Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Leprechauns and Spring, Part 2

We didn't get around to making the shamrock craft, but I saw a similar one with rainbows that could be done anytime.  We had some new older friends over and made play dough.  I was trying for this, but it didn't smell good at all.  I think I could have added more zest.  As always, it was a hit, I let them add glitter, which they loved.  We also tried this tissue bleeding, the only color that worked was purple and the boys weren't too interested in it, upon further review (actually reading the instructions instead of just looking at the pictures), apparently I was supposed to try this with fabric, not paper, LOL.  I had 2 kids doing the tissue bleeding and the other two doing marble painting, which I thought was awesome, but the kids quickly lost interest in.  We played Monopoly and Sorry, made some progress on our hole to the other side of the world, and found 2 garter snakes in the yard (half dead, unfortunately).  Fisher started sucking his thumb, Hudson can count by 10s and 5s, AJ can count to 10.  Read this http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/03/lets-bring-holidays-down-notch.html?spref=fb and was reminded to chill out. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leprechauns and Spring

This week at our house we will finish celebrating St. Patrick's Day and jump into Spring full force.  Our caterpillars have also arrived, so I have a few ideas to learn about them.

Leprechaun traps, leprechaun rocks, and Shamrocks
We were a little late to make our leprechaun trap (we did that Sunday night).  H was super interested, but dad kind of diverted it into making a squirrel trap.  So we ended up with 2 traps, both half effort.  But at least they were excited and doing something together.  Then they went to bed and the leprechaun left a note saying they would have to be more clever than that to catch him.  That naughty leprechaun also left green pee in the toilet and a pile of leprechaun rocks.  The boys spent the morning 'washing' their leprechaun rocks.  Later we plan to make these:

Caterpillars and butterflies
We checked out a bunch of books at the library.  I want to do this life cycle craft this week.  

Our home school friends are coming over this week to help us get our garden going.  We are going to be putting in some sunflowers along our fence and reading the book The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Its a busy week here and I am watching a couple extra kids for Spring Break...all boys!!!  Wish me luck!
I'll try to post an update at the end of the week and let you know how it all went, with pictures of course!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We're Baaaack!

Follow me on Pinterest Leah

Oh, it's been so long.  I had almost given up on this whole blog thing...

But I like to write, I like to document all the fun stuff we do, I miss it.  So...to catch everyone up the past few months we: had a baby, celebrated Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's, King's Day, Candlemas, Valentine's, Suess Day, and took a trip to the aquarium (2 hours away...what was I thinking?!).  I am sure there was a bunch of other stuff in there too, we are busy people. We also switched to gluten-free and are working on giving up sugar. So while I would love to share all that catch up stuff, let me just post a few pics of the baby and jump in fresh from here, mmmkay.

Baby J
Birth story summary: Born December 7 at home (2VBAC), 13 days late, 1.5 hour labor.  Midwife arrived when his head was already out...LOL, she almost missed it. 9lbs 8oz.
 1 Week
 1 Month
 2 months
3 months

I am not sure if he is the sweetest baby yet or I just Love him so much because I am more experienced with how fast they grow. I'm just really enjoying him and being home with all my kids and daycare kiddos too!  I feel quite blessed lately to have so many wonderful friends, family, and kiddos in my life.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On Reading and Writing

One of the biggest challenges to homeschooling for me is trying not to push too hard.  I am a natural teacher and would love to just sit down and instruct my kids on how to do this or that, but I realize that is not the best way to teach…especially not when you are trying to teach your own because inevitably some head-butting and resistence will come up.  I know kids can learn to read as young as 3 with rote practice and memorization, but for me I want so much more than for my kids to know HOW to read.  I want them to LOVE to read.  I know my kids will learn to read eventually and I have a great respect for the hardcore unschooler who can just let go and wait for their child to unlock the mystery of reading on their own.  I have decided that we will have reading instruction, but when the kids ask for it or express an interest.  The good news is I don’t think I will be waiting much longer!

