Monday, August 30, 2010

Science Sunday - Gases, Froth and Bubbles

The kids were busting their seams when I mentioned that the very hands on, very fun Professor Jellybean would be joining again this term for a couple of science experiment sessions.

They just love attending these workshops, not only are they fun and educational, they also have relatively small group sizes (average of 10 children per group this term).

But the best part has to be that each and every mum/parent/carer also gets to enjoy the excitement with the kids as not a single one of us has had to find all of the experiments, get organised to run the workshop, set up, run the group, make sure the experiments are working, nope, because all of that is done for us, all we simply need to do is enjoy the fun along with the kids.

As a homeschooling parent we are so busy planning and scheduling lessons it is such a blessing when we can access fabulous hands on activities for our children to participate in from time to time. Working and interacting with other adults outside of the home and to also be able to work alongside and with ones peers is a skill all children need.

How blessed we are to be able to provide this without having to hand over the entire education process of our children AND the best parts of their lives to someone else. It IS great to be a home schooler!

Sorry got a bit carried away there K doesn't look the least bit happy about participating in this does she.

The first experiment gave the children a visual of gases, something that is very difficult for a young child to fathom. They had a small continer filled with a citric acid solution. They placed a teaspoon or two of bi carb into the fingers of the glove. Whilst someone held the glove tightly around the cup, the other person lifted the glove dispersing the bi carb into the citric acid as it bubbled and the gases were released the glove 'blew up' and the kids eyes lit up!

This experiment was similar, a citric acid solution with dish soap in it, added to bi carb, a lovely fizzing, bubbling green little pot of fun.

They finished the morning off with these very cool rocket tubes. These are basically a large piece of plastic open at both ends. You begin by tying off one end and then with the other end open you very lightly blow into it (yes lightly, too hard and it doesn't work) and they seemingly instantly blow up. Grab the end and seal it shut with a rubber band.

And proceed to spend an enormous amount of time playing with them. These rocket tubes are super fun on their own but join forces with your friends and you can come up with all sorts of contraptions.

Yet another great week with Professor Jellybean.

I am linking this to Science Sunday, click on over to have a look at loads of science fun.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free Printable: Sight Words Level 1

I have made up some sight word cards to go along with the sight word reading program I am using with K.

We didn't use sight words at all with B, they were simply integrated into his reading/language arts program and he used a true phonetic base to learn to read.

Whilst I wholeheartedly believe that phonics must make up a large portion of any learn to read program, I do feel that enabling a young child with a range of sight words (words they have memorised and can read by sight) gives them the confidence in those very early stages of reading.

Please know that this is just my opinion and what has worked for us. There are many children that just seem to pick up reading with out any real effort at all, but here we need re-enforcements.

This first list of sight words works concurrently with the first level of the sight word readers and activity book K is using. (I think I might do a seperate post on those) However I thought I would share them, since I had created the document for K anyway and maybe someone will get some use out of them.

I have printed mine off on bright cardstock and laminated them (since I will probably use them again with C) and because they are handled nearly daily with games. We play games like snap and memory and sometimes just read through the cards themselves. K also reads the readers where these words are used on a daily basis.

To download these sight words cards, click here.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

My Online Time

Like most of the other blog hoppers I too probably spend way too much time online!

I do however enjoy blogging and at the moment it is really my only 'hobby' if you can call it that. And at the end of the day I justify my blogging time because I blog about the kids and their journey and through my blogging I have found so many wonderful things to do with the kids that I don't think I would have found otherwise.

The internet is my library and that is exactly how I use it. At times I just want to wander around browse at the information available. Some of it I learn from, some of it I find intriguing and some of it is just for fun.

Other times I have a plan, something in particular I am looking for and I just need to make sure I search through the correct 'shelves' in the library. At times this searching is tedious and long winded and sometimes it is as simple as a click of a button and I have found what I was after.

I'm not sure where how home school would be without the internet.

In terms of my blogging I always used to be a sporadoic blogger, at times posting daily and even twice daily and then breaking for weeks. Lately I have been trying to even my blogging time out somewhat. I now endeavour to schedule 3 posts per week 2 - 3 weeks in advance (well that's the plan anyway ;-) ).

I've always got scrap bits of paper lying around with post ideas scribbled down and many of them are in my head, whilst others stem from browsing my recent photographs. Very disorganised to say the least.

As recently as the past few weeks I had been keeping lists and thoughts for the blog jotted down all together in one little notebook, which is certainly a far cry from the scrap bits of paper all over the desk, but still the system I needed had eluded me. Considering that I have more than one blog, plus my other online presences, one little notebook just wasn't cutting it.

