Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Preschool Week of 4/1

This week, school took a back seat to field trips and fun outings. It was a busy, fun week. I'll start with the small amount of schoolwork that we accomplished.
Crumpet is finally discovering an interest in coloring, and he has started to stay inside the lines!
We played this cute build-a-bunny dice game that I saw at Homeschool Creations, here.
Crumpet got a toy compass in an Easter egg at one of the two egg hunts we went to. He has no idea how to use it, but he has been walking around telling me that it says "Go north. Go left." It's his first use of a compass (he has seen them in pirate books...), and it's pretty cute.
We also did many of the Easter activities at abc teach. We read a rebus story and answered the comprehension questions that followed. (This time he was clueless as to what happened in the story; apparently I was reading gibberish...) We did several good math worksheets, and we colored an Easter egg picture.

Now, on to our outings. On Saturday, we headed to Charlotte, NC to visit friends and family. On the way, we stopped at our town Easter egg hunt.
Then, we stopped at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC (we go there a lot...). Here's the new baby giraffe - he was adorable with his mama...
Crumpet got to feed the lorikeets again:
He was very careful to make sure each bird got its fair share of nectar:
The flowers were blooming and it was a gorgeous day. The zoo was packed though - I'm so glad we homeschool and get to do these things on weekdays most of the time!
From there, we drove to Charlotte and spent the weekend with some very close Irish friends of mine who now live in the States. They have 3 daughters that Crumpet has known almost since birth, and they had a fantastic time hanging out together in the evenings. During the days, Crumpet and I visited with my grandmother and toured the kid friendly museums of Charlotte. She comes down from N.H. every year to visit her aunt, and I drive up to visit with them. We went to the Charlotte Nature Museum, and also Discovery Place. I'll blog about them this week and next for Field Trip Friday.
We arrived home Monday night. Wednesday, we went with our mom's group to the YMCA's "Eggstravaganza" at their campground by the lake. There was a petting zoo:
The kids decorated bags for collecting eggs:
There was a hayride to the place where the eggs were scattered, and everyone gathered a bunch of eggs:
Then, we had a picnic and played by the water. Here's Crumpet practicing for Hawaii and building sand castles!
Phew, I'm exhausted! Next week, we're off to Atlanta for spring break. We'll be spending a few days with Crumpet's cousins, his favorite people on earth. I'm sure it will be more fun and games!

I won the Fitness Challenge!

I won the fitness challenge!! I can't believe it! It seems that a little competition is just what I needed. It also helped that I knew I'd be posting my progress here on the blog, and I didn't want to be too embarassed! The challenge ended up being great for me. I lost 7 pounds in the 6 weeks and I exercised at least 5 days a week, so I achieved both of my original goals. I lost 2 inches off my waist and 1 1/2 inches off of both my hips and thighs. My clothes fit properly now. My ultimate goal is just to be one size down from where I am now. I learned to control my cravings, and to be mindful of everything I put in my mouth. And I've learned to make exercise a part of my life.
Sherri, at Families are Fun, is extending the challenge for another 6 weeks, and I'm thrilled. I'm a bit concerned that I won't do nearly as well, as our life spirals into chaos during the move. However, I'm hoping that continuing to participate will help me to remain mindful of how I'm treating my body during all of this. I'd like to lose 3 more pounds in the coming month, and then somehow manage to keep it off and continue to exercise 4 times a week as we travel. Ha ha ha. I went away this past weekend, and was completely UNfit. So this will truly be a challenge. Wish me luck!
P.S. If you want to join the challenge for the next 6 weeks, Sherri would love to have you! And, she's hosting a yoga DVD giveaway right now, so check out her blog here!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Art Box 3/30

Crumpet did a bit of creating this week so I can finally link up to the Art Box again!

Here's something he created on his geoboard. He calls it "Treehouse with Rope Ladder":
This masterpiece was created by using vast amounts of glue to stick a pile of papers together. He calls it "Tent for St. Patrick's Day". (All creations are gifts for St. Patrick's Day right now, because that's the last themed crafting we did. For the month after Valentine's Day, everything was a gift for Valentine's Day. He cracks me up.)
And this was a thank you note we sent to a friend of his. He made a pirate by sticking a lot of snowman and Santa stickers together in a big heap, and then he added a personal note...
Have a great week!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Preschool - Week of 3/24

This was a great week in school! At the beginning, I was feeling unmotivated, but I managed to get up enough energy to gather together a few activities and just plop them on the kitchen table, allowing Crumpet to decide what he felt like doing. It worked out well - he rejected a lot of stuff, but also found plenty to interest him.
(Note that in almost every single picture, Crumpet is wearing an eye patch on top of his head this week. This seems to be a permanent part of his wardrobe now...)

Fine Motor:
We wrote a thank you letter to the little boy that sent us the pirate ship last week. Check out this tripod grasp! He's making huge progress with this!
We played a "game" called "Drawn to Order", which I found in Games for Learning by Peggy Kaye. You start out by drawing a simple shape in the middle of the paper. Then, take turns outlining the shape until you reach the edge of the paper. It's great for fine motor coordination.
We played our Alphabet Bingo game A LOT this week. Apparently, it's most fun if you play while hanging upside down in a chair, periodically falling out of the chair and knocking all the pieces off of the board...

