Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where the Red Fern Grows

Phew! We are finally finished with our Where the Red Fern Grows Lapbook.
It was a labor of love for sure as I didn't have many ideas to spawn off of since there aren't many lapbooks on the literature for the upper grade levels. I had only found one lapbook that had been made by a school teacher online. So it helped a little bit in getting the ideas that I needed. Though I still feel like there could of been more to our lapbook it did turn out nice and I hope it spawns ideas for others.
Though we are done with it its still a work in progress because a friend of mine just so happened to have a literature guide that went with the story. So I am printing some things out of that for the girls to do and save in their lapbooks. I wished I had it from the get go because it really would of helped with what to put in their lapbooks. Still I can't help but to be impressed with what we did do with it.

Bascially all we did was read the book as a read aloud. I'm sure at some point the girls will want to read the book again. Marilyn pretended as if she didn't like the story but I know better. Katie and Hannah enjoyed listening to the story. After we were finished with the story we began work on the lapbook and in the meantime we managed to find the DVD movie of it at Walmart. It was just sitting there all by its lonesome self on a shelf. As if it were meant to be there for me at that very moment. Talk about luck, huh?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TOS- Homeschooling in the Summer

Hello everyone. So its Monday and the question of the week for the The Old Schoolhouse is: Do you homeschool through the summer? Why or why not? What do you do?

Usually in the Reed family household we enjoy taking the summers off. There has been a few years (those after Maggie was born) where we had to school through the summer and we maybe were fortunate to have three weeks off before starting the next round of schooling. The last few years we've been able to dodge the bullet and enjoy our summers.

This year will again be the acception to the rule as our summer will pretty much start off with going back to Cincinnati with Maggie for bowel managment. We are going to attempt to get her in big girl undies so she can go to preschool school this year at St. Thomas. Of course if all else fails she is going to have to stay home and I'll have to homeschool preschool. With that said honestly out of my four children Maggie is my one that REALLY needs to be attending school. Since birth the poor child has been poked and prodded by strangers and so now she is four years old and now is forming the opinions that those who are different from mommy and daddy must be out there to hurt her. Who can blame her? She's only has been poked, literally prodded and has had countless tests and surgeries. I think I would feel the same way.

The older girls are going to need to continue to work on their math. Hannah is working well with her Saxon 1 and Katie is doing VERY well with Saxon 5/4 math. I do have Algebra 1/2 for Marilyn but I think I may need to back up a little and put her in maybe 8/7. I'll have to have her take the placement test and we'll have to see. This way the girls will go into school and not feeling clueless when it comes to the math. In the same breath it will only benefit them if they continue practicing math since most kids lose math skills if they don't practice them through out the summer.

We will also have to work on writing skills. I will say out of everything we do here at home this part of our homeschooling has been the weakest. My girls are NOT natural writers and they just resist this at every possible turn they can get. Boy are they going to be in for it when they go to school this year. But in the same breath I really want to help them get past this hurdle before they start school because it will be a true struggle if they don't.
I haven't decided on what to try and use yet because I can't seem to find anything that really fits what I am looking for. I'm looking for something spiral, to break down how to write sentences the right way all the way to being able to write something on their own that makes sense.
I'm possibly looking into maybe something like Writing Strands but I haven't made up my mind yet.
I'm still looking for any and all suggestions from others on the subject of writing.

The next thing we will work on during the summer is on lapbooking. I love to do this with the girls. My younger three enjoy it more then their older sister. But I make her do it just for my amusement. Plus whether she wants to believe it or not its good for her and she'll appreciate them someday when she sits with her own children someday and can remanice about the fun times and when they did this with me.

So as this year begins go to close we will be preparing for a new journey. In the meantime I'm not going to give up my reigns when it comes to homeschooling all to easily. There is always the summer time!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Preschool Reed family style

I've had some families ask me what we do for homeschooling and preschool. I will admit this was the first year I really got into homeschooling preschool as my older girls went to preschool and we just did things on the side at home. Usually working on handwriting, or letters or numbers we usually did a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

This year was a little different as I chose to keep Maggie home from preschool. Our preschool has consisted bascially of getting in what I can when I can get it in since I have three other children to teach at the moment. We haven't skimped on things though. Maggie has learned her days of the week, months of the year, how to tell what the weather is like and chart it on her weather map. We're working on colors and color patterns, number recognition, letters and their sounds, and even blending some three letter words to read. Maggie has learned so spell her name and is learning how to trace lines to spell her name and other letters.

This all sounds like a lot, but in fact we do it in such a matter of fact way that it has not seemed like much work at all. How you ask? Well I'll tell you. You can actually get these results buy remembering one simple thing. Have fun! If you can remember that you will find that your preschooler will learn so much in such a way that it almost seems effortless for you.

Here are some of my preschool secrets :

Learning Letters and their sounds- Leap Frog Videos,, Letter Factory, Talking Words Factory, Talking Words Factory 2 are all great videos and they work. In 2 weeks or less they will learn their letters and their sounds. Of course in order for that to work they do have to watch it at least once daily for two weeks.

Letter of the Week - this is a free online curriculum that teaches the letters and their sounds. It includes daily activities for each letter of the alphabet.

Number recognition- I use a combination of Touch Math and The Leap Pad Math Circus video.

