I don’t know if I’ll do this every week, but I am this week. It’s my blog and I can be inconsistent if I want to.
Monday was my first day at work for the semester. I work in the college writing center for six hours a week. It’s a great job; partly because I can take my kids if I need to. Monday I took Stinky, and since I wasn’t busy we had a great opportunity to practice his sight words, play some games together, and even play on the computer.
That afternoon the kids and I worked together to make some math manipulatives, mostly for Stinky but for both boys as needed. They’re very simple– bundles of 10 craft sticks to represent the tens place and then individual craft sticks for counters for the ones place. Stinky has been struggling with the concept of place value and these really seem to be helping. He also has been using them to help with his adding, as seen above. On Monday he used the three sheets of paper, one for each number in his addition problem, and then practiced adding the first number to the second and then that to the third, regrouping as needed. Once he understood the concept he was able to stop using the papers. But he has used them every day since and I’m getting many fewer 51s instead of 15s. 🙂
The plan is to work with flashcards to build up both boys’ math fact knowledge, but to let them use the manipulatives as much as they need so they have a firm grasp of the concepts behind the facts.
For science on Monday, we learned a little about nonvascular plants, which do not have roots and stems and veins to move water. Rather, they absorb water and spread it around the plant, much like a paper towel does. Or a coffee filter.
We used coffee filters and watery food coloring to learn about this absorbing/spreading process, and also to have some fun.
This led to a discussion about the ways colors blend and turned into a mini art lesson.
Later that evening, we went on a search for moss, which is a nonvascular plant. We found some on campus where Art and I work, and checked it out with the magnifying glass.
Then the boys drew the moss for their science notebooks.
We learned about Noah and the Great Flood during history on Monday. Our book has us write out memory cards to help us recall facts from lesson to lesson.
On Tuesday we took our coffee filters from Monday and turned them into butterflies! Not exactly seasonally appropriate, but fun anyways.
Squeezy adored this project. Probably because I let her use the Extra Special Skinny Markers that she is always trying to steal from the boys.
If this is something you’d like to make, it’s really easy. Just decorate the coffee filters however you want, let them dry if needed, then scrunch them up in the middle. Clip them into a clothespin and decorate with markers, pipe cleaner antennae, googly eyes (we didn’t have any small enough), or whatever you like. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Tuesday we studied the Ice Age in history, and one of the suggested activities in the book was to have a contest to see who could hold an ice cube the longest on their belly. Clearly this was the most educational activity we will ever do. Ha! It was really fun though. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, the video is posted there. I’m not posting it here because it has a little too much information about our family for me to be comfortable with. But suffice it to say that we made a ridiculously big deal of the whole thing, ending with hanging the flag from the curtain rod in the living room so we could have an Olympic-style medal ceremony.
Stuff like this is what makes Bubs say at random intervals, “This is the best family ever.”
Wednesday was an exhausting day. Not bad, just long. And tiring. I’ve been trying to get Stinky to understand the concept of even and odd numbers, as well as counting by two’s, which he just seems to have a mental block about. This was a game I played with the boys– I said a number and if it was even, they were supposed to smile, but if it was odd, they were supposed to make an odd face.
I’m not sure if Stinky actually learned anything from the exercise, but I did get this priceless picture of Bubs, so it’s all worth it, don’t you think? We’ve also been saying this rhyme:
Two, Four, Six, Eight!
Who do we appreciate?
Even numbers Even numbers!
They are GREAT!
Someday I’ll ask Stinky if eight is even or odd, and he’ll say even, and my heart will do a little happy dance. For now, we soldier on.
Wednesday in history we learned a bit about dinosaurs, so what better activity than to make our own fossils? I made these once years ago with the daycare kids. The recipe is found here; I halved it and had enough for ten fossils.
I had the boys measure the ingredients and mix it all up. We had to add a little extra flour because it was too goopy at first. Then they flattened their pieces out and we cut them with a glass to make circles. They rounded up a bunch of stuff to make prints from and set to work.
Even Squeezy got in on the action, although she mostly just played with the dough. When we got nearly done I flattened hers out and made her a couple fossils too.
We used letter stamps to stamp the kids’ initials into their fossils so we could tell them apart, and poked holes in them with straws so we could string them up, then I stuck them in a 200-degree oven to speed up the drying process.
Wednesday is also drawing lesson day. This week we learned how to draw a pig.
I love how even when we’re all following the same directions, our drawings always come out totally different.
Stinky’s very FAT pig had a home near the mountains. And the pig’s wallow included some very muddy chicks.
Bubs drew a more traditional farm scene. I love the little chickie on the fence.
Mine is just some boring old farm fields. 🙂 Also, isn’t it amazing how the pig just sort of hovers over the mud, with its feet not actually sinking in? It’s a floating pig. Just go with it.
On an unrelated note, oh my word LOOK at that gray hair! I don’t know if I can do this!
Thursday morning was a pretty average schooly type morning. We read books, did math problems, practiced spelling and capitalization rules, and learned more about moss. But Thursday afternoon we busted out the fun.
Thursdays are timeline days for our history curriculum, so we spent some time making figures for the timeline– Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and some dinosaurs! We watched a couple videos on youtube to learn how to draw a dinosaur.
This is an idea of what our table looks like when we’re all sitting there doing our thing. It’s chaos.
Here’s some of our figures all ready to go on the timeline. You know, whenever I get it put up. *ahem*.
We watched a video on the Answers in Genesis website about dinosaurs and fossils.
And I strung up their fossils from Thursday.
They turned out pretty cool, don’t you think?
Squeezy couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t let her eat her fossils. She kept saying “Dese are cookies, Mommy. No, dey are fossohs.”
On Friday, we acted out the story of Noah for our Bible lesson.
Both boys took spelling tests today (Stinky took his with the word rocks, and it wasn’t exactly a test– at least I didn’t call it that to him– but it was an end-of-the-week assessment). And they both got 100%! This made me very happy. Stinky has just started learning long-vowel words like “pine” and “cube.” It was good to see him do a good job. And both boys did awesome on our review quiz thing for history.
The best reward for spelling well is cookies, don’t you think?
I was inspired by this blog post by Almost Unschoolers, but I decided we would each make our own fossil cookie.
We used her recipe. I had some trouble because the dough was really, really sticky.
Yeah. Like that. I don’t know if it’s because I used margarine instead of butter (can that make dough more sticky? I don’t know), or if it was too soft, or if it was just part of the Curse of the Sugar Cookies, which is a very real part of my life that I don’t like to talk about. 😉
Anyway, after I added a bunch more flour we finally had something we could work with. I patted the vanilla dough into circles, and the boys and I used chocolate dough to make “fossil bones.”
I am clearly not quite as good at this as Almost Unschooling Mom is. 🙂
We baked our cookies for 14 minutes and they were just the right doneness. Then we got to eat our fossils!
Art really liked these cookies, so I’ll probably play around till I get them right.
(What, don’t you have a couple of wooden dowels clipped to your fridge?)
It was a great week. Very exhausting. But good. I have the best husband in the universe, so Friday night he sent me out of the house after dinner and told me not to come back till the kids were in bed. So I went and got a much-needed haircut.
It was a good week. I am so blessed.