Monday, September 29, 2008
What amazed me was how excited she was to do it. She loves her doll, and loved the idea of weaving like Kaya did in our story today. Of course, it was a great lesson in patience. And she was more patient than I ever imagined! I knit hats for AcrobatBoy and TagalongGirl's bears alongside her. She knit for over an hour the first time we sat down. And every time she thought about it, she grabbed the loom to knit some more.
She finished the hat before bed!!!
I'm so proud of her, and she's awfully proud of herself. She's already trying to decide what she'll "weave" next. But that will have to wait for another day. Here she is with her doll wearing the finished hat, as well as a picture at the bottom of all three big kids with their toy and hat(yes, I finished two hats in the time it took her to do one. I'm pretty slow...):
Sunday, September 28, 2008
6:00am - I will wake up, read my scriptures, and exercise.
7:00am - Time to marshall the troops! First order of business is breakfast, then we'll head upstairs to get everyone dressed, brushed, and do morning chores like tidying bedrooms, feeding cats, washing dishes, starting laundry.
9:00am - Homeschool Officially Starts: We're going to start doing a morning devotional consisting of a song, prayer, scripture story, and practicing a scripture verse.
Next is Math(BigGirl), Numbers(AcrobatBoy and Tagalong Girl), Spelling(BigGirl), and ABCs(AcrobatBoy and Tagalong Girl). If I'm working with math the preschoolers are playing, if I'm doing ABCs then BigGirl is playing. Also we will alternate days. If Tuesday I start with BigGirl, Wednesday I'll start with the preschoolers.
10:30ish to 11:00am - snack and playtime
11:00pm - Unit Study time: here is the main part of our homeschool where we fit most subjects. We may have a book to read, activities to do, crafts to make, or a lapbook or notebook to work on. What we do will change each day, but it all is related to our month's topic.
12:00pm - Time to make lunch and play until 1:30pm.
1:30pm - here is more time to do Unit Study stuff if we wish, especially dissections as BabyBoy is napping usually.
2:30pm - Everybody outside, rain, snow, or shine. We've gotta get some air!
Once playing outside is done we'll come in for a snack and either Signing Time DVDs or a video, just some time to rest.
Dinner is served at 5:00pm, followed by family scripture study and daddy time, baths, etc. Bedtime is 9:00pm for now, though it usually moves to earlier in the wintertime.
Friday, September 26, 2008
- wolves hunt in packs, showing great teamwork. At least until the kill has been made. Then it's a fight for food.
- wolves need to eat about 5 pounds of meat a day, but that isn't always available so at a large kill they can gorge and eat as much as 20 pounds at once.
- very young wolf pups lick the adult's mouths when they return from hunting. Why? So the adults will throw up some prechewed food for the pups to lick out of their mouths - ewww!
- in a pack the Alpha male and Alpha female are in charge. And they are the only ones that have pups usually! Even if there are other males and females in the pack, they don't have pups but help raise the Alpha leader's pups.
- when pups are new parents lick their tummy to help them poop, and then the parents eat the poop! gross!
Here are pictures of my wolf pack:
Now where did I find these masks? Well, on one of my favorite websites, Homeschool Share, they have a gray wolf unit study and lapbook. I printed a few lapbook pieces, but at the very bottom of the page was a link to these cute masks. Here is the page at Homeschool Share:
Now we're getting ready to go outside and play. It is getting dark and wolves love the dark! Maybe we'll even howl at the moon.
Record-Keeping, the Essentials!Do you keep a grade book? Does your state require attendance sheets or a portfolio? What are some of the best methods of organization that you have found to keep up with all of the school records for the year? Are you an organizational expert or do you find it to be a hassle? What about online forms--can you recommend some good sites to others? Share with us your greatest successes and your greatest flops in this area!
I have a funny feeling explaining what record keeping we do will be more complicated than the actual record keeping is. But I will try anyway!
A little background for you: In Ohio we have two reporting options with homeschooling. The simplest in some ways is standardized testing. You do your own thing all year. Then at then end of the year your child takes a standardized test and when you send your notification papers in next year you include their score. (The required acceptable score is pathetic, really really pathetic!)
