Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

After weeks of anticipation it was finally time for Trick or Treating!  Georgie kept talking about going door to door after dark but our first T&T opportunity was actually our town’s Trunk or Treat, where they went from car to car.   There were some very elaborate “Trunks” but Georgie’s favorite was the rocket ship.  Went great with his Buzz Lightyear costume.


Vicki loved her Tinkerbell costume and ran “flying” into the wind.


On Sunday, we drove out to Granny Kaye’s neighborhood and did some more traditional door to door Trick or Treating. 


They had lots of funny playing in the “streamers” from some tp’d trees.


We finished up at Granny Kaye’s house where they got a special treat and pizza!




Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up 10/25-10/29/10

We had a pretty good week this week.  We did lots of Halloween activities (here) and even some science (here). 

Georgie did a lot of writing this week since I was trying to get back on track from letting it go the last few weeks.   We worked on correct formation of letters Dd, Ee and Ff this week.   He still insists on doing all his writing in uppercase letters for his other programs (AAS and ETC) but we're continuing to work on emphasizing lowercase letters.

AAS is continuing to go well.  We finished up Lesson 6 (short a words) and Georgie has mastered Word Cards 1-10. Vicki pointed out that cat rhymes with hat, so she may even learn something from this program.   We did Lesson 7 (short I words) and I think we have a pretty good routine going now.  The first day I show him the Word Cards and have him read them.  The second day I have him spell the Word Cards with tiles and spell some of the additional words using his wipe board or orally.  The third day I have him spell the Word Cards by writing them down and on the fourth day we finish up any of the additional words we didn’t get to.  Although, when I wanted him to just write the words, he insisted on doing them with the tiles as well.
Georgie does tend to go off on tangents when we do AAS.   When we did “big” he observed that he knew other words with ig and spelled “pig” and “dig” on his own.  He also talks to the tiles - “go away ‘h’, it’s ‘t’s turn to come over”  I have decided to relax a little and give Georgie the chance to play his little games with the word tiles.  In between him setting up his games, I asked him to spell or read some words.    His most recent game was to put up a word ending (he did –ish, –et and –un), then he would pull out three other tiles and ask which one goes in front of the word ending.  He says he likes playing these games because he gets to be the one in charge.

We did the short i lessons in ETC.  I’m trying to match these up with our AAS for as long as we can.  Once we finish the short vowels I don’t think we will be able to anymore.

We read a couple of emergent readers from Hubbards Cupboard for the short i word families.  Georgie likes these short little readers.  I like that they put the words we are working on into some context and throws in a few high frequency words as well.   In addition to these readers Georgie is reading any of the books we have that he can.  So far he's done Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Hop on Pop, Great Day for Up, The Nose Book and That's Not My Puppy all by himself.  It is very exciting for him when he can read a whole book.

MEP math is continuing to go well.  Since Georgie did so much writing this week, I did a lot of the writing for him with our math programs.   In MEP we are working on understanding, adding and subtracting 0, 1 and 2.

We continued working on nickels using our money worksheets.  Georgie understood this much better this week.  He was able to give the correct value for various combinations of nickels and pennies without any problem.  I think this was helped a lot by the fact he could already count by 5’s.

This week in Time our worksheets covered digital clocks.  Georgie has been fascinated with our digital clock for a while but it was good for him to learn how the digital clock relates to the clock face.  We are still doing time to the hour but I think we will need to move on soon since he is finding it very easy.