Debbie at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn wrote about her use of Unifix cubes, and I decided to get some when I was ordering next year's curriculum. They've arrived, and we love them. I ordered them from Didax. The company has many, many books to use with the cubes, as well as other math products. I went ahead and bought their book on homeschooling with unifix cubes because it was on sale for $3. It's a good little resource, full of games to play with the cubes.
So, we used the cubes to stack and to play. We arranged them in groups from the smallest number of cubes to the largest. And back again. We worked on patterns. Crumpet seems to have patterns mastered, but I was worried that it was something in my speech patterns that was giving away the answers, so this time, I made mistakes in the patterns to see if he'd notice. He did. And he loves when I get things wrong... We played a memory game where I would put out 5 cubes of different colors and then remove one when he wasn't looking to see if he knew what was missing. He had some trouble with this, so we'll keep working at it. I introduced the idea of counting by 2's but this was way beyond him so far. We also made a stack of 4 cubes and broke it into different sets to explore the number of ways one could arrive at the number 4. Then we tried it with 5. These cubes are wonderful, and there is so much more to be done with them...
We worked with the geoboard a little bit.
Crumpet has been absolutely desperate to go out and plant seeds. We were out in the yard one afternoon, and I turned around to find him digging a hole. He just couldn't wait any longer. So we bought some seeds and some marigolds and planted them immediately! He is so pleased with himself! While we were digging, we found earthworms, so we talked about how useful worms are in the garden.
We also went for a lot of long, wonderful walks because we had some really nice days, alternating with wet nasty ones. We saw so many flowering trees, and bees, and even a snake. Very exciting stuff! Spring is sprung!

Life Skills:
Crumpet learned to fold towels this week. And, unfortunately for him, he's really good at it! So, guess who's job that is now??!!
He has also been amazing about helping me out around the house - he's cleaning up his toys, putting his dishes in the dishwasher (with help), and here, he's cleaning up glue he spilled while working on a project. I didn't have to ask him - he just hopped up and got a paper towel! I am so thrilled. Now, if only I could teach his father the same skills... shh. I didn't say that...
We hope you had an equally lovely week! We're off for some fun travels, and goodbye visits with friends this weekend, so we should have some good field trip pics next week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fitness Challenge - Week 5

29 points, 1 pound down, and I exercised 6 days!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Preschool Corner - Week of 3/18, St. Patrick's Day

This week, we managed a whopping one day of school activities. But it was St. Patrick's Day, so at least it was a fun day of school! And the rest of the week was pretty great life school...

We started out by locating Ireland on the globe. I used to live in Ireland, so we pulled out some of my many beautiful picture books of the country and flipped through. We talked about the different areas of the country and some of the things that are popular there. Crumpet thought it looked wonderful, and is ready to move there... He's definitely my child - he'll go anywhere and see anything, just to be traveling...
Then we talked about St. Patrick and the fact that he taught the people of Ireland about Christianity. Crumpet colored a shamrock, and we talked about the 3 leaves representing the Holy Trinity. Then he cut out the shamrock - his cutting skills are still not very good, and the process is kind of painful to watch, but he did manage to cut the shamrock away from the original page.
I found a rebus story about a leprechaun, complete with comprehension questions, at abc teach. Crumpet enjoyed the little story, and answered all of the questions correctly, which kind of blew me away. I never know how much he is paying attention to...
I found a science experiment at abc teach, also. We took a cup of milk and added 3 drops of red, yellow and blue food coloring at equal distances from each other around the edge. Then we placed a drop of dish soap in the middle.
The colors are supposed to swirl and form a rainbow. Ours barely budged, and I'm assuming it's because I only had fat free milk. Ooops. Oh well, we mixed the colors with a spoon and made this beautiful rainbow:
And after a while, this ugly brown milk:
And then, Crumpet added every single drop of food coloring that I owned to the milk, to make black. Uggh. But it kept him quiet and busy for a long, long time. :)
We made these cupcakes from Family Fun magazine. These were yummy, and Crumpet even ate the cupcakes, in addition to the frosting. Usually, he skips the cake...
Our one non-St.Patrick's day activity was this dice game:
I found the printables at Mama Jenn's blog, here. You roll a die and circle the number that pops up until one of the cars wins. Crumpet doesn't always like this kind of game, but because it was cars racing, he loved it. There is also a princess version of this game.

Much of Crumpet's week was spent playing with this most fabulous, wonderful hand-me-down pirate ship. He played on his own for hours and hours!
We also spent time playing with a big stack of new games I bought at my favorite biannual consignment sale. Hopefully, I'll get to write about them soon. We finally got our official military orders to move, so now, life gets really crazy. We can start booking movers and making plans, at last. I'm hoping to be able to keep up with some schooling at the same time! Have a great week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fitness Challenge - Week 4

29 points again... I lost a pound, exercised 5 days, and lost an inch off of waist and hips. Thighs are refusing to budge!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm so proud!