The other option is to keep a portfolio of your child’s work all year and then have someone with a current Ohio teaching license review the portfolio and sign a paper stating your child’s work was reviewed and their progress is in accordance with their abilities. The child is NOT compared to public school children the same age/grade. What is evaluated is that your child made progress in each of the Ohio required areas from the homeschooling law in accordance with their abilities. So that means if my 8th grader is doing basic math at the beginning of the year and has progressed to pre algebra by the end, it’s ok. Or my 2nd grader starts the year with algebra and ends in calculus. (Not in this house!) It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, can do, or doesn’t do yet. Only what your child does.
We use the portfolio option for a few reasons. 1. We don’t teach the standard public school curriculum, so a standardized test can’t really evaluate our children’s homeschooling year. 2. It’s ridiculous to have a 5, 6, or 7 year old sit to take a big long test. Some of them can’t even read! How can they be comfortable and confident enough to answer questions they can’t read on their own? 3. I love having a portfolio that shows us just how much we’ve accomplished that year. In the day to day grind you sometimes wonder if you are accomplishing much. But to sit down at the end of the year and see all the work you’ve done in the last year is a great reminder that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Will we ever do standardized testing? Probably later on, occasionally. But I enjoy the portfolio and so do the kids. Who doesn’t like to show off all they’ve accomplished?
Keeping records for our portfolio works a few ways.
First I start each year with a file for each subject required in the state of Ohio. Into this we toss the papers, field trip memorabilia, art projects (or pictures thereof), and so on. For some areas like health, we won’t put things in for months, if at all, because we will cover it in anther subject like science.
Now remember, we do unit studies. So we study a topic in depth for 3-5 weeks. Our topic this month has been the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. During this study we’ve covered literature, writing(stories and poems related to our subject), reading, science (topics like trees, snow, beavers, lions), cooking (Turkish Delight and homemade hot cocoa), history (World War II – which is why the Pevinsie children left home to come to the Professor’s house in the first place), health (Edmund overeats sweets and feels sick), geography and maps, art projects, spelling (words from the story), and so on.
For every unit we do I keep two record sheets. The first is a list of books, websites, and resources we use as we study. For this unit study so far we’ve used books ranging from topics like lions, beavers, England, WWII, the actual read aloud book, a website that had paper dolls of the story characters, the Disney movie, and more. The second record sheet is a list of activities we do related to the unit.
Those sheets go into a binder. Then with any major unit we do either a lapbook or notebook about the subject. Sometimes we do both! All of it goes into the same binder.
At the end of the year I grab these binders and lapbooks, as well as a sampling from the files for each subject if needed. For science and history I never need to grab anything but the notebooks and lapbooks. Those cover it well. For math, we grab some worksheets and tests from the file showing the beginning, middle, and end of the year. You get the idea. Then I meet with our assessor(we get to choose in Ohio and mine is a homeschooling mom who has a teaching license). We spend an hour looking at all we’ve done. She has a page that lists each subject and she notes of what topics we covered for each area. That’s it! I come home with a paper she signed to toss in my notification for the next year, I’ve had a great time reminiscing with my kids and another adult about all the fun we had in homeschool that year, and I am refreshed and ready to do it all again next year!
I did want to mention another benefit to the book and activity lists I keep for each unit. These are a great resource in a few years when we revisit the topic with younger or older children. I have a partially written unit to build from for an older child, or a totally ready unit to use for a younger child!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I also wanted to share two articles I reread today that I really love. Both are on families or mothers. I love the plain simple way truth is shared in these articles. The world today have voices here and there saying what is good, right, moral, acceptable, and normal. I don’t want what the world sees as normal!
The first is called Mothers Who Know by Julie B. Beck. It can be found here:
The second is called Righteous Traditions by Cheryl C. Lant. It can be found here:
Take a minute to read them. I promise you it will be worth your time!
"A beaver girl namd Kit whs mad a book. she whs owtsid lainge in the gras. She whs riting abawt seewd. it rang. Kit left her book. a fox took her book. Kit lookt ner foxes cav. Fox cam awt. in th yor book? yes haw did yo fid it. I so it in the raning. thacuo the end"
A beaver girl named Kit was making a book. She was outside laying in the grass. She was writing about seaweed. It rained. Kit left her book. A fox took her book. Kit looked near Fox's cave. Fox came out. "Is this your book?" "Yes, how did you find it?" "I saw it in the rain." "Thank you." The End.
