Thursday, October 23, 2008

Here's a Little Poem: Unit I (Week 10/6-10/10)

We took a break from our Five in a Row unit studies to spend a week reading and studying poetry. Poetry happens to be a FAVORITE topic of mine, so I was excited to introduce my children to the world of poetry.

We used this unit study from homeschool share and did the first three lessons. The kids had a blast studying rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeia!

Now I learned onomatopeoia in middle school and remember it to this day because my teacher played us a song about it. I can still sing that song in my head, at least the chorus, so I went on a search for it at the library.

I thought I found it, but was wrong. But it didn't matter because the song I found was GREAT and the girls love it! The Fingernail Fairy CD by Peter McCory has a song called, "Onomatopoeia" and it is AWESOME! If your library has it, it is well worth borrowing during your own poetry unit. My girls will not forget onomatopoeia!

The best part of the week was when K (age 5) randomly wrote her own poem. The girls were playing with GeoTrax and she came in the room and said, "I made up my own poem!"

Clickety-Clack Clickety-Clack
A train goes past.
Clickety-Clack Clickety-Clack
I love to watch the trains.

Not bad kiddo! Fabulous repetition and onomatopeoia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bible Study

Tuesday has become a favorite day for all of us! It is bible study day and we love it.

This bible study has been a HUGE blessing for our homeschooling year. I knew it was going to be great, but I truly didn't realize how wonderful it would be.

For a long time I had looked into women's bible study's during the day, but the timing didn't work out, or they didn't have childcare for children under 2. I had been particularly interested in BSF (bible study fellowship) for the amazing children's program I heard about, but the childcare didn't include children under 2.

It's been a long time since I haven't had a child under 2.

I knew this year was going to be impossible (so I thought) to find a bible study because I had to have childcare for a little boy under 2 as well as a big girl who "should be in school all day". At least most studies assume that and don't have anything for homeschooled children.

Thankfully I live in a AMAZINGLY active homeschool area! And this year a very large community church up the road added a bible study for homeschool students that takes place during the Tuesday morning women's study!

That means mommy goes to study.

D (age 22 months) goes to childcare.

T (age 4) goes to childcare.

K (age 5) goes to bible class.

We all LOVE it! Every classroom has their lessons and memory work. On week one, we were given a schedule of bible stories for each classroom. Even little D colors a sheet and hears a little story each week.

T and K come out of their rooms bubbling over with excitement about their lessons.

I have been quite thrilled with the homeschool bible class. The kids are given 1/2 hour to do independent homework as everyone arrives. K is able to get phonics and handwriting done! Then they have a bible story, using the Veritas Bible Cards, Genesis through Joshua, which are exactly the resource we are using at CC!!!! (love it!) K also has craft time and game time at class. This allows her some time to play the "traditional school yard games" such as sharks and minnows and freeze tag.

Believe it or not, I worry that she'll "miss out" on games like that, so I am thrilled she is playing them! (oh the things we worry about...)

K is given homework each week, including memory work. Right now she is memorizing the books of the Old Testament for class. She also receives a few optional worksheets. And the teacher is fabulous about emailing the sections of the bible to review and read.

AND, I love my study! The group clicked well on week 1. The study is in-depth and goes beyond the "come back with all of these retorical questions answered" type of study.

We love Tuesday in this house and I pray that the church is able to continue this for a long time to come!

(if you live in my area, email me and I'll give you the exact church and information for next year!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homeschool Share

A fellow homeschooling mom recommended the website, Homeschool Share, to me.


Let me pass on the recommendation that you go to this site! There is a wealth of information, resources, and links.

If you are using any volume of Five in a Row, then you'll be interested in the FIAR resource section.

The unit study section is another favorite of mine! Just click on the age you are teaching and go to a list of literature titles appropriate for that age group. Click on a title and you are given an entire unit study, complete with links, worksheets, and extensions.

Take some time to explore the site. We have found it quite useful this year. In fact, as I sit at this machine, I am using this site to plan a study on Curious George next week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lentil: Weekly Highlights (9/29-10/3)

A few highlights of our week:

We studied the book, Lentil by Robert McCloskey. In the story, the town decides to celebrate the return of the town's "most important citizen", Colonel Carter.

We used the military connection in combination with our Kids with Purpose Guide to serve the men and women in our military with letters! We talked about how sad it would be to be so far from your family for so long. Then we discussed how great it would feel to get a letter or package. Our KWP guide suggested using the site, Any Soldier, to get names and addresses. It was an excellent, up-to-date site, with great information!

