Thursday, April 28, 2011

Daily Board & Calendar (2011 Style)

As we come to the end of our 2010-2011 school year and I start researching and purchasing all my elements for the upcoming year the time has come to update our daily board. I was surprised by how well our current style worked and how we kept using it throughout most of the year. If you want ideas for a Kindergarten age board, definitely go back and check out what we used last year.

Over the past year our board has expanded, in that it isn’t JUST one board, there are also elements on our wall alongside the board that we use during our morning routine.


For this upcoming year I combined both elements for Treyton and elements for Alexa onto 1 baord. Although Alexa is not quite 3 many of her elements will be some of the same that Treyton used for the last two years, because she is going to begin learning her letters and will also participate in a number of the day/week program.    IMG_0030 

For the Preschool Elements I will be keeping the following:

  • Letter of the Week
  • Number of the Week
  • Shape of the Week
  • Color of the Week

 Combined Elements: some portions of our board both children will be allowed (and expected) to participate in.

  • Pledge and Prayer – I try to make this the very first thing we do, but sometimes out of excitement it will fall to 3rd or 4th.
  • Memory Verse – I print the cards from Homeschool Creations to go along with Treyton’s AWANA weekly verse
    • I may not expect Lexie to memorize the verse that Treyton is learning every week. She may get two-three weeks for each verse, we shall see how she handles it.
  • Counting Chart
    • Treyton will use this chart primarily for skip counting (he already knows how to count by 2s, 5s and 10s, and is learning how to count by 3s)
    • Lexie will use this chart to begin counting past 20 and number recognition. 

Treyton’s 1st Grade Elements

  • Latin Root – I have been wanting to teach some greek or latin roots for a while now and while one day I am fairly certain I will actually teach the kids latin, for now I just wanted to start introducing some of the roots that we use in our everyday language. This is one of the many ways I plan on working towards increasing Treyton’s language and vocabulary in the next year. If I can teach him roots, this will give him a tool to use rather than just learning one word at a time, he will begin to learn the process of understanding words as pieces which will then help him breakdown words that he hears giving him at least partial understanding. I will hopefully be posting an individual post regarding this new element and include my printables and the 24 roots that I have already selected to use.
  • Spelling/Phonics Rule – I’m simply attaching the key rule we are learning in our All About Spelling program to review and then lead into our spelling lesson for the day.
  • People to Remember/Pray For – this is just another tool that we are using to help Treyton remember people that we are currently studying (right now we have our Frans Lanting (famous photographer) timeline piece on this slot) and/or people he’s recently met or family member’s/friend he doesn’t see very often that I want him to remember their names.
  • Sight Words – The three pages of list to the left hand side of our board are the sight words he’s already got down, the sight word spot on the actual board is for sight words he’s currently working on. We review the entire list once a week.
  • What Time is It? I attached a clock I got from the Dollar Tree that we use to practice telling time.
  • Address & Phone Number from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Treyton already knows his phone number, emergency phone number (911), city and state. We will use this to begin learning his street address.
  • Maps I got two placemat maps from the $1 bins at target two years ago and they have worked well (as far as size goes) for us. I’ve recently had to turn them over to the smaller sides because of Treyton’s ability to read. (He’s very proud of his “cheating ability”)


Calendar Elements

We do the calendar together, we have a calendar board at the beginning of every month we fill in our monthly schedule, birthdays, and important dates. Every morning we add in the calendar pieces to the current date. IMG_0031

I wouldn’t normally require Alexa to participate in the calendar portion because I feel like it’s over her head but she wants to be a part of it, so I went ahead and made a Calendar Notebook for both of the kids to prevent any fights between them. IMG_0005

We use a Calendar Notebook primarily for space and so that they each have there own pieces to use. Each child got to decorate their own cover (the above example is Treyton’s).

Each notebook includes:

  • A Monthly Calendar from ABC Teach
    • When I fill in our monthly schedule, birthdays and important dates on our calendar board, the kids fill in their calendar page in their notebooks, including the days of the month. They X out each day as it passes.
  • Days of School Chart
    • We use an 180 day chart because that is what our state requires us to fulfill.
  • A List of This Month’s Birthdays (I made this myself) It is simply 12 cupcakes (one for each month) with our entire extended families birthdays listed in the appropriate months. 
  • Weather Graph from Mrs. McDowell
  • Treyton also has a Weekly Temperature Sheet from Homeschool Creations

We have been using our board for the past 2 weeks and it is so far working really well for us. We use our daily board to start our morning, and from there we typically do spelling (from the spelling element) from there it changes depending on our moods.


