Friday, August 30, 2013

Homeschool Preschool Unit 4--Isaac & His Sons

We had another great week!  We started a new fingerplay that focuses on the letter D.  We are learning about Isaac & Rebekah & Jacob & Esau this week.  And the number 4 of course.  We are using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, & various forms of Spanish.

On Monday we did our new fingerplay, did our Bible reading, then did some acting out & discussing of what we had read.  I had my son trace his finger over "D" & "d" & he did really well.  So far the only letter he has been able to write independently & legibly has been "A" & "a".  We put 4 women on the #4 page.  I was trying to decide what sort of women to choose to put & decided on women with their Bibles.  I had planned to do reading lesson #73 today, BUT my son asked to do reading on Saturday & we did it that day (for the first time mind you) & he nailed every word, both old & new the first time through the lesson so today we did lesson #74.  There were changes in this lesson that made it a little more challenging for him, so it will be interesting to see how long before he nails this lesson & adjusts to the new format.  We did Spanish of course.  And our extra craft was a cut & paste camel.  The glue has to dry before I can let my son play with it, but he's pretty excited about it.  And there was no song to go along with today's lesson, but we still listened to the Books of the Bible & God Made the Universe.  Incidentally, as of last Friday I have the Books of the Bible song down except for the minor prophets.  I had previously learned the books of the Bible in order (just not in a song form) & I was able to memorize all of it EXCEPT the minor prophets.  But I'm betting I'll have it down soon enough.  It's always easier to memorize when you sing it.

On Tuesday we continued with our fingerplay & read about Jacob lying to Isaac.  On a paper I wrote out my son's name with the letters dashed.  My son then drew over it, connecting the dashes into a solid line.  He did really well at this.  (And this gave me an idea to use this again with each letter to help learn how to write each letter of the alphabet)  He was supposed to color all over it & try to hide his name, but he didn't want to, he was too proud of his work he had done.  There was a lesson behind it, that Jacob tried to hide who he was from his father Isaac, so we just discussed that instead.  Today was "masking tape D" day.  This is always an exciting day for my son.  He quickly decides which cars he wants to drive over the masking tape & runs to get them & he sooo enjoys driving the cars over the letter.  And we did some acting out & discussing of what we read in the Bible today.  Then we did reading lesson # 74 again & Spanish & our songs--a song about Essau & Jacob, then the books of the Bible & God Made the Universe. 

On Wednesday we continued with our fingerplay, we read about Jacob meeting & marrying Rachel & about Jacob's dream.  We did some acting out of what we read, we did "hide & seek D" (which my son loves & is good at).  He drew ladders & then we counted them & added it up using legos.  He's very good at this activity as well.  He nailed reading lesson #74, so tomorrow we'll be moving on to lesson #75.  We did Spanish & then an extra craft about Jacob's dream & then finished up with our songs.  Despite sounding so short here as I type, this was a longer day for us.  Which was good timing, as Monday & Tuesday of this week were very busy days for me & it would've been challenging to fit in a longer day of school.  I was very relaxed today simply because I don't have a million things needing to be done like I have so often lately.  Cutting out all the stuff for the craft did take up some of that time also.  I really should try to get that sort of stuff done ahead of time I guess........
My son was upset that the craft had stars but no moon!  I happen to have a moon punch, so I punched a moon on the paper for him (it's on the upper left, got cut out of this photo).  Then he wanted MORE stars.  I happen to have a star punch, so we used that several times as well.  He was very pleased with the end result.

On Thursday I actually timed our school day for the first time!  It took us exactly one hour.  Now I must add that I chose to leave one activity out today that was in our lesson plan but I also added on an extra craft.  Knowing this makes me less nervous for next year however.  Since it says that next year's curriculum can be done in 90 minutes each day (you can, of course split it into multiple smaller blocks of time if needed).  I had felt that going from only 20 minutes to 90 minutes was a huge jump & might be a bit of a challenge for my son, but if we're already doing an hour & my son is doing fine attention-span-wise, then I feel good about next year.  I do realize that on top of the 20 minute curriculum I have added reading lessons & Spanish lessons & 2 additional songs & sometimes an additional craft.  And I really focus on relaxing & taking our time & enjoying the process, not rushing at all.  If nothing else I want my son to know that "school" & learning are FUN.  Today's society has such a negative connotation in regards to school.  I feel so strongly that it doesn't need to be that way at all.  

Anyways, getting back on track: today we continued with our fingerplay, we read about Jacob wrestling with an angel.  There was an activity where we were supposed to act out what we read using a balloon that I chose to skip.  I don't have a balloon on hand & I considered the fact that I could use a ball, but I just felt that it was gonna be tough to illustrate what I was supposed to, so for me I chose to skip it entirely rather than just confuse my son.  I drew a big "D" & put glue over it & my son put dry pasta on it.  And we did act out the Bible story we read using stuffed animals.  I liked this acting out activity & felt that it did illustrate what it was supposed to well, so I did do this one.  Then we did reading lesson #75 & Spanish.  We did a craft, making an angel out of a toilet paper roll.  I cut out all the template pieces yesterday, thank goodness, or that would've made our school day much longer than it already was.  And then we did our 3 songs. 

