Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Butterflies

Week of 08/25-08/31

We have completed 4 weeks of this homeschool journey and I think I have changed something, added something, or completely eliminated something each and every week!!  But, I guess that is the beauty of homeschooling, right?   I am continuing to learn right alongside Greyson and I'm absolutely loving it.

Favorite Moment of the week:  We are cuddling and reading and he says to me "Mommy, I just love spending the days with you".  My heart absolutely melted! I give all the glory to the Lord -  He worked a miracle for me to be able to quit my full time job just a year ago.  I was reminded that He has this all under control.  All of those insecurities and tears from the first couple weeks of schooling were washed away.  We are right where we are supposed to be....

And to top it off, the words "I love my worksheets" actually came out of his mouth this week.  Not kidding!   I finally let go of all of the pressure to get "x" number of things accomplished each day.  I've relaxed on the things that he's just not ready for.  He gets to make more choices and TA-DA we are both happy!    

It was a good week! 

  • Memory Verse: Sunday School Verse this week - "You are blessed because you believed in the Lord" Luke 1:45

Sonlight Core P4/5 Highlights - Week 4

We enjoyed "Polly and the Frog" out of The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book*  this week.  Polly had a mean stepmother who made her take a sieve to the well, fill it with water and bring it back.  This was impossible, of course.  I had Greyson try to fill up a strainer and of course that didn't work.  In the story the frog tells Polly to jam the leaves in to the holes.  We went searching for leaves and sticks to fill it to try that.  He got impatient and didn't get enough leaves but he did have fun playing with the hose :)

We read other fun stories out of our core books as well:

Developing the Early Learner: Level 1*.  He really enjoys the auditory ones.  I think we play that game every day even without a worksheet.  He closes his eyes, I make 2 sounds, and he gets to say "same or different".  Then, it's his turn to do it while I close my eyes.


We were ahead in our reading of The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and just used the week to learn about about butterflies.   He loved to find different color ones out on our walks - too bad I never had my camera to get a good picture. 

His favorite was Gotta Go!  Gotta Go!  I did a silly dance and song when the caterpillar would say "I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go to Mexico!".  He thought that was hilarious and I would catch him singing it too.  Cute story!

Language Arts

We worked on Week 3 (Letter "M") of Sonlight Language Arts K and the "M" pages from the supplemental book for Phonics - Get Ready for the Code. 

He had fun thinking of all of the "M" words everywhere we went and spotting them on signs, labels, etc. 

We read The Greatest Gymnast of All which is one of the Level 1 books from MathStart.
  • We read about Zoe who is the "Greatest Gymnast of All." She's up, then down, on the mat, then off, over the hoop, then under.  Great discussion on opposites!!
  • I was surprised when we finished reading it he said "I also have the Hockey Opposites book from the library".  He sure did and it was a great supplement!
Top 100 Children's Books
I mentioned in this post that I found this great list of books that is helping me in picking out books when we go to the library.  I set up a book bin for these books and adding them in as we pick them up from the library.  I must admit, it's fun to find new picture books from the library!

Where the Wild Things Are was a new book for us this week.  We haven't read that one before but, both enjoyed it.  The other books were ones that we have read in the past but, pulled them off of the shelf to enjoy this week. 

Here are the ones that we read this week. 

Greyson's week in books

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

100 Best Children's Books

If you have read any of my blog posts, you know that Greyson loves books!    I am always looking for a variety of books when we visit the library.  I came across this post and since I L-O-V-E lists so much, I decided it would be fun to see how many we could read.   I set up a book bin where I started to gather the books.  I made a chart, got some stickers and put it with the bin.  When we pull one of these out to read, Greyson marks it with a sticker and we'll just keep track of how many we read.  

There is no pressure for us to read them all in a certain amount of time and we may not even read them ALL.  This is just a fun way for us to re-read some of the books that we have on the shelf and haven't pulled out in a while.  It's also a great way for me to pick out NEW books for us to discover when we visit the library.   I'm sure there are some that we will read over and over and some that Greyson will not be as interested in.   And that's okay!  

