Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 4 and a Freebie

We're part way through week 4, and doing well. We've set aside Singapore Math this week, and are doing some CalcuLadder worksheets to help little man learn his math facts. My dd is ahead in that area, but I'm drilling her will just solidify her knowledge.

Back at the beginning of the week, I realized October was right around the corner! I can't believe how fast this year has gone! Well, I thought, why not make new cards for our pocket chart wall calendar - what a fun idea! I had already done new ones for September (now they look so boring, so I'll have to do new ones again for next year) and new ones for December. I love how my December ones came out - I used one of my digital scrapbooking kits. You'll have to come back at the end of November to see that one! lol

I chose to use Simply Autumn by LawTeeDa Designs. I did have to add in a pumpkin and some leaves from another kit however... but everything else is Simply's a preview of the kit:

I picked mine up at ScrapMatters, my favorite digital scrapping place!

This is a sampling of the don't want to print this preview as it is not print quality...please download the set of all 31 cards and print those instead...

I saved them to my calendar cards folder in my documents, then I double clicked the image. Up pops the Picture and Fax Viewer window! I then use the button for printing at the bottom and choose full page fax...there you go! I hope you like them - feel free to download them here and tell your friends! Please leave a comment here on my blog if you download...this way I know if someone appreciates them - and I'll share each month. Otherwise, I won't bother! lol

Fall *Ü* Blessings,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week 3 of School Unit 18 of Beyond

Well, our third week of school has started off nicely. We're adding in a bit more each day and finding our rhythm. I *think* we'll keep a slow pace with Beyond this year, and begin Bigger next fall. Previously I had thought we'd finish Beyond about January and then start Bigger...but I've heard tell that Bigger is a big jump, and I'm thinking it may be too big of a jump for my 6yo son. Of course, nothing's for certain yet, we'll see how it goes. I'd like to keep them in the same manual throughout our HOD years... right now Beyond is working great! He's decided to do the copywork, and is enjoying it; he's holding his own with the Singapore math...though we're playing catch up; and the grammar is perfectly paced for him.

Unit 18 finds us in the colonies, toward the end of King Philip's war. Yesterday's science was so much fun...we learned about how dogs follow scent - and how it gets lost in water. We set up our own trail ending in water, here's a couple photos of the fun:

...sniffing out the scent...

...harder to detect in water...

I had almond and orange extract for scents...I would have added in another if I had had more cotton you teachers who are only at the beginning of Beyond...get cotton balls now! lol

Today we read about a family making candles, and how they made a special candle called a "sparkling candle" with gun powder...then we did a little art project. (Can I just say how much I love the little art projects in HOD...not too much and not too little either!) Here are some photos of the finished product:

I think if I was on the ball here...I would make REAL candles with my little ones...but unfortunately I don't have the supplies to do it.

I hope you are having fun with HOD (or whatever curriculum you are using) this homeschooling year! I'd love to hear about it!

*Ü* Blessings,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New Year and Beyond

Kind of a catchy title, huh? Actually we are using Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory again this year. We are starting in unit 16, right where we left off. This is only day 2, but so far we have had little complaining, and lots of fun!

Yesterday we read about the colonists, and what happened after Massasoit died and his son Philip became king: King Philip's War. We learned he was upset because he felt the Englishmen had cheated him and his peers out of the land. We did a simple paper weaving project to remind us that the colonists traded blanket (and knives, beads, etc.) with the native Americans for land.

Today we read how they native Americans would hide in the forests and wait to attack a farmhouse or family. Then we re-enacted the capturing of colonists with this fun game...

The dining room table and chairs became our "forest" where the Indians hid and the kitchen floor the "field" where the colonists lived. One child playing the Indian would sneak up and grab a colonist (an array of stuffed animals), then the other children (colonists) would try to catch the Indian and thus rescue the captured colonist. Here are a few photos of the fun...

Doesn't his smile say it all?

You have to move fast to keep the captive!

