Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seth's Sqanto Coloring Book

I have decided I want to include Seth's coloring book that he colored in during the reading of Sqanto in our photo book for the year.  So these are pictures of his colorings for the book.  (this post is mainly in here to make sure I get this included in the photo yearbook at the end of the year)

Until next time,

Week 5 in Review

Week 5 is in the books!!  We had another good week of school.  Here are the few pics that I took this week.

Seth and Aaron are enjoying the cooler mornings.  (It is still getting pretty hot in the afternoons but at least we are getting a little break in the mornings).  They are now playing outside for 30 minutes or so before we start school.  This has helped to get rid of some of their energy and make school run a bit smoother.   On the morning of this picture they were running up and down the driveway. 

Aaron and Alyssa enjoyed playing board games one afternoon while I was working on some school planning.

In History this week we talked about the pilgrims and how they made their first homes.  One of the things we discussed was how they didn't have any glass so they made windows from oiled paper.   We did an experiment to figure out why.  We took a sheet of notebook paper and spread it with oil and saw how the oil made the paper transparent.
 We then dropped some water on the oiled paper and a piece of paper that had no oil on it and saw how the water beaded up on the oiled paper.  We saw that the paper with no oil tore very easily when got wet, but the oiled paper was actually quite strong.

Aaron completed his A book this week and started the C book, which is introducing how to write his numbers and practice in counting.  He was quite excited about  this!!  In this picture he was proudly writing his name on the inside cover of his book.

He was so proud of himself this week with his writing and had every right to be.  Look at these 2s he wrote!!!  :-)
And here are his 3s!!  All I can say is WOW!!  Way to go Aaron!!

Seth is still struggling with handwriting a bit and I have noticed has gotten into a bad habit of writing his g's and d's in a sloppy way.  So today I had him write a's, g's, d's, and q's on a piece of notebook paper and was very impressed with his work!  He proved to me he can do it and can have good handwriting!

We also finished our Squanto book this week!  I am looking forward to starting 'The Courage of Sarah Noble' next week!  Having them color while I read really did work well!!  I was impressed!  To change it up a bit I have printed shapes on different colors of construction paper.  I am going to have them cut them out and glue them to another paper to make a quilt (because the book talks of the making and use of quilts) while I read this book!  Hopefully this will help them listen as well as they did for Squanto.

A teacher note - I have LOVED my first week of my post-it note planner!  It really has made life easier and is already helping me to take note of what is and is not working and to not be afraid to change things up a bit if need be!!  :-)

OH!  And Seth joined cub scouts this week!!!  :-) One of the families in our homeschool group are starting up a new pack!!  So Monday nights are now full but Seth is super excited about this!

Well, we are headed to Mimi and Poppy's tomorrow!  My sister is having a baby shower on Saturday.  The kids are super excited about the trip!!

Until next time,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 4 In Review

Week 4 is in the books!!  We had an exciting week reading about North American Indians, and continuing our reading of Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims.

 Seth has started reading a Magic Tree House book on the kindle.  Let me say I have not, up to this point, been a big supporter of the kids reading on these devices.  I like real books in their hands.  But I am having trouble getting Seth interested in reading.  I want him to learn to love reading, not just read because he has too.  I thought maybe if we tried a book on the kindle it will help spark an interest.  And so far it seems to be working.  He is reading a chapter a day and he has read two so far.  When he is done I take the kindle and and quiz him to make sure he actually read the book...not just pretended to.  And he has showed me that he has read it and is comprehending it! YAY!!  And he was excited today (his 2nd day) for his Kindle reading time.  

And Seth is learning the consequences of doing rushed, sloppy work.  We showed Daddy our bad, sloppy work one night at dinner and he made him sit at the table after dinner and re-do it all!!  Today he rushed through his math and did not do well, so tonight he will be sitting at the table after dinner and redoing his math.  Hopefully this will put a stop to the sloppy work.

Here are some pictures from our week.

