Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Rag Coat

This week or um, a few weeks ago our book of the week was The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. Here is the School Library Journal's description of the book. Minna, a young Appalachian girl, wants very badly to attend school, but she doesn't have a coat. Her father has just died and her family cannot afford one. When a group of mothers who gather at her house regularly to make quilts hear of her predicament, they decide to help her. Minna is thrilled, but when the new coat is finished and she wears it to the one-room schoolhouse, she is teased by her classmates for wearing rags. Minna is hurt, but she eventually gains their interest when she explains that her coat is full of stories--their stories--for each scrap has come from one of their homes. The children are enthralled and sorry for their taunts. (I did that to save me some time.)

After reading the book with Zoey and discussing the different relationships in the story we found the Appalachian mountains on our world map and our USA map. I tell Zoey how we have been to these mountains and she remembered.

We expanded on the book's theme around quilts and read many, many stories about quilts. A special thank you goes out to Daddy here for reading many of these stories at night before bedtime. We also got out my box of leftover fabrics and cut out squares to make a baby doll quilt. Zoey choose all of the fabrics and decided what order to put them in. I gave her different suggestions of possible patterns but ultimately she came up with her own uniquely Zoey pattern. While I worked on sewing the quilt with the sewing machine, Zoey sewed for the first time with a needle and thread. I really didn't think it was going go too well but she really surprised me.  She made many mistakes that I had to fix but she didn't give up and was so thrilled when it was done. When she was stuffing the pillow with fiber fill Sierra woke up and had to have one too. At least it only took a few seconds on the sewing machine to make her a simple pillow that she could stuff. Now they are both thrilled!

I can't figure out how to flip this, sorry.
Of course, they both couldn't wait to glue the scraps of fabric too.

Zoey has done this with every sewing project I do. She stands by the table to collect anything I classify as garbage. This time Sierra is able to join in now that she can glue too.

On Art day we had a discussion about the viewpoint of the book on the page where the two children are sitting in the corner of the room looking scared. Why did the artist choose to make them look so small against the very large adults? We also discussed their facial expressions throughout the book. Were they happy, sad, angry? Then we got out the paints. We had also discussed how the colors of the book are warm colors and so I let Zoey paint with just a few colors to see how it maybe changed her mood or what she chose to paint. When Sierra woke up and saw paints out she couldn't wait to get in on this. I added more colors and they painted for a very long time. They did not like it when I made them stop so I could run to the grocery store.

For math day we explored our tangrams and looked at the shapes in quilt patterns. I should of done more with the tangrams but I just ran out of time. I had cut out the shapes for the quilt pattern Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, the pattern showed in the book, out of material. The girls put the pieces of fabric on the carpet and I showed them how to make the pattern. Zoey liked taking it apart and putting it back together by herself.

In the book, Minna's father was a coal miner so we also had a few books about about coal mining this week. Zoey was not very interested. I wasn't surprised. All of that changed when we became coal miners. I taped flashlights onto bicycle helmets and we pretended to be coal miners. There were cave ins but we all got out alive. This was by far Zoey and Sierra's favorite thing we did. They were especially thrilled when I let them do it again at night time and turn all the lights in the house off. Sierra had to use Mat's bicycle helmet so it kept sliding off. She didn't give up though. The pictures didn't come out too great because they were on the move the whole time.
The next day they wanted to play coal miners again at night time. They were so excited when I let them take their gear in the car when we went to go pick up the pizza for dinner. I would not let them have the flashlights on while I was driving but said they could have them on when I went in to get the pizza. I was watching the van from inside Papa Johns and all I could see was these two flashlights shining all over the inside of the van. I just had to laugh.

We had so many things to do this week spilled over into the next. It was worth taking two weeks to explore this book and it game me time to finish the quilt.

Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Pair of Red Clogs

We were off to Japan for our adventure with A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno.  This is a story about a grandmother who remembers when she was a young girl and got a new pair of red clogs. She was so proud of them until she got a crack in one of them. She then decides to trick her mother by getting them muddy so that she can get a new pair. She realized that it is not right to trick her mother and will never do it again. A Pair of Red Clogs is a very sweet story. It was nice too because the story was short enough that Sierra could sit and listen to the whole story.

