Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Time!

For November, Carlee started a "fall" unit. We've been reading a lot of books about fall, the holidays Halloween and Thanksgiving, and about trees, pumpkins, apples, etc. She's really enjoying it, although it's a challenge to really teach her what fall is all about, when here in Sicily, there's really not much evidence that it is indeed fall.

For one activity, I cut up an apple and we talked about the different parts of it, the colors they come in, how they grow, etc. Then Carlee got to use the cut up apple halves to make apple prints with paint. Very simple, and yet she loved this.

This was an activity we did last Thursday. After talking about how some trees have leaves that change colors and eventually fall off, Carlee got to make her own colorful fall trees. I had already colored some rice red, orange, and yellow. She then glued the rice to a tree I had drawn for her.

Her most exciting activity, however, was on Friday. As we were walking to a friend's house for a picnic lunch, we went on a Fall Treasure Hunt. I gave her our small digital camera to take pictures of anything that she thought was related to fall. She did extremely well! Here are a few of her photos:

I printed out all her pictures, and next week, we're going to make a little fall book. We'll have a lot of more crafts to do, and hopefully a trip to the library to find some books on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Writing Letters in Homemade Sand

Another new activity today! (Working on adding activities to Carlee's school shelves.) A friend of mine had told me of an activity where the child practices writing her alphabet in shallow pan with rice, or corn meal, or another substance. I chose to make homemade sand since I wanted to try a recipe that another friend and homeschooler recently shared with me. It works really well for this exercise! (I tried the rice first, but the kind I had didn't stay so that you could see the letter that you wrote, so that's why I chose the sand.) Carlee is really enjoying this activity.

Homemade Sand Recipe:
4 cups dry coffee grounds
2 cups corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt

Mix, sift, pour, measure, and feel!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sorting Beans.... with tweezers

Carlee had the chance to try a new activity today. She got to sort beans using big tweezers. She did really well! I was so surprised that she also kept the mess to a minimum today. I really think it has to do with her new school setup.

If you look in the background, you can see two bookshelves. This is now Carlee's school organizing area. It's still a work in progress, and I haven't added all the activities that I want to yet, but basically she will have an assortment of things to pick from. I will change out the activities based on what we're working on at the moment. Today, she chose her Triceratops lacing card (another first time activity,) the bean sorting and pouring, Melissa & Doug Puzzles, coloring, reading a few books together, and her Dino Match game.

I was really inspired by the blogs I've seen using the Montessori approach, and so I incorporated the setup into how we do things. I think the structure and having the carefully chosen activites available for her choosing will really encourage Carlee's independence. She already showed improvement today, her attention span was so much longer after getting to choose the activity, and she even did a lot of it independently (which is highly unusual for her!) She was also much better at putting each activity away before picking another one. Hopefully, she'll continue to do this even after the newness of the setup wears off. =)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Preschool Co-Op #3! Apple Day

Today, Carlee had her monthly Preschool Co-Op. This month's theme was Apples. The kids got to do some apple crafts, coloring, and got to hear books about apples. Carlee had a blast with her friends, as usual. After the learning activities, they had a snack, and got to go outside to play with a bunch of P.E. equipment. Carlee's favorite were the stilts. I'm going to be making her some out of coffee cans. She was talking about her school time at Ms. T's house all day long! hehe. She really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fire Station Day!

Today, we took a break from dinosaurs and learned a little about firemen! We went to a fire day event for MOMS Club, and the fire fighters put on a great time for the kids. They each got to sit in the fire truck, honk the horn, hear the siren, see the fire suit, and got coloring books and other goodies. I talked to Carlee about each part of the fireman's suit and let her get up close to get a good look. We talked about how the suit protects him from the fire, and what a fireman's job is. She had a blast, and told me that she's not scared of firemen anymore. She later told me that she wanted to be a fire fighter. So awesome. =)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dino Dig!

This month, we're working on dinosaurs! Carlee is loving it! Yesterday, we had a preschool type co-op event for MOMS Club. We read a few books about dinosaurs, played "Dino Match" game, played with dinosaur toys, colored pictures, and did a dinosaur dig. The kids could not wait for the dig! They had a lot of fun.

