Friday, November 20, 2015

Week 10: J is for Jirafa

This week was really unplanned. I dropped the ball. It was my dad's birthday so we spent 1 day with him celebrating and Dad (Buddy) was also home for 3 out of the 5 days so that also threw us off. All in all, we had a good week and some things were learned! haha. 

J is for Japan, Jelly Beans, Jam and Joseph
One thing the kids would say was the highlight of this week was watching videos about a little girl's life in Japan! 

First off she's adorable!! Second off these are totally amazing to watch, I had no idea things were so different in Japan. It was so fascinating and entertaining to watch. Cody's favorite video was watching her talk about the candy they have in Japan and that she gets to read about one of his favorite shows for homework!
On our video list we also had "How Jelly Beans are made" and we learned about bio-luminescence in the form of glowing jellyfish. 
We also had a good amount of library books about Japan and their traditions and customs.
For Bible we talked and read about Joseph.
 This was huge for Eisley! She was attempting to read!! All thanks to Dad who has a different style of teaching and totally thought to try this with her!! I didn't think she was ready and haven't even tried (my bad) but, I just didn't want to push her based on when Cody started reading. Now when I say read, I really mean memorizing the book and pointing at the words. This is a stepping stone and I love that she was even interested!
 Jelly Bean Puzzle
 Finding letter J! Again, I totally gave up on making her find the letters and just let her go to town with the paint dot thing, but daddy some how made it happen! I wish he was here with us everyday!! Gosh that would be a dream!
 Making jet planes
 Matching jelly bean shapes
 Some kind of a "shape shifting ninja star" is what Cody described
 Dad had to jump in because although it was on the list of easy things for was not easy!
 You can find this list HERE. The one thing the kids did love was the bunny that could also be pikachu! It was super fun to make and really simple!
Rhyming words bingo! This was pretty funny to do with Eisley, she was really confused as to why the word we had to look for was different than the word/picture on the card. But near the end she started to understand, still didn't like it, but understood. 

Having dad home doing school with us was such a fun gift. He was even able to come to co-op with us and help in each of the kids classes! The kids were so excited to share this with him! I can't wait for him to have a full week home in December! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week 9: I is for I need a vacation!

I just realized the other night that my husband and I haven't had a date night since Sept. 12th!! What is wrong with us!! We do this all the time, we push back date nights because other things come up or we don't want to inconvenience our babysitter, but then weeks go by...then months. At this time we find ourselves completely exhausted and in need of a break and in desperate need of re-connection! 
Isn't that the truth!!
 I feel like life becomes such a blur and we get caught up in our routine that we completely forget about ourselves (Speaking for my husband and I). Well forgetting isn't the only problem, we also tend to make excuses about what to do on these "Date Nights". We usually just go out to eat, But we've been doing really well on cutting back since we are trying to eat healthier. Also the last 2 we had, we went to concerts! This was huge for us because this is what we spent our entire dating life doing. Every weekend! Although those are amazingly fun, they're pricey too and we've become homebodies over the years. So what's left??!! Movies...don't even get me started!! My husband LOVES movies...I like the popcorn and nachos. Honestly I'd rather sit on my couch and watch a movie instead of the theater, but that's not why I throw that idea out completely! The seats at the newer theaters we go to have recliners! Oh fun, so comfortable, so much like home right! Right!! And what does my husband do at home during movies....he FALLS ASLEEP! Who wants to pay $14-$20 bucks to watch a movie alone, next to someone who is snoring!! haha! But I digress... We don't have too many other options. Until I came across THIS on pinterest! 50 Fun Date Night Ideas for at home!! What!! This is like a bucket list of date ideas!! This is amazing!! And I plan to use this starting this Friday or Saturday!! I may share this on the blog, we'll see how successful it becomes! haha. The reason I love it, is because it's being intentional about the time we're spending together. Which is exactly what a date night should be!! Also this requires No babysitter, No reservation, No getting fancy (Unless you do the one date night where you get fancy) and Not alot of money!! PERFECT!

