Friday, November 23, 2012

My Favorite Moments...

When I am lucky I have my camera and capture some of the everyday moments that make homeschooling such a gift.
Any morning that big brother decides to fix omelets, his specialty, for all of us kills 45 minutes but means I don't have to cook. Plus, he really is good at it and gets our days off to a yummy, protein filled start!
On the best of days we have a family quiet reading time. I love to see what and where they choose to read.
Jackson chose an army book right next to our nonfiction shelf- his favorite.
Sissy chose to read in the twins new tent at the top of their bunk bed. Another Junie B book :)
Jackson is trying Teaching Textbooks for math this year. (We really like it so far!) It reads the problems out loud. Will is usually playing nearby and will say "the answer". He's pretty confident that he is always right.  Then Jackson will type in the answer he has figured out and it says, "Great job! Exactly right!" and Will thinks his answer was right. He has no humility whatsoever and always says, "I told you so."  It is so cute and I love how Jackson humors him.  I have to say I'm VERY impressed by how much the twins learn by just being in the room playing while I teach the older kids.  Several times I will have read a history lesson aloud and ask a question only to have the big kids stare at me clueless and Wesley chime in with the answer. I'm really hoping this is all giving them a leg up on learning once they are formally in school! I'll take all the help I can get teaching!
We are gently starting some sight words. We started with like and see. I had him circle all the sees and x-out all the likes. VERY simple but VERY effective!
My ipad is indispensable when it's school time. I'm starting to work with the boys one-on-one as we go through their Singapore K and Reading Readiness workbooks.  Often, while I work on one I let the other play learning games on the ipad. Our absolute favorite is Team Umizoomi. I'm amazed at how many math skills they are learning from this game. I love watching how into it they are!
In homeschooling as in all life, the simple moments are the best!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

T is for Train...

 We had been away for a week and were still trying to get back into our regular routine so I needed something quick and easy to do. I had printed off a train unit and had never gotten around to doing it. It was so long ago I can't remember where I got it!
  Another idea I'd been wanting to try was writing letters on a page and covering a certain letter with stickers. They did great finding the T's. Wesley was all about this but Will did it for a little and then was ready to move on. This is something we will do some more with some other letters.
We practiced capital and lowercase letters. They have a pretty good grasp of capitals but lowercase is hit or miss.
 Will is Mr. Train so this unit was really for him.  He did the size sorting trains, and the other activities as fast as I could put them in front of him.
3 part puzzles were perfect.
 I love the shadow matching activities.
 Wesley did so great putting the train cars in order with the numbers on them.
 We've been doing Raising Rock Stars Preschool during our morning circle time. We are going the order she suggests so started with the letter L.  My favorite part of the program is the Power Point show. I'm amazed at how it completely it holds their attention as it reviews letter, number, color, shape, and Bible verses. It's WELL worth the membership.
The Bible verse for L was to Let Your Light Shine so of course we made a light to put the Bible verse on. This is part of the RRSP program.  I'm always amazed at how much Will gets into the crafts. He did such a great job :)
 They are proudly displayed on our wall. The boys were bursting waiting for Daddy to get home to show him!
I am loving this age with my boys!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Box Day!!!!

After going back and forth and back and forth I finally decided to plunge in and buy a Sonlight core.  I love Sonlight's approach with being so heavily literature based, but the price has always been intimidating.  I finally decided I wasn't able to do it all and wanted something already planned for me.  So I splurged and got the P4/5 level.  I ordered it, and it happened to come while we were at the beach.  I knew we had to make a big deal out of opening the box and have an official "Box Day" like all Sonlighters.  Of course, we got home from the beach at about 5:00 and had to go ahead and open it!
                            Even though it was for her little brothers, Ashton was pretty excited too.
The long pieces of packing paper were a big hit to throw out of the box while Wesley had to check out the instructor's manual :)
Will loves this book, and so do I! It's the perfect introduction to lots of science concepts for their age.  I'm amazed at how much info is packed into this fun book with our favorite bears and in poetry no less!
The other science books look really good too. My boys will eat them up.
They weren't quite as excited when I told them now they get to do math workbooks like Sissy and JackJack although they have really learned  to love them since- no, really!
How cool is it that the box comes printed so you can make something out of it.  They were ready to build the castle right away, but since it was late and we'd just driven 8 hours they had to wait.
It was just like I imagined it would be when we had to start reading right away :)
I can't wait to see how our Sonlught journey continues. Nothing could be bad that comes with a box full of books, right? What's not to love?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

History Fair...

Our local homeschool group has a history fair. We decided to choose one of the countries we've been studying in Galloping the Globe to present. They decided they wanted to do Korea. We had the best time getting ready. We used one of the MANY diaper boxes sitting around and transformed it into a dragon head for a parade.
We got pictures and stories from my dad about when my grandfather was serving in Korea during the Korean War. I think that was their favorite thing they learned. They loved having pictures of him on their display board. We also typed up our favorite facts we leaned and included pictures of things we had done at home.

