Sunday, November 29, 2009
After the last post about this little game, we received several orders and two of them have been filled! On Wednesday R9 is showcasing these and a few other of her sewn items (I think we'll work on an If You Give a Pig a Pancake version as well) at our MOPS Christmas brunch. One of the sets we delivered today will be featured at a MOPS auction this week. We are pleased with the basket find. It makes a great display and it serves as great place to toss the cookies.
Just as well too because we've had two fevers in little boys this week, plenty of congestion and now I've come down with it. Blah! Not being able to get warm and being super sleepy with a sore throat and achy sinuses, put a damper on my Black Friday shopping! I'm not sure where I was going, but I was gonna go somewhere. I love Black Friday. I did get a great deal on patterns at an Etsy shop called Bugga Bugs. More on that another time. I've been doing a lot of sewing with felt lately.
For now, I want to share that with a day at home by ourselves looming large in front of us, we played some games. I7 has been jazzed about playing Clue, Jr. Ever play? This is an introductory version of the older game of Clue which is less intense, but still teaches the basics of the game. Somehow it's never come up before, but today the kids asked about the regular game and I mentioned that I thought we had both versions. We have a few games that I brought to our marriage from my childhood- that's what happens when your parents sell your childhood home. They make you take your stuff. No item left behind. Among those, we have Scrabble, Clue, Master Detective, Pente, and Monopoly. There are probably more...
Clue- the alpproximately mid-80s version! We had the original too from when my brother and sister were young.
Any of you have Master Detective? I mean who can turn down more rooms, more weapons and more suspects?? The kids started with Clue today, but I have a feeling they will be willing to take on Master Detective before too long.
Other games pulled on the day after Thanksgiving- RISK, Dinomite, and PlayStation college football. Of course.
While I'm at it, one way to get your game on as a family is to pull from a hat. We often will put names of games we want to play in a hat and then we pick them throughout the day and we play them. That way everyone gets to pick a game and we even put PlayStation in there just for fun. It mixes things up a little and bunches of games get played at once.
This is a great idea for rainy Fourth of Julys, long winter days, cold rainy days, hot summer afternoons, and any other day being out and about isn't a great idea.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The kids used a writing template to do their poems.
I am thankful for _____ and ______ .
I'm really thankful for ________.
I'm thankful for ________. (repeat this as many times as you need)
But most of all I'm thankful for ______.
The three older kids wrote this out for themselves which went very well even for I7. J4 dictated his list to me which he was very eager to do.
Then I stalled for a few days because I needed to figure out how I would do it differently. Here are the results and because I love my new little phone and its video capabilities, you get a new video!
The finished product- not all the gallery frames are the same size and I didn't cut the paper down ahead of time.
We put the poems in the middle. The original idea had the poem printed on the watercolor paper, but the paper I have is too big for the printer so again we modified.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I7 enjoyed picking out the words that fill in the sentences. There are several ways you can play and it's fun to see how the sentences turn out.
This is the kind of activity that I would put in a workbox. Any workboxers out there? How are things going?
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Some of the features members of AVKO can enjoy are:
- access to free ebooks in pdf format
- free supplemental curriculum
- free mp3 recordings of Don McCabe's workship seminars
- access to Spelling City diagnostic and multimedia spelling resources
- instructional tips and ideas
- readings for increasing comprehension for dyslexic and other learning disabled students
- read only access to all AVKO curriculum materials other than Sequential Spelling and Engaging Language Kits (deluxe version only)
- access to placement and pretests
- 25% discount on all printed AVKO materials
While, this is likely a treasure trove of research, information, and support for parents of children with learning difficulties, I have not found this site to be especially helpful for any outstanding needs our children have. If you have a struggling reader, then I encourage you to look over the testimonials and information from AVKO to see if it sheds light on something you need for your child.
The Mission of the American Heritage Foundation as it states on its website is:
AHEF accomplishes this patriotic mission by writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.