Here's a section of what the sticker chart looks like:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Monster Trucks

Week of 08/18-08/24

We read a LOT this week but, didn't really do anything "extra" to go along with the curriculum.  :(  We've been reading all over the place in our Sonlight P4/5 curriculum and I'm not really sure what "week" we are on (according to the Instructor's Guide.)  I plan to use the coming week playing catch up and getting back on track.

I think we have read the Monster Truck books every day for the last 3 weeks, not kidding!  He can now name all of the trucks, tell you how tall they are, and the parts of the truck!   The county fair had a Monster Truck Show that we decided to take him to.  It wasn't the best idea for me (being super pregnant and all) but, he was so excited.  He was fascinated that HIS truck, the Bounty Hunter, was there.  It was an experience, to say the least :)

  • Memory Verse:  Sunday School Verse this week -   "Remember God's miracles and obey Him"  Psalm 78:7
  • Learned about Summer and Thunder & Lightning this week out of the Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature
  • We did a lot of reading out of the ANT books that we checked out from the library.  His favorite was The Life Cycle of an Ant
  • He also enjoyed Thunder Boomer and talking about how loud thunder and lightning is

Language Arts

We finished Week 2 (Letter "B") of Sonlight Language Arts K and the "B" pages from the supplemental book for Phonics - Get Ready for the Code.  

Readiness Skills  

Developing the Early Learner: Level 1*.  He really liked these this week and we managed to get through multiple sheets.  We are moving at his pace :)
We read Jack the Builder  which is one of the Level 1 books from MathStart. 
  • Talked about counting on and basic addition.  
  • We built towers, parking garages for his cars, and race tracks with his blocks and talked about adding one more, two more, etc.  

Read Alouds 
Sonlight Reading for the week -
Another Favorite for the week -

**Greyson took a Sibling class over at the hospital in preparation of the arrival of his new baby sister.  He learned ways to help entertain the baby, how he can help with changing the baby, swaddling the baby, hold the baby, etc.  He got to tour the hospital and see where I'll be as well.  It was cute!!

**This was also the last week of the free summer movies in our area.  We've been able to go to a few this summer and it has been a lot of fun to enjoy these with my little man.

**A fun morning at the playground.  We were pretending to go the moon and this picture was inside the spaceship (aka tunnel).  I found moon rocks ("acorns") in his shorts pocket while sorting through the laundry the next day.   I love his imagination :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with tears

Week of 08/11-08/17

We are in our 2nd week of Pre-K and this one included a breakdown for me - tears, a gigantic headache, and a lot of frustration!   Moments of doubt and insecurity about this homeschooling journey all crept in! 

But, Here is what I learned...
* I've learned that Greyson really doesn't like worksheets. 
* I've learned that I plan WAY too many activities for his attention span. 
* I've learned that even if it looks like a cool art project to me, Greyson may not be interested in doing it.
* and I've learned that Greyson just wants me to read to him ALL...Day...Long!!!  

It's a good thing we are working through the Sonlight P4/5 Curriculum where there is a  lot of reading.  :)    But, I was having doubts as to whether he was really learning anything with just the readings.  

Here is what we accomplished.  I won't mention all of the things that I had planned that we never got around to doing... ha ha!  :)

  • Memory Verse:  We are learning the verse for Sunday School each week.  Verse this week -   "I count on God's power to help me."  Colossians 1:29
The Moon
  • Learned about the MOON this week out of the Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature
  • We focused on 4 of the phases and made the phases out of oreo cookies.  We  ate them, of course, which was quite a treat since it was 8:00 in the morning :)  
  • He practiced counting craters on the MOON and clipping the correct number.
  • And we read some other fun books about the MOON.  His favorite is definitely On the Moon

The Fourth of July
  • Learned about the Fourth of July this week out of the Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature
  • We learned about the American flag (# of stripes & stars, etc). 
  • We made Absorption Art Fireworks
  • We made Shaving Cream & Paint Firework and then had lots of fun playing with the shaving cream mixture
  • And we read some other books about the Fourth of July

