Saturday, March 31, 2012

Week 29 (Adventures Week 25) Iowa, Wisconsin and Gold in California

Fine Arts: Field Trip

Treyton and I had the opportunity to go this week to see Stomp at our local Performing Arts Center. We LOVED it!! Such a great opportunity and blessing. The percussionists were AMAZING and we had a great time. Treyton thought their humor was hilarious, at times he was laughing so hard for so long, he was the only one laughing – it was awesome!



In addition to doing our state pages and read-alouds, we enjoyed a popcorn snack in honor of Iowa’s great corn harvest!  IMG_1440




Obviously living in Wisconsin, Treyton was pumped to finally get to OUR state :) We enjoyed a nice cheese snack, and I had plans to go tour a milk farm, however, Tim was a little busy at work and we haven’t been able to (yet) but we will. IMG_1538In addition to our yummy snack, we read the book “More Cheese Please!” and watched the video How It’s Made (Season 1, Episode 2) making Mozzarella Cheese from our netflix account. Treyton (as I knew he would) liked the “How It’s Made” show, so I plan on using it again in the future. IMG_1537

Gold in California

Reading about the Gold in California, has refreshed Treyton’s love of history. I’m not really sure what it was about this topic, except maybe for the fact that he (for the first time) realized what the “Forty-Niners” meant (from the football team). He was PUMPED putting the two and two together, it was the first thing he told dad when he got home. IMG_1539

He also grasped the concept that most people did not actually get rich from the gold, but that they gold-rush did cause California to become a state before the other states in the west.

MFW did a great job of illustrating this in having us continue to color a US map, every time we study a state. Treyton just pointed out (last week), how we had this (the west) whole section left, and west virginia…. we talked then about how the country was slowly growing out from one side of the country to the other.

Treyton connected a lot of dots this week, and somehow formed a connection to what we were learning. It was fun to see him excited to do history again.

To keep up his excitement I added in a hands-on project. IMG_1457

We went outside and collected some small rocks and dirt. I filled up two pans, one for each of the kids, and dropped in five small “gold colored” beads (that didn’t float). IMG_1464They swished the pans and searched their pans until they found all five of their beads. They both did great, and then did it again…. and again :)  IMG_1460 

Daily Notebook

I created new Daily Notebooks for the kids (I’m hoping to post much of what I’ve added in soon), we started using them this week. I still have a little too much in there it seems, for it takes us far too long to complete our daily notebook portion in the morning (about 30 minutes), it’s hard because it’s all good stuff.

One thing I did want to point out is that we are currently working on adding in Catechism into our daily routine using “A Cateshism for Girls and Boys” which I borrowed from the Reformed Reader. We are currently on question 3. 

Science: Mollusks

The nice weather has also had a energizing effect on our science. This week we learned about Mollusks. The characteristics of Mollusks are:

  • usually have shells (either on the inside or outside)
  • a soft body
  • complex organs
  • have eyes

Some examples of Mollusks are octopus, snails, oysters, and clams.

R.E.A.L. Life Science recommended going outside and looking for garden snails to examine. However, it’s not quite warm enough here, and even if it were, we don’t really have any garden snails in our yard. We can find an occasional slug, but even those, I don’t think it was warm enough to find yet. We decided to go to the pet store and we picked out two fresh water snails. IMG_1547One black, the other orange…. we named the black one Daisy, and the orange one Todd. They have been SOOO much fun to watch. IMG_1546

Treyton completed a lab sheet comparing a garden snail to other animals. IMG_1427

IMG_1542This was a great way to show WHY a snail is a part of the Mollusks family, rather than another animal family. IMG_1544Next he labeled a picture of a snail, and then completed a lab sheet on his pet snails, drawing the snails and measuring them (the best we could in the bowl at least). IMG_1545We are seriously loving this hands-on science program. From a teacher’s viewpoint I love how they are explaining the animal kingdom and breaking it down by families, clearly showing the relationship and unique qualities of each family. IMG_1543Science: Worms

Because we were on such a “science kick” this week, and the weather was nice, we decided to do two units this week, and learned about worms as well. IMG_1471

Coincidentally, one morning it was a little “rainy” outside, so we headed out and picked up about a dozen worms off our driveway and the road in front of our house.     IMG_1456We completed most of our labs and experiments (safe for the worms, don’t worry) on this day, instead of dragging it out over the entire week or several days. IMG_1458 

IMG_1459Our first lab was actually for worm hunting, which we didn’t end up doing, because we found them so easily in the rain. Treyton did, draw and label a worm, and we discussed the fact that worms do not have antennae, wings, legs or eyes. IMG_1468Treyton was fascinated by the fact that worms have both boy and girl parts (as do many varieties of snails, though not all), and that the “puffy” part of the worm is where the girl part of the worm holds the eggs/baby worms.IMG_1467We did complete a composting experiment, filling a jar with sand, dirt, oats (repeat). In an attempt to illustrate how worms “stir up” the soil and keep it moving. After a few days, we realized that our worms did not like this arrangement, and were not properly “composting” – so we decided to empty them into our garden instead. IMG_1472

Nature Study

The week before we actually took off of school, and the weather was gorgeous. But of course, we can’t help just how much our daily life and school are intertwined. So even on our weeks off we manage to do some “school”. One morning, we did some nature study in the woods across the street.

