Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yeah, That's My Kid...

At Jackson's ballgame tonight Wesley (please keep in mind he is only 2 or my bragging will be meaningless) pointed to the moon (they love the moon and point it out every time they go outside) and said, "Look Jon," (he calls his daddy Jon, yeah nice!) "Jon, look space." Yeah, that's my boy the two year old who knows what space is! Yesterday he found his little clear ball that has a smaller ball inside it with a ring around it. He said, "Look mom space" (he likes to say "look"). It did look like a planet with a ring around it. We have been studying space with the older kids, but I didn't really think Wesley was paying that close attention, especially since we usually do it while he is napping! Who is this genius's teacher? Ha, ha!

Dollar Store Centers #7...

Grammar is not my favorite subject to tach, so making games out of it has made it more fun for all of us. We began reviewing the different ways to make plurals. This was great review for my 3rd grader, and I'll eventually use it to teach this skill to my 1st grader.
The die cut theme was party stuff though I haven't managed to come up with a clever name yet:)
I wrote the singular version of the noun so Jackson had to figure out how they would be made plural.

Here was his final sort with the choices of: stay the same, add s, add -es, change the y to i and add -es, or whole new word.

He only missed 1 I think. I am always amazed at how these simple games show you how they can quickly get a concept that they could easily trip up on if writing them or working on a workbook (although we do follow up with those as well).
Now if I could only come up with a clever name....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun in the Box #7...

Mommy really needed to get out of the house one morning that was beautiful outside. Our workbox solution: a noun walk.
In their boxes they found a page divided into person, place, or thing categories and away we went walking and observing.
Our noun walk ended at the neighborhood park- lots of nouns there! This was really a good learning activity because we had a good conversation about should a house or a park be a place or thing? Hmmm, always good to get them thinking!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our School Room...

I thought I would document what our "school room" looks like while it was clean :)

This is the awesome table I bought which is perfect for our workboxes system. This is in our kitchen since we don't have a school room :(

This is Jackson's side. This table came with 12 shoeboxes already in it- perfect for workboxes. I also love the shelves for storing big notebooks, mini office, clipboard, supply basket and anything they might be using that's too big for their boxes.

This is Ashton's side which is a little different. I added these shoeboxes we already had. On the bottom shelf we have tubs for things we are working on in science and social studies and her supplies (when she doesn't clean it out to hide in!).

This is our bulletin board which Ashton is in charge of which explains why there is way more of her stuff than his :)

I put these workboxes cards up. They are all held on by velcro so they can be moved when completed. The kids don't really seem to need these and don't use them.

This is my closet right next to the school table. This was where my washer and drier were, but my amazing husband moved them up to my master bedroom so I wouldn't have to cart all the laundry down and them back up. Of course, it was mostly so I could have more storage for school stuff!
This is my "what can it be pile" of things I've saved from the trash or bought at the dollar store just waiting to be turned into a Tot Tool.
I bought a bin for each child (the twins share) so I could throw things in that I want to go in their workboxes in the upcoming days.These rolling drawers are awesome. They house office supplies, art supplies, and manipulatives. This is my great bookshelf I bought used at my church. I love the books being cover out. Plus it helps me remember what I have to use!
This is supposed to be my pantry, but I squeezed the food onto one shelf and use the rest to store curriculum and files.
These are my bought Tot Tools. It used to be one of my workbox racks before I got the new desk.

Glad you could stop by for the tour for the brief nanosecond it was clean!

Tot School Tool...

My 6 year old daughter prides herself on being a Tot School teacher. So, I thought I would share a Tot School tool she made all by herself.
I had this egg carton set out to save to make something out of when it disappeared. She spent days coloring it with a sharpie. Then she glued on the eyes and nose and cut out a mouth.
I think it is really cute:
Next, she demonstrated for me how it is a Tot School tool. She has seen them working on their fine motor skills by putting things in little holes on different toys. So she found a collection of beads, googly eyes and other little things that they could "feed" to her pet. The twins love doing it and so did my nephew:

I am very proud of my little teacher and her great ideas.

My only problem now is keeping her out of the art supplies :)

Twin Tot School #11

Will and Wesley are 25 months

The twins really loved their new shelf they helped build. They were so excited to see all their things set out on the shelf to choose from. The down side was they were able to scatter 9 things instead of just the one or two I usually give them at a time! I have got to be very purposeful in teaching them to return things to the shelf when they are done. It is just hard because I am usually running back and forth between them and teaching the big kids :) I think it will be easier when I order the trays to set everything on.

