Thursday, April 30, 2015

The ABC Bunny~ BFIAR

Today Evie pulled The ABC Bunny off the shelf and wanted me to read to her.
I didn't think she would really like it but she did and I pulled together a few activities.
On the second reading, both girls worked on finding ABCs and placing in the correct place~

Next they moved to the dry erase board to write as many as they wanted~

Then I wrote each letter in pencil and the girls traced with smelly markers~
and went back over each with watercolor paints.
They loved their ABC activities!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

3 Characteristics of Learning Time~

I read a beautiful quote this week...
'If you are concerned about "doing it right" (homeschooling),
you already are...
because the first thing you need to as a homeschooler is love your students.'

I am consistently wondering if I am doing this homeschooling thing right...
after all, I have not graduated anyone
(haven't even graduated anyone out of elementary... haha)
but in my deepest part of my soul, I KNOW I am called to this journey.

I am reading more and more the dire need for kids to be less structured
and allowed more free play time than ever before!
Books I'm reading right now:

'As we truly relax in our homeschooling lives, something nearly magical starts to happen. We not only demonstrate trust to our children, we feel it. We are more centered. We are better able to be joyful and present to each other without the constant pressure to meet school-like expectations. That makes all the difference. Through these eyes of trust we are more readily able to see, really see, how much learning is taking place.' ~ Free Range Learning


3 Characteristics of Learning Time~

1. Caddy Work~ I have found when I'm more relaxed about learning, my children follow suit.  Keeping tasks in a caddy and allowing them to be done in any order, encourages child led learning.  {Yes, I am still choosing what goes in the caddy but the kids are given the choice of what and when to do the tasks.}

2. Book breaks~ Books related to our unit study (FIAR) are working well for us as well... meaning, instead of doing all of our reading at once we are starting with read aloud, working for a while, breaking for a book, and continuing this pattern throughout the morning. Books are chosen by the kids according to what they are most interested in at the time.

3. Listening Basket~ I have a basket sitting close by with our Read Aloud books
along with a few activities the kids can choose to do while listening...
~ Playdoh
~ Color Pencils and Paper (these cute sharpeners sure make this more fun!)
~ Legos
~ Dry erase boards with marker and eraser sock
~ Salt box drawing
Along with books we are reading and a tray to play on.

The image of how I wanted to homeschool has evolved from looking like my classroom in my teaching days to a more fluid flow of family learning. I have several learning areas spread throughout our home and plan to share those in a post soon.

"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself."
~ Galileo Galilei

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

More Bird Books~

I reserved another stack of bird books and Savannah picked them up at the library for us~
 Literacy going on naturally around our house:
Payne copying words off the dishwasher like the repair man just did.
SJ dressing and bringing her owl friend, Swoops, for mystery reader (all her idea).
 Everyone sculpting with playdoh while listening during read aloud.

Our bible time books are amazing...
I heard about Read Aloud Bible Stories from a podcast on Read Aloud Revival #22~
 We have also been watching Caldecott stories via DVD and LOVE them!
We have also spent much time outside soaking up God and nature~
Kids don't need many toys to play, of any particular one. 
What they need most of all is unstructured time.
 (Simplicity Parenting)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fun Friday~ {Bird Nests}

We read the cutest book called Mama built a little nest~
 We gathered all our supplies including a box out of recycling to make our patterns for tracing.
Everyone did a great job tracing a bird nest then painting it with a FORK~
 Traced and cut out a mother bird then painted eggs and baby birds in the nest~
We have several nests around our house we are observing 
and SO hoping to get a glimpse of our very own little bird family!!!
We continue to enjoy Burgess Bird Book and Trumpet of the Swans.
More bird books next week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day~

Our morning was filled with learning inside...
EK wrote a piece about Mallards~
 The bitty girls got their work done again with smelly markers~
 The boys worked super hard on their word families~
 For Make Way for Ducklings today, we enjoyed a new DVD of Caldecott stories
and watched it together~
We even watched Ping and The Ugly Duckling!