We started off the week like we always do with a story disk and found Japan on the map. We learned what and island is and noticed how close Japan is to China. Zoey remembered China from when we did The Story about Ping.  We had a discussion about lying and dishonesty. Then we looked at the things in the book that were different than how we live. We found so many interesting things. Later, Zoey wore my bathrobe as a Kimono and bowed to me. I had to bow too. She put on her flip flops and said they were her clogs. She came up with that on her own. Once again anything that had to do with pretend Zoey loved.

We had vocabulary on Tuesday and since then Zoey has been using the word perfectly often. I told her to ask her Poppy about lacquer. It may not be the same kind but I am sure he could show her something similar. We also discussed what reminiscing is and how the author used that method of storytelling.

Next we noticed how all of the pages had yellow on them except where the grandmother is not talking about the past. We discussed how this unity made the story better.  Then we used some examples of stick figures in the Five in a Row book and compared them to the people in the story. We looked to see if we could find the people they were drawn from. I showed Zoey how you can start with a stick figure and add to it to make a whole person. She pretty much already does this so she didn't seem to care to much. lol

Counting clogs! We counted all of the clogs in the whole book. There were over 100 clogs! I had to help with this one since Zoey stalls out in the 40's right now,  48, 49, 40, 41, 42... 

We also started a weather chart this week. We are tracking the temperatures and weather conditions. We are a bit behind this right now. Maybe we can catch up today. Zoey wants snow so badly.

Over all this was a great week. Zoey is moving right along with her letters, numbers and other work too. Right now she likes dot to dots and mazes better than anything else. Sierra is just tagging along and loving coloring is Zoey's old workbooks.

I almost forgot, we also played store. We didn't shop for clogs though. We pretended grocery store and used play money. Both of the girls really got into this.

One idea in the manual was to eat a meal at sitting on pillows at a low table. Tonight we finally had a chance to do this. It went so well. Both of the girls ate much better than they usually do. I used a diaper box for the table with a pillow case for the table cloth. It went so well we may try this again. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dinosaurs and Volcanoes

Recently we spent two weeks exploring the world of dinosaurs and volcanoes. Zoey requested this so I really wanted to see what we could learn together. The curriculum Five in a Row that we are using this year does not have any lesson plans for dinosaurs or volcanoes so I was on my own with this one. I got a TON of books from the library and even a DVD for children about volcanoes. So our journey began.

We read book after book after book, fiction and non-fiction. Lately Zoey has been only wanting to hear stories and does not want anything to do with non-fiction but when it came to these subjects she was all ears, especially with the volcano books. There was an especially good book that was titled You Wouldn't Want to Live in Pompeii by John Malam. This combined telling a story but taught many things about volcanoes too. Here is a link to the book, Click here. 

Some other fun things we did were to make dinosaur fossils and dinosaur eggs which we later painted.

The girls were really concentrating when painting the dinosaur eggs and they came out pretty cute. We did the dinosaur and volcano unit for two weeks and Zoey is still asking for more books on the subjects. Guess she really knows what she wants to learn about.

Thanks as always for reading. I hope you enjoy sharing our adventures with us.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

I am behind on sharing our adventures with all of you but I am determined to catch up. So here we go..

A few weeks ago our book of the week was How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World written and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. I decided when planning this week that I was going to keep it simple, only plan activities from the Five in a Row manual. I would not add any extra activities that I found on the Five in a Row message boards or plan a lapbook. Zoey and I are enjoying the lapbooks and extra activities but I thought we were ready for a week of simplicity. I was right.

We started off the week by finding all of the countries visited in the book to gather the ingredients for an apple pie. We found Italy, France (second time for France since we already found it in Madeline,) Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica, and also the state of Vermont. I had books for most of these places and as usual Zoey had no interest. That was until she saw me looking at them. We looked at all of the pictures and she wanted to know what they were all about. We also put story disks on the world map to mark all of the places the book took us. Our map is getting quite full. Especially since Sierra had to add to story disks to the map herself. That week Sierra was in love with the book Two Crazy Pigs and so I gave her two circles to color and she chose where to put them. Apparently the pigs in the book are from the Saudi Arabia and Russia. It is great that she wants to join in everything we do. It is also great that she takes a nap so Zoey and I can do things just the two of us. Or so Mommy can take a quick nap while catches up on a TV show.

