Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘math’

Spring has Sprung

Lord have mercy.  It is beautiful outside.  The sun is shining, or sometimes a nice refreshing rain is falling and all we want to do is be outside.  This seems to be the most difficult time of the year, the “almost done” period that coincides with the call of nature.

Time to get serious…

…and head outside!  Now, not everything we do can be done outside.  However, if it is possible, we will do it.  Builder was having real trouble (insert much complaining and whining) with settling to work on his math and word work the other day.  Almost losing it, I declared, “Let’s use sidewalk chalk!”  A chorus of cheers followed.  The magic of sidewalk chalk never ceases to amaze me.

I took the same old math worksheet and wrote the problems on the sidewalk/driveway.  Builder hopped on his tricycle with chalk in hand and drove to each problem solving it quickly.

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His word work was identifying complete and incomplete sentences.  I simply wrote the words “incomplete” and “complete” on the driveway, read aloud the sentences, and Builder wrote the sentence number under the correct title.  Once again the tricycle was involved in driving to and from each category.

word work

Princess also did her math via sidewalk chalk.  Her word work was not really conducive to working on the pavement, but a clipboard and sitting on the porch worked just as well.

boxes

Another example of springtime adapting…Builder is working on putting together our family tree for social studies.  He has been gluing pictures of each person, copying down birth/death dates, etc.  We have now switched it up a bit.  He is learning to handle old documents such as old obituaries, or birth/death certificates and has become a “History Hunter”!  He finds the required information and anything he deems interesting about the person and records it.  To change it up a bit, today we decided to hop in the van and go find his great grandparents burial site.  Having the grave-site in town helps.  Now we are planning field trips to other states to find other family members grave-sites.  This was just another way to break the monotony, getting outside in the name of learning, growing, and exploring.

This is the time when creative juices must flow to keep on keeping on!  Even the smallest changes keep things fresh.

Your Turn ~ How do you deal with spring fever in regards to homeschooling?

Always Learning

So, Builder and I had real troubles this morning pushing through today’s math lesson. We both ended up in tears, frustration, and a blubbering mess. I leave the lesson frustrated. He is upset because he has upset me, and yet he still doesn’t want to have done the lesson. 
 
Then, we each go about our own business, calming down and taking a break from each other. He eventually starts playing with Princess in the living room. As I am going around emptying the trash, I head into Builder’s room and find this spread out on his bed.
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He had come across the section of continents in his new encyclopedia, got out his geography game, found the correct corresponding continent and was matching the playing cards to the correct country on the board.  He was then finding that country in his encyclopedia. Wow. Can we say, “school”.
 
This homeschooling journey never ceases to humble me. Learning is a much more natural occurrence than we give it credit for. We feel it must be scheduled, and sequenced, confined…And sometimes, yes, but more often than not, this is what happens. Learning happens.  Evidently it was a geography day, not a math day.
 
Sadly, I again realize that too many times it is not my desire for Builder and Princess to know more that pushes me to push when it is the wrong timing.  It is my own insecurities and fears.
Lord, thank you that this journey is ours with You, not apart from You.  I thank you that what you have to place in Builder and Princess is too precious for me to stand in the way.  I thank you that their learning is in Your more than capable hands.  Thank you for the reminders of when I am hindering instead of helping.  Please, Lord, continue to show us how to proceed, when to turn left or right, and when to keep on heading straight.  I am thankful you have already written our path, and we will follow you to the best of our ability.

Ebb-and-Flow

Wow.  It truly doesn’t take long for life to hit warp speed.  That is what seems to have happened at our house.  We have recently returned from a nine day trip up and around New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  It was a wonderful trip centered around a beautiful family wedding in Colorado.

With that said, when we returned our rhythm was gone, for myself, the kids, school.  Of course the learning that occurred on the trip and the possibilities for further learning were huge.  However, the day-to-day flow had disappeared.  We are currently in the process of finding our new focus and flow, which seems to be a part of this crazy journey called homeschool.

I have come down to the fact that the next two months are months of completion.  It is time to focus on the units and topics we want to close out and wrap up.  My goals for Builder are to complete his math mastery challenge on Khan Academy, finish our Level 1 spelling, and complete our Volcano lapbook.  In regards to Princess, my goal is to keep on track with her math at Khan Academy, finish up a bone unit she is working on, and complete the set of sight words we are currently working on, from Tweet Resources.  I fully expect to have other learning opportunities arise, but these are my specific goals and focus.  Completing these items will place us in a good position for starting anew in January.

