Tuesday, May 10, 2011

F is for Fish (Part 1) - 5/10/11

We had a field trip today but managed to get in a little bit of school before and after.  We only had a short time this morning before we left so I put out the Fishing pole and Fish. Luckily I was able to find 2 Fishing poles that still worked! Somehow the rest have disappeared. Then I also put out a couple of Fish puzzles  - one of them also worked with the magnet Fishing poles, and then I had left the Farm set up from yesterday in case they wanted to play with it some more - they did :)

Before we knew it, it was time to head out for our filed trip to the Stagebrush Theater to see Schoolhouse Rock Live. It was kind of a long drive out to Scottsdale and Thomas Road, but everyone traveled pretty well. Scout listened to her Music lecture on the way there and back so that was one thing done.  The show was cute but I think it was a bit over the heads of the little ones - even Jem. You had to be able to hear and understand the lyrics  to "get" the songs. Jem was upset that they didn't do his favorite song - "Ready or Not, Hear I Come."  At the end he raised his hand and said,"I think you forgot one, "Ready or Not Hear I Come." The director got this big smile on her face and said, "You are so smart! We did leave that one out today! The person who usually sings that one couldn't be here today so we left it out, but since you remembered, we'll do a little bit of it after all the questions for you."  He was pretty happy after that. We went to the show to see our friend S who was in the ensemble. She was great as usual. We haven't seen her in awhile so it was fun. Everyone was hungry when we left so we stopped for some fries on the way home.

After lunch and naps the kids were able to do a little more school. Flossie and Freddie did some playdoh letter Fs and some Fishy pre-writing worksheets. Big J listened to 2 history lectures and did her handwriting before getting a migraine! Jem started a new phonics reader, and worked on a word families phonics center with his bike helmet on. When I asked him why he said because it made him look cool. Ummmm - no.

Hello F - F is for Farm - 5/9/11

We started letter F today! Right away Flossie said, "I can make that one!" and proceeded to do just that. Looks like the Raising Rock Stars plan of picking letters that are easiest to write first is working out. Today we did lots of Farm things. We made a big Farm out of wood blocks and then sorted all of our Farm animals identifying each one and talking about what sounds they make and then putting them each in their "pens." For some reason Flossie had a hard time doing this. She didn't seem to know what a lot of the animals were and then didn't get the idea that we were putting all the horses in one pen and then cows in one pen, etc. She does great with sorting other things, so not sure why this was different. I guess because there was more variation in the animals. Who knows? Anyway, she had fun with it which is all that matters.

I had several Farm books out. Flossie and I read The Farm Book and On the Farm and then she looked at all of them for awhile on her own. Freddie didn't want to read today.

Next we had two kind of Farm puzzles - a big floor puzzle and then a smaller wooden puzzle. I again removed several pieces of the wooden puzzle for Flossie and she was excited to be able to put it together that way. For the floor puzzle I sepearated the pieces into sections so that it was easier to do it chunks and Freddie was able to be successful with it that way.

The other two things we had out for free pay were Farm animal stencils and the wooden Fruits and vegetables.  They loved being able to cut up those Fruits!

For table time school we did Fingerprints on the letter F, letter F writing practice with dry-erase markers, and a farm animal matching game from Tot School.  Today for writing practice I had Freddie use a special device on his pen called a Crossover Pencil Grip . He is still really struggling with his pencil grip so when I was at the teacher store I picked one up just to try. He thought it was a little weird but didn't balk too much at using it and it didn't give him any trouble with his writing, so we'll see how it goes.

While the little kids were doing all of this, Scout was listening to her History and Music lectures, working on her Handwriting and Grammar, and doing her Math and Calculadder. Then she did some free-reading. Jem did Math, Handwriting, Calculadder, Handwriting, and Geography. He also started a new Phonics reader and read through the whole thing on the very first try! He was very excited and said, "I think I'm becoming a reader!"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

T is for Turtles (Part 2) - 5/6/11

For free play time today I found a hidden treasure in my closet - a whole container of preschool puzzles!  I knew stashes those things would come in handy one day! The kids were excited to see some new puzzles out today. I also put out the Wedgits which are cool to build with . I wish I had more of them though. I got them at the fair one year. You can make really cool Tall Towers with them!  I also found some pattern cards for pattern block Turtles, and they had fun making those.  Jem also did some drawing.

