Sunday, February 21, 2010

Homemade Lacing Block

Homemade Lacing Block

This looks awesome!! Might be good for those of us with kiddos who need to learn how to tie their shoes! Check it out!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Charlotte Symphony Lollipops Concert

Way back in November I heard of a group of people going to the Belk Theatre in Charlotte to see a few Symphonies. This excited me because one of them was a Classical Kids show that the girls love! I talked it over with my hubby and we decided that it would be a great idea to take the girls. So we started planning. We purchased the tickets, set the date and kept it all a secret. The day finally arrived and I was glad because I was getting tired of not being able to tell the girls.
Anyway, we didn’t tell the kids what we were doing until we got to Charlotte. Daddy was going to take the little ones to Discovery Place while I took the girls to the Symphony.
I showed Biggest the ticket and told her to read what it said. Upon reading, “Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery” she got so excited! When I explained to them that it was a show with actors and music they bubbled with anticipation! I was so glad!!
Now they call it a “Lollipops Symphony” because they do a few special things for the little ones. They set up instruments all over the Lobby and the children are allowed to play whatever instruments they choose. It was great to see their faces light up when they were able to handle the violin and table harp!

They also made a small craft-a music maker-and heard some Pre-Show music from a quartet that was awesome! And they also recieve Lollipops when the show is over. Hence, "Lollipops."
After about 45 minutes of browsing all of the areas we went and found our seats. It was so awesome walking in to that beautiful theatre!!! The music, the ambiance, the smell (yes, it had a smell!!) it was all just so exciting!
We quickly found our seats, we were seated in the Orchestra section which is right down front, and waited for the show to start. We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the show but I snapped a few before it begun.

Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery was great, a little different than the CD which the girls noticed but great none-the-less!
This is something that I will definitely want to do in the future! Maybe a play next time?! Mary Poppins is coming in the fall….we’ll see!!!

Here are a few more pictures...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sword in the Tree Lapbook

One of the many wonderful things about using Heart of Dakota this year is all the wonderful books that we've been introduced to. They have all become favorite in our home and this is a great blessing for me. I never did much reading as a child but have been determined to expose my children to books from the very beginning.
We were able to do a lapbook a few months back on one of our very favorite books, The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla. Here is a look at what we did.

This is our cover page. I can't remember off the top of my head which girl drew the cover but it I do remember that they both helped come up with the design. (It's a sword in a tree). I glued the page on after the coloring and then cut it in half so that the book could be opened.

Upon opening the lapbook you will find three pages dedicated to knights since they were the main part of the story. The left and right sides are the backs of the cover and the middle page is an extra folder piece taped on at the bottom.
At the top left and bottom right of the side pages are my daughter's pop up books. They each wrote about their favorite parts of the story and then dictated their pictures to me.

The center page has a couple of Handwriting/Phonics books done in italics for both girls. Big Sis's book includes the dots for tracing but Biggest Sis's doesn't. The other two items on the page are for learning the names of the different parts of the Knight's armor and the castle. I will admit that we had to check the internet for the correct names to a couple of those! You can find most of our knight items here.

The girls also had a lot of fun designing their own shields.

The center flap opens downward to show even more learning books!!

When you flip open the center flap you are brought to our England page.
The story is set in Middle Ages in England so we decided to learn just a little about England. In the top center we put our map of England one fold book. The yellow shutter fold book opens up to show a basic map of Europe. The girls were to find where England is, color the country and then write down which continent England is on. The what happened next envelope includes seven small sheets of paper with drawings of different periods in history. For example there is one drawing of the manger scene, a drawing of pyramids, the signing of the constitution etc. The girls needed to try and figure out which event happened first and then sequentialy put the rest in order. This was a little hard at first but they got the hang of it and enjoy this little activity.
On the back side of the flap is some information about trees. We talked some about the Life Cycle of trees and then made a flap book from here. This was very interesting and it was amazing for us all to think that the Lord can take something so small and cause it to grow into something so large and strong. We also made a How We Use Trees T book. The girls realized just how important trees are! I also found a sweet little poem about trees that fit perfectly on the side of this page.

When the England page is flipped up you will find our 2nd page dedicated to knights.
We made a weapons flap on which we glued pictures of what each weapon looked like. That also took internet searching! ;) In the top right we glued a small orange Life of a Knight tab book. The girls loved learning about what a young boy went through in order to become a knight.
The bottom right side of this flap is where we added our vocabulary pocket. Aren't the little shields cute?! Since this was a new subject for us there was no shortage of words for this pocket!
Here is a picture of the center page of the lapbook.