We played a Math game using craft sticks this week.  Each stick had a number on it and was placed in a cup.  Georgie picked two sticks, added them together and looked for the sum on his board.   After a while he became inpatient and drew 3 or 4 sticks at a time.  He added them together by re-grouping them.  When he pulled the numbers 1, 9, 8 and 1 he solved it by saying 9+1 is 10, 8+1 is 9, 9+10 is 19!  I don’t know where he learned this since even his extra games and worksheets don’t go beyond adding two single digit numbers.
We played another game that was just for Vicki this week.  She seems to be having trouble being consistent with counting objects.  Sometimes she does okay, sometimes she jumps all over.  So, I printed out a simple grid and we played a game where we rolled a dice and then stamped the correct number of spaces while counting them out loud.  I made the grid small thinking she would get bored quickly but the 15 spaces I did were not enough.  I think I may print out some more interesting game board type sheets for this – ones that wind around and have a start and finish.
In addition, Vicki did a letter C search page using a bingo dabber.
She glued C pictures to a letter C.  She covered it so well you can no longer see the C.  (The C is from Confessions of a Homeschooler.)
She also put together a caterpillar and we saw a real live caterpillar on our trip to the pumpkin patch.  She put down a loop of glue and for some reason didn’t want to use more so she had to squeeze her caterpillar onto the glue.  I don’t remember where I found the caterpillar but I think it was also from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
I may have to rethink the filing system we set-up.  I love having everything sorted and ready to go but there are too many things where Georgie is moving faster than I expected him too.  I don’t feel the need to do the 30 pages our workbook has on Time to the Hour if he already has it figured out but this is how I have it filed.  If I pull from later weeks, I will have to keep rearranging, something I’ve already had to do for ETC and AAS.  I may have to change and sort by subject – MEP math, Time, Money, AAS, etc.  This way if he moves faster it’s not a problem and if he gets stuck and needs to move slower, we can do that too.

Pumpkin Science

After our trip to the Pumpkin Patch (more on that here) we did some pumpkin science that didn’t go quite as planned. 

First we took two of our pumpkins and numbered them 1 and 2.
Then we discussed which pumpkin we thought was larger and which we thought weighed more.  We were going to predict which one we thought had more seeds but we had so many other messy, fun things to do we never got the chance to rip the guts out of our pumpkins.

We measured the pumpkins circumference by wrapping a string around them and holding it against a ruler.  Pumpkin number 1 was 18” going around vertically and 17” going horizontally.  Pumpkin number 2 was 19” both vertically and horizontally.  At this point we discussed again which one we thought would weigh more.  We all agreed that Pumpkin number 2 should weigh more.
Then we attempted to weigh them.  This is where things didn’t go quite according to plan.  Our plastic balance scale could not handle our pumpkins so we ended up having to use our digital bathroom scale.  Unfortunately it was unable to handle weights as light as our pumpkins.  So, I had each kid stand on the scale alone and then holding a pumpkin.  By subtracting the two numbers, we should have been able to get the weight of the pumpkin.  Notice I said should. 

First we did pumpkin number 1.  We did two measurements.  First Georgie alone (42.4 pounds), then holding the pumpkin (39.8 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 2.6 pounds.  Then Vicki alone (35.8 pounds) and holding the pumpkin (33.4 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 2.4 pounds.  Not too much of a difference.

On to pumpkin number 2.  This time we did three measurements because they weren’t coming out quite so close.  First Vicki alone (34.6 pounds – not the same as before maybe due to wiggling?) then with the pumpkin (35.6 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 1 pound.   Then Georgie alone (41.0 pounds – hmmm) and with the pumpkin (38.4 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 2.6 pounds.  Big difference from 1 pound.  So we gave Vicki another chance.  This time Vicki alone weighed 33.4 pounds (???) and with the pumpkin 37.2 pounds for a pumpkin weight of 3.8 pounds.  Pretty big range of weights for one little pumpkin.  So we discussed what could have made our weights inaccurate.   We decided that not holding still, putting our hands on the nearby table, having extra little hands on the scale and not waiting to see if the number changed could have messed up our readings.
Instead of cutting open the pumpkins to count the seeds, we pulled out our dabber paints and roller paints and decorated them.
For more Halloween Fun, check out this post.

Halloween Fun

We ended up giving up on our scheduled History study this week to concentrate on Halloween.  Partially because we ended up with way more activities than I thought and partially because the kids wouldn’t have it any other way.

We started the week with a trip to the Pumpkin Patch for the perfect pumpkins.  More on that here.
Then we did some easy science using a couple of our pumpkins.  This didn’t go quite as we planned but we were able to learn something about measuring (more information here).
We then did a ton of Halloween Crafts.  

