Thursday, August 30, 2012

WP's Very Own School Shelf~

For the last week or so WP has wandered around the school room doing whatever the girls were doing or not really knowing what to do.
I decided it was a good idea he had his own school shelf so I dumped found this old shelf in the garage and filled it with activities for him.
Top shelf holds two baskets with Leapfrog Books and ABC letters for free play.
Bottom shelf holds two sets of drawers with two trays on top. One tray is his name activity and the other has stickers and paper.
The drawers hold alphabet and number activities. I'm pretty sure he did every single thing on his shelf in one day but am positive he will do it all over again tomorrow!
A little sponge just soaking it all in!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jesse Bear~

We are rowing Jesse Bear What Will You Wear this week and they LOVE it!
I remember it being my niece, Jessica's very favorite book when she was a little girl.
Yesterday we read the book a couple of times to see what their first impressions would be... they caught on to the rhyming right away.
I took out my smelly markers and began writing rhyming pairs on index cards.
We turned them all over and played memory, then recorded them in our notebooks~
Today we made adorable Jesse Bear puppets that outfits can be changed, talked about different forms of weather, and shared puppet shows~
 Puppetry is one of SJ's favorite activities so she loved this day's art activity!
They already can't wait to see what we will be doing tomorrow!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Starting Week 5~

Four weeks of school behind us and there has been much refining of activities and procedures if I can be so formal.
One abstract that most children struggle with is the passage of time... what comes next, when do we do ???, is time for lunch yet?
You get the picture...
I have read on various blogs of a workbox management system for the work kids need to complete.

I began shopping around for a drawer system we might incorporate into our schedule... tried to use the clear see through ones but just wasn't working.

It didn't take long to find exactly what I was looking for~ a 15 drawer rolling cart to organize our days/week into one area.
The clear drawers on top are for me to drop books and ideas for next weeks of planning.
The notebooks are their binders where we add and document all they are doing each day~
 The new system went into action today and worked like a charm!
We call them our Rainbow boxes and our school day starts on red and goes through purple... day complete.
Red~ Bible, Calendar, Morning Work
Orange~ FIAR work, Writing Journals
Green~Reading/Language (phonics)
Blue~ Math
Purple~ Art, Quiet Reading Boxes, Catch up Work
The big drawers house my materials and things for WP... the two smaller drawers: top for EK's work and bottom for SJ's.
We worked through each drawer and everyone knew exactly where we were on our schedule for the day.

A look around our room~
EK and SJ work on the calendar board together before I get there and share the info when I am ready to listen.
Literacy centers are just there if someone needs a little something extra to do or if WP needs an activity.
 Art supplies are used a lot~ even in the afternoons and evenings when school isn't is session. :)
Word work drawers are used during our reading time.

Math centers are the same idea as literacy~ there if we need something extra.
Calendar~ the one only SJ works on.
 Our world map is one our favorite things in our room~ refer to it all the time!
Teaching stuff is pretty much anything I might need in a lesson.

Still love our room~
and being together every day!!!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Fun Friday... Art in the Park~

Fun Friday is usually the highlight of our school week and I had planned a couple of art activities for today but at the last minute had a great idea~
Art in the Park.
(Basically meant... take it outside :)
We gathered all our supplies, easel, and chose our spot out under our birch tree~ Ankerich Park~
 I set up 4 stations they could float through...
* watercolor painting seashells gathered on our vacation
* easel painting (free choice)
* sponge painting jellyfish
* drawing with chalk on blackboard
They enjoyed the easel being outside so much, we are leaving it in the garage until it gets cold out and even hung an art gallery for their masterpieces~
 After cleanup time, I needed to run to the bank so we picked up Happy Meals and headed to Memommy and Pop's house!
You would have thought we were going to Disney!
I'm pretty sure everyone had a VERY happy Fun Friday!!!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Science Writing~