On a sidenote: I recently purchased a laminator.  I am working on a project where I'm making something for my son, to hang in his room.  Initially I had asked my hubby if he had one & he said no, but that we could probably get one from Costco.  I know nothing about them & looked at & they had one for $100.  So I assumed they were expensive items.  Not wanting to spend that much right now I tried to borrow one from someone.  (I know I could go to Staples or something like that, to get my stuff laminated but there was quite a bit that needed to be laminated & I knew that would be pretty pricey)  But then a blog on my blogfeed had a post about items needed for homeschooling, with recommended brands, etc.  There was a laminator listed for $25 with refill packs for $14.  So I went ahead & purchased that one.  I am very happy with it so far.  I was able to laminate all that I needed for my project & then I did a few other things.  Since Tuesday, when I wrote out my son's named in dashed letters & he traced over it so well, I've been meaning to have my son trace over other dashed letters.  Yesterday I realized that if I laminated them he could use the same one over & over with a dry erase pen!  So I did that yesterday & he did the first 4 letters today, getting caught up.  I thought he did a really great job.  I put 2 letters, both upper & lower case, on each side of the sheet.  I ended up with an empty side at the end of the alphabet, so I put numbers there, 0-9, just to not have wasted space. 

On Friday we finished off the week with our fingerplay, we read in the Bible about Esau forgiving Jacob.  We did our devotional today, I'm still doing both books.  I was supposed to have my son paint the letter "D" with a choice of: chocolate syrup, baby food, or fingerpaint.  But I already know my kid well enough to know that that is not going to go over well at all.  He LOVES to paint with a paint brush though, so I set him up with tempera paint & his paint brushes & let him paint a "D".  He wanted to paint it grey he said, so I mixed black & white together to make grey for him.  He was amazed to see me put in black & white & it became grey!  We did some acting out of what we read in the Bible today.  We did reading lesson #75, then Spanish, & then our music. 

Onward we go to next week, where we learn about Joseph. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

RV Life-Never Too Late

We are the new proud owners of this RV.

As a child I spent a lot of time in a motorhome.  My father loved travelling--so do I, it's in my blood I guess.  Those are my happiest & dearest memories, yet they are also somewhat vague.  I'm the youngest in my family & we did our RVing during my younger years......and then my parents separated & divorced. 

My father continued mother did not.  My last trip was somewhere around 1983 or 1984 I believe.......we camped at White Tank campground at Joshua Tree National Park.  I guess I was around 10 or 11 years old. 

I have always felt extremely blessed & grateful for my travelling experiences in my childhood.  I quickly realized that most other people don't get to see the things that I had seen.  It was not something to be taken for granted.  It instilled in me a great respect for nature & all that God has created.  And over the years I have dreamed of being able to do it again.

Now that I am a mother I have longed to be able to do it even more.  For my own child.  To give him wonderful memories & opportunities to see the world just as I had.

My husband has never RV'd in his past.  But he has always had a desire to own a trailer & do so.  He really likes the fact that you can unload your trailer somewhere & still drive your vehicle around.   Trailers are also much more affordable BUT I really pushed him to consider a motorhome instead.  With a young child it is much easier to travel in a motorhome than in a car or truck that is pulling a trailer.  You have the bathroom right there, food & drinks right there, they can move around, etc, etc.  I also think a  motorhome is a better choice for safety reasons.  Suppose a bear comes & starts attacking your RV.  Or a burglar or other malicious person.  In a trailer you have to hope that you can sneak out & make it to your vehicle.....even worse if the vehicle isn't hitched to the trailer.......but in a motorhome you can simply drive away. 

Surprisingly buying this RV has stirred up a lot of unexpected emotions for me.  In my younger days I always tried to live my life in a way that would leave me with no regrets.  But as I get older I find that I have many regrets.  I suppose it's not possible to never have ANY regrets in life.  But some are harder to swallow than others.  I wish so much that my father was still here, that I could share this joyous moment with him, that we could go RVing together.  And my hubby & I have SO MUCH to learn about operating the RV.

Oddly, the couple we bought this RV from reminded me SO MUCH of my father & stepmother.  I think that's what got the emotion ball rolling for me.  And then I started thinking back & remembering childhood memories that, of course, include my father.  After my parents divorced I didn't see my father anymore.  I had wanted to, but there was just too much drama involved.  I remember I had many friends with parents that were divorced.  Some of them wished their parents would get back together.  I never dreamed of my parents getting back together, but I did envy my friends who were able to spend time with both parents with no drama.  I do believe that every child should be able to (& in fact NEEDS to) grow up loving & respecting BOTH parents & believing that their parents are the greatest people in the world.  Sadly my case is not isolated, I see many like this unfortunately. 

In my adult years it felt awkward after not seeing my father for so long.  And I had no idea if he had any desire to see me.  On the few occasions that I did speak to him it felt like he was more interested in seeing my brother than me, which didn't feel very good I must admit. And then I went back to school & had no time for a social life.  My whole goal in life was to finish school as fast as possible (while still working full time), it was hard & it robbed me of a lot of years of my life.  I had never expected to marry before I finished school, but I did.  My husband had wanted to meet my father & I do think they would've gotten along great.  They have a lot in common.  But I was still trying to finish school & I had married into a blended family that was quite a challenge.  So I definitely had no free time at that point.  I had every intention of calling my dad once I finished school.  And sadly just 7 months before I finished he passed away unexpectedly.  Even worse, I wasn't notified until a couple of weeks AFTER his passing.  I didn't even get to say my goodbyes.  That is SO hard for me to swallow.  Like I said before, I have many regrets involving this situation. {For the record: I blame no one but myself. There are many reasons & factors that influenced the choices I made but ultimately "I" made those choices & I reaped what I sowed}

I also feel like I'm getting such a late start at RVing.  But as I was thinking I realized that my father was the same age as I am now when he bought his first RV.  As I titled this post, it's never too late to begin anything in life.  As my stepmother shared with me after my father had passed, don't put things off or wait.....both of her parents had wanted to travel & were putting it off until they retired & neither of them lived to see their retirement.  Those words have definitely stuck with me. 

