Monday, October 12, 2015

Wonderful wooly and wet weeks with "W"

My favorite part is the "wide walrus" rising from the pool.  It just cracks me up!  Also, don't try pulling a watermelon and a window in the same wagon.  And, yes, I know I wrote "wonderful" with two l's and yes I do know how to spell that and I fixed it after I took this picture.  In creative mode I can't spell like I am able to if I'm in actual typing/writing mode.  ;)  Anyway, I always ask my awesome writer/editor husband if everything is spelled right before it stays up for 3 weeks!

The weasel with whiskers kind of cracks me up too.  ;)  Each animal (or person) took around a half hour to do.. I was pretty beat by the time this whole thing was done, but I just can't seem to make them LESS than what I envision!

The full thing with the girls chalk boards on the right!
 All of the word cards are called "Snapwords" and you can find them here.  They have a hand motion and saying on the back for the person teaching the sight words to do with the kids and the picture helps the kids remember.  The back of the card also has the word without the picture so you can have them practice the word just by itself too.  I'm discovering that the best way to use these is to make sentences that are catchy so that when we are at the table for breakfast or lunch the girls will read the sentences and I'll change a few words in them as well to change it up!
The sentence above is how it started and it eventually changed to this - "Who will want white wind" JUST to be interesting.

 The above picture was how it started "Which wonderful woman was well" and changed to the one below "Which wonderful woman was warm" and then I changed it totally to "Which wonderful worm was whole"!  ....we find dead worms on the sidewalk here so.. you know.. it makes sense.  ;)

 And the older two working on the chalk board on the back of their craft table!  which turned out as the picture below.
 My 9 year old wanted to learn how to spin (with wool!) so of course that fits!  I had her start with a drop spindle but she really wanted to move on to my spinning wheel so I showed her how to do that as well.  The green wool was some that I'd dyed way back in the day before I was married and have been saving it all this time even though I sold my other wheel and got rid of a lot of wool and other craft supplies and things.

 We played our "Wild Craft" game which is quite fun and different.  A cooperative game which is quite nice with kids who tend to be competitive or get upset when they lose.  You can also use the herb cards as a memory game and we did that as well but I didn't take pictures.
You can check out the link above if you want to learn more or you can see what it's about on Amazon as well. We've had it for a few years now at least and pull it out on and off.  The story of it is that the cousins are at Gramma's house and have to hike up the hill to pick huckleberries and on the way encounter troubles (like a bee sting or sprained ankle) and have to use their herb cards to take care of their problem.  Then they have to gather the berries and take them back to Grandma.  There are "rest spots" on the way where you can read parts of the story.  The art in this game is lovely and the story is lovely and reminds the girls of their real Grandma and the hill by her house!  It's very sweet.  :)

What would "W weeks" be like without some late night swimming?  This was one of the last times we did this as it's now starting to get too cold to enjoy the big pool as much now.

 The light under the water made their feet look like they were wearing glowing socks.

This doesn't go with the "W theme" but I have to blog about it because it's my 4 year old's FAVORITE of all time school that she talks about and wants to do more and more and more of with me!  There's probably other places to get it, but I got it from Sonlight (it's a set of 4) and one book takes us no more than 2 months if we do it around 3 times a week.
 We go with the flow a bit with this!  If she wants to change the color that they say to do (unless it's a memory one) then I'll let her.  No big deal.  If she wants her doll to do some of the circling, that's okay too at times.  ;)  When my middle daughter was 4 I talked about this series as well and it was HER favorite too.  She is 7 now, but misses doing it and will longingly watch her little sister and me doing these books together.
Everyone's favorite sorts of pages are the ones where they are supposed to remember a set of instructions (there will be 4 rows with the same pictures in each row but the instructions will be different for each one.)  I might have to say something like, "Color the sock red, color the bear brown" and I'll repeat it and let her repeat it as well to get it in her memory.  Then we run around the house or spin or jump or even go outside while the whole time I will sing this silly song that sounds like it should be in a cartoon circus.  Then when we get back (a couple minutes probably) she is supposed to remember what the directions are and do them!  My middle daughter will sometimes follow us on these excursions as well even though she's supposed to be doing her own school now. 
WATER!  At the children's discovery garden in the Dallas arboretum.  First we followed the flow of water all the way down.
 The video above is what it was like UNDER the waterfall (pictured below) it was pretty neat and misty but loud!
 Then we followed the water down (in the video above and pictured below) which was very exciting.

