Monday, December 21, 2009

Days #44 & #45 & #46/175 Days

The remainder of December got off track fairly quickly as it typically does. I always have grand plans for it. So I'll only count what we did as three days more total. Here are some things that we did...

Free interactive on-line unit studies from The Simple on:

  1. Reindeer
  2. Winter
  3. Christmas Eve
  4. New Year
  5. Pine Trees
  6. Coniferous Forests
LOTS of reading...

LOTS of playing outside in the snow sliding and making snow forts....

We had a homeschool Christmas party. We made ornaments, played games, had a potluck lunch, and frosted cookies. And had lots of fun with friends.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day #43/175 Days

Christmas School Day #3:

  • Photography Co-Op class. I began teaching this earlier in the fall. We meet monthly for about an hour.
  • Jesse Tree Devotional 
  • Jotham's Journey
  • Mathletics - for our TOS Crew commitment
  • Kinderbach for Conductor & Happy
  • Worship Guitar for Lego-Man (and me)
  • Made Christmas Cards for our annual exchange - each boy created three of their own design
And since I'm posting this after Christmas - here is a photo of the display board I made with almost all our cards on it. The last one came just before Christmas arriving from Ireland.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day #42/175 Days

Christmas School Day #2:

  • Teaching Mom Advent Calendar
  • Jesse Tree Devotional 
  • Advent Foretold - I added this in after posting what we were going to be doing. This is a book by Wanda Sanseri & it's excellent IMHO.
  • Jotham's Journey 
  • AWANA verses
  • Writing journal - both Lego-Man & Conductor today
  • Math-U-See
  • Christmas Craft - a "Believe" chain (even Miss H made one)
  • Independent Reading for 30 minutes

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day #41/175 Days (Christmas School Day #1)

Christmas School Day #1:

  • Teaching Mom Advent Calendar - this calendar is actually from 2008 but it worked all the same. I just used what was under December 1st.
  • We read in our Jesse Tree Devotional & caught up doing three days today. I created a foam core board to paste our ornaments on.
  • Advent Foretold - I added this in after posting what we were going to be doing. This is a book by Wanda Sanseri & it's excellent IMHO.
  • Jotham's Journey - 3 chapters read to catch up
  • Sang "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
  • AWANA verses
  • Mathletics - for our TOS Crew commitment
  • Conductor wrote in his writing journal
  • Kinderbach for Conductor & Happy
  • Lego-Man worked on Mathletics

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day #40/175 Days

I spent a lot of time today getting ready for Christmas school so today was a "reading day."

Here are the books I read - we spent an hour on this....

  • When Will It Snow? by Marty Crisp (for my oldest who is complaining about not having any snow on the ground yet)
  • One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  • 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey (I know! It's now way after Thanksgiving & we actually did get this before the day before Thanksgiving but we were all so sick no one felt up to reading or listening to it. It was kind of cute.)
  • continued with Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret B. Pumphrey (again - I know! but I started the book last year & never finished it. I am determined that we will finish it this year even if it takes until Christmas!)

Christmas School

I know we've done bits of school since the 18th, but sadly I can't for the life of me remember what we did! Sad I know. This is why I'm keeping this blog!

Tomorrow is December 1st so I'll be starting "Christmas School." This was something new I started last year after seeing it around the WWW & I'm going to continue with it this year.

We were all pretty ill around here this weekend & we also lost power most of Saturday so I'm scrambling today to put things together. So far this is what we'll be doing....

**Teaching Mom's Advent Calendar - I just noticed that this is still set up for last year (2008) in which Advent began on Sunday, November 30th. This year it began on Sunday, November 29th. I'm planning to just follow the dates rather than the days of the week. This puts everything together nicely with some fun stuff thrown in.

**Jesse Tree Devotional - using Ann Voskamp's The Glorious Coming ebook. I've been eying this book for a bit & was able to find it a few weeks ago on sale for only $5. I had some money sitting in my paypal account so I snagged it. I'm glad I did! I also have a book that I have used in the past. There are also many free ones on the 'net. Just search out "Jesse Tree Devotional." Here's one and here's another one.

