Tuesday, August 31, 2010

sneak peek

Okay, as promised, I finally took a few photos today of our new place! We have been busy emptying out and cleaning the old place so unpacking has been a little sluggish. The baby hasn't sped up the process either! I can't wait to have everything organized and put away. We also said our final goodbyes to our old place this morning; it's a little bittersweet knowing we won't ever spend another night there. But, on to bigger and better things. School starts back up Tuesday (I forgot Monday is a holiday) so look for my upcoming school posts next week!

Now, for your viewing pleasure:

master bedroom

backyard (our yard goes all the way to that fence and then comes across at an angle)

the beginnings of the school room!

I'll take lots more photos as we progress, and as soon as everything isn't covered in boxes!

Monday, August 30, 2010

new house!

We made it! We are officially in the new house, have internet set up (yay!), and all of our junk is here with us. Plus 4 kids, a dog, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, and 2 tangerine trees. No partridge in a pear tree though. I haven't taken a single photo of the move or the new house yet if you can believe it! I plan to remedy that tomorrow because I know there are friends and family who would like to see. It is SO nice here - this is only our second night and it already feels so much like home.

The move itself, however....let's just say it was hellacious. It amazes me how much a local move can be so stressful, and so drawn out, and so painful! The biggest obstacle by far was the baby. I don't believe a baby has ever in the history of babies screamed and cried as much as he has over the past three days. This child has cried nonstop the second I have tried to put him down or have gotten out of his sight. We tried everything to amuse him - walker, play yard, toys, loose on the floor, in the stroller, being held by siblings and relatives, you name it, we tried it. The only thing he wanted was to be held by me. He wouldn't even take naps. I finally had him in the Ergo carrier this morning as I Windexed windows and scrubbed doorjambs at our old place, and he mercifully passed out for a half hour while I cleaned. My body is so tired and achy, not from moving but from holding him for 3 days! I am really hoping he will have a better day tomorrow without any strangers popping by and a ton of new sights bombarding him. I' not sure how much more all-day screaming I can take!

On the bright side, the mastitis seems to have cleared itself up sometime between last night and this morning, and I am feeling a thousand times better. I had no idea it would make your whole body feel so horrible. I wouldn't wish that on anyone!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


So everything has been leading up to us moving this weekend (we pick up the truck this afternoon and move tomorrow) and now I have freaking mastitis! I have breastfed for close to 6 years now between all of my kids, and this is a first....a miserable, awful first. We went to the kids' new homeschool group's annual kickoff party (super fun! photos soon I promise!) yesterday and everything was fine. We were at the park in the heat and humidity for 4 hours and when we got home I was tired but okay. Then about 4:30 that afternoon right after Mark got home I started feeling queasy, and suddenly was freezing. It's about 110 degrees out with the heat index and I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel shirt, and was wrapped up in my comforter and a heavy fleece blanket, and I was still shivering! I was thinking either heat stroke/sun poisoning or the flu. I went to bed around 9pm and had a fitful night's sleep with the baby and a furious headache. I finally noticed this morning that my right breast is all red and painful and streaking. Nothing like a good case of mastitis to cheer up a move. And of course my doctor's office is closed over the weekend; I called in to my nurse line but am still waiting to hear back. Really really hoping they can just call me in some antibiotics, because we have WAY too much to do this weekend for me to just be sitting around burning up with a fever, feeling like I got hit by a truck. Blah!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

House Party!!

Fisher Price Perfect Playdate

Eeeeek, I can't believe we got picked! On Sept. 18th I get to host a Fisher Price House Party! Hobie gets five of the latest and greatest Laugh and Learn toys (fridge, racetrack, wagon, walker, piano) to show off to all of his baby buddies, and we get 10 of those classic stacker rings to give out to guests. I am so excited! We'll be in our new home and I am so looking forward to a fun-filled party, and free toys! We love Fisher Price so I know this is perfect for us. I've never hosted a House Party before, it is too cool!

Hobie with his current favorite toy, a FP piano

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

got those moving blues...

