October 31, 2008

Look who's playing soccer?

Our dear Caleb started playing soccer last week. He's been waiting for this day for a long time and I'm glad we were able to register him this season. His coach is very energetic and really focused on the kids having a good time. His team is the Gators! Here's some pictures from opening game day...

The team got to write their names and numbers in a Gators banner and they each got these cool gator sunshades...
Time for the game...Caleb told me afterwards his favorite thing was being the goalie (did I spell that right?). Look at that happy kid!!

October 29, 2008

Caps for Sale

Our next BFIAR adventure was Caps for Sale by Esphyr Solobdkina.
For this unit we used the FIAR Fold and Learn available at the FIAR Digital Store. This resource has so many fun activities and print outs to do. From here we got these cute monkey masks to act out the story.

Also a yummy recipe for Banana Bread Cookies...perfect for hungry monkeys!!

Another fun activity with this book was learning about balance. The boys tried balancing and walking with books and hats. Caleb managed to walk with 7 hats on his head.

We also worked on simple math and mazes worksheets from this site.

October 27, 2008

Pregnancy: 29 weeks

Last Friday we celebrated my birthday by eating some yummy sushi at a Japanese restaurant in Houston (don't worry...I did not eat any raw stuff). I was thinking about how before my 30th birthday I will already have 3 children!! Wow...things really turned out to be very different than what I ever thought of but I'm so glad God is control. His ways and plans are higher and always better.

Part of me still cannot believe I am going to have a little girl. I can't wait for her to melt her daddy's heart!!

Everything seems to be going well. Last month I only gained 1 pound and my doctor suggested I should try to gain a little more than seems I took her advice very much to heart because this month I managed to put up 7 pounds...oh no!! No more cakes, chocolates and ice cream for me for the next 10 weeks!!

Fortunately my total weight gain so far is 22 pounds (typing this doesn't seem to give me much comfort but it's my attempt to come to terms with it), which means if I gain 1 pound per week from now on (instead of 2!) I should still be in the normal range. Turbo Jam...I am so looking forward to tackle you when this is over...

So there you have it...this is me now...with my added pounds and my fast growing belly. Thankfully, the boys and Brad still think I look pretty. :-)

October 25, 2008

Our First Atlas Adventures

With the help of these 2 Usborne books we just finished a very fun and gentle introduction to atlas and maps.

I've had these titles in our collection for 2 1/2 years now and was so excited to finally be able to use them with the boys. We spent 2 weeks, about 5 minutes a day, reading and learning with these titles and the boys had a blast. They looked forward to it every day. I also used our world map and globe for reference.

The Children's Picture Atlas is a simple but visually engaging atlas and great for reading to your child. The first section of the book talks about our planet, what makes it special and different from the rest. It also explains what maps are and how to read/use the maps on the second section. The book has lots of animals and things to spot on each section of the maps (desserts, grasslands, mountains, ice/snow, rivers and lakes, oceans and forests). Children are also introduced to map reading skills ("red lines" are border for each country, "big black dots" are the capitals, "big black squares" are big cities", etc.).

The Animal Sticker Atlas is a great addition to the previous title because it includes animals from all over the world and the sections on the map are divided by biomes. Each map has a black and white silhouette of the animals so the child can find the matching sticker. The stickers are numbered and a legend is included with the animal names. Many of the animals here are also illustrated on the previous titles which is a great way to reinforce the new animals, plus here the stickers are "little pictures". The over 200 stickers give also a hands-on element to the learning. Now that the atlas is complete, we have a wonderful book to look and spot and read over and over again.

October 22, 2008

Katy No-Pocket

Last week our BFIAR adventure was Katy No-Pocket. What a sweet story about a mama kangaroo who has no pocket to carry her baby.

Some of our favorite things to do with this story...

  • Acting out the story (of course!). The boys took turn being the kangaroo and the man with the apron. We used one of their art aprons with many pockets and filled it up with their play hand tools. After the kangaroo kindly asks for the apron and the man dumps it upside down and gives it to her, she says thank you and hops back to the forest (room) to fill up her pockets with little stuffed animals.

  • Acting out how other animals carry their babies.

