Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unit Ideas for March

  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Dr. Seuss's Birthday
  • Spring
  • Ostara/Easter
    • bunny and Easter eggs
  • Forest Animals
    • bears
    • deer
    • raccoons
    • wolves, foxes, coyotes
  • Simple Machines
    • pulleys
    • wheels
    • ramps
    • lever

Lesson Plans for the week of Mar 01- Mar 05

Monday: trace lines; workbook exercises: letters A-C, Big/Small, color red, sorting same, things to do at home, alive/not alive; music: quarter note; Spanish: colors; write in journal; workbook review: draw shapes

Tuesday: DR SEUSS'S BIRTHDAY!! spend day reading books by author and playing with ooblech! (non-newtonian fluid)

Wednesday: trace lines; workbook exercises: letters E-f, open/shut, color orange, sorting same, things at dinner, plants; music: quarter note, half note; Spanish: colors; write in journal; workbook review: hours

Thursday: trace lines; workbook exercises: letter G, review upper- and lowercase letters A-G, stop/go, color yellow, sorting same, things in the kitchen, habitats; music: quarter note, half note; Spanish: body parts; write in journal; workbook review: pennies

Friday: trace lines; Spanish: colors & body parts; write in journal (haven't thought up of what else to do today, thinking simple machines for the both of them)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

This is my first "wrap-up" post so bear with me. :D

Monday: Lily has gone through most of her Bran Quest Kindergarten workbook. So to make sure she was retaining information, I decided to do "workbook review" with her the entire week. We back-tracked and did everything she had done in the book by memory this week. On Monday she worked on writing the letters A through G in both upper- and lowercase. She also wrote number 1 through 12. Afterward we took some time out and wrote in her journal.

Iris worked on tracing. She did vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. When i got to curves, she wasn't feeling it and decided to play with blocks. So with the blocks we worked on creating patterns. I was trying to show her to just put it next to mine in a new line, but she wanted to continue the pattern adjacent to the line I had created. Worked either way. At least she was understanding the pattern concept. We then spent a half hour coloring in books. :D (me included)

We've been trying to introduce musical rhythm, and today was the day we did the most work. Unfortunately even though we worked with only a quater note, Iris just had fun saying "ta" and Lily retained 0. After 15 minutes of trying, I gave up for the day and moved on to basic Spanish--which thankfully they took on with no problems.

Tuesday: We had a playdate over at a friend's house today! We were there for three hours just having a good ol' time. We didn't get much done but had a lot of fun.

Iris worked some more on writing lines. Again, she refused to even TRY writing curves. Lily wrote some vocabulary from memory. I, my, you, a, the. When we got home, we did some basic Spanish.

Wednesday: We had an appointment with the Early Learning Center here in town for the Child Fair. The Child Fair is actually held for vision, hearing, dental, and speech/language screenings. They all passed with flying colors. Lily and Iris are 'ahead' by two years, each. Rose is only 6 months, so as long as she's squealy and healthy and happy, I'm not worried about her. Having three kids, we were there for at least an hour, maybe two. So again, we didn't get much done. Iris worked on body parts. Lily practiced basic adding/subtracting skills with a game of Monopoly, Jr.

Thursday: I had a whole big day planned that was put on the back burner because my husband had forgotten to print out all of the lapbook activities. (I would really like a printer that isn't taking up space as a paperweight like our current one) So instead, we hung out in our pajamas ALL DAY. I took the girls to the library where I printed out our activities (and it cost me 2.40$), played outside in the snow, and practiced some basic Chinese.

Friday: We had a visit from our "teacher" through the Learning for Life program provided by our Department of Public Health. So the girls got to play and interact with Carla by having a picnic, reading some stories, and playing with some random toys. Afterward we did our If You Give a Mouse a Cookie lapbook that I had gotten from It took the ENTIRE DAY. :) Iris did the shadow matching game (she got all of them right on the first try!) and the mouse paper craft (building a mouse). Lily did the 'bookwork' by writing all the circles she found in the story and telling me what we knew about mice. Both girls did the cookie-match and math mat activities. We shared some mouse-themed songs and poems and then we sat down and baked cookies. We had a LOT of fun doing this. I loved that it covered math, science, art, and language arts. Not to mention we ate some delicious cookies.

