Thursday, September 30, 2010

Songs

We sing tons of songs everyday. William is quite the medley-maker, as a lot of his songs start out one way and end with, you guessed it, Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Anyway...here are a couple we've been working on.

video

My cuz wrote me and suggested looking into Zoo Phonics. I did, and have been hooked. It's quite expensive, though, so...no buy as of yet. However I did print off the motions to the sounds and we know Allie, Bubba, and Catina. He has SO much fun doing these motions that I wish it were more economical to get the whole program. (Magnets, flash cards, etc.) Anyone else heard of this program?

Lil Sis

Abby is starting to rid herself of her morning nap. (Did I seriously just write that?!?) I actually looked forward to William quitting the morning nap, as it gave me time to get groceries, go to the mall, etc., but during Abby's nap is when I like to work with William on his "studies". When she is up she is into everything. She touches everything, she moves everything, she tastes everything. So I've had to get creative. You know, involve her somehow. I got out my unifx cubes and let her have at it, at least while William and I did our Bible lesson.

William dutifully showed her how to play with them. By the time we finished with David's Anointing (yes, IknowIknow...we just covered Moses and the 10 Commandments, but this Bible book moves fast!) the cubes were all over the school room and just about everyone had been tasted.

I never really taught early elementary school, so I wasn't sure if it was time to introduce scissoring. It wasn't. We'll be waiting a bit longer to try these babies out again.



Check out this cool sepia picture! I like to call this time outside with the water "Playing with the sensory table".

This picture just cracks me up! What in the world is William trying to eat? I think he's taking a bite from the hand exerciser. Who knows!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 Commandments

I realize that some of these blog posts are mainly for me, so I can remember what we're doing throughout the week...so bare with me!


We are up to the 10 Commandments, so I thought I'd venture into the world of lapbooking. I had never heard of lapbooking until I ran across it on various homeschooling websites. I felt like I had been left out of an entire creative world. Okay, not really, since I'm NOT creative, but I thought this might be of some interest to William.

Since he's only three there's a bit (okay, okay, lots!) of prep work that I had to do ahead of time to make this activity go smoothly.
  • I took a file folder and cut it into the shape of the 10 Commandments' pillars of stone.
  • Found pictures of each commandment that represented their meaning and cut them out
  • Found 10 Commandments Song and printed it out (this was for me, so I could teach it to him). Seriously - does learning the 10 Commandments get any easier than this? I love this song!
  • Found a coloring page of Moses holding the 10 Commandments (forgot the link, sorry!)
There is SO much more that I could have done with him for this lesson, but...that will wait until he's older. For now I think he got the point!

Pony Spike!

Abby's hair is getting a teeny tiny bit longer. Some days I think it will never get to the pony tail stage, but for now we've got a pony spike!


She will NOT wear a bow in her hair, so I bought some tiny hair bands and then stuck a bow in. Magic. She didn't try to tug it out at all. She actually sat very still while I brushed her hair, wet it down (she has the most amazing cowlicks, and when she gets older she can fully blame her Daddy for those!), and then twist it up in a spike.




Yes, we are still experiencing incredibly hot weather here. Today was humid (I'm from Michigan, so I have some experience in this) and quite unpleasant, but that doesn't stop the littles from wanting to get outdoors and play!


I had to throw this picture in...it's a great shot of our beautiful front lawn. It was a disaster when we moved into this house, and with our hard work is really starting to look great. I put some weed-n-feed on it a few Saturdays ago (John's foot is still in a boot, so he couldn't do it) and it's perking right up!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moses, Letter B, Numbers

Here's William doing a push-pin trace of the letter B. He did this on the carpet.


Here's a fun craft we did - Butterflies! In hindsight they look more like Bees...but either way you look at it, both flying creatures start with the letter B.

We are up to Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea. After he colored it I cut it out and he pasted it on construction paper. This has been his favorite story so far, since we have a fun song that goes with it. I thought the Ten Plagues song was fun, but with 10 verses he lost interest quickly.

Yesterday I took the kids to story time at the library. Let's just say it was NOT a hit with William ("too scairwey!"), and Abby...well, I couldn't drag her away from the librarian and other kids! I tried to get pictures, but William flat out refused to leave my lap. Oh well...with several hundred new books in our schoolroom we won't be hard pressed for new reading material! I think we'll try it again, though.


Moving on...we are continuing with number recognition with numbers 1-5. Here's our number wheel and he has to match the clothespin (with the number written on it) to the corresponding section of the wheel.

Another way I'm trying to teach him to learn his colors is by making unifix sticks of the colors that match each animal in Eric Carle's book Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I think he's slooowly getting them. (Personally I think he's just pushing my buttons by calling everything green, since when he wants to do something he usually can!)

I'm still learning my camera. So far the blurry pictures are user error. I wish I could figure it out, because it's driving me nuts!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Learning

William is three now so I thought that I'd start teaching him letter recognition, and maybe letter sounds. I finished painting the schoolroom, and even have a bit of it decorated, so now when we want to "study letters", as he calls it, we go into the schoolroom. I don't have a work table/desk for him so we're just using the picnic table.

This past week, in our Bible lessons, we learned about Pharaoh and the 10 plagues God sent. Here is William making a little book with pictures of all the plagues. This was his first time pasting, too.

