Sunday, January 31, 2010

Poky Little Puppy Lapbook

Its finished. We completed the lapbook and assembled it this weekend. Here is a video of Chloe presenting the lapbook.



We thoroughly enjoyed creating this lapbook and have plans to start a new one Monday. We chose Olivia for our next book. James sent this book to Chloe while he was deployed last year to Iraq so it possesses a bit of sentimental value for Chloe. We will, again, use the free lapbook found on Homeschool Share. I feel a bit excited about this particular book because we will be trying out some different painting techiniques. Yahoo! More to come soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pssst!

By the way...

I thought I should mention that you are now able to leave comments on this here blog of mine. Yes...apparently, when you request Blogger turn on comment moderation and ask them to send it to your email address, they won't send it unless you provide them with the email address to send it to. Funny how that works, eh?

New Manipulatives

I wonder if anyone else gets so excited over new homeschooling items like I do. I love it. I could spend hours a day just perusing the internet, looking and drooling over all the homeschool curriculum and manipulatives out there. Oh boy oh boy. And I have plans to visit a local curriculum fair coming in April near me. Will the fun never end? I nearly lost myself when, not one, but two boxes showed up on my doorstep this afternoon. Of course, I expected said boxes since I ordered items last week, but still....excitement bubbled over and I let out a few squeaks and giggles. I tried hard to contain myself since Chloe was "resting" on the couch right next to me but let me tell you, that proved a difficult endeavor.

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We immediately delved into the treasures...well..just as soon as the timer rang, announcing the end of our afternoon rest time (Mama's craft time). Chloe loved making dough letters. I had to stop her at "B" because she requested a park date before ballet class this morning and I had said we could. We needed to hurry. I set out the wooden pieces for her to form capital letters and allowed her up to "B" again. She loved that too. What a wonderful addition this will be to our school day.

Oh...and I purchased some mathbooks to add to our sonlight curriculum every day. They arrived today too and we finished a page of that before heading to the park.

Gee, I am having so much fun. I gotta stop though. I mean, seriously. I've got to get control. I could have Chloe dissecting frogs next week if I don't check myself. The kid is only four years old, after all. She thinks I'm crazy, but she loves me anyways.

I have one more thing to show you all. Check out the grin on this girl.

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She got it! Perfect! I awarded her TWO stickers today and a fruit snack for her success. I asked her if I could photograph her with her picture and she practically knocked me down with excitement. After I snapped about 3 pictures she asked, "Are you gonna dance with me now Mama? Like you did yesterday? That was fun!"

Of course, you know I did.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Reason I Love Homeschooling

One of the main reasons I love homeschooling is the fact that you can totally customize school to your child. What is your child good at? What are they not so good at? Homeschooling allows you the ability to hone in on those items and work on them.

This week I found myself thinking outside the box in regards to an area of school that Chloe isn't quite so good at. We use a workbook called Developing the Early Learner and she excels in almost every single skill this book teaches. I have often wondered if the book is a little too easy. All except for one skill. Auditory Memory. I read a string of instructions for a number of items and she must wait a minute and then complete all the tasks. The poor dear struggles so hard with this task and I hate it. I really do. She was literally sitting in tears last week because she simply could not remember all the instructions I gave her. (we are now up to four items per set and she must remember the color for each item and what she is supposed to do for each item. Invariably she gets it backwards every time.)

What am I to do? I don't want Chloe to hate school. I want her to enjoy it but this skill is an important one that I know she will need later on. At first, I thought it was just that she was not paying attention to me. We made it halfway through the school year and I finally realized that she really tries hard to remember. She really does. I allow her to pick up the crayons while I read the colors and place them on top of the correct picture. I tried having her trace with her finger what she was supposed to do to the items as I read it. I even tried having her repeat the instructions after I was finished reading them. All to no avail. When it was time to start, she would do it backwards or wrong.

This is when I decided to think outside the box. How can I teach her this skill and not leave her in tears at the end of our school day?

And then it hit me. Take her back to the beginning and start where it was easier. Work on the easy ones every day until she gets the knack of it. This particular skill moved too fast for her to get it down properly. By the time she was starting to understand it, it got harder and she got more frustrated.

I found clip art with similar images the workbook used and made my own worksheets. I printed off multiples of each page. I also printed out the instructions from the back of the book to coincide with my printed pages. We now work on this particular skill every day, in addition to the other workbook pages she is supposed to work on. She only has two pictures she has to remember things for at this point. After four days of it, she is finally getting it. She can do the entire page and only get one or two wrong. Yesterday she finished the entire page without any mistakes. I hung the picture on the fridge, gave her a candy cane and we danced around the kitchen for a full five minutes in celebration of her achievement.

