Giveaway & Update

I have a been a little inconsistent with this blog lately. I have a few things going on, and many changes coming up, and I’ve been MIA at best. But I have plans for future posts… eventually! πŸ™‚

In the meanwhile, I wanted to share a giveaway with all of you from one of my favourite author: Sally Clarkson!

Her’s and her husband’s new edition of “Educating the WholeHearted Child” is finally out! One of my good friends owns the last edition, and absolutely LOVES it – so I was quite looking forward to the new one coming out!

There is only one catch: I just found out about it today, and it ends tomorrow…. so hurry! πŸ™‚

http://www.itakejoy.com/educating-the-wholehearted-child-a-giveaway-for-the-best-book-ever/

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Calendar Time!


In the mornings (or around lunch time, whichever is more convenient), we got into a nice routine of doing some simple calendar work with rhymes and songs! Both girls love it πŸ™‚ (yes, even Miss C! Who doesn’t like songs!)
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We start by singing the months of the year:

(Tune: 10 Little Indiens)
January, February, March and April
May, June, July, August and September
October, November, and December
These are the months of the year!

We usually shout out the current month (which has the little purple sticker, so A can see which month we’re at, and visualize it in the context of the whole year): “January, February, March and APRIL!!!” πŸ™‚

The image for the months of the year is taken from the Montessori for everyone site, right here, and the song comes from 1+1+1=1.
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Following that, we check the weather outside the window, and move the arrow to the correct section on the circle. Then we place a little sticker dot on the Weather Graph, to see how many days during the month it was sunny, rainy, cloudy, etc.

And then we sing this fun song from 1+1+1=1:

(Tune: Bingo)
Today the {sun} is in the sky
And SUNNY is the weather
S-U-N-N-Y (3x)
And SUNNY is the weather!

If you go on 1+1+1=1’s website, you’ll find all the alternatives for the other weather options. πŸ™‚
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Right afterwards, we talk about which season it is. As our weather chart says, currently the season is spring! We have a little sticker next the our season as well (season chart also from the Montessori site, right here).

And I made up this song for the season:

(Tune: Are You Sleeping/Frère Jacques)
Every year, has four seasons
Winter Spring, Summer Fall
This month the season is spring (2x)
March, April, May (2x)

You can sing:
This month the season is summer (2x)
June, July, August (2x)

This month the season is fall (2x)
September, October, November (2x) {yea… sing quickly lol}

This month the season is winter (2x)
December, January, February (2x) {another tongue twister!}
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Following that, we’ll read a story about the current season.

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Then we move on to the calendar itself!

I made a little scallop sticker that we move around every day, as well as a “2011” sign.

We sign two songs to learn the days of the week, both from 1+1+1=1’s calendar section.

Following that, we read the daily story from our DK Children’s Everyday Bible. I really like this book, I find that the stories are short enough for a young child, but not so simple that an older child will be bored, and the illustrations are just beautiful and very engaging. They go through the entire Bible, covering most of the books, in a story that flows well. It’s a GREAT introduction for the kids! Through it, they get their first complete exposure to the Bible, from where they can go more in depth as they get older, since all the stories will already be familiar to them. You can do it year after year without it being repetitive since it will be a whole full year before you repeat the same story. And it helps foster the habit of daily Bible studying πŸ™‚
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And that, is our calendar time!
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Some resource links:

  • We got our calendar at our local office supply store, but you can also order it from Amazon here. I laminated it all to add durability, and also the repositionable stickers can peel on and off easily, as we move them every day or every month.
  • DO visit 1+1+1=1’s calendar post, she has lots of great resources for you, free printables, ideas on how to set one up, etc. It’s very thorough!
  • Homeschool Creations also have great calendar stuff, ideas and printables. I didn’t use them just yet because the calendar set is pretty complete and enough for A’s level, but as she gets older, I definitely might add some of her stuff!

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Was Mr. Groundhog Right?

Remember our Groundhog Experiment?

Wanna know the results? πŸ™‚

TECHNICALLY, we have one more cloudy or snowy/rainy day than sunny days. BUT, that’s pretty simplistic. Sometimes it’s cloudy but very mild, or even warm – I think that counts! So TECHNICALLY, the experiment result is that the groundhog was wrong (plus he dumped us 3 ft of snow on March 6th – what’s up with that??), BUT, since, apart for that crazy snowstorm, it was very mild and warm… I guess he was partly right.

A good experiment in the subtleties of experiments…. haha. (Of course Miss A got all that, duh.)
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Groundhog Day & Chinese New Year

A few more crafts!

