Sunday, September 27, 2015

Busy Bag Swap!

Check out how fun each activity is:

Paint Samplers with Clothespins
Is this cute or what? Just laminate some paint samplers from the hardware store after you've cut a strip off the end to glue to clothespins. This mom even put the secondary colours (green, purple, and orange) on the other side of the cards and clothespins. 

 Strainer/Hat with Pipecleaner/Benderoos

Simply get a strainer and pipe cleaners from the dollar store. Voila! Magic hat.

Magnet Fun Ball
Get a container (this happens to be a juice drink that was round and clear.) Fill it full of tiny objects that have paperclips attached to them. Also fill it with cut up pipe cleaners. Attach a magnet to a popsicle stick and wrap them both with tape to make the wand. Attach the wand to the container's lid with string. You might consider supergluing the lid on so that kiddos can't open it.

Mickey Mouse Paperclip Match
Get some paperclips. Print out mickey mouse templates of the same colour, then laminate them.

Pom pom Ball Colour Match

(This one was the one I did.) Get containers with different coloured lids and pom poms that match from the dollar store. Take a metal pipe and heat it up by placing the end on the stove's burner. Using a hot pad, take the pipe and melt the lid until a hole is formed.

Puzzles and Stickers

One mom gave us all a puzzle and some stickers. Perfect.

Zen Garden Rainbow Container

Buy a container and paintbrushes from the dollar store (the dollar store is my friend.) Laminate a rainbow that fits the bottom. Put a couple tablespoons of salt into the container. 

Dino Stomp
Playdough and toy dinosaurs. Your toddler will figure it me.

Amber Creed is a good friend of mine who is awesome enough to hold "mom nights" where once a month, homeschool moms in the area are invited to come together and chat. There's good food and good times.

This is our respite. We meet new moms. We're casual. We are candid. We are real. We need it....or at least I do.

This month we swapped "busy bags." Thanks to Elisha, we learned about this world of "give your toddler something to do so you can teach your other kids" bags.

Eight moms made eight of the same bag. We swapped them at mom's night. Those same eight moms went home with eight different bags. Brilliant.

And it WORKED. Check out the joy on my busy little man"s face:

Okay, so I must say this was my first attempt at making my blog Pinterest worthy. This will probably be the last time too. Too much work and fuss.

Now on to the real me----

This week was so so busy. I didn't have time to do everything I wanted. This is starting to be a theme for this semester.

We did get a bit of history in. We learned about the first civilizations. I taught it super fast and incomplete, but today I quized Maxwell to see if he got any of it, and this is what happened:

Me "Hey Maxwell, what's something you need for a civilization?"
Him "Farmers"
Me "What were the two rivers surrounding the first civilizations?"
Him "Tigris and Euphrates."
Me "What were some things they invented?"
Him "The wheel and writing."

Booyah. Guess I didn't fail totally.

We weaved baskets as our activity, but I only had enough for one basket and it was actually really hard to do (maybe because we had no idea what we were doing) so, yah, whatever.

Science was CRAZY fun!  We learned about polymers.....i.e.....SLIME! Well, slime, plastic, rubber, know....all that not-liquid-not-solid stuff.

Among other things, we had jello, and stuck pencils through plastic water baggies and skewers through balloons.

But the main fun of the day was making slime. I wasn't prepared enough, so I made everyone's slime runny, but if they played with it enough it turned into putty. At least it was a nice day so I could send them outside with it!

So a few days ago I get a call from the new Cub Scout leader saying that the new time for cubs was 3:30 on Thursdays. Science "ends" at 3:30 on Thursdays but it's not a sure thing that we are done by then. I just told him that my kids would always be late.

I have 15 kids in my class right now! I can't worry about getting my boys out the door for cubs! I get the feeling that the leader doesn't think too favourably about homeschool, so I'm sure I'm just adding to his stigma about us, but I just can't cater to everyone right now.

We of course went way over 3:30 because of the slime, (I didn't even get to cornstarch and water; the best polymer ever) and Maxwell headed over way late, and Hyrum was too caught up in slime to want to go. Whatever. We can't do everything.

