Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Recommended Websites

I had a couple of links that I wanted to share with you all – as always I continue to update my resource list found in the drop down toolbar, but I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of things. First off ABC Jesus Loves Me is a website that recently contacted me and asked me to take a look at their site and let me know what I think. It’s taken me a while but I finally got over there this past week. I haven’t looked as closely as I would like, but it seems like a great site.

They have free Bible curriculum at  for 3 and 4 year olds – 36 weekly lesson plans for each age, completely planned out for you. This is an excellent resource!!

They also have a page dedicated to creative sayings/lines to help your children learn to write their letters at ABC Jesus Loves Me – if you are teaching your child to write – you definitely need to check this out.

Printable Sight Word Booklets at Hubbards Cupboard

Tumblr Header3

Now – for the big reveal last week I started my own tumblr site. For a good explanation of what exactly tumblr is and the benefits of using it for yourself you can head over to Carissa’s blog for a better description.

But in a simple explanation of how I am using tumblr: it is as a public bookmarking sharing site. Meaning, when I find fun and creative ideas and projects that I would like to remember or keep, I bookmark them to this site to save them – the beauty of tumblr is that you can all see them too. So if you’re interested in seeing some of my favorite ideas check out my tumblr site.

There are two different views – there is what I will call a “list” view which is laid out more like a regular blog and then there is the thumbnail view. I like the look of the thumbnail view, because it is pictures (and I am highly visual) but it’s personal preference.

From the list viewing page I have a link that you can click to see sites by category or labels.

I would love for you all to check it out when you have time. Have fun browsing, but as a warning, it can get addicting (maybe set a time limit)!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tot School: Challenges and Rewards

Lexa is such a blessing to our family. She is her own person - incredibly smart, independent, sincere, dramatic, hilariously funny, loving and stubborn.  Doing Tot School with her is both challenging and rewarding.

That’s what this post is all about. IMG_0019

Challenge: the other day while I had my backed turned in the school room, working with Treyton on a math problem she got into the rubber stamps… instead of using the stamps she went right for the source, the ink pad.

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Reward: The other day, Treyton spent the night at his Aunt Toni’s and went strawberry picking. While he was away I got to spend a little one-on-one time with Lexa while Audrey slept in. This rarely happens so we made the most of it – making eggs for breakfast. Alexa loved the opportunity to help all by herself and I even let her crack the eggs – it’s amazing how fast she she is growing up! 

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Reward: Lexie often initiates her own learning experiences. While transplanting flowers she decided to pour water from one cup to another – practicing her fine motor skills and measuring. This is what it’s all about as a homeschooling mom I love to see Alexa take Treyton’s activities and turn them into her own.

Fun Challenge: She also learned the importance of hand-eye-coordination when she poured water right onto her lap.  

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Challenge: Lexa LOVES to exactly what Treyton is doing, which is fine unless it’s a workbook and I don’t have an extra copy – trust me when I say, it can get ugly.

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Reward: I love watching Treyton and Lexie together, they entertain themselves in the most fun ways. They have an awesome relationships.

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Reward: Her independent nature can sometimes be a challenge, but it’s also a reward in that she doesn’t give up easily. She is so determined and works hard as a result. (A typical second born jewel). :)

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Challenge: she learns loudly :) so if Treyton is doing school is can be a challenge to keep her entertained and learning without distracting Treyton too much.

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Reward: she is a self-motivated learner. Usually looking to learn, she’s up for a challenge and learns a lot along the way. When she plays with our wood blocks instead of taking the lid off and putting the blocks back in when she is done, she will usually do them one at a time in the appropriate shape slots.

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Challenge: At the beginning of school I got Alexa all of her own school supplies and a matching box to keep them in, but she tends to try to get Treyton’s in spite of the fact that they are exactly the same – this can cause some pretty big fights.

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Reward: being my first daughter, I was a little surprised by the fact that she wasn’t more “girly” – not necessarily a disappointment, but I wondered if I was doing something wrong. However, this week for the very first time she asked to play with her doll house – it was so cute – she would talk to the little people, bring them to the potty, sit them in the chair, etc. It’s a joy and blessing to watch.

Blog Walk: Weeks 2 & 3

blog walk project So I missed last weeks blog walk, I went and visited them all but failed to post (oops), so here are weeks the TOS Crews weeks 2 & 3 blog walk – enjoy!!

