Monday, August 29, 2011

Our New Story Corner

Saturday morning Alyssa and I did some work in the schoolhouse :-)  We decided to make a Story Corner for us all to enjoy our story time.  I rearranged my bookshelves so that all my books were together on the bookshelf in the back corner of the schoolhouse.  I brought out a play mat that I made when Seth was a baby and we brought out pillows for us all to sit/lay on so that we could be nice and comfy during story time! 

Here are pictures I took today when I introduced the corner to the kids.

 They are all on their pillows ready to be read to :-)  (I use the big white bunny as my cushion...he makes a very nice cushion LOL!)
 Here is a more overhead view so you can see the cute hippo mat that we all sit around.
 Here you can see our many books that we have started accumulating  (and we have about that many more on the bookcase in the boys' bedroom)
 Right now I am putting the library books in a blue bin on top of our filing cabinet.  But I had a friend that mentioned the idea of keeping them in a rolling suitcase...that way they are easy to carry around (because we get so many) plus I can keep them safe from Alyssa... I am really thinking about this idea...just have to figure out where to find a cheap rolling suitcase.
 They are really excited about their story circle!

We read Dr Seuss's I can Read with My Eyes Wide Shut since it talks about all the many things you can learn about by reading books and I talked to them about how important reading is in school and that I want them all to grow a love for reading because reading really opens up your imagination and you can learn so much by reading.  I told Seth that we would be reading a lot of books to help him learn his math and science concepts this year.

Another thing I wanted to mention today is how much Seth is enjoying The Complete Book of Math.  I have really heard conflicting reviews on this book as part of the MFW curriculum but am finding, at least so far, that the activities of this book are capturing Seth's attention.  (of course we are only on the first concept of patterns but by scanning through the rest of the book I really think he is going to enjoy the whole book).

I am already finding though that the big bucket of foam shapes that you can get at Wal-Mart is really coming in handy!

I am finding that the foam shapes have worked well in completing the worksheets where he has to complete the pattern.  For him I find that he has more fun gluing shapes than drawing and coloring them. And the small shapes in the bucket are about the same size and same color as the shapes on the page so it works out perfectly.  (the shape bucket did not have star shapes in it so we used star stickers for them)

And one last thing I want to share today - Seth has memorized his first Proverb!!  I got a video this morning of him reciting Proverbs 9:10 that I thought I would share.  

(If you are viewing this post through email then you will need to go to the actual blog to see the video.)

Until next time,

Friday, August 26, 2011

She's Loving Reading!!

Alyssa's favorite part of school time has been our story time!  She gets so excited when she sees me grab the books that I want to read to the kids for the day and head over to sit on the floor in our reading corner :-)  (speaking of I have some ideas rolling around in my head of making an actual reading corner in our classroom...just got to figure out best way to do it since our space is a bit limited).

Anyways, as most probably already figured out, we don't do school on Fridays.  Starting in September we will have co-op classes with our homeschool group every other Friday and we decided it would just be best to not school the other Fridays either.  Fridays are our off day!

Well today there isn't much going on.  I am working on lesson plans and finding books to go with our math and science subjects through the year (since our library doesn't have over half the books on the recommended reading list).  Anyways,  I heard Alyssa mumbling in the background as I was working at the table.  When I turned my head I saw that she was up on the couch "reading" a book!!!

She was so cute about it too!  She was getting very animated with her voice (like I do when I read to them) and was really enjoying her book!  Hopefully this is beginning for her for a love of reading!

And as I was uploading that photo I realized I took another photo yesterday that I thought I would share.  This is a picture I snapped at the beginning of class yesterday.  I have found over the past couple of days that it works real well to have Aaron and Alyssa do their little workbooks while Seth is doing his daily folder (that has his calendar and number of the day worksheets).  I thought it was such a cute sight to see them all working so hard!  :-)

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our first exploration day!!

Every 5th day of the My Father's World 1st grade curriculum is Exploration Day!  No reading lessons are done this day.  This day is designed to focus on doing fun things related to the current science topic.  It's also a day to explore with the pattern blocks and cuisinaire rods for the math work for the day.

The curriculum states to spend some time outside enjoying God's creation on this day.  Well - with us having 105 degree temps right now it's kind of hard to spend too much time outside :-( but I did come up with some fun activities and it was a very fun morning!

We opened up our our Things Outdoor book to the pages covered in the science lesson on Monday (pp 16-17 things close to the ground) and we pulled out or DK Encyclopedia of Animals and our Children's Encyclopedia.  We looked in those books and read about different topics such as moles, worms, ants, soil, etc...

In the Children's Encyclopedia on the topic of soil it had an experiment of putting some soil in a jar and mixing it with water and then watching as the particles settle to see what different kind of particles are in your soil.  I thought this would be a fun and quick experiment to do and would give us a few minutes outdoors :-)

So I got a shovel for the boys to do some digging...

Poor guys!  We have gone so long without rain that our yard is so very hard!!  They had the bright idea though of finding one of the many cracks in our yard as a good spot to dig.

We scooped some of the very dry soil into our jar...

while Alyssa stood at the bench and ate her cheerios LOL...

and then added the water and shook it really good (and had to a little bit longer because it was so dry).  We then watched the particles settle.

We had a few floating above the water while most settled to the bottom.

We then watched Peep and the Big Wide World: Peep Plants a Seed/The Root Problem while we made pictures of worms and dirt and stuff.

After the "Peep Plants A Seed" segment the video showed kids doing the experiment of putting beans on wet paper towels inside a ziploc bag to watch them sprout so we decided to do this experiment as well.  We will be keeping watch on our beans in the next week or so to see if any of them sprout.

