Friday, February 03, 2012

WOW!  January 2012 has come and gone!  Boy how time does fly!  LOL  I am going to try and get January blogged while the family is watching Smackdown.

Well we got back to school the first week of January and man I have to say that it has been going very, very well!  LOL  Perhaps I should find some wood to knock on!  :)

Our curriculum has changed a bit since the first of the school year as we finished up a few things.

We are using lesson pathways for math right now as I am not convinced that any particular curriculum is for us right now.  I have to say that the boys are enjoying the math lessons though.  We are doing a lot of hands on stuff and not so many worksheets or "workbook" type lessons.  Red finished up Saxon math Kindergarten in December.  It was good because it didn't use many worksheets (unless I stuck some in for handwriting practice) and it was a lot of hands on.  He did well with it.  For Bug I used Saxon for grade 1 and 2 and while I loved it the worksheets could be at bit overwhelming at times.  He also tried out Tenmarks for a time and while it was awesome; the fickleness of the website was a pain in the rear.  There were many days that it was down and wouldn't come up and that was frustrating for Bug as well as me!  I am debating Teaching Textbooks, but I am going to be honest here.  I don't want to spend that much on a curriculum for one subject for one kid.  Does that make any sense?  Bug and Red are two very very different types of learners and I wonder if the layout of Teaching Textbooks will work for him.  So I am still searching, I figure if I can find it for cheap maybe it will be worth it.  We shall see.  But for now we are working on the lessons through lesson pathways.  Lots of hands on, games, and such.  The boys are loving it.  That's what is important, right?
Here is Bug working on a rounding activity.  He learned a song and got to use dice to round numbers.  It was quite fun!
And here is Red working on a counting activity.  
He enjoyed stringing beads.  
(And what a great find motor activity to boot!) 
We also finished up our History For Little Pilgrims Curriculum last fall.  So we have begun our "Texas History" study.  Well we aren't actually to the Texas part yet, but you know what I mean.  LOL  We started with some geography stuff.  Can't learn about Texas if you don't know where it is, right?  We began a history notebook as well.  So we can put in vocabulary words, maps, pictures, etc. as we study. We started with the basics - what is a globe, continents and oceans.
Have you seen these before?  LOL  We were at Dollar Tree one day and the boys found "Veggie Stix".  While I am saying "gross" the boys were quite excited about them.  They decided it was another way to get in a "Veggie" for the day.  LOL - ummm, okay?!?! 
Red got a new ball over the holidays.  His poor pink ball just wouldn't hold air anymore.  So I found one at Ross in town for $7 - what a deal!  He likes it because it's blue!  :) 
We are continuing our stick figuring through the bible studies - it's a great way to start the school day as the boys get to draw right away!  We are working on the life of Jesus right now.  It's interesting to see how much they are retaining as we go through the lessons. 
Red is steadily working through his explode the code one book.  He is almost finished with it.  I am quite proud of him.  His reading is really coming along. 
On pinterest, I found a "number of the day" activity and it's perfect for Bug's math lessons.  We took an old deck of cards and took out all the face cards.  He shuffles the cards and lays out three.  That's the number.  He writes out the 3 digit with words and numbers and circles whether it's even or odd.  Then he does the place value and expanded form as well as making tally marks (which we do with "hundred blocks", "ten bars" and tallies for the ones).  It's a great activity and I have found it's really doing some good with those math words! 
Here's another activity Red is doing for math.  He worked on ordering numbers with a fun game. 
Bug has almost completed all the stages/levels on the dance mat typing curriculum.  He is becoming quite a typer.  I am so excited.  I was in high school before I learned!  It was not nearly as fun either!!! 
Subitizing - have you ever heard of subitizing?  Subitizing is "instantly seeing how many."  I attended a math workshop last fall and this is one of the topics we covered.  Apparently it is something being added to the TEKS.  I learned how subitizing is an important math skill, so I began incorporating it into our daily math lessons.  The boys think it's a game, so that's makes it fun and easy.  Subitizing can help the boys use pattern recognition to discover essential properties of number, such as conservation 
and compensation. They can develop such capabilities as unitizing, counting on, and composing and decomposing 
numbers, as well as their understanding of arithmetic and place value-all valuable components of number sense.  Overall I learned that having cards with random dots to hold up for a few seconds each day is a great thing!  LOL  Funny though, right?   

