Friday, July 30, 2010

Literature Unit: Story About Ping

We recently 'rowed' The Story About ping and I am only now getting around to posting about it. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'row, rowed, rowing' it was coined by FIAR and the fact that they advocate to read the same book (the book you are studying) for five days in a row......make sense?!

I have purchased the first Volume of FIAR after having completed a few of the BFIAR books with the kids over the last few years. This is a supplement, something different, not something we would do all of the time. Not because I don't feel that it isn't 'good enoough' or up to par, in fact it is a beautiful, gentle, encouraging way to learn and perfect to use in a way which brings all of the children together.

I just don't want FIAR to become same old same old, if we were to tackle it week in week out. In the end there is loads of printing and loads of cutting of mini books and whilst doing the odd lapbooking type project here and there for the kids is fun, I really don't want it to be our basis. In fact I like to change things up all the time and use a wide variety of stuff.

We are certainly not a family to purchase a curriculum and use it from Pre - 12 and I don't think we will ever do that! In saying all of that though, this was truly enjoyable and I am looking forward to rowing something again soon.

The kids had a blast and asked for the related activities several times over the span of the two weeks that we took to complete this project.

I also chose to change things and not do a traditional lapbook, we already have done a few and the thought of having to store all of those lapbooks that could possibly build up over the years was a growing nightmare. So we have done what I think is now being called a Lap n Note, a combination of a lapbooking and notebooking.

We've still used all of the little booklets, with each on a sheet of A4 cardstock, my plan is at some stage to bind these all together into one large Literature Studies Booklet. I'm still not sure if I have made the right decision on how we have put these together but my procrastination on the assembly side of things already held us up for weeks.

First it was trying to decide if we should stop doing them in the manila folders, then I had to come up with alternatives, large scrapbook/A3 sketch books were a possibility too. I think any way would work but my thoughts on the lap n note is that we can easily 'rerow' books (since K has only just turned 6 this is a high possibility) and add to our exisiting lap n notes (much more difficult to do with an already completed lapbook)

So as you look at the images you will notice that there are some blank pages (this is where I am unsure if I have made the right choices here). Anyway, I'll quit rambling so you can just scroll and look at some of the photo's.

All printables are straight from the lovely ladies at home school share and I am only showing B's as K's is very similar anyway.

I have grouped like topics/subjects together, so geography/cultural topics on china.

I always take lots of photo's so made sure that those were included. These are invaluable when tyring to show/remember hands on stuff, like the salt dough map of china and the other smaller creations (ping and a chinese flag)

Moving on to language arts, which includes poetry above and story sequencing below.

Well that's a boring photo, I probably should have opened the booklet. It is filled with small images of the story that the children had to sequence before gluing into the mini booklet. Need some more language arts activities to complete this page.

Counting Ping's family.

Extra's, like the cute carrot and celery stick Ping, B made from his snack and K loved the egg Ping toasties.

And not forgetting a bit of science, the sun mini booklet was actually from 1+1+1=1.

This is the finish and we have one lonely mini book on types of ducks, Which in one way is great as it shows exactly what we need to focus on the next time we row Ping, but what if we never get back to it, this is going to be one big glaringly boring page!

Oh well maybe we can fill it with some cute duck pictures or something.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Family Fun: Favourite Board Games

I had every intention of including some photo's of us actually playing our current favourite games as lately we have been playing lots, but not this past week.

Typical hey, as soon as you want something it doesn't happen!

So anyway, I'll share our current favourites. I admit we have a large amount of board games and some of them we just do not get to, but I am sure over time we will.

Playing games with an 8 year old, that can just about play any adult game, a 6 year old that still requires alot of assistance and a 2 year old that just delights in trashing the game at every opportunity, is well, let's say, challenging at best.

I have been strewing our games lately, choosing one or two out of the cupboard and leaving them out and of course they always get picked up. It is interesting to hear the comments when a freshly strewed game is opened. "Mum, I'm really not into this game!", "Mum I don't like playing this game!" etc etc and then after a few nights of play, suddenly the game is the best ever!

Blokus, is a challenging game, the first to use all of their oddly shaped pieces on the board is the winner. Players pieces must touch each other but only on the corners. Lots going on here and surprsingly our 6 year old did really very well at this game, once she got the hang of the corner touching.

I think the blokus board is great for younger ones to just sit and play with the pieces, manipulating them into the slots on the board. Each player also has loads of little pieces infront of them that can kep a toddler busy whilst you play the game, just remember to check under the table regularly for stray pieces ;-)

Sequence has been a favourite in our home since we first received it and it remains to be so today.

