Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Montessori Activities: Fine-Motor Counting Activities

I introduced a couple of slightly new activities this week. I did leave the spooning cottonballs on the shelf as they still remind me of snow, but they didn't seem interested in it. I replaced the heart picks with red chenille stems for the girls to place in the cheese shaker.

I added a new dimension to this activity by having the girls place pony beads or cheerios on the stems.

I had Tabitha sort 5 different color beads onto the stems, making it a color sorting activity for her.

In addition, each color represented a different number of beads. When she was finished putting them on the stems she got to count them and place them on a number mat I made.

I only went to 5 because I didn't want to overwhelm her. I think it was a little simple for her (She picked them right out of the shaker and put them in the correct spot), so I am going to make a mat representing the numbers 0-10. I didn't allow Amelia to use the beads because I had found her trying to eat them earlier in the week when I was setting up the activity. So she got to use cheerios. No pictures of her putting the cheerios on though.

I also changed the tonging activity again, to go with the theme. I call this the build-a-snowman tonging activity.

Tot School

I am also linking to
play academy

Carnival of Maths Play

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I decided, as it was taking me so long to get the Rr projects ready, that we would focus on winter this week. Our Montessori work included some activities that fit the winter theme, I will share those in my Montessori post.

In addition to the Montessori work, the girls made 2 winter crafts. We made a snowman family:

I cut out 3 different size circles. I used felt scraps (from the scraps left from trying to make the felt roses I saw at Counting Coconuts) and beads.

I put white glue on the paper in the shape of circles and let them place the circles on the glue. Then I put glue on for the scarves and noses.

I let them draw the eyes and mouths on.

And then I put glue on for the buttons (we used pony beads).

This evening we talked about winter, we looked at some winter trees on google images. It seemed like an appropriate day to do so. Lots of snow, older kids home because of school closing. Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to take them outside as I had a non-stress test to go take. But we made our own winter scene:

I taped two light blue pieces of construction paper together, then cut a piece of white construction paper in half to glue underneath it. I then stapled the paper towel roll to the middle. We used markers, cotton balls, glue and white paint.

The girls drew branches on the tree.

Then they pulled cotton balls apart and placed them on the glue.

I cut apart an egg carton and let the girls each have their own cup filled part way with white paint. They finger painted the snow.

Here is the finished product. We are going to hang them on the wall and surround them with pictures of them playing outside in the snow and the picture I took of River Road in the winter. I spent the spring and summer last year taking pictures of the buds coming out and blooming on one particular bush on River Rd. This year I decided to start again with how it looks in the winter. We will do a winter tree scene for each season throughout the year. I did this once before with Tabitha (2 years ago, she was 13 months old when we started) and I had a nice lineup on the wall of each season. This time we will take pictures outside as well and make a season scrapbook.

And here is the very faded winter tree Tabitha made 2 years ago. It was hanging so long in the sun it faded quite bit. Wouldn't have noticed how much if I didn't put it up against the new ones.

To see what others are doing with their preschoolers and tots head on over to:

Homeschool Creations

And 1+1+1=1
Tot School

Friday, February 26, 2010

Postcard Swap

Okay, I discovered another postcard swap, same concept as the previous post. Tanya over at Tanya Peila dot com has decided to host this exchange because the other one has 3 going already.

Here is her description:

How it works: 50 families (one from each state) will swap postcards over the next year. Each state will have their own week and will send out 49 postcards, one to each state, during that week. We will go in alphabetical order of the states. At the end of 50 weeks we will all have received a postcard from 49 other states!

At my house, we plan on putting up a large map of the United States, and connecting each postcard that we receive to it’s corresponding state.

The postcards will be somehow themed about the state that you live in (I know I see state postcards all of the time at places like Walgreens and gas stations, but you could feel free to make your own, as well!) On the back of the postcards, I was thinking that your family could just write either a fun fact about your state or why you like living in your state.

To join: email me at adventures and gapcswap @ gmail dot com

If you are interested, but your state is not on the list of states we need, send me an email anyway. With enough interest I will put together a second (or more?) swap. I don't want anyone to miss out!

Things to remember: This is a family swap, a great way for kids to learn about the states. Postcards should be state themed. You can buy them or just make them yourself if you'd like to. The cost to send 50 postcards is $14. Did I miss anything? Please send me an email if you have any questions. More details will be posted soon!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap

I just learned about a postcard swap over at Adventures and Pursuits through Debbie's blog Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn

Here are the details:
How it works: 50 families (one from each state) will swap postcards over the next year. Each state will have their own week and will send out 49 postcards, one to each state, during that week. We will go in alphabetical order of the states. I would like to start the first week of March. At the end of 50 weeks we will all have received a postcard from 49 other states!

Unfortunately, it looks like I missed out on all 3 groups as it looks like Pa is not needed right now. However, she is still looking for some states, so if you are interested hop on over and see if your state is needed.

Diaper Changing

Today we had a lesson in diaper changing. Tabitha had her baby doll and wanted to put a diaper on her. I had one old (unused) size 1 diaper that I keep in the doll box. I showed her how to put the diaper under the baby and pull it between the legs.

