Monday, January 24, 2011

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You'll love it....thanks Renee!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rough couple of days.....

Granted we aren't feeling 100% yet but the "get back into the school - groove thing" was NOT working too well the past two days. It really bugged me because I was introducing some new things to give The Red Ranger more control over how he learns so that mom isn't (Ahem) "so bossy"......figured he will get more of a chance to control his own destiny with these ideas but we were butting heads enough that we both needed a couple of 5 minute time-outs in our corners. How do I handle those moments? Simple, I set the microwave timer to 5 minutes and we both don't talk to each other until we hear it go off. Then, we meet back at the table and pick up where we were before we had to re-group. I'm not exactly sure what he does during those 5 minutes (but its a NO tv, game, etc. time) but me.....I hide my face in both hands and do what Drew Barrymore does in the movie Ever After - 'just breathe'............great movie by the way, a version of Cinderella and never talked about enough.
Remember what I said before.....less stress this year!!!

Back to The Red Ranger controlling his own destiny.....
We've had this in place from last year and it was a nice chance of getting an "out" of a particular lesson/worksheet he really just couldn't bear to do. In our folder system which looks like this:
We have what we call a "bump" folder, it goes in the very top pocket when in use (Its actually a Transformers folder!). The idea of the "bump" is simply we come to let's say a math worksheet that he can't bear to do, he is allowed to "bump" one thing per day into the "bump" folder to be done the next school day. The catch is that it must be done before any of the other folders on the next school day we have. He also is allowed to swap the lesson in the folder if during the day he finds something else he wants to do even less than that 'math worksheet' used above, he can take out the math worksheet add the other item to the "bump" folder and the math worksheet then must be done.
Only one thing a day can be bumped.

The new thing I just introduced him too was this -
The only reason we are calling it this is because we are using the spinner from our Twister Scram game for the
This is how it works. For each day that The Red Ranger has a 'good day' he gets a ticket/token to be used in the future. At the moment we are only using it for math, spelling and vocabulary but may expand it if it works out really well. If we happen to be doing a math or spelling lesson that he thinks is "boring" he may use one of his tickets to spin The Twister Scrambler, depending on the color the spinner lands on he plays a math or spelling game instead of the normal lesson in his folder that day.
We broke it down this way:
MATH: Yellow = toss across math, Green = file folder games, Blue = bag math or pizza fraction bingo, Red = dominoes or card games.
SPELLING: Yellow = match game, Green = sandwich game, Blue = scrabble slam card game, Red = letter spell.
Math -
Dominoes and card games are really simple for using for math lessons. Draw so many cards (depending on your child's age) add/subtract/multiply/mix them as is or use each separate card as a digit in a larger problem. He then writes the problems out on his dry erase board and does them.
File folder games are either ones we've made or have picked up along the way and he can choose any of them in the subject to play. Two come to mind right away, "Place Value Picnic" and " Take it to the Bank" both $ store buys.
Bag math is using the bags of manipulatives that have been premade and using those bags for the math problems.
Toss Across Math - I took his Toss Across game and re-purposed it for math by using those clear photo corners from my scrapbook desk and index cards. On the index cards I write numbers that get get placed over the "X" and "O"'s of the game (they can be removed if we go back to playing the Toss Across game), I also place a math symbol at the top so that he knows what problems he's doing or we agree to do 5 of this or that.
Match game is simply a memory game for his 10 spelling words each week, we use Scrabble Slam for spelling his words and also for changing them from one to the other, letter spell is using our regular Scrabble set and any other letters in the house for spelling the weekly words. The sandwich game is using cards that look like bread, meats, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc. to spell out his words.
For Vocabulary its mainly the match game until I can think of something else. I'm trying to think of a way to use our new Syllable Rally game for vocab., I'll most likely have to make up my own cards each month for it.
We'll be adding more to the rotation as we come across games or make up new ones ourselves. Here are some pictures of some of the games we use.

Now for some pictures of our Morning Meeting boards -

 The stand up pocket easels hold spelling word index cards, numbers/days of the week/special dates for the calendar, consonant/vowel tags and letters index cards.

 For Geography he identifies and colors the US state on a blank map sheet, which will also be updated later with capital cities, birds, flowers, flags, etc. for each state. For the world we are doing continents and oceans, which will then be expanded on with countries within, rivers, etc.

