Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up...

Well, this week did not start out like I planned it! The twins had the stomach virus. Right now Will's tonsils are giant and coming out next week so for him to be getting sick was not a good situation. I stayed awake watching him. Needless to say, Monday ended up being a sick day. We were so lazy, but Ashton did set up a really nice restaraunt which had her writing menus and orders. That counts as school, right? We did watch a lot of "How It's Made" on the science channel. That counts too, right?

Oh well, hopefully next week will be better!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Twin Tot School #22: C is for Caterpillar...

Will and Wesley are 40 months old.

We are moving right along in our letter curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We did lots of activities from there, but apparently I didn't get many pictures. However, this activity was a huge hit. The big kids were even eager to get in on the crafting:

God knew I'd need two little brothers to keep them from fighting over one, but it sure was a surprise to me!
It's a success if Will actually participates!

One big letter C plus some pom poms, eyes and pipe cleaners give you a darling caterpillar C!
We also went to their first library story time. They did well considering how, ummmm, not toddler friendly (to be nice) the librarian was...

but we were thrilled to find their favorite books- CLIFFORD!
And C is for Clifford! We had also just gotten hair Cuts and it made Wesley look so much older, sniff, sniff...

The best part of C is for caterpillar week was that we got real caterpillars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The boys were fascinated and had to see them several times a day. Then they were in awe when they went in their Chrysalis:

How intent is sweet Will????
He'd sit and watch them forever. I can't wait for him to see them emerge as butterflies!!!

I also made up a silly caterpillar song and love to see them tickling each other:

We had a fun week of caterpillar fun. Go check out what other tots are up to at Carissa's blog.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pick and Draw...

I put one of the kids' Christmas gifts in their workboxes, Pick and Draw. It is this awesome card game where you draw cards from different categories (like face, nose, hair, eyes) and draw a character using those features. It's amazing how many different ways the characters come out.
I also admire how the creator of the game uses it as a chance to tell kids about how
creative God is!
Now, being the good homeschooling mama I am I had to add a little more to it (the directions suggest you can too) so each time they drew a character they had to make up a name and some silly facts about them.
I also appreciated the drawing tips since I don't have an ounce of artistic talent to share. For example, if you shade the lower set of teeth in it looks like they are talking. Who knew?
The only downside I see is running out of paper since Ashton wanted to keep all her characters. The second time we played I got smart and had them fold a sheet to make little squares for each character. I didn't take pictures of my creations, but I had the best time playing with them!
I love good ole' "Gum Drop".
This lady was kind of crazy.
Although we need to work on spelling "bored", I did think he made this guy really look bored.
I highly recommend getting this game. It is so affordable and one of those rare things all ages can play together. Next time I think we're going to write some adventures for our new friend- yeah writing practice!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Their Free Time...

The other afternoon I was reading some blogs (shocker I know). I always love reading the geography posts at Confessions of a Homeschooler (and plan on using her curriculum with the twins when they are a little older). I showed the big kids their boats they made for Thailand. We aren't studying that now. In fact, school was over for the day but they apparently inspired. They went to work in the kitchen. I was busy and didn't really watch exactly what they were doing. I was amazed by their creation since it was done completely by their own initiative and through their own creativity since they found all the supplies themselves as well.They both made their own boats and actually helped each other without fighting (gasp). What good is a boat without a launching party complete with Roman maiden and excited little brother?
Mission successful- the boats floated perfectly!
I absolutely adore when they are creative on their own. That's what I want for them. Sure, it makes my house even messier (if that's possible), but it's so worth it to see them doing something non-electronic :)
Of course, now I also have two giant boats hanging around my house, but at least it makes great decoration for the schoolroom!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Twin Tot School #21...

Will and Wesley are 39 Months Old

I fell in love with all of Erica's letter curriculum at Confessions of a Homeschooler and was so excited to begin using it with the boys. After lots of printing, cutting and laminating (and loving every minute of it) we were ready to jump in. I'd like to give her a plug here. At first I just printed them from her website where she offers them for free, but you have to download each thing separately. Then I decided to just go ahead and buy it. I mean it's only $10. Let me tell you it is worth every penny. Downloading it all at once is so much faster. Besides I was happy to support her and give something back since she so generously shares all she makes.

I don't think it matters what order you teach the alphabet (believe me that is hard for me to admit because I am very into going in order). Therefore, I decided to start with D is for dinosaur since my boys are so into dinosaurs. I got our trays all set up with all our activities.

Their favorite activity was sorting capital and lower case D's. This is the first time we'd done anything like this, and they did great!

I also got lots of great stuff from 1+1+1=1's dinosaur tot book. I love how Wesley is really thinking about this size sequencing!

Often, they want to do the same activity at the same time which means I get to referee. As soon as they saw the Dinosaur Train color matching from 1+1+1=1 they both wanted it. We all LOVE that show (thanks to that show my Ashton is always coming up with a hypothesis about something!). I held up a color and they had to decided which one of them had the character that matched that color.

