Friday, October 29, 2010

Week 12: Bears

Daily Board Elements:  

IMG_0103Letter of the Week: Uu & Dd

Color of the Week: Green

Shape of the Week: Square

Number of the Week: 9

Memory Verse: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12

State: Idaho

 B4FIAR & Science:

imageThis week we rowed We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with the go along book “Nanuq” which we’re reviewing for TOS Crew.

We decided to focus on Bears for our science this week instead of Dinosaurs or The Five Senses (which was what MFW recommended) because we’ve covered both of those topics in the last year.

We made a lapbook for some hands-on work. Our studies focused primarily on Black Bears, Polar Bears and Brown Bears.

Our first activity was possibly Treyton’s favorite, which was comparing the sizes of each bear and putting them in order of size.


We also talked about where the bears lived: 4 out of the 7 continents. (Excluding Antartica, Africa and South America). Treyton put an x on the continents that don’t have bears a circle around the continents that do. IMG_0047

We talked about the bears diet. Treyton liked that Polar Bears only ate meat :). I found it interesting that Black Bears while they can and do eat meat, usually eat more fruits and veggies.

We watched the Nanuq DVD (a cute polar bear cub we read about in our go-along book) we received with our book, and played the online games.

We printed off story pages from Homeschool Share and the kids on day three put them in order from memory.  IMG_0087 



For a fun craft, I found this cute bear face made from circles on DLTK. I cut Lexie’s out for her and glued the backs but she assembled it on her own after I showed her a copy. IMG_0097She did an excellent job.   IMG_0100 Treyton did his craft completely on his own: cut, assembled and glued. IMG_0106


Narration & Imagination

Treyton drew his own picture of a bear and narrated a story to me that I typed up for him to add to his picture.

“The Bear & His Friends All Together”

Before, there was a bear. He had a house, his house is a cave. He is a nice bear. He found some people and he played friends with them. They played “I Spy.”

The bear surprised them for snack time, with berries.

The people and bear ate berries.

It was a nice day out, and they had a lot of fun.

They played games, they ate lunch in the afternoon.

Bear set up a bed for his friends so they could spend the night. They are supper and talked for a little bit. They watched TV, they played two games, and then they went to bed.

Here is our Finished Lap Journal Pages: IMG_0110 



IMG_0108 Phonics & Reading:

We completed lesson 10 this week in Explode the Code which was the short sound /o/. We were able to complete the entire lesson in 1 week, which is the quickest we’ve gotten through a lesson so far.

Treyton is very motivated to read right now. Tim told him that as soon as he finished an assigned reading book (from me) he would take him out bowling. I told Treyton he needed to read 3 stories in his Sonlight Reader and the entire /o/ book from progressive phonics. He nearly finished this week. I expect one more day and he will finish it up.



Mrs. Piggle Wiggle


I have been looking for some other way to teach Treyton drawing because I’m not so good at teaching him on my own. I’ve used some drawing books, which have helped a litte, but I still struggled coming up with how to teach things like dimension, shading and adding detail. After asking several of the online groups that I am in someone recommended Mark Kistler’s Art Lessons called Mini-Marshmallows. Which I liked the look of right away – they are online videos where Mark teaches the student how to draw different pictures. So far we’ve only done three of the free lessons but we’re really liking it.

IMG_0046 For an additional craft this week we decided to do some color mixing. Treyton read about color mixing in one of his magazines with Mommer a few weeks ago and even though I had talked to Treyton in the past about primary and secondary colors we had never actually mixed the paints to make the colors. IMG_0065We decided it was time. I had Treyton paint a big cardboard T that he bought (with his own money) from JoAnn’s, while Lexie painted some dinosaur pieces.




We finished underlining Treyton’s memory verses in his Bible this week. He’s so proud of all of his little markers so that he can find the specific verses. IMG_0010I love how much he loves the Word!! He often brings his Bible to me to read some of his verses and a fun section (as part of his particular Bible) out of it. He also enjoys showing other people his Bible and the verses he knows. IMG_0013 Math:

We were a little behind in our math lessons. We try to complete 3 lessons in a week, this week we did 6. Luckily, they were easier lessons, we didn’t cover anything new that was beyond what he was able to move through quickly.

