Monday, August 12, 2013

Yellow Ball and Taking Steps

This past week we completed another theme week here at "Herman Family School" The book of the week was Yellow Ball by Molly Bang.  It's a very simple story of a ball that gets washed out to sea and returns home again!  The writing is very simple but the art is very nice, in my opinion, and it gave us a simple sweet week of "school" with a nice field trip with friends on Friday.
Colors and Shapes
We started out the first day with Claire making an art project to look like the cover of the book.  The Before Five in a Row manual said that we could do this any way we wanted-crayons, watercolor, chalk, etc.  But I decided that we'd go ahead and talk about shapes and practice our cutting with this one. I had Claire help me trace the circle, but I cut it out for her.  She cut the straight line on the dark blue piece of construction paper and did pretty well!  She still needs some practice, but she was proud of herself and I was impressed with her determination to get it right.  Then we talked about colors, variation on colors (light blue, dark blue) and shapes (rectangle, circle etc.).  This week, I saw Claire get much better with her shapes.  It's crazy that just doing these, fun, purposeful activities have allowed me to see growth in just a week and a half.  I love watching that!

Letter Y and Yellow
 Claire has no problem identifying colors, especially yellow.  Yellow is her FAVORITE color.  In fact, if you've been reading for a little while now, you may know Claire's 3rd birthday party was completely yellow.  She talked about her "yellow party" weeks before and for weeks, even months after (she still does if you ask her about her birthday).  So, this was not new for her but she loved doing it anyway.  I had planned on having her start with letter Y (another old concept for her) by gluing yellow yarn onto a construction paper "letter Y" but I realized, that morning, that I was out of glue.  Whoops!  So I improvised.  Claire has so many pages of small stickers, it's unreal.  So I wrote an uppercase and lowercase letter "Y" on construction paper and she just put stickers all along the letter.  She had a blast.  She will smack stickers on anything, so to have me tell her that that was her project was really fun for her.
 "Letter Y and Yellow Day" continued with making and coloring a book full of "things that are yellow," creating a pouch for another set of "things that start with the letter Y" and then gluing (well, in our case taping) everything to a sheet of yellow construction paper and practicing writing Ys on the page.  I'm saving her work from this in a binder so it will be easier to recreate with subsequent children and to watch her growth!  

Ashlyn's Walking!
But partway through our summer school homeschool week, Ashlyn started taking steps on her own. Wednesday night we were watching the Dodger game and she was watching the tv screen.  Absentmindedly, she took 4 or 5 steps and plopped to the ground.  Since then, she's been making more and more progress walking across the living room, on the stair landing, on the grass, anywhere!  She still prefers crawling as her mode of transportation, mainly because she can get places faster when she crawls. Proud of my little Peanut but sad that one more layer of her "babyhood" is now gone.

Storms and Jesus Calms the Storm 
But back on Claire's homeschool week, another day we discussed storms and what they were and read the Bible story from Matthew 8:23-27 in The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes.  After our discussion, Claire drew a picture with crayons of Jesus calming the storm.  It looks much like a Jackson Pollack painting.  Sooo, thinking we have a genius on our hands. . . ha ;-)  But she drew in the waves and the boat and tried her best to draw a little picture of Jesus.  I have the picture but didn't take one of it and due to a kayaking mishap over the weekend, my camera phone (where I take the majority of these pictures) met with Newport Harbor and despite a valiant save effort by my tech savy husband, the phone is toast.  Waiting for a new one. . .

Lake Gregory and our Yellow Ball
The night before our final day of Yellow Ball Claire got to take a trip to "Toys R Us" and pick up her own, you guessed it, yellow ball.  Luckily, it only set us back about $1.50 and she was very excited.  

We were planning on taking her to the beach that day but a friend of our from church wanted to take a trip up to Crestline and Lake Gregory for the day and the more I thought about it, the better that idea sounded.  Not totally perfect with the book, since the book takes place at the ocean, but close enough for a 3 year old and since there were no waves, a drama-filled trip. So glad we decided on that!  We had a great time and she got to bring the ball along with her and play with it on the sand.  





Afterward, we went to lunch at a little diner with our friends and their son.  It was an amazing, fun and tiring day and so glad we did it!




By the end of the week, Claire was pretty adept at "reading" the book herself (part of the program is that you read the theme book everyday and discuss/point things out about the story or illustrations).  Fun stuff!

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