Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lego Challenge #2 & 3

We are continuing to enjoy the Lego Challenges from All Things Beautiful!

Make something using only 2x2 pieces. 
Michaela (5) made a Christmas tree and a pyramid.
Rafael (4) made a robot.
Mama made a camel.  :)

Make a scene. 
I made a scene of a wizard protecting a treasure chest w/ a thief looking to cross the bridge.
Michaela (5) made a teeter totter with kids playing on it which inspired...
A fully functioning playground!  Her daddy and her made it together.  :)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Co-op Science - Solids, Liquids, Gases

Last semester I was teaching science classes through one of my co-ops.  Part of the reason in picking our new science curriculum was because I felt like science is like math.  There should be a logical progression of learning rather than random lessons here and there on unrelated subjects.  I wanted to continue to offer the science classes, but in a way that complemented our new curriculum.

The way I set up science for this semester is that I teach a class roughly every 2 weeks on a new chapter in our book.  On the weeks in between we do extra lessons, activities, and experiments to expand on what we learned in the co-op class.  I also send home a Parent Packet full of ideas so that the students in my class can also work on things at home.  I look at this as the best of both worlds.  My kids get to experience a collaborative group setting to learn the basics of each chapter, and then get personalized one on one experience at home to go into each chapter in more depth.

I asked the families to work on the first chapter (Organizing Things into Categories) on their own at home and last week at our first meeting, we worked on the next chapter together.  This is what we did at our group class - I'll post on our individual lessons later!

Solids, Liquids, Gases Co-op Class

Group Activity: Solid, Liquid, Gas Object Identification and Sort
I had a large box (larger than pictured!) of items from around my house that the students, working as a team,  had to sort into 3 different plastic shoeboxes labeled Solid, Liquid, and Gas.

Science Notebook: Trifold notebook journaling solid, liquid, gas
The kids made a tri-fold notebook.  The inside of each flap had pictures, examples, and characteristics of each state of matter.

Breakout groups: Worksheet, Card Sort, Object ID
I had laminated sorting cards (found at TPT), and a worksheet for the kids to work on (also TPT).  They rotated between those and doing the sorting activity from above independently.

The class was about 1 hour and had about 10 students ranging from 5-8 plus a couple of preschool aged younger siblings.  All in all it was a success and I'm looking forward to my next class!

Thanks for reading!

I'm Linking Up!

Updated to Add:  See our extension activities here!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Week in Review Jan. 25 - Spring Semester Week # 2

Lazy afternoon relaxing together after our school work was done.

In My Life This Week
This was one of those ideal homeschooling weeks.  We got through our work quickly and efficiently and the children seemed to truly enjoy what we were learning.  We had plenty of down time for playing and enjoying each others company, yet still were able to get together with friends a couple of times.  I felt totally blissed out the whole week despite 3 of us being hit with allergies right after getting over our colds!

In Our Homeschool
Still loving our new curriculum and schedule.  I seriously feel so blessed to be able to be my children's primary teacher!
Phonics - sounds of k (c, k, ck) and sounds of s (s and z)
Math - MEP Yr 1 - Lessons 21-25
Grammar - First Language Lessons # 1-10
Handwriting - moving along in her cursive
Literature - finished Winnie the Pooh
Rafael Language Arts - LLFLO 1 # 9-17
Rafael Math - MEP Reception - Lessons 4-8
Rafael Literature - Corduroy, Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny
Geography - China - The Five Chinese Brothers, The Seven Chinese Sisters
History - Expansion - The Floating House, A Packet of Seeds
Science - BFSU - A-2 - Solids, Liquid, and Gases
Nature Study - Nothing official this week.  I really need to step it up and pull some things together for this!
Habit Training - Laying Down the Rails - Obedience #3-4
Handiworks - Lego Challenge # 1

Around Town
Monday - we enjoyed having Philip home for MLK Jr. day and spent the morning running errands and stopping by a delicious new chocolaterie for a little treat.

Tuesday - We had our first co-op science class using BFSU late on Tuesday afternoon.  It was a success and I'm looking forward to teaching this great group of kids!  I also love the classroom we are using at a local community center.  It really makes a difference with a large group of children to be in a classroom setting rather than a home!

Wednesday - I hosted the inagural Pinterest Club meeting for my MOMS Club on Wednesday.  We made some absolutely adorable kids artwork holders and had a great time visiting with friends we haven't seen in a while.

Friday - We went to our local Catholic co-op classes, and afterwards went to a friends house for a Show and Tell themed playdate.

My Kitchen
In trying to save a bit on our grocery bill, I pulled a turkey from the deep freeze and cooked and processed it.  We got a ton of stock and cooked turkey (for future meals such as enchiladas, turkey spaghetti, etc) for the freezer.  Plus I made our absolute favorite soup using the bones!

I'm Grateful For
Having the freedom and ability to homeschool.  It was a truly perfect week!

