Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PJ Pants

PF and I finally got time to finish the PJ pants. They were actually really easy considering our sewing skill. The sewing machine was the biggest struggle but after we got it figured out and working properly the pants were done in no time.

Weaving Pot Holders

The girls made pot holders using a few kits that we got for Christmas. This helped the girls practice patterns and fine motor skills.


These are some other ways we have used the placemats.

Jump Rope

The public school on base is doing jump roping in gym class so I thought we would do the same. PF had a friend over and we practiced different types of jump roping. This was really good for learning rhythm as well.

Placement Testing

After to talking to several people and doing alittle more research, I have decided to go with Switched on Schoolhouse for PF next year (or I should say to start in June). Last week PF completed the placement tests for the curriculum. Since we were switching curriculum, I didn't want to just assume that she could just move ahead in case their curriculum is significantly different from the one we are using. I am excited that she placed right on track and she will be starting 5th grade!

Currently she has 4 weeks left of her Language Arts, History, and Science. After these 4 weeks we will be working on "projects", foreign language, art, music and improving speed on math drills until June. Yes, we will be doing school this summer!

Why?: We took last summer off and we really lost focus which made starting school back up that much harder. We also like to take long breaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas because we tend to travel or want to have time to do fun things and enjoy the holidays.


The OT suggested to make name place mats for the girls to roll out play dough and form each letter. Not only did they form their names but spent the next hour making other shapes and designs. I also made number cards for them to use.

I'm Ready!

Dragonfly likes to pretend she is doing schoolwork. I find her all the time with a pencil in hand and a notebook or workbook. I wonder what she thinks she is doing...probably just copying her sisters.

Science curriculum as a side note is Noeo curriculum plus alot more misc stuff.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hands on Spelling

I think I mentioned in my post about Spelling Power, about the interactive activities in the curriculum. We were going to spell words in shaving cream but I couldn't find the bottle (found it later when I stopped looking) so instead I used one of the many bottles of lotion that I have. It worked just as well and their hands were well mosturized. Ladybug worked on letters.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Creative Learning

My sister-in-law told me about this school that has a classroom where all the kids sit on exercising balls and their concentration and scores improved. My nephews sit on balls while doing their schoolwork...my sister-in-law will be able to explain all of this better than me.
Anyway, PF has been trying different places to do work, study and read. She bounces on balls, swings in hammocks and now she is sitting in beans.
She is self motivated regardless so I am not sure that it has improved her concentration. What I do know is that she is enjoying the change. It adds an elements of excitement to schoolwork when you can do something else while working on it. So I would have to say it is curing any boredom that she has had.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Art and Food

Last year, when everything goes on clearance, I bought these sun catchers for St. Patrick's Day. The girls enjoyed painting them. I am so excited to use these as decoration next year.

I didn't get pictures but we also made chocolate covered strawberries and put clovers on them with green chocolate. We shared them with our friends out in our park. Princess Flower also made pistachio pudding. They were all hoping we would have green spaghetti like last year but I forgot to pick up spinach when I went to the store....I guess I need to be better stocked. If you need a good orange thing to eat.....I just made the most awesome Sweet Potato biscuits (I added a banana too). I'll post the recipe on my main blog.

Chocolate Bear

Butterfly had a project to keep Chocolate Bear for the weekend. She had to write a report about herself. After she spent the weekend with the bear and made pictures, she put together a poster to show off the weekend.

At Church.

In the car

Going for a walk.

Sleepover with her baby Sarah.

Princess Flower's sets

These are the backdrops and sets that PF created for the Felicity play.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Computer Curriculum

Princess Flower is coming to the end of her 4th grade year....don't remind me how fast she is growing up. We are wanting to find a good computer bases curriculum for next year. She loves doing stuff on the computer and we thought this would be a nice change. I have been looking around but haven't figured out what to buy. There are two main options that I have seen: Switched on Schoolhouse by Abeka and K12's online curriculum. Today I got to see a bit of K12 since a friend of mine is and will be using it for her kids. It is well organized but I thought there would be alittle more on the computer and less in the books so that was a tad disappointing. It also costs alot and you lose access to the online stuff when your year "contract" is up. At the same time there are virtual schools through the public school which will allow you to use the program for free. This is a great way to save money but then you are required to "attend" school on the school days they assign. Of coarse our computer can go with us anywhere so that may not be a big deal.

