Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Preschool Week of 3/25

Crumpet asked to do school work this week, so I guess we've found our happy place for learning - for now.
Reading: I know I say this every few weeks, but: Wow, his progress blew me away this week. He's reading quickly and fluently now, stopping to sound out only a few words. Natalie from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns told me that Anna's reading took off after book 13 of Progressive Phonics, and that's what seems to be happening here. I love watching this, and am so glad I got to be the one to teach him!!
Math: We played the card game War, but with an addition twist. I collected all of the cards numbered five or lower from a deck of cards and gave each of us half of them. We each took turns turning over 2 cards at a time and added our numbers together. Whoever had the highest sum kept the cards. He did very well with this.
Science: We finally did the simple machine experiment in Click magazine. Crumpet provided the effort by using his hand to lift the ruler and raise the can. We experimented with moving the marker, can, and Crumpet's hand, to different positions to see whether the job got harder or easier.
We also cut out some whirly bird toys from the magazine. We cut the wings to different lengths and dropped them from a height to see which ones fell faster. Unfortunately, they all dropped at the same speed - maybe we needed to be even higher?
I created a game to keep Crumpet busy this week while I cleaned for my mother's impending visit. I took a deck of cards and hid them all over the house in funny places. Then Crumpet had to go find them. This kept him busy for a while! However, you must know that it is very important to keep track of where you placed the cards. We are still finding them...

Isn't he adorable?
For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Don't Kids Play Anymore?

We are having trouble finding friends for Crumpet. Partially because he finds it difficult to socialize, but partially because he actually plays with toys and pretends things. No one else seems to. We've had many kids come to play, and they immediately ask where the Wii is. When I tell them we don't have one (No Wii? What kind of weirdos are we??), they ask if they can play on the computer. That's a definite no. So they leave... Crumpet has a room full of toys, but after they dump everything on the floor to look at it, they aren't interested. Crumpet's best friend, who lives a few doors down, will play for a few minutes, but then he starts asking to play the Kinect. Crumpet really has very little interest in the Kinect. Yesterday, he had to beg the other boy to actually come play upstairs rather than stare at the blank t.v. until I was ready to start up the Kinect.
Don't get me wrong. Crumpet plays computer games. He watches t.v. Far more than I feel comfortable with sometimes. But he also likes to get outside and do other things. He loves to build with Legos or pretend to be a cat. He's 4. I feel like that is what he should be doing.
I'm hoping that in the fall, we will be able to join a homeschool group and perhaps we will find some other kids who have been raised with less t.v. and more traditional fun?
I guess I should also throw this in: it is mostly the boys who are so addicted to the video games. Many of the girls will try to play other games with Crumpet, but then we run into another problem. Crumpet is addicted to Star Wars and much of his pretend play revolves around that... The girls tend to tune that out! (Sexist? Perhaps, but this is what I'm seeing here...)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 426-450

So it feels like forever since I started this week's list. I'm not terribly consistent. The top of the list I've been scribbling on was of course, this:

426: We did not experience a tsunami!
427: We were remarkably prepared for the evacuation.
428: My husband and I are a phenomenal team in an emergency. Not always at other times, but in emergencies, we rock!
429: Our cats have learned much in 12 years of moves and chaos, and didn't even bat an eyelash when we dragged them 'camping in the car' overnight.
430: Crumpet, too, handled the experience without a blink.

Onto other good things in my life.
431: I finally finished the Maui blog posts. I don't write that many posts usually, so 3 in a week was overwhelming.
432: Having visiting dogs here means I get more exercise.
433: Having visiting dogs means Crumpet gets more exercise.
434: The dog beach. So fun.
435: A stack of new library books.
436: A new job for my brother.
437: A chance to help a very lonely elderly lady who was in dire straits.
438: Being told by the elderly lady that she loves me.
439: Crumpet is learning so much from Meals on Wheels.
440: A new book that is making a huge difference in my relationship with Crumpet.
441: My mom will be here in 2 days!
442: I have a plan for Crumpet's birthday cake.
443: We've decided NOT to have a big party this year for his birthday.
444: Dogs in the bed.
445: Tax refunds.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preschool Week of 3/18

This was a pretty relaxed week as far as school was concerned. I'm hoping they all will be for the rest of the year!
Reading: We finished Book 13 from Progressive Phonics, and we read several early readers from the library. While he still struggles with individual words, Crumpet has discovered that reading books is not so hard after all, and he is starting to zip through them easily. The context and pictures help him pick out words he is unsure of. AND, he finally read a book to Daddy!! His confidence is definitely building, and Daddy was suitably impressed.
Writing: I found this great Pathquest workbook from Mead (the stationery people) at a random store a while ago. (How helpful is that if you are looking for a copy?? Sorry...) It is a workbook that works on a variety of writing skills, but it's written as a series of adventures. You must help a diver in the deep sea, an astronaut, and an explorer in the jungle. Crumpet had no idea this was work and LOVED it. He did the whole book on the first day. I meant for it to last weeks...
Math: We played a few addition games from Mathwire.
Holiday Fun/Review: We worked through much of the St. Patrick's Day unit from the blog Musings of Me here. This was a nice gentle review of many skills, and Crumpet enjoyed it. I'm embarrassed to say that is the only thing we did to celebrate Paddy's Day. I lived in Ireland - I'm supposed to make a big deal of this! I'm trying not to beat myself up about it too much, but I really have to get my act together soon...
Other: We are babysitting 2 big dogs for a couple of weeks and it has been so much fun (and so hairy!!) We took them to the dog beach Wednesday, which was great.
We also went to a new (to us) farmer's market, which we loved. We had a shave ice (snow cone) at Island Snow which is President Obama's favorite place to stop when he's here. We are so cool... It feels like a long time since we got out and just explored here. My mom will be here in less than a week though, so we'll get plenty of chances to play soon! I probably won't be posting during that time, but you never know. Have a great couple of weeks!

