Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lesson Plan - Week 15

McG - McGuffey's Primer     FP - Forest People

Posts Outlining Activities From This Week's Lesson Plan:

This was last week's lesson plan, but things didn't happen as planned, plus Trevor and I both came down with pretty bad colds, so we covered it in two weeks instead of one.  LOVE the flexibility of homeschooling, even though I struggle with getting off schedule =)

This big change this week is that we have started using McGuffey's Primer.  So far I am absolutely loving it!  The lessons are so short, but they are actual sentences for Trevor to read, plus there is so much to talk about such as punctuation, how to change your voice when you read a question, simple comprehension questions, etc.  We are continuing to take a few spelling words from The Writing Road to Reading each week and use them to practice spelling, writing, and reading.  We review words and phonograms from previous weeks both orally and written.  Then we do our McGuffey lesson.  I think Trevor is really enjoying seeing that he can read more than stand alone words.  Lastly, he does a sheet of copywork that I created to go with the McGuffey lesson.  I really should do a post outlining exactly how we do reading and writing...maybe I'll get to that later this week =)

What are you learning in your home this week?  I'd love for you to share!

Happy Learning!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review - Big Book of History

I recently received the Big Book of Historyto review from New Leaf Publishing Group.  I was very excited to look through this book (really, a 15 food fold-out time-line that folds up nicely into a book =) because I already own The Timechart History of the World (which is the same idea) and love it.  The Big Book of History, though is designed for elementary age children and is written from a decidedly Christian perspective, so I was excited to see what it would be like!

First, let me write just a bit about the book itself before going into my comments about it.  The book starts at Biblical creation (dating that at 4004B.C.) and goes to today (the book was written in 2011).  It has four different colored lines running through each of the pages, each one designating a different classification of history.  The four classifications are: Biblical/Christianity, World Events, Inventions/Technology, and Civilization/Empires.  For the Biblical years of the time-line, it is mostly just things from the Bible put into each of those classifications, with a few items from other parts of the world here and there.  As time goes on, they tell more of other parts of the world, focusing on America at the end of the time-line.

Before I start my critique, let me first say that I would definitely recommend this book to any family who has a elementary age child.  The focus on the Bible as truth is commendable and just putting events in order is always helpful =)  This book was obviously designed for elementary age kids who would rather look at pictures and read snippets of information than read any lengthy amount, so if that is your child (as I suspect most would be!), then this really, truly would be a great book for you!

Since this is supposed to be a review I would be remiss to not also voice my critiques.  To elaborate on my point above about pictures and snippets of information, honestly I found the book to be distracting for this reason.  I would expect a time-line to mostly be, well, a time-line, but this book is mostly large pictures with notes, lists, Biblical info, or interesting facts next to them.  While it was interesting, I found it very hard to focus on the actual flow of events found on the time-line.  Even within the time-line portion, there are swirls and arrows pointing off of it to one of the pictures, and while it's interesting to look at, I just don't think that our children need that to be able to learn from a book (or at least shouldn't need that!)

Also, this is a very streamlined capture of history, which there is nothing wrong with having in a book, but if you are a family who is learning history chronologically and is desiring to learn how all areas of the world (recorded in the Bible and not) fit together, you will not find that here in much detail.  I was hoping to see more breakdown of what was going on in different parts of the world, but really it's just 'Biblical' vs 'The Rest of the World' all in one clump.

I think this would be a nice book to have on hand and would be fun for your child to browse through to learn interesting facts about random things.  This could be used for your child to quickly run through Biblical history (so long as they can focus on the time-line and not get sidetracked by all the swirls and arrows pointing them away towards the pictures!) and to do a fly over review of post-Biblical history.  If you are looking for a great comprehensive teaching tool for your child to be able to refer back to over and over, finding something new to discover each time, sadly this is not the book you are looking for.  I really wanted to love this book, but honestly I just like it.  Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe it's just not my teaching style, I'm not sure, but it might be your style!  The information is solid, so if this sounds interesting to you and you don't mind my critiques of it, Big Book of History might be a great addition to your library!

Happy Reading!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Visiting Your Favorite Summer Spot

Inspired by another great idea from The Kids' Nature Book, the kids and I headed out to the beach.  "What?  In the winter?"  Yes!  The book challenged us to think of our favorite summer spot and go visit it!  We love going to a local beach on a small lake in the summer, so that is where we went.

Before we left, we talked about what the beach was like in the summer time.  We used words like warm, bright, sandy, water, etc.  Then I had Trevor draw a picture of the beach in the summertime using these descriptive words to help him know what to draw.