So the thought of moving was fun and exciting and festive, but the actual act of moving is pretty darned tedious! It seems like you pack and pack and you don't even make a dent in the amount of junk you have! Why is it that every time you move into a new place, your life's mission seems to be to fill it with stuff. I want to be one of those native Alaskan (I think!) tribes that gives all their stuff away to determine who gets to be chief. And the sad part is, packing the boxes is only a third of the battle; you also get the fun of moving and then UNpacking them! Yuck!

And you know what really makes moving *extra* fun? Kids. The more the merrier. Kids love moving - there's just nothing they like more than having their things shoved into boxes and hauled away, or leaving neighborhood friends. Thank goodness this is only a local move; when I was a kid we moved cross-country on several occasions - almost always mid-schoolyear - and then you had that whole hurdle to leap. On the other hand a new location did make it more exciting! I think that if it weren't for the back-and-forth nervous half-comprehension of a three-year-old or the ultra-clingy baby, it would only be about half as hard.

Don't get me wrong, I am excited. It's a move in a positive direction to a bigger, nicer house that will (hopefully) be a better fit for us. The neighborhood looks really nice and quiet, with lots of kids. It has a big yard with - imagine this - grass instead of black dirt like we have here. Things may actually stay semi-clean! It's also the same price as we're paying here, so you can't beat that. My only regret is that it doesn't have a fence, but hopefully that won't be a big deal. We just couldn't find anything nice enough and big enough in our area that had a fence. Well, something that wasn't ridiculously overpriced anyway.

All I need is for someone to come wave the magic moving wand and have us two weeks from now, all settled and unpacked in the new house. Poof!

the kids call this Box Mountain - it used to be our living room

just because, Coral and Hobie (except for leg length he's almost as big as her!)

Who, me?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am mad mommy.

Apparently I've been spending too much time packing boxes lately. Much too much time. I may have been a teensy bit overtaxed today. I may have also had to wash, dry, fold, and otherwise put away four loads of laundry; steam clean all of the seating; and otherwise care for and maintain the safety and sanity of four crazy children. I definitely had a splitting headache that refused to go away. So perhaps I was a little less sweet and bubbly than normal, and perhaps I was a bit more vocal towards aforementioned children.

Coral was innocently coloring at the kitchen table and brought me a pretty picture with lots of nice rainbow colors. I thanked her and she flounced off, in search of more paper. She came back five minutes later and handed me her newest creation, with an announcement for me before she ran back in search of yet another slice of Georgia Pacific's finest.

"This is mad mommy."

the right decision?

Do you ever have one of those days where you really stop and wonder if you're making the right choices for your family? Ninety-nine percent of the time I feel like our family situation and the paths we choose for our kids and our future are the right ones. Every once in awhile when it seems like you're swimming against the rest of the world's stream, you start doubting yourself and wondering if maybe you're only seeing what you want to see out of life and maybe everyone else has the right idea. Or do they?

Public school started today in our county. I was inundated with photos of smiling, uniformed, backpack-laden children of friends on my facebook feed this morning. I read tales of bus rides, tearful and not-so-tearful goodbyes, and kids (and parents) ready for the first day back at school. We've always homeschooled so that's never been an experience for us. It seems like the whole world is sending their kids off to school today, including good friends who used to homeschool and friends who always swore that they would. So does that make me really dedicated, or really stupid?

I have some really, really *great* memories of going to public school when I was a kid. I was always a teacher's pet, and school was easy for me. As an elementary-aged student I don't think there was ever a day that I dreaded going to school (wait, I take that back - 5th grade measles shot day was not fun!) I think I can even still recall the names of all of my teachers. We got to do all sorts of fun activities, had recess on great playgrounds, had time to eat lunch, played games outside in P.E. We had art classes, and music, and we played fun games like Heads Up, Seven Up. I went to school in very small southern towns for grades 2-8, and I think that made a big difference in how we were taught.

It's really hard to look back at my childhood and not want that experience for my kids. Unfortunately I don't think that experience is the reality of public school anymore. I know my family and friends have kids in school here (or are teachers here) and the kids are taught in four, 90-minute session blocks of math, reading, science, and social studies every day. They have 25 minutes for lunch, one 15-minute structured recess (i.e. what used to be called PE, which was an hour when I was a kid), and that's that. There's no money left for music, or art; there's no time left for recess, or PE, or time to actually eat lunch. Kids are taught solely for the purpose of passing the FCAT and if it isn't on the FCAT it isn't being taught. Kids in the first grade are coming home with an hour or more of homework every night.

