Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 11: The Time of the Judges (Gideon, Samson and Ruth) and the Letter I

Wouldn't you know, I was finally able to have a "normal" school week with Claire.  This week was kind of interesting in that it focused on several Bible stories rather than one character or theme keeping everything together.  I mean, it was "The Time of the Judges" but connecting that with a 3 year old isn't really the goal as of yet.  We'll hit that in years ahead when we study Biblical History.  So, in the meantime, she enjoyed learning that God helped Gideon choose an army and win battles, made Samson strong and that when we stopped relying on and obeying God, his strength disappeared and that Ruth was kind and loyal to her mother in law and that we are to be kind and loyal too.

First day we talked about how God told Gideon to choose his army.  The men were drinking water at a river.  The men who drank by lifting up their hands, were chosen for the army.  The men who drank straight out of the water with their mouths, were not.  Didn't make a lot of sense but we talked about how God knew what He was doing since Gideon went on the win battles with his small army.  We traced her hand on white paper and then on the opposite side had her draw a mouth (which looked like a happy face.  Then, she circled the hand on the page, reminding us which men were chosen for God's army.

Snacktime, Samson and the Letter I
We usually "do school" when Claire wakes up from her afternoon nap.  I get home from work around 12:15 or so and if the girls are at a babysitters that day, after I pick them up we get home around 1 and the girls wake up around 3 or 3:30 or so.  They always wake up hungry so "snacktime" usually accompanies "schooltime."  This time is was persimmons from a student's backyard and peanut butter pretzels.  Both a big hit with both girls. . .

 To show that Samson was a "strong man" and to get a little science/math activity in I took several items from my pantry out and hid them in Christian's socks.  She picked up each one and examined them one by one and put them in order of "heaviest to lightest."  Kind of funny watching her try and figure out which she thought should go first but eventually. . .
 This is the order she came up with without the socks.  From right to left:  Jar of Trader Joes Cookie Butter was the heaviest, then can of corn, full bottle of doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil, half eaten jar of peanut butter, and then, finally, a nearly empty bottle of doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil.
 Then, over the next couple of days, we did some "letter I" activities.  "Hide and Seek" page, gluing Cheerios to both a uppercase and lowercase letter "I" and painting a uppercase and lowercase I. Claire words that start with "I" are: igloo, ice cream and Indian.

To commemorate our study of Ruth, we discussed several things we can be a "good" daughter like Ruth (I hesitate to focus on this but we always pair it up with "God's grace" since that is so important to us). We talked about being loyal, obeying our parents, being kind to Ashlyn, helping around the house etc.
We also talked about how Ruth was a hard worker and that she worked in the fields to provide for herself and for her mother in law, Naomi.  For our activity, we drew little stalks of wheat and talked about how our bread and cereal come from wheat.  Now, I recognize that I totally screwed up and gave her Cheerios to decorate her "wheat" stalks.  Oats. . . hmm ok.  I'm over it.  She got the basic idea.  We'll rehash this later, ya'll.  I promise.

Ashlyn likes this activity, for sure, since she gets all sisters Cheerios leftovers. . .
 The last school activity we did for the week was the giant "I on the ground.   The Little Hands to Heaven book gives me specific things to do with the letter (have child walk a stuffed animal across the letter, drive a car along the letter, build blocks along the letter) I've decided that, instead, she gets to choose what to do with the letter.  This works for us. This time she decided to build a block wall with her foam blocks along the letter.

Tomorrow is Monday and we will be taking a break from Little Hands to Heaven in exchange for a week on Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God and a little American history (and Turkeys to boot!)  Should be a fun week and I am excited that I have the whole week off with the girls.
Till' then!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week(s) 10: Joshua Leads Israel

So luckily, this was a letter review week for letters E-H.  She really doesn't need a ton of letter review.  She knows her letters, sounds. Whole bit.  She could probably use more writing practice but I've decided that at 3, I'm not going to push it.  We'll do our weekly letter writing and let her think it's a game and call it a day.  She likes all the letter activities and all but every 5 or so weeks, things get easier on the homeschool front.  I don't do too much review of the letters and we just get to do Bible stories and activities for the week. This page here is a Hide and Seek Review page and she was able to match up the capital and lowercase letters pretty easily.  At first, I thought the repetition in this program was going to make me a little crazy but it's really fun watching her work and see her know what to do without me having to explain much.  She's getting good at this!  

