Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Quick "Q" week

Quarreling Quails Story 
Is one of the fairy tales we read.  There's not THAT many books with "Q" words, but this one fit along with the "words to remember" -I don't quarrel or complain, I am thankful- always a good one to remember!

Our chalk board for this week has a red and pink and heart theme because I did it right before Valentine's day!  You can't quite see in the picture but the two Q's at the bottom under the quail have angry eyes/eyebrows so are "quarreling"

The girls chalk boards, and the new cork board/geo board with push pins and rubber bands. My 9 year old created the Q for this week.  And "Hedgy" our Hedgehog helper her pictured as well.  :)

For one day this week we spent some time shaping all the letters of the alphabet!  I have pictures of all of them, but you just get to see the "Q" to match this week.  I'm planing to print them out and having the girls make an alphabet book or do some other fun thing with all the letters they created.
The 3 year old tracing the letter shapes from her puzzle.

Our decorations for Valentine's day!  My girls LOVE to decorate!

Their Gramma sent them puzzle houses to put together and paint for a Valentine's day gift so they enjoyed that a LOT.

The Daddy gave each girl a chocolate rose.  It was a thrilling day.  ;)

I bought them Strawberry plants for a present and they made a little fairy garden!

I found a hyacinth leftover from last year coming up in a pot outside where I threw it last year!  I potted it to bring it in and after the original flower cluster died another one was coming!  But this little early bird flower couldn't wait till the stalk grew taller!  Cracked me up.  :)

In Jamberry land I created a sensation by showing off how you can layer the TINT finish wraps (which are colored, but see through) over other wraps (especially black and white designs) for more looks!  This "Aquamarine" tint is on the going going gone list.. so after February 28th it will be gone forever! 
This is my current "Jamicure" with "Orchid Glimmer" that I love so well!  It's also going to be gone after February, but I got some extra so I can survive.  :) 
 Until March 3rd I'm running a "Mystery Hostess" party that anyone can join!  To be entered to win all the rewards you just purchase something through this party and then you'll be entered into a raffle to win ALL the hostess rewards generated by this party!  I'm putting an entry in for about every $15 spent to make it more fair for those people who buy a lot (they get more chances to win the rewards!)  It could be small or it could be epic.  My last mystery hostess party went really well and the winner got to choose a LOT of fun things!
And with sort of a selfie.. chilling today because I hurt my back.  :/
Earlier this week the older girls learned to make tiny quilts! 
 The quilt making was just very basic.  They learned the names for the different parts - Backing, batting, binding, quilt top, quilting stitch as opposed to a "whip stitch" and they got to pick the color of fabric they wanted.  We didn't do any piecing as I was having them do all the sewing by hand so they drew their pattern on with permanent sharpies.

All finished!

My 9 year old decided to make three different quilts for her Woodzies.  This is for the Mom and Dad skunk.

Notice how it works?

These two are for the kid skunks.
There was an ice storm and cold snap here in Dallas.  So, the Daddy got to stay home form work for a day!  I put him to work here though helping out with the homeschooling.  This is "The book nook" where I read to the 3 year old.  She was delighted to have so much personal time.

Also, I have to show off her Jamberry's too because they will ALSO be leaving forever after February 28th!  They are called "Unicorn Dream & Hearts" and I'm really glad we still have more of these in my stash!  They last quite a while especially the Jr sizes so she'll get to enjoy them again.  :)
And here's the snow day.  We actually still did school of course since we don't have to go anywhere anyway, but the girls had fun playing outside and finally got to use their snow pants!  It was pretty wet "frozen rain" type "snow" but they still had fun with it!  They even tried to make "snow angels"... you can imagine how wet everything was when they came in!
 Of course we did their workboxes and the bits of reading practice and writing and smatterings of math and games as usual.  But this is all the most fun parts of our "Q week"  :)
AAaaaand the first fire we've had that actually worked well.  My husband had to really push the thing to get the flew open but once he did that everything went well and the girls got to enjoy a fire in their quilts on that cold spring day.  :)
  Other thoughts on "Q week"?  It was quick!  Relatively quiet... with some quarreling between a quarter of our family.  Again have to recommend the "Animal Antics from A to Z" books!  Wonderful as always -Q was "Quentin Quokka's quick Questions"

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"P" for Pizza, pancakes, peaches, Pandas, and Penguins

Chalk board design for "P week"... if you didn't notice the P is the shape of the peacocks head and neck and the little p is the pizza with the line to the earth.  It works.

