Friday, September 30, 2011

learning by heart – sept. 30, 2011


The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”

- Henry Ward Beecher

I am still struggling to find a way to fit our lessons into our busy weeks.  I am so thankful for these posts, where I’m able to focus on what we actually did, and see that it was enough, instead of only remembering what we did not get to.  I have heard that homeschooling pre-K and Kindergarten (I feel we have a foot in both of these places) can be done in just one hour per day.  And so 5 hours a week is my goal – you would think it wouldn’t be so hard to manage 5 hours, wouldn’t you?  You homeschooling mothers that do 5 hours every day… you are amazing!!

Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to…



M has been writing up a storm.  We were recently given an old school desk that my husband had as a child, and we placed it in our breezeway for M:M's new school deskThe top opens and there is storage space inside the desk.  I filled it up with lots of goodies: notebook, dry erase board, markers, pencils, his ABC collage and trace book, game book, etc. 

The first thing he did was grab a pen and his little notebook and set to work writing.  Here is his very first all-on-his-own journal entry:first entry in his notebookNeed a translation?  :)  It says, “Matthew loves Mommy and Daddy  I’m 5 years old!”  Not bad, huh?  Some letters are missing and some things are written right to left instead of the other way around, but it is an awfully sweet first sentence if you ask the Mommy or the Daddy. :)  M did this mostly on his own, only asking me how to spell “years” and “old”.

We do a bit of copy work each week too (or more often, if he asks).  I let him decide what he would like to write, and he dictates it to me while I write it out on his whiteboard.  He then copies it into his little notebook.  Interestingly, this gives me a bit of insight into what 5 year old boys think about:another notebook entry“Car!  Go car!  Go scooter!”  Hee hee. :)   This is similar to what you would find in an early reader, isn’t it?  I find it interesting that he despises early readers and does not want anything to do with them because there is often no “real” story involved.  Yet, he LOVES writing similar things and is so proud of himself when he does. 

And, do you think the love of exclamation points is possibly genetic? (!!!)  I like to think we are just very enthusiastic about life around here. ;)  Actually M found out about exclamation points from a bottle of OFF! bug spray.  He recognized the word “off”, and was very excited to learn that an exclamation point gives emphasis to what you are saying, almost like shouting.  Let’s just say he likes to emphasize everything he says. It makes things much more exciting, you know.  :)



We did some fun science activities and experiments related to light and colors this week.  I’ll be writing about them on Sunday, and linking it up to Ticia’s Science Sunday post, so be sure to check back!

For now, I want to tell you about a great gift M received for his birthday in late August.  Have you heard of Snap Circuits

The set consists of metal connectors that snap together (so you don’t have to worry about your child playing with actual wires, although two “jumper cables” are included also), and you can build electrical circuits, using two AA batteries.  You can make the circuits do a variety of things.  There is a motor that makes a plastic fan spin, a music box, other sound boxes, lights, etc.  snap circuitsM has the junior set which came with a book of over 100 electricity-themed projects to do.  There are add-on sets too, which I’m sure he’ll be getting in the future.  He is really into batteries and figuring out how electricity works, so this is perfect for him!  You can learn more at the website I’ve linked to above. Sets of Snap Circuits have won a number of awards, and it is such a great tool for learning.  I’m not receiving anything for writing about this (although I think I may sound like a commercial), I just think it’s an outstanding product and I’m so happy we heard about it.  M works with his set every day, and it’s such a fun and easy way to fit a bit of science and engineering into our days.



I am finding math work to be the easiest to prepare and actually do these days, but that means some worksheets, and well, you probably know how I feel about worksheets. I am planning on using a lot of the great games found in Peggy Kaye’s book, in future weeks, to supplement: (Thanks for the recommendation, Kim!)

This week however, we did a 1-100 dot-to-dot page, for numeral recognition and practice counting.  M loves dot-to-dots, and he’s working very hard to get to the point where he can work one of these all the way to 100 on his own:Dot to dot page

I’ve started posting some blank pattern block puzzles on our fridge for M to work on throughout the week, whenever he wants.  I also place the blocks he’ll need next to it (which means I have to solve the puzzle beforehand, not always an easy thing to do!).  He has done great so far and really enjoys this:pattern block puzzle

puzzle finished with pattern blocks  

We also played “store”, which is great for learning about money and making change, as well as grouping items into categories!sept. 2011 011 Where are my sofa cushions, you ask?  You’ll find out below. ;)



M and Daddy had fun this week working on more engineering skills.  They built a huge (HUGE!) airplane out of Tinker Toys:

making a tinker toy airplane with Daddy  finished airplane

And M spent a little time aboard a ship he made in the living room:   ship made from sofa cushions Ah, that’s where those sofa cushions went!  We are currently reading The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting.  There is plenty of ship adventure involved.  Very exciting stuff. :)  I so enjoy seeing him act out books he loves.



We went on a little field trip to a local art center which has gardens and trails on its property.  We’d never been here before and it was a wonderful experience.  We had perfect weather and were surrounded by beauty.  There were trails splitting off in every direction and we wanted to stay and explore them all.  We’ll definitely be going back!

There was a pretty little creek with lots of bridges:M on the trail

We walked along the creek, through a little tunnel, which was very cool:walking along the creek, through a tunnel

And found ourselves here:beautiful, unexpected lake 

Beautiful.  Perfect for sitting and reflecting:Sitting and watching the lake

We talked a bit about how lakes and ponds, and creeks, rivers, and streams are different… water that is always going somewhere vs. water that stays in its home. :)  I wonder which is happier? 

The art center was next, but we were not overly impressed with what it had to offer.  We liked these two pieces best:

hanging artwork made up of fabric pieces cut to look like clothingA hanging sphere made up of fabric pieces cut to look like clothing…

pony encrusted with beads, buttons, etc.and this pony, encrusted with beads, buttons, and all kinds of things.

I hope you all had an interesting and sparkly week as well. ;)

Linking this post up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up.  Check them out for some great homeschooling posts!

Have a beautiful day! :)

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