Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something Different

Yesterday my sweet friend was sharing her struggles with homeschooling with me.  I encouraged her to try something a little different and today she said it worked! 

Taking my own advice we went outside and picked up leaves and pine cones.  The kids even picked little pink flowers off of my crepe myrtles (is that how you spell that?). Oh well!  Anyway we came in and painted with leaves and used tissue paper and crayons and even googly eyes to decorate all that we got.  It was great!  We had 3 extra kids over so you can imagine I did NOT get pictures! :(  But the kids made some really cool collages. I will post pics of the finished masterpieces soon!

What kind of fun things do you do to break up the monotony of the day? Ours was impromptu, what about you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Natural Consequences

About a month ago, Charlotte burned her hand on the stove.  It was a very scary moment for me!  I literally did not shaking until the doctor walked into the exam room at the ER. 

I had just finished telling her to get back from the hot stove.  I removed a pot of boiling water and she put her hand flat on the still red eye! If ever there was a lesson in natural consequences...this was it!

She is doing much better and the scarring is minimal.  Needless to say she doesn't go near the stove!!!

Get Set....DONE!!!

Ellie is blowing through ETC! Last week she finished book two of the "Before the Code series, Get Set for the Code".  If we hadn't had so many breaks over the last couple of weeks she would be even further along!  I am so proud of how hard she works and her WONDERFUL attitude toward learning. We have also been supplementing with Reading Eggs.  Not that we need to, it is just something fun!  We have already started Go For the Code!  When we are done with this book we will start Sing, Spell, Read and Write!

As always here is a picture of Ellie with her completed workbook!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Each day we start with breakfast and a few chores.  Then we go on to start our school day.  Charlotte is old enough to realize that she is missing out on something.  Lately she has been asking for her "school".  She has a few things that she just loves!  Some of them are independent play and others are with Mommy!

Matching these bears is always fun!  She is learning size and color with this activity.  As I type she and Ellie are pretend playing with them.  They have each grouped them by color making "families". 

Puzzles are always fun.  She has actually begun to do more difficult puzzles.  She is learning how to look at the colors on the pieces of a traditional puzzle and is able to match them up.  She still can't quite finish one but she is getting really close!  Luckily, Ellie is a puzzle whiz and is very patient and loves to teach her sister!

She also LOVES to color!  You can see that she is a lefty! She has excellent fine motor skills and has been holding a pencil/crayon correctly for about 9 months now.  Recently I noticed that she was starting to color in the lines really well.  Occasionally she will scribble on the paper, mostly when she is being silly.  She is also starting to "write letters" with a pencil or pen.  She already recognizes what writing looks like and is very intentional with the lines and curves that she makes on a piece of paper.

We also LOVE to read together.  Each morning when the big kids are done Charlotte and I pick 3 or 4 books and read them together.  I have started asking her context clue questions and have even asked her to read to me.  I love the stories she makes up just by looking at the pictures.  She even does the voices! :)

We also have started going to  She does not use the mouse but I let her point to the place she wants me to pick.  She really enjoys that!

All in all she is doing really well.  She is very bright.  I don't want to push her.  I want this to be as organic as it can be.  I am going to continue to put things in front of her that interest her.  After all she did JUST turn 3!!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Counting and Patterns

When I pulled Jackson out of first grade he could not count past 20.  We worked tirelessly but he finally got it.  Now with Ellie in Kindergarten we are working on numbers.  She is adding already!  But I noticed that she is having difficulty with numbers 11-30 and for the life of me I can't remember what I did with Jackson!  So I put out a cry for help today on facebook.  And I got some wonderful ideas.  But one stuck out and we tried it.

I was really wanting Ellie to realize that counting is just a pattern of 0-9 repeated over and over.  So this is what I did.  I took note cards and wrote 0-29 on them.  I also used different colors for 0-9, 10-19 and 20-29.  I then had her lay out each group of numbers in order.  She has 0-9 down!  So we went to the next set.  She couldn't figure out what came after 11.  She knew it was 12 but wanted to lay down 15.  I asked her to look and see if there was a pattern.  Her little eyes lit up!  "Look!  0 and 0 and 1 and 1!!".  She quickly laid out the rest of the cards!  She was so excited.  We counted each one aloud.  We will keep practicing and eventually I will time her.  Here are some pics!

Sorry the last one is crooked...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friends and Heroes: A science experiment

We LOVE our Friends and Heroes curriculum!  Today we did science.  In the story, the boy Macky helps his father sell items like silver.  We learned how valuable it was all of those years ago.  We also learned about things like; luster, malleable, conductor and tarnish.  We then did a really cool experiment.  In the past our experiments have not been very successful but today it was!!!

We started with some very tarnished silver.  I had two rings that I have been meaning to take to get cleaned.

Then we put them into a pan lined with aluminum foil.

We brought water to a boil. (This is the mom part!).

Then we measured the baking soda.  It takes 1/4 cup per liter of water.  We talked about the different ways to measure and how each went together.  We also went over fractions again.

Then we added the boiling water and the baking soda to the pan.  The frothing was very quick!  And the tarnish came off just as quickly!

We used tongs to get the hot rings out and study them better!  We had a lot of fun today!

It doesn't seem like it could even be possible that we are struggling ALREADY this year, but we are.  For the most part we are getting our assignments done.  It just seems that the overall moral is a little down.  I think part of that is the fact that I have been in a little funk lately. 

Here are some things we are working on:

Hearts: I truly believe I have great kids.  For the most part they are well-mannered and obedient.  But we have been struggling lately with bad attitudes and disobedience.  There are many different opinions from the masses on what I should be doing to correct these things.  There are several different approaches that I have been trying.  Some are working and some are not.  What I do know is that I am starting to see a slight shift in their behavior which means it is all downhill from there...right?

School is boring: I had all of these ideas about school this year.  I had planned out the curriculum and thought "okay this is going to be good".  Well, it's not!  The kids are bored.  Yesterday after Ellie was finished with her assignments she asked if she could play a game.  I pulled out the pack of Crazy Eight's cards that we got from the Dollar Store and she and I played.  It was her first time and she WON!  As we were playing I realized that we were practicing shapes, numbers and colors.  She didn't even know that she was learning.  Afterwards we put on some dance music and I let the kids get up on their desks and dance.  We had so much fun!  So I want to start doing more things like this.  I don't want it to be monotonous for them. I want them to be glad they are homeschooled because of all of the fun things they get to do!  I mean what kid in public school can say I played cards today for math and that was it!? 

As you can see this is all a process.  If you are willing and able to look at the big picture then it can become really fun.  Making adjustments to your schedule and your lessons can lead to a whole lot more exciting times for you and your kids!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Two new fun links!

Let me start by telling you that I am not getting anything for endorsing these two sites.  But I do like them!

The first is Reading Eggs.  My friend Mindy told me about this one and we started playing it yesterday.  Ellie LOVES it!  We are just starting to learn letters.  She knows 85% of them.  We have been using ETC but I noticed that she was having some difficulty recalling some of the letters.  I wanted something that would help reinforce what we are already learning.  (ETC does have an online program too).  When we started Reading Eggs I thought, "Wow this is really going to be fun". And it is! We were able to get a discounted rate at Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

The next site is a FREE site! Sheppard Software has free math games for all ages.  Ellie and Jackson are using this site to reinforce what they are learning.  So far it has been a hit!

Do any of you have a site that you love to use?  Let me know!