Tuesday was a busy day. Before we read the story we went over some vocabulary words. I asked Zoey to listen for the words; ingredients, superb, locate, elegant, coax, persuade, native, and plantation. I told her the definitions for the words and we started reading the book. She was so excited every time she heard one of the words. She found almost all of them while we read. Going forward, she has used superb and elegant in her own speech. When we were done reading we looked through the book to find all the funny things we could find either in the pictures or in the words. The cow going skydiving was my favorite part. Zoey said her favorite part was everything. Sierra said, "going." I have no idea what she is referring to. The last thing we did was to pantomime the actions near the end of the story. We ground wheat into flour, milked the cow, churned butter, just to name a few.

Art day did not go as planned. I had planned to draw street scenes like in the book but Zoey wanted nothing to do with it. Oh well, no big deal. We did discuss the contrast in the colors used in the book but I think that went over her head. We did some subtraction with apples and then that led to playing games with the fruit manipulatives that we have.

On Friday we started off the day with a science experiment. We made salt water and we were supposed to leave it out for who knows how long to let the water evaporate and discover we only had salt left. Zoey did have fun sticking her finger in the water and writing on the sidewalk. We watched that water evaporate. Well we waited days and that water never went away so I poured it out. Later on Friday we went shopping to buy everything for the apple pie. I wanted to make it more fun so we pretended that we were going around the world while at the store to get all of our ingredients.  I started off by saying, "Oh no the market is closed." The book starts that way. Well, Sierra kept saying it too the whole time we were in the store "traveling the world." It was so funny. For days after that Sierra would say, "Oh no maket cosed" when we went to the store. Zoey completely and totally got into pretending to travel the world while at the store. She just said to me right now, "Remember when we went the store and pretended it was the world and then we came back home?" We didn't have time that day to make our pie so we did it on Monday. This was a good thing because my Mom was able to come over and help. We had a good time but I will say this. I am never making an apple pie again and THANK YOU to my Mom for helping. Ugh, pie crust!

The one thing that I did add into this week was salt sculptures. Mom got me some baby food jars and I had a container of salt I wanted used up. I gave Zoey sidewalk chalk and a bowl of salt and showed her how to color the salt. They came out really pretty. Zoey could wait to shake hers up. It took all I had in me to let her do it. Sierra woke up from nap and did one too. I wasn't sure if she would be able to do it or not but she did great.

The weather also was very nice this week. We had plenty of days to go outside and play. Zoey loves riding her new bike Poppy got for her and Sierra just loves to run and hop. The leaf color this week is the best this week and the girls continue to collect them. I even pulled the van over in a parking lot to pick some very bright red leaves. I hope you enjoyed this weeks review. Hopefully I will be caught up soon. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Autumn Treasures

We took two weeks to enjoy this until study. We also used some of this time to finish up our lapbook about Lentil. Zoey wants me to film her talking about it and share it with everybody.  The bad thing about waiting this long to share what we did is I have forgotten most of what we did. The good part is I can tell you what Zoey really did learn because of what she talks about after we are done with the subject.  Anyways, let's get to the fun that we had.

We watched some short videos from YouTube that showed fall colors. Both girls loved this and were mesmerized by them. We went on a nature walk to gather leaves but it was sprinkling so we got our rain gear on. We walked all over the yard looking for different kinds of leaves so that we could identify them later.

We found on the calendar when the first day of Fall was and when the last day of Fall will be. Zoey tells me she is ready for winter because she wants it to snow. She would also like me to give her the exact date she can expect it to snow here. I'll work on that.

On day two we learned why leaves change colors and where they change colors. When I tried to show Zoey on the map where leaves changed colors she was not interested. Then weeks later I overheard her tell Mat how leaves don't change color everywhere. She added that they don't change color in Egypt.  I don't remember mentioning Egypt but I guess I did. I laugh that I learn something and remember it for a week, at best. Zoey or Sierra learn something and they never forget it. On this day we also learned about how nuts, acorns and other seeds are spread. We also have been doing leaf rubbings and leaf art. With some of the links provided in the study we are able to identify all of our leaves. Zoey recognizes the sycamore leaf everywhere we go now.

