August 30, 2011

MFW Highlights: Week #1

Last week was our 3rd week of school and we worked on Unit #1: Ss Sun from the My Father's World-Kindergarten curriculum. This is probably Little Britches most favorite letter since it's the first letter of his name! Here are a few highlights from last week...

Little Britches LOVES the Cuisenaire Rods that came with our Deluxe package so is always eager to use them--I use them during our Math portion of the unit on the first day. Here he is using them with the S page in the book.
Once he's done with the pages, I always have him design MORE things that start with the same letter with the rods. What is this you ask? Why a Steamroller of course! He was snacking on grapes and decided to incorporate them into his creation.

This was supposed to be the painting of a sun...but he got carried away with we made is a Sunflower instead. He learned about mixing red and yellow to make the orange...he ADORES the painting part of the week.

 Have you ever made Sandpaper Prints? We tried it and fell in LOVE with them! Here is Mommy's rainbow and Little Britches rainbow--he scoffed at mine and said HIS was more colorful. I would have to agree, wouldn't you?

To make Sandpaper Prints...

1. Get a package of sandpaper.
I got mine for $1 at our local Family Dollar. It had all different grits so we tried a few different ones.

2. Color with crayons on the sandpaper. 
Make sure you color pretty hard on it so there is a lot of color on it.

3. Get a piece of plain white/cream paper, some newsprint, and your iron/ironing board. Put the colored sandpaper FACE UP, then the white paper/cream paper, then the your hot iron over the top for about 10-15 seconds.
4. Peel it all apart and see the print your sandpaper design left on the white paper!  
I've heard this works on T-shirts too--we will try it and see at some point.

There are some of our more fun highlights from last week's unit--thanks for stopping by!


August 28, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal- Week #4

In my life this week…well, now that August is coming to an end I have to gear up for a couple crazy months! September means TWO weddings. The first one has Little Britches being a ringbearer for a family friend. The second wedding is 3 weeks later and is MUCH more of a tadoo since my sister-in-law is getting married here on the farm! So we have to transform the farm into a wedding! And that means a lot of work--so between now and then I have to finish getting things together for the wedding and such. And BOTH my boys are in that wedding. I already made the invitations a couple months ago for her. Now I still have to make her flowers/corsages/boutineers the weekend of the wedding. And help decorating. And help with the music. And help with the food. The list goes on and on. Good thing we are homeschooling! It will be nice to just put homeschooling on hold if I have to the week of the wedding!

In our homeschool this week…I learned that Little Britches doesn't really have all his colors down yet. It is nice to know that I can take the time to make sure he understands them and personalize his education like that. Such a blessing. I was fortunate to snag a $1 workbook about colors at the dollar store this week!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…My mom is flying in the for wedding of my sister-in-law so it will be nice to see her in just a few more weeks. As for places...well, we have been watching the hurricane Irene VERY closely as we have a house rented starting October 10th...and it's RIGHT on the beach in...Virginia Beach, VA! Needless to say, we are dying to know if it was damaged! We are supposed to be in Virginia Beach for the Feast of Tabernacles this year and there are about 400-500 people scheduled to attend there as well...hopefully all our housing managed to dodge the bullet. I did notice that it didn't hit as hard in VA as it was supposed to. Thank the Lord!

Things I’m working on…a flexible schedule! I need to work in more Nature Study, PE and Music into it...which means rearranging some that is my goal for this week. Working in the other things.

I’m cooking…fresh bread! Yum!

I’m grateful for…my family and living on the farm so I can enjoy a GORGEOUS day like today...using my clothesline to hang out freshly washed bedding. Mmm...nothing like the smell of sundried sheets on the bed!

I’m praying for…all my friends and church members who are being affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. May God keep you safe in the palm of His hand!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

August 26, 2011

$1 Find Fun!