**We'll be reading through Jotham's Journey as well. It's been at least a couple years since we've done this. Each day has a reading (so we'll need to get caught up since we'll be starting late) and all end on a "oh no" moment.

The boys will also continue with these basics throughout the month:
  • AWANA verses
  • MUS
  • Spelling
  • Writing Journal
  • Independent Reading
  • Anything we need to be reviewing for the TOS Crew
Plus we'll be adding in some fun things (I hope they see them as fun!)

**A Hands Of a Child Lapbook called the 12 Days of Christmas. This was a free download I received at one time or another. Only N8 will probably be doing this unless I can convince B13 that it's fun. When I asked them tonight who wanted to do a lapbook only N8 spoke up.

**Christmas crafts and activities as added on a daily basis. I also have a bunch of fun stuff printed off from ABCTeach. They have a ton of fun printables so be sure to check them out. Even if you are not a member, they have a lot of free ones.

I've even reverted back to my checklist from last year. Click here to see a Google Document of it. (I checked the link & it works, but the formatting is wrong. I have it set up in two columns & this didn't do that, but you'll still be able to see what I do for a checklist.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day #39/175 Days

Well, yesterday was "workboxes only" & today was "together school" only. Perhaps we'll hit on a nice mix of the two here soon.

While I read more from Stories of the Pilgrims, the boys colored. I found some nice color-by-number turkey & cornucopia coloring pages. (ABCTeach members only pages). I read another chapter from Story of the World Volume 2. Then I did some more reading.

I spent some time searching what I had on my computer the other night & discovered a gem. It was one of the Freebie of the Day offerings last year. It's a book published back in the 1800s called Grammar Land by M. L. Nesbitt. The Baldwin Project is currently working to digitize it (in progress). I couldn't seem to find it anywhere else doing a quick search. I read the intro & the first chapter. The boys enjoyed it (as did I). They make the parts of speech into real people. It's hard to explain but very cute & it held the boys attention. At the end - all three (including Happy) - were able to list five nouns. I'll be printing the next chapter in order to read it tomorrow.

They rounded out the morning by doing private devotions and math. Lego-Man asked to work on his blog as well as spend time on Tektoma so he did those as well.

An easy day but fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day #38/175 Days

Today was a "workboxes only" day. Still trying to get back in to the groove of school.

Lego-Man's boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. MUS
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. Photo taking - spent 15 mins outside snapping photos
  7. Read two books to Happy & Miss H: Once Upon MacDonald's Farm... by Stephen Gammell and The Kids' Cat Book by Tomie de Paola
  8. Worked on his blog for 30 minutes
  9. Mad Libs
  10. Did a glyph from ABC Teach. I love using these for following directions.
  11. Tektoma - he uses this just about every day
  12. Assigned Reading
  13. Mathletics - he did this in the afternoon. It wasn't part of his boxes but he loved it. One neat feature is you can play on-line against other kids all over the world. He was competing against a kid in England and one in Australia.
Conductor's boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. MUS
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. Thanksgiving Maze
  7. A paper on common/proper nouns
  8. Fall Glyph
  9. Thank you note to Grammy (the boys are stamping/writing their own notes)
  10. Mathletics
  11. Assigned Reading
  12. Read Sarah Morton's Day
Happy's boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. MUS
  4. Creating coloring pages - finished the A's
  5. Calendar work
  6. Falling leaves page (same/different)
  7. Thanksgiving picture graph
  8. Thanksgiving categories page
  9. Hot/Cold FF game
  10. Read to him: God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren and God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren (watch for an upcoming review on these two books in a couple weeks on my family blog)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day #37/Day 175

After 10 days off because Conductor had his tonsils & adenoids out on the 4th of the month. He's finally feeling up to doing some school work (or at least I think he is) so we begin again today.