Today we were able to squeeze all of school in the morning as we expected our social worker visit about 1pm.
One of the activities we did was with a non-fiction Jellyfish book.
EK read one page and I read one page~ discussing the facts as we read.
Afterwards, I had her remember and write 3 cool facts she learned.
We talked about drawing diagrams and labeling them so she did just that~
And just to make it just a little more fun,
we added some glitter glue to her jellyfish~ perfect.
WP got into the mix when we pulled out pattern blocks. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sick Day~

3 of our girls have really bad colds and EK just did not feel well this am.
The beauty of home school is doing school even when you are sick in pjs around the coffee table~
 She read to me and we thought of a writing idea.
She wrote a story and read it to us.
We played math games.
And a little technology was in order as well...
Readeez and Reading Eggs~ some of our favorites!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Math Time~

Much was found yesterday while organizing lots of math supplies and EK loved using some of them today~
 We played game after game after game working on addition facts to 10.
SO fun!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fun Friday Field Trip~

I had to be in Gwinnett today so I declared it... Field Trip day.
We have been learning about animal classification and tallying so we combined the two and headed to the pet store.

Before hand, we stopped by the library.
I am by nature pulled to fiction and have never been a big non-fiction fan...
until EK came along and that. is. all. she. wants. to. read!
Hahaha on me... we left the library with a WHOLE cart of non-fiction. She has won SJ and WP over to her way of thinking~
 We had our list of animal groups when we went in and enjoyed reading labels, tallying our animals groups, and choosing a yummy treat for Fisher~
I am NOT even kidding when I say SJ held her nose the WHOLE way through the store.
EK's favorite animal was the ferret and says she is getting one for her birthday... not!
It was a very fun morning and only made sweeter meeting Pam for lunch~ LOVE you!!!
We missed our school room today but enjoyed an outing just the same!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Science Day~

Each day for school we have our staple activities...
reading, writing, and math and then throw in something extra that goes with our FIAR book.
I wanted to write just a blurb about Reading Workshop.
The girls both have reading boxes that house their sight word sticks, guided reading book, and reading pointer.
Reading is done one on one with each of them.

 While I am working with one, the other is completing a word work activity: (Choose 5 words to work on from sight word sticks)
~clothespins- clip pins to word cards or sticks
~ jewel magnets- make words with magnets to lids
~ dot paint- paint words
~ magnetic letters- make words
~ playdoh- rolls snakes and make words
~ stamps- stamp words
Then they switch.
When both have had their reading lesson, they pick 1 of 6 reading centers to complete.
WP has his own set of activities in drawers to do when he wants~
As we complete our Reading Workshop, we grab a snack to eat while listening to a library book.

Today was Science Day!
I had the littles take a float and sink activity sheet and locate items we needed to use... I think that might have been the most fun~ giggling and running all over the house searching.
We made predictions and tested our hypotheses in the tub.
The cork came from something Amelia had left over from a project so we created our own cork boats and put them in water beside our lighthouses.
The question came up about where cork came from and how boats float SO I had them watch a YouTube video to get info.
We discussed together and recorded what we learned in our journals.
They LOVED learning about cork trees~ totally unplanned but SO awesome!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scaffolding Learning~

Scaffolding is a term used by educators meaning a learner builds and connects new knowledge to things they already know. The learner is given just the right foundation to be successful along with a little challenge encouraging growth. This concept is very important when teaching various levels.

During Bible time, each little is expected to complete scripture task a little differently...
EK~ writing and copying independently, SJ~ some dictation and her sounding out, and WP~ all dictation.
Each completing the task with confidence and support.

Sometimes we look at a book and think... that is just too simple for my child. That may have been my first thought when I opened My Blue Boat but I was completely wrong. Yesterday EK and I went through the book and picked out rich vocabulary. I sketched illustrations of each, she colored, and we went through the meanings. Today she read the whole thing to the littles explaining the vocab as she read. :)

Last night during bathtime, EK said~ Look mom, I can make swells in the tub. :)
The illustrations in this book are beautiful so today we took special notice of them and created our favorite page using crayon resist technique. 

We will really miss this book~ a GREAT one!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Blue Boat~

We are rowing My Blue Boat this week with BFIAR and WP especially loves it.
He has had a thing for boats ever since he came home.
Our day went great today...

