Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My little cursive writer

This morning we finished most of our school work before 10am, so the kids are having fun playing with playdough again. It's amazing how long a few cups of flour and salt can amuse 2 children :-)

You can see Zs new haircut below, btw... we had to shave it pretty short, but he just looks more like his dad now, so he's happy.For school this morning, we did chores first (make beds, clean rooms, get dressed), and then after breakfast E practiced her cursive writing and learning the phonograms from our new book Spell to Write and Read. I am loving this program and we haven't even started the spelling lists yet LOL.

She really enjoys learning cursive (and she's not even 6 yet!!)... so I wanted to teach it to her while she was still motivated to learn it. What's different about this approach (SWR) is that she is learning all of the sounds that a phonogram (letter) can make at the same time. So, instead of just learning short 'a' first (like cat), she is learning that 'a' can say 'a' (cat), 'A' (Kate), or 'ah' (wasp). I was worried this might be hard for her, or confusing, but she is just soaking it up... even faster than I am (she corrects me often as to what sounds some of the vowels can make!!)

These are the sounds and letters we learned today:

After our writing/reading lesson, (the theory of this book is that by learning how to spell and write, then you learn to read as a side-effect... it's been proven to be a very good program, and it's such a nice change for us, because the other stuff was painful to work through) we did some more math pages where she is learning how to write and read tally marks. She says this is her second favorite thing to do in math. (her first is being a math detective.. which is really a fancy way to say algebra LOL).

After they finish playdough, we're going to plant some potatoes and some flower seeds (our science for the day)

We are on the way to finishing up K pretty soon. I just want to get through her math book basically, and then we'll take a month off. I'd like to start grade one early this year (maybe halfway through July, or the begining of August so that i can take off November and December when the new baby comes. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 29, 2006

Zach's bad hair day

Yesterday, mommy and daddy were busy all day organizing a class they were teaching this weekend, and so the kids were banished to the basement to play quietly away from us.... This is what happens when you leave 2 kids under 6 alone for the whole day without TVs and movies to keep the sedated LOL...

They played 'haircut'. Luckily Z is a boy, so we can just cut his hair really short. She did one big snip off the back too. sigh...
Now the kids are happily occupied playing with a playdough barber-shop kit where they get to cut the playdough hair instead. Of course this is significantly messier than cutting real people's hair, but the effects are shorter lived. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

math games

I recently showed my face back at the library after a self-imposed sabbatical (too many overdue fines... just my way of supporting them LOL)

Anyways, I found a delightful little book filled with fun math games using cards and dice for grades preK-3. It’s called Shuffling into Math, and we’ve had lots of fun playing games this week.

This afternoon we played a fun game where you roll a dice and then get to pick that number of raisins from the pile. After 3 turns each, we get to count our piles and eat them up!! Z won by a landslide, which is surprising, because I had to keep stopping him from eating his before we were done.

Later, we had fun making shapes out of the raisins. I told the kids to try and make a circle. Z decided that was too hard and announced he was going to make a finger. Go figure!

Now the kids are busy playing some games without me while I try to make dinner before daddy comes home. They started playing a simplified version of war (remember that game? Whoever has the highest card wins the pile)… but Z got really sad and started to cry when E won one round and took his ‘heart’. He had real tears and everything...

So now they are playing another game, guaranteed to have a tie (hee hee!!)… I shuffled the deck and put it in the middle of the table. They took turns turning over a card from the pile, and if it was a club or a heart, it went in Zach’s pile, and if it was a diamond or a spade it went in E’s pile. They were THRILLED when the found out at the end they both tied. Kids are so easy to entertain. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Busy busy

What a busy long weekend!!

On Saturday the kids spent the whole day with sean's parents, and we had some much needed alone time together. We drove all over the city looking at tent trailers, and ended up buying one!! We are so excited to go camping and make some great memories as a family.
We also went for a nice dinner, and later took in a movie (RV) before we picked up the kids.

Monday morning was spent at Heritage Park with my parents, and we all had a wonderful time. It's always a treat to go there... no concrete or ashphalt, lots of green grass and trees, good food, and many things to learn. The kids especially enjoyed going on the train, and the ferris wheel. We bought a season's pass so we could enjoy the park for the whole summer.

This morning, we've been busy cleaning, eating breakfast and doing schoolwork. In math E learned to count by fives, and we practiced counting nickles and pennies. In reading, we are starting our new program SWR (Spell to Write and Read) and reviewed some of the sounds. In art she drew a picture of herself smiling, while looking in the mirror. (cute, of course)...

