Monday, August 21, 2017

Flying Homemade Kites

One of the awesome parts of our curriculum is that it connects everything. The language arts books align with the science and social studies curriculum and they include art and other types of learning in almost every unit. Here they were reading Ben and Me, studying electricity and magnetism, and used their artistic and fine motor skills to build a kite. These were nice kite making kids using a light weight cloth rather than paper.

Both kids pulling their kites 

Running through fields is pretty much a perfect school day 

Beautiful

So I didn't get any up close pictures of the kids or the kites, but this was such a fun lesson and we certainly picked a beautiful day to do it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

2nd Grade Curriculum Choices

I wanted to post about the materials we used in 2nd grade - i.e. The year you will see me start posting about now since I keep the blog a year behind.

Moving Beyond the Page - Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Rosetta Stone - Polish
Life of Fred - Math
Khan Academy - Math
Typing Instructor for Kids - Typing
The Complete Elementary Music Rudiments, 2nd Edition - Music Theory
Sequential Spelling - Spelling
Private Music Lessons
Homeschool Band
Sports



Moving Beyond the Page we have been using for years and we used the 8-11 curriculum for 2nd grade. We did every lesson in every unit. The kids asked to take it slowly so we only worked from it 3 times a week. It lasted more than a calendar year, but they have grown up and learned so much.

With family in Poland, it is important the kids learn Polish so they continue to work through that. This year in addition to understanding, speaking, and reading it, they added learning to write in Polish.

Life of Fred Elementary Math Series - 1

Life of Fred is a series of math books. The kids were working their way through the rest of the elementary series and started the intermediate series. Since they are so far ahead of where they should be we only did 1 lesson per week out of these.

Khan Academy is a free online math site. The kids were required to spend 40 minutes per week (not all at once) working on math here. By the end of the year both have finished all of 2nd and most of 3rd grade as well as many skills from higher grades.


For typing we increased their goal speed to 20wpm. Our idea is once they can type 50wpm they can be done with typing forever. We are hoping they increase at a rate of 10wpm per year so they would be done with typing around 5th grade.



For music theory we are using the book that prepares them for the Royal Conservatory Music Theory tests. We have also added a private theory lesson for Sweet Son as he surpassed my theory knowledge and I couldn't help him answer questions any more.

We only work on spelling twice per week using Sequential Spelling. When we were just over half way through the first book they both took the new online placement test. Sweet Daughter scored half way through the first book - perfect! Sweet Son scored into the 3rd book so now he is doing his spelling online while she is still working through the first book with me. She will switch to online when she finishes the current book.

They take private music lessons through a local classical music school. Sweet Son is still studying piano with the teacher he has been with for a couple of years. He decided he doesn't want to do a performance test and that is fine. He is enjoying playing and learning. Sweet Daughter is in a group voice class and is doing well. She really enjoys the group class and having more people to interact with.

The kids are continuing with homeschool band, only now they are in the concert band instead of the beginner band. They are still the youngest, but have friends and enjoy it immensely.

Sports vary by kid and by season. Sweet Son strongly prefers solo sports such as swimming. Sweet Daughter strongly prefers team sports with a great deal of competition. With both kids doing different sports it feels like I'm constantly running around trying to get everyone where they need to be.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Twin Birth

Let's go back a long time. To the first few days Sweet Son and Sweet Daughter were alive. Awwww

Hi there! Hey!

They were both born just over 5 pounds each at full term

Our hospital dinner the night before we left the hospital. They provide food for 2 adults each day as they want to encourage both parents to spend as much time with the kids as possible. This meal was AMAZING.

Ready to go home for the first time

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sleep

Don't you just love it when kids sleep?

It's important to cuddle up to a good book... or books as the case may be. Most people put them down before falling asleep, but what fun would that be? 

Remember they do have their own rooms. They have their own space. They fight all day long that they want alone time. Then at night they get lonely. awww

Monday, August 14, 2017

I won a race! (kinda)

I have been running for awhile now, but I'm slow. It doesn't bother me that I'm slow. I'm impressed I am out there at all, however it is nice to finish before they start cleaning up. :)

This race I was doing well. I could tell my pace was better than I was expecting. As I came around the last corner a friend came out to run me in. At the finish line I see my family as well as other friends cheering me on. (Make friends with the people who run races and time races, etc - they are always the best at cheering!) I made a mad dash for the finish line. 

