Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Month in Review

We've been busy with school, but life's been too busy to write about school.  Here's a taste of what we've been up to learning, mostly in pictures; there's just so much to share that I figured I'd let the pictures tell the story.

Colors, shapes, fine motor skills, counting, we can do so much with construction paper and glue!
Tearing paper to make a blue and purple kite

Happy to tear paper! (he just doesn't know it's also good for strengthening those hands!)

Gluing the kite together
Stickers are really popular with these two
Both the kids can count to four, sometimes independently, sometimes needing a little assistance.  It's lots of fun to hear their little voices.  

We've been able to add some gross motor, walking with Isaiah!
Isaiah is really into the color yellow lately.  Sometimes his color recognition kind of comes and goes, but it's definitely expanding.  When he's "on" he can get red, blue, green, yellow and even orange!  In this picture you can see the "stop light" that I made for the kids to practice matching, identifying and counting colors.  Nadia really enjoyed it and played with it several times.  Isaiah matched the colors just right!  He can match his colors almost 100% of the time.  
"The Wheels on the Bus" was a book one week, but we have the real thing!  This bus "sings" the fun song
Once, while painting, Nadia fell out of her chair.  (she was fine, don't panic)  She started crying more when I tried to comfort her because she thought I was going to make her stop painting!  As soon as she got back to work, she immediately calmed down.
Painting, painting, painting.  We've been doing lots and lots of projects with painting.

Shh, it's a surprise!

And lots of play-doh!  

We've enjoyed some great play dates with our new friends, too!  We are so thankful for the new friends God has brought into our lives.

There's so much more I could tell you, but that's all for now.  We're officially on break, and I'm looking forward to planning more fun learning for next year.  Maybe I'll even make the time to share our learning, but don't hold your breath.  Just know we're having fun!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Week in Review - Week 8

This was a slower week for schooling, and I can't even tell you why, but we seemed extra busy with life in general.  Anyway, here were our goals:

Theme/Lesson:  Thank You, God, for Making Me
Bible Story:  Creation - Day 6 People
Memory Verse:  Psalm 139:14  You made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
Poem:  Where is Thumbkin?
Song:  Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Book of the Week:  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Letter: L-P
Number: 1-4
Self-care & Manners:  Undress Self and Name Clothing
Fine Motor:  Pick up things with thumb and index finger
Color:  Purple
Shape:  Triangle
Information:  First, Middle, Last name
Gross Motor:  Crawl and climb over large pillows or cushions

Monday was our last day of Monday School for this term.  Isaiah and Nadia both had a blast at Monday School (and that's an understatement).  The time with the other kids helped Nadia learn how to have fun without Mama having to be there, yet she was always extremely happy to see me again!  Isaiah continued to learn how to interact appropriately with other kids his age.  He LOVES to be with other boys. 

At home we actually almost accomplished all our goals!  I can hardly believe it.

While learning about how God made people, we glued pictures of people from magazines onto purple paper (yes, multitasking).  We get a magazine from Compassion International, and I love how I was able to get pictures of people from all over the world!

Both the kids did well with counting to 4.  Isaiah has been able to string numbers together with a little assistance for a while now, but this week was the first time that he obviously counted objects!  He touched each apple as he counted all 4 of them!  I was so excited!

We found Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at the library, thankfully.  It was a smaller version of the book, which I think worked better for us.  I made palm trees and letter cards that we enjoyed playing with.  I tried to focus on the letters L-P, but we really just looked at all the letters.  I found the letters that I used here, and the tree here.  I love that the ABC Jesus Loves Me curriculum already has all the links for me!  I'm not very good at searching for things online.

We colored lots and lots this week.  I tried to get them to color with purple crayons and markers as much as possible to introduce this new color.  We colored lots of purple triangles, and Nadia identified a triangle at the end of the week!  They both still need prompting on the color purple.

Isaiah and his classmates got to tell all the parents from our co-op about the days of creation.  They did a great job at our Showcase!

At the end of the week, both kids were sick, so I was easy on them as far as school went.  The did get lots of fine motor practice though as they did one of their favorite activities:  Playing with marbles and buttons.  They did this for a LONG time!

We didn't do a whole lot of crawling, but both the kids had their different therapies this week, so we're working on gross motor skills, believe me!

Each week the kids get better at trying to sing our verse with me.  I LOVE it! (have I used caps lock enough yet in this post?)  I can't wait to see how God blesses their efforts in learning His word.

And now a few of my favorite pics from the week:

On our last day of Monday School, I took in a special treat for Isaiah's class.  I love that Isaiah got right down to business:  Why bother taking the time to pick this cookie up when it comes ready made for biting?

These two love each other more every day, I'm convinced of it!

