Building and Engineering!

Imagination at work! That is what’s been going on here…. I have a busy 5 yr old engineer who has been constructing famous buildings with his blocks and constructing roller coasters and planning how to make an angry bird cart! I have an 11 yr old who is learning how to code apps! Busy boys- that’s what I like to see (along with playing outdoors of course)

The talk of New York city prompted the construction of buildings- I set up an exploration table in his room hoping to foster some independent learning last week, with the plan of changing it out and rotating materials as warranted.  Using the Montessori cards I found on pinterest- he went straight to work!

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Love the lego statue of liberty!

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honey bee and comb design

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And...here is the app. Liam learned to code today (Flappy Birds)- if you’d like to try and play it real quick! Great program – Code.org

Even simplified for kids as young as first grade to get started with a pre- reader level!

Having a good backbone, makes life easier!

This past weekend I headed over to a local book store to browse the “school” area. To my delight it had expanded significantly from my last visit. I found some great keepers!! I’ve been looking for books in each subject we can all do together, meaning books or curriculum that can be used for any age or at least a wide range. I want to be able to have a great backbone and work off of it with both boys, just making their work a bit different so each is challenged in their own way. After this morning I’m pretty sure we have a good backbone in a few subjects now, and yes, it made my life so much easier!To grab the books and enjoy going through them in a chronological order is just what I’ve been looking for all year- yes, since September! Ugh, better late than never 😉

I found: (all for $12.00!) a prek-1 Reading Workbook (Giant Basic Skills) Spell Well! Scholastic grades4-8, -it’s all interactive 50 activities to help with spelling, The Kids’ Nature Book 365 , Animals of the World– 7 in depth chapters broken into specific categories, 2 Harcourt Language Arts Program books, and Kaleidoscope Math– Geometry, Polygons and Prisms, Space Figures in Kaleidoscopes and Infinity Boxes.

We had a blizzard yesterday, so we took it easy and I looked through the books and was eager to get started using them in our curriculum. I found a great Science and Nature book/guide that flows through each month and day, filled with lots of seasonal ideas and activities. The book luckily enough starts off in January, and two things I’ve been wanting to do with the kids was in this weeks activities in the book! Yay!

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Like I said we had a blizzard yesterday, so the first was easy!— Snow cream to drink. We scooped up some snow, added sugar to taste and a bit of vanilla extract and cream! Delicious!IMG_20150128_091003_760

The second project was to make our own icicles. We needed two containers and had to poke a small hole in the bottom, so the water comes out at a slow drip, we then added colored water (our added idea) and gathered some string to “catch” the drips. We headed outside and used our grill to place the bottles on and then tied the string under them and used the snow to hold the string still for us. We left it for about a half hour and then came back to this! Also, lesson learned- one used hot water, one used cold water and it ended up freezing up and not making as big an icicle!

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So pretty!

We then read many books together from the library and then we read from the Hidden Surprises LA Harcourt book called Wild Shots, They’re My Life it was a photo Essay and Science story about a women who takes photographs of animals for a living.  We are also taking about African animals and Mammals this week, so it was a great tie in with that. The focus skill was Story Elements. After each story is a Response Activities section. My youngest Made a chart listing Furry, Feathered and Scaly animals. My oldest created interview questions he would ask if he were reporting on her, and then made up some answers.

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We did some Geography and Art then finished up with Math. They did a workbook page and then we tried out our new Kaleidoscope book. Today was the intro. and it focused on Geometry of Mirrors, and holding the mirror perpendicular to the page. How lines are reflected in a mirror and in creating symmetry. It was very fun!

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Having a good backbone, makes life easier! I’ve been piecing together subjects and activities for so long  and feeling like we’re skipping around all the time, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have these new books and it seems to have agreed with the kids too!

We ended on a good note and went sledding this afternoon at the town park.

