Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Learning Log of April 2012

Interest Led Learning is the best type of learning!

Items and links in BOLD BIG letters 
the ones that I highly recommend.

Books - Read Aloud to all

* Bible Every day.
* Mr Putter & Tabby -  Spin the Yarn by Cyntia Rylant
* Mr Putter & Tabby - Spill the Beans by Cynthia Rylant
* Llama Llama home with mama by Anna Dewdney
* I Love my New Toy! by Mo Willems
* Carl's Snowy Afternoon by Alexandra Day
* Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
* Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear! by Matthew J. Baek
* I will Surprise my Friend! by Mo Willems
* Daddy Hug by Tim Warnes
* Me and my Dragon by David Biedrzycki
* Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont
* Too Many Dinosaurs by Mercer Mayer
* Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy
* Critter Crackers - The ABC Book of LImericks by Kathryn Barron
* Baby Bear sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
* Dragon Naps by Lynne Bertrand
* Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O'Connor
* Working with Fractions by Adler Miller
* Otis by Loren Long
* Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown
* Minette's Feast by Susanna Reich -  A lovely book about Julia Child. Lots of french words and information on vocabulary, Julia and the author's interest on the cook. Afterwards we watched a few YouTube videos of Julia Child cooking.
* Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
* Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
* Epossumondas plays Possum by Coleen Salley
* And then it's Spring by Julie Fogliano - beautiful illustrations.
 * The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy - highly recommend Loreen Leedy books to teach math to kids. They are a wonderful tool to show children how math is used in real life.

* Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy - another book on math

* The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell B. Sandved - letters captures on butterflies wings. Beautiful photography.
* Watch Me Grow - Butterfly - I love this series. The books are engaging and the photographs are beautiful.
King Arthur (Troll Illustrated Classics) by Howard Pyle

The children helped Daddy build our new sandbox.
DS6.5 independent reading list plus listening to above books:

* Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner
* Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown
* Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
* Cows to the Rescue by John Himmelman
* Daniel's Duck by Clyde Robert Bulla
* Greek Myths for Young Children by Marcia Williams - caught my son reading this book on his own a few times. :)

DD9 independent reading list plus the books above:

* Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
* My Grandma lived in Gooligulch by Graeme Base
* DK Kitchen Science with over 50 fantastic experiments
* Robotics by Helena Domaine
* The Journey that Saved Curious George by Louise Borden 
* Albino Animals by Kelly Milner Halls
* The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt by Megan McDonald - a Judy Moody & Stink book
* Chicken Riddle by Ann Bishop
* The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton
* The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (Great illustrated Classics) 
* The Bat Scientists by Mary Kay Carson 
* It's Probably Penny by Loreen Leedy 
* Om-kas-toe Blackfeet Twin Captures and Elkdog by Kenneth Thomasma
* Naya Nuki Shoshoni Girl Who Tan by Kenneth Thomasma
* Re-reading her American Girl books: Samantha, Kaya and Kit
* The House on Dirty-Third Street by Jo S. Kittinger     A story of faith and vision. I highly recommend this book. :)
* Season of the Sandstorms - a Magic Tree House book by Mary Pope Osborne
* Nature Close up - Butterflies and Moths by Elaine Pascoe - I really like these Nature Close Up books. They have a lot more information than your basic information kiddie book, but the big and detailed photographs hold the children's interest and attention. These are older books but still perfectly sound for us. :)
* The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks by Verna Aardema - Our library was selling old children's books for $0.25/ book. I grabbed $15.00 worth of books. All hardcovers with great, sound stories in them. I found wonderful readers for my DS 6.5 with boys stories. A lot of the current stories are watered down or so cartoon/ character focused. The ones I found have themes around home life, hunting, US history, Indians... I think they will be a hit with my son. The good thing about used library books is I don't have to worry about the babies damaging them. 

 * Berta Benz and the Motorwagen by Mindy Bingham

* The Journey That Saved Curious George - The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden - This is a really interesting book. It could very well be turned into a Unit Study because of all the information about World War II and the countries involved. Mental note to self: check this book out again!! 
* The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden 
* Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld 
* Space by Will Osborne - Magic Tree House Research Guide
* Polar Bears and the Arctic - Magic Tree House Research Guide
* Peter the Great by Diane Stanley 
* Astrobiology by Fred Bortz 
* Tales of Heaven and Earth - I'll tell you a Story - Tales from the Jewish Tradition
* Tales of Heaven and Earth - The Secrets of Kaidara - An Animist Tale from Africa
* Tales of Heaven and Earth - Children of the Moon - Yanomami Legends
* the Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris  - funny and very entertaining. A great read out loud.
* The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois
* The Little Riders by Margaretha Shemin 
* Twenty-Odd Ducks . Why, every punctuation mark counts! by Lynne Truss
* Two Hundred Rabbits by Lonzo Anderson and Adrienne Adams
* Greek Myths for Young Children by Marcia Williams
* King Arthur (Troll Illustrated Classics) by Howard Pyle
* When Jaguars Ate the Moon by Maria Cristian Brusca
* Dear America - My Heart is On the Ground  - The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl by Ann Rinaldi

