Ocean Treasures

This week was all about treasures in the ocean! The book, Flotsam was the basis of this week’s lessons for my youngest.

CM_flotsam We live in a coastal area, so we had a few opportunities to do some hands-on exploration around town. The boys explored some touch tanks filed with sea creatures just around the corner from us and rediscovered some treasures they had picked up last time we were at the shore.

 

I vowed to myself in starting this new year of school, that I would implement a “loose parts” play one day a week, based on Reggio Emilia.  The boys had a blast creating things just as I’d hoped! You’re never to old to just sit and be creative said my oldest ;).

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My youngest also worked on the letter F this week, both phonics and writing it. He’s been doing really well with recognizing and trying to spell words! Just last week we went to the zoo, when we came home he drew a picture of the zoo and spelled and wrote it all by himself! I was impressed, this was the first time I’ve seen him spell!

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For math we did some counting and graphing using the story to count the fish on each page. He has a new Star Wars math book he loves, and did about 5 pages in it each day too. We measured shells, and counted syllables in ocean words.

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My oldest has a similar theme as we read Mr. Popper’s Penguins together this week. They both are enjoying the story- this is what I love about homeschooling that they share activities and join in on each others topics!

My oldest keeps a sketch pad in which he does copywork and drawings. This week he copied a poem about penguins and drew a snowball fight.

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Together they both share the lessons of Artist and Musician/Intrument of the month. This month we are studying the works of Cezanne and The Beatles and the Violin. We listened to the sounds of the violin, read the biographies of both artists and talked about their work styles- still life and English rock and roll.

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His other studies were sentence types and reviewing multiplication and division. In science, we talked about Classifying living things and getting ready to dive into studying cells next week. The Mayan and Aztecs were part of our history studies and he worked on weaving “God’s Eye” as part of their culture study.

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He’s also gotten back into designing his own video games on 3DRad. He’s teaching himself about coding as he goes! I have no idea to attach it so you can view it?? 😦

 

Well, those are some of our highlights! We’re trying to get a routine down, but it’s hard in the summer with the heat! 😉 Looks like we’ll be focusing on Dinosaurs next week and my oldest wants to do some creative writing!

Science, Seuss, Success!..and others things

Let’s start with the Success! The past few weeks I have really been working with Luke on letter recognition and spelling his name. Each night at bed time we sang the Alphabet, went through each letter and looked through his sight words- one being his name. A few days last week, I opened up word on the computer and just had him type his name over and over on the keyboard. He finally focused,  and as promised got himself a happy meal today after spelling out his name and pointing to the letters I said aloud at bedtime last night! He really, really wanted that Lego cup they were advertising at McD’s! 🙂 IMG_20140302_113804_167

Now for the Science…not that it was planned, but both boys ended up studying caterpillars and butterflies at the same time. Luke just loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we have done so many activities with this book! We made caterpillars from egg cartons, cocoons with paper bags and a geometric butterfly with our tangrams!geo butter

plate pillar

Liam was also reading about butterflies and studied the Morpho butterfly first, in the book -Jack’s Insects. The second chapter was on the Monarch butterfly. Here is his pastel of the Morpho.

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He watched this video of the Monarch Butterfly, then drew up a sketch of the life cycle and read through “An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly.”  We talked about entomology and why the character butterfly in the first chapter swayed Jack into promising not to kill any insects, well..except for fleas 🙂

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Homer Price is another book we have been reading together and incorporating lessons with.  Set in the 1940’s in a little town in Ohio -In chapter 1 Homer takes in a skunk as a pet and together the two capture the town robbers! Chapter 2, Homer and his friends buy comic books and end up saving a superhero who ends up in a car crash. Chapter 3,while  in his Uncles Doughnut shop, the machine ends up breaking and making 1,000’s of doughnuts! Homer comes up with an advertisement and saves the day!

own cops and robbers cartoon

own cops and robbers cartoon

facts on skunks

facts on skunks

facts vs fiction on Skunks

facts vs fiction on Skunks

Math: Luke continues with hands on work and counting as much as possible! He recognizes number up to 12 and easily does math in his head. He will see that four papers are on the table and say things like ” Okay mom, we did one paper so far… only three left.” or “Dad’s at work, so only three people are here right now.”

Liam is running a pet store with the Business Math Series from Simply CM. He’s had to keep an inventory, figure out sales tax, add up monthly sales, write out checks and count in some unexpected expenses as well! Very fun series!

