Friday, May 27, 2011

School Like I Planned It - Week of 5/27

There have been a series of posts at the Homeschool Classroom this week about the fact that sometimes, your homeschool just doesn't look like you planned it. You planned to make everything fun - lots of games, field trips, experiments - and instead, it's all textbooks and worksheets... Sometimes, I feel like that. We get bogged down, and there just isn't time or energy for the fun stuff.
This week looked like I wanted homeschooling to look though! We did two full days of school work without Crumpet realizing we'd done school. It was lovely. It can't happen all the time, but it's so good and reaffirming when it does!

Math: We worked on a few projects from Family Math for Young Children. This is a great book for teaching math concepts in a fun, "living math" way. I love mixing these games into our day. This week we worked on estimation, and using logical questions to find a hidden button.
We also worked on subtraction using our McRuffy math text. We used jelly beans for our manipulatives and an insane amount of sugar was consumed. However, Crumpet started out yelling "I can't do subtraction! Don't make me!" and finished a short time later as a total master of subtraction. He's got it!

Science: We continue to do experiments from the Scientific American site. This week, we used a variety of bird "beaks" to sample different shaped foods so we could decide which beak was best adapted to each snack. I'm not sure how much Crumpet was paying attention because he was too busy inhaling snacks... But he enjoyed it! Here he is, drinking like a hummingbird:
We also found iron in our breakfast cereal using a magnet. This was more for me, because I was fascinated by the idea, and I thought he'd be bored. He was appropriately impressed that there was metal in his food though!
Using a magnifying glass to look at the bits of iron we picked up on the magnet:
We also discovered that the magnet picks up silverware!
And while at the beach, we discovered these odd seeds that were starting to sprout. So we brought them home and planted them. We'll see if anything happens!
Writing: I picked up Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye from the library this week. I was sorry to see that much of the book is devoted to actually creating stories and essays, but there are a few fun exercises to develop letter formation. We used one of these games and had a lot of fun. It will be a good way to steer Crumpet towards writing each day, at least. And the rest of the book may be useful in the future.

This week, we also went geocaching, spent time at the pool with friends, played with playdoh and painted. Oh, and, there was no vomiting or screaming about our ears. Phew. A really good week! I hope yours was too!
For more posts about preschool, see Homeschool Creations!

Friday, May 20, 2011

School Week of 5/20 - The Week of Neverending Illness and a Little Science

This was a very rough week. Crumpet Sr. landed in the ER for another bout with diverticulitis. We got him on the road to recovery, and then Crumpet came down with the worst virus he has ever had. He started out vomiting, and now has a probable ear infection. He is miserable. The military medical system does not handle sick people well, so our only option is to go to the ER even though this is not a life threatening situation. We went for anti-nausea meds mid week to get him to stop vomiting and start drinking before he dehydrated. At that point, he had red ears. Now he's crying because they hurt so much. So today will likely be our 3rd trip to the ER in a week. The best part is that there is NO parking at the ER, so you get to walk 1/2 a mile or more with a sobbing child, if you are lucky enough to find parking anywhere at all. I will say that the doctors we have encountered have been phenomenal, but it's very difficult to see one when you are sick. Right now, the little man is getting some much needed rest (I'm not ignoring him to write a blog post, I swear!) so I'll write about the fun science projects we did during his good moments:
A few weeks ago, I bought a few Lab in a Bag science kits at a huge discount:
Crumpet has been asking to make slime every day since then. So we made slime, and it was fun! There is a lot of shaking and mixing:
And then there is slime! Crumpet often won't touch gross stuff, but he loved this goo.
We have also been doing some fun science experiments from the Scientific American website here. They are posting new experiments for 6-12 year olds every weekday in May, and they are a lot of fun. So far, we have made meteors, and a balloon rocket.
Crumpet is really enjoying our week of science, and keeps asking for more projects!
When we are not doing experiments, we are looking for fun apps on my new phone (this is a sick new addiction... very dangerous time consumer!). My aunt was here and showed us that there is a lightsaber app, and now I don't get to use my phone anymore... Here is Crumpet as a very grumpy Darth Vader:
He has 3 actual lightsabers, but right now, this is way more fun. It does have great sound effects...
I hope you are all healthy and well. Hopefully, we will have a better week next week!

