Friday, August 27, 2010

Preschool Week of 8/27

This week, Parent Participation Preschool went really well! Crumpet was signed up to be "line leader" on Wednesday. I thought that would freak him out and he'd refuse to get up in front of the class. Nope. It seems he likes power. He was so excited all week. On Monday, he agreed to go to school so he could watch that day's line leader and be sure he knew what all of his duties would be. On Wednesday, he started begging to go to school 2 hours earlier than we usually leave. He fulfilled his duties as line leader perfectly, and even spent a lot more time interacting with the other kids than usual. I'm hoping that this helped us turn a corner, and now he'll enjoy school??

Home preschool also went well.
Reading/Phonics: This is going relatively well. He is getting quicker about reading words and has no trouble with our phonics curriculum. He doesn't like to work hard though, so often he just tells me he doesn't know the words and tries to refuse to read with me... I'm not letting him get away with it.

Math: This is going well too, but Crumpet hates repetition. Once he knows something, I'd better not ask any more questions or he gets really annoyed (he's an ornery little thing...). There was a lot of number line work this week, and the book was driving him nuts. I set up a walkable number line and gave him an arrow to point out his answers. This, along with me skipping a lot of the book's questions, made things a bit better. (He's wearing half of a storm trooper costume...)
For math, we also tried out the Dreambox website which I read about over at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. Sadly, it didn't go over as well here. The games are pretty repetitive, and as I said, that makes Crumpet bonkers. Also, there is a lot of work with a ten frame and a math rack, two tools I'd never used before. It seems Crumpet's and my brains just don't work this way. It took me a while to figure out what this was all about (I get it now and it's cool, but not how I think) and Crumpet couldn't grasp it. I will probably try again in the future because they seem like good teaching tools.
Science/Geography: A few weeks ago, I was trying to teach Crumpet something, and he said "Mom, I already know this stuff. What I really need to know more about are rays." He loves manta rays, stingrays, etc. So I reserved every book the library had on rays and rented the movie Under the Sea:IMAX. We went through them all this week, and he loved learning more about this interesting animal. The movie was beautiful too. There was a bit too much predator action for Crumpet though. He thinks all creatures should be vegetarians... As part of our look at oceans, we found the world's oceans on the globe and added them to our flat world map which we used to learn about the continents last week.
For culture studies, we read People by Peter Spier . This book is in the Sonlight curriculum, and I almost bought it, but have been lucky enough to find it at several libraries. We read through it every once in a while. It's a wonderful book explaining that people everywhere are different in many ways, but that we should all respect the differences. There are pictures of clothing, houses, games, food, and religion from many different cultures. Crumpet was much more interested in the book this time than ever before. He's just beginning to notice differences in people.

Crumpet put together a couple of 24 piece puzzles with little help this week. Usually he struggles with puzzles and isn't a big fan, but he did great this time. Maybe it's just time for him?
I found these cute finger puppets in the craft section at Target. Crumpet never liked lacing activities, but I was hoping that he would enjoy this because there was a purpose to the sewing. He loved it, and managed to sew both puppets pretty much on his own. Great fine motor practice!

For more preschool posts, check out Homeschool Creations!

Field Trip Friday - Diamond Head

This week, I wrote about our hike up Diamond Head, which is a crater left by the erupting volcanoes which formed Oahu. You can read the post here. For more field trip adventures, visit Live the Adventure.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Science Sunday - water and food (for lack of a snazzier name)

We continue to do experiments from our Usborne Science in the Kitchen book. This week, we did a set of experiments relating to water and food.
We talked about the reasons for dehydrating food - it's lighter for travel and it lasts longer. Then we rehydrated a bag of dried peas. Here are the peas right after I added water:
And here they are a few hours later - they popped the top off of the container!
Next, we dehydrated a cucumber slice using sugar.
The sugar draws out the water and leaves a big puddle within 10 minutes or so:
And lastly, I showed Crumpet what happens when some food gets wet in storage. We sprinkled a piece of bread with water and placed it in a plastic bag. Then, we dried out a piece of bread in the sun and placed it in a bag for comparison. Of course, if I didn't want the bread to mold, it would have molded much more quickly. This took forever. But in the end, we grew mold. Ta da!
For more science posts, visit Adventures in Mommydom!

