Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homeschooling preschool: week 1

Eventually, I'll actually have printable card you can print and organize, but for now I'll just put the content of each card on here!

Overview card 1

Theme: Snow
Shape: circle
Color: white
Letter: S
Number: 0 (zero)
Concept: same/different
Verse: psalms 139:14
Science: Every snowflake is different just like me!

Theme card: snow
Monday:read snow poem (from Internet search), discuss that snow comes in winter
Tuesday: play with shaving cream on table (pretend its snow)
Wednesday: make snow scene with white paint on black or navy paper. Thumbprints are snow flakes
Thursday: make snow playdoh (mix white glitter into white playdoh)
Friday: make waterless snow globes (hot glue bristle trees to jar lids, put a little fake snow in jar, close lid, display jar upside down)

Number card: 0

Monday: discuss number
Tuesday: write 0 in the shavingcream snow
Wednesday: 0 coloring page*
thursday: 0 writing worksheet*
Friday: 0 writing on lined paper

Shape card: Circle

Monday: introduce shape, sing song about shape (find song online)
Tuesday: draw shape in shaving cream
Wednesday: collage, glue circles in shape of a snowflake
Thursday: circle scavenger hunt, look for circles in environment, and/or place circles to be found around house
Friday: circle worksheet

Verse card: ps 139:14

Monday: recite verse
Tuesday: Verse coloring page (can be found online)
Wednesday: snowflakes verse scramble (write each word or a couple words on snowflake and put in proper order)
Thursday: snowflake verse scramble
Friday: large snow scene or banner with the snowflakes from the verse scramble permanently attached together.

Concept: same/ different

Monday: talk about the meaning
Tuesday: worksheet
Wednesday: have objects or pics to be compared, place same objects in one container or pile, different in another.
Thursday: worksheet
Friday: same activity as Wednesday

Letter: s
Monday: introduce letter, sing song about letter, trace with finger
Tuesday: write letter in shaving cream on table
Wednesday: iPad app (pocket phonics)
Thursday: writing page
Friday: coloring/writing page

Color: white
- remind how snow is white with all activities
- verbally spell white daily
- point out white things in the environment
- white scavenger hunt

Science card: every snowflake is different
- read books about snowflakes
- look at snowflake pics online (of actual snowflakes)
- we both make a snowflake by folding paper and making cuts then compare how they are different
- talk about how snowflakes are different and people are different too, read a book about someone who is different

I try to stagger the activities we do. For example do a sitting activity then a crafty/fun activity then sitting activity. I also don't have to do everything I one sitting. On days we read books, we might wait til bed time, for example.

Homeschooling preschool: How I plan

Thanks for starting with me on our homeschooling journey! As i mentioned in my last post, I'm really only committed to homeschooling until kindergarten. Before I share with you the week's plans, I thought I'd share a general overview of how I make my plans.

First up, how I organize my plans.

I have chosen to keep my plans on note cards in one of those note card boxes. For each week there are 9 cards. The first is my starting place. On it is the week number (1-52), the theme for the week, and {at this point} shape, color, letter, number, concept, Bible memory verse, and science concept. That gives me a general overview for the week. Each other card has a category on it. As we go along the categories on the cards will change, but this is the basis for a while. I was having trouble pinpointing what exactly to call the concepts. They are basically things like over/under, longest/shortest, etc. They will get more complex as we go along, but for now, she needs to learn these things. Science is not necessarily the science we think of in a strict sence. It can be anything from an actual science thing to the fact that there are generations in a family. Science is one simple concept that correlates with the theme. The first week for example is that every snowflake is different, and our theme is snow.

Secondly, my method of planning.

After I have my first card hammered down, I create a card for each of the categories. There is a card for the theme, shape, color, verse, letter, etc. On each of these cards I write the days Monday-Friday. Beside each day I write the planned activity for the day. Emphasis on PLANNED! I don't want her to get bored with learning. I feel like the most important thing I can do to get her ready for school (weather at home or not) is to make her excited to learn. If she gets restless, and doesn't want to do anything else, we will stop or even just change focus. If it doesn't all get done, then it's totally ok! Some cards don't have an activity for each day, and some activities will be repeated.

You'll be able to understand this as you look through my plans for the week, I just wanted to explain a little of the meathod to the madness!

Homeschooling: How I've Decided to Teach Reading

Im not 100% sure that we will homeschool, I'm still praying about that one, but I am doing it for preschool. There's two reasons for this. 1) I want to make sure Lilly can read before kindergarten. 2) I want to practice homeschooling before it actually counts. I'm a little worried about taking on the sole responsibility of her learning. I do KNOW that Lilly would get a better education (at least through 3 grade) if she were taught by me. Our school system just isn't that great. I doubt we would homeschool through high school, I just want her to have a super strong foundation. That said, I'm not sure it would benefit her socially to be homeschooled. She already has tendencies to be shy, so I don't really want to reinforce that. All things we are praying about! It's such a HUGE decision!

Since I have decided, to at least teach her how to read, I knew I needed a good method. We got an app on my iPad that she loves, and has already started reading some words just in her usual play. In the app, you can sign up for an email that explains the best way to teach kids to read. It is backed by research and is apparently the method used in many countries in Europe. (the app is called Pocket Phonics)The whole goal of this is to get kids reading earlier, not just in age, but also during the process of learning the letters. The meathod basically has two components.