Language Arts
Enter the main culprit of the stress from the week!!!   We have the Sonlight Language Arts K and the supplemental book for Phonics - Get Ready for the Code.  He already knows his letters and sounds and can write a lot of his letters so I thought we were ready.  Well, he is ready for some of it.    He couldn't handle all of the worksheets from the LA K, the phonics book, along with the readiness skills one we are working on out of the P4/5 Core.  SO, I'm making some adjustments and trying to convince myself that it's OKAY if we don't do them all!
  • We learned about the letter "F" - the sound, recognition of words that start with "F" and played games of finding objects that start with letter "F"
  • We did a few worksheets
  • and managed to practice writing the letter a couple of times on paper, some on the chalkboard (I wrote in chalk, he traced with a wet paintbrush), and in shaving cream.
 Readiness Skills
We read The Best Bug Parade which is one of the Level 1 books from MathStart. 
  • talked about comparison of sizes.   Who's big? Bigger? Biggest? Long, longer, longest? Short, shorter, shortest?
  • We did a quick (and I mean quick, like 2 seconds) game of Fish measuring and Bug Sizin

Read Alouds 
Sonlight Reading for the week -

Favorite pictures of the week...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: First week of school

Week of 08/06/12 - 08/10/12

We Did it!!  We survived our 1st official week of "School" at home.   Of course, this is only Greyson's Pre-K year so "School Time" is a very small chunk of time but, we were successful in trying to start a consistent routine.  This week was a HUGE learning experience for me (I admit, I had tears on Monday out of frustration).  Greyson was in a formal preschool program last year so I am in the process of trying to understand HOW he learns, WHAT he already knows, and what my expectations/goals should be.  

Work.....In.....Progress for sure!  

How to make the first day special???  Donuts (and coffee for me), of course :) 

  • Memory Verse:  We are learning the verse for Sunday School each week.  Verse this week -   "A wise person stays calm" Proverbs 12:16
 Read Alouds
 Readiness Skills
  • Worked on pages out of the Developing the Early Learner: Level 1*.   He is not a big fan of worksheets but, can handle a couple of these a day (most days).   When he wanted to stop, we stopped.

Listening and following directions

REALLY excited that he stayed between the lines
 The Sun

  • Learned about the SUN this week out of the Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature*
  • Learned that plants and seeds need the SUN & water for it to grow.  I picked radishes for us to grow b/c the package said that it took the least amount of days to grow.  We did Science on Monday & Greyson checked on his plant every day. By Friday, we saw GREEN and he was so excited!
  • Made a SUN Craft (he was only interested in painting & had no interest in gluing it together)
  • Talked about the heat from the SUN and watched an ice cube melt - he was impressed :)
  • Talked about Shadows and got to watch our shadows change positions. 
  • Read other books about the SUN and shadows throughout the week.  Greyson's favorite was Guess Whose Shadow!! 

Our Journey through God's World
  • Started an introduction to Geography this week.
  • Created a "Me on the Map" craft to show our house, our street, our city, our state, our county, our continent, and our planet.  We will continue to review for him to fully understand.
  • Sang (over and over) the Continent Song & practiced pointing the continents out on his new World Map Puzzle.


Greyson's Library Book choices for the week
  •  We read these over and over and over again...  :)

And we did a LOT of this.... He loves the pool and is so proud of his latest swimming abilities!  Fearless!  We made it there most afternoons this week for a lot of jumping, diving, and swimming! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sonlight P4/5 Book List

Sonlight P4/5 “Exploring God’s World”

Here are the books that we will be reading this year from Sonlight

Book List

·         Family-Time Bible in Pictures

·         A Treasury of Mother Goose Rhymes
·         The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book
·         Uncle Wiggily’s Story Book
·         Stories from Around the World
·         Children’s Book of Virtues
·         Eric Carle’s Animals Animals
·         A Child’s Book of Art
·         American Tall Tales CD
·         The Classic Tales of Brer Rabbit
·         Milly-Molly-Mandy Story Book
·         The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabit

Readiness Skills
·         Developing the Early Learner 1
·         Developing the Early Learner 2
·         Developing the Early Learner 3
·         Developing the Early Learner 4

·         The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science & Nature
·         The Year at Maple Hill Farm
·         What’s Under the Sea?
·         Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There is?
·         How Do You Lift a Lion?
·         What’s Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew?
·         How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World
·         Why Do Tigers Have Stripes?

