Friday, July 22, 2011

N is for Nest - Part 1 - 7/21/11

Today was kind of weird day. Early morning we kind of messed around. Freddie tried on some looooong toenails:
 And Flossie tried on some of Scouts "old" dresses.  She has two sz 5 dresses in her closet. One that she wore once to her uncle's wedding. And one that she never wore. For some reason (OCD hoarding) she has refused to hand these down to Flossie so far. She just keeps wanting to hang onto them. She says she wants to "do something with them," or "make something with them."  Well of course that hasn't happened and for several years they have been hanging in her closet. So today Flossie and I hatched a scheme to try to get Scout to bend a little. I had Flossie try them on to see if they would fit and if she liked them - of course yes, and yes on both counts. Then I knew that if she asked Scout and flashed those baby blues at her, Scout would have a hard time resisting, and it worked!!  Yay for Scout on fighting against her OCD,  and yay for Flossie on the new dress!

We actually did a lot of school but it was spread out over the whole day in pieces here and there. We had our usual running around to do with having to drop Scout off at camp and having lunch with Gramps today. Before that we squeezed in some school. The preschoolers did some N is for Nest worksheets form Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Jem and Dill worked on their states. I made up their states tests so they are all ready for when they are ready.

After lunch with Gramps, I decided we needed to get out for a bit, we've been cooped up for so long.   Not sure what I was thinking. It was HOOOOTTTTTT!  But the kids enjoyed themselves at the splash pad.

 When we got home and the preschoolers went to sleep, the boys finished up their school work. Although Dill came in yesterday with both barrels loaded ready to do school, today he was dragging big time. It was do one problem, redirect, redirect, redirect, REDIRECT, do another problem, etc. all afternoon long. School was just dragging on for both of us, so I finally just gave him a reprieve and said we'll try again fresh on Monday. 

On a good note, Jem finally finished all of his phonics books from Learning Language Arts Through Literature  - The Blue Book.  He has been working on these all year long!  Yay!!  To think he started out reading 3 letter words and can now read full paragraphs. Pretty amazing!

Scout had another great day at camp. She is LOVING it this summer. They are doing so many fun thing. This week she is learning puppetry, mime, juggling, and on-camera acting. She is discouraged however that the boys are getting their school done and she is not able to do as much. I offered her some help with her math this afternoon to try to move her along. Just wait until week 3 - She will have camp all day and then dress rehearsals for her play all night. The life of an actor!

No school tomorrow. I'm off to the AFHE Homeschool Convention. Maybe I'll learn a new trick or two.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

N is for Noodles - 7/20/11

Woke up groggy this morning and with a lingering headache from last night. IIH is not fun! Here is my new invention. For some reason it helps to put pressure on both sides of my head. So this is two tennis balls held in place with a Harry Potter scarf. Hey, it's what I had on hand at the moment.  Not cute but it did help! I'm thinking I should go on Shark Tank and make a million!

Luckily Dill came in ready to get going on school for some reason. He took his summer packet into my room and came out about an hour later having finished 7 pages!! It took us about a half an hour to make corrections, but still, great effort! Made me stop and think - what is the purpose of these summer packets they send home? Are they trying to assess what the kids have mastered vs what they are still having trouble with? In that case I shouldn't be helping him correct mistakes and get the work done correctly. Or is this work that they should already know how to do and they don't want them to lose their skills over the summer? In that case there are a few things in there that Dill seems never to have learned about - like decimals. Not knowing what they want, I'm just going to help him get them done correctly and hope that's what they are expecting. Today he did a great job!

After that he went right to working on the computer to review his states and capitols.
Jem slept in today, and I let him. He has been kind of cranky lately! Scout was getting ready for camp. Meanwhile Freddie and Flossie had the option of puzzles, Legos, or Noodle collages. At some point in the morning they did all three.

Flossie went heavy on the glue for her collage! When I was teaching preschool years ago, there were some teachers who would never give the kids glue bottles themselves. Only the teacher would put the glue on because of course the kids would use too much or make a mess. My philosophy was always SO WHAT!  They have to be able to experiment and practice with the glue if they are going to learn how to use it. You can be there to explain how much should be used, you can model, you can get special glue tips that only let out a few drops at a time, but when you turn your back, there will always be a little pond of glue. It's ok. They are learning. It cleans up. It's not that expensive. Have fun with it!