Before writing the story she made a web with ideas for the story. And then she wrote it. Tomorrow we'll sit together to revise it, fix spelling, see if she wants to add anything, and so on. Then she'll either write or type the final draft for her portfolio.
That's all folks!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
So what am I envisioning? How will I go through this process? If you really know me that is a silly question. I'll do it with the 3 P's: prayer, pencil, and paper! Over the years I've read lots of books about organizing, homeschooling, home management, and so on. I've gathered bits and pieces that work for me. I've been gifted with an organizational streak. It comes naturally to me. Of course so do other things like obsessing, perfectionism, and bossiness. Unfortunately it's not just about me anymore! A husband put a few kinks in my plans. Add in the 4 children and my preferences are at the bottom of the list!
If it were just me I would have a nice, scheduled week with times for each activity. Really, every hour would have a purpose, even if it was just to read a book and rest. That doesn't work with my family though. So instead of a schedule with defined times, I get a routine or things we do in general order, tied to triggers like meals and snacks. If I want kids to help with a chore, I've learned to offer something they want to do next, like eat or play outside. "We can go play outside as soon as you pick the toys up in your room and put them away," works so much better than "It's time to pick up now. Go do it." And we have a cycle, usually one homeschool subject/activity, one chore, one playtime, repeat. Meals and snacks are what brings them back from the playtime to start homeschooling again.
One thing I am hoping to do is work some routines in for me: exercise, scripture reading at regular parts of the day, and so on. Wouldn't that be nice? Instead of trying to shove it in where I can and often running out of time or energy.
Another thing I would like to try is a routine for chores. Losing power showed me how nice it could be to have the laundry or dishes done swiftly and regularly. Imagine if we didn't have clean clothes in the house? If I let the dirty laundry pile up to wash all on one day we could have been in bad shape. (besides, who likes washing 6 loads in one day?) And I'm not getting any less pregnant. We're close to halfway at 16 weeks. Now is the time to work that deep cleaning into the schedule and then set in place routines to maintain it. It's so much easier to wipe down the shower every day when you get out than to scrub the grime off once every 6 months!
So off I go to list and brainstorm ideas! I'll update you how it turns out later!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Extra Activities, Helping or Hindering?
What is your weekly extra-curricular routine? Do your kids take music lessons? Sports? Are they involved in church activities? How much time does this leave for family time? Are you over-scheduled or relaxed in your outside programs? Share with us your thoughts on this!
This is the assignment from Heart of the Matter today (http://www.heartofthematteronline.com/) so here are my thoughts:
Currently we have one weekly activity out of the house, ballet for my oldest. And once a month we have a Homeschool Book Club. So five days a month, four Saturdays and a Thursday, we are scheduled out of the house. We don't believe in lots of outside activities. We didn't allow our oldest to start a "sport" until 6. She tried gymnastics and it wasn't her favorite. This summer she took a 6 week intro to ballet class. She loved it. So ballet it is for this year.
It hasn't always been this way. Several years ago we had two cars, and while DH was at work I would lug the kids to Library Story time every week. Literally the librarians have watched my kids grow up from infants and know them by name. At this point I had 3 kids, age 5 and under. We also went to a playgroup with some moms at church every other week. But then I got pregnant again. And my oldest was officially homeschooling Kindergarten so there were no other kids her age at playgroup anymore, they were all in public school. And I was hauling two babies to all this while pregnant. I was getting worn out and then one of our cars died. But the dust. Gave up the ghost. Not worth fixing.
What a blessing in disguise! We prayerfully chose NOT to replace the car as we were debt free and didn't want another loan again. So we stayed home. And we loved it. I spent relaxed days enjoying my children, exploring with them, playing with them, reading to them, and homeschooling them. We became family centered. Daddy has Mondays off, so he was able to enjoy and participate in the homeschool life. Another baby joined the family. Now I had four children age 6 and under. Who is kidding, I couldn't take all four kids anywhere if I wanted to! Not without losing my sanity! But the thing was I didn't want to anymore.
Now about two months ago we were given an old clunker for my husband to drive to work and back. Free. And with the knowledge of what a blessing staying home is, we have not rushed to fill up our weekly calendar. We have one activity one Thursday a month. We can take a trip to the library if we get a sudden interest and want a book. We can visit friends, and have two homeschooling families from church with kids close in age to ours(finally!) that we just might see sometimes. But usually we see them on the weekend with the whole family, daddy included. I have learned that I CAN take four children anywhere, while pregnant again. I am, after all, a supermom. But I have learned how sweet it is to be home.
