Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Costumes

Georgie has been thinking about what he wants to be for Halloween.  His thought process so far went something like this (picture him with eyes focused upward and one hand on his chin - the classic thinking pose):

"Hmmm, I think....a vampire!  No, no, no, I don't like yucky teeth.
How about..... a stink monster!  No, that will just chase people away.
How about a ghost!  Yeah, a ghost. That's not too scary, not too icky.  I'll be a ghost."

Vicki decided she would be "a ghost of a princess."

I'm going to wait a few more weeks before working on gathering costumes.  Speaking from experience, they could change their mind 10 times by Halloween.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: 9/20-9/24/2010

We had a pretty short week this week.   I knew this week was going to be a little crazy with Steph here and the running around that goes along with that, and the little guys had their annual physicals on Thursday, but it ended up being worse than I anticipated.  I made their appointments for first thing in the morning (10:00 am) so that we would be in and out early and could get home to do some work.   The day started out according to plan - we were done at the doctor by 11:00 (both kids are very healthy, BTW).  That's where things went downhill starting with a flat tire and ending with me finally returning home with a repaired and remounted tire at 4:30pm.   Yes, that is 6 1/2 hours spent in the car because of a flat tire, NOT counting the 2 1/2 hours spent driving Steph back and forth to dance that night.  BLEAH!!!

Anyway, on to what we did actually manage to accomplish.

For Reading/Phonics:  We are continuing with Explode the Code and it's going well.  Georgie seems to find it pretty easy right now but I don't give him too many pages at a time because of the amount of writing.  He doesn't seem to mind it being easy and we only have a few more pages before we leave short A words for short I words.  I pulled out a couple of games I had made a while ago from Kelly's Kindergarten.   I had UNO using Nickelodeon characters and short A words.  As I was discovering with the ETC, this was too easy for Georgie although good for his confidence.  We also played Space Mission which had simple CVC words and some sight words.  This was a little more challenging for Georgie but he still enjoyed it.  What I like about Kelly's games is that they are in Word files so the words can be changed as he progresses (as long as I want to spend the time printing, cutting and laminating).   I also made a dice game that I first saw the idea for on Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I didn't make mine as pretty since I didn't want to fuss with painting.  Georgie really enjoyed playing this game and was pretty good at determining if something was a word or not.
For Spelling:  We continued with AAS.  We are moving much faster through this than I thought we would.  This week we introduced the letter tiles which Georgie absolutely loved.  He jumped right in spelling words and was a little resistant to alphabetizing them but did eventually.  It didn't seem like he was reciting the alphabet at all in order to put them in order.  I think this is going to be a good program for him.
We went through the sound cards next.  He had no problem naming the letter when any of the sounds were given.  We did this first by having him point at the correct letter tiles.  He decided it would be more comfortable to do this lying on the top edge of the couch and pointing down at the letters. I tried to tell him that it would be easier if they were alphabetized, but he didn't care.  Since he had previously showed that alphabetizing was very simple for him, I didn't push it on this occasion.

For Writing:  We did another worksheet on Bb that we didn't get to last week and did a sheet for 3 and 4.  It wasn't much but he also did writing for AAS (writing down the letters for the Sound Cards), our dice word game and ETC, so I didn't worry about it too much.

For Math:  We did MEP Lesson 16 which introduces the number 0 and it's placement on a number line.  This was very easy for George since we've had number lines up for about a year.  We also played a few math games using our large foam dice.

For Reading/Phonics:  In order to keep her from helping George with his AAS letter tiles, I let Vicki play on Starfall while Georgie did his spelling.  She just recently has been able to work the mouse with any degree of control. She's been watching Georgie while he played on the computer for a while now and she can now turn on the computer, launch the internet and find Starfall, PBSKids and NickJr. on the favorites list.  This worked one day but the next day I ended up giving her the extra set of letter tiles (and keeping my fingers crossed that she wouldn't lose any) on our wall mounted dry erase board.
Vicki also did an "a is for alligator" magnet pages from Making Learning Fun.  I don't ever give her small magnets so she usually does these using dabber paints.  This time she used circles punched from various scrapbooking papers and glued them in place.  Since she LOVES glue, this kept her busy for a little while.
She also did a bottlecap game I had sitting around where she matched lowercase letters to uppercase letters.  She only had trouble with one or two letters.

Both of the kids spent some time playing with our various lacing activities.  I had large colored pasta noodles, cut pieces of straw and foam shapes with holes punched in them to lace onto pipe cleaners or shoe laces.  I no longer give them beads unless I can watch them VERY closely since I had to fish one out of Georgie's nose.

We finished up our Day/Night study by learning about the phases of the moon.  Vicki has always loved the moon and looks at it often through our living room skylight.  When we did our demonstration with the globe and lantern (here) we also discussed/showed how the earth blocks part of the sun light so the moon only partially "shines".  We painted different shapes for the phases of the moon using sponges to add texture.
Once they dried (which in Vicki's case took 2 days), we cut them out and mounted them to show the changes.

