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There was how many???

Week 8 brought us hundreds of cats, thousands of cats… 

 To be completely honest, this book has been my least favorite so far. As an adult, I have issues with a lot of the story, and I don’t know why it actually win a children’s literature award. An elderly couple wish to adopt the prettiest cat in the world because they are bored and lonely. The man sets out and finds millions of cats. He brings them home, and the woman asks the cats which one is the most pretty. They all think they are the prettiest, and fight each other. They end up eating each other (cannibalism in a children’s book, really???). I modified it so that they all ran away.

Peanut, on the other hand, really liked the book. And in the end, that’s what counts.

I also added a few extra things to this week’s lessons. We are using a few levelled readers, and some worksheets to go with them. 

 Peanut is learning sight words, so I’m trying to introduce two new words a week. For week 8 the words were “pretty” and “my”. The let’s were c and b.

Peanut had a great week for fine motor skills. He cut and pasted these all on his own, even making sure when he was gluing them down that the pictures Sat in the correct direction!

I’ve noticed he’s Peanut is having some problems with math again. McRuffy relies heavily on the number line method for adding and subtracting. He’s just so confused. This is where the flexibility of homeschooling comes into play. Last year we used a math curriculum that was a big failure for us. I had set it aside since Peanut was overly frustrated with it. As I was trying to figure out how to help Peanut understand the concept of addition and subtraction, I noticed on the top shelf was our failed curriculum. I figured it’s been almost a year since I put it away, maybe Peanut is ready for it.

We started at lesson 12, where it begins to teach addition. All I can say is what a difference a year makes! Peanut understood! I got a front seat to Peanut’s “aha” moment. This is one of the best rewards of homeschooling!!!

This week is our scheduled week off, and I’ll be taking that time to get some Christmas gifts made. I also need to find Peanut a suitable replacement for the US thanksgiving unit, since the Canadian thanksgiving revolves around the fall harvest and not around pilgrims and bloodshed. 

So until next time, have a great week!

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This week was all about insects, bugs, and creepy crawlies!

What makes an insect an insect? Is a worm or a spider an insect? What about an ant?

This week, our book was called Fireflies, written and illustrated by Julie Brinckloe.

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We really enjoyed this book, and not to spoil it, it did bring up some concepts we had to discuss.

This week we learned that all insects have 2 sets of wings, 6 legs, antenna, and 3 body parts (head, abdomen, and thorax). Fireflies, ants, grasshoppers, ladybugs, dragonflies, butterflies are all insects. Spiders, worms, and millipedes are bugs, but not insects!

We worked on the word “said” and the letter “F”. Peanut can now reliably sight read all the 6 words we’ve learned so far: he, said, that, go, little, and you! He also can identify all the letters of the alphabet, and can identify all the numbers from 0-20, although when he recites them, he does skip a few!

Some of the fun things we’ve done this week are making a firefly from an egg carton, decorating a bug jar and trying to catch bugs to study (but we had no luck, it’s rainy season so all the bugs were hiding and staying dry!), watching videos about insects, and lots of coloring!

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Here you can see Peanut’s firefly. He painted the thorax yellow (and painted me, himself, and even his dog!), attached pipe cleaners for legs and antennas, glued on eyes, and even made wings and glued them on! This craft was a definite hit, and I appreciated that I only had to provide the egg carton and glue – everything else was in the kit!

For math, we worked on counting to 100, used pattern tiles to make pictures, and on Friday we played a game. Peanut is even starting to know the days of the week by heart – although for math we say them every day, I stumbled across a website that said to use the tune of “the Aadams family” song, and it’s been working great!

Next week is our week off, so I’m hoping to take that time to get a bit more organized both for school and our house. Or start working on Christmas gifts.

 

Homeschooling sometimes means we still learn even if we’re sick with pneumonia…

On the last Friday of our week off Peanut was sick. It wasn’t a good week to begin with. We had started it by attending his Godmother’s funeral. She was only 38 years old. Leukemia sucks.

Somewhere in that day, probably in church, Peanut came in contact with the nasty virus that’s going around. By Wednesday he was sneezing and coughing. By late Friday night (or early Saturday morning) we were in the hospital emergency. After getting a couple of masks for his asthma, we went to X-Ray for a chest film. Poor little guy had the start of pneumonia. We caught it before it got serious, but we still had to take it easy for a week or so.

Now our dilemma. Do we take another week off? Do we continue with our lessons? Do we just do bare minimum? Plus I started to feel sick too! Rather than lose a week, we chose to do bare minimum. 