This week we read a book on North American Indians for History.  We made wigwams one day and teepees the next.  Here is Seth working on the wigwam.  This was a weird little project that I didn't think was going well...but once all the glue dried it looked better.  :-)

Here are the kids working on making teepees.
 We had to make a trip outside to find twigs for our teepees.
 Here are our finished teepees (I even made one) and our wigwam.
 I have scheduled science lessons but sometimes letting the child lead I think is best :-).  The kids are always asking if they can take the magnify glasses and explore.  Well one day this week Seth brought me a few items and asked if we could get out the microscope and explore them with it!  Of course I said yes!!  So, we didn't get to our "scheduled" science - but we sure did have some good science lessons happening around here!  :-)

Ok so I started Aaron on some formal handwriting lessons this week.  We were working on our capital Ls.  I helped him make a few and then I wanted him to try some on his own.  I went to my desk and a few minutes later he said "I am done".  I came back to the table expecting to see a page of Ls.  But I was surprised to find that he found a page of all the letters of the alphabet and wrote EVERY letter!!  For most of these letters, this was his first attempt at writing them!!  I thought he did an awesome job!

I also pulled out the Letter Factory DVD for Aaron and Alyssa!!  This was how Seth learned his letter sounds.  We will be watching this DVD over and over for the next few weeks and I guarantee you, after a couple of weeks or so, both Aaron and Alyssa will know their letter sounds!  I LOVE this DVD!

Ok I debated whether to put this in the post or not.  I had. over the summer, purchased an online planner program, for lesson plans, scheduling assignments, projects, etc.  It sounded like such a neat program I just had to jump on it.  And I think it still has potential for being a neat program...but I think the problem is they opened it up to the public WAY before it was ready!!  There are so many glitches and problems it has been more headache than help!  I have tried to be patient but I am to my breaking point!  A couple of friends of mine in our homeschooling group have created post-it note binders.  The simplicity and flexibility of these planners really intrigued me that I finally decided to try it myself.  I mean, the cost is why not!

So here is my planner set up for next week.  All of their assignments are on little post-it note squares.  As we complete an assignment I will move that post it to another notebook that is labeled the record book.  There I will be able to write notes about what was good and/or bad about the assignment, what we need to work on more, etc, etc...  (actually the journaling side is what really intrigued me since I did not have that at all with my online planner - once you mark an assignment complete it will record a grade but everything else disappears...)  So, anyways...I am going to try this way a bit and see if it works.  Maybe in the future the online program will have their act together...or maybe I find that I just like this better anyways and stick with it...

Regardless, right now in my life I am finding I just need something SIMPLE!  LOL!!

Well, that's about it for our week.  We go to co-op tomorrow!! Kids are super excited about that!

Until next time,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Children's Aquarium Field Trip

We had a fun day at the Children's Aquarium at Fair Park on Friday!!  I coordinated a field trip there for our homeschool group and there were about 40 kids and 27 adults in attendance from our group!!  It was a very fun day!  The kids had a blast!

 Aaron was concentrating hard on finding all of the animals on his scavenger hunt!

Here is Seth taking pictures while Alyssa was working on her scavenger hunt.

Alyssa's favorite animal was the alligator snapping turtle!!  For some reason she fell in love with that big prehistoric looking thing!

They had a ball petting the sting rays!

It was a fun day!!

Until next time,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 3 In Review!

Well we have finished another fun-filled week of school!!  This was actually our first week this school year to have school all 4 days!! YAY!!!  

I am going to start this post by saying there has been yet another renovation of the schoolhouse! LOL!!  Remember when I posted this picture of my poor laptop sitting on top of an empty diaper box?!?!?

Well thanks to hubby that has been fixed!!  After purchasing two different stands to put the laptop on he finally came up with an even better, more brilliant idea!!  :-)  We realized that our tv in our room has not been hooked back up ever since I rearranged the room a couple of months ago.  He asked if I would want it in the schoolhouse.  It has capability of hooking up to computer AND the Ipad.  Of course I said sure!!

So because of that the other big monitor we were using got to go to my desk!!  YAY!!!  Now I have a big monitor at my desk!!  Looks much better doesn't it!?!?!?

