Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hazel's D week

This week I started working with Hazel a bit more with the Calendar. Since we are moving and I haven't quite worked out how I want to do "Calendar Time I figured we would just start with this...

It's a Calendar that I picked up from Michael's for 25 cents! Each Month the child can create and color a new picture. We just started with a simple naming the month, the day, and finding the number on the calendar of the date. I used some stickers to work on patterns and we made a pattern on the week. Apparently this worked because she decided to make another pattern at the top of the calendar
Then we moved onto "Dd" is for Dinosaur. We read "Ten Terrible Dinosaurs" and "Dinosaur Roar". Following the theme we made our craft from Totally Tots. This week was a "D" dinosaur craft, which Hazel apparently thought that her Dino needed to always look straight up.

Then she stamped her Dd's with Dinosaur feet! Had I known how exciting it was to play with her brother's Dinosaurs I would have brought them out months ago!

The Stamps didn't come out too clear, but she still had fun.

Here is her signature after it was all done.... Pretty good huh?
I thought I would capitalize on the writing by showing her how to write her D's and well yeah not so well received. I pretty much held her hand the entire time. I 'm in no way worried since my main focus at this point is to convey the letter sounds and intro the lowercase letters.

We did some more cutting. I had another sheet that I had made of slanted lines but somehow didn't get a picture of it for variety.
Since I have more foam stickers than anyone should be allowed, I used them to make these tracer exercises. Hazel seemed to like them but wasn't a fan of continuing until the end of the page, she kept wanting to stop and start. Perhaps this will come with time.

And there you have it, the letter "Dd" in all it's glory. Next we are on to "Ee" and can I just say how thrilled I am that our E week comes right before Easter?!?!?! Yeah I know total Dork.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Definition of insanity...

Is 35 3rd graders in one room for 6 hours. Yeah that was me today! I was observing for my practicum hours for my education degree and boy was that an eye opener! I was fortunate enough to be in the presence of a really capable teacher and she handled things with a super amount of grace.

I of course had all those old feelings of being drawn in to the classroom to help these kids and found myself offering to come back. These are reasons it is hard for me to commit to homeschooling. I love kids. My kids your kids, any kids. I'm torn, it's a difficult decision, but ultimately I have been entrusted with very specific children. And I think that right now the most important thing I can do is teach and nurture THEM, so that when they are grown I can tackle the rest!

Just some wandering thoughts.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Home School Blog Hop

This week's Home School Blog Hop Topic is about State Requirements.

In the State of Florida we have it pretty easy. Basically you fill out their home school form and submit it. Have the child evaluated at the end of each year by a certified teacher, psychological review, private testing, or state testing. There is a request that samples of work be kept for up to three years, but that is not really required especially if you are going to have your child tested.

That's it. Pretty awesome especially for beginner home schooling families as this gives you the freedom to find what works for your crew and what doesn't.

Now we are moving in May to Rhode Island and that's a different story. From what I can gather, one must submit the letter of intent for home school, keep a record of at least 180 days, teach reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, civics, health/PE, and English. The student must be registered by age 6, there are no parental education requirements, and the student must be evaluated each year by a method of choice of the parents.

I have no idea how strict these laws are adhered to as we are not there yet. But it does seem that this state will make an organized woman out of me yet! What a change! I looked up all of my information through the Rhode Island Department of Education, the HSLDA, and other Home school groups I found by a simple Google search earlier this week.

I don't think these requirements are extreme although I do prefer Florida's methods for their simplicity. Happy Hopping!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hazel's C week

This week was a hodge podge of different things. We only actually sat down formally one day because I was teaching her class for St. Patrick's day and I was trying to get all of that together.

We read Clumsy Crab and made our clumsy crab C. We pretended our hands were claws and we snip, snip, snipped the air. This lead to our cutting exercise...

I have so many supplies I hated to go out and buy a cutting book. So I made my own cutting page by putting foamie stickers on one end and drew the line for her to cut. I was surprised that it was such a hit!

We "C"ounted pom poms on a page. One through Five. When we both we sufficiently frustrated with them rolling all over the paper, I gave her "C"ircle stickers to count and place.

I printed off Hazel a Cc page for her to decorate with a tiny C stamp and some more Circle Stickers and let her have at it.

After going through our education room in preparation for our Yard Sale and Move, I found that I have a slight workbook buying problem. ;-) So we decided to do a couple of pages. I think we will do 1-2 a day if she feels up to it.
Of course we had to go to the Zoo and see a big Cat! Not really in the plan, but it worked out cool as we practiced the "Cuh Cuh Cat" For the sound of C.

For St. Patrick's Day I totally left the house without my camera, but so that I can have a place to come back to and remember the cool stuff we did.

