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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Work boxes Part 2 and other schedules

So I have been busy laminating and cutting.  Today I headed to Wal-Mart to buy more Velcro (I'm still going to need more, but I have enough to get started).  I showed the boys today how the system is meant to work, as they were curious about the cards that are hanging on their desks.  We are technically off of school this week, but I'll be putting them to the test a bit in prep for our first day of school on JUNE 6th.

The strip of Velcro on the bottom of the boxes will hold cards such as time limits, work with mom, subject, and/or group work.  The numbers have a small piece of Velcro also, they will take the number from their card and place it on the box with the number that is there.
(I made group work cards to use with boxes that the boys can work on together).

The help cards on the desk are for them to use to ask for help on  boxes that are meant to be done alone.  The idea is for them to use them sparingly, so they only receive 3; much like life lines on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire!  At this age/grade most of the assignments will be done with me, but I wanted to institute the buttons for C now, because he is one to say he needs help, even when he can do it himself!  So I am hoping to instill a little more independence.
DAILY SCHEDULE FOR CHILD
I also made a morning schedule for Cole, so that he would know what he needs to do each morning and have a VISUAL reminder of it.  I laminated it and hung it on a hook by his bed.
You can get a copy of it here, feel free to adjust it to meet your needs.
(I had to post a pdf version because the word version was not coming up right, if you have problems, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to email you a word version).  Today was the first day we used it, and it seemed pretty effective, now I need to make one for my 2yo b/c he keeps stealing his brothers.

CLEANING SCHEDULE
Speaking of schedules;  I have instituted a weekly cleaning schedule for myself, using some of Fly Lady's tips of Zone Cleaning and one load of laundry a day...I came up with this schedule for myself.  This is the check list for what to clean each week, and this is the zone cleaning list.  For more information on zone's, click HERE.
I have them all printed off and in sheet protectors on my fridge, so I can mark things off with a dry erase maker each week.  I don't always get everything done, but  I find I am definitely getting more of the deep cleaning done, which has always been my problem.  My house is always picked up and fairly organized...but I wanted it to be CLEAN!!  I do most of my list during quiet/nap time (when the kids cooperate), though first thing in the morning I throw a load of laundry in, and change the sheets if it's sheet day!

I REALLY wish there was an IKEA on this island...I would like some more shallow drawers for the work boxes.   Most of the big ones I think will be used by Z, since his stuff is more bulky.  At this point I have decided they will share a lot of boxes too, as Z likes to participate in our lessons, and C is not old enough yet to do many (if any) of the lessons on his own.  We'll work to that point.  I have typed up a work box schedule for the first week of school for C.  Z's is not much different.  I used this draft from heart of wisdom to get started.  Here is what I came up with.  I'll post picks of the boxes later. One alteration I made for Z is that #1 is a Leapfrog Phonics Toy.

NOTE:  I also added a trampoline tag to their desk, this can used when they feel like they are getting the wiggles and need a break!

Memorial Day!

Today being Memorial Day we took the opportunity to go and visit the World War II Veterans Cemetery in Honolulu.  Yesterday some Scouts from our church went to place flags and lei's on the grave sites, and we were able to see the fruits of their labors today.  What a site!  It also gave us the opportunity to teach our son about the sacrifices that others have made for our freedoms.  He didn't completely get it, but I am still glad we went.  I was on the verge of tears the entire time.  What a blessing it is to live in these United States and have the freedoms we have; freedom of religion, freedom of education, which includes the freedom to home school....just to name a few.  Here are the pictures we took at the cemetery today:







After the cemetery we went up the road to Pali Lookout, and hiked the old highway (now it's just an overgrown trail).  If you hike far enough down there is a water fall, but we didn't make it.  Was still a nice hike though.  We had lots of opportunity for learning along the way as well, we learned about roots, bees and seeds.  We also saw some chickens, roosters and baby chicks (they are all wild here in HI), and got to feel the power of wind!!  We also learned about how we should not litter, and picked up trash we saw along the way.  


These Hawaii trees are amazing!  They grow roots from their limbs and can grow pretty much anywhere...this one has grown over the cement wall!  They are Banyan Trees.










This poem came to mind when I took the pictures that follow it:
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost


The day ended with Q and the boys bringing home a baby bird they found in the parking lot by the playground...last baby bird we had (back when Q and I were first married, died....I'm hoping this one has a better fate).  

Couldn't get this song out of my head as we hiked today.  It truly is a beautiful world that Heavenly Father has blessed us with.

