Friday, October 21, 2016

A Homeschool Day

It's been awhile again, I know. My only excuse is that I had a baby. (Smile). You can read about her here.

We started first grade and preschool homeschooling about 6 weeks ago. All I can say is it is definitely not the picture in my head that I thought it would be! But, overall, it has been a success. Wesley needs to be prodded for phonics and writing practice but he enjoys math, science, history and any other subject that requires me reading to him or him doing an activity or us playing a game together.

I had in my head it would all be nice and neat, sitting at the table with it quiet around us. That has not been the case but there has been a lot of life around us and learning has taken place which is all I can ask for right now. :)

So above is a picture of one of homeschool days. We were having snacks while doing school. I had just finished feeding Madeline, while also trying to do school. David is looking at an alligator craft for the letter A from the computer. Catherine is gracefully digging out large scoops of cream cheese with triscuits. I think she ate half the tub! She has a piece of paper to "color" on with a marker but it is only covered in cream cheese. (By the way, I had to put her in her room secured with a baby gate the previous two days because she was reeking havoc all over the house!) Beside Wes is a Beatrix Potter Treasury book. We read the Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. Then we practiced some phonics in the book The Reading Lesson. Next, for math and writing combined, he practiced writing numbers. For math and history combined, we played a modified version of a Native American Passomaquady game where you roll dice and count out that many sticks from a pile of sticks. Whoever has the most sticks when the pile runs out wins. This is for practicing counting, adding, counting by twos, etc. Wes is extremely competitive with others and against himself so games and racing himself with a timer for number facts is a big hit! Then we went outside and raced around the house a few times (so happy to be able to run again but I'm out of shape!). Then we practiced the standing long jump and David made up a hopping race.

The kids continued to play outside while I made lunch which we were going to eat outside but the yellow jackets chased us away. At lunch I read a short devotional that I forgot to read at breakfast. And then I read some Aesop fables.

Soon, I will write what I'm actually teaching for first grade and preschool. Hopefully. Again, not making promises. I don't have a good track record!

Preschool Weekly Activities - Letter D

Preschool Weekly Activities - Letter D
Click here for an introduction to the preschool curriculum and here for my preschool philosophy.

Letter The A-Z Picture Book by Gyo Fugikawa - Read letter D pages

Poetry - Read "Dream Variation" and "A Small Discovery" in Rhyme Time by Tomie De Paola, or  D poem from Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

Literature - Read a story from Tomie De Paola's Favorite Nursery Tales 

Bible Read about Daniel in the Lion's Den, or David and Goliath in your favorite children's Bible or Bible Story Book of choice. I either use The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Look And See ESV Bible for children.

Scripture Memory - "He will take great delight in you'" Zephaniah 3:17 from Songs for Saplings.

Picture Books - Read books about Ducks, Dogs, dump trucks, diggers, dolphins, drums!
   We read these:
     * Harry the Dirty Dog
     * Dozen Dozens
     * Dr. Desoto Goes to Africa by William Stieg
    
Other picture book suggestions: 
     * The Doorbell Rang
     * Make Way for Ducklings
     * Angus and the Ducks
     * The Story of Ping (BFIAR) - about a duck 

Activities (we only did the ones in bold, though I had plans for more) - actually this week, we didn't really do any D activities, except one that my son made up.  It's ok not to do any, they are still learning!

     *Eat Donuts
     * Play Drums
     * Watch a video of drums
     * Draw. Anything. or draw things that start with d 
     * Dig
     * Play with your dog. 
     * Make up a story about a dog or a duck, or both together. My son made up a story about               Duck and Truck. They were best friends. :) 
     * Run in dewy grass and talk about where the dew comes from
     * Talk about your dreams.
     * Cover a big letter D in dots
     * Make Darren the Duck from Alphabet Art
     * Do other D activities from this website

Skills Do a few pages in Rod and Staff Preschool Books A, C, D, E, or F. and/or Wipe Clean: Early Learning Activity Book

Songs and Fingerplays
    * Down by the Station

Science Activity 
 Choose an activity from Science Play

Let's Read and Find Out About Science Level 1
     * Ducks Don't Get Wet

Monday, October 10, 2016

Preschool Weekly Activities - Letter C

Preschool Weekly Activities - Letter C
Click here for an introduction to the preschool curriculum and here for my preschool philosophy.

