Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lesson Theme: Family!

Even though we did this theme last year, I decided to do it again only with some new activities!

"We are a family.  We fit together!" was what I wrote on the back of this wooden puzzle we made together.  I saw the idea of making puzzle piece people (check it out here) and thought it would work perfectly with our theme for the week!   :)

Each piece of our puzzle is a member of our family.  We used fabric and marker for the clothes and details. You should be able to find blank wooden puzzles in the unfinished wood section of craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  

This is our family helper handprint chart.  We traced a hand for each member of the family and then brainstormed ways in which each person helps our family, writing those items inside the person's handprint.

Here's our "pretend play" bin.  I filled it with items for the kids to use when playing "mom and dad".  It contained items such as baby dolls, books, baby doll clothes, a real changing pad, empty honey jar I filled with cornstarch (for baby powder - figured that was more easily vacuumed than creme), real diaper, cooking utensils, etc.

We also decided to surprise Daddy at work one day with a visit and some goodies inside this bag.  He was surprised and pleased and it was a great opportunity to shower him with love and encouragement on a busy day!

If you have other members of your family close by, consider surprising them with something wonderful and unexpected if you decide to have a family theme week - or do it "just because"!  And it doesn't have to be a big present either - even just thinking of something you love about someone in your family and letting your kids call them up with words of appreciation is something pretty special!  :)

If your family lives far away, you can still surprise them with a snail mail card or letter!  Miss A and I made her some of her very own stationary using a rubber stamp and some glitter.  :)

The heading of her stationary reads "From the plume of A---".  We discussed what that meant, looked up pictures of plumes, and made our own pretend plume by rubber banding pink feathers to a pink pencil.  Fancy Nancy would have been proud indeed.

Then Miss A chose someone (actually several cousins) in our family who live far away and wrote a letter to them.  This was a great opportunity to discuss the parts of a letter and how to write one.  I found a neat visual online for that purpose and printed it out.

This was a family tree we made.  I wanted to try making the trunk using the technique where you blow into paint using a straw to make the branches.  Weeeellll, I don't think I made the paint the right consistency but Miss A seemed to enjoythe project and attempt anyway.  :)

I wrote the names of family on labels and Miss A helped to attach them to the tree.  I think she especially enjoyed the part where she placed her name and her sibling's name on the tree.  :)

One of the high points of our theme was sharing a special "Family Night" which Miss A and I spent time planning together earlier in the week.  The kiddos helped with the chocolate pudding, and it was a hit (but isn't that true with most things in the chocolate world)!  :)

I like to drop by these wonderful parties during the week!  :)

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Lesson Theme: Back to Homeschool and Curriculum List!

WOW!   What a couple of weeks:  back to school excitement and a new blog look that I am L-O-V-I-N-G!  
Jamie from Blood Orange Designs is wonderful and amazing to work with!  Did I mention she is patient - oooohhh so patient - she was great about explaining things that I am sure are super basic in the blogging world but completely overwhelming to NON-tech-savvy me.  :)  She has a great site (check it out), fun blog, and is incredibly talented!  If you are ever in need of some blog design help - Jamie is the person to talk to!  You'll be soooo happy you did!  :)

A few quick things to point out - I now have my very own grab button!  Isn't it pretty?  :)
There's also a menu, new "About" page, AND some great ways to "follow along" (RSS, e-mail, etc.)!  

Can you tell I am excited about my new blog look and features?  ;)  Okay, okay onward I press...

Here are a few of the fun things we did for our first two weeks of "Back to Homeschool"!

Isn't this little family of owls cute?  Inspired by the cardboard tube owls I found hopping around Pinterest, it just seemed to fit with our owl-lish back to school theme so we made some of our own.  

If you missed the post about celebrating our first day back with a special breakfast, some owl surprises, and a visit from the homeschool elf - catch up by reading about it here!  :)

One thing I did this year was to create an activity pack for our "Back to Homeschool" theme.  I wanted something more centered on homeschooling which would also be a fun review of some skills we practiced last year (counting by tens, patterns, etc.), AS WELL AS something to stretch Miss A a bit (building a story using the story spinners, puzzles, defining goals for the year, etc.).

You can see a more detailed description of what is included in the pack here in my TPT store.  For those interested, I have decided to put the pack on SALE for $1.50 the entire month of August!  :)

Wanting to encourage Miss A to begin the year thinking about what it means to be an excellent student, I came up with this activity.  She painted an empty egg carton yellow, and I added some wheels and windows to make a bus.  

We brainstormed what characteristics we thought make someone an "egg"cellent student and wrote them on little slips of paper.  We placed one each inside six eggs left from the spring.  Each egg was then decorated in order to look like a student and placed inside the "bus". :)  

If you make this craft, consider keeping it in a special place in your home where it will be handy to take down and review as needed throughout the year. 

We enjoyed playing this memory game from the Stay At Home Educator blog as well - I would place different school supplies on a tray.  Miss A would look at them, close her eyes, and then I would remove one object.  After she opened her eyes, she would have to try to figure out which item I had removed!  :)

More pictures of some of the activities we worked on from the "Back to Homeschool" activity pack.