The slime was played with all day, and I'm not sure where it all went too....this kind of haunts me.

The kids were cute. They made little blobs and acted out blobs eating other blobs to make them bigger.

Daniel has loved all the things we've been busy with. Especially art. He's been asking when we can go back to his painting class everyday. He has started sketching on his own accord. I caught him drawing himself from a picture on the wall:

As for the math and reading world, can I just say again that I love Rightstart? It's the type of math the makes you UNDERSTAND math instead of just memorizing things. for instance, check this out:

Well, not sure if you can see it, but Maxwell was supposed to find the perimeter of these shapes. He was supposed to use fractions with eighths, but he didn't realize that, so he added fractions with fourths AND eighths. I've never taught him how to find common denominators, but because he understands how fractions compare, he could add them up no problem. COOL!

Also, I've started taking a college course on teaching Reading to Dyslexics via Coursera.

Lots of homeschool teenagers get their education through coursera, so it's fun to see what it's like. I'm learning quite a bit. Love so many things about this internet age we live in.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Atoms and Attacking Hamsters

Eek, I missed last week's post. well here it is:

Last week we continued to learn about dinosaurs. How can you not love dinosaurs? We excavated our fossils we made last week. We even wore eye protection. I thought with all my crazy activities and experiments, eyewear was a good investment. Check out Brady with double the protection:

This week we learned about the last ice age. It's pretty cool to think about all those HUGE mammals. I had bought some really cute books that I had borrowed from the library last year....I must say...I've spent A LOT of money this year already.....oops.

We had our own cave for hieroglyphics. So fun, but so fun turned into too close for comfort. Put 6 kids in a box and eventually there will be shoving...

If you look at my history plans you'll notice that I skipped Adam and Eve and we didn't do a second ice age project.....well, we haven't had time!  The downstairs McKays are at gymnastics, and Hyrum has been being diagnosed in speech. We'll see how this week goes. We still read books and discuss throughout the week so whatever.

For science last week we continued to learn about atoms. I was so proud, a five year old in our class went home, and when his mom asked him what he learned he said "we learned about electrons." Booyah! if a five year old can retain even the word electrons, I've succeeded.

We made atom models, and of course, the kid's favourite models were the ones made of candy!
They were very proud of their models:

This week for science we started learning about the states of matter. This is the suggested first lesson, but I'm glad I taught about atoms first. I think it makes more sense. We did some fun stuff. Including models of solid, liquid, and gas molecules, and the balloon in the bottle tricks.

I did the balloon in the bottle tricks because of Steve Spangler. He's my geek inspiration. My family is constantly watching these kind of videos:

So I have to give one of my students $10. It is "scientifically impossible" to blow a wad of paper INTO a bottle with a little opening. I said I would give $10 to the kid who could do it, and they had a lot of fun blowing and having the wad hit them in the face, but then one boy gently blew and i think it just, I don't know, but the point is, it went IN. My bad!

Here's another Steve Spangler doing the experiment:

In world of Reading writing and arithmetic, I did not do a full week. I'm a bit peeved about that. But with the play and all the other stuff going on.....oh blah, it wasn't a great week. I need to figure this out.

But one thing that went well was the Rightstart math games. This is one of the reasons I love this curriculum: the games. This time I thought it was cute enough to share. So you take 12 tiles and then take fraction cards and then each time you put down a fraction card, you get to take that fraction of the tiles.  I doubt I explained that very well, but the point is, it teaches fractions in a fun way.

A great Science -Math connection was made by Maxwell this week, I was asking him "What would happen if you kept making the denominator higher?" and he replied "the fraction pieces would get smaller and smaller until you would break it into molecules and then you would break that into atoms and then you would just have the empty space in the atoms making up the fractions." Oh yah, pat myself on the back moment.

Now, I titled this post "atoms and attacking Hamsters" Why would I do that? well, here's an......



Friday, September 4, 2015

I DID IT! Week one is conquered!

We are back people!!!

We had a busy week, and it will only get busier. My kids are in:

The Play "Wizard of Oz"
Martial Arts
Art Classes
Robotics Club
My Science Club
Cub Scouts
And maybe Gymnastics

Yikes. A teacher in gymnastics just moved and so classes are getting cancelled. Do I count this as a blessing, or do I sign them up for a different time? Still undecided.

