to start our units. It's a cute little story about a little girl who goes to a pond and collects frog eggs with her mom. They watch over the next couple months as the eggs turn to tadpoles then froglets and finally frogs. At the end of the story the mom and little girl return the frogs back to the pond.

National Geographic Frogs of course we love this book, we have always enjoyed reading the national geographics. Their illustrations are wonderful and the information is simply conveyed but good.

Diego Saves the Tree Frogs Treyton has enjoyed the Diego Tree Frog episode and the book was a big hit with Treyton.

Time for Kids Frogs
the pictures are amazing (as usual) and we read this book lots of times, I seriously can't say enough good things about this series. Especially for the price!

What's the Difference Between a Frog and a Toad? by Mary Firestone this book is good. Treyton didn't really care for it, mostly because he had a hard time wrapping his mind around Toads and Frogs being different (and the same) :) I had planned on touching on this topic and teaching it, but let it go after a few failed attempts. However, as far as the book goes, it was good.

Fun Facts about Frogs by Carmen Bredeson This is an informative book that is easy to read. The pictures aren't as great in this book as others but I would still recommend it. This was one of the only books that we read that said anything about frogs losing their skin... this is always an interesting topic for Treyton.

From Tadpole to Frog Following the Life Cycle by Suzanne Slade This particular book follows the life cycle of a wood frog. The books is illustrated rather than using real life pictures, which isn't a horrible thing but relevant, I think.

We actually read more books than this... we had LOTS of books this time and we really enjoyed reading and learning through books. These were our favorites and most read, hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unit Study: Frogs

It's taken us a while but we have finally managed to get through our Frog Unit.

Both of the kids enjoyed doing the Frog Do-A-Dot page from DLTK
For one of our crafts we made a Toilet Paper Roll Frog from DLTK
Treyton's favorite craft was the one we did for our Story and Craft based on the "The Icky Sticky Frog"
Fun and Games
~"Five Green and Speckled Frogs" Song, what a fun and cute song!
~ Leap Frog, we didn't get to actually do the leap frog because of Treyton's broken arm... next time :)
~ Frog Maze from DLTK - Treyton thought it would be too hard for him but he did it without any problems! He is really good at mazes!

Treyton did some frog copywork that I created myself. I took a clipart picture of a frog and then wrote "A frog is on a log." and had him rewrite it.
As he was writing it himself on his paper he had many questions, so I went ahead and rewrote the sentence on the white board and drew some illustrations to help him.
He learned SOO much from this exercise, we talked about the difference between letters and words, that different words have different number letters in them, the importance of spaces and what they mean, and I briefly mentioned what a period was.
This is definitely something I will be doing again with Treyton!!
We attached his copywork page to the back of our frog lapbook.

While we had the whiteboard out Treyton and I went ahead and had a little fun - I drew a picture of a bug and he drew a picture of a frog with a long sticky tongue eating the bug. He then wrote the words "bug" and "frog" underneath. It was great practice for him.
Things Treyton Learned:
~ A Baby Frog is a tadpole - he worked really hard on learning the word "tad
~ Life Cycle of a frog (egg, tadpole, froglet, and frog)... he sometimes forgets the name of a froglet and says "middle big" instead.
~ Frogs come in all different colors
~ Some frogs eat other frogs, and snakes eat frogs too
~ Frogs catch their food with their long sticky tongues - they mostly eat bugs - but some frogs eat other frogs (he was fascinated by the fact that some frogs eat other frogs)
~ Frogs sleep during the winter
~ Frogs live in water and on land, but mostly on land
~ Frogs lay their eggs in the water