Traced and decorated out names on green paper,
Looked at the globe to see where Ireland was in relationship to Florida (pretended to fly and swim to get there)
Looked at some pictures Hazel's Aunt and Uncle sent her to show off about Ireland
Talked about the clover and its significance to St. Patrick's Day
Made rainbow clovers out of coffee filters (ended up one big mess)
Clover rubbings
Counting with out Lucky Charms
Made Lucky Larry Leprechaun Pudding ( and found out that instant pudding isn't so instant in the world of a 3yr old)
Read Stories and patterned our chocolate gold
Center time had a counting green stones, books on Ireland, and a sensory bucket full of split peas and white beans.

Man! I am tired after all of that! This coming week will be short as well since Jakob is out of school early each day for testing and I have practicum hours to perform before the hubby ships off again. have a great week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We have Orders!!!

My hubby received news on Monday that we are moving to Rhode Island! I am so happy because this was his first choice and it's gonna be a very important step for him. He will be officially "in charge" of an aspect of a station. The technical term is EPO..... because the military doesn't use words like "manager" and such, that's too much like civilian terms for them ;-)

We are super excited to get the chance to live in such a beautiful place that is so full of history and culture. I am especially excited to check out the libraries and local theaters! Yeah I know I'm a dork, but that's ok. We are still unsure of the living situations but that comes with time. The big issue right now is the fact that they want him up there May 1st!! Hazel has a surgery scheduled for April 30th so it looks like I will be managing the move by myself. We have already decided that the kids and I will take our time and visit family along the way up taking about a month to get up to Rhode Island. Hopefully this will give us enough time to find a place to live on the economy, and give Mike enough time to get acclimated to his new job and its demands without me tapping my foot asking him when he's gona be home. Not that I have EVER done THAT! :-D

Now as a learning tool, I am hoping to give my kids a crash course in traffic sign reading. This will help as I spend some 24+ hours on the road with them in the car. We taught Jakob about reading the exit signs before and he would count up or down until we got to the exit we needed to take. This REALLY helped with the "Are we there YET?!?!" I will be using a GPS to get us there, but I am going to get some simple maps together so that they can help follow along in the car. Jakob's will be more road, exits, and landmarks. Hazels will have mostly our planned stops and pictures of where family lives along the way.

So that's what's going on so far. If anyone has any suggestions on car activities, please PLEASE, Share!! Yay!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Homeschool Blog Hop

The Theme this week is "10 Random Questions"

Ha! That's right up my alley! My whole life is RANDOM!!!

1. What time is it right now? 9:06 AM

2. What are you wearing? Workout clothes (trying to be optimistic here)

3. What is your mood? Muddled... not a morning person

4. What is one thing your children learned today? So far? That Red Paisley and Baby Poo Green Shirts will not get you out of the door in this house!

5. What did you (or are having) for dinner? last night? Sweet Potato Pizza!!

6. What's one book you are currently reading? The Big Picture: Education is Everybody's Business

7. What behaviour (in people) is the most common but also the rudest? Manipulation

8. What can you see out of your nearest window right now? My front yard

9. What are you currently praying for? The strength to say what needs to be said and not to say what doesn't

10. What is your favourite hot beverage? Coffee!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hazel School- Bb week

This week we focused on the letter "Bb". We read "We're Going on a Bear Hunt", and Hazel loved doing the hand motions along with me. Sometimes though she just likes to sit back and enjoy the show and watch mommy be silly. :-)

We finger painted B's with Blue paint. I was hoping this would translate into a writing something, but the only letter she seemed interested in actually writing this week was her H's. Notice the top right corner of her paper.

These were the books we read on the first day we did Bb stuff....
I had originally planned for her to continue building her letters and writing her Bb's like last week but she was not inclined to comply. So while Dinosaur Train was on I threw together a tray of blue goodies for her to create with. I used cut up cereal boxes for her canvas because they are sturdy, cheap, and available!

My favorite was watching her paint the bubble wrap and stamp it.
We made a Bee inspired by Jolanthe over at Totally Tots.

Thursday we had some little friends come over so their mommy could get some stuff accomplished at the office. We read Blueberries for Sal. I remember this book as a child and loved rediscovering it again with the kids. It was a bit long but I read it to them over lunch so that helped to keep them entertained a bit.

Since most kids who come to my house expect a craft I threw this one together after lunch. I took a panel of a cereal box, a wad of newspaper and some green finger paint and let the kids have at it to make their bushes.
Afterwords I gave them each a little puddle of blue finger paint and they used their fingers to make blueberries on their bushes.... for "B"!! :-)

I didn't make up any new trays this week since I was bowled over with out transfer news and spent WAY too much time researching and stressing over that. I am working on incorporating other formal things in our week other than letters, but am having difficulties with what I WANT and what SHE NEEDS. Like I had said in a previous post, I don't want to "educate the joy out of learning" for my kids, so I will give her little bits at a time and see if shes ready.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Transfer Season

As a military wife I know that wherever we are is home and that locations change but the heart stays the same.