Still, my boy was excited as you can tell by his showing me his puzzle piece:

The BEST part of their new shelves was that they chose different things to play instead of fighting over the same one:

I love their little chairs being right there because they can choose to work there or on the carpet or their little table and chairs which are on the other side of the fireplace.
Wesley is my puzzle crazy child which is awesome because I love to work puzzles and need a child to be my puzzle partner one day:)

The favorite toy of the week was definitely the Magna Doodle in all shapes and sizes. They call it "IEIE" (every letter and pen or pencil is an IEIE). I left these out all day and they played with them several times.
I love how proud of himself Will is:

I love these stacking blocks because they are learning about size and stacking now but one day we'll use them for letters as well.
For those of you that always read my Tot School posts I think I need to make a new feature called "Spot Will's Thinking Tongue" because he always has it out when he's working hard!
The best new thing about the twins is that they are very into playing pretend now. I am amazed at their great imaginations. Sometimes, they join in each others' games and sometimes they are in their own pretend world. They love to play baby doll pushing one in a stroller. They also make anything into a telephone and talk away. This week Ashton set up a Blue's Clue's hunt for Wesley. He was so into carrying his notebook around and finding clues.
The favorite one of all of us is doggie or kitty. Ashton loves having them be her pets. Jackson loves chasing and scaring them. They love having their heads patted and hearing "Good dog/kitty". But Mommy loves it the most because I can get them to "fetch" their toys they have scattered everywhere. All I have to do is rub their head when they bring me a toy and they will clean up:

As usual, some of the best moments are things you don't plan but just happen naturally:

We had a fun week. Now while I get to planning for this next week, please read about other Tot Schools on Carissa's blog!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swim Class Conversation...

Me: Ashton, you need to finish your workboxes before you go to your PE class.

A: Why do you call it that?

Me: Because you go to swimming like it is your PE class for exercise.

A: Yeah, well I'm not really comfortable with you calling it that. I'd prefer you call it swim lessons.

Well, I can't make her feel uncomfortable now can I? So, swim lessons it is :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dollar Store Centers #6...

I've been trying to read over our state's curriculum standards to make sure that I wasn't missing any skills I need to cover. I realized we hadn't talked about syllables. Of course, I needed to make a center to teach it!
I bought this tray to use with the twins in Tot School, but have found SO many uses for it.
I used the one with 5 dividers for Jackson and typed up words that had anywhere from 1-5 syllables (I actually had to look up some 5 syllable words!). I used some good ole's scrapbooking punches and stickers to label each section for number of syllables:

Here's Ashton's who went up to words with three syllables:

Then we had a mini lesson on vowel sounds and clapping it out and off they went:

As usual, Jackson sees me with the camera and hams it up:

This ended up being a great center they've done a couple of times. It's also easy to type up some new words and have an all new activity.

Our Curriculum Choices...

It just occurred to me that I haven't shared what we are using this year in homeschool (not that everyone is on the edge of their seats, but more because I want to get it all down!). First off, I have to say that this will probably change as the year goes on and I get more of a feel for what my kids need and enjoy. I enjoy looking at curriculum way too much
which can get dangerously expensive :)

Science: We are continuing to use good nonfiction books and lapbooks as our science curriculum driven by the kids' interests. Right now we are studying space (mostly because Jon wants to go to the Space and Rocket Center-just kidding but we are excited about going!).

Other topics I am anticipating are reptiles, amphibians, human body and Apologia's birds. I really think following your kids' interests makes it so much more meaningful.

Math: We were using Saxon and while I believe it to be an excellent program, it was just not working for us. Jackson has begun hating math to the point of tears. It was killing me. I am researching going to a more Living Math approach I just don't have the time to get it together right now. I just received in the mail the Math U See program. I think this is a great program at describing why math works. I am also excited to see if the novelty of watching a video to explain math holds their interest! The thing I like most about it is the kids move through things at their own pace. If they get it, you watch the next lesson. If they need extra practice there are 6 pages of practice in the workbook and you can do as many as you need.

Spanish: I ordered Hooked on Spanish for the kids this year. I love it for two reasons 1. it was cheap and 2. they can do it on their own on the computer. They just do a lesson on the computer and practice their new words. Will they be able to travel to Spain and converse any time soon? No, but it is teaching them the very basics.

Next year I will probably do Latin with them because I think it is the key to understanding all languages once you learn their Latin roots. For right now, I am very happy with the Spanish.

Specials: We are taking a PE swim class at the local rec center. We are participating in Open Ended Art meme and doing art projects with our other subjects (plus the art of scrapbooking with mommy :) We found a homeschool music class which is great for Ashton but way too young for Jackson. We are considering getting him the guitar lessons he has always asked for. I dream of doing artist and composer studies, but need 15 more hours in my day to make it happen. We also have baseball and ballet at least once a week. Ashton has also joined a wonderful Keepers group we are thrilled with.

Grammar:We are doing this mostly with the games I make them or through literature.

Reading: Our reading for the first couple of months is a program you probably haven't heard of called- P-R-O-P-O-G-A-N-D-A!!! If you read my family blog you might remember this post which has bothered me since. Even though I am looking at a good reading program a friend is doing, I decided to just spend a couple of months having fun with reading. We are still working on sight words and vocabulary and such, but I am trying to pick out great picture books and read alouds just to brainwash their sweet little minds into loving reading- plus, it's a lot of fun for me. Snuggling and reading- what could be a better way to spend an afternoon?