Lapbook Pieces
The lapbook definitely helped us to bring everything we learned together this time in a big way. We primarily read books for this unit and learned a lot of information in a spread out amount of time. So the lapbook was effective in pulling it all together.
Pieces we used
My Frog Book - KidZone
Lily Pad QandA - Homeschool Share: these were the last things we did and added to the lapbook, it was a great review. I wrote in the answers rather than cutting out theirs
Lifecycle Wheel - Homeschool Share
Predator Prey Matchbook - Homeschool Share: I had planned on printing out cliparts to cut and glue in the matchbook but Treyton drew, frogs, bugs, snakes and a bird to complete it instead.
Life Cycle Cards - Enchanted Learning
Froggy Resources
Squidoo - Frog Page
Homeschool Share Frog Resources
Frogs on Kidzone
Froggy Page
Homeschool Helper Frog Page
Something Froggy
All About Frogs Teaching Corner

Tot School: Toys

Last time for Tot School I shared with you some of the many art styles Alexa enjoys, this week I'm sharing our favorites education toys that help to not only educate but entertain Alexa during school time.
Melissa and Doug Wooden Puzzle Clock - we just recently got this. I am using it with Treyton to work on telling time but Lexie likes to use it as a puzzle. A very diverse toy.
Along with Puzzles - Lexa pretty much loves ANY puzzle - particularly ones that make noise while you put them together (our particular toys are once again Melissa and Doug)

This is actually Treyton's Joey Doll - it's a magnetic "paper" doll - you can dress up Joey in a variety of outfits (fireman, police man, pirate, superhero, etc.) Lexa isn't that great at getting it all put together but while she plays with it I will talk with her about clothing and body parts. (ex: "Shoes?" and then she will say "shoes", then I will say something like "Shoes go on your feet" and she will say "toes!")
I am aware that there is a girl one of these (Leigh Doll), in time we will see if she uses it enough to get it.

Here are some pictures of Lexa playing with her stacking cups - these are rather new and she is learning how to use them. This morning I took a few out and asked her to find the blue one (the color we are working on this week). I had to show her blue somewhere else but she was able to match it. After we did this then she stacked them (with a little too much help from Treyton ;))
This picture is from a while ago, but Lexa still enjoys playing with the big cloth building block. I believe this particular set is Baby Einstein.

There are other toys that we use and take out alot for Lexa for school, I don't have pictures of the following but they are used and loved just as much.
I did however manage to get a little video of Lexie playing with her Stacking Pegs - I love these, they remind me of the pegs I had when I was a kid... hours of fun are available with these along with endless possibilities - Lexa loves to stack the pegs without the mats and then take them apart and start over.

Fisher Price Doodle Pro - Lexa LOVES the doodle pro, this is definitely one of her favorites.

I am certain there are more that are slipping my mind right now, but this covers many of our favorites!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bible: Joshua and Jericho

The past two weeks we've been learning about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho. The following is not two weeks worth of plans, we just haven't done that much school lately.

We read the Jericho story every school day we had. In several different children's Bible's we also watched this Slide Show. 

The only real craft we did for this story was coloring pages, which for some reason I didn't save the link for... (sorry)

Fun and Games
The March
The first and most fun (for Treyton) activity we did was act out the story. We used our school table to represent Jericho and we marched around 1 time blowing our horns (toilet paper and paper towel rolls) as loud as we could. Then we laid down and slept - 1 day. We did this 6 times. Then on the 7th "day" we walked around 7 times, very quietly, then we blew our horns the LOUDEST we could, and we imagined the walls coming down.

Treyton wanted to do this every day - so a couple times we built walls with our wooden blocks and we would knock them down after our march.

Simon Says

Towards the end of our studies we played Simon Says. This game is a big hit at our house. This was a great illustration about how the Israelites had to listen to ALL that God told them, partially listening was not good enough.

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Before Five in a Row: Looking Forward

I have been inspired.

Before Five in a Row (B4FIAR)
After reading Michelle's post over at Delightful Learning about starting Before Five in a Row with her two younger children, I just knew that's what I wanted to do for our upcoming year. I was looking for a way to combine Treyton, who is 4 1/2, and Lexa who is 22 months and very interested in participating in school with us. I will be following a VERY similar approach to Michelle. (Thanks for the inspiration Michelle!)

