Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Five in a Row: Lentil

I mentioned awhile ago that during the holidays, certain children requested to return to Five in a Row!  I might have been a little ecstatic about that, because my heart belongs to FIAR!  So I'm finally getting around to sharing.

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We started back with Lentil by Robert McCloskey.  I felt like it would be a fun row to get us back into FIAR and back into the swing of things after the holidays.  It kind of turned into a Robert McCloskey author study, but it was really fun!  In fact, one day Emory said he never knew school could be this fun!  **be still my heart**

Lentil, published in 1940, is about a boy (Lentil) who lives in Alto, Ohio.  He can't sing or whistle, but wants to play music.  What's a boy to do?  

Social Studies
Geography - Ohio
Having moved to a small town in Ohio, we decided to learn a bit more about the state.  I just wanted to stick to basic facts for now, so we printed an Ohio page from  They colored Ohio while I read some fun facts, and then they picked something "new" to add to their pages.  We're going to do a comprehensive state study down the road, so that is enough for us for now.  {Don't Know Much About The 50 States.}

Human Anatomy - Taste Buds
This was more for fun than anything, but we tasted sweet, sour, bitter and salty items and talked a bout the tongue and taste buds.

As you can tell, my boys, especially Emory, love lemons!

Eleanor . . . not so much!

If you have a really young one, I think Lentil would be a great book to use for the five senses.  We're past that point, but we did discuss the acoustics lesson one evening.  Elliott went and played the harmonica in the bathtub after I discussed the lesson in the manual.  I didn't follow (so no pictures), but he talked about the differences he heard.

Language Arts
Elements of a Good Story
We discussed the elements of a story from the manual, and then I gave them Notebooking Pages to sketch out the beginning of their own stories.

Mathematics & Music
The lesson in the manual was related to fractions and music.  The boys are just being exposed to musical notes in this context, so it was interesting!

Fine Arts
Charcoal Drawings
We've never used charcoal before, but I happened to have a sketch set that had some charcoal and charcoal pencils in it, so when I saw this lesson, I pulled that set out for the boys.

Musical Talent and the Harmonica!
The local music store sells harmonicas, so the kids got a fun surprise!

Food Fun
We made lemonade, and I made the lemon bars from the cookbook.

Supplemental Books
Instead of filling the book basket with go-along books for the various social studies and science topics, which is what I would normally do, I used it as a literature expansion opportunity/author study.

Robert McCloskey (Children's Illustrators) by Jill Wheeler
Make Way for Ducklings
Burt Dow, Deep Water Man
Time of Wonder
Blueberries for Sal
One Morning in Maine
Homer Price
Homer Price was our longer read-aloud, and I definitely suggest this book for boys!  Elliott enjoyed it so much that I pulled out Beyond Five in a Row Volume 1 and we did a pseudo-row of it following Lentil.  We used the lesson plans as talking points and even did a few activities from the manual.  I'll try to share more about it soon!

We didn't really progress with the attempt at rowing Madeline.  So I revamped our history schedule and chose some FIAR books that would tie into history and some upcoming group field trips, and our next official row was Paul Revere's Ride (last week and this week) to go along with the American Revolution portion of the Beautiful Feet Book study.  Next week we're rowing Warm as Wool!

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Peek into our Homeschool: January 2017

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Well, I'm a little bit late getting my January summary posted, but we're not to the middle of this month yet, so it's not too late, is it?

The new year got off to a good start.  It took some time to get back into a good rhythm that worked after the relaxed December and the toddler's new nap schedule, but it went better than I expected.

Eleanor just turned four this month, and although I firmly believe in play over academics at this age, she keeps me on my toes.  She *loves* all the workbooks and learning activities, but it comes and goes in phases.  She might go through a workbook phase for two weeks, then she was all about her Kwik Stix, which she still gets out multiple times a week.  I can't recommend these enough!  Now she's really into writing "books" and "lists."  The toddler . . . well, she's two and just likes to make a mess more than anything.

Language Arts and Math
The boys are plugging along in math.  I've finally figured out the secret to Elliott's math.  I go through each lesson right before he starts, and select the problems I want him to answer.  I typically choose almost all of the problems related to new material, and just a few of the review problems.  I just rotate which types of review questions to do, to make sure he practices a little bit of everything.  He still claims he doesn't "like" math, but seeing as how he's "good" at it, this has drastically improved our math time.  It gets done faster.  He's more accurate too, despite doing less problems/review.  I've heard that cutting a lesson in half would make a difference, and I don't know why I didn't try it sooner!

Emory's finishing up his current level of LOE Foundations, and his reading skills have exploded.  I am in love with this curriculum, and it is absolutely my favorite reading/phonics program.  I'm probably going to move him into a literature-based language arts program in the coming weeks when he finishes.  Or perhaps something more independent, like Language Smarts, which is what Elliott is using now.