And from a bit of a distance.  With their chalk board designs as well.  They love starting a new letter week!

Later I got a cork board and tacks so we could make a "geo-board" of sorts, but one that we could make into any shapes we want!  My 3 year old loved playing with it and my 9 year old too!
One day we printed out some Elephant and Piggie printables that they could color and imagine a story to.  I wrote the words down for them.  This project was fun and was mainly to give them an opportunity to tell a story and sort of see how that would be arranged logically.  Print out your own Elephant and Piggie commic book here.
 Product Details We actually started the week with "Polly Porcupine's Painting Prizes" - love the animal antics A to Z books!  The painting of the peach pie really inspired everyone to do their own paintings!  And I had some pumpkin to make pumpkin pie and did that the same day!
We made pie cookies and the girls laughed at the joke that they ate a whole "pie" themselves.

 We did a lot of food related "P words" this week.  Pickles, Pizza, Pumpkin Pie, Peach frozen yogurt, Potatoes, Pomegranates (which are completely fascinating to me to take apart and prepare!)
 Paintings of a peach pie and some pandas.

A few random moments.  They played "catch the hedgehog."  I have a puppet hedgehog that I use with my 3 year olds school time and everyone loves her.  We've made up some fairy tales with "Hedgy" in them while playing.

When I was organizing their school I found some things I'd been meaning to use and the girls discovered the geo-board (They loved it so much that I decided to buy the cork board one to do as well.)

Coloring nicely together.  Always a nice thing to remember.

This is my desk half organized.  I forgot to take a picture of it all the way done, but .. you know.. trying to keep it real here.

My visual journal.  I can't seem to make normal lists, but messy random, painted over, hard to read lists don't seem to freak me out.  So this is a great way to start my days!  A little journaling, a little coffee, a little reading.  I know some homeschooling Mom's are MUCH more organized then I am.  Whenever I try to be more organized I get bored with it, but if I'm not organized at all it doesn't work well either.  This is my messy compromise.

Puppet making was apart of "P week" as well!  The girls made up a puppet show as well which they performed for me and the Daddy and the Grammy after dinner one night.

We had several days with pancakes for breakfast (right after we were done eating I'd read them a bit and we'd move into crafts or workbox time.)  And THIS is a "Pancake PERSON" as you can see.  ;)

Another random moment.  The 3 year old (who will be 4 the end of April) used her gift card money that they'd all saved up to buy some roller skates.  Now they all have roller skates and scooters so they can do everything together.

One morning we had an impromptu reading time because the 6 year old wanted to teach her bunny how to read... so she read her Dr. Suess' ABC book Basically if you are wanting some sort of first alphabet book this one needs to be high up on the list of "must have" first alphabet books. 

I was trying to be more consistent with the workboxes this past few weeks and it's been a challenge to keep the 3 year old out of their way as they work (we'd been out of it so long with me being sick and all) but it's going well! 
 You know, I think that if I didn't have to make food and clean up it would be pretty simple to homeschool.  It's the none stop messes that need to be cleaned and the laundry that never ends and the food that is always needing to be made that gets to me the most.  Hard to do all that necessary stuff when you want to do other fun things and then everything stops because you need to break up an argument and (with girls at least) there's a lot of everyone needing to explain all their troubles and who said what and who did what and usually I'm mainly listening and pointing out how everyone was in the wrong and everyone needs to forgive each other and work together.  It's pretty exhausting.  Anything worth doing though is going to be a challenge.  Homeschooling has it's own challenges, but what I go through doesn't minimize the challenges of a mom who takes her kids to a private or public school.  I personally think that would be a lot harder than what we do.  But it's just all a different sort of challenge right?  It's not a competition of who does more work or what is more ideal or which is more valuable.  We choose what we want to do for our family based on the families needs and interests and capabilities and go from there.  I hope this blog encourages some other people out there!
We've been reading through "Farmer Boy" and in it he explains how popcorn can fit in the same space as milk.. so the milk won't overflow even though you keep putting popcorn in it.  Well, it was a great science experiment (we did this with water as well and it was the popcorn, not the milk that was special because it seemed to work the same for popcorn and water.)  It was a huge waste of popcorn, but a fun thing to try while I read to them.  :)
There's almost an entire glass of popcorn in that full glass of milk! 