World Cultures
·         Things People Do
·         Stories from Africa
·         The Gods Must Be Angry
·         People
·         Then and Now
·         New Toes for Tia

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2012 "Curriculum"

Pre-K "Curriculum" for Greyson (will be 4 in September)

Thinking about Curriculum for the upcoming year was flat out exhausting and overwhelming.  There are WAY too many choices and for a newbie like me, I would give myself headaches just thinking about all of it.   I'm scared to even write this out b/c I know that it will change.  I don't really know Greyson's learning style yet and I'm still trying to understand how to do this whole homeschooling thing.  I'm scared :)

I took a step back and thought about my goals and focused on what Greyson's interests were.
*I knew that my ultimate goal for the year was to make learning fun for him and that I didn't want something too structured.
*I knew that we would be doing a lot of learning through play.
*I didn't know how he would do with workbooks or how he would do with sitting still.

But, I DID know that Greyson absolutely loves books and that's what drew me to Sonlight - a literature based curriculum.So, we will be using Sonlight P4/5 "with a twist".

The P4/5 core "Exploring God's World" is broken down as follows:
  • Bible
  • Storybook (nursery rhymes, bedtime stores, and tales and stories)
  • Readiness Skills (focuses on perceptual growth (motor, visual, auditory, and comprehension skills)
  • Science (farm, seasons, weather, ocean, machines, plants, animals, etc etc)
  • Language Arts
  • World Cultures 
Check out all of the books that we get to read :)  

We got our box of books over the summer and have peeked in and started to read a little. 


Now, the "with a twist" part -

  • The Instructor's Guide (IG) says this is a 36 week curriculum.  I plan to spread it out and know that it will probably take us longer.
  • Another commitment that I made was that if Greyson was not ready or interested in a certain book, then we will just put it on the shelf for a later time.  This is a fun year and I don't want to force anything
Family-Time Bible in Pictures
We start each day with a story out of this bible.  The pictures are rich and colorful, it's easy to read and understand, and includes questions that we explore.  
  • Memory Verses:  The IG also includes a memory verse but, for now we aren't memorizing those.  Greyson is memorizing his verses from Sunday school throughout the summer and then in the fall will be back in his second year of Awana Cubbies.  We all loved Awana and can't wait for it to start again.

Read Alouds We read every day at breakfast, lunch, nap, bedtime and anywhere in between!  Did I mention that he loves books?  So, although I do like how the instructor's guide has everything laid out - by day, etc, I'm not going to get hung up on following it exactly week by week.   For example, the first book that Greyson picked up was Eric Carle's Animals Animals.    The IG may only have us on schedule to do 1 page out of the book for the current week.  We currently have this book at our dining table and read at breakfast or lunch.  If he wants to read more than 1 page from the book in a given day, then that's what we will do.  And the IG may have us skipping all over the book, we are just reading it in order and putting it down when we are ready.  My point is that we will be reading and learning through life whether we are at the dining room table or in a waiting room.  I, of course, will still be checking off what we read in the IG b/c I will want to feel accomplished but, we just won't be following the week by week exactly.  

Readiness Skills
Developing the Early Learner, Volume I from P4/5 - pre-reading experience focusing on the areas of perception: visual, auditory, motor, and comprehension skills.  We will aim to do these daily.

Science I plan to stretch out the P4/5 Science with supplemental books and activities.  He is interested in many of these topics right now so we will camp out on some of these for as long as he is interested.

Language Arts We have the Language Arts K from Sonlight but, I have no idea when I want or should start this piece.  Some of it is a bit advanced for him so, this is still up in the air.  

Math I didn't order anything for Math yet and don't really have a plan for that either.  Suggestions welcome?  I don't think (I could be wrong) that he would sit and do worksheets.  He may be more into hands on learning in this area but, I'm stuck in figuring out #1 - what he SHOULD be learning this year and #2 if I even need something formal.

 Co-Op He will also be in a Preschool Co-Op in the Fall (once a week)

This is the plan (or lack thereof) for now.    I mentioned above that we've peeked in to a few of the books throughout the summer but, I have officially marked August 6th as our official "First Day of Pre-K".  I'll begin updating the blog each week with our progress, what's working, what's not working, and whether I'm ready to throw in the towel and sign him up at the Preschool down the street... Ha ha - just kidding.

With a lot of prayer and grace, I think we can do this!

Let's Go :)