Yea, Five!

First, let me apologize that it’s been 6 months since my last post.  It goes without saying that we’ve been super busy and I’ve got a lot to catch up on.  However, that will have to wait for another day because today’s post is all about my big FIVE year olds!

First, the stats.

Kyla-

  • Weight- 37.8# (35-40%)
  • Height- 41.75 inches (35-40%)
  • BMI- 15.4
  • Hearing- passed
  • Vision- 20/20

She was able to identify (and draw) the circle, rectangle, triangle, and “X” as well as write her name.  The person she drew had a head, eyes, a nose, a mouth, a body, and legs. She’s right on target!

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Lucas-

  • Weight- 37.4# (25%)
  • Height- 43 inches (50%)
  • BMI- 14.1
  • Hearing- passed
  • Vision- 20/20

He was also able to identify (and draw) the circle, rectangle, triangle, and “X” as well as write his name.  The person he drew had a head, eyes (with pupils), a body, arms, legs, and a penis (yes, a penis!).  Other than the drop in his weight percentile, there were no concerns.  The NP is not too concerned about the weight, figuring he’s just super active.

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So that’s the basic stuff.  Now for some of the more personal stuff.

Kyla-

Saturday was Kyla’s first dance recital.  She did such a great job!  She told me “I was a little scared” when I asked how she liked being on stage, but she also enjoyed it.  It’s funny to me how she’s so much more physical/coordinated than Lucas while he’s more advanced in academics (total opposite of typical gender stereotypes!).  Otherwise, she totally fits the girl stereotype.  She’s SUCH a girly-girl.  She insists on wearing long dresses (and if they aren’t long, they aren’t “pretty” enough).  She loves nail polish and makeup (which she only knows about because of dance).  She’s also been asking for jewelry.  She got a necklace for Easter (which she immediately lost) and wanted earrings for her birthday.  Dad said no.  However, Aunt Erin decided that every girly-girl should have earrings, so she got her some clip on Sofia earrings and amulet for her birthday, which she has worn every day since.  Oh, and she insisted on buying a Sofia dress (that goes to her toes) with her birthday money.  I not very girly, so we’ve decided that she’s actually my sister’s daughter. ;-)

Lucas-

I’m absolutely astounded at this boy.  He has started to really and truly read.  He knows several sight words and is doing amazing at sounding out words.  He’s even learned about the “bossy e.” ;-)  On several occasions we’ve picked up books from the library and on the way home he’ll read the book to me from the back seat.  And most days, he spends the time between waking up and 7:00 AM (the time he’s allowed to come out of his room) reading books.  I love how much he enjoys books!  N worries that he’s going to be so far ahead when he starts kindergarden that he’s going to be bored (and get into trouble).  We’re starting them in transitional kinder for next year, to give them more time to mature and work on their speech (which has improved a lot this year).  I have a feeling N is right about him being very advanced.  But with the right teacher, he should do fine.

Big changes are coming to our household at the end of the summer.  The kids will start TK and I will be going back to work.  I got a job as the librarian in a local elementary school.  The nice thing is that they will get to come to my school when they start kindergarden in 2015.  But I have to admit that I’m not looking forward to being away from them 9 hours, 5 days a week. :-(  They will be going to school with their friends K & J and their mom will be driving them on the days that N works.  I won’t even get to be there to drop them off on their first day of school. :-(  I get all panicky every time I think about it.  But I know it’s what is best for all of us.  I’ll try to keep you updated on how it all goes.

I can’t believe how grown up they’ve gotten.  It feels like just yesterday that they were my little babies.

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Still Alive

Wow, really? I haven’t posted since October?! I’ve done a ton of stuff with the kids that I totally intended to post, but apparently starting subbing has severely limited my online time. Or time in general. I kept up the home school stuff until just before Thanksgiving. Even the kids are asking me when we’ll do home school again. Guess I need to get back on the horse!

So. Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I’ll play the ol’ resolutions game. Here are my goals/plans for 2014:

    For the kids:

  1. Stay consistent with Home School for the kids.
  2. Enroll the kids in TK for next school year (which includes deciding where they will be going).
  3. Find an activity for Lucas to do on his own (Kyla has ballet and I want something that is just for him).
  4. Enroll the kids in ice skating lessons.
  5. Enjoy my last months of being home with my babies.
  6. For Me:

  7. Apply for any library positions in the local school district.
  8. Complete another Whole30.
  9. Figure out where these headaches are coming from and get rid of them!
  10. Be more consistent about exercise.
  11. Be good about blogging again (I know, this one goes in fits and starts).
  12. Spend more time with my husband.

There are probably more, but those are the ones I’ve got off the top of my head.

2014 is going to be full of a lot of change for our family, since the kids will be 5. We don’t plan to put them in regular kindergarten yet, since they have summer birthdays, but we do plan to put them into a transitional kindergarten program at one of two churches. We just have to decide which one. And along with that is the probability that I will be working full time again (assuming there is a job to be had and that I get it). It’s already been an adjustment with my substituting. While I’m looking forward to bing in a library again, I’m not looking forward to being apart from my kids every day. :( But that won’t be until August, so for now I’m going to try to remember to cherish this time I’ve got.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Week 8: Pumpkins

Lessons continue to be a little scattered because of substituting, but we managed to do quite a bit for this theme. We actually got started on Sunday, which helped get more in.

Sunday-
We had to go to Walmart to pick up some cookies for a service project that I signed us up for, so while we were there we picked up some Halloween decorations. They’ve been asking when we would “get ready for Halloween” ever since seeing their cousins’ decorations when we went to visit. They had lots of fun making little ghosts to hang in the bushes outside (we haven’t made the plastic bag pumpkins to put out there yet because the leaves were too wet) and putting up the pumpkin window clings we found.

Halloween Decorations

Halloween Decorations

We also took some time to watch a few Youtube videos of Halloween songs. I should have kept a list of what ones we watched, but I was just winging it (hadn’t really planned to start that day), so we just clicked through as we saw ones that appealed to us. Afterward, I pulled out some finger puppets and other Halloween themed crafts that my MIL got for them last year that we didn’t get to back then. We then used the finger puppets to sing some of the songs we’d looked at.

Finger Puppets

Finger Puppets

Monday-
I had checked out several books from the library about pumpkins and one of them talked about the life cycle of a pumpkin. So of course, we had to make our own life cycle book using a template from a Pumpkin Mini-Unit by Mrs. Rica’s Kindergarten. It didn’t print correctly (I ran out of ink), so I made the kids draw their own pictures based on the pictures in It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern. They weren’t the best drawings, but the fact that they even tried was great. Kyla tried to have me “help” (ie: do it for her), but when I refused she did do it.

Life Cycle Book

Life Cycle Book

We then did a pumpkin investigation from the same unit. We measured the height of our pumpkins using legos, counted the lines around it, tested if it would sink or float, and finally opened it up to count the seeds (we decided there were just too many to count! LOL). Of course, since they were already cut open, we turned them into Jack O’Lanterns!

Jack and Jackie O'Lanterns!

Jack and Jackie O’Lanterns!

Tuesday-
Monday night as I put Kyla to bed I realized she was running a fever of 103.9. So Tuesday went a little different from our usual. I had to sit in the car with Kyla while Lucas went to speech, then we took her to the doctor instead of dance, and spent a quiet afternoon before dropping Lucas off for soccer practice and coming home to make dinner until it was time to pick Lucas up. So while we had a lot of time, with Kyla feeling crummy, we did not get a lot done. I did manage to read The Christmas Pumpkin by Debbie Reece (who spoke at our AMAMOM meeting) and colored some coloring pages from it. The kids really enjoyed the book and said they wanted to find green pumpkins so they could make Christmas pumpkins too.

