Friday, October 22, 2010

Aaron's Co-Op Craft

I am so very happy with Aaron's Co-op preschool storytime and  craft class!  He has an awesome teacher that has come up with the neatest crafts!

Today they read the book 'Are You My Mother?' and then made this cute nest and eggs craft!  I want to put this somewhere in my house!  I might have to buy a little fake bird to finish it off!  Isn't it just darling?!?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Literary Exercises for Turtle

We only did one book for the turtle lesson!  We had so much fun with this book that we just didn't do the other book.  We may try to catch the other book at a later date.

The Hare and the Tortoise - Aesop's Fable

Seth loved this story!!  He thought it was so funny that the turtle won the race being as slow as he was. 

After reading the story I had the boys watch a couple of short videos of the story on the computer while I got everything together to make our turtle puppets.  (Note: the boys already had rabbit puppets...I made them for them at Easter)

I found a pair of green women's mittens at Target.  I was going to try to find a pair of green trouser socks but when I saw these I thought they were perfect!

I sewed two green fabric circles together and then flipped them and tacked the middle of one side to the middle of the top of the mitten. I had the boys stuff their shells themselves and then I sewed the opening closed. I then cut out pieces of a patterned green fabric and had the boys glue them to the top of the shell using tacky glue.  I then cut out pieces from white and black fleece to glue on for eyes and a piece of pink fleece to glue to the bottom side of the mitten for the inside of the mouth.

 (That is Alyssa grabbing the scissors as I was snapping the picture - YIKES!)

I then had Seth act out the story using his puppets!!  It was quite funny!

Our Turtle Exercises

I love turtles!!  I think they are so darn cute - especially sea turtles!!  So of course I was excited to do turtle lessons!!

Here are some picture highlights of some of the activities we did during our turtle lesson.  Unfortunately we were so busy having fun on activities this week that I didn't get pictures of everything. :-(  But here is what I got pictures of.

We made pet rock turtles.  I had the boys go out on our driveway and pick a good sized rock to use for the shell.  We then painted our rocks green and let them dry.  We then placed them on a sheet of felt and drew out the arms, legs and tail around the rock.  We cut them out and put a bunch of tacky glue on the middle of the piece of felt and glued the rock on.  We then glued on wiggly eyes on the head.  I thought they turned out really cute!

Instead of using paper plates to make turtles as suggested in the curriculum, we decided to use styrofoam bowls.  I laid out a big sheet of manilla paper for each kid and put the bowl on top.  I then let them paint the bowl green.  I told them to purposely get paint on the paper as they were painting their bowl.  When they got done with the bowl we cut out the paint streaks to make the head, legs and tail and stapled them to the bowl.

Here are the boys painting their bowls.

Here are the finished turtles drying on our drying line.

Seth has really started liking pattern blocks. I had two different turtle patterns that we used this week.

We had fun talking and acting out how other animals move.  I had Seth tell me how he thought several animals moved around and then we watched internet videos of actual animals in action to see how close he was to being right. I think the one that surprised him the most was the whale.  He told me he thought the whales moved fast through the water.  But when we watched a video of a humpback whale he said "he don't move fast at all!  He is very slow!"

Here's my swift moving tiger!  (don't you love the outfit!  He didn't want to put shorts on that morning...he wanted to go to the school house in his shirt and underwear...I didn't see a problem with it...I mean we are at home!  LOL!)

My slow moving turtle!  (in his t-shirt and undies as well...and the goggles that he was attached to that day!)

The boys loved talking and learning about turtles!  They are such fascinating creatures!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christmas Presents!!!

Ok!  I am starting to get my thinking hat on and coming up with my Christmas ideas for this year!  If you have been following my blog for some time then you know that I like to get the kids involved with making Christmas presents.  I have done this for the past two years and I plan to continue this tradition this year.

I have also found several easy things that I want to make for my kids for Christmas this year!  I have found so far an idea for a felt Mr Potato Head and for a felt checkers game, along with some other things I am thinking about!

As far as the presents for my kids I can post them on this blog because my kids don't read this blog and therefore will not find out the surprise (the hard part will be figuring out how to make them so that they don't know what I'm making...I guess I am going to be doing some nap-time sewing :-)

But as far as the gifts I want them to make - a lot of the family that we will be making the gifts for read this I can't exactly share on this blog.

Last year I set up a separate blog - Watson Homemade Christmas - where I would post what we are doing.  I think I am going to plan on doing that again.  You can click here to go that blog.  I encourage you, if you are wanting to know what we are doing (maybe you can get some ideas to do with your kids) then go ahead and head over there and sign up to follow the blog or receive blog posts by email.  (fair warning family...if you sign up to do this I have the right to remove you - all for the sake of keeping you from ruining your Christmas surprise).  And note, due to the family thing, I will not be sharing my posts on Facebook since all of my family is on Facebook.