This year we've switched out our math program, too. While I'm a bit melancholy about leaving a program that I have used FOREVER, I felt it was the best thing for my son who has been diagnosed with a color deficiency... years ago they called it color blindness, but today they have a different name. He can see color, but has a harder time differentiating the shades of colors. I thought he was having a hard time learning the colors of the blocks in our previous I am pretty sure this was why, and hence the change in program. So far, so good...I'll keep you posted!

*Ü* Blessings,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heart of Dakota Blog Roll

I belong to a HOD Yahoo group, and one of the ladies there has decided to organize a Blog Roll...basically just collecting blog info for those of us who all use HOD and blog about it. It will be really great to be able to hop from blog to blog and see what other HODies are doing! I'm really excited about it.
I volunteered to make the button for the blog roll, and this is what I came up with:

Isn't it cute? I love it! It's a little hard to read since I had to shrink it down...but the H has "Homeschool" in it, and the paper tag at the top says "My favorite curriculum is..." I used Stolen Moments Designs new digital scrapbooking kit called Time to Learn - with the exception of the chalkboard, that came from Back 2 School by Chelle's Creations. Both are available at the ScrapMatters shop. back to the blog roll...the image is linked to Krissy's original post, at the end is a Mr. Linky which will be activated so that anyone using Heart of Dakota can link in and/or view anyone else doing an HOD curriculum!

We're gearing up to start school on Monday! We've had a lovely summer, and couldn't have asked for better Maine weather! I'm switching out our math program, and going with the one that HOD recommends: Singapore here to take a look at the first book we'll be using.

We are picking up at week 16 in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, and working our way through the rest of the manual, then planning to starting Bigger Hearts in the Spring. I'm looking forward to Bigger, but glad we're delayed a little so the my ds can grow a little more and be ready to do all that it requires.

*Ü* Blessings,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wild Olive

I just came across this really cool site...I know my friends out in cyber-space would like to know about Wild Olive too.

You have to check out their fantastic tee-shirts for adults and kids alike!

*Ü* Blessings,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Welcome, knights of the realm!

That was how the guests of my son's birthday party were heralded in this morning. My little knight turns 6 tomorrow, but today was the day we celebrated.

Here is the invitation each guest received by email:

As the knights arrived, each was given a shield to paint. I had researched each family's heraldry, and had the appropriate colors and images available. After the shields were painted, the heraldic images were attached using just wet paint - no need for glue! Swords, tunics and helmets were then handed out. I made the swords using instructions from "Knight and Castle Things to Make and Do" by Usborne. The helmets were made from a pattern on the Cleveland Museum of Art website.

Don't these little knight's look remarkably handsome?

After the quick photo-op, I jumped right into my character; announcing "To test your loyalty to the king, you must seek and find the royal treasure! Twelve gold coins have been lost and must be returned to the king, time is of the essence! Go and return quickly before the king's anger is aroused!" The boys were directed to another room to hunt for twelve coins...I had only hidden 11, but it didn't matter; they only found 9! lol

I then proclaimed, "You have failed in your quest to return the gold! The king has ordered that you be shackled! But all is not lost, if you can escape your chains and help your brothers in knighthood escape theirs also, you will pass the test of honor." A black balloon was then tied to each knight's ankle (think ball & chain.) They had to help each other pop the balloons to be free. I wish I had gotten a photo of this, but the action was just too fun for me to remember a camera! lol They of course LOVED this (whereas when we played a similar game at my daughter's 7th birthday, the girls did NOT like the game at all!)

We continue the story with..."A daring escape! This display of honor to your brothers shall be rewarded henceforth! What is that I see? Could it be the twelfth coin? It is!" I show a coin at this point, and no one comments that it came from my pocket...or that it really wasn't the twelfth coin at all! "Your honor and loyalty are commendable, but are you brave and skillful enough to storm the castle ruins and rescue the fair maiden?" They were actually following my dialog and all declared "YES!" I explained, "With this slingshot, take careful aim! Knock down a parapet from atop the wall - only then will you be able to tunnel under the castle ruins, slay the evil dragon, rescue the maiden from the dungeon beyond and make your escape through the moat at the back of the castle ruins! Return the maiden to the king and your skill and bravery shall be richly rewarded!"