It is a combination of a card game and a board game in one. It is also really fun played in teams.

B first started out with this game not long before he was 7, sitting on someone's lap and watching everything that went on and slowly having a turn here and there.

He progressed to having someone play with him and it really didn't take very long at all for him to begin tackling the game on his own.

Now he is very much holding his own, this is a busy game with lots happening on the board and depending on who you play with it is also a fast paced game so you do need your wits about you.

 In all honesty this is not one of my favourite games, however the kids love it!

It's loud and people are bumping you back to home all the time and it never seems to end. I think all of the reasons why I don't like the game are the exact reasons why the kids do!!

Everyone except C(2) can easily play this game, sometimes K(6) may need a little advice as to who she should bump off the board but aprt from that it is pretty easy to pick up.

The kids love it when you bump someone, they all sing in chorus (C included) 'sorry, sorry, sorry', it cause quite a raucous this game.

What are your favourite family board games? Join in with the hop and share them with us, we love finding new games. You still have plenty of time to join in.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bambino Academy: Mazes, Crafts, Towers and a whole lot of fun.

~ C is 23 months ~

This will be our last Bambino Academy post for the 1 - 2 years age bracket. I can't believe I now need to post in the 2 - 3 years age. 

We've been a little off with tot school lately. Not that we haven't had loads of fun learning experiences, but I haven't felt the desire to always have my camera in hand. Sometimes it's just best to enjoy the time together and forget about taking the pictures.

Here is a snapshot of some of what we've been up to.

Buliding towers out of mega blocks is the latest hit.

Matching egg shapes.

Red Rods, well technically they are number rods, but we only have these so for C we will use them for both. At this stge I haven't given him a 'presntation' at all. It has purely been his own interest in them and free exploration of the materials.

Playing with his brother's Rush Hour.

Shape sorting, way too easy now, I need to remove this from his shelves.


Threading, he is really mastering this now.

He loved making these 'bags' at his sisters birthday morning tea.

He has shown considerable interest in the 'red rods' and the pink tower this past week.

And worked out that you actually need to place your feet on the pedals of his sisters trike one afternoon this week.

We can't forget our visit to the zoo.

I am linking this post to:

Toddler Tuesday's
Tot Tuesday's
Tot School

Homemade Games: Number Rods Dice Game

C and I have been building mazes from our Red Rods (they are number rods, we don't have red rods so they are doubling up on their purpose), he loves them.

Many days of the week there is a maze somewhere on the floor. For some reason on this particular day the kids decided to make it a game board. Obviously not its' intended purpose but they were not misusing the pieces and I was more than happy to see them using the materials for more than just what they are intended for.

They used their dice and small animals as counters. Each red/blue section was one space on the game board. First to the centre was the winner. If you landed on someone else they had to move back one space. I think I heard a few other rules being thrown around but that was the general gist of it.

Later they came back and added the Pink Tower to the game. I obviously didn't get any photo's of that at all and too be honest I can't really remember how they incorporated it either.

Simple and fun is often the best. :)

I am linking up to Childhood's 101 We Play Linky for the first time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Shout Out: Mindful Parenting, Acceptance, Love & Learning

These posts have touched me all in different ways this week, some have even brought a tear or two to my eyes.

  • Jenny has posted on the topic of Acceptance over at the Latter Day Homeschooling Blog. I totally understand the need for accepting one's feelings and validating those feelings, as opposed to sweeping them under the carpet and telling yourself that they will go away.

  • The Sparkling Martins features a moving post on Loving It Forward. This is a must read for any parent, for anyone really. A wonderful reminder of not judging a book by its' cover.

  • This is my new favourite blog. I have been going back over the archives here reading everything. But How Do Learn, Just A Bald Man discusses the cradle to career education system and why this may not be one of the best policies. (whilst this is written with response to the US Education, in most cases here in Oz we quickly follow suit to many of the American ways and I feel that this post is just as valid for Australian's)

I hope you enjoy these reads as much I did.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Fun: A Day At The Zoo

We took a trip to what you could call our local Zoo, it is an hours drive away, but the closest one to us. We've never been before so we had no idea what to expect, except that it wasn't a huge zoo. Perfect for little C though and I knew the other two would enjoy the day regardless.

It definitely needs some money spent on the place but I guess without public support and paying customers it is hard to do, bit of a catch 22 really. The gardens are very established and it really has so much potential to be fabulous.