AHEF is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.
They offer the curriculum for FREE on their website. All you need to do is request it. You can view each level of curriculum below.
- American Heritage Themes
- Colonial America: Causes of the American Revolution
- Declaration of Independence
- A Famous Signature
- George Washington- our First President
- The US Presidents
- The Great Seal
- History of Thanksgiving Day
- The United States Flag
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- The National Motto
As I complete this review, I notice a very timely item in the History of Thanksgiving Day lesson for middle schoolers. What a purposeful way to reflect on what Thanksgiving meant long ago and how it was celebrated and what it means for us today and how it's celebrated.
Plus, in the middle school level there is a whole chapter on The Gettysburg Address which we touched on this week on November 19 from This Day in History at History.com. Such a wonderful addition to our unit on the Civil War.
This curriculum provides a thorough outline of the important themes for us as American citizens and best of all it is FREE. Go and request your CD today!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Last month I received the Gymathtics DVD by Exploramania to review for the TOS Crew. I wasn't sure how this would go over, but the DVD has won many awards. Basically, it's an exercise video that teaches kids how to do an exercise routine while reviewing math concepts.
- The warm up/stretch portions talks about shapes and lines.
- The cardio portion practice counting.
- The aerobics section talks about patterns.
- The cool down reviews wellness concepts.
While, I thought it was a bit goofy, I will tell you that my youngest three kids LOVED it. They liked making shapes with their bodies and doing the workout. In fact, my youngest boys have asked for it daily since we debuted it. One favorite is the counting calisthenics. It's fun to hear them skip counting while they run in place.
While the concept is clever, I'm not sure this is how I'd choose for my kids to have screen time. It's fun to see the math as they get some healthy movement, but at the same time it seems to me that we can have fun with math in other ways and do some more interesting things to get ourselves moving.
However, if you need to get your kids moving, then this DVD series is a great idea. It's not at all hardcore, but it's fun and I worked out with the kids the first time anyway. I7 even thought I could skip the YMCA 6am morning treadmill routine I have and replace it with Gymathtics. I don't know about that, but it was fun to move together.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
A FIAR friend let me know that she made her cards and that a few of the basic games are on YouTube. So, I've been on a quest to make these cards and learn a few games. I do plan to purchase the Math Card Game Book that RightStart sells to accompany the card sets just as soon as I can. The cards retail for $7.50 a game or $25 for a set of 6 card decks. To make the Corners cards, Addition, Product, and Fraction sets I will have spent about $3 total and it took me no time at all really to make them. The trickiest part is how many to make and what goes on them.
So, here are the directions to two games involving the Corners cards. The first is just plain old Corners. This game practices identifying sums that are multiples of 5 and 10.
Top and Bottom Corners is a lot trickier. You have to add to get the sums that are multiples of 5 and 10 with the vertical numbers and subtract with the differences being multiples of 5 and 10 with the horizontal numbers. This gives practice with negative numbers and makes the game harder to get to 100!
So, we played a bunch today. I played with R9, then later on I7, and finally E11 who couldn't wait to beat me. I decided it would be great fun to video the game with I7. Did you all know I got a nice little new phone for my birthday last week? I had to try it out and the hardest part was liberating the video from the phone and getting it on to my computer which was nothing short of a technological miracle and when Dan finds out how I did it, he'll be amazed. Amazed. I'm not sure it's worth all that hassle, but I know how to do it the easy way now without locking up my phone 3 times. Maybe it won't be so bad next time!
Without further ado...I7 and I play Corners- this is a great way to practice adding lots of numbers. So many bonuses to this game. Now press play and see if you can pick out the Balmer (Baltimore) accent! And watch for J4's shadow.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We placed 4th or 5th overall out of 11 teams which was nothing short of amazing! The team is excited to work on robot skills next semester in co-op and Dan and I are already planning some robot time over the winter between co-op sessions. The boys can hardly wait.
