Thursday, July 29, 2010

USS Arizona Memorial and USS Bowfin Submarine

This week, I wrote about our trip to visit some of the World War II memorials near our house. You can read the post here.

Preschool - Week of 7/30

This was a somewhat productive week for us, school-wise! I accomplished much of what was on the schedule. (We start preschool at the Y next week and I'm sure I'll need to re-tweak everything all over again, so I wanted to get some actual work done this week!)

Phonics: We are still working on the alphabet. We put our foam puzzle letters in alphabetical order; I left blanks in the alphabet and had Crumpet fill them in; we played alphabet Bingo; we sang the alphabet every time he washed his hands (he even sang along once or twice - a miracle!!). And Crumpet can now say the alphabet up to S. We're getting there!

Math: Much of the McRuffy work was review this week. We did work with pattern blocks and learn the terms "rhombus" and "trapezoid" though.
For one review project, Crumpet had to place numbered fish in order. He created an ocean scene for them. Doesn't the water look like a fish as well? The green is an island:
I found this great chart at the dollar store. Crumpet places a sticker on it for each food group he eats each day. So far, we're not keeping track of how many servings of each food he gets. We're just making sure he gets a little of everything, and that he exercises. He loves this chart, and I find that he will eat anything I put in front of him, if it means he gets to fill in a blank spot. We talk constantly about what foods he's eating, what it does for his body, and how happy his body is about the good food he's eating. It really seems to be making a difference in his eating habits.
We also worked through several sections of the water unit in McRuffy Science. We used water to learn more about the states of matter- solid, liquid and gas. We talked about ways to melt ice. We used a flame, a hairdryer, salt, and sun, but my favorite was Crumpet's own idea:
Suck on the ice til it melts! That's my clever boy! We also worked with floating and sinking objects. We experimented with different materials to see what would happen to each. Then, I dropped a ball of playdoh in water so he could see that it sank. Afterward, I shaped it into a boat to show that it would float (wet playdoh is gross, but it did the trick). We also tried to sink a balloon, to help show that water pushes back material pushing down on it, and that's why boats stay afloat.

Life Skills: We worked on phone use, and tried memorizing our phone number. We followed the lesson in Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready for this topic.
Socialization: We went to the library story hour. This week's theme was Sports, and the kids made these cute football players.
Geography: We learned a little bit about France this week. You can read about that here.

Art: We read the book Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art with Children. This is part of a wonderful series of art books. It describes the paintings in detail, but also lists some really good questions to use to discuss the art with your child. Crumpet and I really enjoyed working through this book.

We had a lot of fun learning this week. For more preschool fun, check out Homeschool Creations.

Geography - France

Two weeks ago, Crumpet asked to learn more about France because he was intrigued by the Eiffel Tower. I finally pulled a few things together, and we spent yesterday 'touring' France. First, we read through a few library books about France. We saw pictures of different areas of the country, looked at a few famous French works of art, and I spoke a little (rusty) French. Then, we had fun.
Crumpet colored the French flag. As you can see, he could care less about coloring...
We saw pictures of stained glass in French cathedrals, and attempted to make our own. We grated crayons and then ironed them between two sheets of wax paper. I think we should have used fewer dark colors! And maybe Mom should have ironed so there would be fewer wrinkles...Still, Crumpet loves his work of art. (Warning:the crayon ruins everything it touches.)
We made a folded paper Eiffel Tower. Crumpet is delighted with it.
Then I went all out (not...) and made chocolate croissants to gobble up while we watched the movie The Red Balloon. This is a very sweet movie that I remember watching in French class many years ago (Warning: there are bullies in the movie but they fail in the end.)
For more posts about Geography and History, visit Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Preschool (or Not) - Week of 7/23

Wow, another crazy, fun week! School was pretty much a non-event here. We worked through one math unit - Crumpet was introduced to the number line, and the terms "greater than" and "less than". He found these really easy concepts to understand. And, he figured out the pattern the numbers make and can count at least to 40! (Probably all the way to 100, but we haven't tried yet.) For literature, we made it through our very first chapter book. Of course, it was a pirate book! There is a series called Pirate School, by Brian James, and it's very cute and perfect for Crumpet. We'll be reading more of these! Here's what we did with the rest of our time:

Saturday: We went to a hula festival! I thought it was a beautiful and fun cultural experience. Crumpet disagreed. He couldn't wait to leave and come home... Sigh. The kids in the festival were adorable. The costumes were amazing.

