Monday, December 12, 2011

N is for Noses, Nails and Narwhals

We took the last week off to travel north, so this blog is my attempt to document our schooling from two weeks ago. (we have been traveling for 2 days & just got home tonight promises but I will try my best)

N week marked our last "official" week of the semester although we plan to school this following week, take one week off then continue right along through the end of December & early January with the hopes of a spring ending for school OR a much slower pace during the spring so there can be LOTS of outside play!

If you have been following all semester you know we have been doing a "God is Faithful" board to go along with our memory verse in hopes of adding a practical level to verse memory application. Our verse for N week was Romans 8:39, "No height, nor depth, nor any created thing will have the power to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" We talked about the profound comfort found in this verse. This verse opened a great conversation about Salvation as Titus asked about the end of the verse saying "in Christ our Lord." Our board said, "God is Faithful, You can have confidence." We talked about how knowing the depth of God's love for us and the power it has over all created things gives us confidence to be who God made us to be.

Here is our board and the books we had out for N::

In case I haven't mentioned this enough, I have very creative friends who help me when I get stumped with what to do for certain letters. Here is one example. I really wanted Justus to draw or pin noses on faces but had zero brain power to draw up people. So our friend Robin was over and drew these beauties::
We, as adults, thought this was way more fun than Justus did. I will definitely REdo this next year when he is old enough to think its funny or potentially funny. He liked it but it was more "to the point" rather than "funny" like I hoped. :)

For Justus' Letter project I was extremely stumped for N. The only thing I could think of was a Narwhal. It turned out hilarious!! It looks like a random Greek myth character. hahaha!!
Hilariously, he LOVED it. We looked at Narwhal pictures and talked about them a lot. Friday night, to celebrate the end of semester, we went to see the movie Arthur Christmas. (which we loved and recommend) One of the scenes has Narwhals jumping in and out of the icy water and Justus went crazy! He started screaming, "It's a Narwhal, Mom!!!"

Through out N week I kept saying, "N is for Nothing." We did a lot of nothing and that looked sort of like this::

By far Justus' favorite N activity was Nails & Nailing. This was a bit of a risk on my part, as I chose to teach my three year old how to use a hammer. :) I pressed nails into a box then showed him how to hammer the nails. I attempted to make the nails in the shape of an N. It didn't really end up looking like an N...but hey...he loved it!

I had lofty plans of doing N is for Nativity but sadly, we never really did that. We have been talking about advent and the Christmas story but haven't really used the word Nativity with him. Maybe next year :)

If you are doing the ABC's through the year and you are on N week :: CONGRATS! You are halfway done with the year! I hope you all are having such a great year. We are loving it but are for sure ready for a week off to regroup :) ... I am sure you understand.

Thanks for hanging in and for all the feed back!

Happy Schooling!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

M is for Muffins, Mountains and The Moon

Most of you, if you were wise (unlike myself), took this past week off of school to celebrate Thanksgiving. We did not because we took a week off a couple weeks ago during our trip to Baton Rouge and did the Thanksgiving unit and we will be taking a week off the 2nd week of December for, what Titus calls, "Early Christmas." when we head up north to celebrate with my family before everyone's schedules get too crazy around the holidays. All that said we did not do a lot of schooling for the letter M but Titus got through an entire week of curriculum work. So that was great!

I knew that we wouldn't have a lot of extra time this week so the M verse I chose is our family verse. It is very familiar to the boys as we reference all the time. I did not have Titus memorize it, although he probably has it memorized from reading it and hearing it so much. We also chose Hope for our "God is Faithful, You can have____" board, as it is a repeat as well. Being Thanksgiving we talked a lot about what we are thankful for. I talked to the boys about our verse and how we asked to be blessed, not mainly for our own reception of gifts (although it may very well include that) but mainly in order that God's name may be known. This was a great thing to talk about in leading into the season of Advent & Christmas.

Monday morning we had Muffins. This is Justus' favorite breakfast. I am not sure that he put it together that I made them on Monday for M week but he loved them all the same :)

We had a wonderful time having friends and family over for Thanksgiving. I did LOTS of cooking and baking. So for the letter M I let Justus learn how to use the Mixer. HE LOVED IT! Now he thinks its his job. I have a feeling it will be a while before I bake alone again. :) Sadly, I don't have a picture of him doing this.

For the pre-school letter project we did M is for Mountain. This was so fun in that Justus' is fascinated right now with terrain. If he sees lots of trees he yells,"Hey look, it's a forest!" or if he sees a big hill he yell, "hey look, it's a mountain!"

We just happened to have a good deal of books that could be for the letter M. That made schooling this week much easier as Justus LOVES to be read too, even if we don't make it through the entire book, which happens often.

We read (or at least started reading) :: If you take a Mouse to the Movies, Goodnight Moon, Away in a Manger, Mortimer's (the Mouse) Christmas, Morris the Moose, Maizy's Amazing Book of Words and Full Moon Rising.
Here I am reading one of our favorite children's books, Fool Moon Rising. I highly recommend it to you.

We played a good deal of playdoh and did a lot of this::
We are very thankful for dot paints. If you school at home or just like doing fun things with your kiddos with out a big mess, these are the paints for you! No clean up & no prep, just lots of fun.

I hope you had a great week off, if you took one off. We are going into our last week of the official semester! I am excited. But I plan to continue through the winter so as to get a head and take some fun breaks in the spring when it is wonderful weather!