Thankful Tree
These last couple of weeks we've begun prepping for Thanksgiving.  In Claire's bedroom, Christian painted a big tree to go with her room theme of bird and the wall words that have the hymn, "His Eye is on the Sparrow and I know He watches me."  A sweet friend, Jaimie came over and painted little birds in the tree later. We love it.  She loves it.  So this year I decided to use the tree for Thanksgiving.  I took construction paper in fall leaf colors, red, brown, orange and yellow and traced leaves from a cookie cutter I had in the kitchen and then cut them out: one for each day in November.  I taped them to the wall and each day we talk about things we are thankful for.  I think, after Thanksgiving, I'll write a post where I'll talk about what she was thankful for this year!  Some of the items are pretty cute!  But I will save it for later. "I'm thankful for God" was her first, though.  Warmed mama's heart!

Joshua Leads Israel 
First order of business was to talk about the spies and Rahab (her occupation was left out of this particular lesson and will be discussed at a later date, I'm sure) and how she helped the Israelite spies escape.  So for this story we had some fun with peanut butter, crackers, and Twizzlers.  I had, originally, bought these fruit ropes at Target thinking they came apart but, alas, they did not.  So, luckily, Claire had some Twizzers ropes in her leftover Halloween candy.  
So we made the tower out of crackers and held the crackers together with the peanut butter and then used the Twizzlers as the rope that Rahab used to let the spies out of the tower without being caught.  She learned a couple things: the Bible story and how to spread peanut butter on a cracker. Win, win.

 Another activity we did involved the Arc of the Covenant.  We talked about how God set out special rules for how the Arc should be taken care of.  We practiced walking across a line of painters tape on the ground holding a pillow (Hello Kitty of course!).  She had to follow the line and hold the pillow.  Was good for coordination and learning about how important and holy God is and how important His commands are and how amazing His grace is in light of His holiness.
 One of our favorite activities for the week had to do with Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.  We sang through "Joshua fit the battle of Jericho. . ." several times while learning about this.  She'd heard the piece before because my kids at work learned it for their Spring Concert last year. But now she knows it and knows what it is about. 
We made a little trumpet out of construction paper. . .
 And built the walls of Jericho in the living room. . .
 And then marched around the walls with the trumpet (in pajamas, of course!)
 And after 7 times around the walls (math, you see?!) we were able to knock down the walls! 
On the Judges for next week and then on to Thanksgiving week!  Planning a fun unit on Thanksgiving and being thankful for that week.  A little different but will work in nicely with her "Thankful Tree" 
Happy Saturday all!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reformation Day/Halloween/Dress-up Day and the Herman House

“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him for he cannot bear scorn.” -Martin Luther

I get a little bit of flack from some of my more conservative Brethren about our family's decision to go ahead with Halloween. I'm not going to go into it here, really, but if you are at all concerned about my decision to dress my daughters up as an Elephant and a Peanut on October 31, allow them to hang out with other similarly dressed children during their Mommy and Me preschool class and get candy from people in the Adults with Disabilities class and have their grandparents over for dinner so that they could be there when we trotted all over the neighborhood, giving everyone a huge grin that saw Claire in her Pink Elephant costume, rest assured that I took the matter up with God, several history books and scripture.  I did not make this decision without some thought and prayer.  Limited, non-gory or evil-glorifying participation won out in the end.  If you want to know more and read a REALLY fabulous, comprehensive history of the holiday, pull up a chair, get comfortable and click here.   Christian and I read it together and thought it was fantastic.  We'd like to add some Reformation Day activities to our day in the future, as well.  