If we can get more sponsors, we may be able to have a second team. We've been trying for YEARS to get a team off the ground so this is just really exciting for us. The parents are jazzed and very supportive which was really nice because they needed to agree to extra practice (Wednesdays and Saturdays for weeks) toward the end- not to mention the 12:30 to 8 pm day on Sunday.
The result was well worth our effort for the kids. If you are interested in starting up a LEGO FIRST team check out this website for information.
Monday, November 16, 2009
First we took a nice walk and listened for as many birds as we could hear. We have observed the geese flying south and the increased activity of the birds that wills stay with us all winter- chickadees, blue jays and cardinals. Well and how can I forget the crows?! It was a fun day time activity on my birthday last week.
All the kids drew some pictures of bird feet just like at the Handbook of Nature Study blog. I did one too and it turned out well. E11 wanted to add examples of birds with that type of foot.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
They replied! Here's what I learned...there is no Australia version yet, but a new version called The Americas is due out June, 2010! I'll be watching for that one. It'll include North and South America.
In the meantime, they very graciously sent me 10 Days in Asia to review for you! I am just so excited!
The kids did not waste time cracking open the box. It arrived last week and we've already played a bunch. We've been hauling it to LEGO practice and playing like crazy while we wait. Nothing like hearing your kids discuss the finer points of moving around the continent of Asia.
What a fun way to play with geography! My sincere thanks to Out of the Box Publishing for letting me try out a new game.
I don't know about you, but I've been doing a lot of thinking with the Christmas season arriving...you know...about what to get for the kids. Good news! Rainbow Resource carries this series of games. So, if you happen to be in the market for some new homeschool games, don't forget this geography fun!
Friday, November 13, 2009
The first thing the kids found was that it was hard to get the marble to repeat a good run enough times to record it for five trials in a row. They tried to get the marble to go around the curve correctly each time to no avail. Finally, they ended up making a new chart to record the partial runs. We could calculate the velocity whether or not the marble went all the way to the end of the track.
Some things to think about- first the kids wanted to give up on the full track runs, but I made them stick with it. E11 was especially annoyed and declared it was all ruined several times, but I reminded him about how scientists meet up with obstacles all the time. Dan helps to manage a university lab full of users who get frustrated the same way. Months of work will come to a crashing halt when they make a mistake or a tool is dirty and ruins a wafer or a tool is broken and breaks something they've worked hard on for a long time. There is a delay in forward movement. They have to begin again. That's how it is in the real world of science! Besides, E11 is a very bright boy who needs to work on perseverance when something is more difficult than he would like to battle.
Also, before we could do calculations, we had to deal with the raw data. We chose to find the median rather than an average in order to do the velocity calculation.
We had trouble importing the video from E11's camera into Picasa so for now the video of the run will wait. Next time... Aha! E11 just informed me that his camera card was not wiped so perhaps, with my help, we'll load up some video for you. That was part of the challenge that day.
All in all a fantastic activity for math and science. I wonder what we'll do next!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
One of my oldest friends and a fellow homeschooler and FIAR user, Cherylin (this is where I'd link you to her awesome blog if she had one...hint...hint) sent me a link to Mathwire.com knowing I love pumpkin fun stuff. It took me a while to really peruse their offerings, but when I did I pulled some fantastic math fun. See what you think.
The kids had to record on a chart the roll of the die and follow the directions to fill in the face. Once they were able to complete it, they won. In the meantime, we totaled up the tally marks and talked about probability.
You could spend a lot of time on there roaming around and they are kind enough to leave previous year's links up. Though Halloween is all done, there are still good pumpkin with no face type activities to enjoy.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
She's got a weekly meme that is right up my alley here at our homeschool- Up for a Challenge is a problem solving activity involving some fun household materials.
She's having a bloggy give away of a box-ful of challenge materials through tomorrow night, November 11th. So, hop on over and join in the fun!
