A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April Pre-K with Katie

I feel like I didn't do as much school type stuff with Katie this month.  

She did a few letter worksheets.  Maybe 4 or 5 this month.  She's picked up a lot more letters than just K-A-T-I-E.  I was surprised how many she's mastered now.

She did some matching activities with the counting bears.

We did a craft with beads made from straws.

Another worksheet.  Oh, and she made Jack a "cake" with the peg stackers.  That was cute.  Not sure how I failed to get a picture of that.

We worked on coloring and cutting.  Cutting is still a huge challenge, despite the special scissors I got her.  I think it will get easier as her little hands get bigger.  Our very cool crayons are courtesy of 4Knowledge-4Fun, a neat online store I reviewed for last year.

Miss Katie loves to read books.  If you missed it, I put together a little book list for kids from China.

I've been thinking a lot lately about cleaning up the school room.  I have a gift bag full of preschooler activities from a couple different swaps I've been involved in, and gifted to us by a friend, so I pulled it down and brought out this puppet making activity.

This is actually one that I made several copies of for a swap.  I included people cutouts, googly eyes, 2 craft sticks, clothing cutouts I made from scraps of fabric I had on hand, and felt and yarn for hair.

The hair turned out to be too complicated for her, so we skipped that.  Katie glued the front stuff one one day...

...and the sticks onto the back another day.  I used a marker to draw a line on the stick indicating where glue should go.

And the finished puppets.  Somewhere along the way, we lost an eye.  Whoops!

Katie colored this picture with green ducks and a purple sun and wanted to hang it up over her bed.

I haven't been "pushing" color identification lately, just mentioning colors in day to day life.  I was cleaning up the school room (a never ending battle!) and found a book I think she's ready for.  I pulled out the color page and she correctly named all of them!  Woo hoo!  I'm more relaxed this time around than I was with Hannah.  I remember being afraid she'd never learn her colors.  So silly.

Took along our new ABC book (review coming soon!) to Katie's recent Shriner's appointment.  Her new leg is done!  Whew!  We were there for 2.5 hours while they made adjustments and such, but I'm really happy she's not walking out of the old one any more.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Spelling You See

You may remember that last year we were blessed to be able to review Spelling You See from Demme Learning, the great folks that developed Math U See.  If you missed it, you can catch that review here.

This year, we got to review Spelling You See:  Ancient Achievements.  This is Level F, which arrived at our house when Eli had only 2 lessons left in Level E.  Perfect timing!

Ancient Achievements is set up just like the earlier levels we were used to.  Each day for a week, we work on the same passage.  The passages are really interesting.  In fact, when I opened the box, Eli grabbed the first book and read through all the passages!

Each day, Eli reads me the passage, then underlines the letter chunks assigned in that lesson.  We call this part "doing chunking."  Each Spelling You See level comes with a set of erasable colored pencils to do chunking with, but my boys prefer to use what they call "chunking pens" instead--the 4 color pens that I use for our record keeping.  Another option suggested in the Instructor's Handbook is to use different colored highlighters.  This exercise helps students see how various sounds are spelled within a word.

After chunking, which helps them see how words are spelled, they copy the passage.  For reluctant writers, this part can be timed, and the student can stop after 10 minutes.  We haven't had a problem with this, but I really like that the program gives us "permission" to keep it short and enjoyable.

On days 4 and 5, the student receives dictation instead of copying directly from the text.  Eli is using one of his art works, paper clipped to the left page, to prevent him from seeing the text as I read it aloud and he copies it, one sentence at a time.

That's it!  There is no boring list of random words for the kids to write 3 times each.  There is no making your list words into inane sentences.  The "test" on Friday is simply the dictation passage.

I love the way Spelling You See combines spelling with capitalization, punctuation, and learning interesting things.  The Ancient Achievements theme was a bonus for us, since we've been doing a chronological study of world history the last 2 years, and the passages are all fascinating tidbits that go along with that.

We received the Instructor's Handbook, which is small but mighty, and sells for $14.  I really appreciate Spelling You See keeping the size small and keeping the cost reasonable!  In addition to lesson instructions, the manual also includes all the dictation passages, and the answer key, which has the chunking answers highlighted.  The Student Pack, which contains 2 workbooks and a set of colored pencils, sells for $30.  I feel this program is very economical.  For $44 per year, you get a fabulous spelling program that your kids won't fight using, and it only takes about 10 minutes a day!  

While we're talking about Spelling You See, I want to mention that Jack is currently working in Level C, Wild Tales, and he likes it.  The format for C is a little different, in that the books are bound landscape instead of portrait, and Day 4 is a draw and write your own thing day, instead of dictation.  I have been so pleased with Spelling You See that I will be putting Katie into Level A, Listen and Write, next school year, and Jack and Hannah will both be using Level D, Americana.

Spelling You See is not leveled by grade, but by ability.  For more placement information, see here.