I'm Praying For
One sister whose birthday was yesterday, another sister who started her first day of a new job today, and my wonderful husband whose birthday is tomorrow!

Things I'm Working On
I really need to get some lessons going on all the "extras" we've been ignoring such as art, nature study, music, and PE.  I'm working on pulling a few things together for this week!

I'm Linking Up

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lego Challenge #1 - 2D

I knew when I saw these Lego challenges that my newly Lego obsessed children would love them!

We tried the first challenge earlier this week and the kids keep asking when we get to do another one. I'm counting this as our Handiworks curriculum for now. ;)

Top - Rafael (4) - an E
Bottom Left - Michaela (5) - a person.  (top is head w/ eyes and pink mouth, plus body)
Bottom Right - Mom (hey, I can do it too, right!?) - flowers, clouds, sun

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Small Success Thursday: Turkey, Play, Craft

As a homeschooling mama, it is the little moments throughout the week that make up a wonderful life!  Here are some of my small successes this week:

#1: I made a turkey, carved it, froze the meat, made turkey stock with the bones, froze the turkey stock, and cleaned up the mess in less than 24 hours.  Booya!  Turkey owned!

#2.  I played with the kids today.  Like actually sat down and gave them my 100% full attention.  That does not happen often enough and I had an absolute blast.  We had a Twin Club Meeting with all the twin animals and it was wonderful.

#3.  I crafted this week!  Got some friends together and we all made these kids artwork holders.  So fun!  I haven't been able to fit crafting in my life in a long time and it was wonderful to get back to it!

What are your small successes for the week?

I'm linking up!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Science- Organizing Things Into Categories

We started our wonderful new Science Curriculum last week and really enjoy it so far. The first chapter was all about organizing things into categories (a major concept for later scientific processes). To close up the chapter I played a little memory game with the kids.

Classification Memory Game
I put out 20 objects on a tray and they had 60 seconds to try to memorize as many items as they could. Luckily my husband was home so he could help me write it all down afterwards!  Then, I asked them to try again, this time organizing things into categories in their heads to see if that would help them remember. Rafael had no change but Michaela did much better the 2nd time!

Then I had them show me the categories they had divided things into. It was really interesting to see the differences in the way they did so. Michaela kept it simple - organizing things into Straight, Round, and Other. Rafael actually organized based on their uses - Church Things, School Things, Healthy Things (toothpaste, medicine syringe), Helpful Things (flashlight, cabinet handle), and Toys. 

I'm looking forward to continuing the lessons in this book!  Thanks for reading!

I'm Linking Up!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Week in Review Jan. - Spring Semester Week #1

This was our first "normal" week after about a month of no school and having my hubby home.  Here's what we were up to this week.

In My Life This Week
This was our first "normal" week after about a month of no school and 3 weeks having my hubby home.  We were all sick, but we still managed to get started.

In Our Homeschool
We enjoyed digging in to our new curriculum this week.  The kids were sick with coughs, but fully functional otherwise so we still did most of our work.
Phonics - long vowel/short vowel review
Math - MEP Yr 1 - Lessons 16-20
Handwriting - Started her new cursive book and loved her "fancy" writing
Literature - Winnie the Pooh
Rafael Language Arts - LLFLO 1 #1-8
Rafael Math - MEP Reception - Lessons 1-3
Rafael Literature - Angus Lost, Caps for Sale, Blueberries for Sal
Geography - China - The Story about Ping, The Empress and the Silkworm
History - Expansion - Going West, The True Tale of Johnny Appleseed
Science - BFSU - A-1 - Organizing Things Into Categories
Nature Study - Nothing official this week as we were trying to stay out of the awful wind.  I didn't want their colds to turn into ear or sinus infections!  Some of the illustrations in The Story of Ping made them curious about how floating works and so they grabbed some things from their nature table (pinecones, bark, leaves, rocks, etc.) to see what would float.
Habit Training - Laying Down the Rails - Obedience #1-2

We also did our religion and calendar time, but skipped the rest of our subjects until everyone feels better.

My Kitchen
With a couple of big purchases coming up we are tightening our belts, which means I am trying to cook as much as possible out of the pantry and freezer.  We were fairly poor growing up and my mom had this uncanny ability to pull a couple of things out of the pantry and come up with an amazing meal.  I am finding that I may have inherited a bit of her skill, thank goodness!

I'm Grateful For
My amazing hubby, who had a long, hard, 1st week back at work and still came home and cheerfully took care of the children each night so I could go to bed early to help kick this cold.  I really hit the jackpot with this man!

I'm Praying For
This darn cold to go away!  We've officially emptied our house of several bottles of cough medicine and I have personally worked my way through an entire box of cough drops and two boxes of herbal tea.