Letter The A-Z Picture Book by Gyo Fugikawa - Read letter C pages

Poetry - Read "Cat Kisses" in Rhyme Time by Tomie De Paola, or a B poem from Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

Literature - Read a story from Tomie De Paola's Favorite Nursery Tales 

Bible Read about Joseph's Coat of Many Colors in your favorite children's Bible or Bible Story Book of choice. I either use The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Look And See ESV Bible for children.

Scripture Memory - "You will be changed into His likeness'" 2 Cor. 3:18 from Songs for Saplings.

Picture Books - Read books about Cats, Caterpillars, Colors, Cars, Crickets!
   We read these:
     * Corduroy by Don Freeman (BFIAR)
     * Millions of Cats
     * Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodnika  (BFIAR)
     * The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
    
Other picture book suggestions: 
     * Copyboy
     * Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
     * If you Give a Mouse a Cookie
     * The Very Quiet Cricket
     * A Rainbow of My Own
     * The Red Carpet (BFIAR)

Activities (we only did the ones in bold, though I had plans for more)

     * Make Cookies
     * Eat Chocolate
     * Catch a caterpillar and take care of it
     * Count cars on your street
     * Race match box cars
     * Make Letter C crafts from here. Cats, caterpillars
     * Make Letter C's out of Playdoh or any of these others ways from this list. 
     * Do other activities from this site or from Alphabet Art
     * Paint a rainbow
     * Play with sidewalk chalk
     * Chop carrots (with a parent's help!) 


Skills Do a few pages in Rod and Staff Preschool Books A, C, D, E, or F. and/or Wipe Clean: Early Learning Activity Book

Songs and Fingerplays
    * Chickamy, Chickamy, Crany Crow

Science Activity 
 Choose an activity from Science Play

Let's Read and Find Out About Science Level 1
     * Chirping Crickets
     * From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Preschool Social Studies

Can I just say, if I haven't said it already or if you haven't drawn the conclusion yet,  I'm addicted to children's books! One of the joys in my life is perusing Amazon or bookstores or the library looking at children's books! Because I was an elementary school teacher and just because I'm a children's book nerd, I've come to know many of the children's books' authors and illustrators. So I try to pick out the best of both for the various booklists on this site. 

Below is a list of books to incorporate into your reading for preschool ages 3-5. The themes for social studies for my preschoolers are family, neighbors, communities, farms, manners and a smattering about our country. 

A Year at Maple Hill Farm
What Do People Do All Day
Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm
Town and Country
Animal Orchestra
Our Flag
The Seven Little Postmen
The Please and Thank You Book
Polite Elephant
The Jolly Postman
The Last Stop on Market Street
A Chair for My Mother
Yard Sale
Home
A Fine Dessert
Oxcart Man
What Happens on Wednesdays
The Reader
Nana in the City
Buffalo Music
Policeman Small
Daddies
Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs
The Animal Fair
Maybelle The Cable Car
Pancakes; Pancakes
The Little House
Katy and the Big Snow
When I was Young in the Mountains
The Old Woman Who Names Things
George Washington's Teeth
Thunder cake
Charlie Needs a Cloak
The Baby Sister
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg
Farm 

Preschool Weekly Activities - Letter B

Letter B
Click here for an introduction to the preschool curriculum and here for my preschool philosophy.

Letter The A-Z Picture Book by Gyo Fugikawa - Read letter B pages

Poetry - Read Brooms in Rhyme Time by Tomie De Paola, or an A poem from Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

Literature - Read a story from Tomie De Paola's Favorite Nursery Tales 

Bible Read about how Jesus calmed the storm in the boat in your favorite children's Bible or Bible Story Book of choice. I either use The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Look And See ESV Bible for children.

Scripture Memory - "Jesus said, 'I am the Bread of Life'" John 6:48 from Songs for Saplings.

Picture Books - Read books about Bears, Birds, Bugs, butterflies, boats, or beavers!
   We read these:
     * Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear by Nancy White Carlstrom (BFIAR)
     * Bee Dance by Rick Chrustowski (science)
     * The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco (FIAR 3)
     * Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
     * Blueberries For Sal bt Robert McCloskey (BFIAR)
    

Other picture book suggestions: 
     * Are you a Bee? by Judy Allen
     * Buster by Kevin Henkes
     * Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund
     * Babushka and the Three Kings by Patricia Polacco
     * Beach by Alisha Cooper
     * We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury
     * Babar and His Family by Laurent de Brushoff  
     * How to Hide a Butterfly by Ruth Heller (science)

Activities (we only did the ones in bold, though I had plans for more)

