Friday, October 29, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

This has been an exceptionally weird week so I thought I'd share a few links that have been on my mind and a little story from Ezra. If you'd like to read more Quick Takes, Jen has all the links!


Ann's post about the importance of memorizing Scripture is now printed out and hanging where I can see it throughout the day.


Kara wrote about Woodworking with kids. We've been thinking about a few projects Ender might be able to handle soon and I think those blocks might be a great father/son project.


I'm a fairly new reader to Teacher Tom's blog, but I *really* love the environment he and the parents at the cooperative preschool set for the students. I love this post about Letting Kids Learn. It is so easy to be too careful with your kids in that attempt to make sure they are safe, but it's important to let them take on risks themselves so they have a chance to discover their limits. I'm thinking about printing this post too to hand over to a certain someone who gasps every time I let my boys climb playground equipment more than 10 feet away from me.


I can't stop thinking about what A Gorgeous Quilt this is! Everytime I see work like this I start to think I am actually a serious quilter who could accomplish something like this. Thank goodness I'm married to someone who reminds me that I'm already spending my time the way I know I should (and it doesn't leave much room for yet another hobby!).


We've had our first mornings below 40F this week and that made me already think ahead to spring sewing. My brain is kind of crazy that way! I've been watching the Green Apples blog closely for ideas- I love her style! Maybe I'll find a bit of spare time to sew over Christmas break after all the Christmas gifts are knit.


Our most successful art projects this year have been from the Deep Space Sparkle blog. There are so many ideas there for various ages that this is going to be a great resource for us all through elementary!


And finally the story.  Earlier this week I hopped in the shower as I usually do before the boys get up. I was almost done when I heard 3-year-old Ezra come out of his room. He knocked on the bathroom door and said, "Is that you, Mama?"

I told him yes and said he could go get dressed while I finished getting ready. I heard him go back in his room and I finished gettting ready. When I came out of the bathroom Ezra had 1 pair of pants and EIGHT shirts on, and he was trying his best to struggle into a jacket as well! As I helped him take them off I asked why he'd decided to wear so many shirts and he told me it was in case he needed to change clothes later.

Always thinking ahead, that one!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October Montessori

This month in Montessori:
(3-year-old and 5-year-old)

Ender's shelves for this month were partly focused on his interests and partly on the themes we had in our time together. Ender turned 5 this month.

ON TOP: the basket on the left holds his Awana materials. Ender is in Sparks this year, so we have a story to read and a verse to memorize each week. The container underneath that basket is the moveable alphabet, which we use daily in our time together, and the other basket on top holds library books that he can look through or read on his own that are on the same themes we are learning about together, this month his basket holds picture books about asia, trees, the human body, and some early readers. The black card file box holds our scripture memory verses.

Second Row: The green basket in cubby #1 holds a small yellow notebook and a few writing utensils. Ender writes all kinds of things in there, but lately he has been making tons of lists. Cubby #2 is a tray with a few addition flash cards in it and several math manipulatives. Ender works the card with the manipulatives. Since math is one of his favorite subjects, this tray is used almost every day and I have to change out the cards quite often. Cubby #3 holds a floor puzzle of the continents.

Third Row: Cubby #4 holds Ender's maze book. I originally planned to change this cubby out at least twice a week to be other puzzle type books he has enjoyed in the past, but after I made the first swap he asked me to always leave the maze book "at least for awhile". Cubby #5 has his Marvel superheroes folder where he stores his favorite artwork and a pad of paper for future contributions to the folder. Ender's favorite animals reside in cubby #6- currently 2 elephants and several dinosaurs.

The cubes in the bottom row hold lincoln logs, legos and a collection of hats, glasses, scarves, ties and other dress up stuff.

Ezra's shelves are just starting to include work from the Montessori 3-6 albums, but still involve some of his favorite toys. He is 3 years and 3 months.

ON TOP: A stack of puzzles and Ezra's book basket. His book basket includes a variety of picture books that we own and also from the library. I didn't follow a particular theme this month, but I did unintentionally  include a lot of classics: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Katy No-Pocket (Sandpiper), Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and a few Curious George titles.

Second Row: Inside Cubby #1 I placed a piece of paper on a clipboard and I drew a large square divided into 25 boxes. I also attached a sticker sheet. Ezra loves to peel the stickers and put them inside the boxes. It's a simple and inexpensive introduction to 1-to-1 correspondence. Cubby #2 holds Ezra's cutting basket. I fill his basket with a few small pieces of construction paper with straight lines drawn on them and a few small pieces with a square or triangle drawn on them. He can cut them out on the lines or he can choose a blank piece of paper to chop up as he pleases. Cubby #3 holds Ezra's magnetic alphabet. This is just a set of kitchen magnets I bought when Ender was small, and because they are contained in a metal pan all he has to do is turn the pan upside down for a quick magnetic surface. Currently he has the letters for his name plus a few other letters he knows in the box. We add letters as he learns what they are called or what sound they make.

Third Row: In cubby #4 you'll find the pink tower. Ezra started with this work this month and at first I only included the 5 biggest blocks. Now that he knows how to complete the work he progressed to having all of the blocks in his cubby. I also include a mat in that cubby to remind him that it is work to be done on the floor. Cubby #5 and #6 have changed out frequently this month. The picture above shows a shape puzzle and a block puzzle, but other work in the place of these cubes has included his maze book, a farm play set and buttoning work.

