Thursday, June 25, 2009

Letter E

Art Activity 1:  Elephant E

Art Activity 2: Easy Sun Catcher – Peal back the protective covering halfway down a piece of contact paper, exposing the sticky side (The contact paper can be any shape or size) Tear small pieces of various colors of tissue paper and stick to the contact paper. Peel off the rest of the protective cover and fold it over the tissue paper side. Trim the sun catcher to any shape or size desired. Punch a hole in it and string a piece of fishing line through it to hang.

So what does that have to do with the letter E? Absolutely nothing except the name of it is EASY Sun Catcher. If that really bothers you, make the sun catcher in the shape of an E, egg, or elephant (various colored tissue paper elephants would go great with the story below!). If not, just enjoy the art project.

Food: Deviled Eggs

Books: Elmer

Activity: Plastic Egg Learning Games

Letter D

Sorry this had taken so long. Busy week.

Art Activity 1:  Duck D

Art Activity 2: Duplo Painting – Use the large Duplo-type blocks to stamp designs on paper.

Food: Dirt Cake

Books: How Do Dinosaurs Any one or all of the series of books by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.

Activity: Diamond Match (younger) or Playing Card Diamonds (older)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just When You Think You Have it All Figured Out

So, I really knew what direction we were going to take with our curriculum. I had finally decided that I was going to pull together resources to develop our own Charlotte Mason-style course of study. Two kids close in age equals easy-peasy to homeschool, so no problem at all. Ahem.

So now since we are expecting number three I am feeling the need to simplify. Which got me looking at some things that I had not before. Now I am finding that the Latin Centered Curriculum (LCC) is very intriguing to me for a number of reasons. And since a fear of teaching Latin and Greek was one of those things which had previously held me back from giving this classical approach a second look, I was most happy to stumble upon Classical Liberal Arts Academy (CLA).

The idea of using CLA for everything and just enrolling the kids in the academy has a certain appeal. My fear is that the one-method approach to learning that all of CLA’s classes seem to take would be tedious – especially for a younger child. Even though they must do it and be diligent about it, I also want my kids to love learning. BUT I could see participating in the CLA Extern program for their Grammar classes (which cover Latin, Greek, and classical Grammar) and then using LCC to flesh out the remainder of our curriculum, teaching the other subjects in ways that would appeal to multiple learning styles. (Yes, I am thinking out loud.) Later we can use CLA for Logic and Rhetoric and all of those other classes vital to a classical education that I really should be taking myself instead of teaching. (Ah yes, CLA does have classes for parents too…)

I have ordered LCC and can’t wait to read it. It has been compared favorably to and as compatible with the Charlotte Mason approach on a couple of different message boards I read. It does cover fewer subject with greater depth than does the typical CM course of study. Honestly, that is very appealing.

What a great journey this homeschool research is. Fun stuff. (Or it will be until my carefully crafted plans fail to work for one of my three kids, and I have to punt. HA!) I will keep you posted on what I discover.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Organizing Part 1

The school room has been in desperate need of some organization. Now that I am done with work, I am taking advantage of the time my sitter is here to get some of that done. Today’s chore was to tackle the arts and crafts closet.

I meant to take a “before” photo before I got started, but forgot. I think you can get the gist of how bad it was from these two photos – one of the partially unloaded closet and one of the partially loaded table.



And now for the “after”:


We don’t have tons of stuff yet (and I should note that I have many more mostly adult-type craft items on shelves in my master bedroom closet). I do think there is room for expansion.  What is good right now is that I don’t have to stack many boxes. I am much more likely to put things back in their place if I don’t have to dig into stacks to do it.

The thing I hate about organizing things like this is that it is hard to group like-things together. I ended up with a box that held velcro and magnets and another that held feathers, ribbons, some craft kits, doilies, and wiggle eyes. Fortunately most are open baskets so easy to see into. To help solve this I may get a couple of over the door shoe organizers with clear pockets to hold the small, odd packs of things that just seem to multiply. I can hang them on the backs of the doors. I also think a paper towel holder to hang on the wall in there would free up that shelf space. The closet is pretty deep so might as well use that side wall space.

My next job is to tackle the book shelves and book organization.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Letter C

Art Activity 1:  Caterpillar C

Art Activity 2: Wet Chalk – Make a sugar solution of  1/3 cup sugar to 1 cup water. Dip the end of your chalk in there and then use it to draw on dark-colored paper. If you prefer, soak your chalk in the solution overnight before drawing. You can also use wet chalk outside to make brighter marks on the sidewalk.