Christmas Pumpkin

Christmas Pumpkin

Wednesday-
I worked on Wednesday, so I left an activity for N to have the kids do. I used the life cycle pictures from the Pumpkin Unit and made a “Search and Trace” activity like we did for the Pirate unit. I used a handwriting practice generator to make the worksheets for them to trace and taped the words up around the house again. N said that they both did well. No pictures, though, since I wasn’t there.

The rest-
Thursdays are Speech and Zoo School day (Kyla was well by then). Which means there really isn’t enough time to get any sort of activities in. Friday I worked, so we didn’t do anything that day either. However, we got to go to a pumpkin patch with friends on Monday to continue the pumpkin fun!

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

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Week 7: Soccer

Well, this was a crazy week! We went to my mom’s for the weekend and didn’t return until Monday, so no homeschool on Monday. And Thursday and Friday were my first days to work as a substitute teacher, so no homeschool those days either. So we really only had Tuesday and Wednesday. I tried to get at least a few things in.

Tuesday-
We had speech first thing in the morning, so I found some soccer books while they were busy. I found Dinosoccer by Lisa Wheeler, Froggy Plays Soccer by Jonathan London, and Franklin Plays the Game by Paulette Bourgeois. I was actually familiar with all three of these books from my library days.

When we came home we read a few of the books before heading off to Dance class, then lunch with friends (I’m telling you, Tuesdays are busy!). When we came home we sat down to do some soccer math.

First we played a game of “I have, who has?” created by Jill Gillen. This is the first time we’ve really worked with the written numbers higher than 10 (this set went to 25). I did a quick lesson on the numbers 1-30, showing them how they looked and the pattern they make. I realized I really need to print out a chart for them that makes it easier to see the pattern. We then played the game by putting the cards face up in front of us so that I could help them “read” the cards. They caught on pretty well, and I’ve heard them trying to count higher lately. Even if they do say “Twenty-ten” (which I think is super adorable), at least I know they are catching on to the way numbers work! (N said he played this game again with them on Friday and he was surprised at how well they did, though the “teens” were definitely their weakest part.)

Next, I found a Roll and Cover Game from a math and literacy set that went with the Froggy book, created by Karen Swihart. The kids rolled two dice and counted up the dots and found the number on the soccer balls. Rather than print out the frog covers, I just had them use dot markers. Kyla got frustrated because she kept getting the same number over and over, so she started just turning the dice to get the numbers she wanted. I was actually okay with this, since she still had to figure out what numbers each die had to be on in order to make the numbers she was missing.

Roll & Cover

Roll & Cover

That was really all we had time for before I had to get dinner together and then off to soccer practice (Hey! That works for the theme, right?! ;) ).

Wednesday-
While we were less scheduled, we didn’t seem to be any less busy on Wednesday. ;) I worked with the kids on word families using this

Score a Word game created by KidSparkz. I didn’t have them write down the words, we just sounded them out together. Lucas really started hearing how the individual sounds came together into a word. Kyla was completely lost. She didn’t hear the word until I had said the actual word. I know we’re still a ways off from learning to really read, so I’m not concerned in the least. Exposing them to it is my main objective.

Sounding out CVC words

Sounding out CVC words

We went to the library for story time and managed to find two Franklin DVDS that had episodes about soccer! One was even the exact same as the book we got from the school library. So while I worked on making lunch when we got home, they watched that episode. Which of course meant we had to watch all the other episodes on the DVD after lunch! Daddy let them watch the other DVD on Friday while I was at work.

Oddly enough, I’m not even sure what we did with the rest of our day, but I know we got some reading in (those kids are fiends for reading!). We had a nice quiet evening, since I knew I’d be going in to work for the first time in over 4 years the next day! Saturday they played in their 3rd Soccer game. Such cuties!

Lucas pretending he knows what he's doing while Kyla waits on the bench.

Lucas pretending he knows what he’s doing while Kyla waits on the bench.

While we weren’t able to do as much as I might have liked, I’m glad I was able to fit in a few things. Future weeks will probably be slimmed down some, depending on what days I am working. I’m seriously considering leaving sub plans for N to follow when I’m gone! Next week I’ve only got 2 days that anything will be likely to get done as well. But I certainly don’t want to give up on our homeschooling, as the kids enjoy it so much.