Sunday: We went back to Hanauma Bay and did more snorkeling. I saw a green sea turtle this time, and it was amazing. It looked like it was flying underwater, and it was so close I could have reached out and hugged it. We bought a digital underwater camera, but we need to practice a bit more with it. This is one of the few pictures we got that actually had a fish in the frame...: Monday: This was a big day. I found some information about a Parent Participation Preschool on base, and we went for a trial day. The class is held twice a week for 2 hours. There are 8 children in the class. The teacher is wonderful. She has a circle time where she teaches at the beginning and end of class. In between, the moms cycle through several learning stations with their children. We had a lot of fun, and decided to start attending class in August. We still plan to homeschool, but this is a great opportunity for Crumpet to learn to socialize in a controlled environment, and it's a chance for me to meet other moms. It's also nice to have someone else plan the activities and pay for the cool learning toys!
Tuesday: We went to a preschool nature class at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. The garden is at the base of the Ko'olau mountain range, which I think is the most beautiful place on this island. You can't beat this setting for a nature class!
The theme was "Teddy Bear Picnic". All of the kids brought a teddy bear and a picnic and we learned a bit about bears.
Then there was a craft time. The kids made polar bears with sun hats (after all, they aren't used to the heat of Hawaii...). The whole event was a bit chaotic because there were a ton of kids, but it was fun, and we met some nice people.
After lunch, we hiked the grounds. There is a big lake with fish and ducks to feed, and plenty of places to run and hide.

Wednesday: This was a day of many errands and a trip to the library.

Thursday: I got a call on Wednesday night from an old high school friend who happened to be in Waikiki for 2 nights on the way to somewhere else. So on Thursday, we took her and her son on a driving tour of the island. It was really great to see them!

So not much formal school this week, but lots of fun time!
To see what others are doing for preschool, check out Homeschool Creations.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Field Trip Friday - California

Here's the link to our California trip at Crumpet Moves to Paradise. After that, visit Live the Adventure for more field trip fun!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Preschool Week of 7/16

Wow, we've only been here 1 1/2 months, and I already feel like my schedule is over-full. I swore I wouldn't do this to us, but I just like to be busy. I can't figure out when to squeeze in school time or cleaning or cooking though. This week, we went to the library story hour and an animatronic dinosaur display at the mall, I had a medical appointiment, and we are always out exploring the island from morning til night on the weekends when my husband is home. That's five mornings of the week, full. When we get home, we're tired and it's hard to get Crumpet into school mode... I have some life tweaking to do...

Still, we did do some home learning.

