Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking ahead (for a change!)

Honestly, I was once one of the most prepared people....over the last year though, my personal life (meaning: the grown up stuff) has fallen apart around me, and as I've been trying to piece it back together others areas of my life have most definitely suffered. I'm trying to get THOSE parts back on track.

My plan for December consists mainly of a countdown to Christmas. We will only do "real" school through the 16th. The week leading up to Christmas has a birthday for our family (Two is turning 12....*sigh*) as well as Yule, and the week after we need to recover. ;) Plus, I think MIL is coming in for at least some of that time. We'll do a study of Winter in January (even though it starts this month.) For December, we're going to countdown and discuss some of the symbols of Christmas.

I found this link that gives some background to the different symbols of Christmas. There are Bible verses and biblical reference. I'm good at taking the parts of things that work for me, and leaving the rest...I recommend you do the same. *wink*

Our Christmas Countdown, which will start on the 1st, includes these activities:

1. Open new ornaments for the tree (Each year the kids get new ornaments for the tree, I try to find something representative of their year, and I'm SUPER excited about this years ornaments.)
2. Take Christmas Pictures!
3. Attend a Christmas parade.
4. Write letters to Santa.
5. Discuss St. Nicholas Day and leave out shoes!
6. Shop for a gift for Birthday Buddy (this is a birth board gift exchange.)
7. Shop for a gift to donate to Toys for Tots.
8. Train ride
9. Make Christmas Cookies!
10. Make a handmade ornament.
11. Make and leave gifts for neighbors on their doorsteps.
12. Drive around to see Christmas lights.
13. Buy presents for siblings.
14. Choose a special treat.
15. String popcorn for the birds.
16. Have a family christmas movie night, with special goodies.
17. Make Chex Mix and Muddy Buddies.
18. Make chocolate covered pretzels
19. Learn a French Christmas tradition
20. Make Christmas presents for family.
21. Visit the bookstore and choose a new Christmas book.
22. Christmas lights hayride and visit Santa.
23. Make a craft with Mom.
24. Make reindeer food, and Santa's cookies. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Fall Activities

This year we joined a preschool co-op with our homeschool group. We meet once a week, and so far it's been great. Three enjoys it, and Four....well, he likes the playing after. :) This is a picture from co-op where we did "nature painting." Here is Three painting a leaf, and a stick with a feather.

I used the boys hand/arm to make the tree trunk by painting them brown. I put out "fall" colored paint--red/yellow/orange/green--and they dipped fingers in and made leaves using their fingertips. You can see (the top one) where Three made "falling leaves" in a line. :)

I added some fall items to our "oatmeal box." I put in a few leaves that are bright fall colors, some pine straw, some acorns and a small pinecone. The oatmeal box is a small box I bought at $Tree with a flip top lid. I filled it with dry oats, and try to switch out the small objects inside it. The boys will take a spoon (or their hands) and dig through the oatmeal to find the "prizes." It's usually a messy activity...but the clean up only involves a vacuum, and the large thing of generic oats is a buck.

I wrote out some "simple story problems" for Three to work on. Things like:

The squirrels are getting ready for winter. Brown squirrel collected 4 acorns. Grey squirrel collected 2 acorns. How many acorns do the squirrels have?

We'll work on learning what the "+" and "=" signs mean, as well as simple addition.

I printed these onto cardstock: and let the boys finger paint on them with brown/orange/red/yellow...then I let them dry and cut the shapes out and hung them in the window.

Three did a leaf craft that I ordered from Oriental Trading (a couple years ago actually) that could be easily replicated. Cut out a leaf shape, and you would paint it with glue, and add small pieces of tissue paper crumpled up in fall colors. It's hanging in our window, but I don't have a picture.

In the spirit of thanksgiving, I'm putting up a tree trunk in the window, and from now until thanksgiving we will be adding one leaf a day with something we are thankful for written on it. I've been doing it since the girls were Three's age (sigh...8 years ago.) I used the same leaf templates from above to cut out leaves in orange/yellow/red to write our gratitude on.

Thanksgiving is coming!

I'm spending the next 2 weeks doing a thanksgiving unit that I downloaded from Homeschool Creations.

I'm also printing the "Roll a Turkey" game from A Lemon Squeezy Home.

As well as the corn maze, and color by letter sheets from Reading With Kids.

We also are collecting leaves and drying/pressing them for an activity with our co-op after thanksgiving.

Random Picture Catch Up Post

I know that I have severely neglected the blog...again. It was one of my "new year goals" to keep the blog updated regularly. Fail. Oh, well...there is always 2012. *wink wink*

My BFF and I took all our kids (minus Four, making a total of 6 kids) to a corn maze. Three worked on directions (left/right) and the big kids worked on working together.

After making his "mama snake" he counted "babies" and put them all in the nest.

He's rolling out a playdough snake. (I'm so glad I have a table cover on my gorgeous wooden table...look at what they've done to it.)

Do-A-Dot snake.

Three and Four painted a paper plate to make a snake...we hung them from the ceiling.

Finished snake.
Making his bead "mama snake."

Four making a "mama snake" out of beads as serious.

This is probably one of Four's FAVORITE activities. It is wooden shapes (from a puzzle that had it's board broken, and a couple wooden shapes I picked up at the craft store) and an outline of the shape on index cards. Easy peasy, and he will do it three or four times in a row!

Frog paper bag puppet.

Going over a printable of the frog life cycle.

Putting the frog life cycle cards in order.

Painting a lily pad.

Finished lily pads.