Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘handwriting’

Handwriting Happiness

Wow, life has taken a jump to hyper speed recently!  It can be amazing how fast each day goes and before you know it months have gone by.  I like writing more lengthy detailed posts, but for the time being I may simply be popping up some great resources and short updates of what we are doing, here in our little schoolhouse.

I do want to invite you to follow my The Learning Leaf facebook page.  Facebook is where I will be posting most of the resources and activities that we are doing daily/weekly.  It is a wealth of information whether you homeschool, teach public school, or have littles at home.

Today’s share is this fun FREE gem that I found via pinterest.  It was created by Lacey Yates (find her blog here) and is housed on her store at www.teacherspayteachers.com.

Handwriting is a focus write now for my Princess.  She has most letters down, but a few still need some work.  She enjoyed this simple, yet rich page of activities.  She loves to color, and the uppercase/lowercase practice is much appreciated by her momma.  These sheets are long enough to get a good amount of practice, but short enough that she doesn’t lose interest.

Handwriting clip

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My Goals 2015-2016

Yes!

We journeyed our way through the first year of homeschooling…with one.  Toward the end of the school year, the rhythm, technique, and schedule were beginning to fall in place.  M1’s learning style and a structure he responds to well were taking shape.  An ideal time and routine for me to plan lessons, units, etc. was coming together…

and then we stopped for our “summer” break.

We take 6 weeks off from the end of May to beginning of July, and now I sit and think on how to start back to school.  So many plans have formulated and then dissipated in the last two to three weeks.  Where to start has eluded me around each corner.  I am still, somewhat, battling a public education mentality.  It really is such a different paradigm going from a middle school setting of 120 in one hour periods, to two little ones under 6 at our home all day!

Remembering that I don’t have to have a full year of school planned is key for me.  We work in 6 week sessions, so just having a direction for the first six weeks is great.  The question then becomes…

What now?

The answer revealed itself today.  If I can list out the goals for this school year in general and for each child (M2 will be working on some pre-k material, with much less structure than M1) then the direction and beginning momentum will be there.  So without further ado, the goals:

red-schoolhouse

Goals – School in General

1)  One fieldtrip a month – will utilize as many in town resources as possible and some fun options in nearby towns

2) Stick to the schedule – this I say loosely.  I do want to do a better job sticking to the 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule, but I also want the Lord to be our ultimate Schedule Maker.

3) Create a family tree on the wall – going back as far as we can!

4)  Documentation –  keeping better track/organization of pictures, projects, and progress to pull together for an end of school year binder/book.

 

boy-putting-puzzle-together

Goals – M1 (First Grade)

1) Writing – A focus on writing and spelling – would like him to be comfortable writing sentences and possibly paragraphs by the end of the year (he does not like writing so this will be a place to learn discipline for both of us!)

2) Math – finish up our first grade units and progress onto a second grade path, focusing on as many skip counting charts as possible

3) Science – definitely want to cover weather, plants, animals, energy (more may come into play as we go).  Also we will focus on asking three extra questions to explore on each topic we cover.

4) Handwriting – remediate some incorrect/less efficient ways of making letters, practice for more proficiency

5) Art/Music – incorporate it more consistently this year

6) PE – be more consistent in a 3 times a week approach

7) Bible Study- be more consistent in timing, less gaps during a specific focus

 

girl-in-flower-patch-blowing-bubbles

Goals – M2 (pre-k)

1)  Keep it fun and experiential, majority of learning coming through play.

2) Work on beginning handwriting – be familiar and confident in capital letter formation, begin work on correct/efficient number formation.

3) Work on recognizing beginning letter sounds – ‘b’aseball, ‘d’og, etc.  If we progress past that, work on ending sounds

4) Math – recognize and work with groups of 20 objects, rote counting to 30, work on “one more than” and “one less than”, extended 2D shape recognition, begin 3D shape recognition, extend patterning.

5) Fun science experiments, use M1’s topics at pre-k level

 

little-girl-wearing-glasses

Goals – Me

1)  Read 3 fiction books for fun – hopefully I can far exceed this, but I am starting small and realistic for myself.

2) Start writing again – publish two blog posts around the 1st and 15th of each month.

3) Read The Pleasure of His Company by Dutch Sheets.

4) Complete the Make Over Your Mornings course by Crystal Paine.

5) Have a “Me” day once a month.