We heard a lot of great bird sounds, including a wood pecker which the kids picked out themselves.

Treyton is really interested in the fungus that grows on this log. It’s almost always the first place he heads, when we go to these small woods.

IMG_1414The girls, love to participate as well. You can see here, Audrey’s hilarious drawing position, placing her face, literally on top of the piece of paper. :) IMG_1410 We love nature study. IMG_1412 


Week 28 (Adventures 24) Samuel Morse, Florida & Texas

State Studies: Florida and Texas

We read a book about hurricanes this week, in addition I found a video at the library on Hurricane Katrina that we watched – it was a tear jerker for me, Treyton was all about the storm.   IMG_1530  IMG_1529 



Samuel MorseIMG_1524We read about Samuel Morse in “The Story of the U.S.” written by Marie Hazel, put up our timeline piece and then I had Treyton complete his notebooking page. IMG_1527

We used our Morse Code Sheet from MFW to “code” a few words to one another (like the kid’s names). Treyton enjoyed this.




Treyton continues to do increasingly complicated addition problems in his Singapore Math 2A book, and is understanding the concepts well. It’s fun to watch him master such a needed math tool. IMG_1095


In R.E.A.L Life Science this week we learned about Cnidaria focusing primarily on Jelly Fish. Treyton has always had an interest in Jellyfish (though he keeps calling them octopuses).

I had him watch a few jellyfish videos on National Geographic, God has made some truly amazing creatures. The kids LOVED watching the videos and I cannot tell you how much they learned from a few videos – Treyton, I knew would, but Alexa blew me away. It’s been a few weeks actually sense we watched the videos and Alexa is still telling me things, here and there, that she learned. IMG_1061

We did a couple of different labs, one of which we colored and illustration of the life cycle of a sea jelly, the second one we made a hands-on illustration with cups, yarn and tape. This was a GREAT activity to actually “see” and re-enact what we were learning about (this is just one of the things we love about R.E.A.L Life Science).

(Side Note: I took pictures of all of his Jelly Fish studies, but I thought I had already posted them, so I deleted them… ooops… Oh well, you’ll just have to take my word for a job well done.)

Bible: Jesus Calms the Storm

We read the story of Jesus Calming the Storm in our Hands-on Children’s Bible (which I love, especially for Alexa’s level). After reading it a few days in a row, we had a little water fun of our own. I filled up the tub, and had the kids lean over the edge to create a storm. When I called out “Jesus calms the storm,” the kids would stop the storm and watch as it calmed down.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Preschool: Letters S and N

Lexie’s is flying through learning her letters, the truth is, she knows all of her letters and all but 3 of the letters sounds well. In fact, we have started learning how certain letters make more than one sound (ex: c, s, g), and she is mastering that concept easily as well.

We continue to do a letter a week, in the same style that we have been up to this point, mostly because she enjoys “school” rather than she needs it or is learning much while doing it. IMG_0987We are using pieces from Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1, Homeschool Creations and random crafts I find on line as we continue through our ETC Book B. IMG_1096

Alexa is an easy student to teach, as she picks up things easily and memorizing facts is a piece of cake. IMG_0969

Handwriting Practice  IMG_1060 Alexa struggled for a while with writing the letter k but she’s got it down pretty good now. I am so proud of her letter writing skills. She is incredible, isn’t she?

Blending Sounds

In addition to our workbox/daily work that she does, I have begun adding a few “pre-reading” skills. Like blending a single consonant with a vowel (only the letter a at this point). She is picking this skill up pretty easily, needing to coached and encouraged at the beginning of each blending session, but after one or two assists, she manages pretty well on her own. IMG_1002

Counting by 2s

She has been counting by 2s up to 10 for a while, I keep trying to get her to go higher, she isn’t very interested but with Treyton’s encouragement she is usually willing to try.

Counting to 20

She easily counts to 20, though she still will skip or incorrectly say 15. She can easily count higher, but I’m not allowing her at this point until she masters 15.

Writing Numbers

She has written numbers 1-3 repeatedly, I plan on adding in 4 next week. She has traced numbers up to 9. IMG_1059

Math: Cuisenaire Rods

While Treyton and I were working on math one day, Alexa got to work playing with our Cuisenaire Rods. She grabbed out the 100 block and then I watched out of curiosity as she pieced together different size rods together to fill it completely in… IMG_1098

I was so proud at her puzzle skills!


Read Alouds

I am realizing that the majority of my read-aloud energy has been poured into Treyton’s school and academic level and as a result I am “leaving Lexie behind”. She has not developed the love of reading that Treyton had at this level, and I think it’s because I haven’t spent as much time reading her style and taste of books at her level with her.

I plan on implementing more story time for her, just for fun in the upcoming weeks.

Our Read-Alouds for the last several weeks include:


S is for Snowman



N is for Nest



Snow Day



Art: Painting




Our next two weeks are the letter J and H for Jesus and Hippo…. can’t wait!