Sunday, October 12, 2014

Colored Rice

In our lesson about ancient China we learned about the importance of rice to the sustainability of the communities in the Yellow River Valley.  As a fun art extension, we decided to dye and make pictures with rice.

The whole process was easy and fun with neat results.  We are saving the left over colored rice for letter tracing or future art projects.

Here are some pictures and basic directions:
--Place 1 cup of long grain white rice in a plastic bag.

--Add 1/2 tsp of vinegar

--Add a few drops of food coloring
--Seal bag

--Knead, shake, and mix the color with the rice.  Add more color if needed.

--Place on sheet of parchment paper in thin layer and let dry for 1-2 hours.

We drew basic pictures, painted glue for where we wanted color and then sprinkled the rice on much like glitter.

The end result was a fun texture piece.  This would be a great activity to talk about color, texture, 3 dimensional, and maybe throw in a little social studies and talk about ancient China's unique crop of rice!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Learning History

One of our new curriculums this year is Story of the World.  It includes a daily reading, including fictitious stories of children who lived during the respective time to tell how they ate, slept, interacted- the story of their world.  Then there are map activities, color pages, and optional explorations to help engage the students further.

Our first lesson was actually the introduction to explain how history is learned.  Through stories, written or otherwise, and from finding artifacts buried over time discovered by archeologists.  Each piece or letter helps put together the puzzle of the story of the world for its time.

A suggested activity to discover what it is like to dig up artifacts and try to figure out the story of a lost world was to create an archeological dig in the yard, all taped off just like they are 'for real'.

I decided a more simple route for our purposes.  I collected artifacts from the long lost civilization of "Barbie and Polly" and buried them in different layers in a disposable aluminum pan in corn meal and corn flour.  Wetting areas created a thick, rocky clay to dig through.  Using baby spoons, paintbrushes, and some play dough tools my girls got to work unearthing the treasures.

We had a wonderful time piecing together the story of the dolly world.  I threw in a couple of unknown elements so my kids learned that sometimes archeologists have to talk to each other and look to other resources to discover what things are.

Even if you aren't doing Story of the World, this was a great little activity to talk about history, archeology, mystery, civilization, artifacts, team work and all in a tactile way!

 And yes, even the toddler got in on the action!

Hip Homeschool Moms

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Day in the Life

There are many questions or comments we get when people find out we homeschool.  One of the most common ones is some variation on "What do you do all day?".  I think most are not asking this in a condescending way as if I've got my feet up eating the proverbial bon bond, but more out of curiosity of how school works in a home.  What does it look like to learn when you aren't sitting at a desk with 25 other kids for 7 hours a day?  How do you live, cook, clean, play, and now learn all in one day in the same place?
Best laid plans.  My weekly planner
(I try to plan out about 3-4 weeks ahead).
Color coded for each kid.

For us, a day in the life is not a simple answer.  We do not have a strict schedule, but rather a rhythm we strive for.  So, in my best efforts, I will describe the best way I can of how we 'do it' (or at least what we're trying right now because frankly it doesn't always work!)

I made our own calendar book in a
presentation binder with laminated pages
This year Monday's will have Izzy gone all day at a homeschool ancillary program where she will be doing classes in drama, art, music, science experiments, math games, Spanish, and gym.  It is also dance day for both older girls.  Therefore, Mondays I will be fitting in some learning time one on one with Liliana, but otherwise not much else school wise will happen.

A typical 'other day' looks something like this:

7-8:30--Wake up, breakfast, chores, dressed and ready for the day

One of my custom pages for k-2
8:30-- Calendar time and devotions.  We love starting our day together, laughing and learning.  While calendar is not needed for Izzy much, I have found it to be a great time of review for other concepts for her while Lili and I sing the days of the week song and such.  Lucy joins us and colors or sings along.  We pray and get ready to start the rest of our learning day!

9:00-- I pow wow with Izzy and go over her daily checklist.  This gives her the scope of the day and lets her see what the goals are.  This was something we started late last year and has helped build her independence as well.  Often I teach her new math concept and she then goes and does any work she can do independently- usually her math lesson, handwriting, and some of her reading/language arts or writing.  Then I do the best I can to do math and reading with Liliana while maintaining Lucy's attention as well. Since we have not done much school yet, this has yet to be determined to be successful.
Daily Checklist for Izzy- grade 3
   10:00-- snack and break time

   10:30-- Finish up and review any independent work.  I also use this time to have Izzy watch Lucy while I finish up with Liliana.