I totally love the Dollar Bins at Target! They have some awesome things to use for homeschooling and we've been enjoying the things I've picked up the last two times. We've been working on matching our uppercase and lowercase letters, so instead of what we've been doing for a couple days, I pulled out one of my $1 bin finds and let Little Britches play!
These are two piece puzzles with the uppercase letter on one and the lowercase letter on the other. The colors are bright and the pictures are cute. He knew he had matches when both pictures started with the same letter AND when both colors were the same.
I timed him privately to see how long it would take him. I'll be curious to see how he does next time--he didn't get any wrong--because he would try something and then if he saw his mistake later, he'd fix it! He really enjoyed doing this and I could hear him saying "_ is for __ and __" once he got each letter matched. He also enjoyed being on the floor--which I try to let him do to mix it up and keep him from thinking school has to be in his desk.

I totally recommend this cheap little puzzle to anyone on a small budget for homeschooling--or even if you have a big one!

August 25, 2011

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Our row for the past 8 days has been Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.
Little Britches had been dying to get his hands on this book since it first arrived in the mail, so he was estatic to FINALLY get to read it! He is all about anything with wheels, but especially heavy equipment--his daddy is a heavy equipment mechanic...which explains the obsession! LOL! Anyways, he eagerly cuddled in for our read.

Day 1~Social Studies: History
We read the book and then we chatted about things that use steam. He has an All About John Deere movie which focuses on Steam Tractors and threshers with mention of Steam he was able to carry on a nice dialogue about things that run on steam. We even spoke about Thomas the Train since he's a "steamy" too! LOL! Then I had him color and put together a little minit book about steam things.

Day 2~ Science
We tried to do the pinwheel with steam...but our paper pinwheel just curled up and wouldn't spin...LOL! So I'm going to snag a "real" pinwheel at the store tonight so we can try it one more time tomorrow when we finish up our row.

Day 3~ummm....history?
So today was just one of those days where you have early release...LOL! So we just read the book again and didn't do anything. LOL! BUT we did go online and look at Youtube videos of old steam shovels...THAT was something he LOVED!

Day 4~Math-Story Problems
I absolutely LOVED the story problems worksheet that coordinates with Mike Mulligan! It was easy to read and easy to follow. Little Britches enjoyed using my button collection to help him work thru the problems--even choosing a special RED button for Mary Ann! He wrote all his numbers by himself which was a great achievement for him!

Day 5~Language: Literature-Personification
Today after we read the story, I introduced Personification. I used the manual for explanation and then we looked in the book for places with facial expressions of Mary Ann. Then we thought about other things that Little Britches pretends is "human"--like his teddy bear. He knows what it means, but has problems pronouncing it! LOL! We did a little page for his lapbook. Then he colored some construction equipment pages.

Day 6~ Language: Story Writing-Characters and Vocabulary
We discussed the new words "Canal" and "Cellar" and then found some canals on our world map. We are adding these words to our vocabulary box. Then we talked about characters. I started off by asking Little Britches about his favorite cartoon "tom and Jerry" and who the cartoon was about. This gave him an idea about characters. So then he was easily able to tell me who the main characters were in our book. We filled out the Character paper for Mike Mulligan. Then we had some fun and I let Little Britches create his own character. He really got in the swing of things and I was writing as fast as I could to keep up with him! Then he did one more set of coloring equipment.

He also colored a picture for his book row--I used the free printable by Tamara at Homemaker's Heart that she created for the FIAR books. You can see the links for all the volumes on her post HERE.

Day 7~Art: Drawing- Trees
This was a fun day because Little Britches had never used paints before! After we read the book, we examined the different types of tree drawings and talked about how they were different. Then I gave him a sheet of watercolor paper and let him use his set of watercolor paints ($1 store special! LOL!). He REALLY enjoyed this! I gave him an example of what the trees would look like far away and then up close and let him have some fun. He did a good job...and even told me a story about one of his trees. The only thing we had issues with...there is no brown in his paint palatte...not very good for trees...but he decided a black tree trunk was close enough. LOL!

Day 8~Handwriting
For our last day, I had him do the copywork page which I found again over on Tamara's Blog. (THANKS, TAMARA!!) Little Britches was very sad that we weren't going to be working on Mike Mulligan anymore, and he declared that he was going to read it with daddy EVERY night.

