Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday we started kindergarten. What a wonderfully tiring day! It couldn't have been any better. We started off the morning by opening a gift in bed. Tell me, please, what child does not like to open presents? Especially first thing in the morning???

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And what was the new gift? "Ahhhhhh....A Dress!!!" she said as she fell back onto the bed.

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(She even got new hair bobbles which received their own shouts of joy when it came time to put them in her hair. I don't think she knew what they were when she opened them.)

The first day of school started off with a cooking lesson. How to Make the World's BEST Breakfast! (It went over well and I am sure she learned much.)

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I will break down the process in case you feel the need to instruct your own children in the art of making the World's BEST Breakfast.

STEP 1 - Pour a bit of chocolate syrup in the bottom of a sundae cup (or bowl if you don't have a sundae cup available)

STEP 2 - Add two scoops of your favorite ice cream

Step 3 - Add your favorite toppings. Ours look something like this...chocolate syrup, sprinkles and a maraschino cherry.

Step 4 - Photograph the grins on your childrens faces as they realize you were indeed serious when you stated that they were to eat ice cream for breakfast. (NOTE: Ice cream for breakfast one day a year will not harm your child in any way. It might actually be good for them.)

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After we cleaned up breakfast and finished our chores for the day, school began promptly at 9:06. I just need to put this out there for the second year in a row. I LOVE HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS!!! (all caps because I was shouting it at you.) I really do love this curriculum. Absolutely the BEST! And quite literally...without tears.

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I moved our schoolroom downstairs this year to make it a little more secluded from the main area of the house and because I actually have bookshelves down there. I like the set up.

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The easel next to the desk really helps with the instruction portion of things. I can show her how to form her letters and such so she can see me while she is writing. Perfect.

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After school ended for the day, we opened our main gift. Sea Monkeys.

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These are, indeed, a real creature somewhat related to a Brine Shrimp. We get to watch them hatch and grow over the next 1-2 years. (If we manage to keep them alive that long. We shall see.) After school we drove to base for lunch with Daddy.

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After lunch we headed to the pond to feed the ducks.

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We ended our school day by visiting the library for a field trip where Chloe received her first library card with her own name on the front and a backpack to carry her books in when we visit the library. She was very pleased with this backpack and I think it was her favorite part of the day. We learned how to look up books on the catalog at the library. It's pretty neat because they have a children catalog with pictures next to each subject category. We will need to practice this a few times.

All in all, it was an excellent first day of school which ended with a fantastic pencil cake after Chloe and Daddy returned home from a hike in the park (during which I decorated the cake).

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BOX DAY!!!

Today was box day! I am so excited I cannot contain it. I wanna jump up and down on the bed. I want to climb the highest mountain and shout it for the world to hear. "Our box of kindergarten curriculum arrived today!"

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Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!! How am I going to maintain self-control and wait another week and three days before beginning our school year? It's going to take every ounce of self-control, will power and strength I possess. It doesn't help that Chloe wants to start too. And do you blame her? Look at these books...

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I couldn't hold back though. I read a story to them in spite of myself. (Chloe's friend Jackson came over to spend the day with us and so got to experience a bit of our box day joy.)

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It was fun to see another child who loved getting into boxes like Chloe. I could probably fill a whole scrapbook with pictures of Chloe in boxes. She has loved it since she first learned how to climb.

The ENTIRE family got into the unpacking of the boxes.

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And then the fun part for me...putting together my IG.

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Wow! I really felt like a teacher. I have waited for so many years for this very moment. The moment when I can put together my lesson plans and start keeping real records. Oh, my poor dear sister. I subjected her to many hours of "school" while we were children. I loved "taking roll" with all my dolls and stuffed animals. I relished in forcing my sister to write her name repeatedly in cursive. Chalk boards have always had a certain fascination for me. Now my moment of "real teaching" has come. Its here. And thank goodness I have learned a thing or two about parenting and homeschooling before this day arrived. I will not coerce Chloe to write cursive in the same manner I applied to my sister. Nor will we hold school in a chicken coup classroom. But the excitement of teaching has not changed. I am just as excited about teaching Chloe as I was about teaching my Cabbage Patch doll and Rainbow Brite, if not more. Oh, will August 2 never arrive???

Monday, July 19, 2010

We're In!