Science: We studied the solar system this week. We completed the McRuffy science unit on things in the sky. We read a book I got on sale at Borders which had good, brief descriptions of the things in our solar system, as well as a mobile to put together. Here, we laid out the planets in order:
We also read The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System. This book introduced the asteroid belt, and also talked about gas vs. solid planets. So we had a quick talk about states of matter. We also made a cloud, using an experiment I found on Children Grow Children Explore Children Learn, here. Crumpet LOVED this experiment and took off running to get the camera, so here is a shot he took. It shows the cloud condensing just before it started to rain. Crumpet made me do this experiment twice.
Coincidentally, the library story hour theme this week was Outer Space. We were greeted by a green faced martian at the door, and the kids made UFOs with little aliens for their craft project.
Field Trips: Our mall puts on a summer long kid event. This year, it is an animatronic dinosaur display, with a train ride through the area. Crumpet is all about dinos right now, so he really enjoyed it. It was our first trip to the mall, and the fact that it has a monorail connecting its two locations was a big bonus! Lots of train rides this week.
At the mall, we completed a 3D stegosaurus puzzle. We also did a fossil dig and a dinosaur rubbing.
And sat on a triceratops.
Language: I brought out our phonemic awareness box from a few weeks ago, and Crumpet was really into it this time. We answered the questions on all 50 cards. Some of the cards introduced the topic of syllables, which was new to Crumpet.
Math: Crumpet was introduced to the concept of 3D shapes in his McRuffy math book. We searched the house for specific shapes and also made the shapes out of playdoh. Crumpet is also getting better at counting groups of things from left to right and top to bottom. Before, he counted randomly, and invariably missed something or counted something twice.
Geography: We read Greetings from Kiwi and Pear which was recommended by Natalie at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. This is a cute book about 2 little monkeys doing a trip around the world. It briefly touches on many countries, and comes with a map and reusable stickers, so kids can follow along with the story. I asked Crumpet to choose a country to focus on next week, and he picked France. He loved the picture of the Eiffel tower in this book.
Spanish: Last week, I wrote about the fact that Crumpet won't actually speak Spanish for me, so I don't know how much he's learning. I mentioned it to my husband that night, and he said "Oh, Crumpet counted in Spanish for me just this morning." So, it seems the little turkey is in fact learning... I found an easy Spanish curriculum set at the library this week, and it looks like a good fit for us. Lots of games and songs, and it introduces the very basic Spanish we'd like to start with. It's called Spanish for Children, and it's by McGraw Hill. Does anyone have any experience with it? Any pros or cons?
Nature: We went on a really beautiful hike to Maunawili Falls last weekend. It's 3 miles round trip, and Crumpet didn't complain once. At the end of the hike, there is a beautiful little waterfall that you can swim under.

But it was COLD. Look at his little frozen face!
Have a great week! For more preschool fun, head over to Homeschool Creations!
(Aack, just discovered that some of my links still aren't working. I'm sorry...)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Preschool - Week of July 8

I feel like we were really busy with school this week, but looking back through the pictures, it doesn't look like much. Hmm... Crumpet was much less focused this week - the thrill of the workboxes has worn off! - but he was generally cooperative.

I started a morning calendar routine. First we fill in the date on our calendar, and then we sing a days of the week song. Amber at Refined Metals Academy posted a video of herself singing the song with her kids. I'm hoping to start learning a little Spanish with Crumpet, so we count to 3 in Spanish. Then, we work on Crumpet's name - learning his whole name and spelling it. Lastly, we are going to memorize a nursery rhyme each week. There are great nursery rhyme pictures and sequencing cards here. Of course, this is all great in theory. However, last week I mentioned that Crumpet won't sing songs or repeat things when asked. Things like Spanish numbers, his own name (in his entire life, he has said his real name once - he hates his name), and nursery rhymes. So calendar time is a bit of a struggle right now! I'm hoping with time, he'll give in and join me, or somehow let it slip that he's learning the information??!!

As for other subjects:
Math: We continued with the McRuffy math book, and it's going well so far. I also made up some laminated tracing cards so he could work on writing the numbers 1-10. Crumpet is really not ready to write on his own yet, but he loves to trace letters and numbers.
Fine Motor Skills:
We've been doing some Kumon cutting and maze workbook pages each week.