This is why I love homeschooling. I found a way to teach her the skill that is necessary without frustrating her. We went back to the basics and because she learned that she CAN do it, her self-confidence is rising. We can celebrate these small things which I know makes her feel good. Just to see the look on her face when she got the entire page right...wow...I just was happy to be there. And how many schoolroom teachers do you know of who dance around the room with the children when they get something they struggled with right?

We have quite a ways to go yet, but we will get there. We will. She is a smart little cookie and we will get it.

Rice Pudding Please

I do believe that lapbooking has become Chloe's favorite part of school. Especially since we picked a book she loves and I read it to her every day. She is just about a couple of sentences away from having the entire book memorized as well.

Well, if I wanted hands on activities, lapbooking certainly gives us plenty of those. Today we made rice pudding. Since Chloe has cooked in the kitchen with me since she was a tiny tot, most of this was old hat for her. I did teach her how to turn the burner on though, with a stern warning that this was only EVER to be done if I am with her and have given her permission. I warned her to NEVER touch the knob EVER without me. I do believe I put the fear of Mama into her little heart with my admonishment.

Anyway, she enjoyed making the same rice pudding that the puppies smell in the story. Its funny because with all the books we read for school, this is her favorite and its not even in our curriculum. She acts it out almost every day too. So cute. I must get some video of that to show you all.

I plan on writing out (or printing out) the recipes we make this week and sticking them into her lapbook (probably in a little pocket). I also would like to put a picture in there of Chloe helping to make these treats. I thought that might add a fun touch and a personal element to the lapbook.

An idea struck me the other day. I am not sure if I thought of this one myself or if I happened to read it while researching sonlight last Friday. Anyways, instead of attaching each item to the file folders just as soon as we finish it, I am saving them up and at the end of the week, we will set everything we have compiled out in front of us and arrange them in the lapbook all at one time. I'll have to let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week 16 Review

So, let me tell you about our week of school. We finished week 16 today and we are doing much of the same. Reading, reading and more reading. That's one of the things I love about Sonlight. We read loads of wonderful literature. Things I might not necessarily think to read on a regular basis either. Like nursery rhymes. I never thought to read one rhyme a day. I would look at our Mother Goose book and think to myself, "Now how am I supposed to read this? Do I read it all in one sitting? That's kinda boring. Do I read until Chloe begins to nod off?" and so I wouldn't read it at all. I would have to say this could possibly be Chloe's favorite book in our curriculum so far. She gets excited to read each nursery rhyme and usually asks me to read it two or three times each day.

After 16 weeks of reading the Uncle Wiggily book, we may have come to the decision to cut this book out of our day. Chloe groans whenever I pull it out of the shelf at the beginning of the day. We are down to once or twice a week readings from this book and she is doing much better with it, but I can tell she doesn't enjoy it. I asked her about it tonight and she claimed, "its just too long." I don't fully understand that because she loves longer books too. I can read chapter books to her and she thoroughly enjoys them. I asked her today if she would rather me read Raggedy Ann to her and she said "yes!" quite emphatically. I guess we are switching out books next week. And that's perfectly okay. I am finally able to come to terms with that idea. If we aren't enjoying one item, its fine to swap it for something more enjoyable.

Today we took a field trip to Storyville, a learning place for children ages birth through 5 years old. We've been there last year twice and enjoyed it so much that I thought we would head there today. We didn't have nearly as much fun as I remember having last year. They have a pretend grocery store inside, a mail room, a house (complete with kitchen, living room, laundry room, upstairs room and backyard) a theatre and a mini library. All these little areas are designed so the caretaker and the child can interact together and play and learn. The details of the place are phenomenal. The problem I saw today was that too many people brought babies 18 months and younger and they took the fun away from the older children. Mothers weren't keeping the babies from shoving their way to the items the older children were playing with and because I teach Chloe to share and give way to babies, she missed out on a lot of what she wanted to do. She kindly moved out of the way and watched quietly as the baby would chew on the toy cash register. Most of these mothers were just standing in the background watching their babies take everything apart and not doing anything. After waiting patiently for a bit, we would try to move on to something else. This proved a great learning time for Chloe though in a way you wouldn't necessarily have imagined. She learned what its like to to be on the receiving end of inconsiderate children who aren't taught to take turns or consider others higher than themselves. If we go again, I will have to pick a time when less people are there, if there is such a time. Maybe a different day of the week?

