Friday, January 14, 2011

Hand Sewing Projects

Chloe wants a sewing machine for her birthday so I told her if she can learn to hand sew well, I will purchase one for her birthday. I made the same promise last year but we didn't follow through with it. (That was partially my fault for not enforcing sewing time.) This year I am doing better making sure she spends time working on Home Ec each week. I alternate cooking lessons and sewing lessons each month. This month we are working on sewing. Next month will be cooking.

Anyways, I thought I would show you the projects Chloe has completed the past couple of weeks.

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First she made this felt bookmark. It was a small enough project that she could finish it in about 20 minutes and see the beauty of a finished project instantly. This got her good and excited about sewing.

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Last week she made this drawstring bag. This project took her a little bit longer to complete, but when she finished it she squealed in delight. I think it amazed her that she could actually make something useful and cute. She was so thrilled after that project that she had no problem sitting down for her next project this week.

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She sewed both of those in one sitting. After she finished the first one she exclaimed, "Ohhhh, how cute! Aren't these just so cute, Mama?"

He he he. I think I have her hooked. (grin)

I am using the lessons and projects found on Kids Sewing Projects. We started off this year with the Pre-Beginner Lessons Level 1. I love these lessons because it broke things down in pretty small steps/lessons. Even smaller than I would have thought to break it down. Like a whole lesson devoted to learning how to thread a needle. I would probably have just done this myself. Another lesson was on tying a knot. Again, something I would have just done myself. But it's been good for Chloe to learn how to do this and practice herself.

Creative Spelling

How I hated spelling words as a child. Every Friday, my heart would sieze up in panic over the dreaded spelling test. Uggg. How can I inflict this upon my own child? I can't.

I am so happy that Sonlight does not make me do this either. At the end of our week, we get to be creative with our spelling words. I am always looking for creative ways to use our spelling words so Chloe will enjoy writing them.

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Every week I have her write her words on either the dry erase board or on her desk. This happens usually on Wednesday. Then on Thursday we get creative. Sometimes she paints the words.

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She has also written them in a cookie sheet filled with rice, with letter magnets on the fridge and with chalk outside on the sidewalk. Today I wanted something different, so I printed off all the letters of the words and had Chloe cut them out and glue them onto a piece of construction paper. (She needs more practice cutting so this served two purposes.)

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One of the suggestions in our science class was to spell out a words from the spelling list in seeds, so I gathered what few flower seeds I still had leftover from last year and Chloe wrote her letters in glue and then sprinkled seeds on top. Cute, eh? I just wish we had enough seeds to write her entire spelling list this way. She sure enjoyed it.

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I need to do some research and find more creative ways for her to write her spelling words. These projects have been fun.

Nature Diary

One of the things I love about a Charlotte Mason education is the opportunity to utilize a nature diary. I was a bit disappointed for the first 15 weeks of school that Sonlight did not use a nature diary. I think it is important for children to study nature and draw what they see. For them to watch the changes in nature closely enough that they can then draw it. (Thank you Sonlight!)

Well, lo and behold, week 16 of school introduced the nature diary when we began studying seeds. Yay! I made her a diary out of white cardstock and used my cricut to make the letters for the front. It won't last very long but at least she has something for a few weeks until I get her a proper sketch book for science. She has one for doodling, but not one designated for the sole purpose of nature sketches.

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I found some seeds around the house for Chloe to touch and study. I was pretty limited in what I had on hand, but she got the idea anyway.

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After studying the seeds, we dropped kidney beans into a jar filled with a wet paper towel.

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Then Chloe drew what she saw in the jar.

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Next week, I think we will be planting the seeds in some soil. I will have Chloe draw it before we transfer it to the pot. It is neat to look at it now through the jar though. We are able to see the roots and today we saw a green shoot starting to grow out of the bean. Chloe loves checking the jar every day to see the progress of the bean. I would never have though to start the bean in a jar so we could see what would otherwise be happening under dirt. It is fascinating for even me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Library Reading Challenge

Our local library posted a reading challenge for school aged children and I was so thrilled to be able to sign Chloe up for it. Boy oh boy! She is reading!!! I can't believe it. My darling girl is growing up so fast.

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She seemed pretty excited to join the challenge as well. For every book she reads, a snowflake with her name on it will be hung on the wall somewhere in the library. When I explained this to her, she immediately grabbed a book from the basket and read it. Two actually. She read two books. At the end of this challenge she will be invited to a Winter Craft Party.

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Chloe has always loved books. She used to spend hours just looking through all the books on her bookshelf in her room when she was a toddler. I couldn't believe how long she would spend doing that. At the beginning of this year when we first started learning to read, I got nervous. She did not like it nor did she want to learn. I hoped and prayed that by pushing her to learn to read, I wasn't going to take away her love of books. It scared me.

