Wednesday, May 18, 2011

F Review - 5/18/11

This morning I put out the Handwriting Without Tears materials and just let them build and write whatever letters they wanted to. Freddie was doing great going through each letter and telling me all the words he could think of that started with that letter. He spent more time on each letter but he stopped once he got to the ones we haven't done yet. Flossie went through each letter more quickly, but she explored more of the letters and experimented with writing some of the letters we haven't learned yet. She was excited to find the first letter of her name in the pile and a few others that she knows like A and X.

On the table I put out some Playdoh and the letter and number cookie cutters. I have to say it was a bit of a mess today. Playdoh seems to dry out so quickly! And when it does it gets crumbly all over the place.  I think I will have to go back to making homemade. Don't have a great pot for doing that though :(   Anyway, they had fun. Note to self: buy vacuum cleaner bags asap!

Next we had out the Pattern Block cards.  The boys played with them for awhile on their own. Jem knows how to use them and follow the directions on the cards. Freddie watched him for awhile but I'm not sure if he used them correctly or not. I was doing something else while he was playing with them. But during a quiet moment I sat for awhile and showed Flossie how they are actually meant to be used. She did really well with them. Freddie actually came up and said, "You're good at this Flossie!"

For table work we did a few different letter F worksheets. I had no sticky dots left so I just had them color that one in with markers. Freddie scolded Flossie about using different colors within one letter. He said she was supposed to use only one color per letter. She gave him a disgusted look, no comment, and went on doing what she was doing.  :)   Two others were practice writing letter F. And one was finding large and small F's on the page. They always seem to like doing these, and do well with them.

I had some materials that I had printed out awhile ago that I needed to wrap up so we did that today. We made a Farm lapbook that was from Tot School which she actually calls a Totpack. It is meant to be prepared mostly by the parent and used by the child over and over as a fun learning material. We put it together today and they played with each of the components as we did it. Freddie colored a cover page for it. I talked to them about how they could take it home and keep it there and whenever they were bored or wanted to do it they could take it out and play with it. I put pics of it on the Lapbook page here.

Jem worked on his handwriting and some math while we did our table work. Scout listened to her history lecture, did handwriting, and grammar,  and tried to do some math. I had a hard time getting the older kids to get school done today. I have to get a better schedule/routine going. It's hard juggling all of their needs at once. I'm spending a lot more time on preschool than on the older kids. I have to find more balance.

Monday, May 16, 2011

F is for Frogs - 5/16/11

We started the day with a few different centers:  Cuisinaire Rods,  puzzles, Frogs and Logs, Fruit counters color sorting, Name Writing, and a few Frog books. During this time, Jem wrote a little comic and Freddie wrote a lot of letters. Again he asked me what they said, and I told him, "It says, I am a really smart boy who wants to write a lot of names today!"  He smiled at that :)

After that we read 3 books:  Frog and Toad Together, Frog: A Tadpole Tale, and Froggy Learns to Swim. Jem tried reading one of the books to Flossie afterwards and did pretty well. He got stuck on a few words, but he's definitely progressing in his reading.

After that I put on a new video I bought at the teacher store. Since both kids are still struggling with number recognition I thought it might  be worth it it to try. It's called Meet the Numbers.  All it does is clearly show the numbers over and over  and say their names clearly and then has a little cute animation after each one. I started watching it when I was doing the laminating the other day and I thought they might like it, and they do! They both sit and watch it all the way through. We've done it twice now. During it, Jem and Freddie both got up and started trying to make the number shapes with their bodies. Afterward, Freddie went to the Cuisinaire Rods and said, "Look Aunt Wendy! I made a 5!"  Loving that video so far :)

