A fly on the wall

Do you love peeking into other people’s life and just seeing what things look like at their house? Well, here’s a day in our life…

For the last couple weeks, I haven’t been so good about getting up on time and sticking to our schedule. I felt it and the kids felt it. Our last subject of the day (art/science/geography) wasn’t always getting done. We pretty much have until lunch time, and then we all feel DONE. Then, we have lunch, the kids play a bit, and they both still have nap/quiet time.

For our independent post-breakfast time, I planned lacing cards and marble scooping. They didn’t care at all about the lacing cards, but had a great time playing with the marbles.

After the dishes were done and my coffee was made, we started our calendar time. Our memory verse from last week’s BSF lesson is “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering.” (Genesis 4:4) and our character trait this week is self-control.

Then, we moved on to phonics. C starts by finding the letter of the day (today was ‘N’ in our All About Reading book) on our alphabet chart and board of magnet letters. I like doing the magnet board as well because the letters aren’t in order (or even in line) so she really has to know what she is looking for.

We did our ‘N’ reading from the Ziggy the Zebra book. Instead of doing the provided craft sheet, I wanted C to do some extra tracing/drawing practice. C practices writing her letters each school day and I know she has trouble with her Ms and Ns. She doesn’t like to stop the lines…they just keep going. Anyway, I wanted to give her some fun writing practice besides just doing letters. I printed out a few  of the ‘N’ things from the preschool curriculum I got from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

E got busy with stacking sponges, a toddler activity I got out for her when she need a distraction.

We got out Ziggy to finish our phonics lesson. Today, we started teaching about words that are made up of two other words, like cupcake, airplane, etc. It was interesting though… if I told C the words ‘cup’ and ‘cake’ and asked her to combine them into one word, she really couldn’t do it without a pause between words. But, if I asked her to tell me which two words were in ‘cupcake’, she could do it without a problem. I don’t know what that means in her brain development, but I thought it was interesting. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE Ziggy. They go bonkers trying to hug and kiss him.

We had a snack and did our math lesson, all about circles today. We did math on the couch, which C thought was pretty good, and then we just stayed put for reading time.

At this point, I was really tired. My eyes were closing. I was so tempted to just be done, but it was time for science. I knew they would love our projects today, and I want to be diligent and do a good job. I’m trying to train myself to think of this as a job (in some ways, not all), and unless I’m really sick, do my best for my kids. So.. it was time for science!

Today we learned about “forces”. Our questions today were “I wonder why boats float?” and “I wonder why I have to wear a seatbelt?”

We sank balls of play dough in water, and then made play dough boats that floated on the water to study how their shape affects them. Then, I made boats out of foil that would last a little better in the water.

For the “objects in motion” lesson, we took a car and drove it down a ramp. Then, we did it again, but put a pencil in its path and saw how the pencil stopped the car from going. Then, to explain seat belts, we put a play dough blob ( our guy) on the car. I explained that that was like riding in the car without a seat belt. We ran the car down the ramp, and when it hit the pencil, our guy went flying off because nothing was holding him to the car. To put his seat belt on, we squished him in more so he was hooked into the windows of the car (the books said to tie him on with a ribbon, but we just squished). He went down the ramp, hit the pencil, and the guy stayed attached to the car.

The fun thing about doing science last is that C continued to play with this for about an hour after, while I worked on toilet-training with E, and then made lunch. She kept putting the play dough man on the car and doing it on the floor… pushing him into walls and furniture, and me.

And that was our school morning! Honestly, when we are done, (if it has gone well) I still feel like giving myself a round of applause. I’m wondering if that will wear off and when.

What did you do today?

She Has A Magnetic Personality

We’ve been working through our science book (Janice VanCleave’s Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects), and have been having a fun time!

We especially loved our first day playing with magnets. We talked about how magnets stick to metal, how they are attracted to each other. I colored a couple of dolls onto a paper, with paper clips taped to the bottom, and set her on top of a shoe box. It was fun to drag a magnet underneath the box and see the doll move. C loves picking up paper clips with the magnet.

Our box of magnet supplies have turned into one of her favorite toys; she plays with it almost every day.

I knew our science book looked like fun, but I was a little surprised to discover that it’s probably C’s favorite part of school.  She loves science day!

Can I Teach Science?

Day two was intimidating to me because it was our first science day. Now, I know I’m only doing preschool, and any moms of older kids might be groaning at me, but I feel like the word “science” gets uttered with mystical terror in homeschool circles. It’s always one of the big questions, like… “But what about science? How am I going to teach (gasp!) science?” I’ve read so many blog posts and articles wherein science is one of the subjects saved for Dad to do, or one of the reasons a family joins a co-op. Granted, things get much more complicated once a student is doing serious lab work. However, the overall effect of these article is that we mamas can’t teach science at home. It doesn’t help that if these moms had an education like mine…science classes were horrible: boring and confusing. Science was the one subject I was bad at (although, thanks to the miracles of the public education system, I still got As in Chemistry thanks to doing my homework and attending class… even after failing many tests).

I was intimidated going in, even for preschool science. But, I’m here to attest that our second day of school was FUN, especially science.

We’re using the book Janice VanCleave’s Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects. I like that the book isn’t just a bunch of random activities. The projects are organized by: Physical Science, Nature, Bugs, and The Human Body. There are seven subtopics under each main category (such as Predators and Prey, Body Temperature, Animal Movement, etc.), with two projects per category. All of the projects are questions kids might ask. So, under Nature / Body Temperature, the two questions are 1) I wonder… why do dogs pant? 2) I wonder… How do animals stay warm in the winter? Each project seems pretty easy to prepare for and pull off for the mom.

My friend joins us on Wednesdays, along with her 18 month old. It’s a nice bit of social time for us, a chance for her to get out of their house (and not be at a rainy park), and an opportunity for her to see what homeschooling really looks like. As little S gets bigger, she will be able to join in some of the activities as she wants to.

The morning started great! I try to have an activity all planned and set out for the kids to work on independently while I clean up the kitchen after breakfast, put laundry in, and make a latte. I also figure it will make them more agreeable to paying attention to me later if they already go to do something really cool. Today, they played with baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring.

I set out some special toddler activities for E to do while C and I did her schoolwork. Of course, that’s what C wanted to do too. She still loves all those manipulative activities! Today they were supposed to use big tweezers to put pom-poms in a muffin tin.

We did all our standard things (phonics, reading, math, etc.) and then it was time for… (ba ba ba bum…) SCIENCE! We’re starting in our science book with Physical Science, and the first sub-category is Air.The two questions today are 1) I wonder… Is there a way to catch the air? And, 2) I wonder… What holds up a parachute? We started with the parachute, and talked about how the air slows things down by capturing the air. I bought a couple monkey keychains to use, and the kids loved it. Our play room (aka “school room”) has a high ceiling with a loft above that looks down. I went up there to send our parachutes sailing, and we compared it to how fast the monkeys fell with no parachute.

E LOOOOOVED her little monkey. Maybe because she IS a little monkey.

Then we captured air. First, we captured it in a cup… by putting a napkin in a cup and submerging it in water. C was pretty shocked that the napkin stayed dry. Then, we captured air in a ziplock bag and played with squishing it. Funny enough, they had so much fun playing with their bag of air. They played with them for a couple days and we heard funny things through the house, like, “Hey! Give me back my air!”

At the end of the day, I smiled a big smile and patted myself on the back, for I can indeed teach science!

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