Sunday, August 30, 2009

Take me out to the ball game

What could be better on a perfect summer night than to go to a baseball game with my three men? There was popcorn, lots of noise, a beautiful sunset and my husband actually caught a ball!

Look at those beautiful smiles!

Z-Man pretending that HE caught the ball.

A perfect summer night. Life is good.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finding the humor in artist and composer study

As I was going over the artists and composers plans, I saw that last time I posted about our art and music plans, I left out a few really great resources we're planning to use. I did link to the Classics for Kids site, which is wonderful, but I would be terribly remiss if I didn't mention some CD's we've all enjoyed in the car for over a year now:

There are now four volumes (I just this minute found out about number four - that's going on my wish list!) We have the first three and they are really funny. Check out the lyrics to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony here. No, really, do. I'll wait.

Funny, huh? Now if that doesn't get a reluctant kid interested in classical music, what will?

Maybe these - author Mike Venezia has written a whole slew of books covering artists, composers and presidents in his own amusing style.

And as I looked up pictures of these for you, I just discovered they've added inventors and scientists to this series! How grand to live in the information age!

While we're on the subject of humorous books about artists and composers, be sure to check these out:

Now these are just plain quirky and no one loves quirky more than I, but you may need to edit a little if you don't want to explain cirrhosis of the liver and, ahem...worse. For that reason, they'll be read-alouds here. But you can't beat this for getting a kid's attention:

"As a young music teacher, Bach was out walking one night when six of his own students attacked him. They wanted an apology. Bach had called one of them a 'nanny-goat bassoonist' - someone who makes a bassoon sound like a goat. But Bach wouldn't take it back; he drew a knife in self-defense. Luckily, the fight was broken up before anyone was really hurt."

Who knew?

At the other end of the spectrum is this book, which uses primary sources to shed light on each composer's relationship with God. These are wonderful, inspiring stories that you will definitely not hear in public school.

And last, but definitely not least, a wonderful blog I've been following for quite some time: Harmony Art Mom. Love it! Scroll way down on the right hand side bar for lists of artists and composers. She keeps everything very simple - Charlotte Mason style. Lots of great stuff!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The number of the day

When you accidentally hit upon a way to get the house tidied up, teach the pre-schooler to count and introduce multiplication to your third grader all at once, you just have to share it.

I came up with the idea of the number of the day yesterday and I'll be honest with you - I had only one motive and that was to get some help picking up the clutter that had somehow exploded in our home. The number was five and we each picked up five things in each room that was suffering from excess clutter. Before we got out of the kitchen, Little Man could count to five and really understood what he was doing - you know, not just pointing at one object and saying, "three, four, five." For some reason, it just stuck this time. Excellent! Then it occurred to me to ask Z-Man, "if there are three of us and we each pick up five things, how many is that? How would you write it on the white board?"

Today our number was three. Z-Man was in favor of that, thinking that it meant less work. Much to his chagrin, we did "sets" of three, as in, "pick up three sets of three things from the floor in your room. How many is that? What if I pick up three sets of three too? How could you illustrate that on the white board? What are two ways to write that equation?"

Oh yes, we know how to have fun here. Don't try to stop us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Science around the world - biomes

Of all the fun things we'll be doing in our Around the World studies this year, I think I'm most excited about our science. The main, year-long portion of our study will be animals of the world and world biomes and habitats. So, we'll study the rain forest in Brazil, grasslands in Africa, coniferous forests in Canada, tundra in Russia, deserts in the Middle East - you get the idea.

I was so pleased to find this book:

Janice VanCleave's Science Around the World: Activities on Biomes from Pole to Pole
It's packed with experiments that illustrate the properties of each biome - relative humidity in the rainforest, evaporation in the desert, etc.

Look at these excellent, interactive "virtual labs" - exploring deciduous forest, hot desert, grassland, Antarctic ocean shore and freshwater lake ecosystems. There are more virtual labs here, including some dissections. These are for older students, but I think we will still enjoy them.