We also have some family activities we do regularly. Monday Night is Family Home Evening. We do a scripture lesson and activity together. Friday night we often do Family Movie Night, staying up past bedtime with the kids watching a movie complete with treats like popcorn. Sunday is church for 3 hours, where we have time together, then the children have their own classes and singing time and more. And most weeks Grandma drops in to visit on her lunch break from work one day a week.
You will find that we might not answer the phone. Yes, we're probably home. But we're having too much fun homeschooling and being a family to answer, and are likely out back making new discoveries in the yard, or coloring some masterpiece, or upstairs acting out some book we've just read, complete with costumes, or maybe just snuggling up reading together again. Leave a message. We'll get back to you when the kids have grown up!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Well our family uses sign language for all of this and more!
Here is our story:
Our second child, and our first son, seemed to be a normal baby. But as he passed his 18 month mark he still didn't say anything. Not even Mama or Dada. I started to get a bit nervous. His older sister hadn't talked early, but by 18 months could say a good bit. She was now 5 and talking all the time. At the same time I also had baby number three, who was 5 months old, she is 13 months younger than her brother. Then the tantrums started. My son couldn't tell me what he wanted, and he was frustrated. Very frustrated. Often.
A few more months passed with us trying to teach him any words at all. No luck. Just before he turned 2 we realized that while he seemed perfectly normal, we needed a way to communicate so he could get across his wants without tantrums. Before turning to the "experts", who would only recommend testing, poking, proding, and labeling our bright, sweet boy, we stumbled across Signing Time DVDs at our public library. I thank God every time I remember it.
By this point we had begun homeschooling our oldest. She had been playing around with spanish. But we saw these DVDs and decided to try American Sign Language, hoping that our son could learn to communicate with us, and that his sister could learn right along with him. My 5 year old loved the music, songs, and fun presentation of signs she could use every day like "milk, more, please, ball".
And my son? My totally nonverbal son? He watched the DVDs. He didn't sign. He talked! He would repeat the words, name the signs as the children on the show did them, and finally he could communicate! Within a few weeks he would also sign, and his sign vocabulary grew in leaps and bounds. At the same time his tantrums became few and far between. We always encourage the kids to "Use your words", and to us that includes speaking and signing. With such a late start speaking, my son was hard to understand verbally, but with the signs we knew what he wanted. What about the baby? She began signing before she could talk, at 10 months old. Did that mean she talked later? Nope. By 18 months she was the most verbal of all my children so far.
Now we are a few years down the road. My son is turning 4 next month. He still can be hard to understand if he's upset. But then he just signs. His little sister is going on 3 and never had major tantrums - ever. Because from 10 months old she could tell us what she wanted, what hurt, and a hundred other things. And we have another baby who is on the verge of starting to sign (he's 10 months old), with baby #5 on the way.
And while we don't need to sign every day now, it has been invaluable in a thousand public places as we remind our children to be quiet, to stop, pay attention, or come here. And we do it all without saying a word. We just sign it.
We have collected many of the Signing Time DVDs now. We love them. They are fun to watch, but they are so much more.
So here's the short list of Why We Love Signing Time:
1. We can communicate with our babies and toddlers.
2. It lessens frustration and tantrums.
3. We can discipline and correct quietly in public.
4. It has become our family's "Secret Language", a bond the kids will remember as they grow up.
5. It is something worthwhile to watch as a family, appropriate for every age, and with all the topics for the DVDs we can often choose something that ties in with what is going on in life.
6. It is a hands-on language, it works great for those children who can't sit still and need to move.
Check it out at http://www.signingtime.com/ ! I promise you it can change your family and aren't they worth it?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
On the homeschool front we had another good day. Mommy was up early (6:30am) working on going through the teacher resources she got out from the library. Today was some of The Mailbox magazines, which are full of themed preschool/elementary activities with some black and white printables to go with book suggestions, activities, crafts, and so on. I took notes and scanned in the printables I want on file. This is a huge project I'm working on. I have close to 45 books and magazines to go through from my library. Now lately I've been a stay in bed until one of the kids wakes me kinda mommy. Which is usually between 7 and 8am. But today I was up.