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Outside of completing our focus items, we are starting to memorize and learn the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States.  There is a nice set of resource papers over at Kindergarten Nana that fits what we need.  We will use these printables as our diving board into deeper learning conversations.  Each day we will read, The Pledge of Allegiance, published by Scholastic to help aide in memory.

P.S. There will soon be an update on our Water of Life project.  We are done collecting and will let you know the final amount given.

Your Turn to Play ~  What would you like to complete by the end of the year?

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

 

P-Week, Passover

One thing I remember and adore about the ten years teaching in the public school system is all the times I remember seeing the Lord Himself leading my lessons.  He came as words of explanation I never would have thought of, lesson plans that tied together when I didn’t plan ahead that way, or words spoken to a student that you could tell went straight to their heart and soul.

These were beautiful moments.

Up until now, I haven’t really had that type of experience.  This “jumping in” year has been a lot of wading through days to find our identity as students and teacher.  Don’t get me wrong, the Lord has helped me tremendously in sorting through paradigm shifts in my thinking and expectations.  He has definitely been present in that way.

This week has been different.

Come Monday of this week I was already two steps behind.  I only had Monday and Tuesday mostly planned, with hopes that I would have time to finish planning the rest of the week (insert hysterical laughter here).  As expected, I didn’t have time to finish planning so it has been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of week.  Our printer stopped working and our math units are primarily printed out.  This almost sent me to a place of annoyance and frustration until the Lord reminded me that people have been learning long before printers were around!  We have also started doing a Letter-a-Week focus for Madison (3 yrs).  Lately, she has been trying to find things to do and so I have been having letter activities waiting in the wings.

Not a hard thing, just one more thing.

This Letter-a-Week focus is where the Lord showed His presence just like I had experienced in the past.  I picked a random letter order from something I found online.  This week’s letter is P.  So I set up our sensory bin with P objects, had some ‘pig’ and ‘pumpkin’ crafts ready and waiting.  All well and good.  It took me a couple of days to realize we were also making daily crafts to celebrate Passover.  Hello, the ultimate ‘P’ focus.  Since the printer is not working and the plans were not made, there have been days this week where all we do is focus on the Passover crafts.  The entire time we have been making these crafts, I have seen how the Lord had this week set in all of time and history…

our own personal P-week focus…Passover

I was contemplating how to teach my kiddos about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  I tossed around thoughts of focusing on each day leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  I just wasn’t sure, so I decided to ask the Lord!  He told me to focus on Passover, including letting the kids know that Jesus died and raised during Passover.  He told me that if I focus on teaching Passover, when the time comes to focus on explaining Jesus’ journey to the cross and tomb, it will be that much richer, make so much more sense, and be effortlessly internalized.

Passover is the framework on which the crucifixion and resurrection are built.

So, I found this great Passover craft at Creative Jewish Mom website that showed different placards for each of the plagues leading up to and including the Passover.  We didn’t have dow rods or pipe cleaners so we went with tongue depressors and construction paper.  We did two plagues a day and read the account each day from their Beginner’s Bible.

Photo Apr 03, 2 46 38 PM

1st plague – water to blood; 2nd plague – frogs

 

Photo Apr 03, 2 47 01 PM

3rd plague – gnats; 4th plague – flies

We changed the fourth placard from the website.  There is debate over the Hebrew word used for this plague.  Some interpret it to mean “mixed or swarm of wild beasts” while others interpret it as “swarms of flies”.  Since the Bibles we have read flies, that is what I went with, informing the kids why we changed.

Photo Apr 03, 2 47 18 PM

5th plague – Egyptian animals died; 6th plague – Egyptian skin broke out in sores

I also changed up the 5th plague just a tad.  She had pictured an elephant upside down, however when reading the account it doesn’t mention elephants.  So, we went with a horse/donkey.

Photo Apr 03, 2 47 32 PM

7th plague – hailstorm

*We are working on completing the 8th-10th plagues.  I will add the photos when we finish.

They had a lot of fun acting out the plagues with their placards each time we read the account.  It has been a lot of fun, and I have learned along the way as well.  Always.

Adding to 10

In the beginning of our homeschooling endeavor, the Lord told me to really focus in on Science and Social Studies and that Math and Language Arts would naturally happen.  I didn’t truly understand what that meant, but I have learned to trust the Lord when I have heard Him so clearly.

For our social studies focus, I put together a unit on US Symbols (click here).  Science was a four week study of Force and Motion, which I purchased from teacherspayteachers.comwith a two week focus at the end on gravity and magnets (click here).

Math was a little more interesting.

I have ended up simply teaching to the standards.  Mason has always been very good at addition and so we have been focusing on making the “adding to 10” facts second nature.  Instead of thinking about them and having to “add them up”, I want him to be able to see them and know them immediately.