Oh, and Z is starting to do some school work too... today he practiced cutting in his Kumon book... he had to cut along a line to the star, and then stop... and then cut along another line an then stop. This created a sheep pen with a little folding, and he's spent the rest of the morning playing with it. Amazingly enough, he has managed to turn the whole thing into a train LOL.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Good morning!

This morning we got up early, had a nice breakfast and started on our school work for the day with lots of smiles and joy. Something about the spring time seems to put everyone in a wonderful mood.

First we read a bible story, then we read a beautiful story out of Catholic Tales for Girls and Boys. The kids love doing 'religion' because it usually means we get to read stories. We got out of the habit of doing readalouds for awhile there at the start of my pregnancy (too tired!!) but now that I'm feeling better we've been doing it again. I'm excited about next year, because I just pre-ordered a copy of Catholic Mosaic - Living the Liturgical Year with Literature,An illustrated book study forCatholic children. This will provide lots of great material for us.

After religion, we pulled out our math books and finished up the chapter on pre-algebra. E has fun being the math detective to find out the missing number. She is getting really fast at doing her math facts too... I think we'll keep up with math over the summer on a lighter basis so she doesn't forget everything that she learned this year. Today she did things like ?+2=8, and 100+100, and counting by 2s and 10s.

While E was busy doing math, Z climbed up beside her and I pulled out his 'school' books: the Kumon cutting book and coloring book. He was so proud of his little efforts. They are geared right at his level so he can feel like he's really accomplishing something. The coloring page he did today was sweet.. he had to draw ketchup on a plate of spaghetti. (he also decided to add strawberries, blueberries and lettuce).
Now she is busy in the kitchen peeling carrots for me for dinner and after that I'll shoo them outside with a snack to enjoy the nice spring weather.

 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mother's day cards

I got such beautiful presents for mother's day this year. Sean woke up early and went downstairs with the kids to make mommy breakfast and color some cards for me.

When they came upstairs, they were so excited to wish mommy a happy mother's day. I love their little smiles first thing in the morning. Sean had made a DVD with pictures and videos of me and the kids set to music for me (had me in tears), and the kids both waved their cards in my face.

E gave me her card first: a beautifully decorated card with ribbons and colors, and a drawing of me and sean in a heart, and then on the other page me dressed up in a tutu dancing. It was pure girl.

Then it was the little boy's turn. Z's card is blue with a bunch of scribbles on it.

"What's that picture of sweetie?"

"ummm.. It's a ghost"

"A ghost??... ohhh... it's ... nice" (trying not to laugh, and wondering why a ghost was on my mother's day card). "What's this picture of Z?"

"oh, that's a man with his head broke off"

(mommy and daddy collapse into uncontrollable laughter and the difference between little girls and boys.... )


Well, I seem to have been lapsing in my blogging as of late. I guess that's what pregnancy, 3 kids, a bad cold, a bunch of birthdays, and trying to figure out our curriculum for next year will do for you.

What have we been up to the last while or so?

E enjoyed taking a dance class with her little friends at a birthday party, and can again be seen twirling through the house with beautiful poise and form. She really is quite artsy LOL.

The kids finished up their swimming lessons, and are both so much more brave in the water. We'll have to go again soon, before they forget that they aren't afraid of water :-)

We are slowly working our way to the end of her math book. In the last few weeks we have learned to count all the way to 100 (she likes to practice this on unsuspecting strangers and friends who don't have the heart to tell her they really don't feel like listening to her slowly count that high). She has also been practicing her math facts 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, 5+5, and anything plus one. After that, she tackled learning 10+ 10, 10+20, etc... and 20+20, 30+30, 40+40, 50+50... and last week we finished up learning how to add 100+100, 200+200 etc...

Finally, just yesterday we started a lesson on beginner algebra (in kindergarten??)... she is learning to play 'detective' because someone stole part of a math problem:

?+3 = 6

She uses her math blocks to figure it out... and she's getting quite quick at it.
Before we're done this year, we have to tackle beginning subtraction, and telling time on an analog clock.

We've finished with phonics for the year, because I bought a new program for phonics/spelling that takes a completly different approach. It's called Spell to Write and Read (or SWR). I was hoping I could teach myself some spelling while I was at it. Both dh and I are products of the whole-language experiment and rely soley on spell-checker to look at least a little credible.

Next year we are planning to work hard to get reading, writing and math down cold, and spend some more time reading good books on science, the saints, history etc...