The kids woke on their own schedules. That means AcrobatBoy was first up and we snuggled and read a library book called I'm Taking a Trip on my Train by Shirley Neitzel. Very cute! Each page adds something on the train(caboose, locomotive, people, boxcars, tankers, trestle, tunnel and so on) and repeats everything before it with the word now replaced by a mini picture. He loved it and started repeating after me. Then the girls were up, and finally the baby. Everyone got warm clothes on. Why? Because while the house was comfy when I woke up, I put window fans in and opened all windows to get the house chilly - I love fall!!! After a breakfast ranging from peanut butter bread and bananas to cereal we were on our way. The kids played for a bit while I finished up a few dishes. Then it was the dreaded math! BigGirl learned to tell time to the half hour today. After beginning her worksheet she asked why the preschoolers weren't doing math yet. Tagalong Girl heard her and here is the conversation that followed:
"Math time mommy. I want to do shapes." pause.... "shapes on PAPER mommy."
"Me too" says AcrobatBoy.
Translation, I want a worksheet with shapes, not the pattern blocks. So what's a mom to do when kids ask for a worksheet? I printed one right away. It's the cover to a shape booklet we'll work our way through from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/ . So how do you make a worksheet fun for preschoolers? Easy. I called out a color and they had to find it in their own coloring box. AcrobatBoy chose markers, TagalongGirl used crayons. Then I called out a shape to color with it. And after a few I showed them how to trace/outline the shape with the color, which fascinated my son, who then insisted I help him trace each shape. TagalongGirl ran true to her independent form, "No, I do it all by myself mommy!" And then she wanted to use white crayons, which of course didn't work well. After a few more minutes they turned the papers over and drew on the back. TagalongGirl asked for a circle please, and proceeded to add eyes, mouth, and nose, and name it. So cute!
During this BigGirl finished her worksheet and we began playing Math Bingo from some cards I made up last week. Today was +1 math facts. I call out a fact and she figures out the answer and covers it if it's on the card. She got a double bingo. Basically the last tile she placed for Bingo completed two rows at once. I explained that we could try for different letters on the bingo board like O(all the edge rows), H, X, and even the whole board. Nope, she was done. Maybe tomorrow?
The masses were freed to play again while I spent time with the baby. He sat on my lap for a few board books, then got distracted putting small toys into a little tub and dumping them. By this time the other kids wanted to be read to and here are their choices this time:
Fancy Nancy at the Museum by Jane O'Connor - very cute girly girl book we are learning French from!
Airplanes Soaring! Diving! Turning! by Patricia Hubbell - okay, covers many planes in easy text.
As we finished they were clamoring for snack, so off to the table they went with snack in hand. I had toast with black beans, salsa, and cheese on top. YuM!
Next was reading a chapter in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Everyone had one of the paper dolls we made yesterday and had laminated, and we talked about the story and acted it out. Then BigGirl measured 3 feet on the wall (the dwarf who works for the white witch is 3ft tall). She made a chart for her notebook of things that were smaller, bigger, or exactly 3 feet tall. Then they escaped to play while I washed laundry and cooked lunch with the baby playing in the cookie sheets happily at my feet.
A late lunch and more playing, while the baby fell asleep on the floor and was tucked in for a nap. Time for homeschool again! Just remembering what we've read in Narnia so far and drawing and playing together really. The kids played on the patio and watched as a house across the way got some siding put up. It's an empty house at the moment. Now it has 2/3s of one side white instead of tan, and I imagine we'll watch it finish the transformation over the week. Finally the kids were hungry AGAIN! and so they helped me make homemade chocolate chip banana muffins. What a mess, but they were good. Waiting for muffins to cool we read a cute book called Dragon Pizzeria by Mary Morgan(another library gem). Two dragons make all sorts of pizzas for the characters of Fairy Tale Land. Very neat guessing who each pizza is for! We also read another Fancy Nancy book, Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy by Jane O'Connor. My girly girl loves Fancy Nancy books! This ran into daddy home and the baby waking up, cooking dinner, and the usual evening things.
The highlight of the evening for the kids was a visit from grandma and grandpa who brought a set of bunk beds over that someone at church didn't need anymore. They are like new and we spent the last of the evening changing beds around. We already have a bunk(twin top, futon bottom) that was separated between the girls and boys rooms. We put it together in the boys room and got the ladder out of the basement. Right now AcrobatBoy is on the top bunk, and sooner or later BabyBoy will join him on the bottom.