 

*all clipart courtesy of mycutegraphics.com

 

Freezing Fun

Thanksgiving was a wonderful time of family and fun.  We took a break from “formal” activities and focused more on preparing to be with family.

A few days before Thanksgiving, we had a bout of cold weather.  Since seasons are a hot topic with us right now, I thought it would be fun to add to our weather knowledge.  So, we did a science experiment.

Icicles

One morning I checked the outside temperature and it read 31 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mason loves to check the temperature outside so he knew this was on the cold side.  I then asked the baiting question…

Do you know what happens to water below 32 degrees Fahrenheit?

This, as planned, sparked his curiosity.  I put roughly an inch of water in a plastic bowl and set it outside on our porch.  I told Mason that water turns to ice when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  (In hindsight I would have let him discover this on his own rather than telling him.)  His eyes grew wide and a huge smile crossed his face.  He wanted me to put the bowl where he could see it and keep an eye on it.  After two hours I brought the bowl inside and the top had frozen, but there was still liquid underneath.  He thought that was neat.  We put it outside for another hour and brought it in to observe it once again.  This time all of the water was frozen.

This brought on more curiosities, and he asked if he could take it out.  He spent a good deal of time feeling it, turning it over, and yes, even licking it!  We talked about why it was beginning to melt since we brought it inside and he was touching it.  He decided he wanted to wrap it in some towels to see what would happen.  Once we did, it took a longer time to melt since it was now insulated.

All in all, this was a great teachable science moment

– both for seasonal changes and for a liquid turning to a solid.  I had such fun watching him observe and experiment and investigate.  He was soaking up knowledge and I was soaking in the moment.  (of course I was so into this, I didn’t even think to take pictures)

Here are a few activities we did over the last two weeks…

Week-in-Review

Handwriting:

Assess Writing Uppercase Letters

  • I was curious to know where Mason was in free writing his uppercase letters A-Z.  I knew he was improving on tracing dashed letters, but I wanted to know if he could produce them correctly without the aid of tracing.  To assess this, I had him write the letters on a chalkboard as I named them.  I was looking for if he knew how to form the letters as opposed to neatness, so the chalkboard and large chalk did just fine for us.  > He did great. =)

Reading:

Sight Word Sundaes

  • This is a cute printable that gives another fun way to practice sight words.  This week, Madison (2 yrs) would build the sundae and Mason would read the words as we put the pieces away.

Word Sundae pic

(click here for Sight Word Sundae download)

Geography:

Identify Oklahoma

  • I found a very nice printable map of the United States at mrprintables.com (click here).  I had been looking for a map that I could print on cardstock to keep around as a reference, and/or cut apart as a puzzle – though we haven’t gotten to that stage yet.
  • I wanted to assess if Mason could recognize the state of Oklahoma (our home state).  He did and was also able to identify two other states.  A+ for that assessment!

map image

Science:

Season Recognition

  • We did the water experiment as described above.
  • We also found an activity that consisted of 12 pictures representing all four seasons and Mason had to sort the pictures into the correct season.  (I would give recognition of where I found this activity, but I cannot remember where I found it!)

Season sorting

Icicle image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving On

This week was much better for us.  

I started the week with a freshly organized desk and some work prepared for the week.  I thought out those things I would like Mason to accomplish and had them ready Sunday evening.  This worked out well for me, so I may begin to try Sunday evenings as my planning time.

As a part of math this week, we worked on identifying and naming 3-dimensional objects.  I found a good set of printable 3-D flashcards at mrprintables.com.  I introduced these cards a few weeks back.  This week Mason took each card and went around the house to find objects to match the shape.

3d hunt copy

We fudged a little on the pyramid item (pizza slice).  It turned out really difficult to find a true pyramid!

After collecting all the different objects, Mason then went on to build a “sculpture”.  This was great because after completing his creation, he told me about it by identifying the names of each of the elements.  For example, instead of saying here is the paint bottle, he said – here is the cylinder, cube, etc.  This was a very fun way to practice naming 3-dimensional objects.  It was also challenging to find items from around the house.  I had fun helping with this.

Week-in-Review

Math:

3-Dimensional Shape Naming & Identifying

  • This is the activity described above.  Review 3-D flashcards and then find objects in the house that are those 3-D shapes.
  • Add some fun by then taking the 3-D items and make a “sculpture” from them.  Then name each item in the sculpture using the 3-D shape name.