We'll also be using this Usborne book which covers mountains, jungles and deserts with lots of wonderful information and pictures:

Now THIS book I really like. I found it at the homeschool convention and I'm excited to use it because it is written from a very christian perspective. So many books sing the praises of creation without a word about the Creator! Not this one:

Z-Man and I will have to work through it slowly together as the language is advanced for a third grader, but I think it lays such an excellent biblical foundation for earth science that it's well worth it.

In addition to experiments from the first book, we'll probably do one or more of these printable shoebox dioramas. There's one for wetland, desert and rainforest.

We may also tackle this rainforest mural from Jan Brett's site. A pretty ambitious project, but maybe if we pace ourselves... and invite people over to color with us! Any takers?

This page (or lens?) on Squidoo has more rainforest information/resources/activities than you could use in a year, including lapbook material. How is one to choose?

And we may make a little desert terrarium with plastic creatures as found in this free Desert/Rainforest unit study from Homeschool in the Woods.

Some lovely rainforest books for pre-schoolers:

The Over in the Jungle series also has Over in the Arctic and Over in the Ocean. The Sleeping Bear Press book series also has an ocean book:

Our ocean study will be a little longer than the other habitats and coincide with our study of Australia, Japan and the Pacific Islands.

Check out this great ocean lapbook for pre-schoolers!

I'll post lots more on each biome as we get to it.

And then there are the animals! But that's another post...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Speaking of Pre-School Work Boxes

You really have to go check out these pre-school activity bag ideas with free printables to go with them. Really. In fact, this blog (Walking by the Way) has a plethora of wonderful pre-K and early elementary ideas. All brought to you by the same talented homeschool mom who is responsible for the Homeschool Share site. Wow! Now there is someone who is very busy being a blessing to others! Thank you, Ami!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

And the winner is...

Christy! Congratulations! You won the U.S. geography books! I'll send an email for shipping info.

Thank you so much to everyone who visited my blog during the giveaway. It was so much fun to see new comments every morning that I may just have to participate in another one!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pre-School Work Boxes!

Since Little Man feels the need to do things that Z-Man is doing, he has his very own set of work boxes!

Here are some of the things he finds in them:

He loves pages from Kumon books:

  • books on tape
  • puzzles - Noah's ark, a fishing puzzle, this alphabet puzzle:

  • a paint with water book
  • games (Goodnight Moon is the current favorite)
  • books to read with Mom
  • animal matching cards from Jan Brett
  • a box of foam shapes to sort and make designs with
  • Leap Frog magnetic letters:

  • an ABC sticker book
  • this great letter activity from Carissa's blog
  • strips of construction paper and scissors to cut them into a million pieces
  • toys for water play in the sink
  • measuring devices and small trucks for play in his "flice" (a flat rubbermaid box of rice - kind of like an indoor sand box)
  • trampoline time
  • educational and Bible memory videos
  • magnetic animals
  • French words to practice (this was actually his idea and he loves it)

We'll also be doing pre-school activity bags from a wonderful swap! We have 20 bags, each with a unique activity, from matching to fishing! I think he's really going to enjoy them.

Of course, Little Man will also be participating in our around the world travels and I hope to do more Bible memory work with him. And, starting this year, we'll be doing a lot more with the alphabet - I'll keep you posted on that.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What to put in a work box?

I was explaining the work box system to a friend the other day and she asked what kinds of things I put in the kids' boxes. It occurred to me that a post listing some of those items might be in order. Check here for my initial post explaining and extolling the virtues of this wonderful homeschool organizing system.

I put as much of Z-Man's "regular" work in the work boxes as possible - math and language arts worksheets, books to read alone or for read-aloud time, copywork, etc. - only one activity per box and I try to alternate fun things with challenging work. He has to do them in order and, since we use clear shoe boxes, the fun stuff is visible and serves as motivation.

