Friday, September 30, 2011

A Recent Blog Find

I stumbled upon The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking the other day and really enjoyed its content. It's a fairly new blog but have already picked out several favorite posts including this:

The Five Stages of Housework (from Feb 2011)
1. Denial: My house isn't dirty, it's lived in.
2. Anger: You peed on your sheets on purpose, Didn't you?  Didn't you?
3. Bargaining: Maybe if i put this laundry basket in the hallway, the clothes will actually make it to the laundry basket...
4. Depression: Make the bed?  Why?  I'm just going to mess it up again later....
5. Acceptance: Well, nobody else is going to do it...

I can totally relate to this. :) Here are a few more of my favorites:

32 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs (from Feb 2011)
This is a great list with some really easy and creative ways to keep entertained this winter.

10Ways to NOT Make Your Home a Haven (from Nov 2010)
I can see how perfection is a stumbling block for me. My home will never be perfect so I need to stop waiting for perfection before I invite people over. This was a really refreshing post for me.

Homemade Wool Dryer Balls (from Apr 2011)
A really handy tutorial that I'd like to try this winter.

Demystifying the Seasoning of Cast Iron (from May 2011)
I have a cast iron frying skillet and do not use it as often as I should. I don't know what to cook in it and I'm not sure how to take care of it. This is a great post to help me with the latter, but does anyone have any suggestions for what to make in my cast iron skillet?

Make sure you head over to The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking for more homemaking tips from the real world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Five in a Row: Weeks 1-4

We've been having a great time schooling at home this fall. It's been such a blessing to watch my boys learn! And to see how God has created their brains to keep learning - takes a lot of pressure off of me.

We've been enjoying the Five in a Row (FIAR) series and will continue throughout this kindergarten year. It's been fun to include our 3 (almost 4) year-old in our activities each day. Some of the books are easier to get through than others but overall it's been great for us.

Our first book was The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack. Our boys loved hearing about Ping avoiding a "spank" and how he had to face his discipline in the end, but was just happy to be with his family again.

Social Studies: We looked up the Yangtze River online and read the blog of our friends who live right on the River. The boys had fun looking at the different landscapes that the River runs along.
Language Arts: We discussed the word "fiction" and tried to use it throughout the week. We practiced telling fiction (make-believe) stories to each other.
Fine Arts: In the book water is drawn in different ways and we practiced drawing the different types of water.
Math: We colored Ping's family (by Shari F.). It was fun to watch him count all the cousins.

The boys really enjoyed this book and learning about the yellow river. I'm glad we have it in our home collection.

The second week we watched the story of Lentil by Robert McCloskey (one of our favorite authors). Our library doesn't have it in print so we watched it on video. The boys thought it was pretty cool that they got to watch a movie everyday and they really enjoyed the music from the film.

Social Studies: We talked about Ohio being the friendly state O-hi-O. :) We talked about where we live in relation to Ohio and planned a road trip on Google to find out how long it would take for us to drive there and what cities we would go through to get there (we planned fun  things to do along the way).
Fine Arts: We listened to Blues Traveler - Hook online to hear some really good harmonica music. We loved dancing in the kitchen to the song as we played it over and over and over. We also picked up a harmonica at a toy store downtown and they have enjoyed playing it (and I have too). :)

The third book we read was Who Owns the Sun? by Stacy Chbosky. Miss Chbosky was fourteen when she wrote and illustrated the story. We thought that was pretty neat to have a book published when you're still a kid.  This book was a little heavy for us. I had a hard time explaining slavery in the South. It seems so far removed from our lives but I want them to know that it's a part of our American history. I related it to slavery in the Bible when Moses had to get the Israelites out of Egypt. But it was still a difficult subject for me to teach.

Social Studies: We talked about which states make up the South. I tried to talk about why the white people had black slaves but that raised a lot of questions that I was not prepared to answer. So we talked about how the slaves worked on the farms for very little to no pay and how some of the slave owners weren't very nice. We talked about how slavery is wrong and that God created all people in His image and how we need to love everyone - not just people who are like us.
Fine Arts: I introduced new colors - fuchsia, teal, melon, mauve, goldenrod, burnt sienna and forest green. My son picked forest green, fuchsia and goldenrod as his favorites and we use them on his seat work throughout the week.
Math: We counted different objects in the book - fence posts, flowers, tree stumps, stars...
Science: We talked about the seasons and how trees can help us tell what season we're in. We colored four trees for the four seasons.

Last week was our favorite book so far, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. I love a good illness story so this was great. I got to use my nursing skills to teach my boys about their digestive systems and their appendixes. We also enjoyed learning about France and praying for a former student who now lives in Paris. Crazy to think we really know people who live all around the world. :) This week we created our first lap book. We created different elements throughout the week and then on Friday put them all together into a book. They really enjoyed seeing their work displayed together.

Social Studies: We took a "Tour of France" and matched the pictures in the project to pictures in the book. They had a lot of fun matching and gluing.
Language Arts: I made a rhyming page for him to complete. There were three picture (rhymes) and the first picture had the whole word written, the second was missing the first letter and the third he had to complete on his own. He doesn't particularly care for writing so this wasn't his favorite project.
Fine Arts: We colored two pictures of the Eiffel Tower - one monochromatic (in blue) and the other in full color.
Math: We talked about symmetry and looked at all the symmetrical pictures in the book. I had him create symmetry by drawing the missing half of different shapes (circle, square, etc).
Science: We colored a picture of the digestive system and talked about the other systems in the body and how they each had an important job to do. We then watched The Magic School Bus as they take a trip through Arnold's body. They liked that a lot.


* It's easier for us to have "Bible" together as a family at breakfast. That's when we will read our weekly story and spend time in prayer together. I'm a night owl and so getting up early enough to plan for "Bible" has been difficult so you can pray for discipline for me to get to bed on time so I can get up on time and not feel rushed in the mornings. :)
* Last week our kindergartner started his first PE class on Mondays and had so much fun. The instructor is great and so are the students that help out in the class. We are blessed to have this as an option for our home school.
* We decided to not have school at home on Fridays as we are involved in our local home school enrichment program and he is taking a class on Friday mornings for two hours. We'll do some handwriting on Friday afternoons and also a lot of reading but we won't do much with seat work and workbooks. It's a nice break for me too and he really enjoys the time he spends with other students.