Wednesday, September 29, 2010

“Antiqued” Flowers in a Vase

We finished school really early, before lunch, yesterday so Mackenzie asked to do an extra art project while the Wee Babe napped.   Something with flowers was requested.

So I found this great, and easy, “Antiqued” Oil Pastel Flowers in a Vase lesson over at Deep Space  Sparkle.

Art with Mackenzie is always interesting.  She wants to do it all the time.  However, there’s an issue with almost every art project.  She gets stressed over them almost every time. She expects her work to look like that of a “pro” or mine (so not pro) that she gets all uptight.   The joy drops right out of the bottom.

I’m forever telling her that she’s just like Beezus, from the book Beezus and Ramona, when she’s miserable in her art class.  You’re too uptight, just relax and have fun.  I hope one day she’ll find the fun.

At any rate, here’s what we did.

We drew a vase of flowers on a piece of white drawing paper using a DARK oil pastel.  Do you see her stressed out little face?


We colored the drawing in with colored oil pastels.  She’s finally starting to relax a bit.  But trust me, the drawing of the vase was a painfully long experience.


Now you crumple the paper into a ball.  Don’t worry, it’s supposed to smudge the pastels a bit.  It’s a part of the “effect.”   Even a perfectionist first-born can feel confident in her ability to squash a picture.  Joy at last!


Now you smooth it out.   Nice and neat!


Now paint over it with a liquid watercolor wash in brown or blue.  (We used the watercolor paint in the tubes rather than liquid.  In burnt sienna.)


Let it dry and then admire the beauty of your creation.  All the earlier drama will be forgotten.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Carnival of Homeschooling: School Rooms and the Places We Learn

Carnival of Homeschooling
Sprittibee is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. Question: What does your school room look like?
There are two things that we homeschoolers are nosey about: curriculum and school rooms. You know you want to see where everyone else is doing their learning! So pop on over and check it out!
You'll even get a peek at mine. (Disclaimer: Before pictures are not for the faint of heart.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tot School

Kayleigh is 31 months

Tot School

Click the Tot School button to see more fun tot activities!

We had such a great week this week. Kayleigh was 75% cooperative and she even got to go back to Jamestown with us. (We went last week without her but decided to go back and explore on our own sans tour guide. It’s nice that those home school tickets are good for two weeks. And that we live so close. )

Literacy Activities

Our letter this week was F. A lot of our activities focused on fish and feelings.

We did a 1:1 correspondence activity with letters. We got this from COAH’s Letter of the Week curriculum. I didn’t think she’d really like this, as she tends to feeling that matching anything is beneath her, but she did. It was a pleasant surprise.


DSC_0965redots She also did a great job sorting capital and lowercase Ff, also from COAH. I knew she COULD do it, but she usually refuses. Maybe it was because I called them “Mommy Fs and Baby fs.” LOL She likes family. LOL



On our one hour drive to Jamestown she watched Brainy Baby : ABC's : Introducing the Alphabet. Every time she watches it she runs around saying “Uble-u says wu, wu, wu.” It’s nice knowing we won’t really have to focus on that sound in the future. LOL

We read Ten Little Fishand made a cute fish snack. I stumbled upon that on Totally Tots on accident the day after we read the book. That worked out nice.

Kayleigh liked making it but the only thing she really ate was the cream cheese that stuck the “body” to the “tail.” You can see how she licked it off. LOL Who doesn’t like chocolate covered pretzels? Crazy!

One of her favorite activities of the week was her Feelings Tot Book from 1+1+1=1. She had so much fun with it.

First we read a couple of books about feelings, The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! and Duck and Goose: How are You Feeling? .

She absolutely loved the mini-book. So much that I couldn’t glue it into the folder. I’m going to velcro it in so that she can remove it and read it. She loved acting out the feelings. Especially “angwee!”