It excites me now to see Chloe reading to herself. She begs to read a story at bedtime in addition to my story. She still loves to have me read to her, but she also loves to read to me too. I couldn't be happier with how things are going in that regard. I love books and am so happy my daughter does too.

I now feel the desire to read a story to her so I will sign off now. Hopefully I can get some photos of some of our recent art projects up soon. We've been painting!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Subject Looping

I read a few blogs this past fall on Subject Looping and the idea intrigued me so I tried it out. We have now been "looping" for a couple of months and it is really working out well. Let me try to explain our version of looping for those of you who might be scratching your heads and saying, "huh?".

I have a list (I am a list person. A check the box person. The kind of person who MUST finish the entire curriculum by the end of the year.) of all the subjects for each day of school. We simply work down the list each day. I set a time limit for the day. We homeschool for 3 hours every day. We start promptly at 9:00 am and at 12:00 noon we are done. It doesn't matter where we are at on the list, we simply stop school for the day. The next day we pick up where we left off. In a nutshell that is looping. Here is our loop.

Bible
History
Poetry
Read Alouds
Language Arts
Science
Math
Handwriting
Language and Thinking for Young Children
Extra Curricula

The extra curricula are the subjects that need to be taught only once a week. I have them printed up in my schedule so I know what to do on each day. They include art, physical education, health, music and home ec.

The reason I love "looping" is because at the beginning of the school year, I found myself skipping the extra curricular activities. I just couldn't seem to find the time to get to them so they were the ones that fell by the wayside. Other days, when Chloe would struggle with a concept in Language Arts or Math, we would spend a ton of extra time on that subject but then our day would drag on for an extra couple of hours sometimes. That made for some really long school days. I would then try to make up some of the subjects on Fridays and we would often end up with an 8 hour day of school. Not particularly fun for my five year old girl, nor her mama for that matter.

Looping solved this issue quite nicely. Now we just work our way down the list and wherever we leave off at noon, that is where we pick up the next day. And, for the most part, we can get to everything in a 3 hour period of time.

Here are a couple of websites to better explain looping. On the Company Porch and The Classical Circus are two places I studied the concept of looping this past fall.

So, I am wondering...does anyone else use this method? If so, what does you schedule look like? What do you like about it? dislike?

Finger Painting and Printmaking

Did you know that there is an art to finger painting? I did not until I googled the words finger painting. Whoa! Apparently, I've been finger painting incorrectly all my life. Who knew?

So, the first thing to know about finger painting is that the paper must be damp before you begin. If the paper is not damp, the paint will not spread nicely. So, instead of keeping the paper on our art easel, I taped it to the floor and dampened it with a wet cloth.

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Another thing to know is that there are different methods of finger painting. We studied the finger and palm method this week. We dabbed two different colors on Chloe's palms. Blue and green. Then we spread each finger with a color and she pressed her entire hand on the paper and moved it back and forth. This effect created a world. She then added animals to the painting with her fingers.

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After the first instructed painting, I allowed Chloe freedom to use her fingers in whatever way she wanted on the second painting. She enjoyed experiencing the mushy paint through her fingers and rubbing it around on the paper to create new colors. This is a big change from a couple of years ago when she cringed if paint even touched her fingers.

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Our next art project was painting gift bags using the printmaking method. I gathered up all the fruits and vegetables I could find in my bare refrigerator and we got busy painting numerous gift bags.

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Instead of making the gift bags like the book suggested, I simply used paper lunch sacks. It was easier for me and some days I just need something quick and easy.

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After she made four or five print gift bags, Chloe's eyes widened and she exclaimed, "Oh! I know! I can make puppets!!!" My heart thrilled at her creativity. So, I told her it was a fantastic idea.

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While we were painting, a curious visitor showed up to watch.

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We thought it might be fun to dip Bumblebee's feet in different colors of paint and let him walk on the paper. Then we decided it might not be such a good idea after all. He certainly enjoyed watching Chloe paint though. He seem thoroughly intrigued.

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Maybe someday I will allow him the privilege of joining in on our homeschooling adventure.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back in Session

Journey to Ladyship is now back in session for 2011! Hooray! While any homeschooling Mama needs a break now and then, I always find myself a bit anxious and excited to start school back up. I know...weirdo. But I love homeschooling. What can I say? I love spending these precious moments with my daughter. Watching as she grows. Seeing the light bulbs turn on in her eyes when she finally gets it.

Anyways, I will post some pictures tomorrow of our finger painting fun and other things we did to begin 2011. Just wanted to let you all know that I am still here and we are still plodding away at this homeschool thing.