As you can see, we rowed this book a little longer, but it still worked perfectly fine and Little Britches WANTED to make it last longer, so we did!
Our next book will be Madeline...and I'm not sure how well that will be received coming on the heels of the "best book ever"...any ideas for making a totally girly story more boy friendly?

August 22, 2011

A Day In the Life

Not Back to School Blog Hop
This week for the *Not* Back to school hop is all about our schedule! I'm so excited to blog hop and see the different schedules moms are working with! It always gives me new ideas for tweaking my own schedule...something I do weekly! LOL!

So the past two weeks have had basically the SAME schedules because we were working on our first unit which was a 10 day one. Now that we are in a new unit, our schedule has here is a basic rundown...

Baby Britches wakes up to nurse then I get up (usually at 7:45)

Little Britches wakes up, gets dressed and does chores

Baby Britches and Little Britches eat breakfast while I do a load of laundry/make sweet tea/unload-load dishwasher/get bread dough going in bread machine

9:00-9:15am Bible/Calendar
Prayer and Stretches then we do our bulletin board calendar. Then we work on our Scripture Memorization w/copy work.
(This lets me pull out the things I'll use for the morning lessons)

9:15-9:45 Spelling/Grammar/Reading
We review our letter for the week (this week letter Ss), we read scriptures about our topic (The Sun/Jesus is the Light of the World) and do some worksheets related to the letter

9:45-9:50 Potty Break/Snack

It's at this point that things start to vary depending on what the curriculum has for us to do...

9:45-11:00 Math/Science/Social Studies/Geography
I fill in this time with whatever the curriculum has for the we might work on math w/worksheets and manipulatives or it might be science experiments...or we might check out our map w/worksheets for our geography...or get the picture!

11:00-11:10 Recess

11:10-11:30 Art/Tactile Activity
I like to save our art for our last subject in the morning before we usually do our art project which ties in to whatever we are studying or we use the time for a tactile the Cuisenaire Rods or making pictures with things like sticks/leaves/rocks...or practicing letters with salt or shaving cream...that kind of stuff.

11:30-12:30 Lunch/Naptime for Baby Britches

12:30-1:15 Quiet Time

I let Little Britches play with his toys or manipulatives or whatever as long as he stays quiet. It gives Baby Britches a good nap atmosphere. I like to blog or read a book or get ready our afternoon lesson.

1:15-2:00 Five In a Row

We finish off our school day with our Five in a Row book that we are rowing w/activity
(We are finishing up Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel)

2:00-Bedtime Nature/Playtime!

From this point on, school is over and I turn the monkey loose! He usually calls up his papaw to come and get him so they can do farm stuff...if he can't get ahold of him, he just goes outside to play and enjoy life on the farm!


2:00-3:15 Housework

3:15-6:00 Piano Lessons

I teach piano, so all week, I have students coming in during this time slot. Some days I have several other days I have just anytime NOT being used for piano is being used doing housework or cooking or whatever needs to get done.

6:00-7:30 Dinner

We eat late here on the farm...

7:30-9:00 Playtime/Get ready for Bed

Little Britches is allowed to play outside until 8:15pm. Then he has to come home and get ready for bed...he and Baby Britches take baths together and then Little Britches plays while I get Baby Britches fed for the night and in bed. And both boys are typically in bed by 9:00pm.


Mama time!!!!
I love this time because it allows me time to just do whatever I want to do. I usually use it for pleasure reading and paper crafting--two of my hobbies!

So that's our "usual" schedule. Thursday and Friday can be different because my hubby is home from work and that always throws things slightly off--and Friday's are lighter days so we do more tactile activities and science experiments since those are what Little Britches loves the most.

Thanks for stopping by!

August 20, 2011

The Story of Ping

We kicked off our first week of school with our first attempt at using the Five In a Row curriculum for our afternoon activities. Because I only have 3 of the FIAR Vol. 1 books on hand, I decided to start us with The Story of Ping--a children's classic! So here is how we "rowed" our book last week...