I made the "Dino Match" game out of Juicy Juice lids and dinosaur stickers. I used 2 of each kind stuck to the bottom of the lid. Then printed out a pattern of "DINO MATCH" repeated over and over to cut out into circles and attach to the top to make it more official I guess. =)

For the Dino Dig, I had wanted to make bones out of salt dough for the kids to find. I didn't have time to do that for the event, so I used two packages of small plastic dinosaur toys. They loved it anyway. This week, I think Carlee and I will make salt dough bones, and make impressions into the clay to talk about fossils.
Sorry for the weird crop. Don't know if Carlee's friend's mom wants his picture on my blog. =)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Busy with Beans

Today, while at a friend's house, Carlee had the opportunity to play with a mixed assortment of dried beans. She was able to pour, stir, mix, measure, etc. (She's done this with rice at home before, but never beans.) She enjoyed it so much that when we we got home, she wanted to do the activity again. She had to wait until after lunch, but then she had her chance. However, at home she did not care to keep the beans on the cookie tray like she did at my friend's house. They were everywhere!

She took them to her little kitchen to "cook." She learned what happened when the pot was full and she continued trying to pour more beans in. She measured and scooped, and divided the beans into little sections of a mini muffin tin. It was good learning... then I asked her to pick up. The sight of the beans literally everywhere was a little overwhelming for her. She picked up for about 5 minutes before giving up and insisting that I help. I finally gave in, since she had at least tried and picked up for a while (for a 3 year old, 5 minutes is a long time!) I'm thinking of starting a star chart for picking up, as it seems she gets her strong dislike of cleaning after creative time from me. =)

I took pictures of the aftermath, but it didn't even cross my mind to take a few while she was actually enjoying the activity. I didn't want to interfere.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Preschool Co-Op #2: Our Five Senses

This month it was our turn to host the preschool co-op. We worked on learning about our five senses. I had three "stations" somewhat set up. Our first activity was to read My Five Senses by Aliki. This book is too cute, and really simplifies the concept of our five senses for little ones. Then we practiced our sense of smell. I had about 6 film canisters, each with a different scent inside of it. For example, one had coffee, one had a cotton ball soaked in vanilla, another had a cotton ball soaked in vinegar, one had shaved candle pieces in it that smelled like rose, one had garlic powder, etc. The kids found that interesting. You could definitely tell which smells the kids enjoyed and which ones they didn't like at all. haha.

The next activity was about our sense of hearing. I read a book about a boy who heard a mouse in the house. It had a lot of sound words in it. Then we did an activity where I had a few plastic eggs set up with various objects inside that would make different sounds. Lined up on the table were small paper cups that held duplicates of the objects. The kids had to listen to each egg being shook, and guess which material was inside. The objects were: a bell, marbles, rice, and cotton. They guessed each and every one right! They really enjoyed this activity and did really well. Afterwards, I brought out more of the little bells and they each got one to shake and listen to.

Then we moved to the sense of touch. We did a craft activity where we traced the kids' hands and then they glued different precut textures onto the fingertips of their hands. There was cotton, plastic, sandpaper, fuzzy fabric, and a piece of sponge. They seemed to like this activity as well.

Our next activity was for our sense of taste. I brought out paper cups with different items for the kids to taste. One was a lemon (sour), one had sugar (sweet), one had premade and cooled coffee (bitter), and the last was a chip (salty.) They got to taste each one and again, you could definitely tell which tastes the kids preferred. =)

Then we all had lunch and free play. The kids really seemed to enjoy everything, and I'm surprised that their attention held for so long. The reason I had preplanned so many activities was in case they got bored with one activity, then we could just move on to the next, but surprisingly they finished each and every one of them.

Since I was running all the activities, I didn't get to take any pictures. These I borrowed and cropped from another mom.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rain, Rain, Feel Free to Stay

This is how I want my daughter to learn:
By living, by doing, by experiencing first-hand the world around her. This is why I love homeschooling.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Art

She watercolored. I cut everything out for her, then she got to glue everything where she wanted it.
The final piece from yesterday:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Free Art

She certainly doesn't look like she's having fun, huh?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Unit 2: Ocean Unit

September – Ocean Unit
Fish Chant Count down 5 to 0 -
When I was a Little fish Song -
Slippery Fish Song with Words Sketch Book -
Slippery Fish Song with Movements -
Fish Songs:

Activities Brainstorming –
Make Fish picture out of cut out shapes.
Match fish by size or color.
Sort pictures of various types of fish.
Count fish – need to work to 15.
Fish pretzels from commissary – counting? Gluing? Just snacks?
Read Rainbow fish, and make a rainbow fish. Glue scales onto fish.
Count Octopus legs.
Practice Writing/Recognizing F and f.
Paint an ocean scene.
Sing songs.
Talk about Fish and other sea creature’s body parts. (scales, fins, gills, pinchers, tails, etc.)
Observe a fish tank or aquarium.
Read various fish books.
Do patterns with various sea pictures, have Carlee finish pattern. (fish, fish, octopus, fish, fish, ??)
Watch and discuss fish movies, Nemo, Planet Earth, etc.