The “How are you Feeling?” game was a lot of fun too. At first she was very sweet and did it correctly. I’d say “Oh the little girl has a tummy ache. How does she feel?” She’d say “Sooo sick.” And put on the “sick face.” Then she went back to normal. “The little boy got a new bike. How does he feel?” Kayleigh’s answer, “Gwumpy!” “Why Kayleigh?” “It falled.” Technically, under her scenario, she was correct. LOL

She also liked coloring the color cards and lining them up all over the room. She’s usually not one for coloring but she was happy to do it this week. And she used the correct colors. Bonus!

The only activities we didn’t get to were the concentration/matching and the “draw” your feelings. Next week, I hope.

I did add in one other activity. I was totally IN LOVE with the Roll-a-Graph activity from the 2 Teaching Mommies’ forest unit. It looked like such fun. I thought about just doing their forest one because forest does start with F but I wanted to stick with the feelings theme because Kayleigh was really into it. So I adapted it for our feelings “study.”

(Although I might do the entire forest unit next week because, like I said, it does start with F and we still have to do our F page in our ABC book. And it is the cutest unit. LOL)

She really had fun doing this, once she accepted that she couldn’t just place the stickers anywhere she wanted. LOL She also liked just rolling the feelings die and acting out the feelings.

Click the picture below to download it.


She also played with her Melissa & Doug Alphabet Puzzle Book several times this week. She's never had that much interest in it before so that was nice.


Numbers, Shapes, and other “Mathy Stuff”

We did some big/little sorting with zip ties. I got the idea from Chasing Marcus who did TONS of fun things with zip ties. I plan on borrowing more of those ideas in the future. Lots of fun for only a dollar. She did this every day. Naturally she divided them into “mommies and tute babies.” LOL



She played with her MATCHIN' MIDDLESshape matching game. It’s good for matching and snacking.

Since my Feed the Elephant Game was such a hit with her, I made a new one for F. This week we Fed the Frog. Flies. Kayleigh thought it was Fantastic! She even did all the numbers, 1-10, without losing interest.

Click on the frog below to download it for your tot.


Fine Motor and Learning Toys

I saw this adorable leaf stringing activity over at My Montessori Journey. And I had everything I need to make it already. It’s very similar to the button snake but it has an autumn twist.

She really liked it. I was a tad worried that it might frustrate her because the button and the slit were smaller than the button snake, not to mention the leaf is flimsier than felt, but she did great. It took her a while to get the hang of it but she kept trying.

She’s been very into her Melissa & Doug Lacing Beads lately. Although never for more than 4 beads. It’s apparently an unwritten rule.

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As always, instruments are a favorite activity. Please notice that she made a “T” with the rhythm sticks in the first picture. She called it a “T” too. That was impressive because we’ve haven’t done T yet and I don’t really expect her to start recognizing letters for about another year. So that and her “W says wu” were nice bonuses this week. LOL (I hope next week doesn’t feel disappointing after all these bonuses. LOL)

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And here’s a little peek of her at Jamestown. She had a great time despite the fact that she declared that the Powhatan dwellings were “spooky” and smelled “ewwww…discussin’!” The nice thing about Kayleigh is that you always know where you stand with her.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: We struck Gold!

We had a really good week and got a lot accomplished despite the fact that we took a day and a half off.

Our first day off was because we went back to Jamestown because our home school tickets were still good and there were a few things we wanted more time to look at. (That’s good for the tour guide wasn’t allowing Mommy enough time to take the pictures that she wanted.) Since we live within an hour, my friend and I went back. It was HOT! We left at lunch but we got what we wanted out of the trip.

In other history news, we finished two more pockets in our The American Civil War History Pockets.

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We talked about what led to the Civil War and about the leaders involved. Mackenzie was really disappointed in two men, in particular, who were against slavery but made decisions that promoted the continuation of slavery, Stephen Douglas and Robert E. Lee. The former for political gain and the latter for loyalty to his state. She just couldn’t understand why they would choose those things over bettering peoples lives. It was a good, although bitter, lesson in temptation and how choosing the right path isn’t always easy. (Or chosen.)