Geography: The thing I am most excited about this year is Galloping the Globe. I read all the things that Jolanthe was doing on her blog with this program and it sounded so fun. So, we Dodds are traveling the world this year (and probably next). We will be learning about the geography, history, language, and culture about each country we visit. So far, we have completed China and started Korea. I will share our adventures soon. The best part is I am learning so much! We sing geography songs, and I have learned all the countries in Asia! I'm not raising geography illiterate Americans over here :)
Handwriting and Bible: Right now we are still reading out way through a children's Bible. After I read to them they practice their handwriting by tracing a story summary I printed out using the Start Write program I just bought. I really like this program because I can make tracer pages of any thing I want for the kids to practice. It's called killing 2 birds with one stone combining handwriting and Bible! I can print the story summary in cursive for Jackson and print for Ashton so that is nice. After we finish the Bible in about a month we are going to start a Bible study. I'm still researching which one (I'd love suggestions!). We also work on memory verses every day. Right now we are studying verses they are working on at church.
Any way, there is my plan. Thanks for humoring me so I can get it down to make me think it through and stick with it!

Fun in the Box #6...

This morning the workbox was a little scary!

I was introducing Ashton to the greater than/less than sign. Since we always talk about the alligator mouth eats the big number I thought I'd just show her. After she used the alligator then we looked at what the sign itself looks like.

Jackson even reviewed his with some bigger numbers.

If you don't have foot long plastic alligators lying around (are there houses like that?) you can also print a picture of an alligator with its mouth open to practice.
I'm pretty sure this activity cemented in Ashton's mind which way the sign goes since she can always imagine this big 'gator!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Twin Tot School #10...

Will and Wesley are 25 months.

This week I finally talked my husband into getting some Tot School furniture! We got a cube bookshelf that I can put their activities out on.

Of course, first it had to be assembled which was a Tot School activity all in itself.

A little fine motor work of using the screwdriver:

and putting the peg in the hole:
Then they had to try out the cubbies:

To reward themselves for a job well done, they turned the box into a slide- all on their own:
We were actually amazed at how much help they were and how much they could do. It was a fun project and we are loving the shelf in school.
That's all for me this week. I'll catch up next week:)
Check out all the other awesome Tot Schools at Carissa's blog.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fun in the Box #5...

Jackson has been learning about perimeter. So in his box on this day he found objects from around the house to measure the perimeter of.
He worked very diligently on this although I did let him measure to the nearest inch because we haven't learned how to add fractions yet :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fun in the Box #4....

I have to post this because it is so funny. My boy has some serious bed head and still in pj's! We are studying space right now so they used their Kidnex to design their own spaceship.
I thought they were fairly creative and the parts even rotate for liftoff.

Posted by PicasaA fun little way to start the day! I cannot take the credit for this though. They were playing on their own while I was getting everything ready for school. They were so into it and working so studiously that I told them it could be their first box since it went with our space theme. Needless to say they were thrilled!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dollar Store Centers #5...

I saw these in the dollar bin or T-get and had to have them. I knew right away that they would be perfect for teaching guide words (not to mention I bought one to try to help my husband get organized-it's laying in the floor of his truck, oh well!).
We are working on dictionary skills right now. I wrote different guide words on six of the sticker tabs:

Then I simply wrote entry words that would be found on those pages on notecards (100 for a dollar :) He had to file them behind the appropriate guide words:

And, as you can see, by my adorable goofball- he's thinking hard (at least thinking hard about how to be a ham for the camera!). This was great practice. He missed a few of the ones he had to go to the 3rd or 4th letter which was a great chance to talk about it.

Now that we've done guide words I have to think of something else cool to do with these- not to mention I have a pink one just waiting to be something cool for a first grade girl I know!

Tot School on Loan...

This week I had the great pleasure of watching my 3 year old nephew. What do you do when your cousins are homeschooled and you go to their house? You go to Tot School! I had a ridiculous amount of fun planning activities for him to do because it's been a long time since I've had a 3 year old to work with!
He joined in our morning Bible study time. Next, the big kids go illustrate their Bible story and do their copywork. I printed a picture for Justin to color. I pulled him up a chair next to Jackson's place and he thought he was one big boy. He was so serious about his coloring and did a great job!
Next he moved to the table to work with the twins. He loved the sound puzzles just as much as they did. He kept saying, "I did it! I did it!"
Of course, you always have to have recess. It was spent playing with Jackson's trains.
When the twins were napping I set up his own activities. He was very proud of this as you can see:

As you know, I love playing hands pics so I had to get him sorting his bears:

He was really into the pattern blocks. I didn't know he knew his shapes so well but hearing him say 'rectangle' was about the cutest thing.

Of course, the best part of the day was spending with his big cousin who asked if he could teach him how to do the lacing cards. Look how closely he's paying attention:

There's all the fun I had with Tot School on loan! Please check out Carissa's blog for everyone else's fun.

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