Monthly Archives: September 2011

Another Fun Friday

Fridays are our atypical days. They tend to be a little different each week. We do very little structured curriculum and more creative type of stuff, including projects or experiments we’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time for. We also catch up on reading about things we want to learn more about. Since Elliot was gone on his trip into the beginning of the week, we were a bit delayed beginning The Story of Ferdinand and we had a lot of science topics to cover before I could feel like we were back on track. Today we learned about Cork Oak trees and how they typically grow along the coast of countries on the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain, Portugal, and counties in northwest Africa. We learned a lot of interesting facts on Wikipedia, like that the Cork Oak tree must be twenty-five years old before the cork can be harvested for the first time. We also read about flowers (Ferdinand’s favorite pastime is sitting under the cork trees and smelling the flowers). We also took the opportunity to learn about vultures. Though they arent mentioned in the book, there is an illustration where a vulture is sitting above Ferdinand and just watching him. Elliot was curious why the author didn’t tell us what he was doing there. I explained that the author is letting us make our own guess about it. Together we concluded that maybe since Ferdinand is so still and not running around like the other bulls, the vulture might have wondered if Ferdinand was dead and was looking for a good meal.

Caroline looks forward to Fridays because she gets to proudly recite her poem of the week. (She’s signing “friend” while reciting this poem.)

Elliot enjoys the freedom of expression with creative writing on Fridays.

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I bought some corks at the craft store so they could see what it feels like.
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We made boats with our corks, toothpicks, and paper and guessed if they would float or not.
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Yep, cork definitely floats.
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I got this book at the library and Elliot has been using it all week in his spare time. He has really discovered a love for drawing!
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He did a few more drawings after we read about flowers.
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A Little Slice of Heaven!

We love our new schoolroom! It’s amazing how peaceful and serene things can feel when you have a nice organized space where you can learn and think without a bunch of clutter and distractions. The kids adore their desks and with all their supplies being right there within reach, I’m going through a crazy amount of paper these days.

Here are my two little students working in their Bible coloring books that correspond with our “Bible Stories to Read” that we do together in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Social Studies for The Story of Ferdinand

We’ve been learning about Spain and the Iberian Peninsula. I also showed Elliot where the Strait of Gibraltar is and he asked, “Is that where the Rock of Gibraltar is?” (He heard it in an audio book.) I assumed it was, but thanks to my trusty iPad being in such close proximity to us, we were able to find the Wikipedia page within seconds to confirm that it was and we even had a photo of it in a stack of printouts I had prepared for this book.

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The Story of Ferdinand

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‘F’ is for Feathers

Feather’s for Lunch by Lois Ehlert
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Book Basket
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Flower Stickers
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Five Fabulous Frogs
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Family Name Game
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Fish Craft
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Flower Puzzle
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Finger Painting (There are still some things that we will do in the kitchen, like painting, to avoid messes on the walls and carpet of my schoolroom!)
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East Coast Trip

Josh and Elliot headed out early last Thursday morning for Boston. Elliot’s Aunt Buzzy (Josh’s sister, Elizabeth) lives there and showed them around her wonderful city.

The Boston Public Garden

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The Boston Children’s Museum
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“Old Iron Sides”
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On Saturday the guys took a bus to New Jersey, Where Elliot’s Aunt Stacey and Uncle Steve live.

They visited The Thomas Edison Historical Museum in West Orange, NJ.
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New York City
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Sadly, the park where Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse (The Little Red Lighthouse) is was closed, so they were unable to see it, but they did see the George Washington Bridge.

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Our New Schoolroom

While the boys were on the east coast, I managed to keep myself pretty busy with my latest project. We’ve talked about turning the playroom into a schoolroom for a while, but I always ended up coming up with a reason why it was unnecessary. Josh has always been so open to doing whatever I need to do to make things work better for me, so when I brought the idea up to him again after being frustrated about the chaotic situation in the kitchen, his response was “Let’s do it!” (I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful and supportive husband.) Unfortunately, he was headed out of town for five days with our son, but that didn’t stop me from pursuing the project. When I get an idea in my head, I typically to want to get it done right away. So Caroline and I went and bought the furniture we needed, brought it home, and I built on my own and set up the room just how I wanted it. I have to say, I absolutely love it and I am only regretful about not doing it sooner. The kids can finally have access to everything they need when they need it and don’t have to wait on me to tell them what to do next. This will definitely streamline our daily routine.

Here’s our school table. I got the inspiration from another blogger, whose name is also Erica, at Confessions of a Homeschooler. She is amazing and so sweet. I emailed her several times to ask her questions and she always answered right back.

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The closet! It’s so easy to find what I need now!
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This is our reading area.
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Yes, that’s a shelf just for my iPad! I use it all the time for educational YouTube videos or to look things up, so I love having it right there.
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I was also nspired by Erica’s workbox system and developed a similar system for us. In each of the kids’ drawers are different assignments they have for the day. With it is a card that tells them what they are to do that day. I laminated them so I can write details in dry erase marker as needed.
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I use the back of the card to indicate when we aren’t doing a particular subject that day.
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His math assignments for the day and manipulative box, so he can have everything he needs right there at his fingertips.
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Speaking of math, Josh even put all of his lessons from our Math-U-See DVD on my iPad so he can easily watch it right there at his desk.
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Here are some examples of Caroline’s drawers.
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As they finish each drawer, they place the card under their desk mat so they can clearly see where they are in their progress for the day. When all four cards are placed there, they are done with their individual work (We do stuff as a group before and after individual work time.)
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More of Our Letter ‘E’ Week

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We had eggs with lunch….
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and enjoyed having a special guest at the table with us.
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“Come on, Ellie! You have to eat your eggs!”
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Art for Make Way For Ducklings

Today was art day for Make Way For Duckings. We learned the neat story about how Robert McCloskey actually bought two Mallard ducks and brought them back to his studio apartment so he could observe them and learn to draw them accurately. He even put them in his bathtub so he could observe what they look like in water! Elliot was very amused by this and we were able to talk about how preparation and determination can pay off. We also discussed the technique of shading that is used a lot in the illustrations. Though the pictures are not colored, they are still very interesting due to the details and shading.

He worked diligently to make his own artwork with shading.
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We added “shading” to our Choices Artists Can Make to Add Interest page.

We also added Make Way For Ducklings to our Caldecott Medal book list.
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Language Arts for Make Way for Ducklings

We had a pretty simple language arts day, which I’m thankful for considering we’re cramming six days of school work into three days to make up for what Elliot will miss when he is on his east coast trip at the end of this week. We learned a few new vocabulary words, discussed the rhyming (the ducklings names), and completed our information page on the book.

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We also added “rhyming” to our Choices Writers Can Make to Add Interest page.
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