You can tell by her face that Nadia is squeezing her brother will all her might!

Right back at ya, sis!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review Week (with videos - Grandparents, you're welcome)

playdough, squares, blue, red, clothes to laundry room

This week was a scheduled review week, so I'm not going to list off all the things that we were reviewing because it was a lot!  Basically what I tried to do was get all the fun activities in that we weren't able to do during the other "regular" weeks (as if there is such a thing as a regular week).

We had some nice weather this week, so we enjoyed some outside play time, even if it was confined to the back porch.

We reviewed our animals:

Nadia was very excited about coloring this duck

Isaiah was all about Gonzo and the chickens
 To review colors we played our Candyland "bingo" game.  I've never noticed this, but Isaiah was able to match the colors!  He didn't always name them correctly, but he could match them about 90% of the time.  Hooray!

We worked on shapes and colors with playdough on the back porch.

More animal and circle review and fine motor development with stickers.  These were really hard to get off the sticker paper, so I finally realized I could stick them around the edges of his tray, which worked really well.

And what week would be complete without glue?  We not only played with glue inside the square, but we also glued popsicle sticks together to make squares.  We'll save them for later to paint.  Both the kids really liked this activity.

And if a picture is worth 1000 words, then I thought perhaps some videos would be worth even more.  Or at least the grandparents should enjoy them.

So, here's a video of Isaiah helping with his memory verse:  I Thessalonians 2:13 "Give thanks to God."

Nadia knows her verse, too; though you can see that her attention span is definitely that of a two-year-old.  This makes me laugh.

I realize not everyone can understand two-year-old speak, but I don't have time to make a transcript.  Just take my word for it, she really did say the verse on that very first line.

One of our songs was Jesus Loves Me.  Isaiah's been working on this for a while with his grandpa with a slight variation to the traditional wording.  Besides getting a little distracted by his sister (who can only stay out of the camera for so long), he does a great job!

We've been working on first and last names.  Isaiah knows this really well, but Nadia just can't seem to get past the fact that she's "Sister".  Every once in a while she'll say that sister's name is Nadia, but we can't quite capture the moment.  Anyway, this one has a sweet ending that I can't resist sharing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week in Review - Week 7

And we're back to rockin' through our week.  We had so much fun this week, and the kids really learned a lot about animals, which is really fun for mama!  We've got a shorter post this week with fewer pictures because my hands were pretty busy, way too busy to hold a camera.

Theme/Lesson:  God Made the Animals
Bible Story:  Creation - Day 6 (farm animals)
Memory Verse:  Give thanks to God.  - I Thessalonians 2:13
Poem:  Little Bo-Peep
Song:  Jesus Loves Me
Book of the Week:  Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Letter:  H-K
Number: 1-3
Color:  Green, Yellow
Shape:  Circle
Self-care & Manners:  Pick up Toys
Information:  First and Last Name
Fine Motor:  Finger paint
Gross Motor:  Roll ball on the floor

We found all the animals that we have (toys, of course), and played  with them A LOT!  We kept them in a big blue box and did all kinds of games with them.  The kids can now name all these different animals and even make most of the sounds.

Nadia decided she wanted to be closer to the animals
I couldn't find Old MacDonald Had a Farm, but we read lots and lots of other books!  Big Red Barn was our main book, but we also read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Good Night, Gorilla; Moo, Baa, La, La, La; Let's Go the the Zoo!; A Children's Zoo; and Amazing Animals Wild Animals (a Dollar Tree find!)  The kids were excited to read this week, maybe because we "found" all kinds of different places to read, like under tables and buried in animals and such.

In the midst of our homeschool activities, we're always working on skills his different therapists have told me to work on.  Isaiah's lately fairly determined to put things down his shirt.  I've been told this is a "boy thing".  So, naturally, where did the animals often go?

And I finally caught him using both hands at the same time!  This is great to show how his core strength is increasing.

I've pulled out some alphabet cards that we've just been playing with them, and the kids have occasionally identified their letters correctly.  They are both counting to 3, and delight fills me when I hear them counting on their own!

Thankfully both the kids LOVE helping, so picking up toys is lots of fun.  

Perhaps one of the funnest activities of the week was bowling.  Not just any old bowling, however.  The kids had to roll a ball down the hallway to bowl over mama, and they loved it!  Then they took turns sitting in my lap getting bowled over by their sibling.  Definitely have to repeat - lots of laughter, and great for my abs.

At the end of the week we were actually able to have some school outside!  The kids enjoyed painting and coloring.

Finger painting on a whole new level - part of a secret surprise, shhh!
We finished the day with coloring Kermit, and Isaiah was so enthusiastic that he did the best job coloring that I have ever seen!