We started with a kit of foam pumpkins and masks.  I bought it on clearance after last Halloween and I have been torturing the kids for the last week by leaving it out where they could see it (so I wouldn't forget I had it, the big disadvantage of buying things a year ahead).  The kids had a great time dressing up their pumpkins.  Georgie made his into a game – which pumpkin is different and why?  (the bottom middle pumpkin has no costume on and is a different type of pumpkin than the others).
We made ghosts with folded paper arms and legs. Georgie saw these in the window of a local elementary school when we went to the Homecoming Football game and was eager to make his own.  I don’t have a picture of these but you can see them in the final picture showing all (or at least most) of our crafts.
We also made spiders with folded paper legs.  We drew eyes with yellow crayon and then painted them with watercolors so the eyes stood out.
Granny Franny had given us packages of foam shapes – ghosts, cats, bats and spiders that we decorated using foam stickers, stampers and glitter glue.  Vicki’s favorite by far was the glitter glue.
IMG_5094 IMG_5096
We made paper plate pumpkins.  I put big dollops of red and yellow paint on their plates and they used paint brushes to swirl it together to make orange.  They then added eyes, nose, mouth and stem.
For our last project, I gave them large sheets of paper, Halloween cookie cutters, a stamp pad and Halloween stampers.   Both kids decided they liked using their hands better.
Our (almost) complete display of Halloween crafts.
We had borrowed a couple of Halloween books from the Library.  The kids loved Halloween Spot-It – an I-Spy book with very busy pictures where you look for specific objects.  At first I thought it was going to be too hard, but they kept wanting to go back to the book and look for more stuff.

We also borrowed The Story of Jack O’Lantern.  This book wasn’t as well received.  It was pretty creepy with talk about death, evil and ghosts (I skimmed through parts of the book instead of reading the whole thing).

For the actual school work we completed this week, check out the Weekly Wrap-Up.

preschool corner

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

At the Pumpkin Patch

We went pumpkin picking at a local farm today.  It was a beautiful, sunny day in the 70’s.  It didn’t take us long to pick out pumpkins (which we will be painting and using for Science in the next few days).
There were lots of photo opportunities…..
IMG_5066 IMG_5068 IMG_5069
a not very difficult hay maze…..
a sandbox filled with corn kernels……
and a very cool wooden train.

preschool corner

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stephy's Halloween Costume and Georgie's Future Career

We were driving Stephanie to school this morning and Georgie (who I thought was still asleep) spoke up from the backseat with a topic that is very close to his heart this week - Halloween costumes. 

Georgie:  know why I don't want to be a vampire for Halloween - the yucky teeth.  A witch is also no good because you have to wear a dumb dress and carry a dumb broom that flies.
Steph:  What are you going to be for Halloween?
Mommy: (speaking up fast in a super-duper excited voice because we already bought the costumes and we are not getting new ones) He's being Buzz Lightyear and Vicki is a Tinkerbell fairy.
Georgie: What are you going to dress up as Mommy?
Mommy:  I'm going to be......a Mommy!  Grown-ups don't need to dress up.
Georgie: What are you going to be Stephie?  You can still be a kid until you're 17 or 18.
Steph:  I don't know buddy.
Georgie:  I know what you can be........a pink monster with green polka dots and a couple brown stripes....three purple horns on the arms just lots of purple legs like an octopus..tentacles...and on the middle horn there is a vanilla frosted cupcake with a cherry on top.
Steph: very cool buddy.  ((@_@))  How are we supposed to do that? (quietly to Mommy)
Georgie: and you have to make sure the eyes are orange and the nose is a little bit light red and the lips are bright blue.
Mommy:  She's going to be a very colorful monster.
Georgie:  I know because I like ALL the colors.  That's why I'm going to be an artist when I grow up.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/19-10/22/10

I’ve been using the term “core subjects” to refer to those activities relating to Math and Language Arts (spelling, phonics, reading, writing).   Which has left me wondering what to call the other subjects we (try) to do each week (Science, History, Art, Music, pretty much anything else except field trips – I know what to call those).  I decided I’m going to try to be consistent and call them electives (even though I don’t really consider them optional but it’s the best I can come up with right now).

We had a pretty good week for our core subjects this week but didn’t get to much with our electives.  (Is anyone keeping track of how often we DON’T get to everything – our core subjects, our electives and fun?  If so, I don’t want to know).