Another math thing for Bug - man we've been doing a lot of math.  LOL  This is a workbook that I picked up somewhere along the of those "daily practice" sort of things.  It's a great little book though - he works through one page each day, just extra practice kind of stuff. 
Here is one of Bug's Number of the Day Sheet. 
Here is "Egg Carton Scramble" - one of the fun math games that Red did.  The bottom of the carton has numbers 1-9 in it.  Red would shake up the carton with two counters inside.  Then when he opened it he would use the two numbers to make two digit numbers.  It was hilarious - he had the best game with such a simple game.  
Here is Bug's work - two digit numbers. 
For my Girls In Action Group I made "flower sticks" for our "check-in" system.  Each girl has a cute stick with their name on it to put in the "flower pot" upon arrival.  It's cute and they love it!   
Here is a fun rounding game that Bug did (you can see we were down at Uncle Pickle's by the Hamburger Helper carpet).  We laid out "rounding circles" and Bug glued on numbers - rounding up to the nearest 10.
On our way home from Uncle Pickle's we stopped in Burnet for some Chicken Express Tea - yum!  I was waiting in the car and looked up to see - what?!?! - a tiny cemetery across the road.  So of course I had to go see it.  It is actually only two plots - founders daughter - but so very cool.   
Red diligently working on his Explode the Code book!
During a lesson on hemisphere's we broke out some playdough so we could "put our hands on" the hemispheres.  It worked well because the boys really got the picture of what a hemisphere is. 
Here is Red working on his world map.
Here's are their finished maps.  They labeled each continent and ocean. 
Something else we added new this year.  Red is forever asking me what a word means, so rather than get frustrated I thought we'd make an experience out of it.  So now we have "word study".  It's a start-up activity that they can begin even if I am busy when we first venture into the classroom.  They pick a new word to learn each day.  Bug writes in the definition; Red I help with the writing and he draws a picture.  Then we review previous words.   
Another cool pinterest verse memorization box. I like this idea because it keeps us practicing verses that we've already learned.  It's also not overwhelming because their is a daily verse, odd/even verse, day of the week and date of the month.  Great idea.  We've just started so we only have a few in their, but I think this will be something we use for a long time.   
Wrestling...oh how we love it!  We are working on learning how to find books at the library.  So Bug goes in and picks a subject to search on the Internet.  Bug chose WWE one day and found a few books on some of the superstars.  We enjoyed learning more about John Cena & where he came from. 
 Rain, rain, rain...oh how I love the rain.  We've gotten some good rain this month.  Enough to get the creek running.  It's been a while since we've seen that!  LOL
Can you tell what this is?  It's a quiet stick!  LOL  No it's not used for whacking children into quietness!  LOL  I use it in my Girls in Action meetings (thus the pink and purple); it's such a large group that I need something to grab attention.  So we have a saying..."When the quiet stick goes up, the voices go down".  I must say it works great.  When you have 30 excited little girls in one room it can get quite loud that's for sure.   
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons...the boys and I got a mother load from the first couple of weeks of January - yeah!  

So this is where I began to notice that my camera was not taking the best pictures.  I saw that most things were "brighter" than they should be and seemed really overexposed.  So I apologize now for the blur and brightness of some of the next pictures.  