We worked on fastening the Velcro

and then snapping up the onesie, lifting the baby's legs gently to pull down the back of the onesie.

Then Amelia wanted a diaper on her baby doll. Unfortunately I only had one old diaper. We decided mommy could make some diapers out of some old white material I had hanging around in my craft tote.

I cut out a couple of rectangles (gotta have an extra for the diaper changes, right?) then cut out the curves for the legs, and attached some velcro so they can be fastened. Then I attempted to show Amelia how to put the diaper on her doll.

She wanted to put the diaper on top of the doll instead of putting the diaper under the doll.

But we got it on eventually.

The only problem was, Tabitha's baby kept going "stinky peeyoo" and needing a diaper change when we were trying to do our lesson. Guess I should get used to that, huh? Lol.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Homeschool Hop #3/It's Cool To Homeschool

I am editing this post to include the It's Cool To Homeschool button and to link up to Mama to 3 Blessings blog.  Let's celebrate homeschooling together.  As Kylie asked several months ago over at Our Worldwide Classroom, now Nicole is asking: Why do you homeschool?  My answers can be found below.  

Here is this week's homeschool hop post. Kylie at Our Worldwide Classroom is hosting this blog hop. First, the details:

Theme For The Week - Why?

Why? It's probably the most frequently asked question of homeschoolers, except of course the one about socialisation. So why do you home school? Are the reasons you home school today different from what they were when you first made the decision?

There are so many reasons why I am homeschooling my precious girls. My reasons haven't changed since I first thought about homeschooling, they have multiplied!

When my older children were little, I wanted to homeschool them because of religious reasons, a couple of families in our small Mennonite church homeschooled their children and it seemed to me as if that was the way God wanted it. Unfortunately, the children's father wouldn't allow it. And after the divorce I didn't see any feasible way to homeschool anyway due to my work schedule.

Since that time I have watched my children go through the public school system and I do not want my babies to have to suffer through the same system.

So my reasons for homeschooling are many:
1) Still a religious conviction, though stronger now, that I should be the one educating my children in the way that would bring them up for the Lord. Not being influenced by evolution everywhere they turn around especially.

2)I want my children to be able to read and comprehend. Something all my older children struggle with I feel in part because of the way it is taught in the school and the way they are pushed through, ready or not.

3)I want my children to have a love of learning and not just learn just enough for a test and then forget it again.

4)I want to be a part of those special milestones, see the ah-hah moments, the gleam in their eyes as they discover something they didn't know before.

5)I don't want my kids to worry about being bullied as my older ones have been.

6)I don't like having been at odds with the teachers throughout the older children's schooling. Trying to help the children with homework, but being told I wasn't doing something the right way because the teacher taught it differently. Never quite knowing how to help.

Now that Tabitha has just started Sunday School, she is quite eager to go to class and every once in a while I wonder if preschool would be a good thing for her. Then I realize the bad influences she could be exposed to even this young, I realize she is learning quite a bit at home and I know I am doing the right thing.

Addition Aug 5, 2010:
When I discovered my 18 year old son, who just graduated from high school and my 14 year old, can't answer simple questions such as, Who did we fight in the revolutionary war?  And: Who was fighting in the Civil War, I decided I will never falter in my decision to homeschool my children.  Check out the links below and over at Mama to 3 Blessings blog, to see why others are homeschooling.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Homeschool Hop #2

This week the theme is: Your Family

Our's is a blended family. My three older children are from a previous marriage. They all attend public school, as their dad wouldn't let me homeschool them. Steven is a senior, who is struggling right now with his senior/graduation project. He is my musical one, is in band, chorus, jazz band, show choir and our church's worship team. He plays trumpet. He has been accepted to college and he is engaged. Floyd is my middle son, and he lives with his father. He is the artist in the family. (The art and music skills seemed to have passed from my parents to them, skipping me. My father was quite the artist and my mom plays piano, which I have been trying to teach myself.) He is now looking at using his skills for future financial gain. Krystal was my baby (okay she is 13 now), never thought I would have any more children after the divorce. She also participates in band and chorus. She loves to bake and is constantly asking if she can make something.

Four and a half years ago I met my husband when I chanced to sit in his mother's car at a Koinonia event we were both attending. Somehow, through the conversation his mother and I were having, we both discovered the other was single, though with children from a previous marriage. Similar circumstances within those failed marriages seemed to draw us together. We ended up getting married 7 months later.

Hubby is an LPN who works night shift in a nursing home environment. Of course, this means his time with the children is limited. He gets an hour or so with them when he gets home in the morning and then eats dinner with us before leaving for work. The children love getting to wave to him out the window. He is an avid Buffalo Bills fan, I would use the word "obsessed." Though I am not a huge football fan myself, I have learned to enjoy the game a lot more since he has explained the game and rules to me. Though my team has to be the Giants, as that was my father's team. The only time this will cause conflict is if our two teams are playing against each other, as I will root for the Bills otherwise. DH also enjoys hockey (Buffalo Sabres, and no conflict here), and NASCAR.