I just received my email late last night (yes, on a Sunday) that our membership to a local Homeschool Support Group was approved. You have no idea how excited I am about this. All the resources at my disposal. All the play-dates and social activities. Field trips. Family Events. Co-Ops. You name it, this group has it.

Now we just have to make the decision whether we want to attend their annual Not-Back-To-School camping trip in September. Oh...it makes me nervous just thinking about. I, of course, love camping. But with a huge group of people I don't know??? That's a bug of a different color.

There is a picnic at the end of August which we are required to attend and hopefully we will meet a lot of lovely families in our area who homeschool. That might help me feel better about the camping trip. Who knows. I am still pretty excited about this group though. I am sure you will hear more about this in the coming months.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

School Supply Shopping

Okay. You know I must really be excited about this whole "homeschool" thing when I blog more on the homeschool blog than I do on my regular blog. I have spent more time this past month on school stuff than I have crafting. Wow! That's big. That's very big.

Today we went school supply shopping. Now, if Chloe were to attend public school, she would need to buy things for the classroom like tissue, and lunchboxes and backpacks and such. Well, since we homeschool, we don't need to stock up on a truckload of tissue paper. (That comes out of the grocery budget.)

So, what did I buy for "school"? Well, let me tell you. I am so super excited.

I found this idea on the Sonlight Forums for younger children who have a hard time sitting still during the longer story books without pictures. Chloe did struggle with this a bit last year. The idea I found was to have a cupboard (or box) filled with quiet things that they only get to play with during read-aloud time. Pretty nifty, right? This would also work for younger children who aren't ready for school yet. Just have some things for them to be busy with and use it only during school time.

Here are some supplies we purchased today for her quiet box.

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Sticker and Maze Books

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Easy I Spy Book

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Wooden beads with Hemp cord

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Playdoh set with number cutters and a mat to practice "math"

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Puzzles

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Rubber Stamps with Ink pad

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Legos and Erector Set


I also have some other things from around the house that I put into the box too. Lacing toys, wooden letters and our shapes bucket from last year. My favorite addition though are the "real" art supplies.

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Chloe loves drawing so I thought this would make the box special for her. We will have a few simple rules for our box. It will only be for school read-aloud time. She MUST complete her Math and Handwriting workbooks without complaining or grumbling or anything of the sort in order to earn her quiet box privilege. I am excited to see how it works out.

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Chloe took one look at my cardboard "Quiet Box" and stated, "I need to decorate that."

Yes, she does. Maybe a good project for tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Its Done!

I finally purchased our kindergarten curriculum this afternoon. We are so super excited about it. We officially have 2 weeks and 4 days left until school starts! Woo Hoo. I think even Chloe is starting to feel antsy for school to start.

I opted for Sonlight again this year. We loved our preschool year with them and decided it was a good choice for this year as well. I just love all the stories and books they provide. Such a rich selection and variety.

I also decided to stick with Singapore K Math for one more year. We ended up not doing most of it for preschool so I still have the books and such to do for kindergarten. If we still don't like it after a couple of months, I will make the switch to Horizons K. We shall see. We are using Explode the Code for LA and Sonlight Science. I am thoroughly ecstatic. I can hardly wait. I know I must hold myself in check, but ohhhhhh....how I love school.

Are you all ready for the next school year?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Art Projects

I find it humorous that I blog more during summer break than I did during the school year. At least it feels like I do.

Anyways, I wanted to share with you some of our recent art projects we've been working on this summer. I just couldn't wait for kindergarten to start in THREE MORE WEEKS so I've been doing some projects with Chloe each day. I really believe she is an artistic girl and if I teach her more of that sort of thing that she could excel in it. She is a most creative child.

First, I brought out her art supply box, printed off a couple simple pictures and let her use whatever she wanted to make a collage with. Here are the pictures she came up with. It took her 7 continuous hours to make these three pictures. Talk about a long attention span.

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The monkey is my personal favorite. She used felt (which she cut into small pieces), pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes, pom poms, tissue paper, stickers, glitter and more for her creations. We are going to put them into a book to send to her Grandma. I so wanted to keep these for ourselves but she is bound and determined that they are Grandma's and how can I say no to that? She made them from her heart to her grandmother. To grandma they will go.