Geography Studies - Mount Everest

A few weeks ago, Crumpet saw a segment on PBS about Jordan Romero, a 13 year old boy who climbed Mount Everest. Crumpet decided he was going to climb mountains too, so I created a unit about Mt. Everest.

Apparently, Jordan Romero saw an exhibit about the Seven Summits Challenge. Serious mountain climbers try to climb the highest mountain on each continent, and Jordan decided he would like to try it. So far, he has climbed 6 of the mountains (he hasn't been to Antarctica yet). I took this opportunity to talk to Crumpet about the continents, and we marked the mountains on a world map.

Books we read for this study:
Mount Everest by Sarah De Capua : This was a great introduction to mountains and to Mount Everest for someone Crumpet's age. Very simple but it covered a lot of information.
Everest, a DK Eyewitness Book: This had beautiful pictures. We used it to check out the gear a mountain climber would have.
To the Top by S.A. Kramer: This was a biography of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first two people to reach the summit of Everest. It was written for kids, and Crumpet and I both enjoyed it.
We also watched a National Geographic Movie: Everest 50 Years on the Mountain : Crumpet actually sat through most of this movie, and it gave us a great idea of what it's really like to be on Everest (NOT fun!!). It was filmed with the sons of Norgay and Hillary, and it was interesting to hear their memories. The movie skips back and forth through history though, which was a bit confusing for Crumpet.

We did a little research about the animals and plants that live on Mount Everest and then Crumpet painted this picture of the mountain:
The bottom line is the tree line. Trees grow below this line, and there are lots of plants and animals. Above that, there are fewer animals and the ground cover is mostly moss and lichen. The snow line is at the top. The snow never melts here, and no one lives above this line.

After painting, we decided to climb Mount Everest ourselves. We packed a bag full of dried foods (I reminded Crumpet of our dried food experiments and the reasons it would be important to bring it on our climb). We brought climbing ropes, a tent, a sleeping bag, and "oxygen" tanks. We no longer own hats or mittens (sigh, our life is rough :) and oddly, Crumpet refused to put on 8 layers of clothes, so imagine that he's all bundled up in these pictures, with big spiky boots on!
Here he is, setting off for base camp:
We had to beware of the "Yeti" on the mountain... This poor cat is so abused - Crumpet spent a lot of time trying to scare the "Yeti" away. She just ignored us, as usual.
Stringing ropes to help us cross the crevasses.
Camp #2 being set up:
At last, we reached the summit!
We narrowly escaped the Yeti, avalanches, and oxygen deprivation, but we made it. And we had a blast. Every day, Crumpet asks to play Everest again. I LOVE homeschooling!
For more geography posts, visit Children Grow Children Explore Children Learn.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Preschool Week of 8/20

Homeschool this week was great. Parent Participation Preschool - not so much. On Monday, Crumpet flat out refused to go. A few weeks ago, he finally learned to get his own clothes off. I was so proud. On Monday, I was sorry I ever taught him, because every time I managed to get him clothed, he removed the clothes... So we called it quits and stayed home Monday. Wednesday, I took him to McDonald's for breakfast and then to school. It was much easier because we were already out of the house when school time rolled around. He was still pretty grumpy about being there though... Our theme at school was the color red, and the teacher had some really fun toys and activities set out for us to work with.

At home, we did great.
Phonics/Reading: Crumpet FINALLY knows the alphabet! And, Crumpet started reading this week! Very exciting stuff. I knew he was close, so I had planned to start our McRuffy reading program with him this week. We zoomed through the first 10 lessons or so, trying to get him caught up to the point where kids read 3 letter words. We also read a new book from Progressive Phonics.

We discovered an incredible library story hour at our nearest Hawaii state library. The storyteller reads a few stories, but he also plays music, dances with the kids, and puts on puppet and shadow puppet shows, as well as telling stories with a felt board. Then the kids make crafts. Really amazing. This week, Crumpet checked out The Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs. I said "You know we have these stories at home, right? Do you want to just read our copies?" Crumpet replied "No, Mom. I like to read new versions and find out who the author is." I guess he's preparing to get his doctorate in literature...

