Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Smooth Sailing...

Good Morning Friends!

We're just rolling right along here.  Starting out our day pretty standard.  My sunrise walk was not sunny, that's for sure!  It was barely a step above pitch black!  But it was quiet and calm...which I love.  
#so dark!
It was so dark out that the street lights were still on!  HA!  
Today is a busy one but it's busy academic days/weeks like this that make taking other days "off" that much more enjoyable.  I let everyone have a relaxed start to the day, hanging out with Ari watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood.  I'm finding that Ari is slowly transitioning to the one longer nap so I try to push him a little later in the morning so that I can get a good, solid 3-4 hours of quiet time with the kids.  So far, so good!  
yoga time!
practicing wheel
It was rainy and very chilly today so I let the kids have "pajama and stuffed animal day".  They were in heaven!  It's the little things indeed that make them smile.  We did our pledge, yoga and calendar review followed by more discussion about The Big Bang.  We discussed lots today and practiced more note taking skills.  

Our journaling prompt today is "If you were given the opportunity to go on a trip to space, would you go?  Why or why not?"
We had lots of ELA time including more letter writing!  The kids LOVE to send and receive letters.  I think in our digital age the joy of writing and receiving letters has definitely gone by the wayside.  We write at least one letter every week and mail it off to a lucky recipient!  This week the children each chose one friend to send their letter to.  It's just so sweet.
decorated envelopes, of course!
 After letter writing they had grammar, dictionary copy work/handwriting and D.E.A.R. time.  Kendall is working on complete subjects and predicates.  Ty is working on basic sentence structure. 
We started Algebra today followed by DEAR time.  
Ari has really started to enjoy scribbling!  I LOVE it!  Pencils are his favorite followed by crayons - a very close second choice!  I love how he giggles when he sees the marks he's able to make on the paper.  Just priceless.  The other thing he LOVES to do with crayons is put them in and out of the box!  Today he sat at our family desk for 10 minutes doing this all by himself.  (insert thumbs up here!)  Go Ari!!
The children watched a Cosmos today during lunchtime.  It was perfectly timed as today's show was the very first episode which covers the beginning of the Universe.  We stopped it here and there so that I could explain and make things a bit simpler for them.  It generated amazing discussion among all of us.  That is the kind of TV that I love!  

After lunch we headed back into the classroom for our Spanish lesson.  We are focusing on the Spanish alphabet and its pronunciation.  I took Spanish for years in middle and high school but I am very rusty so we ran through it many times today.  I have a good Spanish book to use with the kids but YouTube is SUCH a phenomenal resource for things like this.  I found and subscribed to a channel to help us with the correct pronunciation. 
It was an unexpectedly extra fun afternoon as we had a friend of Ty's come and hang with us for the afternoon and he joined us as we did our science experiments!  Today we made "moon dough" which is made from the following:

  • baking soda
  • black paint (I used thinned out Tempera paint but you could easily use liquid watercolor, too)
  • chunky glitter - we used black and silver 
  • water

Get your smock on!!
Let the fun begin!
Mix, Mix, Mix
Getting messy!
hahahahaha..SO cute!!  
The PERFECT consistency
We pulled out our play-dough accessories to use!
We used about 1C of baking soda, ~1/3C of paint, and ~1/4C water.  It started out really thin so we added more baking soda.  Then it got too dry so we added more water.  This recipe is super forgiving and you just kind of use a sprinkle or a drop here and there until you get the consistency of wet sand.  We added the glitter in bit by bit and then the kids just went to town playing in it.  My children along with their friend LOVE playing with what we call "hard animals".  So I was happy to pull out our play trays, dump the dough out and let them play!!  
nom, nom, nom!
The "dough" feels super cool and once you wash your hands off they become super smooth feeling from the baking soda.  Neat!!  We are going to use this moon dough to make exploding moon rocks later in the week so stay tuned for that!

We then started our recipe for "space putty".  Here is the recipe:

Space Putty
2 1/2 cups of liquid starch
1 cup of Elmer’s glue
Silver Glitter
Food coloring

1. Stir the glue and 1 cup of starch together in a bowl.
2. Add a few drops of food coloring (optional)
3. Cover the bowl and let it stand overnight.
4. The following day, mix in 1-1 1/2 cup of starch, add glitter and play!