Household Skills:
Crumpet has been helping me with lots of the food prep at home. Look at the cute breakfast we made yesterday. Heart shaped eggs in toast!
Science and Nature:
We went entirely crazy and bought tons of beautiful Hawaiian plants last weekend, and planted lots of gardens around our tiny backyard. Crumpet and I started our very first vegetable garden, and we're excited to see if we get any food from it. There are already lots of green shoots poking up from the ground!
Crumpet asked me what "old fashioned" meant, so I decided it was time to read Then and Now, by Peter Firmin. This is a great book that I found on the Sonlight curriculum list. On one page, there are pictures of what life used to be like on the street, and on the opposite page, there is a picture of modern life in the same place. There are school scenes, shop scenes, etc. It's a great introduction to the fact that things change over time.
We continued to work on the alphabet. We repeated our beanbag toss game daily, and it's clear that Crumpet is getting close to memorizing the whole alphabet. We also did the alphabet walk from last week. At the end of the week, I flipped all the cards over so they were blank, and told him to tell me what each card should be. I told him he could have an M+M for each letter he got right. I was afraid I'd be giving him 26 m+m's for breakfast, but instead, he panicked! He told me he couldn't possibly know what the letters were if he couldn't read them! So he made it to C, and no further. We'll keep trying...

Five in a Row: Last year, I wrote a bit about the Five in a Row curriculum. It's a series of unit studies based on literature. Then I found a free version at Homeschool Share. We gave it a try this week, using the book The Mitten, written by Jan Brett, because we already owned the book.
Crumpet decorated his own mitten, and then we acted out the story, placing each animal in the mitten in the appropriate order and then having them all fall out at the end. We measured things that stretch with a measuring tape, talked about the different animals, and generally followed the lesson plan on the website. We also did a mini study about the Ukraine, where this story originated. Our library has a fantastic thing called Culture Grams with great info about countries around the world. We kept it short - we looked at the Ukrainian flag, heard the national anthem, watched a slideshow of pictures of the country, and learned a few interesting facts about kids there.
Then we read about the art of decorating pysanka eggs - beautiful, intricate painting on blown eggs. I printed a coloring sheet for Crumpet to design. After he colored it, he decided that he should have used blue and yellow instead, since those are the colors of the Ukrainian flag. So he did learn something!
Unfortunately, this will be the last Homeschool Share unit study we do for a while, because our library has NONE of the other books on the list. Eventually, I will check out the other libraries on the island, but I'm not sure when.

: We finally have paint! It was NOT easy to find - there is one chain craft store on this island and it's awful. I found pink and yellow paint. Nothing else. We resorted to buying a box of Crayola paints at Walmart- they are fine paints but come in tiny little tubs... Regardless, Crumpet is thrilled to be painting again.
Last week, Crumpet created his own art museum. I decided to take him to a real art museum this week. We went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, which turned out to be a great choice. There is a great variety of art from all over the world. There were several beautiful little gardens. These tall structures are standing over a little waterfall, and they were my personal favorite...
At the entrance to the museum, we were given a worksheet with pictures of 4 fish paintings that were scattered throughout the museum. Then we were sent off on a scavenger hunt, and Crumpet got a prize at the end for finding them all. It's a great way for little kids to have fun, and get used to visiting museums at the same time.

Fun Time:
After completing his workboxes , Crumpet gets to play with a special toy. This week, we tried out a new game I found at the dollar store. It's a box full of shapes and you use them to create lots of goofy people. There are other boxes for vehicles, etc, but we found this box could be used to make those too. We made sea scenes and vehicles and silly people for a long time.
For other preschool blogs, check out Preschool Corner at Homeschool Creations!

Field Trip Friday - Arizona

Wow, somehow it's Friday again! The weeks are flying by. I haven't even begun this week's school post, but if you want to read about our visit to Arizona, check out Crumpet Moves to Paradise. After that, swing by Live the Adventure for more field trip fun!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Field Trip Friday - Memphis, TN

This is my second attempt to link my new blog to this one. Here's hoping it works... I wrote about our visit to Memphis, TN for this week's Field Trip Friday post. Please have a look! And let me know if the link works!