Handwriting:

Fall Tracing

  • Page 11 & 18, in the All About Fall pack from servingjoyfully.com, are two cute trace and color sheets.  Madison enjoyed the sheets as well!

Fall Tracing copy

Calendar Tracing

  • The preschool calendar notebook pages from RoyalBaloo.com are a great set of printables.  We are not good at tracing the date each day.  Mason tends to enjoy doing them more than one at a time.  He went back to them this week, finishing the numbers for all of September and most of October.

August calendar

(September, October, and November are currently available here.)

Reading:

Story Sequencing

  • Using a set of Blue’s Clues story sequencing cards, four cards are given and must be placed in correct story sequence by looking at the scene on the card.  This is helpful not only to see if a child can recognize a storytelling sequence, but also to see if left to right reading is occurring.

sequencing

CVC Jump

  • For this activity, letters are written in chalk on the driveway.  I chose letters that pertained to three or four word families we had been working on, as well as letters for Mason’s name and a few other sight words.
  • Then I give a word and Mason jumps on the letters to spell that word.  After a while, Mason likes to choose the words and spell them.

CVC jump

Sight Word Sundaes

  • This is a cute printable that gives another fun way to practice sight words.  Normally, Mason would build his own Sight Word Sundae and say the words as we take it apart.  Lately Mason hasn’t wanted to build a sundae, but if I build one he will read the words from mine.  Works for me!

Word Sundae pic

(click here for Sight Word Sundae download)

Don’t Blink

Don’t Blink

Yep, I blinked and all of a sudden it was Sunday!  As I look back, it is hard to remember what happened throughout the week – with myself as well as our learning activities.  At the beginning of the week, I found myself in a dangerous postition…I had no more lesson recording sheets.  It was on my mind to print some…and then, I got distracted!  I am not at all worried about it, simply humored by how fast a week can pass.

In light of this, I want to simply share some new resources I have recently completed:

1)  Dolch Sight Word PowerPoint – Kindergarten List 1 – using the lists found at spellingcity.com, I created a PowerPoint presentation including 13 sight words, a sentence with each word, and a review slide at the end.  These are a compliment to the pre-k set that I made last month.

  • The words in (K)List 1 are:  they, under, now, ate, four, soon, saw, all, please, will, into, good, brown

(K)List1 image

*   *   *

2)  Dolch Sight Word Tracing Sheets – Kindergarten List 1 – dashed words to match the (K)List 1 words above.  This document is a little plain at the moment.  Working to update it soon.

(K)List 1 tracing image

*   *   *

3)  ABC tot Tracing – Many times, Madison wants to work on the same thing as her big brother, sight words included.  I created this document so that a toddler can trace inside the letters A-Z.

ABC tot tracing image

*   *   *

I have an ABC tot PowerPoint but it is a little too rough to upload at the moment.  Look for it to come soon.  Also, look for a download and/or printables tab coming soon.

Blessings to you as you venture on this week.

Never Underestimate

My lesson this week:  never underestimate.

I am seeing a beautiful blend of basic planning and inherent motivation budding forth.  It will help to explain using examples.  We have several educational workbooks that have been given to us and have thus far been mostly out of sight, out of mind.  In hopes to decrease the pile, we started working through these to use them up.  Sitting down to work on letter tracing:  my basic planning – complete two pages.  Mason’s inherent motivation – complete 5!

Another time I noticed this blend of basic planning and inherent motivation:  throughout the last couple of weeks, Mason has been more consistently sounding out words.  Out of interest, I asked if he could spell ‘and’ the other day.  He could.  This makes it a great time to move into the realm of spelling basic word families and sight words.  It came to me to write several letters on the ground and have Mason spell words by jumping on the letters in order.  I made sure to include the letters of his name so that there was a word with which I knew he was familiar.

Spelling Jump

(Madison enjoyed jumping on letters as well!)

Long story short…

Not only did he spell the words I thought up, he then started making words out of the letters on the ground.  Words I hadn’t even thought to ask him.   Then he said a word, realized one of the letters wasn’t there, and wrote the letter with the chalk himself.  Wow!  My basic planning – have Mason spell his name and a few other words.  Mason’s inherent motivation – spell given words, make my own words, include new letters.