Each of the girls wrote a letter:

T drew herself with the soldiers. I just thought that was so precious...

K's letter:

Then we colored in an American Flag on the back and included photos of the kids:

The girls really enjoyed this. Of course, we hope to get an email or note back, but we explained to them that we might not. The soldiers have a lot of things they are doing to fight for our country and for the freedom of those in other countries.

Definitely a favorite activity so far!

Handwriting. K (age 5) finished the upper case manuscript in HWT. I assume she is doing fine...that's the hard part about that handwriting "average" for kindergarten or is she WAY OFF?

T decided to give it a try:

Art. We discussed horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. (diagonal was on the back)

K really improved her abilities to copy the design:

T (age 4) gave it a whirl as well:

It was a fun week. I feel like we have found a bit of a groove, but continue to work on it each week.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

State Dinner Night

One of the goals for the girls this year is to memorize the US states and capitals. We work on five a week and they officially know more than their mommy. This week put me over the edge with several states that I didn't know. (darn midwest....sorry my fellow Missouri residents)

We wanted to have some fun with this, so every Friday night we host a state dinner using recipes from the book, "Eat your way through the USA." The book includes recipes for a entire meal from each US state. A main dish, side dish, and dessert are provided. We occasionally add in a salad or bread to round out the meal.

It's been fun to invite family and friends over on Friday night! I think it's a tradition we'll stick with because it kicks off the weekend with some fun. Not to mention, it forces this non-cook to have some fun in the kitchen.

We have eaten our way through 6 states and must say:

Mississippi - We loved your mud! It was the most decadent dessert yet! Plus, as one who dislikes the kitchen, I had no idea I could make chicken and dumplings from scratch. I was quite proud of that meal and boy was it yummy!

Maine - We are so thankful you produce so much lobster for us! The casserole was delicious!

Kentucky - We don't often eat such artery clogging sandwiches, but boy was my hubby thrilled to eat the Hot Browns. (turkey, bacon, melted cheese on crusty french bread...)

Missouri - Yes, we agree that chili and mac and cheese do go great together. YUM!

New Jersey - Thank you for putting all those summer blueberries to good use. We loved that cobbler.

New Hampshire - While the adults enjoyed the Roasted Corn Chowder, I believe your Orange Juice Cake was the favorite for the kids!

We can't wait to visit the rest of the states. We'll continue our dinners until we run out of dinner options that our family will enjoy.

And since dessert is clearly the favorite part of the meal in EVERY state, we have already determined that when we run out of dinners we will DESSERT our way through the USA!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Recommendations

We are quite busy, but having a ball! I am behind in my updates and may or may not keep up with them. But I did want to pass on two book titles that we have run across and LOVE!

We are doing a poetry unit this week from the site, homeschool share. The entire unit is based on poems from this book. We LOVE this book. My girls adore the poems and didn't want me to stop reading the book at all. We completed most of the book on Monday, but continue to read and reread! They are fun, silly, smart, and PERFECT for younger kids!

We were having a blast reading the poems and then came to a poem titled, "August Ice Cream Cone."



We all cracked up immediately at that little poem. Perfect! (Most are longer) From bubble bees, to city noise, to the beach, this book has it all covered!

Another favorite for the last few weeks has been this book. The Scrambled States of America is hilarious. Basically, Kansas decides that he is bored in the middle of the US and decides to host a party to meet all of the states. At the party, they all decide to switch places, which of course does not work out. The side conversations in this book are hilarious and will keep an adult entertained as well as the kiddos.

Like Nevada asking Mississippi, "How would you like to become Mrs. Sippi?"

Yes, it is dry humor but quite clever. The girls love the story and the silly jokes. We HIGHLY recommend it!

And, as an added bonus, the girls have really learned to recognize the states and their shapes as the states walk around and travel.

Apparently there is a video out there as well, but we have yet to see it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly Review 9/22-9/26 (Madeline)

We read, "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans this week for our literature study. Madeline lives in her boarding school in France, so we began by locating France and coloring an outline of France. We placed our story disk on France on our large World Map.

Madeline has her appendix removed, so this lead to a discussion of some of our various organs. Of course, the appendix wasn't on this print out so we had to locate it ourselves. We referred to our children's anatomy book.