  • Practice hoping like a kangaroo. How far can we jump?

  • We also learned the names of all the hand tools with these cards from Homeschoolshare. I printed out 2 sets and we used them for a memory game. The boys loved this. They are still playing a week later. There's just something about boys and tools, right?

  • We also made these cute mama and baby kangaroo from here. I printed them on cardstock paper and it's still holding up pretty good. These kangaroos look much better and cuter than my pictures. It was just hard to get them out of my little ones just to take a picture. ;-) Thanks MarieD for sharing this link!

  • A simple and fun read along book for this story is "My Apron" by Eric Carle. There's also a Fold and Learn available for this story at the FIAR Digital Store that includes instructions to make your own apron!

October 20, 2008

Kindergarten Update- Chapter Storybooks

This year we've introduced Caleb to his very first chapter books reading. I am not scheduling or planning these at all, but instead from time to time I am looking at recommendations from other homeschooling or books we come across at the library.

So far we've read...

The Boxcar Children (no. 1) by Gertrude Chandler Warner. For a train lover this book was just perfect. It was difficult to read just one chapter a day!!

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. Caleb enjoyed most of the stories from this classic. Some had too much dialogue for his taste (or attention span) and I found myself skipping through them.

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Caleb LOVED this story. He thought the boy was so smart in dealing with the animals. We read one chapter a day but since they are so short he always begged for me to read more. One morning he came running to me with the book and said "Mom, I figured out the story!!". He picked up the book and sat down to look at all the pictures (until the end) to try to find out who the story ended. ;-)

October 10, 2008

Kindergarten Update- Phonics

If you follow my blog, you probably wonder if all we do here is have fun with school...the answer is YES! :-)
But I just realized that I have not blogged much about Caleb's "real" kindergarten stuff. We do cover math, reading and writing 4-5 days a week. It's just a bit difficult to teach these and take pictures at the same time but we do have a lot of fun learning these things as well.
We usually cover them in the morning, after breakfast while Noah works on his preschool activity bags.
I'm very proud of Caleb and how well he is progressing in the 3R's.
Ok...moving on to the reason for this post....
This year for reading/phonics we are using Reading Made Easy and it truly is easy to use and makes reading easy for kids. I am very much in love with the gentle approach of this program (and for the price as well!).
We've just completed our first "Sight Words Worm" and displayed it in our school room!!
Here's a close up shot. We are going to complete 4 of these during the school year.

One day our worm is going to be veeeeery loooong....

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October 09, 2008

Fun with Corduroy

Our last bear story was Corduroy by Don Freeman.

The boys favorite activity to do with this story is to act it out. We took turns being Lisa (buying Corduroy and giving him a new button), Corduroy (hiding under the covers) and the night watchman at the store (with a flashlight, of course).

To finish our month of learning and fun with 'bears' I took the boys to purchase their own teddy bears!!

Since Lisa used money saved from her piggy bank we did the same. Here's Caleb grouping his coins from his piggy bank. I gave a total amount they could spend and used only quarters (easier for him to count). This ended up being a fun math lesson for him.

Then we drove to The Galeria Mall in Houston to get our bears from "Build-a-Bear" store. Noah insisted we take every escalator we passed (hey...I can use some extra walk these days).

Stuffing the bears

Kiss and jump start the little heart!!!

The boys bringing their new bears home.

Caleb took this picture of the new bears along with their bedtime puppies. From left to right: Corduroy, Angus, Oatmeal and Peanut Butter.

We had such a good time and I was glad to take a break at least for a little bit from trains, cars, dinosaurs and spiderman...but not for long...wanna guess what the new teddy bears are playing these days??...wrestling, diving from the bunkbed in "parachutes" and taking drives on top of Lightning McQueen! LOL!! But they still get tucked in bed at night next to their proud owners. ;-)

October 06, 2008

Hands-on Science

This is one subject that I have struggled to get started with mostly because I feel like I need to plan so much in advance.

I signed up the boys for a "hands-on" science class with out local home school coop but due to hurricane Ike we still have not met once and it looks like as of now is being postponed till further notice.