Fish Coloring Pages -
· Fish Group (big, medium, small) -
· Generic Fish -
· Salmon -
· Lion Fish -
Paper Plate Fish Craft -

F Writing Sheet -

Crustaceans – Crabs & Lobsters
· Crab -
o Activites -
o Youtube Videos:
§ Crab Walk -
§ Physical Exercise Crab Walk -
· Lobster -
§ Lobster -
Ocean Coloring Sheets -

Other Ocean Animals –
Coloring Pages –
· Octopus -
o Octopus Facts -
o Activities -
o Video -
o 2 Octopus Crafts -
· Sea Turtle -
o Video – Baby Turtles -
· Sea Horse -
o Video:
· Walrus -
o Walrus Facts and Craft Activities -
o W Writing Sheet -
o Walrus on BBC Site -
o Video – Mommy & Baby Walrus -
o Video - tusk wrestling -
· Eel -
Sea Life on BBC -

Book List:
What’s It Like to Be a Fish? By Wendy Pfeffer -
Swimmy by ?? -
George Learns the Alphabet by H.A. Rey to work on recognizing big and small letters.
Pooh Bear’s Encyclopedia about fish.

Science Activities:
Making Waves -
Observe an Aquarium?
Do water activities out of Science Book.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Preschool Co-Op

Today Carlee and I attended her first ever Preschool Co-Op. She loved it. I was a little worried about her meeting new kids and wondered how she would do... Needless to say, I worried for no reason. She is definitely a little social butterfly.

The first meeting was set up as a water play day for the kids to meet and get to know eachother. They played in a little pool, had a water table to practice pouring with, a few buckets of soapy water, and then one of the kid's older sister brought out this activity for the little ones to do:

They loved this! Carlee was fascinated with being able to produce that many bubbles! She had a blast socializing with new kids her age, and learning of course. I love this preschool co-op group already!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Unit 1: Lesson Planning/Brainstorming

Sorry about the weird format, I copied and pasted from Word. =) This was a fun unit to start with. My daughter loves farm animals. As an ethical vegan, her loving these animals makes it easy to explain to her why we don't eat them. I filter what info I want to her to have. For example, I never include the false nutrition info that is listed in most of the sites I ran across.

August 2008– “Farm” Animals Unit
Read Charlotte’s Web Book to Carlee throughout month. Promotes attention span, hearing longer sentences, bigger words, speech patterns, quality time together.
“Farm” Animals Unit
· Farm Animal Sanctuary Video
· Farm Animals:
· Week 1: Pig in “Farm” Animals Unit
o (coloring, activities, etc.)
o Baby Pig Video
o The Three Little Pigs Story
§ (activities)
§ Build/paint a house?
o Charlotte’s Web Movie (*Wilbur ties in with Ww*)
o Pig Songs
o Pig Crafts
o Pig Facts (choose what to tell)
· Week 1: Other focus
o Letter: Ww
§ Ww coloring sheet
§ Writing Ww worksheet
o Number: 9
§ Number 9 Coloring Sheet
o Vocabulary: Piglet – a baby pig, Snout – Pig’s nose,
o Various books from library – Read, Read, Read!
o Review Letters
o Review All Letters Sounds
o Review #s 1-10
o Review Colors
o Review Shapes
· Week 2: Sheep
o (coloring, activities, etc.)
o Lamb Video
o Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme
§ (activities)
· Week 2: Other Focus
o Letter: Zz
o Letter combo: Sh sound
o Number 10
o Vocabulary: lamb – baby sheep, wool – sheep’s hair,
o Various Library Books – READ!!!
· Week 3: Cow
o (crafts, coloring, etc.)
o Baby Cow Video
o On the Range Movie
· Week 3: Other Focus
o Letter: Nn
o Number 11
o Vocabulary: calf – baby cow, bull – boy cow, udder – where the baby cow gets milk,
o Various books from Library.
· Week 4: Chicken
o (boy chicken)
o (stories, crafts, etc.)
o Videos
§ (baby chicks)
§ (chick hatching)
o The Little Red Hen Story
§ (activities for story)
§ Bake Bread together
o Chicken Run Movie
· Week 4: Other Focus
o Letter: Uu
o Number 12
o Vocabulary: chick – baby chicken, beak – bird’s mouth, rooster – boy chicken, hen – girl chicken
o Various Books at Library.
Activities to Use Whenever
· Animal Sounds exercise – Make a pattern of animal sounds and have Carlee copy them. Use different patterns. “Moo Moo Baa.” “Oink Moo Baa” etc. *Works on Listening and Sequencing.

New Homeschooling Blog

Somehow, I deleted my old blog that I was using to keep track of my daughter's homeschooling activities and learning. So now, I have to start a new one. =)