I had set up an obstacle course of sorts...our big screen tv box became the castle wall. I set four gallon milk jugs with a square of gray paper attached to each across the top to be the parapets. The tunnel was a quilt over the backs of two couches. After that they had use their swords to pop bubbles that the girls were blowing, then make their way around the couch to an overturned mini laundry basket.

Atop the basket was a "dragon" (really a plastic dinosaur) and inside the basket a fair maiden (my daughter's doll) waited to be rescued. Once that task was completed, the knights "snuck" out of the back of the castle but were faced with the moat - enclosed area of blue balloons. They had to sit on the balloons to pop them!

Of course, that was another extremely fun activity for the boys and they popped all 15 balloons we had blown up!

I then knighted each boy...

By then everyone had worked up quite an appetite! The cake was revealed, and everyone was so excited to see this dragon cake! (You can make one too, with directions from Family Fun magazine online.)

We all had SO much fun, and we finished up with gifts for the birthday boy...he is still playing with them 8 hours later! OMGoodness, we had to practically drag him outdoors earlier to play with an afternoon visitor! And because he is SO my son, he will not mix his toys, but required no less than four plastic containers and one large container to hold them all! We then arranged his bedroom so that he could continue to play in there after daddy arrived home!

Thanks to all the moms who wrote into and shared their ideas, which helped me to make my son's day absolutely wonderful! Another thank you to all the moms who came today and shared the morning with me! (I'd love to hear what your son's favorite part of the party was...or just his thoughts in general!)

*Ü* Blessings,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day - Happy 100th Day!

I looked and looked, I was sure I blogged about last year's 100th day...but alas, I did not. I created a layout for it, but never did blog about it...bummer.
In case you are the teeniest bit interested, here are the layouts:

So this year, here we are again, we've barely finished the party itself, and I've downloaded the photos, fixed the red-eye and am ready to blog!

Several years ago, friends of mine had given me an ice cream sandwich mold kit. It has a cowboy theme. I finally got around to using it! Because I had it, and really wanted to use it, I decided to go with a rodeo theme for our 100th Day/Valentine's Day party...we called it our 100th Day Valentine Rodeo, kinda catchy, eh?

We had several families come over, kids ranging from age 3 into 5th grade. The invitation asked the kids to wear western gear, bring 100 of a specific snack item (to make the "ultimate trail mix") and to bring valentines to share. (One thing I've always felt homeschoolers miss out on is sharing valentines! lol)

The kids were met at the door with a couple activities...color a bag to receive your valentines and an Estimation Station which consisted of four glass milk bottles filled with different items. The kids were to estimate the number of items in each milk bottle and then determine whether that number was less than, more than or exactly 100; putting their answer in a pocket chart.

Once inside, the kids were divided into older and younger groups...

The younger group participated in a "Buckaroo Glyph":

Then did a valentine m&m sort:

After that they did some numberline jumping while counting by 10s to 100, and making "10" trains with unifix cubes to put them together and create a long "100" train:

Lastly, they read a story about 100 m&ms.

The bigger kids first created a picture by working some math equations, then coloring the answer on a one-hundred chart:

They then played "I Have...Who Has?" This was the first time I was able to play this game with my kiddos, and once they got the hang of it, they really liked it, and wanted to play again!

The big kids then made their "Buckaroo Glyphs"

By then the kids were ready for some wiggling... that meant it was time for the Rodeo to begin! Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures, but I'm sure the other moms will share those they were able to get. I had two spinners, one spinner told the rodeo volunteers which action to perform, the other spinner told the audience how to count those actions (by 5s or 10s to 100!) It was alot of fun, and I had alot of volunteers! It seems everyone wanted to be a prancing pony or a bucking bronco...or even a horse that was jumping or galloping!

