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Archive for March, 2010

Some pictures

After the last blog of copies of our ‘school work’ I figure I should put up some pictures as well!

Loving the Sun!

School at the Chalk Board

Shiloh adds ‘moo’ to our list of ‘m’ words.

Aslan does ‘wet, dry, try’ with the letter ‘R’.

Language Development

It is so interesting to see how different the kids are in language development. We’ve realized that Liesel has been speaking in full sentences, sometimes she uses words. But she knows exactly what she’s going on and on about! Recently she’s said, “I want Kim Chi.” “I want to throw it away.” “Where’s Auntie Katie?” and “This is Shiloh’s.” Usually we can tell this is what she’s saying because of the context, or because she’s repeating what someone else just said. The words are not all super clear, in fact, it’s more like one loooong word with the correct number of syllables and the correct inflections. All the other adults who know her well, agree, though, “She just said, ______________! Did you hear it too? Or am I just imagining things?” “Nope, I heard it too!” It’s sort of hit and miss. I believe Liesel is improving, but whether or not the correct sounds come out, she’s certainly trying to tell complete stories! In fact, she just told me something very important, but I have absolutely no idea what it was!

Aslan, on the other hand, started saying words at a much earlier age than Liesel or Shiloh. (He was also the latest walker. My Oma insists that children seem to walk early or talk early but not both!) Aslan had absolutely no syntax or flow though! He’d wanted to say each word perfectly so he learned one word at a time. When he started stringing words together, his sentences were full of seams, sort of like when you listen to an automated phone number. His message was clear, but the emotion and emphasis was all mixed up! He has since grown out of that. Now he talks non-stop and can tell a great story!

Shiloh was different also. He started saying words earlier than Liesel, and later than Aslan. He had lots of emotion and flow, but only I could understand him for a long time. Even now, many adults have to really work hard to understand what he’s saying. He’s stuttered here and there, usually when he is exploding with new vocabulary. I think it’s also because he’s grown up having to compete with Aslan for attention, and he has to work so hard to get his story in when Aslan (rarely) takes a breath of air. He has often surprised me with his understanding in questions, and his ability to speak in a ‘man voice’ when we have to tell him not to whine.

Locked in the Bathroom!

Last Monday afternoon as I went to throw away a dirty diaper, I heard cries from the bathroom. I went to let Liesel out, but somehow she had gotten locked in! She yelled for me periodically while I reassured her and ran to get my knitting needles to unlock the door. I couldn’t do it! She was not pleased with the situation, but she didn’t lose it until after I called James and found out he was on the way home. “Papa’s coming to help you get out,” I said, and she broke down bawling. Poor little girl! James suggested to give her chocolate chips, which we slid under the door along with colorful papers. The boys and I desperately tried to cheer her up a bit, but to no avail. I continued to work on unlocking the door. I used to successfully unlock the doors in our last house, but this would not work! The boys were so sweet as we sang songs and tried to make a game out of giving her chocolate chips (which she wouldn’t eat.)

Finally, James arrived and got to work. He couldn’t get the knitting needles to unlock it either, and I was trying to calculate how to get her away from the door so we could knock it down.  Finally, James found a bobby pin and was able to stick it in a little hole inside the door knob and twist it to unlock! Hooray! Liesel was free! In all the commotion, I had forgotten that I never got to put a fresh diaper and pants back on the girl. Poor little cold legs! She cuddled for a long time and ‘told’ us all about her frightening experience. We all snacked on some chocolate chips, as I had told the boys they couldn’t eat any until Liesel was out. Here are pictures of the aftermath:

Other Fun Photos

James is amazing with playdough!

Helping vacuum.

Little monkeys!


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School Time!

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and honestly, I haven’t taken a whole lot of pictures. Mostly, the kids and I have been having a blast playing, doing school, playing school, reading, playing outside, coloring, playing games, and making and playing with play-dough, oh and reading and playing some more! Even Liesel has started to enjoy books!

Here’s some more detail of what we’ve been up to, along with a plug for the curriculum that I absolutely love.

Sonlight The Way You Wish You’d Been Taught.

I recently bought most of Sonlight’s Pre-school 4/5 program along with their complete Kindergarten Language Arts and Kindergarten Readers. I love this curriculum and plan to follow it even more closely for upper elementary years. Their website is: http://www.sonlight.com/ For the Preschool curriculum, we’re pretty much skipping around. It includes lots of great books and we’re just reading whatever we feel like each day, not really following the schedule.

The boys are absolutely loving Uncle Wiggily’s Storybook. It’s the first book we’ve read that doesn’t have a picture on every page, but they are sure spell-bound when I start reading. I tell them that they can continue to play quietly while I read if they like, but within a couple of sentences, they are always on the couch, staring off into space, imagining the story. If I don’t read in it all day long, they beg for it before bed. The Bunny Rabbit Gentlemen and his adventures even make me laugh! It’ll be sad when we have finished the book.

The Kindergarten Language Arts, which begins to teach both reading and writing, is a little over Aslan’s head in some areas, so I’ve just chosen to skip those parts for now. He is super eager to read, and trying to sound out words all the time, so I’m focusing on that part of the curriculum. He and Shiloh both make letter sheets for the alphabet. While Shiloh meticulously colors his sheet, Aslan will make up a story about his. Here are their F sheets:

Aslan’s words say: There was a nice fence and a fox came along. The fox was cold and he saw a fire and he walked down to it so he could get warm. The frog jumped next to the fire with the fox.