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Monday Meandering

With yet another drizzly morning , we decided to do some indoor exercises to start our day instead of our morning walk. I suggested a dance party, they asked to do Yoga instead. So we did about 5 minutes and they declared they’d rather do the dance party 😉

Robotic Moves! Floor Spins!

Robotic Moves! Floor Spins!

We then sat together and read some Fables together for a half an hour, snacked then did some weaving with colored elastics and my knitting looms.

Luke's Design

Luke’s Design

 

Liam's Design

Liam’s Design

Luke took a break and headed to do some self guided play with his TMNT playhouse.

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We then continued our study on mushroom with the Handbook of Nature Study. They each sketched the different types of mushrooms.

Luke's Sketches!

Luke’s Sketches!

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Then Luke decided he wanted to take a nap!… and he wasn’t kidding 2 hours later he’s still out!

Liam and I went to relax on my bed while we read some more of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Next up was some math workbook pages- practicing roman numerals, fractions, graphing and perimeter review.

We then went into some art! Today was the start of our Form Drawing lesson block. We watched this video on Highlight Rendering and then had a mini session trying it out! He was very reluctant but I kept encouraging him and he was very pleased with the final look of it.

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Hola! Tom Sawyer and Charlotte Mason

We are jumping right in and trying our hardest to incorporate Living Books/ CM method for most subjects following along with Living Books Curriculum-( I didn’t buy the teaching guide, the lesson plans are mine) We are following the Overview and booklist though for the Foundation year and 5th grade.  So far all the books I have found at the library! We started last week and it’s working!

We started our day with our daily morning walk, which led us to the library. The boys went a bit crazy and we checked out over 20 books! I now have a basket full for us to read together each morning after our walks.

When we returned the boys were excited to read, Liam went off and read his book while I read a few to Luke, then we all joined  on my bed and read one more together.

We jumped into a Science experiment next. Liam had found an experiment book last week and wanted to try one called, Disappearing Coffee Cups!

Next up was Language Arts. I gave an Intro to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We will be reading this as part of our American History studies- 19th century America. Today I read an excerpt from the novel and then we did our first real narration together. Liam recalled the entire excerpt almost word for word! I was surprised, especially with all the interruptions!

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Next was Luke’s lesson- we read a story about the letter S, then the boys made a body image of the letter together 🙂 He’s doing great with phonics!

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For math, Liam practiced his multiplication tables and Luke practiced counting to 20 with numbered sticks and play dough. Liam is trying out the “Line Method- link” I came across on Facebook thru YouTube.

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Luke also tried his hand at weaving!

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After all this he decided to take a nap! 🙂

Liam and I continued on and took a look at Norman Rockwell as he is an American Artist and did a collection on Tom Sawyer! We viewed quite a few pieces and then picked one to really study over the next month.

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Then we had our first day of Spanish! We started some last year, but it didn’t last all that long- so we’re back at it! Through Pinterest I found this site called BBC Languages

It is a series of interactive videos. We started our trip going to Madrid in a cab and finding our Flat! Liam then sent our friend Teresa a Thank You text for letting us stay in her apartment as part of the vocabulary game. It was fun!

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Grow with the Flow

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This week has been a rather rough one with a few unexpected bumps,  and incidentally not much in the way of quality school work had gone on. I sat down early this morning to plan out a new rhythm/ schedule to follow to get us back on track. We still have some issues to get through to get fully back on track but, just implementing this new routine did wonders for us all today! I could see the boys growing “edgy” without a good routine going,  falling into the “I’m bored” routine. I heard both say today-“this is fun like this!” – yeah!

Our new flow looks like this:

8-8:30 Breakfast/Get Dressed

8:45-9 Clean Up rooms and toys

9-10 Outside or Morning Walk (Nature Walk on Wed.)

10-10:30 Read Together/Liam 15 min on own

10:45-11:15 History/Geography

11:15-12:00 Language Arts

12-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1 Math

1-1:30 Science/Nature Study

1:30-2 Art or Music

2-3:00 Board Games/Outside/Snacks/blocks etc

3-5:00 Free Time – Screens/Video Games allowed

Look at how much we got done following this schedule today (and the time frames seemed just about right!)