Here's our letter tree, and William is putting up the letter "A". I'm debating whether or not to just run through all the letters alphabetically first, or pick them strategically. So far alphabetically is winning out, since I just don't think he's ready to start with the letter sounds. Besides, I don't want to frustrate him this early on.

I found this fun M&M activity here. The trick was to keep both eyes on him, as he was constantly sneaking little bites of chocolate morsels! Oh well...he had fun.

I'm also trying to teach him number recognition. He can count quite well, but actually knowing how many are in a group is another story. If there are three apples on the tree, and I ask him to count them, he'll just keep counting and counting until he doesn't know any more numbers.

We also did a bit of Home Ec. He simply wants to be involved in whatever I'm doing, so I happily let him help me.

We'll hopefully be learning a few more letters this week, along with reading many, many new books. His current fav is Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I have crafts that go with each animal, and so far he's made a toilet paper roll brown bear and a red colored/pasted bird. I'm not sure how long we'll keep going with this book, but he asks for it to be read to him every day. He's actually staring to learn his colors with the help of this book!

These pictures were taken with my phone. I now have a new camera, so hopefully the picture quality will be much better in the upcoming posts.

Jackpot!

I hit the jackpot the other day. I have been wanting to expand my small collection of books (we've got tons of board books but few preschool/older kid books) so I've been looking on ebay and paperbackswap.com for deals. On a whim I checked Craigslist, and boy am I sure glad I did! I found an ad from a lady retiring from 32 years of teaching kindergarten, and getting rid of all her books and teaching supplies. She had over 2,000 books, not to mention teaching supplies (paint, construction paper, pocket boards, etc.), binders of reproducible crafts and activities, manipulatives, you name it. I called her up, and I went with my friend to her house and bought up all her Eric Carle and Leo Lionni books, along with a few others. She said to come on Saturday to her garage sale, if I wanted more. Of course I just had to go back. I bought another whole pile of books on the cheap (and excellent condition!). Her son then informed me that if there was anything left after the sale he'd call me. Later that afternoon he did, saying that I wanted the rest of the books that he'd sell them to me for $5/box. Obviously I went back and pretty much got the remaining stash. Here are just some of the books I got. We estimate that I was able to get several hundred books for very cheap, along with other binders of crafts, manipulatives, etc. I love a good deal!

Now...where to put them....where to put them...?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

3rd Birthday!

It was William's 3rd birthday today. Man, I feel like it was yesterday that I delivered him. What a long day that was, but oh, so wonderful! This birthday was super fun, as he completely understood that it was his birthday, that he was turning THREE, and the cake, candles, streamers, etc. were for him. He helped me make a cake yesterday, and today I frosted it and he decorated it.There was an area on the cake that was highly concentrated with sprinkles, but it just make that piece extra delicious.

We ordered pizza and the kids had fun (probably too much!) sitting on the picnic table eating. Aside from the spilled juice, utensils in each others drinks, sprinkles everywhere, lots of fun was had! (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE having linoleum? It's my hero.)


He managed to blow out his candles without getting burned, and without spitting too much on the cake.



This big wheel was his present from us. I have more photos of him opening his other gifts, but the kids moved so fast that most are just a blur. My friend took some pictures with her camera (yes, I still don't have a camera, but don't fret! It's on order and should be here soon!) so I'll try to post more when she sends them to me. (No rush Kim! ;-))

After a quick nap, we surprised him with a train ride. He absolutely loved it! Abby, however, was less than thrilled with it, as she wanted to walk up and down the aisles, but William was in heaven.

Anxiously waiting to get on the train!
It's impossible to get them to stand still, look at the camera, and SMILE all at the same time. And my photo composition needs some work, too. Sorry about the chopped off policemen heads.


Abby fell several times this past week, literally on her face, thus the scratched-up nose and upper lip.



Hanging around the station, waiting for our return ride.

John finished getting the big wheel put together and after supper William took it out for a spin! Tomorrow we'll get all the cool stickers put on, but for now, he was just very eager to ride it out in the open...and away from Abby. (He gets quite upset when Abby touches his things!)

Anyway, I think he had a great birthday! Thank you to all who called, skyped, mailed gifts, left messages, and came to his party!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Carrier

I recently received this really cool baby carrier, the EcoSash, from Infantino. I had high hopes for it, since it looked very similar to another baby carrier that I had tried and really liked. It's called an EcoSash because there are no buckles, only long....you guessed it, sashes. Once the baby is in the carrier you wrap the various sashes around your body to secure it. That part worked really well for me, since I could get it to fit perfectly around me. It also has a reversible panel so you can choose a pattern or just plain black. I liked the pattern.



This carrier can hold a baby on the back, forward facing on the front, and inward facing on the front. I tried both front positions with Abby and she disliked the inward facing one but liked the outward facing one. Both of these positions were very easy to put her in. Then I tried the back. Oh my. Like the directions say, it is best to have another person to help, and I completely agree. This position is a bit harder to get a baby into. Once she was in, though, she loved it! I suppose because the thing appears to be very comfortable....for the baby. I didn't find this position to work for me, as the shoulder straps kept falling down. I think it would work much better if there was another strap of some sort keeping the two shoulder straps together, so they wouldn't slide down my arms.I think this would would really well for a small baby, as the front positions are great!

I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for Infantino and have received various Infantino products for my participation.

Bathing Beauties

I was going to drain the pool and put it away for the year but....we got another round of heat so we filled it up and the kids have been playing in it once again.