Next we learn about Johnny Appleseed. I found a great book at Zoey's level to read to her about him. This lead to learning about the different stages an apple tree goes through and lots of stuff about apples.

After this we learned about what animals do to get ready for the winter. We learned which animals migrate, which animals hibernate, and what other animals do. This worked out so nicely since there has been a squirrel burying nuts in our backyard. We talked about why they have to prepare for the winter. Zoey has talked about this so much since we studied this. One day while talking to my mom on the phone she was looking out into the back yard. She said, "I am just watching the birds. They are not hibernating." We also watched some short videos about the monarch butterfly and how they migrate to a small wooded area in Mexico.

On our last day we learned about pop corn and candy corn. This was so fun. We popped popcorn on the stove after watching a slow-motion video of popcorn popping. That was so neat. The girls sat on the counter opposite of the stove waiting for the kernel of corn they put in to pop. Then I filled up the pan and we listened to the popping. The girls laughed and laughed. We also watched a video of how candy corn is made. I was surprised how interested they were in that one. Weeks later we were sitting in the living room and Zoey starts banging into the couch and making an odd noise. She says she is making corn. I am confused for a bit then I ask her if she means candy corn. Yes that is it! She was so funny pretending to be a machine. We watched Toy Story 3 while we ate the popcorn and candy corn. What a great way to end our study. We had a great time and the girls are still collecting leaves, identifying them, and so much more.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rule of two....bananas

A very long time ago, way before Zoey was born, Mat and I noticed something about bananas at our house. No matter how many we would buy we would always have two left over. Buy 10, 2 left over. Buy 5, 2 left over. Sometimes I would tell Mat, "Maybe we should just buy two bananas and throw them away. This seemed to continue well after Zoey and Sierra came into our lives until sometime in the last year. Now we always run out of bananas. If either of the girls wants one the other automatically wants one too. So we buy bananas all the time, making note of how they were less expensive in Florida. So what is my point to this story you ask? Well yesterday we had two very brown bananas. It made me think about the rule of twos with bananas. We have changed so much as a family, the biggest being my two little banana eaters. So instead of throwing the brown bananas away I invited my two little banana eaters to help me make banana bread. I told them how daddy loves banana bread and this would be a nice surprise for him. We love cooking together. It is hard to take turns but I have got to learn to share eventually, right? The banana bread was excellent. Sierra loved it. Zoey said it was so-so. I loved it. Mat was pleasantly surprised and loved it too. Thank you to my two little banana eating assistants.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to basics week

This last week we did not have a book of the week. Having a Girl Party on Saturday to plan for was enough to keep us busy with our extra time. We worked on the three R's and read many books each day. This week we are going to do a until study of Autumn with Download N Go.  Download N Go is something that I found online this summer and I have been so excited to use it. This upcoming week should be perfect week for a study of Autumn. The leaves are a bit late in changing this year but they are right on the edge of changing.  On our drive home from the Kingdom Hall today we notices some of the trees that change first had beautiful yellow leaves on them. I just tucked Zoey into bed and she is excited about the upcoming week too. It will be interesting to try something new. We will go back to the Book of the Week when we complete this study and our next book will go right along with this theme.

I will upload pictures of the party as soon as I can. It went really well. The activities I had planned went great and the timing of everything couldn't of been any better. I am glad I didn't plan anymore activities because what I had was just right. One thing that was good and bad at the same time was that by the end of the day Zoey had a stomach ache. It is bad that she had one because of all of the junk food but I thought it was good because it shows that her body isn't used to that. I guess I do a good job of feeding them mostly health foods. Her upset stomach didn't last long and maybe next time I will add more fruits to the table instead of chips but hey it was their first Girl Party. Or Gul Poddy as Sierra would say.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Lentil turned out to be an unexpected surprise. I didn't think Zoey was going to enjoy this book too much for some reason but she and I both really got into it. The story is about a boy, Lentil, who sings badly and cannot whistle because he can't pucker. He buys a harmonica and becomes and excellent at playing it. When the town celebration is almost ruined because of Old Steep sucking on a lemon, Lentil plays his harmonica and saves the day.

