"Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life"- Charlotte Mason

Friday, February 11, 2011

Learning through fun!

I decided to change our routine up a bit.  We needed to do something different because what we were doing was dragging and I felt a little resistance starting from the girls.  I made sure that we were pretty busy this week.  We did many little projects and activities that made learning fun.  Our week seemed to go a lot smoother and the resistance from the girls was gone!  It was a very good week! 

Mackenzie is reading Anne of Green Gables (a child's version).  We still read poetry and stories from the Bible daily.

Mackenzie has been working with fractions.  After doing a few fraction worksheets, we did some hands on activities.  We made a cardboard pizza and used that to discuss fractions.  We also used an old milk carton to talk about what fraction of the carton was full.  We played fraction dominoes.  We did activities so she could understand that a fraction is a part of a whole.  Lorel played with marbles for Math.  She sorted into groups, counted, made addition problems using them, and made them into patterns.

We did many fun little writing activities everyday.  The girls loved it!  I was so excited I found some things to do that involved writing that they enjoyed.  We cut out pictures of people in magazines, glued them on a paper, and wrote a fake biography for that person.  We made a dream cloud mobile.  The girls cut out clouds and wrote their dreams or hopes on them.  We then tied them to a hanger.  We wrote a different ending to Cinderella.  We listened to the first sentence of a song, stopped the music, and then wrote the line down on paper.  We wrote a story influenced by Dr. Seuss.  We made quill pens out of feathers and dipped them in paint to write like people who lived long ago.

We did many fun little science experiments this week.  We made a Cartesian diver out of a soda bottle.  We made raisins dance using water, vinegar, and baking soda.  We made a rocket match stick.  We made glue from milk.  Our favorite experiment was when we made a diet soda geyser.  We dropped Mentos in diet soda and it shot up!  The girls liked it so much they want to do it again when Daddy is home to show him!  Check out the video!  I was really surprised how high it got!

Social Studies
This week we studied different cultures through food.  Each day we made a recipe from a different country.  We made cinnamon scones from Britain, Moussaka from Eastern Europe, Sweet and Sour Chicken from Asia, onion soup from France, and Baklava from Greece.  The girls liked most of the things.  It was a fun way to learn about other cultures.  It was also fun to have the girls in the kitchen helping me cook.

We did a little art project everyday.  We made tape resistant birch tree paintings.  We made birch trees out of masking tapes, painting water colors around the tape for a background, then pulled the tape up after it was dry.  We made a hex design using markers.  The girls colored their names and made patterns and designs on all around their names.  We made a turtle out of clay.  We made season cubes.

Physical Activity
We placed all of our pillows on the floor.  The girls had to jump from pillow to pillow without touching the floor because it was "lava".  We had races.  We danced.  We played the human wheel barrow.  We crawled like a crab.  We strode like a giant.

We made a couple of homemade instruments.  We played the water glasses with spoons.  We made rice shakers.  We learned how to play the rim of a water glass with our finger.  We had a lot of fun!

Today we went to see the Justin Bieber movie.  The girls loved it!  He is a great kid and a good role model for kids to have.  Our week was awesome!  We plan to have many more like this one!

Friday, January 28, 2011

And we are back!!!

I haven't blogged in a while because our computer was broken.  It took a while to get the part and get it fixed.  But it is working now so I have internet again!  Yay!  We have been very busy these past few weeks. 

This week Mackenzie worked with synonyms/antonyms.  She also is starting with multiplication.  She is able to multiply the 1's, 2's, and 3's.  We just started this week and I am very happy with how quick she has caught on.  She is well on her way.  She has also started learning cursive.  She is doing ok with that.  She also learned about Diogenes.  He was a philosopher from Greece who believed in living simply.  He lived in a barrel.  He lived to prove that social class is of no importance.  She also continues to learn about the history of Great Britain.  We read a story about bee's and how they are all born the same and the only reason that the queen becomes the queen is because she is housed and fed differently from the other bees from birth.  We read a folk tale about how the camel got his hump.  We continue to read a poem and the bible everyday.  We are currently learning about Mose and the Israelite people and their journey from Egypt.  I am proud of Mackenzie and how much she is learning.