After Noodley time, we had to take Scout to theater camp and then had to again stop at the store for milk for lunch, something for snack, and something for dinner. Uggh! I need to win the lottery!  I am sooooooooooooooooooooo  broke!   After we got home and had snack, the boys worked on their states some more testing each other with flash cards. The little kids took out their work boxes and did some work on their own. Jem read his phonics book to Flossie. He is blowing through them right now. I think he might be a reader now! :)  

No sooner did we do all this then it was time to take Bella to work. Seems like we just get our momentum going and we have to stop and do shuttle service. But such is life. So we all piled into the van and off we went. In the car we did a little carschooling. Jem and Dill got quizzed on their times tables and states and capitals. Freddie got quizzed on some easy addition problems, and Flossie counted how many fingers I was holding up. By the time we got home it was time for lunch and naps.

While the babies slept we finished our reading work. Jem cranked out another phonics book and Dill read another chapter in Boxcar Children. It was quieter today when he read and he did a better job of retelling it back to me. Maybe he should get some cheap earplugs to use when he reads! The distractions just maybe make it too hard for him to focus and concentrate. Whatever works!

Once Naptime was over and we picked up Scout from camp we did what everyone had been waiting for - made Noodle Necklaces!! Not sure why the older kids were so jazzed about this but they were. Jem asked if it was really 2nd grade work and I said no not really. He said, "Then why are you taking a picture of me?" "So I can use it if I ever need it for blackmail of course,"  I said. At that point he jumped out of my picture :)  BUT, he kept on making necklaces. The big boys actually seemed to have as much fun as the little guys.

Guess that's about it for today. I feel that wonderful headache pounding at the sides of my temples once again, so I think it's time for Wendy's Wonder Wrap again! Until tomorrow  . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hello N !! - 7/19/11

We started the letter N today! After  free-playing for awhile with some color tiles, letter tiles, and a Number Train puzzle we all took Scout up to the theater to drop her off at camp. She is doing a 3-week day camp starting this week. After that we headed over to the store to get some Noodles.  When we got home we put them in baggies and dyed them. Unfortunately I couldn't find any rubbing alcohol, so we used hand sanitizer instead! It seems to have worked! Anyway they had fun mixing up the colors. We laid them out in the sun to dry and they were ready to go by after nap time.

 After all of that, we got down to school business. This weekend I did some bookkeeping I guess you could say in regard to what the big kids have left to accomplish from this school year. I wrote them all up checklists for each subjects of everything they need to get done so they can be done with school for the summer. They can take as little or as long to do it as they want. The boys have the added incentive that Dill only has 3 weeks left with us, and we wanted to do a fun "camp" week on his last week where we would just do fun activities like bowling, public pool, movies, etc. So they really need to get cracking and get done in the next two weeks. That only gives Dill about 7 more days to get his packet done and finish reading The Boxcar Children.  Not sure if he's going to make that one. We'll try. 

As you can see, getting the boys to focus at this point in the summer is an ongoing battle!!  :)

For preschool we did our intro to Letter N activities using the Handwriting without tears materials first and then some things I pulled from Raising Rockstars and Confessions of a Homeschooler. 
They both did well with all the materials. They are becoming experts by now :) 

After that it was time for me to work with Jem and Dill on their reading and Dill on his summer worksheets, so the little kids were anxious to get out their new "workboxes."  I found some $1 plastic containers at Target and put their names on them with the foam letters (also $1 from target) and then filled them with little individual things they could work on on their own without much help from me. We tried this last week but they were sharing one box and had to sometimes take turns with the materials. Today they each had their own boxes and their own things to do. They loved it! 

The morning seemed to fly by and it was time for lunch and then naps. While they slept the boys and I read another chapter of Mr. Popper's Penguins. We are determined to get it read so we can go see the movie! 

We had to wake the "babies" to go pick up Scout from camp. When we got home, they helped me sort the Noodles by type. We did this because 1) It was just a good sorting activity, and 2) some of the Noodles are good for making Necklaces, and some are better for collages. We had a huge bowl of Noodles and they both stuck with it until we got them all sorted. 

While we did it we talked about rhyming words which went right over their heads :),  and nursery rhymes, and things that start with N. Freddie taught me the Narwhal Song! Now, I realize this has some inappropriate stuff in it for a 4 year old, but it cracked me up. I didn't teach this to Freddie, he taught it to me! I'm assuming his 15 year old brother was playing it at home.  BUT, since he didn't seem to know most of the lyrics other than the first line, I figured it was pretty innocent. Anyway N is for Narwhal!