Thursday was the first day of Autumn so we took a walk and looked for signs of the coming season.  We actually had temperatures in the 80's again this week so it certainly didn't feel like Fall (except first thing in the morning or after dark - lows in the 50's).  We found that many of the trees in our area were starting to change colors. 

There have been acorns everywhere for a few weeks now.  If you sit outside quietly, all you hear is the sound of acorns falling in the underbrush.  Vicki loves acorns and kept collecting as many as she could carry then throwing them.  I'm going to have to look up some crafts for her to do with them.   Acorns are so small that most of the crafts I see would be too difficult for a 3 year old.

I don't know about it as a sign of Autumn but we saw a lot of really pretty Queen Anne's Lace.

Well, considering we didn't do much, this ended up being a really long post.

Visit Preschool Corner and 5K too at Homeschool Creations to see what others are doing.
preschool corner

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We were talking with Georgie last night about his soccer games.  He decided to tell us about his last soccer game.

"The girl on the orange team (the other team) had really nice hair.  I tried to kick the ball to her and I almost did but those boys on my team got in the way.  I really wanted to give her the ball."  (@_@)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: 9/13/2010-9/17/2010

preschool corner

This was our first full week of the year and we were able to get quite a bit accomplished despite one extremely rough day (I may do a post about it but I'm not sure I want to think about it again).


For Reading:  We are continuing with Explode the Code.  Georgie is finding this very easy right now but since he doesn't mind we are going to just keep going in order.  I don't want to skip ahead and then find he wasn't ready.  He was able to read a couple of emergent readers all by himself and was very excited.

For Spelling: I forgot to mention it last week but we began All About Spelling.  So far we have worked on Units 1 and 2.  Georgie already knew all the phonograms for letters with a single sound, the short sound for all the vowels and the long sound for some of them.  He isn't at all familiar with the 3rd and 4th sounds for the vowels and Y so we will continue reviewing those as we go along.

Georgie did a great job with using the tokens to segment words in Unit 2.  He had no problem with any of the 2 or 3 sound words.

Our next unit we will be introducing the letter tiles.  I'm sure he will love using them but I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to keep Vicki from "helping".

For Writing:   Georgie did writing sheets for Bb and numbers 1 and 2.  We are also working on correct posture while writing.

For Math:  We did Lessons 13 and 14 from MEP which are still on greater than/less than/equals to.  Once a week we are going to take a break from MEP to learn about time or money.  This week we learned about pennies and surprisingly, all the pennies disappeared after our lesson.  I may have to rethink using real money when we start on bills. 


For Reading:  We did a project on F is for feathers that we didn't get to last week.  Vicki still was uninterested in the Get Ready for the Code activities so I decided to put those away for now and just do fun projects starting at the beginning of the alphabet.  For the letter A we did a letter search page, a dabber page and made an apple out of a lowercase a.

For Math:  We moved on to the number 2 and did a sticker activity page and some dabber pages.  Then Vicki played with our Unifix blocks and balance scale.

Both kids started a homeschool gymnastics class this week.  I was worried that Georgie may be the only boy in the class but instead it turned out Vicki was the only girl!  Quite a surprise but I think it will be a good experience for both of them.

Georgie had his second soccer game.  He did much better at paying attention and going after the ball this time.  At least for the first half of the game.  He ended up losing interest and running off to play before the game was over.

Science:  For Science this week we studied how the Earth's rotation causes Day and Night.  For more details, check out this post.

Day/Night/Earth’s Rotation

This week’s science lesson was on how the Earth’s rotation causes Day and Night.   We used BFSU Lesson D2 and discussed how the sun was in different parts of the sky during different parts of the day.  We went outside a few times during the course of the day to look at where the sun was.   We also noticed how the sun shining through the living room skylight made a patch of light that moved throughout the day.   I was going to do an experiment where we traced our shadow during different times of the day (from Evan Moor Science Experiments for Young Learners) but we had a lot of cloudy days this week and I realized that most of my yard is pretty shady especially since we still have a canopy set up over our deck.
We did set up an experiment using our globe, camping lantern and a darkened room.  I put a post-it note person on the globe and we were able to turn the globe and show how our person moved from the darkness into the light. 
We did a coloring page from the Evan Moor Giant Science Resource Book, a Sun craft and an Earth craft to finish up our lesson.
For the Sun, we glued tissue paper to a paper plate cut to resemble a sun.  Georgie made his smiling.
For the Earth I wanted to do shrinky dinks but couldn’t find the package I had bought. (I did find it right AFTER we finished the lesson).  So, going with the same general idea, I taped clear acetate over a picture of the Earth and had the kids color over the green and blue parts to make a model we could hang in the window.  This didn’t work as well as I thought it would.  Neither kid wanted to stick with it long enough to really make a clear drawing.  It did give us a chance for a brief discussion of the continents and oceans.
Books we read:
Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and Night (Science Works)
Next week we will be finishing up this Unit by discussing the Phases of the Moon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up 9/6/2010 - 9/10/2010

We had a short week thanks to the Labor Day holiday and the clean-up from last weekends camping trip in Mystic.  The Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport were pretty educational field trips so maybe we can call it a long week.  ;-)

For Reading:  Georgie picked up where we left off in Explode the Code.  He knows most of the cvc words so this is  review but I want to do it in order to make sure there are no gaps and also because it's good writing practice.  We also read a variety of Emergent Readers and Leveled Readers.

