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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What I love about Homeschooling- Reason No. 3

Most days I get up and dress and prepare myself for the day but then there are some days... like yesterday that I want to stay in my pajamas.. and that's okay cause I CAN go to work in my PJ's if I want :) One more thing I like about homeschooling!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Spoon Family

I have been wanting to participate in Kiddos Create... a challenge hosted each week by Mama Jenn on her awesome blog. The challenge is to "create something by, for, or with your kiddos using everyday items from around your home!! " I had picked up a set of wooden spoons at the grocery store a few weeks ago and was waiting to do something with them... something crafty that is! The kids were having a friend over for a play date this week so I thought it was the perfect time to use them. I got out the felt, googly eyes, pompoms, pipe cleaners, markers and glue gun and we got to work! I decided to use the glue gun so that we didn't have to wait for anything to dry but that limited how much the kids could do on their own but they had lots of fun picking out the items they wanted to use and then telling me exactly where they wanted them to go.

The end result was a happy family of spoons:

The kids then had fun putting on a little show and running around the house with their new puppets...

This is definitely one we will do again sometime... hey we could have a whole community of spoons! LOL!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Working Hard...

Well we have used work boxes and schedule strips for one whole week and I am really pleased with the results. As I imagined, they are just what Kai Kai needed... he knows what is on the schedule for the day and he has a sense of accomplishment when he takes his last square off the schedule strip. No more questions like " what's next?' or " how many more questions do I have to do" or " why do I have to do penmanship?" He can see what is ahead, including the fun stuff and that motivates him to get through the subjects he is not too fond of. It frees me up to spend one on one or one on two time with LiLi and Buttercup. LiLi got the hang of the strips and the boxes by the end of the week and he even now looks forward to seeing what he has to do each day... I do have to guide him along quite a bit but it does help to keep us all on track. Buttercup who refuses to be left out because "I a big girl now" has enjoyed her free play boxes and her tot school boxes, proudly taking them off the shelf and finding a spot to sit down and get busy. We have to work on her packing one up before she moves on to the next but that will come. All in all week one was a success! I do have to be much more organised the night before and last week each night took me quite awhile but I see it getting better as I get more used to planning what each child will be doing. I spent a few hours yesterday planning out this whole week so I feel good as we move into week two.

So what have we been up to all week? Here is a summary of what we accomplished:

Raising Rock Stars (for an explanation of this see an earlier post)

Raising Rock Stars

Our Bible lessons continue to focus on creation and we finished up Day 3. We spent quite awhile over the past couple months learning about the land (soil, rocks, sand), grass, bushes, trees and last week we finished up with plants we can eat and other uses of plants. The curriculum we are using definitly leaves no stone unturned in the discussion of Creation (It took us 3 months to get through days 1 to 3!!) Kai Kai was pleased to know that we are moving on to day 4!!!

our wood and mud (craftstick & homemade playdough) house (God gives us trees so we can use the wood to make things). (It collapsed about 3 seconds after I snapped the picture!)

They have learned and continue to recite 6 verses pertianing to creation and we will continue to add to these as we move through the days. We are also continuing with Kai Kai's Olympian memory verses and the Songs for Saplings verses that we began last term.

to see what others are doing as they Raise their Rock Stars check out this blog.

It's All Elementary ( The School days of Kai Kai)

Kai Kai continues to enjoy math and is working on topics such as addition, subtraction, fractions, place value, telling time and counting money. He is definitely a "worksheet child" and is doing well with the Horizons curriculum. I am sure we will continue with Horizons math next year.

Phonics, spelling and penmanship aren't his favourite but he is a trooper and gets it all done.. I usually put something fun in the workbox after these so he has something to look forward to. He continues to love reading though so I schedule plenty of reading time in our day.

We are currently studying about the medieval period for History/ Geography. Kai Kai enjoyed making a pouch out of felt and string which replicated one that someone of that period would have worn around their waist.

Kai Kai continues to do well in piano and recorder and he started tennis lessons last week which was definitely the highlight of his week!

Preschool Corner( All about LiLi) & Tot School( Don't forget the Princess!)

