October 31, 2009

A Pair of Red Clogs

Our week with A Pair of Red Clogs was a great way to introduce our boys to the Japanese culture. The boys favorite day of the week was Art lesson day.
Here's our table setup for the morning. The boys colored a Japanese scene with pencils and tried to copy techniques from the book's illustrations.
Then, following the manual idea, we played a game of finding action body figures using a guide with "stick figure" drawings. This was so much fun that the boys decided to trace their own figures and have the other person find them.
Then we made some flyers and spinners with fancy origami paper I got at the thrift store for 50 cents a pack!

And we ended our day by playing the "weather telling game" like Mako in the story. Caleb manged to get his slipper land sideways twice. It was also a rainny day which made it more fun for the boys.

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October 30, 2009

My Happy Preschooler

Noah LOVES his preschool activity bags. This one is one of his favorite things to do right now.
Pour white glue all over paper and paste little tissue pieces. He will sit and do this until he cannot see the paper anymore. Sometimes he will crumble the little pieces to make "mini tissue balls" or roll them to make worms.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all his beautiful tissue art. Any thoughts??

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October 23, 2009


For our Madeline story we enjoyed the most learning about rhymes and Paris. This was a low key for us due to sickness in the house so we limited our FIAR activities mostly to topic discussion and reading books about Paris.
Following the story illustrationst the boys colored this page of the Eiffel Tower using monochromatic colors.

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October 22, 2009

Testing for Acid

This experiment was not part of our Lentil study but it would be a good add-on science activity. It's par of the Usborne Science Activities volume 2 (Science in the Kitchen).
We gathered some kitchen ingredients (lemon, orange, grapefruit, vinegar, apple juice, milk, water, baking soda).
Slice and boil a red cabagge. Cool the water and use it to test for acid in the ingredients. If acid is present, the purple-like water will turn red or pink. For fun, try baking soda and watch the water turn blue.

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October 21, 2009


Lentil by Robert McKloskey is one of those stories where I heard the boys said after each reading "read again...again!". It's amazing how a story that is illustrated black and white is so full of details and captivated their little eyes.
We spend a lot of time this week, talking about patriotism, learning patriotic songs and playing with their harmonicas.
Caleb practiced drawing music notes (like in the story) for his notebook. The squiggly lines to the right are supposed to represent "loud noise" : )

We couldn't possibly read Lentil without trying to suck on a lemon. So here it goes....Caleb went first while Noah watched...he just licked the lemon but still....SOUR!!

Noah still wanted to try afterwards, but he went for a real slurp. Love their faces!

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October 20, 2009

Caterpillars and Butterflies

The beautiful fall days here in southeast Texas is giving us a chance to be out in the yard every day. We've been spotting lots of butterflies lately, around 6 different types.
Yesterday my little nature explorers found an area in our front yard with LOTS of caterpillars. We counted over 20!!
So I had to take at least a picture of the boys holding one, right?
Well, Noah was all in....
But Caleb....not sure what happened...he is our nature lover...but something about the fuzzy-sticky body of the caterpillar he did not like. I asked him to smile for the shot and this was the best he could do! LOL!!
I'm glad they found the caterpillar because now I'm sending them every morning outside with their magnifiying glasses to observe and come back in to report to mom what they saw. The best science class is in the yard for sure!!
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Storm in the Night

Here are some pages from out notebooks for Storm in the Night. This was a story that my boys enjoyed more than I thought they would. It gave us so much to talk about. Like Thomas, my boys love to hear stories from when mom and dad where "young". It's funny how they say that since I still considered myself least for another week. : )
Mini book where Caleb wrote examples of onomatopeia in the story. List making of sources of light. Art lessons: facial expressions.

Inside of the facial expressions minit. We practice making the faces in the mirror as well.

We spent a lot of time this week reading about types of clouds. Every day we went outside to observe the clouds. We also had some serious thunderstorms that week! So that made reading this story even more special.

Art lesson: painting a "storm in the night" with acrylics.

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October 19, 2009

Chopsticks Fun

A fun activity I added to our "Ping" week was this game of transfering objects using chopsticks. We tried marshmallows first, but it ended up a bit too sticky. They were getting stuck to the stick and my boys ended up a bit frustrated with it. So we tried using pom-poms next and it was great! I'm trying to add more hands-on activities and games for Noah, but Caleb joined in on this one as well. : )
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The Story About Ping

Our very first FIAR story for this semester was The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack. We had lots of fun learning about the country of China and life by the Yangtze river. Our highlight for the week was going to a local park to observe the ducks, see their reflection on the water and the ripples they formed while swimming. Unfortunately, my camera's battery died while we were there so no pictures of our outing. : (
Other books we read this week:
Tikki Tikki Tembo
The Five Chinese Brothers
The Little Duck by Judy Dunn
Come Along, Daisy
A peek inside our notebook for the week....
Flag and map of China (kids drew Yangtzee River on it), picture of river with "yellow" water, Ping's Family math activity.
Art lesson: drawing with coloring pencils, layering colors, drawing a duck, drawing water.