I know a lot of people complain about the gas mileage in RVs.  But I don't understand how people can pay for hotels & eating out.  The cost is outrageous in my opinion (not to mention I never feel comfortable in hotels).  We just recently spent a weekend in Santa Barbara for our 8th wedding anniversary.  And the amount we spent just to get there, stay there, & eat there in ONE WEEKEND is what we are estimating we will spend in ONE WEEK for gas in the RV for an upcoming trip we have planned & the trip involves quite a bit of driving, not just driving to a location & staying put.  (And for the record we didn't stay in a fancy hotel & we didn't eat at expensive restaurants in Santa Barbara)  In an RV you have your own food, which is a big savings compared to eating out.  And sometimes you pay for a camping site (you don't always, depending on where you are going) but it's nothing compared to the cost of a hotel room.

My hubby's job doesn't allow for a lot of time off from work, so we're mostly trying to plan weekend trips after our initial week long trip.  There is a lot you can do in a weekend.  There are many campgrounds along the whole coast.  We can easily head to one & spend the whole weekend on the beach!  And based on what I've seen so far the prices are VERY reasonable in comparison to hotels.

That's all for now......lots of rambling & processing of thoughts, emotions, etc.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Homeschool Preschool Unit 3--God blesses Abraham

We've started off to another fun-filled week of our homeschool preschool.  We are using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven & Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons & various forms of Spanish. 

We began on Monday with a new fingerplay.  This unit focuses on the letter "C" & the number 3 & the story of Abraham.  We did a project that was titled "math activity", but it revolved around writing out the student's name & saying the name in different ways.  I'm not sure what that has to do with math, but my son enjoyed it nonetheless.  (It did have an option for an older child to write out a phone number instead of a name, but I still don't see that as being "math")  I had him trace "C" & "c" with his finger on the C flashcard.  He seemed to do well.  Tomorrow or the next day I'll have him attempt to write it on the dry-erase board.  And we glued 3 pieces of luggage to the number 3 page.  Luggage because of Abraham's trip that he packed for.  We did reading lesson #71 & some Spanish as well.  And we sang a new song, this one is about Abraham.  I also played The Books of the Bible & God Made The Universe as usual.

Abraham's luggage for his trip

On a sidenote: I headed back to Michael's on Monday to get tempera paint in more colors.  I had only purchased it in black & white as supplies needed for preschool (because those were the only colors & type of paint specified in activities in my teacher's manual).  And I had acrylic craft paint in brown & yellow from a Father's Day craft we had done previously.  But I have found that I prefer the water-based tempera paint for my son since it's non-toxic & washable.  [Just a couple of months ago I was clueless about all the different types of paint that are for sale in Michael's & now here I am being picky about wanting tempera paint over craft paint!!]  He loves to paint & I'm adding in extra crafts so I do think I need more colors.  When we did the tower of Babel craft last Friday he wanted to paint it blue, but all I had was black, brown, & yellow, & I could make grey with black & white mixed together.  He ended up settling for the brown, but I felt bad.  So I got a 6 pack of small bottles (blue, red, yellow, green, orange, purple) & a big bottle of brown (the little bottles only come in the 6 pack for some reason & there weren't any 6 packs with brown).  They had glitter ones & metallic ones too.  My son liked the metallic ones.  I was tempted, but it had grey & not red in the 6 pack.  I can easily make grey with my black & white & I really want red, so I skipped the metallic ones to my son's dismay.  (I also wondered if they were still as safe & non-toxic with the metallic stuff in it?)  If his love of painting continues & doesn't fade I will invest in them for sure.  I also found a painting book of Nemo.  It's just like a coloring book, but it comes with a set of water color paint to paint in it rather than color in it with crayons.  My son has never shown much interest in crayons but he sure does like to paint.  So for now I want to encourage the painting & let him have fun with it.  So far he just paints on a blank white sheet of paper, I thought he might enjoy painting a picture instead & he does love Nemo.  I was very impressed with his first attempts of painting pages out of it today. 
He's really interested in the car models they have there at Michael's.  I looked today but didn't see anything for his age range.  They had 8+, 10+, & 12+......I guess that'll have to wait..........
Later on Monday he asked to paint "AB&C" so I drew the letters & let him paint them.  Again, he did a very nice job in my opinion. 

Painting Nemo & Marlin
The pic on the bottom right: he says is two smiley faces & a street & a sidewalk

On Tuesday we continued with the fingerplay & reading/learning about Abraham.  We did our devotionals today.  I think if I had to choose between the two devotionals I mentioned last week I would choose "ABC Bible Verses" over "Big Thoughts for Little People", but my son is 4.  For a younger child I could definitely see "Big Thoughts For Little People" being a better choice.  But I'm still doing both of them back to back. I drew a big C on a page & covered it with glue & had my son place cotton balls on the glue.  He says it's a "cloud C", LOL.  We did some acting out the story of Abraham & Lot with stuffed animals, pretending they are our sheep.  And we did reading, he nailed every word in lesson 71 already today, so we will be moving on to lesson 72 tomorrow.  (He seems to be really taking off now with his reading abilities)  I had him attempt to write "C" & "c" on the dry erase board today & he was struggling & getting really frustrated & he gave up.  At his age I don't see the need to push it, so I let him just draw for fun on the dry erase board instead.  And we did our Spanish & then listened to our songs.  He listens quietly to the current song (this one is about Abraham) but he gets excited about the books of the Bible song & he gets REALLY excited about the God Made the Universe song.  He LOVES to dance to God Made The Universe, it's super cute. 

"Cloud C"

After school was finished he asked to paint Nemo again.  This one he painted with the water color paints that came with the book, but they are sooo pale that you can't even really see them.  He seemed very disappointed in it.  We will stick to the tempera paints I think.  Then he went outside to play.  I love that he enjoys being outdoors so much.  And I love that overall we've had a pretty mild summer, although I tend to think that that means we're gonna have a super cold winter.