So I decided to put together a very simple printable planning and scheduling page for my blog/s. I include the Post Title (or if that is unknown just an idea) whether the post is in draft form or if it has been scheduled. You do all know about scheduling your posts don't you?  Ok I'll come back to that in a tick. Once the post has been schedule I add in the Scheduled Date to that column  and right at the end is a column for anything that I may still need for the post. Once the post is showing up and is done and dusted I simply draw a line through it.

Sometimes I upload lots of pics for various posts at once and need to come back and add in the copy so normally that last column will simply be a note to remind myself that I need to actually write the post.

 Please ignore my scribble

Whilst this would be so simple to put together yourself, I have uploaded a copy to my Scribd Documents, which you can download here if you wish.

Now, back to scheduling. Just in case there is someone out there that doesn't know about scheduling, this is a real life saver. It means that you can sit down and write posts whenever you feel like it and have them post (show up) on your blog at the time and date that you choose.

How To Schedule A Post? Write your post, add your labels etc, on the left hand side at the bottom of your post (this is for blogger users by the way) which is the other side of where you enter your posts labels, you will see Post Options, click it.  Here you can choose how your comments will appear and choose a date to schedule your posts. Simple!

Now let's get back to the topic at hand. I have explained how I handle my own blog. Or how at least I am trying to handle it. When it comes to reading other blogs that is an entirely different story.  I am terrible at following blogs, as in I follow way too many blogs, but seriously there are so many great ideas out there how can I not follow along.

I know that 'external readers' seem to be the big thing at the moment but I personally prefer to use my Reading List on my blogger dashboard. I simply scroll through and select the blogs to visit. For me it is as much about the experience of visiting the blog as it is to read the post.

Kind of like comparing going to a friends house for a cuppa and a chat or making a coffee and phoning them. The visiting part is always much more enjoyable!

Since my 'following' list is always growing I have become very selective in regards to the posts that I choose to read and even more so when it comes to commenting. I just simply don't have the time. I also find that for me it is easier to take 5 or 10 minutes where I can to check my Reading List for new posts and if something interests me I can quickly jump over and read it. When I leave my reading to do in one big chunk of time it takes way too long and those are the times I comment even less.

I always endeavour to rise before the children (not always possible when you co sleep) and that is my time. I do not do any housework of any description in the wee hours of the morning, no matter how badly it might need doing. I grab a cuppa and catch up on emails, forums/yahoo groups I visit, blogs I read. If after this the children are still asleep I will move on to more research for future units and creating or downloading the necessary printable materials I may need. This is the time that the majority of my online stuff is done.

I do though take smaller breaks throughout the day to check in when I can.

What about you? How do you spend your time online? You still have time to join in the blog hop.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Free Printable: Puzzle Words

I put together a handful of puzzle words, making up new words this way is much more fun than simply just writing them out by hand.

See how many words you can come up with by combining the various beginnings and endings.

Download this printable by clicking here.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Time 4 Learning

I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bambino Academy: Busy Toddlers During School Time

Have a toddler?

What do you do with them during school time? How do you keep them busy AND entertained?

If you are like me and have an inquisitive, always eager and wanting to be busy toddler on your hands then no doubt school time can become a little chaotic.

How do you spend time with all of the children, whilst keeping your toddler nearby and having them engaged as well. Not an easy task and definitely in our house some days are better than others.

Where possible I always try to 'fill his cup' before we start any school time. If he feels that he has had some special time with mummy he is usually happy to spend some time independently exploring. He has his Montessori inspired Bambino Academy Shelves where we spend some time together, but I wanted activities that I didn't need to be there with him and that were different from what was on his shelves.

So I have started compiling my list of things that are easy to pull together, this list is a work in progress and has he grows it will continually change.

I didn't get a photo but he loves gluing of all kinds. I keep our junk mail and cut it up, place it on a tray with a glue stick and a large sheet of paper and he will glue to his hearts content.

He has been very interested in cutting recently and up until a few days ago he would use both his hands to ush the scissors together to cut a snip, very laborious but he achieved what he set out to do. So I have started to alternate my cut up junk mail to glue with junk mail straight from the letter box and a pair of scissors, he is now really getting the hang of this and on same days this activity alone will keep him going for up to 30 minutes.

The Aqua Doodle is always a quick and easy standby but I don't use it too often as its value quickly wears off. However he has recently discovered that you can also 'paint' bits of your body with the aqua doodle pen and that is loads more fun than the sheet you are supposed to use.

This is my homemade felt board/white board. It did have cork on this side but I just glued down a large piece of felt cut to size, it is great having a really large board to play with.

He loves to scribble on things that he shouldn't, well c'mon what 2 year old doesn't!!! So I gave him some pieces of a cardboard box to colour and decorate. To extend this I could give him some glue so he could have fun collaging his previously cut up pieces onto the box, or even stickers would work well with this.