This is our plot diamond fold book. (Sorry I can't remember the actual name of this type of fold nor where I got it from!) This book is pretty self-explanitory. It was a great way to help Biggest summarize the book into it's main parts.
This cute little tree shaped book is our Cast of Characters book. Including the title page there are four pages to this little book that are stapled together at the top and then glued to the lapbook. On each page I wrote a location for the title and then we brainstormed to think of all of the characters that we met at the location. This is how we divided the book up: at Weldon Castle we were introduced to Shan, Lord Weldon, Lady Marion, Lionel and Nappus. In the woods we met Pheobe, Adam, Magnus, Twigs and the robbers. In Camelot we met Sir Gareth, Sir Kay and King Arthur.

I don't have a picture of the Bible Verse shield but we used it to write down a verse that went along with the theme that we felt was important to the book, being strong in the face of fear! What a great lesson to learn!
All in all the book was a blast! The kids, even Brother, would beg me to keep reading! This was just an awesome story and I highly recommend this book to all families!!! The lapbook was pretty detailed but there was so much that we were able to do with this book! We truly enjoyed this adventure! Clyde Robert Bulla has become one of our very favorite authors!

I hope that you can use this lapbook in your own home!!

Homeschooling Preschoolers

Those of us with Preschoolers out there know the struggles that can enter your heart as you decide if you should go ahead with this thing we call "Preschool at home." While pouring much of our attention into our older homeschooling children the little ones often get "left out of the mix." We look up from drilling the older ones on their spelling lists to see our younger children quietly playing on their own...again and we feel guilty.

So what do we do? We try to make things right by giving them worksheets, teaching them their letters and numbers, basically giving them "school" before many of them are ready. I know, I've done it, and regreted it!

So, what should we do for our little ones? If not "Preschool" at home then what?! Do we ban them to their rooms to spend their earliest years occupying themselves so that we can get on with our lessons?

Here is one thing that I believe might be of a help to us:

Homepreschool and Beyond by Susan Lemons

Mrs. Lemons has written a book that can really help to point us in the direction that our youngest children really need to be going. This book would be invaluable to mothers of Preschoolers who are wanting to give thier children the right kind of educational exposure for their age. Here is detailed decription of her book.

Attention, parents of preschoolers! Do you want to provide a quality education for your preschoolers at home? Are you thinking about homeschooling? Then Homepreschool and Beyond is for you! In this one book, you will learn:

-What preschoolers really need

-What preschoolers should be learning, and how to teach it to them

-What life experiences are important for your preschooler

-What “readiness” is, and why it is so important

Need ideas for discipline? Art, music, and play experiences? It’s in there.

Want to know how to decide if your child is ready for Kindergarten? Do you need help transitioning from preschool to Kindergarten? It’s in there, too.

Want to learn more about homeschooling–why families homeschool, how to get started, how to choose curriculum, and so on? Gotcha covered.

Homepreschooling and Beyond includes:

A Balanced approach; addresses the needs of the whole child–body, mind, and spirit

Faith-based: Emphasizes discipleship and character training

Includes a list of important spiritual goals

Developmentally Appropriate

Emphasis on learning through hands-on activities/play

Chapter-long list of classic picture books

Chapters on art, music, play, learning games, and more

More, taken from the Book’s Back Cover:

Many parents struggle to know what to teach their preschoolers. Some take a “hands-off” approach, providing little in the way of educational activities. Others emphasize early academics, drilling their youngsters on colors, numbers, and letters while overlooking play and other experiences that are vital for normal development.

Preschoolers thrive somewhere between these extremes. They need a balanced, faith-based, developmentally appropriate approach that emphasizes relationships, simple daily routines, readiness and reading aloud.

Homepreschooling and Beyond gives parents the knowledge they need to find “balance” for their family. Find out what young children need to know–and how to teach it. Gain the confidence you need to relax and enjoy those precious preschool years-and beyond.

Here is a complete chapter list:

Part 1: The Basics:

1. Homepreschool?

2. Teaching Through Parenting

3. Discipline

4. The Importance of Readiness

5. The Importance of Routine

Part 2: All About Books

6. Teaching Through Reading Aloud

7. Better Than Captain Underpants: Choosing Good Books

8. Book Lists: Preschool Through Grade School

Part 3: Skills

9. Family and LIfe Skills

10. Goals of Spiritual Development

11. Speech and Listening Skills

12. Cognition and Memory Skills

13. Pre-reading and Pre-Writing Skills

14. Early Math Skills

15. Physical Development

16. Learning Science

17. Social Studies

18. Music

19. Arts and Crafts

20. Holidays and Traditions

Part 4: Games and Play

21. The Power of Play

22. Playful Learning Activities

23. Learning Games

Part 5: Curriculum and Methods

24. Why I Flunked Kindergarten–and Why Your Child Doesn’t Have To

25. Choosing and Using Curriculum–First Grade and Up

26. Homeschooling Methods and Resources

27. Keeping Preschoolers Busy While Teaching Older Children

Appendix: recommended Resources; Making the Decision to Homeschool After Preschool. and more!

Interested yet? Just hop on over to Mrs. Lemon's
website to find out more. Don't wait!