But that doesn't mean I still always feel like I'm doing the right thing. It's hard to go against the grain.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the baby cage

Yep, we broke down and bought one. Between Hobie being a quick crawler whose life mission seems to be pulling up on and smashing his face into our kitchen chairs, and us needing to finish packing the house and move, I guess it was a necessary evil. Both Mark and I have stepped on him in the past few days; the child is like a Navy Seal, he doesn't make a sound but will worm a beeline across the room in a flash trying to make a sneak attack on your shoelaces. You think he's sitting playing with a toy fifteen feet away but really he's under your feet, tongue reaching desperately for dirty laces. Thankfully we haven't hurt him! He hated his jumperoo, he hates his bouncy seat, he has minimal tolerance for his walker. We'll see how long his love for the new play yard lasts! We put his absolute favorite toy in there - his Fisher Price piano that was handed down from Coral. He likes that he can pull up on the panels and  it's much bigger than we thought it was going to be. It is nice knowing he's not fishing in the dog dish, or headed for an open door, or being harassed by his sisters!

The funniest part? We went to Babies R Us this morning to buy the Superyard XT since they're the only ones who seem to have it in store. Coral finally really saw the box as we were wrestling it into the car, and she asked what it was. We showed her the photo on the box and asked her what it looked like. Her comment? "A baby cage."

the new baby cage and its captive

Friday, August 20, 2010

Week 2 pre-K wrap-up

If you're following along, this is our second weekly wrap up that highlights all of our pre-K activities for the week. You can see which books/links we used in my list on the right of this blog (under Followers).

This week was all about the letter Bb! We printed out crafts and activities from DLTK's Alphabuddies section  and while Coral still needs help with using the scissors, she was able to color and glue independently.  We used the Letter Bb template, Bobby B, the circle bear craft, the handprint bee craft (I really loved this one), and the letter Bb book (one per day).

Coral's activities from letter Bb week

her handprint bee

We also learned about colors and some shapes using a workpage per day in the Mead Preschool Workbook. She chose to complete many extra pages ahead of what I had originally planned, and we did a color and sort activity from the book as well. I think that more than anything these types of books get them familiar with following directions and enjoying the feel of a "real" school book, and improve their hand-eye coordination. I'm not hugely concerned if she works in this a lot or not - mostly it keeps her busy!

working through her workbook pages

I selected a weekly theme of "family" and gleaned ideas from the PreKinders website, shooting for one activity per day. She acted out a story about animal families, made a paper plate mask self portrait, decorated cookies to give as gifts to family members, practiced with clay and made a clay family, and we looked at and watched old photos and videos of family members, which was a lot of fun! The whole family got in on this last one. 

painting her self-portrait mask
"I want that one!" Decorated cookies to share.

making a clay family

We read together a new book each day. We chose Pretend You're a Cat by Jean Marzollo , Kipper by Mick Inkpen, Sir Arthur to the Rescue by Marc Brown, The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer, and Pooh, the Giving Bear by Cassandra Case.

acting out scenes from Pretend You're a Cat

She also joined in our Friday art activity and painted flowers in a cutout paper vase - this child LOVES to paint!
painting her vase sideways so she could reach the top of the paper!

Day 10

Today wraps up our first two weeks of school! Public school starts here on Monday but we'll be taking the next two weeks off to finish packing the house and get settled into our new place. Ibis was a bit of a hard case again today but we had a long discussion with her last night and all agreed that if she chose not to do her work during the day, she would lose privileges for the day (tv, computer, playing with friends) and not be allowed to do any arts or crafts that day. Plus she would have to complete any missed work on the weekends with daddy while mommy takes everyone else out to have fun. I think we finally hit the nail on the must-do-school head with that one! She started to protest today but eventually came around and finished all of her work. That child is going to cause me some gray hairs!