For those of you who are not familiar with Five in a Rows approach - to put it simply you read a book everyday for five days. You then use a unit-study approach to dig deeper into the story. You can really use it however you would like, in which ever direction you and your child would like to go. I love the fact that it is literature based - if there is one thing my children love it's reading together, I want to build on this love. I am grateful to be using something that is a little less work for me, that has plans already there for me; BUT that still gives me the room I want to mold and form it to fit our family.

I don't want to re-post Michelle's post (which I'm kind of doing), so I will just vaguely mention what I have done so far. I have gone through the resources on homeschool share, printed, cut, laminated and organized all the printables and lapjournal pieces I thought we would use for the 19 books that I currently have (there are 23 units in B4FIAR, 4 are out of print). I am pretty much set for each weeks work.
At this point, I am not strictly planning out any of the units. All of the books that we will be reading can be taken in 100 directions and I don't want to tie us down to doing a particular direction on a given book, so I have not gone too deeply on any topic. I have prepared our units in a way that we will cover each book at a level I am happy with. I have printed out activities that I can use with both of the kids as well as activities suited for each child individually. If we decide to go deeper into a particular book or topic I will add what I need at that time. We have enough stuff to keep us busy while I put together a little bit more or if I am unable to (due to lack of time or energy) put into it any more, it's okay, we will certainly still get much from the book and resources I have prepared.  

The plan is to start Before Five in a Row after the turn of our school year which will be in June.

School Calendar

We do plan on homeschooling throughout the summer without a significant break. I have a hard time with the "three month gap" - in my opinion stopping school all together for three months requires you to spend a large amount of your time re-learning and reviewing concepts once covered. And in addition to that, I like to be able to go at a relaxed pace, taking breaks when we need them, not when they are scheduled, and doing school all-year long with smaller breaks gives us the freedom to do that.

Lapbooking vs. Lapjournaling 
We have truly enjoyed lapbooking and I plan on continuing the concept with our B4FIAR curriculum. We will be doing lapjournaling using sturdy cardstock or folders cut in half and displaying and storing them in a 3-ring binder.This allows easy access for the kids as well being able to show them off to the grandparents and family.

For Other School
The B4FIAR curriculum for Treyton is covering his language arts and science.
I plan on continuing what we have already been doing for Treyton in the other subjects:
Horizon's K for math
ETC for Phonics along with the other things I wrote about here
Bible Units I write
US Geography Pages along reinforced with our GAPS postcard swap

I am so excited to get started with BFIAR and our new school year!! I am so excited in fact you can look forward to me posting on using the B4FIAR concept before the turn of our school year with some other books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear here we come!!)
This past year has gone better than I could have ever dreamed and I look forward to what this next year will bring us. According to Wisconsin's new Kindergarten law I will officially be registering Treyton as a homeschool/private school student in the fall. At first this scared me a little bit, but now I'm much more comfortable with it.
I also look forward to incorporating Alexa in our school more, I know she will love it. And I feel completely confident in our choice of curriculum and approach to teaching both kids thus far.

What We're Reading 4.23.10

A few weeks ago we took a trip to the library and picked up a bunch of fun books along with our frog unit books, I wish I had time to post about all of them, but I don't so here are a few of our favorites, as well as a few I recently purchased that we've been enjoying:

Life Size Zoo - This book is AWESOME!! The kids and I have read it 100 times (it feels). This book is a very large book, and each page has a picture of an animal (or part of an animal) in life size. There are simple facts on each page about the animal. For example the tiger page says "Look at his big tongue! It's rough like sandpaper, and it comes in handy for grooming and for stripping meat off bones. Yum" There is a section on the side called "Time for a close-up" and it brings to you and your child's attention some fun details about the animal again using the tiger as an example the fact that they have black lips.
It is a GREAT book. We got it from the library but I am fairly certain I will be purchasing this book using my swagbuck gift cards to amazon. (To find out more about the incredible swagbucks program go here)

We got 2 Berenstain Bear Books
"Discover God's Creation" and "Hurry to Help" I did not realize that the Berenstain Bears were christian, but these books are, they are filled with references to the Bible. We have enjoyed these books.

