Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Book Basket

In addition to our regular reading, I like to change out our book basket with books that are based around the season and/or holidays.  We add these books into our bedtime readings, and it exposes the kids to books they might not choose off the bookshelf on their own, and sometimes introduces them to a new favorite.  For February, we don't own a lot of books specific to Valentine's Day, so I opted to include other books that are related to the 'theme' or 'symbols' of the holiday.

I Love You Through And Through was the first favorite book of both of my boys so it holds a special place in my heart!  It's a sweet rhyming text that tells our little ones how we love them through their happy days, their sad days, their silly days, and everything in between.

You Are My I Love You is another wonderful book about a mother's love for her child, and how they compliment each other perfectly.

God Gave Us You is the story of how a little baby bear was given as a precious gift to mommy and daddy.  Mom tells the bear cub how she carried him in her belly and goes through the story of pregnancy in a gentle way, describing how they waited patiently and prepared the crib...all the things that all mommies and daddies do as they wait for their new little blessings.

You're All My Favorites is a book about three bear cubs who realize they may not be their parents' favorite, and question their parents about which child they love the most.  It is a great book for siblings and teaching them how we love all of our children "the most" and how they are all unique.

I Love You With All My Hearts is not necessarily about how much we love our children, but how we show our love.

The Night Before Valentine's Day is our only book specific to the holiday.  It shows the activities that school children might engage in the night before and on Valentine's Day.  You can see what we did with this book in Homemade Valentine's Cards.

The Rose in My Garden is of the same cumulative style as "There was an old lady" in that the book starts with a single rose, and builds into a beautiful garden in just a few pages.  A fun book, and particularly great for children who love flowers!

Hear Your Heart (Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Science) is great introduction for the 4+ crowd to learning about the basics of how the heart works, and even has a few exercises and activities for kids to try.  You can see what we did with the book here.

Additions that I forgot to include:

Love You Forever is about a mom who sings a sweet lullaby to her son his whole life about how much she loves him and he will always be her baby.  He continues the tradition with his own.  It is one of those love it or hate it books...I'm actually on the fence.  If you don't own it, I'm sure your library owns at least one copy...you'll have to decide for yourself.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? is part of the How Do Dinosaurs series, that comically walks you through the antics of a dinosaur (or a little child).  In this particular book, it talks about how despite typical toddler behavior, we really love our little ones.

What are your favorite Valentine's books?  I am always looking for new suggestions to add to our home library!

 photo ValentinesDayroundup_zpsdeed81ad.png

Monday, January 30, 2012

Math, Art and Time to Move On

Even though we aren't doing formal lessons yet, I have purchased some materials to use for Kindergarten this fall.  The math curriculum I purchased was Essential Math, Kindergarten from Singapore Math because I liked everything I had read so far about the curriculum.

Well, the first half of the Kindergarten level is not challenging.  At all.  It's like the dollar store workbooks for young preschoolers that say "draw a line to the matching picture" except the workbook is thicker, cost more, and has the word Kindergarten across the cover.

Elliott would probably want to poke his eyeballs out if I asked him to work through the book lesson by lesson.  I know I would, after the meltdown he would have over how boring it is.

So instead, I thought we could use it as a review.  There's no way he would work through the book "workbook" style, so figured if I combined several lessons into oral lessons, and try to make some of them hands-on and tie them into other subjects, I would be able to make quick assessments and we can soon move on to something that is actually challenging to him when we do start formal lessons.

We worked through the entire first unit in about 5 minutes, and he was bored before the end of it.  I saved one lesson from the unit to do as part of our art lesson.

Color Scavenger Hunt
When I told Elliott we were doing a scavenger hunt, he was very excited.  He asked if it was going to be like our Christmas Scavenger Hunt and he seemed disappointed when I told him it was going to be a color scavenger hunt.  I told him we would be turning it into an art lesson, and he seemed slightly intrigued, so I asked him to choose four colors, then find four items in each color.

Can you tell he's into superheros and action figures right now?

Now can you see why I said he would be bored out of his mind working through the book as intended?  Perhaps this book is meant to be a review, but the boys could sort colors as toddlers, so I'm a little disappointed that this is considered Kindergarten curriculum.  However, the beauty of homeschooling is that I can turn a worksheet into a game and make it at least slightly more interesting.

Art Integration
So we got out I Spy Colors in Art and looked at Untitled by Michael Craig-Martin.  Obviously he found the red key right away.  We talked about the different objects on the page, and his observation was that even though they were all different, two of the keys were the same size.

Then we broke out the art supplies.  I had recently found these fun and colorful paintbrushes for a good price and the boys were excited that they finally got to try them out.

I let them experiment with the brushes first, to get it out of their system...

Then I asked Elliott to make an "I Spy" painting based off of some of the items he had chosen for his scavenger hunt.  He painted the coal car, a carrot, a blue alien thing, and didn't finish the blue block.  

After it was all said and done, and I actually thought about his reactions, I was in for a bit of a wake-up call.  Perhaps I underestimated him since we've never done formal lessons before, but I thought a review would be beneficial.  He was bored throughout most of the guided activities, so I think actually skipping ahead might be a better option for him.

I recently read an article, Top Ten Ways to Annoy a Gifted Child.  Now I'm not saying Elliott is gifted, but I refer to it because most of the things on the list would apply to any child, and making him "review" and stay at his "Pre-K grade level"  is only going to make him hate doing the work.  It's time to move on.  If I skip too far ahead, I can always back track, but I think it would be more beneficial to actually find material that challenges and interests him.  So wish me luck as I try to figure all this out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tot School: Mom is a Frog

Emory is 29.5 months old.

co-op and no-nap issues
We had co-op Monday, and this was the first time Emory attended.  (He was carsick the day of the first meeting, so he napped it off at the babysitter's house.)  I am blessed that Emory still takes 2-3 hour naps, but co-op falls exactly during that nap time window.  He's still in the nursery, so he can't really disrupt a class, and she said he did fine when I left, but I knew not taking a nap would be...an issue.  He fell asleep in the car, but taking a full nap in the afternoon would ruin bedtime, so I created a monster by waking him early.  Needless to say, his sleep schedule was completely disrupted this week, and so was our daily routine.

Magnet Pictures
I bought some of these at the Dollar Tree again, since the Christmas ones were such a big hit.   Emory loves talking about the animals and mixing and matching body parts.  Apparently that frog is ME.  I wonder if daddy is the monkey or the dog...?

The boys love wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs, mega blocks...anything that builds and connects.  This is a Handy Manny construction set.  It's great for creative play and fine motor skills!  Emory is trying to see how many construction workers he can fit into the truck.

We did a little crayon painting with our griddle as part of big brother's art lesson I Spy Colors:  Crayon Melting but Emory wasn't really interested in mixing any colors.  I see a hurricane!

Emory specifically requested dinosaur puzzles one night...this is all I could find for him...

Diego is riding a dinosaur...

He also worked his number puzzle one afternoon.

He still loves his tozzle app.

Fine Motor Skills
Emory saw a jar of pompoms and begged for them, so I gave him some pompoms and tongs so he could sit at the table with me while I worked.

Catching a runaway!

Valentine's Sensory Tub
I introduced the Valentine's Sensory Tub and he really enjoyed it...

Transferring erasers was his favorite part.

Stories with Daddy

Favorite Books this Week
He loves making the sound effects "Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk" to Blueberries for Sal!

Tot School

Also linked up at Teeny Tot School at Confessions of a Homeschooler