Monday, October 21, 2013

Finishing up Week 7: Letter F, Library trip, Counting and Fall Fun

Well, this week we finished the second half of our homeschool week 7.  Turns out that I think this "messed up" week 7 might be something I'm going to stick with.  I've heard of "Sabbath Schooling" before but wasn't sure if it was something I would want to try.  But I think I'm going to try and go with it.  The idea is to school for 6 weeks straight and then take a break the 7th week for other chores, family time, trips etc.  We'll see how it works with our calendar but I think I might like it.  Week 14 is going to be right at the time my Winter Concerts at the school will fall so I'm thinking that that will be a good time to take off anyway.  We may take a couple weeks off around December anyway so it'll work out.   I was trying to figure out how I'd take reasonable breaks with her anyway, and the Sabbath model is something I think I'll try.  

Letter F  
The week before, we got through a few of the Bible stories and did some other things, but our letter activities got thrown to the wayside.  So we had one day this week where we only did the letter activities in order to catch up.  The letter this week was "F"  Same activities as before:  Hide and Seek, writing practice, and then painting the upper and lowercase letters.  I had grand visions of giving her a lunch or dinner with all "F" letters, and do more with the letter that day, but it didn't happen.  It was fun anyway.  Didn't get a picture of our giant letter "F" on the floor, but know that she covered it with blocks, which went along with our discussion of the Israelites in Egypt building for the Egyptians. 

Library Trip and Counting/Matching
This week we took a trip to the library.  Our neighborhood library is pretty interesting.  During the day, it's an elementary school library.  But after 3pm, it becomes a County Library. What's nice about that is that it's, essentially, a children's library.  Claire hadn't been a while and wanted to pick out a few books.  She recognizes books that her teacher at her Parent and Me Music and Art Class, reads.  Some of the titles she picks are fun for me to read, now, too.  She picked a GREAT one about a jazz pianist and one about a ballet class (which is her favorite thing right now, too).
Ashlyn likes to wander around the library, say "hi" to everyone and pull books off the shelves.  We are still learning "library etiquette."

This week we did a little bit of counting and matching.  . .

Cooking Class and HOA "Pumpkin Patch"
Couple things signify fall for us.  Our church "Soup and Pie" dinner and our neighborhood's "Pumpkin Patch." In the morning, we peeled carrots for mommy's soup for the church "Soup and Pie" dinner.  She;s getting better, although, there were points when I thought we weren't going to have much of a carrot left. . . Claire tended to peel with a little too much gusto (although, it's pretty amazing to me how much small kids are capable of doing. . .if we just let they come along side and try!)

In the afternoon, we went across the street and enjoyed being with our neighbors for the "Pumpkin Patch."  Our HOA brings pumpkins.  Each household gets a pumpkin to take home.  The had lunch (taco truck. . . mmmmmm) and a bounce house for the kids to play in.  We got to meet a few new people and the girls had fun (a free pumpkin is always good, too).

Genesis 5:6-19 
The last Bible story we talked about this week was Moses and the plagues in Egypt starting with the Nile turning to blood.  In order to show this concept, I let her play with water in the sink.  I put a tiny bit of dish soap in the water and, since I was out for red food coloring like the book says to use, I dropped a couple drops of red finger paint into the water.  She LOVED playing with the waters and the bubbles.  We did discuss why the water changing in Egypt was so bad.  We wouldn't want to DRINK that terrible water, so having your best water supply turn to blood was a pretty bad deal.  Not sure I should count this as a homeschool failure or success but after we had cleaned up the activity, Claire said, "I want to play in the blood again."  Yikes!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall is Here: A Trip to Riley's Farm and our first Homeschool Group Field Trip!

We had our first, hopefully of many, outing with a group of homeschooling families yesterday.  It was fun to be with a group of people that don't think we are a little strange for considering this education plan for our kids.  While I think it's important to be around people that aren't a thing like you, periodically, it's good to be able to breathe and feel like you are speaking the same language as another group of people. So besides the fact that we were able to go on a great trip to a fun place, the camaraderie was priceless.
It was my second trip to Oak Glen with the girls.  The year before a friend of mine and someone she knew and our kids all took a trip out there.  I had never been before and it was a fun first trip.  But this time it was a little different.  The group, Tapestry of the Heart, planned the field trip, which was a tour of Riley's Apple Farm.  We are not, formally, members of the group since I figured I couldn't go to much since I'm still working, but after the trip, I think I'll put in and join. I have one very good friend in the group and a friend from elementary school that I'm so glad to have gotten reconnected with through the group. It'll be good to have the support, even if I can't be at much and maybe things will change next year.  Who knows.
Anyway, the tour began with music, which is always fun.  One of the things that really stuck with me is when the musician was talking to the kids he said, "so long ago, kids didn't have ipads and game systems and tvs.  In order to have fun, you made your own music. So, we don't have any of that today, right?  But is anyone here not entertained?"  So. True.  I want the girls to be able to have fun, play and entertain themselves without all that.  Not to say we never let them play with these things.  There is a time for everything.  But it's not often.  Imagination, creativity and communication with others is so, so important. And stinking fun, too.
 Next, they took our group to an old log cabin.  There was lots to do here.  Much of it was a little old for the girls but they still had fun and learned much. 
 Claire really, really wanted to help with the apple peeling, coring and slicing.  I don't think they would have let her, since she's still pretty little, but she enjoyed watching.  At home, I may have let her peel the apples and maybe will soon.  The would peel, core and slice the apples, then hang them on a string to dry.  It was neat. 
 Inside the cabin was a bed and a table with ink wells and quill pens.  Kids could try writing with the pens at the tables.  This was VERY popular with the elementary age kids that were in another group.  Claire waited patiently for her turn to do some writing of her own.  She wasn't as sure about holding the pen.  But she scribbled on a couple sheets of paper and was very happy with the results.