We did work on measuring this week. It worked out great because he also worked on measuring in his WINGS co-op. He also had his first experience with writing a fraction when he needed to write 6 1/2 inches in his co-op.

Handwriting & Copywork:

We did lots of Handwriting practice this week. Not just doing the Handwriting Without Tears pages but I also did a letter quiz on all the letters we’ve done so far we did  this year.

Tot School:

Lexie worked on coloring her green book from ABC Teach which she did a great job on. We also worked on shapes this week, which she is doing well at. Surprisingly, she knew more than I thought. The one she gets right the most (all the time I should say) is the oval, then the triangle. We’re still working on Squares, Rectangles and Circles.

Extra Links

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1

Preschool & 5K Weekly Wrap Up @ Homeschool Creations

Homeschool Share – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt  story pages

Mama-Jenn: MFW K Printables

Homeschool Share: Bears Lapbook

Bear Coloring Pages

DLTK: Bear Circle Craft

Green book from ABC Teach

Paddle to the Sea Activity Guide

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Counting Coins

IMG_0014 I saw this cute game on Superheroes and Princesses and knew I wanted to do it with Treyton.

To make the “game board” I folded a piece of paper into 4-columns. Because we are learning the number value of the coins, instead of placing the coins at the top, I wrote the number value instead (for a constant reminder). IMG_0005

1-Player Game

I gave Treyton a die and let him roll. I would give him the value of what he rolled in pennies. He could trade the pennies to get higher and higher coins (nickles, dimes or quarters).


I called myself the banker, and would allow him to exchange money in between each turn.

We play until one of us gets tired of the game.


2-Player Game

Each player gets a game board. We set a specific number of rolls before the game starts (we say 20).

You rotate around the board, rolling the die. The banker (who can also be a player) pays the pennies worth of what you roll. The players exchange their pennies for higher value when they want (for what they want).

At the end of the game, the person with the most money wins.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bible: The Temple


To begin our study each day we read the story about the building of the temple in our different Children’s Bible. On the last day we put the temple on our timeline.


We took the time to discuss how the temple was where God would meet his people and where the people came to worship God. We talked about how we don’t need the temple now because God lives in our hearts, we are God’s temple.


To illustrate the temple I found a picture of Solomon’s temple in a Bible study tool and showed it to the kids. Treyton really appreciated the detail of the temple. I later found out (on my own) that Solomon’s Temple was as long as a basketball court but a little skinnier. I don’t know why, but I always pictured bigger.

Hands On:

The kids also built there own replicas of the temple using graham crackers, frosting and marshmallows (what I had on hand). IMG_0052Treyton did a great job, even adding a “holy of holies”. His little marshmallows were fire, to help them see. He thought of so much, I was surprised by his attention to detail.   IMG_0061




Friday, October 22, 2010

Week 11 – Rabbits & Turtles

(I have decided to start posting ALL of our school in one post, once a week, I think this will make it easier on me – I was trying to divide it up for organizational purposes, but time saving is more important for now)

Daily Board Elements:  

Letter of the Week: Tt

Color of the Week: Yellow

Shape of the Week: Oval

Number of the Week: 9

Memory Verse: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12

State: Georgia

B4FIAR: We rowed “The Little Rabbit” this week. I was looking forward to this book the least, I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m past the “rabbit” thing with my kids (we covered that when we did Runaway Bunny). But Treyton, especially, enjoyed this book. I should have expected that, he loves “real” pictures over illustrated pictures normally.

This is a cute story about a girl with a pet bunny names Buttercup. Buttercup ends up becoming a mommy bunny to 7 baby Bunny which are named the days of the week.

Treyton and Lexie both talked about what kind of animals they would like for a pet. Lexie is hands down a kitty. Treyton has always wanted a dog, but after this week he said he wanted a bunny because they cuddle. There is a picture of the little girl laying in a field with the bunny sitting on her stomach while she is sleeping. The story then goes on to explain how the bunny goes out to explore, but that part didn’t seem to phase him ;)

We also compared and contrasted the white, pet rabbit that Buttercup was, to the brown wild bunny in the story. Lexie was the first to find a similarity, “two eyes” :) We also came up with: both had fur, four legs, two ears and tails. The differences they found were fur color, the wild bunny’s ability to camouflage and eye color. 