The kids playing at the beach in the summertime.

Then we bundled up and headed out.  When we got there, or course it was very different!  First of all, there were no other people there (of course =).  Also, it was white instead of green (for the trees and grass), the sand was still there, but it was harder instead of nice a soft.  Of course it was cold and windy instead of warm.  We noticed that the sun was still shining and the water was in the same place.  The birds though, were missing, and the water looked different.  Instead of it dancing on the shore, it was frozen around the edges so that it didn't move!  We noticed how the water was hard for a few feet around the edges, but once you looked out a little more, the water still moved.

The kids playing at the same beach in the wintertime.

When we got home we drew how the beach looked.  If you look closely you might be able to notice how there are birds in the summer drawing and none in the winter drawing.  There are people in the summer drawing and none in the winter drawing.  The sun is bigger and brighter in the summer drawing (trying to show warmth).  The sky is a brighter blue in the summer drawing and you can't tell at all, but he colored white over the water's edge in the winter drawing to depict snow and ice.

The kids both really enjoyed cracking off pieces of ice and throwing them into the water.  I think they would have stayed there all day, but it really was very cold, so we only stayed out for a few minutes.  It was a fun activity to do and I think comparing one particular place to itself in a different season was a great way to help a young one understand how the cold air really changes a lot outside!  So, think of the place your child loved going to the most in the summer, bundle up, and head out to see what it looks like now!

 Would you like to have an activity sheet and printable instructions for this and 9 other science activities for preschoolers?

Get my Preschool Science (& Nature) printable pack for free!

 Looking for more preschool information?  Click on the picture below to find a list of all the preschool posts here at Living and Learning at Home, plus some of my favorite preschool resources!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Science Activity - What's that Taste?

We've been focusing on the senses that past few weeks for our science activities.  So far we have covered touch, smell, and now this week taste.  The inspiration for this taste activity came from my friend Kristina over at School Time Snippets.  She did this activity as part of a Five in a Row lesson on the book Lentil.  Kristina blogs about all their Five in a Row adventures (and more!) which I always find inspiring!  If you're not familiar with her blog, check it out!   Later I also found this post from Raising the Cameron Clan and use a lot of their ideas too, so check that one out as well if this sounds fun to you!

So here is what we did...

First I gathered our supplies.  Into Dixie Cups went lemon juice, vanilla extract, and sugar water and salt water that I made.

I touched each of the Q-tips to different parts of Trevor's tongue and asked him where he felt the taste the strongest.  Then he colored on that part of the tongue.  I guess there are certain parts of the tongue that have the particular taste buds for the four different types of taste, but Trevor's tongue must be special because his was pretty much opposite ;)

Here are some fun pictures I captured.  I don't remember which face was for which taste...except I'm pretty sure that the one he is sucking on was the sugar water =)

Of course this turned into a dumping activity for Mackenzie...this girl is obsessed!

Happy Tasting!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good Books Copywork - bed, top, he you


 Well, this week's installment of Good Books Copywork is going to be the last.  You can read my thoughts on why over on this postI am currently working on I just finished writing an eBook of copywork to be used with McGuffey's Eclectic Primer.  (Come check it out!  You get a page for each of the 52 lessons in the primer for just $1.00!) This version of the primer is free to use and you can find it at Project Gutenburg where you can download it and print it out if you desire.  We have started using this (along with the copywork I have put together) and I am excited to see the results as we progress through the book! 

Ok, now back to the point of this post...the spelling/writing words for this week are 'bed' 'top' 'he' and 'you.'   In case it is your first time visiting, let me explain what these pages are... I am putting together copywork pages for each of the spelling words we are learning this year.  These sheets are a marriage of two resources, The Writing Road to Reading and the 1000 Good Books  list at Classical Christian Homeschooling.  The spelling words are taken in order from the Writing Road to Reading and I have paired each one with a sentence from one of the books on the 1000 Good Books list.

 Previous weeks copywork packs:

This week's copywork pack:

Happy Writing!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Lesson Plan - Week 14

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Posts Detailing Activities From This Week:

It took us two weeks to get through this lesson plan.  I guess we were out and about a little too much or something, no biggie =)

We finished up what I wanted to cover in Child's Book of Character Building the week before, and I hadn't thought ahead enough to have another book ready, so we just took the week off and reviewed past memory verses instead of doing a new one.  I guess I originally had thought that I would make up lessons to go with the other character traits that I wanted to cover, but honestly I don't feel like working on that at the moment, so I preferred getting another book.  I went ahead and ordered Wisdom and the Millers: Proverbs for Children to read through next.  Have any of you read through that with your children?  I got a few positive reviews from other people and it is listed at Simply Charlotte Mason under personal development to read after Child's Book of Character Building, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'd love to know if you have an opinion on it!

