Friday, April 26, 2013

...and then came X, Y, and Z

We have officially made it through the alphabet! It's been a year of lots of pinterest searching, trial and error, late nights of planning and prepping, and a lot of fun learning time with my kiddos. I won't lie not everyday was a smooth home school preschool day.  My kids are 3, 2, and 1. And, they all have their 3, 2, and 1 year old moments. Oh and I have my mommy moments too! But, I would do it all over again and will next year! It has been rewarding to have the opportunity to experience all those "ah ha" moments and to be able to learn right along with my kids. 

 We are looking forward to a more laid back summer! 

Our letter X activities were deleted from the camera because I thought I had put them on the computer...I guess I didn't..oops! 

Here is Y and Z!

Y day was yellow day! After finding all our yellow clothes, the kids went on a yellow hunt. Here they are laying out all the yellow things they found. 

We made yarn bowls. This activity idea came from the blog   Find Joy in the Journey. This activity was easy and only requires a bowl, plastic wrap, yarn, glue, and your willingness to get sticky!

Once the bowl was dry, Ava was excited to fill it. She has since gifted it to Daddy  for his paperclips at school!  Dominic wasn't willing to send his off so we have a paperclip bowl for home too!

While Ava and I worked on a number puzzle, Dominic practiced cutting yellow paper. 

Look Mommy I did it!  Our long puzzle goes up to 25!
Since the weather has been so nice, we did handwriting practice in the driveway! 

We finished our Y theme with a Y mini book.


Practicing writing the letter Z

Ava and Dominic made a zebra craft. The template came from  DLKs Craft for Kids . We talked about the patterns that can be found on a zebras skin. 
And, of course we needed to take a trip to the zoo! Here Ava and her friend are enjoying the Manatees. 

The kids were excited to touch real furs.

While at the zoo, we of course needed to seek out the real zebras! 

Thanks to all those who have followed our journey of home school this year! 
If you are a follower and haven't joined the site please do! And if you are a blogger too, let me know! I am always looking for activities and inspiration! So much of our preschool curriculum has been inspired by the wonderful blogs I have found!

Friday, April 5, 2013

W is for Worms!

We took a couple weeks off of our official school time. I guess you could call it our spring break! The break was much needed, but I was excited to get back to our more structured learning time. W is the letter we have been waiting to get to! Worms are a big deal at this house. Ava literally has spent hours looking for bugs and worms in the backyard. Dominic is often right beside her. We are excited the weather is warming up and soon backyard bug and worm hunting will resume! Except this year, Ava and Dominic will know a little extra about the worms they find. 

In addition to lots of fun books and practicing writing the letter W, take a look at what we did during worm week. 

Books we read: 
Diary of a Worm By: Doreen Cronin 
Marty McGuire Digs Worms By: Kate Messner and Brian Floca (This is a chapter book and such a great read-aloud if you are doing worm composting with kids.)
The Worm Family By: Tony Johnston 
Worm By: Jill Bailey
Wiggling Worms at Work By: Wendy Pfeffer

The sensory activity for the week was "dirt playdough". I used the regular cooked homemade play dough recipe, but I used brown tempera paint to color it and added coffee to give it more of a dirt look. The idea came from a blog, but I can't find exactly which one I found it on! I will come back and add it if I can locate it! I picked up artificial flowers and plastic pots at the Dollar Store. I cut up brown pipe cleaners to act as worms. The kids really got into planting and making homes for their worms.  

Our worm composting bin has been a lot of fun. I won't lie, the first night some tried to escape.  Worms don't bother me, but worms on my basement floor kind of grossed me out! We got in under control now. The worms are all settled in their new environment. Ava is good at reminding me we have to check on them, feed them, and make sure to give them water. We are already starting to see worm castings (just a fancy word for poop). In the gardening world, worm castings are known as black gold because it is so good for the soil. We are excited for the day we can add some to our garden! It will take a few months to reach that point. 

Ava was excited to pull out some of the worms to observe. We talked about how they move, what they feel like, and located different parts of their body. When I was taking this picture, Ava told me she was observing the worm and looking for its bristles. It is always fun to hear her use the vocabulary we read about and talk about! 

Along with observing the worms, Ava had to draw a picture of what she saw. She dictated her observations to me and I  recorded her thoughts under her picture. She said, " I saw the rings. I observed the worms squirming really fast. They were really lively. They are really cute." 

I love when the Dollar Store pulls through with materials that make planning easy! This week, I  found apple and worm cutouts. Since we have been talking about worms and composting, this was perfect for a math activity I had in mind! I numbered each worm 10-20. On each apple I put dots representing the numbers 10-20. Ava had to count the dots on each apple and find the matching worm. 

Here is a simple art activity that we did. Ava had to cut and assemble the apple. We put a worm going through the apple. 

This week I was able to get some great use out of activity bags my friend and I made last year. This activity was a measuring activity. Ava was given pictures of various lengths. She was also given different materials to measure with (pipe cleaners, string of beads, ribbon, etc...) We pretended that the materials were worms and she had to match the worms up to a picture that had the same length.

It is difficult to study worms and not read one of my favorite books, Diary of a Worm . In the story the worm makes a macaroni necklace in art class. Dominic used colored pasta to create a macaroni necklace of his own.  Ava did the same activity, except she was given different patterns that she needed to recreate using the pasta. She worked on AB, ABC, and AAB patterns. 

We read the book Diary of a Worm two times. The first time we read it for fun. The second time we stopped after each page looking for things in the story that were fact and things in the story that were fiction. We wrote down our findings on fact and fiction posters. Here they are....currently the posters make up part of our living room decor. All part of home schooling I guess! 

Of course we needed to make some dirt pudding! Since we have a dairy allergy in the family we had to make pudding from scratch. I was excited to find out that it really isn't any harder than the boxed mix and its healthier too! 

I even found the all natural version of  oreos! Dominic loved crushing the cookies. 

The end result was yummy! We added some gummy worms on top for fun! 
This writing activity was super easy to create and Ava really enjoyed it.  All you need for this activity are card stock sentence strips and Bend a Roos! (Or Wiki Sticks) I made cards with every letter in the alphabet, numbers 0-9, and created some word cards too. I of course made a card that said worm, but I also made cards for all the people in our family. I cut the Bend a Roos at different lengths. Ava had to trace the words using the Bend a Roos. I let her pick the words and letters she wanted to work on. This activity is great for seeing how letters form words, practicing to write letters, and letter recognition. 
She was really proud every time she finished a word.