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Saturday, September 21, 2013

homeschooling: first 3 weeks in review

We are 3 weeks into our preschool homeschooling journey.  Basic summary: LOVE it! :)  It's been so fun getting him into a routine and there's only been one day that he hasn't wanted to jump right in.  And the nice thing was, on that day after some extra cuddles and some Daniel Tiger, he was ready for school.  I'm loving my curriculum and it's been a blast digging through my school files to find fun things to add in.  I also really love the workbox system we're using. It's definitely been a learning curve getting back into a routine of prepping school work every week, but I love how it's given our days a bit of structure, even if it's only 45 minutes. 
Ellison is still a nightmare (love you sweetie) during school time, so I'm trying all sorts of things to keep her busy and keeping her from standing up in the middle of the table throwing crayons and eating paper. Not that she tried that or anything. :)
Here were a few things we did last week while learning about the letter D (yes, we're going out of order).  I found a cute set from the Dollar Tree that had stickers, a cardboard "scene" and a couple cardboard dinosaurs.  He had a blast playing dinosaurs and loved the volcano part.  We had to recreate the volcano we did awhile ago.
Sam working with magnetic pom pom and Owen doing a puzzle
sorting capital and lower case D's
dino color puzzles
using pattern blocks to make the letter Dd
For our final activity, we did a dinosaur fossil dig.  I grabbed all Owen's small dinosaurs, a bowl of sand, and some plaster of paris.  I mixed together the plaster of paris.  I pressed a dinosaur down into the sand.
Then I poured the plaster into the dino shape and let it sit overnight.  It worked pretty well!
Picture 1436I buried about 15 dinosaur fossils and “footprints” in the sandbox.  It was really chilly in the morning, but he could not wait to get outside.  We took shovels and paintbrushes to brush off the sand and started digging.  We matched up the fossils to the dinosaurs that made them.  He stayed focused for almost 2 hours, digging, matching, re-burying and talking about being a paleontologist.  It was so much fun to watch!
Here’s to at least 23 more weeks of an awesome school experience!

Savoy Orchard Days

This afternoon, we headed just down the street to Savoy Orchard Days.  It’s a small little festival that’s held at a park just blocks from our house.  Owen hadn’t been big enough in the past to even try it out, but I thought this year might be the year he’d enjoy some rides.  We talked it up and he couldn’t wait to ride!  Well that was until he actually got on.Not a second after I took this picture, he started to scream that he wanted off.  Luckily the kind lady at the front gave us our tickets back and Owen was spared from going around in a slow circle.Picture 1353Ellie, on the other hand, could not wait to get on a small ride.  The ride “engineer” would only let her if she was strapped in with another kid.  Ok, whatever.  She loved it and went on it twice!
Picture 1354After we gave away the rest of our ride tickets, we decided to visit a booth of a friend from church.  Joy does amazing face painting!  Her business is called the Joy of Facepainting.  I’m not just talking about a rainbow or smiley face, but works on art on people’s faces.  Check out her blog here.

We knew she’d have to be fast with Ellie, so she did some quick little ladybugs.  Ellie just kept touching and looking at her arm.Picture 1361Owen had just won a car playing a game.  Joy simply looked at the car and recreated it on his arm (he didn’t want it on his face).Picture 1359Picture 1358Owen loved it.  We went to BW3’s afterwards to visit a friend who was serving that night.  He kept his hand on the table to keep looking at it and refused to wash it off during bath.Picture 1363 Picture 1364Even though the rides were a bust, it was a fun family afternoon!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Curtis Orchard

We had a great first trip to Curtis Orchard with our buddy Sam!  This is one of my favorite C/U places to visit in the fall.  We got there super early so we basically had the whole place to ourselves for most of the time.  They had a great time playing, feeding the goats, eating donuts, and even going down the tall inflatable slide.  It was the perfect outing and can't wait to go back.
they were singing "the wheels on the bus"
they had fun chasing the kittens 
not sure who loved this more!
she had NO fear feeding the goats
playing in the train
classic Curtis Orchard picture 
so yummy - fresh donuts and cider.  The 12 pack we brought home was gone FAST.
As the summer draws to a close, here are two warm day videos for you of each of my crazy, fun kiddos:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

weird nappers

So my children decided this would be the day for weird napping positions.  Must have been a tiring morning:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

yogurt mess

At 17 months, Ellie is the messiest, pickiest, and slowest eater ever.  She'll eat breakfast fabulously.  Eggs, oatmeal, fruit, bacon, smoothie, pancakes.  Loves it all. But then it goes downhill fast.  For lunch and dinner she'll eat yogurt, some types of cheese, carrots, peas, corn, and most fruit (frozen blueberries being the all time favorite)  But that's it, she won't do chicken in any way, she'll rarely do ground beef or turkey, and won't do beans.  She'll eat cottage cheese if I blend it smooth with applesauce.  Skinny girl needs some protein.  

