Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saturday our church didn't hold any services because it's campmeeting. So, we decided to take another trip to the beach. The weather was much nicer this time and we enjoyed it a lot more.

Sirena is in a little puddle on the beach. The water was super warm and she had so much fun jumping in and splashing. Of course her clothes were really wet and she had to change them. I think the the next time we'll take swim suits. Even though it's not really warm here, it will make things a lot cleaner.
Of course we took buckets and shovels to try to make castles. We never quite got the sand to stick together. But we did find someone else who did. We found these huge sand sculptures. This is a giant ice cream cone which is fitting for our family. Overall, it was a great fun day.

Today we started our 4th of July crafting. We bought fun crowns and dingy boppers for the girls to wear to get in the spirit. Don't they look cute? They were cutting out red and blue stars to make into a mobile. We had to let them dry so tomorrow we'll put everything together and hang them from the light.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Yesterday I was feeling pretty disorganized and a little discouraged. I decided to do something about it and made some resolutions. First of all, we are not going to start any new projects until we finish what we are currently working on. So, today we finished Malaya's "book about me," her -ace words and I think we've pretty much rapped up our space exploration for now. I only took one picture during school today. This is Sirena eating astronaut food.
We talked about gravity and how astronauts would eat since their food would float up off their plate. So, we made some chocolate pudding in a bag and called it astronaut food. Sirena liked it, of course. Malaya didn't really even want to try. I think I burned her a few days ago when we studied taste buds and I made her try unsweetened chocolate. They both learned that not everything "chocolate" tastes good!

I've already planned out most of our schooling next week. We're mostly going to be doing Fourth of July crafts. I'm learning that the easiest way for me to teach both girls at this point is to do joint activities. So I'm trying to think of things that both will want to and be able to do together. I've started decorating the dining room for next weekend. Over the next week, we will be adding our crafts to the decorations and should be decked out for the holiday. Maybe we should invite someone over for a party!

While we were waiting for Malaya to finish writing our address in her book, I looked across the room and saw a huge spider on the wall in the dining room.
In my opinion, if I can take a picture of it, it's too big! The last spider we found like this we kept in a bug cage and fed it insects over a few days. We then released it because it was sort of a pet by then. For all I know, this is the same one. It's just a "common house spider" but they are so big they still give you the creeps. I left this one alone for Joey to get rid of when he gets home. But, now it's gone. It was right next to the drapes and I'm afraid it's going to drop off them into my hair when I walk by.

Speaking of things in the hair... Poor Sirena was in the tree house this afternoon. She came inside and started saying, "I have bird poop. I have bird poop. I have bird poop." She speaks really well for her age but sometimes it takes a while to get the whole sentence out. Finally she said, "I have bird poop on my head." Right in the middle of the top of her head was bird poop. Poor thing. It was rather funny though.

Tomorrow we're going to the beach. The girls are super excited. We now have shovels and pails to play in the sand. Hopefully it won't be terribly cold but we'll be dressed appropriately this time. I'll post pictures later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We have been using Sue Patrick's Workbox system format for our school day. Basically, I put one activity or assignment in a plastic shoe-box then put a number on that box. I put several of these boxes in order on a shoe rack. Then, the girls open box 1 and do the activity inside. When they are done they can move to box 2 and so on until all boxes are completed. Many people who use this system are concerned about where to store their shoe racks and boxes. Admittedly, they have half a dozen kids or so and I only have two. But I thought I'd post pictures of how we store and use our workbox system.

I didn't know if we would like this system so I put very minimal money into purchasing supplies. However, most of the stuff doesn't cost very much. A full day's work would have 12 boxes on a rack. I think I have about 15 boxes to split between the two girls so we haven't ever had a "full" day yet. I'll need to get some more shoe-boxes.

Sirena gets a shoe rack that we already had sitting in the garage storing shoes. Those shoes are now in a big pile on the floor but I like this rack for school better. At maximum capacity we would only be able to put 9 boxes on this rack but for her I think that's plenty for a few years. We store it in front of a window between two chairs so it's out of the way when not in use.

Malaya gets the official workbox shoe rack. I had to purchase this one from Target. It holds 12 boxes when at full capacity. Her's is stored in front of another window between two chairs also when not in use.
When we start our school day, I bring out the tables and chairs and shoe racks. They go right in the middle of our living room. Many people homeschool at kitchen and dining tables due to space issues. I am so thankful that we have the ability and the space to own childrens' tables. They are just the right size for little people. Both girls can put their feet on the floor and sit properly to do school work. This picture is Malaya's side with her table, chairs and shoe rack.
This is Sirena's side.
Some days the tables face each other. Some days they are arranged like a classroom with both girls facing the same direction. This last set-up actually helps with distractions. Malaya really likes to watch what Sirena does and will just zone out watching her instead of doing her work. But I don't like her to always feel excluded so we change it up every now and then.