I, unfortunately, became distracted as the baby woke up so I ended up using all of the liquid starch instead of just the 1C.  It seems to be forming so we'll wait overnight and see what happens!  
Food coloring ALWAYS amazes everyone!
mix and mix and mix some more!
The children had a great time.  They then went off to the newest fort in the house to play!
So thankful for rainy days, good friends, enthusiastic and fun kids who LOVE being homeschooled!  

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Let's Start at the Very Beginning..."

"A very good place to start..." hum..hum...hum!

Good Morning!!  I'm now humming the tune to Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music!  But that's exactly what comes to mind when I consider what we're working on this week!  In my reading of on of my favorite books on homeschooling, The Well-Trained Mind, the concept of starting lessons at the beginning of history is introduced. This makes perfect sense to me in terms of how I want to teach my children about the evolution of our planet, our world and our people.  I feel that it's very logical to start at the beginning as so many things hinge on what came before.
This week's theme is The Big Bang Theory. I introduced what I call "Topic Discussion" today where we sit and discuss what the theme is, how we're going to approach it and what I expect them to know by the end of this week.  After topic discussion we had a lesson on how to take notes.  I remember not really learning how to take notes until later in high school and into my first years of college.  I wish I had learned sooner how to really listen and be able to hone in on the really important pieces of what my teachers were saying and in turn be able to write down the most important thoughts so that I could learn and absorb more.  I remember taking a class my senior year of high school on how to study and take notes....kind of too little too late for my high school years but it definitely helped as I transitioned to college.  I learned a trick to help guide my note taking ability and make more sense of what I was writing.  I take a regular, college ruled piece of 8.5 x 11" lined paper.  I fold over about a quarter of the sheet, column-wise, thus making a large margin.  I unfold it and use this space to write any thoughts or questions I may have in regards to the topic of discussion.  That way I can come back and ask my questions AND write the answer all in the same area where the notes are taken so that I am sure to understand the concepts in full.  This also helped tremendously when it came to studying for a quiz or test.

I explained this concept to the children today, I demonstrated it and then we used it in practice as we discussed The Big Bang Theory.  I guided them through the concepts that they will need to know for our upcoming quiz and later, a test!  Yes, a test!  I will be quizzing them on the planets along with some of the facts about the Universe.
her favorite yoga pose!  lizard on a rock!
Before all of this we did our standard start to the day, my sunrise walk, yoga, pledge and calendar review.  After our BB discussion we moved forward to our journaling.  I asked the children to illustrate something related to the Big Bang.  They thought and worked hard on their creations.  We then moved onto spelling, grammar and handwriting.  This was followed by math (double digit addition and subtraction for T and 5 digit addition and subtraction for K along with multiplication), geography (today we worked on Arizona) and music (we studied Vivaldi today and listened closely to the Four Seasons).  We went to a friends house for a mid-day playdate - mostly for the baby as K & T jumped on their trampoline!  (so fun!)
Our Phoenix bird ;) Helped them remember that the capitol of Arizona is Phoenix!
he LOVES our Land Cruiser!
D.E.A.R. time in the fort!

When we got home the kids were excited as I saved our science for last!  It was an easy project today - making galaxy dough!  This is nothing more than homemade play dough colored black with food coloring but this time I had the children make the entire recipe.  I usually make the dough and have them color it but this time they found the right measuring devices and ingredients.  I explained to them how to combine the wet and dry ingredients separately and then to incorporate them together in the pan.  They were not keen on how much stirring it takes to get the dough to form but they persevered and loved the results!  I had bright purple, chunky glitter for them to incorporate into it along with moon and star gems, nubby beads to represent planets and black stones for comets or meteors.  
Just awesome
our daily board!
The kids loved it and played with it for quite a while after as that was the end of our day.

As I cleaned up and played with the baby the kids went off into their newly built fort for some play time.  Kendall and I had Mother/Daughter book club at a local library.  It was our month to host.  We chose the book Mandy by Julie Andrews.  It's a beautiful book and I introduced it to Kendall last summer and she fell in love with it.  Kendall wrote discussion questions and lead the discussion with the other girls in the group.  We then served a snack and lead a planned craft - garden terrarium necklaces.  The kids had a great time and loved the craft.
Until tomorrow friends!