Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Letter A

Learning about the letter A was the start of our A to Z Journey.
Some things we did for the week:
Little Man had fun making animal crackers(above).  I would offer the recipe but they really didn't taste that great.  We followed it to the T but I don't know what happened.  I am hoping it was just a bad recipe:)Little Man just picked off the sprinkles. Silly guy rushed into the kitchen excited to have baked goods. Until he tasted them, lol.  Sweet girl(poor thing) was in the shower during the taste test.  Silly guy thought it would be funny to offer her one.  Let's just say I could hear her from the other room spitting them in the trash.  Yes, they were that bad, lol.  It was still fun for him to mix the ingredients and cutting the animal shapes. 
He created his "A" activity card/vocabulary card using dot art markers.  He just loves using the dot art markers.  These markers were such a great investment.  I bought them when Silly guy was 3($12.00).  I didn't want to spend $12.00 on markers but since they have lasted 6 yrs and counting, I'd say they were worth it.   
He made an aquarium for art.  We used a styrofoam meat tray and glued a blue piece of paper on for the background.  Then some fish stickers, streamers for sea weed, sea shells, and some dye-cut fish.  To finish it off we covered the outside of the tray with a piece of saran wrap(taping the back).  Cute! 

For math, we sorted and counted animal crackers.  We also used different shape crackers(Club crackers, Ritz crackers, Wheat Thins, Triscuits-the triangle ones) to have fun with shapes and patterns.  I also cut up apples and we counted apple pieces.  Afterwards, math became snack:) 
We played a game with the concepts above and around. This is a great game to  work on direction.  He enjoyed crawling around things(chairs, table, kitchen cabinets).  He thought it was so silly to be crawling around all over the house.  Then we used toys and put them above our heads.  Also, pointing out what else was above us. 
We also played a game of act like animals.  This game is always best when put to music.  It has also started something.  He has asked me just about everyday to take him to the zoo. 

To top it off, he was sitting on the floor coloring with colored pencils(Sunday).  He said to me,"Look mom I made an A."  I turned to look and he had.  He used 3 pencils to make his very own letter A:)))
Some books we enjoyed: 
I think he really enjoyed his first week on his A to Z journey.  I know I enjoyed every moment!  Now onto B!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Squirrel and the Owl: An Earth Day Fable

Silly guy has been learning about fables and parables in Language Arts.  He wrote a fable on Earth Day about an acorn shell throwing squirrel and a earth wise owl.  He tried to incorporate a lesson in the spirit of Earth Day- "Take care of the Earth". 
He thought it would be fun to make it into a play.  He wrote the script, made costumes(nothing too fancy), gathered props and assigned parts to his "cast".  He was squirrel,  Sweet girl was the owl and I was the narrator.  They practiced for a good part of the day on the play. 
Finally they were ready to perform when dad came home from work.  I recorded the play with my camera and wanted to put it right here in this post for everyone to view(it was too cute). But now I can't find the movie upload button. I have no idea where it went.   Anyway, I guess instead I will give you the written version of the fable.

The Squirrel and the Owl
by:  Silly Guy

One day in Tiger Woods there was a squirrel.  As he was walking home he realized he was very hungry.  Then he found a pile of acorns laying on the ground.  "Wow, this is going to be a feast!" said the squirrel excitedly.  He began to eat them all up.  As he ate them he threw the shells on the ground.  Mrs. Owl was watching from the tree.  She was upset to see  Squirrel littering all over Tiger Woods.  Mrs. Owl yelled," Hey squirrel!  Don't eat too many acorns and pick up your trash!"  Squirrel said ," You should mind your own business Owl."  He thought about what the owl said for a minute but didn't listen.
Then the squirrel noticed that the shells were getting piled up.  The acorn mess was so piled up he couldn't get back into his nest.  All of the sudden the rain started to pour down.  He cried," How am I going to get in my house now?  I should have cleaned up my trash like Mrs. Owl told me to."  He started to cry because he had to sleep out in the rain.
The next day Squirrel had learned his lesson.  He decided he would clean up his shell trash.  It took him all day long to clean up too.  At the end of the day Squirrel said to Mrs. Owl," I should've listened to you Mrs. Owl.  I have learned my lesson.  I will clean up my trash and take care of the Earth." 
The lesson in this fable:  Take care of the Earth

Report Writing

The kiddos have had many writing assignments this year.  I think report writing is giving them  a great opportunity for learning.  They have to research, read about, and write about a topic they are currently studying.  I have enjoyed this curriculum for many reasons(Lifepac). One of them being, it offers many opportunities for research writing. 

Sweet girl has had 3+ research report assignments per week since the first day of school.  It has given her tons of practice and she is improving with every assignment.  I am requiring that they follow the MLA style for writing and works cited. 

Recently Silly guy has had quite a few research assignments himself.  Up until this point they have been here and there.  So, I am still having to help him through the process.  I think  taking notes part is what stumps him many times.  He wants to write about everything he reads.  Using an outline has helped him with note taking. 