On Wednesday we seemed to have a super busy morning & got school started around noon, later than we ever have before.  But we did get to it & we relaxed & really enjoyed ourselves.  We continued with the fingerplay. We read about God promising Abraham so many offspring that he would be unable to count them, just as the stars in the sky.  We made a tent in the dark with stars all around (see below) & we did some acting out of the Bible passage we read today.  I was thrilled to see how excited my son got when he saw me pull out the masking tape to put a big masking tape "C" on the floor.  He excitedly ran to get cars to drive over the "C".  We did reading lesson #72 (& he did REALLY great for his first time through) & then he did the extra craft I added on (that showed all the stars in the sky, representing Abraham's offspring that God promised him) while I read to him in Spanish.  And then we finished off with our 3 songs--the one about Abraham, the books of the Bible, & God made the universe. 

After school was done he was asking to paint.  When I asked WHAT he wanted to paint he proclaimed "Nemo!!"  I am very happy that this paint book went over so well.  I'm surprised that I couldn't find others like it at Michael's.  There are 2 other Michael's locations near me that I can check or else I'll have to look online I guess.  (I wonder if regular coloring books would work or if the paint ones have special paper that stands up better to the moisture in the paint??)  I thought he did a VERY nice job on it.  [After much frustration looking online I finally discovered that the term you want to use to search for such a book is "paint box book".  Now I found several & ordered a couple off of Amazon & stored some others in my wish list for later purchasing.]  I found only one generic one & some McQueen & Thomas ones.  There's a Disney Planes one coming out in January.  I do wish there were more generic ones available though.  There were others, but they weren't characters my son knows or is interested in.  That's why I wish there were more generic ones available. 

On Thursday we continued with our fingerplay & learning about Abraham.  We did "hide & seek C", which my son is really good at.  And he drew & counted tents.  He's getting really good at this as well.  I again used his legos to assist in this project.  We acted out the Bible story we read today.  He read lesson 72 in reading & almost got every word right, amazing for only his second time through this lesson.  I think tomorrow he'll completely nail the lesson & we'll be moving on to 73 on Monday.  We did Spanish & listened to our 3 songs.  I added on an extra craft today.  We made baby Isaac out of a toilet paper roll.  My son REALLY enjoyed this craft & can't wait for the glue to dry so he can play with it.  We got some new books at Costco yesterday, so he was really anxious to look at those today after school rather than paint.  Note to self: don't buy National Geographic books again, I had to do some editing on them to make them Biblically correct.  :( 

On Friday we continued with our fingerplay.  This day felt like a very short school day today to me.  We continued reading about Abraham.  We did some discussing & acting out & more discussing of our Bible reading for today.  He was supposed to write "C" with either cooking oil or liquid soap on an aluminum pan or paper plate, but I know my kid well enough to know that he isn't going to like the way it feels on his fingers so instead I had him practice on the dry erase board, which he loves.  He didn't really produce any legible "C"s without my assistance I'm sorry to say.  (So I didn't take any photos today)  He nailed reading lesson #72, so we'll be moving on to lesson #73 on Monday as I had predicted.  We did Spanish as well.  And we listened to our 3 songs.  Like I said, it felt like a very short day today, there was no craft or paper work of any sort & I didn't have any extra crafts that lined up with today's Bible reading. 
That's all for this week........hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Homeschool Preschool Unit 2--The Earth & The Flood

So this was another fun filled week for us.

On Monday we started a new fingerplay, which focused on the letter B--this will be repeated each day this week.  We started reading about Noah this week.  We also introduced the letter B & the number 2, which he already knows extremely well.  On our number two page we glued 2 hands, representing God's hands, which Lil J glued onto the page.  We did our devotion on Monday this week.  I'm actually doing 2 devotions for now.  For his age the curriculum I'm using recommends one devotional book (ABC Bible verses) & for younger children they recommended a different book (Big thoughts for little people).  I already had ABC Bible verses, so when I placed my order I ordered the package with Big thoughts for little people instead.  I figured I could compare the two & choose one.  but so far I'm just doing both of them & Lil J doesn't mind.  They are both a little different, but both good.  (On a side note, in my teacher's manual there is a third devotional option listed, but I never saw it mentioned anywhere else.  Not sure what that's about.)  This week we're doing a song about Noah.  Lil J also asked for a song from last week.  So I made the decision to keep on playing two other songs with whatever our current song is.  One of the songs wasn't used in our curriculum, but it's on the CD.  It's a song that sings through the books of the Bible, in order.  I think it would be great if he could memorize that at  young age.  (And memorizing is super easy when you sing it!)  The other one we did play through most of week 1 & he keeps asking to hear it.  It's about the 7 days of creation.  I think that's another great thing to memorize at a young age.  So from now on I'm planning to play whatever song goes along with our lesson & then those 2 songs additionally.  My son loves music, so I really don't think he'll mind.  I always sing the songs out loud & he dances around & sings the portions of them that he can remember.  Of course mom cheats with the lyric sheet in hand, LOL. 

On Tuesday we continued with the B fingerplay & the story of Noah.  We did some acting out of Bible stuff & a little math as well.  Our letter activity was to draw a big B on paper & then either paint it (with fingerpaint or paint & paint brush) or use play dough.  I felt like this was a really short day for some reason, it went really fast, so we actually did both.  I had him paint a big B with his water colors on one paper & then we did a play-dough B on another paper.  This was his first time working with play dough.  Of course we also did a reading lesson (he's doing REALLY well these days with the reading) & Spanish.  And we ended with our songs. 

I must add that while he did SO well last week with writing the letter "A" & "a" I must say that this week his "B" & "b" were not legible at all.  I tried to work with him on it, but he quickly became frustrated & didn't want to try anymore.  But he did paint the B outline extremely well & traced the B shape with his finger extremely well.  I'm sure he just needs a little more time to develop his fine motor skills.  And who knows if he's even writing with his dominant hand, which can make a HUGE difference!