Whew! By then we were really tired and ready for some refreshments! Out came the ice cream sandwiches...shaped like a cowboy boot, cowboy hat and sheriff's badge. They were a big hit with the kids, and with the moms once they knew the Sneaky ingredients each held (the brownie sandwich part was made with spinach, blueberries, wheat germ and whole wheat flour.)

We made the Ultimate Trail mix by dumping each child's 100 item ingredient into a big bowl while we counted by 100s to 1000 and beyond! The trail mix was put in baggies for the cowpokes to take on the trail with them! lol

To finish our day, the kids delivered their valentines, then explored their overflowing bags of treats while the moms chit-chatted! It was a fantastic day!

*Ü* Blessings,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our First Book Project

Good day, my friends!

I hope you are all well...we've been busy getting back to the business of school. We're using Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory now, and enjoying it quite well. Along with it, we're using Drawn Into the Heart of Reading by the same author/publisher: Heart of Dakota.

We've finished our first genre, folktale, and started on the next one, historical fiction. For our end of the genre project, we decided to do a project from the book: "Book Projects to Send Home - Grade 2". This is a great introduction to "book report" type projects. B loved this activity:

She had to come up with four words to describe the main character, three more action words for the character and then write out a diamante poem using those words. Then she had to create what the book called a mobile (I'd say a paper character). As you can see from the photo, it came out really cute, and she was so excited to do this project!

In other parts of school, I've gone round and round with spelling...she is a fantastic speller, so this has been hard...I finally decided to just use the words in the back of the Beyond manual and give a new list (there are 2 for each week) daily until we come to some words she has trouble with...and go from there. I'm also considering a series called Sequential Spelling...has anyone out there tried this? Please let me know how you felt about it!

Both kiddos are chugging right along in Math-U-See. Ben is learning the +1 addition facts...he loves using the wrap-ups I bought for this...he will practice 10 or 12 times in a row! B is working on her subtraction facts and working in both Alpha and Beta concurrently.

We're also enjoying the history/science parts of Beyond...B and I take turns reading the history portion, and the activities that follow for science, history or geography are quick, easy and fun to do!

My little guy's readying is also puttering along...we've been working on some sight words, before attempting to tackle long vowel words. He will read, but it is not his favorite thing to do right now.

Well...that's my update for now!

*Ü* Blessings,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ten Things NOT to do with Young Children

This was taken from the blog Trivium Pursuit's August 9, 2009 post.

Excellent information...information is knowledge, knowledge is truth, the truth will set you free...

1. Do not let your child be a passive observer. If you read to him, ask him questions about what he has heard. Tell him to narrate the material back in his own words. Make him address any moral value issues which may come up. Develop his mind, not simply in the direction of absorbing, but in the direction of responding. The mind which can respond has to absorb in some measure, but the mind which simply absorbs — like in front of a television or computer screen — is too passive in the learning process, learns to take without giving, and it is questionable how much it really does absorb anyway. Computers do not offer learning experiences which require real human responsiveness. Programmed learning has its uses, and it can be very effective at later ages, but at this age your child needs interaction with an adult (and not with groups of children his own age).

2. Do not let your child ignore God. God is the ultimate reason for why he is alive. When God speaks, He must always have the child’s attention. So do not indulge in frivolous Bible story books which degrade God’s word to entertaining comics or to nice little tales on the level of myths and fables. The standard must not be entertainment value, but faithfulness to God’s word.

3. Do not let your child explore the world only from a cathode ray tube. Children need real experiences to relate to. Seeing a jet take off on television is not the same as seeing a jet take off in front of you. Hearing an orchestra on television or radio is not the same as hearing an orchestra in person. Watching a computer simulation of a scientific experiment, or watching a video of it, is not the same as doing it in front of your very own eyes. Yes, you can learn some things by the tube. But it is not the same. There are also some things which you are not learning.

