Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Fun Schooling’ Category

I and several of my dc are very visual learners. I hit up the thrift store recently and found a collection of small photo books (the kind that looks like a bunch of page protectors in a stiff cover) (Move over Pottery Barn Kids…learning spaces I covet on a regular basis [:$] )

photo album book had the idea of placing timeline cards in these books and having the kids narrate everything they can remember about the person and approximate time period. The beauty of this is that I don’t have to commit any one image to any one child. We can view them in the books or pull them out for a moveable timeline or play games with them…etc…

I have been known to use timeline cards on a moveable timeline….
but, this is different…fresh…new….aaand there is chocolate involved as a bribe learning incentive!
I use the cards from Our Father’s House’s program The ABC’s of Christian Culture and RC History cards.
The heck with using these hand-held books for family albums! I can make a “Jesus’ family album” for Salvation History studies…..etc… and then! I thought about having my middle aged children write the text to put in these books on the opposing page….hmmm…. I am still fleshing this out a bit. These books are right with my history center on my history learning shelf.

I have so many ideas lately that my head hurts. (Although I really think the ache is from my pulled muscle under my shoulder blade from scrubbing that one wall in the kitchen….)

I am decluttering for school. Whenever this happens, I get a better sense of what I have and what I can do with what I already got. And right now I already got too many ideas and too little of me to go around.

Read Full Post »

Passed on to me by a dear friend Lots of wonderful homeschooling links!

Read Full Post »

If you have a border around a the base of a chalkboard or  an area that is accessable to the little ones under a long window  or the edge of a loooong bookcase try this for your pre-schooler…   (you can even go down the hall or staircase with this!)

We have a puzzle  similar to this one : Train Puzzle
(It is a favorite around here.)

I placed hook and loop tape along a bookcase and attached the sticky end to the back of the puzzle pieces.  Now my children can make the train cars attach to each other without anyone stepping all over their work.  And it looks great too!

works for us ;o)

Read Full Post »

Often heard at the learning table:

Remember kids…pause at the commas and stop at the periods…

or you can watch these men TRY to do it…

Read Full Post »

I was playing letter games with my Sunshine Boy (4yo ds) this afternoon. I noticed that he was struggling to write his letters today in a booklet we created. He has the general idea, but his motor skills just aren’t there yet and I observed that he hesitates to recall how the letter is properly made..ie where it starts and what direction to go in….

I invited him to work with the sandpaper letters, but as I did so, I thought that he was really looking for something more creative. As I guessed, he declined using them.

So I sent one of my dds in search of a big box. Taking a quick survey of what was around me so that I would not lose my audience, I then whipped out the rod track for the wooden Cuisenaire Rods(ruler no where to be found, of course ;o) and I drew large penmanship lines across the box so that they wrapped completely around it on the standing faces. I then took a colored pencil and wrote the whole alphabet in large letters on those lines being careful not to run out of box before I ran out of alphabet. I then took one of my favorite educational items which my ds calls a “spooker” (meaning anything that has the ability to poke) (of course you and I would call it a golf tee) and I “spooked” (poked) each letter making them bumpy. I made a bigger poke where the letter started and all he had to do from there was to follow the dotted line. Dot-to-dots being his favorite pastime as of late, this was definitely “him”.

I then pulled out some of the Moncurebooks (that he loves so much) from the shelf and read several of them with him. These books are special. There is a book for every letter of the alphabet (except the last 3 letters which are in the same volume). In each book, the main character is always “little (letter of the book)”. This character has a box and decides to fill it with items that start with that letter. Instead of saying, “little i has a box….”, I would say, “little iuh has a box…”, making the story more phonetic. I would even ask him what little iuh’s (speaking the short vowel sound of i) OTHER name was. Of course, he knew that! It was (the long vowel sound) I!

And so we played. We played a listening game where we listened to ourselves saying each word, carefully trying to determine where we could hear the letter we were seeking (such as the letter i) in the beginning, the middle and the end of words. If my son missed one, I would say that I tricked him and he would erupt in fits of giggles. We felt where the sound was made in our mouths so we could “feel” it better when it would show up in the words we spoke.

Later, I handed him this box that I made. I said to him “How old are you?” He giggled”Oh, you know! FOUR!” And I then instructed him to find four objects in the room and place them in the box for our game. Most of them were train related…LOL

He brought the box back to me and I told him to choose an object, hold it up and say its name. Next, I told him to listen to the first sound he heard and feel how that sound was made in his mouth. I then told him that listening and feeling would lead him to the two clues he needed to find the correct mystery letter of the sound at the beginning of each word. When he discovered the mystery letter he was to point to it on the box and trace it with his first two fingers saying the sound as he did so.