For a quiet couple of hours out (not really enough for a full day) though it was nice.

So of course we couldn't possibly go to the zoo without sharing plenty of animal photo's. I must remember to take my second zoom with me to these sorts of places they are always better for the animal enclosures that are that little bit further away.

Petting and feeding the kangaroo's, although I think they just wanted to snooze.

ahh the cuddly koalas are always a hit!

K loved this tree and would have been happy to play there for hours I think.

Peacocks, galore. We spent the entire day looking for stray feathers but no luck.

C has had a little fetish with donkeys for awhile. He has never seen one in real life before and after watching these two I'm not sure he will feel the same way about them.

I wasn't able to get the shot with both of them in it at the same time, but this is exactly what they were both doing (heads held to the side like that, one to each side) begging for food. It is hard to tell but they really didn't open their mouths much, just raised their upper lips and showed all of their teeth, as hideous as they were lol!! The kids were asking why someone hasn't brushed their teeth, cause they sure needed too.

It was so funny, they knew the little brown bags of food and you all you had to do was raise your hand and they would go into the pose. Sure gave us a giggle.

This iguana was stunning.



These are some sort of Mountain Goat (I've forgotten the breed now) and let's just say that no one was impressed with this stop off. K was extremely frustrated because she wanted to feed the babies and the bigger ones just kept butting in. B was scared they were going to bite his finger off, so as soon as they touched his hand full of feed he pulled it away and it went all over the ground (by the end he managed to feed a couple)  and C was absolutely not getting down from daddy's shoulders!

Snoozing Red Panda.

Boa Constrictor.

Baby Crocodile

Very spiky.

C really wasn't sure about touching this one.

They have a small farm enclosure area, which K loved immensely.

And what's a day at the Zoo without an Ice Cream!

A yummy choc mint ice cream, just perfect for smearing over one's face.

We had a lovely day togetherm just the 5 of us.

I am linking this this to Science Sunday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday C

Oh what a bittersweet day it has been for this mamma! My sweet, gorgeous, funny, caring, loving absolutely delightful baby is no longer a baby. Whilst we are all just loving being a part of his growth, I do also feel very sad in a selfish kind of you can't grow up know how it is with your baby!

Having him in my life has taught me so much. I have grown more in the past two years than I think I have in my entire life. He has given me the opportunity to be the mum I really want to be (far from perfect but working on it everyday) and it isn't only him that is benefitting, all of the kids are. The opportunity to really listen to myself and my instincts and what is right for us as a family and to be able to do away with the worry over what everyone else thinks is an amazing feeling.

I am so truly, utterly blessed every single day to have this guy as part of our lives and if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't even think twice. His presence in our home has changed us all in so many wonderful ways and for that I am ever so grateful.

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet, precious baby boy.

Very low key celebrations this year. In fact we had to have 2 seperate birthday's for him as his Grandma went away today for work. Last night we had over dh's family for dinner and cake. C was really very unsure what he should do with all of the attention during the Happy Birthday song. I think if it had of gone on any longer he may have had a tear or two.

Then tonight a similar evening with my family. After having happy birthday sung to him several times today by his mumma and brother and sister he had warmed up somewhat. Still not 100% happy with all of those eyes on him, but he coped much better with the situation.

He certainly had his candle blowing technique worked out tonight too.

We are headed to the Zoo tomorrow for a fun family say out together. I will share some photo's as soon as I can. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Do I Increase My Blog Followers?

I have been asked this question a couple of times over the last few weeks. Now really I'm not all that sure I am best person to ask, there are definitely plenty more long term and qualified bloggers than I and after all I don't have an over adundance of followers.

I will however share what thoughts I do have on the question asked.

I must add in here that I blog for fun, for record keeping and as a hobby. I do not blog to gain followers (although it is nice to know others actually do read) make a little extra cash or try to be something I am not.

I do strongly encourage new bloggers to keep it in perspectiveas the whole blogging experience can easily get out of hand.

Anyway, some ways that I have seen to increase blog followers are:

  • Regular posting of at least 2-3 times a week
  • Good photo's, well lit, easy to see. You don't need to be a photographer but decent photo's really do make a blog
  • Short & precise posts, unless of course your writing is truly captivating (anyone recommend a good course? I'd like to improve my skills in this area)
  • Follow other blogs yourself
  • Comment regularly on other blogs, that way you are being seen by many around the blogosphere
  • Giveaway's - although really you probably need to have a few followers to begin with for this to work effectively.
If you have other ideas please leave a note in the comments to share with everyone.

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