 All the way at the bottom there were a bunch of things for them to do to discover water energy.
 And inventions like the one below!  I talked about this in a previous post, but posting again since we went here again for "W" things.

 The pumps were fun, but the girls got quite wet!  It was really hot (of course) this day so the water felt good.  As did the WIND tunnel we got into as well!

Playing with the giant water cycle!
 And speaking of the heat.. it was really hot that day.  Did I say that?  There's even a thermometer to prove it.  The Temp combined with the humidity put us in the red that day "Extreme danger" of heat stroke.. and death.
 So playing in more water was helpful.  The picture below is a station where they can make it "rain" and then there's sand and little figures to see how water flows and how erosion works.

 We bought an Usborne book about weather with lift the flaps and all that!  It's pretty awesome!  And I totally forgot to pull it out till "W weeks" was almost over, but we did more today and it turned into some questions about the seasons (which is actually addressed later in the book) but after I showed them with our little puzzle globe and a light my oldest found the part IN the book that talked about the seasons and it was illustrated beautifully.
Who doesn't love "lift the flap books" am I right? 

 ALSO, we got this "Write and Draw your own Comics" book from Usborne that is fabulous!  It is a fun "how to" kind of book with really helpful ideas on how to write and draw your own!
My reluctant, writer/reader, is really enjoying this.  Our method is for her to draw all her own pictures so she totally comes up with the story herself.  Then she tells me the story as she shows me the pictures.  Then the second time around I'll have her tell me again, but give a few suggestions or options (I take dictation mostly) and remind her to think of what the characters would say (rather than the narrator telling everything that is happening.)  They are turning out very creative and interesting comics!  I've been incorporating this some into our school as I'll have her copy over my penciled writing with her pen.  She might not know that this is to help her learn to write better through imitation, but that's what's happening. 
 Random play moment of them doing "library" which my youngest came up with before she could even talk!  We went to the library so much that she would always see how they slide the books and she'd do the same!  Now we added her little computer and a bell.  So they were finding the letter on the computer that matched the book and ringing the bell and sliding it. 
 When the Daddy got home he had to check out some books as well. It was pretty cute.
Her extra curricular school choice is all about "Fashion" and she was adoring this book!  We've started a real "Fashion school" for her to learn how to sew and design for real.  Post about that coming later!  We even made her a dress form!
 My 7 year old has been interested in Fashion for a while now.  She's always safety pinning bits of fabric together to make outfits for her toys.  She also likes to cut up her socks to make clothes for her toys too!  The penguin above is wearing a cut up sock.  I can't tell you how many bits of socks I find around the house!  I'm trying to get her to only use the socks that DO NOT have a match.. but.. well.. at least we don't have to wear socks much in the heat down here so I guess it's all right. 
My youngest claimed the "Illustrated stories" collection that I got for 60% off when I hosted an Usborne party on Facebook!  I don't sell Usborne books, but I have a friend who does if any of you all would like to host a party with her.  You can see Heather Teilborg's page here.  It was very worth it to host because who doesn't love books? And Christmas is coming up soon.  I can't help but be thrifty so I did look for some of their titles at our library or on amazon and while some were better prices, many were not and hardly any were at our library (which is huge!) so it's worth it to host for sure.
 I got this "Cuisenaire Rods" book and rods way back when my oldest was in Kindergarten!  All of my girls have loved this and still do even at older ages.  We don't color in it and I really need to put all the pages in page protectors, but it's held up really well.  I got it through "My Father's World" which is a great curriculum that is all inclusive.  I can't seem to buy just one thing though and tend to pull stuff from all different places.  But they are a great place to start if you are feeling overwhelmed with choices (an easy thing to happen these days!)
We do these together and talk about colors and count as we go and develop other language skills but just hanging out and chatting while we do these together.  I don't do all of her school every day with her.  We alternate from day to day and don't spend more than about 40 minutes of strictly "school" type things together.  She joins in a LOT with my older girls as they do their school, but also go outside to climb the tree or run around and play with the cat.
So proud!  W is for Web, Windows, and Wagon. 
  As always our "week" turned into several and these are just the highlights that went along with the theme.  Before we do "X" week I'm going to focus a bit more on the girls "Fashion School" so they can have time to finish their fairy costumes before Halloween.  So stay tuned for that and some great ideas for teaching some beginning sewing for kids that actually look AWESOME instead of the usual boring "first sewing" patterns.

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