Showing posts from August, 2012

Crafts for Learning about Castles

We have been studying castles and medieval times for a few days and my boys are just loving this unit.  We have been reading books, watching movies, and enjoying a few hands- on crafts and lessons.

Ian spent a bit of time on the Lego Castle Adventure website reading all about medieval castles and creating his own coat of arms.

Evan also went on the Lego Castle site and with my help was able to earn a few trophies for his room.

He made a coat of arms and it was neat to hear his logic for all the things he picked:

He made his shield a diamond shape because he figured it would offer the most protection.  He picked the colors blue and yellow because they are his favorite.  He made the Falcon (bird) in the middle a deep red to match the trim he had chosen.   We read about castle jobs and took a little quiz.  He kept getting one or two wrong and in order to get the trophy you had to get them all right.  He got frustrated and quit and I couldn't blame him.

We moved over to the Medieval …

Writing can be fun?

Not really meaning to, we ended up doing quite a bit of a writing today.  The boys each received a letter from my mom and wanted to write back to her.  My boys typically hate writing and we have been trying all sorts of activities to help them look at writing as fun.

I thought today would be a good day to practice our writing.  Evan, once again dictated his letter to me to write for him.  I did make him write a few of the words in the letter though ("I love you"-- just some very small words to start) while the older two boys wrote their own.

Once again this was a struggle for Alec but Ian wrote quite a bit sitting in his room at his own desk.  We did have to edit for punctuation and missing words but all in all it wasn't horrible when I took into account the fact that he wrote it totally on his own in the same amount of time it took me to help Evan write his.

Before writing I asked them if they remembered the right way to set up the letter and we talked about the format of …

Castles in Connecticut?

We headed out on a day trip today.  The older boys brought a word search of shark terms and a dot- to- dot shark in the car for the long ride to Gillette's castle.   The boys were excited to be visiting a real life castle.

We planned to meet up with my sister and nephews, tour the castle and hike on some of the trails.   We also brought our three books on Cd and the Magic Tree House chapter book we started the other day to fill in the remainder of the ride.  Ian and Alec each took a turn reading one cheaper and then Alec just continued to read the entire rest of the book out loud to us all!  

I had planned on starting a Medieval unit on castles and knights this month.  So far I've gotten to the point where I told the boys we'd be learning about castles and knights and that's about it.

I did ask them today to tell me everything they know about castles and knights.  I then explained that while we were headed to a castle today it was not around during medieval times an…

Geography and Science: Learning about Florida, Outer Space and Plate Tectonics

Today we decided to focus the bulk of our schooling on geography and science.  My boys all love learning about geography and science that they willingly and eagerly participate!

We started our morning by finding Florida on the united states map and I had my kids tell me everything they knew about Florida. 

Here are some of the things they told me:

It's where Disney is and lots of other parks tooFlorida has more kinds of fish around it than any other part of the worldFlamingos are now extinct in FloridaIt's surrounded by ocean so it must have a lot of beaches.  They noticed it was on the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.  
We then watched an hour long documentary on Florida that took us to the Florida keys; where they showed us an underground hotel the kids thought looked really neat.  Remembering the hotel helped them also remember that there's coral reefs and that Key West is famous for scuba diving.

They learned that the Seminole Indians live in the Florida Everglades wi…

Busy Day Learning At Home

Every now and then we like to have a more traditional day of homeschooling at home.  We had a few errands to run and dentist appointment today but that did not stop us from enjoying a full and busy day filled with learning.

Ian started his day with some Lego multiplication shown here while  Alec played Words With Friends and math bingo on my Kindle.  Ian also built some projects with his K'nex then they all ate breakfast and got ready for our day.

I had printed out a math drill for each boy-- Ian on his times 3's (which he was insulted because he left off on times 4's in school but I explained this was a review) and Alec on his +3's.  I timed them each one minute to see how many they could get done and told them we'd try to do this at least once a week and all I'd like is for them to keep beating their old score.  Ian laughed to realize he only answered 4! " I guess I do need to practice those!" he said.   Alec answered 10.  This was a super simple mat…

Another Animal Adventure Day

We were off on an adventure today, once again to the zoo.  We just love our trips to the zoo and all that we learn about the animals each time we go.

