Creating an Atmosphere for Learning


October
16th

My youngest is obsessed with letters and trying to write anything she sees lately.  It’s been so much fun watching her write the names of our family, our pets, and anything else she can think of.  She has a journal in the house and in the car with different colored pens and pencils.  We have a chalkboard table with chalk readily available as well.  I keep our family names hung up on the door so she can always see how to spell them. I feel that having these materials available to her is important to create an atmosphere where learning can take place.

I wrote our family names on two separate sentence strips, and cut one set in order to make a name puzzle.  She loved putting the letters in order to spell the names.

Here is some of the names she wrote yesterday.

Another activity she has enjoyed is using the Lite Brite.  I write whatever her letter of the week is with a sharpie on a white piece of paper.  She has to trace it with the Lite Brite pegs.




Learning on The Go!


September
22nd

I love the fact that kids don’t have to be sitting at a desk or table doing a worksheet or memorizing facts in ordering to be learning.  Last week was a busy week full of all sorts of learning even though very few assignments were completed.

My girls had just finished reading the books The borrowers and The Borrowers Afield about a month ago.  I was so excited when I found out from a friend that the play was being performed at our local theater.  I couldn’t have planned the timing of this field trip any better!  We compared and contrasted the book vs. the play and discussed all sorts of traits about each character.  If your kids haven’t read this series I highly recommend them.  The play was cleverly done with many great special effects. That was Monday!

Tuesday was a normal morning but the girls had yearbook pictures that I had to take them to. My girls are home-schooled but they go to school once a week to take enrichment classes so the school wanted them in the yearbook.  It is an amazing school and they wanted all parts of their student body to be represented.  So, I drove about 30 minutes there, for a 2 minute picture, for a yearbook I won’t be buying and 30 minutes back. However,  it did give us an excuse to visit a really cool pet store that my girls love.  They have all kinds of exotic animals, mostly reptiles. We learned that baby bearded dragons are messy little things that eat a lot!  Their cages have to be cleaned out at least twice a day!  We saw tons of beautiful snakes and a frog bigger than my 8 year olds head!!  I counted that as another field trip!

Wednesday, we did a few subjects and then headed to the bowling alley to hang out with some of the other home schooled kids.  We’ve got to socialize these kids you know!  :) We learned that my 10 year old still benefits from using bumpers and that the probability of a bowling ball being thrown backwards is very high when you have around 40 kids bowling.

After bowling we met my mother in law at our house and dropped the girls off.  It was time for our date night at the Rays game in St. Pete.  We drove 2 hours to watch them lose to The Yankees but we had a blast!  I’m not as young as I used to be and getting home past 1:00 in the middle of the night caught up to me.  I was exhausted the next day but it was totally worth it!

Thursday we had a  nice relaxing day to catch up on some of the things we needed to.  We did a few experiments, which I’ll share later, and took it easy.  I love the flexibility of home schooling!

 




Abstract Art


September
14th

This was such a fun, easy art project that turned out great!  I gave my girls white paper , a coffee cup, and a pencil.  I told them to trace as many circles as they wanted and to overlap some.  Those were all my directions. Then I set them loose to create!  When they completed their tracing, I had them go over the pencil lines with a black sharpie.  Then I brought out the watercolors and had them paint their papers however they wanted.  I absolutely love how they turned out and am thinking about framing them to hang in our house.

 




An Almost Sleepover


September
9th

For my 8 year old’s birthday party she wanted a sleepover. I’m not a huge fan of sleepovers so we compromised on an “almost sleepover party”.  The girls showed up in their pj”s and favorite doll or stuffed animal.  We had games, pizza, crafts, dancing, and lots of fun!  And the best part… everyone left at 9:00 so my girls still got a great night sleep and weren’t grumpy the next day!!

As soon as the girls arrived we headed out back to do sleeping bag relays.  I divided them up into teams and gave each team a sleeping bag.  This repay was a huge hit!  They wanted to play it over and over again.

 

We headed inside to cool off and have pizza.  Then the girls made their own Sundaes.  This is such a fun, easy alternative to a cake.  I bought lots of fun toppings and they had a blast making their own.

After the girls ate and were full of sugar we played Musical Nail Polish!  This was a favorite!  I set out 10 different colors of nail polish on the table, one in front of each girl.  When the music started, the girls danced around the table.  When the music stopped, they froze and had to paint one finger nail with whatever color they were in front of.  By the end of the game, they had 10 different colored nails.  Here is a picture of them showing off their beautiful manicures!

Our last activity was so fun!  We made fleece sleeping bags for the girls’ dolls or stuffed animals.  I saw this idea here. My daughter and I chose three sets of coordinating fabrics, one for the front and a different one for the back.  The front piece should measure 20 in x 18 in.  The back piece should measure 28 in x 18 in.  I laid the two pieces of fabric on top of each other.  I cut out a piece of cardboard 3.5 in x 3.5 in to use as a guide.  I cut out the bottom two corners of both pieces of fabric.

Then, we cut fringe across the bottom and up both sides.  The cuts were 1 inch apart, and 3.5 inches long, making them the same length as the cuts in the corners.  At the party, the girls tied the front and back pieces together.  Make sure that the pieces are lined up correctly or they will have to start over.  The great thing about this project is that if they mess up it’s very easy to start again.  These are the perfect size to fit American Girl Dolls or most stuffed animals.  They turned out so cute!




Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!


September
7th

I’m going to go  ahead and ask you to ignore the fact that it has been almost a year since my last post.  Life kind of got crazy last year and blogging was the last thing on my mind.    But, I’m back and determined to resurrect my little blog by posting more often.

My youngest is now in Pre-K and goes to school 4 days a week.  I plan activities for her to do on Mondays, the day she is home, while I home-school my other two girls.  I try to follow along with what she has been doing in school or what she will be doing the following week.  Here are a few things she did last week after reading Chicka Chicka abc at school.

I found a picture of a coconut tree and used different colored garage sale stickers.   I wrote a lower case letter on each blank circle on the coconut tree and then one on each sticker.  She had to match each letter by placing the sticker on the correct letter.  She loved her colorful tree when she was finished.

Her next activity she spent a lot of time doing.  It was a beach themed discovery box filled with sand, magnetic letters, and a plastic coconut cup.  I gave her a magnetic wand to help her find the buried letters in the sand.  I also gave her the book, Chicka Chicka abc in order to “act out” the story.





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