Alexei, Grade 4
math p 60-62 : extra practice and Ch. 2 test
English p 66-67 : writing sentences with proper and common nouns
read book of choice for 15 minutes

Ibis, Grade 2
math p 11-14 : use a ten frame and addition table to add
reading practice p 12-14 : prepare to read Frog and Toad All Year
reading book 860-77 : read Frog and Toad All Year

Ibis adds using a ten frame

Coral, pre-K
color items that are brown, circles
color and read letter Bb book
read together Pooh, the Giving Bear by Cassandra Case
look at photos and home movies of family members and how they've changed

Art, all grades
cut out a paper vase and glue to cardstock, then paint flowers in the vase

Alexei adds stems to his vase

Ibis tries out lots of colors for her flowers

Coral paints sideways so she can reach the top of the paper!

Alexei, Ibis, and Coral's finished paintings

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 9

What a morning! On the one hand we have Alexei who played nice today and got through his schoolwork with minimal complaints. He did a great job on his first 4th grade writing assignment of the year! This is the first year I have started keeping actual numerical grades for him and I think it is becoming a valuable tool and incentive for him to do well. That and the promise of $10 every 6 weeks if he gets all A's! On the other hand we have Ibis, who was my "star pupil" last year when it came to doing her work with enthusiasm and a good attitude. I don't know what happened. Getting her to sit and complete her assignments this year is like pulling teeth. I think she is stressing about the move, and that's a big part of it. It shouldn't take an hour to complete three spelling pages that I know she's not having any trouble comprehending. I had to remove her from the main school table to the small kitchen table, and then I had to take her chair away because she was scooting it all around the kitchen floor. We got through math and spelling and I have shelved it for the morning; we still have grammar and social studies. I wasn't in a frame of mind to be an effective teacher to her and had to step back and take a break myself. I'm still searching for the right solution.

Then of course we have the two little ones. Coral was raring to go with her pre-K activities and she really liked making the handprint wings for her bee craft. I personally *love* anything that details how small and cute they are so using handprints in a craft is right up my alley! She's also been ripping through the workbook, I foolishly thought we'd go through and do one page per day, in order, and that would be that. My OCDometer is going haywire as she flips through and picks out anywhere from 2-5 pages a day at random, but she's having fun and learning and I can just relax and go with the flow. Only the nervous twitch at the corner of my eye can give me away now! :D Hobie is still not 100% well, he has a bit of a runny nose and a slight cough. He's been super fussy and has been spending most of the school day in the Ergo carrier. I am SO glad I chose to buy that in addition to the ring sling I had, because it is truly hands-free and a real lifesaver.

Hobie in the Ergo, eating my camera strap (and sporting a lovely bruise)

Alexei, Grade 4
math p 56-59 : adding and subtracting in the millions
English p 64-65: writing sentences and underlining nouns
writing : edit draft and make final copy of character description
social studies p 32-37 and homework p 9 : renewable and nonrenewable resources
read book of choice for 15 minutes

Ibis, Grade 2
math p 8-10 : use addition charts to add doubles and doubles plus one
spelling p 6-8 : short vowel e, o, u words

we got this part finished up in the evening:
grammar p 5-8 : adding punctuation to statements and questions
read book of choice
social studies p 32-39 : discuss the voting process and make an election sign

Would you vote for her?

Coral, pre-K
trace handprints, color and glue bee craft and add handprint wings
color stars and find and color circles and squares (workbook)
read together The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer
create and play with a clay family

Coral makes clay people while Alexei works on math

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

trivial pursuit

This has been in the back of my mind for awhile now - you know those conversations you have with yourself when you're alone and doing something routine and mundane, like taking a shower? No? Well, maybe I'm the only one who holds lengthy conversations with myself. And then talks to myself about having conversations with myself. Hmmm....at least I'm not *completely* nutty, because if I'm in the shower at least Woodstock (ala Peanuts) is in there with me, listening to my conversations. Assuming he reads minds. Hey, if a perfect likeness of the famed cartoon bird can perch on the ceiling of my shower, anything is possible.

Moving on! I think about this a lot. There's so much in this world that we seem to be constantly striving for. We want to look perfect, to have the right possessions, the right careers, live in the right neighborhoods. We like to be witty with our friends, adorn our children with the "in" look, make sure they grow up to become doctors and lawyers and successes. But does it really matter? I don't know how it is that we all got to feeling so incredibly self-important. There are close to seven BILLION of us humans out there these days, and that's only the live ones. We stress and stress over the silliest things in our daily lives, because it seems so significant at the time. But is it really?

