Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 4: Letter D for Dino-mite!

"Why do you blog?"
"Blessing in disguise" That's what I would call this whole blogging process. It's hard work to carry my huge camera around all day remembering to capture moments and certain shots that look informative, then to find time to sit and write about it, while trying to make it sound exciting! Haha. Really I just try to spell correctly and that's about it. Sorry, that's just the truth! I'm not a writer, I'm not really a "Blogger" I just want to share ideas and capture memories. Which is the blessing! I looked at all the photos again as I load them into this blog and I remember those moments, those moments that could easily be forgotten because they were only 15-20 minutes of a day. Because if we think about it, alot of our days are remembered as the big events that took place, or in our case, the big meltdown or argument that took place. Of course, we don't want to remember everyday that way and don't mean to, but as a mom who is with her littles from morning, till night, life can become a blur really fast. I don't want to rush past these moments and blogging has really made it possible for me to look back in detail and see the work that I tend to forget I'm doing. God's work. He has blessed me with these amazing kiddos and trusted that I would tell them all about him and make things fun along the way. I blog so I don't forget that. 

D is for Dinosaurs
 She loves this activity each week! So grateful for these print outs from Over the Big Moon, I just add the animal of the week stickers and she's a happy girl!
 Contact paper, blue tape and construction paper shapes! This was a short activity but they enjoyed finding out what toys would stick and what was too heavy! That lasted longer than the original activity!
 She loves her writing practice and has started to write letter shapes EVERYWHERE...tables, notebooks, walls, books. These print outs are apart of the "Letter of the Week" Curriculum.
 Nuts and Bolts match! This was a super cheap and fun activity, she sat patiently putting each one on till the bolt was to the top! A good fine motor skill!
 GeoBoard, so far she just makes lines. But soon I will make her some picture cards to make different shapes. I'm just letting her get used to using it. She tends to get frustrated if something looks intimidating to start off with and will just not try. She'll say "That's too hard, I'm still little" which I find hilarious because she really only uses that excuse when she doesn't want to do help clean up toys! Haha
 Alphabet Match: Alphabet Magnets and an Alphabet Poster (Dollar Tree). Super easy and affordable activity. You can extend the activity by making the animal sounds or actions as you match each one!
 Shape Twister: Blue Tape, Picture Cubes, Shape Print Outs. I realize I probably should have made the shapes on the floor closer to each other because my youngest couldn't reach across as far as my oldest. I made pictures for the cubes. You can DOWNLOAD HERE, you can laminate if you feel they need it, but my kids are pretty good about not smashing the cubes so the regular paper will last awhile before getting wrinkled. Photo Cubes can be found through the link! I love these because we use them on so many different activities!
 Dino Bones! White crayon and watercolors, I love how this turned out! I drew the dinosaur and she didn't know! So when I told her to paint and it started coming through, she was so excited!
 Beans on the Line: This ended right after this picture. She was not into this activity at all. I'm going to try it again next week and make a fun shape or more simple shape and we'll see how it goes.
 Leaf Collecting: This activity came after a long morning of sibling fighting and arguing, but they literally could not stop talking about this fun little trip around the neighborhood looking for as many different colored leaves as possible. This made me realize we should definitely start doing some scavenger hunts outside!
 Leaf Rubbing: Always a fun and free activity! They loved it. I plan to do this again and have Cody identify the leaves from the different trees. Hopefully we get to it next week.
I was surprised at how fun this made counting. We did our skip counting on it and Cody went through his times tables on it. A great new way to do review.
These were not a huge hit the first few times we pulled them out, but as she's getting the hang of it, she's beginning to really enjoy these!

I'm starting to realize that I have a ton of pictures of Eisley and her activities, but not Cody. I really have to get pictures of the awesome stuff he's been doing and making, especially at Co-op. Other times I don't really take pictures of him doing book work because well....that's boring haha. 

Now I will leave you with this!
Ryan, You know me so well!! Hahah

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Week 3: Letter C is for Colds and Cornfields.

