Friday, August 31, 2012

Sissy's Kindergarten Corner Weeks #2-3: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Here are some of Sissy's kindergarten activities (beyond her workbook pages) that I was able to photograph the past two weeks:

On their first day of homeschool co-op, I had made them a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom breakfast, to go along with our activities we've been doing lately.

banana with peanut butter, apples, grapes, and ABC cookies

tree from party store and post-it letters cut smaller

We specifically ate coconut several times while doing this unit. We sprinkled coconut flakes on our name cookies.

I made a vegan coconut cream pie. 

Eating coconut milk So Delicious is nothing new for us, but we did enjoy a new flavor, Passionate Mango.

We also served Ian's Alphatots this week.

I love these play dough mats. They printed off front/back, so I used this opportunity to practice odd/even/skip counting.

our sensory tub

I used sugar for the sand.

I mean, I'm going to get rid of all of the kids' toys because they never play with them as much as they do their sensory tubs.

after I added the letters

Sis had to dig out one letter at at time, practice writing that letter, deposit it in the pail, and repeat until she found all of the letters.

We did a lot of the Chicka activities at Making Learning Fun, like the upper and lower case letter recognition pages.

Also from Making Learning Fun, she colored this tree and used stamps to spell words around it.

Some other fun from weeks 2 and 3:

I posted about their potions in last week's Weekly Wrap-Up. This was an authentic reaction I captured to her potion.

I had also written about our baking soda with colored vinegar and an eye dropper activity last week. This was her creation.

She takes Tea Time very seriously.

She worked on several pattern activities at co-op and at home.

her Abeka art Creation book

fractions, size sequencing, folding

In addition to everything she did with her brothers during our Columbus studiesshe completed this cutting puzzle activity.

Their Design and Drill Activity Center has always been one of the kids' favorite toys. Her assignment was to work on this pattern as a reflection.

I found these LEGO mats for her to practice counting and number correspondence.

I love Jan Brett's alphabet flags. Tornado helped me cut them out and glue them on toothpicks. They cut our homemade play dough into shapes with cookie cutters, then labeled them accordingly with the flags.

My sweet ballerina is growing up.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Christopher Columbus: Adventures in MFW #3

We next covered Christopher Columbus in My Father's World. In addition to our MFW lesson readings, we read several picture books about Columbus like this one:

A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus 
by David A. Adler

The kids journaled (using this paper), retelling what they remembered from our MFW book.

A book we particularly enjoyed was Pedro's Journal, written by Pam Conrad.
Pedro's Journal
This is the story of a young boy aboard the Santa Maria with Columbus. It is about 80 pages long, and we were able to read it in about 4 or 5 sittings. It would be best for 2nd-6th graders, but my daughter listened right along. They liked hearing the story from the boy's perspective, therefore it was more relatable. It provides perhaps a new outlook on the man Christopher Columbus and what went on during those months at sea and upon the crew meeting the Indians. 

I used many online resources for enrichment, 
including these sites:

The kids folded and scrunched foil into boat shapes. (This turned out to be a little challenging for them.) They stuck craft sticks onto the boat with a little clay, and each was responsible for labeling a boat with the ships' names.

They floated their ships in the bathtub. Tornado cut out this one-eyed cheese man to ride in his ship, and Dash opted for this Lego guy to come aboard.

They had to sail their boats using only their breath as the wind.

The kids retained a lot from this video on youtube.

We also watched a Christopher Columbus documentary on Netflix, which was less entertaining for them but informative, nonetheless.

Tornado and I are going through Book Two of Draw, Write, Now. He likes when it is time for us to do this together. He loves to draw so much that I'm trying to teach him tips to improve his skills. He does really well when we go through the steaps. There happens to be journal entries/art lessons that will often go right along with what we are working on in My Father's World.


Cachey Mamas ClassroomPhotobucketjdaniel4smom

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

French Meadow Bakery Bread Giveaway

French Meadow Bakery Bread is giving away a lunch kit to one of my readers. The lunch kit includes: a lunch bag, sandwich box, and water bottle - plus a coupon for a free product (up to $9.99)! I love French Meadow Bakery bread. I'm not just saying that!

