Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Science Experiment-What makes healthy soil?

                                                                      Project 1:
                               We used shredded carrot, lettuce, plastic bag scraps, and soil
Cover the items in soil and put the lid on the plastic container.
What do you think will happen?
  Which items will decompose and which items will remain?
What happens when items decompose?
(This photo is taken after a week).
Explain that compost is made when the nutrients from the lettuce and carrot combine with the soil, this is healthy for the earth, but the plastic bag will remain for years.
Have your children make predictions on what will happen after a week. Olive was happy that her predictions turned out to be correct.

We are linked up with ABC & 123!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Curriculum Swap Winner

Drum Roll Please............................ The winning number was pulled out of a hat by Olive. Thank you to all who participated and a special thanks to Jolanthe for hosting to fantastic clean-out!
On a side note, if you were not the lucky person today, I'll be hosting 2 giveaways in the month of September so I am wishing you much luck!

The winner is: The Unsell Family
She writes:  Thanks for the great give-a-way. My favorite part of my day is curling up with a great book and reading to my kids.
~Jen Unsell

I really enjoyed reading about the favorite part of your day. I cherish my early mornings before the kids get up and getting the first cuddle of the day.

Insects- Ants

We started our Science lesson on insects from Living Learning Books and made this fun ant craft to go along with it.
To make this craft you will need three sections of an egg carton, markers to color, eyes, glue, pipe cleaners for the legs and antennae.

All insects have six legs and three body parts- a head, thorax, and abdomen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sensory Tub With Colored Rice

Jem really enjoys her special sensory tubs. I added the rainbow rice and orzo we colored a few weeks ago, scooping spoons, egg holder, pom-poms, beads, tubes, pipe cleaners, big tweezers, and shells. I really have a good time putting these together, but the real master at this is Mari-Ann over at Counting Coconuts. They are really beautiful creations.

This magnifying glass was a big hit with Jem. She loved seeing all the colors pop out of her sensory tub.
On a side note, today I am featured on Just Like June. I am so excited so please stop by her lovely blog and check it out. She has many wonderful ideas for old-fashioned living in the modern world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crochet Doll Tiara

I have been teaching myself to crochet thanks to Kira's help over at Just Like June. She has some great tutorials that have started me off the right path. To be honest, this is actually my second time trying to learn. The first time...I tried to make a baby blanket for Olive before she was born, but it turned into a baby cape!
I basically made 3 rows of single stitch, then somehow stitched 6 and connected it to every third loop...I'm just getting started, but the girls were happy that I was able to make something for their doll. Maybe I'll be able to make a blanket by Christmas...wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preschool- Letter A and Twiggles ABC

See the letter A:

Feel the letter A:

Eat the letter A
 Choose an apple or this cool alligator cake I made for Jem's 3rd birthday in June.
Letter A Activity
Confessions of a Homeschooler has this cute apple lacing activity along with an amazing Letter of the Week Curriculum to purchase. We will be doing many activities from her site as well.
Hear the letter A:
The Ants Go Marching
author unknown

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two,
The little one stops to tie his shoe
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three,
The little one stops to climb a tree
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching four by four,
The little one stops to shut the door

The ants go marching five by five,
The little one stops to take a dive

The ants go marching six by six,
The little one stops to pick up sticks

The ants go marching seven by seven, hurrah, hurrah
The little one stops to pray to heaven

The ants go marching eight by eight, hurrah, hurrah
The little one stops to shut the gate

The ants go marching nine by nine, hurrah, hurrah
The little one stops to check the time

The ants go marching ten by ten, hurrah, hurrah
The little one stops to say "THE END"
I have been using KidsSoup for many of my printables for over a year now. You can find everything from the alphabet to on the farm activities. To make their site even better they have added
ABC Twiggles. 

At ABC Twiggles the alphabet is brought to a new dimension- you can hear, feel, taste, see, and write the letters. I just print off what we will be learning for the day and use their lesson helpers to get us started.

The best part is you'll be able to win a year's subscription to this cool site, ABC Twiggles, in September!

I'm linking this post to 1+1+1.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dictate, Draw, and Drama

The idea behind the 3 D's (dictate, draw, and drama) is that I want Olive to present a story, illustrate it, and then act it out. She started by telling me a story about a mermaid who lived with her friends underneath the sea and they had magical seaweed. I wrote the story down in her own words and then she drew a picture on a separate piece of paper.
 Jem and I enjoyed being the audience while she acted out her tale with puppets. This was her favorite part!

Before school started I labeled many things in the house with these cards. I read that it's helpful for children to identify the object with the word. I found these nice labels over at 1+1+1.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homemade Erector Set

All I have to say is HOORAY for Dad! He hit a home run with this idea for his girls.
They played for hours erecting shapes and forts out of scrap pieces of wood. Dad drilled holes into the wood and provided a bowl with screws, washers, nuts, a wrench, and a screw driver.
 It just goes to show that simply gifts are still the greatest. Dad showed them how to twist the nuts onto the screws and even build a small ladder. If your hubby has made a great Dad invention for your kids, please post the link in the comment section below. Dad invented, Mom approved!