 Next they did some table work. Freddie worked on finding the letters in the word Turtle. Flossie didn't want to do that one. They both did a 3 page packet of pre-writing tracing pages. They both did their dry-erase worksheet for practicing Letter T. They both did several math worksheets. Freddie did one extra sheet because I thought that one would be too hard for Flossie. It was a challenge for him, but he was able to do it with a little bit of help. He always amazes me, because I often check in with him and say, "do you want to stop and take a break or do you want to do something else?" and he always wants more school to do, even when I know his brain worked really hard on the previous task. Sometimes I have to cut him off because I know he has been working hard and needs a break. 

After that it was lunch and naps. But more importantly it was finally opening night!! Both kids did great and had a lot of fun. I was exhausted!

T is for Turtles (Part 1) - 5/5/11

We started the morning just with some free art time so I could get the turtle observation set up. I planned to bring in the Turtles so the kids could see them up close since they are usually hiding outside. I had just bought some new markers and black paper glitter crayons so Jem, Freddie, and Flossie had fun with those for awhile while I coaxed the Turtles out of their dens (Scout and Bella were still sound asleep!).

Then it was time for some serious scientific Turtle observation!  We talked about all their parts and what they eat, where they live, all their colors. They put up with us poking and prodding them a little bit and also hid in their shells a bit. We rewarded them with some lettuce and bananas.

After awhile it was time to go to lunch with Gramps, Grammy, and Papa,  and then drop Bella off at school to do some studying. While there, we saw some nice round rocks that would be perfect for making rock Turtles so we sent J out to snag some and high-tailed it out of there. When we got home we got busy painting and gluing them and then put them outside to dry.  

I knew we were going to have to head to the theater pretty soon after they woke up, so I tried to squeeze in a little bit more school before they went down for naps. We had a couple of Turtle things to do: some Turtle lacing cards which proved to be more of a challenge than I thought, and some Turtle counting cards which Freddie enjoyed but which Flossie steered clear of. She knew what they were :) After that it was naps and theater and our days was done.

T is for Trees (Part 2) - 5/3/11


                      The spindles actually look like this:                                 BUT, you use what you have.

This week was Tech Week!! That meant dress rehearsals every afternoon/evening from 4:30 to 8:30, SO that cut into our school days a bit. Still, we did manage to get some fun things done. Tuesday morning started out with some Montessori counting using popsicle sticks.
We also did some more pattern work  - this time with the colored farm animal counters and the Farm Animal Pattern Cards.  Then they did one of their favorite activities - sticky dot letters. As usual I used the Do-A Dot Letters from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I realized after a bit that Freddie was taking a really long time with his and when I looked down at what he was doing I saw that he kept looking up at our ABCs chart up on the wall and then back at his paper. Turns out he had finished his sticky dots and was now writing other letters all over his paper. He has been doing this a lot lately - stringing long lines of letters together and then asking what they say. I usually tell him they say "Aunt Wendy is a totally awesome babe," or something like that, and funny enough, he usually just smiles and says "Oh, yeah, dat what it says."

I had a bunch of things to cut out on this day because I was making up some file folder games, so I made up a big treasure hunt game for the preschoolers. I put out a while bunch of things that we had worked with over the past few weeks, and then we had a bit of a test. I asked them to bring me things while I was cutting and they would go find them and put them back in the tub. Like I would say, "Freddie, go find me a number 5.  Flossie go find me a Letter T. Both of you go find me a Triangle. Go find me 2 green things."  This went on for about a half and hour and I got my cutting finished while I also got a good idea what they knew and what they still need more work on. Freddie knows all the letters we have worked on and all his numbers up to 4 but then needs help with recognizing the others. Flossie can recognize letter K, and sometimes B,  L,  T. She knows number 1,2 and sometimes 3, often 4, and sometimes 5. She confuses 3 and 5 often. When I put a list of number on my table numbered in order from 1 to ten, they were able to go up to it and count to the number they were looking for and then find the number, so their counting to ten is good and their ability to look at a number or letter and then find that in a group is good. They both do pretty well with their colors. They don't do great with their shapes. We need more work on that.

After that they worked on an ABC puzzle while Jem worked on the subtraction file folder game I made him and Scout worked on her handwriting which looks really nice in the book! (Just wish it translated to her schoolwork!)  Then we did put our Tree books together. I am bummed that I only got one picture of this process. I was too busy cutting out pics and helping put them together. The kids had fun painting with their hands. Scout had fun helping them do it. It actually wasn't too much of a mess. So win win :)