It was a crazy week. We kept getting visitors, AND it decided to snow again. Thankfully this weekend has been very nice and we've been able to leave the house without slipping on ice every five seconds. We actually left the house today in tennis shoes instead of snow boots. Tomorrow I'll be posting my ideas for the upcoming week's lessons.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Secular Thursday: Science is Real

First off, I may be a secular homeschooler, but that does not mean that I'm an atheist. It's a common misconception that secular=atheist. I just feel that religion is something you learn about and all religious beliefs are open for discussion. There are times when I may add something from the Bible, Torah, or a Buddhist quote depending on relevence to the topic.

Anyway, my kids are only 4 and 2, so they don't really care. Regardless, we are trying to do a simple Science program that is fun for toddlers. They Might be Giants teamed up with Disney and made three DVD/CD combo packs titled, Here Come the ABCs, Here Come the 123s, and Here Comes Science. It's a DVD full of fun educational music videos, all animated, or, in the case of the 123/ABC, animated and puppeteered.

Now I'm not against Creationism. But Evolution is fact. It's been proven; you can see it in action. I'm one of the rare outspoken few who believe that Evolution is overseen by a higher power. I don't believe in JUST one or the other. I find that they each have their place and combined, they make perfect sense. What I like about Here Comes Science is that it talks about Evolution and how each living organism is connected to the next, biologically speaking. We may differ in many ways, but all creatures are combined by 4 common elements and have all evolved to better suit and adapt to their surroundings. WHat's the most awesome part? This is taught IN SONG! It's a musical of awesomeness. My toddlers have NO IDEA they are learning and I love it.

The pictures I provided are the CD cover (which are all the tracks sung on the DVD) and a photo that I took with my phone of a clip from the Speed & Velocity video.

Go check it out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monthly Themes Ideas

I keep forgetting to post these. I'm going to do this the first of every month from now on. (So for March, next week).
These are unit theme ideas for future reference.

Seasonal changes
Animals in winter
-polar animals
warmth and coziness
Martin LK, Jr.

Groundhog Day
Chinese New Year
Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lesson Plans for the Week

The children are coded as follows: Lily-orange, Iris-purple, Rose-pink; any activity where all children involved will be green.

Monday: socialization at preschool; letter tracing (cards w/ string); patterns (foam blocks); line tracing; coloring time; workbook review; write in journal; spanish; musical notes and rythm

Tuesday: socialization at preschool; patterns; tracing; workbook review; music & rythm; spanish; write in journal

Wednesday: vision, hearing, dental and developmental screenings held at early learning center; body parts; spanish or chinese; workbook review; write in journal

Thursday: Lapbook: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie; patterns; bake cookies

Friday: Parents as Teachers program; board games (candyland & monopoly, jr.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Life in a Nutshell

Man, we have been MIA for a while. It's been a crazy couple of months...
Back in December, we did a lot of lapbooking. So much so, we actually needed a break from it. :) For our Language Arts lapbook we did A Pocket for Corduroy. Both girls did this. You can actually tell who did which lapbook just by the skills on the pasting part. Lily took her time, while Iris was just like 'this goes here, it doesn't need to be perfect.' We then mixed language with history by doing the history of Santa Claus (which I pulled out of my butt, and took 2 hours to make) and The Night Before Christmas. We then did the history of Hannukah and had a blast! I found a project on making a dreidel out of cardstock, which we jumped at. We even did a "lighting" activity where we lit the menorah for the whole holiday. We were going to do Yule and Kawanzaa, but that month was crazy and we were visiting family, so we decided to just take a vacation instead. :)

About a month ago, my husband and I went to Barnes and Noble and Border's and found a wonderful array of homeschool curriculum and workbooks in their education section. We bought three Brain Quest books for the girls to do as supplement to their every day activities. They were out of PreK, so we only brought home K, 1st, and 2nd grade. Lily is almost done with the Kindergarten book, and Iris has done a couple of the activities in it as well. Lily and Iris were also given workbooks as gifts for the holidays/birthday.

I have this old notebook that I've had for ages. I decided to make it into a planner. When I ended up finding a nice leather-bound one on sale at Borders, I ended up taking this planner/notebook that I had made into a lesson planner. It was a notebook from high school that I never used, hence the ridiculous stickers, but I found a nice fabric book-cover and added post-it tabs to make it more professional. I use it for book work, activities, and other mundane things, like doctor appointments and play-dates.

We've kept busy doing bookwork and other activities with open-ended toys. Right now I'm just trying to figure out what to do and how to do. I am the epitome of winging-it.