You can see other great ideas at ABC Jesus Loves Me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week in Review - Week 6ish

As life gets back to normal, we're once again getting our school routine back.  Daddy is home, grandparents are gone and life is looking more familiar.  I like routine.  I like doing things differently for a while, but it's comforting to me to have a routine to which we can return.  Routine helps me feel less overwhelmed.

So, we only officially did school (besides Monday school) one day this week, and it was Saturday! (oh, the horror!)  It worked well in our schedule though, and the kids don't really know the difference.  The rain has definitely become the norm in the Pacific Northwest, so we needed some fun indoor Saturday things to do any way.

Here's the lesson plan, in case you're interested.

Theme/Lesson:  God Made the Animals
Bible Story:  Creation - Day 6 (zoo animals)
Memory Verse:  Give thanks to God.  - I Thessalonians 2:13
Poem:  The Itsy, Bitsy Spider
Song:  Praise Him
Book of the Week:  Good Night, Gorilla
Letter:  H-K
Number: 1-3
Color:  Green
Shape:  Square
Self-care & Manners:  Place dirty clothes in laundry
Information:  First and Last Name
Fine Motor:  Play with play dough
Gross Motor:  Jump up to hit balloon

We got a head start on this theme a couple weeks ago with Grandpa and Gran when we enjoyed a trip to the Portland Zoo.  The kids are both getting really good at identifying their animals.  I also found this great book A Children's Zoo by Tana Hoban at the library.  Both the kids really enjoy this book.  We've already renewed it once!  The pictures are fantastic and there are very few words.  The back page is a chart of each animal with more specific information for parents.  This is definitely going on the Christmas wish list.

For our Day 6 craft we continued with the circles, but we were able to "multi-learn" as we used Green circles, introducing our color of the week.  I found some old stickers of different animals, so we took a break from glue and enjoyed some sticker action.

Nadia had to be right beside brother.  Thankfully he tolerated her attentions well for a while.

Showing off their work
Not all the stickers were completely accurate portrayals of what animals look like, but I think the kids got the general idea as they successfully identified each animal.

Next they colored their circles a little bit.  Isaiah has been working really hard in OT.  He seems to genuinely enjoy doing more with his hands in the fine motor skills area.

Isaiah decided he needed some space, and he wanted his own tray
 Nadia decided to color a giraffe instead of her circle.  She was quite intent on coloring his nose.  Giraffes are definitely her favorite animal right now.

Both kids enjoy Good Night, Gorilla, which I am pleased to report I found at one of those mega kid sales for a great deal!  We name the animals as they follow the night guard out of the zoo and then his wife back into the zoo.  Besides the armadillo and the hyena, they both have all the animals down cold. Yeah, armadillo and hyena weren't really on my priority list of animals to learn right away.

While they've both enjoyed me singing our memory verse the past several weeks, this week I'm very proud to say that they are both joining me in singing our new verse!  Nadia can almost sing the whole thing, and they both do a great job adding "God" when I wait for them at the end of the line!  Woohoo!

I'm enjoying teaching the kids the "old" songs (as my mama likes to call them), the songs I learned growing up, like Praise Him.  They're getting the rhythm of it even if they don't sing along, and they request for me to sing it again and again and again, and, well, you get the idea.

Nadia loves to take the laundry to the washing machine for me, and both kids help get the clean clothes out of the dryer.  We've been working on that for a while, so I think we can mark that as "successful".

I'm still not great at introducing so many letters at one time, but I'm getting some ideas.  We have been working on our counting though.  Both the kids did well gluing on their 3 apples to our apple tree number worksheet.

To finish the day yesterday, we made a tent with chairs and a quilt in our living room.  And of course when you're camping you must have marshmallows!  I gave each kid a cup and they could have as many marshmallows as they could count, but I only let them count to 3.  I mean, we still had supper to eat after all.

So that was our week, though mostly in a couple days.  I think we'll go ahead and move on to Week 7, since it's several of the same tasks, and both the kids are doing really well with this material.

Have fun learning, and if you want, find lots of great ideas at ABC Jesus Loves Me!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weeks in Review (again) - Field Trips!

The week before last was a review week, which fit nicely with our schedule.  Daddy was out of town for a while yet, and reinforcements arrived!  Gran and Grandpa came to help entertain the troops.

We got a head start on learning about land animals with a trip to the Portland Zoo.  I tried to focus on the fish and birds and their colors (since Day 5 was our focus for this week), but the whole zoo was lots of fun!

The penguins seemed quite taken with Isaiah.  I've never seen anything quite like it, they all swam over away from everyone else to play in front of Isaiah.  He was quite entertained, too.

Nadia's favorite animals were the giraffes.  Both the kids are doing a great job with their animal identification!