I is for Ice Cream, Igloos, Iguanas and Insects!
One really fun thing I started doing this week is making a youtube playlist for each week. We try not to do tv through our school day, but during lunch or while I make dinner the kids really want to watch or listen to something. They usually ask for Pandora, especially the kids christmas music station. I enjoy it, but I start to get tired of the constant music on...usually around the 3rd time of hearing jingle bells! So I made this weeks youtube playlist with videos like, "How to make Ice Cream" (I found a tour of the Ben and Jerry's Factory!), "What is an insect?" and "How to build and igloo". Along with some random clips from Sesame Street talking about the letter I and other various letter I songs! The kids LOVED the tour video and the igloo video. It's awesome to be able to "visit" places virtually when we can't physically go on a field trip there! If you want links to the video just comment or message me. 
These were fun, but doing the whole alphabet at once was a bit overwhelming for her. I seperated the pictures and letters, placed the letters in a pile. She would pick a letter and I told her what the letter was and the sound. If she didn't guess the picture, I would say "S is for snake!" She got about 75% of the way through the cards before she said, "I'm tired of doing this!"
 They are adorable when they like eachother long enough to agree on something to play together! We've been taking alot of brain breaks after math...division is hard and sometimes even mom needs a break from it!
 Ice Cream Shape Cones! She loved this activity. She loves gluing and glitter so this was a perfect activity! Until she tipped both cups of sequins all over the floor. 
 Name recognition! I wrote her name on a huge piece of paper and had her trace it with the Cuisenaire Rods (Learning Resources Cuisenaire Rods)
 Colors in Spanish! Eisley did a great job matching and saying the colors. We are still working on rolling our R's. This printable can be found HERE.
 Practicing writing her numbers!
 Pouring "Nectar". We talked alot about insects this week. Bees were not Eisley's favorite but she loved pouring the nectar!
 Cutting practice with paint samples! Seriously, you can do so many different things with paint samples!! Go get some!!
We have been trying to include music class into our weeks since Cody does Piano with dad. Eisley made these drums and was into them for all of 10 seconds. But we've been listening to songs and using our rhythm sticks to clap along and they've really enjoyed that! You can find some nice ones here: (Natural Wood Claves)
We bought ours at Ted Brown Music and it was a little cheaper. If you want links to the videos we used just message or comment section is lonely!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 8: H is for House

Last week was Hectic! Not so much because major things happened, but in regular daily life. For some reason (getting over colds, teething, growth spurts?? Who knows) both kids were a little out of sorts and it was a struggle to do all of our regular activities. 
Eisley has been struggling to find her groove with our homeschool schedule and last week she flat out refused school all together. I was able to convince her a few times to do her work boxes (which were pictured last week) But other than that, she was just not feeling it. 
Although this can be frustrating, because I took the time to create and plan all this out and now it's gone to waste. I tend to look at the bigger picture (what's the problem?)...I didn't change the work, just the boxes they were in and that was super exciting for her...but it's almost like she was disappointed with what she was finding inside. So I looked through my plans and decided, how can I make this more simple, more colorful, more fun! 
Well it didn't take very long to realize, perhaps taking a more Montessori approach might be more her style and sure enough, we're already off to a much smoother start with school this week. The activities are a lot more simple and open ended and most are self guided and self correcting. She and Cody are so different and finding her learning style is still a learning process in and of itself. I just have to stay flexible and do what works and toss what doesn't. Now although I do use Montessori "inspired" activities, we don't use this method through all of her school schedule. We pick and choose from different methods and use what works. I've found that to be most successful for us.

Now like I said, Eisley wasn't the only one having a tough time, Cody was having some struggles as well! Apparently in this struggle between my son and I, I had it all wrong! What I thought was disobedience from lack of structure or just being bored, was actually coming from feelings of not being able to lead. He is very strong willed and likes things done a certain way (He might get that from me), loves to problem solve and is great at encouraging so it makes sense that he has a great structure for leadership. Problem being...there can't be 2 leaders. Not at the same time at least. So I have changed a few things in our routine and have been letting him lead our morning circle time! He loves it. I plan to give him more opportunities to lead and make decisions, I just have to figure out how...(ideas welcome!) Having an 8 year old boy is all new to me and sometimes I feel crazy, thinking to myself, "Is he really saying/doing/acting like this? Sometimes I love God's sense of humor, other times I think "Did I really have to learn that lesson this way...there wasn't an easier way?!" But that's life. God is still good!
H is for Horse, Heart, Helado, and Halloween!

