Monday, 28 February 2011

letter of the week practice

DD4 has been learning her letters but I've tended to include it in and among other posts rather than giving it a space all of its own.

We would generally start with a large tracer sheet followed by sandpaper letter and sand tray.
Next I would introduce an alphabet sound box - a small wooden box with 4 stickers and a small wooden letter on the lid, inside there would be eight objects and she would have to correctly identify the four that sound with the letter we are working on and place them on the stickers.
(I don't have space for a full set so just have the one box and change the letter and fillings weekly. I keep the small toys, letters etc in a large box in the cupboard - these toys also duplicate for cvc work at a later stage i.e. dog, mug etc)
We take a selection of worksheets/activities from 1+1+1=1 & confessions of a homeschooler and we use letter of the week crafts when we want something abit different (like making M into a mouse).
At the end of the week when she is comfortable with the letter and its sound we introduce a blank letter sheet - this consists of 3 handwriting lines - with starting dot only - for copy work (2 lowercase and 1 uppercase) and a space at the top for a picture (available on my download page). I generally draw the letter first to talk through its correct formation and then ask her to draw one, if she struggles I will show her again and then she will try - I repeat this as often as necessary and then leave her to it. She loves to show me the sheet when shes finished (and it sounds soooo cute when all you can hear is 'down up and over, down up and over, down up and over...' )

Friday, 25 February 2011

Clay Art

Recently our art has focused on identifying shapes within objects and using them to draw a picture - this has included a study of Miro and using alot of the 'how to draw' books.
I wanted to take it a step further and see if they could think in 3D - so out came the clay. As a general rule I avoid clay as I always end up with a mess like this :(
However I bit the bullet today and let them go at it.
DD4 made the snake, DD6 the volcano and a sea lion (although I think it looks more like a platypus??)
and DD8 the sitting dog (which shes really proud of) I had to make a duck and dog for DD2 who also made a blob of her own. (and the biggest mess!)
All in all it was great fun and I didn't even mind the hand prints on the bathroom wall. LOL.

Smart and trendy moms

just found a great new blog hop

already has 100 new sites for me to look at over the weekend.

Think I may be busy :)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Geometry - Angles

DD6 & DD8 each worked on angles yesterday using our Geometry sticks.
To start use a stick to draw a circle (pin in one end and a hole in the other) then draw a half cirlce - we discussed what the half circle looked like (moon, half a cake etc) and after a bit of prompting they remembered protractors !

We discussed how a protractor measures angles (review for DD8 and new concept for DD6) and the circle is a complete angle and a half circle is a straight angle.
We moved onto Right angles (quarter of a circle) and then obtuse and acute (DD6 remembered these terms from her triangle work)

We used the sticks to make/draw each angle and labelled them (inc Latin)
Right angle - rit middle english meaning straight up
Obtuse - Latin obtuses meaning large/blunt
Acute - Latin acutese meaning sharp

We then discussed how much a complete angle was - they started by saying it was 4 right angles so added 90 degrees together 4 times - we agreed it was 360 degrees so then I posed the question
'If a complete angle is a circle do all circles have 360 degrees?'
one thought they did and the other was convinced that smaller circles would have smaller angles. This lead beautifully to a lesson I'd seen on Jimmies Collage where you cut out a few circles of varying sizes and cut each circle into pieces, measure the angles to prove the theory and finish by writing it all up on a notebook page.

Grammer 3 part cards

We had a revision lesson for DD6 & DD8 to make sure they remembered all the symbols for grammar and the definitions.
I created the 3 part cards and used them to match the symbol, name and definition.

I have popped these on the download page.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Colour Fun

DD2 has been working on her colours and we had a great time playing with a colour sort puzzle I'd bought until she noticed that most of the colours we were learning were on her cardigan.
She then proceeded to select a colour puzzle and identify that colour on her sleeve, this progressed to a game where I would call a colour to tickle and she would have to cover the correct stripe or get tickled. Who needs expensive equipment when kids can create their own.