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Dr. Seuss Fun!

I read to both boys “Oh, the places you’ll go!”  I asked Luke what he would like to be when he grows up, he said ” A painter!, I ‘ll paint anything people ask me to…..houses, cars, chipmunks, people..food, whatever!”

With Liam we talked about tools you need for success and what success means. How to handle failures, making good choices and traits he thinks are foul vs. successful.

I asked both boys to make a poster of a “Seuss Land” they would want to live in. Luke asked me to make his and he would paint it like a “Painter Guy” and Liam came up with the idea of a “YouTube World” and sketched out a few of his favorite gamers he watches.

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Liam's

Liam’s

Lastly: A few writing prompts to share from Liam. I find funny pictures and Liam keeps a journal of captions he makes up!

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Lessons from Nature- Strength

Even though the boys were feeling under the weather today we were very productive! Luke fell asleep while eating a snack yesterday at 4ish on the couch and slept until 4:30 this morning- glad he was able to get some much needed rest and it allowed for us to do lots of activities this morning!

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We started the morning off with a Sink or Float science activity.  I gathered lots of materials and filled a plastic storage box with water. Luke had his clipboard with all the items listed and circled S or F as he put each item in the water. I also wrote down his prediction on the chart.  He guessed most correctly and searched the house for more items. He also started coming up with his own questions…. He noted the bowl was floating, then told me ” put the apple in the bowl and see if it sinks, I think it will!”   We had a great dialogue going and kept adding different scenarios- full bottle of water vs. empty bottle, etc.

Then he moved on to some art! I think the simpler the materials the more the imagination! I handed him a large piece of tissue paper, cotton balls, Q-tips and some paint.  He narrated a whole story as he created and added colors…. Art with his own personal purpose! Beautiful art! 🙂

IMG_20131112_080531_839Luke then went on the math website- math is fun and did a few games.

As he went on to play with Legos and have a snack, Liam and I did some daily lessons on Easy Peasy.

He is just finishing up the history on WW1 and coincidentally, today we read about the significance of the poppy flower and Remembrance day, as yesterday was Veterans Day and poppies were being sold here in many places.  We read the poem “Flanders Field” , viewed photos of the field itself, and then he drew his own poppy flower. I love it! He drew the flower first, then with his own artistic touch, drew muscle shaped petals to represent the strength of the poppy flower.IMG_20131112_103312_382He went on to practice some multiplication problems and some spelling work on his own, then we came back together for some Zoology on Easy Peasy.

He’s in the middle of learning about birds.  Last week he studied and drew the different parts of the feather, this week he is observing the beaks.  After viewing videos of each type of beak on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, he drew each beak and food in his notebook.

IMG_20131112_103451_723I would say, once again, we learn so much from observing nature! Today’s big lesson was STRENGTH! Keep trying, shine through, never give up.  Water: a strong element, birds possess strength to survive/adapt.  The poppies persistent, strong- pushed through amidst the tragedy!

Enjoy your day!

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Adventures that-ROCK!

Today we packed up the backpack with a bunch of supplies and headed out to a local state park.  We went to Hurd State Park, also know as “split rock”  In the granite ledges of the split rock are veins of feldspar which was once mined extensively in Connecticut.

Liam has been studying the industrial revolution and reading a book about mining the past few weeks, so I had the idea to go explore rocks!rocksin the backpack: safety goggles, hammers,cloth,magnets,notebook, paints and brushes, paperbags and insect repelant.

What did we learn: rocks and minerals,  some of CT.’s history, navigation, seasonal changes, geography, navigation,  reading and math skills and team work!

As we entered the park, Liam was in charge of reading the park map as I drove. Of course, Luke chimed in too. We found our parking space at the head of the trail and I had both boys take another look at the trail map and tell me which direction we needed to head to be near the Connecticut River.

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We headed down and found  a beautiful spot to set up our materials. After grabbing their brown bags they headed over to collect rocks at the rivers edge.

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Once they had collected all the rocks they wanted, they came back to the picnic table to investigate! They broke them open using a hammer and had a blast looking at the texture and colors on the insides. We also checked to see if any had any magnetism to them…they did not.  Luke proceeded to paint a few of his and then measured all of his rocks.

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Luke spent time exploring in a variety of ways, while Liam really enjoyed breaking open all his rocks and said he found some  crystals and lots of pieces of mica in his!