All of that sounds nice and peaceful, until you are given two hours to decide the next four years of your life. Yeah that's right, we are moving. Where? When? Not really sure. The locations have been narrowed down to 3 and we are looking at Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Although this is welcomed news, I have been a little stressed about having to comply with different state laws concerning homeschooling. I am 99% sure that this will be a permanent decision for us through middle school, but here in Florida we have it pretty easy. I was looking up different laws and stuff and some of the hoops are a little "different". Like did you know that you have to produce an up to date vaccine card in order to homeschool in Tennessee? This wouldn't affect Jakob as much since he is current, but we are taking a bit more delayed approach with Hazel because of some questionable issues that have occurred with Jakob.

All in all I am thrilled with the choices that we have. They could have been A LOT worse. And each location has it's own educational value. I have however spent the past two days researching different curriculum since some of those states require it. Oh the Joys. Like I said that's one of the really cool things about Florida is that their homeschool laws are pretty open. this is really appealing to someone like me who is A. starting out int he homeschool world, and B. doesn't really do well with a whole lot of restrictive rules to follow. Yeah I'm my mother's child, a rebel to the core! :-P Anyways! We are all excited here and can't wait to find out the news! I will post my "decisions" on next year's curriculum after we know a location. In the meantime if anyone has a math curriculum that really speaks to them, feel free to share the info! That is the only area I am terrified of!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Style

This weeks theme at Home School Blog Hopper is "My Homeschooling Style".

Oh My! What is my style? I would have to say that my style of homeschooling is always "Under Construction". I like to pull from various theories on teaching to suit both of my kid's needs. I tend to flip flop around from time to time but mainly I like to start with what my children are interested in and build from there. We make lapbooks, crafts, play games, and occasionally work in workbooks. The theme is to try you best and be happy with you best while striving to learn more. This is very important to me because I have a son who is a perfectionist and a daughter that is the world's biggest copy cat. Jakob becomes very frustrated with the idea that something is graded because he equates grades with acceptance. This is why we are pulling him out of school for next year. Hazel on the other hand copies everything we say or do right down to her brother's defeatest attitude. While I am aware that this will happen this makes it all the more important for my children to focus on the process instead of the outcome.

This is why I follow their lead as to base topics to cover and then whenever they don't seem to be giving me anything I try to offer various tidbits to see if they bite. Then we finish exploring that avenue and move onto another (first their choice and then mine). Now I do look at state standards to see the things that they would have my kids learning and try to fit them into whatever topics we are discussing. This seems to have the most positive affect and also appeases states that may have stricter homeschooling laws.

So that's it my style. Not too specific huh? Well thats what we are, none too specific, laid back kinda going with the flow. Somedays it works better than others, Sometimes I question my methods but all in all my kids are happy healthy learners and that's my goal.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hazel School- "A" Week

This week we started with the letter "Aa". We started out reading "The Lady with the Alligator Purse". Hazel took much pleasure in making me sing it over and over again. the beauty of it though was that afterwords she was able to "read" me the story. :-)
Our capital letter A craft was an Alligator that I found over at Totally Tots. I set up the paper with the intention that she could cut the teeth out, but apparently Mom was a big over estimating. She cut wonderfully but we haven't worked much with cutting on a line and zigzags were not the thing to start with.
This is how I had the tray set up. She was so excited to see glue and googly eyes! I must break these out more often!
Here is the finished product which is proudly displayed on a makeshift line in our "learning room".
Next we "built" and A from a template I found at Tired Need Sleep. I love it because it gives me the ability to try out the Handwriting Without Tears method before purchasing it. I think for next year I will do the workbooks....maybe.

As part of her trays this week we experimented with tweezers and pom poms. She really liked this and came back to it many times this week. It's funny how some fine motor skills are so simple for her while others are more difficult.

I found this beading set at the Dollar Store! I just know I had found the ultimate deal. Unfortunately you get what you pay for. The wooden beads on the inside are rough and catch the shoe lace making it very difficult to thread. Luckily I have a friend who's hubby is handy with the wood tools and it gonna attempt to sand it out for us. :-)

Writing was big this week. I have made printables from Kid Zone and stuck them in page protectors so that she can practice her writing. I have given her no formal instruction on writing but she sees her brother and I write so much that she is super eager to learn. I go back and forth as to whether or not to encourage this. She just turned three in January, but as of right now I will just let her lead me and try not to get too excited and push her.