For writing, I've been going back and forth in my head about my Good Books Copywork pages.  I am torn as whether or not to continue them.  I have thoroughly enjoyed using them, and I think they have been effective, but as Trevor is reading more and more words I really would like him to start reading sentences now.  The sentences on the Good Books Copywork pages I have made were designed for him to practice writing,  not reading though (I chose short manageable sentences for writing, but that words are not necessarily simple to read), so I'm thinking of moving to a reader and making copywork for him from there.  It would be far less work for me, since the sentences would be straight from that day's lesson, but I hate to stop in the middle of something without finishing, so I'm torn.  If we go to a reader, I think we would start with The Original McGuffey's Eclectic Primer.  If anyone has used any McGuffey books, I'd love to hear what you experience was like.  So I guess I'm leaning toward still introducing new spelling words like usual from Writing Road to Reading and using their method for teaching reading, but starting McGuffey as a reader and making copywork from there.  If any of you more experienced mommies happens to have any suggest on the matter, I'd love to hear it =)

Happy Learning!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Revew: A is for Adam

 A Is for Adam, by Ken and Mally Ham, is a book that we have owned for a few years because it was recommended by the 1000 Good Books list that I enjoy, but I recently discovered that Master Books came out with a new version complete with talking points, extra activities, etc. to go with each page.  The text of the book is essentially the same, they have just added these extra things to make it super friendly for teaching your children.  I was very excited when I got the chance to review this new edition courtesy of New Leaf Publishing Group.

A is for Adam is essentially a poem broken down into 26 parts (one for each letter of the alphabet) that takes the reader from the creation of Adam to the return of Christ.   It is quite detailed describing the first few chapters of Genesis, hits some points in the rest of Genesis and then zooms right to Christ.  The theology is good, teaching that a sacrifice is needed for our sin and that sacrifice is Christ!

What is neat about this book is that it sits up like a triangle so your child can look at the picture and text while you look at the other side which has the text again along with all the extras.  Each page has a short, simple commentary on the stanza, sentences for your child to repeat (for better Biblical understanding), questions to ask you child (for comprehension), a key point for your child to remember, other suggested activities to do with your child, and then a quick review.

This book is generally geared for children, but what is neat is that they add a section at the back that gives a more detailed commentary on each of the pages from the beginning, connecting them to other parts of the Bible where appropriate.  This enables you to use this with all of your children at once, which any homeschool mom can appreciate! 

This book could definitely serve as a Bible curriculum for your homeschool if you are teaching the first parts of the Bible and want to make sure that you show how the beginning is related to the end and that Christ is the thread that weaves it all together!  I definitely recommend this book, and encourage you to check it out if you are looking for something to aid in teaching this part of the Bible to you children.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Science Activity - What's That Smell?

Our Sid the Science Kid activity for this week was called "What's that Smell?"  We recently explored our sense of  touch, and coming up I'll share our exploration of taste, but for this week we are exploring with our noses!

First I gathered up our supplies.  I filled bowls with cinnamon, honey, peanut butter, and pickle juice.  I also gabbed a tube of toothpaste and a bottle of tea tree essential oil.

Then I blind folded the kids.  Mackenzie had a hard time keeping hers on =)

Then I took each item, one at a time, and waved it in front of their noses.  Trevor correctly guessed the cinnamon, pickle juice, and honey.  He thought the peanut butter was oatmeal, but that was understandable because I have put peanut butter in his oatmeal before.  He peeked when I put the toothpaste in front of his nose, and the wasn't sue about the tea tree oil.  I think Mackenzie peeked for all of them =)

Then the kids got to take their blind folds off and explore the food items with their other senses to see if they guessed right!  Mostly they just wanted to eat the honey.

Then Trevor had a great idea...he wondered what would happen if we mixed all the items together.  So we mixed the food items (minus the pickle juice!) and they enjoyed eating it.  He also wanted to know what would happen if we heated it up (he thought it would get softer), so I put the concoction in the microwave for a few seconds and sure enough it got a little softer!

Mostly Mackenzie just wanted to drink the pickle juice...yuck!

If this activity sounds fun to you and your kids, check out this and other Sid the Science Kid episodes!

Have you done any experiments with your senses or other fun science activities with your children?  I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Exploring!

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