Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ballet and Tap

My Bunny started a new ballet and tap class today. She has a recital at the end of November, although I know it's not going to be as huge as the last one she did, I'm still excited.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hooked on Phonics

I know I've mentioned it before, but I firmly suspect my Boo Boo has dyslexia, and possibly some other type of learning disability. He has the hardest time reading, and it breaks my heart when he cries because he can't read his schoolwork. This week were starting hooked on phonics. I got a great deal on it, and I'm crossing my fingers that it helps somewhat. I know it's not going to help him read the way it's supposed to, but I'm hoping it'll make the phonics a bit easier for him to learn to break down. I also picked up some Kumon books, and I'm going to be using those along with some of the file folder games I printed out.

He loves having computer time, and how fast his phonics time goes by with it.

I'm giving up on our Abeka spelling for now, because I don't think it's doing him any good. I still like the language, and the letters and sounds books, so we'll stick with those. I don't think I'm going to push those lessons though, maybe a mixture of all of the stuff I have for him, at least until I see what really works for him. For now were going to concentrate back on phonics to help him enjoy reading again!

Friday, September 24, 2010

We need to change things up

I have my kids write daily in a journal, and everyday their given a different topic. Today's topic was, "if there was one thing you would change about school, what would it be?" Both of their answers surprised me, less writing and more games like the baby. Being a former preschool teacher, preschool things come easy to me, but not the other grades. I know my children are more hands on and creative learners, and I've been completely ignoring that. So, I've decided we need to change things up.

I spent the night searching the internet for games that teach. File folder, lapbook, dice, word searches, etc. I found a ton for my preschooler, and second grader, but hardly anything for my fourth grader. I guess that means I'm going to have to make them myself. I'm not very computer savvy, so it's going to take me a bit to figure stuff out. I also have to go through all of his books and see what I can make into learning games for him. He catches onto things so fast though, that it's going to be hard to make things he won't use only once. I guess that's a perk of his autism. I'll post links and pictures of the learning games as we use them, and of course any new ones I make!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Aquarium of the Pacific

Today we had a field trip to the aquarium. We went for homeschool days so it wasn't all that busy, which was nice. The kids got to touch so many things, and they had people all over that had additional learning centers. The learning centers are usually only available to public schools, but since it was homeschool days, we got to see it all too! I hope the kids don't get too used to so many field trips, but then again it is nice to get out of the house and still learn. Here's a little bit of what my kids did at the aquarium:

"Home" school of fish ha ha ha!

Watching a diver in the tank.

And gave him a quick high five when nobody was looking (except for me lol).

My babe read out everything that was in each tank to the others, he's so sweet!

They each touched a bunch of sea creatures, including sting rays (in 2 sizes). Of course I wasn't even brave enough to touch the sea plants let alone the sting rays lol.

They touched whale baleen, skulls, jaws, and talked to this guy for 30 minutes about whales. My kids were very thorough in their questioning :)

And of course we sat and watched diving birds, otters, and seals swim. We also got to watch a movie about otters (so sad), and 4d movie about a sea turtle (we highly recommend it). It was a good day :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Overwhelmed with activities

Do you ever get that feeling like your being overwhelmed with activities? But, you feel like there's not enough? That's where I'm at right now. I'm tired from football, 3 days of practice a week, and games super early on Saturdays. Ballet and tap are being thrown back into the mix next week on Thursdays. Boy scouts start next week on Mondays, and park days (with our homeschool group) are on Fridays. I want the boys to join 4H, still working on getting info on that though. Oh, and they want to do archery, but it's just not going to fit into our schedule till January (when football is over).
Almost all activities are for the boys, but that's only cause my girly is too little for most things. I love being so busy, but my body needs to hurry up and get used to our hectic schedule.

Oh, and just a quick football update: both boys teams won their games this Saturday:) Go Wolverines!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fair 2010

To celebrate my son's birthday, we went to the local fair. We had so much fun! We were there most of the day, and by the time we left, our feet were throbbing! The kids were able to do so much though, and I think they got a lot out of it.

Our day started with a trip to the Jurassic building, where we got to see giant interactive dinosaurs. The kids loved this building! There was a section where they got to talk to people about fossils, and even handle some. Outside they did crayon rubbings of different dinos, and took pictures in those cut out things.

Next we stopped at the barnyard to look at all the animals. The kids had a blast running in the hay maze for about half an hour. They also did this mock work and shop thing, it was so cute! They start off harvesting fruits, veggies, eggs, and milking a fake cow. They turn in their basket of harvested goods and get $2 in fake money, and head to the mini Ralphs market. At Ralphs they shop with little carts and fake food, then pay for it with their fake money. Their reward for all their hard work is a coupon for a free cookie.

The building with the renaissance stuff was a fast favorite as well. The kids got to dress up in costumes, and practice their archery skills. I don't have pictures of the archery, because well... I was having a blast watching the kids and forgot to take pictures.

We also checked out a mini dude ranch, where we made rope, a honey bee farm (of course we bought some honey), played carnival games and got on some rides. We had a great and educational day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Boo Boo!!!