I haven't actually been able to see the SOSH by Abeka first hand so I am nervous to buy it without trying it out. What I like is that after you buy it, you can use it for each one of your kids. Once you divide it by 4 it really doesn't seem expensive at all.

Have you used a computer/online based curriculum? If so can you give me so feedback.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time Blocks

Do you have days with your kids that everything just gets drug out? They don't feel like doing their work and act like they have no clue what you are talking about even though the day before they had no issues doing exactly what you are asking them to do?

We have those days and they drive me crazy. I have so much to get done on top of school work for Princess Flower that I need her to be focused and get things accomplished. We don't have many unfocused days but we do have them.

So on those days I set time blocks for her subjects. She has 30 minutes to do each. What doesn't get done she does during her free time later on in the evening. This may mean that she doesn't get to play with her friends or play a game that she wants to. This has really motivated Princess Flower to stay focused and work hard.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spelling Power

This is the new spelling program I am using with PF now but will use for all my girls. I actually want my hubby to test me and then do the program myself. Spelling has never been my strongest subject and it is never to late to improve.

Anyway this week was our first week starting the program. I gave PF the initial test and she scored "4.0" (meaning 4th grade). I quote it because they say they just put the grade there for the mother-in-laws information.....actually I thought that was pretty funny. Although I did find the info reassuring because I wasn't sure how well she was doing. Now at least I know she isn't behind in spelling. After the first test, you give another test to help place them in the program. PF tested into level C. From this point you start giving spelling words from this section.

For 5 minutes each morning, I give PF words to spell in a unique way from other spelling tests. Those she misses she does activities and practice with. Those she gets right we leave behind for now. Then the next day, I start testing her on the words missed from the previous day and then continue from the list. The activities are pretty simple such as text your spelling words or spell them out with magnets.

So far we have made it through three lists this week. The words on each list start our simple and then get harder. Each list has a rule that all the words in the list fall into. Such as usually /a/ is spelled a as in cat. Then the spelling words range from rat to catch to even harder words.

I like the program because it is all laid out for me and simple. We don't waste time studying words she already knows and focus more time on building skills to learn new words. She isn't just memorizing words for a test but learning them for life. How is that for a product plug!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

School Update

We have still been keeping up with school despite my lacking of blogging about it. The move to VA added alittle challenge but we remained flexible and let a few things slide. Feb and Mar are always PF and my most productive months and this year is no different. PF is working to finish her 4th grade LA and Math books. She is working on a new devotional Bible Study, A Child's Story of American History, Chinese Made Easy for Kids, Biology and our new spelling power curriculum (more about this later). She has read too many books to list but her favorite books right now are the American Girl books and the Sarah Plain and Tall series.

After coming back from GA a couple weeks ago and her sisters starting therapy we decided to have an easy week and do some fun projects that we don't seem to fit in at other times. PF is always asking to sew. I am still a beginner so it is not very easy to instruct another beginner but we are learning together. PF got some fabric for her birthday that we decided to make into pj bottoms. So far the pattern is cut out and ready to be sewed together. We ran out of nap time to sew it so hopefully we will finish what we started soon.
The other project we worked on was making backdrops for the American Girl Felicity play. We acted out the play just the two us but we are hoping on a weekend to get Daddy involved.

We put up a magnet board on the wall which all the girls are loving. PF makes words with the letters, B and L listen to the letter sounds and D pulls them all off. I am hoping to find more activities that we can use the magnet board with.

We got a Wii and Wii fit last month which all of us plus some friends have been enjoying. Each of the girls have their own mii and have been working on balance, yoga, strength exercises, and aerobics. I have heard this counts for gym requirements!

Behind PF is the hammock that we returned to Lowes....it was more like a bed and we need a hammock that swings to provide certain therapy components for the girls at home. We are shopping around for a new one that will fit our needs.