Our favorite books for exploring Hawaii

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Scripture Study and Sacrament Activities

With today being Sunday, I felt inspired to make a post about Scripture Study for children.  There are lots of ways to bring the scriptures to life for children, and to help them understand and relate to the stories that are in them.
Firstly, we use the storied scriptures as laid out by the School of Abraham, basically they have taken the MEAT of the scriptures and outlined them. We follow their outline reading daily, and then we occasionally supplement what we have read with other sources.  We print pictures from the living scriptures coloring books and also watch the movies that go along with what we are reading. (they also have FHE ideas on their site).  Typically they color the pages while I read.  We also like the Who's Your Hero?  Series.  These are great b/c it relates the stories to the child's life, and they also have FHE lessons to go along with each story as well.  Scripture Scouts is also something my kids enjoy listening too.  They have CD's for Book of Mormon, Old and New Testaments, Articles of Faith and the Family Proclamation.  These are cute little plays on CD, of kids acting out and retelling the scripture stories.


As C is getting older and being able to read independently, we have purchased Discover The Book of Mormon program for this year, they also offer other programs besides The Book of Mormon, and we plan to get them all if the BOM program goes well.   The early elementary programs use the Scripture Story Readers sold by LDS Distribution, and the older children programs use actual scriptures.

More ideas for younger children:


Ideas for Older Children:

A fellow homeschooling mom also referred me to this blog with free scripture study workbooks for children age 8+  http://www.ldsworkbooks.com/

Primary and Sunday School Manuals can also be purchased inexpensively from LDS distribution as well.  And don't forget The Friend and The New Era magazines.

The best way to teach children anything is to immerse them in it...I'm a self proclaimed book-a-holic, and church books are no exception!

Now for Quiet Bags for Sacrament Meeting.  I am a firm believer that if kids are going to be otherwise occupied during sacrament meeting, it should be atleast church related.  So we have a church bag that comes to church on Sunday's...in our bag we have a a notebook with puzzles printed from the living scriptures coloring books, they are in page protectors so that dry erase markers can be used on them...again and again and again.  We also have some of our scripture study materials...scripture board books, Who's Your Hero?, etc.   Then there are some various other materials purchased from Deseret Books:
Book of Mormon:  Seek and ye shall find
Book of Mormon Busy Book
Sticker Books
and other items.
It's actually time for a revamping of the scripture bag...it's on my mile long to do list...but for now, we are using what we have.  I would like to make some file folder type games, and other quiet books, specifically something for them to look at and think about Jesus during the passing of the sacrament (the rule with the bag is that they can not take it out until after the Sacrament has been passed).

We also have a felt pieces that I have not taken down in sometime....I need to use those again.

So that's our scripture study in a nutshell.  I'd love to hear what you do with your family!

ADDED:  As luck would have it Latter-Day Homeschooling Blog has a post about Scripture Journaling!  Check it out http://www.latter-dayhomeschooling.com/2011/05/scripture-journaling.html

A few more great ideas....SINGING THE SCRIPTURES (for memorization), check out these sites
http://www.ldsscripturerock.com/
http://www.singitagain.com/

and more MEMORIZATION tips
http://www.schoolofabraham.com/scripturemastery.htm

I can't believe I forgot about this site





Work boxes Part 1

Okay so another home school mom that I met the other day (the one that gave me the Sonlight K read aloud guide for FREE!) mentioned work boxes to me.  I meant to google them and then it completely slipped my mind.  Then today on one of the many home school forums I am part of, I saw them mentioned again....so to google I went.   Can I say I am totally stoked about the concept??  So I went straight to work, figuring out how I could make this concept work for us (with minimal cost).
So, you may be asking, "what are work boxes exactly?"  so let me slow down and take you on the internet journey I took today...
First, the concept of work boxes was first introduced by Sue Patrick, and many variations of the concept can be found in homeschooling blogs all over the web.  Some of the many I looked at today are:
Heart of Wisdom and Squidoo, both of which linked many other great resources!!  So check them out, and you'll see what I'm talking about!
So first things first....I needed to find a space...I have these shelves with bins from Ikea that would be PERFECT...they are in the toy room, right next to the school room, so they would be easily accessible.  Most of the bins were full of toys though, so I went to work reorganizing.  I was able to find new homes for everything!  So this will be our work box station (I'll have to help reach the higher ones)
(yes, those are cookies sheets hanging on the wall...we have really small kitchen, so we put metal cookie sheets up to hold the toys that use to be on our refrigerator at the old house, it works great and if I remember correctly I paid less than $5 for the set of 3!).

I also purchased Sue Patrick's e-book; though with all the resources, I am not finding it 100% necessary.  I will say , However, that it was useful (I have found that everyone seems to have their own way of doing it, and seeing the original way was helpful to me).
Then I printed off a variety of things...
Work Box Tags and Blank Boxes from Heart of Wisdom (2 sets)
Toy Story Number Cards from homeschoolcreations.com (2 sets)
and some more Work Box Tags also from Home School Creations (2 sets)
UPDATE:  I have decided I was being over zealous and you only need either the heart of wisdom box tags or the home school creations box tags...not necessarily both.