On Wednesday we continued with fingerplay & the story of Noah.  We did a sink/float experiment & talked about how God specified how the boat was to be built to ensure that it wouldn't sink.  We did "hide & seek B", my son is really good at this one.  And we did some math.  My son never follows directions on the math it seems, but I think if he did it would be too simple for him.  So last time it was caterpillars, he was supposed to draw ONE in each box & he drew a lot in each box.  This time it was rain drops & again I told him to draw ONE rain drop per box but he drew a whole lot.  So I pulled out his legos & helped show him how to count them all & add up the numbers.  Last time I wasn't sure he was comprehending it but this time it sure seemed like he did.  He counted right along with me.  And again we did a reading lesson, we moved up to lesson 70 (out of 100).  And we did some Spanish & then listened to our 3 songs again.  

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that this curriculum is a little too simple for my son.  (It's for ages 2-5, so he's certainly not too old for it, but the next level up sure seemed above his comprehension to me.)  But I think it's a good problem to have.  It means that he's smart, or at least that he's not behind or developmentally delayed in some way.  But I'm trying to think of ways to beef up the curriculum slightly.  For starters I think I'm going to try to add on a craft or two each week.  And I'm going to keep looking for other ideas.  If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to leave me a comment.  I would definitely prefer that it's too easy than it be too hard.  And this is just the beginning, I want to ensure that if nothing else, he takes from this experience that LEARNING IS FUN.

On Thursday we continued with the fingerplay & read the finale of the story of Noah.  We made a rainbow out of construction paper.  We did the big masking tape B on the floor.  My son was really excited about this.  He ran to get two hot wheels to drive all over the B & then he traced it with his finger also.  Then we did some acting out of what we read in the Bible.  We did the reading lesson & Spanish.  Then we did an extra Noah's Ark craft that I had found.  Then we finished up with our songs.  I had planned to do one more Noah craft that I had found, but as I was starting it I was getting confused & annoyed by the instructions & so I quickly decided to scrap the idea.  Crafts should be fun in my opinion & if I'm not having fun my son certainly isn't going to have fun.  And one extra craft seems like plenty already anyways.  So it's all good.

On Friday we finished up the week continuing our fingerplay & then reading about the tower of Babel in the Bible.  We built a tower out of blocks & turned it into math by counting the bocks as well.  We discussed what we read in the Bible & acted out a scene alternately--one way being prideful & one way giving the credit to God & discussing the differences & what God thinks & what God prefers.  I had him trace his finger over the "B" & "b" & he does great tracing but then he was supposed to write them with 2 crayons taped together.  It wasn't working so well so I just gave him ONE crayon & he tried but gets frustrated quickly with the letter B & didn't want to try anymore.  At his age I don't see any reason to push him on this yet, so we just moved on quickly to the craft that I had added on--about the tower of Babel.  Of course we did our reading & Spanish as well.  And there was no song to go with this lesson, but I did play the other two that I mentioned previously--The Books of the Bible & God Made the Universe.   


Onward to next week where we learn about Abraham & move to reading lesson #71..........

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Bulletin Board

For a long time I had wanted to put a bulletin board up in my son's bedroom. 

He's always coming home with papers from church that I would prefer to post on a bulletin board than to just have floating around the house, which is what we always had.  I always had the idea that it would also make him feel good about what he had done to see it posted like that.

Finally, one week prior to beginning preschool, we got a bulletin board & hubby hung it in Lil J's room.  I also had a  couple of other things I wanted to put on it--a pretty image of Ephesians 6:1-3 that I found on the internet, a nice image of the 10 commandments for kids, & a calendar.  A calendar was another big reason I wanted to have a bulletin board in his room.  I can recall as a kid feeling like I didn't know what day of the week it was, or sometimes even what month it was.  I know my son is too young now to comprehend the concept of "time", but wanted to post a calendar & little by little start explaining to him what month we're in & day of the month it is & also what day of the week it is.

So I now keep the top row of the bulletin board for school papers.  I rotate them through & when there's no more room I am, for now, storing them in a folder.  I also have a school memory book & at the end of the year I'll decide which ones to keep in the memory book.  The bottom row is the latest paper from church, his latest painting, & then the calendar, 10 commandments, & Eph 6: 1-3.  Oh yeah, I also stumbled across a thing online that I printed out, where he writes his name each month.  The idea is that it should improve over the months.  I just thought it was a cool thing so I printed it out & have it there also (although in the photo I took of the bulletin board to post here it's missing, still working on the August name writing).  At age 4 I don't know if it will actually improve much over the months, but it just might.  And it just seemed like a fun thing to do. 

Lil J hadn't really said much about his bulletin board.  I've explained the calendar a few times, but of course he doesn't fully understand it yet.  A lot of times in the evening hubby & I go in Lil J's room to pray with him & tuck him in bed for the night & I'll show hubby what we did in school that day.  I suppose Lil J notices this, but he hasn't said anything about it.  This morning I was in his bedroom, gathering laundry, & he excitedly pointed to the bulletin board & said "Mom, this week we're gonna put B!!  And the number 2!!"  I was happy to see him excited about it but also amazed at how well he comprehended what was going on.  That is, in fact, exactly what we're doing.  He comprehended what was going on with school as well as the bulletin board.  He comprehends far more than I realize it seems.

Just a quick post out of my excitement, that's all for now.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Update on Unit 1

So it's Saturday. But unlike most Saturdays, my hubby has to work today. He always works lots of hours but Saturdays are rare & Sundays are never, thank God. It's also the first Saturday after a super exciting first week of preschool. Combine that together & I have a kid BEGGING to do school. 

I know that we CAN move on to Unit 2, but I prefer to leave it until Monday. 