Together School
  • We began a new read aloud for the month - Stories of the Pilgrims. If you want to read it to your own kiddos - click the link. It's a free public domain book. I have a bound copy I'm using though.
  • Grapevine
  • Story of the World (still trying to finish Volume 2. My goal is to start Volume 3 in January.)
Workboxes for Lego-Man:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. Photo Reading (this is for the homeschool class I'm teaching in photography)
  7. Mr. Q Science lesson (This absolutely thrilled Conductor to make.)
  8. Tektoma (This is an amazing website we're reviewing for the TOS Crew. Lego-Man loves it & I've been impressed with what he's done with it. They are tutorials on how to make video games. Lego-Man is working on his 2nd one.)
  9. Adverb page - I'm pretty sure this was from ABC Teach
  10. Thank-you note for our new bunnies
  11. Mad Libs
  12. Assigned Reading (He's almost done with The Hobbit - being on vacation the last 10 days allowed me to read ahead of him & finish it already. I had forgotten how enjoyable it was to read!)
Conductor's Boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. Paper Bag Turkey (he asked to skip this on so I let him)
  7. Shell Fact Family (ABCTeach)
  8. Mr. Q Science - same link as above
  9. A Dot-to-Dot that counted by 5's
  10. Thank you note for the bunnies
  11. Mathletics - again - a membership we were given to review to TOS
  12. Assigned Reading
Happy's Boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Creation coloring book - A pages
  5. Calendar work
  6. Paper Bag Turkey - skipped this with him as well - we'll try again next week
  7. Thanksgiving Maze page
  8. Thanksgiving Math counting page
  9. Read to him:Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters
It was a good first day back - for the most part.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day #36/175 Days

Together School

I have been pretty annoyed lately at all the nitpicking that goes on here between the three boys. It's just little things. I'm trying to foster and teach them how to be friends. But it's tough at times. Today I had them sit & think for three minutes to come up with three things each liked about the other. Sadly they couldn't do it. Here is what they did come up with:

Happy on...Lego-Man: His laugh and on Conductor: nothing (although these two typically get along the best)

Conductor on....Lego-Man:
  1. You are older.
  2. You can read long books.
  3. You have a small room.
  1. He's cute.
  2. He likes to play games with me.
  3. He likes to play trains with me.
Lego-Man on....Conductor: I like to rough house with him. And on Happy: I can scare him easily.

Obviously this is something we'll continue to work on.

We continued with Together School by:
  • read aloud
  • Grapevine studies
  • Story of the World volume 2 (We actually used this last year but didn't finish. I am simply trying to finish the reader this year before we start on the next volume.)
Then on to workboxes.

  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. "Sweet" break (Skittles & Starbursts today)
  7. Gummy Bear experiment Day #2 The small one is of course, an original size Gummy Bear. The large bloated one has been soaking in water for 24 hours. Today it was put back in salt water to sit for another 24 hours. It should shrink back.
  8. Blog
  9. Read to Happy - two books I chose (Green Eggs & Ham & Wacky Wednesday)
  10. 15 minutes taking photos
  11. Play Toss & Tally with Conductor
  12. Assigned Reading (The Hobbit)
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. "Sweet" break (I need to make sure these don't become a habit! LOL)
  7. Gummy Bear Experiment
  8. Quarter Mile Math drill
  9. Math dice (I gave him 3 dice & a sheet of graph paper. He was to roll all three dices & line up the three numbers on the graph paper. Then add together.)
  10. 15 minutes taking photos
  11. Animal magnet tangrams
  12. Assigned reading (Amelia Earhart: Courage in the Sky by Mona Kerby)
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. ABC write on/wipe off book (Dollar Tree)
  5. "Sweet" break
  6. Scissor Skills/Fine Motor Skills workbook
  7. Bible Dot-to-Dot book
Again - most of the school took place during Miss H's nap time. She did spend some time on her favorite activity this am though - coloring books!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day #35/175 Days