You grow up hearing phrases like, "Make a good first impression." Okay, so you wear the perfect clothes, the perfect shoes, spend hours getting hair and makeup just so. You want everything to make that great impression. But so what? What if you didn't? I think we tend to focus on what's immediately in front of us and not the bigger picture. If you don't hit it off with that first guy, or get that job, or make a good friend, or even a good decision, life doesn't end. Whether you want it to or not, 6,999,999,999 of the rest of us move on and never even noticed you were out there, perfect or imperfect. I'm not saying, "Why bother?" but I am saying, "Why does it matter so much?" Why do we place SO much importance on material aspects?

I think two of the biggest evils in today's society are television and lines of credit. I'm not suggesting that I'm going to head out with my pitchfork looking for witches, but think about it! Many many people are very vested in television shows. I'm not anti-tv; there are some things out there I genuinely enjoy. I don't even mind my kids watching some of the God-awful cartoons. BUT, tv shows make us want. Of course there are the commercials which are nothing but solid ads for all the things you *could* have, but I'm talking about the shows themselves. We want the items we see our favorite characters enjoy. We want the lifestyles we see them have. We especially want that artificial humor, or closeness, or fun that we witness those tv families going through. We see extravagance and it seems so grand - huge homes where kids don't share rooms (or do share rooms and always get along - ha!), the newest and best gadgets, fancy cars. Big parties, photo shoots, jewelry. Even things like breakfast in bed and a cute card and necklace on Mother's Day. We actually feel disappointed when we don't get those things. Personally I can remember feeling cheated when I didn't "get" a baby shower when I was pregnant with Ibis. How many episodes of A Baby Story can a pregnant woman watch and then not expect a beautiful, picture-perfect baby shower, dangit! On some level at some point we have to realize that isn't real life.

Then we have lines of credit. Credit (especially credit cards) allow people to live beyond their means. We've been credit-card-free for over 5 years now and sometimes that's the hardest thing in the world; you see something you want and you know everybody else and his brother would just go and put it on a credit card and be done with it, but you can't. It is a VERY difficult impulse to resist - that's why you can't have a card "just for emergencies." Unfortunately we do have 2 car loans that I wish we didn't rely on, but we made a compromise and bought used but decent vehicles. We did opt to continue paying on my car and add a third row seat rather than purchase something newer and bigger after Hobie was born; that was a sound financial decision for us. We will also eventually get a mortgage on a house rather than pay fully in cash, and we are okay with that. But we have said no way to credit cards!

Here's why I think credit cards are bad news for everyone involved. It does let you live beyond your means - if you use one like most people, and like we used to, you're buying things that you wouldn't be able to afford with the cash you have on hand. Imagine for one moment if nobody had credit cards - we'd all stop buying things that weren't essentials (or some of us would forego the essentials for awhile, but eventually when you were trying to eat your PlayStation games you'd probably come around!) Instead of all buying everything *brand new* people would be forced to buy things that were within their actual means. The life of a (insert electronic device, etc. here) would be much longer. Instead of owning an iPhone and then an iPad and then an iWhateverComesNext all within a the span of a year, most people would have to settle for one thing. This crazy out of control throw it away when something better comes along consumerism would come to a grinding halt and maybe the whole world wouldn't be such a disaster! I'm not especially "green" and don't claim to be or even really want to be, but it does bother me that as a whole we are all so into self-importance and gimme gimme gotta have its that all of our morality sometimes goes right out the window.

And you know what's really funny? I don't even take long showers! I think Woodstock is getting to me....