     * Eat Bananas and/or blueberries
     * Count Blueberries in cereal/oatmeal
     * Go on a bug hunt
     * Make banana bread or a banana smoothie
     * Count Letter B's on a page in a favorite book. 
     * Make Letter B crafts from here. Bees and butterflies
     * Make Letter B's out of Playdoh or any of these others ways from this list. 
     * Do other activities from this site or from Alphabet Art

Skills Do a few pages in Rod and Staff Preschool Books A, C, D, E, or F. and/or Wipe Clean: Early Learning Activity Book

Songs and Fingerplays
    BINGO

Science Activity 
 Choose an activity from Science Play

Let's Read and Find Out About Science Level 1
     * Bugs are Insects
     * From Caterpillar to Butterfly


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Preschool Curriculum Updated - Simple! and Letter A

This is the beginning of my new preschool ABC curriculum. According to Charlotte Mason (from whom I cull most of my educational philosophy) preschoolers and those up to age six should be spending the bulk of their time playing creatively indoors with open-ended toys (no lights, buttons or sounds) and outdoors with any and everything to be found, except what might be too dangerous of course! It is very simple, to be done at leisure as your child desires and prompts. I started working on this curriculum 7 or 8 years ago while "tutoring" the little boy across the street before we even had children. I did something a little more complicated with Wesley (see here) two years ago but found that doing this instead is easier and simpler for me (especially now that I'm doing first grade with Wes) and sufficient enough for preschool. There are some things that I have carried over from what I did with Wesley. Honestly, if you just read a variety of good books, talk about letters, do some fun crafts (or not!), get out in nature and sing children's songs your child will have a rich feast spread before him or her to absorb and learn from. I hope this will be beneficial for all!

Books I am using the whole year through in addition to a multitude of home and public library books!
        

The A-Z Picture by Gyo Fugikawa
Rhyme Time by Tomi De Paola
Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
Tommy De Paola's Favorite Nursery Tales
What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry
Things People Do - Anne Civardi
Songs for Saplings (Scripture memory songs on CD By Dana Dirksen)
Wee Sing Children's Songs and Finger Plays
Rod and Staff Preschool Workbooks A, C-F
Five in a Row and Before Five in a Row (we may or may not do this - sometimes we come across a FIAR book and might do a few activities, sometimes not).
Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales (a really lovely book!)
Let's Read and Find Out About Science Level 1 Tons of titles about science in picture book form.
Science Play

I also use these books with Wes and David together for art, music and French, every other week.
Artistic Pursuits
My First Classical Music Book
French for Children (One unit every couple months or more, at your children's pace - my kids have loved it so far! They are wanting to know how to say everything in French and we've only done the first few pages!)


Here's letter A for starters to show I incorporate all these books! Just do  an activity or two per day or just pick a few per week. I usually do the first six items listed below per week, do the letter craft, the art and music (listed above) and a bit from the Rod and staff books (as fast or as slow as David wants). He asks me how to spell things all the time so I don't worry about handwriting much, and that is included in the Rod and Staff books. If I get to other things great, if not, that's fine too.  Don't think you have to read and do all of this!!! I'll add some pictures or graphics soon!

Letter A

Letter The A-Z Picture Book by Gyo Fugikawa - Read letter A pages and what sounds the letter A makes.

Poetry - Read The Alligator Escalator in Rhyme Time by Tomie De Paola, or pick an A poem in your favorite Poem book

Literature - Read a story from Tomie De Paola's Favorite Nursery Tales 

Bible Read the story of Creation including Adam and Eve in your Bible or Bible Story Book of choice. I either use The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Look And See ESV Bible for children.

Scripture Memory - "Make Me As the Apple of Your Eye" from Songs for Saplings.

Picture Books - Read books about Apples and Alligators or Ants or Anteaters, or all!
   We read these:
     * Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
     * Ten Apples Up on Top by P.D Eastman
     * The Lady with the Alligator Purse illustrated by  Nadine Bernard Westcott
     * Air is All Around by Franklin N. Branley

Other picture book suggestions: 
     * All in A Day by Mitsumasa Anno
     * I am An Artist
     * Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack

Activities (we only did the ones in bold, though I had plans for more)