I do plan to continue posting other activities that we utilise for this time of our day so stay tuned for some updates.

I am linking this post to:

Toddler Tuesdays at One Hook Wonder
Tot Tuesdays at My Delicious Ambiguity
Tot School at 1+1+1=1 
Fun With Toddlers

Monday, August 16, 2010

Look What I Won

Thank you ever so much to Activity Bags and the very lovely Susana at my Family My Forever for hosting this give away.

I was so excited when I saw that I had won this.

It is all printed, looking at me waiting to be bound so I can begin putting everything together.

Stay tuned for some Science fun!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Do you Spend Your Time Online

Theme: How Do You Spend Your Time Online?

Since you are participating in this blog hop you obviously blog and spend some time online reading other blogs and homeschooling/education websites. Not to mention the time that you spend on your blog, writing posts and the like.

How do you do it? How do you work in your hobby of blogging, your leisure time of reading blogs, homeschooling and everything else involved with running a household.

Are you a wing it kind of gal and just grab time whenever you can on the computer? Or do you have a plan? Do you schedule all of your posts in large chunks or blog daily? Do you visit your favourite blogs/websites whenever you get a chance or do you set aside a couple of hours on a friday night for blog reading?

Walk us through and share with us how you organise (or lack thereof) your time online, maybe we can learn a thing or two from sharing :)

Blog Hop Participation Rules

STOP: Please DO NOT add your link below unless you have a post published about the blog hop and the current theme, and the McLinky code showing in that post.

Please ensure you have linked directly to your blog hop post and that the title includes the words 'blog hop' somewhere. All links added are checked via McLinky and those without these details are removed immediately. I am sory but I don't have time to contact everyone personally about this.

We are all enjoying this immensely, please play fairly as the majority of blog hoppers do! Thanks for participating, have fun!

Friday, August 13, 2010

GLIMPSE: New Global Homeschooling Mag


Global Learners In Many Places Sharing Experiences

I recently found the link to this new homeschooling newsletter (although more like a magazine) here.

And the best part is that it is the brain child of an Aussie Home Schooling family!!!

From their website: "  GLIMPSE is a monthly secular publication for homeschoolers, home educators and people with a love of learnig from a home base. It is free and I think well worth a read. Hope you enjoy it!"

Go grab yourself a copy and a cuppa and enjoy getting to know some homeschooling families from all over the world.

The magazine also includes topics like:

Book Reviews
Free Resources
Ask A Fellow Learner
Competitions & Giveaways
The Cooking Corner
Projects For Learning
And More

Grab a copy here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Real Life Writing

K does not enjoy handwriting lessons, or handwriting workbooks or being shown how to write letters. She does however spend 2  - 3 afternoons a week, hand writing letters to the family. She will ask me to write the words and she copies in her own writing.

She then proceeds to label each envelope and post them in our letter box. When dad gets home she will always remember to remind us if we have checked the mail that day!

Yes we have reverted back to captials, without captials she will not write at all FULL STOP. I will not have her spending time crying over trying to write in lowercase. I am more concerned that she is actually writing and she loves writing letters to us.

In saying all of that I have been looking very closely at Handwriting Without Tears for her, I think it might just be what she needs. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Books 4 Big Kids: Captain Underpants

Ok I have now really let go of my 'reading twaddle' phobia here. I have been so anti these types of books for so long that I wonder at times if those thoughts have contributed to 'late reading' with B.

I guess I could wonder about this for years and I don't think it really matters any longer, he's reading, still not as confidently as he could be but that will come with time and reading.

He has devoured the first four Captain Underpants Books and is asking for more.....did you just read that? He came to me and asked me to buy him more of these to read!!! Yay, doing backflips here, well pretending to be doing them anyway ;-)

Being the sneaky mum that I am (things you gotta do) I have suggested that he work his way through his book basket some more and then we can go order another lot of Captain Underpants.

His book basket is next to his bed and is filled with books that I have picked up here and there. They cover a wide range of topics and interests and a wide reading ability, some are super easy and others are a little above his level. I always have my eye out at book stores, online and charity book sales for books to grab to put into his book basket.

The book basket is used purely in his own time. There is no reporting and no discussing of the books required, unless of course he wants to and we do often talk about them, but I digress.

Lots of giggles from the Captain Underpants books and lots of sillyness and very silly words so granted they may not be for everyone. I mean one of the characters is called Professor Poopypants so you get my drift.

I have however heard him laughing and giggling out loud at these very silly stories. He has enjoyed them so much that he has spent the past two weeks drawing the characters.

Yup, all hand drawn and then coloured with felt tip pens.

There has been some conversation about what will be done with these, possibilities like, laminating them and turning them into puppets (on a stick), photocopying them and writing his own stories with the characters are some of things he has tossed around.