My Girls in Action group went back into full swing after the holidays and boy oh boy have they been busy little beavers!  We wrote letters to missionary kids and made bracelets to share with them one week.  That was fun.  What sweet girls they are - Some 25 missionary kids from all over the world will be getting a prize and a letter from us.  
 Here is my mental dog - Scamper Pamper - we are truly beginning to worry about the background of this sweet-natured basset.  He seems to have some anxiety issues and we aren't sure how to help him just yet.  It started Christmas even when he stepped on something and cut his paw.  Well that yielded a trip to the vet for antibiotics and an allergy shot.  Well it seems that triggered something in this guys brain and from then on he has been chewing his feet like crazy.  He will chew and chew until he is bleeding all over the place.  So we took to putting socks on his feet with ointment trying to heal him up.
Oh my look at all this mending!  I tell you now I am not a seamstress...I am terrible with a sewing machine and not much better with a needle and thread.  But I had a small pile of mending that I have been putting off for months now and I just had to get it done.  So I pulled out my sewing box and got to work one afternoon!  I had a several dress up costumes to stick closed and two pairs of Bug's pants that I needed to take up the waist.  I am proud to say that it took me a few hours and lots of finger poking, but I got it done!  Woo-Hoo!  
Here is Momma's Kitty.  Sweet girl that she is.  I am so excited about her.  I love kitties and I love gray kitties even more.   She showed up on my porch one day so I have been feeding her.  She hasn't let me pet her yet, but I am confident she will soon.  She doesn't run when I come out the door anymore, so that's a step in the right direction.  
My GA girls and the boys and I volunteered up at NECO - the boys are working on a friendship mission project for RA's and the girls were working on their Serving Others and God's Creation badges.  We had the best time, working in the food pantry sorting flour and wash soap and working in the victory garden weeding and turning dirt.   
Working in the victory garden! 
Getting it ready for planting!!! 
Well the antibiotics, cortisone shot, socks, ointment and constant watching didn't help our poor mentally ill pup.  So I went to petsmart and got a cone of shame!  It has actually made a difference - his feet are not in such terrible shape.  Although he does still curl his 3 feet around and get a foot now and then.  I am telling you he is truly a mental case.  We don't really know much about his background before he was dropped off on my brother's street and taken in by him. We wonder about his past.  Poor guy.  We are planning to get him fixed in March, we are hoping that will help.  I have done some reading and  it was mentioned as a solution for constant chewing. crazy dog...
Bug is working on the 3rd reader for level 2 in the pathway readers.  I think we'll have this one finished up in the next month.  I really like these stories and workbooks.  Great series.  I can't wait for Red to start the level 1 readers. 
Another fun math game!  Working on greater than less than with the Hungry Fish! 
And the dice game - another greater than less than game.  The boys both liked playing this one.  They would roll the dice, then write out the numbers, then decide if it was greater than or less than.  I was surprised how much they liked the simple game.  
Another fun Girls in Action project...we made Bible Beady Buddies.  They got to take these home to help them remember to read their bible and pray each day.
Check this out - a great set of golf clubs we got from freecycle.  The boys are very excited to go golfing.  Now I just gotta find us a driving range.  I don't think we are quite ready for the course just yet.  LOL 
The boys have begun working on the "friendship" portion of their RA's curriculum books.  The project that Red picked is one in which he gets to pop a balloon each day.  Bug did this one last year when he was working on Lad 1 - he of course remembered it and wanted to do it too.  LOL  So the gist of it is that the boys get to pop a balloon each day that they listen all day long.  Being a good friend to Mom is shown by listening and this shows they love God.  It's been a fun week of balloon popping around here!  
Check out my geese.  Have you ever seen a goose like this?   
The GA's are having a bake sale before church the first and second Sunday's.  So we made a couple of signs to advertise our sale.  The goodies so far include pumpkin bars, oatmeal applesauce cookies, carrot cake cupcakes; apple coffee cake and banana bread.  Oh and also some crunchy oatmeal puppy treats and sweet potato applesauce puppy treats.  We are hoping to make some money for the ministry.  We gotta pay for camp and beads and construction paper, and glue and chenille sticks and cookies and markers and oh my the list goes on!  LOL
Here is another of our Girls in Action projects - we are collecting hand sanitizer for Children's Ministry Day 2012.  The mission is education and the survivors are teachers.  So the girls made tags to go on each bottle that says "We Care".  They also made posters to decorate the collection boxes.   
So that is January flew by in a flash, but a good month it was.  Until next time....tell those you love how much they mean to you and smile at a stranger...we-

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