I will note that last year's gifts, even though they were all about the kids, didn't involve the kids much in making them.  This year I have some ideas that the kids will be very involved with helping to make the fact they will be doing most of the work in these gifts.

Oh how I love Christmas time and love instilling in my kids' minds "it is better to give than to receive!"

Lesson On Perseverance!!

I owe a big THANK YOU to God today! Wow!  He showed up in a big way today!!

I was sick with a stomach bug all night Sunday night and Monday morning.  Needless to say we did not have any school on Monday.  I didn't get anything done on Monday!  And Mondays are usually my days to get things in order so we can have a smooth week but it did not happen!

So I woke up this morning knowing I had a LOT to do today.  We had to play catch up on school plus I had to get the house in order (it was bad enough and then the kids completely destroyed it yesterday while I was sick!) so of course during my morning time with God I asked for his help!

And his help came in a big way!!

Our theme lesson (remember we are doing turtles) was to read books about perseverance and talk about what perseverance means.  The curriculum then said and I quote "Then help the student practice working hard without quitting.  Work together at a task, such as cleaning tables and chairs, organizing a messy bedroom, or collecting a bag of litter on a walk outside."

I got to looking at what else we needed to do and realized that the theme exercise we missed yesterday would work beautifully with the theme exercise for tomorrow and that today we need to focus on this lesson of perseverance :-)

So we watched a video on The Little Engine That Could (click here to see the video on youtube).  We read the book Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel and we read Katy and the Big Snow.

Then we went to our memory verse (see this post for what the verse is) and explained how each of these stories fit that verse and we talked about what perseverance is and how God wants us to demonstrate perseverance.  We talked about how we need to demonstrate this in every thing we do and to never have a giving up attitude.  (and I plan to remind Seth of this verse from now on when he gets the giving up attitude).

I then told Seth we were going to do an activity on perseverance...we were going to clean our house!  I told him that if we worked together and we didn't give up and didn't quit we would get it done and when we were done he could choose what he wanted to do until lunch time!  He told me that he wanted to watch Toy Story (his new favorite movie) so I told him we would have to work hard to get done in time to have time to watch it before lunch.

And boy did that boy work!  I was so proud of Seth.  He truly worked hard and did not complain.  He was willing to do all that I asked him without complaint and kept saying "I won't quit!"  That in itself gave me the motivation I needed to work hard too!

And ahh....we have a clean house now!!  Ahhh.....  And when Seth finishes his reading and math lessons this afternoon (we do those lessons while Aaron and Alyssa are sleeping to help Seth to not be distracted) we will have a free afternoon!  I can get caught up on some of the other things that I in no way thought I would be able to this week because I was a day behind!

So thank you God!  Thank you for showing me the opportunity to teach Seth a lesson in perseverance and get what I needed to get done at the same time!

And of course, a couple of pictures to share :-)

Seth working hard to get the piano dusted :-)

Seth wore his badge while we worked - with his turtle saying "I don't quit; I persevere!!"  Seth lived those words today!!  He is one awesome little boy!

Our Turtle Memory Verse

I am loving this memory verse method that I came up with so much that I so look forward to our new set of lessons to get to the new memory verse!   I have always been horrible and scripture memorization!  With this method not only am I teaching my kids at an early age how to memorize scripture but I am also finally memorizing scripture!  And it is really nice when you are having a bad day to think of these scriptures that you have in memory.  I think God personally looks through my brain (I picture him looking in my brain like someone looking in a filing cabinet) and pulling out the verse that is needed for that moment to help me get through it!

And I think this verse may be more for me than it is for Seth - HA!!  This is definitely a verse that I have needed to commit to memory!

And to explain the pictures how I explained them to Seth - in front of the word weary I put a sleeping face and told Seth being weary is like being sleepy and you know when you are sleepy you don't want to do anything...

In front of well doing I put a picture of a stick figure sharing a box with another stick figure and explained to him that well doing is doing good things, things that please God, such as sharing your toys with your brother, and minding your mom and dad, and telling your friends about Jesus.

In front of due season I put a clock and told Seth that due season means at the right time...when God feels is the right time!

In front of the word reap I put a medal and explained that reaping is like getting a reward.  When farmers reap they are getting the yummy fruits and vegetables that are grown from the plants they worked hard to plant...their reward for working hard.  God will reward us for our hard work.

in front of faint not I put a picture of a stick figure climbing a mountain...with a flag at the top of the mountain. I told Seth faint not is to not give up.  We will get that reward if we do not give up.  We should never give up doing what God wants us to do.