I kind of feel like since I homeschool them, I have the time for extracurricular activities. Half of these are just for this semester anyway.

Not all of these started this week but I did start my science club! It went pretty good, but I'm worried about the size of my class. Five boys didn't come, and it was overflowing as is. Hummm....

I began the class with a demonstration that was supposed to get them all excited about chemistry. I didn't add enough of this expensive chemical that I had bummed off of the High School chemistry teacher, so what was supposed to look like this:

or this

Ended up looking like this:

I got so frustrated, that after class I spent another $75 on Amazon on Science supplies so I could do this experiment right! (Thank goodness for funding.) Stay tuned, because when we learn about exothermic reactions, even Steve Spangler will be impressed.

After that depressing fizzle, we talked about the Atom! I started with a Brainpop video. I plan on Brainpop being a habit. And then we did our normal experiments which included talking about how static electricity is electrons moving from one atom to the next.

History this year is going to ROCK!  I'm motivated to do it because my sister-in-law is living in our basement apartment and her kids come up for history.

This week we talked about the creation. I love being able to talk to them about my own beliefs of how God is a god of order and science. I am not a "young earth Christian" but I am not an "science and evolution INSTEAD of God" person either. I believe the bible simplified things for our benefit. And I am blessed enough to be able to teach history in my own way.

We made creation collages to celebrate. We had everything from baggies of water, to plastic farm animals.  Look at Daniel's, who wrote I <3 U God....SO CUTE!

 And even Hyrum go into it. I never know when he'll like doing a craft, but he was really cute with this one and has it taped to his wall above his bed even now.

We also started learning about dinosaurs. My kids love this....shocker.  We made "dinosaur tracks" in "mud" which we "preserved" with plaster. Daniel insisted on doing a face mold.

This week I actually did all my reading writing and arithmetic with my kids. It takes four hours folks. That's because of interruptions and crying and poop, but 9am to 1pm is really what I need open for them.

William goes crazy as I take his older brothers one on one without him in the spotlight. I got sick of him on my lap (his favourite spot ALL of last year) so I bought some colouring books, blocks, and other toddler learning toys that I only get out for this time.

He loves it, but his older brothers get distracted by William now....go figure. And now Abraham is on my lap.

One on One time has been paying off for Daniel. He's loving his new reading and spelling abilities. I still think he's my first NON dyslexic boy. He even had his "b"s and "d"s figured out. But he DOES have trouble with "Y." Since it's called "why" it should make the sound "wh" right? Or at least that's Daniel's Logic.

He was so cute. He got so excited when he realized how much of "Hop on Pop" he could read (it's been his favourite book for a while now) that he made his own Hop on Pop book:

And he actually sounded out most of those words instead of copying them from the book.

Hyrum has been last in One on One this week. This is not good. Both of our patience is gone by then....more on Hyrum's blog about this.  But I did go to a Mom's night (LOVE these!) and I shared some problems and they suggested I try doing a "complete the task" chart for him, and I think it's going to help.

The cut out cartoons are given to him and he gets to velcro one on top of each picture when he's done with the task.

And Maxwell is going to start Barton book 5 next week! Which means I need to train myself and I had to get at least the first set of sight word cards ready.

I've committed to waking up at a decent hour, because if I do, I actually have time to be a teacher. My friend Alisha said "If I treat homeschool like a job, then I get so much accomplished." And that's what I need to do. I start at a certain time and no dilly dally until I've accomplished what I wanted to.

This means we have changed to morning scripture study with Papa, which is beautiful. Check out my cutie William:

When he prays he says "name, Jesus Cries, amen"

Can I just say that I have an awesome husband? Cause I do! For family home evening this week he gave everyone--including One year old Abraham, who would not be left out--Father's blessings. William was blessed to be safe (which is a blessing he needs with how crazy he is) and Maxwell was blessed to be an example, Daniel to be loving, and Hyrum's was really special about thow he is going to be brilliant! We are one blessed family!