For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Grade Curriculum Plan

A while ago, a friend asked me about the curriculum I plan to use this fall. I'm finally getting around to writing the post. We get to purchase curriculum through the charter school in mid-June, so I'm hoping that you will all comment and recommend better choices for me to look into before then, so I can make my final decisions!
(Remember that our charter school, MBTA, is paying for most of the books. I'll comment on ones they don't cover. And of course, that just means that I'll probably spend all of our personal money on even more supplementary fun games and projects than ever...)

The charter school requires study in Language, Math, Social Studies, and Science, but we can add any extra courses that we want to.
First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise.
All About Spelling (I don't think MBTA will pay for this.)
Crumpet's teacher recommended that we also purchase some kind of Phonics program. She showed me Saxon Phonics and Spelling, which looks ok, but it is made up of a lot of worksheets, which Crumpet does not approve of! It may be a good starting point though? Any other ideas? We plan to continue with Progressive Phonics, but there are only a few lessons in their advanced section...

Writing: This is likely to be our toughest subject this year...
I am considering Handwriting Without Tears.
Progressive Phonics has a free handwriting section that I may try, and our McRuffy kindergarten reading curriculum had a pretty basic handwriting portion.
I also discovered that our library system has Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye. I have it on hold and am excited to receive it. Her books work wonders for Crumpet.

Horizons Math: We are going to make the switch to Horizons for math. I have loved McRuffy's program, but it only goes through 3rd grade. I don't want to have to make a huge change in curriculum in 4th grade. Also, MBTA doesn't cover McRuffy...

Social Studies:
This is a required subject for the charter school. I'm not sure what to cover for such a broad subject, so I'll probably go with the book recommended by Crumpet's teacher:
Houghton Mifflin Social Studies: School and Family.
I can't find a decent link for this, but it is a straight up textbook. I'm sure we'll add our own twist to it, but the book actually looks like fun. Anyone have better ideas?

Science: I want to do one more year of general science, where we will get more of an overview of all of the scientific fields. Next year, we will probably concentrate on biology. For this year, I was very excited to find Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2 by Bernard J. Nebel. This curriculum gets amazing reviews . For me, science is one of the most important and exciting subjects, and I really want Crumpet to learn it well. It looks like this book will give us a really strong foundation on which to build our future scientific studies. MBTA will probably not pay for it, but the whole course costs $25, so I think we can manage!

Geography: Amber, at Refined Metals Academy, wrote a good review of Beginning Geography, and this looks like a great starter course in the subject.

History: This is not a required subject for first grade at MBTA, but I think we'll go ahead and begin using the Story of the World series. I plan to use the History Odyssey program from Pandia Press. We'll start with Level 1, The Ancients, and I'll be adding in our own study of Prehistoric times.

There are several fun supplemental resources from Didax that I hope to add in for reading and math. And I would LOVE to work on some Spanish, art, and beginning piano. However, I know my child, and I'm not even sure we'll get through our basic first grade program successfully. I probably won't try the extra subjects... For the same reason, I doubt that we'll be involved in many extracurriculars, which is unfortunate because the charter school would pay for many... We tried karate once again last weekend though, and it just didn't work out... Crumpet needs more time. And we have lots of it. So we'll begin first grade slowly and see where we end up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sea Life Park

Ok, I've just written it for the second time since Blogger ate it last week... If you want to read about Crumpet's birthday trip to Sea Life Park, you can see the post here.

Praciticing Gratitude Gifts 551-575

This was a week of near misses, that ended pretty well!

