Archive for August, 2013
Our Bargain of the Week!
When I need some glue for crafts etc I like to use Elmer’s “runny” glue but when the children use it they tend to squeeze the bottle way too hard & we end up with some very soggy paper & an oozy mess. SO we have reverted back to glue sticks for them which are apt to be more expensive as they do not last as long. (A pot of Elmer’s lasts for months.) This week we needed to replenish our stock of glue sticks so when we were in Walmart we headed over to where the seasonal school supplies had been (not the regular supplies aisle). I picked up a couple packets going “Ouch!” at the price when Richard came around the corner saying “Will these work?” He had found some single sticks (Elmer’s) reduced to 10c each! Wow! What an observant hubby 🙂 We now have a good supply for a very reasonable price.
The Educational Value of Lego/Duplo
I’m sure most kids don’t think “School/Learning” when they are having fun playing/building with Lego or Duplo but that is exactly what they are doing – learning. We all know that if we build “bricks’ one on top of the other without over lapping we are going to have a weak structure. If you watch little ones that is how they start to build, one on top of the other but it is not long before they learn how to strengthen their structures.
We have both Lego & Duplo here. Duplo is the bigger blocks for younger children, whereas Lego is the smaller blocks with way more detailed figures to create for older children. Both are an invaluable teaching tool which involves relatively no involvement from the adults 🙂 Lego & Duplo can be expensive to buy but it lasts for generations. Some of what we have here goes back 15+ years to when Michelle & Michael were little & much of it was purchased off of Ebay in lots making it more reasonably priced. We don’t plan to take many “toys” with us when we head to NZ but this is one that will be going with us as it would be way too pricey to replace.
Daniel is into building Space Ships right now & has actually done a great job. His imagination is running wild as he imagines his space ship fighting the alien (far left).
Smart Car Age 3+
Smart Car by Smart Games (Age 3+) is the newest Logic Game here in the house. Caleb had finished Castle Logic & was eager to move on a “new game.” I was pleasantly surprised at how big the car was & its sturdiness.Each colored wooden block has eyes on different parts, sometimes in two places so it is not only the skill of putting the block in the correct place that is required but also getting it the right way round so that the eyes are in the place shown in the puzzle. When he has finished a couple puzzles he then plays with it for a while.
Highly recommended for young inquisitive minds.
A Nature Walk
With the temps being really nice right now & the fact that Richard has brush hogged some of the pastures, yesterday afternoon the kids & I took a nature walk. They go out regularly but it’s been a while since I have gone with them. We walked down to the wet water creek that has been running pretty fast but is now drying up. There are still pockets where it is running though & in many areas there are tadpoles & even some small fish.
With Daniel & Hannah catching tadpoles, Caleb wanted to do the same but of course his small hands make it rather difficult so I helped him by catching one & putting it in his hand.
As the water seeped out he knew he had to dip his hand in to replenish the water. Everyone enjoyed the wonders of God’s creation. The joy of creation around us is FREE. Most of us, yes us included, do not get out enough to simply breathe deep & enjoy 🙂 Even if you live in a city there are areas/parks where you can go to relax & enjoy.
Our First Lapbook – Spiders
For the past couple weeks I have been researching curriculum for the coming school year. We do not use one brand of curriculum for all subjects. I know it works for some people but it never has for us plus I, for one, like variety. I have several favorite resources that I like to reference, none of which I would be happy to use exclusively. SO saying all that my head has been pretty buzzing with a load of info recently. Then early this week I made it buzz even more when I discovered Lapbooking for the first time!
Apparently Lapbooking has been a part of homeschooling for quite some time but I had never heard of it until now. Boy, did it capture my attention & enthusiasm & I was eager to try one to see how Daniel & Hannah would like it. If you are anything like me you are asking the question “What in the world is Lapbooking?”
Lapbooking is a system of immersing a child in a certain subject, bringing out their creative talents & storing it in a way that doesn’t take up much space & can be kept for future reference. Don’t knwo about your house, but here much of the kids work ends up in the trash as the individual pages end up on the floor or being cut out by someone else feeling crafty with the scissors! Some does go on the refrigerator for a while but that can only hold so much. In my opinion Lapbooking solves a big problem.
Disclaimer: Although I am excited about this new form of teaching I do believe there needs to be balance & will not be using Lapbooks all the time!
