Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wildflower Nature Study {Homeschool Kindergarten}

I've been taking nature walks with the kids since before they could walk and encouraging them to observe the world around them.  Last week we did our first "formal" nature study, on wildflowers.  Here's what we did..

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tot School - 33 Months

H is 33 months old and it's amazing how much his attention span and capacity for learning new things has jumped in the past month.  The line between Tot School and Homeschool Kindergarten (with big sisters) has become blurred as H participates in most of our homeschooling activities.  Here's a bit of what he's been up to lately..

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cooking with Kids: Crepes {France Learning Unit}

In our study of France in Homeschool Kindergarten, the kids and I made crepes.  It was a great Montessori-style practical life activity with plenty of fine motor skills work.  Here's what we did...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

GoVoxBox from Influenster

Getting something in the mail is so much fun - even more so when it's a box from Influenster full of wonderful products to try!  I recently received my third VoxBox from the Influenster program: the GoVoxBox, which was a perfect fit for this busy, active Mommy.  Here's what was included:

Claude Monet Artist Study

Since we learned about France last week, it seemed natural to use Claude Monet for our artist study in homeschool Kindergarten.  After looking at some of his better-known works (especially the water lilies and haystacks), and learning about impressionism, we made some art inspired by his paintings.  The picture above was a collaborative effort between me and E (almost 5) using the oil pastel / watercolor relief technique (lots of fun for Mommy too!).  We tried different mediums, as well, and by the end of the session everyone was obsessed with lily pads..

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ivory Soap Science Experiment for Kids

I've been seeing the Ivory Microwave Experiment on blogs for years and have been meaning to try it.  When the girls got ivory soap for soap carving at the art museum, this experiment is the very first thing that came to mind.  First I invited L and E (almost 5) to place two different brands of soap in a bowl of water and observe what happens.  The Ivory soap floated, and the other brand did not.  The girls predicted that it was because it was lighter, but then were not so sure when they felt the weight of both bars in their hands (I should have brought out the scale so we could compare them).  I asked some prompting questions to get them thinking about how some objects that are filled with air float...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Foil Sculptures

The girls really enjoyed making foil sculptures last week (using aluminum foil over pipe cleaners).  This project came from the Usborne Art Treasury book in the study of a sculptor named Alberto Giacometti.  It was a nice change to incorporate some three dimensional art in our artist studies...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Homeschool Kindergarten Weekly Recap

Lately we've been taking a gentler approach to homeschool Kindergarten.  We've been spending less time on worksheets and 'formal schooling', and more on reading together, doing artwork, nature studies, and LEGOs/ games.  The main reason is that I've had less time for homeschool planning as I'm wrapping up a software engineering project that I've been working on for the past 2 years (I'll announce it on my blog when it's officially done).  The secondary reason is that although the kids have been enjoying our school routine, I felt that they both needed a break, and I've been inspired by Charlotte Mason and Thomas Jefferson Education philosophies to 'inspire' more than 'require'.  Here's what we've been up to the past 2 weeks:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Penny's Worth of Character - Math Lesson Plan

We recently finished A Penny's Worth of Character by Jesse Stuart, which everyone loved.  It was also a wonderful bonus to be able to have a discussion about the importance of honesty.  While we were reading the book, I put together a little math game for the kids to help them learn about the values of coins...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kandinsky Circles Art Project

I'm starting to introduce my kids to famous artists and their works.  Last week's artist was Kandinsky and E created an oil pastel / watercolor relief inspired by his famous painting of circles..

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Homeschool Kindergarten Week in Review

This week in Homeschool Kindergarten was very relaxed and productive.  I was consistent in getting the kids together for school-time in the morning and it seemed that all the kids were a lot more focused and less argumentative than the previous week.  Here's a glimpse of how our week went..

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monsters Theme in Homeschool Kindergarten

One of the days last week, I decided to make a fun "monster" theme for the kids during our homeschool time.  We read books about monsters, made crafts, wrote stories, and built our own monster creations (the one above was designed and built by E all by herself!).

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Easiest Glider You'll Ever Make!

After reading an article in Click Magazine on flying squirrels (and how they glide rather than really fly), we made our own gliders.  It literally took me less than 5 minutes to make three of these gliders with the kids (including finding supplies)...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pond Life Theme in Homeschool Kindergarten

We completed this mini-unit about pond life earlier this school-year in Homeschool Kindergarten, but I totally forgot to post about it.  After reading some books about the various animals that live in ponds, the twins had a chance to make some cute crafts which I'd love to share...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Learning About Sheep

We're reading through Among the Farmyard People by Clara Dillingham Pierson (free on Google Play Books and Project Gutenberg).  After reading a chapter about a lamb who bragged about his long tail, I decided to let the kids make a quick (and cute) sheep craft.  The one pictured above was H's (2.5 years old) - I made the sheep and he glued the cotton balls for the wool.  The twins (4.5 years old) made their own..

Friday, April 4, 2014

Holland {Netherlands} Learning Unit

The twins (homeschool Kindergarten) and I just finished reading The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins.  It's the first book in a series about twins from different countries.  Since it was written in 1911, it's in the public domain and we read about The Dutch Twins on Google Play free on my iPad.  My own twins absolutely adored the stories of Kit and Kat (the Dutch twins) as they went to market with their father, churned butter with their mother, drove the milk cart, learned to ice skate, and met St. Nicholas.  The book also taught them a little bit about Holland, so I decided to include some Holland-themed activities: craft windmills, painting tulips, baking Dutch apple cake, and more..

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Diaper Science {and Sensory Experience!}

The other day, the kids were playing out on the deck when they ran to me with a gooey substance in their fingers asking what it is.  At first I was worried that it was something toxic or some type of insect egg and freaked out a little as H (2 years old) wanted to put it in his mouth.  A couple hours later I realized that H's diaper must have torn and this was the absorbent substance from his diaper (called sodium polyacrylate).  This inspired me to try an experiment with my twins (homeschool Kindergarten) to learn about The Science of Diapers...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Montessori-inspired DIY Weight Cylinders

If you love Montessori manipulatives, but can't afford the price-tag, try this easy DIY version of the Montessori Weight Cylinders using empty Play-Doh containers and dry beans.  Here's what we did for this little sensory / math activity...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tot School - 30 Months

Now that H is 2.5 years old, we've decided to put him to work on the farm.  Here he is milking the cow..  :)  Actually, H's "Tot School" time has been full of playing, exploring, fun, and learning (even on vacation).  He loves to participate in "circle time" with his older sisters and soaks up new information like a sponge.  Here's a tiny peep into some of his favorite activities lately..

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Graphing Rainbow Goldfish Crackers

Here is another easy edible math activity that kids just adore...  When my children begged for some rainbow goldfish crackers, I put a bunch into a bowl made a curious face and started asking them questions:  How many fish do you think are in there?  (More than 100?  More than 10?).  Which color fish do you think there are the most of?  etc..  After piquing their interest, the girls were eager to investigate further...