Monday, January 28, 2013

Magic Treehouse book club

Viking Ships At Sunrise (Magic Tree House, No. 15)

We started Monday school today, and one of Aaron's classes is a Magic Tree House book club (Monday school is a homeschool co-op).  They started reading this book, Viking Ships at Sunrise, and afterwards they colored a Celtic cross for the activity.  He really likes this class, and following along in this book.  I have been trying to get him into these books, maybe this book club will help.  So far it's looking like it might!

Reading update:  Aaron is getting more interested in reading.  While he's not fluently reading yet, he can read some easy readers (like bob books) pretty well, and some easier books like the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  He has been loving these.  Actually all of my boys have.  They want to read them over and over.  Anyway, he was able to read all of Today I Will Fly! before we had to return it to the library.  He's getting better at sounding out things, so working through these books is getting easier for him.  Thanks Becca for recommending these to us!


Happy homeschooling!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tot school fun

It has been kinda fun to see Alex this week take such a big interest in the crafts, and school time.  He's starting to really get into needing more activities set aside.  These were all spontaneous, I have not really been putting any effort forth for Tot school, but I'm thinking I'm going to start soon!

He insisted on painting when his brother's were painting for a Katy and the big snow project.  He did this for a good while, and was so good about not getting paint too messy.

We got a new sand/water table that I'm very excited about too.  This was the first day we had it, so I just put this peanut transferring game in it for fun.  Now it's full of beans!  He loved transferring the peanuts.  It took him a while to figure out the squeezing part though.


We made some signs (another Katy and the big snow project), and he loved it.  He figured out the process real fast, and insisted on putting all the signs on the sticks, and then sticking the sticks into the clay.  He ended up finishing Aric's who lost interest in making the signs and just wanted to play with clay.  Too funny!IMG_2809 He also seems to love squeezing glue!  He joined right in on this glue and salt craft!  I love seeing him be so into our school time like this!  IMG_2818 Now if I could just have more time to plan some activities and get them ready for him! 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Snowflakes! (story and art)

I have some time with just my boys on Tuesday afternoons while April is at her art class.  For that time I usually try to do some art with them that goes along with a story, or our five in a row book of the week.  This isn't a five in a row book, it was just a fun winter book that I came across on 1+1+1=1.  We didn't get around to it for family night, so it was the perfect time on Tuesday afternoon last week to do it.  I loved sitting with my boys and reading this book!

The Tiny Snowflake by Arthur Ginolfi: This is a story about a snowflake who feels different from all the other snowflakes, and isn't sure that's a good thing.  She wonders what her special gifts from God are, and how she can sparkle like the others.  My boys didn't quite get how this applies to them, maybe a little.  We'll have to read it again next year, and see if they've figured it out!


Then we made tin foil snowflakes (idea found here)
Aric's snowflake.  He wanted a circle around his snowflake for some reason.  I also ended up finishing his because he wanted to make a moon instead (as you can see down below).

Aaron's snowflake, and he decided a moon would look pretty neat too.  Moon??  I have no idea where the moons came from, but we're homeschoolers, we go with the flow :-)  Oh, and yes our snowflakes have one too many lines.  We were only supposed to use 3 lines to make a six sided snowflake.

Aric's moon...

My snowflake, I like to do it too!IMG_2778

Just for fun we also have these in our window.  I found these star wars snowflakes on pinterest, and printed a few to try out for Aaron.  I had to do the cutting because they are pretty detailed, but the boys sure like them.

R2D2 snowflake...

C-3PO snowflake...IMG_2783

We're having some winter fun here, but I am sure looking forward to warming up soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another Diamante poem

April wrote another diamante poem today.  This time she did the antonym diamante.  I really like this one.  These are two things in our house that are talked about a lot in our house.
Harry Potter
magic, wand
flying, escaping, brewing
death eater, you-know-who, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper
destroying, shooting, fighting
jet, lightsaber
by April

Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


 A Child's Garden of Poetry

For some reason I stuck this in my netflix DVD queue a while back.  I think it may have been on a blog somewhere, and I thought it sounded really interesting.  In any case I'm so glad I did!  It was sitting in our mail pile on Monday morning, so we I decided to start our homeschool day watching it.  I just stuck it in, and didn't say a word about what I was putting in because I know the minute I mention the word POETRY to my children I would hear nothing but moans.  So, I stuck it in, and just let it play.  Within 5 minutes they were all watching.  It really drew them in, even the little boys.  I loved snuggling with them on the couch and watching this (especially on a Monday morning).  It was a perfect start to our week!  Especially since we had some other poetry activities planned for the week.  I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect with this DVD.  It is so lovely though!  I especially love the little children that are describing poetry, so wise beyond their age!  I was very impressed.  There were 7 year old kids talking very intelligently about poetry!  Needless to say it is in my Amazon cart now, and I'm looking forward to having it in the house.  I highly recommend it as a great introduction to poetry for younger ones, but even so my 11 year old was watching it too.  It inspired her to write a few poems that day.