She started reading The Perilous Road as her reader and it is doing a great job of showing the “brother vs. brother” aspect of the war.

Our read aloud was All Sail Set: A Romance of the Flying Cloud, which she read on her own. Kayleigh was a tad more maintenance this week and it was just easier for her to read it herself rather than for me to try to read with a interruption every other sentence. She said it was full of adventure and that I should read it on my own. LOL

We wrapped up our study on the Gold Rush earlier in the week and we did a little panning for gold ourselves.

We found fools gold, hematite, cooper and a real gold nugget. Pretty cool!

She started dividing by nines in math and hasn’t had a problem.

Her only really challenge this week is our current poem in First Language Lessons: Level 4 , Ozymandias. It’s the first poem that she hasn’t been able to memorize in one sitting. This one doesn’t rhyme. :o)

She read Mary Cassatt (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists)as part of our artist study this week. We didn’t get to our art lesson yet, the only thing we got behind on, but we’ll do it this weekend.

She had her second soccer game and the Bumblebees won again! Woot!!

Be sure to head on over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and see what everyone else has been up to.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tot School

Kayleigh is 31 months

Tot School

This week we finished up with the letter E. Life, as usual, got in the way of some of our plans but we’re getting used to that.

We sorted small, medium, and large elephants. She did fabulous with this. She’s really got this down. She likes to pretend that it’s “daddy, mommy, and baby and they need to go to their wooms.”

We might be ready to start ordering things by size. You can download the sorting elephants if you’d like. I printed out three copies and laminated them.

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We also played our Feed the Elephant Counting Game again but I didn’t take any pictures this time.

We played with our Lauri Toys Number Play puzzles. We just worked with numbers 1-5. She can count to 14 (can you guess how many stairs we have in our house? LOL) but we’re working on recognition of 1-5 and she has really grasped counting things yet. Unless she has and isn’t ‘fessing up.

She’s really enjoys pounding in the pieces with a toy hammer. (Thanks for that idea Carisa!) And she even helped me put them in numerical order.

I wanted to start her sorting things by attributes besides size, shape, and color so I made this “science” sorting game. We sorted by whether the creature flew through the air or swam in the see. We’ve been going to the aquarium a lot lately and big Sis is studying birds at the moment so I thought she could do some “science” too. You can download it HERE, if you’d like.

She did a great job until we got to the lady bug. She wanted her to swim. Even though we released ladybugs and she’s knows first hand that they fly. LOL



We did a spooning activity with our autumn gems and pumpkin ice tray. She usually loves doing this but this week she mostly wanted to stir the gems with the spoon. LOL She’s been like that since our ice cream shoppe sensory bin.

We made our E is for Egg page for our ABC book. Originally we were going to turn the E into an elephant but time got away from me and this was just easier. She loves to glue so she was quite happy to glue the little eggs on the E.

We also read about Esther in our Story Bible . She made a Queen Esther crown. Which I did not photograph. I just cut out a crown shape, glued it on construction paper, and let her glue on foam shapes.

We played with our Hide'Em & Find 'Em Eggs which is always a big hit. No pictures though.

Since we did a lot with eggs for the letter E, our nursery rhyme for the week was Humpty Dumpty. This is the first one she hasn’t really taken too. Oh well, we put the printable in our “Song Book” and maybe she’ll like it in the future.

Our morning routine is hit or miss. Some days she’s all about it and other days it’s a bust. One day I’ll try and blog about it. LOL

Baby Gym went great. She always loves it there. Soccer Tots was a little better. She kicked the ball three times before she “quit.” Progress. LOL

Lastly, she tried out her new Trike. The poor, deprived girl has never been on a bike before.

We were at the park with friends and one mom brought her tot’s bike and I realized that Kayleigh had never ridden one before. Daddy met us up there and apparently Kayleigh showed him her buddy’s bike with some longing in her voice. So now she has a bike. LOL Daddy’s easy.

She can peddle when she doesn’t think about it but sometimes she tries to peddle both feet at the same time and gets frustrated. We’ll be working on that skill.

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