So we started off with the finger play-he was REALLY begging for that. And then I did our old Bible study, Leading Little Ones To God. And we did reading & Spanish. For a fun activity I chose to redo Monday's paint activity that didn't turn out properly. I am pleased to say it turned out great this time. Just needed to dilute the tempura paint MORE. 

And then he painted with water colors, the first time he painted anything specific to my knowledge-"a ship in the water" he says. 

And then he asked to draw on the dry erase board. 

And now he's outside having fun. 

Life is good. :) that's all for now, God Bless

Friday, August 9, 2013

Homeschool Preshool Unit 1--Creation & The Fall

I am sure I'll continue posting updates on homeschooling, though I'm not sure how frequently I'll be doing that.  This week has been super exciting for me, so it was all I could do to wait for the week to finish to be able to post this blog.  I'm imagining some seasoned & burned out homeschooler reading this & snickering to themselves.  Yeah, I know, I'm brand new at this, but it's super exciting to me.  It really is.

So week one was all about the creation & Adam & Eve & the garden of Eden & their sin & we finished off the week learning about Cain & Abel.  The focus was also on letter A & the number 1. 

When I was buying supplies that I needed to do this curriculum I made the decision to add on a dry erase board.  And I am so proud of myself for doing that & so glad that I did that.  We've already been using it this week.  My son loves to practice writing "A" & "a" & to draw on it.  He also loves to paint.  There was painting involved on day 1 & so after school was finished he was begging to paint.  Three days in a row after school was finished I set him up with his watercolors & let him paint.  And the last 2 days he used the dry erase board to write & draw.

The curriculum is set up to teach the NAME & SOUND of each letter in the alphabet.  But my kid learned his alphabet (both upper & lower case) when he was 2.  And he started reading lessons (where he is learning the sounds each letter makes) when he turned 3.  (he is now 4)  So I quickly (on day 1) made the decision to focus on him WRITING the letters.  I have hesitated to teach him how to write because I'm really not sure if he's left or right handed.  I am left handed & my husband is right handed.  And he is always switching back & forth, so it's really hard to tell.  When I was in kindergarten they knew I was left handed so I'm guessing by next year we should be able to tell for sure?  I'd love to hear from other parents--did your kids switch back & forth between hands for eating, brushing teeth, drawing, etc??  And by what age were you able to determine which hand they preferred?  I guess I'm hesitating because I don't want my left handed demonstration of writing to influence him into using his left hand.  On day 2 I put a giant A on the floor using masking tape.  I had him drive cars over it to get familiar with the shape.  Then he started tracing with his finger.  That really got me thinking that he might be ready to start learning how to write.

The curriculum I'm using says it can be done in 20 minutes a day.  I haven't actually timed us.  But we also do a reading lesson & a Spanish lesson in addition to the preschool curriculum.  At some point I will probably time us, just out of curiosity.  But I must admit that the statement "it can be done in only 20 minutes a day" makes me feel pressured to rush.  And on the first day I was starting out sort of rushing & then decided to relax & ENJOY the process.  And there's been no rushing since.  I realize that only having one child is a huge plus for me.  I don't have to worry about anything else, just focus on schooling him. 

One thing I love about this curriculum is that it's slightly "crafty".  I have never learned how to do any sort of crafting.  So it's teaching me how & giving me ideas to build upon.  I have to say I really like this kid crafting stuff. 

So on day one I was supposed to take white paper & draw on it with white crayon things that God created.  I drew a sun, a moon, stars, a tree, a cow (I had asked Lil J what animal he wanted & he wanted a cow), & Adam & Eve.  Then I was supposed to dilute black tempera paint & have my son paint over the whole thing & all the things I drew were supposed to magically appear.  The key idea is that God created everything out of nothing.  Only I guess I didn't dilute the paint ENOUGH & it didn't turn out as well as it should have.  Maybe I'll make a second attempt tomorrow (since I can't imagine NOT doing school tomorrow, LOL). 

On day 2 I drew circles of different colors on a paper & asked Lil J to identify the color (he knows his colors really well, it was easy for him) & then to name things around him that are that color.  He did REALLY well at this.  I was pleasantly surprised.  We did a little math on day 2 also.  I'm not sure how well he comprehended this, but we did it.  I used his legos to assist in the addition, but this was my doing, the curriculum doesn't state to do that. 

On day 3 I drew a big A on a paper & we glued "O" cereal over the A.  I drew the A & I put the drops of glue & Lil J put the "O"s on.  It was a lot of fun. 

On day 4 we did "Hide & Seek A".....a page where he needs to find all the "A"s & "a"s & he did really well.  We also talked about the number 1 & glued ONE tree to the number 1 page.  I had done a google image search for trees & loved the one I had found.  And Lil J really loved it also.  This project went over really well.  On this day I actually pulled out the dry erase board & had him attempt to draw As & he did REALLY well in my opinion.

On day 5 I was supposed to have him either draw As with a bar of soap on a mirror OR with ice on construction paper.  Since I don't have any bar soap in the house I went with the ice on construction paper BUT he didn't like the ice, didn't like that it was cold & wet, he wouldn't do it.  (he's EXTREMELY picky about texture of things)  So I again pulled out the dry erase board & let him do it there. 

There's a lot of other stuff.  Each day there's a "finger play" & it changes each week.  That was a lot of fun, I just sang it & there's hand motions that go along.  I did some modifying with it since it said to get on the floor & do animal motions.  I know my kid & if we're just getting started (it's the first thing to do for the school day) & I'm getting up & down & moving all around he's gonna get super stimulated & excited & distracted & just want to play.  So I chose to just stay seated & do hand motions for the animals instead & it worked great.  There's also a Bible reading each day & questions afterward.  There's a lot of acting out Bible scenes & dramatic play.  And we discuss how things went & what God thinks about how it went & how it SHOULD have went.  There's a devotional once a week.  And each day is supposed to end with a song.  So the first day I went through all of it & then went in his bedroom to play the song.  And he got very distracted in his bedroom with toys, books, etc.  THEN I still needed to bring him back & do reading & Spanish.  It didn't work so well.  So now I go through all of the school day lesson EXCEPT the song.  Then I do reading, then Spanish, & then I play the song on the DVD player (it plays CDs) in our living room where there's very little to distract him.  I started that routine on day 2 & have done it each day since & it has worked great. 

