Monday, August 31, 2009

Meet Mat Man

Meet Man Man, made from the wood pieces in the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. Here, Little Bean constructed Mat Man and then drew his own man on paper. He quite enjoys this activity, and I noticed that he pays attention to much more detail when drawing after building Mat Man. Notice this Mat Man has a uni-brow, and so does Little Bean's hand-drawn man! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Workboxes

So, I tried a little adaptation to the workbox system this week, and I think it's going to work for us. The only issue we've been having with this system is that it can get extremely tedious handling all the different numbers and switching them from box to box each evening, making sure all the numbers coincide perfectly so that I am never working with both children at the same time (unless I want to be). So, this week, instead of numbering the work with mom boxes, I just used the work with mom sticker, and lumped all the work with mom boxes as the beginning for Little Bean and at the end for Miss O. So, only their work alone boxes were numbered; O's at the beginning, and Little Bean's at the end. This saved a lot of time for set up, and they actually seem to do better when I lump the "work together" boxes together instead of interspersing them with work alone boxes.

I was also having a bit of trouble because a lot of the work they do is together. For several of the subject areas I like to have Miss O sit in with us because it's things I know she'd benefit from and enjoy. In the past, this meant that her shelf would have an empty workbox on it, indicating that she would be working with Bean and I on his box. This really got annoying to me, so instead, I lumped all the boxes that the 3 of us would do all together at the beginning, followed by independent work for O and the rest of the work with mom boxes that O couldn't participate in with Bean. It's worked out to do it this way, so we'll keep this up unless something more useful comes along.

Here are Little Bean's boxes for one day last week:

100 Lessons and HWT workbook:
All About Spelling, segmenting:
Right Start math, Recognizing quantities 1 through 10 without counting, and arranging finger and tally cards in order:
Explode the Code, Book 1 and Bob Book 11:
Build Mat Man and then draw him from HWT:
Two puzzles; Bean must put them both together separately even though the pieces are mixed together. This is how I make our easy puzzles more challenging:
HWT, tracing letters:
Cutting foam:

Here are Miss O's boxes. This day, there wasn't any work that the 3 of us could do together, so she went straight to independent work:
Building silly faces with clings:
Putting cherries on the cherry tree:
Get Ready for the Code and HWT pre-k:
If you are doing workboxes too and would like to share, please use the MckLinky below. Be sure to link to the exact workbox post, rather than to your main blog page. Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edible Arrangements

Have you seen Edible Arrangements before? They are made to look like a bouquet of flowers, but really are cut fruit on plastic skewers. We received a lovely bouquet of fruit last week from a dear friend, and have been enjoying the fruit all week long. I saved the plastic skewers and made my own fruit shish kabobs for the kids to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The kids made these sweet little robots the other day using a butter box, a paper cup, foil and decorations. I got this idea from Funny Days With Mommy and Maddie. These were a big hit in our house last week!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekly Workboxes

My mother in law returned home on Wednesday, so we were able to squeeze in two days of workboxing this week. The kids were SO excited to finally be back at it. I can't say enough about the anticipatory factor with the workboxes. They are always so excited to peek in their boxes and see what is new and in store for them each day!

This week Miss O participated in a lot of Little Bean's work just because it the topics were broad enough that they could work for both their age levels. Thus, she has less boxes pictured here:

Shining coins: Miss O wasn't really into this. I really thought she would like it, but it wasn't a big hit at all. :(
Explode the Code, Book A: We finished up "M" this week. She is doing really well with this book. I don't make her do the writing portion though. My goal is just to get her to learn letters and sounds. She is getting a lot better at recognizing the initial sounds in words.
This is a "M and M" craft. She colors the circles the appropriate color and then stamps a lower case "m" in the middle.
Handwriting Without Tears Pre K--Drawing Lines and squiggles:
Scooping Oatmeal with a spoon:
For Little Bean we have:
100 Lessons: He is doing a lot better with this the second time around!
This is a stamping activity where he is supposed to stamp out the correct number using two different stamps (6 is 5 and1, 7 is 5 and 2, etc). The concept of this comes from Right Start math.
Right Start: comarison words and ordering by length.
Not sure why this is so blurry, but it's our All About Spelling curriculum. We just received it and did lesson 1 on Friday.
Rush Hour:
Explode the Code, Book 1:
Mc Ruffy Science, K--The Five Senses, focus on the sense of smell:
Link up with MckLinky to share what's in your workboxes!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Christian Homeschoolers, Can You Help Me?

