Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Father's World--The Letter U (Us)

Last week's theme was "God Made Us Wonderful"
We read all of the stories we own that talk about how God made us special.
Alathia did a great job reading some of them to her brothers and completed her Book-It goal for the month (reading 15 minutes, 15 times).
The kids loved reading the book that shows all of the inner parts of a human body.
We covered the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, nervous systems, etc.
Alathia exclaimed, "I thought our hearts looked like a heart shape!  I didn't know they looked like that!"

One day I put blindfolds on the kids and did sensory tests on them.
They got to taste lemon juice, sugar, garlic powder, etc.  They got to smell cinnamon, pepper,
perfume, and soap.  They got to touch different textures and I played youtube clips of different animal sounds so they had to guess which animals made those sounds.  We talked a lot about our 5 senses.  When asked which sense she would choose to live without if they had to pick one, Ali said, "I would like to be blind, because then I wouldn't have to do any schoolwork!"

I pulled out our tubs of beans, cornmeal, and rice for them to explore the world of TOUCH.

We made little "All About Me" books.  I let them dig into the huge sticker bin we have (my Aunt Joanie recently gave me TONS of craft supplies she was getting rid of) and they chose stickers of things they like to put in their book.  We wrote down their goals, hobbies, and favorite things that they like to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear.

I also had them each put a handprint in their book.  I jotted down their stats (weight, height, age) from the first day of school and plan to glue a pic of each kid in their book.  That way, in the event of a something terrible, like having a child go missing, we will at least have some basic info about them to show the police.  So it's a book about them, for fun, and for identification purposes.

They traced their handprints for their binder pages.

We read a couple of books on how babies are born and how God made boys and girls different.  We talked a lot about personal safety too and reviewed what kind of touches are okay and not okay. 

Ali's stickers

Justus' stickers

Justus' 5 senses favorites

It was a fun week!  Sometimes the boys have trouble remembering a letter we have worked on all week, but because of its' unique shape, they quickly memorized the letter "U" and were pointing it out to me wherever they saw it during the week. 

On Friday we celebrated little Katrielle's first birthday together with family and got to see my youngest brother who was in town from out-of-state.  I thought that having a family birthday during our "Us" week was very appropriate and fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Photo Fun

Here's what I've been up to with my new camera. I've seen dramatic growth in my photography skills over the summer. I've read tons of books, tons of articles, and have practiced daily or near-daily. I no longer shoot in dummy-mode and rarely use a flash. I absolutely love taking pictures and I'm getting lots of calls these days for people willing to pay for family photos. I even booked my first wedding too! (I'm sooooo nervous! Please pray for me! Weddings aren't something I want to do for very many people but this gal has promised not to be a bride-zilla!)
I've also been asked to do our church's directory booklet, which I'll start next Sunday.

My nephew, Jedediah, is such a darling! 

Justus and his look-alike friend Eli from church.

As for all the photos of all-boy families and the cowboy hats, what can I say?  I live in Wyoming!
Single women ought to head this way!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Father's World--The Letter T (Turtle)

Turtle Snacks made from apples, carrots, and raisins

A turtle for lunch!  Ham and cheese pockets with avocado legs, tomato spots, and a cucumber head.

Painting paper plates to make turtles

Since we were studying the letter "T" we had to have a Turtle Tea Party!  The kids loved it, and it was a chance to pull out this darling blue tea set I got at a yard sale this summer.  I thought the blue helped give it a more "masculine" flavor for the boys.  They loved the turtle sugar cookies I whipped up and Grandpa dropped by just in time for tea with us.

I used an easter egg cookie cutter for the body and made a little ball for the head,
jelly beans sliced in half for the spots, and a triangle tail.

We had a turtle race with the paper plates by rolling the dice to see how many inches they could move forward. 

We had a turtle toy in the bathtub so I decided to have them do a blowing race in a washtub.  It was hard for them to blow the turtle to their opponent's side, so I pulled out straws and let them push it with their straw but their hands had to be behind their back.  They really enjoyed this game!

My kids spend at least 2 hours of every single day playing with Duplos.  I'm not exaggerating this in the slightest!  They LOVE them.  Even my husband plays with them and makes things out of them.  So, I knew they would love making a "T" train, especially since Daddy read the kids his favorite childhood story:  The Little Engine That Could.  It's a great book on perseverance, since our theme for the week was: I don't quit!  I persevere!   Speaking of persevering, my hubby read them that very long story twice in one day--that's perseverance! 

My aunt dropped by with some stuff she was getting rid of, including these wonderful alphabet blocks!
The kids spent a lot of time this week making tracks and trails and shapes with them.
I had them do a hopscotch game on them and a "Find the Letter" game to review letters with the boys. 
Jeremiah is a very different learner from his sis.  She had the alphabet down at 3, and he will be 5 in a few weeks and struggles to remember more than 5 or 6 of the letters.  But games like these help a lot!  Justus knows about 6 letters too.  I think that doing one letter a week, with lots of science stuff and fun activities is the best way for these little guys to learn their letters.

We also colored turtle pictures and glued them to our binder pages, read some books about turtles, and practiced writing T's.  We have a book about a world-famous tortoise and his best friend, a little hippo that was rescued in the Tsunami.  After reading the book, we went online and found the animals' website and watched videos of them.  They thought that was the coolest part of the school day!

Here's a joke for our MN friends:
One night at dinner the kids and Daddy were trying to say all the "T" words they could think of. 
Josiah said, "How about Ticks and Tator Tots?"  The kids were baffled and asked Daddy, "What is a tick?  What is a tator tot?" 
I said, "You can tell our kids aren't from MN!"

Overall, this was a REEEEALLLLY hard week!   I came down with a bad cold that left my head throbbing most of the week, and Katri was getting up a lot at night with teething.  I went through countless ibuprofen, and was wiping noses, eating raw, crushed garlic, doling out Emergen-C packets and vitamins, and hacking and coughing and drowning in the laundry and dishes I couldn't muster up enough energy to clean.  There were a couple of days we couldn't do any school whatsoever and I let them watch a few of their kids' movies.  We made up some school on the weekend and in the evenings if we didn't get to it during the day, one of the perks of homeschooling.  So, it was definitely a flexible week and I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but that's life!  Next time I go through "Turtle Week" I will probably take them to a pet store to observe turtles and have them act out the "Tortoise and the Hare" instead of just reading it.  The kids did get to go to Reptile Gardens in SD on their way home from MN with Daddy this summer so that was fresh in their memories and they recounted getting to see all kinds of turtles.

My hubby kindly helped me catch up on my household chores this weekend and my cold is on the mend so this next week should be much better!

I'd love to hear any ideas you have for the different letters we're studying!  Feel free to leave me tips or stories of things you've done with this curriculum, or with alphabet projects, etc. in the comments!

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