Together School (aka Circle Time Revised)
  • Read aloud (just started reading On the Banks of Plum Creek)
  • Grapevine Studies (bible)
  • Composers study (music)
  • Over Our Heads in Wonder (science)
Lego-Man workboxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA verses
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing
  6. Break (You are a "smartie." Take a 15 min. break. A smartie candy is included - I think I got this from the workbox Yahoo group I am in.)
  7. Gummy Bear Experiment (May 2009 in the archives)
  8. Quarter Mile Math drill
  9. Blog
  10. Read to Happy - 2 books of Happy's choice
  11. November Glyph from abcteach (member's only site - sorry!)
  12. Assigned Reading (The Hobbit)
Conductor's worboxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA verses
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing journal
  6. You are a "smartie" break
  7. Gummy Bear Experiment
  8. Mitten (from Hearts & Trees Winter 2008 kit)
  9. Quarter Mile Math drill
  10. Fix Verb Puzzle Page (part of a literacy center -pages 5 & 6 - on abcteach - members only again - sorry)
  11. Assigned Reading (working on a book about Amelia Earhart)
Happy's workboxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA verses
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Creation minibook (I printed these & laminated each one. Happy put them in order. Then I gave him a dry erase marker & he traced over the letters & numbers. Then he cleaned them off. It was a hit.) This website has TONS of great printables on it.
  5. Read three books to him: Little Blue Truck, Truck Stuck, Millie Waits for the Mail (a really cute book!)
  6. Kindergarten Scholar workbook
  7. Dog Bone Sorting File Folder game
  8. Geometry box
Most of our school work was completed today after Miss H was down for her nap so no list for her today. It was so nice outside that we did our school work out on the porch. Lovely.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day #34/175 Days

I have been talking about workboxes here for a bit. Today I'll share how it's working in more detail. I just reviewed Sue Patrick's book (Workbox System: A User's Guide) over on my family blog (The Berry Patch).

I am not using 12 bins per child as described in Ms. Patrick's system. I tweaked it and I am using one bin per child with 12 Ziplock bags inside. It's is actually working very well. It keeps all their items separated and visible so they can see their progress. Here is what Lego-Man's bin looked like at the end of the day on Friday....

Anything that needs to be corrected is to be placed on the table. Everything else is placed back in their bin. While they do school, they do make a pile out of the bin but place it all back inside when they are done. This keeps it all close.

Here is what Lego-Man's bin looked like last night after I finished getting it ready for today...

The small plastic box in the front holds pencils, glue stick, scissors, markers, and colored pencils. I put these together last year to save time with gathering supplies we needed during the school day. They work great as long as the boys remember to put everything back in the boxes after they are done using them!

I also write out what I have in each bag on a 5x7 index card. I have a spot for each child plus Miss H & what I want to do together in the morning. That is what I use to type up these posts.

Today our school consisted of this:
"Together Time"
  • Read two chapters from our newest Little House on the Prairie book - On the Banks of Plum Creek
  • Bible Drill (sword drills - I call out Bible verses and they race to find them. Lego-Man is pretty fast at it)
  • Outside for PE - 20 minutes of play (while I spent time searching for the above mentioned index card. I had accidentally thrown it away.)
  • Science - today's lesson was on light & shadow. We went outside and tracked our shadows. The book called for using chalk on the driveway - doesn't work that great with a gravel drive. However, red spray paint on grass works great! Each child (even Miss H) picked a marker to use (a branch, a brick, a small rock, and a large rock) & stood there. I spray painted a mark where the head of their shadow was. We did this at 10am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm. I meant to do it again before the sun set but I missed. Tomorrow they will draw a picture showing what happened.
  • Grapevine studies which was a bit frustrating today. While the boys were outside I pulled up Sumo Paint where I drew all the things we'd need for today's lesson. It worked fine. Then I went to pull them back up to teach the lesson and it kept locking up my computer and crashing Google Chrome. It was extremely frustrating. I'll be using regular Paint from here on out.
While I did the read aloud this morning, Miss H did this:

colored - her favorite thing to do

and Conductor did this....