 It was able then that she got a little hungry.  Luckily, mommy remembered to bring snacks this time :-)
 Next, the kids helped make rope.  Claire was a little short for this but participated anyway.  For some reason she was VERY excited about the rope making.  Not sure it met with her expectations, but a learning experience nonetheless. 
 However, this mortar and pestle was the BIGGEST hit of the "rope making" area.  Claire (and Ashlyn) could have hung out, grinding corn, for the entire afternoon.  I need to remember this.  Anytime I need to get something done, I may be sending them outside with something to grind with my own mortar and pestle.  I may also be in the market for a bigger one.  It's always surprising what they get excited about. 
 The hayride was another favorite.  We rode around the farm and then halfway through, the driver stopped and talked to us about the farm, the apples and wild animals around the farm (bears, deer). Then they let the kids get off and look at the pigs and chickens with special care to warn the kids NOT to put fingers into the chicken coops. 

Next stop was cider making.  Ashlyn was getting tired so we did a lot of babywearing at this point.  It was pretty funny to her Claire describe the cider making process to Christian the next day.  "Um, I pick up apple, I put it in 'nare, I waited in line, I went potty.  Yup.  Halfway through cider making, she decided she had to go potty.  So we took the trek up the hill to the bathrooms.  Apparently, this was a very important part of the process.


 The last thing the kids did was made little "kazoos" out of rubber band and popsicle sticks.  I helped her make it, since the rubber band was a little difficult.  She didn't quite get how to make it made noise, she'd always put it too far into her mouth.  But she had fun anyway.  A couple of the older girls came by Ashlyn's stroller and played for her.  She loved it and it really was the sweetest thing to watch.  

 However, at this point, we were hitting the "we haven't had a nap today" wall.  The girls were getting cranky and tired.  One last stop was at the General Store to buy some cider for Daddy on our way out.  It's generally a sign of a fantastic day, when you leave with a big, overtired grin, and a huge jug of cider in your lap.  Many thanks to Rachael and Tapestry of the Heart for putting this together AND for the invite.  Would love to hang out with these people very soon!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hiccups are okay, too.

Whelp.  It happened.  The was the week of good intentions.  We got through 2 and a half days, total, with Little Hands to Heaven.  I probably could have completed the other two days over the weekend but it just didn't happen.  The weekend was busy with family and church and friends and it was mostly all good.  So school didn't happen.  The Dodgers are in the playoffs which is the closest thing to a holiday week at this house.  We've been doing quite a few "dinner picnics in front of the tv while watching the game as a family.  We hardly watch tv in this house and the only reason we still subscribe to cable at this point is because of the Dodgers and baseball season.  It's pretty intense over here.  At first, I was worried about my lax week from school time but I'm over it.  There will be weeks like this and I figured out that if I motored through the curriculum with Claire every week, without breaks, we'd be done by late March/early April.  Nice and all but not sure this is a race or that that's even necessary.  And frankly, Moses is a pretty important topic and I don't really mind spending the extra week with that.  Next week, I'm planning on taking a day from work to go to an apple farm tour with a local homeschooling group and that day will, I'm sure, not be a "formal" school day and so it'll work out to have these weeks stretched out a bit.
But we did do a few things so I'll share them here.
Ashlyn listens to the story, too.
Claire was introduced to the story of Moses.  We began talking about how the Isrealites were slaves in Egypt years and years after Joseph.  So her first activity involved blocks. We talked about how they were made to make bricks and how they were, often, treated cruelly.  During the block activity, we also talked about stacking the block towers and making them "high," "wide," "flat," "short" etc.  She did pretty well and learned a few new concepts ("flat" is like a pancake).

 We did a craft, day two that went along with the story of Moses in the basket that lent itself to cutting practice.  At first she was pretty awkward with the cutting.

 But with a little help and a bit of practice. . .

She was much more comfortable and got used to using the scissors.  That was super fun to watch her "get it."

We cut out a little basket out of brown construction paper 

And she glued her green cut out pieces to "hide" the baby in the water!

We, talked, briefly, about what happened to the baby and how Pharaoh's daughter, an Egyptian princess (this caught her attention. . .) found the baby and took care of the baby as if it were her own. We practiced taking care of a baby, diapering, rocking and singing to the baby.

And that's it. No letter activities this week and out Bible stories ended there.  We'll do that next week. But this is one reason why we've decided to do this, I guess.  So many homeschooling friends told me it's fine if the week doesn't come together here and there.  They will still learn.  Really!  And at 3 (and even 33 sometimes), play is learning.  Our "school games"  and stories and songs will continue next week.  I did go to a consignment sale this week and bought this wall hanging that Claire loves and is TOTALLY homeschool geeky.  She's asked me to change out the information every morning so far this week.  It sits on her wall, and I think it was worth the couple bucks to take it home.  Only problem, it's missing the velcro patch for Thursday.  Figuring out what to do about this minor inconvenience.

We folded clothes, practiced buttoning shirts, did the dishes and made a complete mess of the kitchen.  .

We visited had a barbecue with family and tried new things.  The week wasn't a loss, despite my fears that I, somehow, screwed up this week. We didn't.  We just learned different things.  That's 100% ok.