On a better note, we did enjoy a second field trip this week. Actually, it was our first field trip. Wednesday I took Chloe ice skating for the first time. It was my second time ice skating. Thank goodness I invited a girlfriend to go with us or I don't know how I would have managed taking Chloe around that rink by myself. This trip gave me the confidence I need to be able to taker her by myself in the future though. Of all the things I've ever introduced to Chloe, this is the first unfamiliar thing that she has taken too with such enthusiasm. It usually takes her a couple of tries to warm up to new endeavors...like riding a bike, roller skating, you get the picture. She LOVED it. She told me so WHILE she was skating. That's new. She asked if we could go again soon while I was turning in the skates after we finished. She even exclaimed at one point, "When Daddy gets home, we can bring him here to ice skate. Daddy will love ice skating."

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I have a video of Chloe's scripture verse for this week.



I also have a video of Chloe enjoying her shape blocks which she loves. Now I have to warn you, this video is a bit longer than normal. Chloe helped me edit it. I knew we were to keep a piece when she would begin giggling at herself on the screen. (totally too cute for words) I just wanted to show you what she does with these shape blocks. I also love listening as she tries to pronounce some of the shape names.



The fun thing with homeschooling is that I get to learn right along with Chloe. It might not always be the same thing she is learning (although many times it is) but I do learn quite a bit. Today I learned some fabulous things and I hope to be able to tell you about those things tomorrow. I think I am done posting for today though. Its bedtime and my fingers feel a bit weak from all this typing. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Poky Little Puppy Lapbook Started

I planned to start a new lapbook next Monday but Chloe seemed a little too anxious to begin and begged to start yesterday and so how could I resist? You may recall a few months ago we finished a Corduroy lapbook and since then have started 3 more which never came to completion. I finally realized what our trouble was. I aimed too high. The topics we picked were too large for a four year old to understand and the projects too extensive. I headed back to square one. Easy, quick lapbooks on books Chloe is familar with that we can finish in a week.

She seems quite happy with this book. One thing I am doing since we own the book is read it to her every day when we begin to work on the lapbook. While I read it, she colors the main picture which will be the cover for her book. (They actually have a coloring page of the cover of the book so my meticulous daughter can "match" the colors of the cover.)

We found the Poky Little Puppy lapbook templates on the Homeschool Share website. I love this website. Absolutely love it. A great FREE resource for lapbooking.

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First I tried her out cutting the hexagon shapes to put into a little fold book. She totally surprised me with how well she did. At the beginning of the year I handed her the scissors and she couldn't hold them let alone wield them and control them to cut around a shape. We have not worked with them since and today she actually cut on the lines all the way around the hexagon. She came off the line a couple of times but for the most part, her shapes look like hexagons. Amazing! her fine motor skills have improved dramatically simply by her workbooks alone.

The second item I had her work on was to count the number of puppies and flowers on the first page of her book and to write those numbers on the hexagons she cut out. (this template here) Again, I was amazed at how well she did writing the numbers. I've never shown her how to write numbers before. I wrote the number for her and explained it once and she copied me afterward and made them almost perfectly. WOW! This has got me thinking that maybe we should be aiming a little higher in school. I don't know. I don't want to push her, but if she is capable of so much more and ready to learn, would it hurt to get something a little more challenging for her?

Anyways, my goal is for her to complete two items for this lapbook every day and have it finished next Friday. We shall see. I have more things to chat about but I will start a new post for those things.

Friday, January 15, 2010

School Week 15

If I thought I neglected my regular blog, boy oh boy...this one hasn't much hope.

Okay. We are two weeks into school for the new year. Yesterday we finished up week 15 of our 36 week curriculum and next week will be the halfway point of our school year. Woo Hoo! We have had many good times and a couple of not so good times. (neglecting the homeschool blog could classify itself as one of those "not-so-good times)

Let me give you a recap of the previous week of school.

Every morning we read out of a Child's Story Bible (the exact name of this particular story Bible escapes me at the moment). We are reading now about David and Saul. Chloe particularly enjoyed the story of David and his best friend Jonathan. After reading for two days of Saul chasing David and trying to kill him and David having two opportunities to kill Saul and choosing not to, she stated, "these are not good stories. He's a bad man. I don't like him." It gave us a little opportunity to talk about being nice to people instead of treating them bad.

Chloe works willingly in her workbook every day now. This was a struggle for her when we first started school. She did not enjoy it one little bit. Now its getting easier for her to understand the instructions and be able to follow them.

We tried a science experiment this week out of her Bernstein Bear's Big Book of Science but it didn't work as the book portrayed it working. I've got some video of our attempts.



One of my New Year's goals for this semester of school is to take Chloe on more field trips. Well, just to take her on ANY field trip would be a start. Today we are headed to an art museum. I thought I would let Chloe paint when we get home as a follow-up to the trip.

Another new goal of mine for this blog is to update at least every Friday with a recap of our week. Hopefully I can add content during the week too, but every Friday will be my minimum goal.

And now I leave you with a video of Chloe saying her memory verse last week.



Have a great weekend everyone.