I researched some kindergarten art projects on the internet for our school year. There were so many projects out there that I just had to do a few with Chloe now instead of waiting for school to start (in THREE MORE WEEKS!). I found an Ed Emberley book at the library and checked it out so we could begin drawing. What a fantastic book. If you have young children, you should check this book out. If they can draw a few simple shapes and letters, they can draw animals. Its quite fascinating.

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Chloe is quite proud of that crab. It took quite a bit of work as there were many steps involved, but she says it was worth it. Now when she sees a picture of crab when we are out and about, she states proudly, "Look Mama! I can draw that crab!"

We learned about abstract art last week by doing this little project. James helped me with this one. I gave an instruction and we were all to do that instruction. Then, we held up our final pictures to see how different they were using the same instructions. (like, "draw a triangle".)

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Chloe's Abstract Art

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James' Abstract Art

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Anna's Abstract Art


Another day I instructed Chloe to draw a shape in the center of her paper and then to draw swirly lines coming off it. Then she needed to fill in those lines with as many colors and shapes as she could. I made the same project with her.

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Chloe's Swirly Line Picture

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Mama's Swirly Line Picture


Today I had her trace her hands on a piece of paper and then we had a lesson about primary colors. She painted her hands the three primary colors. Then I asked her to choose two of the primary colors and mix them together to make a secondary color. We painted around our hands in the secondary color.

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Chloe's Hands

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Mama's Hands


After that, I filled some little plastic cups with water and put red, blue and yellow food coloring into them. I had her help me mix them together in other cups to see what colors they would make. She loved this activity. I can't wait to do another project tomorrow. We are having a blast this summer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Extra Curricular Lesson Plans

The three required extra-curricular courses in our state are Health, PE and Art. I came up with my own Health curriculum which I will share with you another day. I haven't quite finished the details on our PE curriculum. (Actually, to be perfectly honest, I don't have any plans yet besides a few ideas rolling around in my head. I need to do a bit more research on that topic.)

But, today I would like to tell you about my two favorite classes what share with you what I plan on doing this year. Art and Home Ec. Home EC is not require by our state but I really wanted to add it in. I also added in Spanish as well since I would like to start learning other languages with Chloe. (I was inspired by the book "Her Mother's Hope" by Francine Rivers in which the main character spoke at least 3 languages fluently.)

For art, I planned out what projects we would do for the entire school year. I actually made a school calendar with our days scheduled for the year. I found most of my ideas from Kinder Art. You really must check out that website for art projects, even if you don't homeschool. There are some wonderful ideas there to give your children the opportunity to be creative.

The other class I added in on my own is Home Ec. I found two websites that I will be using this year to teach Chloe cooking and sewing. Check them out.

Sewing Lessons and Kids Cooking Lessons.

I am so excited about school this next year. I can hardly wait. We have a little over three weeks left before school starts for us and it just can't get here soon enough. Which reminds me...I had better purchase our curriculum so it arrives in time to begin on schedule.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Plotting the Kindergarten Course

We have been on summer break now since the end of May. Woo Hoo. What a blessing this break from school has been. At times I have contemplated schooling year round with breaks scattered in between but, after this past month off, I have reconsidered. I like having an extended time off to gather my thoughts and put the next years plans down on paper. It gives me time to research and plot out our course.

So, I am getting ready to submit our forms to an Umbrella. Our state allows us to be under an umbrella which approves our curriculum and submits all neccessary stuff to the state. I chose this instead of taking our curriculum to a state representative because we can choose the umbrella and therefore can find someone "like-minded" (Christian) who won't give us trouble with our Christ centered curriculum choice. I just didn't want to have that added hassle.

Part of our "application" is our Course of Study Plan. It lists out all the "required" courses and has me list what curriculum I plan to use this year for that subject. I found out that we have some extra curricular subjects that I needed to come up with plans for. So, I spent a day this week planning out our courses. This has gotten me so excited for the next year of school. I even added two courses which are not require by our state but I felt were needed. If I have the Teacher's Guide already made up, whether required or not, I will be more apt to stick with it all year long.

The courses we will be doing (in addition to the regular ones) are Health, Physical Ed, Art, Home EC and Spanish. Home Ec and Spanish are not required but I would like to teach them anyways.

I will have to tell you about our courses in more detail in another post. I am super excited about what I have found and would like to share the information with you when I have time.