Monthly Archives: November 2010

He did it!

Kindergarten Reading: Complete.

Bring on the first grade reading program!


Ah, life!

I think I was a little over-ambitious this week. I thought it would be fun, given the simplicity (term used loosely) of the projects, to have the girls join us in art and science. Maybe it was fun for them. It wasn’t so much for me. I don’t know how public school teachers do student/teacher ratios of 20:1 or 28:1. Sometimes 4:1 does me in.

Our art project was based on “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson  (Storybook Art, page 51). The idea was simple: get a long roll of paper and three or four different marking mediums and draw a long unbroken line. It could be as light or heavy, curvy or straight as we wished.

Bottom line? Fail. The best part of the project was reading the book. One of the kids ended up in time-out because of hitting when someone else drew out of turn and into their line. A short-lived project that went right into the trash.

Ever forging onward, Mom pulled out the science project for the day: “Rampin’ Up” (Mudpies to Magnets, page 51). The idea was to explore planes (not air-) and the effect of a given plane on how far a little toy car could travel. We were supposed to build varying heights on support blocks and find the best angle for helping the car travel the farthest.

Fail #2. Someone ended up in time-out for throwing a car at someone else’s head. The only scientific conclusions arrived at were #1) Mom is mean because she wouldn’t let the kids race every single one of their HotWheels down the ramp, and #2) Becca ruined the ramp because she kept stepping on it.

Some things just aren’t worth trying to patch up.


Two Things

Two things that have made my heart happy this week:

1) I love teaching my kids. Love it. Best job ever.

2) I was chatting with Henry on Sunday about his feelings about the things he’s learning and asking about what kinds of things he wanted to learn, etc., and he spontaneously offered, “I love doing school at home, Mom.”

All right.


Back in the Groove

After taking a two-week break (one for prepping for a vacation and the other taking the vacation), I think I just might be a proponent of year-round homeschooling. I have been astounded that it’s taken us a full month to get back to a normal routine with our schoolwork. Last week was the first week where I planned and executed the plan and we got everything done that I wanted us to do.

We’ve added a few more components to our curriculum since we started a mere four months ago.

Since being called as a Primary chorister at church, I’ve realized that sometimes it’s easier to remember things if you can sing them. So we’ve been tackling the Articles of Faith in song form vs. rote memorization. I think it’s made a world of difference in how Henry and Sam are able to grasp new vocabulary. It’s easier to sing “privilege,” “dictates” or “conscience.” Sometimes when they’re playing with their Legos or drawing, I’ll walk through the room and casually hum the first line of the song and then pause while I exit the room. Without fail, they will start singing the Article of Faith to themselves as they play. (Heh, heh! How’s that for incorporating memorization?)

We’ve started the Getty and Dubay program for handwriting. The thing that I liked about this program was how they group letters into family groups, so that letters that have similar strokes are learned together. This week, we’re working on lower-case h, m, n and r. It makes so much more sense to me to learn it this way instead of alphabetically.

This handwriting program has also illustrated just how much perfectionism resides within Henry (curse of the oldest child). Today, he scribbled all over his page in frustration and left the table in a huff because he couldn’t make the lines in his m’s straight enough. I certainly sympathize. I cried during more than one piano lesson in my younger days because I didn’t play my piece perfectly.

Finally, I’ve started reading books aloud to the kids. We made short work of “James and the Giant Peach,” enjoyed “Squanto, Friend to the Pilgrims,” are almost through “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” and have simultaneously started “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I’ve been surprised by how quickly we make it through each of these books. But I confess to loving it when the clamors for “more!” begin as I end each chapter. Oh, all right, twist my arm!

Still loving this journey!


The Best-loved Bear

“Corduroy” by Don Freeman is one of those childhood classics that I couldn’t wait to share with my kids. I love that they’ve found it as enchanting as I remember it being. So it was no great surprise when all four kiddos wanted in on this art project. (Storybook Art, page 19)

Given that they all started with the same template, I thoroughly enjoyed watching each of them create their own Corduroys, pouring their personalities into each of their creations.

I started by giving them a piece of cardstock (color of their choice, of course) and told them to draw any design they wanted as a background. Then we divvied up the bears I’d created the night before: two cardboard with construction paper overalls and two bears cut from corduroy fabric with fabric overalls. The craft box came out of the cupboard and eyes and buttons found their way onto the papers. They all thought Elmer’s Glue was the greatest. And they were all quite proud of their artistic efforts and all four renderings are on display in our Hall of Fame.

Here’s Kate’s. I love how she felt it necessary to add more “background” right on top of her bear. Also love how Corduroy has one button on his overalls (as per the story) but how he ended up with pierced ears and toe rings, too.

Sam’s. Love how he used a button for the nose but drew in the eyes with marker.

Becca’s. Easily the most fascinated with glue and buttons. But I also love her deliberate markings for the background.

I thought Henry was doing a great job BEFORE he added button arches for the eyebrows. But I understand that eyebrows add character.

This was a really fun project!