Our book was “We’re going on a Leaf Hunt”. We sorted and counted leaves that we made from construction paper since a nature walk was out of the question. We planted some seeds to watch them grow. We watched an episode of magic school bus to see how trees help the ecosystem. We made a map of the places the kids in the book went to, ending with a stinky skunk! We didn’t do many arts or crafts, but we can do them in our unit on apple trees later this year. We also did some math, handwriting practice, and learned the sight word “go”. Not too bad for a sick week. 
By Saturday Peanut was feeling much better. His mama, not so much. I could barely get out of bed. Advil cold and sinus finally kicked in by Sunday, and I’m also feeling a lot better.

This week is all about insects – but that post is coming this weekend, or maybe even early next week.

Till then…

Our 4th week (almost) done…

Last week we had a nice week. Our book of the week was “What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?”

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We learned all about the ways different animals adapted certain features and what they use them for. For instance, monkeys use their tails to hold onto branches like a hand. Archerfish can use their tongue to spit water into the air to shoot their prey like an arrow, and beavers use their tail to warn of danger. Elephants use their noses to spray water on themselves to keep cool. Amazing how different structures are adapted for each animal!

We played lots of games like pin the tail on the monkey, race car rally, and we did some nice arts and crafts too.

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The word of the week was “this” and Peanut had it memorized by sight within two days! The letter of the week was “T”, so we did a lot of practicing with it.

I did manage to assess his handwriting readiness again, and he still isn’t really ready to write yet. Instead of focusing on writing, I’m going to switch gears and have him do a lot more coloring and a bit more cutting.  Also, lots of Play Dough, sand play, anything to get his fingers moving. I’ll also be using the whiteboard more often for his handwriting practice, having him write huge letters.

One thing he can do now while we work on his fine motor skills is learn to read. I’m going to be introducing one easy reader a day now, and they will be using the words he knows as well as the words of the week. I’ve pulled some from This Reading Mama, Progressive Phonics, Reading A-Z  (I used a free 2 week trial, but won’t continue since it’s a $110 subscription fee per year, or raz plus which is $200 a year! Eeep! ) and a few other printable books I’ve stumbled across.

Just because he can’t write doesn’t mean he can’t learn to read and spell! We can use letter tiles for spelling, and when he’s ready to write, he’ll already know how to spell! Even if he only learns to type, I’m okay with it, as long as he can get his words on paper (or computer) eventually. Even if it takes him several more years. Until then, I’ll be his scribe, but also insist he at least try to write too. Effort is what counts.

I’m also beginning to use Alphabet Fun Pages which are fun and a little bit challenging, but not too much! Also, Reading the Alphabet  has some nice resources like word mazes etc to help reinforce our word of the week, and coloring pages as well as poke pages for the letter of the week! I have to admit, I really love This Reading Mama’s things. I’m becoming a fan!

I also stumbled across Discovery K-12 again after rejecting it two years ago. I may use part of their curriculum too, but only as a suppliment to what we do already. Unfortunately, Peanut works at a pre-k level for writing, K for reading, and K-1 for social studies, art, and science. The issue is that they don’t offer customization, so you have to pick one level and stay with it, or keep swapping your level out every day. They do say it will be customizable soon though.

So now it’s our week off, but we still have last Friday’s lessons to do this week sometime. Both Peanut and I have been a bit under the weather, so we’ll get to it by Sunday at the latest, gotta luv the flexibility of homeschooling!

Getting ready for homeschooling week #3!

It’s a rainy Sunday morning, Peanut just woke up, and he’s happily drinking some cocoa tea (aka hot chocolate), laying on the dog, and watching power rangers on his Fire tablet. 

I woke up about an hour and a half ago, did my usual morning routine of feeding the dog, tidying the living room and getting my first coffee of the day into me. Sunday mornings are my “getting organized for school” time. 

First I grab my planner, and depending on my mood, I either color it or glue stickers in it. Why? Because if I’m going to be looking at these two pages for 5 days, I want to be inspired, happy, and enjoy what I see! This week I crave flowers. The rain has turned the island into a lush green paradise, but I’m really missing my flower garden. I really need to get a garden going again, but that’s not in the plan for this week.

Now that my lesson plan book is pretty, time to decorate my Happy Planner! 

It’s a Classic Happy Planner. I use the “morning” boxes from Monday to Friday to take notes on how our homeschooling day went. The middle “afternoon” boxes are for my brain dump, and the ” evening ” boxes are to do meal planning, grocery lists, appointments, keep track of my water intake (one cannot live on coffee alone!),and any other notes.

Okay, so now the two planners are done. Time for another coffee while I get our weekly worksheets printed out. This week we’re working on the letter I and the numbers 7-9. The word of the week is “Little”. 

Now to grab all the stuff I need for the week. Moving Beyond the Page makes it easy. All I need is to grab Unit 3’s materials bag, and from the general supplies bag I get a paintbrush, play dough, some construction paper, and of course the book of the week, the word flashcards, and we’re good to go! I’ll take the paint out later in the week. 