So now that that disclaimer is out of the way, here are a few pictures of our Halloween Week :-)  
Claire loves Elephants.  Oh, and monkeys.  But I found a super cute Pink Elephant costume and decided the girls were going to dress up at an Elephant and a Peanut (which is perfect since we call Ashlyn "Peanut").  
Claire got to wear her costume early.  During the last 15 min of her Tap/Ballet Class, they had a Halloween Party and the girls could dress up, bring snacks and treats to share.  Claire was so, so excited to wear her costume.  So. Excited. Here she is, the little pink elephant sitting among the other little girls.  
But on actual Halloween, I took the day off from work so I could take the girls to their Parent and Me Music and Art Class at The Wilshire Center in Fullerton.  The kids could come dressed up and they had a little party with snacks, crafts and Trick or Treating around the buildings.  The disabled adults who take classes at the same time in the same building as the preschool class passed out candy to the little kids as did the people working in the administration office in the next building over.  After Trick or Treating was over, we attempted to get a group picture of all the kids.  Getting costumed toddlers and preschoolers to sit together for a picture is, obviously, not easy but it turned out cute anyway.

That evening Greg and Lori came out to have dinner with us and joined us for Trick or Treating in the neighborhood.  Claire shared in my "lets conquer the neighborhood" attitude.  After every house she said, "I go ANOTHER house!!!"  Several times, someone would open the door and tell Claire how cute she looked, hand her a handful of candy and then say, "Oh gosh, you're so cute!  Here's more." Oh, boy.  Ashlyn, on the other hand, really wanted no part in the festivities.  She was happy to be carried by me or by her Grammy and really didn't want to be put down, so when we passed our street a second time, we grabbed the stroller out of the garage and she was fine the rest of the evening.  

Claire brought in QUITE the candy haul.  Right now, the candy is hidden in the back of the pantry.  She hasn't asked for any of it yet and has seemed to have totally forgotten about it.   But she will tell you all about her night of Trick of Treating.  I'm well aware that this is probably the last year I can "candy hide" before she gets wise to mamma.  :-)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weeks 8 and 9: The Exodus and God's Laws/Ten Commandments

 I've been a little lax in my blogging lately.  So here's two busy weeks in one post.  Luckily, the themes of each week goes together.  We just finished up talking about Moses and the Exodus.  Next week we start talking about Joshua leading the Israelites so if I had to combine posts, these would be the two to combine.
I introduced Claire to one of my favorite movies, Prince of Egypt.  We found the entire movie on Youtube and she watched half one day and half another day.  I didn't want her to watch sections of it before we'd discussed them, so we broke it up into two days.  She loved it.  (Note to self: Prince of Egypt should be added to Claire's Christmas list).

 Letter G and the Yellow Tutu
We got going with the letter "G"  She traced it with her finger, applied lentils to a big letter "G" and through it all, was insistent upon wearing her yellow tutu dress.  Homeschooling at it's finest. . .

Two Day Plague
But then the two day plague hit.  Wednesday night the girls went to swim class with no problems, came home and ate dinner, then went to bed. An hour or so later, Claire began to cry.  She'd thrown up.  All over her bed.  We cleaned her up in the shower, brought out the kids air mattress, and brought her up a soup pot in case she had to throw up again.  Awful stuff.  The mess was pretty bad and she was just miserable.  A few hours later, Ashlyn began to throw up in her crib.  After cleaning her up and re making her bed, we finally got back to bed around 4am.  Luckily, this only lasted until late Thursday night.  The girls were miserable that Thursday, though, and although they were done throwing up by Friday, they were still tired and moped around the house.  We didn't get much "school" done those couple of days but we did get a lot of snuggling done and a lot of Jungle Book watched (over and over and over again).

 Although, by Friday we were ready to start reading and talking about Moses again, even if it, mainly, took place while resting.

Follow the Leader and the Parting of the Red Sea
This is Claire following me around the house.  Whatever I did, she did.  Hopping, raising our arms, dancing, skipping (sort of) climbing up and down the stairs.  We talked about how Moses led God's people out of Egypt and into the desert.  They were headed for the promised land!