History and Science
We continued Beautiful Feet Books - Early American History.  We started by reading The Courage of Sarah Noble and The Matchlock Gun . . . and then read a biography of Benjamin Franklin, to take us into the American Revolution studies.

We decided to set our science curriculum aside for the time being.  As interesting as it was in the beginning, it was nearly impossible to get back into a good rhythm with it after the holiday break.  I can see why Apologia is popular, but I can also see what people mean when they feel they get bogged down in one topic.

So for now, we have decided to do some Five in a Row units (kids requested to add it back in) in place of the science.  We rowed Lentil first for fun, and tied in some Homer Price and Beyond Five in a Row.  I'll have a full post on that soon.  That one wasn't related to our history studies, but it helped us do some state study, which is a required subject.  However, we're at the point now in American History where I can tie in more of the FIAR books and expand our studies.

We tried to row Madeline because they wanted to do a human body study, but we mostly just learned about the human body.  I know it's one of the most popular units from FIAR, but we just cannot do a real row of that book for some reason!  However, we read most of the poems in the book The Blood Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts, and the boys LOVED that book.  It's great for any human body study through middle school probably.  The poems are humorous, but factual.

To get some other science in, we were also reviewing a science experiment book for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  It's called Oh, Ick!  114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out, and it's definitely got that gross humor factor that boys enjoy.  We just spent a lot of time just reading through the science background before evening choosing any topics to explore.

Squishy Eggs that became "Eggs from Mars" but there are much grosser activities!

January Birthdays
Both the girls had birthdays, turning two and four.  As I mentioned earlier - Eleanor is so smart and inquisitive, and I expect her to really want to dive into school more seriously soon.  She's also bubbly and sassy and loving.  She is a people person, which is a huge contrast to her personality the first year and a half.  She had such extreme stranger anxiety and separation anxiety that she would scream if someone talked to me.  Nursery workers refused to keep her.  She was that kid.  Now she's quite the social butterfly!

Eloise is feisty and fierce, just like Emory, and also like her brother, she's a goofball.  That should be fun.  She takes awhile to warm up to people, but she's also very talkative and her favorite sentences are "I need that!" and "I can't reach it!" because she's always wanting things she doesn't need.  She's quite the busybody, and is the typical toddler tornado - I can't get anything productive done or keep the house clean!

I didn't realize that you can't tell those are "Frozen" cupcakes the husband made.  The girls are all about Let it Go and princess now.  *sigh*  Eloise hasn't quite got the whole puppet show thing down, but Eleanor loves doing an Old MacDonald show with the farm puppets.  Love it!

Homeschool Coffee Break

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kwik Stix Thin Stix {review}

When it comes to preschool art, there is a fine line between giving the child enough freedom to create freely, and giving so much freedom that you end up with a huge mess.  One of our favorite preschool supplies that allows both creativity and independence is Kwik Stix, which are sticks of tempera paint that dry quickly (90 seconds) and are ideal for mess-free art.

We had the pleasure of reviewing Kwik Stix a little over a year ago, and I fell in love.  I recommend them all the time to anyone who asks for fun art supplies, especially for preschool and early elementary.  Eleanor loves hands-on projects, so anytime she gets to do arts and crafts, she is thrilled.  She asks for her paint sticks all the time.  Naturally, I was thrilled when we were given the opportunity to review a new product, Thin Stix.

The Thin Stix are slimmer versions of the original Kwik Stix that give more precision, but are still of the same high quality.  By comparison, the originals were short like a glue stick, while these are slimmer and slightly longer, more like the size of toddler markers.  You can get different size lines by changing the angle of the stick, though that's not particularly important for my four year old right now.

These are just as easy to use as the originals though - just pop off the cap, twist and paint!  These are super easy for preschoolers to manipulate, which is why I always recommend them for younger children, even though they are fun for all ages.

Since receiving her new paint sticks, Eleanor has painted a lot on regular copy paper and in coloring books, but since there is no water involved and it's not "wet" like watercolors or liquid tempera paint, the paper doesn't get soaked or soggy, and the paint doesn't run or drip.

You can see how vibrant the colors are here.  

The Kwik Stix can be used on more than paper though - they are appropriate for cardboard, canvas, poster board and other common materials, and I wanted to see how they would hold up.  I had a little wooden craft kit put back for her, so I asked if she wanted to paint it.  YES!  I told you, the girl loves her crafts.  It dried quickly, as expected, and hasn't smeared or rubbed off, so we are very pleased.

I couldn't be more pleased with these paint sticks.  They are vibrant colors, virtually mess-free, and easy for all ages to use.  The Pencil Grip offers Kwik Sticks in Original, Neon and Metalix colors available on Amazon, so there are a lot of color options in addition to the different sizes.  They also have lots of fun craft ideas on Pinterest so if you need inspiration, be sure to check them out!

I am very happy with Kwik Stix and will continue to stock these in our art closet.

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©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.