To create a Lapbook you take a simple File Folder, open it up & fold each side into the middle. More complicated ones for longer studies can be created with 2,3 or even 4 folders. I did not have any File Folders on hand this morning (got them on order) so used Pocket Folders, cutting out the pocket. Hence ours in the pictures shown below are not as colorful as most file folders are not white inside but normally a lighter color of whatever color the outside is. FYI I have just ordered a pack of multi-colored file folders from Amazon at a very reasonable price. At just under 16c each I didn’t think that was a bad price plus I wanted a variety of colors so as to let the children have a choice 🙂
SO stepping back in time for just a few, my initial dilemma was what subject to choose? I wanted something that was relevant to what we were doing & also needed to ensure we had the books on the subjects on hand. At one point I got so overwhelmed & frustrated that I just had to shut down all the research windows I had up & say to myself, “Calm down! Get organized & plan for the future, not right this minute!” Patience has never been one of my strengths! If I decide to do something I want to do it NOW! LOL!
Last night as I went to bed, the inspiration hit! Spiders! We have two more insects to cover for science this year from the book History of Insects & spiders is one of them. (Silkworms are the other.) The spider books from the library have been sat here for a few weeks waiting. SO right after breakfast this morning I googled “Spider Lapbook” & up came several options. Wasn’t long before I found what I was looking for on CurrClick, a website I had seen earlier but not fully investigated. Not sure how long they have it at a special price but right now, at time of writing, it is only $1! That’s a steal! If you are interested in maybe studying spiders at a later date, just buy it, download it & save it. ( I will be returning to their website later to see what other “steals” may come in handy later.) With research some are free & I will share some of those with you as we do them. I like to test out a product before recommending it to others.
This Spider Lapbook was designed to do over 1-2 days which was perfect for us. Some are designed for a week, others 2-4 weeks & we will definitely incorporate some of those later. For today though this was absolutely perfect as it introduced us all to a new product in a very gentle way.
With our File Folders folded & our Lapbook units printed off, it was time to begin. Everything was explained well, we read 3 Spider books & then the kids started on the work. They really enjoyed it.
This Spider Lapbook had 6 major parts/sections:
- What family?
- Labeling the Parts
- Webs (what we had discovered about them.)
- Life Cycle (wheel)
- Enemies (required to draw an enemy that eats spiders)
- Nursery Rhymes Book (Two Nursery Rhymes were included & they had to write out another. We chose Incy Wincy Spider.)
Each part was a different shape creating variety. For younger children you may want to precut out all the templates/activities but for children with good scissor skills I would encourage you to let them do it themselves. It teaches them to do a good job & take pride in their work.
This whole Lapbook took less than 2 hours to complete. The company states it is for all ages but I think that is a little broad. I would say all Elementary aged children. Of course the older the child, the more neat the work should be & the more detailed.
The only other supplies required were some brads, glue & a stapler. The children have now created a keepsake that they can show to others & that did not cost a lot of money to put together.
The cover above is just glued on one side 🙂 All the pictures shown are from Daniel’s Lapbook.
As for which Spider books to read, there are SO many good ones out there to choose from that is why I have not shared specific ones with you. You may already have Spider books on your bookshelf but if not, your local library is guaranteed to have at least one. Ours had a myriad to choose from.
Home & cleaning my desk!
We arrived home Wednesday afternoon. I have to say it feels a little strange to be back in a big house after the camper! It was amazing how fast the kids managed to throw their toys everywhere here!
I had left my desk in a bit of a mess. It tends to be the dumping ground so on Thursday I decided it was time to be ruthless & really get it tidied. Took me most of the day. As well as tidying I needed to go through all the kids schoolwork & put a pile together of all the work we need to get finished before the start of the new school year (approx. Sept 1st). Of course it is not that imperative that we finish up all the odds & ends but it makes it much easier on my record keeping. I use Excel to keep a record of all the work that each child does, books we read etc – one spreadsheet per child which is dated with the school year & has columns for each subject. When I start a new one it is much easier if I don’t have to copy over a part finished book to the next year. (The books they started halfway through the year will not be finished but that is OK as long as what can be finished is finished.) So with all that sorted & a pile of not needed paperwork discarded (a whole white trash bag full!) my desk is now looking reasonably good & you can see the wood grain again! LOL!