I am finding that my girls don't enjoy reading the same literature book five days in a row for our FIAR studies. So we have reduced it to three days. We eliminated Wednesday because we are at CC all day. Then we typically eliminate Thursday OR Friday. Three readings seems to be enough for them to get the basics of the story, the vocabulary, and to complete some activities together. This has worked MUCH better for us.

Phonics: We took a break from Ordinary Parent's Guide and Explode the Code to work on the MCP Plaid Phonics B program this week. We are going to complete Unit 1.

I really liked a little change for K. Explode the Code is GREAT and we are mid-way through book 2, but MCP's workbook is colorful and has a HUGE variety of activities. It's giving her a nice review with a little more variety!

History/Geography: The girls have to give a presentation each week at CC. This week they had to report on one of the US states. They each picked their favorite state to talk about.

T (age 4)'s favorite state is California because of the Giant Sequoia's and Redwood Trees. She shared that with the class and showed them her flag:

and her outline of the state:

K (age 5's) favorite state is Oregon because she'd like to go see a sunset there. (We have no clue where this came from). She dictated a report to me so that she could read it:

She also colored the flag...

and traced an outline...

T has decided she'd like to join in the Handwriting Practice, so I began printing her some sheets from Enchanted Learning.And she wants to participate in Reading/Phonics practice as well so she is working on letters and their sounds. While this is easy for her, she loves being part of the table time and is gaining confidence. I think it will help when it is time for her to learn to read!

After a day at CC, I am beat. On top of it this week, we went to the Science Center again! It was a blast, but I was so exhausted on Thursday that I fell asleep on the sofa for 1 hour.

The girls got their own snacks and drinks. Then K took care of doing a "project" with her little sister. When I woke up, the results were my favorite school activity of the week:

Thanks to my big girl for being so creative with her sister!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A day at Classical Conversations

Every Wed AM, I wake up to an alarm clock, rather than my children. We have to be at CC (Classical Conversations) by 8:30 AM. Here is look at a typical Wednesday AM for us at CC.

Our day begins with a large group meeting. We say the pledge to the flag first. Then each week, one of the participating families shares a presentation with the group. This can be a song, dance, verse to recite, skit, or informational presentation. The sky is the limit! On this particular week my friend, Kim and her boys recited their bible verses and led us in a song. it is great for these kids to have a turn in front of the large group!

Then we head to class. T (age 4) comes with me and K (age 5) heads off to her own classroom. Each week we do a science experiment. This week we happened to be measuring the capacity of our lungs. The kids blew air into a straw in order to blow water out of the milk jug. We were able to measure a "normal" breath and then a deep breath. We learned that our lungs function on a normal level at about 1/3 their maximum capacity.

My girls LOVED this experiment! The class was really fascinated when I took a turn and was able to blow out all of the water in my two breaths. (I have 4 and 5 years old and they weren't able to do quite as much)

Next we return to class and do our Memory Work for the week. This includes learning the Veritas Bible Timeline as you see in the picture. I teach the kids hand motions for each card. We are on the 40th card and it is getting tough to remember them all, at least for the teacher!

We also do memory work in history, bible, latin, english, science, geography, and math. This is the long part of our day in my classroom with the 4 and 5 year olds. But we try to break it up, sing songs, move around, and take breaks. The kids are learning a lot and I think we finally have our groove down to keep them going!

When we recite our science memory work, it is most often in the form of a question and answer. I ask the question and then the students first. But then each student takes a turn asking while the rest of us answer. We ask/answer in low voices, high voices, loud voices, and quiet voices. They enjoy having a turn as the "teacher".

Of course, a favorite part of the day for my little gal is snack and break time. I admit that mommy is quite ready for it too!

After a nice break, our class does their presentations. Here is my little T telling us about her favorite state, California. She brought in a traced outline of the state as well as a colored flag.

K reported that week on her favorite state, Oregon. (don't ask...I don't know...)

We end our day with fine arts. For 6 weeks we have focused on drawing and the five elements of shape: circle, dot, straight line, curved line, and angle. On this particular day, we created abstract art using the 5 elements. (from Drawing with Children) Each child had a chance to share their favorite part of their design with the class. They were quite proud of their artwork:

After we play a review game, the students are dismissed for lunch.

We have been taking advantage of the nice weather and eating outside. It is a great opportunity to run around with friends...for the kids AND for me!

Then we go home and on most days...I nap!