First Day of School!

I just cannot believe that it is almost October already. We are well into our 2014-2015 school year, but I couldn’t miss posting about our first day of school.

I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I hoped to be (as far as setting up the school room went), but we were as ready as we needed to be.

Abigail started first grade. She’s doing Sonlight for Language Arts, Saxon Math 1, Apologia’s Exploring Creation through Astronomy, and The Mystery of History Volume 1.

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Sarah started Kindergarten. Because she followed along with Abigail’s My Father’s World curriculum last year we will use a series of printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1 along with a workbook for language arts and math. She is following along with Abigail for science and history as well.

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Lily. What can I say about Lily? I had grand plans for her and preschool. But, you know what? I think I’ll let her go on being a 2 year old. She hangs out with us in the school room coloring, “crafting”, and fooling around. I hope simply being in the room with her big sisters will do a good job preparing her for preschool come next fall.

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Here’s to a great 2014-2015 school year!

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Last Day of School

We have a little tradition we started where on the first day of school we take pictures and conduct a little interview with each student. I enjoy looking back to see how much my girls have grown and how much their personalities have developed and changed. Here are the girls first and last day photos as well as their first and last day interviews:

Abigail

First Day of Kindergarten:

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Last Day of Kindergarten and Promoted to First Grade:

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Interview Questions/Answers (first day | last day):

My Age:  five | six

My favorite show/movie:  Oso and Cinderella | Lego Friends

My favorite color is:  pink, purple, yellow | pink, purple, and yellow

The best thing about school is:  learning about Jesus | math

The coolest person on earth is:  mommy | God

I am very good at:  playing sorry | coloring good pictures

When I grow up I want to:  be a ballerina | be a ballerina, artist, and a rock star

My favorite food is:  salad | salad

My least favorite food is:  chicken | chicken

My best friend is:  Constance | Melina and Allison

Jesus:  Christ died on the cross for our sins | has God’s power to heal us

Three words that describe me are:  crazy, fun, rock star | creative, silly, tall

This year I hope to learn:  about lizards and flamingos | Jesus (and the alphabet too)

Sarah

First Day of Preschool:

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Last Day of Preschool and Promoted to Kindergarten:

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Interview Questions/Answers (first day | last day):

My Age:  three | four

My favorite show/movie:  Belle | Frozen, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

My favorite color is: yellow | pink

The best thing about school is:  learning and stuff | making a rainbow

The coolest person on earth is:  daddy | God

I am very good at:  doing exercise | research

When I grow up I want to:  be a teacher | be a rock star and a doctor

My favorite food is:  pancakes | tacos

My least favorite food is:  rotten pancakes | salsa and peanut butter

My best friend is:  Abigail | Melina, Allie, and Riley

Jesus:  Christ died for our sins | is the light of Israel

Three words that describe me are:  three, funny, happiest | pretty, thankful, very “heroed”

This year I hope to learn:  VBS songs | kangaroos, jewels, and quails, and butterflies

The Butterfly Place

Way back in April of 2007-back in the day when Jonathan and I were the only members of our family (and back when we slept through the night) we took his family to The Butterfly Place in Westford. To get the best deal we could his parents purchased a pack of 10 tickets instead of the 6 we needed. So, that left 4 that we never ended up using between then and now.

Fast forward 7+ years to a few weeks back. We were in the midst of our Butterfly Unit and can you believe I still had those four leftover tickets? Lily and Levi were free so I only ended up using 3. Who knows when I’ll redeem the last ticket!

Anyway, we had a great time. I’m glad we were able to see real butterflies and real chrysalises since our caterpillar didn’t work out.

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Kindergarten Corner – Butterfly and Frog

With May flying by and June not far behind we started moving at an accelerated pace with our remaining units. This was a pretty easy transition for the girls, who are very used to the regular activities that come with each unit (sound discrimination, handwriting, blend ladders, cut and paste pages, etc). The girls were troopers though.

Unit 21 – Butterfly

So, we did not purchase the recommended butterfly kit way back when it was suggested. I’m cheap, what can I say? On Day 2 the activity was to make a home for a caterpillar. We had a nice sized jar that we filled with dirt, a rock, a few good sticks, and a yummy leaf. The next step was to find a caterpillar. Since moving in we’ve found quite a few so I thought it would be easy. It took a little while but we found one. Abigail named it “Greeny” and Sarah nick-named it “Priscilla”.

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I kept replacing old leaves with new ones. It was fun to see Greeny eat. I knew she was getting plenty of nourishment because, well, she disposed of it as well. It got to the point where I was wondering when she was going to do her thing and make her chrysalis. Then it got to the point when I was wondering if she had gone and died. Then this happened:

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After much google searching (don’t eat lunch when you google search things like “caterpillar parasite”). The girls thought Greeny gave birth. I’m pretty sure a wasp or something laid an egg inside of her. As of today Greeny is no longer with us. And what was in this “egg” stopped wiggling. But, in the name of science, I decided to let it be and see if anything ended up hatching from it. As of today the egg did hatch and out flew an insect.