For Writing:  Georgie is doing handwriting sheets from Donna Young and Learning Page.   Georgie does very well writing upper case letters but I want him to work more on proper formation and lower case letters.  We're just going to take the alphabet in order for now and do 2-3 pages a week with additional practice using lined wipe-off boards or the chalkboard.

For Math: We are continuing MEP Year 1 and are on Lesson 13.  We started by playing Greater Than/Less Than/Equal To War since I was afraid Georgie might have forgotten a lot of it.  He remembered but when doing his worksheets I had to convince him the "mouth" is always open toward the larger number.  He kept deciding the alligator wasn't really that hungry so wanted to "eat" the lower number.

Once we finished our MEP lesson he wanted to do more so I gave him some addition worksheets to do for fun. 

For Reading:  I got Get Ready for the Code for Vicki to do while Georgie did his ETC.  She did okay with it but wasn't really that interested.  I had her do some bingo dabber pages from Making Learning Fun with the letter F (which is the first letter in GRFTC).  Georgie wanted to do them also so he ended up doing one of the ones I printed for Vicki.  I'll have to remember to print out pages for him to do for fun.  She sat in as Georgie and I read the Emergent and Leveled Readers.

She put face stickers on a letter F outline.

For Math:  We did some counting of Unifix blocks and she put one sticker on each number 1 on a worksheet. She really wanted to do Georgie's MEP lesson with him but it is way too advanced for her.  I was thinking of starting MEP Reception with her but decided not to.  I may have to rethink that if she keeps wanting more.

We do Science and History together.  We will be doing just one or the other each week and, in general, alternating between them.  This week we did the Gravity lesson from Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding.  We discussed why things fall down and read I Fall Down by Vicki Cobb and Why Don't Things Fall Up. We also watched the Magic School Bus episode The Magic School Bus Gains Weight.

I didn't like the oil and water experiment in BFSU so instead I did an experiment that I found in both The Usborne Book of Science Experiments and online at called The Clown That Won't Lie Down.  I modified it slightly and made two different clowns using a paper craft printout from  One had playdoh weighing down the bottom and the other didn't.   We discussed why the weighted clown always stood back up and why the unweighted clown kept falling over.  I'm glad I set this up ahead of time because I found that the stand-up clown didn't work unless the play-doh filled up the ping-pong ball completely and was completely level.
George drew a notebook page for our experiment and colored in a cover for our Science notebook.

Not too bad for our first week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mystic Seaport

While we were in Mystic, we had to go see the Mystic Seaport Museum.   It was a beautiful day – sunny, breezy, not too hot.

Our first stop was the ongoing restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world.  We climbed up to the deck where the kids were able to explore the whole ship.

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The bunks where the crew slept:


The hold which included posters describing the process of collecting and storing whale oil.


We visited the General Store and played with some of the old toys.  We explained to the kids that there was no plastic back then and all the toys were made of wood, metal or cloth.

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Daddy had to visit the Druggist since that where he would have worked (he’s a pharmaceutical chemist).

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The kids were able to make fish prints at one of the Art Spots.  Georgie wanted to make his yellow with red spots but they could use only one color.  We told him he could add spots when we got home (which we actually still haven’t gotten around to).

Georgie chose to do a yellow flounder, while Vicki made a black starfish.


First they covered the entire fish with paint…..


then took a piece of paper and pressed it firmly over the fish.


Our completed prints.


Later, when we went to the Print Shop, we were able to relate this to the method used to print signs and newspapers.

We were able to climb aboard and explore the Joseph Conrad a tall ship from 1882.

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We saw how ships were built….


and explore the wreck of the Schooner Australia  that was used as a blockade runner during the Civil War.

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The kids had a great time playing in the Children’s Museum. 

Georgie worked on making a special meal…..

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while Vicki went fishing off the bow of a tug boat…

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where Georgie eventually joined her.

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When we were finally able to drag them out of the museum, we went to the Map Spot.  I could have easily stayed here all day especially since we will be working on maps and Geography very soon.

There was a giant wall map with large magnets to mark where you were from…..


a floor map of the United States….


and a foam puzzle map mounted to the wall.  The problem with foam puzzles is it is too easy to squeeze the pieces into the wrong places.  This puzzle was definitely a challenge for Georgie.


They had stations with ink pads and stamps that the kids could use to make their own maps.


At the Discovery Zone, the kids were able to play with more old-fashioned toys…..


Vicki learned about signaling with flags but I think she thought she was cheering (like big sis Steph).

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There were stations for learning about knots, levers and pulleys, and different types of woods that were used to make the parts of a ship.

It was a very fun and educational day for all of us.