Homeschool Creations: Calendar and Morning Board

1+1+1=1: Calendar Board

Delightful Learning: Calendar and Morning Board

Mama Jenn: Calendar Board (& Notebook)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fighting to Succeed: Part 2 Auditory Processing Disorder

A few days after writing part one of this post series – I “coincidentally” came across a blog article regarding something called “Auditory Processing Disorder” after reading merely the name my heart felt a little prick, like I was finally able to put my finger on what it was that Treyton was experiencing. IMG_0125 After spending an hour or so scouring the internet, I knew that this was a part of Treyton language struggles. I put several books on hold at the library and within a few days I was reading anything and everything I could about this more-popular-than-I realized disorder.

To try and simply explain, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a breakdown in the second stage of hearing. While the child is fully able to “hear” sound vibrations through the ear (it is not a hearing impairment), there is a breakdown (somewhere) in the electrical “relay” in the brain that processes the sounds the child hears.

There is no formal/physical treatment for APD, there is only training and skill building for the child and learning to live with the disorder. There are different kinds of symptoms, I’m assuming based on where the breakdown occurs for the individual child, and so it looks different for each child.

I looked in to getting Treyton tested, calling around to several Audiologists in my area and after several phone calls found one physician who actually tested for APD (for $200), but the office actually dissuaded me from getting the test stating that there was no treatment but only training and skill building, things we could actually do on our own at home.

Like I mentioned before, APD can look different for different kids, for Treyton what this can sometimes look like:

~ Mispronunciation of words: the other day we were talking about the field next to our house and Treyton was talking about the smell of manure he said something along the lines of “If I rode my bike in there I would not smell relicious” (he meant delicious, a word he had recently learned but didn’t have all of the sounds)

~ Struggles following directions, particularly multi-step directions.

~ Decreased vocabulary or improper word use. After I said the word “hilarious’ one afternoon, Treyton had a look of confusion on his face so I asked “Do you know what hilarious means?” He said no, so I explained it to him, and brought it up several different times in the following two days. On day three I heard him say to Audrey “Audrey you are hairious, you are just too funny!”  I gently corrected how he said hilarious, he said the same sentence (on his own) again, saying it correctly. Since then I’ve heard him use it twice correctly pronounced and in the correct context.

~ Inability to learn and remember people’s names, particularly when he’s meeting a lot of people at one time, or with people he doesn’t see very often.

~ Struggles listening to (and sitting through) prolonged lessons or lectures. Conversational pieces are not as bad, like reading, theatre and movies but even those he isn’t able to remember much of.

~ Entering a group, it takes Treyton a long time to warm up to new people. I thought that he was shy for the longest time, but he’s really not. Group conversation is one of the more overwhelming situations for Treyton, while noise in general doesn’t bother him, lots of different noises and tones are very overwhelming and hard to listen to. He’s a very social kid, and he wants to fit in, but it’s not easy for him because often times he doesn’t understand the other kids and misses common social cues. While this hasn’t caused him any serious problems, in the last year or two he has begun to pick up on it and feel more awkward in busy socail settings.

~ Frequently asks for clarification and for you to repeat what you said. Because he’s not always sure what he might have heard “Huh?” is a common question from him. Talking in the car is VERY difficult because it’s best to turn around and talk directly to Treyton face-to-face.

~ Prefers to talk rather than being talked to. If Treyton can control the conversation he has a better chance of figuring out what the other person is saying. Whereas if someone else starts a conversation with him or is carrying most of the conversation it is typical for him to shy away or look to me for clarification on what is being said or asked of him.


There are other ways that this disorder affects Treyton, but those are the things that come to mind now.

While APD has always been a part of Treyton’s life, he is now becoming more aware of his speech difficulties and lower language ability. In the past week Treyton has brought several situations to my attention in that he doesn’t feel like he’s doing or saying things right. One of the things he brought up this week was the fact he doesn’t say the number six correctly.