In Z-Man's boxes:

Telling time bingo
Domino math
Scrambled States of America
Pack of cards for addition war
File folder games - free ones here
Here are some free, printable game boards for Bible review

coloring pages of things we're working on
a mind bender or word puzzle
materials for science experiments
ingredients and recipe to bake something!
magnifier and things to examine
Bible with a verse noted to look up and write for copywork
note to review memory verses with Mom
look up something in the dictionary
nature scavenger hunt
all sorts of craft projects
animal cards to classify (mammal, reptile, amphibian, etc.)
month cards to put in order
put the animal cards in alphabetical order
materials and address to send a thank-you card
audio book
trampoline time!
an educational video
lapbook components
permission to do something fun on the computer:
a cup of change to count
geo board with shape cards
ruler and things to measure
our Math-it game
skip count tape to listen to
note to watch a schoolhouse rock video on Youtube
a 100 board with a fun little mystery to solve
calendar problems
a graphing assignment (ex: At the gym today, find out what everyone's favorite cookie is. When we get home, create a bar graph with the data)

That's all I can think of off the top of my head and from going back over my day planner. I think you can see that the possibilities are probably limitless and I love that!

Coming soon - Little Man's boxes!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Woo hoo! Free stuff!

Well, would you look what I found! You can enter to win free curriculum resources simply by leaving a comment on people's blogs. As of this moment, there are 49 different giveaways! Make that 50 just as soon as I hit the "publish" button!

I will give away:

1) a workbook with a page for each U.S. state and Canadian province and lots of fun map activities, crosswords, mazes, codes, etc.
2) Atlas with over 100 stickers - state flowers, trees, birds, etc.
3) 352 page book of presidents, states, state history, maps, timelines, first ladies, etc. The first few pages are done in this one, but in pencil.

If you would like to enter to win, you can earn a total of three entries:
  • leave a comment on this post
  • twitter or blog about this contest and then come back and let me know by leaving an additional comment
  • follow or subscribe to my blog and then come back and let me know by leaving an additional comment

This giveaway is open until Saturday, August 15th, 2009 and is only open to residents in the continental US. A winner will be chosen at random and I will announce the winner on Monday, August 17th. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you via your comment {i.e. blog address or email}. If I haven't heard back from you within 3 days, I will draw a new winner.

Go here to see LOTS more giveaways or to post your own! Have fun!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Stop: The British Isles!

After our introductory week, our first planned stop will be the British Isles: England first, then Ireland. This seems like a natural starting place for us because many of our ancestors hail from England, Ireland and Scotland. If we are very ambitious, we may even finish up the family tree we started last year when we rowed They were Strong and Good, which may be my absolute favorite FIAR book.

I initially planned on using a series called "The Enchantment of the World." There are many, many countries in the series and most of them are available in our library system. HOWEVER, after previewing the England book, I have decided NOT to use this series. It had a very negative tone and quite the agenda. Enough said.

Thankfully, I found two other series that look good. "Primary Sources of World Cultures" and "Cultures of the World."

Of the two, I prefer the Primary Sources series. The pictures are great, the tone is positive, and it's laid out and written well. The Cultures of the World series is good too but seems just a little dated. It does have pretty much every country you could possibly want to study though, whereas the first series has only 18 countries.

Also to read:
  • Madeline in London
  • Charles Dickens - Diane Stanley
  • Good Queen Bess - Diane Stanley
  • The Bandit of Ashley Downs (George Muller)
  • Children of the World: Celebrations, p. 14-15, 24-25
  • Houses and Homes, p. 6, 12
  • Hungry Planet, p. 140-143
Art/Crafts possibilities:
  • Bible Study Guide for all ages
  • Missionary Stories, John Wycliffe, John Wesley, William Booth
  • Hero Tales
  • memory verse: Mark 16:15
Wee Sing Around the World #19

I don't know if you can loll about on the Trafalgar Square lions anymore but, YIKES! THAT is some 80's hair, my friends. (on me AND the Barry Gibb lion.)