Week 2

1. Second Star to the Right and Straight On Till Morning 
2. Surviving The Testosterone 
3. Family Style School
4. School Around The Bible
5. 1628 The Story of The Goebels 5
6. Morris Family Madness
7. Homeschool Musings
8. Homeschooling (and then some!)
9. Heartfelt Homeschooling
10. Following Him Home

Week 3

1.

All American Family

2. Growing Fruit

3. Learning to Teach

4. Codex Young Author's Publishing Program

5. Stairsteps Homeschool Academy

6. Kingdom Academy

7. Living Sola Gratia

8. Wynfield Christian Academy

9. The Cow Queen

10. Peace Creek on the Prairie

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Plants & Flowers Unit

Continuing on with our plant and flowers unit we studied a little bit more in depth the process of pollination, the parts of a flower and what they need.

Activities and Experiments

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~ Planting Daisy Seeds on a Sponge – I saw this idea in several books with different seeds. We decided to try it with daisy seeds. So far nothing has happened, I’m not sure if they are going to grow or not, but the kids liked doing it.

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~ Labeling a live Flower (roots and all)

We went outside and picked a weed – each of the kids taped it to a large piece of construction paper and then we (Treyton, not so much Alexa) labeled them. 

IMG_0002 IMG_0005 ~ Watching and recording the progress of our Bean seedlings

Treyton and Alexa loved to run in every morning and check out the seeds and see how much they had grown. This was one of the ‘funnest’ activities that we did.

~ Transplanting our seedlings

After our plants grew up we decided it was time to transplant them into their own cups. This was a great lesson on how fragile plants are and how we need to be gentle with them.

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~ Measuring Bean Plants

We had four bean plants that sprouted well – after transplanting them (at 13 days) we decided to measure them for a while to watch how they grew.

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~ Seed Comparison

We received a complimentary seed packet from Creation Sensation that I ordered awhile ago. IMG_0059

It came at the perfect time – the envelope was filled with all different types of seeds: Sunflower, Turnip, Squash, Butterfly Mix, Lemon Mint Herb, Bean seed, Samara, Tuft and a Bur. There was also a mystery seed we’re supposed plant and grow.  It was nice to be able to illustrate different types of seeds in such a hands-on way.

Crafts

~ Parts of a Flower

~ Leaf Rub

Lapbook

I decided to go ahead and put a lapbook together of all the stuff we are learning, It seems as though sometimes lapbooks are a hit and sometimes there not, this time it was.

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These are some of the pieces that we used:

Tulip Maze at ABC Teach

Daisy Grid Drawing at ABC Teach (they also had a tulip)

Enchanted Learning had a cute printout that I couldn’t print or read well so I made my own, similar printable for Treyton to use

Color by Number at Enchanted Learning

Parts of a Flower Matchbook at Homeschool Helper

Seasons Shutter Book at Homeschool Share that we drew a flower during all the different seasons – we based it on Eric Carle’s “Tiny Seed”

Harmful and Helpful garden Creatures at Homeschool Share

Lexie did a flower’s need water tracing from kidssoup.com

If you’re interested there are a lot more links and resources here.

IMG_0002 We added our leaf rubbings as well. IMG_0004

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bee Unit: Links

We are planning on starting a unit on bees next week. Tim, Treyton and Alexa are out of town this weekend so I was able to get most of my research done in an afternoon! I had a little extra time, so I also made my own worksheet and extra lapbook pieces.

Videos

GPNC – Honey Bees

Bee Cam – Resets every 15 seconds

Life Cycle of Honey Bees Video on youtube

Dancing Honeybees on youtube

Science of the Bees Video

Lesson Plans

Homeschool Share – Honey Bees

Lesson Plan at www.honey.com (geared for 4th – 8th graders)

Lapbook

Homeschool Share Lapbook

Free Lapbook on Mediafire

My Printables

Do_You_Like_to_Buzz

Cut the book out, fold in half and place the bee on the front.

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Bee_Worksheet

Do You Like to Buzz? Lapbook

Beehive and Flower Lapbook Printables

Bee Worksheet

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kindergarten: Week 3

This was definitely not our best week of school, but I guess it wasn’t our worst either. Treyton was unmotivated and I was tired/crabby for part of the week. I’ve also been looking even more into curriculum and am considering changing things up – AGAIN – after I price out my options and move some of our resources around.