Finally I get our math ready for the week. This week Peanut will be introduced to the calendar. We’ll also be measuring using cubes, and doing some patterning.

The best part, I have the week planned, organized, and ready to go in under 10 minutes. I actually spent more time decorating my planners! 

I have to admit, I love this curriculum! Last week was a week off for us, and we actually missed doing school. I could easily do 3 or 4 units a month, but we’d be done our homeschooling year by mid March next year! Not a great idea since we’d have 3.5 months before our next school year starts! So slow and steady wins out for us!

(It’s raining) dogs and cats…

We made it through our second week of homeschool, and our soundtrack was the pouring rain outside. It’s rainy season here, but you would think that means the air would be a bit cooler. Nope! Once the rain stops and the sun comes out, it’s still as hot and humid as ever.

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This week our focus was on friendship, similarities, differences, and description. We read the book Hondo & Fabian, a sweet book that Peanut really enjoyed.  The word of the week was “he”, and the letter was “H”.

Language Arts revolved around asking and answering questions about key details in the story, comparing and contrasting the adventures Hondo and Fabial had, both together and apart, and even had Peanut retell the story in his own words, using the pictures as a guide.

Science had Peanut observing and describing similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals. He also learned different ways objects and organisms move including falling to the ground, straight, zigzag, round and round, back and forth, fast and slow.

For art, Peanut painted a wonderful picture all about friendship. It’s a bit abstract, but I love it! He and his friends are playing power rangers. He’s red, and his friends are blue, yellow and green.

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For Phys Ed, he acted out what Hondo and Fabian were doing on each page. He jumped and zig zagged in waves, ran back and forth around the house, went around in circles fishing, etc. and had a great time!

MBTP math again dealt with identifying whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, and when counting objects, say the number while pairing each object with one and only one number card, and each number card with one and only one object.

For McRuffy math, Peanut worked on writing the numbers 0-10, and was introduced to the number line. He learned more shapes, including hexagon and rhombus. We played games to reinforce what he’s learning, and we both had a great time!

One thing I’ve noticed and am beginning to wonder about is Peanut’s writing ability. He does pretty well with tracing the letters and numbers, but when he does them freehand it’s almost like he doesn’t see the lines. To me, this is sending up a red flag that maybe he might have dysgraphia. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this, and doing a bit more research into it.

This coming week is our first week off, so we may take out the past two books and read them just for fun this week. I’m hoping to get a few things done around the house like some sewing, tidying up the bedroom, and getting a head start on some Christmas gifts I want to make.

I hope your week was as exciting and fun as ours was! Till next time, may your mornings be filled with coffee, and your nights filled with chocolate!

Our senior kindergarten begins!

Captain’s log

Stardate 07072017…

We have begun our new mission, a 1 year voyage to explore, find new and interesting things, to boldly go and learn!

Our first week has come to an end, but my promising young ensign has truly shown a lot of exuberance and determination.

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We spotted an interesting creature in a book we read, A Is For Musk Ox, and Ensign Peanut studied it in detail. I’m impressed by the facts that he was able to provide us with in the Social Studies lab – his knowledge of the Musk Oxen is quite astounding. He was able to inform me of their habitat (snowy tundra in   places like Canada’s North and in Greenland), their diet (mainly grass and plants), that they live in groups called a herd, they have hooves and horns, they charge as fast as a car, and that wolves are their predators.

In the Language Arts bay, he learned to print the capital and lowercase letter a, what sounds it makes, and also learned the vocabulary word “herd”.

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He also learned the sight word “you”. Also, he has almost completely memorized the alphabet song! He concluded his week of LA by using two pages in his journal. The first page has an illustration of a baby musk ox, and he wrote about it in his own “handwriting” . On the second page, he drew a picture of a dragon, a castle, and knights. He dictated his story to me, and I dutifully wrote it down, word for word (see photo below). This journal will definitely show his progress as he gets further along in his studies.

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He also spent time in the Mathematics department. He has successfully learned how to count to 14 without help, and recognized the numbers 0-20 with ease. He knows the basic 2D shapes, and has also learned what a cylinder, cone, and cube are. Sphere shapes are a bit trickier, he prefers to call them a ball! He also is learning to write the numbers from 0-10, and has been doing very well as you can see:

The arts lab seems to be a favorite for him. This week Ensign Peanut made several drawings of musk oxen, and even did a mixed media piece using crayons, glue, cotton balls, and yarn.

To help unwind, he also visited the gym, and had fun imitating a musk ox. He stomped his feet, let out a snort, then came crashing into a pillow head first just like a pair of musk oxen do.

We Now have two days of rest and relaxation, then on to our next adventure!

Captain out.