I had my kids do some schoolwork before we left.

Ian worked on the next two lessons in his math curriculum and Alec worked on some basic addition facts while Evan, once again, asked if he could please do a sheet from his  alphabet dot to dot book.

While Ian and Alec read Evan played with the remote control car they made yesterday.

Alec choose to read the flightless bird packet I had given him to read on the way to the beach and he filled in the question sheets too.  He shared many of the facts he was learning about the birds all throughout his reading.   He really amazed me today; one question on the paper asked how much an Elephant bird could weigh.  I didn't think he'd be able to figure it out since it only tells you that it weighs as much as three ostriches.  The article does say that one ostrich can weight up to 300 lbs.  He look…

Independence Is Best; Encouraging Young Children to be Independent in their Studies

While we were finally planning on not having a day trip today I am hosting a party at my house tonight for a ladies night out, which I find I need more than ever now that I'm home with the kids all the time.

However, having been out all week I haven't had much time to clean or prepare any foods so I was already trying to figure out how to have an actual day of learning and still get everything done on my list.

I'm still trying to figure that out.

Little by little I am trying to encourage them to be more independent with their schoolwork.

We headed out bright and early to the supermarket and Evan asked if he could please do two worksheets today.

I once again pulled out a dot- to- dot/ maze sheet for him to work on in the car (he asked if he could do another one once we were home; of course I said yes!).

Alec and Ian choose to read.

Alec continued reading the Jungle Book while Ian choose a Curious George book to read.  I was a bit disappointed it was what I would consider below gr…

Learning On the Go; Hiking at the Beach

Today we headed to the shoreline once again.  This time we went to the beach for a homeschool hike and picnic. 

We met up with four other homeschooling families from various parts of the state to hike around the area and explore nature.  We don't often get to meet up with this group of hikers since they often hike quite far away from our home, but today they were heading to a favorite beach of ours and both myself and the boys couldn't wait to meet up these wonderful families. 

I decided to try giving the boys a few worksheets that they could work on in the car since it's been awhile since we've done anything resembling math, geography or science.   I wasn't sure how my boys would feel about that though since I've shied away from most anything resembling a worksheet  But amazingly enough they were just fine with the three worksheets I gave them.

Once at the beach we met up with our fellow hikers (and a few new families too) and off we went. 

The kids were trying to…

Finding time to learn.

Today we headed out to see some friends of ours that live on the shoreline.  I knew we wouldn't have much time at home in the morning to get our school work done so I focused on those things that couldn't be learned on the go.

I find that so often on this homeschooling journey that our busy life gets in the way of homeschooling.

Now I know I can cut back on activities and "fun" in order to find more time to sit with the boys and do schoolwork, but I find that if I just tweak our schedule we can usually find a way to do both! That makes for a much more fun and enriched life.

The two older boys did their math lessons.  Now that we're getting into the lessons they are getting much harder.  It's amazing what the flip of one page did for Alec's lessons.  He learned so many new things today (many of which would be review for a typical second grader), I'm not sure if he'll be able to retain it all so I'm thinking we'll supplement his lessons a…

What schedule? When a Homeschooling Schedule Isn't Working

Wasn't it just last week that I wrote proclaiming we'd decided on a schedule for homeschooling?   Well, it seems to be forgotten already!  I'm not sure why it is but I seem unable to keep a homeschooling routine/ schedule going.

I hear from many of my friends that they could never home school because they aren't organized.

That is one fear I never had.

I am so organized it isn't even funny.

I used to alphabetize my Cd's, movie and book cases-- that's how organized I usually am!

However, the older my kids get and the more independent they try to be the more I find I have to change my standards so our Cd's, books, and movies are no longer alphabetized, our toys bins are no longer labeled (with pictures & words) as to what is found inside.

It allows my children to take out and put away movies, music, toys, and books without worrying about being perfect.

I am starting to see that homeschooling is going to be the same way.

A structure just doesn't allow the…