We began with our Bible time this morning and I wanted to write a little of what we do at this time.
Each one has a Bible journal in which we write our verse for the day and record a thought.
We begin reading and discussing the story, practice the verse, and pray together.
They move to the table next and each records the verse first...
I write for WP, I write and leave out words for SJ to write, and EK copies the whole thing for her handwriting practice for that day.
Next we each decide on a connection to the story~
maybe it is to just draw about the bible story or maybe a connection to something it makes them think if, or maybe a time when that verse helped them... can be anything they want.
They draw and then we write about our illustrations~
 One day they will have a whole journal of scripture to read and also written on their hearts!

Math today was SO fun!
We read Tally O'Malley and the littles LOVED it!
EK already knew about tally marks and her enthusiasm poured onto SJ and WP!
We used white boards to practice the skill of tallying and then we decided on an item that we would tally...
EK~ chairs, SJ~ pictures on the wall, and WP~ well let's just say he worked on making lines. :)
Once all the tallying was complete, we came back to count by 5s!
 They can't WAIT to tally again tomorrow!

After reading our FIAR book, The Blue Boat, we noticed there was a lighthouse in the book.
We needed more information about them so we watched a couple of YouTube videos about them to get some facts.
I found a lighthouse craft on Pinterest and we made our own!
 We went to the table with our lighthouse night lights and wrote some facts about lighthouses then shared in the sharing chair.
I ended our time with a fiction book called Herbert and the lighthouse he loved.

This is just a sprinkling of our day and just want use this blog to document what we do each week as a scrapbook of our days together. Hoping that at the end of the school year we can print our blog into a book as a yearbook. It will be a great keepsake of our first official home schooling year.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun Friday~ Jellyfish

Today was Jellyfish Fun Friday.
We made jellyfish from bowls and ribbon, read about them, and recorded 3 facts we learned.
We hung them above our table creating an 'aquarium' and the littles LOVE sitting under there to do their work now. :)
Earlier in the week we painted our hands to create fish and crabs~
I always LOVE painting hands projects~ they can hardly stand there because it tickles!
More to hang in our art gallery.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reading Workshop~

Reading is something we work on every single day.
We call it Reading Workshop: word work, reading, and listening.
Both girls have reading boxes that hold:
~ Little book we are working on
~ Sight Word Stick Game
~ Reading Pointer
 We also have white baskets of word work activities they do with 5 or 7 of their words each day:
~Magnetic Letters
~Make Words
~Dot Paint
While I work with one on their book and play sticks, the other chooses words to do word work... then we switch.
Just one of the ways I keep both girls on task.
WP either works on his letters, does what the girls are doing, or finds something to play with along side us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Venn Diagram Girls~

Sometimes the best kind of teaching is spontaneous and I think that is what I LOVE about home school.
I can think of an idea right in front of my kids and put into action right then.

Today we did a very cute handprint art activity making two ocean animals... I had a thought to have the girls make a Venn diagram comparing the two animals.

As I was printing diagrams, I had an idea to use our two hula hoops as the two circles of the diagram~
Instead of comparing two animals, we compared two girls. :) First they thought of ways they were different... then we connected the two hoops and thought of ways they were the same. 

Taking this to the table to fill in the diagram page, I thought of using paper plates to make it... folded two plates back and taped together to create a Venn diagram.
EK did all her writing. SJ and I worked together on her words. They LOVED working on this activity!
And when all was done, they had a little hula hooping fun~
Another thing they have in common!
(We really mean to get dressed before school but some days, we just can't WAIT to start school and then can't break away to go do it. Please forgive. :)


Monday, August 6, 2012

Jenny's Summer Surprise/Kittens for Keeps

Today we began our new BFIAR book~ Jenny's Summer Surprise/Kittens for Keeps.
The setting is the beach so we all dressed in swimsuits for school. 
The day started with our Mystery Box~ 3 clues and lots of guessing... a seashell.
 After reading the story, we wrote about visiting our grandma (Memommy) and they were priceless!
EK: I like to rub Jack's belly. Jack is Memommy's dog. He is Pop's dog.
SJ: I like to swing in Memommy's baby swing.
WP: Will Perry. Memommy.
 Afterwards, they added their story to their notebooks. :)