Because of so many other things going on we spread out the activities over two weeks. We started off by putting our story disk on Ohio and looking at some books about Ohio. Then we discussed how the character Steep was disagreeable but had a change of heart by the end of the story. For language arts we discussed elements of a good story. Zoey was not interested in this and plugged her ears while I was talking. I ignored her and she ended up asking me questions about it. She is stinker for sure. For art we tried something new, charcoal! I was very surprised how well Zoey did. I was expecting a mess so we used it in the garage.

Later we cut up a banana to discuss fractions. The lesson also suggested pointing out the illustrations in the book of music notes. Zoey didn't even give me a chance before she started talking about whole notes and so on. Wish I knew something about reading music. I think I will look for a basic book at the library. Maybe Zoey could teach me. For science we cut up a lemon and did a taste test. What an easy way to learn what sour is.

We talked about taste buds and made lemon-aid! We also made lemon chicken. I really liked it. Mat and Zoey were so-so about it and Sierra, meat are you kidding me! We also acted out the story once we found our harmonica. Zoey likes to act out the story if at all possible but I don't think we have done it since Ping.

In addition to this we continue to work on letter sounds, numbers, following directions and practice writing. Sometimes we just dig in the dirt.

One more picture just for fun. Zoey can really put together some interesting outfits....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Life happens sometimes

Grandparents, doctor appointments, gymnastics, and a picnic all happened this week so not much of our planned activities for the book Lentil did. Last week's leftovers become this week's lesson plans. Works for me. What our week did contain was lots of fun with lots of people. Monday we spent most of the day at Grandma (Gunk Gunk) and Poppy's house. Mat was working late so we stayed for dinner. Zoey loved digging in the dirt. She added acorns and other stuff to make a mud pie, yummy. Sierra did some digging and acorn gathering but she mostly liked to be on the swing. As long as I would push her she would stay. Wednesday Grandma Uram was here to visit. Zoey was so glad to show her and Valerie how she could ride her new bike! Thursday the girls had their well check ups. Poor Sierra had to get two shots, ouch! She saw the spots where the shots were later that day and called them dots. She said dots gone. She wanted to spots to be gone. I think she thought if they were gone it would not hurt anymore. Friday Zoey started her new gymnastics class. She said it was great, two thumbs up. After that we went to a nearby park and met with a group of other homeschoolers. We had lunch and played at the park until almost 2:00. Ahhh, the weekend is here now. Football is getting ready to start, yeah!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How things change...week three review.

About a year ago I checked out the book Madeline from the library. Zoey did not like it. No big deal. When we started the Five in a Row curriculum I knew it was one of the books and wondered if I should do it or not. I decided to do it and just see what would happen. Well Zoey LOVED it. She loved the book, the activities, the character Madeline and we had a great week. Ugh well I will have to come back and finish this later...

Ah back now. It is the next day now let me see if I can finish this now.

We started off the week with finding France on the world map and reviewing the previous countries we have studied. I must use the word "studied" very loosely. I have books from the library about the country or US state and I attempt to get Zoey interested. She is somewhat interested but generally does not want to look at those books. I, however, am enjoying these books. lol Great pictures and fun information. The fun thing about this so far has been seeing what she wants to learn about and what she doesn't. This summer I would never of guessed that she would of gotten so interested in dead trees. She still finds dead trees and wants to talk about them, how they died, what is living in them, how long they have been there, ect. Anyways, she does love finding the place on the map that we are looking for. Sierra loves doing it too.

This week we had rainy days so one day I decided to set paints up in the garage with long pieces of paper to paint on. I figured they could run around in the garage when they were done. What a nice surprise when they were done painting it was done raining and they got to play outside! Sierra got very creative with the paints she got some in Zoey's hair and on the back of her skirt. I think they just bumped into each other. The last time we used paintbrushes outside we were painting on the driveway with homemade sidewalk paint so Sierra kept trying to take the brushes out of the garage. Zoey painted people and animals. There were detailed stories to go with each of her pictures too. The only thing I can remember is one of them was Amy and Emma walking her dog.