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Week 5/6: Instrument Families

I had this theme planned out several weeks ago and by the time we got to it I’d lost my enthusiasm for it. Thankfully, the kids found the enthusiasm and then some! This turned out much different than I’d originally expected, but I love that I was able to go with their interest and keep them excited about the theme!

Monday-
As an introduction to our theme I showed them several videos of musical instrument families that I’d found on YouTube (see links below) and an interactive presentation I’d found on Teachers Pay Teachers.

When I first started this theme I wasn’t thinking of it in terms of families, but that was what the kids immediately latched onto. They loved the story of the String Family in this video I found:

They really got into the idea of the family aspect and acted out the story several times throughout the day.

We also gathered all of our musical instruments, listened to our Fresh Beat Band CD, and marched around the house. Then talked about what we use to be able to enjoy music (ears, listening, hearing, etc.). I then gave them each this checklist for a Listening Walk that I found on TeachPreschool.com. We took a walk to a park where we happened to find a group of families doing Homeschool! They thought it was really neat seeing other kids doing homeschool and were able to play with the youngest kids and pretend to build a campfire.

On the way home we looked at our list to see what we had not heard and tried our very best to be quiet and listen for those sounds. Unfortunately, they always scared the squirrels away before we could get close enough to actually hear them and (thankfully) we did not have any firetrucks come by. The clock was another tricky one, since all the clocks in our house are digital. If I had this to do over again, I probably would have made my own check list so that we would be more likely to hear all of the items on the list. Live and learn!

Tuesday-
We had Speech and Dance in the morning, so when they got up from Quiet Time (Lucas actually slept, Kyla did not) they came out to find letters on all of the keys of their keyboard. I showed them music notes and told them they had letters just like the alphabet, but they only went up to g, rather than z. I then had some sheet music for them to try playing: Mary Had a Little Lamb from Homemade-Preschool. They enjoyed being able to pick out the notes, though they aren’t quite there on the rhythm yet. ;-)

Playing Mary Had a Little Lamb

Playing Mary Had a Little Lamb

I tried doing a lesson using notes and pattern making, but it just wasn’t working, so I put it aside and pulled out this Instrument Family Sorting Game. I put the family names on file folders and the kids and I worked on putting the instruments into the correct family groups.

Finding Instrument Families

Finding Instrument Families

While we were doing this activity I remembered that I had a song/story by Danny Kaye called Tubby the Tuba. I pulled it up on my computer and let the kids listen to it. At first they were distracted by the fact that there was nothing for them to watch, but eventually they started to really listen to the story and enjoyed it. I pointed out to them the instruments mentioned and the sounds they made along the way. Then I saw that on the same CD there was a track called “The Little Fiddle” and even though I didn’t remember what it was I thought it was worth a shot. Sure enough, it was another story using instruments as characters. They loved it. I then went online and found a YouTube video for each of the stories, including one that is a cartoon made in the 60s, and also an entire web site about Tubby the Tuba, which was turned into a picture book (Danny Kaye was not the original performer, apparently). I printed out a coloring page from that web site that they enjoyed coloring.

These stories really seemed to grab the kids because they took the instrument cards from the sorting game and started using them to act out the stories. So fun!

Wednesday-
Wednesday tends to be “craft” day for us. So I found two instrument coloring pages that also required some cutting and gluing practice from Homemade-Preschool. One was a Violin that required gluing on the strings and the other was a Xylophone that had them cut out the keys and glue them on in size order. I think the xylophone one would have been better if they hadn’t been in size order already on the page, but the kids did a great job of cutting them out. Lucas did glue one on out of order, but only because he ran out of room. He’s not too concerned about perfection like Kyla is. ;-) We also put together homemade kazoos using toilet paper tubes and wax paper. They didn’t last very long with Distructo Boy around, but they were fun while they lasted.