While the big boys did the rest of their school together, Miss H got to play with all of this:

  • A bin of sorting things...she's holding a glucose tab bottle with milk caps inside. She's reaching for an old Tums container with pom-poms inside. There is a Pringle can laying there and all the straws go in that. There is a hole cut in the lid. And the small container on the floor is an old spice jar that has toothpicks that get stuck through the lid. After she made this mess, she picked it all up and stacked it neatly in the bin.
  • Then I gave her a small notebook, some Pooh stickers and a bin of crayons. She didn't do much coloring in this but she did put all the stickers inside it. She loves stickers second to coloring I think.
A short break to show you the view I had today while the big boys were doing school. I think it's pretty nice....

  • And this is Miss H's newest game. I call it "Where's me?" Well, actually I call it "Where's Miss H" but she calls it "Where's me?" Love it.

There she is!!!

  • The puzzles finally caught her attention. I had put them out earlier but she didn't want them then. I had all the pieces mixed up & just dumped them on the floor. She put them all back together in the right puzzles and pronounced herself "all done!"
  • I then let her pick out some toys to play with. She chose these binoculars. She actually had them facing the correct way but moved them like this before I could snap a photo.

Shortly after lunch Lego-Man took his workbox out to the shop area to work. I didn't expect him to get all 12 done today and we did skip a few. Here is what he did accomplish (I hope!):
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA verses
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
  6. Work on his blog
  7. Nature journal (sketch a fall scene)
  8. Go outside & take photos for 15 minutes
  9. Assigned reading (The Hobbit)
We had some difficulties today as I mentioned on my other blog. We're definitely still learning how this will work for our family.

Conductor chose to wait for Mr. H to wake up from his nap (he slept in the living room today) so he had a very late start to his workboxes. As a result he did not get many done:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA verses
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Writing Journal
I did not do any formal learning with Happy today. The upside to this - his workbox is all set for tomorrow.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day #33/175 Days - LC Bates class

Not a lot of photos today. I never passed off the camera & Mr. H kept trying to help. The class today was on mollusks. There are a lot of them & I learned some neat stuff. My boys did too. We discussed a bit of it on the ride home today.

We again started upstairs & Serena let the children explore the "sea" room & look at all the different specimens of mollusks in there. There is even one of a giant clam - it's over three feet long!

Then we went to check out the fossil display. Here is Happy with his favorite pal & his mom.

Downstairs in the classroom area, where it was only slightly warmer than the rest of the museum (it's not heated), the children saw all kinds of different types of mollusk shells and learned some interesting facts about how they grow, their colors, and their patterns.

Miss Serena showing the children how a mollusk (clam I think) would move through the water.

Interesting fact: The patterns on a mollusk's shell (sea shells) come from the animal that lives inside of it. Whatever pattern is on the shell, that is the pattern/colors on the animal. I thought that was especially interesting given the colorful shells we examined today.

As a hands-on project, the children all made a shell collection:

We are really enjoying these classes. It gives the boys a chance to see some friends and learn some science as well. I'm hoping we can put something together for the spring as well. We have one more class in late November. It is going to be cold but hopefully fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day #32/175 Days

More work boxes....this may start to get boring...I need to find more fun learning ideas to pop in here.

Although, I spent time getting caught up on correcting Tuesday night & discovered a problem. My sons aren't following directions - particularly my oldest. I'll address this in more detail when I do my review of this system early next week. I did have a talk with him & I think things will work better but we'll see. I like this idea as it does foster independence & that is something I want for Lego-Man, but I don't want him spending time every day redoing what he should have done the day before simply because he's rushing to finish.