Worked like a charm. Even my 2.5yo dd played. Developmentally she was not ready to determine first sounds. She is in the stage where she is identifying objects. She thinks it is funny when I point to the first letter in her name and tell her it is the first letter of her name. She laughs and says, that not me! Smart kid.

There is much fruit to be had in desperation. Desperation, however fleeting, was the mother of invention of a mysterious box that held the keys to learning today. I made my own”manipulatives” that were custom made to suit my young audience. It fed my “inner mommy” with warm and fuzzy feelings, so to speak. (Translation = it was a fun creative outlet.)

If you will pardon the pun….Sometimes…you just HAVE to think Out of the Box!

Read Full Post »

We love soda bottles for lots o’ experiments and fun!  This post is for the little guys though ;o)  You should SEE what my older kids do with soda bottles!…but that is another post!

I had a whole list of exploration bottles for the pre-schoolers but found these interesting links for you to peruse that had even more info than what I had…

Discovery Bottles
Discovery Bottles
MORE Discovery Bottles
EVEN MORE Discovery Bottles
Bottles of Fun
Yet even MORE Discovery Bottles

You could also paint them and use as bowling pins!
…how about an item tied to a string to put in and out of a bottle!
marble in a baby soda bottle

My favorites include an "I Spy Bottle" full of objects representing different letters of the alphabet with the "I Spy" list attached to the neck.
…Sea shells in sand
A magnetic bottle with a magnet (non choking size or a wand) tied on to the neck of the bottle
A wave bottle…1/2 baby oil 1/4 water with blue food coloring and glitter…ok there are a lot more, but they are included in the above links. 

What I found worked very nicely for storage was the smaller bottle size instead of the large 2 Liter.  I actually had an old case of seltzer someone gave me a long time ago and I never used.  I emptied those bottles out and used them as fun projects right away!  I stored them in a decorated crate on the pre-k shelf with the lids glued shut and felt glued to the bottom of the crate to minimize scratching of the shelf surface.

Have any other favorites??  Please share!!

Read Full Post »

We love soda bottles for lots o’ experiments and fun!  This post is for the little guys though ;o)  You should SEE what my older kids do with soda bottles!…but that is another post!

I had a whole list of exploration bottles for the pre-schoolers but found these interesting links for you to peruse that had even more info than what I had…

Discovery Bottles
Discovery Bottles
MORE Discovery Bottles
EVEN MORE Discovery Bottles
Bottles of Fun
Yet even MORE Discovery Bottles

You could also paint them and use as bowling pins!
…how about an item tied to a string to put in and out of a bottle!
marble in a baby soda bottle

My favorites include an "I Spy Bottle" full of objects representing different letters of the alphabet with the "I Spy" list attached to the neck.
…Sea shells in sand
A magnetic bottle with a magnet (non choking size or a wand) tied on to the neck of the bottle
A wave bottle…1/2 baby oil 1/4 water with blue food coloring and glitter…ok there are a lot more, but they are included in the above links. 

What I found worked very nicely for storage was the smaller bottle size instead of the large 2 Liter.  I actually had an old case of seltzer someone gave me a long time ago and I never used.  I emptied those bottles out and used them as fun projects right away!  I stored them in a decorated crate on the pre-k shelf with the lids glued shut and felt glued to the bottom of the crate to minimize scratching of the shelf surface.

Have any other favorites??  Please share!!

Read Full Post »

Rabbit_trail
One of my favorite blogs to visit is Kim’s at Starry Sky Ranch.  It is almost scary how I seem to find there things I am already working on or things that have been in the back of my mind to find more about.  I say scary because I never met anyone like me in my local homeschool circles.  I love to be Hands-On and Montessori-ish and go on rabbit trails and read living books and research great living foods and re-discover devotional things long forgotten and books long out of print.

 

Last week I went to the Evan Moor site to research what centers I wanted next when I came across their new teacher site  Teacherfilebox.com  It advertised that for a monthly fee of 9.99 you could have unlimited access to many of their teacher materials (over 450 books used) and the first month was only .99 for just trying it out…how could I go wrong??!….but I did hesitate to figure out the details… then I was reading at Starrysky Ranch about this very thing…the centers and the new site as Dani reminded me and I decided to take the plunge.  My printer has been a bit busy today setting some things together for the current lapbooking project the kids are embarking upon for the next few weeks…Astronomy.  I hope to put the finishing touches on my "plan" so we can play with this info tomorrow afternoon after lunch. 