Ok - for all those MFW users out there I have a question.  I did not purchase the deluxe edition of the MFW 1st grade because I already had some of the "extras" and didn't see us using some of the others so I was coming out a lot cheaper by buying the basic package and just purchasing separately other items of the deluxe package that I wanted to use.

One of the items that I did not buy was the Pattern Animals book that you use with your pattern blocks.  I figured I could just find pattern templates online that would work.  I never even actually looked at that book to even know what all it had in it.

I did find a site online that had some pattern templates.  Here is the link in case you are interested.

Anyways I had Seth do some of them today.  The thing is...he can already master all of them.  I even found what I thought was one of the toughest of all the templates, the lion, and he completed it with no problem.

So my question is this - does this Pattern Animals book have any that are more complicated to complete than these templates or is this just something that Seth has already mastered?  I am trying to figure out if it would be beneficial to buy that book.  Maybe I just need to find it in a bookstore and check it out.

Or, does anyone know of any other books that I can get that has templates to do with these pattern blocks.  The thing is he really really enjoyed doing these.  He loves puzzles in general... I would just like to see if I can get some that are a little bit more challenging for him :-)

Here he is completing the dog - VERY EASY for him!

And here is his lion!  He was so proud of himself.  But it really didn't pose that much of a challenge for him.

For our story time, keeping with the exploration theme of exploring things close to the ground, we read Diary of A Worm and The Grouchy Ladybug.

It was a fun morning!  These exploration days are going to be a lot of fun and are a good break from the day to day lessons!  :-)

Until next time,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Patterns, Stories and Cars!!

Today started our first "full" week of school. By full week I mean a 4 day week because we decided that we don't do school on Fridays. Why? Because we homeschool and we make the rules - LOL!  :-)

In math we are concentrating on learning about patterns.  The kids enjoyed watching a Math Monsters video on patterns and then we pulled out our big box of foam shapes and made patterns with them.

One of Seth's pages in his math book wanted you to draw hearts to finish the pattern for each line.  I decided to make it a little bit more fun for him and had him glue foam hearts on to finish the pattern.  He really liked doing that and did very well with it. :-)

While he was working on that Alyssa and Aaron enjoyed gluing some foam shapes on paper and coloring their paper.

 (oh how I wish I knew what was going on in Aaron's head sometimes - he looks like he is thinking hard about something don't he?)

The other day I was at a teacher supply store with a couple of friends and came across a book on how to draw characters from the Disney Cars movies!  I knew instantly that this was something my boys would enjoy and would provide good lessons on paying attention and following directions!

Well today we decided to draw our first picture from this book.  Here is a picture of the one I drew on the white board (I had them follow my instructions and draw on their paper what I drew on the white board as we went along)
(yep he's a bit short and a bit fat...but I still thought he turned out pretty cute)

(can you tell how much Seth enjoyed doing this?!?!  Love that face!!!)

Alyssa even enjoyed "drawing" with us.  (She decided she wanted to sit on top of her desk)

Here is Seth's finished car!  I was very pleased at how well he did!!!!  He was too!! :-)

One of the kids favorite parts of our school day is story time!  We all sit in the floor and I read stories to them.  Today we read some Dr Seuss books!!  :-)  (and yes we school in our pajamas - we like it that way!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of School!

We had our first day of school today and I think that it went very well!! :-)  I was very concerned at how Alyssa was going to do and she really didn't do that bad.

Here are some pictures from our first day!

Aaron working on his I Can Do It Book.  It is a Seek and Find book that you can use dry erase markers on to erase and do over and over again!  He did a very good job finding the pictures and seemed to really enjoy doing it.  :-)

Alyssa playing in her corner with blocks!
 Seth working on his number of the day sheet.

 During Seth's reading time I put Aaron on computer cool school.  He loves this and I think would be quiet and content on here all day LOL! Seriously though he was able to keep quiet and he didn't fuss when it was time to stop doing this - YAY!

During Seth's reading time I had Alyssa watch Wonder Pets on my laptop with her new pink headphones!  Once I got her to realize that she had to be quiet while watching this it really worked and kept her busy so I could focus on Seth! YAY!!

Seth doing his reading workbook.  He told me he liked writing in his new desk.  He said it helped him write better letters.  :-) I think I would have to agree!  He did very well in his handwriting today!

Alyssa coloring in her coloring book. 

Aaron working on his new workbook! He loved it!

Seth exploring with his pattern blocks.

The kids enjoyed some play-doh time at the end of our school time!

I didn't get pictured our bible lesson.  We were talking about scrolls today so I made a powerpoint of different pictures of scrolls.

We also read the first two chapters of the Adventures of Peter Cottontail for our read aloud time.

Tomorrow we get to have a fun activity of making clay pots!  That should be a lot of fun!

I think the morning went well as a whole.  :-)

Until next time,

Saturday, August 13, 2011


My dear wonderful friend Angela told me how she got her white board for her classroom for super cheap and I talked my husband to getting me one as well :-)

We went to Home Depot last night and got a piece of white panel board (8' x 4')  for $12.87 and some pieces of white trim for $2.87 for an 8' piece.

The boys helped Daddy measure to the next stud to screw it into the wall.

Is that not a cool white board?!?!  I am so excited!!!  (Oh the strips down the middle were due to the fact that the board had to cover an electrical outlet.  Daddy put screws down the middle of that board at that point so it wouldn't bubble as much and we covered the screws with trim.)

(after I got the alphabet train back up...and you can see our bulletin board to the right - it has our MFW reading chart and books of the bible chart)

I put the other white boards over at my desk.  I don't know yet what I will use them for but I am sure I will come up with something.  :-)

We are aiming to start school this next week!  I am hoping to do school on Tuesday and Wednesday!!!  One of the beauties of homeschool is the flexible schedule! Yay!!

Until next time,