Lexie played a counting game, feeding a rabbit the number of carrots I would tell her too.    IMG_0022IMG_0020

Lexie also completed a coloring flap book. She is getting better every day at recalling her colors. To complete this book I would simply tell her a color and she would find it and color it under the flap. IMG_0018

Treyton assembled the lapbook. 

MFW (Science): Turtles – to be honest, we did hardly anything with just turtles this week. Besides reading a couple of turtle books. Science was put to the side a little bit while we focused more on Nature (see below)

However, because we were learning about Turtles and reading “The Little Rabbit” we decided to read the “Tortoise and the Hare”. I made some finger puppets for the kids, and they each got a day to retell the story back to us. 

IMG_0002 IMG_0006 Phonics & Reading:

We are working on getting back to working in our Explode the Code Books. We have finished the first 6 lessons (which covered /a/ and /i/) we skipped ahead to lesson 10 to cover /o/. While Treyton is an exceptional reader when reading short /a/ words, he was struggling with transitioning to other vowels. We spent some extra time this week covering all the vowel sounds. IMG_0010

We played the Happy Phonics Vowel game, which he loved, I think mostly because he won (he’s so competitive :)). In this game you are given pictures, you are to figure out which vowel you hear in the word (example: sun, bed, fence), once you do, you get to move your piece to that vowel on the game board, working your way up until someone reaches the end (the winner).

For even more vowel activities, I printed off Confessions of a Homeschoolers Blend Ladders and we are working on blending just two-letters more smoothly and naturally. While Treyton is able to read and sound out, he can improve on his reading reflex, making it more natural, I feel like these extra games are helping with that.

Read-Aloud(s): I have been working hard on selecting some good read-alouds to implement into our school. For a while I thought I would try to correlate them to one of the topics we were covering but have since changed my mind, after realizing we will switch topics fast than we will read some of our read-alouds.

After much deliberating the read alouds I chose to start this week were:

Paddle to the See

George Washington

Beatrix Potter The Complete Collection

Nature: Check out my recent post I did on our nature walk and journaling looking for the Signs of Autumn IMG_0185Bible: The Building of the Temple (which we spread out over two weeks, and I will post about separately)

Math: Treyton completed lessons 42-46 in Horizon’s K Math. He is now able to do most simple addition in his head – I’m still not sure how he does it, because it wasn’t something I taught him to do, but he almost always gets them right. IMG_0008To reinforce the skip counting we have been working hard on, I printed out a paintbrush skip-counting printable that I cut out and had Treyton put in order.

Treyton and Alexa both played the large floor turtle number jumping game, I printed off from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I would roll two die and call out a number for each child to run and jump on. Luckily I never got an 11 or 12. This was great practice on number recognition for Treyton, Lexie was more along for the ride and giggles :) IMG_0027

We continue to learn about money, and when I saw this cute game for counting money, I knew I wanted to do it. After a little revision, we made it work for us. We called the game “Change”.

Handwriting & Copywork: He completed his copywork page that I printed off from Mama-Jenn “I do not quit. I persevere” I had him illustrate it with his a drawing from the story we had just read, the Tortoise and the Hare. IMG_0031

Tot School:

My primary focus for Lexie in school continues to be her colors. When we have time to work one-on-one with each other we usually complete one of her many coloring games. This week our new (and favorite game) was from Confessions of a Homeschooler, the Paintrush File Folder Game. Lexie is very good at matching her colors, so we tried to work more on picking the colors that I would call. IMG_0037

Alexa has always been so smart. Instead of picking just one of that color she figured out that if she would pick 2 or more of the color I called, she could fill up her jars faster. A multi-tasker already!!

Some of her favorite tot-toys this week were: IMG_0013

Building Blocks & Lacing Shapes 

Extra Links

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1

Preschool & 5K Weekly Wrap Up @ Homeschool Creations

Confessions of a Homeschooler – Tt Printables, Blend Ladders

Homeschool Share – The Little Rabbit Printables

Mama-Jenn: MFW K Printables

Homeschool Share: Paint Brush Skip Counting Game

TOS Review: Brill Kids


Little Reader Basic Product Description:

This reading software is designed for kids from 6 months – 3 years of age. While it is a flash card program it is run through your computer, so you and your child use the computer screen rather than paper flash cards. Daily sessions are only 2-5 minutes each.

image What Their Website Says:

With Little Reader, you can be sure to make learning ENGAGING for your child and teaching EASY for you. With its user-friendly interface and powerful functions, you'll find yourself turning into your child's first and best teacher in no time!