Zoey loved the vocabulary words again. We have done three words each week and she immediatly uses two of them in her play and conversations. I didn't think she would like it at all but she keeps surprising me.  We lined up 12 bear counters in two lines then three lines and so on. Many different ways to divide up 12. Friday we had a wonderful time at a playground we had not been to before. I love having a picnic lunch at the park because there is almost no clean up. We finished the week by cooking a French dish for dinner.

We made quiche and the girls loved helping. Zoey was thrilled to get to crack the eggs, she did great, and only got one small piece of egg shell in the bowl. She was even more excited to use the blender. :-) While they both loved helping with making the dinner they did not like the quiche too much. Sierra said, "Nope," when I asked her if she liked it. Zoey said she liked it a little. The loved the French fruit platter that we had along with it. We also learned how to count in French this week. Zoey mixed it up with Spanish. It sounded pretty funny.

I must also add that I started and restared this post so many times. I actually finished it this morning only to have all that I added disappear. So if is choppy I am sorry.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Everyone is learning something

This morning as Zoey looked over the new "Book of the Week," Madeline, Sierra is holding up the book from last week, Storm in the Night. She starts telling me something and I can't understand her as usual so I just nod and say, "Uh, huh." She gets my attention again and says, "booadaweee!" I think for a second or two longer as she keeps saying it then it dawns on me. I ask her, "Are you trying to tell me that is the book of the week?" She lights up and says, "Yes." Big smiles on both of our faces. She gets it too even though she is just two. :-)

Zoey told me this morning that we forgot to do school yesterday. I explained that we don't have to do school on Sundays but I was so happy to hear that she was missing it. When I showed her the new book of the week she was so happy. She is very excited about Madeline and said she likes the book so much more than Storm in the Night. Funny girl. Later when we were looking at library books she got Storm in the Night and Madeline and starts to look for The Story of Ping (ok I am sick of underlining titles). I asked her if she wants to keep all of the book of the week books together and she said yes. She started to carry them around like they were treasure. I guess I am giving her a love of literacy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Storm in the Night

The story of the week was Storm in the Night.This book is excellent. It is a longer story that Zoey is used to but she still loved it. I knew this story would intrigue her because this summer when ever we got thunderstorms she was so amazed and terrified at the same time. This story does not take place in a specific place so we chose Florida. It is the place where most of the lightening storms in the US happen so it was a good choice. On Monday we put our story disk on Florida. I told Zoey she could put it anywhere on Florida that she wanted. She said, "I want to put it where Aunt Debby lives." Awwww. We talked about fear and emotions. The boy in the story said he is not afraid of anything but we think maybe he is not telling the truth. We spoke some about the relationship in the book between the grandfather and the boy. When we went outside we looked and looked for clouds and finally found two little clouds. We will study clouds all week.

Tuesday - Vocabulary, something new for us. I wrote three words from the book with definition and small pictures on small cards. We spoke about the words and what they meant and then listened for them in the book. Zoey didn't seem too interested but I kept hearing her use two of the three words in her play for the rest of the week. That was neat. On of the words was errand. She kept telling Sierra to go on an errand. Sierra just does what any two year old would do. NO! I also showed her what quotation marks are and we spoke about settings and scenes in books.

Wednesday is art. Zoey's favorite. We looked at some of the faces in the book and noticed how their eyes were looking different directions. We tried this ourselves and enjoyed making faces look different ways.

Thursday I gave Zoey scrap material cut into triangles to glue down to cardboard to make her own quilt design. She made a story to go along with it too. We also spoke about the first day of fall and did leaf rubbings. I have a picture of this I will have to put up later.

Friday we went to the festival in the park. It was so much fun until we all got too tired and hungry and had to leave. Sierra and Zoey road every ride they were tall enough for even the Ferris wheel. Sierra was not afraid at all! I told the girls I was the one who was afraid on the Ferris wheel. I am a chicken. When we came home we read more library books about thunderstorms and clouds. We are trying to learn the names of the different types of the clouds but mommy has too much mommy brain and can't ever remember.

