Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Make Ten

I'm on a roll, aren't I? :) I have to confess that I've never been much into drilling with flashcards. But I probably say that to my own detriment. I can remember having flashcards as a child and enjoying going through them. Now that I'm an adult... eh, not so much. But I have to admit that this year we've been using flashcards more to increase Ian's speed in mental math.

Recently, I came across an idea for a math game, which is way more fun than drilling! We call it, "Make Ten". We use our Uno cards, just the ones numbered 1-9, and we try to pair up numbers that add up to 10, ala "Go Fish". Love it! :)

Fire Safety Fun

Had a field trip today at a local firehouse, continuing with our fire safety unit. The kids had a chance to meet Marzy, the search and rescue dog, see an aerial ladder in operation, and use a small firehose.

Found this little website for a little fun later in the week: http://www.sparky.org/

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fire Safety Month

While I'm at it (And when I say "it", I mean avoiding lesson planning for the moment.), I thought I'd mention that October is Fire Safety month. And in that vein, this week we are finally getting around to taking the boys for a visit to a local firehouse! I'm so excited! I've wanted to do this for the last two years, but it was never the right time. So this week I'm planning on having a Fireman Theme, and we are going to be spending a little time focusing on Fire Safety. I found these super cute printables at HomeschoolCreations.com for the little one!

Pumpkin Spice Playdough

Just found this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Playdough, and it looks like a fun way to start bringing in some holiday smells into the house. Never made my own playdough.... Why cook if you don't have to? BUT! Oh my! I am totally going to make this with the kids.

And someone mentioned Gingerbread Playdough in the comments section! I think I'm going to go Google that right now. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Tricks and Feeding the Masses

Trying something new here... I've uploaded the attendance chart that I use to HSLaunch.com, but am having trouble locating a specific link to it at the moment. But here's a link to the feed, though I currently have only one file available. :)

Planning the School Year

As I sit here, organizing the coming year for my 2nd grader and the Kindergartener to be, I thought I'd kind of write down the thought process that helps me pull everything together, and maybe attach a document here and there over the next few weeks.

So because we did 2 years of Kindergarten, having started Ian a bit early, we are now entering our fourth year of homeschooling. We initially started out using My Father's World (MFW) Kindergarten, which I very much enjoyed. Then we went on to Sonlight Kindergarten, which I thought was more advanced than MFW, but also more expensive.

Some things worked better than others, so I began to look for other things to supplement or replace what didn't work for us. That led me to begin using some materials from Susan Wise Bauer such as The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, First Language Lessons, The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease and The Story of the World. Most of these things we borrowed from the library or from friends, and we liked them so much we bought them for ourselves just to have in our hot little hands. :)

So now as we approach the second grade year, I find myself once again tweaking the system, which kind of puts me into strange territory. For the first year ever I am starting out on my own, without someone having done the lesson planning for me. It's tempting to go out and purchase a Sonlight Instructor's Guide, but I already know what I want to do. I just need to organize the HOW of it.

So here's the process I've been going through for the last few weeks, in case you're interested.
  1. Since I really love Sonlight's selection of books. I go to their website, and see what books they are using for their 2nd graders (Level C). Once you are on the core curriculum page, you can click on the "Included Items" tab and see all the books you get if you purchase the core package. I copy the list and create a Word document listing of the books for my reference. I can get most of these books from the local library or request an inter-library loan if I decide to use them. The exception to this is usually the "Christian" books like "Missionary Stories with the Millers". These are books that I am willing to order either from Sonlight, Amazon or Christianbook.com if the library doesn't have them.
  2. I also like My Father's World's selection of books, so I add some of their book recommendations to my book list. This year, I discovered the art program "I Can Do All Things" by Barry Stebbing. I want it so bad, and I want the DVD that I found out about too, but I'm trying to find it on eBay, because it's a bit pricey at this point.
  3. Finally, I check out the core curriculum at Timberdoodle, which I just discovered this year. I like their website, but I LOVVVVE their catalog!! They have some great resources, from toys to manipulatives to books. I pretty much want everything they have. :)
Now, of course, this is just the jumping off point for me, as I begin to weed through what I think we can reasonably accomplish in a year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: The Action Bible

Around about Christmastime, we bought Ian-7yo yet another Bible. Knowing how many people groups still wait for a Bible, and knowing how many Bibles MY KIDS have, well I have such mixed feelings about that.... but I digress...

At any rate, the new Bible is called The Action Bible, and it is written entirely in graphical novel format. When I was initially researching this Bible I came across this little tidbit, which really delighted me:
"Sergio has worked for Marvel Comics and DC Comics. He attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art as well as the Word of Life Bible Institute in upstate New York."
Yay! A WOLBI alumni! Now, I have to confess that I had had some qualms about a Bible that was basically written as a comic book. I mean, we don't want to confuse the two, do we? If the kids have a Bible in a comic format, will it take away from The Truth? Some "experts" even say that having any pictures in a kids' Bible is inadvisable, and will confuse the children about the real events portrayed in their Bibles.

I can see their point. I really can. And of course that should be a concern. But I bought it anyway, and I'll tell you why. My son has recently discovered "reading", and cannot get enough of the graphical novels he finds in the library. Some of them are okay, some are a bit iffy, and I monitor what he takes out closely. It was my hope that if he had The Action Bible, that he would choose to spend more time looking at the Bible and maybe a little less on Star Wars. (As if!)

Having had The Action Bible in our possession for almost seven months now, I wanted to give a little review from the standpoint of a parent whose sons are totally enthralled with it. Although it was not my intention, my husband began using The Action Bible during our evening devotions with the boys. They love it! It's like the stories are coming alive to them, and I confess that I have also gotten some insights into the stories as well! And they are focused the whole time on the story and the pictures. They remember the stories long after we've read them too.

And the most recent development? Ian has been struggling to fall asleep at night, so I recently began allowing him to spend 15 minutes reading his Bible in bed. So on nightly basis he is spending at least 15 minutes reading his Bible, and I do mean READING, because afterwards he will come and read to ME!! And somewhere along the line I realized that he is actually teaching himself to read with his Bible, because he is sounding out words that I never taught him. It's pretty cool.