We went to the library the other day for story hour. Crumpet noticed that a little girl had dumped a basket of books. He ran over to her mom and said "Oh, that's a big mess! I'll help you clean it up!" After cleaning up the books, he came back to tell me, "Mom, we cleaned it up together using teamwork!" I'm very proud of the little man I am raising!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Preschool Week of 3/11

So, the big excitement here this week was that I created my first lapbook! I'm embarrassed to say that I'm from the Dark Ages, and I don't know how all of you wonderful ladies make your beautiful computer graphics printables (Who wants to come teach me?? Anyone?), so most of mine are done by hand. It's a pretty basic little book, but hey, it's my first one, and Crumpet liked it! He saw me working on it beforehand, and nearly lost his mind waiting for it to be finished.

Of course, it's a pirate lapbook because that's all we talk about these days:
Here's the inside:
And the back. It's a clock with swords for hands. Crumpet pulls out a little card with the time written on it and sets the hands to the correct time. I can also set the clock and ask him what time it is.

More inside details:
There is a laminated pirate with a treasure chest. On the front of their storage pocket, I have a list of positional words. I read them to Crumpet, who then positions the pirate around the treasure chest as directed. He knows this already, but I thought he'd enjoy the game, and he does.
There is a treasure chest full of gold coins. Crumpet pulls a number from the pocket below and hands me the correct number of coins. There are also addition, subtraction, and equals symbols in the pocket, so we can work on more advanced math skills soon.
I drew a pirate ship out of shapes, and Crumpet has to find the hidden shapes. I was surprised at how much difficulty he had with this. Apparently, I'm pretty tricky!
And I made tracing cards spelling the word "PIRATE" so Crumpet could work on his writing skills.

In other news:
We've been playing a game I found in How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier, which is my new favorite book in the world. The game is called "Roadblock". I actually don't know if I'm supposed to talk about it, since it's published material... So, I'll just say that Crumpet drives his little car around the map identifying letters and sounds, and if he gets one wrong, I put up a roadblock. He has to start again, and when he gets the letter correct, he gets to crash through the roadblock. The author of the book used this game to teach her son to read by modifying it slightly, and I'm hoping it works with Crumpet, because getting him to concentrate and work with me any other way I've thought of so far does NOT work. Focus is non-existent here these days.
We played our beanbag game and practiced counting to 20 by throwing the bag back and forth and taking turns saying the number that comes next.
I scattered numbers around the living room and had Crumpet find the numbers and walk to them in order. This turned into a dance show and didn't last long...
We played a game (ok, half a game) of Life. This was good for number recognition, counting, following rules (or not), and sorting the money by color to put it away at the end of the game. He loves this game and calls it the 'car game' because you drive little cars around. In the end, he decided we were racing the cars and the sheriff kept giving us tickets...
Creative Writing:
Crumpet was interested in making up stories this week, and he told me several. I write them down in our storytelling notebook, and he illustrates. Most of the stories this week were about witches and bears, which was a change from his usual giraffe and elephant stories.

Crumpet has been asking to go bowling, so we went this weekend. We had so much fun! He loved the game, and particularly loved the fact that he could slide around in the shoes. He put on quite a show for everyone. My husband works nights, and it had been a very long time since we'd had a family outing. It was really, really great for all of us!
Karate has taken a turn for the better at last. For 2 months, he wouldn't even get on the mat. If he did, he walked around hunched up like Quasimodo and refused to participate. He was scared to death of all the kids. But, for some reason, the last 4 classes have been great. He participates, and has fun, and now, the instructors can't get him to stop talking during class... So that's good (I think?)! It's so nice to see him open up at last. It's awful that we'll be moving and starting again soon, with new teachers and classmates, but at least he'll have the memory of enjoying karate to motivate him.
Have a great week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fitness Challenge - Week 3

This week, I got 29 points in the fitness challenge. I had a lot of fun this week, and I tend to lose control of my eating when I'm with friends, or out having a good time with my boys. That's one of the things I still need to work on. Much of my point loss was for eating after 7pm. I ate a little junk food, but much less than usual. I found that my craving for sugar was not so bad this week. I exercised 5 times and lost 1 pound. So a pretty good week!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Field Trip Friday - Edventure Children's Museum

Last week, we went with some friends to Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia, SC. This is a great place for young children. When you walk in the door, the first thing you see is a giant boy. His insides are a huge playground, and you can slide through his intestestines, climb up to his brain, etc. I don't know what else is in there because Crumpet is terrified of this boy, so I never get to explore... It's a really cool idea though!

Crumpet did enjoy playing dentist and cleaning the mannequin's teeth:

He helped a group of kids put giant teeth in the right spots in a big mouth:

He played a life-size game of "Operation":

He used pulleys to move a skeleton:

(It was great to see a skeleton and be able to talk about some of the bones we've discussed!)

He went shopping in a mini-grocery store:

And scanned his purchases at the check-out counter:

He drove a tractor:

And rode a camel:

He played bongos:

And made music by dancing on a musical floor mat:

We love children's museums, and this is one of the best ones we've been to! For more Field Trip fun, check out the links at Live the Adventure!