Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaching Kids to Think {LaLaLogic.com Review}

I want my kids to be problem solvers.  I want them to approach new challenges with confidence.   I want my children to grow to become men and women of "infinite-resource-and-sagacity".  I want them to be thinkers!  

This is where early education often fails.  It seems that these days so much emphasis is put on academic skills (learning to read, learning to add/subtract, memorizing facts, etc..) that the cognitive skills that are the building blocks of learning are often neglected.  If young children had the chance to play in ways that trained their brains in areas such as visual-spatial recognition, working memory, attention, and fluid reasoning using multi-sensory experiences, their capacity for learning would be increased.  

Two years ago (while raising my three young children) I quit my job as a software engineer and set out to develop my own curriculum to teach kids to become better problem solvers.  Today I'm proud to announce the official release of the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for children ages 3-6.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homeschool Preschool Activities

My little boy, H, will be 3 years old next week!  This means that he has graduated from Tot School and has started Preschool (homeschool).  H participates in Circle Time (and other activities) with his older sisters (see my Homeschool Kindergarten day-in-the-life post), but he also gets plenty of his own activities...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Artwork by a Five Year Old


E (just turned 5) is our resident artist.  I wanted to share some of her masterpieces.  E prides herself on the realism of her art.  Sometimes when I'm reading books about nature and animals aloud to the kids, I'm not sure if E is listening, but then she makes detailed drawings and starts telling me stories about the behaviors of the different animals.  Here's another nature drawing..

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Miss Rumphius - Painting Lupine Flowers


Nothing makes a picture book more fun than letting the kids do a special activity related to the story.  After reading Miss Rumphius a book by Barbara Cooney about a woman who plants Lupines to make the world more beautiful, the girls painted their own Lupine flowers.  Here's what we did...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homemade Game: Travel Tic-Tac-Toe


We had a total of eight road trips with the kids this past summer - most of which were six hours long.  To help the kids pass the time, I put together a number of busy bags and travel games.  This little magnetic travel Tic-Tac-Toe game only took a couple minutes to put together (using dollar store supplies) and was a big hit.  Here's how it's made..

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Typical Homeschool Day - Kindergarten/ 1st Grade


After a whirlwind summer, with four week-long vacations, visitors from overseas, and the twins' 5th birthdays, we're back home and getting into the swing of homeschooling.  This is my third "Day in the Life" post since I've been blogging, and it's always fun looking back and seeing what homeschool was like for us at each stage.  Here's A Day in Our Homeschool Preschool and last year's Homeschool Kindergarten Daily Schedule.  This year the girls are "officially" in Kindergarten again (we're getting free Calvert materials through an online charter school), but I'm adding a lot of 1st grade material as well.

No homeschool day is the same for us, but here's a little glimpse into a day in our life....

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wildflower Nature Study {Homeschool Kindergarten}


I've been taking nature walks with the kids since before they could walk and encouraging them to observe the world around them.  Last week we did our first "formal" nature study, on wildflowers.  Here's what we did..

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tot School - 33 Months

H is 33 months old and it's amazing how much his attention span and capacity for learning new things has jumped in the past month.  The line between Tot School and Homeschool Kindergarten (with big sisters) has become blurred as H participates in most of our homeschooling activities.  Here's a bit of what he's been up to lately..

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cooking with Kids: Crepes {France Learning Unit}


In our study of France in Homeschool Kindergarten, the kids and I made crepes.  It was a great Montessori-style practical life activity with plenty of fine motor skills work.  Here's what we did...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

GoVoxBox from Influenster


Getting something in the mail is so much fun - even more so when it's a box from Influenster full of wonderful products to try!  I recently received my third VoxBox from the Influenster program: the GoVoxBox, which was a perfect fit for this busy, active Mommy.  Here's what was included:

Claude Monet Artist Study

Since we learned about France last week, it seemed natural to use Claude Monet for our artist study in homeschool Kindergarten.  After looking at some of his better-known works (especially the water lilies and haystacks), and learning about impressionism, we made some art inspired by his paintings.  The picture above was a collaborative effort between me and E (almost 5) using the oil pastel / watercolor relief technique (lots of fun for Mommy too!).  We tried different mediums, as well, and by the end of the session everyone was obsessed with lily pads..

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ivory Soap Science Experiment for Kids

I've been seeing the Ivory Microwave Experiment on blogs for years and have been meaning to try it.  When the girls got ivory soap for soap carving at the art museum, this experiment is the very first thing that came to mind.  First I invited L and E (almost 5) to place two different brands of soap in a bowl of water and observe what happens.  The Ivory soap floated, and the other brand did not.  The girls predicted that it was because it was lighter, but then were not so sure when they felt the weight of both bars in their hands (I should have brought out the scale so we could compare them).  I asked some prompting questions to get them thinking about how some objects that are filled with air float...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Foil Sculptures

The girls really enjoyed making foil sculptures last week (using aluminum foil over pipe cleaners).  This project came from the Usborne Art Treasury book in the study of a sculptor named Alberto Giacometti.  It was a nice change to incorporate some three dimensional art in our artist studies...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Homeschool Kindergarten Weekly Recap

Lately we've been taking a gentler approach to homeschool Kindergarten.  We've been spending less time on worksheets and 'formal schooling', and more on reading together, doing artwork, nature studies, and LEGOs/ games.  The main reason is that I've had less time for homeschool planning as I'm wrapping up a software engineering project that I've been working on for the past 2 years (I'll announce it on my blog when it's officially done).  The secondary reason is that although the kids have been enjoying our school routine, I felt that they both needed a break, and I've been inspired by Charlotte Mason and Thomas Jefferson Education philosophies to 'inspire' more than 'require'.  Here's what we've been up to the past 2 weeks:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Penny's Worth of Character - Math Lesson Plan


We recently finished A Penny's Worth of Character by Jesse Stuart, which everyone loved.  It was also a wonderful bonus to be able to have a discussion about the importance of honesty.  While we were reading the book, I put together a little math game for the kids to help them learn about the values of coins...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kandinsky Circles Art Project

I'm starting to introduce my kids to famous artists and their works.  Last week's artist was Kandinsky and E created an oil pastel / watercolor relief inspired by his famous painting of circles..

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Homeschool Kindergarten Week in Review

This week in Homeschool Kindergarten was very relaxed and productive.  I was consistent in getting the kids together for school-time in the morning and it seemed that all the kids were a lot more focused and less argumentative than the previous week.  Here's a glimpse of how our week went..

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monsters Theme in Homeschool Kindergarten

One of the days last week, I decided to make a fun "monster" theme for the kids during our homeschool time.  We read books about monsters, made crafts, wrote stories, and built our own monster creations (the one above was designed and built by E all by herself!).

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Easiest Glider You'll Ever Make!

After reading an article in Click Magazine on flying squirrels (and how they glide rather than really fly), we made our own gliders.  It literally took me less than 5 minutes to make three of these gliders with the kids (including finding supplies)...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pond Life Theme in Homeschool Kindergarten

We completed this mini-unit about pond life earlier this school-year in Homeschool Kindergarten, but I totally forgot to post about it.  After reading some books about the various animals that live in ponds, the twins had a chance to make some cute crafts which I'd love to share...