     * Eat Apples, Apple Sauce, Apple Pie, dried apples
     * Make Apple sauce, dried apples, Apple Pie, Apple Cake (recipe in Apple Farmer  Annie)
     * Take a field trip to an apple farm and do some apple picking
     * Taste Test apples and find your favorite
     * Visit the Alligators at the zoo
     * Count Apple Seeds
     * Count Letter A's on a page in a favorite book. 
     * Make Letter A crafts from here. Alligator or Apple
     * Make Letter A's out of Playdoh or with any and everything - list coming soon. 
     * Do other activities from this site or from Alphabet Art
     * Make an ant farm

Skills Do a few pages in Rod and Staff Preschool Books A, C, D, E, or F. and/or Wipe Clean: Early Learning Activity Book

Children's Songs and Fingerplays
     * All Day, All Night
     * Amazing Grace
     * The ABC Song


Science 
     * Ant Cities
     * Air is All Around
     * What's Alive





Friday, September 23, 2016

Madeline Joy

So here is our sweet newest arrival! Madeline Joy was born on Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 12:52pm. She weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. She had a head full of dark hair.

It has been a bit crazy since we've had her home, as I guess it is with most families when they add a newborn to the mix. Madeline, being the fourth in our clan, was supposed to just go with the fl
ow but she's had her own ideas about how things should go. She is a very finicky eater! She likes to eat a little and pause a little and fuss a little, then sleep a little. Then repeat. It can take up to an hour or even more to feed the little chick! All the while, my two year old is pouring water all over the house (she loves to play with water) while my boys, four and six, are fighting and screaming and throwing things at each other. All my others have eaten steadily and without fussing. If they fell asleep I could usually coax them to eat more. Not so with Madeline. She tightly closes her lips and makes faces if you try to keep giving her milk when she wants to pause.  Or she just gets mad. Or she just keeps sleeping, limp as a rag.

And, she did not latch well and so eventually I just gave up on breastfeeding. But, getting her to take a bottle has also been frustrating. She wouldn't just take the bottles we had for her which were given to us, no matter how hard I tried. We went through several bottles before we landed on one she liked and would happily drink from. But, even then, you have to be careful how you put it in. If you just stick it in, she won't latch on it, she just licks her tongue on it like a cat or fusses. She is getting better with that but at first it was quite frustrating! And, even still, she might go several days and just decide she doesn't like that bottle anymore and so we have to go through them all again to find the one she's satisfied with. Good grief! She's also had reflux enough that she's on medicine now though we are already weaning her off of it some. And, because of that we had to prop up her bassinet. But even with that, she got to where she wouldn't sleep in that well either without fussing. The bouncy seat didn't work either, as it did for Wesley who was a happy spitter, spitting up across the room, dousing all our clothes, without a fuss from him. So we resorted to borrowing a rock n' play and it was worked wonders! I am not a fan of having lots of baby paraphernalia but when the fourth baby won't sleep you do whatever is necessary!!! I was even tempted to buy a swing! We had one with Wes but got rid of it because we hardly used it after him.

All that to say, we love her very much and are terribly grateful for her! Despite all the problems she's had and her pickiness, she seems really sweet. When I write of her fussing, it's usually a sweet soft fuss that makes you just want to cry with her. She doesn't cry with a "wah!" It's with a "La, La, La" Although if she gets upset enough she can really get hysterical. She loves to snuggle and will bury her head in your neck. She's just starting to try to smile and coo. I love it! And, once we got the rock n play, she does sleep better than my others at this point, already sleeping long stretches at night. I am very thankful for the sleep! While I was still trying to breastfeed and she was waking up more at night, I was a total basket case from lack of sleep and stress. Glad that is done.

I still feel quite overwhelmed at times but I've learned to let go of some of the expectations I have had for myself and my house and my kids. But I've also learned to use child labor! We had the kids doing chores before but now we've really implemented their help, even with Catherine. In some ways she's a better helper than the boys! At least she almost always has a willing heart if not perfect execution of said chores.

I think Madeline might turn out to be a little redhead which I would love. She has the skin tone for it and her eye brows look reddish as does her hair in the right light.

With all the craziness, we are so thankful for our little bundle of Joy. :) Can't wait to see more of her personality! God has been so good to us! This time 7 years ago, we despaired that we might not ever have kids. That's kind of funny to think about now. I think God might be giving us a big wink. He is sovereign, His timing is perfect though we might know why. He is in control of all things and through all these seven wild, crazy years of adopting and giving birth, I've learned more to trust Him. He is faithful and He is a good, good Father. Thank you Father for these beautiful blessings!

"Ahhh! Will somebody do something about my hair!" Poor baby has some major hair issues. I get a good laugh at least daily from all her untamable hair!