This is my favorite bread:
Flax & Sunflower Seed Bread
Flax and Sunflower Seed 

It's vegan, organic, and yeast-free!

I like so many of the other breads, etc., too. We eat the hemp bread, the sprouted breads, and the sprouted bagels a lot. They carry gluten-free and Kosher Parve options.

To enter, visit the contest tab on their facebook page. That way, you are not only eligible to win my prize, you will be entered to win over there, as well. They are asking you to upload a picture of you or your child heading back to school, in whatever capacity that is. If you don't have a current photo, a past one will do. A bonus entry is given if the photo contains a French Meadow Bakery product.

All you have to do is email me a screen shot of your entry to that contest. (Are you like me and had no idea how to take a screen shot? My husband showed me in two seconds, by pressing two buttons on our computer...good to know!)

EMAIL your entry (or questions) to:

changchang 75 (remove the spaces!).

That's all you've got to do!

But act fast, because the contest ends tomorrow night (the 30th) at 5:00 p.m.!!! I'm getting this out late, so your chances are probably very good.

Enter over on facebook,
then email me your screenshot.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of School

We've never really had start or end days to our homeschooling. We just keep going, but at times it is lighter than others. Therefore, we don't ever get to celebrate the first day of "school" for the year, but we can celebrate the first day of our homeschool co-op, which took place two weeks ago.

The kids were surprised with a special breakfast. I decorated the table the night before with a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme.

Breakfast: peanut butter on banana, apple slices, grapes, and Newman's Own Organics alphabet cookies

(disclaimer: I usually only post pics if the food is vegan, but these contain honey. I was confused because we normally get the chocolate version, which do not contain honey.)

2nd grade, 6th grade(ish), kindergarten

My baby boy is about to surpass me.

Sissy really wanted me to come by during lunch on her first day, so I did. I love that she and her brothers get to share their co-op experience. They eat lunch at the same time, with their friends all mingled together (along with parents here and there) in a positive, happy environment I am grateful for.


Here are just a few things I can tell you about the 
3 big kids in this particular time in life:

My 5 year old daughter:
She's giggly, helpful, and loves getting out of the house to go places. She makes sure her "brudders" are always on task, wants to cuddle any chance she gets, and can give you a very dirty look if you offend her or wound her pride. I know exactly how she will act when she's at school or with her friends: mature, responsible, and sweet. I cannot predict her behavior from one moment to the next at home. She could totally go without ever watching television, and she values time spent with people the most. Right now, she's most interested in her baby brother, dancing, singing, playing tennis, and gymnastics. One thing she brings into our home: sunshine.

My 7 year old son:
He loves to make people laugh (and does a really great job at it), and he is trying to learn how to control his temper. He is the best company when engaged, but if you leave him alone, he will most likely a) eat something he shouldn't b) turn on the t.v. without permission or c) light a match and see what happens if you place a piece of paper on said match. If no matches can be found, something else dangerous, messy, or inappropriate will be found somehow. He prefers being active, physical, and outdoors. Homework and chores seem like a punishment to him. Right now, he's most interested in his baby brother, Berenstain Bear books, tennis, video games, and science. One thing he brings into our home: energy.

My 12 year old son:
He's creative and possesses an amazing memory. He is a bottomless pit. (Tonight he ate his supper of bean tacos with veggies on the side. He was still hungry so he had nachos. Then he finished off a full bowl of beans with cheese and salsa. Then a bit later, avocado slices covered in hempseeds. I saw him finishing off a bag of pecans. Next, it was a banana. Oh, and then another half of a banana he found. Then I said, "You have to stop eating and go to bed.") Some things are hard for him, and he doesn't like things that are hard for him. There are moments when this can be hard on all of us. He's remorseful and gentle. I've never seen him hit one of his siblings or pick a fight. If he could choose any activity to do right now, it would probably be "watch cartoons on youtube" or go to Googie's house. He really likes to do schoolwork. Right now, he's also interested in his baby brother, Mad Libs, magazines, comics, and museums. One thing he brings into our home: calm.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up/Homeschool Mother's Journal

In Our Homeschool This Week:
We had finished up Vikings (posted here) and moved on to Christopher Columbus. There were many hands-on science experiments going on around here. Sis is working on Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities.