Monday, September 8, 2008
By this point we came home to cook lunch and Tagalong Girl and BabyBoy went down for naps. That left Mom, Dad and the two oldest to read another chapter in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, color some paper dolls for the book, and practice writing the letter Bb and number 4 for AcrobatBoy. We'll be studying beavers later this week... BigGirl read a book about nouns called A Mink, a Fink, and a Skating Rink as well and learned the difference between common and proper nouns.
With that done Mom escaped to the library to pick up some books that were in and return a few. Of course I HAD to return a few as last week I maxed out my library card limit of 99 books and had to use BigGirl's card to get the rest of the books we wanted. Yes, really. We like books and we love our library!
The rest of the day passed as normal, playing together in the backyard, letting our turtle Shy roam the yard insted of her fenced area of the yard, cleaning house, baths, eating dinner, and doing Family Home Evening. This was a fun one, the topic was Heavenly Father Has a Plan for Me, and we made a little mobile of parts of that plan and learned/practiced the song I am a Child of God. The kids love making things. We go through so much ink!!! Please, if you are family reading this, all I want for Christmas is ink for my printer/scanner/copier or money for books or magazine subscriptions! :-) Oh yeah, the ink is HP 74 (black) and HP 75 (tricolor).
Now it is nearly bedtime and Daddy has been in bed for 45 minutes because he'll be up at 2:00am for work. Everyone is settling in and I'm going to go read a few stories before bed. Tomorrow is another day and we're going to enjoy every minute of it!
Friday, September 5, 2008
AcrobatBoy and Tagalong Girl got covered in dirt as they dug and built play houses for bugs and ants. They had a lot of fun. When they finished that they climbed the playhouse to pull leaves off one of our maple trees. This is the playhouse we bring inside in the winter to give the kids something to help get energy out climbing on.
BigGirl was the most excited. She was exploring some milkweed vines by the garage when she found not one but two caterpillars. Being the bug girl she is, she already knew they were Monarch butterfly caterpillars, that they have bright colors to warn other animals they could be poisonous, and that because of eating milkweed plants they really ARE poisonous! I love when you hear all those bits of knowledge just come out on their own. Needless to say the caterpillars did not become food for our praying mantis(“We don’t want to poison him mom!”). While we toyed with raising them, we have enough pets at the moment so we put them back in the milkweed and decided to check back later for chrysalis.
As for the rest of our week’s update, here’s the rundown:
Wednesday was a hot day at the house with no A/C. But we had a good day. We played some games for math, which BigGirl begged we do more often. The preschoolers practiced tracing letters, naming numbers, and looking at several books by Beatrix Potter(Peter Rabbit, Mrs. TiggyWinkle, and more). And then we started our new unit: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is a great book to read aloud and we all had a good day exploring the first chapter. The kids learned where London is, the basics of World War II and why the kids left London(the air raids), and more. I love that it leaves off just after Lucy has entered the wardrobe and seen the faun. It is a good book for cliffhangers to keep the kids interested and looking forward to the next day.
Thursday was also hot. We got some homeschool done in the morning because we had our first day of our American Girl Book Club. So we read books of the kids’ choice, did math, and got ready to go. This is a once a month book club for Makayla. The younger kids come along and play downstairs in the playroom. All month we read a few book about a historical girl, and then when we meet we’ll do crafts, act out favorite scenes from the books, and so on. Then we read more the next month. It will be a lot of fun. There were 20+ girls, most we did not know, but a few families from church were there – horray! When we came home after a few hours of fun we settled in with our Narnia book to read the second chapter. Lots of fun again, tea with Mr. Tumnus, and his confession to Lucy that he was supposed to kidnap her. It’s a great chapter to talk about repentance, as Mr. Tumnus repents, and will provide a good contrast with other characters situations later in the book. The kids were grossed out by some of the food for tea(which we call snacktime at our house). They were disgusted to discover people eat sardines – little fish – on toast. So I guess we won’t be trying that out!