Can't figure out how, what and when to teach your child? Dont worry! Little Reader comes with a parent-tested and educator-approved early reading curriculum - all you need to do is follow it!

You'll always have lessons to teach for each day, from word and picture flash lessons to multisensory and Pattern Phonics™ lessons, and even short sentences and stories!

Little Reader also lets you create personalized lessons or download additional lessons on different topics and languages from the Little Reader Library at the BrillKids Forum - this ensures that your child's learning process won't stop where your reading curriculum ends.

And each Little Reader license key can be installed on UP TO 2 computers (for example, you can install Little Reader in your home desktop PC and in your laptop computer), so you can teach your child wherever you go!

And one last thing: we at BrillKids guarantee that you'll never teach alone, as our Customer Support team and everyone in the BrillKids parenting community are here to provide support and advice on how to go about teaching and using Little Reader

Product Review

As far as the product itself goes, the downloading process was fairly easy, it took a little time and seemed like a large file, but overall, self-explanatory and easy to do. There are many ways to personalize this program for your child, which is fun and always a nice touch to anything we do with our children.

Below is an example of what some of the included flashcards look like. You are able to personalize word like your child’s name, adding a picture if you’d like.


When I asked Lexie what she thought all she could talk about were either the puppy dog or kitty cat pictures. She would sit and watch the sessions with me each day but in the few weeks that we were doing them, I didn’t notice any “reading” being done. Though 4 weeks (when our family started using the product) is not an adequate period to gauge success for this type of product.

It’s very nice that the sessions are so short, they were able to maintain her attention and while she didn’t respond or want to interact at all at first, in time she warmed up a little bit. At no point, however, did she read the words on her own.

A negative to this program for me, is that Little reader uses what is called a “whole-word approach” to learn how to read. It is basically word memorization. Brillbaby addresses the whole-word vs. phonics debate in an article here. From a personal viewpoint, I do not prefer to use this type of approach for learning how to read. The makers of Brillbaby agree that whole-word learning should not replace phonics learning. From a purely personal perspective (I am not an expert even a little bit), I believe phonics should be taught first and as the primary reading tool, though whole-word reading is eventually needed in conjunction to phonics (i.e. sight words), and in time most of us learn to read using whole-word approach (rather than phonics), however, when teaching the skill of reading I prefer to lay a solid foundation in phonics and build from there.

To Purchase

Little Reader Basic is for available for purchase for $149.00 for 1 6-month semester. For me personally, the price seems a little high, but it doesn’t seem to be that far off when comparing it to other products like it.

There is also a trial version you can try out here.

To see what my fellow crew mates are saying go here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free, through my association with the TOS Crew, for the purpose of review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tot School: Weeks 9 & 10

Counting: Lexie doesn’t recognize any numbers really, but can count to 7 with a little bit of help. For some reason, the hardest part is the number 1 – if she starts with the number 1, she does pretty good. This is what she normally says, “1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7” we help her come up with 5.

Colors: Some days Alexa does great with her colors, I can call out a basic color and she will pick it up. Other days, everything is “blue”. :)  Colors are what we have decided to start focusing on, so we’ve been playing a lot of color matching games with our toys and things we have on hand.

Imaginative Play

IMG_0039Lexa had her first real tea party. We invited the boys for the last round of tea, but it was mostly just Lexa and I. It was a lot of fun. Lexie practiced pouring, and drinking like a lady :) IMG_0037

Here she is after she poured her own tea, overflowing her cup, luckily she’s a second born so this doesn’t phase her much, and we were able to continue our party like nothing happened.


Lexie enjoyed playing with our Read and Spell pieces for nearly an hour one afternoon.  I talked a little about the letters in specific, but mostly she just put the puzzle pieces together and took them apart. IMG_0009

Art Projects

Lexie literally squeals with delight anytime the art supply closet is even opened. She jumps at the chance to do any type of craft

Writing Her Name

Alexa LOVES to write her name! She isn’t able to do it on her own yet but asks at least twice a day to have me help her (by putting my hand over her’s) to write it. She is getting pretty good at repeating the letters back to me as we write she will get A-L-E sometimes on her own even (and sometimes not).