Math/Science: Both lessons were about measuring and length this week.

Geography/History: A few weeks ago, Crumpet saw a segment on PBS about a 13 year old boy who had climbed Mount Everest. He decided that he, too, would climb mountains. This week, I did a unit on Mount Everest. It was so much fun, and I learned a lot too! I'll write a separate post about our mountain climbing adventure.

Culture: We went to a beautiful Buddhist temple with Japanese gardens over the weekend. Crumpet had lots of questions about it all, and I found that I know very little about Buddhism. Time to do some research!
Nature: We went snorkeling and saw some amazing starfish, an eel, and lots of sea cucumbers. Crumpet doesn't snorkel, but he can see a lot just standing above the water here because it's so shallow and clear. He was obsessed with petting every sea cucumber he found.
We had a really great week and hope you did too! For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Does anyone need Hawaii postcards for a geography study? I'd be happy to send some - just let me know!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Light Went On In My House Tonight...

And I heard a big "click" as suddenly, Crumpet was reading 3 letter words!! He read a whole list of them and kept asking for more. It was very clear that he understood that he should sound out the letters, say them together, and a word would result. And so, we are off on a new adventure. I've been so excited for this moment, and now I just want to cry. He's not a baby anymore!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dry Erase Crayons

Alright, so I went and raved about the dry erase crayons and a friend promptly told me she had trouble with them. Her kids push really hard when writing, so the crayons left dark marks and couldn't be wiped off easily. Crumpet barely puts pressure on the white board or paper when writing, and I don't push too hard, so we didn't have trouble. So keep that info in mind before you run out and stock up! I'm hoping I won't get a lot of hate mail in the next few days!

Geography studies - England

This week, we toured England for our geography studies. Crumpet was born near Cambridge, England, so I enjoy talking to him about his birthplace. I hope that someday he'll want to visit it so I can go back!
The best resource we found for this study was the website Project Britain. If you want to know something about England, it's there. I could have navigated around all day and kept coming up with more fun information. We took the armchair tour around England and then just looked at a lot of great pictures.
We also talked about the difference between England and Great Britain, and discussed the monarchy a bit. We read the book Look What Came From England. We read A Bear Called Paddington.

Then we made this cute English bobby (police officer) from DLTK here. Crumpet is all about being a police officer right now so he liked this. We just glued the clothes on the paper doll.
Here is a much younger Crumpet in his own English bobby outfit which was given to us a by a friend stationed in England at the same time. He refused to put it on this week, even though he still wears it often.
We made... CRUMPETS. We didn't know if Crumpet would be a boy or girl when I was pregnant with him, so we called him Crumpet until he was born. So of course, we had to try a recipe.I added whipped cream and strawberries. I loved them. Crumpet liked them "because of the whipped cream". I did add sugar to the whipped cream, which the British don't do, but I figured Crumept wouldn't touch it otherwise!
Then, we took a look at Stonehenge (thanks to Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom!). We went to Stonehenge:With a teeny tiny 4 week old Crumpet - see the white hood between hubby and me? That's baby Crumpet. Sadly, he doesn't remember this trip.
And did you know that just down the road from Stonehenge is a place called Woodhenge? It was apparently built on the same principles during prehistoric times and used to have very tall posts. Now it is marked with smaller posts (the original wood didn't last quite as well as the giant stones).
I showed Crumpet all of our pictures and started building Stonehenge with Jenga blocks. He also decided to build Woodhenge with Unifix blocks. Then he added a totem pole...(wrong time and place?!) And then he blew them all up with Star Wars ships. It's no Act of God, but I thought it was funny that all boys must blow up Stonehenge...
Just for fun, did you know about Foamhenge in Virginia? My husband and I were driving through the countryside on our way to go camping. We both saw this out of the corner of our eyes:
We didn't say anything for a minute, and then we looked at each other, saying 'Um, did you see Stonehenge?' We were really hoping we hadn't lost our minds. Turns out, we both saw it, so we turned around to check it out. It looks just like the real thing... It was so odd to see it out in the fields of Virginia...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Field Trip Friday - Dole Pineapple Plantation