Craft Day!

Craft Day!

We also went to the library and were able to get several books about instruments and music that were fun to read.

Slight Pause thanks to a super busy schedule and distraction from my mom’s surgery. We did not get to any activities on Thursday thanks to being away from the house from 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM for speech, doctor’s appointment (mine), zoo school, and dinner out. Friday became a family day, Saturday was their first soccer game, and Sunday thru Wednesday I was out of town.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the lessons when I got back. Thursdays are just too busy, apparently. And Friday (once again) turned into a family day (which is great!). We did watch some Fantasia and talk about the music, but that was really it.

Starting now things are going to get trickier to plan. I’ve finally been fully approved to sub for our local school district, so I won’t be home with them every day anymore. We’ll see how this goes…

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Slight Pause

I’m posting to just let you know that our week is being broken up into two weeks. My mom had surgery last Wednesday, which kind of threw me off a little and now I am at her house to help her out and the kids are home with N. We did 3 days of homeschool last week, but didn’t have time to finish all that I’d planned for the theme, so I will finish them when I return on Wednesday and type it all up together. I’m using my time here at Mom’s to work on my plans for future weeks. Stay tuned…

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Week 4: Pirates

With Talk Like a Pirate Day being September 19th, I thought it would be perfect to use a Pirate theme for this week. With Jake and the Neverland Pirates being their favorite TV show at the moment, it was very easy to get them excited about the theme (and to find a computer game for them to play!). There is a LOT of stuff out there that uses a pirate theme, so it was really just a matter of filtering through what I found and deciding what skills I wanted to work on and what would interest them most. Here’s what we did.

Monday-

To introduce the theme we started off reading some pirate books I’d gotten from the library, watched the Veggie Tales movie The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, and acted like pirates all day. We all wore head scarfs the whole day, even while running errands. I meant to get a picture of all three of us dressed up, but never got it. Oops! We also played the game Pirate Island. It’s a game of listening, thinking, and doing. Each card had a phrase which indicated a specific 2-3 step action that the players must perform. When I would call out the phrase, they had to think about what those steps were, then do them. I was actually quite amazed at how well they did this. Later Lucas called out the phrases (he can’t read, but apparently the pictures on the cards gave him enough clue and he remembered the correct phrases!) and Kyla did the actions. It was a super cute game. To keep it interesting I made them do everything super fast once I knew they really knew the actions. They really enjoyed it.

Pirate Island Game

Pirate Island Game

Tuesday-
We started the day at speech, then dance, then played a Pirates Arrr! board game. The cards are blank, so you can use them for any skill you want to work on. I decided to use it for identifying lower case letters. They did great! Unfortunately, it didn’t hold their attention quite like I thought it would. We played once and they didn’t want to play again. But they DID want to do another pirate activity. Which I hadn’t planned for because we had several scheduled things going on that day. But taking naps away last week means we have extra time in our day that I hadn’t factored in. So I quickly pulled out an activity that was meant for Wednesday. I used a Pirate Vocab Cards set and had them “trace the room.” They had to hunt for the picture/word cards that I’d taped up all over the house, then find the matching word on their tracing sheet and trace it. They seemed to really enjoy this one and I think it really helped them to see how slightly different letters can create different words. Lucas started to trace “pirate” when he found the “parrot” but quickly noticed they were not exactly the same, even though they both started with P. He began to really pay attention to all of the letters, rather than just the beginning. I think this was a great activity and one I may use for future themes as well.

Arrrr and Hunting (and tracing) words

Arrrr and Hunting (and tracing) words

Wednesday-
Since we did a Wednesday activity on Tuesday, I moved an activity from Thursday to Wednesday along with an art project I’d already planned to do that day. We made paper bag puppets from a Pirates packet by Rainy Day Learning. There were lots of good activities included in the packet, but this was the only one I used. I just didn’t have time for everything I found! I probably could do a pirate theme for a whole month and not run out of new activities!