  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math (problem #1 - he was to correct the problems he got wrong previously - he was missing regrouping on his reviews - he didn't even touch them & moved on to the next lesson. Today he fixed them after some instruction from me to remind him how to do this. I'm glad MUS builds in review.)
  4. Private Devotions
  5. Quarter Mile Math drill
  6. Writing Journal
  7. ASL File Folder game (problem #2 - he was to correct this FF game as well. He had just put all the letters on the manual alphabet without making sure they were correct. He didn't even touch this "bonus" item from the day before. He fixed it today.)
  8. Edward Hicks art study from Hearts & Trees Winter 2008 kit. These are great craft kits & I'm now pulling some of the projects for the boys to work on.
  9. Computer pages (continuing on from ABCTeach - these are free pages from their site)
  10. Hmmm...I wrote "Fix" on my index card for this number....ahhhh yes - the nature walk page which had a word bank. (Problem #3) Lego-Man attempted to spell the words himself & a number were wrong.
  11. Make mittens - another project from the Hearts & Trees Winter 2008 kit. These will be a set of fleece mittens. Lego-Man completed one today.
  12. Assigned Reading (The Hobbit)

  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Math-U-See
  4. Place Value Worksheet (ABC Teach member page)
  5. Private Devotions
  6. Apple Addition & Pumpkin Subtraction games
  7. Writing Journal
  8. Quarter Mile Math drill
  9. Fleece Mitten project (see link above)
  10. Edward Hicks art study (see link above)
  11. Assigned reading (The Stolen Train)
Happy - we didn't get far today - there's always next week!
  1. Roll a Fall Tree game - we use a regular die
  2. Fall matching game (can't remember where we found it)
  3. Magnet pattern blocks (makes animals)
  4. Wooden puzzles

And Miss H - I have her things in their own bins & on the table. She was able to pick which ones she wanted to do:
  1. Markers/stickers/paper - I found some washable, non-toxic, chunky markers at the dollar store a while ago & picked them up for her. She had those, a sheet of construction paper, and some regular stickers. This kept her busy for about 20 minutes.
  2. Milk jug caps/glucose tabs bottle and pom-poms with a Tums container. ;-) This kept her busy for another 20 minutes as she took them in & out of the containers.
  3. Color your own stickers (I printed about five pages of these awhile ago & she still has some left). I gave her a sheet of colored construction paper & crayons. This didn't last as long as she's been doing it a bit.
  4. Coloring book & crayons
  5. Reading books
  6. Fall sun catcher (I used the tree from the Roll a Fall Tree Game to make these) We did this after her nap & she loved it.

Miss H putting her tissue paper leaves on her tree.

All three of my boys ended the day at AWANA club. This is 1 hour 45 minutes every Thursday night & I do count it as school time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day #31/175 Days - Corn Maze Field Trip

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Although, I will say this was really fun, not that pricey and the best part - we were the only ones there (my sister & nephew came too) for at least the first hour. I love that.

This photo make me laugh every time I see it. Happy couldn't reach so I told him just to wave. LOL

Hey - that's me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day #30/175 Days

Work boxes are now in full swing. Today I did boxes for the three boys. We're tweaking as we go.

Lego Man:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA verses
  3. Nature walk page (we went on a walk yesterday & this page had them writing what they say/found - from ABCTeach & I think this is a freebie from them)
  4. Nature Journal - draw a picture of a fall tree
  5. October Glyph - from ABCTeach's member site (very much worth it - more on this later)
  6. Private Devotions
  7. Math-U-See
  8. Quarter Mile Math drill
  9. Computer pages (ABC Teach again & I think it's a freebie)
  10. Writing Journal
  11. Mad Libs
  12. Assigned reading (The Hobbit) for 30 minutes
  13. BONUS bag: Fix the American Sign Language manual alphabet File Folder game

Conductors bags contained:
  1. Handwriting
  2. AWANA
  3. Nature Walk page (see link above)
  4. Nature Journal - draw a fall tree
  5. October glyph (see link above)
  6. Writing Journal
  7. Private Devotions
  8. Math-U-See
  9. Reptile lapbook element - this is something we started working on last month for a review but Conductor never finished his. He still wants to so I'll be adding one element from the lapbook to his boxes for him to work on & then we'll be putting it all together.
  10. Quarter Mile Math drill
  11. Assigned Reading book (The Stolen Train)
Today was Happy's first day using full work boxes. He did pretty well. I do need to keep in mind that he needs things in the morning that are more independent so he can work on those while the older boys & I are doing our read alouds & other subjects together. If I save all of his work until the afternoon, he is too tired to focus well.
  1. AWANA
  2. How Many Scoops file folder game (counting/math)
  3. Math-U-See (Primer)
  4. Read books with me (The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter & Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey)
  5. Nature Walk page - the same as the older boys but I let him cut & paste the correct words from the word bank at the bottom of the page.
  6. Pencil Match File Folder game (counting again)
  7. Handwriting
  8. Busy Bugs game from Discovery Toys
Happy had four more bags to do but at this point he had reached his limit so I let him go play in his room.