And we are having FUN with the TV.  I have hooked it up to the ipad for Aaron and Alyssa to practice writing their letters ...   (you will see below the TV is my pile of stuff that is for my co-op classes that I teach...I wish I had a better place to put that stuff).

We have also found fun interactive books to watch on it (from the ipad).  Aaron and Alyssa loved the book "The Monster At the End of the Book".  Grover kept them in stitches!!  So fun!  We have watched an interactive version of Dr Seuss' ABC book.

I have even used the ipad hooked up to the TV to help teach Seth his math concepts.  There are some really cool apps for that as well! 
They can also watch their videos on it.  We have a dvd player hooked up to it, or I can hook it to my computer for them to watch videos through Window Media Player (like our Animated Hero Classics).  I think this is going to be a GREAT resource in our schoolroom!!  THANKS DADDY!!!  :-)

We started reading Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims this week!  I am trying out something new for our read-aloud time.  I went online and found coloring pages of Indians to print off and made each of the kids a coloring book.  You can see from my picture below I put a picture of the cover of the book for the cover of their coloring book and then printed off the pages booklet style and stapled them together to make a book.  (Seth's is open and you can see the pictures that he colored)

So while I am reading from the book they can sit there and color their pictures as they listen.  I had heard of this idea from a CM site online and thought I would give it a try.  And I really do think it helps them to listen better!!  I stop and ask questions along the way to make sure they are listening and even Aaron is answering them as we go!!   They now can't wait for read aloud time! YAY!!!

Seth finally made an A on a spelling test!  WHOO HOO!!  He only missed one word this week and was so proud of himself!!

Who's hiding under a blanket inside the storage bench???

Oh that would be silly Alyssa!  This has become her new favorite hang out spot!  She almost fell asleep sitting inside that box one day this week!  Silly silly girl!

I have been very busy this week working on making outdoor journals for the kids.  I have found an ABUNDANCE of good material on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.  I have downloaded them and am printing them and putting them into binders for the kids.  My plan for these is for days when I decide that we don't need to be in a schoolroom and we decide to go to a state park in the area, or a park, or somewhere outdoors.  We will grab our binders and pick out activities to do in them for an 'outdoor school day'!!  (and I have realized I think I need bigger binders - I have already filled 1" binders and am not finished printing stuff off. LOL!)  But here are the cute covers I made for them!

I am planning on also doing a Zoo journal for the kids as well.  Since we are zoo members there will be days that we will be doing school at the zoo!!  FUN! FUN!

The kids have enjoyed a bit of play time outside in the mornings before school since our mornings are cooler now :-)  Here is what I found one day in the yard.  Seth said it was to sit grasshoppers on...ok?!?!

Speaking of outside - Seth has enjoyed working on the table in the gazeebo doing his work, where it is quiet, while I work with Aaron and Alyssa in the schoolhouse.

I signed up for a subscription to the Highlights puzzlemania magazines for Aaron.  He is really enjoying working on those during his 'busy box' time!

Tomorrow we are going on a field trip to the Children's Aquarium in Dallas!!  I am coordinating this field trip and we have almost 50 kids and 40 adults planning on going!!  It will be fun fun!!  (of course I will post pics when we return!)

I found some fun activities online for the kids to do at the aquarium.  I made them little booklets for them to take!  Here are the covers  (which I did in cardstock so it made them nice and sturdy)

For Aaron and Alyssa I made a scavenger hunt.  I put pictures of the different creatures they would see.  At each exhibit they will have to find the picture of the animal in their book and mark that they saw it!

Seth's is a bit more detailed.  He has to find an animal he really likes and observe it for a bit.   He will also have to find an unusual animal and a camouflaged animal.  Since he will be with his friends and I know he will not want to do a lot of writing, I am going to have him take pictures of these animals for his book.  Then Monday he is going to look at those pictures and do the writing in his book to complete the book.  :-)

Then after a fun day at the aquarium this Mommy is going to get to go to MOM'S NIGHT OUT!!  WHOO HOO!!  It will be a much needed break for me!  :-)

Until next time,