Monthly Archives: October 2013

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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