Thursday, July 27, 2006

This week

Reading/spelling: We've been playing games with our spelling words (pretend to be teacher, go-fish, memory, write a story)

History: We started with creation and moved to adam and eve. Now E is making a timeline page for her 'book of the centuries' on both of those. This year is all on ancient history, and it's jam-packed with lots of hands-on activities. I'll see if I can keep up with all the fun. Z is now drawing a picture of the sneaky snake who convinced eve to eat the apple. cute :-)

Science: A week about weather- We've learned about Cirrus, Stratus and Cumulus clouds, the sun, and why we have seasons. E drew some pages in her science notebook to illustrate it. She's excited to do science experiments on saturday with daddy.

Math: We read some story books about subtraction and addition, did puzzles, and played with her box of tangrams (shapes you have to fit together to make a picture). I still have to get her Math-u-see book.

Home Ec: The kids are doing really well with their new chores, and Z is learning to get dressed all by himself (if he could just figure out how to put his shoes on that would be great!!). They also had a lesson in midwifery care when we went to visit the midwife today and hear the baby's heartbeat.

Speaking of babies, two of my best friends both had babies this month!! Congrats to both of them :-)

As for mom, I've been having lots of fun playing with my new homeschool planning/record keeping program called Homeschool Tracker Plus. I love it!! It's fun to make schedules and report cards and run reports. It's very easy to use and I am happy I have my whole year planned out before the baby comes. yay!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

First Week of School

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New School Year

Monday was the first day of grade one (and preschool), and things are going great!! The kids are so excited to start school again. I went out to walmart and bought them each a brand new backpack. Z also got a big box of crayons, and E got a binder to keep all of her school work in.

We started on monday morning with mass at 8am and then came home to a snack around the kitchen table while we read our religion book. Then we did spelling (which after a month off I was surprised by how much E retained), math, and science (learning about the weather).

The kids also have new chores for the year because they are so big: Z puts away the cutlery from the dishwasher, and E puts all the cups, plates and bowls up on the counter (she can't reach the cupboards yet).

We also took some time to sit on the floor and do some new puzzles that we bought. Both Z and E are good at putting them together, and it's a fun activity for me to help out with too.

Today, Z is cutting paper (his favorite activity) and E is drawing a picture of a princess to go along with the saint story we just read (St. Alice, who happened to be a princess).

E has begged to do science every day because she is so interested in learning about the world around her... I love her curiosity and hunger for knowledge. Yesterday in science we learned about why we have seasons (because the earth is tilted slightly), and she grasped the concept almost faster than I did :-) I think we'll have lots of fun this year.

This is what we finally decided on for our curriculum:

Math: math-u-see Alpha
Spelling/reading/writing: Spell to Write and Read (using cursive writing)
Religion: Faith and Life 1 (mondays), Saint Stories and other short catholic stories (tues), Treasure of My Catholic Faith 1 (Weds), Catholic Mosaic (thurs and friday).
Science: Noeo Biology 1 (daddy is doing all the science experiments on saturdays)
History: Connecting with History volume 1 (beginners level)
Art: Artistic Pursuits vol 1

Friday, July 14, 2006

What a week!!

Well We had a ery busy week here, looking after a very sweet little boy. Z loved having a friend to play with and we did lots of different activities !! With my budding first grader, we have been doing older activities this year, so it's been fun to have another preschooler in the house. We did all sort of fun games.

1) H is so proud of her new ability to climb onto chairs.... and she also tried her hand at climbing OUT of her crib. That little monkey sure keeps me busy.

2) We played outside almost every day with bubbles, the water table, the big toddler car. The kids also found a lady bug, some sunflower seeds, a rock, some dandelions, and many flies and birds.

3) We colored thomas the tank engine pictures, glued circles onto paper to make teddies, and drew pictures.

4) We ate home made macaroni and cheese, eggs on toast, cookies, crackers, grapes, kiwi, oranges, apples, bananas, chicken nuggets and drank lots of milk, juice and water.