He said “I just don’t know mom, I’m just not that good at numbers.” (side note: he is INCREDIBLY smart with numbers and math, despite his language struggles)

I said “Yes you are! You’re great with numbers.”

“Think about it, I can’t even say sick. Listen sik, sik, You know, 4, 5, sik.”

“Yeah, I know what you’re saying, and you’re right, you’re saying it wrong, but you know that you say it wrong, so now you can learn to say it right, that’s a great job.”

“Yeah? How am I supposed to say it?”

We worked through it, and while he still says 6 wrong, it’s now a word that we are deliberate about him pronouncing right and I am certain he will catch on after a while. In fact, just today he was telling Lexie something and I heard him say the word “fix” totally right. That’s a huge step!


I mentioned before that I’ve been reading lots of books and sites on the disorder and I’ve learned lots of pointers, tips and games that I was grateful to see that Tim and I were already implementing. The truth is, despite what struggles our children face, God knows, more than we do, what they need. He is always in control and looking back I see His hand in our journey as a family, even in the times we didn’t know we needed it. There have been lots of times where He has revealed things to me about Treyton and his personality that I would pray about and from there we would try things (often times through trial and error) until they worked for all of us.

The more I learn about APD the more I realize the positive effect being at home with me has been for him. While we’ve managed to keep him in a healthy amount of social activities, we were also careful about not overwhelming him with over-exposure, which I realized early on was possible with him. I picked up on cues early on in his development and tried different things to try and make life easier on all of us - many of our defensive and offensive measures, though they were un-educated, were all the things that the professionals recommend.

The truth is Treyton is striving and continues to grow and learn despite his struggles. Like I said in my previous post, it’s not easy watching him struggle, particularly in watching him start to realize his difference from other kids his age. But it’s great to watch him learn, to watch him try and to know that despite what the world says (including some well meaning professionals) this disorder is not something we will allow to enable or excuse poor behavior – we haven’t up to this point in his life, and we won’t start now – and we won’t allow him to settle or be defeated by a label. Because in the end, that’s what this is – a label, a diagnosis of a struggle, but the fact is we ALL struggle, we all have things that we must overcome. Treyton is lucky enough to have started overcoming his before he realized he had the option of giving up. 

He’s a fighter.

He’s a sweetheart.

He’s unique.

He’s blessed.

And like he once told me not all that long ago “I’m special just the way I am, because that’s the way that God made me!”

Did I mention that he’s also wise beyond his years?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tot School (Week 29): Mouse Shapes

Tot School gets it’s own individual post this week because since getting back into school Alexa and I have been taking her “school” more seriously. :)

Alexa continues to amaze me. I know I say this almost every week but it’s true. She’s super smart which is great for both of us because she has no desire for me to teach her. She’s incredibly independent and refuses to admit if she doesn’t know something.

This sounds like it would mean she doesn’t like doing organized school, but that’s not true at all. She desperately wants as much one-on-one time with mom as she can get working on her own school. She loves her “big girl school” and she begs to do school. She just prefers to run/control the things that we are doing and doesn’t like me to interfere to much, but to sit, observe and answer any questions she has.

Her favorite activity was flashcards this week. Sounds boring I know but she LOVES it. She begs me to go through them with her.


  • She now knows all of her shapes except rectangles.
  • All of her colors.
  • Most of her numbers 1-10, she still needs work with 6, 7, 9 and 10 but can sometimes get them on her own.


We read the book “Mouse Shapes” every day this week I guess you can say we “rowed” it. IMG_0012It is a story about mice hiding from a cat in a pile of shapes, they make all different things from the different shapes.  IMG_0014The first day we read the book we used our Melissa and Doug Magnetic Pattern Block set to make matching objects. IMG_0032This was a lot of fun and gave us lots of practice with our basic shapes. 

The second day I had paper shapes that we made crafts with and glued on to a piece of white paper. IMG_0084I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Lexie so proud of something she’s made. She insisted on doing most of it herself, I was only allowed to help point out where she should place a piece (not to be confused with helping her place it). I also was allowed to help her tape the back of the pieces because she was unable to do it herself.

A Mouse & A Wagon IMG_0139

A House, Tree & Sun IMG_0131

A Fish IMG_0138


Lexie continues to focus her number activities with the Confessions of a Homeschooler number game I printed a while ago.