Chart of the Seasons

Chart of the Seasons diagram was finished!

Visited the Art Gallery at the Library

Visited the Art Gallery at the Library

Read together at the Park

Read together at the Park

Boys read one together

Boys read a book together

Liam worked on a Geography Picture Dictionary

Liam worked on a Geography Picture Dictionary of Landforms

Luke and I talked about the 7 Continents

Luke and I talked about the 7 Continents

We all read Captain Cook together

We all read Captain Cook together

Wikki Stick Math for Luke

Wikki Stick Math for Luke

Liam wrote a math story- 1/3 non-fiction 2/3 fiction "Unicorn at Six Flags"

Liam wrote a math story- 1/3 non-fiction 2/3 fiction
“Unicorn at Six Flags”

Nature Study of leaves and how they drink water!

Nature Study of leaves and how they drink water! After we read Splash! by Nadia Higgins

We finished up a bit early, but we accomplished some good stuff! 🙂

Artful Friday

After a morning at science club held at the library we headed home through the park. My youngest picked up a flower and wanted to paint when we got back home, he has been collecting sticks and painting them, but today he found a “firework” flower! He used white paint with a dish brush to make the prints.

My oldest read a book called The Late Loon by Dean Bennett. A beautifully illustrated book I picked up in the True Tales section while at the library. It was perfect for this weeks nature study! We both enjoyed doing some mixed media art work that reflected one of the pages in the book. First we water-colored the background, then used tissue paper and charcoal to sketch the loons, once the paper was dry we glued the sketch on to the paper!bookloon

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Moon and Stars- Natural Rhythms

This week we took a step back and read some Ancient Indian stories called creation accounts for our Social Studies lesson block. They explain how the world began, and how all beings once lived together. We took a look also at recent Scientific evidence and combined the two worlds together for some great discussions!

The first story was called “How Raven Helped the Ancient People” from Brown Paper School USKids History:Book of the American Indians. The boys both enjoyed the account as it was told, that the Raven is a black bird with feathers that were blackened by the smoke of a firebrand.  He was once an eagle who hated people so he kept guardian of the moon, stars and fresh water and fire; because of love for another he put them back, but was tarnished by the smoke while doing so.

As a craft to go along with the story, my oldest designed a bullroarer in his art book. It is a tribal toy from the Pacific Northwest Coast Tribe that was used to call the rain and sounded like the wind. He chose to draw lightening with a thunderbird on it!

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moon bookToday, we all read The Moon Book together. They both enjoyed this one as well. We really studied the Phases of the Moon and how it follows a rhythmic pattern. The weekly, Monthly and Yearly cycles/Seasons.

This tied in perfectly with how the Ancient People also followed the Sun, Moon and Stars to calculate the seasons.  Native Americans used a Turtle shell as their first calendars following the pattern of the shell as well as a reminder to keep our hearts close to the Earth so we notice the natural rhythms mother nature shares with us.

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Both boys really loved discovering this pattern that exists in the shell! They are both animal loves and in particular my youngest LOVES turtles! So, I went on pinterest this morning and found this great activity/blog for  the boys to do! On this blog there is also a little story on a the turtle to go along with the calendar.

Here is their own Turtle calendar and they are going to follow the moon pattern for the month to see the rhythm!

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Next, we created some paper stars as part of our newly introduced (what I call Waldorf Wonders) lesson block. I did not have any colored waxing paper, but I think the colorful recycled paper came out just as pretty!

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After a morning of all this creativity, we then concentrated on some workbooks- both did a math page and math activity,  as well as microscope work on Cells.

IMG_20140715_104955_006 I think we’ll relax and watch a movie with lunch next!

Measuring Dinosaurs!

Measuring Dinosaurs!

White board- Math Assoc. and Cumm. addition

White board- Math Assoc. and Cumm. addition