Paper Bag Pirate Puppets

Paper Bag Pirate Puppets


The rearranged Thursday activity was Pirate Pattern activity within a larger packet of Pirate themed math. While the kids have done patterns before and are pretty good at them (thanks Umizoomi!), I had never referred to them as AB, ABC, etc. So I wasn’t sure how they would do with this one. When they finished making their puppets I talked to each of them individually about what the letters meant. I wasn’t sure if I had explained it well, but as I was talking to Kyla, Lucas started laughing and said “I colored that one purple and it supposed to be blue!” He thought it was quite funny. I told him that was okay and I was proud of him for realizing his mistake. I suggested he color blue over the purple, even though it wouldn’t look exactly right. The other patterns (ABC and ABBC) were a piece of cake for him apparently! Kyla, on the other hand, had a bit of difficulty. She didn’t do badly, just made a few mistakes. I wanted to make sure that I showed her where she’d gone wrong, but I also know that she falls apart when she’s told she has made a mistake. So I decided to approach it a bit differently. I said “Why don’t we look and see what you got right?” I then went one by one through the patterns and which colors should be the same. I had her tell me which ones were different and what color they would need to be to fit the pattern. I then had her circle the incorrect ones with the correct color. It worked well and there were no tears! As a matter of fact, Lucas was disappointed that he didn’t have any to circle! LOL

Pirate Patterns

Pirate Patterns

Thursday-
Although Thursdays are another busy day for us now, we were able to work in one activity. This one we did together, since it is a new skill for them. We’re talking Pirate Addition. I did not use these exactly as they are in the packet. I printed all of the addition problems, but I only printed off the number pages in such a way that I had at least one of every number 0-10. We then worked together to put those numbers in order. Then I gave each of them a pile of gold dabloons to use for counting. I would turn over a card and talk them through putting out the right number of coins for each number in the problem and adding them all up. We then placed the problem under the appropriate answer on our “number line.” Once again, Lucas caught on quickly and Kyla struggled a bit. I think more from a fear of being wrong than actually not getting it. After I knew they understood the concept, I gave a pile of cards to Lucas and a pile to Kyla and had them work on different problems at the same time and place them under the correct answer. Lucas worked quickly, while Kyla struggled and asked for help often. Of course, because I was so focused on helping Kyla out, I didn’t discover until later that Lucas was not always getting the right answer. By the end, we had quite a graph of sorts of all the different ways to add up to each number. By no means do I think they are addition experts now, but I think they’ve definitely got the beginning knowledge in place now!

Pirate Addition

Pirate Addition

I also quickly designed a rhyming lesson the night before using the vocab cards from Tuesday. I made my own cards with pictures and words that rhymed with 8 of the pirate words. We worked together to match the rhyming words. This was where Kyla caught on faster than Lucas. I don’t like to stereotype boys and girls, but it sure is interesting to notice where my boy and girl have their biggest strengths! (I didn’t get pictures of this activity because it was really quick.)

Friday-
Computer day! Of course, since we’re doing a Pirate theme, we HAD to do Jake and the Neverland Pirate games on the computer! I let them chose the games they wanted to play while I worked with the other child on ordinal numbers from the same packet as the patterns from Wednesday. I knew they had a good grasp on what first meant (how many times have I heard “Me first!” from one or both of them?), but wasn’t sure how they would do with the rest. As I suspected, they really didn’t know the others, so it took quite a bit of coaching on my part to help them through the task. I do think it was helpful for them to do this activity as an introduction, but I’m glad I chose to do it on Friday when the other child would be busy with the computer. And thankfully, N was home, so when the child on the computer was needing help he was able to step in so I could focus on what I was doing.

Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal Numbers

Overall-
I think this week went well. I wasn’t as fond of the books we got for this theme, but we didn’t really need them since pirates is a known thing for them. Today (Sunday) we also played Pirates and ate on the last two pirate map paper plates from the pantry (why not?!). I know the kids enjoyed this theme and it will probably make it’s way back into homeschool, since there is so much out there with this theme.

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