Feb. 2nd was Groundhog Day. A might be a bit young to grasp the whole concept of it, but we still talked about it… and I still prepared her a Groundhog Experiment πŸ˜›Β  Every day between Feb. 2nd and March 21st, we’ll look outside in the morning to see what the weather is like, and put a sticker on the calendar chart: either sunny, snowy, or cloudy. There’s a spot for Weather on Feb. 2, and Prediction for Feb. 2-Mar. 21, which should be the opposite. We placed those stickers there. At the end, we’ll count how many suns, and how many clouds+snow, and see if the theory is right πŸ˜‰

I’m sure as heck hoping it is, Feb. 2 greeted us with the first major winter storm of the year. Which should mean a very nice & sunny last 6 weeks of winter! We had about 1 feet of snow, but with the wind, it accumulated much more than that – trust me, I shovelled the whole thing. The corridor in the backyard to go to our neighbour’s is at least 2 ft high. Bah! Miss A had a blast in the snow, in any case πŸ™‚

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We also did a simple Groundhog craft, found here. I printed the black & white version, and took out all of A’s brown/beige/grey/black crayons to colour it, and we glued it on a toilet paper roll. There’s a fun song to go with it too! (also found on the craft page)

(sign to I’m a Little Tea Pot)
I see a little groundhog, fury and brown
He’s popping up to look around
If he sees his shadow, down he’ll go
Six more weeks of winter – oh no!

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And Feb. 3 was the Chinese New Year – Year of the Rabbit. What’s better than making a paper rabbit? Combining it with Valentine’s Day and making a HEART bunny! πŸ˜›

That craft can be found here, along with many other heart animals.

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Valentine Day Games

I made Miss A some Valentine’s Day themed fun stuff!

Yesterday, we coloured some Valentine’s Day colouring page, as well as a Dauber Art heart (we used the red one, since it had more “white” space to colour in), which we laminated with a magnet & laminate roll (it laminates the top side and adds a magnet on the bottom), and cut into pieces to make a fridge puzzle! I also printed an already coloured and traced puzzle, which I also magnet-laminated, for another fridge puzzle. And we printed and made some fridge dominoes! Miss A had fun learning to match the pieces so only like pieces touch πŸ™‚

I also made her 2 file folder games: a heart matching game, and a Valentine Sudoku, like the one she had at Christmas (scroll down, down, down on the post).
Now, if you go and print the Sudoku, you’ll notice that 2 puzzle squares are the same, and there no where to put the lips… What I did is I reprinted the game, cut out one of the heart squares, and clued it on top of one the lips in the repeat puzzle squares πŸ˜‰ VoilΓ ! (it’s the heart on the top left in the picture).

For Friday, I’m planning a family Bingo night – I printed up some customizable Bingo cards from this site on cardstock, and double-sided laminated them for durability. You can also get Bingo pieces here – I made the summer ones for the Christmas Bingo cards (I know – summer & Christmas, but I liked the sun design!), though I have half a mind to make some heart ones πŸ˜‰ Alternatively, you could also use washable daubers on the laminated plastic – I never tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work..? If it’s washable, it should come offΒ  ^_^Β  *disclaimer – I am not responsible for your stained Bingo cards if it doesn’t work. Just, well, print another one… :)*

I’m thinking of printing a few of the activities found on this page too: like the Heart Size Sorting (she has a file folder with ant sorting and she LOVES it), the Heart Pattern matching game (variation on the heart one I made already), the pre-writing skills pack, which you can laminate and use with wipe-off markers (no idea if she’s at this stage yet of following the lines – we can find out! Worst case scenario? They become freestyle drawing pages), heart & V dauber/magnet page (we have magnets, but we’ll probably daub it), ditto the V dauber page, & the hopscotch game (she’s really into her numbers lately!)

We also stopped by the library and picked up some reading material:

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Let the love begin!
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Clothespins Colour Match

I love making little games for A – she really enjoys them, and it’s frugal and sometimes even green, when you re-use things you have at home πŸ™‚ (I say sometimes, because other *often* times, I do have to get a few supplies from the store…)

I’ve made her a bunch of folder games, which I’ll blog about at a later time. I still need to take pictures of them! She mostly has colour matching games at the moment, since that’s something she’s into at this stage. My neighbour – who’s also into the game making business for her slightly older (8 months, older I mean) daughter – made her a cupcake counting one for her birthday: you have to match the numbers of cherries on the cupcake to a written number on another cupcake. If we do that one with A, she’ll do it, but obviously it’s a little bit beyond her scope to do on her own just yet πŸ˜‰

The latest little game I finished is a clothespins colour matching game. I got the idea for that one from No Time For Flash Cards, and thought I had to do it! It was different than just matching coloured socks or paintbrushes in pockets attached to a file folder, looks nice, and is very hands-on, which I’m sure will be up A’s alley.