For the first, and only, time I placed in the top 3 in my age division. That means a second medal! This was given to me by a good friend which makes it even better. I wasn't even listening for my name, but was so thrilled to get this.

For those who are wondering how this is possible, it was a small race and there were only three people in my age division. Still I WON!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Free $10 for Curriculum!

Yes, I'm posting about Educents again, but this time they are willing to give you $10 to spend! If you aren't a member yet all you have to do is join and get the $10. If you are already a member, you can refer a friend and get $10 so there is something here for everyone.

They say that giving is better than receiving, but who says you can't do both? Educents just launched a new program that will help you AND your friends save money on innovative products that keep kids excited about learning. give10get10-affiliates
 If you're not already familiar with Educents - here's the scoop. Educents is the best place to discover new ways to make learning fun. Find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education.
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Innovative items that make learning fun:

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If you're new to Educents, help me earn credit! I have a couple items on my wishlist I'd love to test out and share with you. Use my referral link to sign up. You will receive an email for $10 off your first order of $25 or more (adding some of the items above will fit the bill). Sign-up-now-button
 If you're already an Educents member, you can earn $10 for every friend who signs up and makes a purchase of $25 or more. Simply go to your account page and find your unique referral URL, scroll down to "Earn Edubucks by referring your friends" and copy the link.

A referral is sending someone you care about to someone you trust.

Invite your friends, your parents, and all the rock-star educators in your life! This deal will help everyone save a pretty penny on top products like the insanely popular Life of Fred or Times Tales.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Art with Babies

This post was originally published in February 2011.

I love doing art with kids. I think it is important to use a variety of textures and materials. I prefer process over product art. However, this post is about starting at the beginning. We started doing art when the kids were around 3.5 months old. This was the point they could hold a marker and were learning how to control it.

 Yummy markers
Sitting in Bumbo to color

Many people are surprised that I start with markers. Most people assume starting with a crayon would be better since it is less messy. If you are trying to avoid mess when doing art with children, then you aren't doing it the way I would. Markers are typically larger than crayons (there are always exceptions) which make them easier to hold. They will also mark on paper with very little pressure. If you lightly drag a marker across the paper you get a line. Try it with a crayon and most of the time you get nothing. The bold larger lines/marks are easier for babies to see and make sense of as they experiment. Babies will also put everything in their mouth. Markers have no taste and if they put the marking side in their mouth, the worst that will happen is brightly colored poop. Crayons being made of wax, taste good to young children. If you give them something that tastes good and tell them not to eat it you are fighting a losing battle from the beginning. This is why we start with markers.

 Look! My paper is still clean, but my tray and brother needed some color.
Can you draw two different things simultaneously?

I encourage the kids to only color on the paper, however as you can see that isn't what usually happens. That's ok because it all wipes off easily. It washes off clothes and baby wipes will clean it up off most surfaces. We don't use markers on carpet or near furniture. The markers are not kept out at all times. They are only brought out when I am right there to supervise. This is more important once they become mobile, but until they learn not to color on carpet, they aren't left out. As babies, we did art at least twice most weeks. That increases as they get older and have more interest and more variety. Most of the time, I don't have photos of them doing art because it's difficult to supervise and take photos. 

Marker on face, hands, arms, clothes, and some on the paper

One of the awesome moments of being a mom and/or teacher is seeing what a child is thinking when they finally get "it" - whatever "it" you are currently allowing them to explore. Here you can see my son as he realizes one end of the marker is special. He would touch it to the paper, pick it up to look closely at the paper, look back at the marker and try it again. After doing this multiple times, he started laughing. He tried using the other end and nothing happened, so he set it down and threw a fit (he was still a baby after all). I turned it back over for him and he started all over again. 

Discovering how a marker works

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Indoor Soccer

The last time we tried soccer both kids hated it. Sweet Son had a long list of reasons, but Sweet Daughter's only complaint was that it was really early in the morning. So, when she found out there was indoor soccer at a reasonable hour, she wanted to try it.

So much cooler inside during the summer! 

Big smile and showing off - it's blurry because of the glass 

Ok, they are also blurry because she never holds still.

She learned a lot and always smiled. She also decided she likes basketball better. I'm so proud of her for trying something new and always being happy.

Monday, August 7, 2017

I'm hungry!