Happy Schooling!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

L is for Lizards, Lions and Leaves

This week was a fun, laid back week. We got a late start, as we were traveling all day Monday returning from our week and a half on the road. Then Vernon went out of town after being home only a day. So the boys and I did all we could to get schooled and have fun while Dad was gone. I think we were successful :)

Our verse for L week was Mark 12:30, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." This was a great verse for this short week for so many reasons, one being that Titus already knew this verse so the memorization was easy to accomplish in 4 days. I think this is a great verse to come back to over and over for ones entire life. I talked to to Titus about ways we can "love the Lord our God" with the 4 things this verse tells us to love Him with: Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength. I had him list some ways for each. This was a great exercises for Titus and also for myself!
For our "God is Faithful, You can be_____" board we did, "God is faithful, You can be Grateful." This paired well with Thanksgiving and the "holidays" as they approach and the influx of catalogs and advertisements that begin to invade our home, enticing us to buy toys for Christmas. While we are not against gift giving, the catalogs coming and talking about being grateful were very timely :)
One of the ways we practiced being grateful was to be givers! Each year we participate in Operation Christmas Child and we have the boys go shopping to fill a box full of goodies for a boy their age from a different country. They have grown to love this. It is fun watching them grow through the process of giving. Here are some pictures of them making the list of what they were going to buy then packing the boxes.

For L week with Justus we read LOTS of books. We went to Starbucks to read and got Lemon Loaf. :) The Proud and Fearless Lion has been one of both of my boy's favorite books. It's a good one.

For the L letter project with Justus we made a Lizard. He LOVED this.

One day we went "Looking for Leaves." This was a hit. For some reason, making it sort of like a hunt made him so excited to look for them. Leaves are literally everywhere, but we were looking for very "special ones." He had a great time with it.

Once the leaves were gathered we took them inside and glued them in the shape of an L.

Today, as we were playing, Titus remembered our Lincoln Log set. We keep it put up so we don't loose all the pieces. Titus got so excited because it starts with L and he thought that it would be fun for Justus to learn. Justus liked destroying the things Titus built more than actually building things and I'll let you guess how long that lasted :) hehe.

I bought a wooden lizard in the dollar section at Micheal's and let Justus paint it. I didn't really get any good pictures of it but this is a good picture of him painting. We do this almost daily in some fashion. He loves painting way more than drawing, coloring or writing. So I just go with it. (if you look behind his arm you can see the lizard)

And lastly, we did a lot of playing outside. Trying to enjoy the last of the 80 degrees.

I sure hope your schooling is going well. We are plugging away and starting tomorrow we are 1/2 way through the alphabet! That means we are 1/2 way through school!! Thanks for all the feed back and encouragement from these blogs. It has been such a blessing knowing y'all are out their and schooling right along with us!

Happy Schooling!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Unit

Last week we were on the road again so I decided to take a break from our regular routine of curriculum and do a Thanksgiving Unit. Titus is very much a hands on type kid so I wanted everything to be interactive and fun. We actually had a great time schooling and since we were on the road, I had to be very choosy about things that made big all of the things you will find below take little effort to pull off and get cleaned up! (that's always a plus to me!)

Here is a snapshot of what we did last week. I tried to include links and photos so you could get ideas and do some fun things with your kiddos this week! Enjoy!

We started off the week by watching Scholastic's Voyage of the Mayflower::
I HIGHLY recommend this! It is fun and easy for the kids to understand. It has photos and lots of facts. After having watched the Voyage of the Mayflower, we did a Timeline. (I made the timeline out of construction paper and the free Pilgrim Story printable HERE)

After those activities Titus knew the over all story of Thanksgiving pretty well. Next we divided up the days:: one day we majored on the Wampanoag Tribe and their accounts of the events and the next day we did the same with The Pilgrims. With each we did a craft that went along with it. Here are some of the crafts::

We did hats from construction paper and they wore them while we listened to the stories and acted out some parts::

Made Tomahawks (from a Hobby Lobby kit)

We made The Mayflower (model from Michael's) and painted on this printable::

For the Pilgrim's day we read "The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving" by Ann McGovern and we made Pilgrim hats.

On the Wampanoag day we read "Squanto's Journey" and made the Tomahawk.
After reading the books to Titus I had him draw a picture of what he learned. This is an example of what he drew after "Squanto's Journey."

For more information through out the week, we referred to the

Titus worked on a Thanksgiving book the entire week. He did a couple pages a day. He found it fun and out of the ordinary of what we do. It is a little cheesy but he loved it. (It was free printable from here, just click on the Thanksgiving Lapbook word document)

We did an "I Am Thankful" book. I found this online and cut it out and made it a book.
(Find it Here)

I found some random worksheet for him to do as well. One was a diagram to compare and contrast two turkeys and another worksheet was the Pilgrim story told that you had to de-code then answer questions. He really liked both! (these came with the Pilgrim Story document from the timeline above but this is the link again:: here)

And he did some really great reading. He really loved this Magic Tree House since we were learning all about the people that the kids in the book end up meeting. It was perfect.

I did some things with Justus that were more geared toward Pre-School learning. Justus definitely did some of the above mentioned things, such as the Tomahawk and Mayflower but some of the things were not suitable for his age or attention span :)
With him I did a hand print turkey and we worked on colors and counting. HUGE hit! And I did a construction paper turkey where I laid out the feathers and said, "find a red feather and lets glue it on next to the yellow feather," then he would attempt to pick a red feather out of the bunch and we would talk about how to put it next to the yellow one. This was obviously to make sure he is still knowing his colors and work on fine motor skills as well.

We read these pre-school books:: The Littlest Pilgrim, One Little, Two Little Three Little Pilgrims, and Thanks for Thanksgiving::

I am sure we did some other things but this is all I have photographed. If you follow Vernon on twitter, then you were blessed to see Titus' Wampanoag Indian Chief dance. It was hilarious. He really got into the Wampanoag portion. It was very fun. Justus just took it all in. :)

I hope this helps some of y'all get pointed in the right direction this week as you school or as you have your kids home on Thanksgiving break.

Have a tremendous holiday.
I am thankful.