So next time I was at the store, I picked up a few strips of paint samples and a cheap bag of wooden clothespins (of which I have many left for more projects involving clothespins). I chose my colours, attached them to the side of an old cardboard box from the recycling bin, glued the matching colours on the clothespins, and voilΓ ! A little colour matching game, that’s kind of like a puzzle too – A is sure into puzzles right now as well πŸ™‚

I had started out making it too complex for A, with lots of colour shades – and then decided that 1) she would not really enjoy that right now (I have another one I made in a folder with paint chips that has shades and she gets bored of it VERY quickly – a simple blue, yellow and pink is fine for her, thank you), and 2) it was taking forever to cut ALL those chips (I had 45 pins lined-up!) So I simplified to keep one of each core colours, and those I had already made, I glued to another piece of cardboard and gave to my neighbour – her older daughter is a bit more into shades, and I’m sure she’ll love it πŸ™‚

Cost: Maybe $1-2, if you count ALL the clothespins in the bag? (so really, more like $0.25 for THIS game). Not bad!

Pre-Homeschooling?

Since DD1 has been about 6 months old, DH and I have been considering homeschooling. The reasons are many, and should probably make the focus of a post of their own. However, I think I can confidently say that, at this point, this is the route that we have decided to follow.

Then I learn that a good friend of mine, who also happens to be my back door neighbour, and who has a daughter just a few months older than Miss A, is also considering homeschooling. And the girls get along GREAT together (as much as 2 yrs olds do)! So we started doing some research together.

And boy – is there ever options out there! From radical unschooling to highly structured through pre-made curriculum homeschooling, with a mix of both in between – and not to mention all the different philosophies, from Charlotte Mason to Waldorf to a little bit of nothing… How’s one to choose??

I have to admit, I’m not sure exactly what I what to do for my homeschool yet. I’m partial to the Sonlight curriculum, because I’ve only heard great things about it and it has a focus on books, but I’m sure there are other great ones out there too. And anyway, I will have to find add ons for Canadian content. And do I really want to buy an expensive and structured curriculum, or do I want to go based on my child’s interest and get books as we go? Or perhaps I want to just simply unschool

But sometimes too much research is like not enough: you just get lost, and you never make any decisions. Sometimes, in my opinion anyway, it’s best to jump in, try something, and tweak it as you go. I’m still researching options, recording ideas, government requirements (it’s legal in our province and you don’t have to do much of anything actually, in terms of declaring & recording, as far as I’ve found), organization, how to proceed, etc. But, I’ve decided to try out some things too, along with my neighbour.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not teaching my 22 mo. If anything’s for sure, it’s that I don’t believe in early academia for the sake of early academia – unless it’s really and truly the toddler’s interest to do alphabet flashcards, penmanship and early math all day. And I think all learning should be child-led (which taps into my reasons for choosing homeschooling versus the school system – there is just more opportunities for that in the one-on-one setting of homeschooling than there is in the overflowed classrooms). What we’re doing is more for the sake of us adults, to try out some organization & recording thing, and how we can plan lapbooks and unit studies. For the kids – crafts, day trips, playtime, colouring… things we would do ANYWAY, whether they’d be attached to a “theme” or not πŸ˜‰ My neighbour found some great activities based on farms and gardening – which is quite timely for spring and summer. We have great local farms in the area to visit, which most families do once or twice in the season, and lots and lots of trails for nature walk, which I love to take advantage of.

Farm lapbook - Barn

So, today, we started our farm lapbooks! We made barns out of construction paper, and glued it inside a folded-up folder. I mostly did that part πŸ˜‰ Then came the decorating part with stickers – THAT Miss A was all over! Watch out with her when stickers are around πŸ™‚ We also read a book about barn animals (the girls had a blast making all the sounds), and sang Old MacDonald using the felt board. Then the girls free played while we picked up πŸ˜‰

I printed out some of the farm activities we found online for the girls, and started

Activities for Farm lapbook

laminating them with book covers (makes them more sturdy) and cutting them up. But first, I got Ariana to colour her farm flashcards – they turned out quite colourful, as you can see! I will finish these while watching TV tonight and stick them in the lapbook. Speaking of laminating & activities, I also made her a colour sorting game I downloaded from Confessions of a Homeschooler – she’s very into her colours lately.

Paintbrush Matching set

If anything, it will be a great scrapbook souvenir of the summer πŸ™‚ (when life was bliss before the chaos of a younger sibling!)