Day 8

We are finally on the mend! Only the blue-eyed offspring seems to have suffered from this cold/whatever and Ibis was feeling well enough today to do school. Well, well enough that *I* felt like it was time to get back to school - she was rather lukewarm about the idea. I won't pretend that every day of homeschooling is all sunshine and butterflies. There are days where none of us much feels like doing any work! But, you have to get through the bad days just like you would anything else. Today wasn't too terrible, I didn't wind up online looking at our local public school's website and informing the children of what they'd be enjoying at public school lunch the next day! LOL

Alexei, Grade 4
math p 50-55 : estimating and adding, estimating and subtracting
English p 53-55 : Ch. 1 test
writing p 8-13 : adding vivid details to writing, drafting a description of a friend
read book of choice for 15 minutes (he's about halfway through Treasure Island)
science p 24-25 : Get Ready test

Ibis, Grade 2
math p 4-7: count on and use a number line to add
phonics p 13-18: short vowels e, o, and u
practice book p 8-11 : prepare to read Frog and Toad All Year
science p 18-23 : learn about scientific method and journal about coin rubbings
read Try It, You'll Like It by Marc Brown

Ibis enters information about coin rubbings into her science journal

Coral, pre-K
color and glue a circle bear (from DLTK's letter B crafts)
color things that are green
read together Sir Arthur to the Rescue by Marc Brown
decorate and bake cookies to give to family members

Coral presses M & M's and sprinkles into cookie dough balls
waiting for her treats to bake

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 7

We're still down a student - Ibis spent all of yesterday afternoon throwing up, and today she's white as a ghost and coughing and feverish. She definitely needed the day off! Then last night Hobie started acting ever so slightly sick - you could hear the teensiest rattle in his chest when he fussed. Then he screamed and cried and was inconsolable until about midnight. I finally rocked him to sleep and just brought him to bed with me, and he slept for about two hours. Then he woke up burning up with a fever and screamed the rest of the night. I gave him some infant Tylenol at about 6am and it seemed to help. He finally went down for a nap an hour ago, hopefully he will wake up feeling better! Poor kiddos :( Wonder if the other two will get sick? We're missing a park playdate/potluck with our homeschool friends today. Kids always know just when to get sick! I had kind of hoped maybe to just take the day off with Coral and *haha* take a nap, but she wasn't about to miss school today! Anyway, on to today's lessons.

Alexei, Grade 4
math p 40-47 : use rounding to add, use mental math
English p 46-47 : recognizing and rewriting run-on sentences
social studies p 26-31: read about weather and climate, and do homework pages 7-8
reading : read book of choice for 15 minutes

Ibis, Grade 2
enjoyed soup and tv on the couch

Coral, pre-K
color and glue Bobby B
4 workpages on tracing and coloring rectangles and triangles
read together Kipper by Mick Inkpen
paint and glue a paper plate puppet

painting her self-portrait puppet mask

her finished mask (she's holding on to a popsicle stick glued to the back)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 6

Alexei, Grade 4
math p 34-39 : rounding numbers in the tens, hundreds, & thousands
spelling p 3-6 : words with short vowels
grammar p 1-4 : selecting declarative and interrogative sentences
English p 42-43 : picking out simple subjects
read book of choice for 15 minutes
science p 18-23 : read about using the scientific method, and experiment predicting how many pennies Thursday's straw structure can hold up

Alexei works on math while Stripey guards the school table

Alexei's new and improved straw building, ready for pennies - he estimated it would hold up 15

the penny cup, completely full and the building still standing tall

holding up two full cups of pennies - who knew?

finally one penny cup fell off, but the building never toppled! 124 pennies later!

Ibis, Grade 2
Poor baby wasn't feeling well so she took today off. This is what those built-in Friday review days are perfect for!

Coral, pre-K
color Bb letter template
color, sort, and glue brown, gray, and black animals (from workbook)
read together and act out Pretend You're a Cat by Jean Marzollo - I can't say enough good things about this fun book!

Coral pretends she's a dog, from the book Pretend You're a Cat

Sunday, August 15, 2010

4-H awards!

This is a day and a half late since I was so busy yesterday, but I wanted to share! On Friday evening Alexei and Ibis received their 4-H awards for their project record books that they chose last school year. We didn't really know what to expect since this was our first year completing any record books, and our 4-H group basically fell apart over the spring after our leader had some personal issues, and didn't have any info for us. So I didn't know if either kid was going to receive any sort of award, or even if it was supposed to be an actual ceremony or just the kids getting their books back. I am so glad we went!