During reading workshop, both girls have word sticks we play a game with each day.
While I played with one, the other chose five and wrote them on the window. I had EK erase her words one at a time and try to spell them back to me~ spelling. :)
After sticks game, I did a guided reading lesson with each. Funny little story... I handed SJ her book and asked her to take a picture walk before we read together. 
(Just a strategy most reading teachers do with students where they look through the pictures and get the jist of the story.)
I am pretty sure I have said this to SJ before but for some reason this time, she actually got up and walked around the house looking at the pictures. LOVE!

This afternoon, we read Mr. Seahorse and Seahorses before our Art lesson for the day~
They colored on a sandpaper seahorse, we ironed it to white paper, cut it out, and glued to painted background. Loved it!

And what else could we do late this afternoon when everyone had been in swimsuits all day~
Swim, of course! 

Just a few highlights of our day...  

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Beginning of School~ (very long)

I was born an educator... I always loved being around kids, had younger siblings, went into education in college, became a teacher (1987), and wanted a family as soon as we were married. It's just what I was made to do~ my gift from God.

When the older girls were growing up, I was always a teacher and they went to school with me. I knew and loved every single teacher that taught them. Scott always said if he loved his job half as much as I did, he would have it made. It was so good!

In 2006 when we traveled to China for EK I knew without a doubt, I couldn't keep teaching and leave her at home. She needed me to mend her brokenness and that had to be done 24/7. Along about the time she was say two and a half :), I began preschooling her. It was just the natural thing to do.

Last year when she was 6, we felt a year in K @ NH would be good for her socially. Academically she was right on target and a year away from mom might be needed. She had a fabulous year and once again I LOVED her teachers!

As the year wound down, I felt a tug on my heart to bring her back home and school her myself. It was the natural thing to do... it's my gift. I wanted to allow her time to learn one on one, be with her siblings, and have time to play as children need so very much to do. So bringing her home has nothing to do with public school not being good enough or me thinking I can do it better... quite the contrary.

It has been a big growing week for us all. What started as a very involved full schedule (stressed me out) evolved into a very smooth and relaxed one. Getting every single thing done in a week including school, meals, chores, housework, and play. 

You would think being an educator makes this adventure so easy. It is hard work but SO my calling and I couldn't be happier to be investing my whole heart into nurturing whole children.

Here is some of what we did this week~ 

(All photography shot with my phone throughout the week)
School started Monday and we have worked, played, and loved well!
The first day was a little overwhelming fitting everything into our day but as the week moved on, it all worked out just fine.
One of the biggest hurdles was scheduling... one of my 'things'.
It has also evolved throughout the week and finally think we have a manageable flow to the day.

Here are some of the things we accomplished this week.
Each morning I have a clipboard of morning work the girls can do when they come downstairs... they can do whenever they want.
The first morning, EK was up before me getting right to it. :)
 She's a great influence on her sister~
Our day began with Calendar, Bible/prayer, and Language~
Each morning, we copied the scripture for the day and illustrated~
This year we are using Five in a Row curriculum and they love it.
This week we rowed Yellow Ball~
By yesterday, EK was reading to it to us and now SJ can read it~
This book was such a fun one to get outside and enjoy~
We also rowed a math book called Seaweed Soup.
This was by far WP's favorite thing we did all week.
He LOVED acting it out~
We made games and worked on lots of skills~
Did a little rolling around on the floor too~
Writing has been fun... we printed photos from our vacation and wrote about our fun times~
 Once they shared and celebrated, we added them to their notebooks~
Reading was a big deal too~
as well as Social st/Science~
and lots of art~
FUN Friday was a great way to wrap up a GREAT first week.
We made Rainbow Fish Toast, mixed colors, and graphed skittles. Everyone loved it!!!
 In celebration of our week, here is our art gallery~
YAY for the weekend!