Unit Studies/ Lapbooks 

Our caterpillars spinning their chrysalis.
* Robin Hood Lapbook - It's from Homeschool Share. It covers a multitude of subjects like History, Geography, Art and so much more. Instead of using the book suggested, I just check out the Robin Hood version we had at my library. I also used a FREE trial of BrainPop to watch movies on the Medieval Times, read additional information on myths of that time and so much more. 

* Obedience Lapbook - also from Homeschool Share Character Studies.I used this Lapbook to reinforce obedience at our house. I added hand gestures and we chanted: We obey, all the day, right away with a cheerful heart. So now, when the children don't obey right away or whine about something I asked them to do, I say: "How do we obey?" and they answer with the hand gestures and the saying. We are getting there!! :)

* Preschool and Kindergarden Printable Worksheets and Games for FREE - Beth from Living life Intentionally. blogspot. com created fun and engaging materials to use with your preschooler or kinder. I am using these with my DD4.5. She has been needy lately and I realized that I wasn't doing anything "special" with just her and me. So she was spending a bit too much time by herself at the computer. Now we spend about an hour together cutting, pasting, playing and learning math and language arts. Even DD2 joins in. She can hold her pencil correctly and loves to color the walls. DD4.5 is happier and at meal times, loves to join me in the kitchen sitting on the counter and helping out.

Websites/ Cool Links 

* Homeschool Share - phenomenal site with so much FREE information, worksheets, unit studies, guides and lapbooks. A must READ for any homeschooling MOM that does not like textbooks or a strict curriculum all year long. If you are like me, get bored easily, then you should try some of the lapbooks from Homeschool Share site. A big THANK YOU to all the Moms who shared their lapbooks and experiences. :)
* Brain Pop website - I signed up for a 5 day Trial and the children are surfing the website like crazy. We have learned about Dolphins, Middle Ages, Feudalism, Inca Empire, Mayans, Cells, Bacteria, Alcohol, Human Body and so much more. At first I thought that the themes might be a bit superficial. Not so!! Besides the video, there are so many extras features including worksheets, extra information, timelines, data and graphics, quizzes and tests, even jokes... I really like this website. I am considering adding it to our Unschooling lifestyle. You can read more about it HERE

There are also many videos and extra information, worksheets on different subjects that are available for FREE. See them HERE. This month we perused the video on The Civil War, we then used the worksheet to answer some questions about the event and tested our knowledge with the quiz.

* Mr Donn Social Studies website: I guess we are studying about the Middle Ages without intending to. We read Robin Hood, watched many videos on Brain Pop about the Middle Ages, watched The Tale of Desperaux and checked this website out.

* IXL.com - This is a Math website organized by grades with multiple choice questions. You can use up to 20 exercises a day for FREE. Sometimes we will use it to practice a new skill or to quiz the children on what they are learning. This month DD9 used it to test  her knowledge on probability, to proof to me that she knew the meaning and how to calculate combinations ( I asked, "Where did you learn that?" She answered, "Ruff Ruff Man!"). Later we used it to practice graphing and coordinates. 

* Keys for KIDS - Daily Devotional for FREE on line. I am trying this devotional with the children every morning. I like it that it has a story that you can listen to and follow along with the text. A Scripture verse will be read at the beginning and reinforced at the end with the KEY to remember. So far, I got the children's attention. 

Juice, vitamin and medicine lids being used as Math Manipulative.
* Math Printables for Home : we played with these and learned about shapes and patterns. Good activity to do with children of varied ages.

* Mission US - Interactive Website that teaches US History. I highly recommend for children that are independent readers. My DD9 got hooked pretty quickly. Besides teaching History, the game teaches conversational and sale skills, etiquette, and so much more. You have to create an account and log in, but it is free. You can stop in the middle of your game and save it and come back later. Currently there are only 2 missions and each one has many parts. You can't advance until you complete the tasks of each part. Can't wait to see more missions!! 