I always said real life applications were the best :)


While we were getting dinner ready I panicked as I heard nothing from the 2 girls playing upstairs - usually a sure sign they are up to something they shouldn't be. Popping up I saw this.
 DD6 reading to DD2 and yes she always climbs on backs.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Geometry - free 3 part cards

This is why I love blogging - Nancy, a kind reader, contacted me. She is a retired Montessori teacher/trainer of 30 years and had some geometry 3 part cards (among other things) - after reading my post she thought I may be able to use them and even offered me the opportunity to post them on my blog.

So all of you join me in saying a big THANK YOU to Nancy.

Feel free to go to the download page to get them.

Fun History

As you know we have been studying Romans and using the Evan Moor history pocket. Today we reached the Gladiator section. I bought a great book a couple of weeks ago about the Colosseum and gladiators (Gladiators by Troy Forward) so have been waiting with baited breath for this section to arise.
Needless to say my patience was rewarded :) the girls loved this book - it even includes a pop-up Colosseum

(I hadn't realised the scale of the thing until I saw how small the arena floor was in comparison to the rest of the Colosseum.)
Map of ancient Rome
A game called Tabula the gladiators played
and a really moving story book about a young slave and the gladiator who wins both their freedoms (along with an elephant!!)
They have been happily playing with this book set all morning - we haven't even started on the rest of our drawers yet or got the playmobil gladiators out :(

I think someone (although enjoying the Roman project) may be missing Story of the World - I walked in to see her reading the story book.

Proverbs 31 Woman

Week 2:  Proverbs 31:13-15  Do you plan and prepare for the day?  Do you start the day with a quiet time with the Lord?  Are you ready to meet the challenges of the day?  Write a post about how you set aside time to plan and prepare for yourself and your family everyday

Planning is a sore point - I never seem to have as much time to plan as I want :)
Seriously though I start for the day on the evening before - prior to bed I always make sure that the kitchen is tidy and organised, milk is defrosted, workboxes full, dishwasher loaded, washing machine on and floors clear (nothing is more annoying than rushing to a crying child in the dark and cutting your foot on a toy).
I usually fit my scripture study/prayers in just before I sleep. If I occasionally feel too tried I just remember that on the nights I miss my scriptures the next day is ALWAYS bad - naughty kids, stressed mum, lack of work completed etc.
Mornings are interesting as I am blessed with early risers (I am sure its a blessing) I have tried for the last week getting up before them but as soon as they heard me they got up to join me - I now have even earlier risers!
I do make sure I take 10 mins for prayer/reflection in the morning (usually when the kids are in the bath) and that sets me up nicely for the day.

Homeschool Mothers Journal 5

In my life this week...
We've been walking in the woods this week and I've been touched anew by the wonder of nature. It was wet, muddy and cold but even so the shoots were just starting to come through. (and the kids had loads of fun.)
In our homeschool this week...
Working on grammar, geometry, history, bodies, elements, Asia, plants, factors, spelling, vocab, multiplication...

Tot school was more fun - DD2 has been sticking, cutting, sweeping, spreading, baking, colours and sorting.
DD4 has been working on the letter M, revising her numbers to 12, Asia and bodies.
Places we're going and people we're seeing...
We are off to the Viking festival in York this week with some other HS families and I can't wait - they burn a traditional longboat on the river and we are all sooo excited to see it.
My favorite thing this week was...
Helping a friend. Her father is very ill in hospital and she wanted to go and see him - we were able to collect her children, bring them home and entertain them. My kids loved taking her kids minds off everything and it helped DD8 as she wrote in her journal that she wanted to 'serve anyone I can' last week.

What's working/not working for us...
I am loving the Evan Moor vocab book - a word a day.
DD8 is just improving her vocabulary so much - she said yesterday that 'I durst not'.
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have....
Officially its half term holidays here in the UK this week. We generally school through half term as normal and pop in a field trip. However the girls have 3 invitations to play days and with the Viking festival it would leave only one 'school' day - am wondering if we should stick to our normal routine or allow a break? maybe just pick one or two of the play dates?? Help!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
I discovered a wonderful quote this week
The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Blog award :)

Yay - got my first blog award today.
Thank you lifes adventures 

OK rules of this award are: Share 4 guilty pleasures. Pass this award on to six amazingly sweet blogs.