This whole workbox system is supposed to allow us all (students and teacher) to get more things done in a shorter time frame, be more organized, and have more opportunities for fun learning. When I introduced my sister to the idea, she joined a Yahoo group and told me they had tons of good ideas of how to use the system. So, I joined because this was something I was interested in. There are SOOOOO many good ideas in this group. When I read what everyone else is doing, I get a lot of ideas but I also start to think about what we're NOT doing. I understand that it is a common habit of new homeschoolers to look around and compare themselves to others and then start to doubt their ability to teach their own children. I can see how that would happen. I don't think I'm doing that, yet. Instead, I'm starting to have ideas and wanting to do so many things. For the last couple weeks, we've had about 3 or 4 different units we've been working on. I realized quickly that this is not the best way to work. From now on, we'll only be working on 1 unit at a time. I need to learn how to reign it in and not get too carried away. We also want to have fun along the way!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Since I really am just starting to experiment with blogging, I decided to play around with things today. We've been sick this last week so there really isn't much to report about our lives. We're getting better. But, back to the topic of blogging. I decided that I wanted a super cute blog like everyone else has. I found a link to some free html templates. After closely examining them I can tell you, if someone didn't already make them, there's no way I could. Html is very complicated to me. What do all of those codes mean? I just really appreciate those computer geniuses out there who are willing to write a code and give it away so someone else can have a cute blog. I still need to play with how my pictures are displayed. And I also need some "followers." I don't really know what those are but since my new template has a place for "followers" I thought it would be cool to have some of them! Maybe if I had some, I'd be more motivated to write. And then my "followers" would have something to read. Ah, I see how it works.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today the children's division put on the church service. The beginners and kindergarten classes sand two songs after the children's story. Here is Sirena trying to get to the front of the group. They were singing about Zaccheus.

Malaya was on the end and had all the room she needed to do her motions. I don't know why Sirena didn't stand next to Malaya but kids don't think that way. So, Malaya is doing the motions for the wise man/foolish man building their houses on rock/sand. They all did a really good job.

After lunch, we took Ko-Ko to an off leash dog park. We decided to try our hand at something called geocaching. To do it correctly, you need a handheld GPS device to which you enter the coordinates of a "cache." Then you go out and find it. We don't have a GPS device (yet) so we entered the coordinates into Google maps and got a satellite picture of the location. Then, we found that place and, after some hunting around, we found our first cache!
Joey says we cheated because we had a picture. But, I will argue that seeing a satellite picture is not neccisarily easier than having a GPS. We had to assume that where we were standing was the same place we were looking at in the picture. This one was pretty easy but I don't think we could do it this way for very long. I suspect we will be investing in a GPS device soon!

After the dog park, we went to the kids park. The playground is designed like a castle so the kids really like it. They played hard and now everyone is down for their Sabbath naps.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Here's the fun we had today in school. Actually, I think everyday of school is fun. I mean, we're doing kindergarten and preschool. How much more fan can school get!? I love teaching Malaya and Sirena. Sirena soaks up everything I say to Malaya. She will sit and play with her puzzles but hear every word I say. Then she'll blow me out of the water when she repeats something I told Malaya but didn't think she heard. Teaching Malaya is great too because she is actually learning. She doesn't just repeat back what I say but is starting to process the how and why of the things we study. So, no more talk from me ab out them. On to our school day.

We're taking the summer to review the Math that we learned last year. Here's an activity for Malaya. She drew two leaves from a bag with the numbers 0-20 on each leaf. Then she had to place them on her paper in the correct order to make a sentence leaf #1 is bigger than leaf #2. She did every combo she drew correctly.
Sirena also got to practice her numbers by putting them in order from 1-20. I give her a guide to help her know what each number looks like. She'll be able to do this without the guide someday but for now it's just getting her used to seeing numbers in print. She really likes this activity.
Malaya has decided that she doesn't like her reading book (100 easy lessons) anymore because it's in black and white and is "boring." So, I have to find another, more interesting way to keep teaching her to read. This week we are studing the word family -ace. This is an idea I got from another homeschooling blog. These are paint chips. She just moves the window down the paint chip to make all the words in the -ace word family. She's doing real good with these words.
The she did an -ace word find. These are still a little difficult for her but she did real well with the first one. Eventually, she'll get the hang of looking for words that go down, not only those that go across.Sirena worked on sequencing cards. This was a bit of a challenge because it had four cards to put in order. She's used to working with three pictures so adding another picture added some difficulty. But just like everything else, she'll get the hang of this quickly.After all the "seat work," we read our story Lentil again. This had been our book of the week. Today we talked about how transportation has changed over the last 70 years (Lentil was written in 1940). Then we went to the road to observe and count the types of transportation we have in our neighborhood. I wasn't sure if the girls would like this activity very much but they got super excited. They would jump out of their chairs and shout "a car. a car. a car." whenever one came by. Or the same with a truck or van or whatever we saw.
Then we went home and graphed our results. We saw the most cars and the fewest buses. But then I bet you could guess that, right!?

I thought today was a fun day. But Malaya said she wants tomorrow to be more fun. I guess that's the problem with fun, they always want more!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Today we started a new curriculum program call "Five in a Row." We are reading the book "Lentil" and then learning about topics addressed in the story. The book takes place in a small town in Ohio. So we learned where Ohio is in respect to our state, Washington. I don't have a wall map of the United States so we put together a puzzle of the US. This is Malaya and Sirena working on it.

After learning about each state's flags, birds, and flowers, we moved to working with the letter L (as in Lentil). This is Malaya with her lion mask. Sirena didn't quite finish hers. Maybe she'll work on it a little tomorrow too.

Of course, we are still studying space. We started to make our solar system today. This is Malaya painting Mercury. Tomorrow, if we have time, we'll work on Venus.

On another note, I'm realizing why I haven't ever tried blogging before. So far it's been too much trouble to try to work with photos. It's much easier to just upload them and then publish them without writing anything. Maybe I'll get the hang of it sometime. I'm still working on it!