Monday, September 29, 2008

ABC Bible Verses

We have continued to work through the ABC bible verses by Susan Hunt.

We are keeping track of our verses on a poster that hangs in the kitchen. Each week we try to create a visual reminder of the verse to add on our poster. This way we have all of our previously learned verses easily accessible to us.

B - Blessed are the peacemakers

We created a happy face/sad face that is fastened to a piece of paper with a paper fastener. Because peace makers work to make others happy and the environment around them pleasant, we turned our frowns upside down.

C - Children obey your parents in all things.

We used the analogy Lisa Whelchel described in her book, "Creative Correction". She explained to her children that when they obeyed her, they remained under her umbrella of protection. But when they chose to disobey, they chose to step out from under the umbrella and there could be consequences that she couldn't prevent. This is similar to our obedience to God which keeps us under the umbrella of His protection.

The girls drew themselves under the umbrella with a smile and outside the umbrella with a frown.

D - Do everything without complaining or disputing.

I explained to the girls that complaining and disputing were signs of a heart that was unhappy and ungrateful. We need to pray for happy hearts that are thankful. We decided together that if anyone complained, they had to immediately say something they were thankful for. And honestly, it has been quite effective.

If they complain about dinner, they need to thank mom for something on their plate. If they complain about a job, they need to say something they are thankful for about our home. If they argue with a sibling, they each share a reason they are thankful for that sibling.

And in case they forget some of the things that made their hearts happy and thankful, each girl filled in a list. We can pull it out and refer to it if needed. This helps them remember some of the things they are thankful for.

On our poster, we just added a heart and colored it to make it "happy".

Our poster looks like this so far and we are going to add a small "trigger" each week so that we can review our verses.

This week will are going to continue with the next verse:

E - Even a child is known by his (her) actions.

I am going to put a wallet picture of each of them on a rectangle. They will list some of the qualities that God tells us His children should be known for. We'll add the rectangles to our poster.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Week 9/15-9/19/08

This week we studied, "How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World." (We are selecting texts from FIAR volume I)

The story is cute, but the humor seemed to be missed by my girls. Even when I tried to point it out. But they enjoyed acting it out and discussing the illustrations.

We have decided to get a bit more formal, yet still have fun with the vocabulary. I wrote all the words and K (age 5) matched them with pictures that represented the meanings. At the end of the week we glued them in the vocabulary section of her binder. We included a pictures and a written definition as well. She really enjoyed this and loved using new words during the week!

The girls took an art class being offered at the local library. It was great and really reinforced the elements of shape they had been learning. They used some of the elements to create a cake. K's is pictured on the top and T's is on the bottom!

Our week at home was definitely overshadowed by the Science Center field trip. I had no idea how tired I would be. I definitely learned that if we do a field trip, we will consider it school for the day. We were way too zonked to do much else!

The girls did draw a picture and write about their trip. K (age 5) had to write her own sentences this time, so it was brief. But she did it all on her own, though I did have to spell dinosaur for her!

I liked the dinosaur room. I learned about dinosaurs.

T (age 4) dictated to me what she wanted to say. It totally cracked me up. She was clearly a bit concerned about the dinosaurs and seemed to be convincing herself that they were no longer around:

This is when dinosaurs were real. Then dinosaurs were all gone. Then we had a fun time when the dinosaurs were all gone. Poppy came and there were no dinosaurs. Then all of the neighborhood said there were no dinosaurs in the whole world.

And the picture? The dinosaur is there on the left hand side. He is attacking a very unhappy T (age 4). Now, who is that smiling on the right hand side? Apparently that is T's mommy, who is happy to be outside because the dinosaur is inside. (it doesn't seem to bother mommy that the creature is eating one of her children...details...)

Friday AM left us feeling quite tired, so we did our morning board upstairs. In our PJ's.

It made me glad that I am homeschooling. The girls were having a ball playing in my bedroom. In laundry baskets. And I didn't want to disturb all of the creativity flowing, so I let them. We worked school into the game right there on the bedroom floor! It was great fun!

We never did get to bake our apple pie, but we'll have to get back to it. It was supposed to be the conclusion of our book study this week, seeing as we have spent 2 week studying apples....oh well...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Maryland Science Center

*WARNING: A large amount of photos are contained in this post!

Every year in September, the Maryland Science Center has three weeks set aside for homeschooling families. Classes are offered for pre-K through high school at very affordable rates, which also include admission to the Science Center for the day.

But you don't have to take a class. If you are a homeschooling family, you receive free admission everyday (Tues-Fri) for the entire three weeks.

Clearly, we had to take advantage of this amazing place. And we did. Twice!

The first trip was last week. My father was able to join us in order to help me out. It's hard having three little ones in a big place, especially with two who are content to wander off without a second glance.

Our first stop was the dinosaur exhibit. A definite favorite with my kids! As soon as D saw the dinosaurs, he got very excited!