So my four guilty pleasures are
  • Chocolate - DH and kids are allergic to chocolate so I have to 'sneak' some into my day when needed (and who doesn't need chocolate).
  • Reading - I am book obsessive, when I get a new book I find it really hard to put down and have been known to stay up till 2am to finish something I've started (good job I'm a speed reader).
  • School Shopping - I find it really really hard to ignore a 'bargain' that I can use for school/lessons - I have a MASSIVE box in my attic full of fun games, activities, visual aids that I really need to organise so I can find all those fun things I bought (best bargain this weekend was a 'Plants of the world' game and book by Papadakis including books, game, seeds (inc. Rice) for £3).
  • Blogging - this has become abit obsessive now, think I need to cut down to maybe one a day rather than four a day.
Next are the 6 sweet blogs I would like to pass this on to. Must admit it was tough to pick just six but here goes.
Simply at Home
The Arrowood Zoo
The Joys of Home Educating
Living Montessori Now
Forever for always no matter what
Fairy Dust Teaching - not strictly HS but she has lovely ideas that are great teaching aids :)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Spanish give away

Just found a great give away over at loving lifes little moments for a Kids Love Spanish set.
Actually on second thoughts not sure I should have told you as there is less chance for me now :)

Seriously though - this is a great looking set for anyone who wants to encourage language skills in their kids (and we all know how beneficial that is)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Science fun - Top Trumps Chemistry cards

I am sure you have all seen the Top Trumps style game and had to endure children spouting facts about the speed of car, size of engine or goals scored last season. Well imagine a game where the facts become atomic mass, year of discovery or melting point :) 
We came across Dr Hals Chemistry Trumps - this has been a firm favourite in our household - even Daddy will play this for hours :) Each card lists the element, its symbol, atomic mass, usefulness factor, danger factor, melting point, year of discovery and some information about the element and its uses - did you know Americium is found in fire alarms and is the only synthesised element in general household use?

DD6 and DD8 can happily play this game for hours and DD4 loves to be on Daddy's team (but will happily jump ship to join whoever has her favourite cards - Carbon, Gold and Lead)

All in all I love this game - they are learning, having fun and storing up useful information - what more could a girl ask for?

I would highly recommend this game for anyone who wants to make chemistry fun and who doesn't like boring drills.

I purchased it from Amazon. The range also includes a Physics and Biology set- bet you can guess whats on my birthday wish list???

I would love to say I was given this item to review but I wasn't :(
I purchased this item for personal use and have been amazed by the results of such a simple game.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Adjectives - part 2

For this presentation I used a selection of different flowers (some small, large, round, long, scented etc) but anything that you can describe by more than colour would work just as well (like a group of different cakes - yum)

Start by bringing out the large blue pyramid/triangle and ask them if they can remember what it represents.
Recap the adjectives you used in the first discussion.
Bring out the flowers and ask them to find the small flower and the big flower - once they have done this write the phrase under each flower and ask them to identify the descriptive word/adjective.

Ask them to write an adjective for each flower but this time avoiding colour descriptions.

Adjectives - part 1

These two presentations were the girls favourite.
Start with a group of objects (we used butterflies but horses, cars etc would work just as well)
Write 'the butterfly' on a strip of paper and ask the child to bring you whats written on the paper
When they hand you a butterfly say 'That's not the one I wanted - can you bring me the butterfly'
Repeat this 2 more times and then say 'Do you know which butterfly I want'
child responds - no - so ask 'why'
child usually responds - because there are lots to choose from.
' Do you need more information?' child responds positively.
'Please bring me the red butterfly' (or whatever colour is left)

Once the right butterfly has been handed to you place it above the paper strip and rip the paper strip between the two words - write the correct colour on a small piece of paper and place it between the two strips.
'You couldn't know which was the right butterfly to bring without additional information. The word which gives more information about a noun or describes a noun is called an adjective.

The word adjective comes from the Latin adjectivus meaning to add.