So...I've finally decided to jump in and give it a try here at home. For the next few months I will "sprinkle" our school time with some hands-on science activities and our topic for now will be...NATURE. I just can't think of a better place to start.

I'm going to combine ideas from Charlotte Mason's teachings on nature walks (don't think I will start a journal yet...maybe next year) with Usborne's "Science with Plants" book and "Science Play!".

First off...we are studying birds and plants. We got 2 bird baths and bird feeders ready to go in our front and backyard to welcome all the birds that will begin migrating south very soon.

On a daily basis the boys get to watch many mockingbirds getting a morning and afternoon sip of water from our baths. I have not got a chance to get the camera in time yet. These birds are so pretty to look at and when they sing it's like listening to a mini concert of all types of tunes...very beautiful.

I'll be updating what we try at home and how things are going from time to time....

October 04, 2008

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

Our next 'bear' story was Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom.

This story was great for conversation and observation. There are lots of things to point out in the story since Jesse Bear is such a cheerful, playful and organized little bear. He knows how to have fun!

We talked a lot about what to wear for different types of weather, activities and places we visit throughout the week.

I used this cute wooden lacing bear activity from Constructive Playthings as an add-on to this unit.

Jesse Bear Lapbook

Noah's Jesse Bear lapbook. Printouts from Homeschoolshare.

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October 03, 2008

"The Months" book of 2

Earlier in the year we started a project called "The Months" Book of Pockets. You can read all about where I got the idea from and also look at the pockets for January, February and March here.

At the beginning of every month, we take a day to review the months of the year (so far) and then make a simple craft that will help us remember it. The craft is based on the poem that goes along with this project and usually represents a change in nature that occurs during that month.

Here's our pockets from April thru September....
"April Changes" A tree print out covered in green paint .
"Birds sing in tune to flowers of May" A flower covered with tissue paper.
"Sunny June bring longer days" Hand prints traced in construction paper and glued together to form a sun.
"In scorched July the storm-clouds fly & lightning torn" Lightning drawn, colored and cut by the boys.
"August bears corn" Corn coloring page (didn't feel too creative in the middle of our move)

October 02, 2008

Jack is back!

I just watched this trailer and I cannot wait!!!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

By far...Caleb and Noah's favorite BFIAR story is We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

This is one book that should be in every child's book collection! It's so well illustrated and so much fun to read aloud and act it out.

I enjoyed reading this story over and over again and after each reading we practiced memorizing the lines in the story with the following games/acting out activities.

  • We played "Find the bear". With these cards from Homeschoolshare. These are part of their Jesse Bear lesson but they worked perfect for this story as well. We took turns hiding and finding the bears. Even dad had to join on this one when he got home from work!
  • We printed these story patterns and scattered them around our living room floor (have I told you how much I love our new floors??). And then we recited the story as we walked our Fisher Price "Little People" through all the scenes. ;-)
  • We played bear hunt with dad (hide and seek)...guess who the bear was?? Dad is really good at hiding and at times the boys were very scared of 'the bear' and his growling. LOL!
  • We also read the story "The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree" (the story is not so spooky). Great parallels between the two stories.

I also showed the boys this clip of Michael Rosen himself narrating the story...hilarious!!

No pictures for this unit...too busy having fun!! ;-)

Ask Mr. Bear

We resumed our 'bears' stories in September (looks like I am finally catching up!). We started out with Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack. This is one of those "so very sweet" stories from the BFIAR collection.
Our favorite part of this story is to practice giving lots and lots of bear hugs to each other!! :-)
We also acted out all the actions mentioned in the story over and over again.
Noah put together this simple labook from Homeschoolshare.

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October 01, 2008

Blueberries for Sal- pt.2

As an add-on art lesson for this unit I had Caleb and Noah learn how to draw a bear. We used the 'bear lesson' from Usborne's I Can Draw Animals.

I was very proud of both them for their great bear drawings! ;-)

Blueberries for Sal-lapbook

Caleb put together (with mom's help) this lapbook from Hands of a Child based on the picture book Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. We used 2 file folders for this one and it took us 2 weeks to put it together. It covered concepts from the story, all about bears, hybernating, all about blueberries and plant growth, math lessons, art and more.