Monday, April 29, 2013

Camping Day {Impromptu}~

The girls sparred a big interest in packing backpacks yesterday, spent the night in sleeping bags, and came downstairs ready to camp this morning~
 What to do but declare it Camping Day!
I had to get my brain pumping out some creativity... We pulled our Curious George Goes Camping book and had a read~
  It was a hit! We made a list of important camping rules and researched poison ivy on the Ipad. We learned a rhyme {Leaves of 3, Let them be!} and made our very own poison ivy plant~
 Don't you LOVE Evie's rendition of poison ivy!!!

We talked about all kinds of nature and animals we would see on a camping trip and decided we should take a hike. After everyone was dressed, we headed out~
  Over to our neighbor's HUGE pine trees and collected pine cones to make bird feeders. We lathered peanut butter all over them and when it came time to add the birdseed??? We didn't have any... so we loaded the truck and headed to the store... bought the seed, went home to roll our feeders, and hang in a tree outside our sunroom. They have been watching for birds ever since.

After lunch we made 'inside' smores and little littles were off for nap. The girls wanted more so I printed a few things to cover the 3 Rs (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic) and they headed into the tent to work~
It was a little young for my two so I just used their printables and made up my own activities
EK read them Just Me and My Dad and then they sang a song~

SJ asked to sing by herself~

I printed a graph for them to roll and record then taking most, least, equal with some # sentences thrown in.
They read a story together and dot painted words from a word list then made a What Am I book of all the things they would need for a camping trip.
Still asking for more, I suggested they take a rest for a while and this is what I found~
A GREAT Camping Day

This weekend I found a beautifully written article Tidal Homeschool in which blogger Melissa Wiley describes her kind of teaching... it really touched my heart the way she described times of High Tide and ones of Low Tide.
Melissa wrote: "And we have low tide times when we amble along the shore, peering into tide pools and digging in the sand, or just relaxing under beach umbrella. The children wander off in directions of their own choosing; they dig and poke and ponder. One of them may crouch over a rock pool and stay there for days, studying, watching. Another will run headlong into the waves, thrilling to the pull on her legs, splashing, leaping, diving under and emerging triumphantly farther out. Or a child might prefer to stay close by my side, drawing stick pictures in the sand or building a castle. All of these things may be happening at once. Sometimes it looks as though nothing is happening: there’s just an array of bodies on beach towels. But oh, the nourishment there is in a time of quiet reflection while the soul soaks up the sunlight! "
 I felt like today was a day to run with THEIR idea for the day and make it a learning experience for all. Sometimes we just need to step away from the norm and go with the child's needs/ideas. Again SO thankful I have the opportunity to spend my day teaching, guiding, and nurturing the gifts God has entrusted to me!!! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Always Learning~

Even after we've put in a whole morning of school, the girls often ask for more when the younger three are down.
Sometimes I send them off to do their own thing and other days I oblige and head right back in there.
I think among my favorite things about homeschooling is the kids are Always Learning
We started a new routine just in the past month~ book basket reading before bedtime.
 The girls have baskets of books at the end of their beds and after the bedtime routine is done {bath, pjs, meds, teeth, prayers}, they hop into bed for some reading time.
Some nights I read to them and others they read to themselves OR each other!
They choose what goes in their basket and love changing them out time to time. 
EK's is full of animal stories and SJ's has every Pinkalicious book in print!
LOVE that they LOVE reading so much and are...
Always Learning!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Singing and Learning~

The girls have been learning the Presidents through song and I stopped by School Box to get them a placemat with the photos.
They even sung their song for the ladies in the store :)
and this morning they were SO excited to sing so I videoed~
 The boys are pretty excited too now that they know all those words the girls are singing actually have pictures~

Both boys are learning their numbers as well as counting.
I wrote the numerals 1-4 on their fingers so they could see and touch the numbers all that day.
Payne especially LOVED that I wrote on his hand!
Watch them count~
 and you KNOW Evie had to be in on the action~
LOVE they enjoy school and learning so much!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day~

Today we read Miss Rumphius {FIAR book) and discussed how she/we can make the world a more beautiful place~
 Such a sweet story of how Miss Rumphius planted Lupines all over the place... making 'her' world more beautiful!
When doing this book in the past, I have asked kids to write about how they would make the world more beautiful... today I realized that is a pretty big order so we talked about the importance of thinking about it and deciding later.

We cut out our on worlds {Earths} and added crumbled tissue paper representing more water than land... they all wanted to add snow for Antarctica. We traced our hands in red for love, folded down our fingers for love sign, and wrote I Love the Earth on it.

We've been singing lots of songs from Dr. Jean's Sing to Learn CD and one of our favs is The Continents!