Food: Cupcakes – allow the kids to help make and then decorate their own with frosting in squirt bottles and lots of sprinkles.

Books: The Carrot Seed, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Charlie the Caterpillar

Activity: Car Wash – This is so much fun. Pull out the bicycles, ride-ons, and push cars. Put the kids in their bathing suits and add some soapy water and sponges to a bucket. Allow them free-reign with the spray hose attachment and stand back (no, really, you want to stand back). C-C-Car starts with C!

Letter B

Going to go ahead and post the next couple of letters for anyone who likes to gather supplies ahead of time.

Art Activity 1:  Buzzy B

Art Activity 2: Balloon Painting– Provide kids with a large piece of paper, a small inflated balloon, and a pallet with a couple of colors of paint (we use a paper plate for this). They can then paint by stamping the balloon into the paint and then onto the paper. Fun will ensue.

Food: Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana or your favorite banana bread or muffin recipe – make these treats in your kitchen with kid help. Kids really love to smash the bananas for batter.

Books: Bears New Friend (or any of the Bear books by Karma Wilson), The Three Bears

Activity: Big Bubbles – I got a special bug-shaped bubble wand in the dollar spot at Target for this one. Any way to blow bubbles and talk about how that starts will “B” will make an impact and be fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Letter A

Let’s get this Summer Fun School ABC's party started by starting at the beginning.

Art Activity 1:  A is for Alligator

Art Activity 2: Art Absorb – Lay down some newspaper. Use water-based markers to draw on coffee filters. Then paint over the marks with water and watch them blur and spread to make designs. You can also spray the marks with a spray bottle of water and dab with a wet sponge.

Food: Apple Juice Pops – make these treats in your kitchen with kid help

Books: Amelia Bedelia, One Hundred Hungry Ants

Activity: Alphabet Bugs

Summer Fun School ABCs

We have been taking  a bit of a break around here while I struggled with the first trimester, but I am happy to report that I am beginning to feel up-to-snuff again. I lamented for a while over what to do this summer. We will be beginning Winter Promise’s I’m Ready to Learn preschool curriculum later this year, but I didn’t want to do so until much closer to fall. I also did not want to spend tons of time putting units and things together each week.

Last week my mojo came back, and I was inspired to create a whole summer full of fun activities based (very loosely) on the ABCs. Now that the planning is done I know what I am doing each week and just have to gather a few supplies on occasion.  So these are our plans in case anyone wants to follow along.

My goals for this program are for John to learn his letters and possibly some of their sounds. I also want to give Olivia a review of all the letters and sounds since sometime in this year we will begin a formal reading program to see how she takes to it. The only other goal was to have some activities for FUN already planned out and ready to go, so I am not scrambling to come up with something all the time.

Here is the plan in a downloadable Excel worksheet. Summer Fun ABC Download. Some of the activities are from the Internet, while others come from resources I have here at the house. My plan is to create a post for each letter giving the links or brief directions for the activities so you can follow along if you desire. We plan to spend 3-4 days on each letter. We are also trying to form a little co-op of preschool friends to meet and do some activities with us. If you are local and want to come, shoot me an email.

This was the logic behind each activity:

  • Art Activity 1: An activity made using the form of each letter to introduce the letter and form to the kids. All of these activities come from the wonderful blog No Time For Flash Cards.
  • Art Activity 2: This is almost always a “process art” activity. The end product is not as important as the DOING is. They also tend to be a bit messy.
  • Food: Something for us to make together and eat together. Yes, it is fun, but there is so much preschoolers can learn while cooking in the kitchen.
  • Books: These are books that we already own beginning with each letter (most of the time). There are still a few holes. Feel free to substitute books you own, books more appropriate for your age child, and books you can grab at the library. Basically the list is the get us reading lots of books this summer and not fall into a rut. We will also point out the letters as we see them.
  • Activity: This is a non-art activity. Sometimes it is a song, sometimes sensory, sometimes number recognition or math related, sometimes science, sometimes geared more towards Olivia, sometimes more towards John. The criteria was FUN.

I have also included a few general activities that we will do for many of the letters. The easier, no planning ones we will do for every letter. The ones that are a little more involved we will only do sometimes.

  • Sing ABC Song
  • Learn each letter in sign language -- practice daily
  • Scavenger Hunt of things that start with that letter. Sometimes use the camera and print out the photos.

If you have any questions, please let me know. If you decide to do some of the activities, we would love to hear from you too.