In these two pictures you can just barely make out a green sheet that is a monthly calendar that we record daily weather and temps on for graphing at the end of the month. We also have the cloud identifier and season spinner.
I tell you kids clothes hangers and clothespins really come in handy!

We had today off because Daddy was off from work but back at it its supposed to snow a bit. If you have any questions about anything on the boards feel free to ask away, hopefully when we play the games above I can take some pictures and expand on how they are played.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Preparing for back to school.....

Hello and welcome to all the new followers!

Tomorrow we begin school again and I thought I would give a preview of what is in store.
I found free lessons for American holidays on CurrClick that will come in handy all through the year.
History Scribe - American Holidays
Each holiday gives you a history blurb on the holiday, a drawing block and a place for journaling (with or without lines). We printed out the one on New Year's and a blank for Christmas memories, it will make a great memory book and also bring history into everyday life for The Red Ranger.

This will come right after our morning meeting work and right before we head over to our folders.
Normally, we have our ABC fitness right before we settle into our morning meeting but since we've been sick and still have coughs we'll skip it. It does come in handy though to get rid of that excess energy before we sit down to work and using the energy bursts through the day keep things focused.
Our morning meeting starts with calendar work, including our weather graphing which he loves and geography, both USA and world, another thing he enjoys so very much. We also go over monthly vocabulary words, any themed unit studies and our books for the week. I'll add pictures of our boards tomorrow but I do have to update a couple sections for new stuff that we will be adding, as they are they may be useful for younger students. Hopefully it will give some ideas to other families just starting out.
I'll show certain area's of our home classroom, which is most of the home by the way, so that you can see how we are set up. Why does it always seem we need more room? We live in a two bedroom apartment so space is always an issue but its possible to use the walls, pocket charts and so on to make a classroom. Granted we can't put it all away or shut the door on it but that's just the way it is.....

We'll see you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Is it time to rethink our year?

This is our second year of homeschooling, full year I should say as we had 1/2 a year of kindergarten as well.
Its also the second year absolutely everything fell apart in Oct/Nov, sickness and so on. We just seem to get so busy really from Halloween on that we don't have time for everything and maybe that's why we keep getting so sick over the holidays. This year again we were down over christmas, I've written more about that in my everyday tab, but frankly I think our schedule needs an adjustment.
Back in September when all of us homeschoolers were talking about the new school year, several mentioned that they didn't start the "new year" of schooling until January. Now, I thought that was a bit strange honestly...I guess I'm still in the "traditional" mode of the school year but now.......after another year of things falling apart over the holidays and schoolwork yet again suffering because of it, maybe just maybe its the way to go.
And since we've hit bumps over these holidays I guess it is just a matter of starting fresh instead of being frustrated over where we should be and aren't. I'm eliminating stress this year in my life so yes I think its for the best.
So, some Tuesday, January 4th we start 2nd grade (again...but shush, this is me being positive!) with a fresh outlook at where we are heading and not where we didn't get too!! I've looked into A Thomas Jefferson Education and like what I'm reading and so I'm going to attend the online conference this week and hear more about it all.
So, what does this means our summer will be from sometime in October to January 1st-ish, which works just fine since a lot of the summer I'm stuck inside the house with my asthma and we homeschool anyway. Normally, I would be upset at this point about it all but I'm trying to find what is important and what is not. I can't do anything about when it seems we get sick, its happened for three maybe even four years now but the past two years have been the worst of all. I'm just a little slow at picking up the rather loud clues about it and to adjust things accordingly. Now I'm listening to whomever has been telling me its not been working the way we have been going and its time for a change. I firmly believe that God and life lead you in the direction you need to be, I'm just not so good at reading the signs sometimes! I'm going with the sickness and hardships over the past few years have been signs for change.
1) We adjust when we do our school year, its so nice to have the option by the way to adjust when we do it all.
2) Perhaps The Thomas Jefferson Education came into our lives at just the right time as well. We'll see how it goes.
3) Less stress, more friends.
4) Enjoy more of what we are doing when we are doing other words enjoy life as it is happening.
5) Explore more of what we want to do in our school work.
6) Less stress...........