Well, sorry this wasn't as exciting as last week. I will have to try to remember better some of the funny moments. I will try to get some pictures up too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall is here

Yes the calendar says that fall is here but the weather did not magically change overnight. Zoey has been asking for weeks, if not months, when fall would be here. So finally yesterday was the first day of fall and she was so disappointed that she did not need to wear longs sleeves and pants. I have been explaining to her that the weather does not instantly change and why a date on the calendar is chosen as the first day of fall. She just didn't believe me. I asked her if she wanted to draw a picture of what she likes about fall and she said she was going to draw a picture of snow. LOL! This gets to the heart of the matter. She wants to play in the snow. So now I explained that it almost never snows in the fall here in Charlotte, NC. She will not give up hope. You have to love that about children. They have a dream and they are sticking with it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


It seems as if I am wasting my time with plates and our kitchen table. I am thinking I should just throw the food out on the back patio and let the girls at it. I feel this way ofter right after lunch or dinner. They can't seem to keep the food on the plates as if plates are just a suggestion. Then there is the floor. Sometimes I wonder if anything made it into their mouths at all. The problem is playtime does not stop when mealtime starts and every goofy thing Zoey does Sierra copies.

Oh well. They are only two and five. It really isn't that bad. It is just no fun to clean it up all the time. Lately I have been telling them keep your food on your plate and it seems to be helping. I guess in their minds the table is just an extension of their plate. And you know how once a child had decided they don't want something it MUST be removed from their plate. I guess it becomes poison, hmmm? Well, I am ever so thankful for the nights that Mat cleans up the kitchen, table, floor, chairs ect... Thanks honey. Love ya!

I must add, I am also thankful for the times my parents feed my children at their house. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Monday, September 20, 2010

We are almost there...

This entry got lost somehow and never posted, well here it is few weeks late....

On Monday we start school. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I know I have over planned for the first week but anything that doesn't get done will just shift to the week after. I wish I had more time this weekend to get things set up but instead Mat and I will be going away. I am very excited about this. We will be going without the girls. So much to do, so little time. More later....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One week down, 511 to go...

Our first week of home school is over and it mostly went great. I only had one student drop out but she re-enrolled later that same day so I don't think it will hurt my stats. I am going to 100% graduation rate here.

The week started out great. Zoey woke up just as I was finishing decorating the dining room / play room / school room. She was sooo excited. Sierra was still sleeping so we got to enjoy some time just the two of us. She unpacked her bag of school goodies which also had a few surprises. One of them was her very own package of Tic Tac's, the candy. She and Sierra love them and she had been asking for her own. It was a BIG hit. I also got her a Leapfrog DVD called Letter Factory. Both of the girls love it and they are learning something so I don't feel too bad about them watching it. 

The school day starts at 9 am so that we have time for breakfast and a few chores. We had so much to do on the first day I just couldn't wait to get started. I took a first day of school picture.

We start of the day with the Daily Text and then went right for the new workbooks. Zoey was so ready to do them. She just didn't want to stop doing them. After some math, phonics, and writing practice we were off to outside play. Thankfully it has cooled down some here in the mornings so we could enjoy ourselves. We looked for signs that summer is ending. We found some leaves turning yellow and a few other things but the funniest thing to me was what Zoey was looking for. She wanted to find some animals getting ready to hibernate. I thought that was pretty cute.

After we came inside and had snack we started with our Book of the Week. This is taken from Five in a Row curriculum. This week's book is The Story About Ping. We will read the story every day, five days in a row and then do activities that teach different subjects.

Today is Monday so after we read the book we do a social studies activity. Zoey colors the story disk (round circle with a duck on it) and we find China on a world map. We find the river that the story takes place at, the Yangtze river. We learn that the Yangtze river is 4,000 feet long, is so wide in some places that you can't see the other side of it if you stand on the banks of one side and one in three people in China live on or next to it. OK so maybe I am learning more than Zoey - at least about China. 

Then we weighed and measured everyone. Well not me, just the students. Next we made hand prints and footprints. Zoey and Sierra thought it was so funny to have me put ink on their feet and then wash them in the sink. At some point Zoey also colored a small map of China and wrote the word China. She loves coping words. Mommy is getting pretty exhausted by this point and it is time to make lunch so they get to watch the new Leapfrog DVD Letter Factory.