For table work they did a couple of F is for Frog writing exercises and then worked on a cutting/science/number order activity learning about the lifecycle of the frog. Right away Freddie started telling me he couldn't do the cutting and I told him of course he could. "How do you do it though?" he asked, and I told him just to put his scissors right on the line he wanted to cut. Flossie was just going to town. He was watching what she was doing too and finally started making some progress. I praised him and he said, "Now I know how to cut!"  I said, you told me you couldn't cut, but now you can." "That's because I needed you to tell me how to do it. But why does Flossie know how to do it and she didn't ask you to tell her how?" I had to save his pride and said, "Well, that's probably because I showed her how to do it last time we did cutting." "Oh," he said.  After the cutting I had them put their numbers on their papers in order from 1 to 6. Flossie will still act like she doesn't know what numbers are what, but when I push her and say, "No, you know which one is number 1."  she will pick the right one for numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. After that she needs help. It is easier to say she doesn't know and have me tell her, and so she defaults to that, but I'm trying not to let her get away with that. Freddie did fine with it. Then I talked them through the stages of the frogs lifecycle and we put those in order and glued them down. After it was all done I had Freddie go back and tell me what we had done. Once again at first he said he didn't know, but when pushed, he did give me some answers and told me what the pictures were and how the frog grew.

After that I put Flossie on her own job which was to make our F is for . . . poster all by herself. I gave her the print-outs and some scissors and a glue stick and a big piece of butcher paper and asked her if she could handle doing it all by herself and she said, "Yep!" so I headed over to the table with Freddie to do some big kid math!  I have been thinking for awhile that he is ready to try some more challenging math work, and because we were doing Frogs today, I had an Evan-Moor Take it to Your Seat Math Center called Hopping Away that is about basic subtraction. I sat and did it with him. I made a number strip so he could see the numbers he would need to write out on the worksheet. It has little frog counters that start out on one lily pad and then hop to another lily pad as you take them away. Then you write out your problem on the worksheet as you go. He had no problem at all with the math. The challenging part for him was the writing of the numbers, but he did well with it. I may try to find some number stamps or stickers (actually I think I have some) that he can use next time. He did great for his first time and was really proud of himself. Meanwhile Flossie did a great job working by herself on the poster and was really proud to accomplish that job all on her own.

After all of that everyone was ready for lunch and naps. Once the little kids were asleep, the big kids started their school. They both did Calculadder. Jem did his state copywork, his geography, and his handwriting. Scout did her Daily Grams. Jem worked on his new phonics reader and his math. Scout listened to her History and Music lectures.

After naps we were off to rehearsals at the theater and another day was done. Where does the time go??

F is for Fish - 5/13/11

Free play activities today were puzzles and a Chutes and Ladders game. We had park day today so we didn't have much time at home in the morning. That meant free play time went quicker and we moved on to school after their game was done.

More preschool, I took out something new. I have a set from Lakeshore Learning called I Can Build Simple Words.  It has 3 letter words on cards with pictures and then letters that can be laid on the cards. They had a fun time finding the right letters to match the cards. Freddie was taking it a step further by really trying to hear the beginning sounds and thinking about what letter that would be and asking me the letters he didn't know.

Next I had them take the color/number Fish from Wednesday and lay them out in a line in order from 1 to 10. Then I gave them some counters and let them go at it. I wanted to see if by now they could do this on their own. Freddie went right to it. He did not get stuck until #6 when he asked me what number it was. I reminded him he needed to start with number 1 and count his way up to find out what number he was on and from that point on he was able to finish on his own. Flossie got #1, and then put 3 on #2. I reminded her what we were doing and how to do it. She then successfully did #2 and #3, but after that wasn't able to do the rest without help.  This is still a challenging task for her for her age. I am going to have her just work on numbers 1 through 5 until she perfects those. While they did that, Jem did some copywork out of his phonics reader, he was thrilled that he read this one through on the second time. This was his first time doing copywork in that way. I told him he just had to pick one sentence to copy. He had to look for a sentence that started with a capital letter and ended with some type of punctuation mark.  Here is a good discussion of why you should do copywork in the first place. I do it because I like both the Charlotte Mason and the Well Trained Mind methods of homeschooling.  He did well with it for day 1 :)

Next we worked on our feet activities! First I traced their Feet on some paper and just put out some markers so they could decorate them however they wanted to. That was to keep them busy while the others were having their turns making their clay casts of their Feet. After all of that, we headed outside to paint with our Feet. It wasn't too much of a mess :)  By that time, it was time to head over to the park for park day.  Another busy day gone by!