Hello October!
Wow, it really feels like September flew right by! Does anyone else feel like that? Could be the busyness that comes with September with school starting and soccer in full swing! Speaking of soccer, this week in soccer news:
Cody's soccer photo from this year!
I'm so proud of how hard he's been working in his soccer. He's so driven and motivated to do his best and give his all. I am so grateful for the many talents God has given him! Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot of doors open up for him in his future if he keeps working at it! His Rec. Team is currently 0 for 4, but he hasn't let that bum him out. He's staying positive and hoping the season turns around

This week in Homeschooling: We had a small cold work it's way through the family. Not fun, but hard to keep germs at bay when you have a toddler! But I think now is a great time as ever to do a sugar cut! We need our immune system in tip top shape if this little girl is going to continue licking everything and everyone! :p
So we worked around the colds and still managed to stayed on track for the most part. Dad jumped in and filled in when I was out for the day!
 Handwriting is serious business!
 Gross Motor Skill activity! Blue tape on the floors! I had them walk along them, jump with one foot down them, kick a ball along the line and push the ball with their nose along the line! They enjoyed it and it proved to not be the easiest thing ever with my oldest. He always thinks the activities I pick for his sister will be super easy!

Candy Corn Craft, say that 3 times fast! This was an easy one, just tear orange, yellow and white paper and draw a candy corn shape with a white crayon on a black paper, have them glue the colored paper on and TA-DA!! Candy Corn! 
 Shape match activity can be found HERE!
 We were learning about caterpillars this week and our "Letter of the Week" Curriculum had this fun caterpillar size match activity
 FAO Schwarz Big World Map
The kids love this map so much and we try to incorporate it into as much activities as we can. We have our LEAP FROG Globe Game
Globe out and had them put the animals in the right continent they are from, by looking for them on the globe! The game also has cards with the animals and you could use those as well!
 We love pattern blocks and are always looking for awesome pictures to use with them and these we found HERE are perfect! They have so many different animals to choose from!!
 Cody was learning about Eyes in science this week so we did a pupil response picture! They also loved shining flashlights in each others eyes...although I wouldn't recommend unless they were not those high powered LED light ones, they're were just soft light flashlights!
Sensory Bin has stayed the same because caterpillars turn into butterflies! ;) And because I was lazy! haha Next week will be a challenge because we will be using kinetic sand....kill me now! haha Just kidding...well...a little :)
We read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" made egg carton caterpillars and used THESE to retell the story! I was really surprised with Eisley's ability to remember the details of the story and what she liked the best. I also loved how Cody had to correct the book in saying "It's a chrysalis not a cocoon because he's a butterfly, not a moth!" Hahah Thanks to our butterfly week, last week!

 We talked about about fall and the seasons. We did a fall tree craft. Just a brown paper tree, glued on white paper then I had them dot with Q-tips in red, orange and yellow!

Eisley did her Lowercase and Uppercase find with food stickers, we tried to pick foods the caterpillar ate in the story!
I've been asked a few times about what we use for Cody as far as curriculum goes. We use "Christian Liberty Academy". We decided since he's a bookworm and loves book work that a heavy work book load wouldn't phase him and we were right. He's done amazing and eats it all up. We of course break it up through the day and through the week so really he doesn't do a lot of sitting and writing but, I would say about 1 1/2 - 2 hours thought out the day is about average. For me, something about working out of a book is so peaceful and tactile! And I think Cody is a lot like me in that aspect and would prefer to write in a book than type on a computer! We'll have to observe Eisley a little more on her learning style to see if she will follow her brother into the academy. 

Favorite Memory of the Week: The pumpkin patch! Eisley has been especially excited for the pumpkin patch since the beginning of summer! She's been asking over and over about going and wearing rain boots! We planned our trip for the first weekend in October and God gave us such favor today with parting the clouds and letting the sun shine all day after a day full of rain! We had a blast!
This was a good week, filled with God's grace and favor! See you next week!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week 2: B is for Back to square one!

I should know better by now! 
I had a super awesome week last week. Our schedule went as planned...but of course this would not last. It happens every year. I set these extravagant goals for organizing our day and they work for a moment then get completely tossed aside once something unexpected happens...this week being, we had family in town. Totally didn't plan for it. I knew ahead of time....but didn't plan.

So we didn't get to alot of our "Fun" activities and I went into, "Get the important things done" mode. Which I hate because it's not as fun. School is work sometimes, but this year that was one of my biggest goals, to make more time for fun. Sounds easy right...unless you're a structured fun kinda person like me! I love fun stuff, I just want to be prepared for it...I mean, I can't make macaroni necklaces and not have macaroni, right! Of course I can throw an alternative together, but ultimately that's how my brain works...."BE PREPARED!!" (I sang that like Scar from Lion King...and now you are too! You're welcome hah) This meme I saw on my facebook feed this week was exactly how I was feeling and I realize I'm not alone! It happens... 
But this year, we're going to try and stick to it a little longer. I know that these new things will form good habits later in life and with the mind set of 21 days forms a habit...I'll give it a solid 21 days before throwing it out! 