Crumpet Moves to Paradise

After that, visit Live the Adventure for more field trip fun!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Preschool- Week of July 1

We started doing schoolwork again this week! Crumpet saw me unpacking the boxes and started begging to 'do school'. He has been really difficult lately, and I was hoping that having a schedule and a routine would help calm him down. 4 mornings a week, we will get up, drink coffee (ok, just me for the coffee) and then start school. I decided to try using workboxes again. They haven't worked well for us in the past, but I want Crumpet to begin to understand that school is important and needs to be completed each day, even if it is just Mom teaching him. I also want him to learn to finish what he starts. So, each day we had 4 to 6 boxes with projects in them. I tried to go in order from 1 to 6, but that didn't go over well. I let him choose the box order, but I did insist that we do all boxes each day. He struggled a little with it, but mostly accepted it. At the end of each school day, we play with special toy or educational game that he doesn't usually have access to, so that helped convince him to do all the work! Here are the boxes, all lined up and ready to go on the kitchen counter:
Language: Crumpet recognizes the letters of the alphabet, and he knows the sounds they make, but he still doesn't know the alphabet itself. He has always refused to sing songs with me (never once has he played patty cake with me :( . or sung twinkle twinkle little star. ), and he won't repeat things when asked, so it has been hard to help him memorize the alphabet. I decided to work hard on that until we finally get it. We started the week with flashcards, matching lowercase and capital letters. Then we put the cards in alphabetical order. We tossed a beanbag back and forth, taking turns saying letters til we got to Z. His favorite activity was "walking the alphabet". I laid out the letters in order, and Crumpet had to walk the trail, saying the letters out loud. I have plans to expand on that next week.
We also used playdoh to make a few letters:
We spent some time working with the phonemic awareness box below. I found these boxes at Lakeshore Learning and they are really fun. Each box has 50 cards with questions designed to expand language knowledge. The phonics box asks kids to think of rhymes for words, or to answer questions related to letter sounds, etc. I bought these after reading Michael Gurian's book The Minds of Boys. He writes a lot about the fact that language skills in boys are often behind those of girls, and how important it is to work on that. I thought these would be a fun way to work on language.
We made envelopes with our names on them and called them mailboxes. Then, I wrote Crumpet's name and my name on some cards. We wrote each other letters on the correct cards and "mailed" them in the mailboxes. I saw this activity in Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready, and it it helps with word recognition. I was surprised that Crumpet knew what M-O-M said before I told him.
Nature: Crumpet saw something on t.v. about making a nature journal and entering pictures of leaves in it, so he wanted to make a nature journal (sometimes t.v. is wonderful!). We went out and picked some interesting leaves. Then 'we' traced them and drew in the veins. We also did leaf rubbings. Crumpet was really surprised when he picked up the paper afterward and discovered that he had not colored the leaf blue along with his paper. Aren't their minds interesting?
Math: I flipped through our McRuffy Math curriculum, just to see if we were ready to start it. I got to lesson 50, and we've already covered most of the topics. Anything we haven't worked on seems like information Crumpet can understand. So, we started kindergarten math this week!
Crumpet counted to 25 by himself this week. He was just sitting on the stairs by himself and he started counting! Of course, he can't do it if I ask him to...
Just for fun, we made some of the numbers using spaghetti (another Slow and Steady idea).

History and Culture
: I went to a fabulous used book sale put on by the library system here, and I found a few good books about Hawaii written for kids. This week, we read Peter Panini's Children's Guide to the Hawaiin Islands, by Stacey Kaopuiki. It mentions each of the islands, and gives a few facts about history, and lists a few things to do for fun on each island. I thought it was very well done, and great for Crumpet's age. I found a few things I'd like to see on the other islands. But for some reason, Crumpet hated this book! We only read a few pages a day, and it was a battle every time. I have noticed him repeating facts from the book though, so at least he learned something...

: Crumpet finally has art supplies!! He is so excited. Me, too! He decided he'd like to create a museum, so we dedicated a wall to his artwork, and called it a museum.
Here he is, playing with playdoh. This is one of his after school prizes.
And just so you know that my game shelf isn't quite as pitiful as it looked before:
I'm still having trouble with our new computer system - commenting and creating links just don't work well all the time. So forgive me if my links don't work - I'm trying! I tried to link this blog to my new travel blog and can't seem to make it happen... Hopefully I'll figure it out soon.