Miss H did the following during school time:
  1. colored (this is always a favorite for her)
  2. Aquadoodle (not in to this very much today)
  3. Straws & Pringle can - she puts the in & out in a hole in the cover, dumps them out, picks them up - she enjoys this one
  4. stickers & paper & coloring - another favorite

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day #29/175 Days

Our first day using work boxes & it seems to be going well. Here's how today went...

  • Read Aloud for about 30 minutes (Farmer Boy & Sarah's Wish)
  • Young Scholar's Guide to the Composers - Handel
  • Work boxes
Lego-Man's boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. Sign language file folder (matching ABC signs to letters)
  3. Writing Journal
  4. Play Simon Says for 10 minutes (he led Miss H & Happy in a game - they all loved it)
  5. Private Devotions (The boys are reading through some Illustrated Children's Bible books I have - they are like comic books with illustrations but use real Bible text. Lego-Man is reading Genesis.)
  6. Candy Factory file folder game (counting change)
  7. Computer Pages (from
  8. Math-U-See (tests 1 & 2)
  9. Nature journal (draw a fall leaf)
  10. Quarter Mile Math drill (16 minutes)
  11. Awana verses (15 minutes)
  12. Assigned Reading (The Hobbit) for 30 minutes
  13. Create a Fire Escape plan
He spent the afternoon continuing on his research project. He wants a small pet. I have told him to do all the research on what kind, what they need to live and eat, and how much it will cost. Then he can present his case to his dad & I. He's spending hours working on it.

Conductor's Boxes:
  1. Handwriting
  2. Watch sign language video (ABC's)
  3. Writing journal
  4. Ride bike outside for 10 minutes
  5. Buried Treasure file folder game
  6. AWANA verses (15 minutes)
  7. Private devotions (15 minutes)
  8. Nature journal - draw a fall leaf
  9. Quarter Mile Math drill (15 minutes)
  10. Math-U-See - tests 1 & 2
  11. Create a Fire Escape Plan
  12. Assigned Reading (30 minutes) The Stolen Train

Miss H did this:
  • colored some stickers
  • played in the rice box for the first time - loved it
  • played Simon Says with Lego-Man & Happy (one of Lego-Man's things to do for his work box)
  • Watched a VeggieTale video
Happy was allowed to do mostly free play today. I'll be working on his work boxes tonight & we'll add them to the mix tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day #28/175 Days - Fire Station Tour

We did this tour about three years ago. I have photos of Happy standing in one of the tires & it was taller than he was. Now he's taller than the tires. ;-)

The Madison Fire Department is a local one to us & is a volunteer department. The closest full-time fire department is about an hour away. This particular station has a Junior Axillary made up of high school student who want to be fire firefighters. They are the ones that did the tour for us. At the end, their instructor did a talk on fire safety.

All the kids had a great time & my boys enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day #27/175 Days

We're back to school! Well, sort of. I'm still wanting to implement workboxes for all the boys but it's a very time consuming process to put together. More on that later. Right now I only have Ben set up & not fully the way I would like. But it's working today so far.

We began the morning with Circle Time. This included:

  • Farmer Boy (read aloud 2 chapters)
  • Sarah's Wish (a TOS selection - review up next week)
  • Popcorn Prayer
  • Star Spangled Banner
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Blessed Assurance (our hymn we're working on)
  • 24 family ways - we sang The Wise Man Built His House
  • Read Proverbs 14
  • Continuing to learn to sign John 3:16 - we'll go until we can all do this without looking.
Our "School Together" time continued with two TOS selections I'm reviewing from Bright Ideas Press. The first is called Over Our Heads in Wonder (science) - We learned about air & did an experiment with candles. I lit a candle & then put a metal pan on top. We watched as it went out & talked about why it did. Then I had Conductor try to blow it out by blowing on the jar - straight at it - rather than from the top. Again, we talked about why this doesn't work.