We had to take Grandpa to see our beautiful waterfalls!  It was a great opportunity to review God's creation we have already learned.

About an hour away we discovered an antique automobile museum!  Both the kids had a blast!  And lots of counting and color learning was easily possible.

There was even a car that matched Isaiah's chair!

Nadia is slightly obsessed with airplanes, so she was thrilled to "fly"
 And what better way to count than watching baseball!

And there were even more waterfalls that Gran hadn't seen yet, so off we went!  Daddy was home now, so he got to come, too!

I love Isaiah's adoring look at his daddy in this pic

Friday Gran, the kids and I went to our first ever pumpkin patch.  We enjoyed a corn maze with life-size animal statues.  Nadia never wanted to leave the different animal scenes until we promised her more animals.  She kept trying to blow kisses and entice the animals to come to her.

We're not in MS any more.  Here the Ducks and Beavers are playing football.

We also enjoyed a hayride and fun activities in the kids' pavilion after picking out our very own pumpkins.

I didn't list the specific goals for Week 5 from ABC Jesus Loves Me because we were pretty "loosey-goosey" with them while enjoying learning in other ways.  We'll have some more structure this week, I assume as we start learning about Day 6 and how God created the animals and the people.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week(s) in Review - Week 3

As I posted earlier, we have had to be a little creative in schooling the last couple weeks.  Isaiah had surgery on Sept. 19, and everything went very well!  We took it pretty easy with school though the rest of the week, focusing more on physical recovery and such.

A week later Thomas went to Russia, so we were spending some more concentrated family time with some school thrown in here and there.  We also started OT and Speech therapy for Isaiah and some more PT for Nadia, which I often count as school because they're constantly learning in those sessions! Those sessions are also good learning times for Mama as the therapists can teach me different ways to communicate new ideas with the kids.

So this past week we're back to our new normal that once again includes therapy and doctor visits and co-op, and thankfully a trip to the airport to pick up some reinforcements!

Here was the original plan from ABC Jesus Loves Me:

Theme/Lesson:  God Made the World Around Me
Bible Story:  Creation - Day 4
Memory Verse:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1
Poem:  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Song:  Praise God
Book of the Week:  One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Letter:  A-G
Number: 1-2
Color:  Yellow
Shape:  Circle
Self-care & Manners:  "Thank You"
Information:  First Name
Fine Motor:  Peg Puzzle
Gross Motor:  "Red Light, Green Light"

It's been a busy week, but we've had a lot of fun learning.  Both the kids can now tell you what God made on Days 1-4, and Nadia even enjoys doing the hand motions.  We did our creation day circles again, but no pictures.  Nadia even drew a circle late this week!

The kids still don't sing the Genesis 1:1 song with me, but they are starting to do the motions that I made up.  They even ask to sing it!

We increased some tactile stimulation with lots of shaving cream play, which apparently also looks really good as an accessory for blond, curly hair.

Our book was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  We only read the first few pages most of the time.  I like that several fish and some of the pages were also yellow - great for color identification.  We also colored some fish.  Isaiah insisted on using a pen for coloring, and I could not be more excited about that grip!

Later I printed out some more fish and colored, cut out and laminated 2 of the fish for our counting of 1 and 2.  Both kids did a great job counting!  Nadia now always has to carry 2 baby dolls, and she counts them.

Since our color was yellow, we had to make lemonade, a favorite of both kids.  We practiced our stirring and pouring skills together in the process.

More shaving cream fun, this time colored yellow!

Tearing yellow paper (and other colors) brought some special delight.

Getting Isaiah to play with a peg puzzle took some creativity, but look he smiled!  We would take the pieces out and put them in the bag, then the kids would take turns taking out one piece at a time and finding the right spot.

It worked!  Both the kids got really good at the puzzle by the end of the week.

This isn't the greatest picture, but I couldn't help but share the smile complete with the correct placement of the puzzle piece!  Isaiah was pretty proud of himself, and he had every right to be so proud!

For the other goals:  The kids are doing great at saying "thank you", knowing circles and learning when to stop and go.  The game "Red Light/Green Light" didn't go so well, but having to cross the parking lot to our van has helped with that skill.  Nadia still refers to herself as "sister" for her name, but I'm sure she'll get the idea soon enough.  She definitely recognizes her name.

I must confess that the hardest thing for me to figure out the best way to teach is the letters.  We talk about letters and such.  We watch Letter Factory.  But because there are so many letters to work with at one time, I don't think I do well.  The kids really are learning the other things, though, so we'll keep on going!

Pic of the week:

Isaiah loves his iPad, and now he's teaching Nadia, too.  She loves to watch her brother "work", and she's even usually patient enough not to grab the iPad or touch the screen without supervision.

I love to watch how they play together!