I also printed off some do-a-dot pages for her from Making Learning Fun this week which proved to be a HUGE hit with her.



She did several color matching activities this week – a couple solar system ones I printed out for our unit as well as Erica’s from Confessions of a Homeschooler Color Puzzles.


I enjoy working on the color review with her but she really doesn’t need it anymore. IMG_0096Not only does she know all of her colors, she knows most of her family’s favorite colors which she will include in her declaration:

  • “Pink – Princess’ favorite”
  • “Orange – Train’s favorite”
  • “Green – Mama’s favorite”
  • “Purple – Daddy-O’s favorite”
  • “Yellow – Mommer’s favorite”

Fine Motor Skills IMG_0104

Building, building and building – does it get any better for a 2 1/2 year old? Lexie has been working on building a tall tower on her own for a while now. IMG_0107 She usually ends up tipping it over before she can get ALL of the blocks on – well this week she finally overcame that.

IMG_0108 And being the sweet little sister that she is, she allowed Treyton to help her knock it over. IMG_0109


Tot School @ 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

And the Winner Is:

image selected comment number 31 of 33 which happens to be my sister Skye

image Her comment was:

Ashley Skye said...

I follow Manhattan Toy on Facebook

April 19, 2011 7:04 PM

Thank you all for entering the PJ Tot giveaway!

Friday, April 22, 2011

TOS Review: See the Light Art Class


Product Description & Review:

We were recently given the opportunity to review is a video art curriculum called Art Class through See the Light.


We received the first DVD in the imageseries “Art Class Volume 1: Lessons 1-4” ($14.99). These videos gave us the opportunity to take art lessons from an actual art teacher. The 4 sessions we participated in were called: Tools of the Trade, It all Starts with a Line, Contours & Composition, and Draw What you See, plus there was a bonus lesson: Chalk-It-Easy

Each session includes step by step art tutorials. The video lessons were helpful in that you could easily pause, rewind or replay any section you needed to.    IMG_0115Not having any artistic drawing skills of my own, I feel like I am a fellow student alongside of Treyton and as such, I find this approach easy to follow and I looked forward to the lessons. Something I really liked about this program were the famous artist examples (like Picasso) for specific skills (like contour lines). image

The teacher, Pat, spoke clearly, slowly and in simple enough terms for any child (or adult, in my case) to understand, rarely did we need to stop, rewind or replay parts of the videos. They were easy to follow and pay attention to.

We have used other types of art programs similar to this one but what made this one so unique and great is how each art lesson is tied back to the Word of God.IMG_0117 While Treyton was certainly stretched by the sessions and he wants to draw well, he doesn’t want to have to work at getting better, he wants it to come naturally. (Don’t we all?) The great thing about this program is that sessions were focused on only 1 or 2 simple concepts in a short 15-minute segment which prevented any frustration. IMG_0119In the above picture Treyton is working on drawing the contour lines of this apple without looking at the paper. It takes practice to train the mind to direct the hand to draw what the eye actually sees. This was a practical and simple exercise that Treyton practiced several times between session 2 and 3.

The concepts we covered are considered basic (by some :) ), but for us, it is where we needed to start, if you or your children have some experience and/or artistic talent you could possibly start further into the series with one of the other disks – topics covered include:

  • Black & White Contrast
  • Tone, Shade & Shadow
  • Proportions
  • Scale
  • Texture
  • 3D
  • Symmetry
  • Circles 

If you don’t have an art program that you’re fully satisfied you should check these out. Start here by checking out these “freeviews” (or free lessons).


Also, while on the website I noticed a free DVD offer which is definitely worth your time, all you have to do is complete the form!


An individual DVD (like the one I reviewed) costs $14.99, or you can purchase the full-year 9 disk set for $99.00 on their site.


Visit the TOS Crew Blog to see what my fellow TOS Crew members had to say about the Art Class Program.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for the purpose of this review as part of my membership of the TOS CREW, the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MFW – 1st Grade Noah’s Ark & Solar System


This week we had two Bible Stories one of them being the story of Noah’s Ark. Though this is a familiar story in our house, we still managed to have a lot of fun with it.