5) We had a fun field trip to the midwives office, where we saw some horses and cows in the field, helped take mommy's blood pressure, and then went out for a special treat of mcDonald's for lunch.

6) We read lots of stories, and had wonderfully quiet naps each afternoon for an hour and a half. It's quite a schedulling masterpeice to get all four kids to nap at the same time :-)

7) We played silly games, like run away from the big frog (Z), play in a 'tent' in the living room made of sheets, Bob the Builder and the princesses going to the ball, good guys and bad guys in the toy castles, thomas and percy (the trains) crashing into everything imanginable, 'phoning' grandma, hiding from the scary toe-biting baby on the loose, and building big towers and roads with blocks.

8) Finally, today we made lots of messes when I dumped a bunch of flour into 3 cookie sheets for them to 'draw' in with their fingers. This was especially fun... and then they got to take turns using the vaccuum cleaner to clean it all up. After that, we made blue playdough which they played with for over and hour and a half!!

I'm truly amazed at the creativity and imagination of children when they aren't stuck in front of a tv all day!! They just have so much fun, and I find myself smiling and laughing all day at their anticts. It's such a privaledge to be able to spend so much time with these young people. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 10, 2006

Some good resources

I've been busy planning what we'll do for grade one, and here are some good resources that I have found:

Noeo Science: We have bio 1, and I just finished looking through it last night. It seems to be a very good curriculum for early elementary. Daddy is going to do science saturdays with the kids and do all the experiments with them. I'll do the readings and narrations on the weekdays. The topics range from the human body to birds and butterflies, to microbes and bacteria. I like the fact that they stress using narrations with the children, and keeping a science notebook with drawings, experiement notes and charts, and narrations. It will be a fun addition to grade one.

Classical copywork: This is a free workbook for doing copywork with elementary kids (aimed at grades 2-5 but could work with 1-6 i'm sure. It's exerpts from classic children's books that the child would copy each day. The first 2 days from the workbook, and the 3rd day they write it from dictation, trying to get the correct spelling and punctuation etc... and there's room to illustrate it. Each week's selection is only one sentence long.

Living books: Living books are books that teach about something not in a dry textbooky style. They are written by author who are passionate about what they are writing about. They are often stories or biographies etc... This is a webpage with links to living books in various subjects. They make great supplements to a science or history curriculum that you are already following.. just get them out of the library.

summer time!

We've been so busy around here the last few weeks!!

Kindergarten is officially over... E did a great job of finishing up everything and is very excited about starting grade one. She wanted to start yesterday, but the teacher needs a holiday, so we're going to start back up after Vacation Bible School.,.. probably on the last week of July. I want to make sure I start early so we can take off 2 months when the new baby arrives.

We spent 3 days camping over the long weekend at a Catholic Family conference with some of our friends and had so much fun. The kids loved camping: marshmallows, tent trailer, fun food, playing with friends, running around outside all day etc... Mommy loved it more than being in a tent, but less than being at home where everything is child proofed and the little H can run wild without much supervision. phew! i'm tired after chasing her around all weekend.

Speaking of H, she's learned how to climb up on to the chairs at the kitchen table, climb into the dishwasher if it's open, climb up and down the stairs at ease, climb out the front door anytime it's open, and I'm hoping she hasn't learned how to climb out of her crib. She's a baby with a mission to conquer the world!!

This past week we vacationed at home. Daddy had the whole week off and we just cleaned, played outside, visited relatives, took naps, and savoured sleeping in. The kids were still on camping schedules (which means getting to bed at 10:30pm or so... and sleeping in at least until 7 or 730).

We also visited a good friend who just had a baby (congrats to Karin!!), and went to the science centre (waaaay too crowded).

This week we are babysitting one of our neighbors little boys (almost 3 yrs), and having lots of fun with him. So far today the kids have played trains, blocks, castle with bad guys and princesses, made a tent, had lunch, coloured and cut up paper, and did some puzzles. My, do they ever have a lot of energy at this age. It's a regular preschool around here this week :-)

Hope everyone is doing well in your little part of the world too!