I think that's about it.  I'm trying to explain it enough that I can be understood but also keep it vague enough that people can't just follow this & not purchase the curriculum.  I do highly recommend the curriculum.  If you're considering purchasing it I say go for it.

I did finish looking ahead all the way to the end to see if the supplies I purchased will cover the whole curriculum.  Initially I had looked at the first 2 months & made a supply list off of that & what I was noticing that it just kept using the same things over & over but rotated it in a way to keep it from being monotonous or boring to the child.  I was pretty much right, except twice I saw it using pretend food (I don't have any of that) & it also mentioned popsicle sticks, which I don't have but was already planning to look for. 

I would try to post pics of the school work we did this week, but I'm having a really hard time inserting photos in the blog lately.  Once I get that figured out I will definitely do so.  In the meantime I have posted them on both Facebook & Instagram for those who are friends with me there. 

That's all for now.

Monday, August 5, 2013

First Day of Preschool!!

Such a long awaited day!!

I have been anticipating & waiting for this day for YEARS now.  My first day of "officially" homeschooling.  It's only preschool, kindergarten will be even more exciting & of course the legally required first grade & onward will be EVEN MORE exciting.

As I've stated before, I am using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven for preschool.  And we are still doing "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" & some Spanish lessons also.

This wasn't really very different from what we've been doing, so my son has no idea what the big deal is to me I suppose.  I've been doing a daily Bible study with him since he was a baby & we started reading lessons when he turned 3.  And more recently we started some Spanish lessons along with the Bible & reading.

He really enjoys learning, we do it Monday through Friday & often on Saturdays he's asking to do school!!  I used to refer to it as "Bible study".  My son knew what that meant.  Then when we started reading lessons I started saying "Bible study & reading".  As Spanish got added on & preschool was fast approaching I shifted the name of it to "school".  My son was a little resistant at first to that change, but came around eventually.

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Michael's with a list of supplies I would need for the preschool curriculum.  When I got home I organized them all in a big box I had still from Costco.  I liked this idea because then when we do school I can just pull out the box & have everything I need & put it all away together quickly & easily.  I haven't really found a home for the box yet, so it's been sitting in the garage.  My son kept going into the garage looking at the box excitedly.  He finally asked me what it was for.  I told him it was for school, for preschool.  A new school that we would be starting soon.  Then he started asking to do school, but he would quickly add "THAT school" (pointing to the box of supplies)  I hadn't planned this but it worked out great.  My son usually resists anything new, any change to established routines.  I was concerned that he would be upset about changing up our "school" routine.  But the excitement about the supplies really helped to get him over that. He was so excited to use the new supplies that he was welcoming the change in routine. 

So over the weekend I told him we would be starting preschool this week.  He was very excited this morning, rushing me as I did all my "Monday chores" (laundry, bathroom cleaning, dusting, sweeping, vaccumming, etc).  We finally got to it & it went very fast, even with the added reading lesson & Spanish lesson (I put our original Bible study on hold for now, since this preschool curriculum covers Bible).

It did seem too simple, too easy.  But I've seen A LOT of people online saying that they felt that way in the beginning, but that their children still learned key concepts that are super important.  So I will definitely continue.  The Bible story itself is super short & had only 2 discussion questions at the end.  The Bible study we've been doing since he was a baby is so much longer.  But perhaps the Bible study we've been doing is too far above his comprehension & he can better understand this?  I certainly hope so.  It is written for kids that don't know the alphabet, or so it seems.  I'm supposed to teach a letter (& the sound that the letter makes) each week.  So this week is A.  As I ask "what letter is this?" my son stared at me in disbelief, LOL.  He knows his alphabet extremely well (I taught him right after his 2nd birthday) & since he's already reading he knows the sounds each letter makes as well.  When I asked about the sound A makes he again looked at me in disbelief.  So I tried to focus more on the WRITING of the letter, since he has no experience with that.  I just had him trace his finger over the A & a.  Hopefully we can make some progress in that department.  There was some painting involved today & that is something that he is really interested in, but I have never allowed before.  I honestly just didn't have any paint for him to paint with up until my trip to Michael's very recently.  So after we finished school today I pulled out the watercolors that were on my supply list & let him just have fun with them.  He has never shown much interest in crayons, but he certainly does like painting.

Once we finish off the curriculum (next May or June or so) I plan to resume daily Bible study & some sort of reading (I'm sure he'll be done with the reading lessons by then) & Spanish & continue that through the summer along with some workbooks possibly.  A friend of mine gave me some very interesting workbooks & I also have a workbook on managing money God's way for little ones that I want to do with him, but I feel like it might be too much to do those during the school year.  My plan is to school year-round, but to keep the summer months lighter & more "fun" than the rest of the school year.   

However, if I continue to feel that this curriculum is too simple or easy for him maybe I will add on something else.  I do like that this curriculum is so hands on & crafty & fun.  I've always dreaded that sort of thing in the past, but as long as it's explained simply enough (for my non-crafty & imaginative brain to comprehend) I do actually find it very fun.  We did a couple of crafts for hubby for father's day & I have to admit that I really had a blast doing that.  At this point I say "bring on the crafts!!"  I think it's good not only because it's so fun, but that I think it really helps kids to engage & comprehend better.  