The words to remember from the curriculum are "I don't quit.  I persevere."

Seth once again loves it when I put his name in the verse and every time we go over the verses he says "put my name in it".  For this verse I love to tell him "And let SETH not grow tired of doing good things and doing the right things,  for at the right time SETH will earn God's reward for not giving up!"

And like I said, I also need to put my name in that verse and remember that I should not grow tired in my well doing and doing God's will because in due season I will reap if I faint not!  And I need to remember all of the rewards I have already reaped for doing God's will and persevering in the Lord's work as my motivation to keep the faith and keep persevering!

Ahh, the beauty of Christian homeschooling!  The teacher learns as much (and sometimes more) than the child!  LOVE IT!

God bless you all!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

I would like to start this post by stating our family's view on Halloween.  There has been a lot of talk of the Satanic worship ties to Halloween and all that stuff.  I personally don't like all of the scary goblins and zombies and stuff and will not in any way encourage my kids to dress up like those.  But I also don't feel that Christians should have to completely forget Halloween either.  

Many churches now days offer a Fall Festival or Halloween carnivals as safe fun for the kids.  Our church does one every year on the Saturday night before Halloween.  Since we don't live in a neighborhood for trick or treating I am very glad that my kids have this opportunity.

For people who do live in neighborhoods that do trick or treating  I personally think the better route to take instead of keeping the porch light off and hiding out is to use this as an opportunity for Christian outreach.  Have your porch light on and welcome the children to your door.  Have some type of candy or treat available and when you go to put it in their trick or treat bag why not put a gospel tract in there as well.  You never know if there is a family that is truly searching for answers and that tract will have the answers they need.  :-)

These are just some of my personal opinions on Halloween.  I have many friends that go "all out" for Halloween and love the spooky stuff and I happily say "have fun!"  I have other friends that do not want to celebrate at all and that is ok too.  As a mother of young children who see Halloween everywhere we go in stores right now I personally feel like it is best for me to not ignore the holiday and pretend it is not there.  I think it is better instead to teach them how this can be a fun and safe holiday.  A chance to play pretend (isn't that what dressing up in costumes is) and a chance to show a Christian example to others.

I have said all that to lead up to one area in particular that I am teaching my kids a Christian aspect of Halloween - the jack-o-lantern!  I frankly do not care where the jack-o-lantern got its roots and what it originally symbolized.  Just because it had "bad" roots doesn't mean it should be outlawed and done away with.  Especially when you can change your view of it to be a awesome reminder of how a Christian should live their lives!

I started this last year with my kids when I found this book - The Pumpkin Patch Parable

Here's the description of the book from Amazon "The Pumpkin Patch Parable-This charming story for children illustrates how a loving farmer can turn a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight. In the same way, God's transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light. Liz Curtis Higgs created this parable as a way to share the Good News with her own precious children each harvest season . . . and now with children everywhere."

I loved this book and I loved the view on the Jack-O-Lantern and I determined then that Jack-o-lanterns would be accepted in our house and we would carve them and we would always view them as "Christian pumpkins".  I plan to instill in my kids' minds that every time, during this season, that my kids see a jack-o-lantern, that they will be reminded of Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

There is another poem we found last year that goes with this same theme that I also share with my kids.  Here is that poem:

"Being a Christian is like being a pumkin. 
God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.
He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for the entire world to see."

Now that you know now how we view Halloween and jack-o-lanterns, on to the fun part of this post!!  Our fun Saturday of pumpkin carving!!

I started with a family pumpkin carving that was held at the Waxahachie library.  You got to pick out your pumpkin and they had carving knives for those that wanted to carve, or you could paint your pumpkin.  We, of course, chose to carve our pumpkin!

As we carved the pumpkin I reminded the kids of how pumpkins are like us and how God is like a farmer...he picks us up and wipes all the dirt off us andscoops out all of the yucky stuff inside of us (our sin).  He then puts His light in us for us to shine to the world so that when others see us they will see His light shining through! 

Here is our pretty pumpkin we chose!

Here is our happy carved pumpkin!

The kids got to enjoy a yummy snack when we were done!  They had a table of all kinds of cookies, candies, pb&j sandwiches, homemade spice bread,etc... yum! yum!

They also had a table where you could draw faces on pumpkins.

When we got home we took another big pumpkin we had that Aaron got from his co-op class, and the three small pumpkins we got from the pumpkin patch we went to on Friday and we carved them so that we would have our family of jack-o-lanterns!

The Pumpkin Patch

It seems that pumpkins have really been the theme lately around here! On Friday we went on a field trip with our homeschool co-op group to a pumpkin patch!  Here are some picture highlights from that trip.

They had set up a maze using hay bales.