This week, I wrote about our field trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Fun AND yummy! You can read about it here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preschool Week of 8/13

This week went quite well. I'll regret saying this, but it feels like we've finally found our groove here. We have a routine, and it's beginning to feel like we really live here and this is real life (and how lucky are we that Hawaii is real life??). So here's our weekly wrap up:

Preschool: I had fun at the co-op preschool this week, but Crumpet has decided he's done with it. Each morning he threw a fit, and we almost had to leave Wednesday. This is standard Crumpet, and we'll just have to keep trying until one day, he wakes up and realizes he likes it. Nothing social is ever easy with him. We will get there though... This week's theme at the school was the colors of the rainbow.

Fortunately, he loves our lessons at home and gets angry on weekends if I have nothing prepared. Here's some of what we did at home:
Our McRuffy unit was about identifying and naming patterns (AB, ABB, etc). I thought this seemed a bit advanced, but it's listed on the kindergarten readiness chart that the preschool teacher gave us. I broke one lesson into 3 parts and taught it very slowly. In the end, Crumpet was annoyed because he had it figured out at the end of the first day, and he didn't want to keep trudging through. Oops.
We also worked with these cool number family sheets. I think I found them at Confessions of a Homeschooler but now I can't find them. Darn it - I'm usually better about keeping track of these things... If you saw them too, will you tell me where? Anyway, Crumpet has been working really hard at counting to high numbers (he's constantly saying "Hey Mom, what comes after 34?etc.), but he still gets stuck a lot, so I thought this would be a great way to visualize the pattern the numbers make. He really likes this chart, and I made the travel one, too.
Science:A few weeks ago, we saw some oil floating on top of the water at the USS Arizona Memorial. We discussed the fact that oil and water don't mix. I finally got around to do ing the liquid fireworks experiment that I saw at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns here. Crumpet LOVED this experiment, and I heard "Again, again!" a million times.
We also did some experiments with dish soap, and I'll write a science post about those.

Geography: We took a virtual trip to England this week. I'll write a separate post about that.
Phonics:I pulled out our Progressive Phonics stories to see if Crumpet is ready for them yet. He did really well working through the first few books, and the concept of putting sounds together to makes words seems to be clicking with him. We also used Starfall one morning and he enjoyed that.
Writing:I tried a roll and color game from here to see if Crumpet would put any more effort into coloring properly when it was presented differently. He did a bit better, but still hated every minute of it.
I discovered dry erase crayons this week. I LOVE these. They don't dry out, and the box came with an eraser mitt that works quite well. :)
Nature/More Science:
Our garden is doing great, and we harvested our first cherry tomatoes this week. Poor Crumpet was excited that we were picking vegetables, but he can't stand tomatoes so he did not partake of the harvest. Other veggies he does like will be ready soon...
That's it for our week. For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Science Sunday - The Magic of Dish Soap

This week, we did a few more experiments from our Usborne Science in the Kitchen book.They all involved dish soap.
First, we put butter on a plate and tried to wash it off with plain water. No luck. Then we mixed in some dish soap and the butter came right off. We talked about the fact that dish soap helps water mix with other substances and makes cleaning things easier. We talked briefly about oily birds, but not much because that kind of thing could freak Crumpet out for years.
Then we made bubble solution out of dish soap and talked about the fact that dish soap is stretchy and can stretch out over the air you blow into the bubble wand.
Lastly, to demonstrate how stretchy dish soap is, we "sprinkled" baby powder over a bowl of water (really, one of us dumped half the bottle in):
And then we added a few drops of dish soap to the bowl. The soap pushes the powder out of the way as it quickly spreads out across the bowl. This would have worked better with less powder.
It was fun to sprinkle more powder on top of the soap film, because it spread out to the edges immediately! Crumpet loved this experiment and used my entire mini bottle of baby powder.
We are loving these experiments because they are all so easy and fun. For more science fun, check out Adventures in Mommydom!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Science Sunday - Evaporation and Rainbow Sugar