The 3 year old totally digging our make-shift geo-board! 

Another picture of them working on their Elephant and Piggie stories.

Practicing writing her last name in cursive with yarn on the carpet.  :)
 It was pretty funny how much her cat kept trying to get in on the action with this project.  I can't remember if I mentioned this in my last blog post.  I got a new work book series to add to my 9 year old's work box.  Basically it's a way to teach more right brained type learners to read and write.  Cursive is something that helps with tracking and not flipping letters as well.  So far, I think she likes it.  She's good at it, but it's still "school" and still "work" so she doesn't love doing it like some other things.  You can find out more about it here  if you also have a strongly right brained learner.

I've been getting more into the swing of helping one child while setting up the other ones with their own work box or school type project.  The 3 year old loves "school time" and we pull out different things form her shelf to do when we need to.
I FINALLY finished making the girls Math gnomes.  Doesn't really fit with "P week" but I'm so glad we got this going! 

 I have a crazy amount of awesome Pinned Math ideas from all over if anyone is needing some extra math activities!  You can find them here The main one we have been focusing on is this story and "set up" so to speak.  "Gnomes and Gnumbers" My oldest especially has been really wanting to hear more about the math gnomes and the younger two enjoy playing with them.  It's a fun way to take an abstract concept like math and put it into a story that is visual and more concrete to help them remember.  Gnome "Minus Take-away" for instance is the blue one with patches in his coat and is always losing things.  So when we are playing with them and counting and talking about the "gems" that they find or fight over or have to divide (Enter red "divide gnome") gnome "Minus Take-away" is always saying, "oops" and spilling his portion.  You can take the concept of playing and incorporating math and stories using anything.  Some Waldorf homeschoolers use squirrels and nuts or other things.  My oldest liked the gnome story when I read it to her and was so interested that we stuck with these.  They find "King Equals" really fun because I put a beard on him!  He of course is always helping to bring balance to their troubles.
 Each gnome has their symbol on their front so the kids can get used to seeing the symbol as we play the stories.  Gnome Multiply is yellow because she's super fast like light!  And Gnome plus is slower like something growing so is green.  King equals is purple because that's a good blended calm color.  Doesn't this make math look friendly?

 Everyone has a set of math gnomes and they all had a say in how the faces looked and sizes and all that.  The older two girls stitched up the felt hats and helped do some painting.
These are the ones I started making probably over a year ago.  Man, it seriously takes me way to long to finish stuff.  I guess the point is that I finally did get back to it!
 In the story (linked above with the "gnomes and gnumbers") they talk about roman numerals and odd and even numbers.  I loved how they explained roman numerals and sort of got some of this going!
This is the work sheet I created for my oldest.  All she has to do is circle the pairs of "gems" and when there is one without a pair to match is an odd number.  This might seem pretty basic, but it's a wonderful visual.  Rather then being told a math fact to memorize in a dry way, why not go at it like this?  With stories and visuals that are really memorable. 

The 6 year old drawing pictures of her gnomes.  They were really so delighted with them!
After the 9 year old did her odd and even sheet we hung it up so they can keep seeing it!  I also made a sheet of the roman numerals up to 12.  That look like this  1 = (gem shape) = I         Up to       12 = (12 gem shapes) = XII

The work sheet for the 6 year old was slightly different.  She's more of a part to whole learner so instead of giving her the whole picture where she could identify a pattern like I did with the oldest I just started her out with odd numbers.  After she did her job of circling all the pairs to see that one was left over (so they were all odd) I had her cross out the number, add a gem to circle and complete a new pair then draw the equals and the new number.  So she changed all the odds to evens.
We took a trip to the zoo today as our final thing to match "P week" and especially hung out with the penguins.

Fortunately there was a very friendly one!