In the end he may just be happy to leave them as they are and that is totally fine too.

So whilst these books aren't high on the 'quality literature ladder' they have sure given B a boost, if you have a reluctant reader, give them a go, you might just be surprised.

I have not been compensated in any way for this review. These are simply products that we have enjoyed that I wanted to let others know about.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I've Cut Off My Right Arm!!

Say what?

I've cut off a part of me!

I'm fairly certain that most of you would agree with me that your computer is part of you. There's so much of your life, your world on that little contraption we call a computer.

So much so, that when you come home from a lovely morning at the park only to find that it has all but died on you, all you are left to do is cry!

You would think that since I have a perfectly good (and relatively new) computer sitting right across from me and my trusty iPad that it wouldn't be such a big deal. But it is I tell you, it really is.........that is MY COMPUTER that is sitting there staring at me, lifeless.....

I knew it was coming, I saw the signs. This happened roughly six months ago (it was repaired) and I have been getting weird errors on start up for about a week. All I can do now is pray that the computer technician can salvage everything for me.

Whilst I'm still grieving I've come to terms with the fact that I need to move on and find myself a new partner in crime when it comes to things computerish so whilst my baby is away at the doctors (hopefully being repaired and not buried) I will move this computer into it's place and try to find some common ground with it.

It's hard letting go of old friends and making new but I am sure if I spend some time building this new relationship in a few months I will barely miss the old friend, although it will always be there in my memories.

My poor old computer, you have served me well my friend.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Craft Club: Candle Making

Aren't these the cutest? The kids had an absolute blast making these candles today! I'll try to explain the process they used, it is fairly straight forward and probably something you could do at home, although it would be quite an effort to set it all up.

There were several large pots of hot melted wax in various colours. The children were each given a wick (piece of string). They had to choose a starting colour and dip there wick into the colour, remove, wait for it to stop dripping, dunk it into a tub of water (that was sitting next to each pot of wax) and repeat, for approximately 15 times.

Then it was time to move onto a different colour to repeat the process over and over again. A little time consuming and a bit of a work out for the arm. They continued in this fashion until the the wax was roughly 4cm in diameter and they had built a few different coloured layers on their candles. Surprisingly it didn't take all that long, an entire candle was finished in roughly 45 minutes, and in even less time for the older kids.

Next was choosing a design for their candle to be carved into. I would have loved it if the kids had been shown how to carve, but he was using a very sharp implement and it would need to be done in very small groups.

Once everyone had made their candles and walked away with huge smiles on their faces we (some of the straggler mummies) were shown  another design. You begin with a stick candle (but much thinner than what the children did and adhere it to a wax base, so it will stand on its own.

Imerge the candle in water, grab a cup of hot melted wax and pour (whilst swirling) the wax onto the candle. Most of the wax will spread out over the top of the water, you kind of need to drop the stick candle deeper and pull the wax into shape, wrapping it around the candle. (does that make sense)

Add a few more colours by working the same way and you end up with something like this (picture above). Much more fragile though and definitely trickier to create.

Everyone had a blast with this, if you are in Australia, check out Crazy Candles to see if there is one near you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Skittle Math

We played a spot of Skittle Math this week.

A quick easy way to achieve some 'how many objects in a group' work. This really only works best for smaller numbers, so the focus here was for K but of course with skittles being the main attraction I couldn't leave B out and he was all up for trying some higher number groups.

Simply place a few items on the table (counters, blocks, lollies) and the idea is to have the child tell you how many are there without counting. To keep the little pile of skittles they had to get it that was the best incentive yet!!!!

They each played a few rounds and both did very well at this.

And because B had way more skittles due his larger groups they quickly decided to count their stash and divide them evenly.

All of that math and fair play too boot!

I am linking this to Math Monday at Joyful Learner and to We Play at Childhood 101

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Making New Friends

I thought we'd try something a little different this week for the Home School Hop.

We're gonna make some new friends.

Wanna join in?

Follow these steps:

1/. Write a quick post about this Making Friends Home School Hop and add in the linky code (at the bottom of this post) to your post.

2/. Add your blog post into the Link List below

3/. Choose TWO BLOGS from the list (if you are early to link up you may need to come back). Try to choose blogs that you have either not visited before, haven't visited in a while or don't often get the time to visit......the idea is to make some NEW friends.

3/. Comment on their Making Friends Home School Hop Post, letting them know that you are visiting from the Making Friends Home School Hop.

4/. Don't forget to follow them if you enjoyed their blog.

5/. Come back here and comment on this post, letting us know which TWO BLOGS you visited and what you liked about them.

6/. Double check that you have followed all of the steps.

7/. Have fun!

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