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!