I have a handy little chart that lists four learning styles: Read/Write, Auditory, Visual, and Kinestetic(touch/move). Under each is a list of things that a person in that learning style like to do, do well, or struggle with(like ignoring noise distractions). Well, between that and simple observation I have concluded the following:
BigGirl, who is 7, is an even mix of Visual and Auditory. Here are her characteristics from the two lists:
- enjoys maps, graphs, posters, charts, and videos
- enjoys drawing, painting, sculpting
- enjoys books with pictures and diagrams
- remembers pictures better than words
- easily distracted by changing scenes
- looks at diagrams to put things together(instead of reading directions....)
- enjoys playing/listening to music
- very verbal
- enjoys listening to tapes, radio, CDs
- remembers spoken words better than written words
enjoys quiet places and time alone
This all makes her pretty easy to teach. She responds well to the usual books and activities. We don't have to physically make a robot for her to get the concept, we can look at pictures. She enjoys mommy reading aloud(whereas I hate being read to!).
Next is AcrobatBoy, who will be 4 next month. He is Kinestetic and Visual, more kinestetic. For him touch and movement is everything. He isn't called Acrobat Boy for nothing! And if you choose between looking at a book with pictures or listening to mom read aloud one he'll want to look at it every time.
Some of the kinestetic characteristics that he shows:
- finds writing difficult (I would say boring, it just isn't worth the effort to him)
- enjoys building things (LEGOS!!! he makes amazing creations, including vehicles already! He's 3!)
- uses body when communicating (if he could not talk all together he'd be thrilled, just point, jump, move, or get it himself. That's why he likes sign language so well)
- has a short attention span ** well, not really. His is amazingly long IF he's interested. But if he isn't interested, nothing you can do will keep his attention for long.
- likes hands on projects
- enjoys sports, outdoor activities (extreme sports already... he's got no fear and usually his body can do whatever he tries, it is crazy)
- when giving you directions he takes you where you need to go(very true. If he wants something it is a fight to get him to use his words. He wants to take you to it)
Teaching this little boy will be exhausting sometimes do we really have to run a race and listen to our heartbeat to trust that it gets faster and pumps harder when we exercise? Can't we just read it in a book? Do we really have to build the igloo to see it works? Or take apart the car to see what is inside? He's the one I will have to teach math facts to while he's jumping on the mini trampoline, or let him put together a wall size map of the states when learning geography so he can walk around. But he will enrich my teaching repertoire as he forces me out of my box to meet his needs.
TagalongGirl is going to be 3 at the end of the year. With her being so young there is only one group I am sure of for her. She is majorly Auditory. This is the child who would sing herself to sleep before she was 2. If you say or sing something, she will probably be able to repeat it word for word along with the tune. She was an early, very verbal child. I imagine she will be quite interesting to teach as time goes on. She has a stubborn streak that will make me learn new ways to teach, hands off. She's already well into the "I'll do it all by myself", and I'm not sure she'll ever move out of this stage!
Now BabyBoy is more of the touch and chew and drool learning style at the moment. He is only 10 months old after all!
Since we use unit studies, we will always try to have some activities for each learning style, and so we'll all be able to work together and learn from and with each other. Besides, one of the perks to homeschooling is being able to do it the funnest way instead of the fastest and easiest way! So what if we could look at pictures of a teepee in a book. Why not build our own and take our own pictures and write our own book about it? And maybe let the kids make up a song to go along?
*** Here is the page I got my Learning Styles sheet on:
Look down the List for "Learning Styles - simple test"
I also like the Curriculum Planner Worksheet # 1 and # 2 on the same page.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Labor Day (1st Monday)
Grandparent's Day (Sunday after Labor Day)
Native American Day (4th Friday)
Constitution Week (3rd week)
Air Force Birthday (Sept. 18th)
Ice Cream Cone's Birthday (Sept. 22nd)
Autumn Begins (Sept. 22nd)
Johnny Appleseed's Birthday (Sept. 26, 1774)
Snack A Pickle Time (last 10 days of Sept.)