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On Day 4 when we talked about the butterfly life cycle we displayed it using a cute craft I found on Pinterest.

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Sarah’s

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Abigail’s

We also went on a field trip to The Butterfly Place in Westford. I’ll write up a separate post for that in the coming days.

Unit 22 – Frog

We talked about frogs last year during preschool so it was a good amount of review for us. On Day 2 the activity is to make a book of frog facts. I thought it would be fun to use these instructions on how to draw a frog. This quickly led to mini meltdowns. After that we traced the frog badge instead. On Day 4 we were to discuss the life cycle of a frog. We used this printable, cut out the stages, and pasted them to a page of our book. Finally, when it came to our book activity on Day 6 we read Frog and Toad Are Friends. We discussed the difference between frogs and toads. I found this site particularly helpful.

Kindergarten Corner – Turtle Unit

Last week we finished our sixth unit on turtles and the letter T. Not only did we talk about turtles but we also learned about perseverance. We had a lot of opportunities to remind ourselves of this unit’s Biblical concept of “I don’t quit; I persevere.” I think by the end of the week the girls were getting tired of me encouraging them to persevere in whatever they did.

This unit had another snack that involved peanut butter, so I tried to find an alternative. The original snack involved making a turtle with bread and peanut butter. Our snack wasn’t nearly as healthy, but it did require the girls to persevere in one of their most difficult tasks-waiting. We made a batch of cookie dough using my go-to sugar cookie recipe. We colored most of the dough green and left the rest alone. We made turtles by rolling balls of the green dough and “scoring” it with toothpicks. Then we added a head, tail, and four legs. We ended up making plenty of cute little turtle cookies. We had to wait for the butter to soften, then the dough to chill, the cookies to bake, and then to cool. That is perseverance!

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We started using a blend ladder to help sound out three letter words. It is so cool to see the girls pick things up so quickly. On Tuesday morning the girls learned to read the word “sat” and Sarah was able to write it out later that evening with no help.

We ended the week by reading the story of the tortoise and the hare. I found a file online with all sorts of animals you could make into puppets using paper bags. We used the kangaroo for the hare and a turtle to make our own puppets and reenact the story. The girls had a lot of fun with this.

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One of our daily activities involves the girls calendar notebooks. We keep track of the day of the week, month of the year, date, weather, and learn about a new state every three days. I got the printables from 1+1+1=1‘s blog. Along with this we keep track of the day of our school year using a number chart and straws. Up until this point I had been collecting straws in a large baggie. When we get to 10 straws I bundle them up and put them in a box. Well, while looking for ideas from this unit I found Our Little Monkeys blog and saw how they keep track of their days. I did the same thing with cups this week. This should make it easier to visualize how many days of school we’ve had and place value.

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Kindergarten Corner – Nest Unit

We had another fun unit learning about nests and the letter N. A few of the days were a struggle because (1) we had to do school in the afternoon for one reason or another (and a certain 4 year old was grumpy) and (2) we dealt with minor colds during this unit.

When I prepare for each unit I try and look up other helpful resources or supplemental activities to use. Many times I’ll find other blogs that talk about My Father’s World too. On The Good, The Bad & The Truth blog I found a link to a YouTube video that went over different types of nests. We watched this on Day 1.

On Day 3 we made edible nests using shredded wheat (grass), chow mein noodles (twigs) and mud. One of my complaints so far about this curriculum is that it does not take into consideration children who may have allergies. The recipe provided had you make mud by melting chocolate and peanut butter together. Now, we don’t have any known peanut allergies yet, but I’m delaying introducing them until Lily is a bit older (plus, Sarah doesn’t like peanut butter). Anyway, I was hoping for maybe a substitution suggestion. Thankfully, I found the blog When Mommy Trains Little Brains. She used marshmallow fluff instead of peanut butter. So, I tried using mini marshmallows and added a bit of butter as if they were rice krispie treats. I had a tough time figuring out how much to use, but it worked out in the end.

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Once again we had a lot of fun on Day 6 when we listened to classical music and danced around the living room. This week we listened to Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Swans. The girls danced as if they were swans in a lake. We had plenty of giggles and smiles at the end, with a request for an encore.

 

Kindergarten Corner – Apple Unit

Our fourth unit covered the letter A and apples. This is another unit we pretty much followed exactly. One activity included cutting an apple in half horizontally so you could see the star inside that God put there.  Then we made thin slices to hang and dry for ornaments. We took this a step further and used the rest of the apple to make apple stamp paintings:

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Another fun activity was making applesauce. Instead of just simply peeling and cutting up the apples, My Father’s World had students estimate how many seeds were in each apple. Sarah and Abigail made little charts showing their estimates and what we actually found. The girls especially enjoyed this part.

The grand finale of the unit was making an apple pie. I think school can only be awesome when it involves apple pie!