So far I have laminated the Blank Boxes and the Number Cards (I mounted them on colored card stock first, blue for for C and green for Z, and I also made a colored name page for the front of the pack).  I need to buy more Velcro to mount the numbers, but you get the idea.  These will hang from a hook on the side of their desks.

There will be another number of the same color on the boxes, and as you can see I only have 8 boxes for each.  The other 4 blank squares will be things like snack, lunch, karate, computer, games, centers, etc...(from the activity cards I printed).

I've decided to work the system more like the creator did.  It will go something like this:  The numbers and the other activity cards will be placed on the blank box strips.  They will start with number one, remove it from the strip, and go to the work box with number one on it.  Place that number one beside the number one on the box already, then do the activities in that box, going along with the box strips, numbers mean number boxes, other activities will be done as they appear on the strips.  (does that make sense??).  I'll update as I continue the set up.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Giggler Treatment and Zero Grandparents (Book Reviews)


So there are the latest two read aloud books we have read.  I have to be honest and say they are not my favorite.  The Giggler Treatment jumped around with the plot a lot, so much that I don't think C was able to keep up, aside from that the story line, though funny for a child, and it did catch a few laughs from C, was a bit ridiculous in that I said the word 'poo' at least a hundred times while reading it.  The Giggler's are this little elf like creatures that punish adults when they are mean to kids by putting dog poo in their path for them to step on.  So it was definitely a kids sense of humor, but with the plot jumping around from present to past quite frequently, I think for a child C's age (4.5) it was too hard to follow and, the subject matter was not that enjoyable to read about either.  (though I will say at some points it was funny, even for me).   Another thing about the book is that it has a lot of British words, which C didn't get either (even though they explain them for the most part, and the book contains a dictionary in the back).  I think the book would be better as a silent read for an older child...maybe 3rd grade..depending on their reading level.  It was a fairly quick read, we read it in two days (about 20min a day).
Zero Grandparents was the next book we read.  This was a cute story, would be good for kids whose grandparents are deceased.  For C it just raised a lot of questions about death, and how he doesn't want his grandma to die. The girl in the book is having Grandparents Day at school, she is not happy about it b/c she has no living grandparents, but she ends up coming up with an alternate plan...which actually for me was a bit of a tear jerker...but I am still a bit postpartum hormonal. This was a very easy read, we read it in one sitting, many parts were a bit over C's head. So maybe more appropriate for a slightly older aged child.

I got both of these books off of a 'must read kindergarten' list that I found online, but I am finding that I much prefer the Sonlight Reading list and will most likely just stick to it in the future, with a few exceptions.

On another note I am excited to have been given the Sonlight K core guide, which has the reading schedule and discussion questions for the read aloud books in it! I am so lucky to have found someone who was just giving it away, the core guide costs $60 new, and since I only wanted a portion of it, I did not want to pay that much money! School starts for us a little over one week! Hard to believe.

And one last thing...C gave his bird presentation today at Science Class, I was told he did well...I didn't stay, I wanted to, but thought he would actually do better with out me there. If only we could be invisible at times.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why we home school

In a home school forum that I am part of the question was posed, What is your main reason for home schooling? 12 choices were given, one of which was OTHER. I found that many of the choices fit our reasons, and it also gave me 'inspiration' to answer the question in my blog. *So basically our reasons are these (in no particular order):
*Better education at home (higer test scores, more in depth study, etc)
*Poor learning environment/safety issues at school (class size, bullies, fights, drugs, etc)
*Customize or individualize the curriculum and learning environment for each child
*Prefer the freedom homeschooling offers (Vacations, travel for work, Dr. Appt, etc)

Many would have thought that religion would be on the list, but I feel that religion can be taught at home without the need of home schooling. I don't feel that religion needs to be taught in every subject, we will touch basis on it in History, but otherwise it will mostly be focused specifically during religion/scripture study. Religion does have some influence in our decision, but more along the lines of that we prayed about it and feel this is the right path for us.