For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Maui blog posts

I just added several new blog posts about our trip to Maui on my travel blog. Check it out if you want to see the pictures! Crumpet Moves to Paradise Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

We are safe!

Thank you thank you thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers! The tsunami seems to have passed us and we are grateful. We did evacuate just in case, and we're leaving the car packed in the event of more waves resulting from aftershocks in Japan. We told Crumpet it was an impromptu camping trip in the car and he thought it was a blast.
I am feeling blessed to have so many people around the world thinking of our safety. Again, thank you.

Preschool - Every Time I Open My Mouth, Everything Changes!

Well, ha ha ha. I just wrote about the fact that I've started relying on my boxed curriculum almost completely. We are back from vacation though, and Crumpet is still totally against school books. Soooooooooooo......
I scanned the rest of the books, and I think we are pretty much on track to finish kindergarten by the end of summer, which was my plan (I'll write about the reason we are completing year K so early when I get some information about next year's plan...ooh, the suspense!). We are doing great with reading, and we really just have to work on addition and subtraction for math. Science is fun, so we'll carry on with experiments. So, for now, we'll close the school books. Here's what we did instead:
Phonics/Reading: Crumpet asked to continue the Progressive Phonics reading so we are still doing that each night at bedtime. During our school time, we are reading Early Readers from the library. He is doing very well with the simplest of these.
Math: We will play games involving addition and subtraction, and later in the spring, I'll try to add the symbols. It is the written equation which makes Crumpet panic. He can do the math in his head if he's not thinking too hard about it! He is constantly saying " Mom, how much is x+y?" and if they are single digits, I make him figure it out himself. For bigger numbers, I answer him and it annoys him that I usually have an answer. He's desperate to trick me!
Today, we used the book How Many Mice by Michael Garland to work on math word problems. The mice go out to gather food one day. They gain and lose different quantities of fruits and vegetables during their adventures. We used different colored unifix cubes to represent the foods, and worked on addition and subtraction. This went pretty well.
Science: My mom bought a subscription to Click magazine for Crumpet, and we've just started receiving it. It's a science magazine for young children. This month's topic was simple machines. I thought it might be a bit above Crumpet's head, but he really enjoyed it. Over the next week, we'll do some experiments demonstrating the work of the simple machines. I'll blog about it next week.
Other: We had a great vacation in Maui. I'll write about that on my travel blog soon. Slowly getting caught up... Slowly slowly...
Also this week: Crumpet has been to the dentist for check ups before, but this week, he had his very first xrays and cleaning. He was wonderful. We don't have cable, so when the hygienist turned on the Disney Channel, Crumpet opened his mouth wide and zoned out. I'm not sure he even noticed they were cleaning his teeth!
This series of pictures pretty much shows what life with Crumpet is like. No matter where we are or what we are doing, he is completely involved in his own little pretend world and is busy acting out a play from his imagination... These days, it's either Star Wars or Magic Tree House.

Have a great week! For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 401-425

Many things to be grateful for this week. First and foremost:

401: The amazing opportunity to take a vacation on Maui!
402: No need to cook for a week.
403: My new snorkel mask didn't leak and I got to see amazing underwater critters.
404: Happy hour mai tais.
405: Swimming in our clothes.
406: Waterfalls
407: New adventures.
408: Magic shows.
409: Whales, whales and more whales.
410: We survived the flight home in a tiny 9 seater plane in the pouring rain. I really wasn't sure we would...

Non-vacation blessings:
411: Scrap paper.
412: A dentist who let me in the exam room with Crumpet. Pediatric dentists in Hawaii are completely against this for some reason...
413: No cavities for my little man.
414: Silly sights like roosters being shipped at the post office.
415: Flexibility in schooling.
416:Being there for a friend on a bad day.
417: Fun new recipes.
418: Finding shoes that Crumpet will wear.
419: Living on an island where we CAN'T drive very far when gas prices are so high...
420: The plastic bag ban on Maui - I think it's great and I hope it spreads to our island!
421: A lovely Pay It Forward package in the mail!
422: Baby toes.
423: Crumpet is experimenting with new foods.
424: Being able to help a Meals on Wheels senior in desperate need.
425: Puzzle Buzz magazine - great for meals out and airplane rides!!