You can connect with Spelling You See on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, or Pinterest.  To read how other Crew families used Level F and Level G, Modern Milestones, please click the box below:

Spelling You See Review

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Love Inspired Books #giveaway and #coupon

Love Inspired Books sent me a package of 6 new books to review!  Included were:

A Firefighter's Promise
The Rancher Takes a Bride
The Doctor's Second Chance
The Single Dad Finds a Wife
Winning the Teacher's Heart
Bachelor to the Rescue

These are sweet romance stories.  Each is 224 pages.  They're the perfect size to tuck into a purse for reading in a waiting room.  I put one in my van so I'd have something to read while waiting to pick kids up.  They're great books for on the go.

The first book I chose to read was A Firefighter's Promise.  After all, my own love story features a firefighter, right?  I figured this would be a book I could relate to.  Little did I know that this book would also feature an adopted child.  I have to admit, I couldn't put this one down.  I picked it up at nap time, thinking I'd read a little and then catch a quick snooze before it was time to pick the kids up from school.  Ha!  Instead, I read the whole thing.

Winning the Teacher's Heart featured a play it safe single mom and a bad boy motocross racer.  I found myself angry on Becca's behalf at the way her former in-laws were manipulating her through fear and intimidation.

If you enjoyed the movie 3 Men and a Baby, you'll appreciate the panicked antics that ensue when Jake's wild cousin drops her baby in his lap and takes off.  Fortunately, there's a pretty young pediatrician to help him learn baby care basics in The Doctor's Second Chance.

I like these books and I can feel good about passing them on to Brianna when I'm done with them.  Unlike typical Harlequin romance stories, these don't have graphic intimate scenes.  I look forward to reading the remaining Love Inspired books poolside this summer while the kids splash.

There are 6 new Love Inspired each month.  Are you ready to win all 6 books for May?  Good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're not my winner for this awesome set, you can still score a coupon for $1 off any Love Inspired book!  You can connect with Love Inspired books on Facebook or Twitter.  I'd love to hear what you've been reading lately.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Our Week - Homeschool and Life

Has another whole week passed already?  I feel like I just wrote one of these wrap up posts.  Time flies when we're having fun, I guess.

If you follow the blog Facebook page, you may have caught the cool video I posted about wanting to try to make these little doo dads out of cardstock.  Well, they look neat, but you have to be pretty precise with the folds.  Mine worked, Jack's sort of worked, Eli's... not so much.  (The clothespins were holding them in place while the glue dried.

One of Jack's Lego creations this week.

After we did scratch art in ARTistic Pursuits, I came across these scratchboards (affiliate link) and thought the boys would appreciate the convenience of not having to make their own page with black oil pastels.

The coating on these is a bit tougher than our DIY ones.  An unsharpened pencil did not pierce it, so they used pushpins to make their drawings.

Something Eli sketched while I read aloud.

And the almost required at this point K'nex build of the week.  A motorized helicopter.

With an opening cargo bay.

You'll be seeing more of Hannah in the next few weeks.  She has one half day of school next week, then she's off for a month.  (Crazy track system!  Have I mentioned I hate it?)  It will be awesome to have her home, and I've got some fun stuff planned for us.

The octopus was something she made at school, and I thought it was too cute to throw out without getting a picture first.

This is what happens after a sleepover at a friend's house.  Methinks there was a sugar crash involved??

This week, we watched Dawn of the Maya (affiliate link), a National Geographic DVD we picked up at the library.  Made me want to visit an archaeological dig!  Fascinating info about the pre-classical period Maya, and it showed rare Mayan mural art.  Plus, you know, pyramids are just cool.

We also read about Michelangelo, but I was too chicken to tape paper to the underside of our table and have the boys try to paint laying underneath it.  Maybe if we had a table over linoleum I would have been braver, but paint + carpet just sounds disastrous.

(more about Katie's project in this month's Pre-K With Katie post, coming soon)

Next week, we're off to Shriners again to see if Katie's new leg socket will fit.  I'm really crossing my fingers.  She's outgrown her current leg, and it's becoming more of a problem with each passing day.  It's been 4 weeks since the last test fit.  I just want her to have a working leg.

Anyone else getting spring fever?  I alternate between pouring over curriculum catalogs, planning for next school year, and counting down how many weeks of school we have left.  Fortunately, we're ending the year with more weeks left than work to complete (Jack is on his last week of spelling right now!), so we'll be able to take days off to do fun stuff without falling behind.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

When Calls The Heart #giveaway #FaithTV #Hearties

When I was young, my grandmother had all the Janette Oke books, and I used to read them at her house.   Hallmark based their wildly popular series When Calls The Heart on her book by the same name.  The book and the TV series, which starts it's second season on April 25th, have a lot of differences, but if you enjoy the genre of the book, and you don't expect them to be the same, you'll likely enjoy the show, as well.

I got to see the season premiere a little early, and it's a sweet, wholesome show I shared with my teen daughter.  When Calls The Heart is the story of a well bred socialite young lady going to a primative coal mining town as a teacher, and learning to make her way, without her family, in unfamiliar circumstances.

You can win the entire first season on DVD!  Stock up on the popcorn, because this calls for a marathon session!  This prize, provided by WordFilms is worth $60!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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