However,  a problem I have been having with both children is proof reading.  Sometimes they will hand me work and I feel I am repeatedly telling them the same thing.  Does it have a title?  Does it have your name and date?  Did you spell/grammar check? Complete sentences?  Most of the time I will hear "yes" but then I will read their writing and things are missing or still mis-spelled. 
Out of my own frustration, I have come up with a check list for them.  I put it in their notebooks and one on the wall(just in case).   I am hoping this will help them to become better writers, more independent, and help keep me stay sane:)

Things on their check list:
Does it have a title?  Did you underline?
Did you indent paragraphs?
Did you check grammar( punctuation, capitalization, agreements, complete sentences)?
Is it neat? 
Is you name, date, and grade included in the heading?
Does every paragraph have a topic sentence and details to support it?
Do you have an introduction and conclusion?
Did you include quotes(if applicable)? 
Did you follow the directions of the assignment?
Is your works cited included?
I read my work aloud.

So now having it in black and white they know what is expected with every research assignment, right??? ;)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A to Z Activity/Vocabulary Cards

I made some Activity/Vocabulary cards for Little Man's journey from A to Z.  I have uploaded them to my HSLaunch page.  If you would like to download the A to Z Activity/Vocabulary set click here .  These cards are great.  On all of the cards I have included upper and lowercase letter(at the top), a large upper case letter in the center for creativity, pictures at the bottom along with the word of the picture.  You could also print the cards, laminate and hang on the wall. So far we have completed A and B. 
For the letter A, we used dot art markers to draw around the letter. For the letter B, we glued some foam bugs-how fun!
Some other ideas for getting creative with these cards(inside the big center letter) are:

Glue beans
Glue rice
Stickers: either the letter stickers or stickers of animals,etc.
Cut letters from magazines or newspapers and glue inside
Foam letters or animals
Glue sand
Glue shapes or numbers(C-circles, H-heart, F-fives, etc.)
Dot art markers
Tissue Paper
Wrapping  or constuction paper
Grass(letter G)
Fabric pieces
If I think of other things I will add on later. Or even better, if you have any ideas you would like to share please post a comment.  If you would like to visit my page at HSLaunch to check out my other downloads click the blue link box(in the column, on the left).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

School Room Makeover

My kids are learning about weather in Science.  Silly guy had a fun project to create a cozy spot for a rainy day.  Well, let's just say we put our own twist on it.  Hawaii doesn't get to many rainy days.  Usually if it does rain it is very short.  So,we decided we would makeover our school room instead.
They made a plan on scrap paper first and then I let them loose on the wall.  Little man helped with painting the flowers and then decided he wanted to put his hands on the wall instead.  Silly guy worked on the tree and flowers.  Sweet girl painted the rainbow, birds, and the sunshine.   
 I think it turned out pretty.  They had such a great time!! 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Moving On

We have unofficially been informed we are transferring to Nevada.  I say unofficially because we don't actually have the orders in our hands yet.  We are looking forward to this move because we have been in Hawaii for 3 1/2 years.  That is the longest we have ever stayed in one spot.  Hawaii has been a great adventure.  The homeschooling community has been  wonderful.  Homeschooling here has been full of support, field trips, activities, classes, etc.  Sometimes our schedule has been too busy:).  Living in one place for that amount of time has given us the opportunity to make some great friends and we've also had to say good bye to great friends too. 
The great thing about living in Hawaii is it's beautiful  almost everyday of the year.  The kids have been able to play outside everyday and there is always something to do. 
I have enjoyed every rainbow, every sea turtle, every unique and beautiful flower.  The emerald green Koolau mountains, Kaneohe Bay (when you come out of the tunnel) takes my breath away every time.  The enormous waves of the Banzai Pipeline were a majestic sight to see.
With all of that being said....
Something we have missed immensly is the ability to visit family.  It makes me sad to think of the things we have missed back home in the past 3 1/2 yrs;  baby's being born, weddings, gradutations, sick family, and the loss of my grandmother.  Not to mention most of our family has never met or even know my Little Man. I hope when we get back to the mainland we are able to travel home every once in a while. 
Moving to Nevada....
We are looking forward to wide open spaces.  While Oahu is beautiful, it is an island full of people. The farthest you can drive is about 30 miles.  Thirty miles doesn't sound far and it isn't, but the traffic is horrible.  You really have to plan your day around traffic.   We will not miss that.  The town we are moving to is very small and has a population of about 8,000 people.  I am looking forward to having a schedule that is not quite so full.  We are going to be buying a house so we are excited about owning a home again.  It is in the plans to do some traveling around the west but we'll see once we get there.  Papa wants to take the family to Lake Tahoe, The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and other places he has already marked off on the map.  The kids and I have never been to the West Coast, so it should be an adventure too. 