Lorel continues to read.  Her reading is improving.  She practices writing everyday.  She also practices addition.  She continues to love working on the computer.  Her favorite thing to do is paint!  She is doing very well!

Last week we took a trip to Lubbock, TX.  We went to the Children Science Museum.  It was so neat!  The girls had a blast and learned a lot.  We then went to Chuck E Cheese for dinner.  It was nice to get out of Hobbs.

On Monday night we also had our own dance/light party at home.  The girls had so much fun!  We turned the lights out, turned the flashlights on,  put glow sticks around our necks, blasted the music, and danced.  The girls also had fun watching their shadows on the wall.  So we talked about shadows this week.  Here is a short video of our fun!  It is hard to see  the video but I LOVED the girls laughing so I had to put it on!
We had a good week!  The girls learned and accomplished a lot! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our holidays were very merry!  For Christmas we got to visit with Brad.  For the New Year we got to visit with Grandpa and Grandma Peterson.  It was nice to be with family for the holidays.  We were excited to get to spend time with them.  It was a nice long break from school.  It was hard to get back into our routine!  The girls enjoyed their break and so did I.

This week the girls have worked hard.  I found this really neat book.  It is called The Children's Bible in 365 stories.  It takes the stories of the bible and adds pictures.  We read from it everyday.  This week we read about the creation of the earth, Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, and Noah's Ark.  The girls really enjoy it!  We also read a recreation of Beauty and the Beast.  We continued with learning about birds.  This week we read a fictional story about a wren and a sparrow.  We learned that sparrows are bullies even though they aren't as big as many of the other birds.  We read about Alexander the Great and his story about how he became a great ruler.  We continue to read Aesop fables.  The morals are a little hard for the girls to understand but after a little explaining they usually get the point.  We read a poem everyday from a book called A child's garden of verses.  The poems are about children and their imaginations while playing or dreaming.  They are beautiful!  The girls practiced writing everyday.  Mackenzie's is starting to look very neat.

We continue to work hard.  It is a tiring job for me.  But it is worth it.  I am ready for all of the outside activities to start back up.  Art class and story hour start back up next week.  Soccer starts again in March.  It was nice with these activities.  It got us out of the house and gives the girls a chance to be with other people.  I sometimes wish that we live in a bigger city with more to do.  We have done everything in Hobbs and it gets a little boring.  But we make do.  We all have everything that we need and that is all that matters!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grandma Diesel Visits

We had a really great week!  Our biggest surprise was that we got to visit Grandma Diesel for a few hours on Thursday.  She was helping Brad move to Dallas and took the trip to Hobbs to be here for a while.  We had a lot of fun with her.  We ate lunch, fed the ducks, and then went to the cowboy museum.  It was so nice to see her! 

We started a few new ideas for learning this week.  We started a nature journal.   In it we are going to include drawings done by the girls, leaf/flower rubbings, short journal entries of what we saw, information about the new things we are learning in nature.   By the end of the year the girls should be able to tell the name of 6 trees that we studied in each different season by looking at the bark and the leaves.  They will also be able to name 6 types of plants/wild flowers when looking at them.  They should also be able to tell the name of 6 birds by appearance and by their call.  So this means we will be outdoors a lot.  I am very excited because I LOVE nature and being outside and so do the girls.  This week we learned about 2 trees.  The Elm and the White Poplar tree.

Mackenzie has started reading a poem a day.  She also has started to read Aesop's Fables.  Some of them are pretty interesting.  She has also been studying Ancient Greek Myths.  This week she read about Albion (son of Poesidon) and how he was the first ruler of an island that was named Albion after him. Later on it was named Britannia (named after Brutus who conquered the island of giants) and finally named Great Britain (because it was the largest of the group of many islands).  I ordered her a new book off of Ebay.  It is A Little House in the Big Woods.  I can't wait for her to start reading it.  I know that she will love it.   

Both of the girls have started "copywork".  This is where I find a passage from a book or a poem, something for them to copy.  I bought the lined paper with the dotted line down the middle.  This is to practice their penmanship.  I also think it will help them learn capitals, punctuation, and spelling.  I have seen an improvement in Mackenzie's printing in this short time already.  I think it has made her more aware of writing neatly.  Before she would just write and not worry about what her writing looked like.  Now she does.

