January 29, 2010

Our Week with Water


Each quarter at our school, we study a different type of science and this quarter is all about physical science. We spent the first couple of weeks talking about Thomas Edison and all of his accomplishments and inventions. He was really an incredible person! (and did I mention he was homeschooled?? :)) So, the rest of our quarter is going to be spent exploring some science of our own, particularly dealing with sources of energy....like water, magnets and light, and this week was 'water.'

We did lots of little experiments, like making things float, finding the place in our house where water evaporates the fastest, and mixing substances in water. These experiments all led up to making a water mill to show how water can create energy. I had some doubts, thinking it might just absorb the water and disintegrate, but it actually worked great and Noah had a fun time 'making energy.' As if we need to create any more of THAT around here!!! Next, we're on to magnets....

PS: I'm using Usborne's Book of Science Activities Vol. 1 for all the activity ideas.

January 27, 2010

Homeade Baby Wipes

A fellow HS mom gave me a recipe for homemade baby wipes...so I thought I 'd try it out. Even though we should be out of wipes and diaper stage pretty soon, it never hurts to save a few pennies. So here's the recipe:
  • 2T baby shampoo or baby wash
  • 1 T baby oil
  • 2c. water
  • Roll of heavy duty paper towels (like Viva)

Cut paper towel in half and put in a plastic container with a lid. Mix together the shampoo, oil and water. Pour mixture over the paper towels. Let the paper towels absorb the mixture and pull out the cardboard center.
When you use these, pull from the center.
They actually work really well and smell so nice and baby-like.

January 25, 2010

Frot-y the Noman

I forgot to post about our art project last week. I tried to find art projects having something to do with snow for January, so I thought just a simple little snowman made of Sculpey clay would be a cute little keepsake we could set out every winter. Sophia has been singing 'Frosty the Snowman' since Christmas, but it sounds a little like 'Frot-y the Noman,' so I knew she'd enjoy making a Noman of her own!
Noah had a busy day the day we did art, so he didn't make one yet, but Jack and Sophia did. (Well, Sophia kind of did one, but the 'art teacher' mostly did hers.)
Jack's is pictured above...I just love his because of how far apart he put the eyes, and they are so evenly spaced! :)
We used real twigs for the arms, colored a toothpick orange for the nose and the eyes are glass beads.







January 20, 2010

Snowflake Study

Today for nature study we studied a man named Willie Bentley. This was a really interesting book about a farmer/scientist that was fascinated by the formations of snowflakes. His fascination began as a child and only got more intense as he grew older. He is well-known in Vermont, where he lived and also around the country for his book on snowflakes. And guess what else?? He was homeschooled!! (BTW: so was Thomas Edison, who we're also studying right now)


The boys thought this book was really cool so for nature study we headed outside with black paper to catch some flakes of our own....yes, it just so happened to be snowing today. The snow was more like pellets, but if you look closely there are some really pretty ones.

When we came in, they boys each did a journal entry in their nature journals and drew some of the flakes they saw.





PS: Did you know that almost all snowflakes are six-sided?? Well, now you do :)




January 16, 2010

Brown Bear Book

This is the other thing Jack's been working on all week....
One of my favorite children's authors is Eric Carle, so when I found this ready-made lapbook , I was so excited!!
I was so glad to find some fun preschool aged lapbooks because Noah's been making them all year and now Jack has one all of his own.
Here's the cover of his book....
And here's the inside and all the activities he did....including a coloring book, sequencing sizes and numbers, matching, and letters.

Here's some more pics of Jack working....



This activity was for matching the heads and tails of the animals, but Jack had a different idea...
...he wanted to turn them all over and use the cards to play a game of memory. I thought it was a great idea...until we had played roughly 40 games!! :)
Way to go, Jack! I'm a proud mama!!


Tot Books & Packs




January 15, 2010

Jack's School

I don't really mean to, but sometimes I kind of forget that Jack does school everyday, too. :) It seems like I forget to point out how he's progressing too. So I'm committing my next two posts to just Jack....here's what he's been up to:


This semester, Jack has started using Explode the Code books for phonics and he's doing so great! He loves using this book because Noah has the older kid version that looks very similar, so he feels very grown up. I love this book series because it teaches kids phonics in such gradual, simple ways that really stick.