The Continents
(Tune: "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands")

We've got the whole globe in our hands.
We've got the whole globe in our hands.
We've got the whole globe in our hands.
We've got the whole globe in our hands.
We've got North and South America
In our hands.
We've got Europe, Asia, Africa
In our hands.
We've got Australia and Antarctica
In our hands.
We've got the whole globe in our hands.
We are thankful for the Earth and plan to enjoy this unit all week!


Thursday, April 18, 2013


Today we threw a little gross motor into the activity choices... 
the Inside version of Cornhole.
All that was needed was beanbags and a container~
   EVERYONE loved it!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Philosophies, Theories, and Models of Education~

As I began writing this post I googled the words in my title and the pages went on and on. I won't bore you with a lot of rambling except to say... my thinking of education has evolved through many experiences and opportunities. None of which have been more eye opening than teaching my own children at home.
I can safely say there are many philosophies, theories, and models influencing our home school but it really boils down to ONE thing... TEACH TO THE CHILD!
They each have their own style, way of learning, and interests. 
EK... animals, animals, animals, and SJ... pretty, colorful anything
the other three just need things hands on and real life.
 I began this year searching for just the correct curriculum, schedule, and materials. NONE of that really mattered as much as putting each child first and making decisions based on them personally. 
Over the last weeks I have had the opportunity to join an awesome group of families in our community to school our children next year. Through lots of prayer, research, talking, and more prayer, we've decided keeping it routine and simple was best for our family right now. In one way it would be perfect for EK and maybe SJ but our littles are not ready for the big world just yet. That being said... everyone is blooming and sparkling with our routine now so we will continue to stay the course.
This week has been a fun one. In all the researching I've done over the last weeks, I found a Montessori ebook in my files full of amazing ideas for the little littles... even some that have benefited the big littles.
 One important foundation being Practical Life skills.
The kids helped me set up a serving and snack drawer which they are totally in charge of using. They unload dishwasher items right into there and can get their own snacks at the proper time too. I put together a few other suggested activities: spooning beans from one container to the next, using tongs to transfer ping pong balls to egg carton, threading beads to pipe cleaners... 
 and today I dumped their laundry in the middle of the school floor so they could gather, fold, and put away their own clothes. Talk about Practical Life... doesn't get more practical than that! :)
I also found an awesome horse unit for EK using the book Fritz and the Beautiful Horses @ Homeschool Share. I sat the book out Monday to read it to her but she picked it up and read to me!!! I was floored... today was her third reading and the difficult vocab has become easy. I told her today I felt like I was listening to myself read. She has expression, fluency, and reads like she is talking!!! I printed activities for her and she keeps asking for more~
   Well you know what all this meant for SJ... "I want my own book unit too" so she chose The Very Hungry Caterpillar! She has loved reading her book too and is reading for the most part herself. They were even in the school room at night this week wanting to do more!
The boys have listened to both stories with us and continued working on their own work. They are freely choosing activities from their shelves each day as well as working with name writing and counting. 
  Evie LOVES anything with play dough, scissors or glue!!!
All of this to say... we will continue with what we are doing. Allowing all to bloom in their time while learning in a way that best suits each one.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Morning Work~

Every moring we begin our day with a Bible story. Some mornings EK reads and the next SJ. 
The girls have bible notebooks they do copywork in and illustrate~
 and the other three have name notebooks~
 They trace and sound out their name to me. I add some other skill to the bottom... maybe shapes, numbers, letters, etc. Over the last months we have created a keepsake of the progress they are making with this skill. Both boys can spell, sound, and write their name due to the repetition. Evie... working on it. :) Once first names are mastered, we will begin last and middle. 

Other really fun thing we do each day is sing each name to 'Bingo'~

There is boy that we all love and Will is his name-O,
And Will is his name-O.

They are learning to spell each other's names too so that kind of compounds the number of letters they are learning.
A Great way to begin our day!     

Monday, April 8, 2013

Field Day~

Our day began with...
EK: Mom can I go catch that lizard?
Me: I guess we could observe it during school.
EK: (out the door)

We had just sat down to get started once again when our mail carrier came down the drive alerting everyone a package was being delivered... EK's big bd gift~
 What to do other than get dressed and call it a field day... that's just what we did~
Exchanged one for the other!
Finished our school work this afternoon... Done!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Scavenger Hunt~

Today we read our BFIAR book I Am an Artist and decided to go for a spring scavenger hunt to observe as an artist~
{Notice the art work done to our list by little Evie}

EK grabbed the bucket and we began looking for our items~
 My Observations...
SJ was two steps behind EK
WP was EC's body guard
PC was an observer of everything and two steps behind SJ
They ALL loved the time in nature during school!
{Especially blowing dandelions!}

Then it was back inside for a little wrap up and recording the hunt in our journals. 
The little littles finished up their free centers and before we knew it, lunch time had appeared!