551: My thyroid disease is officially in remission!
552: I danced with a dolphin!
553: After months of work with one of my meals on wheels recipients, I managed to get her social security and medicare reinstated.
554: We have a real live babysitter. She is the daughter of a friend of ours, and Crumpet loves her.
555: Hubby bought me a fancy dancy new phone for Mother's Day.
556: The phone is still a pay as you go, so it fits into our budget.
557: I have internet access on my new phone. Is this good, or actually bad? Not sure yet...
558: I now own a food processor! A whole new world of recipes has opened up to me.
559: Bounce houses at the mall on rainy days.
560: We found an Italian restaurant we like. I've missed that..
561: Hubby is recovering well after a Friday the 13th trip to the ER for diverticulitis.
562: Crumpet stayed with a neighbor for the first time while we were at the ER, and it went well.
563: We had a lovely, if short, visit with my aunt and uncle.
564: A good friend of mine got the job she wanted.
565: Crumpet's first good fall from a swing resulted in scrapes and bruises, but hopefully, no other problems.
566: Nice dinners out with my husband.
567: Two girls' nights out in one week.
568: We continue to earn money from the housing association by conserving energy.
569: The first zucchini from my garden.
570: The massive sunflowers are about to open.
571: A fun day with Crumpet at the Honolulu Book and Music Festival.
572: Getting to see some of our favorite PBS characters.
573: Crumpet does crafts his own way. This is supposed to be a Clifford hat with ears that hang down...
574: Goofy cats.
575: Millions of pictures to document Crumpet's childhood!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 526-550

Two weeks ago, my friend's mother was told that her tumor was shrinking. The next day, she got an infection in her chemo port. She deteriorated rapidly, and was moved into hospice yesterday. Today, she passed away. This post is dedicated to her.

I am grateful that:

526: She treated me like her daughter from the day she met me.
527: She sent awesome care packages in college.
528: She made the best carrot cake in the world.
529: She gave me the recipe as a wedding present.
530: We spent many hours chatting over cups of tea.
531: She had a great, no-nonsense attitude.
532:I knew her for 20 years.
533: She knew how much I loved her.
534: She provided wonderful care for soldiers through her work for the USO.
535: She always picked me up at the airport and spoiled me rotten.
536: There were always great parties at her house.
537: Her family became my family.
538: She raised the most incredible daughter, who has gotten me through many hard times.
539: Her daughter was there for her til the end.
540: She had an incredible love of family.
541: She got to be the day care provider for my friend's son, who was the light of her life during difficult times.
542: My last care package made her smile.
543: She had great faith in God.
544: She waltzed in the living room with her husband.
545: She cared for her husband at home through a long struggle with Alzheimers.
546: They are together again.
547: I am grateful for hospice care.
548: She is no longer suffering.
549: Her family can have peace now.
550: I am grateful for rain on days that deserve rain.

Last week, there was no post, because we did...nothing... I kind of feel like we are done with kindergarten, so we can take a break. We will gently work on basic skills through the summer, until we are allowed to order our first grade books. They should arrive around mid-July...

This week was more productive.

Phonics: We finished the intermediate portion of Progressive Phonics. For a few weeks, we will read early readers, and then we will move up to the advanced PP books. We got the book You Read to Me, I'll Read to You after seeing it reviewed at Mouse Grows Mouse Learns, and we are enjoying it. The book is set up so parent and child take turns reading parts of a story. There are several of these books, and we are looking forward to getting more of them.

Math: We are working on fun addition games from Family Math for Young Children. We are also doing the occasional lesson from our McRuffy kindergarten math text.
Also, we pretended to go shopping in the pantry, and everything was priced in multiples of 5. That way, Crumpet had to pay me in nickels and practiced counting by fives. Poor Crumpet initiated the shopping game, not realizing I would turn it into a math lesson. Sigh. Life with a homeschooling mother can be a lot of work...

Science: We did quick units on weight and pushing vs. pulling. Now we are done with McRuffy kindergarten science! The store on base had a huge sale on science kits this week, so I bought several, and those should keep us busy during the summer...

Writing: Crumpet had a lot of birthday thank you letters to send out. I used a trick his new teacher taught me, and wrote his name in highlighter on each of them. Then he had to trace his name a LOT of times!

Art: I found these cute bunnies on Deep Space Sparkle. Crumpet said he wasn't interested, so I set up supplies for him, and then made my own bunny. He watched for a while, and then just had to participate. I love the way they came out. (And yes, I realize that I never progressed past first grade art abilities myself...)

Field Trips: We went to the children's museum this week, and we had a really nice time together. I wanted to get there before school gets out and it's packed all the time!

We hope you had a great week! For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.