Morning Workouts! Cody loves leading us in some simple workouts to start our day. They've also enjoyed when I use the blue tape on the floor for different physical challenges. We used the lines to see how tall everyone was, how far they could reach and how far they could jump! (P.S. don't mind cody's layering, he thinks it's hilarious to put on more clothes then he needs.)

Color matching bears! Bear Counters
Building a house with blocks!
Sorting 1s, 5s, 10s, and 20s!
Letter H, sticker find! I realize she has completely given up on the whole finding the letter. She just puts the stickers anywhere she pleases. haha. 
Taking a brain break and trying some 1 player Blokus!
Pattern Block H!
Ribbon Weaving!
Sorting Hot and Cold. This activity was very successful, although she can't read the words, she would guess from the picture and big bro would help her by reading the word. She did a great job!
Helado! (Ice Cream) We're trying to incorporate as much spanish into our days as possible. Some days I speak in spanish for most the day and love that they still understand alot of it. Especially Eisley. But I know that around 3 and 4 was when Cody started to lose that. So we're trying to make this a regular thing so they can keep it up!
Sand Writing! Eisley's new favorite activity! I made the orange sand with salt and orange food coloring. (It's a little rough on the fingers, so I don't plan on using that anymore). The pink sand I bought at Michael's! I found it (Not on sale) for $2.50 for 1.5 lbs! It comes in every color and is so fine, it's really soft on the skin! So I'm stocking up! Use a 40% off coupon and it's seriously such a good deal!
Just a little glance at our morning circle time area. We sing songs about the days of the week, months of the year, the pledge of allegiance. We talk about the weather, the seasons and go over our bible verse of the week. 
Shape matching activity!
Heart Craft, glue and tissue paper!
Glass beads and alphabet dot sheets!
Our leapfrog fridge letters came back out after a year of not having batteries! Eisley loves it, and loves that she can hear the alphabet whenever she wants. As annoying as this thing is, it has really helped her with letter recognition!
Shape matching! I found these button shapes at Joann's but, the bag only contained these 6 shapes, if you want bigger and more variety, you can find a better option HERE. But these were $2.50 after a 40% coupon so, I bought them. The shapes can be found with the Letter of the Week Curriculum we use, HERE!
Color bounce! This activity was really simple. A ping pong ball and 4 boxes with a piece of colored foam sheet in them. I had her put the boxes where ever she wanted and had her try to throw the ball into the color I called out! She lost interest after all 4 colors were used and Cody took over, he started standing on chairs and figuring out what he could bounce the ball off of to land in the boxes. Turns out it was super fun for the 8 yr old!! haha
Paper clips and Magnet Strips! These were fun! I had everything for these already so that was awesome! Jumbo popsickle sticks, Adhesive magnet strips and paper clips. So I cut the magnet strips in half lengthwise but, the adhesive on the back of the magnets didn't stick at all. I ended up using the hot glue gun to make them stick. The hot glue was perfect, those magnets are stuck down and not going anywhere. 
Melissa and Doug Lacing Cards!
Talking about our organs with this My Body Puzzle (Boy 5-Layer Wooden Puzzle)
Hoping to get a girl one soon!
Lock and Key activity! I thought this might be too hard for her, but she totally got it and loved it! These locks can be found at the Dollar Tree!
She is getting so good at this nut and bolts activity, I'm trying to think of a few different ways to make it a little more of a challenge.
Alphabet Puzzle!
Playing with our Locktagons (Locktagons Building Set)
I forgot to post our Halloween pictures from this year! I had grand plans for our family costume and was really excited about making them(we were going to be We Bare Bears), but as usual time got away from me and I didn't make them. So we used these costumes that we bought last year the day after Halloween!! You can't beat $2 a piece!! But I'm really glad I let the costume making slide this year because the weather was horrible and we decided to stay inside and didn't end up trick or treating after all. We may have also stumbled upon a fun new family tradition! We felt bad about not getting to go to any activities (because most were outdoors) so we made little treat bags for the kids with small toys and crafts and a candy or two. Then we had a movie night. I can't tell you how much the kids said "This is way better than trick or treating!" I was so surprised! Honestly it's not a huge lifestyle change I was trying to make, (but less candy would be amazing, thank you!) our kids usually get paid for the candy then we toss it. So I didn't even think this would be a fun option for them! Turns out, they asked to do this again next year!! WHAT!! Of course! Yes!! Love when things like this happen!