Day #1-Geography/Social Studies
We started off reading the book--and then we talked about China and we put our story disk (colored by Little Britches) on our big world map (that REFUSED to lock in place when I pulled it down...grrrr). I decided I need to show Little Britches a round version of the world since he just can't get over how far away China is from us!

Then he colored a little picture of a scene from China--and we took his map and drew in the Yangtze River and the capital Beijing. Little Britches also learned how to say Yangtze (Yang-zee).

Today we did some science experiments! We tested to see what happened when you put oil on paper and then dropped water on it--similar to a duck with water rolling off it's back--I borrowed this idea from Michelle at Delightful Learning.
Day #2 Science
Then we did some Sink or Float testing. Using a worksheet from some the Ping Lapbook Resources @ Homeschool Share, we made predictions, then I rounded up supplies and we went out back to the baby pool and tested them out!
Little Britches had a blast with this part...I'm guessing it had something to do with water? LOL! He enjoyed doing all his testing and marking his results.
Here he is giving his results:

Day #3- Math
We did a nice little worksheet for his math. He enjoyed coloring the ducks and added extra long beaks to several of them.
Day #4- Science/Biology
Today we learned about ducks. I printed off an encyclopedia entry from the computer and we used it to fill in the information on our Duck Classification page. Clearly he couldn't say the words (um neither could I!) but he read the letters to me once I found the answers. Then we found types of ducks and had fun putting that little book together.

Day #5-Art
Our last day was all about coloring. We added a duck picture to a fabulous poem and then finished up our lapbook with a flag, and a picture of Papa (my father) standing on the Great Wall of China.

We had fun with our first row and Little Britches loves the lapbook we put together! All our printouts we got at Homeschool Share for The Story of Ping--except the last one of the great wall. I copied that from a World Countries workbook I bought at the local Dollar Tree.

We are rowing Mike Mulligan right now...I'll let you know how it goes once we are all the way thru it!

August 19, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal--Week #3

In my life this week…I'm thankful for my family and the joy that my boys bring into my life. I've learned of some very scary things that some of my homeschooling friends are dealing with in regards to the health of their children. I thank God that my boys are happy and healthy...even if they drive me nuts sometimes.

In our homeschool this week…we are rowing Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel and Little Britches ADORES this book. He wants to read it every night too and is hoping he can get his daddy to read it tonight for him.

My favorite thing this week was…seeing the joy on Little Britches face when he realized he just matched correctly all his lowercase and uppercase letters!

I’m reading…The Sheriff's Surrender (Book 1 of Ladies Shooting Club) by Susan Page Davis. So far it's very's a Inspirational Historical Fiction Romance. My favorite!

August 18, 2011

Progress and Planning

We are nearing the end of our second week of homeschooling and I'm just so happy with how everything is going! It's not perfect by any means, but it's working out far better than I imagined a first two weeks would. I think that's thanks in part to having a main curriculum to follow! That keeps me from doing too much too fast!

One of the greatest achievements I've seen so far is that Little Britches can connect his lowercase letters to their matching uppercase letters VERY well! We've practiced with the ABC Game cards from the MFW curriculum--I "deal" out the letters we are working on and he has to make a stack of the pairs. He was pairing them up as I dealt them out today--not even waiting for me to get them all out! I'm so happy about that! And now, even little b and little d don't even phase him. If he gets in a hurry, he will match the little q with G...but as he looks at it he usually figures out that he has it wrong without me saying anything. He does it on paper too...I used one of the $1 bin workbooks from Target and photocopied the page where he has to draw a line from the capital letters to their lowercase counterparts. He didn't mess up on ANY of them! I think that's a great achievement in just 8 days of school!

I'm in the process of working on my lesson plans for the next two weeks. We start Unit #1 in the My Father's World curriculum so I'm pulling all my materials together for our unit which will include information about the Sun, space, the letter S, the #1 and the sound that S makes. Laying it all out on paper allows me to see what subjects aren't being covered so I can fill in where I need to. AND I won't have to flip back and forth in the Teacher's Manual for MFW--something that CAN be confusing if you don't know how it goes together.