There are certain things about being a parent that I always knew I wanted to do, like being a stay-at-home mom for instance. Home schooling was never one of them. It really came into play when C (my oldest) started getting a bit older. Not to brag on my child, but he is pretty smart for his age, and I just couldn't see the school system being able to challenge him. Where we were living in MD, there were no 'gifted' programs for children until 2nd grade, and you had to provide the transportation to the school that offered the program your child was accepted to, considering we were in a very rural part of town, and most of the schools that offered the programs were at a minimum of 30min away, that would be 2hrs of driving a day, having to load up all the younger kids to take C to and from school. A friend of mine whose son had already started K was having similar issues to what I had anticipated for C. He was not challenged, he was bored, and the schools answer to this was to just send home more work. So now you have a 5yo who sits at school for 8hrs, and then has to come home and do more work, b/c he is smarter? Additionally in MD Elementary school went first, so the children were sent to school at 7am. I worried that C's boredom would lead to bad behavior, acting up and being the class clown....we've all seen it happen. After serving as an intern in a local first grade classroom to receive my MS in Early Childhood Education, I was even more convinced as to how impossible it is for one teacher to meet the needs of 25+ students. Every child is different, they all learn differently, they are all on different levels. There were a few students in the class that could not read at all, already at 7years of age, these children had in many ways been given up on. Then there was another child who was light years ahead of the other kids in reading and math. He was given advanced reading group time, where he was still light years ahead of the other kids, for a short amount of time, 1-2 days a week. This child was bored, this child got in trouble all the time. I discussed with the teacher (my mentor) about his boredom, and her response was that if he was bored it was his own fault! What???!!! And unfortunately his parents were not involved in his education, and they missed the deadline to apply for him to go to magnet school...so 2nd grade will be much of the same thing for him.

My first and foremost reason that I decided to home school is that as an Early Childhood Education Major, we are taught that kids learn by DOING, hands on activities, experiencing things...however directly after preschool this form of learning comes to a screeching halt! (and even sadder, I have seen it not used in preschool programs as well). Kids are not allowed to be kids, they are not allowed to learn how they learn best. I don't agree that children in kindergarten need to sit in school all day, and then be given homework! That's crazy...I can teach them all they need to know and more in half the time (or less). In school they are taught what they need to know to pass tests to make certain scores to make schools and teachers look good...when if they taught correctly, the children would learn it anyway. We have more and more kids graduating high school not remember a lick of what they learned those 4years! It starts with early education...teach them right!

Anyhow...for those of you who are interested. Those are my reasons. I have to remind myself of them every so often, learning should be fun...it should be interactive, it should be enjoyable. I want that for my kids...and I try my hardest to give it to them.
We will reassess the home school situation after 4th grade...but it will all depend on where we are living and what is available for education there.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Daddy is their teacher, the world is their classroom

Here is some fun stuff they have done this month

So Q took the two older boys hiking on Saturday, I had planned to go with them, but he wanted to get an really early start, so I decided to stay home with the babe and have some much needed peace and quiet!
Here is a few of their hiking finds...


These were determined to be spineless sea urchins with the help of my MIL, we weren't exactly sure and looked at all sorts of pictures of starfish thinking it might be something of that sort.

This was one of many hiking trips, Q loves to get out and about and has been great with taking the kids out with him. I haven't gone on as many outings as I would like b/c of the baby and the rain. Here are some picks from the hike that they did earlier this month.

I have also not mentioned the garden they have going on. Cole got to pick some of what he wanted to grow, and he picked radishes. We have gotten several radishes so far, the rest of the things are still growing. Here is one of the beautiful radishes. Funny enough, he won't eat them...Q slices them up and puts them in salads. But he and Z both enjoy picking them.

and another fun daddy project: POPCORN BALLS!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Father's Dragon, MAPS, Little Passports and MORE!

So we read another book My Father's Dragon: The Bestselling Children Story, I planned to break it up over a couple of days, but he kept begging for me to keep reading, either he enjoyed it or he didn't want to go to nap. But after nap (though he didn't sleep) he asked me to finish it. It was great seeing how excited he was about the story!!

On another note, I got our maps laminated and hung in the school room. I planned to take them off and on as needed, but I think I may just leave them. On one side is the US Map and on the other side is the World Map, I can change them as I need to.
This map is different than the US Map we have displayed on the bulletin board in the hallway...that one will be used to map our family members and places we have visited while studying the US States this year.

We'll be using our world map as we map the locations of the little passport sets we will be receiving in the mail. I got a 3month subscription for 50% off from mamapediaIf we really like it I may continue it. The deal is still going on for one more day if you want to check it out! Just click on the mamapedia link and look under National Deals. I have also gotten great deals on magazine subscriptions like Disney Family Fun, National Geographic Little Kids, Your Big Back Yard and Wild Animal Babies.

I also got some great educational deals today at totsy.com, they have Workman Publishing Items on sale...there is about a day left, I purchased some reusable stickers for $4 a set. I got Ocean ones for the boys to decorate their room, and I got ABC and Colors for Zane to make Alphabet and Color books with. I also got a book on making Paper Air Planes for Cole and a Bug Book and Bottle. They had lots of other things to choose from like Brain Quest cards and workbooks. My two weaknesses, good deals and books (or generally educational items).

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