Vocabulary words, bouyancy experiment results, ducks facts that Caleb learned throughout the unit study.

Another fun activity I added to Noah's notebook is an Animal Classification Section. I designated one page for each of the basic vertebrates categories and one for invertebrates and other creatures. Each page has a pockets (see below) and we are adding an animal card for each new animal we encounter in our stories. I gathered ideas from here for this project.
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October 17, 2009

Nine Month Baby

Here it's brand new smile...with her cute tiny teeth! Four teeth so far and looks like two more on the way.
This past month our little princess has been busy exploring the house and perfecting her crawling and cruising skills. She already has her favorite spots around the house....standing by the shinny garbage can to "talk" to herself.... the white board.This one is my favorite. She stands here and grabs the marker and bangs the board as if she is trying to write. Looks like she wants to be a teacher like her Mami! Too cute! And her other favorite spot.... the window, of course, standing on her tiptoes. She can't wait to get out there and explore the world.

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October 15, 2009

Workboxes Number Chars

I finally decided to jump into the workboxes world! Not sure what took me so long but after seeing and hearing so many homeschooling families talk about how much they love the system, we are in. Once I have all the system in place, I will post some pictures here. So far we are only doing 6 boxes and trying to get the boys into the idea of the workboxes.
Back in the Spring I saw these amazing looking number charts over at Sweet Simplicity and the super artistic Heather, made these beautiful ones for our boys. Aren't these too cute?? I have to say my camera and photopgraphy abilities are not good so I don't think these shots do them justice.
Thank you again, Heather. My boys love their number charts.

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Before Five in a Row Units

I've added 2 labels under my blog topics with all the Before Five in a Row unit posts. Or you can click on the links below. These are the preschool units for ages 2-4. Looking forward to doing these units again with Sarah in two years. Till then...enjoy our BFIAR memories!

Before Five in a Row pt 1

Before Five in a Row pt 2

We Love Five in a Row

Two weeks of no blogging means that I've been busy doing life, and less time in the computer and that's a good thing.

I'm ready to start blogging about our Five in a Row adventures!

I've decided to blog about our favorite lessons of each week, as well as supplemental read aloud books and hands-on activities and games I'm adding for my preschooler.

How our FIAR journey began...

I first saw this curriculum 4 years ago and right away I knew this was a good fit for me and Caleb, who at the time was 2 1/2 years old!! At the time I didn't know I was going to end up homeshooling the kids. Back then I only knew that I was not ready to send my baby to pre-k at 3. I felt he wasn't ready and I didn't see a need for it. He had enough social interaction between church, library storytimes, group playdates and toddler gymnastics. Looking back I think that was more than enough! I still wanted to give him a head start and schedule a regular fun learning time at home.
We started working with Before Five in a Row (the preschool resource for ages 2-4) and I that was it! This was the perfect introduction to learning for our kids. It didn't look like school or feel like school and yet they were learning so much. We were immersed in some fantastic stories that became very dear to us, even to this day. The activities were enjoyable, rewarding and he was learning so much. We loved this resource so much we used it 2 years in a row and then Noah came along and we used it another year!

All that to say that now we are finally ready to start volumes 1 and 2!!!

Blogging Topics...

I MUST say that the portions of our week I will be blogging here will be just a little glimpse into our FIAR adventures. To truly appreciate this resource you have to try it yourself! So...if you are reading this blog and are not familiar with Five in a Row...check out their site. The Lamberts are an amazing couple and I considered them my "homeschooling mentors".

Getting Started

To start our Volume 1 adventure, I surprised the boys (this was back in August...I'm so behind blogging!) with their very own new notebooks. I purchased plain sketching notebooks at Walmart and decorated the covers.

The boys were so excited to see their names and grade on them. : )

These notebooks will be for all of our FIAR units. For almost everything that we learned during the week we are adding something to the notebooks. A lot of the printouts I am using are from Homeschool Share or Five in a Row Digital Store. The rest I just made up at home or download from other online sources.

One of the things I LOVE about FIAR is that the lessons build on each other. I see this more and more as the weeks go by. A few books ago I introduced the elements of a story. The boys are automatically pointing them out in all the stories we've read after that.

We are using the story disks included in the manual every Monday to review geography. This has proven to be a lot more fun than I thought. The boys enjoy finding and recalling where all the stories take place.

Inside Caleb's notebook I added the FIAR Classic Story Timeline. We chose this options of the 2 columns. One side will have a story disk and the opposite side will have pictures of our family members born during that time. I have not introduce him to a timeline yet and wanted to keep it simple this year. Perhaps next year we will begin a more detailed history timeline.

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