Here is a tea time from the week - this time we only had juice instead of tea, plus grapes and vegan cookies we made. Yes, there's a Christmas book in there. I think Sis picked a total of 3 Christmas books the last time we were at the library. We also started reading parts of Who Was First?: Discovering the Americas by Russell Freedman. It explores the "evidence that adventurers...and traders, etc...from various parts of the globe set foot on American soil long before 1492."

My 7 year old has been avoiding photo op's a lot lately.

It was a big week because our homeschool co-op is back in session. I think the combination of the kids' classes and schedules is going to be even better this year. 

What They've Been Playing Lately
At some point, Sis was complaining that she was bored because there was no one to play with. I told her she should help Tornado with his Mad-Lib. She takes roles like this very seriously. He was sweet in allowing her to make the decisions between different word choices.

As a reward for something, Tornado picked this set of Rose Art Color Blanks. He had been eyeing them a lot lately in the store.

I saw this idea, which I thought was a great idea from our normal vinegar and baking soda play. We filled trays/lids with thin layers of baking soda. I used Sissy's mini muffin tins from her play kitchen to fill with colored vinegar. They used eye droppers to create designs in the baking soda. You can see how seriously they were taking this!

 I thought the results were fabulous. 

 Tornado's tree

They agreed this will be an activity that happens around here more often.

Next they returned to one of their favorite activities: making potions. They used their leftover baking soda, vinegar, packs of generic Kool-Aid (one of the cheapest things I can buy to entertain my kids during playtime), a cheap bottle of soda, and various other materials.

Extracurricular This Week
One of our biggest news of the week was joining another co-op. It was a big move involving more time and a bit more financial obligation. (Things aren't cheap when you're paying for 3.) However, so great! We had a field trip with some of the members at the post office. The kids were posing in front of this vintage exhibit that is in a back office. The little mail slots with a combination lock made me nostalgic for college. I told the kids how exciting it was to peek into your mailbox and see something - anything! - inside.

the kids playing Red Rover after church
my kids: #2, #3, and #6 in line

The kids finished up their Wednesday night summer church program this week. The kids sang one song for the parents. It was a very big deal to me personally because my 12 year old got right up there and performed, too. This is something that has always been difficult for him. I can't tell you how many times he has freaked out on stage. (Oh, the stress of his kindergarten graduation ceremony...but we kept trying and trying...but maybe kind of gave up the past couple of years.) He has made substantial progress in this area in the past year. Just the fact that he attended these classes all summer with his siblings was significant. We're very proud of him.

At church, my friend pointed out that stripes seemed to be the dress code for our family that night. I looked around - and sure enough, even the short-sleeved sweater I was wearing had a striped pattern. We're so in sync! Poor Baby Brother; I had to wake him up to take this picture when we got home.

a fun picnic playdate with our new co-op on Friday

In Our Life This Week:
I had the sadz this week because Ryan was in California. The worst part about it was that I THOUGHT he was leaving on Tuesday. It was all set in my mind as such, and I had plans for us to spend some time together. And there were things I needed his help with for the first day of school. Monday, the kids and I were running out to do some errands, and he was working at home. I said, "We'll see you in a little bit!" and he was like, "Uh...I'm leaving in an hour, remember?" I had this weird, burst into tears reaction. I was telling my mom this story, and my daughter said, "It's because she wants him to hold the baby." That is NOT it; I MISS my fella when he's not around!

I love, love our homeschool co-op we've been a part of for three years. The only part that's Boo! for me is the hair rule: an inch above the collar and half of the ear showing. So Monday we were off to trim up the boys' summer locks.

But we're good to go now!

Some Favorite Moments This Week:
I looked over to see my daughter just lying up against her brother for a significant amount of time. These two. I mean, these two.

It's pure love one minute and total orneriness against each other the next. 

My brother and his family has been in town this weekend. The new backyard play area has gotten lots of use with our mixed crew.

 Who's behind the mask?

 little P and our dog, Roni

 my niece G

 We rode Ezy Rollers and played tennis, volleyball, basketball, and even Four Square.

Aunt Michele and Cousin C have ignited a greater love in Sis for gymnastics. M could be a coach; she's so good at working with the girls on their moves. I love seeing Sis so motivated and persistent.