Ask the child to write an adjective for each butterfly.
Finish off by introducing the symbol for adjectives - the large blue pyramid/triangle (again the same shape as a noun because it relates to the noun, just a different colour) 

Articles - part 2 definite and indefinite articles

You will need: objects in groups of one or more (eggs, apples, boxes, cats, flowers, umbrellas etc - try for a mix of beginning with vowels and consonants) pens and paper.

Put all the objects on the rug - 'Wow, I have a lot of different things, can you help me sort them into groups.'
Once sorted ask the child 'can you hand me the butterfly'
ask 'what did you give me?' and as they say the words write it on a strip of paper
Then 'can you hand me an egg' and continue as above with remaining groups.

Pointing to the articles ask 'can you remember what these little words are?' (show light blue pyramid/triangle if needed)
'When you gave me the butterfly there was only one. You knew which one I wanted. When you gave me an egg there were many to choose from so you weren't sure which. You could pick any that you wanted.'

We call 'the' a definite article. We use it with just one, the definite one that I wanted, the definite butterfly.
When you picked one of the many eggs or cars, you had a choice of which to pick; an egg, a car - a and an are indefinite articles.

The word definite comes from the Latin definire which means to be limited.
The definite article limits you to one object or idea.

indefinite comes from the Latin indefinire which means to not be limited.
The indefinite article does not limit you to one object or idea.

Articles - part 1

You will need black and light blue pens, paper, black pyramid and light blue pyramid (black and small light blue triangles will also work)

Review noun work
'What if I said - sit at table, get apple, give me pencil - do they sound right?'
place the above phrases on the mat. The child should notice there is a word missing
'Yes, you're right ! you need a little word before the noun to make it sound right' write the articles in light blue and add them to the paper strips.
'so it should be - sit at the table, get an apple, give me a pencil. - these little words that go before a noun are called articles.

Article comes from the Latin activus meaning little limb - so an article is like a little limb hanging off a noun.

Introduce the little blue pyramid/triangle - articles relate to the noun so they are the same shape but smaller and a different colour.

Again reinforce the concert with worksheets (fill in the gap with the correct article, circle the article in these sentences etc)


The presentation for nouns is simple but very effective
You will need - picture of a black triangle (or a black pyramid if you have one), paper and black pen.

Say to the child - can you bring a, quickly go into the hallway and get a, Hurry!
The child will look confused as you haven't specified anything to bring - wait until they ask you what you want them to bring or say I don't know what you want.
Reply 'You don't know what to bring me as I haven't given you a name'
Ask the child their name - 'you all have names, if we look around there are millions of things with names'
'I am going to write a name' - write pen and ask the child to get a pen.
continue 2 or 3 times naming various objects

'How did you know to bring me a pen/book/teddy etc?' their response will be along the lines of  - because you told us. 'yes, because all these objects have a special name. We call these names nouns.'

Noun comes from the Latin nomen which means name. The name of something is a noun (person, place or thing)

Introduce the black pyramid/triangle - this black pyramid represents names, because just like names the pyramids are ancient. Nouns are probably the oldest part of speech.

We followed up with various worksheet games to reinforce the concept. (i.e. circle the noun in these sentences )

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Colour fun

DD2 is obsessed with buttons and will sit for hours and play with a tub of buttons or beads and sort them into piles. I thought I should make use of her obsession and help her learn from it.
I printed off the button game (available on my download page) and gave her 4 buttons of each colour in a pot and left her to it. Needless to say we had smiles all round.

After she had sorted them into the right piles I called a colour and she had to point to the right buttons.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Geometry - Polygons part 2

Today DD8 & DD6 used the Geometry sticks again to disuss regular and irregular polygons.

We started with a quick review of the polygon rules by asking them to make a quick lift the flap game for DH (the original idea came from love2learn2day )
Then I created 2 shapes on the boards and asked what the difference was. They said one shape had different size sides but that was all they could come up with until I pulled out the protractor. Once they measured the angles they realised that in one shape all the angles and the sides were the same but in the second shape there were differences.

