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.

IMG_2037

IMG_2043

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.

IMG_2035

IMG_2042

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.

IMG_2033

IMG_2032

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

IMG_2041

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.

IMG_2530

Day 1

IMG_2697

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!

IMG_2590

IMG_2699

Sarah’s sketch

IMG_2698

Abigail’s sketch of the back yard

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

IMG_2592

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.

IMG_0884

IMG_0887

IMG_0898

IMG_0899

IMG_0905

IMG_0912

IMG_0915

IMG_0917

IMG_0947

IMG_0945

IMG_0946

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”.

IMG_2218

IMG_2223

IMG_2239

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:

IMG_2362

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.

IMG_2486

IMG_2488

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

IMG_1072

Sarah’s

IMG_1073

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.

IMG_1739

IMG_1747

IMG_1750

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.

IMG_1757

IMG_1759

IMG_1763

Unit 20 – Jewel

We stuck to this plan as well. Though, when it came time to makeĀ  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.

IMG_1892

IMG_1896

IMG_1906

IMG_1907

IMG_1908

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-Catching Up!

Needless to say it has been quite some time since I’ve posted about our Kindergarten adventures. I thought I’d do a quick catching up post summing up any particularly fun or additional things we did for each of the following units:

Unit 14 – Horse
We pretty much stuck to the program for this unit. One thing I was looking forward to though was our biblical concept: I obey right away (hard to see why, right?). Here is a small peek into a few activities:

IMG_0953

IMG_0955

IMG_0957

IMG_0958

IMG_0978

Unit 15 – Elephant
Our only deviation from the curriculum for this unit was on Day 4. Instead of making elephant masks, we made art work with the girls’ hand prints. Then we added our biblical concept: I will remember what God has done for me.

IMG_1858

Abigail’s

IMG_1859

Sarah’s

Unit 16 – Penguin
I enjoyed this unit. I loved telling the girls all about Emperor Penguins and how they care for their young. Plus we read nice stories to go along with the biblical concept: I show love to everyone, especially my family. The girls had fun pretending to be penguins waddling with hardboiled eggs on top of their large feet (Daddy’s slippers).

IMG_1195 IMG_1190

I also couldn’t resist making these chocolate covered bananas resembling penguins.

IMG_1297

IMG_1298

IMG_1299

We also did two crafts involving construction paper. Both were Pinterest finds.

IMG_1286

IMG_1287

IMG_1247

Unit 17 – Kangaroo
I love how even in Kindergarten I can learn new things. I know about marsupials-how these animals carry their young in a protective pouch. But did you know that a little joey is born at the size of a jelly bean, then makes its way up to his mother’s pouch before settling in for much more growth and development? Oh, you did? Never mind. Seriously, though, God made some pretty awesome animals. Oh, and some kangaroos can travel 25 FEET in one single hop. And, they can’t really “walk”. Their feet can’t move separately.

I replaced the suggested pencil holder craft with a very fun aboriginal style dot art. I found this to be so relaxing. So much so that I didn’t blink an eye when Lily proceeded to paint herself. I printed the kangaroo, traced it on card stock, and painted it brown. That way it was dry ahead of time and the girls could just do the dots. I’ll be honest here, I found it relaxing, but Sarah got frustrated when hers didn’t turn out just the way she wanted hers to. So she opted out of this activity. I’m trying to help her enjoy this sort of thing more instead of being a perfectionist.

IMG_1447

IMG_1449

IMG_1453

IMG_1456

Unit 18 – Zebra
We really didn’t deviate in this unit. But the girls’ cousin and Lily joined us in making Zebra masks.

IMG_1548

IMG_1552

 

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).

IMG_0825pic

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.

IMG_0827

IMG_0828

IMG_0830

IMG_0831

IMG_0832

IMG_0833

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

IMG_0837

IMG_0840

IMG_0841

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