I must pause and say, there is definitely a timing to this whole process.  There were a few times this week that I presented the idea of tracing letters and either it just didn’t fly, or only what I asked was done (and that with little enthusiasm).  In these instances, I didn’t push and we didn’t move on to other areas.  Most of our learning activities this week happened on Wednesday and then Saturday and Sunday.  There just seemed to be a “no go” on the other days of the week.  This, however, is the beauty of “doing school” from June to June on a 12 month cycle…plenty of time to flow.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Collecting Data, Calendar Activity from RoyalBaloo

  • The only math we did this week was graphing the weather each morning with our calendar activity.  The activity is set up to do daily.  This is not something I’m willing to make happen everyday.  It seems to work better for us to do it once, maybe twice, a week – doing a few days work at one time.

weather graph data

Reading:  

Introduction to Beginning Consonant Blends, Blend Wall Cards by 3 Dinosaurs

  • Since sounding out words and attempting to read books is occurring more and more, we began to look at and attribute sounds to specific blends of consonants.  These wall cards helped with the sounding out of each particular blend and then I had Mason think of another word that started with the same blend.

Blend Wallcards

Sight Word Practice, Lego Pack by walkingbytheway.com

  • Reinforcement is always good, and we have a large supply of foam letters.  Thank you Grandma S for the foam letters!  I also found this great Lego pack at walkingbytheway.com.  So, we practiced color sight words, by finding and placing the correct foam letters on the words.  Since spelling is becoming a forefront concept as well, I made sure that once the word was completed, I would ask the question, “How do you spell blue.”  Since the word was in front of him, it simply gave him a chance to practice responding to that question.

MM foam spelling

(Madison’s version is on the right.)

Handwriting:  

Tracing and Free writing Letters

  • As stated above, we have several educational workbooks that I am ready to work through and lessen the pile!  The pages with letters A-D were completed this week.

tracing work

Tracing Numbers

  • Calendar Activity – writing in dates on the August calendar printable found at RoyalBaloo.com

Spelling

  • What we are now calling Spelling Jump.  It is the activity described in the blog above.  Writing letters on the driveway and giving Mason a word to spell by jumping on the correct letters in order.

The Rest of the Story

This week, we marked absolutely nothing off our learning list.  However, I must say the list at the beginning of last week was prepared simply for the sake of preparing a list.  My heart was absolutely not in it, and I did not seek the Lord as to the direction of our activities.  Knowing this, I am not surprised that there was no motivation to accomplish the tasks listed.

The rest of the story…

I love that learning takes place no matter what prepared list you may have.  It is our natural state to be curious and to be led by our passions to learn more about the world and life around us.  It warmed my heart to read a book with Mason before bed only to find out that he can name 7 of the 9 planets and knew that they “went around on an orbit”.  Hello!

In retrospect, I find we often forget how simple it is to learn.  Formal lessons are not always (maybe rarely) the path to true learning and understanding.  In fact, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom {Ps.111:10; Pr.1:7; Pr.9:10}.  Much learning and dare I say initial learning is done through life flow conversations and experiences.

Worksheets and prepared lessons often do more to simply solidify the concept.

I still feel that I am baby stepping along in this realm called homeschool.  I’m still not completely sure what it looks like and what the flow feels like.  I know the Lord will show us his perfect way.  I say ‘yes’ to the plans that Father has uniquely designed for us on this path, in this season of learning for all involved!

Week-in-Review

As we didn’t complete the activities written on the “lesson plans”, I want to recount the learning I saw occuring:

Math:  Mason was playing the app – Baby Bus Logic King (android).  The app was about placing two numbers on one side of the see-saw and then placing two different numbers that equaled the same quantity on the other side.  He had a lot of fun with this, so I will most likely create a fun paper version of this as well.

Reading:  I printed a graden unit that included an emergent reader type printable book.  He read through every page, asking for help with maybe two words.  In my search on the internet, I found it difficult to find emergent reader level books that incorporated the words he needs, so I will likely be writing one of those as well.

Science:  Reading through a book on the universe, talking about planets, orbits, the sun, and stars.

Up-and-Coming:  Activities this Week

Math:

  • Begin to explore numbers as groupings (i.e. 6 is 3 rows of 2)
  • Watch Array PowerPoint (numbers in groupings of 2)
  • Crayola Practice Pad, addition problems

Handwriting:

Reading:

Arts/Crafts:

  • Make beaded necklaces and say the colors of the beads in Spanish.

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