Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FIAR: Caps For sale

We've been rowing the delightful story of Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, if you haven't read this to your kids, you really must!

We made fingerprint monkey's in a tree, the kids loved this and were very keen to add the finishing touches of leaves and grass.

You can't possibly read this story and not spend some time trying to balance caps on your head, lots of giggling happening here!!

A rhyming sheet from Homeschool Creations printable pack to go along with this story.

We measured stacks of caps, in centimetres though, not inches.

I googled some images of various monkey's from the around the world and we placed them on a world map, discussing what some of their habitats are like as we did this.

We completed mini books from Homeschool share and learned lots about monkeys. Where they fit in to the Animal Kingdom, their characteristics and the things they like to eat.

We've just started doing some research on a monkey of choice. Once completed these notebooking pages will go into our Animal Kingdom Notebooks. I'll share more about those soon.

Little Surfer Dude, thoroughly enjoyed recording his first narration.

My Pinterest Board for all things related to Caps For Sale

Before Five In A Row Link Up at Delightful Learning

Printables at Homeschool Share

Printables at Homeschool Creations

The Story About Ping

Aussie Book Adventures

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Morning Basket & Table Time

{Our Morning Basket is overflowing with great reads}

I first saw the idea of a Morning Basket over at this lovely blog, well over twelve months ago. I knew then that one day I would implement something similar into our daily routine.

I've been procrastinating on this one for some time, there was always one element that just wasn't quite right so I never made a start.

But, plans are only plans, if you never put them into action, they don't amount to much. So I gathered what I had and just got started. Simple as that!

{During Read Aloud I Set Challenges For Drawing}

Currently in our basket we have:

  • A read aloud (this week it's Judy Blume, something short and sweet)
  • Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry
  • A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything
  • Story Of The World
  • Life Of Fred
  • Memory Work

{This term we are reading Pre Level Chemistry and learning a lot}

How we use the basket:

For each item in the basket the kids have a spiral bound visual arts diary that they use to make an entry. During this part of the day the only expectation that I have set is that they 'make an entry'. How they do that is up to them and this changes on any given day. Some days their entries are elaborate and others not so, that's completely fine by mine.

During our read alouds the kids use their 'Drawing Challenge Notebooks". I've been giving them the Sketch Tuesday Challenges, plus any other challenge I can think of.

Can I tell you that simply calling this portion of the routine a challenge, has completely changed the way the kids view it. They are now generally very eager to jump in and have a go.

{Life Of Fred at this level is certainly too easy but I felt to understand Fred properly we needed to start from the beginning}

We spend about 60 - 90 minutes at the table with our Morning Basket, so I don't get to everything in the basket every day (except our current read aloud). That was always my plan anyway, I didn't want every day to be the same as the previous. I simply rotate things around so that we try and get to everything at least once a week.

I have a growing list of other items that I'd like to add to the basket and over time this will surely change and evolve with our needs.

The one thing we do complete daily is memory work. Oh dear, the dreaded memory work, I can hear the gasps from some of you now! I'm a big believer in ALL things in moderation, which is why I've never been able to fit in to any one homeschooling style. We are very much an eclectic family when it comes to our home school. We do what works at the time!

Anyway back to memorisation. Whilst I'm not a fan of drill and kill, I do see some merit in memorisation work so currently, Lego Lover is reviewing math facts, with Twist & Check Times Tables Cards, Fairy Princess is reviewing phonics and Little Surfer Dude his working on letter and number recognition.

Just on Little Surfer Dude (4) there is absolutely no expectation for him to participate during our morning basket/table time. He has a drawing challenge book (which he doesn't always do) and his memory work, apart from that he comes and goes as he pleases. My only requirement of him is that if he chooses to be at the table with us, he is quiet and not disrupting our time, otherwise I send him off to play.

So whilst its' not perfect I'm very happy with how this newly implemented part of our day is traveling. It gives a positive, light hearted way to start the day all together, before diving into book work!

Do you use a Morning Basket? I'd love to have a look at yours, please leave a link in the comments.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hinze Dam Picnic & Playground Area

The main picnic and playground area at Hinze Dam is below the dam wall level, so unfortunately you don't get to sit and look over the water's of the dam whilst you picnic. Today though there was definitely water to see, with the spillway booming with the flow of water.

Whilst the area is not large, it is fairly well designed and at this point very well maintained. The playground is pretty standard fair and most little ones will be happy spending some time on it.

The small toilet block is right behind the playground which makes for easy access and no road walking for kids.

Across the car park are sheltered barbecue's and a couple of sheltered picnic tables. A small grassy area meanders down closer to the waters edge.

This swing was of course the highlight of the playground for the bigger two and my guess is it would be for any slightly older child.

It brought back many memories from our trip last year, when we found a swing just like this one down near Bateman's Bay.

Little Surfer Dude decided that the regular playground was more to his liking, the extreme - o - meter on this ride was notched just a little high for him!

Whilst it was later in the afternoon during our visit, I got the feeling that this area probably doesn't get overly busy. I am sure we will return here again soon.

Check out the other side of the dam wall at this post.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Exploring Hinze Dam

After all of the recent rain it was the perfect time to visit Hinze Dam, the spillway is well and truly spilling over!

This is our first visit to Hinze Dam as a family and the first time the children have seen a dam wall on any such scale.

Inside the visitor centre there is a collection of displays, many focus on the recent rising of the dam wall.

Everyone found this interesting, step closer to the map and it shows the river dammed, step away and you can see how the river looked prior to building the dam wall.

The cycle of water within the dam catchment, as she peddled it turned revealing the cycle.

The visitor centre also houses a small cafe, we didn't purchase anything so I'm not too sure if they do full meals or only snacks. The seating area, however has a glorious view overlooking the Waterside Picnic area and the dam.

Heading down towards the water you can't help but be enthralled by the modern architecture of the visitor centre.

The large circular grassed area, what they designate as a picnic area, is perfect for cartwheels! Not sure how perfect it is for picnics? No trees, tables, chairs, BBQ's or the like!

This area was quarried for the materials needed to raise the dam wall.

Lots of lovely spots for family snapshots.

Closer to the waters edge stands this small enclosure with limited seating space. It is very much in keeping with the design of the visitor centre.

And boasts beautiful views of the dam and surrounding landscape.

Heading back towards the visitor centre we needed to cross back over the grassed picnic area. Little Surfer Dude realised he could get a bit of an echo happening from the visitor centre.

We drove the few hundred metres down to the spillway lookout. That's one pretty spectacular water slide and super noisy too boot!

I couldn't resist one last shot of these guys, can't believe how grown up they are looking.

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