Friday, November 8, 2013

Experiments, Crafts, and Building - Weekly Wrap-Up

We're linking up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers again this week for their Weekly Wrap - Up.

This week we've been busy, busy, busy around here! We've started our "thankful leaf wall", made "I can" cans, crocheted with our fingers, drawn, created paper dolls, played board games, made oozing pumpkins, built Mommy and Daddy a bed, and (oh yeah) did our school work too.

For an extra science project we made "oozing" pumpkins this week. You can read all about it here. I saw this on a post sometime last week and thought that it was just "cool" enough to catch all of the kiddos attention. I knew that the weather wasn't going to be warm enough, or the jack-o-lanterns fresh enough, to put this off for very long. As it is when we did get around to doing it (just a few days after Halloween) all three of the jack-o-lanterns had begun molding. Peanut piped up with the song "decay" from Sid the Science Kid and that began a quick discussion about why things decay and mold before we even did our oozing experiment. We did run into a few snags like ECJ not listening to directions well and almost having a red food coloring mess all over my dining room (his ADHD was kicking his rear end that day), and Peanut's pumpkin having it's mouth higher than the other kids so that we had to keep adding ingredients to her pumpkin to get it to "ooze". But, all of us had fun doing this. 

ECJ gets to use Apologia science this year after all! I was reading one of my normal blogs the other day and she'd made the announcement about finding a totally FREE place where you still were able to do the full Apologia science courses (at least a few). Of course it doesn't include a text book and it's all online but it's FREE. *(You can check it out for yourself here. )* And because I was tempted to purchase Apologia's general science course this year for ECJ and had decided to put it off until next year for budget reasons, I decided that we'd give the site a shot. So far ECJ's liking it and I'm enjoying it as well. I'll be doing a review on it in a few weeks, or a month, once I determine if it's working for us. 
Thankful wall on Monday 11/4/13

Thankful wall on
Friday 11/8/13
Another shot of Friday
We began our thankful wall. This year, because all of the campers seem to forget just how much we have, we're making a thankful leaf wall. The idea here is to pick a piece of construction paper and write or draw what we're thankful for, then cut out a shape (hopefully leaf) from around what was written, and tape it up to our wall. Doing one "leaf" a day each weekday (we're leaving off the weekends) until Thanksgiving. That way we can see just how much we really do have and remember to be thankful for it. So far I've been very impressed with the kiddos choices for each day. We have family members, God, Jesus, and the world just to name a few "leafs". This is really helping with Peanut's cutting skills and YCJ's spelling skills on top of them realizing everything they are thankful for.

We also made our "I can" cans. I can't claim credit for this idea, it's listed in my teachers plan book on one of the extra ideas page. I absolutely love my teachers plan book, it's the Elementary Teacher's Planbook Plus by Kid's Stuff and I bought it online from Barns and Nobel last winter in preparation for this school year. Anyways... the idea here is to take a cleaned, empty soup can (though any container would work), personalize it and decorate it, and then keep it AND slips of paper where easily gotten to. You explain to your children while you're helping them make these that whenever you think of something you CAN do you need to write it on one of the slips of paper, fold the paper, and put it in your can. At the end of the year (or if they're really having a down day) they can see just how much they really can do. This is supposed to help them have a less negative attitude about things. Instead of constant complaints about what they CAN'T do (*shudder* I really dislike that word) it shifts their thoughts to what they CAN do. So far (we're only five days into ours) it seems to be helping. I keep them on our dining room table along with the slips of paper and writing utensils. I've noticed them writing things down here and there just as the thought comes to them, this is a good thing.

We built Mommy and Daddy's bed! You can read all about it here. But, everyone had fun and we got the job done! Which means that Daddy and I have been able to sleep in our own room for the first time since we moved into this house for most of the week. Ahh the sweet sense of privacy, the satisfaction of a job well done, and the ability to sleep with all the lights off! Sometimes it's the little things in life that make us very very happy.

Of course, we did lessons all week long as well. All the kiddos are doing very well at their lessons, their grades are good, and we've gotten our school day routine down pat now. Our schedule remains the same as I shared at the beginning of the school year, it's just far more condensed time wise. What I had originally planned most of the day for usually takes us less than three hours to complete! This leaves plenty of time for chores, outside time, and for everyone to do the things we each enjoy doing by ourselves. Which has lead to many hours this week of children spontaneously creating, reading, building, etc... :
Homemade refrigerator alphabet magnets -
dry erase!
Step-by-step to be posted another time.

Those foam blocks are a new addition to our house this week. Next Wednesday I'll be posting on how these work for us and what we use them for. Let's just say here that they're wonderful for learning (all ages), fun to play with (again for all ages), and I spent less than $3 on 100 of them! And while we've always enjoyed board games of all types for fun, this week a friend of ours from Learning Life with 3 Sons gave us two new ones that we've actually been able to incorporate into our school days. The Original Memory Game and Hi Ho Cherry-O! These have been great fun for all of us and are helping Peanut with her memory, counting, and fine motor skills ... all of which are great things! It helps that she really enjoys them as well.

With Mom and Dad being able to move into our own room that frees up the living room again! This means that the kids can spread out a little more when they're doing lessons and yet I still have them where I can keep an eye on them. Peanut likes that the round table is back in the living room because she can sit on the foot stool and do her work. It's a perfect spot for her to play games and spread her things out the way she wants as well. Elder Cracker Jack joined us back at the dining room table this week. While is school work was right on the money he did have trouble paying attention as the week wore on and it was decided today that he'll be moving back into his bedroom for the bulk of the lessons. When he's distracted the girls get distracted and very little work gets done. Also, confession time, when he's with us at the table I tend to have him help YCJ instead of spending the time helping her myself. 
With the living room almost empty again the kiddos were also able to get a bit more physical activity on the rainy day this week. It happened to fall on a day that they were watching a video about how to do push-ups correctly. YCJ and Peanut did them first and then ECJ followed suit. 

We're re-reading the books we still have on loan from the library at the moment. A quick couple of lessons are planned for the book we borrowed about Kentucky for next week as well as the science book we picked up about forest life. At the end of next week we'll be making a trip back to the library for some more reading materials. 

But, it's time for stage 3 of dinner so I better get back to work. I'm making homemade perogies tonight and the recipe I use as a guide I've broken down into step processes because it makes them easier to make.

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** Other posts from this week:
Our Thankful November
This Week's Menu Plan
Meet the Campers - Nature Loving Girl
5 Reasons to Teach Kids about Voting
Oozing Pumpkin Experiment
Building Projects Work for Us
Our Time Outside This Week - will be out tomorrow 11/9/13

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  1. Gosh those activities look fun. I really have to add in more projects next school year.

    1. They were fun! I didn't do very many last year and this year sometimes it seems we're doing nothing but projects (even though I know it's not true) ... Projects can be fun and sometimes I even get to learn something new about my kiddos :-)