As mentioned, dh does have children from his previous marriage. The thing is, we hardly get to see them because of his new work schedule. He doesn't get a full weekend off anymore, only the Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday, making it impossible to get them down here (they live a couple of hours away). His oldest has graduated from high school and last we knew is looking into college. The twins, girls (I know, I am not using names as I am not sure how well received that would be by their mother) are the same age as my Floyd. And his youngest is 15. And I feel terrible that I really don't know them well enough to mention anything about them. Obviously it is hard to form a relationship when we hardly see them. Though I was hoping for more before the wedding.

Let's see, my precious babies, babies we never thought we would have. I know Tabitha is not a baby anymore having just turned three, but I can't stop calling her my baby girl. Tabitha amazes us with her verbal development. At two and a half she was talking in 11 word sentences. So different from my older children. Her vocabulary is amazing, she shocks us when she uses words like perforation in the correct context after hearing it only once or twice. She is excited to have just started Sunday School. When we drive by the church she will ask if she will be going to her "class." And I have to remind her that church isn't until Sunday. She is very imaginative and loves teaching her little sister.

Amelia is our miracle from God. When I was only 10 weeks pregnant we were told there was a problem during a routine ultra sound. We were sent to a specialist who informed us that due to the extra fluid behind the head and neck, meaning most probably that the lymph system wasn't developing properly, the baby would die in utero or soon after birth. The only option we were given was termination of the pregnancy, which we vehemently refused. The prayer chains were started after our return home, though my faith was quite shaky. At our follow up visit 6 weeks later the fluid had diminished to an acceptable level. Praise God. The specialist had the nerve to tell us, "That happens sometimes." Though we were given no hope at the initial visit. When Amelia was born she was a healthy baby. And she has developed normally these last 20 months. She loves having lesson time with sissy, especially when coloring and gluing is involved. She also loves music and dancing. Amelia is definitely more of a handful and their are many times I have to remind myself she is my "work of the Lord." Which is what Amelia means. God gave me this name after my initial doctor visit where we confirmed the pregnancy. I was driving home and the name Amelia Joy just came to me. It wasn't until I got home and looked it up on the internet, that I discovered the meaning. She is quite the climber and she is into things that were quite safe with Tabitha.

Both girls love going outside to play, we are fortunate to have a park right past our back yard, though it is closed in the winter.

God has blessed me with a wonderful family. We are looking forward to the birth of baby Hannah in less than two months. Tabitha already loves her baby sister. She will rub my tummy, get really close and say, "Oh,the baby is sooo cute." She got a doctor kit for her birthday from grandma (who was actually looking for a nurse outfit so Tabitha could be like daddy). She will listen for the babies heartbeat using the stethoscope that lights up with a heartbeat sound. I also get shots regularly from both girls.

Check out Our Worldwide Classroom for more homeschool hop stories.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What happened this week?

Whoa, this week we did next to nothing. I have plans, but had no ambition to get them out of the starting gate. Monday night the older children let the girls make a red rectangle collage while I went to the library board meeting. Obviously I am getting ready for the letter Rr. But I have been so unambitious it is not funny. The scary thing is, after 2 weeks of inactivity I don't know if I will be able to get back in the routine. I am exhausted, falling asleep after Bible time at night, wake up later and try to finish chores then get to bed after midnight. I know, viscous circle. I guess some of it could be blamed on the pregnancy, being due the beginning of April. Would love to know how others deal with homeschooling and pregnancy/newborn.
Maybe later I will share some of the old craft projects I did with the girls before I started posting blogs regularly (which would be before November I guess). We'll see.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Geography Lesson #2


On Thursday we were able to take a walk and use our map for the very first time. The plan at first was to go across the street to the store, but the more I thought about it the more I felt we could use the map a little more by walking to the thrift shop and around River Rd. to get to the store the long, round about way. So I bundled the girls up and off we went. I just realized that this was the first time Amelia had ever gone for a walk without the stroller. She did great.

Had to show the map of our town.

Tabitha was pointing to where we were on the map
but Amelia got in the way. Little bit further to the
thrift shop.

Here we are at the thrift shop.

And here we are, getting ready to turn down River Rd.

We made it to the store (to buy the ingredients still needed for the strawberry tarts we made to go with our Qq lesson) and back home. The biggest complaint/problem was Tabitha's sock that kept riding off her foot. And it got a little windy on River Rd, I had actually started feeling a little warm before that.

Later in the day we finished our geography lesson by looking at our postcards we had received through the postcard exchange. If you would like to be involved in this postcard exchange you can see the information here. We would love to be able to send more postcards out and have the opportunity to learn more about some other states. We recently received two from Texas and one from Bermuda. Tabitha colored her map again, Amelia wasn't really into it, though I did get her to pose for a picture.

To see what others are doing with Geography, head on over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn

Also linking up to Smart Summer Challenge

Summer 2011
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