Monthly Archives: November 2010

We’re Back!

Back from our “Thanksgiving break”, that is. We had a great five-day break spending time together as a family. We did some reading about Thanksgiving, but that was pretty much the extent of our schooling last week. It was nice to get a bit of a break from our daily routine, but I’m glad to get back into the swing of things. As we were doing some of our school stuff this morning, I was reminded of just how much I love doing this!

After we finished our phonics and math lessons, I brought out the geo-board for the first time. I love seeing the delight in Elliot’s eyes when I introduce new things to him. Since we have been learning about symmetry, I thought creating shapes on the geo-board and finding their line(s) of symmetry would be fun. Elliot had a blast and I think the concept of symmetry is really clicking with him. He enjoyed the geo-board so much that he asked if he could use it during his quiet independent play-time this afternoon.

This face says “Mom, why didn’t you buy two geo-boards? Didn’t you think I’d like to try it too?” Sorry, sweetie….I guess I wasn’t thinking. We’ll have to get one for you too, but until then you’ll have to learn to take turns.

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A Fun Weekend Project for Madeline

I found this cool Eiffel Tower puzzle/model online and thought it would be a perfect father and son project to go along with Madeline. I read the boys some facts about the Eiffel Tower (I love Wikipedia and our iPad!) while they constructed.

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We’ve been talking about symmetry this week, as we read Madeline and have been having lots of fun with it.

He created an example of a symmetrical design.

Using a marker, we placed the line of symmetry on his design.

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New Tradition!

When Elliot lost his first tooth, I was reminded of one of our very favorite books, One Morning in Maine, by Robert McCloskey. If you aren’t familiar with it, the little girl in the story, Sal, loses her first tooth. It is a GREAT book (possibly even my favorite children’s book ever). So, I thought up the idea of reading it each time one of the kids loses a tooth. I’ve wanted to build more family traditions and memories around books. Elliot lost his second tooth last week and we did another celebratory reading of this classic book. I have a feeling this will be one of those books I hold very dear to my heart when my kids are grown and gone.

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First Projects for Madeline

(I was excited to find the Eiffel Tower stamp at Hobby Lobby recently.)

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This week we’re starting our new Five in a Row book, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. This is the first Five in a Row book that we have actually read and loved prior to rowing it for school. Elliot was really excited to finally get to this one! While reading it, we’re going to also be learning about France, the human body, and in math I’m going to introduce the concept of symmetry.

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Rod and Staff Math

I realized recently that I never updated about the route we ended up going with math. I initially said I was going to do math completely on my own this year, but as the school year was beginning, I decided I wanted to get some curriculum, just to make sure we’re covering all the bases. I had already fallen in love with Rod and Staff curriculum and had read a lot of reviews that said they provide a really solid math foundation, so I decided to get their grade 1 Arithmetic (although I’d say it’s more comparable to what kindergarteners are learning these days). It’s pretty much all review for Elliot, so it’s just good for a little extra drill on the stuff he already knows pretty well. I still do a lot of introducing new concepts on my own, outside of this curriculum. A lot of times the Five in a Row book we’re reading can lead us into a new math concept, for example, when I taught him how to count money while we were reading “A Pair of Red Clogs” because of the store that is mentioned in the book, even though that’s not something that will be introduced in his R&S curriculum for a while. We’re also going to learn about symmetry in the next few weeks while we read Madeline (twelve little girls in two straight lines).

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Art for Lentil

Tonight Elliot did another art lesson with Dad. Together they did some drawing with charcoal, which is what was used in the illustrations in Lentil. It was a lot messier than I expected and we may not do it again until it’s Caroline’s turn to read this book in a few years, but overall it was a good experience.

A finished work of art (Josh did a lot of it and Elliot did the smudging.)

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Capturing the Love of Learning

One thing that I’ve heard emphasized time and time again amongst the homeschooling crowd is the desire parents have to inspire a love of learning in their children, which many believe is so often snuffed out within the school system (not always, but it definitely happens). From the moment I began reading about it, I knew that this was my goal. I wanted to make sure Elliot enjoyed learning and was always wanting to know more and more. I wanted to make sure I would be sensitive to what his interests were and that I would take every opportunity I could to provide him with what he needed to learn more about what he loved. I feel like I’ve gotten my first real taste of that experience in the last few weeks. We have been studying the United States again, because our current FIAR book takes place here, and it has inspired a huge interest in all things U.S.A! As I mentioned previously, Elliot is fascinated by the presidents and he has been amazing us with his ability to absorb information about them. He is also very interested in the states. He has a booklet that has a map of the United States, as well as the flags for each state and what year they became a part of the U.S. Elliot will sit and study that along with his president booklet for so long! He is also becoming fascinated by other American symbols, such as Mount Rushmore, The Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, The White House, etc. Thankfully we have a great library where there is a great selection of books that I can reserve, and lately I’ve been pretty much always reaching the limit regarding the number of books I am allowed to reserve! He just can’t seem to get enough of it!

Here’s Elliot with two of his current favorite library books. We’re still waiting on about five more to come in. I guess we’ll be continuing our study of the U.S. well beyond our reading of Lentil.

Here’s another purchase I couldn’t resist. Since we’ve been learning about counting money, we recently noticed that not all the quarters had the bald eagle on the back of them. Elliot was very interested in the idea of collecting all the quarters from all the states, so I found this cool quarter collectors map. We rummaged through the house and discovered that we already had quite a few of them, but we still have plenty we’re on the hunt for. He is especially eager to find Utah, Tennessee, and Texas (Josh was born in Utah, I was born in Tennessee, and obviously the kids were both born in Texas.)

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Language Arts for Lentil

Today was our language arts day. I’m really getting into a routine of doing a lot of the same type of lessons for each story that aren’t necessarily in the FIAR manual. I made another memory game with some vocabulary words from the story, since Elliot enjoyed that so much last time. (All this planning will be completely done for me when I do this again with Caroline. That will be nice!) The new words he has learned this time are Colonel, expert, whittle, indignant, alley, citizen, and monument. We also discussed the elements of the story as usual, but this time we learned about a new one, the conflict. Elliot understood the concept immediately and wanted to go back to all our previous books to determine what the conflicts were in them.

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