Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Day-by-Day

Keeping it honest here,

I will have to say that I did not put much effort into a focus of “schooling” last week.  In preparation to write this post, I started to reflect on last week and realized – I don’t remember a whole lot about it!  You know those weeks, where you just live it.  You walk through it and press on.  I love how the Lord prevails and toward the end of the week, I was able to come out from under the fog.

Last week, I decided that it would be fun to work within a theme of the Sun.  I did a little searching online, but as the last post stated sometimes there is just Too Much Help to wade through on the internet.  There are many units out there about the solar system, but not many just focusing on the sun.  I was having a hard time even knowing where to begin or what to do.  We did a craft or two, but it was a sensory activity that helped move me forward.

We poured out a good amount of regular table salt onto a cookie sheet (saw this on the web).  Mason enjoyed this and started writing his name, letters, and such.  Then I had the idea – the Sun theme.  I asked him to draw a sun.  Then I asked him to write a word that described the sun… he wrote ‘hot’.  Yes! I had a feeling I was onto something here.  He continued to come up with words to describe the sun.  Wow, a spelling activity within the theme of the Sun.  No striving, just flowing.

salt letters

There is a small part of me that wants to have a beautiful, complete, out-of-this-world (pun intended!) unit put together.  Yet, I know this is not needed, nor do I have the extra time in life right now to create one up front.  In the meantime, we will walk day by day exploring our sun, moon, stars, comets…

What activities would you suggest for a Sun theme?

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Counting Practice

  • While cleaning our utility room, I found a roll of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers.  Mason thought they were amazing and quickly stretched them as far as they would go on the couch.  Seizing the opportunity, I asked him to count them.

Recognizing Patterns

  • With the roll of Thomas stickers, there were over 30 on the roll.  I noticed there was a pattern every six stickers.  I asked Mason to find the pattern.
  • I also asked him how he knew the pattern was starting over.  I want to better understand how he is recognizing patterns.

stickers1

Basic Addition, Crayola Pad

  • A sheet of basic addition problems, purchased at Wal-Mart.

Crayola practice pad

Science:

  • We created a Solar System mobile.  This was a mixture of several activities that I had seen from an art book Adventures in Art by Susan Milord, and two other crafts online.  The mobile was a spiral mobile.  We made a circle of cardstock and stapled it together for the top – we used yellow paper to represent the sun.  The planets hang down each one a little bit farther to represent the distance that each planet is away from the sun.  I chose to use a smaller hole punch so that we could simply knot the ribbon behind the hole.  This was a fun way to work on the order of the planets.  Also, a great way to revisit the order time and time again.

planet mobile

Sensory Activity: 

Salt Letters (mentioned in post above)

  • We place a good amount of salt on a cookie sheet – Mason then went about drawing pictures, as well as letters, numbers, his name, etc.
  • I also classified this as a Spelling activity since he started writing words describing the sun.

And again, Mason worked on his calendar activities from RoyalBaloo.com throughout the week which covers some Handwriting, and Math – graphing, shapes, number awareness.

desk

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Too Much Help

With the start of public school, I have been seeing many Facebook posts and emails regarding going back to school, supplies on sale, curriculum discounts.  I have had two reactions to this:

1)  A complete joy because of the freedom we have in not being tied to that schedule – AND –

2)  An extreme pressure toward finding a whole or partial curriculum.

I will preface this with saying, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pre-made curriculums.  Coming from a background of ten years teaching in the public schools, I am a fan of certain curriculums and not others.  I can see where specific curriculums work better in a private or home setting vs a public school setting, or for one student personality vs another student personality.  I get all of this.  What I have realized this week is the venture to find a curriculum when the Lord has told you not to is a bit futile!

I also discovered that walking this homeschooling journey is akin to parenting in general.  When I had my first child, I thought the internet would be my best friend.

Google to the rescue!!!  

Um…no.  With all the wealth of information out there, I quickly discovered that there was too much information out there.  Breastfeed vs formula, cry-it-out vs never cry, spanking vs not, cloth diaper vs disposable…you name it, the arguments are there.  All sides are right, all sides are wrong.  I quickly found my head swirling and my eyes shedding many-a-tear because I was worse off after my two hour search!

4 years into parenting and another child later, I finally came to understand.  When searching the internet all those times, I would end up searching for an opinion that already matched mine and it made me feel better about what it was that I already had a leading to do anyway!  Parenting is being me, with the Lord, training my children up as we go.  If I’m really not sure, I’m going to ask the Lord, or another person who is walking this journey with me and slightly ahead of me.

This same thing goes with homeschooling.  There are as many ways to homeschool as there are unique and individual families.  What is right for one is not automatically right for the next.  Some may be and look similar, some may look completely different, but they will all have their own flavor…as they should.  So I walk on, being my own flavor with the Lord.  I know the Lord has told me it is not time to purchase any curriculum, but to follow the leading of Mason and his interests.

My encouragement to you in your journey, be it life or homeschooling or fill-in-the-blank:  If you are following the true desire of your heart, don’t give up.  Stand on what you know is right, and walk on.  Today you may feel overwhelmed, tired, and stretched, but joy comes in the morning.  Each day is His and therefore, each day is yours.

Live it, Love it, Joy in it, Learn.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Measuring in centimeters

  • My children love to empty my center desk drawer of all its pens, pencils, erasers, binder clips etc.  This time Mason had placed most everything from the drawer on the kitchen table.  This included a ruler that had cm on one side.  My husband explained how to line an object on the zero and find its length.  Mason spent the next 15-20 minutes measuring items from the drawer.

Lego Block Addition and Subtraction, Lego pack

  • Several months ago, I came across a free Lego pack by www.walkingbytheway.com.  Two of the pages included were addition and subtraction of blocks.  We spent most of our time doing the subtraction.  You place an amount of Lego bricks on the card, let them count, and then take some away while their eyes are closed.  The student then has to tell you how many you took away.  We made sure to restate the problem after each time “Six take away two equals four.”  This will really help when we are ready to move to writing these type of problems using symbolic form.

lego math

Reading:  

Matching Partner Letters (Uppercase to Lowercase), Alphabet Cards by The Learning Leaf

  • This was a fun review game.  It is the age old game of concentration using Uppercase and Lowercase letters.  I made a set of alphabet cards and we placed a 4 x 4 block of cards on the table (8 letters of the alphabet at a time).  Mason would turn over two, trying to match the uppercase letter with its partner lowercase letter.

alpha cards

(Click the pic for a free set of printable cards.)

  • Madison (age 2) was very interested in the alphabet cards, so I made a tot-pack for her.  I made templates with the Upper and Lowercase matches on them.  I placed two templates in front of her (4 letters at a time), and she had to match the alphabet card to the correct letter on the templates.  An example of Madison’s templates:

alpha tot

(Click the pic for a free download of the tot-pack templates.)

Word Family Practice, Starfall.com

  • We did 15-20 minutes on starfall.com working on word family reading, recognition, and spelling.  I saw him work on the -an, -at, -en, -it word families, but there may have been more!  If you have never used starfall.com, jump over and take a look, it is a wonderful free online tool.

Starfall screen

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