Once Sierra is down for a nap Zoey and I read for a while. Daddy is home early and takes Zoey grocery shopping so Mommy can have a short break, shew! Later that day Zoey and I work one more thing. It is the manipulative of the week. I have had this manipulative set for a long time and Zoey and Sierra do play with them frequently but now we are going to focus on one set a week. This week's set was color cubes. Zoey and I really enjoyed the activities I had planed like measuring how many cubes long something was. Doing it at Sierra's naptime gave up quiet time to concentrate too.

Shown here with the highly valued Tic-Tacs
I was not sure how the manipulative of the week would go. I am glad we did it and I will continue to add it to our lesson plans. While there is value in workbooks I still strongly believe in hands on learning.

Tuesday started pretty much the same although Zoey and I were much calmer. Sierra is still trying to figure out where she fits into all of this. She loved walking to the pond to feed the geese. Of course none of the ducks would show up since that is what we are studying. The huge carp fish were the most entertaining. I didn't think we were ever gong to make it out the door to even get to the pond in the first place. Zoey demanded that we just play in the front yard and NOT go for a walk. Then she wouldn't put her socks on and so on. She finally ended up wearing socks and flip flops. It wouldn't be my choice but at least she had something on her feet. In the mist of her fit she said she would not be doing home school anymore!!! I ignored her. Drama queen.

For our Story of the Week we took on language arts. We discussed what a classic story is, what a fictional story is, and the repetition in the story. We did other stuff this day but I can't remember what anymore. We had to go to the grocery store and that ate up some time. Guess I better make a better list for Daddy next time.

Wednesday morning we had to go to the dentist. It takes 45 just to get there so by the time we got home I had to make lunch. We managed to get all of our school work done after lunch while Sierra napped. Wednesday is Art for the Book of the Week. We looked at the artwork in the book then experimented with our own colored pencil drawings. Zoey did some excellent artwork. Then we discussed how to draw water and motion in water. For example lines behind a duck to show movement. Then Zoey wanted to try the new paints we got last week. Just regular tempra paints, but new!

She painted Ping walking up to the boat and tried to make rose colored sun with ALL of the colors. Sierra had a blast painting when she woke up and had a lovely fit when I made her stop. The paper could only hold so much.

Back to the morning schedule on Thursday except morning outside play time was extended due to beautiful weather. We had a picnic snack outside. Everybody loved this. Thursday's Book of the Week subject is applied math. We counted how many ducks in Ping's family (48) using the color cubes. At some point during the day I traced the girls bodies on easel paper taped together to make it wide enough and they colored them. This is Zoey's. You will have to wait until I upload September's pictures to Shutterfly to see Sierra's.

I have Friday's planned to be light so that we can make up anything we missed and just have a break. We did get to work on something new though. Draw, Write, Now books are the coolest things. It shows how to draw something (we did the chicken) and has a few sentences to copy to go along with it. Zoey really went whole hog for this. I couldn't believe how she stayed in the lines for her writing. I didn't expect her to but she did. She doesn't have much, if any,  spacing between her words but that is ok. That just tells me more about how she is seeing text right now. We did the Book of the Week next. Friday - science. We did a sink or float experiment. We collected items from a list and then predicted if they would sink or float. Sierra made a huge splash with the can she put it. Next we took books back to the library and played at the park. We had a picnic lunch there and of course everybody loved it. Once back home we learned more about Ducks from our library books and worked on some stuff for our lapbook about Ping. More about lapbooks another time.

All week long we read so many story books with ducks as the main character. I am so glad our library system has online request and hold. It really makes my life so much easier. I can search online for books that fit my theme then request them. They pull them from the shelf for me and hold them until I come and pick them up.

Overall we really had so much fun. Zoey kept telling everyone she was doing home school and had new workbooks. Did we do everything I had planned? No. Was every moment rainbows and lollipops? NO! By the way Zoey became obsessed with the word lollipop this week and she must of said it 400 times. Was I the perfect mother who remained calm at all times and kept a wonderfully clean home? Absolutely NOT!  Do I still have doubts that I can do this? Yes. Do I still question if this is the right thing for our children? Yes. Was it worth every minute? Yes!

Sorry this has been so long. I did not intend it to be this way and I will never do such a long review of our week again. At least I know a few people who will love reading every minute of it. Thank you for staying tuned in. Please excuse any grammar, typing or spelling errors, it is 11 pm here and I am exausted and blind!