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Essay: The First Day of School

First Day of School

When she was first born I imagined this day… getting her ready in a new outfit, braiding her hair, anxiously walking to the bus stop to wait for the rumble of the approaching bus, with me helping to calm her nervous butterflies.  I would pack the perfect lunch with a cute little sandwich cut into a special shape, and surprise her with a note, “happy first day of school, my big girl.”

Once I made my decision to homeschool, I struggled with the fact that there would be no yellow school bus for my daughter.  It’s interesting how our vision changes, or maybe we just change as a person, into a parent, knowing in our hearts that what used to be good is no longer the best it can be for them.

Being a public school graduate, it took me a few years after having children to realize that homeschooling isn’t just about jean jumpers, non-stop religious dogma, and staying within the confines of home. After hearing about large classrooms, school budget cuts that seem to be aimed at kids and not administrators, and “No Child Left Behind,” I started to wonder what a well-educated mother could do for a child who is eager to learn.  I found that, out of necessity, I was willing to challenge my own public-school bias against what I once believed was homeschooling.

I’ve spent countless hours selecting a curriculum, signed my daughter up for a homeschool co-op with thirty other families that will meet once a week, organized our classroom, which used to be a playroom, and generally started making sense of our new homeschool life.  It does take a commitment of time, but I’ve already devoted the first years of my child’s life to being a stay-at-home mom and that takes time too; in my case, the patience and organization is learned, just as on any job.

There are days I second guess myself… many days. It’s in those moments that I realize that, though homeschooling has grown in numbers, we are in the minority.  The friends she plays with at the pool with will soon hop on the big yellow school bus and be gone from 7:30-3:30, Monday through Friday.  I know she would love a large, boisterous classroom.  She is quite a social, happy, and active person; but somehow I don’t think I will regret taking the time to teach her at home.  It’s my hope that she will feel the same, but the best advice I have been given, and can give, is to take homeschooling one year at a time.  It can be daunting to think of it otherwise.

So on my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten, we will walk together from the kitchen into our makeshift school room.  There will be a sign on the door from her teacher that reads “welcome to your first day of school.”  I’m so glad we’re here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Airplane Cake

The girls wanted to make Daddy's cake into something special for his big day....we decided on an airplane. Happy Birthday to a wonderful Husband and Father!
After baking the cake, I froze it, which made it easier to cut out the airplane shape. I used a left over triangle piece for the top and my peanut butter buttercream frosting, his favorite!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ABC Yoga Fun

My kids really enjoy bending their bodies and doing some yoga with me. The ABC's of Yoga for Kids is a really cute book that teaches kids to make the alphabet with simple yoga posses. You can find the authors site here. We also purchased this Yoga Kids DVD that my 5 year old enjoys. We love to be outside, but it's a nice alternative on a rainy day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Free C-Span Presidents Timeline

This site allows registered teachers to request a poster of the Presidents, complete with a timeline.  Each president is listed on the timeline at the year of their birth.  Our family's poster arrived today - it's huge but it will be a GREAT teaching tool and it's free. Go here to find out more.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flat Stanley Project- join us!

I am sending out our "Flat Stanley's" today and can't wait to show the girls all the places they will visit. A mother, from a forum I follow (The Well-Trained Mind,) organized this one. We are so excited to participate!

But it got me thinking...how would you like to participate in Sippy Cup Central's Flat Stanley Project, with a twist? 

We would start in October and instead of visiting a location, your Flat Stanley will help with an activity. For instance, your Flat Stanley could help make playdough, play a fun game, or discover a bug. The recipes, directions, or interesting facts would be included with the E-mailed photo of your child.  My hope is that by the end of this adventure your child will have a keepsake of fun things to do. Please contact me at sippycupcentral@gmail.com if you are interested in this project.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Noodle Head Puppets

We had a wonderful time at our farmer's market this week. Not only did we get our face painted, and some yummy fruits and veggies,  but the girls made these adorable and crafty Noodle Head Puppets!
To make these Noodle Head you'll need:
-paint stick
-2 inch piece of a pool noodle
-yarn, golf tee, and brackets for face
-plastic table cloth (cheap party kind)
-chopstick to poke the yarn in the head
-sharpie or pipe cleaner
-Beads if you want to embellish yarn hair

Cut a 12 inch circle out of the table cloth, place it over the paint stick, and pop the noodle top over it. Next add the brackets for eyes, golf tee for nose, and either draw on a mouth with a sharpie or use a piece of a pipe cleaner. This next part was their favorite...use a chopstick and poke the yarn into the noodle. Enjoy your puppet show!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Collage Time

I had some time just with Jem and all she wanted to do was make crafts. Now that's a girl after my own heart! We spend 2 hours making a collage...first with stickers, then with glue, and don't forget to add on the foamy paper. It was so nice to give her all my attention. Thank you Grammy for taking Olive on a date.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Paper Bowl Tamborine

This was a fun and easy after lunch craft we made with two bowels, some beans, brads and staples, and pipe cleaners for decoration. You can really use anything that makes a jingle sound like pennies, rice, or any type of hard bean. Enjoy your new band!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back From PA

We had a great time in PA. The girls were so good on our 12 hour trip.  We sure did a ton of fun things, from riding in a horse and buggy, visiting family, Hershey Chocolate Factory, Amish farms, Philadelphia, ate great Pennsylvania Dutch food, and visited an old fashioned amusement park called Knoebles- just to name a few.....
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