BUT In spite of all that, we still managed to get some stuff done. 

Language Arts

We’ve rowed the ABC Bunny book (for 2 weeks) which gave us lots of review of our letters and time to play letter games.

I also got Treyton the Leap Frog Talking Words Factory DVD. He watched it twice this week in the mornings before school started. It really motivated him to read, the first day he watched it, he walked into the school room pulled out his flip chart and started reading /a/ and /i/ words (on his own).

IMG_0002 He also completed lesson 4 in the Explode the Code Book 1. The workbook is finally starting to get a little easier for him, which is a relief to see.

* As a side note, we are going to be taking a break from the reading for a while. I think we are going to spend a little bit more time doing some more letter activities and practice. Though I know Treyton can read CVC words and knows all of his sounds, I really wonder if he knows that he can do it.  So my plan is to take a little step back and help build his confidence up in the letter sound area. We will continue doing some reading exercises and games, but our primary focus will be back on letters and sounds.

He is continuing learning his sight words - I got a little book for Treyton and we are going to start writing his sight words every week. He wrote “has” this week about 5 times.

Health

Treyton copied his address several times this week as his first exposure to our address. He’s not really getting it so I will be coming up with some creative ideas (other than writing it over and over) for him to learn it.

Math

We continued working on addition, he is really getting good at it and I’m proud of how fast he’s catching on.

I made up a tune to learn counting by 10s, I think it’s going to take him a little bit longer to catch on, only because he has a hard time saying some of the words (speech related). I did have him circle every 10 numbers on his number chart to 100, and we sang the song, talked about the numbers and he got the concept of what it is we were trying to do, which is important. IMG_0008The Horizon’s math is certainly getting a little bit tougher, but Treyton is still eager to do it, which is encouraging to see. He really wants to be good at math. 

P.E.

We enrolled Treyton in swimming classes. The classes are once a week (Thursday nights) for 9 weeks. So far he has done 2 classes and is loving it. He is the best back floater in his class!!

Geography

Our state this week was Arkansas. Treyton made his Geography page for his Geography Binder. And worked on review each day during our daily board time. IMG_0006

In addition to our US Geography we drew a map of Treyton’s room,Treyton needed A LOT of assistance with this activity – it was very insightful because it showed me that he doesn’t really understand the concept of a map. He can look at a US Map and he knows what it is or our globe, and he knows what that is. But I don’t think he realizes that it is a spatial, real representation of something. We will be doing this again, mapping not only his room, but our home and neighborhood.

Handwriting 

We finished lesson 2 this week in our A Reason for Handwriting.

To see what others are doing go to:

PreschoolCornersidebarbutton210

B4FIAR: ABC Bunny

The last 2 weeks we rowed the book “ABC Bunny”. ABC Bunny I took the opportunity to do alphabet review with Treyton. He did really well – but I noticed that he was unsure of himself a lot of the time, even when he knew the answer. So I have decided that we’re going to go back and do another breeze through the alphabet, to hopefully build his self-confidence up a little bit. I really think that most of his insecurity comes from his speech, certain sounds he says his way, but not necessarily the correct way, I always reemphasize the correct way so that he knows the sound, and we will often practice trying to say it – he doesn’t say anything and it doesn’t slow him down, but I’m pretty sure this is what is making him feel unsure of himself. I think he feels like he’s wrong, when he isn’t – he’s just not right (does that make sense to anyone but me?)

Alphabet

Alphabet Bingo

I got alphabet bingo from Sonlight – Treyton and Alexa both got a kick out of it. Alexa didn’t really play she mostly just put the markers on the card and took them off and put them back on again.  

Alphabet Flashcards

We did what you might expect – I would flip the cards over and Treyton would either tell me the name of the letter or the sound – we did both upper and lower.

Muffin Match

A Happy Phonics game that we love. This time I made Treyton first put all the letters in order (without help) and then match the tops. He complained about it a lot when he first got started but after a while he got right to work and did great.

IMG_0007 Alphabet Puzzles

IMG_0014Treyton got some alphabet puzzles for his birthday a couple of years back. Treyton used them quiet a bit last year and he did well with matching them up.

Alexa worked more on her fine motor skills and patience. I would give her the two matching pieces and she would put them together.

Literature

Treyton and I spent some time discussing  in further detail some of the pictures – like the rabbit munching on some lettuce in the garden. We talked about how as a garden owner that’s not something we want to see but that if we were a bunny we would really like that ;) This went very well with our plant and flowers unit.