A little 4-H background, Alexei is a Junior and Ibis is a Cloverbud. It goes by age, 8-10 by Sept. 1st is a Junior and 5-7 is a Cloverbud - Cloverbuds have their own separate list of projects for younger kids and are awarded for participation and not actually graded. Kids choose a project(s) at the start of the school year and have to complete at least 6 of the activities in their project books. They also have to maintain financial records, demonstrate leadership and citizenship, write a project story, and exhibit something related to their project book at the fair. At the end of the school year they make a record book of their project activities complete with photos and those are turned in and graded by another club's leaders. Kids must score a 70% to receive an award. Any books that get a 90% or higher then go on to be compared to all of the other project books of that same category, and the one deemed best in each age category receives a special medallion. Cloverbuds are the exception - they get a purple award for attempting a record book and are not eligible for medallions.

Moving on, we got there and were surprised to see a stage and a program. We found our club listed in the program guide and both kids' names were there, so we knew Alexei had scored at least a 70% and that both kids were getting awards. Then we were looking at the listing of Project Medallion Winners and there was Alexei's name! He had won the Junior Bicycle award! The kids went up with their club and then our old co-leader handed them their certificates and ribbons, and Ibis got her first year pin and Alexei got his first year and his bicycle pins. Unfortunately they didn't get their books back (no one did) so hopefully that won't be a hassle since we switched clubs over the summer.

Ibis and Alexei (left) with a couple of their old clubmates on stage

The rest of the program went along, with me taking Hobie out to the hall because he decided to be screechy, and finally they got to the project medallion winners. Alexei was as mortified to be up on stage to receive his medal as he was excited! I think he was really proud of himself though - it's really great because his bicycle storyboard that he made for the fair (with basically zero understanding of what it was supposed to be) won a white award instead of a red or blue, and he was just crushed at the time. It's great to see how much he improved and the effort he put into his project book, and how his hard work paid off! I'm a very proud mommy :)

Alexei receives his medal

Ibis with her Pets award and Alexei with his Bicycle award

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week 1 pre-K wrap-up

If you're following along on my blog for your pre-K or preschool child (not sure if there's a difference in terminology there, I use them interchangeably), I'm going to have a weekly wrap up that highlights all of our activities for the week. You can see which books/links we used in my list on the right of this blog (under Followers).

This week was all about the letter Aa! We printed out crafts and activities from DLTK's Alphabuddies section  and while Coral needed help with using the scissors, she was able to color and glue independently.  We used the Letter Aa template, Angie A, the alligator craft, the superhero apple craft, and the letter Aa book (one per day).

We also learned about colors using a workpage per day in the Mead Preschool Workbook (Wal-Mart, less than $6). She actually chose to do a couple of extra pages and we did a color and sort activity from the book as well.

I selected a weekly theme of "school" and gleaned ideas from the PreKinders website. She painted her nameplate, made a mosaic, helped bake and frost cupcakes, sorted and played with math manipulative cubes, and practiced with a dry erase board (one per day).

We read together, or listened to Ibis read, a new book each day. We chose How Many Fish? by Carron Cohen, Try It, You'll Like It by Marc Brown, Arthur's Reading Race by Marc Brown, Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do by Eileen Christelow, and The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss.

In addition we joined in the older kids' art activity and painted and folded a pinwheel. This was definitely too advanced for the pre-K skillset but when you have older siblings, the little ones are not easily deterred!

Day 5

Note - I've built most Fridays in as days to catch up any missed/incomplete work or things that need extra attention, and we have a special art activity. We will soon be attending many Friday field trips with our new homeschooling group so our Fridays are fairly low-key.

Alexei, Grade 4
math p 31-33 : review fact families and related facts
read book of choice for 15 minutes (Treasure Island)

Ibis, Grade 2
read book of choice (she chose two - The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss and How Many Fish? by Carron Cohen)

Coral, Pre-K (she was really into it today so we did some additional activities)
color things that are gray
color, sort, and glue produce that is red, green, and blue
read and color the Alphabuddies Letter A book
read together The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss

Art, all grades
use markers and paint to decorate a square of cardstock to show color mixing, then fold into a pinwheel

Ibis paints her pinwheel square

Coral gets a little overzealous with pinwheel #1 (it was too wet to use)

Hobie's hangout during school today
Alexei's finished pinwheel
Ibis' finished pinwheel
Coral's finished pinwheel (#2)
pretty pinwheel vase