After lunch, we headed out to do what every child wants to do on Earth Day!!!...
Go OUTSIDE~
{back down to the lake}
 We caught fish and tadpoles in nets, listened to another chapter in our two books~
While listening, they drew Earth Day pictures and water colored with lake water~
 No place and nothing they would rather be doing~
A super Happy Earth Day!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sensory Handwriting with Salt Boxes~

Handwriting can get boring after a while and truly I have found it improves
with modeling each day in journals.
I saw a post here and wanted to try with my crew.
I gathered the supplies of
salt, box, a photo with everyone, and sentence strips~
 Made a set of Capital letters with lowercase on the back as well as names.
Both were well received by all the kids~

We also read some of our bird books from the library as well as a WONDERFUL book,
Whose Nest? that Aunt Amy gave us... we LOVE it~
 The bitty girls are really starting to get the hang of school and loved playing
a little dice/color the duck game from here~
{Helped that I let them color with smelly markers!}
 Big news... the boys began their BOB books adventure
and they love them!
We are working on the AT family this week~
 They are great reading buddies.
This afternoon the big girls went out with their nature box~
to capture, document, and release creatures in the yard.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ducks, Ducks, Ducks~ {Make Way for Ducklings}

This week are rowing Make Way for Ducklings and I also read The Little Wild Ducklings~
Kids were SO excited to see the Caldecott Medal on the front of the book
and matched the author, Robery McCloskey, with other books we have read like
Blueberries for Sal and Lentil!

We all made so many connections with the story and loved every single illustration.
We took turns retelling (narrating) the story afterwards and I used our new white board
to write the title so everyone could copy it in their journals.
(First time the boys have copied from a board and they did great!)~
Safari led us to the park where the ducks lived and we printed a photo of the statues there
as well as a favorite illustration which we watercolored.

by Laura Grace Weldon
and today I read this quote:
"Any form of education that treats the brain apart from the body will ultimately fail. Our senses cannot be denied. They inform the mind and encode memory. We must see, hear, smell, touch and, yes, taste to form the kinds of complex associations that make up true understanding. We humans are direct “hands-on” learners."
And we needed to get our "hands-on" going!

After reading all about ducks, we HAD to take a stroll to the lake to look for our own family of mallards that live in our cove.
On the way, we played in a mud puddle, checked the skimmer~
 Loved on our vegetable and flower gardens~
Then made our way down the path to the lake and our dock.
The ducks were no where to be found but we DID find adorable little tadpoles and turtles~
 Everyone dug in the mud, held tadpoles and turtles, waded out to the dock,
and sat in the boat~
Meet our newest family pets~
7 little tadpoles right beside our 2 caterpillars and life cycles just became "hands-on"!!!
Today was just one of those days when life was really good!
Thankful.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Week Catch Up~

Our school week began with EK taking her state required standardized testing~
and she did great... thankful it is all done!

Tuesday evening we took a ride out on the boat and happened upon a snapping turtle~
Wednesday I pulled a couple of things to read about turtles 
and we watched Tortoise and the Hare on Reading Rainbow.
That's all it took for the 6 animal lovers to pull out every single thing we had about turtles.

 We spent the rest of the morning reading everything they found~


 I printed a photo for each and we recorded facts about turtles~
 Read a great article this week about schooling boys and it suggested they stand to work~
They really loved it!!!
Lastly, we have two new pet caterpillars and we will watch their transformation~
as we read our new Handbook of Nature Study.
Life cycles are so fun!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

New Centers for Boys & Bitty Girls~

Boys Centers:
Discover Animal Discs, Little Book Reading, Color Cubes, Floor Puzzle, Beginning Sound Match~
 Bitty Girls:
Two ABC Matches, Bear Counters with Balance Scale, Dressing Dolls~

Friday, April 3, 2015

A "Good" Fun Friday~

Today I read Benjamin's Box and used our Resurrection Eggs to tell the story of Easter~
 We made our own stained glass suncatcher eggs too.

This was our last day reading The Dutchess Bakes a Cake and I pulled out my FAV cake recipe~
{Chocolate Pound Cake}
 EK and SJ Baked a Cake of their own~
Meanwhile the little kids stuffed eggs for our big hunt on Sunday
and while the cake baked, they hid and found tons of empty eggs~
 This was Holly's first experience with egg hunting and she caught on quick!
The cake turned out perfect~
AND tasted even better!!!
We all decided EK and SJ are better bakers than the Dutchess in the story. :)
A "Good" Fun Friday!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

3 Things I want to Remember~

Will decided he wanted to write to 100 and he did~

Evie sat perched on the edge of the table for her handwriting time~
And SJ dressed like a pilot to complete her math.
It's been a pretty interesting school day. :)