Thursday, March 26, 2015

Learning About Computers

I'm always busy trying to come up with fun unit studies for the kids.  Recently I had an epiphany - why not ask them what they want to learn about?  At the top of E's list was "How does a computer work?", so we decided to find out...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easy Science Experiment: How Blubber Works

Back in December we learned about the Antarctic by reading My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb (read aloud during Circle Time), and The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out by Jill Tomlinson (read independently by the twins, age 5.5).  One common theme was how animals who live in cold climates require blubber to keep them warm.  We explored this concept further with a simple but fun science experiment...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Learning about the Arctic

Last month we read two books about the Arctic.. The girls read Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osbourne independently for their Calvert online school, and I read aloud The Eskimo Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins to all the children during our daily Circle Time.  My own twins (five and a half years old) did some fun crafts to go along with the Arctic theme, and even wrote their first book reports...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Read Aloud Books for Ages 2-5

I've always enjoyed reading aloud to my children.  When they were young, our reading sessions were more about spending quality time with my little ones and instilling a love of books in them.  Recently, I feel like the kids have not just been passively listening to the stories, but actually living them.  They played Aslan versus The White Witch (from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) for weeks.  When one twin is being particularly demanding, the other tells her to stop being "Veruca Salt" (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).  The other day, their plastic toy horses were being used to reenact the barn fire in Black Beauty.  I could go on and on (not including all the literature-inspired artwork they have produced).  As a bibliophile myself, it warms my heart to see my children feel such a connection with the books they read.

Three years ago, when I was looking for ideas for read alouds for younger children, I looked to blogs and Facebook for recommendations.  I've been keeping track of the books we've read both for myself and also with the hopes of inspiring other families to create read-aloud traditions with their children.  Here's the list so far...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Homeschool Preschool Weekly Recap {Age 3}

H is 3 and 2 months old, and loves Homeschool Preschool.  Not only does he join us for Circle Time and Stations (logic puzzzles and math manipulatives) in the morning, but he doesn't nap anymore so he participates in ALL our school work.  Even with Kindergarten-level work I'm having a hard time challenging this sharp little guy.  I think it's a good thing, however, to give him a majority of easy-mastery activities at the moment to keep school light and fun.  Here's a sample of what we did this week...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Easy No-Bake "Cinnamon Rolls" {Cooking with Kids}

Here's a snack that kids can make themselves.  It's a great exercise in Montessori Practical Life skills.  All you need is sliced bread, softened butter or margarine, cinnamon, and sugar.  Here's how the kids make it...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bead Belt Craft for Kids {Native American Unit}

Last month, I started an eight week unit on Native Americans with the kids (ages 3, 5, 5).  Every week we read a story about a little Native American boy or girl from a different tribe in the book Eight Little Indians by Josephine Lovell.  The book belonged to my husband when he was a young and despite being published in 1936, it depicts the Native Americans in a very positive light and is a wonderful resource for educating children on the varying traditions of the different tribes.

The first story we read was about Leaping Trout, an Iroquois boy who loved to swim and built his own canoe.  When Leaping Trout's father sent out a messenger to invite others to his party, he gave the messenger his wampum belt to show that the message was really from him and not a trick (the large amount of purple shells on his belt indicated his power and wealth).

For a fun handicraft to go with the story, the children made their own wampum belts.  My 5 year old twins were able to make these with only minimal assistance.  This would also be a great craft for kids for the Thanksgiving holiday!  Here's how we did it..

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaching Kids to Think { 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...