Can you recommend something for a Bible curriculum for my preschool and kindergartener? Little Bean espescially is full of questions about God, heaven, hell, the Bible, ethics, death, etc. Most of the curriculum I have come across is more based on Bible stories, but I'm looking for something closer to a catechism--something that describes the Christian belief system and our basic tenets of faith. We are from a protestant (evangelical/reformed) background, if that helps any. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Read Aloud Handbook

Some time ago, some of my readers had recommended that I check out The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, so of course, I went to the library and did just that! It was a really great book (I managed to get through the whole thing!), and I would recommend it to any parents, not just homeschooling parents (since it is not specifically for homeschoolers, but for parents who believe in the importance of literacy and who want their children to grow up with a love for reading). At the end of the book, the author provides a list of great books to read aloud to your children, and then arranges them by grade level (listening level, not reading level for the child).

Little Bean and I started our very first real chapter book based on Trelease's recommendations, called More Stories Huey Tells, by Ann Cameron, which was listed as a good fit for K through 2. So far, (we are about halfway through), Little Bean has done really well with it, and he ENJOYS it, which is so important to me.

I can't thank my readers enough for the recommendation of The Read Aloud Handbook. So, if you are at all interested in this topic, please do check the book out!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Tikes Beach Ball Sprinkler

Last April, for Little Bean's birthday we got this Little Tikes Beach Ball Sprinkler and the kids LOVE this toy. It's definitely one of those summer toys that will last year after year and it's loads of fun! At first Miss O was a little nervous about being in the water's path, so we just turned the water off and she enjoyed pushing around the giant ball. Little Bean had no qualmsa bout soaking himself and everyone else though! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh, the possibilities of cardboard boxes!

Last week I whipped up this cardboard house for the kids and their playgroup friends, and it was a big hit! What have you made from old cardboard boxes?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekly Workboxes

It's been a really low key week here as my mother in law has been to visit from out of town. We did workboxes twice this week, but unfortunately, I didn't have the forsight to take pictures of each box those two times, and school didn't happen Thursday and Friday due to my mother in law visiting.

However, I keep a record of what I put in their boxes each day, so I can list for you what was in the workboxes one day this week!

In Little Bean's boxes:
Box 1: Read Aloud--Curious George
Box 2: 100 Lessons
Box 3: Tactile bucket with puzzle pieces hidden inside. Bean is supposed to find the pieces and complete the puzzle
Box 4: Right Start Math--Recognizing 1 through 8 without counting and working with the Abacus
Box 5: Stamping
Box 6: Sustained Silent Reading
Box 7: Handwriting Without Tears--forming capital "E"
Box 8: 24 piece puzzle
Box 9: Explode the Code--Consonant Pretest

Miss O's Boxes:
Box 1: Read Aloud--Curious George
Box 2: Tactile Bucket with unpopped popcorn. Miss O finds foam letters in the popcorn and puts them in the correct place in the foam puzzle
Box 3: Explode the Code "M"
Box 4: Playdough, using twisting and pushing tools
Box 5: Handwriting Without Tears PK--Aim and Scribble
Box 6: Sustained Silent Reading
Box 7: Magic Pics--this is that special paper that you can write on with one marker and the picture will be colored in all sorts of colors
Box 8: Working with the Handwriting Without Tears tactile materials, forming capital "E"
Box 9: Tangrams

Are you doing workboxes too? If you want to link up and show what has been in your kid's workboxes this week, please use the MckLinky below. Please link to your EXACT post about workboxes, and not to the main address of your blog. It also may be helpful to list the ages or grade level of your kids after your name/blog description.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekly Workboxes--Including the MckLinky feature!

Here's another weekly workbox post, showcasing our boxes from one day last week. I'm going to attempt to add MckLinky to the bottom of this post, so if you are interested in posting what was in your workboxes last night, then please link up! I'd love to see what others are putting in the workboxes!
Miss O's shelf': Boxes 1 and 6 are empty because Box 1 is a read aloud, which is in Little Bean's Box 1, and Box 6 is SSR and Miss O hadn't chosen her book yet.

Box 2: Markers and paper

Box 3: ETC, working with "B":Box 4: Find bead in the rice and string them. Match the eggs:
Box 5: Hand Writing Without Tears
Box 7: Playdough, roll, cut and mold
Box 8: Wood Pieces and letter cards, she will also share Little Bean's box 7 during this time: Box 9: Sorting Rod
Little Bean's shelf:
Box 1: Read Aloud. This is a collection of Curious George stories that we are reading together:
Box 2: 100 Lessons and BOB book 8 (I think):
Box 3: Spelling tiles and matching pictures:
Box 4: Right Start Math, Recognizing 6 without counting and comparing triangles and quadalaterals:
Box 5: Letter magnets, matching lower case and capital letters:
Box 7: HWT, Wood pieces, roll a dough letters, slate and workbook:
Box 8 : Laminated work book pages: Box 9: McRuffy Science, K, the five senses:

If you want to add a link about what was in your workboxes this week, please add the web address to the exact post, not the general web address to your blog. It may also be helpful if at the end of your blog name you list the age or grade level of your children. Happy linking, and I can't wait to see some of your workboxes!

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