Confessions of a Homeschooler also has these uppercase letter printables that are perfect for decorating. We chose to decorate them with dino tracks! The boys walked their plastic dinos in paint and tracked on their D.

I'd just bought a book of paper plate crafts (see widgit below) and was thrilled to see it had the cutest dino you could make out of those cheap-o paper plates. The boys did a great job painting them. They are getting so big!
I printed off a dinosaur from Making Learning Fun. I gave them paint trays with Q-tips for each color. They used the Q-tips to carefully paint in each circle. This was hands down their favorite thing we did. Mommy loved it because it was pretty mess free. We have got to do some more of these.
Another blog I enjoy is Tired, Need Sleep. She has tons more dinosaur activities that I can't wait to try next time around. I'm kind of figuring we'll go through these letters now that they are 3 then repeat them with more in depth activities the next year.

Of course, school always includes playing with big sissy. She teaches them to use their imagination and I absolutely love to listen to them. Watching how well she interacts with them makes me so glad we homeschool and they get to spend all day together and not just a few hours (well, most days any way :)

I can't wait to show off my new school room (as soon as hubbie paints that last wall-grrrr). By far my favorite part are my gutter book shelves. I always use one of them to house the twins' Tot School books. So, this week it showcased our favorite dino books:It's so surreal to me to be reading these next 2 dino books to my TWIN boys because I used to have to read them EVERY night to their big brother back when I just had one child. In fact, I still have these books memorized! I highly recommend Dinosaur Roar. When you read each page in a different voice it makes it even that much more fun!

Sandra Boynton is one of our all time favorite authors so of course we would love her dinosaur book. Again, funny voices are a must.

An hour doesn't go by that these two aren't playing trains. Mommy was proud of this track. Why is building those things like the hardest geometry puzzle ever?

And why can't I be rich enough to have an entire room devoted to train track......

We even took some time to watch Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids. Sissy helped them play the games. They thought they were big boys getting to be on the laptop!

Another great part of our new school room is a place on the wall to hang their work. They were so excited to see their work hung and tripped over each other to be the first to show Daddy when he got home!

I made up a silly little song for them to sing, but they ate it up. It especially seem to really help Will who sang it for everyone he met! Ignore my singing and focus on their cuteness!

Aren't they cute?

You're probably thinking my children are perfect little genius angels (haha-sarcasm here!).
So, in order to keep it real, here's my absolute favorite picture of the week:

Yeah, he gets that from his Daddy- hee hee!

Make sure to go over to Carissa's blog to see what others are up to.

Here are all the bookds we used. Hopefully, this will help me remember what we have when we revisit D next year!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fun in the Box...

One of my all-time favorite homeschooling resource, Homeschool Share, added a section for workbox activities call 'Workboxables'. I printed these off and my game girl loved them. These were actually easy peasy reviews for her. I was just interested in finding out if she remembered what a quadrilateral is since we haven't worked on them this year. She absolutely did and didn't miss a single one:

This was another really easy one of counting by twos, but since we hadn't done it in a while I always like to make sure it's sticking in that cute little head of hers. It is:)

I love the free resources on this website and that I can print and go!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

History Fair...

In addition to our world history studies, we are also studying Tennessee history. This is something we plan on studying off and on all year and especially this summer when we can go on the tons of great field trips available.
Our wonderful local homeschool support group hosts a history fair each year. We decided we should show off what we had learned about our great state. The kids were very excited to do a diorama of their favorite event from TN history. We got together with another family and got to creating.

Ashton chose to create Ruby Falls where we had gone a few months before (and by we I mean they went with their while I stayed above ground since I am horribly claustrophobic). She did this absolutely on her own:

Jackson made Fort Nashborough where we took our first field trip to:

They all made the paper irises (state flower of TN) like I always made with my 4th grade classes:
Ashton's was especially beautiful:
I have to say, I was very proud of our display and how much they had accomplished in such a short time. They had their leaves they collected for a leaf project. I traced their bodies and they turned them into characters from Tennessee history. Mags was the amazing Nancy Ward, Ashton was a world famous opera singer I'd never heard of, and Jackson was not surprisingly Andrew Jackson. They had to research their person and write an acrostic poem telling facts about them as well.
They did lovely watercolor paintings of different state symbols. With our aunt's help Ashton sewed the flag all by herself. She was so proud it had to be our centerpiece.
The kids also all chose to dress up. Ashton used clothes from my old reenacting days to be a little girl from the Civil War era. Maggie was Nancy Ward. Jackson was a cute Davy Crockett and was a fountain of knowledge about him since we watched the old Disney movie!
The best part was watching them tell others about what they'd learned. They would talk everyone's ear off! I was astonished at all they remembered.

These events are always so wonderful. It is so gratifying to see so many children in love with learning!