We had a quick picnic after they were through exploring and headed back to the car and  over to the Split Rock trail.

Luke was our leaded and pointed out the yellow trail mark to us. Along the way they both spotted a woodpecker, frog and granite and more mica, plus a few other goodies!

Great fun and lots of learning! And…I love how they looked with their safety goggles! 🙂

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What have we been up to?

We’ve been back in action for about three weeks now, and I’d have to say it’s going rather smoothly- It seems very relaxed and easy going (so far). Some days I have to make more reminders to focus than others, but I’d say overall we’re all enjoying the topics!

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Here’s a briefing on what we’ve done so far:

Language Arts:

Liam

Grammar: Studied/Reviewed Verbs, Writing Complete Sentences, Nouns- proper and common, and Adjectives- daily lessons with a game, such as a scavenger hunt and then reinforced by watching School House Rocks -Grammar.

Spelling: I’ve been giving 16 words a week- day 1 and 2 is copy work of the words, followed by spelling aloud and then choosing three words and writing a complete sentence.

He’s also brushing up on his cursive work- I think he’s doing fine, but he likes his penmanship perfect, so he gets easily frustrated!

Luke

Luke has been working on recognizing his letters and playing games on Starfall  learning both,  visually and hearing the phonics.

Reading: He’s starting to “read” on his own and by that I mean when young children start using random letters to “spell” things and copy “reading” books at bedtime- he’s memorized certain books and will read them to me in his own words, similar and in sequence of the actual story.

He starts story hour at the library this week too- he’s excited to meet some friends 🙂

Math: Again, much review from the end of last year for Liam. Luke is working on counting to 15 and recognizing numbers out of order.

Liam’s reviewed telling time, reading bar graphs, double digit addition, matching fractions, adding decimals and reviewing multiplication facts.  I have to say two weeks ago, he was a bit rusty on his multiplication facts, but he wanted to take a quiz on the site multiplication.com and got 38/38 correct  with facts up to 7×3 in  3 minutes! I have to say I was honestly relieved! He’s getting it! phew!

Luke is also showing progress while we watched a video counting to 20 in a Spanish lesson, he was shouting out- it’s a 5- it’s a 4 it’s an 1 and a 3!  He’s been counting everything he can, really- on a nature walk he counts the rocks or trees, as he eats snacks, or counts for the light to change as we drive around town.

History:

This is Liam only but of course Luke will watch or listen in.

We’ve so far studied the Biography of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison and watched videos about these men. In studying Edison, we also did a writing lesson where I “interviewed” Liam while he was an inventor who just completed an invention.

Here it is:

” I can still remember like it was yesterday. I had been working for weeks perfecting my time machine. I found a bunch of parts around the house.”

Q: How far back did you travel?

A: to 1812

Q: What did you see?

A: The War, on the battlefield, but I was wearing an invisible cloak.

Q: What are you going to do with the machine?

A: Going to go back in time and bring back weapons from then and bring our weapons from today to help them end the war quickly.

We also just started studying the Industrial Revolution this week and learning about Coal Mining. We’ve watched a few videos on the Revolution and coal miners and books from the library.  I borrowed the story Rocket Boys for literature to go along with this topic. We’re both enjoying it so far.

rocket A memoir of a teenager growing up in the 50’s in Coalwood, West Virginia- a town built for extracting bituminous coal.

 

 

 

Science:

This year we’re focusing on Zoology.

So far we’ve looked at Classifications- through videos, books, and games. Extinction and endangered animals. Ecosystems and drawing a diagram of the rainforest. While watching a presentation on the different Biomes, Liam took notes on a chart, noting the Location, Climate, Nutrients, Layers, Flora and Fauna, Threatend? and other differences worth remembering. This week we started to take a look at food webs and chains. Producers, Decomposers and Consumers. He played a fun game making a habitat, with a food chain in order to see how it all works together.

Music: We’ve looked at/ listened to pieces by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky,and Ravel.

Art: Natural objects, and Henri Matisse – sketching of seashells

Spanish:  listening to and recognizing Common Phrases, counting and matching games- Spanish alphabet song and phonics.

 

 

 

First Week back was a home run!

We officially started back with daily lessons this week! I think we’re all feeling rejuvenated and productive and in better spirits with some routine back in our days!