And thanks to you all, Blog, She Wrote has been nominated in three categories! At the risk of being obnoxious, I'll save you some time on hunting through and just tell you Blog, She Wrote is nominated in:
- Best Homeschooling Mom
- Best Super Homeschooler
- Best Homeschooling Methods (for Unit Studies)
I'm honored to have been nominated and it's just fun to see how much people enjoy Blog, She Wrote.
Thanks for reading!
Now...go and vote!
Monday, November 9, 2009
We prepared a couple days ahead of time by filling the cans with water and freezing them. On lantern day we gathered the materials- a template and rubber bands, a towel, a hammer, and a nail...oh and the cans!
Friday, November 6, 2009
I want to qualify before going on that Math on the Level is not for everyone. If you are not a person who likes to sit and work together with your students on problems and activities or if you don't like having math as something you need to facilitate, then this is not the program for your family.
I had two goals in mind when I made the switch. First, my kinestetic (big word for people who like to manipulate things with their hands) daughter, R9 really could not handle one more workbook page out of the Horizons program. It wasn't that she was not capable of the work or didn't know her stuff. Quite to the contrary, she is an excellent math student who just does not thrive in drill and kill land. E11 likes his math laid out so it's full speed ahead. However, he is enjoying the challenges that are coming his way with the new approach.
The second goal is to engage my children in their math studies rather than have them just fill in the workbook pages. When I first noticed that R9 was not doing well with this method, I purposed to do a full lesson with her using the teacher's manual. Unfortunately, to do this with three other kids means doing it three times at three different levels. It was cumbersome and not easy to follow through on. As a result, it was easier to inform the kids of the page they were to do today and let them get on with it.
So, I made the bold decision to abandon the workbooks and to look for math in our everyday experiences, in our unit studies, and in our many math resources. I've shared some of those with you along the way, but not so much about Math on the Level particularly.
Being a somewhat structured person and given the fact that I am not innately a math scholar (no laughing Dad!), I wanted some guidelines on important concepts and in general some support for this new journey I'd decided to undertake.
For the most part, we have a daily math experience of some sort whether it be cooking together, calculating the velocity of a marble, or simply graphing something from our unit studies. Then the kids do a 5-A-Day sheet which I make from the Math on the Level resources. The idea is that I rotate in and out skills that the kids need to work on and those that they have mastered. Below are some examples of a 5-A-Day sheet for each student. Each day the student is only required to do 5 problems. I can target the skills that really need work. Sometimes I do that by making a multi-step problem.
In addition to the books relating to the different areas of math, there are three other resources that are very useful. Math Adventures is all about how to use math in the real world and has many ideas of how to introduce those things to your kids. Math Resources talks about graphs, tables and things to use with your student and what kinds of resources they should be able to use. I also really like the record keeping system book from Math on the Level. There is a nice chart you can use to record how your child is achieving with respect to each concept taught. There's even a checklist for young students who are not doing 5-A-Days yet. I like being able to check off the skills I work on with J4 as we play and do preschool.
I will fully admit, this is hard work! However, it is paying off. Math is an adventure we take together. Instead of doing multiple lessons everyday, we work together on a lesson at varying levels depending on what each child is working on. Math on the Level really is about flexibility. The author Carlita Boyles really wants kids to approach math concepts as they are ready to do so- she calls it mental maturation. Do you ever think about something you learned when you were young that you understand so much better now that you are older? This happens with math all the time. There were a lot of things I did in math because I was told that is how it's done. Now that I'm older and teaching my own kids, I get it now! Things that seemed so difficult to me then, make total sense now. I'd rather not take on Calculus again, but it is helpful in explaining things to my kids.
Though it is hard work to make sure I'm prepared for the adventures and to make sure we are mindful to work on areas that need attention while we explore, it has really enriched our math time and we've had a lot of great math journeys together so far this year.
It has been worth the investment of my time and energy to steer our math education in a new direction. In the future, I'm going to be sharing the various lessons and adventures with you. I hope you will join me!