I don't think Alyssa was too sure about this...

Seth loved the maze and ran through it several times.

We went on a hay ride as well.

Aaron enjoyed playing with a moth that landed on the hay.

The boys also got their faces painted.

Here are some other fun pictures that were taken.

It was a fun day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Literary Exercises for Nests

We had two fun books that we used in our literary exercises for our nest lesson!

A House Is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman - a cute book about all different types of houses.

We actually first read this book at MiMi and Poppy's (I didn't get pictures down there though).  We were still at there house when we were suppose to be starting day 1 of the nest/animal habitat lesson.  Since we were going to already be missing days later in the week for the zoo and for co-op classes I thought we better do a little bit of school even though we were at Mimi and Poppy's (one of the beauties of homeschool!)  I thought reading this book would be a good introduction into talking about animal homes.

After reading the book I cut out construction paper in the shape of houses and we made a house book.  He drew Mimi and Poppy in one house, Granny and PaPa in the other, a trashcan in one and Mommy in another one...didn't quite accomplish the activity in the right way...which was suppose to be different animal homes...but what can we say - we were out of town, out of our normal environment! :-)

We made up for it when we came home though!  On our last day of the lesson I decided to read this book again.  I made up my own activity using pictures we took from the zoo.  I picked out 6 pictures showing the animal in their environment in the zoo  I then got Seth in front of my computer and pulled up a picture of the same animal in its natural environment (we made a print of that picture too)  I had him tell me what were the differences between the two environments.  I wrote down what he said on index cards.  We put the pictures and the index cards in a cheap $1 photo album I got from Wal-Mart to make a book.  We tittled the book "Is a zoo a home for me?"

Here is what Seth said about a couple of the animals:

"The lion's home in the zoo has big rocks.  The lion's real home has a bunch of grass to run on.  The lion in the zoo is sad because he wants to run with other animals and play in the grass.

The penguins at the zoo don't have as much water to swim in as the penguins in the wild.  The penguins in the zoo are happy to have water to swim in."

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

I love this book!!  I always have!  Of course the boys loved it too.  It is a fun one to read and really get into with different voices for the different characters.

After we read it I had the boys think of other things that the bird could have found and asked if they were his mother?  The boys decided to act like those things and for me to use my baby bird voice and ask them "Are you my mother?"  They would respond with different voices. It was too cute.  The funniest was when Seth told me he was a pumpkin.  I, in my baby bird voice, asked "Are you my mother?"  And Seth just sat there so I asked the question again.  He then said "I can't talk...I'm a pumpkin"  :-)

The curriculum also had you ask the student why these other things in the book would not be a good mother for the little bird.  I laughed at his answer so hard I had to write it down and I had to share it with you!

"The cat would eat him.
The dog would bark at him.
The hen would go "cock-a-doodle doo" in his ear (this was when I decided I need to write this down! LOL!)
The cow would stink too much.
The car would run over him.
The boat is too loud.
The airplane is too fast.
The "snort" goes too far up."

I love that kid!!

Our Nest Lesson Activities

We had a fun time learning about nests and animal homes.   This was a bit of a crazy time because we had a lot of extra things going on.  We started the lesson while we were at my parents.  We spent some time talking about nests and animal homes and watched a few videos about nests.

During our nest lesson we also went to the zoo and were able to view animals in man created habitats that are suppose to resemble their natural habitats.  We talked about how these cages were alike and different from the animals homes in the wild.

For one activity I drew pictures of animals on one side of the paper and had Seth draw their home on the other side.

We played a sequencing card game that I had and learned about sequencing and figuring out what comes first, second, last... We also did some worksheets on sequencing as well

We made pictures of nests by cutting up pieces of yarn and gluing them to green construction paper (because it is a close up view of a nest in a tree) and then coloring and gluing on a yellow bird.

We also made a bird feeder (we used the project from the website.  Click here for instructions

Pick And Draw - What Fun!!

Ok I just have to tell you about a giveaway that I have entered and am really hoping that I win!

Homeschool Creations is hosting the giveaway!  I am not getting any extra entries for blogging about the giveaway.  I just want to share what fun this looks like!

It is for Pick And Draw - a drawing card game. (You can click on the link to go read all about it!!)

For one of the entries for the giveaway you could go play an online version of the game.  The boys and I did that and you should have heard the giggles as they were creating their face from the shapes revealed as we turned over each card online!  Seth named his creature "Finley".

I encourage you to go check it out!  If I don't win this game I am going to have to buy it because the ideas that you can use this game with for school are just endless!  Plus and you probably remember from previous posts how I am trying to encourage Seth to use drawing as a way to express his creativity!  So how perfect would this be!!

(See Seth's creature??  I helped Aaron with his!)