* Liberty's Kids Website - More US History games and information based on the original animated series Liberty's Kids.

* Beethoven's Wig - this creative mind put lyrics to great classical pieces. Fun and contagious. The children will take to classical music in no time. You can listen and see lyrics for FREE on the website or purchase the CDs. 

* Babbel - DD9 decided she wants to learn Portuguese from Brazil, my native language.  We used the first few lessons for free then you get charged a monthly fee. They sent me an email to try the first 30 days for just a $1.00. We will see how this goes. :)

* Why we Remember the Holocaust - DD9 watched this with me. She had heard the word Concentration camp before but didn't know what it was.  The video made her sad. I checked out "A Picture book of Anne Frank" for her from the library as a follow up on the  subject. When I offered her the book, she asked "what happened to the girl? Does she die in the end of the book?" When I said she did. She refused to read it. I tried to explain that Anne Frank didn't die in vain, that she is remembered by her words in her diary. DD9 didn't budge. She didn't want to read anything with death in it. Book is going back to the library unread.

* My Audio School - This is a wonderful website created by a Homeschooling Mom. She compiled lots of FREE audio dramas, books and more in one place. You can peruse some FREE audios, but for a very small yearly fee you can use the whole site. This month we listened to The Pilgrim's Progress part I. I had heard about this book but never read it. Didn't realize how scary it was for the kids until DS6 and DD4 woke up in the middle of the night having nightmares.

I highly recommend My Audio School if your children like to listen to books being read or you have many children in different ages or grades. They can listen to their books independently simply by using a laptop or downloading them to a mp3 player. The site has books that cover literature, history, science and so much more.

* ClicknKids - it's a website that teaches phonics and spelling. I purchased for my kids and after 10 lessons both of my readers (DD9 and DS6.5) thought it was too boring to continue. After a couple of months of not using it, we are now using the spelling lessons TOGETHER. DD9 does not like spelling but she is very competitive. DS6.5 loves spelling and is very helpful. So together they are actually enjoying the lessons. They probably do 2 lessons a week. I don't make them do the lessons. I simply suggest as an activity they can do together. Sometimes they are interested in it, sometimes they got plans for something else.

The phonics program was purchased to teach my DD4 how to read. She is still browsing the first 3 lessons. It has not engaged her enough for her to continue. 

My review: If you child likes to do the same thing every day, go for it. If your children are like mine - they hate routines and are very creative and independent learners, this might not be the software for you. There are free lessons that you can try on the website. Although you can skip the introduction to the lessons, after a while the cartoon character becomes pretty flat and repetitive. There are quizzes at the end of each lesson to test how much they learned and you can receive reports via email of their progress. You can repeat lessons as many times as you want if necessary.

Field Trips/ Co-ops/ Out of the home Activities  

DD9 glittery clouds.
* Our monthly Art Class - We used the Cloud in Art Mini Unit Study as a conversation start and inspiration to talk about the Elements of Art. We then used some vintage books that I turned into canvases by spreading some Gesso on them and painted clouds. We were focusing on creating clouds with texture.

* Visit to the Fair that comes to our town every Spring. This was the first time the children used a bracelet and rode as much as they wanted. We invited a few friends to tag along and they had a ball playing together. 

* Ballet and Karate weekly. My children are really excited about karate, specially DS6.5. I am thrilled to see how much his concentration and focus has increased. He is loving karate and really likes all the technicality of it: the moves, the Katas, the names for everything. It's been a really good investment! :) My DD9 has improved greatly on her ability to control her emotions. Karate requires self discipline, self motivation and self control. I am pleased with the results in only 8 weeks of classes.

* We went fishing. We have some friends that have a 5 acre lake with dock and a boat. We got invited to go fishing one Saturday morning and although we had to get up at 6am, we couldn't pass the invitation. We caught a lot of fish, in spite of the windy and cool weather. We are hoping to go back on a warmer and prettier day. As a bonus, we got to see what beavers can do, as well as identify deer tracks. Our fishing expedition turned into a nature walk. See more HERE. 

* First time visit to the dentist to extract a stubborn baby tooth. Everyone got to watch DD9 get her gums be anesthetized with a loooong needle and the dentist extract her tooth with pliers. All ended well. I have one very brave little girl. :)

Frog dissection: identifying and locating its organs.
* Dissection Lab - A co-op class . This was the continuation of the dissection lab we did last month. This month we dissected a crayfish and a frog. Children were very engaged and we were able to see organs and review how a frog first has gills and then lungs. I highly recommend (if you are not squirmish about dead animals) that you purchase a kit from Carolina's Lab Supply and do it yourself with your children. The kits come with a dissection manual of where to cut and the labels for all the parts. You can always find extra resources on the web and library. 