This week, we did several experiments demonstrating evaporation. This was the prettiest, and the tastiest!
You will need:
2 spoons of sugar (we used tablespoons)
10 spoons of water
Food coloring
4 Foil dishes or bowls covered in foil

Stir the sugar into the water until it dissolves. Pour 2 spoonfuls of water onto each foil dish. Add a different food color (1 or 2 drops) to each dish. Leave the dish in a warm place.
After 4 days, all of our water had evaporated, and we cracked the sugar crystals off of the foil onto a plate.
And Crumpet promptly ate them!
I found this experiment in a little Usborne science activity book that was distributed at Chick- Fil-A with the kid's meals (I bought it from Homeschool Library Builder last year). This one is called Science in the Kitchen and it has some really easy, fun projects. You'll be seeing more of them soon!
For more science fun, visit Adventures in Mommydom!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Preschool Week of 8/6

This week, Crumpet and I started going to Parent Participation Preschool two days a week. It was a lot of fun, and by the second day, we had the routine figured out. I think this program is going to be a great fit for us. Crumpet and I still spend our days together, and I still do most of the teaching. At the same time, Crumpet is learning about routine and taking direction from someone other than me. Also, he gets to practice socializing in a very controlled setting, which he needs. And I get to meet some really cool moms! This week's theme was the American flag. To go along with that, we are memorizing the pledge at home.

We actually managed to keep up with some homeschool work too.
Math: We created a store in the kitchen this week. First, I put out a variety of foods and asked Crumpet to sort them into groups in whatever way he felt appropriate. I was thinking canned goods, cereals, cold stuff. He was thinking proteins, grains, dairy. Then we put prices on each food, and I had him count out the correct number of coins to pay me. We worked with pennies and nickels. We talked about 5 pennies being equal to 1 nickel, but I don't think he's ready for that concept.
Science: We did a variety of experiments demonstrating evaporation this week. We also did some other fun water experiments. None of the really exciting ones worked, of course, but some things went well. I'll probably write a science post for next week.

Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready:
We talked about various body parts and located them on Crumpet and on a magazine picture of another child. Then he drew a picture of himself, including as many of the parts as he could. The book recommends repeating this every once in a while so you can see the child's progress. I'm looking forward to seeing how things change. Especially because Crumpet chose to draw himself as an alien insect in this picture, with 6 limbs. One of the arms is coming out of his cheek. Hmm.
We also started working on cutting a bit more. Technically, Crumpet can use scissors, but yikes, it's still painful to watch. His fine motor skills aren't great - writing is also very challenging.We're using the trace and collage book from Tired, Need Sleep for some of the cutting practice. We also have a Kumon cutting book.

We had a lot of fun activities out of the house this week.
Nature: We went to the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden on the north shore of Oahu. There is a beautiful hike through the gardens, and at the end is a beautiful waterfall that we swam in. I love the crazy flowers here in Hawaii. Here is a lollipop flower:
This was fun tunnel made of vines:
Arts: The library had its awards ceremony for the summer reading program. They had a great breakfast for us, and then gave away a ridiculous number of great prizes. This year's theme was "Voyage to Book Island" so everything has a picture of a pirate on it. Crumpet was thrilled.
We discovered Tumblebooks this summer, because part of the reading requirement was to choose 2 online books from this website. There is a great write-up of Tumblebooks here. These are animated online books. I didn't think I'd like them, but they are a lot of fun. Crumpet likes to listen to/watch them while I'm making dinner now. I don't know if it's any better than sitting him front of the t.v., but we like it...

After the library celebration, we went to see a children's theatre production of the Princess and the Pea. It was a lot of fun. And then, we went to check out the craft store on base. They have a pick it and paint it ceramics studio, so Crumpet chose a little tank and a dump truck and painted them while we were there. They are in the kiln now, and we'll pick them up in a day or two.

I can't wait to see what all of you did this week. For more preschool fun, check out Homeschool Creations!