   11:30-- break for lunch, chores, playtime

   1:00-- While Lucy is napping I do the subjects with Izzy that she needs teacher direction including story of the world, spelling, and some language arts.  Lili often plays a game on the iPad or reads books.

   2:30/3-- hopefully most of our work is done for the day and the girls enjoy some quiet playtime while Lucy finishes her nap.

Late afternoon and evening-- I do the rest of my 'mom' chores like cooking and laundry as we finish our day.  Usually about this time I have the girls 'reset' the school room to make sure we have a clean table and fresh start to our day tomorrow.

Some days look like this
Others, like this!
And the big Asterisk to this is the fact that I have an 18 month old running around and an untested attention span of a 4.5 year old.  Life gets messy.  Crayons get eaten.  Puzzles get dumped.  Errands have to be run.  Some days are joyfully pleasant and we enjoy books and crafts together.  Others, I about want to raise the white flag and summon the big yellow bus.  You never know what you will find in the day in our life, but it is sure to be filled love (even if its deep down!).

You can check out more homeschooling families day in the life at the ihomeschool network blog hop today!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Photos

Hard to believe we have entered our second year of homeschooling- it already feels 'normal'.  I am thankful to not have to say goodbye to my oldest every morning and not see her until almost dinner time.  I am nervous about beginning to teach my middle to read, but yet excited that I can start even though she is "not old enough" by law to go to Kindergarten yet.  I am still trying to figure out how we'll do all of our learning and exploring while chasing down a busy toddler.  Whatever the case- we are excited to be home, learning together, enjoying each other, and being intentional about life.

Here are our 'first day of school' photos:

Liliana age 4.5- Kindergarten!
Lil is our resident extrovert who loves and lives deeply and passionately.  She wants to read and learn just like big sister.  She's excited to take dance again this year and also do science experiments.
 Isabelle age 8- 3rd Grade
Izzy is our quiet courage girl.  She has just blossomed over the past year into a sweet, kind, helpful, and compassionate young lady.  Izzy will be doing a Monday program at our homeschool building where she will get drama, music, art, Spanish, gym, science, and math games.  She really wants to learn about prairie dogs and read the Kit series.  She will also be in tap dance.
 Lucy age 18 months
Lucy just had to get in on the action. She's the one we have to chase all day and keep busy.  She wants to do learning just like her sisters and color on the marker board.  Now the trick is getting her to not eat the markers or color on herself.

We are excited for our year!

I'm taking part in this week's not back-to school hope over at ihomeschoolnetwork!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2nd Year of Homeschooling Launch- Our Room

Last year was our first year.  As much as I was warned and I tried to stay away, our room and set up ended up being more of a 'school at home' rather than the lifelong learning intentions I had.  While I found some benefits to the school at home set up, I did make a few adjustments going into our second year of homeschooling.  This was also partly due to the fact that the youngest is now 18 months old and into everything- so many things need to be 'locked away'!

Our room is a main floor office we had originally intended for a play room.  It has great natural light and some large built in bookshelves.  We used an old dining room table we had downstairs, an old sofa chair with a slip cover, and a massive white board found at habitat humanity ReStore.
 We have a small bulletin board for sight words, clock, reference guides, and 100's chart.  Around the room we attached magnet strip to hang art work, maps, and counting strips.  The built in desk area houses our printer, pencil sharpener, and magnet boards for AAS.
 In one of the big cupboards of the built-ins we have added doors and child locks.  This way the markers, stacks of paper, and our pink bins of school books stay safe from the active toddler.  Our pink boxes hold our daily workbooks and TM.  Above the cupboards I have a blue bin of easy access glue, scissors, pencils, index cards, post its, and my green planning binder.  Both girls have a decorated mug filled with their pencils and pens of choice.
 The window wall hosts our chair and small play area to help keep the toddler and sometimes 4.5 year old (who's doing some K work this year) entertained.
Often our room expands into the dining area when the 3rd grader needs quiet work time or to the couch for read aloud time, but this is a great space for school central.  We are very thankful to have it. Welcome to our room!

My post this week is part of the not back-to school hop over at ihomeschool!