Angus Lost - I actually bought this one because we are going to need it when we start our Before Five in a Row curriculum. This is a cute story about a dog 'Angus' who gets tired of the same ole' things so he decides to take off, after getting lost and finding his way home he finds that the same ole thing isn't all that bad.

The Big Green Pocketbook - a second book that I purchased to use with BFIAR. This story is cute. About a little girl carrying around a pocketbook just like her mom. As they run errands she manages to fill it with lots of little trinkets and treasures that carry with them a memory of their day in town.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Daily Board & Calendar

We didn't get much school done this week, thanks to a broken arm for Treyton. If you want to hear more about our emergency room adventure check it out on my other blog here.

We did manage to get some school done before the broken bone though, including starting to implement our new school board.

Up until this point we have been using our Daily Binder to do most of the activities on this board (calendar, days of the week, months of the year, geography and weather) but with our new year about to begin (we will switch over in May/June) Treyton has taken on more subjects so we've begun to use our daily binder for more of his primary subjects (Bible, Math, Phonics, Health, Art and Geography) and his Unit Study binder for our Nature and Science studies. The system we are using now is similar to a workbox system but in binder format... we are LOVING it and it works great for us (more details to come, hopefully)

I will be honest, the inspiration for most of my board pieces I got from other blogs. I have been tossing around the idea for a while but did not have the space to put up a poster board and couldn't figure out how to make, store a use anything that was convenient for us. That's when I came up with the idea to use the back of our white board. We already take our white board out almost every day for school and it's easily stored most days behind the door in our bedroom, it was simple and sturdy and convenient for us to use. I've attached everything where I can easily add, remove or relocate any of the pieces with sticky tack.
Board Pieces
Letter, Number, Color and Shape of the Week:
I've added a Letter of the week, shape of the week and color of the week even though Treyton doesn't really need it I wanted to add it for Alexa (who is almost 2)and is a part of our board time so those are more for her, as an introduction and practice. 

Each of these posters (as I will call them) I made myself using scrap paper (for the back), cardstock, my printer and my laminator (which I LOVE).
~ We use dry erase markers to write the letter and numbers of the week.
~ I cut out circle pieces from scraps of cardstock for the color of the week which I then laminated - we attach the pieces with sticky plastic tac.
~ I also cut out the shapes from white cardstock and laminated them as well.

I've added a 'Letter of the week, shape of the week and color of the week that Treyton doesn't really need, but I went ahead and added it because Alexa (who is almost 2) is a part of our board time so those are more for her, as an introduction and practice. I've added a 'Letter of the week, shape of the week and color of the week that Treyton doesn't really need, but I went ahead and added it because Alexa (who is almost 2) is a part of our board time so those are more for her, as an introduction and practice. I've added a 'Letter of the week, shape of the week and color of the week that Treyton doesn't really need, but I went ahead and added it because Alexa (who is almost 2) is a part of our board time so those are more for her, as an introduction and practice.

Verse of the week
I made a mini book for Treyton a while back filled with all of his memory verses, the ones he already learned as well as the verses I wanted him to learn in the near future. Several times a week we go through the book and he recites his verses to me.
I have attached clipart to each verse as a reminder to him for which verse we are on. (He has not learned the verse addresses as of yet). I used the same printouts that I used for his book to use on our daily board that way there will not be any transition from one place to the other - they are the same.

State of the Week 
I printed out a copy of the same map we use for our geography pages (again so there is no transitional barriers) I laminated it (as part of the poster) and Treyton colors in the state we are covering that week with a dry erase marker.