But aside from the food update (more for a record for myself), here's some adorable pictures and a video of a meal with Ellison:


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of Preschool!

Today was the start of our home school journey as we kicked off Owen going to preschool.  He was so excited to start.  We watched Sam today (not a normal occurrence) but he just jumped right in and did what Owen was doing!

I found this cute first day of school printable and was shocked he was fine with taking a few pictures outside!  He wanted to wear his backpack which held his supply box, a car, and a toy phone inside.IMG_1109IMG_1108IMG_1104IMG_1117IMG_1123They stayed engaged for about 45 minutes- an hour which is about what I planned for.  We mixed in lots of dancing and singing to keep things interesting.Picture 1093One of the hardest parts to everything was the cute little thing here dressed in a dress.  Ellie.  She was into EVERYTHING.  I had a box of new toys for her that only get pulled out at school time, but she was still into everything.  She did great when she could dance, sing, or color.  But other than that, watch your crayons boys.  Whew, that will take some tweaking to find what works best for her.Picture 1087I was definitely impressed with his willingness to work and work hard.  I know, I know it was his first day. But in general, it was super fun and I think he really liked it.  There was one page he wasn’t willing to do and I told him it just needed to get done before nap.  After lunch, all on his own he went and finished the page!IMG_1142While we were at lunch, I did a short survey with him so we could remember this time:photoI’m really excited about what this year has in store for us!  Yes, it’s going to a lot of work to stay on top of everything.  And there are so many ideas out there, I’m really going to have to pick and choose the things I want him to do.  But for our family, for Owen, and for this year, this was the perfect choice (I think after day 1).  haha

workbox system for home school

I’ve been doing lots of hunting around the web for ideas to jump start our home school this fall.  While I know what Owen should be learning, I wanted a way to manage it all, keep it all organized, and help him understand what he has to do.  That was when I found Sue Patrick’s Workbox System book (or check out her website).  If you do a simple Google or pinterest search for workbox system you will find thousands of hits and ways to do this system.  It’s NOT a curriculum, just a way to manage it. 

Let me explain.  She suggests putting each activity for the day in a tub on a large shoe rack.  In the box goes everything that the child will need, crayons, glue, etc.  When they are done with the activity, they place the box on the floor.  That way, they see how far they’ve come and how many boxes they have to go.
Enter me *shuddering* at the thought of boxes  and supplies scattered all over my floor.

So this is how we’ve tweaked the system for us.  I’m taking many of my ideas from Erica at Confessions of a Home Schooler.  My mom bought me this awesome 10 drawer organizer from Sam’s.  I put a piece of velcro on each side of the handle.  One for the number of the box and one if it is a “work with mom” box.  Eventually, as he gets older he’ll have more and more activities that he can do on his own.  Obviously for now, everything he does is working with mom.IMG_1138He takes off the number and puts it on this sheet.  I only have enough open spaces for the amount of boxes he’s doing today.  For example, today we started with 5.  Box 3 held a snack with the activity which he thought was great.Picture 1092 Here’s an example of what’s in store for tomorrow.  Excuse the dark, night time pictures.

Box 1: trace the letter Aa with a dry erase marker (3 times)IMG_1147 Box 2: cut out the apples and glue them onto the tree (great cutting and gluing practice)IMG_1148 Box 3: put together the 6 piece apple puzzle and read the wordsIMG_1149 Box 4: practicing positional words – I will say “put your apple above the basket, put your apple under the basket, put your green apple beside the basket, etc”  We will them write a sentence about where he hides his apple.IMG_1150 Box 5: a truck coloring page where he has to color the capitals one color and the lowercase another color.IMG_1151Box 6: We each will get an ice cube tray.  He will roll the dice and that’s how many little pieces of felt he gets, one in each little spot.  It goes back and forth and the first person to fill their tray wins.  Great for learning to count the dots on a die, and learning one to one correspondence.  And maybe to learn about losing. :)IMG_1153It’s easy for me to refill every night and I’m not scrambling during our actual lesson time to pull things for our next activity.  I’m very excited about this system and while I know we’ll have to tweak it as we go, tonight he was already asking what was in his work boxes for tomorrow.  Keep up the excitement kiddo!

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