The following are the steps we used to explore these combinations of 10.  I left them as steps so that you can combine them in whatever timing works best for you.  Steps typed in the same color are what we did on the same day.

Step 1:

  • Using a ten frame chart and double-sided counters, I asked Mason to find all the different combinations that added to 10.  I showed him one example (1 red, 9 yellow) so that he understood how to use the two colors to show the equation.
  • As he found the different combinations, we used our washable Dry Erase Markers to write them on our “white board” (a page protector with a piece of white cardstock).
    • I labeled the “white board” at the top with an R + Y = 10, just to throw some algebra connections in there.
    • As we got to the end, he really started using the recorded combinations to see what he might have missed.
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Ten Frame

Step 2:

  • Do a short mini-lesson on combinations that add to 10.  I used this fabulous “Rainbow to 10 lesson” found at A Cupcake for the Teacher.  It is a wonderful visual to help students remember all of the combinations that will add to 10.  We don’t have a large whiteboard or easel paper, so we used our Window Markers and back door!  We left the information on the door all week so he could refer back to it as needed.

Step 3:

  • Continuing with the “Rainbow to 10 lesson” materials, Mason colored and filled out the blank Rainbow to 10 worksheet.  This was great to begin to solidify these math facts, moving from concrete manipulatives to number representation.
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Rainbow to 10

Step 4:

  • Using the Combinations of 10 worksheet I created, Mason used dot markers to show all the facts that add to 10 (as well as a bonus question to begin thinking of the number 20).
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Combinations of 10

Step 5:

  • We played a fun Ten Frame game over at Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten blog.  Again we used the dot markers, but crayons/markers/colored pencils work just as well.  I printed two or three sheets and he had a blast.
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Ten Frame Toss

Step 6:

Step 7:

  • We ended with a set of flashcards.  I developed this set specifically to be both a practice tool as well as an informal assessment.  I wanted to see how familiar and second nature these facts of 10 had become, so I created the flashcards with half “add to 10” facts and half other simple addition facts.
  • As an assessment tool, I held up the cards so that I could monitor the speed and fluency at which he knew the “add to 10” facts.

I listed steps that can all be done separately or combined to create longer lessons.  Every learner is different and will be able to accomplish a different amount of learning in one setting.  Feel free to use each step as needed.

Questions?  Feel free to comment below or email at thelearningleaf.mail@gmail.com

 

Comfort Zone

A trend is developing in our lessons.  

I find it easy and natural to quickly prepare math and language arts lessons, two areas in which I feel comfortable and confident.  I have seen this trend developing for a few weeks now, but didn’t give it much thought.  Armed with this observation, I am going to challenge myself to bring in a few more science and social studies based activities (areas I do not gravitate to naturally).

The coming of Fall is lending me a helping hand in this area.  One of our kindergarten standards in science is to describe characteristics of the four seasons.  So, we have already done a lot of talking about the Fall – change of weather, leaves changing color, leaves falling, wearing jackets, etc.  I downloaded a cute Fall pack from www.servingjoyfully.com.  It is a great resource of really cute activities.

all about fall image

In printing out and using this Fall pack, I made note that many of the activities were review for Mason (4 yrs).  However, more pages than I expected would interest Madison (2 yrs).  This is a great shift for all of us, I simply need to expand my searching in regards to lessons for Mason, and begin making a more conscious effort to think of activities on Madison’s level.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Blackout

  • Write the numbers 2-12 on a piece of paper.  Roll two dice and add the numbers showing.  Cover up or mark off the number on your sheet that matches the sum rolled.  The first person to cover or mark off all the answers wins.

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Bingo

  • We used the portion of the game that focuses on addition facts 1s – 5s.  The answers are on the BINGO cards, and the question cards have simple addition questions such as 1 + 4.

bingo copy

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason used the PowerPoint for Dolch sight words, Kindergarten List 1.  More details about the list and download option, here.

(K)List1 image

  • We then made a sight word “parking lot” to match the words on this new list.  Below is an example parking lot picture, but not the one that actually matches the (K)List 1 words.  Click here for more details on the “parking lot”.

Sight Word parking

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall Trees

  • I went on a search for cut-and-paste activities, and this Fall Leaves download came across my path.  It is so simple and perfect.  As the kiddos are cutting and glueing, it gives a great opportunity to discuss fall characteristics such as leaves changing and falling, weather growing colder and more rainy, etc.  Not to mention, I absolutely loved seeing the artwork side of things, and how differently their pictures turned out.

MandM fall trees

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