Things I'm Working On
I have a few projects in the works right now.  I am teaching science classes using our current curriculum for my co-op so have quite a bit of planning still for the first one next Tuesday!  I am also hosting a Pinterest Club for my MOMS Club on Wednesday so I'm busy putting together a craft for that!

I'm Linking Up

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Schedule Spring 2014

I'm loving our schedule for this semester so far.  It is more of a guideline than a schedule, but it helps me see what needs to get done each day, and leaves plenty of wiggle room in case we are having an awful day.  It leaves room for an "outing" each day, but more often, we will use that outing time to catch up or play outside.  I quickly learned last semester that an outing everyday leads to more stress than it's worth!  We also may change things around depending on if an afternoon activity is available to us instead of a morning one.

I also am using a new scheduler/lesson planner this year that I love!  The problem with most schedulers are that they don't have enough subject spaces for a CM'er to use.  This one is absolutely perfect and fits a whole week on one page w/ a little bit of room to write lesson numbers in.  Go to the Thiel Academy to get your own copy!  She offers it in both a pdf and a word format so it is super easy to customize for your own needs!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas Coloring Page Thank You Notes

I am ridiculously late in having the children send out thank you notes for Christmas this year!  I thought I might share the notes we use in case anyone else is in a similar situation!  Just print out, have the kids color, and write a note on the back!  The link is below the picture.  I'm not sure why it has the funny coloring here, but it is just black and white when you pull up the pdf.  Thanks for reading!

Christmas Coloring Page Thank You Notes

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spring Curriculum 2014

We've had a few changes this past semester in our curriculum as I have read more of Charlotte Mason's original writings and adjusted to what actually works for our family.  It is amazing how SURE I was of our curriculum choices at the beginning of the year and how quickly we outgrew them!  After our first semester of homeschooling, I am more aware of my children's learning styles, my own teaching style, and the unpredictable nature of homeschooling in general - but especially with a feisty toddler around!  Based on this understanding, here is the curriculum that I've chosen for the rest of our 1st year.

The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that I can move the children ahead or spend a bit more time in a particular area based on how they are doing in each subject.  Michaela is more than ready for 1st grade material in many areas, but is still deficient in others.  Rafael, because of his late birthday, wouldn't be starting Kindergarten for another two years.  He wants SO MUCH to do school with his sister, and it is amazing what he has learned just by sitting in on Michaela's lessons.  We have decided to start him in Kindergarten in July (at 4 3/4y) instead of waiting another year.  So basically, for both children, we are using this semester as a transition to the bigger work load they will each begin in July.

Michaela - almost 6 - Kindergarten/1st Grade
Handwriting - Catholic Handwriting Skills - K
We've decided to start Michaela on cursive for many reasons, including it being very helpful for lefties.  This wonderful article was our inspiration.

Phonics - Rx for Reading: Teach them Phonics
Michaela is reading well for her age thanks to our 1st semester curriculum.  We will be reviewing basic rules first and then moving on to more complicated phonics rules that will last into 1st grade.

Grammar - 1st Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind

Math - MEP Year 1
We switched to this from Right Start Math a couple of months ago and are enjoying it.  I've looked ahead at future years and am satisfied with where the curriculum is leading.  The goal is logical progression through and mastery of ideas and mathematical concepts, not simply teaching kids tricks so that they test well.

History - Living books from American History

Geography -  Living Books from each major continent

Literature - Mater Amabilis
Winnie the Pooh
Happy Times in Noisy Village
My Naughty Little Sister
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook
My Father's Dragon

Rafael - 4 - Pre-K

Literacy & Handwriting - Language Lessons for Little Ones

Math - MEP Reception

Literature - Mater Amabilis
Angus Lost
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings
Brambly Hedge Books
Caps for Sale
"Harry" the dog books
James Herriot Treasury
Katy and the Big Snow
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
The Little House
Little Bear books
Millions of Cats
Petunia books
Stone Soup
The Story of Ferdinand
The Velveteen Rabbit
Wheel on the Chimney
Thomas the Tank Engine Collection

Family Subjects

Science - Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding

Nature Studies - Handbook of Nature Studies
This text will be our spine, but we will be following along with lessons on the Handbook of Nature Studies blog, continuing our nature outings with our Charlotte Mason group, and new this semester - working through the activities on Outdoor Nature Challenge with another co-op.

Bible - Catholic Bible Stories for Children
Catechism - Little Acts of Grace 2
Pro-Life Curriculum - The Huntsville Respect Life Curriculum (Pre-K/K)
Liturgical Year/Saint Study - Catholic MosaicMy First Book of Saints
Saint Study115 Saintly Fun Facts
Virtue Study - Virtues in Practice

Art - Drawing with Children

Music - Classic Tunes and Tales

PE - Homeschool Family Fitness

Spanish -Usborne First Thousand Words in Spanish

Habit Training - Laying Down the Rails

Handicrafts - Misc.

I'm excited about our curriculum for this year!  My next post will be on our new schedule!