Phonics_center
For the past year, we have slowly started using and loving the Evan Moor Centers as part of our curricula.  (I added the links in the left sidebar)  I find that they are a nice compliment for what we are already studying and then some…because many times they are springboards to further exploration.  Since we run the gambit of their levels in our age ranges, I have all of their levels going at the same time.  For even my oldests(13) they get a lot out of the grade 4-6 range centers.  They can be added practice for them or cover a topic that might not have been completely fleshed out for them before…

Geography_center
The first book we purchased was the Geography Centers.  I fell in love with them on line by going to the Evan Moor site and clicking on the individual center and it had a function to view the book page-by-page.  I was sooo happy to find this book because it enabled me to get more Montessori without too much time researching how I wanted everything to be laid out.  It was done for me already.  I have always wanted a partner making materials….so far, no one has stepped up for the job…  (they don’t know what fun they are missing…sniff!)

I do have an inexpensive laminator from Walmart that does an OK job.  I get my pouch laminate from Oregon Lamination…they have a flat fee for shipping (that helps!)  There are times when I just take the manipulatives for the centers and just use packing tape onto index cards.  I have also used clear contact paper over cereal boxes (cut open) which have proved to be very durable too.  I have even just printed on heavier weight paper and cut it out for use.  So, it really depends on your preference. 
When I copy my centers, I do use the lighter feature when I print to save ink.  I also just print the fronts of the cards and not the backs.  If I have to, I will often add a mark with sharpie on the back of the card to make it self-correcting.   It will save you a bit in printing costs and the bulk of the folder if you laminate the worksheet  to make it a write on/wipe off center. 

Next up…..History Pockets and other 3D fun things for notebooking/lapbooking/scrapbooking!

Read Full Post »

Garden_of_verses
My children love to memorize poetry.  For years to come I know that our favorites will include poetry from Robert Lewis Stevenson because we started with him.  He got us hooked on the beautiful rythmic beauty that poetry possesses and the sweet artful images that are contained in each line.  The first time I picked up a copy of his work, A Child’s Garden of Verses,  I was afraid to read it aloud.  I mean, what IF I did it WRONG?!! LOL…  Now I am afraid how empty our lives would be if I didn’t share the music of poetry with the dc!  Boy!  Have I come a long way or what?!

SwingIt is funny how the things we do influence others.  I know that when my children push my grandchildren on the swing they will be chanting as we do the words to his poem The Swing.  I feel so good inside that I was able to make it such a regular part of life that we gravitate to it like a sweet song or a delicious dessert…it holds much for us to discover and re-discover  as we grow and life’s experiences change our outlook on things…It is kinda a way that we measure the passage of time now…time that is passing waay too quickly as it is!  What few days we have to hold little children and snuggle with them over such things.  I love the fact that these fleeting moments are blessed with things that are truely living like poetry.

Today we went to a fellow homeschoolers home for poetry and book sharing day.  We gather in their diningroom with a good group of our friends and the children both young and old share their favorite books and poetry with each other.  For my kids, it is a way to show off, socialize and discover that sharing what we have loved here is a wonderful experience.  It is so much fun to find out what kind of poetry and books motivate others…in it we find many new persepectives.  They truly move each other to reach for more, reach higher in their appreciation of some of the finer arts.  I mean, I saw the look on my ds’s(7) face as he watched an older friend that was 12 recite a piece of Shakespeare.  My son had a look of the deepest respect for his friend and Mr Shakespeare too.  His friend, without knowing it just lit a fire in my son to dig a little deeper…to find out what kind of magic Shakespeare must posess to make another older boy who he respects want to read and share Shakespeare with others.  …"you know Mom, I don’t think we discuss Shakespeare nearly enough.  I think you need to make it more of a priority" …LOL!  The love of  living things is very contageous!

Read Full Post »

Bridgelongview2

Young Edison(10) is very interested in bridge building and architecture  lately.  A dear friend on Magnum Opus sent me this link and ever since I clicked on it to ck it out, Edison has had his nose plastered to the screen observing the unique details  and pondering the possiblities in his brain….meanwhile….my other ds(7), my large motor boy, took it upon himself to empty out a large jar of pennies I have been saving all over the hardwood floor in my bedroom…..and put this link into practice!  Two kids…two different approaches.

They like my bedroom because:
#1…I have cool stuff (or so the dc think…what could possibly be cool is beyond me)
#2  they can hide out in there and be alone behind a closed door away from the toddler
#3  because they aren’t supposed to be in there in the first place…it has a mysterious air about the place…so why not go?

Arg…Time to teach large motor boy the wonderful feeling in your heart that you get AFTER cleaning up your messes.  He is a hard sell, unfortunately….haha

If I can ever get my digital camera to work I am going to post some other bridge images. …got to talk to my tech guy….oh, little brother……;o)

Read Full Post »