The box of supplies

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ramblings Re: Health & RIFE

As I'm sure I've said many times now over the past few years my health was declining gradually yet progressively.  It felt like I was dying a slow death.

I had learned that I had interstitial cystitis & thought that was the answer. I thought surely as I managed the IC & allowed my bladder to heal that all would be well.  But it wasn't. 

As I continued on my quest I learned that I have gluten issues.  I am unsure whether it is celiac disease or gluten intolerance (I'm pretty sure it's not a wheat allergy) but it is bad & looking back on my life I think I've had this issue my whole life or close to it.  I also think there's a genetic component & that is runs in my mom's side of the family.  Speaking of a genetic component, it is also an issue for my son.  When I discovered this I again thought that this was the answer & that as I allow my intestines to heal that all would be well.  Although I saw a big improvement when I went gluten free it wasn't quite the miracle cure I was seeking.

Early this year I did a full body detox.  I really didn't see anything until I got to the final phase.  The liver detox.  I passed over 100 gall stones.  I had no clue I even had gall stones.  I continued detoxing my liver & doing a couple of other things for liver health.  And as I continued on this path, pursuing liver health, I began to realize that this was the final piece of the puzzle, it was the miracle cure I was seeking. 

For whatever reason my liver is not yet fully better.  I am still working towards a healthy liver & as I continue this I continue to feel well.  If I stop pursuing liver health I again start feeling sick again.  I am not sure how long this will go on for.  As for how my liver got this way I can only think of all the antibiotics I have consumed in my lifetime.  There is really nothing else that I can see that could've done this.  I have never been a drug user & I have never been a big alcohol drinker.  I can't think of anything else.  I am really quite surprised to learn that my liver is so unhealthy.

My memory is not the best, & I cannot remember where I first learned of RIFE detoxing, but sometime earlier this year I first heard of it.  I was very skeptical of it & did lots of research.  In the end I decided it couldn't hurt to give it a try.  Now most people have a RIFE machine that they use.  All I have is an app on my iPhone, which I have to say makes it seem even less credible, at least to me.  But I still decided to give it a try.  Initially I was doing the candida detox.  Having taken so many antibiotics in my past has caused me much issues with candida.

I must explain that detoxing is hard for me for two reasons.  Reason number one is that my damaged bladder is hurt by many things.  A lot of the herbs & things that need to be consumed in order to detox hurt my bladder, making certain detoxes impossible for me.  A lot of people theorize that IC is caused by an overly toxic body, so the toxins are hurting the bladder, yet the treatment to get the toxins out of the body to lessen the IC cannot be tolerated.  It's like a catch 22 in a sense.  Reason number two is that as you detox the toxins must exit the body.  Obviously they exit through either the bowel or bladder.  When they exit through the bladder it's VERY painful for me.  So again, it's a catch 22.  I need to get the toxins out but it's too painful to do so & so issues continue because the toxins remain.  RIFE detoxing is done by listening to sound waves.  You don't have to ingest anything.  That is a big bonus for someone like me.  Sometimes when I'm detoxing I'm unsure if it's what I'm consuming that is causing pain or if it's the toxins being released that is causing pain or if it's a combination of both.

So I started doing a RIFE candida detox.  I started out doing it for 5 minutes, then increased to 10 a couple of times.  I really didn't see anything going on, so I was starting to think it just didn't work.  Then one day I did it for 30 minutes.  I ended up in SO MUCH PAIN.  And since I didn't consume anything I know for a fact that it was toxins being released that was causing the pain.  Pretty interesting I must say.  That was one of my biggest bladder flares ever but I am quite proud that it was also the first time I made it through such a huge flare without ending up with a bladder infection.  (When the bladder is irritated in a flare it is somehow extremely prone to infection & almost always ends up with an infection)  Needless to say I was hesitant to continue doing the detox after that.  But of course I shouldn't have jumped in for 30 minutes like that so quickly. 

Once I learned that my liver is so toxic I decided to try the RIFE liver detox.  I started out doing 5 minutes, then 10, then 15, then 30.  A big bonus with the liver is that when it dumps toxins they go into the bowel rather than the bladder, so I don't have to worry about being as gentle with this.  I have to say that I wasn't feeling so sick when I was doing this & my face had really cleared up too.

Recently my phone died.  It wasn't a big deal, I actually enjoyed unplugging very much.  The things I missed most were my calendar & my to-do list, which are in my phone.  But of course without my phone I couldn't do my RIFE detoxing.  I was even starting to doubt that it was doing anything.  I can't remember how long I was without my phone, maybe a week or week and a half or so.  I started noticing my face breaking out.  I was shocked, it had been SO CLEAR for quite a while now.  And then I woke up SO SICK one morning.  That same sickness that plagued me so much in the recent past.  I did everything else I know for my liver (taking milk thistle, doing coffee enemas, etc) & was feeling somewhat better.  But then as soon as I got my phone I started the RIFE liver detoxing again & am once again feeling better & no new breakouts on my face since. 

My hubby is very anti-detox.  And he's VERY suspect of the RIFE detox.  All I know is that I see results.  And so I will continue.  I know there's always a possibility of something being all in your head.  But I've always felt that as long as it's not hurting you, if it's helping, then so what if it's all in your head.  Several years ago I was seeing a naturopathic doctor, up until I got pregnant & couldn't continue with the plan the doctor had laid out for me.  I have an appointment to take my son to see her soon, but I am hoping to return to her myself also.  I plan to ask her how I can heal my liver once & for all.  The liver is an organ that can heal & even regenerate itself.  So it should definitely be possible to heal it & be done with all of this.  I suppose it will take some time though.  I know that gluten damage in the intestines can take up to 2 years to heal.  I have no idea if my bladder will ever heal, but I am remaining hopeful.  And I am quite certain that I can heal my liver. 

I'm done rambling for now.....................