I then placed the following descriptions for regular and irregular polygons above the correct shape.
Regular Polygon - all the sides are the same length and all the angles are the same.
Irregular Polygon - has different sized sides and angles.

They decided to finish by creating their own (again). As you can see it was too much fun and everyone had to join in.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Vocab Review

DD8 has been working on her vocabulary - she is an avid reader but often comes across words she doesn't know. We started writing them down and looking them up later, we also played guessing games where we would take it in turns to open the dictionary on a random page and call out a word for the other to try and guess the meaning but I wanted something with more structure to it.

In came Evan Moor with their 'word a day' e-book. A friend recommended this to me and I have to say I am more than pleased with DD8's response to this - she loves learning each weeks words and can often be heard inserting them into her every-day language.

The book has 36 weekly units so will fit in with most HS timetables. Each week has four small 5 min exercises to learn and use a new word followed by a 'test' day where you discuss the words studied that week, verbally assess their knowledge using the questions provided and have a revision worksheet to fill out.

For any family wishing to improve their vocab skill I would highly recommend this book. You can see sample pages on their website.

Creating Quality Teaching Resources for Over 30 Years - Evan-Moor Educational Publishers

Disclaimer: I would love to say Evan Moor gave me this product to review but they didn't :(
I am just a genuinely happy customer who has benefited greatly from her purchase and wants to share the joy.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


DD6 has been working on her grammar this week.
She was given a sample of pictures this week and had to cut and paste then write a sentence for each.
The next day she was given a pile of stickers corresponding to the Montessori grammar symbols (see downloads for sticker and poster) and had to identify each part of the sentence: noun, adjective, article or verb. 

We only worked on these four parts as they are all she has covered to date. (I will post these 4 presentations later).

Friday, 11 February 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal

In my life this week...
Sooooo much better - I've met some lovely bloggers and a great reader who has sent me load of materials. The kids are mostly better and I HAVE HAD SLEEP !

In our homeschool this week...
DD6 & DD8 have covered polygons, suffixes, roman history, art, elements, human body, factors, vocab, spelling, dynamic subtraction, reading, project work, creative writing, Asia map work, adjective revision, multiplication and various valentine games (tasting, math etc.)

DD6 is so 'proud' of her polygon knowledge- at odd moments she keeps spotting shapes and saying whether they are polygons or not. Most recently she spotted the moon and shouted 'That's not a polygon !'.

DD4 and DD2 have been doing loads of practical life, sorting games, baking, valentines inspired games/crafts and DD4 been focusing on the letter M again and revising numbers to 10.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
We went to FIG for an art evening, making a painting for a local children's hospital.
We've been to dinner at a friend house and played in the park and garden with the chickens.

My favorite thing this week was...
So much has made me happy this week that its hard to pick just one !
Would probably go with the wonderful blogging friends who have given me such great advice and encouragement this week and with N who sent all the wonderful geometry and spelling materials.

What's working/not working for us...
We've tried sequential spelling this week and DD6 loves it.
Did want All About Spelling but their shipping costs to the UK were too high :(
(maybe someone will treat me for my birthday - hint hint DH)

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
Does anyone else feel there is sometimes too much information out there. I've spent 2 hours today reading through living book lists/reviews trying to decide which books will be best and still haven't made a decision.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
I walked into the schoolroom on Monday morning to see this.
It really made me smile.

Valentine Sweet Fun

Charlotte Mason teaches that games are to maths what books are to language, so I wanted to create a fun game and came up with one covering; estimating, sorting, counting, weighing and dividing (five lessons in one!)

Estimate Me.
I had a pot of sweets (lips, hearts and mallow hearts) and their first task was to guess which sweet there was the most of, rank them in order and explain their reasoning.
Next they had to separate and count to check their findings.

Then weigh each type and see which group was the heaviest.
Record all their results
Then finally divide each pile of sweet by four.

DD4 and DD6 counted theirs into four piles, one at a time and DD8 realised she could use her four times table (yay success!) They had a couple of 'remainders' and decided to give them to me. They were allowed to eat the rest during the remaining lessons.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...