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

Kindergarten Corner – Wrapping Up

We finished! We made it! Kindergarten is over! We didn’t go too crazy with our remaining units, so I’ll sum them up all in one post.

Unit 23 – Fox

The Biblical concept for this unit was, “God’s word makes me wiser than my enemies.” Most of the stories we read dealt with how sneaky and tricky foxes can be. One of my girls was not too excited about this, especially when we did The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. Other than that, the girls did enjoy this unit, especially learning about foxes and how similar they are to dogs. And, of course, we couldn’t go through this unit without singing along to What Does the Fox Say?

Unit 24 – Vegetables

We followed this unit pretty closely. One of the activities was to grow vegetables using ones you already had on hand. We started growing an onion. We saw plenty of roots appear down below, but have yet to see green sprouts at the top.

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Day 1

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Day 16

We also had fun with an art project that involved painting with vegetables. We used potato and carrots to make stamps. My mom had cute little cookie cutters that I used with the potatoes. I simply pressed the cookie cutter into the potato and then used a paring knife to cut around the edge to leave just the shape of the cookie cutter. I thought I took pictures of this project but alas, I did not. I hope the cookie cutter description is easy to follow!

Unit 25 – Quail

For this unit we memorized a few verses of the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Francis Alexander. I made a sheet for each verse that allowed the girls to write out the verse and draw a picture to go along with it.

We had fun with a simple activity covering wings. It showed us just how fast a hummingbird’s wings flap. We started by flapping our “wings” two times in one second (like a crow). Then we flapped our wings three times in a second (like a pigeon). Then we learned a hummingbird flaps its wings 70 times in a second. It was fun to try and match that-though we didn’t come close.

Our “Book Time” book was Mouse and Mole, Fine Feather Friends by Wong Herbert Yee. One of the activities that went along with that was to go outside to sketch nature. We took advantage of at least one napping sibling to do just that-and it was a lot of fun!

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Sarah’s sketch

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Abigail’s sketch of the back yard

We also made another bird feeder with a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and bird seeds.

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Unit 26 – Yellow

Let’s face it. At this point we are at the very end of June and getting pretty antsy for summer. The girls know their colors pretty well. We covered primary versus secondary colors, reviewed the colors of the rainbow, and have had plenty of practice mixing colors throughout the year. We were pretty anxious to be done so we plugged along with mostly the letter and phonics portion of the curriculum. The End!

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 – Rock and Jewel

Rocks and jewels went together well, so I’ll cover them in one post. Unit 19 covered the letter R and rocks while Unit 20 covered the letter J and jewels. We covered these units while in the midst of packing, moving, and unpacking – so they were spread over more days than I’d like to admit!

Unit 19 – Rock

We followed the plan per the manual pretty closely. Because rocks are made up of minerals we did decide to grow crystals. We found instructions for making overnight crystals using epsom salt and water. I think ours would have turned out better if I hadn’t placed our glasses in the very back of our refrigerator as things tend to get too cold and freeze a bit. It was still fun though.

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We were also scheduled to make our own volcano using clay on Day 4. We didn’t have any clay. What we did have was a ton of mixed up and old Play-Doh. This was the perfect way to use it for a last hurrah and then toss it. Sarah put two and two together once we had our eruption when she said, “But Mom, now the Play-Doh is ruined!” I reassured her that we had others she’d be able to play with later.

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Unit 20 – Jewel

We stuck to this plan as well. Though, when it came time to make  our own jewels I opted out of the dough ones and instead we made paper beads. Basically I cut strips of construction paper, wrapped them around a wooden skewer, and applied glue. We then covered them in glitter for a little extra sparkle.

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It amazes me (and I know it shouldn’t) just how much my girls absorb during lessons even though they don’t appear to be soaking everything in. Our Biblical concept for this unit was “Jesus is more valuable than anything else.” Sarah was having a particularly rough time on the day our Bible lesson covered Philippians 3:8 (What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” and Matthew 16:26 (“What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses his soul?…”).

Sarah wasn’t even in the room, but concluded that she was throwing her life away because Jesus wasn’t in her life. I couldn’t believe my ears. This came out of the mouth of my four year old. So be encouraged homeschoolers out there-they listen even when it doesn’t seem they are.

Kindergarten Corner – Cow Unit

This unit marked the halfway point in our curriculum. We talked about the letter C, cows, and how God’s word helps us grow.

The highlight of our unit was making our own butter. We had school at my Mom’s so she and my niece Bridget could join in on the fun. Plus, we had a butter churn on hand (one my grandmother had for decoration) so we could talk about how butter was made a while ago. All you need is a few containers that close tightly, heavy cream, and salt at the end (optional).

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We all took turns shaking our containers. At first we wondered if it would work out. The more we shook, the less room in the container there seemed to be for the cream to move around. The cream turned into a whipped cream consistency. Then, it got pretty thick before, almost suddenly, you could hear a solid mass sloshing around in liquid. At this point you get a solid-type butter that looks mealy. We separated the buttermilk out and kept shaking to remove all the liquid. Then we were each left with creamy butter and a decent amount of buttermilk.

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Nonna being the awesome grandma she is, decided to use the buttermilk to make biscuits-the perfect medium for trying our butter.

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We pretty much followed the rest of the curriculum as it was laid out.