Am I the only parent who gets tired of the kids always expecting food? The good news is my kids can now get their own food. Not just simple microwave stuff either. This day Sweet Daughter wanted a cucumber. I told her to go ahead and this is what happened:

After washing it, she peeled it. 

Then she cut it into chunks and ate them.

Yup, this is another phase I could get used to. She even shared with me and Sweet Son!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Educational Resources

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 Educents is the trusted resource for every child's education. If your child is interested in Minecraft, butterflies, space, architecture, traveling.. you name it.. the hundreds of Sellers on Educents probably offer a way to turn your child's interests into a fun lesson. Keep scrolling to check out what's new, what's popular, and shop Educents deals by grade. Don't miss Educents' new freebie at the bottom of this post!

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I love Educents. I can get discounted curriculum, toys, and random other things that inspire my kids. They have everything from text books (We love Life of Fred) to instruments (we have too many instruments to count) to art supplies and toys. I have yet to let my kids know there is more to Minecraft than just playing it but this might just be the year we do a unit on it as well!

What's new?

3D Animation Course - Kids will learn key 3D character animation concepts in this year-long online course as they create animated movies using their favorite Minecraft characters. Kids will learn all the necessary skills to create fun animated shorts, laying the foundation for a future career in animation, or simply giving kids a productive outlet for their love of Minecraft! Recommended for ages 8 to 14.
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  Beginning Architecture Course - Frank Lloyd Wright never had it this good! This three-part series of Beginning Architecture e-courses is the perfect gift for young Lego® and Minecraft® enthusiasts. 17 Activities for Number Recognition and Counting - This bundle includes a variety of games, worksheets, and activities for practicing number recognition and counting. Math Galaxy Fraction Riddles eBook Bundle - This bundle contains 6 pdf eBooks with printable worksheets in a riddle format like Wheel-of-Fortune, where answers to fraction problems give clues to riddles plus 2 pdf eBooks on length, area, volume, capacity, weight, and angles. math on educents Buy Coding Game For Kids
  Weather & Water Cycle Thematic Unit Bundle - Get 40% off two complementary thematic units for the weather and the water cycle! These engaging units integrate science, language arts, writing, math, social studies, art and drama.

What's popular?

Tegu Blocks - Tegu blocks are finely crafted magnetic wooden blocks that are just the right size for on-the-go fun. Educents Tegu Blocks Buy Coding Game For Kids
  Times Tales Multiplication DVDs - A creative, innovative mnemonic-based program that makes it fun and easy to memorize the upper multiplication facts. WILD Math Uno Card Games - Who doesn’t like to play games? Students will love to play these WILD games and you will love that they are reinforcing key skills while doing so! They are great for math centers, fast finishers, or even days you have a substitute! Life of Fred Elementary Math Books - Life of Fred is a series of math books that break of the old pattern of drill and kill. Instead of nothing but dry exposition and endless drill exercises, they contain fun stories about Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius. During his hilarious adventures, he encounters situations that call for solving math problems. Children actually want to read these books.
  math books Buy Coding Game For Kids Ultimate K-12 Homeschool Package - “I've tried a LOT of homeschool curriculum products over the years, and quite frankly this is the best value available in a secular curriculum package and it's easy on the parent. I'm homeschooling two kids and it's very easy to have them read the lesson and complete the assignments independently, then later the teacher's guides make it easy on me to review their work and correct it. The content is interesting and relates to the real world in a way that makes sense to the kids, especially the math problems. You also can't beat the price. I'm shocked that this curriculum isn't better known. You will pay a lot more for comparable products that won't have the quality this one has, and I've done the research and spent the money to be able to say that with authority.” -Judith A.

 