Our Second Day we read "Ten Red Apples". It's a wonderful counting book and it was so exciting to see Hazel begin to grasp the idea of one to one counting. Afterwords we built and Apple Tanagram puzzle found at Totally Tots. She seemed to enjoy the exercise but became frustrated because the pieces wouldn't stay put. After I put it in a page protector she seemed to work a bit better with it. I am trying to hold off on a laminator until I just can't take it anymore.

This day I really wanted to show her the Upper and Lowercase A, so I had her use her fingers and print all over the Uppercase and Lowercase A. Then we made Apple prints on the page by using a carrot and cutting a little wedge in the edge. I found the stamp pads at the Dollar Store (which totally ROCKS!).

Here she is adding stems to her apples. I only showed her like once or twice and she immediately grabbed the marker from me and said "I can do it myself!" This seems to be a reoccuring theme here lately.

Of course who could resist stamping all over one's self with red ink?!

I'm sure we did tons of other learning things this week that I just have forgotten or didn't get a picture of. Next week B!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So how far down the rabbit hole do I really want to go?

Ok so obviously I have a slight obsession with blog hopping. There are so many ideas out there that I just want them all. I have page after page of academic things that I want to try out with my daughter. She is so naturally intelligent I just wanna see how much she can really do. And that's the problem.

I made this revelation today as I was hopelessly not staying on task of finishing a class paper due this weekend. I hopped around a couple of blogs and found this Waldorf one. My first reaction was, "There's a lot of fairies, acorns, and leaves here. Weird." LOL I left it alone for a couple of hours and then curiosity got the better of me. I hopped on a Googgled Waldorf.

To be honest I was really confused, intrigued, intimidated by the whole scene. I do not feel as though I am a crafty person by nature. Mainly because I have never made it a point to work at it. I use to draw, write, paint, and sew when I was younger but hey who has time for that now right? I miss it I want to be able to make gifts and be proud of them. And this is what I saw in the pictures, homemade loving inspirations that the children just adored. I almost wrote it off to, "Maybe when I have grandkids I'll have the time" when I happened upon an article comparing Montessori and Waldorf. One of the statements in their really hit me. It basically said that Montessori focuses on teaching the nuts and bolts while Waldorf encouraged the exploration and imagination of learning.

Hmm. Interesting. Now I know that my son has to be presented with ideas and examples to learn from, he's not a natural explorer but a perfectionist. That's why I like Montessori methods so much. They give freedom to choose the subjects I lay out for him. One set back to all of this academic focus is that I feel that my children lack in the imagination department. Oh they play and have fun, but it is on a very limited scale. I feel that has a lot to do with this urge we feel to hurry up and teach, and for them to hurry up and learn.

So that got me thinking. What do I want to do now? Well I want to slow it down a bit for Hazel and I want to start exploring with both my kids the beauty and exciting experiences of creating. So far for me this means presenting a certain amount of information to go over but most importantly to make it a goal to create. To create food, art, clothing, magical places, anything! I plan on starting this project by example. I will take a set amount of time in front of my children each day (or week) to work on a craft (right now its my embroidery) in front of them so that they can see a creation coming to life. I also want to make available paint and paper for them to create. As we all grow in this adventure I hope to hone my skills enough to make the toys and the learning fun stuffies, and for my children to begin to see a world beyond a printed example. A world that they can visit in their dreams and fantasies..... And now enters the Fairies, acorns, and leaves. :-D

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

I cannot tell you how excited I was to throw an official Dr. Seuss Party today! For some reason I missed out on this event in school and really wanted to relive the moment. Ha, ha, I know I'm a kid. I invited a few of our friends over that we don't usually get to see and had a the best time. Well I did anyways. And that's all that matters right? :-)

On the menu first was every kids favorite PIZZA!! I got this idea from my Parenting magazine. It was so fun and easy!

For dessert we had a little sweet treat inspired by another blog Superheroes and Princesses Aren't they cute?

Here is a picture of the official spread. I was so proud of myself for not going too overboard. I do that quite often. :D

Every once in a while I come up with a pretty cute idea on my own. I decided to read "The Lorax" and for an activity we planted "Truffula Trees". Now this story is pretty long and has some pretty stern language in it that I did not realize until reading it in front of 5 3-4 yr olds! It was easily avoided and I had to skip quite a few pages cause the story was so long. In the end we took our Truffula Seeds that the Onceler gave us and planted them just like he said. I used newspaper in the bottom to help keep the water from streaming out for the drive home and a spray bottle for watering. Who doesn't love to play in the dirt and spray water INSIDE?!?!

As you can tell Hazel was thrilled!
And since all of that took maybe 30 minutes and it was raining outside we played a version of Twister called "Let's see how hard Ms. Allison can laugh!" It was fun, I would call out a body part and a color and they would go for it. As you can tell here it was, "Head on Green."

All in all it was a success and I finally was able to celebrate Dr. Seuss's Birthday!
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