This was a good exercise for both Treyton and I because sometimes he (fine, we) are so interested in reading that he forgets to actually understand and apply the story.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plants Unit: Leaves

Today we talked about leaves.

Nature Walk – Collecting Leaves

One of the first things we did was take a nature walk to collect different types of leaves and flowers.

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The kids had a great time wondering the yard and identifying several different types of wildflowers and weeds as well as leaves.

IMG_0062We picked about 12 different kinds of leave including a daisy leaf, a pine needle, milkweed and an Echinacea leaf.  

IMG_0051IMG_0052 Next we brought them inside and I had Treyton say a few words to describe each flower. I really wasn’t looking for much  of a description but was really just trying to get him to look closely at the flowers and leaves to see detail.

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IMG_0073 Some of the words he came up with included: prickly, fuzzy, hard line (which we discussed was the vein), soft, stingy (we had a stinging nettle), pokey and milky. IMG_0053 (Just a picture of Lexa looking pretty :))

Leaf Rub

Next, we took our leaves and made a few leaf rubs. Treyton loved this, I guess I never really thought to do this with him, and wish I would have sooner – he was so taken by the concept.

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The Mother Load

IMG_0079Later, after school actually, we went for another walk and while we were walking in the woods across the street we hit the motherload of leaves! The biggest leaf we found today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Great Deal!

On sale right now on amazon.com is the laminator that I use it is the Scotch Thermal Laminator. If you buy the laminator (which sells for $31.49) and 50 laminating sheets ($10.00 cost). You will then get $20.00 mail-in-rebate.

So for both the laminator and the sheets you would spend $21.49 - an incredible deal! This offer goes through July 31st.

I seriously LOVE my scotch laminator. I recommend it all the time to people. So if you are considering purchasing a laminator, now's the time to do it!!

* Thanks to Carissa over at 1+1+1=1 for letting me know about this deal 

Plants & Flowers Unit: Books

My Garden by Kevin Henkes my garden
This was one of Treyton’s favorite books from the unit and he asked to read it every day. A story about a little girl who, while working in her mom’s garden imagines what her own “pretend” garden would be like (a garden with no weeds, and magical, color changing flowers).
Tiny Seed by Eric Carle tiny seed
I loved this book (surprise, surprise I like most Eric Carle’s books). A story about a tiny seed going through the seasons. An exciting journey through the life cycle of a tiny seed and flower – very cute!
How & Why? Insect Visit Flowers by Elaine Pascoe insects visit flowers
This was an excellent book explaining nectar and why insects need flowers as well as pollination and why flowers need insects. Written at an elementary level with real-life pictures.
How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan  how a seed grows
A great book to read if you are going to be planting seeds. It walks you through the basic science of seeds and then walks you planting seeds in egg cartons and what to expect.
How Flowers Grow (An Usborne Book) by Emma Helbrough how flowers grow
We got this book with our sonlight curriculum. The illustrations are great and written at an elementary level. The page on pollination was what helped Treyton to grasp the concept. 
Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace 
A story about a little bear who gets a package from his grandpa – it’s full of art supplies and 5 bags (1 for each day) eachSeeds day he is surprised with different things he could do with the seeds.  He sorts the seeds , makes a bird feeder, plants some seeds, eats some seeds (sunflower), etc. Not only a cute story but a creative idea for a gift for a kid that “has everything”. It covers the science of germination, seed coverings, nutrition of seeds and different things the bear does with his seeds.
Flowers by Stone Flowers
A great elementary level science book with excellent pictures. If nothing else the book is worth the pictures alone.   
On One Flower by Anthony D. Fredericks
Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms by Diane L. Burns  Wildflowers Blooms and Blossoms
A nature field guide on different types of flowers.
Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattoumrs spitzer
A story about a teacher who plants a packet of seeds, tends to them and watches them grow. It wasn’t my favorite book but Treyton seemed to enjoy it (and request it). It seemed strange to me that there was a mention of a teacher  and a principal but never a mention of any students.
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss The Carrot Seed
We rowed this book last week and the kids are both still asking to read it. Treyton has asked questions about why the family discourages the boy after he plants the seed saying it won’t grow. It’s a great book teaching about discipline (taking care of a seed) and determination (going forward even when others don’t understand or agree).