Grades Pre-K to 2nd

The Ultimate Kinder Bundle - Eight kindergarten digital textbooks for one low price! You get both the student and teacher's editions for 4 different subjects: Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. Wooden Standing Art Easel - The Melissa & Doug children's easel makes any room into an art studio!
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  Picture Writing Prompts (Spring Bundle) - These picture writing prompts will get your little writers spending more time writing and less time saying "I don't know what to write about!" K-8 Literature Package - This set covers all of your literature needs! Tegu Blocks - Tegu blocks are finely crafted magnetic wooden blocks that are just the right size for on-the-go fun. Math Wall Decals - Play with math on the walls! These fun and colorful decals help teach difficult concepts in a new way!
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  WILD Reading & Phonics Card Games - Who doesn't like to play games? Students will love to play these WILD games and you will love that they are reinforcing key skills while doing so! Online Language Program - Use this incredible opportunity to include foreign language into your next year curriculum! Choose from Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian or ESL English Videos, songs, and games help learners become bilingual FAST! Beginning Basketball eBook - Introduce your child to the great game of basketball with this ebook. This book will introduce the fundamental skills needed to play basketball. You will also learn the basic rules and strategies of the game. Magformers Set - The coolest manipulative we've seen in years! Magformers pieces at play copy copy Buy Coding Game For Kids
  Character Education for K-12 Learners - Character education takes commitment to teach it consistently. This curriculum will appeal to teachers and parents who feel strongly about making that type of difference in the lives of their students and children. 17 Activities for Number Recognition and Counting - This bundle includes a variety of games, worksheets, and activities for practicing number recognition and counting.

 

Grades 3rd to 5th

The Ultimate Middle School Digital Resource - The Ultimate Middle School Package provides you with 24 comprehensive Sixth through Eighth Grade Digital Textbooks in the areas of Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies! Includes both the Student and Teacher's Edition! Beginning Architecture Course - Frank Lloyd Wright never had it this good! This three-part series of Beginning Architecture e-courses is the perfect gift for young Lego® and Minecraft® enthusiasts. building_brilliant_minds_online__llc_architecturelesson3008_90ca Buy Coding Game For Kids
  Times Tales Multiplication DVDs - A creative, innovative mnemonic-based program that makes it fun and easy to memorize the upper multiplication facts. Science Themed Wall Play Sets - These durable fabric PEEL, PLAY & LEARN sets can work for younger children and older children alike. Whether you are homeschooling multiple aged children or looking for something to challenge kids in the classroom, our interactive wall play sets will fit in perfectly. Guitar Beginning Pack for Kids - The eMedia My Guitar Beginner Pack is a great guitar package designed to get children started learning the basics of music in a fun way. PrepToon Math Videos & Worksheets - This set of videos will help students learn operations in base ten. Animations help you show the math concepts visually and engage your students in learning from minute one. Fraction Math Animations - These videos and worksheets will help you show the math concepts visually and engage your students in learning from minute one.
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  Beginning Basketball eBook - Introduce your child to the great game of basketball with this ebook. This book will introduce the fundamental skills needed to play basketball. You will also learn the basic rules and strategies of the game. Classical Composter & Instruments Lapbook - Study the great classical composers and instruments using this hands-on tool. This Lapbook contains no music theory. Create booklets to place inside the Lapbook folders, and improve retention of the information. Math Galaxy Fraction Riddles eBook Bundle - This bundle contains 6 pdf eBooks with printable worksheets in a riddle format like Wheel-of-Fortune, where answers to fraction problems give clues to riddles plus 2 pdf eBooks on length, area, volume, capacity, weight, and angles.

 

Grades 6th to 8th

Zone Cleaning for Kids - Any parents who want to get (and keep) their children more involved in household chores - here’s the answer! Zone Cleaning Testimonial Buy Coding Game For Kids
  3D Animation Course - Kids will learn key 3D character animation concepts in this year-long online course as they create animated movies using their favorite Minecraft characters. Kids will learn all the necessary skills to create fun animated shorts, laying the foundation for a future career in animation, or simply giving kids a productive outlet for their love of Minecraft! Recommended for ages 8 to 14. Learn to Code with Minecraft - Learn to modify the Minecraft game with this year-long online course that teaches kids programming with Java™. Code their own Minecraft mod from start to finish and watch as the end result becomes a unique, shareable Minecraft mod that they built from scratch. Recommended for ages 8 to 14. Beginning Basketball eBook - Introduce your child to the great game of basketball with this ebook. This book will introduce the fundamental skills needed to play basketball. You will also learn the basic rules and strategies of the game. Understanding Health Challenges Lapbooks - Get 75% OFF of these FUN, Hands-on lapbooks! This package includes FOUR lapbooks designed to teach children about some common health challenges that they may have or may encounter with siblings or peers.  

   

New Freebie

Toca Life Town App - You rule this Town, a play world where anything and everyone is welcome! With different locations and many classic Toca Boca characters, the everyday adventures in Town are infinite. kids app freebie