Thursday, January 31, 2013

Other schoolwork

Olivia and Gabe aren't the only ones who has schoolwork. Ezra gets to do some manual manipulation to build motor skills. He's not always cooperative, but he does enjoy it. We put together a small tub of acitivities for each day of the week, some have specific learning skills and directions, some are for free exploration (but still work on motor skills, color or shape recognition, etc), and some are just for fun. Then we just pull it out and let him play/work with each one on a given day. The idea is to keep him occupied during school time with Gabe and to give him a taste of sitting down to structured activities. Of course, some days he does some of the same things Gabe does. We also don't force him to complete his tub of activities every day, we mostly encourage and build on what he is excited about. We are in the process of creating more activities to add to his bins but don't plan on have to change them out too often. Repetition is good and they are already divided up into 5 tubs.

Three times a week (usually) we do Family Fitness, which is a curriculum that has a bunch of different movement exercises that can be done inside or out. It usually involves stretching, some sort of coordinated movement like skipping or jumping jacks, and then a game like "Jump the River" or "Hoop Dunks." Most of the time, everyone gets involved, though Ezra's attention span is a little short...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Letter of the Week

We started a new curriculum with Gabe (and sometimes Ezra) called Letter of the Week. It involves a week of activities based around a single letter. Normally, you would start with A and move to Z, but we are doing this in conjunction with Handwriting Without Tears, which teaches the easiest letters to write first. There are lots of little projects each day that are related to the letter that week.

He does a calendar each day.
They match letter tiles to the word on the page

They use tangram shapes to make the letters.
They make the letter shape with his body.

He matches upper and lower case letters. 
He uses a chalkboard from HWT to draw the letter, wipe it with a wet sponge, dry it and draw it again.
We make a lacing card each week to teach fine motor skills along with the letters.
 He really looks forward each day to doing his schoolwork. The curriculum has been a lot of fun for him and gotten him excited about learning. Even Ezra asks to do some of the activities and has a great time doing them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Picnic Every Day - MFW

We took a look at the nomadic life of shepherds, not too different from how Abraham and Sarah might have lived going from Ur to Canaan. We learned that they would have used sack as a way to transport things and those sacks could them be spread out to use as a "table" for meals. We made our own sack/table out of burlap and let the kids play on it. They had a great time pretending to move around and have meals in different places.

This was a part of our My Father's World-Creation to the Greeks curriculum. Our main history spine is the Bible with supplemental books looking at the life of the people at that time as well as the surrounding countries. A section on Ancient Egypt will be coming up soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow Day!

Quite unexpectedly, we got a bit of snow last week. The kids were so excited! They had been waiting all year, hoping we'd get some snow this winter. For 3 days straight, we had nothing but rain but on Thursday evening, it changed over to a wet, heavy snow. 

Our poor persimmon trees couldn't stand up under the weight of the snow.
Our dogwood did ok, though.
Snow angels

Because the snow started out as rain and then froze, it wasn't very good for making snowballs. We managed to make ourselves a snowman anyway.
We gave him a pie-tin hat with bird seed, hoping to get some visitors.
Mommy started a snowball fight
And Olivia gave it right back to her. :)

We don't own a sled, so we improvised an old-school solution: a shovel.
The kids loved being pulled around on the shovel

 And now, our artistic section:
 The Many Faces of Ezra

 Last year, Olivia did a nature activity book, but there were several activities she couldn't do due to the lack of snow. We pulled the book out and managed to get a bunch of the experiments and observations done.

catching snowflakes
unfortunately, the snow was more like ice pellets, so we didn't see any actual flakes.
Observing the temperature difference between the air (39 deg F) 
and under the snow (34 deg F)
"Eskimo" snow goggles. By looking through the slits, glare from the sun is greatly reduced.
We added salt to a small handful of snow.

a few minutes later, it was completely melted.
Olivia made 3 snowballs of different sizes and then recorded how long it took each to melt. 
We snagged a bowlful of snow to make snow cream with.
Emma wasn't too keen on helping out with it.
Ezra and Olivia, however, were more than willing to stir the ingredients.