Deuteronomy 16:15

Deuteronomy 16:15
For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apples, Apples!

Our first theme this year was apples. Now you may think, apples, how much is there to learn about apples?? TONS!! We covered everything from science to history, geography, math and language arts. In addition, we got tons of great apple themed story books from the library, and enjoyed reading all of them. Apples was our theme for the whole month of September (yes, I found THAT much stuff to do!) so I will just share some of our apple highlights. In addition to the thematic things we do each week, we work on the Bible aspect from RRSP, and do readings/activities daily from our Sonlight program (that we love!).  All ideas for the apple activities that we did can be found here and here so I will not be sharing individual links for each one.

The kids painting the trunk of our apple tree. I LOVE that they both can participate in these types of activities now.

You can see the end product of our apple tree in the background. We talked about how apples came in many different colors, and tried to represent that on our tree! Here Naomi was dot painting the "apples" on the tree. The apples were actually letters that she would find and stamp as I called them out. This was a little beginning of the year assessmen,t for me to ensure she had completely mastered all her letter and letter sounds. She had!

Making a torn paper apple. Both kids enjoyed this but Nathan in particular really got into the ripping of the paper and gluing it down.

The finished product!

Here the kids were learning about the life cycle of an apple through some fantastic videos on YouTube. I found the most amazing apple videos on YouTube that we adored! We learned about the apple life cycle, songs about apples, apple facts, and about all the different types of apples. I just typed in "apple life cycle" and there they were! These were all things we read about too, but I love exposing them to the same information via different types of media. And yes, I know, eating and watching the iPad, bad, bad, but it bought me a couple extra minutes to unload the dishwasher, so what can I say. ;)

Naomi did this apple puzzle by ordering the numbers 11 - 20.

These nomenclature cards were great and we used them in a ton of ways! First we just matched the pictures, then she put them in order of the apple life cycle.

Later, using the same cards, she matched the words to the words, and last the words to the pictures.

Last, she glued the pictures down in the order of an apple's life cycle, and labeled them with the words. She was very proud of the finished product!

Since Nathan can't always participate in what Naomi is doing, I give him little things to work on that are appropriate for him. Here he is making a picture using some of our jumbo stamps.

I'm very proud of the number of crafty things we did with this theme! Crafts are not my strong point, but the kids love it, and I'm getting better and doing things that work for us. To make these trees I painted their hand and arm and they stamped it on the paper. Then we used a sponge to dab the green on for leaves. Lastly we used our fingers dipped in red to paint on the apples. The finished product turned out really cute, but I didn't take any pictures during the process. There was way too much paint on hands for my personal comfort level, so I didn't dare turn my head for even a second to grab the camera! I found this project highly stressful, but the kids liked it. ;)

Here we were learning about the parts of the apple, and labeling them on our sheet.

We used the cut apples to make stamps and paint pictures. This was really fun!

Thank goodness we have an area in front of our door in the basement that is vinyl! I keep our craft supplies downstairs with our school stuff, and it's nice not to have to move it up to the kitchen to do a messy project.

Here we were tying history and geography into our apple theme. Did you know that the Golden Delicious apple first originated here in West Virginia??  I didn't until we read this story (Golden Delicious: A Cinderella Apple Story)! One of the things I love about homeschooling is that most of the time, I learn as much as the kids!

Here we were cutting up different types of apples to perform our taste test on. The kids only used butter knives and were closely supervised. ;)

Naomi liked all the different kinds of apples and we recorded her findings.

Nathan wasn't as impressed with all the apples, but he was darn cute anyway!

 Here we were working on number order by putting the missing numbers on the apples.

We talked about how bees are attracted to the sweet blossoms on apple trees and Naomi wanted me to make her a bee activity. I would call out one of the letters on her apple tree, and she would find it, tweeze the bee, and put it on that letter. She loved it!

Nathan wanted to use tongs too, so I had him transfer these little erasers into another container.

After he was done transferring with tongs, he found a new way to move the erasers around!

Cooking time! I've been making a concerted effort to do more cooking projects with the kids. I don't love to bake, but they do, so we've been making more things together! Naomi got an adorable cookbook for her birthday and we've made some really cute things from that.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

School Set Up and Calendar

I can't believe it is the beginning of October already! I have been meaning to do this post for a month now! We got right into the swing of doing school again after Labor Day weekend, and it made the month of September fly by. I did a lot of thinking and planning for this school year over the summer. With Nathan down to one nap a day now, I knew I would have to restructure how we did things. Also, I wanted to introduce the calendar, and get into the routine of doing it every day. This is what I came up with, and it's been working out great so far!

These are Naomi and Nathan's "Learning Tables". Last year we did school upstairs either in the office or in Naomi's room while Nathan napped. This year I knew we would be doing the bulk of our schooling when Nathan was awake since both kids take afternoon naps. Therefore, I set up these tables, moved supplies, and got us all ready to do school in the basement. It has been wonderful! It gives Naomi  her own space to work, where Nathan can't reach and destroy what she's doing, but she's not secluded in a room by herself. By being in the basement, there are tons of toys for Nathan to play with, while I work with Naomi. Nathan loves to be a part of everything we're doing, so I set up a little table for him too! By having a little table for him to sit at, he can work on some of his own age appropriate projects, and feel like he's a big boy too.

I put this cork board up to the left of Naomi's table to display some of her favorite pieces of work. Hanging that took me back to my teaching days!

Here is a view of our calendar, basket of things we use for calendar time, and the supplemental learning board I made.

A close up of our calendar. I LOVE this calendar as it includes most of the elements I wanted to cover each day. I purchased it on Amazon.

Here is a close up of our learning board. Last year I started Carisa's RRSP program from 1+1+1=1. It's a WONDERFUL program, and we had a lot of fun with the units we did, but Naomi is ready for the next step in the reading department now. We have moved on to different things for reading (which I will share later), but I wanted to continue with the Bible aspect of RRSP. That is what the top three printables on this foam board are from. I switch them out every week. The first on the left is our memory verse, the middle sheet is the life application of the verse, and the top right is our song for the week. I love how I can pick the RRSP unit that goes along with our letter of the week, and how nicely it all ties in with the verse and song. The bottom left of the board is our letter of the week. The bottom middle of the board is our weekly weather graph from Homeschool Creations. The bottom right section is a pocket where I keep our singing prop that goes with the verse and song, and also small cards that have past memory verses on them for review. We review all elements of the board daily. The best part is that Naomi asks to do this, and really enjoys it!

Naomi singing the days of the week song. We also sing a weather song for each day but I didn't manage to get a video of it.

Here she is singing the date song. We will be adding in the months of the year song soon, but I just introduced it. I don't move on to something new until Naomi has completely mastered what we are currently working on.  She is a perfectionist to the extreme, and I don't like to frustrate her!

I had to add a picture of my two cuties for fun! This was taken on our first day of "school".

There you have an overview of how we are set up for this school year, and some of our daily routines. I feel very prepared for the year, and so far things are going smoothly. It's always a bit of a juggling act balancing what I want to do with the kids individually, together, and then all the things that need to be done around the house, but I don't imagine that will ever change! Hopefully I will be able to continually grow and adapt with the kids, and learn more strategies as we go along.