Sight Words 
I have been struggling to find a system to even introduce sight words to Treyton so I have also added a section to our board to cover sight words. (I made the poster the same as the others) I am introducing sight words in the same order that ETC does to go along with our phonics program. I simply printed off the sight words onto cardstock and cut them out, I attach these as well with plastic tack.

Days of the Week & 12 Months
These came directly out of our daily binder.

Days of the Week - I made the days of the week pieces to correlate with our date pieces - I ran out of room on our board so after laminating the pieces I punched holes in them and attached key rings to them so I could flip them. (If you click on the link you will be able to download the days of the week chart)
12 Months I printed from Hubbards Cupboard 

The Calendars I printed off from ABC Teach we are now filling in the calendar at the beginning of each month and marking off the days as we go. Treyton enjoys this because he can see our schedule and any upcoming activities he is excited for. He will ask to mark off the days even on the days we don't do school.

We are using the same process we used before to fill out the date each day - they are baseball sleeves which I made the pieces for, printed on cardstock and cut out. I have now trimmed down the baseball sleeves to fit appropriately on the board. To download any of these for yourself please click the links below.
Days of the Week Cards
Digit Cards
Month Cards
Calendar Term Cards

Weather & Temperature
We printed off the weekly weather chart and Today's Temperature chart from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations. I printed the actual weather chart on purple cardstock just to give it a little color. And the pieces are on white cardstock - all of it laminated. The thermometer is also laminated so that we can color in the temperatures everyday.

Last Name
Lastly, I printed our last name on cardstock with some fun ink colors - we sing the spelling of our last name to the tune of twinkle, twinkle, little star everyday to learn it.

Calendar Links & Resourcse 
So there you have it, I have loved not only using this board but putting it together was actually fun too.
If you are interested in making your own calendar/daily board check out these other sites:
Homeschool Creations and part 2 
My Family My Forever

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bible Resources & Links - Updated

I recently updated the Bible section of my Resources and Links post:

MSSS Crafts - This link takes you to the Old Testament page but I think there is a NT page as well, this site offers links to other sites and resources on the story that you are looking for 
Garden of Praise -  has links to great Bible lesson websites which include resources for: coloring pages, story telling sites, activity and craft sites. (some of the ones I already have listed here are listed there as well as  well as more)
Calvary Chapel Children's Ministry - an entire page to lesson plans for lots of Bible Stories 
Mission Arlington's PDFs - more lesson plans (in PDF forms) from a Children's ministry 


Monday, April 12, 2010

Recent Findings: Part 1

I am constantly coming across blog posts and links that I want to remember and go back to - I get a lot of inspiration and most of my great ideas from other blogs and the web - here are some of my recent findings:

To Be Busy at Home had a post on a Scale Model Solar System - we are going to be doing the Solar System eventually and this is something I would love to do.

Five J's had a post on How to Find Good Books for your Children - who doesn't want to know more about this!?!

Chaos Appreciation has Free Alphabet Coloring Pages - I am pretty well past this with Treyton already but I think Lexa will love them in the next year or so and I really look forward to using them.
Word Formation Printables I found

I originally found this Domino Parking Game on Confessions of a Homeschooler but have since seen it several other places, either way it's a great game!!

Mama Jenn has a great Racing Racecars Printable here. Since then I think she did a Princess and Frog one for girls too.

That's all for now.... enjoy!!

Bible: The 10 Commandments

This week our Bible lesson was the 10 commandments - actually we spread this particular lesson out over 2 weeks because I had enough for us to do and  I really wanted Treyton to work on learning at least some of the 10 Commandments (which he did).