Don't you remember when you were younger how much fun it was to "play" school?  Thus, I added some school items to a "Back to School" pretend/play bin for Miss A to use - her excitement was so cute as she lined up her dolls for "school".  

Some of the items inside were flash cards, a blackboard and chalk, ABC book, nursery rhyme book, notebook, an old reader, etc.  Here are some other suggestions for items to include if you make your own tub (and have room inside):  a pointer, dice, an educational game, whiteboard and washable dry erase marker, a small container of school supplies, back to school books from the library, an attendance chart, a pretend planner book, etc.

We also cracked open our NEW books!  Here's our current curriculum list for this year:

Bible:  The Big Book of Questions and Answers  (I also hope to add the The Big Picture Bible Time Line)

Reading/Phonics:  Veritas Press Phonics Museum  AND First Favorites (Veritas Press)

Grammar:  Shurley English

Math:  Saxon 2

Geography:  Legends & Leagues (Veritas Press) AND Beginning Geography (Evan Moor)

Character/Good Citizenship:  Daily Character Education Activities (K-1) by Carson-Dellosa Publishing

AND of course we have handwriting practice, thematic activities, and opportunities for physical ed. (starting up in September)!  

Whew!  Lots of stuff but what fun to be back into schooling once more!  :)

Hope you are having an amazing start to YOUR school year!!!  :)  If you have a back to school post, school organization/planning tip, or homeschool room you would like to share with us, I am currently hosting a linky party here (open the entire month of August) and would love to have you link up to share with the rest of us!  :)

Linking up:
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to Homeschool Activity Pack!

Are you ready for BACK TO SCHOOL?   

We started our new homeschooling year last week and have already been having fun with some of the activities in the Back to Homeschool pack I made for Miss A.  :)  

Lots of fun, descriptions of what is included, and previews in my TPT store here.  PLUS, the entire pack will be on SALE this month for only $1.50!!!  Grab one in time for your first week!

Happy shopping and have a SUPER first day of school!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Days of School: Hoooo - ray for School!

We had a T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C start to our new school year, and I had so many things to show that I decided to break them into at least two posts.  This one will be mainly about the fun first two or three days so sit back with your mug of coffee/tea and enjoy!  :)  

The kids woke up the first day of our homeschool to a decorated dining room - this year I went with an owl theme.  I could not find any colorful small owl cut outs that I liked, but I did find a border with a bunch of cute owls on it so I bought that instead and cut the owls out.  I then glued them to a "tree" I had cut from some brown paper, glued the entire thing to a skewer and stuck it in the middle of a stack of pancakes.  (Note the sign and the stack of sausages in the background as well).

For the backdrop, I used a vinyl tablecloth and blue napkins which I wrote on with a Sharpie.  And see - more of those little owls sitting on the "o's".  :)  

I made owl placemats to go along with the smaller owls and to add a punch of color to the table.

I found some super cute owl toppers and bought each kiddo a pencil and a grip to match.  

Following breakfast it was time to take a look at the new school supplies - but... UH OH!  They were snitched by the homeschool elf!!!  

However, one thing the homeschool elf likes even more than new school supplies is a good hunt.  Soooo, he risked losing the supplies in order to send the wee ones (actually more like the wee one since our tot wasn't that interested) looking for them via clues he had left around the house.  

The homeschool elf was no match for Miss A, and she found the missing supplies (and the elf sitting with them).  Hooo-ray!  ;)

I always think it adds to the excitement and fun on the first day when the supplies are wrapped up so the kids have something to open.  This time I used paper bags, yarn, white paper (spots on it were made with marker) and more of the owl border (because there were so many in the package) for packaging things up.  

Then it was time to dress in new first day of school clothes (yes, even though we homeschool, I still like to buy something new for the kids that first day) and take our first day pictures...

I love this picture.  So much for trying to get a good shot of his shoes.  ;)

Aren't these cards absolutely adorable?!  Those owls are actually little bookmarks!  I inserted one in a book so you could see how cute they are with the little eyes sticking up.  AND they are a FREE printable!  Get yours here!

These cards were supposed to be on the breakfast table the first day, but I forgot about them in all of the excitement of the morning and realized it later on so they received these days later.  But better late than never, right?  :)  

In addition to starting some of our main subjects, we started some of our activities from the "Back to Homeschool/School" activity pack I made for Miss A (I do have this available in my TPT store here on SALE this month for $1.50!).

She must have had apples on her mind because she drew herself eating apples in her first day portrait.  And I loved her goals for mid year - she wants to be able to read a book and eat an apple at the same time.  I got such a kick out of that.  That prompted a kind of a mini lesson in what I meant by goals.  But definitely a keeper to pull out in later years for a good chuckle.  

We finished off the first few days of school with some yummy cupcakes for our dessert night.  The toppers are more of those owls I cut out from the border and glued to toothpicks.  :) 

So how did you (or do you plan to) celebrate your first exciting day of school?  I have a linky party going on in this post right now through the end of August for people to link up their back to school posts, ideas, homeschool rooms, school organization tips, etc. in hopes of gathering a good collection for other mommies and teachers to use for a resource or inspiration.  I'd love to have you join us if you have something fun to share which would be a good fit for the collection!  :)

Linking up:

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