My handsome baby boy is 7 today! I can't believe how fast time flies. I remember each of those 6 hours of labor like it was yesterday. I remember your raspy little "big boy" voice when you were 1 and 2 tattling on your brother. And how much you loved corn on the cob. I love how you embrace your inner rockstar, and asked to have a red mohawk.

I love the punk rock attitude you have to accompany the red mohawk.

I love how fun loving and goofy you are, always trying to get a laugh.

I love how daring and brave you are, willing to try something at least once.

Most of all, I love how your spirit shines when we let you just be you.

Your my little knight in shining armor. Happy 7th Birthday Babe, we love you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Learning Disabilities, or Learning Abled?

The more time I spend teaching my children, the more I've begun to notice things. I always had my suspicions, and I always do plenty of research before jumping to conclusions. I never diagnose my own kids either, and I always seek a medical opinion (or 5 lol). Even with the diagnosis' we have on our kids, I prefer to think of them as learning abled, rather than learning disabled. My children are just a different type of learners, and that's how I try my best to teach them.

I believe my soon to be 7 year old has dyslexia. Dyslexia runs in my husbands family, so I know that makes my sons chances of having it go higher. And I don't really understand the correlation, but there's a lot of left handed in his family also. But the red flag for me, is the difficulties my son has reading and writing. He has a hard time with the sounds letters make, differentiating between wh words (who, what, why, when, where), rhyming, memorization, and patterns.

I have a stack of papers on my desk about dyslexia, recommended reading books, and excerpts about disability laws. I'm going to be going through these papers and books, and trying to piece together the best way to teach my son. I have reached out and contacted a few people/organizations and am still deciding what to do with this. Testing for dyslexia is pretty costly around here, so I'm going to try to go through our school district. I know the district won't provide services though, so that's the part I'm trying to figure out. I'm off to read about Idea and section 504, and see what it means to us.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First football Games!

Yup, we spent the day at the park today. It was a long tiring day, and I think the girl and I wore the wrong outfits lol. We had to be at the park at 7 in the morning, and it was freezing! I wore sweats, a sweater, and was still cold. I put my daughter in jeans, and a white shirt that said the teams name. About noon, the sun came out and it was so hot, I about melted. My daughter played in the dirt, and was so filthy. I hope it doesn't stain her shirt.

I watched the games with my daughter, while my husband worked on the field. It was a fun day, and the bonus is that both my boys won their games!

Orion had the first game of the day. See all the fog? And the bleachers were soaking wet! We emptied out the boys bag (the duffle that holds all their gear), and sat on that to avoid being soaked.

Raymond watched his brothers game and cheered for him every time he was on the field. Oops, I guess he sat on the bleachers lol.

This was Raymond's game. Notice the weather change? And my awesome husband is wearing the bright orange vest on the field, doing his duties as MPR. So those were their first games, and were hoping for a great season. Go Wolverines!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Slow, but steady!

So our first week of schooling went over well, but with a few fusses. Raymond complained and whined his way through the first 2 days, and that was hard. It took him those first few days to realize that home really is school now too. My other 2 took to homeschool like fish to water!

Our first day, we got up, ate breakfast, and got dressed. We started school about 10 that day.

Raymond on his first day of 4th grade. Orion was sitting on that desk with him, but once Olivia finished her work, Orion abandoned him to take over her desk.

Orion on his first day of 2nd grade. He a lot of one on one help with his schoolwork, so he likes working on the smaller desk next to me.

Olivia on her first day of preschool. She chose to do an alphabet puzzle on the couch, after she did some busy work.

Lately though, this is how we've been doing our school work....

Learning about proteins, and how our bodies turn sugar into energy.

Learning about different flowers. He loves working with dry erase!

B is for beans!

Cut and paste letter A.

So, notice the trend? Yup, we've been working in our pajamas! Oh well, that's something we'll work on next week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Almost Done!

For about a week now, I've been printing and cutting, copying, hole punching, organizing, and running out for last minute things, but..... I'm almost done! I'm pushing myself so we'll be able to start school on Monday, or Tuesday lol.

The other day I took the boys Abeka books to Staples and had the bindings cut off, and bought a bunch of binders. Then I came home, hole punched them (all 8 books worth!), and put them in the binders. Looking at those binders, just makes me smile. I love how neat and organized everything looks now.

I printed out a few games and printables from 1+1+1= 1, homeschool creations, confessions of a homeschooler, and a few others that I'm so sorry but I can't remember :( But of course, now I can't for the life of me find my laminator. The thing is years old, but worked great! To make room for our supplies in the garage, all of our stored boxes were stacked taller than I am, so it makes it hard for me to get into them. A friend told me she got her laminator from Walmart, so I guess I'm in the market for a new laminator. The best part though, is that I found the laminating pouches really cheap!

Oh, and I found an organizing method that looks like it's going to work for us! It's the adapted workfolder/workbox method from homeschool creations. I have a binder with dividers for every day of the week, that I'll put their work into (1 week at a time) , then move it every night into their work folder. Each of my boys has a tray that their work folder will be in along with their bulky items that don't fit into the folder. My daughter has a large tupperware container that holds her folder and bulky items. It's not overly complicated, and doesn't seem like it will overwhelm them either.

Now I'm off to make my own version of workbox strips for my kids!