Moses Craft - We did DLTKs Moses craft - Treyton colored all the the pieces, I cut them out and Treyton assembled them. He really enjoyed this craft and even after I told him he didn't have to stay in the lines perfectly (because I was going to cut it out) he still did!
10 Commandment Book - I had considered making a 10 commandment lapbook and curving the top to look like tablets but never got around to it - instead I had Treyton make his very own 10 commandment mini book to help him remember the 10 commandments.
I printed off these teaching aids from Living Waters which I find helpful especially for students who cannot read. Each commandment is illustrated by it's number, very creative. I printed out four aids per page (landscape), had Treyton cut them out and glue them in a mini book.
(I feel bad for not having a picture of this, maybe I will try to add it later)

Coloring Pages 
Treyton wasn't into coloring his page this week but Lexa was - she did a great job coloring her page while Treyton and I read the story and even did our other school work.

Story Reading 

We read the story every day out of the different Bibles and story books we have the ones I know we used (off of the top of my head) is The Beginners Bible and The Story of the 10 Commandments Storybook.

After reading the story a couple of times I asked Treyton a list of commands/rules and he would have to tell me if it was one of the 10 commandments or not by giving me a thumbs up or thumbs down. For example I would say "Trust God" (Treyton gave me a thumbs down) or "Do not Lie" (Treyton gave me a thumbs up). 

Fun and Games

I also had the kids watch through the 10 Commandments DVD set that we recently got. Treyton really likes these and got alot out of them. I enjoy them because each DVD is only 30 minutes long, so I don't feel too worried about putting one in. Tim likes the illustrations, he says it reminds him a little of the Disney Aladdin movie. Our family highly recommends these DVDs!

Kid's 10 Commandments: Complete Edition DVD Set

We played Simon Says to illustrate the importance of listening carefully and obeying. It took Treyton a few rounds to actually "get" this game. He loves this game, though I'm not really sure why, he isn't the best listener :) but towards the end he got it and finally won a couple rounds :)

Other Links  
Moses Maze 
Moses Dot-to-Dot

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tot School: Art

 ~Alexa is 21 months old~

Tot school for us is not a planned thing but the older Alexa is getting the more "school" she is doing with us. She is a major part of Treyton's school and anytime she is awake and we are doing school she is sitting right there with us. She is learning and experiencing a lot in the process.

She loves to color so that is how she keeps herself busy most of the time, but there are many others. 

Alexa is particularly interested in ANY art activities and is always a part of what we are working on

Alexa made a beautiful spring tree out of tissue paper - I would add dots of glue on the page and she would add her own tissue paper. 
Absolutely beautiful. 
Alexa is just getting into stickers - she isn't always the most graceful with her sticker placing but she gets SOOO excited to use them. 
Alexa is also really great with the do-a-dots, at first she didn't want much to do with them because she couldn't get them to work (that was back in December) but now she is a do-a-dot master! 
She loves color - whether she is coloring, painting, do-a-dotting or using stickers she loves to switch it up, never happy to use just one color on a project. I don't think she has a favorite color but if I were to guess I would say blue... or maybe yellow... don't really have a good reason why.
Sometimes Alexa gets a little carried away when she is doing art and she's not afraid to get a little dirty (secretly it's something I love about her!)!!
Last week while Treyton and I did over an hour worth of his school, Alexa sat at the same table and colored a 10 commandments picture the ENTIRE time!! She used all different techniques - colors, colored pencils, pens and pencils. She was very proud and showed Daddy her work when he got home!!
Something I really enjoy about Alexa's coloring is that instead of using long circular coloring motions like most kids her age, Lexie uses short deliberate strokes, almost like writing.
While she was coloring this picture she would make a little scribble and say "A, A, A!!"

Observation: If you see the picture you will notice she is coloring left handed - she actually uses her left hand most of the time, but will use her right as well. I think she is slowly using her right more and more, but I'm still not sure if she will end up being a lefty.

In addition to art Lexa absolutely LOVES puzzles - we have 4 or 5 Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles that she is excellent at and can do them completely on her own 

There are several other educational games and toys that we use throughout the week but I will post about them another time when I have pictures.

Tot School