National Preparedness Month
National Chicken Month
National Sewing Month
National Breakfast Month
Classical Music Month
Roald Dahl's Birthday (Sept. 13, 1916)
Columbus Day (2nd Monday. Officially landed Oct 12, 1492)
Navy Birthday (Oct 13)
World Teacher's Day (Oct 5th)
Teddy Bear Day (27th)
National Pie Day (28th)
Statue of Liberty's birthday (Oct 28)
Fire prevention Week (Sat - Sun week with Oct 9th in it)
National Pasta Month
National Popcorn Poppin' Month
National Book Month
Pizza Festival TIme Month
International Dinosaur Month
Family History Month
Pablo Picasso's birthday (Oct. 25th)
Halloween (31st, if you do that - we don't)
Mark Twain's Birthday (Nov 30, 1835)
Homemade Bread Day (17th)
Sandwich Day (3rd)
Marine Corps birthday (Nov 10)
Veteran's Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving (4th Thurs)
Election Day (1st Tues after the 1st Mon)
National Children's Book Week (3rd week)
National American Indian Heritage Month
National Author's Day (1st)
Andrew Carnegie birthday (Nov 25, 1835...donated much of fortune to build thousnads on public libraries)
Walt Disney's birthday (Dec. 5, 1901)
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (7th)
New Year's Eve (31st)
New Year's Day (1st)
Lewis Carrol's birthday (Jan 27, 1832)
Hat Day (3rd Fri)
Martin Luther King Day (3rd Mon)
Benjamin Franklin's Birthday (Jan 17, 1706)
National Soup Month
Inauguration Day (Jan 20th every 4 years)
George Washington's birthday (20th)
President's Day (3rd Mon)
Groundhog's Day (2nd)
Abraham Linclon's Birthday (12th)
Valentine's Day (14th)
Black History Month
American Heart Month
Thomas Edison's birthday (Feb 11, 1847)
Jules Vern's birthday (Feb 8, 1828)
Dr. Suess' birthday (Mar 2, 1904)
St. Patrick's Day (17th)
National Pig Day (1st)
National Peanut Month
Alexander Graham Bell birthday (Mar 3, 1847)
April Fool's Day (1st)
Earth Day (22nd)
Arbor Day (last fri)
John J. Audobon birthday (Apr 26, 1785)
Hans Christian Anderson's birthday (Apr 2, 1805)
Memorial Day (last Mon)
Cinco De Mayo (5th)
Mother's Day (2nd Sun)
Armed Forces Day (3rd Sat)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle birthday (May 22, 1859)
Nellie Bly birthday (newspaper reporter around world in 72 days)
Flag Day (14th)
Father's Day (3rd Sun)
Army birthday (14th)
National Dairy Month
Helen Keller birthday (Jun 27, 1880)
Beatrix Potter birthday (July 6, 1866)
Independance Day (4th)
Moon Day (20th)
Henry Ford birthday (July 30, 1863)
P.T. Barnum birthday (July 5, 1810)
Coast Guard birthday (4th)
Have fun and take time to celebrate the little things!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
One large wall in the kids area all windows looking out into the bird garden. This is an area that is maintained year round and has binoculars for bird watching, not that you need them everything is so close. Birds we spotted today: female cardinal, blue jay, several humming birds, finches, sparrows, and even a few chipmunks. Part of the wall has a real beehive attached inside in plexiglass with tons of bees going in and out to the flowers in the garden.
Here is a view of the kids looking out the windows. As you can see today there were two tubs of sand. In these were buried animal skulls and bones, pinecones, and other nature items to uncover with a paintbrush. It was TagalongGirl’s favorite thing!
The nature center has a few live animals and here is AcrobatBoy’s favorite, a spotted turtle.
Here is Daddy and BabyBoy with a giant praying mantis, and then Mommy with the baby too.
The center had a table about butterflies and moths with some collections to look at, frog information, a crayfish partially dissected in a glass cube, books, puzzles, and lots more! It was great, and free!
After all this exploring we took a drive through the Arboretum and stopped to walk through the cypress swamp with the kids to see the funny trees with knobby knees poking up out of the ground.
All in all it was a fun and educational morning we will have to repeat once the weather changes and fall begins to see the changes in nature.
We also discovered the spider that BigGirl caught early in the week has laid an egg sac. Now while that grosses me out, the kids were thrilled. We even went on a listening hike around the yard instigated by BigGirl. And the highlight of our time playing? Watching the bats fly around! Did you know you can see bats in town? We see birds all day but my little ones loved the bats. "I've never seen one not in a cage Mommy!" We spend lots of time at the zoo watching the bats of various sizes. But seeing them flying free was amazing. I know what books I'll pull off the shelf today and leave laying around for the kids to discover - batty ones!