The second book (which I really like) is called Young Scholar's Guide to Composers. We read about Vivaldi today and did some of the activities in the book while we listened to his Four Seasons play on YouTube.

While the big boys & I worked on this, Happy & Miss H worked on the own things. I was able to pick up (with the help of my sister) a great little table that works great for these two. It was at The Christmas Tree Shop & it has a wipe off surface & two chairs.

Happy did these:
Miss H did these:
  • colored her stickers (I can't find where I saw these on the web but I ran them through my Xyron 150 machine turning them in to her own stickers. She LOVED these!)
  • animal magnet match
  • Busy Bugs (Discover Toy)
  • wooden puzzles (Melissa & Doug)

Lunch break

Lego-Man than began working on his workboxes. This was our first day trying this. He had nine "boxes" (I'm actually using gallon ziplock bags but may switch) to complete. They held:
  1. Private Devotions
  2. Math
  3. Writing Journal
  4. AWANA
  5. Sign language DVD - working on the ABC's
  6. Quarter Mile Math drill practice
  7. Assigned reading
  8. Computer pages to read & do some questions on
  9. Famous person report for photography class
Conductor did similar activities but without the workboxes. He completed:
  • Private Devotions
  • Math
  • Writing Journal
  • Quarter Mile Math drill practice
  • Assigned reading
Happy also did:
  • Private Devotions
  • Math
  • Parking Patterns file folder game
  • Some pages in a kindergarten workbook
It was at that point that I realized Happy wasn't feeling good & needed to go lay down. He woke up with a fever three hours later. It seems the winter cold season has started here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day #26/175 Days - LC Bates

Today was our 3rd class at the LC Bates Natural History Museum. It's really a very unique museum for this area of the state. If you live locally, I consider it a must see.

The class today was on insects. We started upstairs viewing some wasp nests. They were pretty impressive.

We also stopped here for a bit to look at this insect collection. This cabinet houses a pretty extensive collection. It was built (the cabinet & the collection) by a woman from Maine (I can't remember her name) who lived in the late 1800's. Her doctor had told her that for health reasons she should spend as much time outside as she possibly could. Thus began her hobby of collecting & cataloging insects that lived near her.

We also checked out some more collections upstairs as well as some photographs. This one is pretty cool.

It's a wasp nest built around an existing bird house.

We then headed downstairs to the classroom. This is where the real fun begins for the kids I think. Serena, our guide & teacher, does a really wonderful job making the subject come alive for the kids. Here is a photo of Conductor & his cousin demonstrating how the wings of a dragonfly work.

There were also a lot of preserved specimens that were handed round for closer inspection.

Dead-leaf moth

Giant Katydid

Serena also does a good job of breaking up the class time so that the kids (mostly boys!) are not sitting for 30 minutes or more. Here is a photo of Lego-Man, Happy & another little boy from class demonstrating how an insects legs move. Can you see how Serena is holding her fingers off to the side? The trick here was that Lego-Man was to move in the opposite direction from Happy & the other boy. I never realized that is how an insect moves. This is another reason why I do enjoy these classes.

Then at the end of the class time, there is usually some sort of hands-on thing for the kids to do - usually. Serena had lots of bug glasses for the kids to try out. Here is Lego-Man sporting a pair.

Then she had rubbing plates of various insects. Even Miss H got to do this one.

Happy showing his ant eye glasses.

Conductor is wearing some 3D glasses. They had some large cards with various insect parts on them that showed up in 3D with the glasses.

All-in-all the kids enjoy the class (even if they have to grumble about going...but we'll leave names out here). I should also mention that Lego-Man took most of these photos (except for the last few). We look forward to our next one in a few weeks.