Tot School

P is for popcorn, pizza, peanut butter... yes, last weeks focus was on the letter P. I had some activities that were specifically for LiLi and some for Buttercup but many of them were for them both to do together... even the big brother wanted to get in on some of the action!! Here are some of the things we did all week:

Note: you will notice LiLi wearing his bike helmet in some of the pictures.. he just got it last week and insists on wearing it to school... I pick my battles:)!!

recorder practice

math... numbers and cutting

penny addition

a pumpkin file folder game (found here )

gluing pompoms on the letter P... notice LiLi's orange and green pattern he was very proud of!

a puzzle for Buttercup

spooning popcorn (Buttercup)

playing with pumpkin pie playdough (recipe here)

"p" picture hunt

homemade pizza

a trip to the playground

making felt pizza

colouring a princess

potato prints

making peanut butter cookies

We had a great week! Stay tuned for more next week!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Adventure Continues...

Happy New Year!!

School's been out for 2 weeks and we are all ready to jump back in tomorrow! We have had a great Christmas break with family and friends... plenty of food, laughs, new toys and lots of fun!

here's a picture of our gang on Christmas morning:

I have spent this past week gearing up for using our new workbox system. I have created, printed, cut, laminated, velcro'd... whew! I LOVE our new Ikea shelving (did I mention that before:) I have to thank my friend Michelle for suggesting it. Kai Kai helped me with some of the preparation and is looking forward to actually using it. It will be interesting to see how LiLi adapts to it... I am guessing there will be lots of prompting and assistance from me for a while. Buttercup also has "workboxes" which I will fill with toys and activities for her to keep busy during school. I will also prepare her tot trays for Tot School at least 3 times a week... she likes to be involved with whatever LiLi is doing anyway so she is getting plenty of intellectual stimulation!

Here is a look at our workbox system... I was inspired by many fellow bloggers, I took ideas from here and there throughout the internet but I was particularly inspired by Jolanthe of Homeschool creations and Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and Maureen at Spell Out Loud. They had great information on their blogs about workboxes and links to many other blogs that I also loved to read through.
Here is the set up. Each child has a column.. (Buttercup quickly tells anyone who will listen that her boxes are pink :)

LiLi and Kai Kai have schedule strips that are hanging on the side of the shelving. When they come into the school room in the morning they will take their strips and look to see what the first tag tells them to do.

If it is a card with a number they will go and find the corresponding workbox and begin working on whatever is in that box. If it is something I need to work with them on, the box will also have a work with mom tag. Each tag is velcro'd on so I can change the strips daily. As they complete something they remove the tag so that they can see what is completed and how much more they have to do for the day.
There are a variety of activities in each box, from books, to spelling tests, to worksheets, to craft activities. Here is a look at one box for each child for tomorrow...

Kai Kai's reader.. the sticky tells him which pages he needs to read.

LiLi's read aloud books that I will read to him and then he will draw a picture to describe his favorite part... we are working on letter P this week.

One of Buttercup's tot trays... spooning popcorn seeds into a muffin tin

Then there are subjects that we all do together like Bible, science, music etc. which won't be in a box, but they will have a tag on their strip to tell them it is on the schedule. They will also have tags for music practice, breaks, lunch, rest time etc.

I am sure this will be a work in progress... I will be tweaking and making the system really work for us but this is how we will begin! I'll keep you posted on our progress!!

During the break I also started reading "The Well Trained Mind". My friend Marielle lent it to me sometime ago when I first decided to homeschool.. I picked it up read the introduction and decided it wasn't the book for me... and at that time it truly wasn't.. it would have overwhelmed me. Now with a better understanding of homeschooling and what it means to me and our family I was ready to pick it up again... I started reading it one evening and couldn't put it down until I reached the end of the section geared towards my kids' level. I have started making decisions about our curricula for next year and this book is going to be a great guide. Of course I probably won't follow it to a "T"... I am sure there are very few people that do, but it is a great guide to providing your child a rich, exciting and challenging educational experience.

Stay tuned to our continuing homeschooling adventures in 2010!