The cubes in the bottom row hold all his animals, the train set and the duplo blocks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Own Memorizing Work

I haven't memorized scripture on my own in a little while. I've been feeling the nudge to return to that habit, but our focus has recently been on helping our 5-year-old begin the habit himself. As I helped him with familiar verses I was struck with the thought that he would pass me up in a short amount of time because I had paused so long in learning new Words.

It was later that week that our Pastor called us all to task, asking us to pick up the sword as our protection, to memorize so that we will always know exactly what His Words are, so that His Word guards our minds. And I heard, and nodded and promised to consider it.

Then it was Ann who posted about Scripture Memory and I was cut deep with those videos.

Why is it that I didn't obey when I was first called back to memorizing? Why is it that it took three calls, each one sharper than the one before?

I'm still a very new student to this "direct and immediate obedience" thing.

These are my current words, on index cards with me through the day, and using some of the techniques Ann shared last week (blue is what I have memorized so far, and I am still working on the rest):

Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me Oh, God,
According to Your longkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.

Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight-
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,       
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifiice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and contrite heart-
These, O God, You will not despise.

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the Walls of Jerusalem.

Then You shall be pleased with the sacriifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.


Ann Voskamp invites us to share our current scripture memory work this week. If you'd like to read more, visit her at A Holy Experience.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So... How Many Days 'til Christmas?

I was meant to finish mittens over the weekend, but I got ahead of myself and started Christmas gifts.

See, I was starting to get really nervous about whether or not I'd finish the most important one and we had several hours in the car for our trip so I jumped in: meet Kernel, a gift for my mother-in-law. I'm about 3 repeats into the body, only 20 more to go plus the edging. I'm surprised at how fast the repeats are working up, but at the same time really happy about that because it means I actually have a chance at finishing the prayer shawl my mom requested last week. I told her not to expect it at Christmas, but I'm really hoping to have it complete by then!

These are the mittens I kind of ignored. I did finish the ribbing and the thumb on the first mitten and got a good start on the second one. I'll finish them soon now that I feel so much better about the scarf situation.

And while we were in Wichita over the weekend my mom and  I had to act as a cover for the surprise birthday party for my sister-in-law so we took her shopping while the boys set up for the party. We had extra time to kill and I mentioned that I'd read about Twist in Wichita and she thought that was a great idea! I *heart* that shop!!! It happened to be yarn hop weekend so it was a little crazy in there, but there was so much more selection there than my LYS and the girl who helped me out was absolutely amazing talking to me about beads. Why beads? Because I finally found just the yarn I want for the Shipwreck Shawl [Rav link]. I think I might be up for it very soon. I have one more lace project planned ahead of it and then I think I'll feel confident enough to go for it.

I may have told Brian we are moving to Wichita.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Asia Unit

We spent this month learning about Asia.

Our focus for these continent units is not to be all encompassing, but to give Ender a little look at the people and animals that live in different places. We are not keeping to a specific schedule, but generally we read a little each day, Ender gives an informal narration and about once a week I write down his narration and he illustrates his work. We did use a few components from some lapbooks available on Homeschool Share, but we used them as crafts or notebook pages instead of creating an actual lapbook.

These books were selected for my Kindergartener, though this unit could be used with older or younger kids by adjusting the amount of written work. My 3-year-old tagged along during the reading and on a few coloring pages, but of course none of the written work. We did not use lapbook components that included an inappropriate amount of writing for my son's age unless we could adapt them in a way that he could write something shorter, but by including all of those components this could work for a student through 3rd or 4th grade.


A is for Asia
Animals Marco Polo Saw
Asia (Earth's Continents)
Count Your Way through KoreaTikki Tikki Tembo

Story of Little Babaji
The Firekeeper's Son
Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem about China
Round is a Mooncake

The following books are in Ender's book basket for the photos mostly. There are some amazing photos included and we've been able to talk about a lot of topics these books introduced without reading what is clearly meant for older students:

The Usborne Internet-linked introduction to Asia
7 Wonders of Ancient Asia

Other Resources:

The Story of Little Babaji activities and lapbook
Round is a Mooncake activities and lapbook


 World Map Outline (we used the robinson projection with no labels for this project)
1. For the first activity we found Asia on the map. We previously learned the names and locations of the continents in our Continents and Ocean Mini-Unit, so this was pretty easy. Ender traced around Asia with a marker and we talked about how far away Asia is from our home.

2. For our second activity we found Asia on the map again and discussed the types of habitats that can be found there and Ender made a few guesses about what types of animals live in Asia based on the habitats. He knew for sure that asian elephants are found there, because elephants are his very favorite animal. I'm fairly confident that we've seen every video about elephants our library has as well as read every non-fiction book about them!

3. We used the A is for Asia book as a starting point for a few art projects that we'll be sharing soon. We are still finishing this unit out this week, but I'll be sure to share pictures when we are finished!

We also did a mini-study on Pandas since they are one of Ezra's favorite animals. Our book list included:

A Baby Panda is Born
Meet the Panda
Giant Pandas

We also used the Giant Panda Lapbook from Homeschool Share for some printables.

Other Continent Work:

Continents and Oceans

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