We began as paleontologists, digging for dinosaur bones. You have to be gentle and careful with your brush!

Then K (age 5) made some dinosaur footprints in the sand:

D (20 months) enjoyed playing with the buttons on the video. I am sure he is learning a ton...

WOW! Dinosaurs were HUGE:

Look Mom! There is the scale model used to make the big ones!

The girls used dinosaur textures to create skin on their drawings:

Then we headed to the kids room. Oh my! I LOVED this place. I think the best thing was that it was separated from the rest of the Science Center by a half door. (like the kind for nursery rooms in churches) The door is guarded by two employees who don't let any kids in or out without a parent. WHEW! A moment to relax and lose sight of my older two was a welcome break. Of course, my dad was there on this visit so he enjoyed some teaching time with my older girls.

He and K (age 5) spent some time in the dress up area. After dressing up, you enter the green room. In the green room, you can view yourself on the TV with different background movies. Some show you swimming with dolphins. Others put you on the moon. It was a lot of fun:

He spent some time showing the girls how to create dams to direct the boats at the water table:

T (age 4) loved the water table and spent quite a bit of time there.

Course, little D found other things to do at the water table to entertain himself:

There was a wall of the "nail things" you can make hand prints in:

An undersea cove was a lot of fun. It was rather large with lots of buttons, steering wheels, and other toys. There was a periscope to look around at the upper deck of the ship (above you) as well as speakers to talk with the people above you.

The girls enjoyed these animated undersea adventures. You "feel" as if you are swimming undersea and the goal is to find the treasure:

There is a boat located above the undersea cove. You can do some fishing there. And if you are a lucky little guy, your big sister will be there to help you out:

K really got into the boat signal flags. There was a sign explaining each flag and what it means:

Next to it is a bucket of flags and a flag pole. She had fun hoisting up different messages:

D found some stairs. Yes. He likes the stairs. Up. Down. Up. Down.

His other favorite (and mine) was this Lego table. After you built some tall buildings, or as tall as your impatient 20 month old would allow, you pressed a button to cause an earthquake. It was fun to see if our buildings could with stand the shaking.

Another advantage to homeschooling week is that the place is EMPTY! So when you go to the demonstration on Static Electricity, every child gets a chance to let their hair stand up because there are only 12 kids there:

D was absolutely adorable in the Maryland area. There were crabs and turtles. He fell in love with this little turtle and stood there talking to it through the glass.

Hi Turtle!

Course, the entire day wasn't all fun and games. He had his meltdown moments.

But they didn't stop us!

Our final stop was Newton's Alley. This is a favorite place for my kids, but a tough one to keep track of them. This is a large area with a ton of amazing stuff, including exits to every area of the museum. Thank goodness my dad was there!

Here the girls tried to roll things across a spinning disc:

D could have stayed at this ball drop all day. It was awesome! Every ball could be directed down a different track. They did amazing things. Some flew through the air or set off bells. It was a lot of fun to watch and control:

Whew! What an exhausting day, but boy was it fun.

And yes, we did go back this week!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apple Picking

After studying Johnny Appleseed, we ended the week with a trip to the apple orchard. It was a dreary, cloudy day and rain was predicted but we headed out! I am so glad we did. The rain held off and we had the place to ourselves.

We began at the apple trees:

Yes, they were having a ball...

Even the littlest guy...

Who could resist the thornless blackberries? Apparently not little D!

Tomatoes were ready for picking!

Our loot to take home:

We're already planning our next trip in October!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Johnny Appleseed Unit (9/8-9/12/08)

We had a fun week learning about Johnny Appleseed! This week was a huge improvement from the previous week as we began to find our groove.

After reading a book about Johnny Appleseed, we created puppets from paper bags. K, age 5, really got into this and drew some apple trees for a background in a puppet theater. We moved the toy chest forward and they got behind it to put on a show. K narrated the show while T, age 4, worked the puppet.

What would a week on Johnny Appleseed be without some apple taste testing? So that is what we did for dessert one night after dinner. The winners? Gayla and Fuji around this house. (after some imput from friends we hunted down Honey Crisp Apples and Jazz Apples to try this week)

Lest you think little D (age 19 months) missed out on the fun, here he is at the apple testing table. Of course, he really wasn't interested in trying them, but enjoyed sitting for a few moments.

A friend of mine and I were chatting one night and we laughed about bobbing for apples. But hey, why not? I let the girls bob for some slices in the kitchen sink. There are some great shots of this, but for obvious reasons I can't include them...shirts were taken off to prevent getting soaked.

The week ended with a fabulous trip to the local "Pick-Your-Own" Farm. I'll post pictures in my next post, as there are many!

One other little heart warming event this week was this moment:

K and T were watching a video. It was one of the Animated Stories of the New Testament. During the show, K got her bible to find the story in it. Once she did, she read it to T as the video played in the background. It was absolutely precious.