So with that, here are some of those things I have added for this year.
Cody has a morning binder with Calendar fill in pages, math, weather and science practice. This gives him something to do while Eisley and I sing through our morning circle time songs of ABC's, Days of the Week and so on. He sings too...just gets antsy and bored because he "Knows it already"! 

Another thing we added for Cody this year are his work boxes. He had them the last few years, but we never found a system that worked because he wasn't fully independent in his book work yet. This year, he loves this! He doesn't have to ask me what to do next, he doesn't have to wait for me to get his work books and he doesn't have to ask me what section, unit, or page he needs to work til (I make a post it note with that info and put it on his work book in the drawer) It's amazing for both of us! Especially since my 3 yr old needs a little more supervision with activities at this time. You can find the drawers HERE:Seville Classics 10-Drawer Organizer Cart, Multi Color

Another fun thing we added was our Morning Routine Schedules! At first I thought, would this be something they want?? A list of things to do in the morning? Turns out, YES!! My son loves that he doesn't have to be told. I love that I don't have to hear "Why?", "I don't want to", etc. It really saves us the hassles in the morning and gives them responsibility! Eisley knows what the pictures mean and chooses to ignore the ones she doesn't feel like doing. I'm not surprised, but she is my ridiculously independent child and loves being able to have the option to do it on her own! So yay! Win, win!
We also have our "Verse of the Week" board in our hallway near their bedrooms, so we see it when we wake up and before we go to bed. Helping them meditate on the word! The verses are from Sarah's Sweeties and they are a series of Godly Character Trait Verses, we downloaded all 26, laminated them and go over them in our circle time! This was last weeks verse about RESPECT and it was definitely helpful for us to have this on repeat!

 I didn't get pictures of all the activities for this week because I left my camera at my parents when we were visiting and also we pretty much had half days for Wendnesday-Friday. 
The fun "Clip the Shape" activity can be found HERE!

Playdough is another one of those things that makes me cringe! Even though we have hardwood floors, it is still a pain to clean up...or so I thought. Turns out, this version of homemade playdough was so easy to sweep up and didn't get stuck on anything! (Minus clothes, if it gets smashed in really hard) But I loved it. Playdough anxiety GONE! You can find the recipe I used HERE! I also used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, so that maybe helping with the non sticking!

 Sensory Bin...we meet again! (You can find the butterflies, blue glass rocks, and butterfly gems at the Dollar Tree!) Eisley loved the butterflies so much she would take them and fly them around the house! I also tried the "Lay a sheet down" method under the sensory bin, which worked for a moment...then the sheet got crumbled and beans escaped and shot everywhere because it was on the hardwood my next attempt is to tape down the sheet corners and we'll see how it goes!

Butterfly Books from the library for our reading basket and our Life-cycle Mat (Life Cycles Mats (Teacher's Friend) Inspired them to draw their own butterflies and life-cycles!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear was another book we read, I had more activities planned with the use of the book, but they were so fascinated with butterflies this week that we put those aside and found more butterfly activities! We also watch the life-cycle of a Monarch Butterfly on Youtube! I wish I would have got a picture of their faces! They were in such awe of the process! These Brown Bear activities can be found HERE!

Cutting practice,  Lowercase and Uppercase Letter Match were some of our other activities.
This is Spike, he is 1 of the 5 cockatiels we own. They have all become Cody's birds. These birds were mine before I was even married. Angel (16 yrs old) and Spike (15 yrs old) are our oldest and then comes Chulo (maybe 7, he was a rescue) then Talan and Milo who will be 10 yrs old on Christmas Eve! It brings me such joy to see Cody love them and spend time with them the way I used to when I was young. After the kids were born we still played with them but no where near as much as I did before the kids. So it's so nice to know that they get that kind of attention again especially now in this stage of their life when they love to just relax and be taken care of. Cody has such a patient, loving heart. They are a perfect fit! 

My favorite thing from the week! Piano Lessons! Cody has been having lessons with his dad about twice and even 3 times a week when they can fit it in. He loves playing the piano so much that he is so motivated to learn! I don't know how to read music and Cody is already teaching me! I am amazed at his drive to learn things. He gets that from his dad and I'm so proud of him. Listening to him play has been such a joy! I hope he continues and keeps filling our home with this beautiful music!! Curious about what books were in our reading basket this week? Here they are!