Luke had several 5-10 minute lessons this week in which he really got into! His lessons were based on the letter A. He  listened and watched the alphabet song and played a few letter A games, both on the computer and at the table.  He even made up his own song ” This A is on Fi-re!”  He did a craft of a Superhero A for “Apple guy”.

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He practiced counting 1-10,watched a 1-10 fire truck video and used his new wikki sticks for some tactile counting practice. I asked him to show me the number 1 and 3 out of order and he was able to identify them- doing very well!

For extra fun yesterday, we all went to visit a new homeshool group at the lake and the boys played in the sand, swam and played field games, while I got to chat with my sister who also homeschools her children. When we returned home the boys were invited by their grandfather to go to a baseball game. Liam declined he’s not much into sports and had to attend his karate class last night anyway. However, Luke was thrilled at the thought and had his first “men’s night out” with grandad! He came in around 10pm last night all excited with baseball in hand, and lots of stories, and covered in a significant layer of dirt! 🙂 First thing this morning he woke up and said the baseball game was so fun (he’s still holding the ball!)IMG_20130816_065012_679Liam’s lessons this week were based on Zoology and Animal Classification. He did several online games and watched some videos as well as some library books on all the criteria in classifying the animals. IMG_20130816_064914_198In his History lessons he is starting the year “working on the Transcontinental Railroad.” As part of the introduction to this time period he played a game where he had to choose which side of the railroad he wanted to join,  he chose to “work” on the Central Pacific team and had to make choices and read facts, and answer questions along the way in order to make his rail line complete. He also watched an informative cartoon on Alexander Graham Bell.

He reviewed Nouns- proper and common and did a scavenger hunt around the house finding and labeling nouns.  He began Intro. to Spanish and loved it! He listened to the Spanish alphabet several times and played several games matching the phonetic sound to the correct letter and then listened to a word and had to choose the correct first letter. He also listened to common phrases and copied them onto his clipboard in Espanol and in English.   He did great!

Liam also reviewed some math from last year: multiplication facts, dividing groups and Angles-Obtuse, Acute and Right as well as Lines and Planes. He drew and labeled them all in his math journal. Along with several online math games: Time Math, Garage Sale and Making number through 9,000.

Now we are going to listen to Dad as he DJ’s on the radio from the local College!

1st day of school!

We kicked off the new school year today! I have to say I love having structure back in our lives!!

This year instead of a planning book, I have changed to a journal style record keeping attached to a clipboard with an attached paper holder. This way I can just record what we actually do each day and refer to my outline of the year to help keep us on track. I found last year, planning a week out ahead of time, we often finished everything by Wednesday or scratched/ added ideas all the time!

Language Arts: Luke worked on the letter A today. He watched a video and sang along to the alphabet song. Then played a letter A game on Starfall sorting Upper and Lower case A’s.  He also made up a game with all his magnetic letters by putting them on a cookie sheet and I had to “order” by “breakfast letter.”

letters

Liam recapped his knowledge on Nouns. We talked about the different types of nouns then watched School House Rocks Grammar on Nouns. After he was done the video, he went on a Noun Scavenge hunt and filled in his worksheet!

Math: Luke played a pattern shape maze puzzle on line. When he was through he came to the table and filled in the number blocks along side the numbers 1-10 with mini marshmallows, and of course go to eat them after counting!

Liam reviewed his multiplication tables 2-5 by filling in a graph sheet of Factors,Repeated Addition, Groups, Array and Commutative Property.

Science: Liam’s first day was an introduction to Zoology and Animal Classification. Luke listened on as well as we went from one animal to another. They both wanted to do more, but since we started with Science I said we had to move on, so I think we’ll save Science for last in the future so we can continue with more next time.

History: Liam watched a 10 minute lesson on the Growth of Our Nation 1720-2000. It was a great recap of a lot of the History we went over last year, before moving forward into the  post civil war time period for this year.

Art: Luke used a roller and paint to paint a bubble wrap cut out shape of the letter A.  He then pressed paper over the A and made an image for our fridge.

aHe had wanted it to be red. As we viewed many images of the letter A on google images-He saw many that looked like they were on fire. He started singing ” This A is on F-ire!!” 🙂 If you know the song, then you can see how this will stick with him!

Liam’s art lesson was on Art Nouveau. An elegant decorative art style. He chose two art pieces: one by Aubrey Beardsley the other by Gustav Klimt and filled in a Venn Diagram comparing the two.

All in all it was a good first day!