Georgie is still loving AAS but I think he’s getting a little bored with short a words.  We’ve been working on them for a very long time now, not because he wasn’t getting them, just because we spent most of last year just playing around with different things and every program seems to start with short a words.  I think he knows pretty much all the short vowel cvc words but we will continue doing our programs at a slightly faster pace just to make sure.   We finished up Step 5 and did Step 6 this week.   Step 6 was his first lesson with an actual spelling list of (of course) short a words.  He wanted to use the tiles to play a game where we switched around word endings and when I told him he had to wait until we finished our lesson, this was his response…
His first word –tap- with the tiles upside down and a mumbled “I'm not switching it”.   So, we put the tiles away and his first spelling list was done only on paper – what fun!  We start short i words next and hopefully he will find them more interesting.  I redid my great big file system to slightly accelerate our phonics and spelling.  Hopefully it will be enough since I am definitely not doing that again.

Math is going fine.  Sometimes it’s very easy for him, sometimes he has to think about it a little (I love MEP for this).  He was in a mood this week and it was hard once again to keep him following the directions.  MEP had a activity where he was supposed to write down the number of dots on each side of drawn dominos and put the correct sign (< > =) between them.  He didn’t like the dots MEP decided to use and instead did his own.  Wherever they had no dots (0) he decided to draw 3.  He still showed understanding of the concept so……

I’m still working on incorporating more of our games into our day.  This week we did a Domino Parking Lot.    I found this on Confessions of a Homeschooler but the actual worksheet is from   Georgie had a lot of fun doing this and was able to add the two sides together without noticably counting them. 
We also continued working on money this week.  We moved on to nickels.  Georgie did get a little confused with the difference between counting the number of the coins and counting the value of the coins.  

Vicki was very excited to see the money and used pennies to fill in one of her magnet pages.  This one was from Itsy Bitsy Printables.  (These sheets are among their free products).  She really enjoyed doing it this way so I may have to think about adding these to our rotation.  I think she might almost be ready for pompom magnets as well since she didn’t once try to put a penny in her mouth. 
Her other “official” activity of the week was gluing beans to a b.  She had a lot of fun with this.  As you can see from the picture, Vicki LOVES glue.   This sheet was from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
We finished up our week with a VERY busy Saturday.  Georgie had a soccer game in the morning and then it was off to the Homecoming Game to cheer on our home team (and our cheerleader).  
We won, of course.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: 10/11/10-10/15/10

Another week done.   We had a good week for outside activities and playing but a poor week for formal school.   That’s how it goes when we finally get some gorgeous Fall weather after weeks of almost constant rain.

We started the week with a trip apple picking with some friends.  More on that here.

We took a couple of Nature Walks this week down to the mailbox.  The bright colorful leaves against the deep blue sky was beautiful.  The pictures really don’t do it justice.
As always, the kids took a break on their favorite rock.
We did do a few pages of phonics and writing this week.   I’m watching Georgie more closely these days to make sure he forms his letters properly.  I’m also trying to encourage him to write more lowercase letters.  He feels uppercase are easier and prefers to write everything that way.

We started with the RS Abacus and Activity book this week.  So far we have just played around with it showing how to make various quantities on each line.  The hardest part with this was keeping Georgie from going off on tangents (we have a similar problem with the AAS tiles).   Some of the first few lessons will be too easy for him so we’ll probably skip around or keep the lessons quick in the beginning.  I think Vicki might benefit from some of the counting exercises if I can get her to show any interest in them.

We finished up our short Maps unit.  Over the weekend, Georgie worked with Granny Franny on his giant floor puzzle of the United States.  She offered him hints on where to place the pieces – to the North, to the East, etc.   A great fun way for him to practice and show that he really understood the concepts.

Vicki did a lot of painting this week.   I pulled out some paint pens I had forgotten we had.  I like these a lot because unlike other ones I’ve seen, they have an actual brush tip (others have a felt tip, like a marker).  She can use these easily without having to rinse off a brush – something that she tends to not bother with and always results in a uniform brownish color to all her paintings.  They are also somewhat less messy since there are no open containers of paint or water to spill.  She was even pretty good about putting the caps back on them.
Paintastics Paint Brush Pens 5/Classic Colors
Over the next couple of weeks we will be doing periodic Halloween activities interspersed among our regularly scheduled topics (History and Native Americans).