Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Activity Drawers

When I did a clean out of our craft supplies I decided to use our drawer cart to encourage more projects.  As I was purging, I took note of supplies we have not used, things I had printed out (but never actually did anything with!) and general fun stuff that had been buried. 

1.  Patterning activities: Various caps I save from bottles, cartons, etc. and an egg carton.  A strip printed from Confessions of a Homeschooler Letter-of-the-Week Curriculum.

2.  Paint a ceramic train magnet- picked it up on clearance.

3.  Removeable sticker activity book- bought at Friends of the Library bookstore for $1.75.

4.  Wooden cut-outs (not sure what they are called!).  Bought on clearance at Michael's for 19 cents each.  Take one out and start telling a story with it, then keep taking peices out one at a time and the story grows with each addition.

5. Write and send a post card to each of the cousins.

6.  Counting activities printed from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

7.  Bear activities we did here.

8.  Spin art using salad spinner.

9.  Work on squares grandma is collecting for the family quilt. 

10.  Various file folder games

Sean surprised me by doing several of these drawers back-to-back.  I will have to get creative to keep it filled!

Gingerbread house- good enough to eat for lunch!

I love gingerbread houses.  I have never made one.  I felt the pressure not to let the boys' childhood progress any further without the introduction of this tradition.  I liked the pre-made kit at the grocery store, but a) not paying $10 for b) all that sugar!  We did a version that I did not mind them actually eating.  Not as colorful, but still fun. 
We used graham crackers and peanut butter for the house.  Nuts, dried fruit, popcorn and oats were the decoration. I meant to put pretzels in there, too.  They each got a mini muffin tin filled with the goodies, a plate of peanut butter, spreader and dinner plate to build on.

Luke was busy at work, too.

Sean's creation.  It fell over once.  I got the picture.  It fell over again. 

Sean turned his hand into a crane and became a "house-eater." 

Next year we might actually make real gingerbread- yum!  Until then, this protein rich project has just turned into lunch!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Order in the house

The craft/ project supplies were getting out of control.  I have it organized, but things were starting to just get shoved into spots.  I could not remember what we had and was not using stuff sitting there for months (years!).  


So I pulled it ALL out.  More junk on the floor not pictured.

Didn't take long for him to get into something!

I decided to use the cart and put a project in each drawer.  It was fun coming up with something for each one and making use of the supplies.  Another post coming up with each drawer.  After purging, I fit everything onto this one shelf.

Building a bear cave

An effort to make a bear cave... we used pine cones as the bears.  An impromptu attempt to add arms and legs from twigs did not really work out!  Budreaux oversees the work.

Armless/legless "bears" peeking out.

Remembering that bears use dried grass and twigs to make their den.

The best rock-collecting partner!

Looks innocent enough here, but shortly after the cave was destroyed by a tornado of little hands.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bear Activities

I gave Sean a couple of choices for a topic we could study.  He picked Bears.  We checked out a few books and I put together some activities.
1.  This is a "Black Bear's Winter" booklet photo copied from a Mailbox workbook (got from Friends of the Library bookstore for $1!).  He drew, colored, glued dried grass & twigs and made a log out of paper to put in it.

2.  A fun one using dried out coffee grounds (not hard to come by thanks to Daddy!).  I spread them out on a paper towel and let them dry for a few days bofore we did the project.

His name:  Coffee Ground-y.

3.  And my favorite... using buttons (bought the whole jar for $1 at a yard sale!).  First he sorted them.

He picked out brown ones to make the bear.  Then we took turns- one of us glued while the other placed the button and vice versa.

He liked using his hand as an excavator to dig out the buttons.

His name: Button-y.

We also had a teddy bear picnic-no pics taken- but we'll probably do that again.  Random information, Sean's nickname from before he was born is Bear.  :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fall Nature Table

I love the variety of things in our yard!  I did not realize until we went out and started collecting.

Complete with toy race car...

Washing pumpkins from the garden:

We love Fall!

Monday, December 6, 2010

What we've learned so far... I think

I have been online researching curriculum.. again.  First of all, I am trying to make it more of a prayerful adventure rather than getting bogged down by all the options (because- WOW!- there's a lot out there!).
I think (until I further confuse myself) that I can narrow down a few things about our style and what I am looking for next year as I start more in-depth learning projects.
  1. I like the Charlotte Mason method.  There is a free curriculum guide here.  I am  not crazy about the guide though as it seems like a lot of work to actually figure out how to use it.
  2. I might be lazier than I thought when it comes to all of this.
  3. The Waldorf method is also pretty cool.  I can see how it would be a natural transition into our style.  It is more new-agey (is that a word?), but their focus on creation could be easily directed to the Creator... with some imagination and effort.
  4. Maybe I am not quite as lazy as I thought!
  5. I will admit the whole unschooling is appealing.  I totally like the idea of following Sean's lead and taking advantage of his interests.  Giving him exposure to all sorts of knowledge, researching different subjects and coming up with projects and experiments...
  6. See #2.
  7. The curriculum I like most...so far... is My Father's World.  It is mission minded, includes all the subjects (no pricey add-ons for basics!) and has a Charlotte Mason influence.   I am going check out some blogs for a while to see it in action.  Thankfully I have until next fall to seek the Lord and look into it.  Right now it's my top contender.
Until then we will keep at the reading lessons, crafts projects, nature play & study and good ol' play time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A New Day

This will be late in terms of time of year, but I thought it an appropriate way to start the new blog.  We "started" school this year in September.  I was really hesitant to commit to a specific curriculum.  I instead decided to take this year really laid back and see how the flow might go for us.  I am convinced that the delayed learning approach is healthy (waiting to start formal schooling until the child is older).  So, I figured there was not much to loose by testing the water this year.
I did know that I was interested in Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  So, when I found it for $1.00 at the thrift store- I was super excited!  Sean was pretty eager to start so we went for it.

For the sake of posterity I wanted to put up some pictures of the day.  It started as usual with some playing.

Lunch time.

While Luke was napping we started the reading lesson and letter project.


So proud of his work.
Then more play time. 

Here's a shot of our nature table:

These shots were all from a few months ago.  Since then we have done more, figured out about our style and are looking forward to being even more intentional with our learning.