I've also used websites such as Tot School to add some pizzaz to our days as well , and created our own Totbox to add Maggie's school stuff in so she can pull it out. I actually have a picture of that on the blog here and will have to dig for that photo and will post it.

File Folder games are awesome for little ones and even big kids to in order to help them learn. What better way to teach your child and not have them even know that they are learning something?
Websites such as:

File Folder
Child Care Land. com
The Resource

are great places to start with. Some of the websites may require you register for membership but these websites are free. You can also make file folder games of your own, and you can also buy premade ones as well. You just have to google them.

The next fun thing to do is to make Lapbooks. We absolutely love to Lapbook here. Lapbooks are educational and make a fun keepsake. You can be as creative with them as you want.

To learn about lapbooking you can go to
This website will give you some links and a quick tutorial on how to make lapbooks.
Also Lapbook will give you a not only all the information you'll ever need on lapbooking but also videos on how to make minibooks to add to your lapbook. If your unable to access that from their site you can easily type in lapbook on You Tube and they are on there.
Some of my favorite Lapbook websites are :

You can also purchase them already made and download to your computer

So there you go. Simplicity is the name of the game for preschool. Fun and enjoyment.
Playing with playdough, helping cook things in the kitchen with mom, learning to set a table, tie their shoes, zip their coats , jump and skip, draw pictures on paper and on the sidewalk with chalk. All of these things are equally important as much as academic work if not more important. Cuddling, kissing and lots of hugs also go along with the grade, because our little ones are little only once in their life time. So enjoy my suggestions and enjoy your little one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spiffing up the Saxon K and 1 Meeting Book

Since I am using the Saxon K and 1 right now to get the girls used to the math program that St. Thomas will be using. I found it pretty redundant to repeat myself twice everyday. So I made my own meeting book on our walls. By using some of the stuff I already have here at home, finding some things on the internet and creating my own stuff it turned out really nice. I took a video of our Meeting book wall since our camera's flash is not working so the pictures were coming out to dark even with enough light in the room.
Saxon K and 1 Meeting Wall Part 1

Saxon K and 1 Meeting Wall Part 2

Here are the links for the charts I printed out: Click on the Title.

100's Chart
Weather Stickers
Skip Counting Pages
Calendar Pages
this I forgot to take a picture of and mention. Since the K meeting book is bascially the set up of our wall plus arrows at the top where you add a number each day and do color patterns on. I am using the calendars from Touch Math because they are cute and do the job. Right now they just have January-April for the time being but each month they add a new calendar and hopefully by the time November rolls around they will have Decembers. My suggestion is to make two copies each time they bring out a new calendar. Touch Math doesn't keep everything on their websites for all times sake and plus they are celebrating 50 years this year so I think this will be up for a limited time. Of course you can find other calendars on the web if you google them. In the end if you have these items in your home or are up to creating some of the stuff this can give you an idea of a better way to do the Meeting if the meeting book is a drag ,or if you need to combine levels that are close together with Saxon math.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Getting Ready for Easter

Ahh, its finally spring and warmer weather has been showing up lately. Its wonderful to now see the sun and the grass on the ground. Its nice to not be freezing all of the time either.
We've had much to do last month. The girls spent some time with their Agora friends getting those cute little caricature pictures done. Then they also had a chance to spend a day at school! The girls will be attending St. Thomas this year. This was by their own asking so in the spirit of life Tim and I feel that we can not deny them a chance to see what it is like to go to school. So off they will go in September and I on the other hand will be busy finishing my degree. I am both excited and sad all at the same time. Excited for them because they will be having a new experience, and isnt' that what life is about? Trying new things? Sad because I just don't feel ready to give up my homeschool mom status either.
Of course I'm sure I will try to fit in afterschooling in there somehow.
The girls visited St. Thomas on March 29th and they had a great day and really enjoyed it.

Maggie was sort of okay with it. The moment we step foot in the classroom and I took off her coat she began to cry. So I sat in with her for some time until I was able to slip away. She did well for the most part. Her teacher Mrs. Buell said she only cried when she realized when I was gone but she settled herself down, then looked a little teary eyed in the afternoon and then she finally had enough and cried around 1:30 ish beause she pooped her pants. Of course I had to come and change her diaper because she wouldn't let anyone change it except for me. So I stayed the rest of school because school was almost over anyways and she went back and stayed right until the end. I was very proud of her because that made for a long day. I'm sure we'll have to go through this again when school starts but I think she will do just fine. I really do.

Marilyn, Katie and Hannah really enjoyed their time. Hannah's favorite part was that one of the children in the class had a birthday and they all got Dairy Queen for desert ( lucky Hannah). Katie had fun and all of the girls asked if she was coming back the next day (which she wasn't). Of course one little boy had to pipe up and act like an idiot but she was fine with it and was more interested in what the girls thought of her. LOL. Marilyn said she had fun with her friend Abby and she talked to a few other girls and there were a couple of boys who thought she was pretty neat,, ;>) That's my Marilyn! In the end I think this will be a good experience for them.
Hopefully with the time I have I can finish my degree. Work on getting better with my health and maybe the 'funness' of the school will wear off and I can go back to doing what I do best,,, homeschooling. This definitely will be another season in our life. One that we will all get through with flying colors. That's for sure.

Oh yes, before I forget I ran across a pretty neat blog called Homeschool Creations. There was a really cute Easter Bunny game and thought you all would enjoy!