Cloud Formation and Air Pressure

Both of my children are currently learning about weather. 

Sweet girl did this experiment to study how clouds form.  She used a glass jar, about 50 ml of hot water, a match, and a plastic bag full of ice cubes.  We added the hot water.  Then lit the match and held it over the jar of hot water.  Next, we dropped the match in the jar and quickly covered the top with the bag of ice cubes.  Quickly a "cloud" began to form inside the jar. 

Silly guy proving air has pressure. 

The Breakers

Sweet girl w/ her team playing at the beach

Sweet girl finished up her soccer season.  It was a very long soccer season Dec 4-April 10. She really has grown in the sport this season. She has become more confident on the soccer field and even coach said her dribbling skills were amazing.  
It was so much fun to watch the girls grow as a team.  By the end of the season they had learned to work together, communicat with one another, play positions and worked some pretty neat plays during the games.
After our last game, we headed to the beach for a team party.  The girls had a great time just playing with one another and celebrating the season.  They even got coach by the end of the day by pushing him in the water. 

Making Crystals

Silly guy just finished up his study about Changes in Water and Matter. This experiment was to make a crystal.  He enjoys Science so much.  We used about 1 cup of salt and dissolved it in hot water.  Then wrapped string around a pencil with a paper clip at the end.  As the solution cooled crystals grew on the paper clip.  He was so excited he had to show his friends.  

Tasty Science

Silly guy just finished up his unit in Science "Changes in Water and Matter."  We just had to do this tasty experiment:  making ice cream in a bag.  Here is the recipe if you want to give it a try.  As you  can see this experiment got three thumbs up.
What you'll need:

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Ice cubes

How to make it:

1.  Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt.
Seal the bag.

2.Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.

                           4.  Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
5.  Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

Out to Eat with Grandmom

Grandmom treated the family out to dinner during her visit.  I thought I would share the pictures.
My 3 kiddos
Papa, me and little man:  Cheese!
Had to share this one!  Look at that yummy dessert on Grandma's plate!!  It was huge and enough for all 6 of us to share:)

Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike

We decided to go hike the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail when Grandmom was here.  We have been to the lookout many times but have never hiked the trail.  The trail was full of a different kind of beauty.  It almost looks like a desert;  rocks, dirt, dry brush, and interesting cactus. 

When you reach the top:  on the left the lighthouse is revealed against the beautiful ocean background and on the right an overlook of Windward Oahu.  In the distance we  see the Humpback whales dancing in the water.  We think it was a mama and her baby but it was hard to tell.  I really need a zoom lens on my camera but I did get a couple of shots.  If you look closely, the second picture you can make out a tail.  Whenever I am blessed with the chance to see these majestic animals I become filled with a sense of peace. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Old Pali Road Hike

Grandma came to visit us in the begining of March.  We took off the two weeks she was visiting to enjoy our time together. 
One day, we took the kids up to the Old Pali Road for a hike.  On our way there we stopped at Queen Emma's summer palace.  The summer home of Queen Emma is filled with history. She was the last of the Kamehameha line to sit on the Hawaiian throne.  Her son Prince Albert was supposed to be the next king but  died at four years old of  appendicitis.  All of her belongings on display in the museum are original pieces.  I wish I would have brought in my camera.  Inside were some of the most beautiful furnishings I have ever seen.  There is a baby cradle, hand-carved in the shape of a faberge egg-beautiful. 

After we finished in the museum we drove to the Pali Lookout.  It was incredibly windy!  The air temperature dropped 10 degrees when we reached the parking lot. If I would have to guess the wind speed, I'd say it was at least 50-70 mph gust.  We started walking and laughing because the wind was blowing us everywhere.  When mom turned around, she yelled out Silly guys name.  I turned around and he was hanging on to a wall afraid because he couldn't walk against the wind.  We grabbed him and held on to him tight.   

We walked down the old road a little ways where the wind let up and enjoyed our hike.  The great thing about this hike(especially when dad is at work)is, it's paved.  It is an easy trail for strollers or toddlers and great with a pet.  Here are some pictures from our hike.
"The wind"
It was so strong we didn't even have to walk.  It pushed us right up the hill. 
Silly guy hanging on for dear life.  He picked up a walking stick on our way back anticipating the wind.  This face isn't an exaggeration. 
You know me....  I can't help myself when it comes to flowers.  We've been on this island for 3 1/2 yrs and I have never spotted this flower before.  I just love surprises! 

Matter of Fact

The kids attended a Mad Science workshop with our homeschool group.  It was called Matter of Fact and was very educational.  The kids experimented with chemistry, learned some of the elements, matter, atoms, molecules, and made some goop  to take home with them.  It was a great class!  We've enjoyed them all.  Our next one is coming up in a few weeks:  Black and Blue Oceans.  Can't wait! 

Sweet girl in her googles
Silly guy being well my silly guy.  I think this is his mad scientist impression:)


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