* Reading Hour at our Local Library - the theme was food. The children got to make and eat mud pies and listen to a couple of childrens' books on food. Very fun!

Activities at Home

*  We bought a coconut by request of DS6.5 and opened it. You can read all about it HERE.

* GAMES: Exploring 2D and 3D shapes Board Game; Candy stand; Rory's Story Cubes ( I bought mine at Amazon for a really good price. You can get 2 different games for a discounted price.); Pattern Puzzles ; Uno Card Game; Monopoly; building towers and cities with food packages (spaghetti, crackers, pasta and toothpaste boxes), learning about graphing using my LID collection. Also using it to create art.

* The children had friends over for a movie date. They are also homeschoolers, so the Mom and I had a great time sharing and exchanging information. Friends came back for a second play date the following week and we swam and rode the go cart.

 * Planting and sprouting lots of seeds. My first garden is looking so good. Click HERE to see what it looked like in the beginning. And to see how it's coming along.

* Chatting with Grandparents over the internet.

 * Riding our Go Cart. We got it last year and waited until now to take it out of the garage and use it. DD9 and DS6 are driving the go cart by themselves and taking DD4 for the ride. They are having a great time. Funny, how when you UNSCHOOL, everything you do is an opportunity for learning and growth. They are learning safety measures, body control, self control and coordination.

* The pool season is now open. The children have been enjoying our pool almost daily.

* Raising butterflies with Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden.

* Daddy and children built a sandbox together. They got to use a power drill and practice measurements again. 

* We bought new fishes for the aquarium, as well as glow in the dark rock, fake plants and blue gravel.

* DD9 decided she wanted to write a newspaper. We are working on it together. I will post it when we are finished.

There was nothing left!
* We made homemade banana Popsicle. We melted our own chocolate and experimented with different toppings like mini chocolate chips and coconut flakes. We used 2 dozen bananas and they were all gone in one afternoon. 

TV Shows/ Movies/ YouTube videos

* The Tale of Desperaux
*  Backyardigans
* A Night to Remember -  We watched on TCM on a Saturday night. You can watch the movie in 10 minute episodes from my Youtube Channel. Someone uploaded it to Youtube and I saved it on a Featured List.
* The Karate Kid - the 80's version.We fast forwarded all the romantic junk, other than that the plot of the story held their attention and they loved to see karate in action.
* Pinkie Pie's Special Day - My Little Pony DVD 
* Backyardigans - DD4.5 is watching all the videos ever made of Backyardigans. I think she is very musical although she can't sing "Mary had a little lamb." to the right tune. :) 
* Julia Child cooking pork on YouTube 
* Billy The Movie - The Early Years of Billy Graham on DVD - Oh, what a great family movie this is!! With speckles of humor throughout the movie, even the little kids will enjoy this story. A great opportunity to talk about profound spiritual issues like death, salvation, God's faithfulness and His gifts. This was our second time watching this DVD. The kids requested it again when visiting our library. I highly recommend it.
* Violent Earth - a program on History Channel that showcased the killer hurricane that happened in 1938 in New England.
* The Piano Guys - Oh, my!! These gentlemen are awesome. Here is some beautiful music appreciation "class" for not much. :)
* Happy Feet 2 
* Tanked - a TV show on Animal Planet about 2 guys who make custom made aquariums.  
* Undercover Boss -  We like to watch this TV show together and talk about attitude and work ethnic with the children.
* School House Rock! - DVD from our libray 
* Martha Speaks, Wild Kratts and Curious George. PBS shows

More construction: a French drain being put in!
 Mom's Eclectic Reading List

 * www.josephprince.org - See the love of Jesus like you never seen before.
* The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
* Get out of that Pit by Beth Moore 
* A Survivors Guide to Home Schooling by Luanne Shackelford and Susan White
* The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis
I may have missed something but the children will have it registered in their hearts and memories.

What did you do this past month??


1 comment:

Susan said...

Such a super list of resources! Wow!
Loreen Leedy books are great...I love using books like that to learn about math concepts.
I think used book sales are awesome! Great finds!
We got some Painted Lady caterpillars just the other day from Insect Lore.
Thanks for sharing this with Favorite Resources :)