We will be finishing up our row of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel next week too, so I need to get together what I need for our new row. I am hoping Madeline shows up by Tuesday so we can row that one next. I want to save the other book I own (Katy and the Big Snow) for winter if possible. I know the library has 4 of the books that I can borrow too, but I'd like to do Madeline next since the book is on it's way.

You will be able to see our row of The Story of Ping shortly...just getting the photos uploaded!

August 16, 2011

Scripture Help

Every week we are learning a new scripture and Little Britches did WONDERFUL last week...but this week I created something to help him out with memorization.
Our scripture to learn is Psalm 119:105
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

Here is the little picture prompt page that is helping him remember...and boy, it sure is working! I saved it as a PDF for anyone who wants to use it--just click the picture and it will take you to my 4shared account for downloading.
(Clipart is free for public use)

I plan on trying to do this more and more with any scriptures I can. My son is very visual and these picture prompts make a HUGE difference in the speed he can learn something.

The *Not* Back to School Blog Hop: Week #3-- The Students

Not Back to School Blog Hop
Week #3 is all about the students and the first days of school! We started school last Monday, so I am including some snapshots that I've taken over the course of the first few days of school. He is having a blast!

I'm working on a post sharing our "row" from last week of Ping. Just need to take pics of our finished lapbook that we made. Little Britches LOVES showing off his lapbook, so I'm glad I decided to have him do some of the activities in it.

August 11, 2011

Wish list...

The biggest thing on my wish list right now is a laminator! I need one for all these various little game cards and such that we use EVERY DAY as part of our curriculum! Little Britches is going to have them destroyed before too much more time goes by. I have some of those small self-laminating pouches, but they don't last forever AND they are really only good for small things.

Next on my wish list would be more manipulatives! I'm envious of all the boxes and buckets and containers that most of you all have of big beads, puzzles, cool blocks, lacing cards, and games! Our "cool" manipulative right now is fuzzy pipecleaners! Since he's never played with them before he is loving them! LOL! But oh how he'd enjoy some of the following:
So are any of these things on YOUR wish list? What is your child's favorite manipulative?

August 10, 2011

Plants, Trees, Land and Seas

Today we worked through Day 3 of the Creation unit for the My Father's World curriculum. At first when I saw the creation unit was a 10 day unit I wasn't very hot on the idea...but we just finished Day #3 and I'm so glad we went ahead and did it! Seth loves the projects and I am enjoying finding little activities that fit in with our day. Because today was all about Day 3 (the creation of plants, trees, land and seas) I decided to work in a bit of a seed study.

Before the lesson, I went thru the kitchen and collected a variety of seeds. I cook a lot, so I had quite the selection to choose from. I gave them to him in a little glass jar (YAY FOR BABY FOOD!) and then gave him a piece of paper which is separated out into sections. He then sorted the seeds and put everything that was the same into each area. I had to help him with the apple seeds and popcorn since they looked a bit alike. Once we got them separated, he counted them--which was a great practice on his numbers--given that he's still learning the concept of the 20's 30's ect...
But once we were done, he had fun gluing them all to the page...and as we glued, we discussed how we plant the various things, how fast they grow, could Papaw plant them and then we discussed the two tree seeds (apple and mustard) and about the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32). After reading that he was impressed that a seed so tiny could make a tree big enough for birds to sit in the branches!

Here is his completed seed paper...

Here is the closeup of the paper so you can see the types of seeds we did.

That's pumpkin seeds, popcorn, apple seeds (from the apple we had at breakfast), mustard seeds and celery seeds. I wished I had more seeds, but I thought this gave a nice variety and they were free! LOL!

Have a delightful rest of the week!

Did you know I've been published?

Here is link to an article I wrote for the magazine Vertical Thought:
Me, Us, Them: My Journey to Wife and Motherhood