4. Do not do for your child what he can do for himself. We need to reject all of this popular “self-esteem” stuff. The world’s problems can be summarized in one simple expression: too much self-esteem. Too many people think they are too good for what they get in life. They think they deserve better. And among the things which foster such notions is parents fawning over their little children. For the first year of his life, you pretty much need to do everything for him. But after that, the situation should begin to change rapidly. He can learn to do many things for himself in the next couple of years. He can clean up his own messes.

5. An important corollary to this is: Do not do for yourself what your child can do for you. Your child needs to esteem himself lower than others, beginning with his parents. He can gather the clothes for laundry, and he can fold the laundry. Then he can do the laundry. He can set the table and wash the dishes. Then he can help fix the meals. He can vacuum the floor and dust the furniture. Then he can wash the windows. If you do all of this for him, then he will get a notion of self-esteem: “I am so important everyone ought to do things for me.” But if he learns to do it for himself, then he will get a notion of self-confidence: “I can do it myself.” And if he learns to do it for you, then he will get a notion of self-usefulness: “I can be helpful and I am needed around here.”

6. Do not allow your child to ignore you. You are the immediate reason for why he is alive. When you tell him something, make sure he hears you. When you read to him, do not let his attention wander too far. Of course, be sensitive. There are going to be times when he has something he needs to think about, and you may need to leave him do so. But do not let him shut you out. You must always have his attention when you speak. You must always have something for him to hear. No, we do not live up to that standard. But that should be the standard by which we measure.

7. Do not let your child rule you. Let him rule himself. A man must rule himself before he can rule others. (Think of all of the offices which have become inverted and perverted because of men who could not first rule themselves.) Nobody learns to rule himself by obeying his own desires. He can only learn to rule himself by obeying another’s desires. There must be something larger than himself to serve. (That is why the concept of God is inescapable. If you do not follow the true God, then you have to invent a substitute god to serve a similar function.) If you can teach your child to know himself and rule himself, then he will be able to rule that part of the world which you give to him, and eventually that part of the world of which God places him in stewardship

8. Do not set your child in front of a television screen. Television is bad. The material on the screen is bad. The entertainment method of learning creates a sort of entertainment addiction — the child wants to be entertained all of the time — he wants his visual and auditory senses stimulated (overstimulated). Every child needs to learn to spell through touch and taste and smell, and through interaction with real human beings who smile and answer back. He needs to learn in submission to the authority of real parents, not the authority of glamorized, always-happy, limitlessly-resourceful, never-tired substitutes who have absolutely no accountability.

9. Do not let your child waste away. You will have to discover the happy medium between giving your child enough time of his own and giving your child too much time of his own. If he has too little time, he will not develop his own thoughts. If he has too much time, he will pursue mischief, or at least no profitable ends. Give him something to think on when he has nothing to do. Memorization fills the mind with things to teethe his mind on and ponder.

10. Do not let your child play in a cyber world. He can play in a miniature world. He can play in a pretend world. But it must be made up of objects which exist in the real three-dimensional world, not electrons hitting an opaque, two dimensional phosphorescent screen. Why? Because — though he may learn something from the screen image, there are nevertheless many things which he is not learning precisely because it is only a screen image. Besides the missing sensory experiences (touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing — three dimensionally), there are logical things missing (such as consequences in the real world). When the computer substitutes for the functions and processes which the brain normally supplies, the brain is left to atrophy. It does not develop its brain muscles, as it were. Excessive use of computers, especially at early ages, will restructure the way the brain processes information, often for the worse. It also causes the underdevelopment of the emotional and social dimensions of the child. Young children are developing many parts of their understanding, and “holes” can occur in their development if they are deprived of certain experiences during critical periods of time. These may not be discovered until much later.

Harvey Bluedorn

I applaud Harvey...and these are ten things I can strive for...can you?

*Ü* Blessings,