Aslan hasn’t really gotten into most of the writing assignments (using a ‘scribe,’ of course) from the Language Arts, but I hooked him into one when I told him this story: Luke swam. Luke won.

Aslan was by himself, in a talkative mood, and was eager to elaborate on the ‘boring’ story while I wrote for him. Luke swam in the cold ocean. Luke swam quickly because he needed the treasure. Sam, the bad guy, was trying to get the treasure, too. He was going to light fire on it and throw it at Luke. Luke got a pail of warm water with a crab and threw it at Sam. The crab pinched his knee. Luke had to dive to get the treasure deep down in the water.

I’m not sure whether to blame James for all the violence, or if that’s just a boy thing :). Aslan sure does get excited when he gets to think of creative ways to get the ‘mean guy’! He, James, and Shiloh get on a roll sometimes, and take turns contributing what they’d do next. Here’s an example of how one of those stories usually goes.

James: I will throw you up a big tree and put nails on the ground so you can not get down!

Shiloh: I will I will I will jump way high and and and I will not get stuck on the nails!

Aslan: I will get a mean tiger and tie you to it and it will be my friend and it will not hurt me!

Little (and big) imaginative warriors who I love!

Aslan

Aslan is quite a thinker and very logical. He is the first to notice any conflict and tries to resolve it logically. He takes very good care of Liesel, always making sure she has water or milk to drink. He explains things to Liesel and makes sure she’s comfortable. He made her a necklace out of pieces of yellow yarn last week, and he helps her take it off before meals so she doesn’t get it dirty!

He enjoys numbers and seems to be quick to catch on to the concept of how decoding and reading work. He often tells me the time of day. Lately, he has also been calling family members on the phone. I slowly tell him the phone number and he does the rest! He loves calling people and telling them all about what he’s been doing!

Shiloh

Very artistic! Shiloh enjoys being creative. He loves to color, is very sensitive, and is a perfectionist!

Sometimes his perfectionism can be very sweet. When he is saying goodbye to me, he must give me perfect kiss on the cheek. If the placement or timing of the sound is off, he’s got to start the kiss all over again, gently holding my face to turn it the way he wants! Then, I must give a full hug and kiss back! What a cutie!

Shiloh also enjoys singing or making other noise constantly! He will sit with his mini-guitar and sing nonsense while Aslan and Liesel dance to it.

Here is a picture that he drew and cut out of a ‘Tall Liesel’ and a project that he, Liesel and I did after they snuck into my yarn stash.

Liesel

Liesel is certainly not a boring child! She must be part of the action, part of the noise, and part of the comedy! Any wrestling game or conversation, she makes sure she is not left out. She’s been using more words in all of her talking, too! Finally, she is beginning to enjoy books. I think she must have been jealous of all the books I read with the boys. She only wants to read when the boys are not around, and if they try to peek, she closes the book and screams. We’ve been working on eliminating the fits, but we do see the need for her to get a bit of one-on-one reading time. I’m glad she views that time as special. I want her to have a love for books just as the boys do. So far, she likes Karen Katz lift the flap books, More, More, More Said the Baby, Touch and Feel books, Papa Papa, and Everyone Poops.

It’s so interesting to see the inherent differences between boys and girls. Liesel so gets the concept of mothering a baby. The boys love babies and taking care of them also, but they seemed to both learn it when a new baby was born into the family. Liesel knows what to do with dolls even though she is the baby of the family. She loves to watch me cook, help with the laundry, organize silverware, and give things to the people they belong to. While the boys do these things too, there is an intensity in learning and getting the job done that I never saw in the boys. She’s also a challenge. Neither of the boys ever threw themselves onto the floor in a fit over something, or were so opposed to help. We’re working on that… An intense, and very fun and loving girl, I must say!

Here are two paintings that I’ve done with her. More paint ends up on us than on the paper, so we don’t paint as often as she’d like!

Handwriting Without Tears

Both boys are working on the Kindergarten level of Handwriting Without Tears Letters and Numbers for Me (I ordered this from Sonlight, but they also have their own website with information and samples at http://www.hwtears.com/)love the multisensory approach to handwriting! The boys’ favorite activity is called “wet, dry, try” First, I write a letter on the chalk board. Next, I give them a small piece of a wet napkin, which they use to ‘trace’ the letter with. Then the use a dry piece to dry the letter, and then they get to pick a piece of chalk and make the letter themselves! It’s interesting to see the difference in the boys here. Sometimes Aslan, being older, does have better motor skills, but ultimately Shiloh takes his time and ends up with neater letters than Aslan does! If I call out a letter, Aslan can write it, but Shiloh needs to be able to see the letter to make it. They both beg for their workbooks every day, though! Here are a few samples of their work. The first two pages are Aslan’s, and the second two are Shiloh’s.

Sick Day

I was really sick a few days ago. Whenever I got up I had terrible stomach cramps. Luckily, my mom was able to take care of the kids for me all morning. They even drew me some pictures. The boys had Oma put secret messages in the flowers for me, which I got to find with magic markers. I love those kiddos!

So, this blog may have been fairly boring to all of you out there, but I absolutely love these treasures of reading and making things with the kids. I’m so happy for the chance to home school with amazing books, and a curriculum with great ideas that I can customize to suit our own family each day.We are truly having a blast living and learning together. With that said, I better get off to bed so that I have enough sleep to enjoy the kids when I get up in the morning! I’ll put actual pictures of the kids up next time!

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