1) Initially only call the letters by their sounds. The reasoning for this is that it's less information to have to remember. This was like a light bulb moment for me! It totally makes sence. They will of course learn their letter names, that's not actually that hard to retain. And I'm not super strict about this one. I do say the name sometimes, but when I discuss the letters I emphasize "this letter sounds like..." so that she knows there's a name, we just only learn the sound.

2) Don't teach in the abcd... Order. We teach in groupings of letters that will form words early on. this way, she will reach the achievement of reading almost from the beginning. Our first grouping is A,S,T,N,P,I.

This is so different than how they teach in schools, and pretty different than how I was taught. I am teaching her all six letters at once via the app, but I'm emphasizing one letter a week. This is mostly to help with writing practice. I very much feel like phonics is the absolute best way to learn. I hate whole language learning, it just leaves too many kids behind. I am going to be emphasizing good penmanship while she learns how to write, I just don't think schools focus on that enough!

I think you'll better understand this meathod as I post our lesson plans this week. It's slightly unconventional, but I think it's what will work best for my child, and that's what's important!

Photo shoot day!

Back in October I had a fall photo day, and one client's photos were just not good. It was a mix of too high ISO, poor lighting, and a little girl that just really wanted to play on the nearby playground. It was a deadly combination! So I offered them 50% off of a family shoot, just because imlike that. I felt terrible for the poor quality of the pics. We got together today, and the pics turned out great! Like seriously, I think it's one of the best shoots I've had!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
I also took the opportunity to get a few shots of Lilly before they came, and OMG love! They came out so well, I'm so glad she cooperated with me!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, December 2, 2011

Green Tip: Super Conditioning Hair Treatment

It wasn't too long ago that I had my hair done by someone who apparently had no clue what she was doing. My hair went through 5 processes to get it a color that looked somewhat like a natural color. My hair literally felt like Barbie doll hair it was so fried. I knew I had to do my best to repair it, though it would never get back to its original healthier state. I went to the hair product isle at the local super department store and decided to try a Panteen hair repair product that had 5 vials of conditioner. It worked pretty well, but was getting a little expensive.

Here comes my natural alternative that works BETTER than the chemical laden store brands. Coconut oil, the unrefined kind. I'm serious, this stuff is amazing! It has antibacterial, anti fungal, and super moisturizing properties. It's a little miracle in a jar. Knowing all the goodness this stuff does, I had to see what, if anything, it would do for my hair. The results were amazing! My hair became completely manageable, and all the split ends looked like they had disappeared.

So, I'm gonna let you in on this miracle process! It's super easy, you're going to love it!

Step 1: Slather the stuff in your hair, be sure to get it on every strand, especially the tips. Don't worry, you will only look like the dorky kid in school that never washed her hair for only a night, I PROMISE!

Step 2: Comb through your hair to make sure it's evenly coated. At this point you may want to twist it up into a bun. That's totally up to you.

Step 3: Go to sleep, enjoy smelling like a coconut pie.

Step 4: Wash that stuff right out of your hair! One wash will most likely get it out, but you may need to do the whole rinse and repeat thing. If you repeat, put conditioner in your hair before getting out. If you don't, you might just be able to get by without the conditioner.

Step 5: Do whatever you do to let your hair dry. Style like normal and enjoy your beautiful hair!

When you get out of the shower you should totally use the oil for your moisturizer! Since it's 100% natural, your body will absorb the goodness, way better than it will from a chemical moisturizer from the store! The coconut smell will go away after a bit, so don't worry about smelling like a pie all day.

Hope it works as well for you as it has for me!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pinterest Christmas Decor Ideas

I just love this time of year! There are so many wonderful crafts to be made! Thanks to pinterest, my list is a mile long this year! Unfortunately, we are at the point in our remodel that I had to lose my desk to make room for the doorway to the addition.  It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make because in about 2 weeks I'm going to have my dream craft room.  oh the joy!! There are few things I've been doing.  I've been crocheting like a mad woman, and doing little things.  But, since I don't actually have the space to do a lot, I thought I'd show you some of the things from pinterest that have been getting my crafty juices flowing! {make sure you're following me on Pinterest!!}

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I know, I know, this is more of a Fall thing, but how cute would this wreath from Etsy be in Christmas colors? (sorry, the link to the item is no good now, but I *think* itzfitz made it)  It looks ridiculously easy to make (and definitely would be less than the $40 price tag).  I'm thinking it would be adorable to have a snowman or santa instead of the owl, and snowflakes and/or poinsettias instead of the flowers.  {I'm hoping to do a tutorial on making my Christmas version soon!}

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Pinned ImageThese waterless snow globes from Sweet Something Design blog are rediculously easy, and so cute! They are a project I will be doing with Lilly for our snow unit next week! {We've started doing preschool homeschooling! I'll be posting my lesson plans each week, so watch for that!}

This is EASILY my favorite find on pinterest this year! I'll be making this, and putting it on a wall with a reindeer prints on either side.  {I'll post a pic once I get them done!}  Keeping with the silhouette theme, I'm thinking a silhouette print of a nativity scene would be awesome elsewhere! This idea comes to pinterest via Compulsive in Texas

I'm making a few of these trees from How to Nest For Less already! They have the tinsel, but I'm adding in some small ornaments too!
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 Ah, that's quite a good looking group of ideas huh? I can't wait til our remodel is done so I can at least decorate! I can't even put up anything cause we have to paint walls! It really, really stinks!  Hope y'all have been able to get your stuff out and it's beautiful!

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