Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dinosaur Train

One of our favorite shows these days is Dinosaur Train on PBS.  I really love how much my girl learns from this show and how she can spout off names of dinosaurs like it is nothing.  So we thought it would be a fun day while on our vacation to head to the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque. When I was younger I used to visit this same museum when I visited my family so it was fun to see how it has changed over the years. One of the best parts is that we counted it as part of school.  It was so much fun.  It was fun to show her how big these creatures were and have this cartoon that she loves come to life.   It was also fun to see her ask the volunteers that were there if they were a paleontologist.  At her age, I don’t know if I knew much about dinosaurs but I can tell you I did not know the word paleontologist. 

Here are some pictures from our fun day with the dinosaurs. 
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Mickey liked this dinosaur… who they named Spike.
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She was a little bit afraid of this guy… but who can blame her?  He is kind of big.
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Momma’s turn with Spike.
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Thankful that Daddy was along for this trip.  Momma would not be so brave as to hold a snake for her daughter. 
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This nice volunteer was available to answer all of my girl’s questions!
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She loved seeing these big dinosaurs.
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She liked seeing the big brother and baby sisters.  I don’t know how she decided who was who, but she did. 
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Ammonite.  I actually knew what this was.  Yay, for Dinosaur Train. 
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I think that this was a saber tooth tiger.
This was a good day!  I liked the memories that we made.  Learning is so much fun. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Week in Review

This week was our first week of kindergarten.  I think that I would call it a success.  I posted our curriculum that we are using here.  We didn’t do everything that I ordered this week as we were easing into school and just trying to get down our routine. 
We jumped in with both feet into the My Father’s World curriculum. This week was all about the sun.  We saw how powerful the sun was.  We live in the desert so it is still pretty hot here.  We decided to use this powerful sun to make “Sun Tea”.  We used to Wild Berry herbal tea, which was the first real tea Mickey has ever drank.  She loved it.  She also made a painting of the sun.  She reviewed the letter “S” and the sound it makes.
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My girl with her Sun Tea and pretty school dress

This week we also started using Ready2Read.  I LOVE this program and I can’t believe that it is free.  This week has been a review for us.  We have already been working on the “at” and “an” family.  Annie Moffatt has her lesson plans set up to complete a Unit in a week.  With my girl we are taking it at a slower pace because I want to make sure she gets it.  We made the mini book of the “at” family words.  My girl loved this and was proudly added this to the list of books that she can now read.  She also read book 1 and 2 of Bob Books.  I am loving seeing her learn to read. 
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Our word caterpillar who my girl named “Mrs. Dewey”
Math was also something that we jumped into this week. We used her workbook and the first few pages were review.  After the first few pages, we ended up in material that is still fairly new for her.  She had to link up dominoes in column 1 with dominoes in column 2 to make a number like 3 or 4.  She had a difficult time with this.  However, when we took out our learning bears that have different number of hearts on their tummy, she did well at this activity.  I saw first hand how hands on my girl is.  We also did addition with the inchimals.  She loves this Math game!
She also made the lower case letter “a”. We are finishing up our alphabet book from preschool.  I had expected to do a letter a day, however, we only did one letter this week.  I am okay with that. 
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Holding up her lowercase “a” turned into an apple.  Also sporting her new school hairdo.
Gotta love her sense of style. 
We did not get into science or Spanish this week.  We are still trying to figure out how our set up is working for us.  I am still needing to clean out part of the office to make more of a play area for my 15 month old little guy.  His favorite part of the day is our storytime.  He has always loved storytime.  So we make sure we do books that both big sister and little brother have books that they will enjoy.  Big sister is enjoying teaching new songs to brother.  He loves watching her sing and likes to feel included. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What to do with Baby Brother?