Then the night before they decided they wanted to dress up. By the grace of God, I was able to throw something together with items from the dollar aisle in Target. Jackson's Korean warrior armor is a knight's costume he had with two placemats tied together over it! Ashton's is a dress up dress she had, her Cleopatra shawl tied around her in Korean fashion. We put two chopsticks in her hair. Her purse was from Target dollar section and her very Asian silk belt was actually a headband- it's good to be skinny! 

I probably say this all the time, but this was one of the most amazing homeschool moments ever. The other moms and I sat back and watched in amazement as the kids spent over 2 hours teaching each other about about their countries. And I mean really teaching. They weren't just hanging out and chatting about their favorite TV show. They went table to table and genuinely asked questions and taught each other. It was truly priceless.

I almost felt sorry for the some of the adults that came by their table because they talked their ears off!!! They told them every single thing we learned, and I learned that they have truly been paying attention!
Yea Mommy!
I can't express enough how wonderful this day was. I'm so happy to see that my children are learning, remembering what they learned, and most importantly loving learning. As a great bonus, today they made some homeschool friends and I did too!

Family Dinner...

I found this finger trick in Family Fun and thought it would be fun to stump everyone with at dinner one night. As you can see by Jackson's face, he was stumped:
It was fun to have Daddy try too. I love sweet hand pictures:

Wesley watches everything his big bro does and wants to try it out. Look at his sweet hands:

Meanwhile, Will takes advantage of everyone being distracted to steal some candy. That mischievous look- I love it, most times!

The best times are when we are just home together!

Butterfly Fun...

We were blessed again by a friend giving us some caterpillars which we raised into butterflies. The twins, especially Will, were really interested in the entire process. Butterfly release day is always a big hit:
Look at the excitement on Wesley's face when he saw the butterfly on the ground!
We use oranges to lure the butterflies into landing on us. Apparently Will is also a big fan of oranges as he stole the butterfly food:
Jackson likes to rub the oranges on his nose to convince his little friends to hang out. I like it because it makes for a great photo op:
Hee, hee I guess their feet tickle:
I was impressed by how gentle Will was and that he was able to catch a butterfly:
I heart this picture:
If I know my Wesley he is thinking of a thousand questions to ask about this butterfly:

Although we have raised butterflies before, we learn something new every time and now that the boys are getting older it's great to see them learning alongside us. That's another great things about homeschooling...

Twin Tot School: Disney Style...

So, Tot School this week was held at DISNEY WORLD!!!
Will wanted to ride the train from the minute we got there. So, he was ABSOLUTELY thrilled when we finally got on it! This look of sheer joy was priceless:
I looked back to see Ashton and Will holding hands- how sweet is that!
They were pretty excited to see their first parade. I loved how much they seemed to get everything and loved it all.
I mean seriously how cute are my boys?
Later, Wesley wasn't quite as sure about the fireworks:
We had a truly blessed week with Nana and Pop and the rest of our family.
Love making memories with my babies!

Another Cool Creation…

Jackson has made a new creation again. This time it was a giant ship. I love watching him create these things.DSC_0195
Of course, I'm always holding my breath waiting for this one to knock it down!DSC_0196

Making Big Words…

Making Words was a book I loved as a classroom teacher, but I had never thought of using it with my kids until I saw it on another blog. Basically, you take a big word out of something you are studying to be your mystery word. We were studying penguins so Ashton's mystery word was penguin and Jackson's was Antarctica. Then you cut the letters apart, Besides figuring out the mystery word they are also supposed to try to see how many 2, 3, 4, and 5 letter words they can make out of the letters.
They had so much fun doing this. It was a great exercise for spelling.
It was good that I gave them different words so they had to come up with their own lists.
(Ashton's hair was in pigtails with her hair shaped into bows on top. It was so cute I wished this picture did it justice.)
I got these printables from Early Bird Homeschool blog.DSC_0255
Can't wait to try this again with some new words.DSC_0256

Camping Sensory Bin...

The week after we went camping with our Sunday School class we did a camping theme. My favorite thing by far was the sensory bin I made. The base was beans. I made little pine branches trees and broke sticks up for firewood. The campfires were from our Pilgrim and Indian Toob. I made the tent out of suede fabric we used to make the American Girl Kaya a dress. The leaves were from the dollar store and the water was torn crepe paper also from the dollar store. Then I raided my kitchen for tools that looked fun and decided on a melon baller to play in the beans with and a corn on the cob holder as a canoe :)
I thought it came out really cute and probably enjoyed playing with it as much as the boys did!

Why I Love Homeschooling #231…

 While planning lessons and crafts are my favorite things to do I love it even more when the kids come up with activities on their own.  Jackson made some cool puppets and was putting on little plays with them.
 I love homeschooling so they have time for things like this. I just need to give them that time more often...

F is for Fish...

We had a guest teacher today when my sister taught the boys while I taught our big kids. We were doing F this week so she read them the Rainbow Fish, and they made one.
I thought they turned out really cute:
Then they made a macarroni F and painted it.
They look great hanging on the wall, and mommy loved having help teaching!