One of the other activities I had planned was a poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein called the Band-aid.  We read the poem and then I had a little band-aid activity.  I even let them use real band-aids.  The little boys liked the poem, and the band-aids.  They were to draw a picture and finish the sentence "Band-aid on my_______."

Aric's interpretation of the poem "Band-aid" by Shel Silverstein.  He started out with "Band-aid on my eyes," then decided to put band-aids everywhere!  LOL.

April learned how to write a diamante poem this week also.  This was good for her since we haven't done much with poetry, and she seems to want to run the other way when I even mention the word.  She also had a good refresher on what exactly are verbs, adjectives, and nouns.  Can you guess what her poem was about?

A diamante by April

fuzzy, playful
galloping, jumping, prancing
yearling, stallion, mare, foal
trotting, cantering, riding
hoofed, cute

I am loving poetry more and more.  I think we had a good start to our introduction to poetry this week.  We also went to the library and I gave them the assignment to find another poetry book that looks interesting to them.  We have a few to read this next week!  I think we might have some more fun with poetry over the next few months.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Outdoor hour challenge: Rock grid study and games

We loved the rock grid study outdoor hour challenge this week! My kids could spend hours playing with and looking at rocks, so they had no problem rounding up their rocks for this. Yes, they all have their own little collections which need to be organized. It looks like we'll be doing that next week for the next outdoor challenge. So excited!  Also, we did do these activities on a few different days, so that is why there is a lot!

April, who is 11, put the rock grid study in her nature notebook.  Unfortunately she didn't give herself a 2 page spread.  But she laid all of her collection out to do some of the grid suggestions.

She picked...IMG_2695

Stack some rocks

Pick a rock shaped like an oval

Then she put them in this glass container for our display table.  She wanted them clearly labeled so her brothers would remember that those were hers if she was going to leave them in our display.  Some of these rocks are ones that she has collected on various trips to the beach, and outings, so they are pretty special.


Preschool rock study time!

My little guys went nuts when I brought out our jar of rocks that Daddy tumbled and made all smooth a while ago.  Yes, we have in the garage somewhere a rock tumbler.  We might have to get it out again.  Anyway, I poured them out on the table, and we did all kinds of things.  This little guy went nuts if you tried to touch his pile of rocks.  He loved them!

IMG_2702 IMG_2703

Little Alex, who is 2, is brushing them off with a brush.  They are pretty nice looking all spread out there.  We have some pretty fancy rocks.

Aric, who is 4, had a blast with the rocks too.  He doesn't really have a collection yet either.  We will probably start one for him.  I can't remember why he was showing me these rocks in his hands, but I know there was a reason...
IMG_2712 He lined up his rocks...
 IMG_2759 IMG_2760 IMG_2761 Then, he tried stacking them. IMG_2763

We read this great book Rocks, Rocks, Rocks by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace that was recommended in the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter.  I was happy to see our library had a copy.  He enjoyed it from cover to cover, and he loved tracing the path with his fingers that they walked through the rock nature park.


He even realized one of his rocks matched one of the rocks that was talked about in the book.


The books we read. I also pulled out Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor.  We did a little unit about rocks using this book a few years back.  It's a fun little book about how you should choose a rock.

This is the other book I mentioned Jump into Science:  Rocks & Minerals by Steve Tomecek.  It has a lot of information, and is perfect for my 1st grader.  He really liked it although we haven't really read all of it, just bits and pieces.

Our rock display

I'm so excited about this.  I finally cleared enough space in our school area for a little nature display.  I plan to change it out as we do different studies.  Right now it's our rock display.  It's not pictured here, but I also added 2 other children's books about rocks:  Rocks, Rocks, Rocks by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, and Jump into Science: Rocks and Minerals by Steve Tomecek.  More on both of those later in the post.


This is Aaron's rock collection.  He loves his rocks, and even has little information sheets on some of them that were bought at nature centers.  We could really use some organization for our rock collections.  I'd also like them to figure out the names of all their rocks.  We'll be working on that next week.


We also spotted many cool rock formations and many many things made out of rock at the Portland, Oregon Chinese Garden during our field trip there.  You can read more about that here.IMG_2734

Digging for rocks, another fun thing this week.  Aaron decided to spend his money he was saving on these kits that you excavate rocks from.  He loves these things, and buys them any chance he gets. 


Aaron decided he wanted to see if any of his rocks float because he read about the lava rocks being able to float.  None of his float, but he had fun trying to find out.

  It was a fun week of rock discovery.  We still have to paint rocks.  We have them all cleaned and ready to go.  Actually, we planned to paint rocks last summer, so the rocks have been sitting in the garage waiting to be painted for a while.  We just never got around to painting them after we collected them from the river.  I had forgotten that we were going to do that, so glad for the reminder!

I love nature studies!
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