 Ashlyn tried her best to keep up.  . .
 Uh oh.  When we got to the bottom of the stairs, we found the "Red Sea"  What were we going to do?!
 Then we remembered how God told Moses to raise his staff and when he did, the water parted and the people could walk safely onto dry land.  A miracle, designed to preserve the people of God and protect the line of our Savior!
 Then we went to do another little craft to reinforce the Red Sea miracle.  Ashlyn always tries to participate if she's awake during Claire's school time.  This time it involved her attempting to color like sister.
 Claire drew fish onto a sheet of white paper.  I told her we were going to draw what is under the water.  At first she said, "I can't draw fish, mommy!"  But after a few reminders that we "always try" she drew a few.  They weren't too bad, really.  She just worries about getting it wrong, I think.
 Then we got to play with watercolors.  I taped down the center of the paper using artists tape and let her paint the entire paper blue.  She really wanted to go crazy with the colors but I told her she could AFTER we finished painting THIS piece of paper blue.  This was fine for her.
 While we waited for the blue to dry, she got her wish :-)

 Then, when the blue dried, she painted the center of the paper brown.  We blew this dry and added "waves" to our Red Sea model using construction paper and scissors and glue!
 I guess I didn't get a picture of the final product, but if you can imagine those construction paper waves being glued onto the sides of the brown painted paper, you get the idea.  If I could do it again, I'd probably try to get her a little paperdoll Moses that she could walk through the center.  She really seemed to "get it" with this project.
 In order news, Ashlyn got a new look this week. :-)  Mommy found this online and had to go for this impulse buy.  Just had to add it.
 Our letter "G" on the ground wound up, first, being a track for her little cars and ended up being a track for her BIG car.  All her idea.

And we finished up our "study of G" with practicing writing in her copybook.  Not too bad.  The "lines" are totally lost on her but at this point, I really don't care.  So long as she's getting to play a bit with writing.

 Another favorite activity this week was the "Manna in the Desert" lesson.  I ripped up strips of paper, spread it all over the floor and Claire picked up the paper and put it in her basket.  Super simple, super fun, super short.  Happy kid.

 We spent a good amount of time doing numbers and counting this week.  Little Hands to Heaven has it's own counting and numbers component to it.  Sometimes I do it, sometimes I skip it in favor of some of the counting and number activities in her workbook.  She, actually, does really well with numbers.  If this ends up being something she really has an aptitude for, well by all means, Daddy's going to have to take on a big chunk of her education.  :-)

A few things from Week 9
First off, a few pics of fun with the "Letter H." During her "glue things the the letter" project, she had trouble not eating the Cheerios.  I had to refill the bowl twice!

Couple fun things we did with the Bible stories centered around Moses and the building of the Tabernacle.  We talked about how they built it and then people brought God things that they loved for his house!  Claire we made our mini Tabernacle with Duplos, aluminum foil and a sheet of paper towel.  She thought the gifts should be brought in using her Duplo Truck.  She gave God some doTERRA Oils (perfume), jewelry and then some Duplo fruits and veggies.  Not totally Biblically accurate, but I let it side for the purpose of teaching a concept.  Giving your best to God.  The one Tabernacle activity we did that I couldn't get pictures of because we had to do it in the dark, was one of my favorites for the week and I think one of her favorites, too.  I took Claire's little Kidco Peapod tent and told her that was "God's House" or the Tabernacle.  We talked about how God led the people through the desert with a fire by night and a cloud by day.  So we shut off all the lights after dinner and I took a flashlight and held it over the tent.  Then, I'd shut it off, move to another part of the house.  She would have to pick up the tent and travel to the place where the fire went.  She loved this and it really drove the story home!

We ended with the story of the spies in the Canaan.  We talked about how the spies brought back HUGE grapes for the people from the land but that the people were afraid.  The land of good and God had given them the land but people were still afraid and forgot to trust God.  No matter how scary, we trust Him with our lives!  It was a message for our whole family this week!

Her "grapes on a vine" project to signify the large, plentiful fruit in the land God promised to the Israelites!