We were supposed to go outside and measure out the ark, which would have been a GREAT visual (I think) but the night before we were supposed to do it we were dumped with nearly 9 inches of snow – yes, you heard me right, we had a snow storm in April! Welcome to Wisconsin!  IMG_0132 I was a little disappointed in Treyton’s Noah drawing, but he wasn’t fully to blame, I had him color the rainbow assignment and draw his picture during quiet time, he was clearly done with “artistic thinking” by the time he got to his drawing :)


For the hands-on activity we made aluminum foil boats. At first I cut out 4 pieces of aluminum foil and left Treyton with the directions “Make a boat that will float” – I wanted to see what he would do.

IMG_0120He didn’t.

So I sat down and made my own boat, which he then mimicked and did a great job on. We had a little “friendly competition” to see whose boat would hold more coins before sinking.

IMG_0122To be fair, both our boats started taking in water, but Treyton’s actually sank first. I’m not so sure it was a design/manufacturing malfunction as much as the trajectory of the coin drops :)


While I would gently place my coins in, Treyton would drop land them from at least a foot above his boat for a much strong impact.       IMG_0125


We also made a Bible lands salt-dough map this week. It was supposed to be a 1-day assignment – I don’t see how that would be possible at this age with the size they recommended. We turned it into a 3-day assignment.

IMG_0066On day 1 I made the salt-doh recipe , which I quickly realized was not going to cover the entire map. IMG_0065We did 1/4 of it, then that night while I was at Hobby Lobby shopping for something else I found air-drying clay which was much easier to apply and stuck much better onto my cardboard (which I used in lieu of plywood).  IMG_0072

When it dried it cracked pretty badly… but I figure, hey it’s a desert, cracks are normal…. right?


After it dried we painted it to “pretty it up”


Treyton thought the Bible lands map was one of the coolest assignments we’ve ever had. While we were making it Treyton kept saying things like “This is the coolest thing ever, mom” “We’re going to keep this forever, right mom?” “Thanks for letting us do this mom, this is fun.” IMG_0021

I’m so glad he enjoyed it and it was totally worth the little bit of extra work.


In order to motivate a better picture (after his less than desirable drawing for the Noah’s Ark portion), I showed an example of 2 Ladybugs & A Lizard’s Tower of Babel and Noah’s Ark picture which he was REALLY impressed with. It worked in motivating him - he came up with an original idea for his Tower page:      IMG_0026He took pieces of square construction paper to construct his tower and then colored in/drew the rest. 

He asked me, special, to “Please have the 7 year old girl look at my picture and see if she likes it” So Kattie, if you are reading this would you mind have Big Ladybug take a look and letting us know what she thinks :)


We built our own tower of toothpicks and play-doh which was a little trickier than I thought it was going to be, but he did pretty well (I think).


We basically finished up the solar system this week, minus a few lose ends. Alexa and Treyton combined efforts to complete the lapbook this time which I think makes it even more special than normal.

We didn’t actually do all of the recommended exploration day activities. IMG_0126We did however do the balloon rocket which I think might be the highest rated science experiment thus far! We did it over – and – over – and – over again; then we waited for Dad to get home and we did it again and again! LOL!  IMG_0127 



My sister-in-law gave us a bunch of great solar system stuff (without knowing I was preparing to cover this unit), including a great floor puzzle. It is over 5 feet long. Treyton loves puzzles so this was a great extra for him. 


IMG_0086Treyton completed a rocket blast off printable and afterward did not want to include it in the book because he wanted to be able to fly it around after he counted down. How do say no to that? IMG_0101 Some of our other lap-journal pieces included: a spaceship color-by-numberIMG_0053

…. a copy of the Planet song


…. separating planets from non-planets activity



…. copywork: planet names in order.

Treyton picked up on the planet names better than I thought he would, he can’t list them all off the top of his head, but he can name several of them, especially once we start putting them in order.


Lexie participated in our Solar System Unit with color matching, letter tracing, letter finding and coloring, rather than the science part of it.


We had such a fun-filled week. I can’t say enough good things about My Father’s World, it’s perfect for our family.

To see what other’s did with My Father’s World visit the linky at 2 Lizard’s and a Ladybug, who is guest hosting MFW Homeschool Highlights for Kathi this week.


Preschool Corner @ Homeschool Creations

Weekly Wrap Up @ Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers