Monday, October 19, 2009

Unit Study: Halloween Week 1.5 :)

One of our favorite holidays is almost upon us and we are busy with all things fall/Halloween!!

We have fallen into the habit of doing our calendar and weather time during breakfast followed by devotions. Our new children's Bible came in the mail the other day and we are really enjoying it! The way the stories and scripture are illustrated in the book are very easily grasped and Charlie is asking more questions and enjoying his Bible time more!! God is good!!

Tommy Time:

Sensory tube with Halloween items mixed in for him to scope and find
Color discovery boxes from the library toy loan
we also pulled out the sort and thong game

In the last two weeks our "letter of the week" has been M for Monster! We only have friendly monsters around these parts!! and G for Ghost!


We have a new science book for our curriculum. It is called Me and My Amazing Body. We will be reading a page or two from the book and then do a project that pertains to what we just learned. Our first project will be to do a body outline of the kids on a big piece of paper and then label and place different parts of our body. We have our "body" hanging in the kitchen alongside the calendar. The kids love to stare at it and talk about the different body parts when we are eating lunch
.I drew body parts and had Charlie paint them. Then we glued them on our "body".

Kumon book
math puzzle
and counting and sorting colors

Prereading: Explode the Code,

working on shapes and the alphabet with Tommy. He really has a good sense of the letters and can say most of them. With this excercise I had the boys hammer in the shapes or letters, depending on what puzzle they had, back into the foam puzzles that I picked up at the resale shop. BIG hit!! :)

Working on Charlie holding his pencil correctly and starting to write his words from left to right. I have noticed that he will think that 12 is really 21 and vice versa and usually tries to write from right to left.

Poem/Felt board:

5 little Pumpkins
Five littel pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "Oh, my it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air"
The third one said, "But we don't care"
The fourth one said, "Let's run, let's run!"
The fifth one said, "Isn't Halloween fun?"

Then Wooooo went the wind
And OUT went the lights

And 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Poem 2:
I'm a little scarecrow stuffed with hay
standing watch in my field all day
when I see a crow
I like to shout
"Hey, Mr. Crow please fly out!!"

****the poems were a BIG hit and we often say/sing them in the car or to settle us down when things get a bit roudy!


We bought our annual scarecrow for the back porch and our milk jug ghosts for the front of the house. We also decorated the front bushes with spider webs and Halloween creepy crawlies. We also decorated Halloween cookies and did a fun scarecrow craft. Can you tell that someone is excited?!?!?

We also made candy corn magnets for the fridge.

We also spent some time decorating and cleaning our house for our Halloween party. Both boys LOVE to help me clean! Tommy spontaneously cleaned the bathtub for me during bath time. I go back and forth if that is gross, but the end result was a clean child and a clean tub...can't beat it and no "cleaning" supplies were used besides good old body soap. Charlie helped do a through cleaning of his room, he washed the base boards and the doors and put away his clean laundry. Train em up!! No need to thank me future wives :)

We also worked on our Halloween costumes, carved pumpkins
, watched the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and ate dirt!We also did A LOT of baking. Charlie helped decorate the ghost and pumpkin peep cupcakes!

I am extremely happy with the way that everything just fell back into place this week with school! The boys and I are so happy and really having a great time!

I am pleased to finally have a basic curriculum chosen and in place. I am also getting the hang of planning our lesson plans and doing the prep work for the day. There are a few things that I want to improve/work on.

One, is the organization of our school materials. I am leaning towards a workbox systme but need to purchase the containers and figure out where I will keep them that Charlie can easily access them.

Second, planning more activities for our school days. We have gotten into a routine and have become pretty efficient executing it. It is amazing how much we cover in a 1.5 hours! I don't want to make our school time much longer then that right now, but having one or two extra activities to do would be good.

Third, planning in general. I am getting a good hold on it and not feeling nearly as overwhelmed by it as I was. However, for my continued sanity I need to streamline it a bit and be more prepared. I would really like to have at least a months worth of lesson plans ready to go with the flexibility to add in any material that I might come across before that weeks unit study. Right now I am planning it weekly and doing the prepwork each night before the next school day. I know there will always be some prepwork the night before but I also can cut it down significantly.

It was a great week!! Now let the party begin!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall/Nature Weeks 2 &3

Some of our curriculum books came in the mail over the weekend!!! At lunch today Charlie asked to do "learning time"!! What a change from last year when every morning he would fuss and say that he did not want to go to school. I am SO glad that he is enjoying school at home and is excited to learn!!
Math and Phonics:
This week we started on our Kumon Math book and our Explode the Code phonics book.
The boys painting with cattails
We also painted with moss, walnuts, cattails, rolled/painted with acorns, leaves and other nature items to add to our Nature Book. Today at church Charlie found a large acorn on the ground. He immediately picked it up and said "Hey Mom, we can put this acorn in our Nature Book!!". I love it when they get excited about what we are doing!

Letter of the Week:

L for leaves, I printed out Maple and Oak tree leaves (the kind of trees that are in our backyard) colored them and then glued them onto our L
Trees in our backyard: we went on a leaf hunt in our backyard, gathered leaves and identified them in our tree book that we are making. We also put leaf pages in our Nature Book. You can't do a study on leaves without doing leaf rubbings
Charlie doing leaf rubbings

Tommy Time:

I buried foam letters in a sensory rice bin and had Tommy dig the letters out and practiced the letters T, C, L, S and the number 2.
We also did playdough and our new emotions bear puzzle!

The last two weeks were a bit difficult for us. Between having a migraine for an entire week and then refinishing our hardwood floors, we were off schedule and out of sorts....let alone displaced from our home for a few days! But I am amazed to see that we did complete a lot of our planned curriculum and despite the grouchy momma and stinky/dusty/disheveled house, we managed to have some fun too!
All the kiddos having school!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Unit Study: All things Fall (Leaves and Apples)

Books to read:
Picture Guide to Tree Leaves By Raymond Wiggers
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves By Julia Rawlinson
Apples and Pumpkins By Anne Rockwell
The Apple Pie Tree By Zoe Hall
A Tree For All Season by Robin Bernard (National Geographic, Maple Tree)
Apples By Gail Gibbons

Field trip:
*apple orchard
*nature walk

I extended this unit study of Fall to cover a few weeks instead of the one week that I had originally planned on. There was just too many things we wanted to cover and the weather was not as cooperative as I had hoped.

Last week we had a pretty relaxing, wet yet fun week! It was rainy and soggy outside and so we hunkered down and played and did some school work. We had friends over, we made bread, we read books, we colored and practiced our writing and we had fun doing a few Fall activities.

Then over the weekend we went on a great nature walk and picked up all kinds of objects to use for projects.

Charlie looking at all our nature loot

We made apple prints
Made a nature book

Counted acorns in a muffin tin
Made our calendar

Writting/Copy work:
Worked on letters

Did a few worksheets (Charlie LOVES worksheets)Align Center


Two Little Apples
Way up high in the apple tree
2 red apples winked at me
I shook that tree as hard as I could
Down came the apples
Mmmmmm......they were good

Creative play:
We used the felt board that I made to play out the poem.
Charlie liked making the leaves fall off the tree as well.

Tommy time:

Used block stacker to separate shapes by color
We played our new color matching game that I made.