This year we moved our homeschool room into our office.  This is working out great so far. At least the first 2 days this has been the case.  I should clarify it is working out great for Big Sister and also for limiting our homeschool supplies all in one room. 
Baby Brother who is 15 months in a few days is having a more difficult transition.  I have moved some of his toys in the office.  I still need to clear out some things and figure out how to make a play section in there that will keep brother occupied.  The living room is his regular domain and where he prefers to hang out.  Moving to the office has created a challenge of how to handle little brother while we are doing school. 
I am trying to involve him as much as possible.  He has always loved story time.  Since this is kindergarten we have a dedicated story time during our regular scheduled home school time.  We are singing songs.  I need to expand our in our singing time.  We read books that my girl loves and that are part of our curriculum.  We also include those favorite board books that my little guy loves and my girl “pretends” to read.  This is working out for us.  But what do I do with him during our other times during school.  Especially those times that she needs dedicated time to get a new concept?  So if you have any suggestions I would appreciate it.  If you have solutions on how you handle a little one who is not ready for “school” and needs constant attention; I would love to hear how handle this situation. 
When I figure out a solution that works for us, I will share that with you!

Telling Time

When I was a little girl, my mom had a rule that we could not have a digital watch.  We were always given analog watches.  She wanted to make sure that we knew how to tell time, in her words “the right way”.  So now I am the mom and I realize I have adopted my mom’s way of thinking. 
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I came across this really neat watch for children learning how to tell time.  And after reading more about it, they made the case for having an analog watch because it helped children grasp time so much easier.  The watch is called Flik Flak watches.  One hand on the watch is the big brother named Flik and the short hand on the watch is the little sister who is Flak.  Flik is older and taller and can walk faster than his little sister.  You always read the sister’s time first because “ladies are always first”.  I love that on the outside of the regular numbers there is also the minutes written 5, 10, 15 etc.  On the flik flak website they also have a section where you can learn how to read time. http://www.flikflak.com/en/learn/learn-how-to-read-time.html   I love it and of course I bought one for Mickey.  I got hers at timberdoodle.com. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Curriculum

This year I am participating in a Not Back to School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter.  Our first week blog link up is all to do about the curriculum materials we are using in our homeschool.  This has been a learning experience for me.  I am not sure how to put everything together but I do have a plan and materials. 
Not Back to School Blog Hop
My Father’s World
      This is the curriculum that I found at the homeschooling conference I went to back in April. One of the things that I really wanted for the kindergarten year was a all in the box curriculum.  I thought I found it when I made this purchase.  I found that in many ways that this would not be everything that I would need to accomplish the goals that I had for my girl.  But it has some great things that would help me along the way. 
  1. This has weekly lesson focus.  So for 26 weeks we will cover all our letters and sounds.  We will also have a focus.  The first week is the Sun and the second week is the moon. 
  2. This is Biblically based.  So as we are learning the letters and sounds, she will also be getting a biblical foundation.
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Handwriting without Tears         We used this last year.  Writing was something that was a big issue for us.  My little girl resisted and refused to write because she was not doing it “right”.  Using HWT last year was a huge blessing for us and most of all it worked!  So we are going to continue on our journey and use their kindergarten workbook this year. 
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Dianne Craft        I found Dianne Craft at the homeschooling convention.  She has made my life so much easier.  She has materials for the right brain learner.  I bought her phonics program and flash cards.  We will continue using this for kindergarten. 
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Ready2Read        This is a resource that I just came across and I think it is my missing link.  This is very hands on and uses both phonics and sight words.  I am so excited to be starting this one.  A friend of mine blogged about this and I am so glad that she did! 
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Math Reasoning        This is a workbook and it seems pretty straight forward.  Along with this we are also using Cuisenaire Rods and Inchimalsimage
Little Pim Spanish        These are DVD’s that we use in 5 min segments.  I have always had a difficult time with learning languages.  So I am hoping that this is is simple to use.
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Science         I got some hands on Science Kits to use a couple of times a week from Timberdoodle.  I am excited because I think that my little girl is going to love these activities. It also helps me not having to dream up these activities on my own.  image