Lorel continues to improve with reading.  Sometimes I even find her trying to read stuff on her own!  YAY!  I haven't done much else with her but read.  She reads to me and I read a lot to her.  She, of course, is learning about nature and loves it.  She also listens in on Mackenzie's lessons.  She is very much so a free spirit and learns a lot on her own by watching and listening.  She is so laid back and only does things when she wants to do them.  She loves to play with water in the sink, sand outside, bubbles, anything to make a mess! LOL!  Which is great.  That is the joy of homeshooling.  She can learn at her own pace.  I think the most important thing with a five year old is that they get to run, jump, and play when and how they want to.  I still think that she is ahead and is very smart!

The girls tried a pomegranate for the first time this week.  They loved it!  It really surprised me.  I am so lucky to have children that aren't picky. 

Today we are going to make a count down to Christmas chain.  Then at 3:00 we are going to the library because they have a man that plays guitar coming to sing Christmas songs with the children.  It should be fun!

All of these new ideas that I have implimented came from an educator named Charlotte Mason.  She taught school in England.  She lived from 1842-1923.  She saw trouble with the public education school systems so she dedicated her life to improve the quality of education of children.  Her ideas were a head of her time.  Her ideas are now used by many homeschooling families.  She was a brilliant woman and I have enjoyed reading and studying her life and her work.  I am very glad that I stumbled across her.

This is a picture that I captured last night of the sunset from our backyard.  I LOVE it so I decided to put it on!
 I am so glad that I am the one raising and teaching my children.  I know that the most important person in a child's life is their mother.  I love my girls more than they will ever know and glad that they are apart of my life. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

We have had a pretty busy week.  The weather has been BEAUTIFUL here.  Wednesday and Thursday it was 70.  Today it is supposed to get up to 78.  It is perfect.  We did our school work in the morning and then I gave the girls a chance to play outside all three days in the afternoon.  They LOVE being outside. 

On Saturday the girls had fun raking leaves.  The neighbor kids came out and raked their leaves also.  The girls really enjoyed jumping in the piles.


On Monday we got our Christmas tree.  It sure was a crazy sight with us driving it home in the camaro!  We had fun decorating it though.  We can't wait for Christmas!

  On Tuesday the girls, Chad, and I made a bird feeder.  We found the kit at Lowe's so we kind of cheated so we didn't have to cut the wood.  The girls used wood glue and the drill to screw it together.  They then painted it.  We allowed it to dry over night and hung it up on Wednesday.  We haven't seen very many birds eating from it but hopefully in the spring we will see more.

  The girls learned about mummies online this week.  We read many books.  Lorel continues to get better with sounding out words.  Both of the girls are doing really well in math.  We are studying poems this week.  The girls are in the process of memorizing a poem.  It's called One Sister for Sale by Shel Silverstein.  It fits the girls perfectly!  It's about a sibling who is trying to put their sister up for sale in an auction.  They almost have it down.

This week we started a little reward system with tickets.  The girls receive a ticket for positive behavior such as helping me, helping their sister, picking up, getting their work done, etc.  They get a ticket taken away for negative behavior such as fighting, back talking, arguing, etc.  Then every Saturday the girls will count how many tickets that they collected during the week and choose if they would like to use them or keep saving.  We made a list of rewards and how many tickets each one is worth.  For example, an ice cream cone, a new book, a small toy are all 15 tickets.  Then we have big rewards like a new outfit,  a big toy, a movie, and a day out alone with mom or dad.  These, of course, are all 50 tickets and above.  It really seems to be helping!

I am really enjoying homeschooling and the more we do it the more I feel that it is working for us.  I really feel that the girls are right where they need to be.  Am I preparing them for standardized tests? Well, no.  But I do feel like I am preparing them for life.  I have never really agreed with standardized testing anyway.  How can one test determine what a child knows and how smart they are?  Homeschooling educates a child in a completely different way than the public education system.  I really do believe that homeschooling was a positive decision for us.  

It was a good week!  I am REALLY looking forward to next week!  We are going to try some new ideas with homeschooling!  I can't wait!