Last week I took the kids to the library and H had an immediate interest in books with a certain urgency he has not expressed before.  I am not exactly sure how to describe it, but basically he was interested in a specific book that he heard about on some TV show and had absolutely no interest in working on the computers (which is usually what both children rush to).  It had been at least a month since we had been to the library.  He wanted picture books, comic books, and readers; he was all over the kids section just exploring and looking more intently than before.  We picked out several books and came home.  We read quite a bit of one of the comic books he chose and then I asked him if he wanted to read a BOB book.  He agreed and he did it!  He read the first book through twice and then wanted to read the second book.  Then he was so excited to share his new accomplishment with Dad and Grandma.  I was so proud of him and hope we can continue on this reading road and not have this just be a peek into the world of reading. 

Reading and writing go hand in hand and a few days after our reading excitement H made a big writing jump too!  Grandma was reading the newspaper and the boys took an interest in the toy ads.  So she took the teachable moment to have them write a wish list and encouraged H to write his own.  I heard what was going on and unable to resist the opportunity to ‘teach,’ I came in to assist him in making his list.  It has been over a year since H has taken ANY interest in writing, refusing to even write more than the first letter of his name.  But on Sunday he sat down and wrote a list of about 6 things he wanted.  I helped him sound out and spell the words and pointed out the letters on a chart for reference.  I also helped him with the letter S because I know that making the curvy shape takes some muscle memory and practice (that he hasn’t had). 

I’m so happy and proud, though since he just turned 5 I find myself having those ‘he’s growing up so fast’ moments way too often now.  

A little info on our reading background:
We have practiced Zoophonics off and on for about 2 years, so he has a good basis of letter sounds and he knows the names of all of the letters.  The BOB books are set up so that only a handful of letter sounds are used in the entire book and the text is heavily based on the simple pictures, so they can use the visual clues to decipher the words.  I created a fishing game to practice the words in the book and words in the same ‘word family;’ in this case –AT words. 

The fishing game is: fish shaped index cards with the words on one side and a face on the other and uses paperclips on the cards to attach to a magnet on the pole.     

(Ignore the mess in the background)
Also came across this great link for some BOB printables on Pinterest today: http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/2012/11/free-bob-books-printables-for-beginning-readers-Mat-Sam.html

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Smelling Spices

Today we had a spur of the moment smelling and tasting project. AJ took a particular interest in a container of curry spice I had left out, so I let him smell it. He seemed to really enjoy sniffing it, so I pulled out about 12 spices from the cabinet that I thought would be mild smelling/tasting. Both boys had a blast taking a whiff of the spice, pouring a tad onto their paper and tasting it. H got a nose full of ginger spice which was pretty funny; I pulled out some coffee grounds for him to sniff after that to ease the ginger-y pain. (That worked well, until AJ stuck his hand into my coffee grounds and took a big taste…it was NOT decaf). When we finished, AJ was ready to do it all over again, he really enjoyed it. I think we will end up doing this activity again using herbs. A word to the wise...cloves smell really good, but taste VERY spicy. LOL

Alphabet Pretzels

Today we started our zoophonics program. We started with the first 5 letters of the alphabet, focusing on their phonetic sounds instead of the name of the letter. The kids had fun learning the names of the animals and the sounds they make. Then we did an alphabet walk, laying out the entire alphabet from A-Z and walking along singing the alphabet song. Then I removed a few of the letters and handed one to each child to relocate into the alphabet. It was short and sweet, but we are easing into our program. A little while later we extended the activity by making alphabet pretzels. They were delicious!

¾ cup warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup baking soda
10 cups water
Sea salt
Cinnamon/Sugar mix

1. Combine water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit until foamy (about 5 minutes)
2. Add flour, salt, melted butter, and knead dough until it is no longer sticky.
3. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and let rise for an hour.
4. Separate into four to eight sections. Using your hands, shape the dough into ‘snakes’ and allow the children to create their favorite shapes. Challenge them to create a traditional pretzel knot.
5. Transfer pretzel to a baking sheet lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
7. Bring water and baking soda to a boil, and drop a pretzel in one at a time, boiling for approximately 30 seconds (great chance to practice counting).
8. Remove pretzel and transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Top with a bit of melted butter and sea salt or cinnamon/sugar mix.
9. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

Zoophonics Video from You Tube...I'll try to make our own, once they have it down. :)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Last week at our house

The week in pictures:

                                          Magnet play (cut up pipe cleaners and paper clips in jar)

                                         Bean shapes (I drew shapes, they glued beans)
                                          Mud baths

                                          Gak revisited with dad