Jack has also been using this book to learn letter recognition and get a little art in too. I've shared a little of some other projects that he's done, but basically, Jack is introduced to a new letter each week where he makes the letter and decorates it with something that letter begins. Like...I had insects all over it, J had jewels, G looked like a gift...and then we read books and poems pertaining to that letter, then we make an animal that goes with the letter. Like Leo Lion, Allen Alligator, Henrietta Hummingbird, Miguel Mouse...you get the idea.
So...this week was 'N' week. Jack thought of all the names that he could, then we decorated his N's with the names made from alphabet noodles.
Then on Thursday he made Natalie Newt. :)

For math this year, we're using the book called Math Play. It has great and simple games and activities to help preschoolers learn numbers and simple math skills. So the past two weeks we've been working on calendar skills, so we made this chart to show part of the month of January and each day Jack's marked off the date to count down to a special day. (This weekend we have some fun things planned.)


So this has been (part of) Jack's week in review. He's been so much fun this year in school. (Besides the occasional 4-year-old meltdown because someone looked at him funny or called him a name~ like llama :) Four can be a tough age sometimes.) {Remember that one, Robin?? :)}
Anyway, he's doing great!




Get to Work!!

I struggle with the allowance-thing. Like, should we just pay our kids for merely existing? Or should they have to work for it? Well, I personally think they need to work for it! :) My dear friend that I never got to meet, Charlotte Mason, said that our whole lives are made up of habits both bad and good. And think about it, it's true. So she said to make it your goal as a mom to instill good habits in your kids...like a good routine, hygiene, self-control, good manners, etc.
So here's what I do in the allowance area: since I want to instill good habits in my kids, I don't just give them an allowance. They have to work for it...as if they had a real job. Their duties are posted on a bulletin board (that they pass often, to better remind them) and below it are envelopes for their cash. Their jobs are very do-able for their ages...things they should have no problem getting done every day. They start out every Monday with a certain amount of money per weekday...Noah gets $1 and Jack gets $.25(just because Jack has less jobs, he'll get a pay raise as he gets older). If they remember to do everything on their list everyday (with a good attitude:)), they get their money for that day, but if they don't do their duties, I take out the money for that specific day. Then on Friday it's payday. Sometimes they get all their money and sometimes they don't get any, but the point is to help them to understand the importance of good work ethic and working for your money.
I wish Charlotte could tell me what she thinks, but it works for us and I think they're learning something.




January 12, 2010

B is for Baby

I ran across this book the other day on my bookshelf when I was looking for more sewing crafts in my books.

I got this book a couple of years ago and I forgot how many fun projects it has and how many I actually made. I made most of them while I was pregant with Sophia. I must have known she was going to be a girl because all the things I made were pretty girly.
Here's the projects:


Baby stuff organizer made from a shoe organizer with cute fabrics and some iron-on sheets.

Orgnanizer close-up


Diaper holder (this actually isn't in the book, but I had to show it, cause it goes with the organizer :))


Rag-covered hangers


Fabric-covered nightlight


Decoupaged frame-this is scrap paper I cut up and Mod Podged on.

There's tons more fun baby projects in this book, too. So, check it out if you like projects!! :)
PS: These projects were not done recently....like say, over the last two years. So, no...I did not make all the projects in the last day!

January 11, 2010

Oh, Kimono!

I think winter and being 'shut-in' inspires my creativity, because I've been craving anything creative!! I checked out a bunch of sewing books from the library and this one had a super-cute pattern for a little baby kimono that I knew Sophie would love...



Here's the finished product:






If we have a long winter, Sophia will have a whole closet-full of home-sewn clothes!!

January 8, 2010

'Snow' Art Project

Here's a look at this week's art project.

Since we've been having significant snowfall around here and FREEZING cold weather (can you say -30 degrees?) I decided to keep the theme going with our art project this week.  First we made snowflakes from pipe cleaners...then we put a mixture of boiling water and Borax cleaning powder in large Mason jars. (3 T. Borax to every 2 c. boiling water.)

After mixing until the Borax was dissolved, we tied the snowflakes to a spoon and lowered them into the water, making sure the sides weren't touching the jar.
After leaving the snowflakes overnight, we carefully removed them from the jars and let them dry. Here's what they looked like.....

Here's Jack's snowflake...



Here's Noah's snowflake :)


January 7, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful!!!

As I sit here typing, I'm in front of a fire, covered in two blankets...why?? Well, because it's DARN cold here!  Right now it's -27 degrees without windchill...the HIGH today was -5!  Why do we live here again??!!  Although I do love a good ol' snowstorm, the cold I don't appreciate.  But we did have quite a nice snowstorm on Wednesday and I snapped some pics of the snow progress...

Here's my poor little pet deer in the backyard that are pretty well coated in snow at about 4pm...

...and here they are the next morning.

And finally, here's my kitchen window.  I have flower boxes under my kitchen windows and they just kept filling with snow until I can't hardly see out!!
Oh, isn't winter lovely?
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