Thursday, May 17, 2012

L is for Ladybug

letter of the week

We've started to get back into the swing of things and completed the letter L last week.  Here is a quick summery of what we did. 

Shape and colour puzzles


Upper and lower case sorting


Pattern building 
George found this more channeling this time as I got him to build the pattern under the card rather than on it.  He did need some guidance on how to start but once he got going he was fine.


This is George's favourite activity, mainly because I let him use a lolly to do this, this time was pepples.  He can only eat them if he gets it correct.

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Writing the letter L

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There were so many other activities we completed that I didn't get photos of.  We made the letter L with play dough, several lady bug puzzles, floor number cards, lacing, Do a Dot marker pages, cutting, size sorting, letter maze. 

We also had a go at the wet-dry-try on the small blackboard from the handwriting without tears program.  This program has now arrived so our next letter of the week will be based on what is first in this program. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Little Passports

A box arrived this morning, a light but large box.  The label on this box showed the sender was from America and there was only one thing I was expecting from there... Little Passports.

When I opened the box I found lots of envelopes all addressed to Grace and George, and all sealed so I couldn't peek inside them.  

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Every envelope has a stamp on it with the country the contents are supposed to be from/about.

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Also in the box was a smaller box, this contained the explore kit which could be opened that afternoon once George was home... I only had to wait an hour.  I know this was for George (and Grace) but I was probably just as, if not more excited to open this. 

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Once opened I did have to stop the kids from just grabbing everything especially as Grace has a habit of ripping things.  
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Inside was a world map.  I pointed out America, being where Sam and Sofia (the characters who these packages are from) are from and New Zealand where we are from. George did seem impressed with how far the box traveled to get to our house. 
This map is going to be hung up on the wall somewhere, probably in the kids bedroom at this stage as we're running out of wall space due to the kids artwork taking up a lot of space. 

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There was also stickers of Sam and Sofia, an activity sheet which it a little hard for George but I think we could complete it together, a passport which there will be a sticker from each country which will be put in here each month.  A photo of Sam and Sofia and a code for some online games. 

George and I had a look at the online games but found most were a little too hard for him, I'm hoping that by the end of the 2 years we spend on this he will be able to go back to these games and be able to play them without my help. 

Now the hard back is going to be waiting a month until I bring out the envelope from Brazil and put it in letterbox for George to find. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mountain Climbing

A long weekend in the Summer, no work or kindy on the Monday... what do you do?? Climb a mountain of course.

Theses photos have been sitting in my draft folder for 3 months now, waiting for me to write about them. On Waitangi day - the 6th of February hubby and I decided we should take the kids on a bush walk.  There were so many options to choose from so I visited the Department of Conversation website.  The Ruapane lookout looked promising at only 1 hour each way.  We expected it would take longer as George was walking but if we started first thing in the morning we would be home in time for lunch.  I packed up a morning tea and off we went. 

The walk started out fine, with Grace in the Mei Tai on my back and George setting the pace with his Dad in front. But after about 20 minutes into the walk we accounted lots of mud, the track almost looked washed away.  The tree roots where exposed and we found that all of us had to climb rather than walk getting very muddy.   Hubby and I talked about turning back a few times but decided to keep going thinking the washed out part would only last for a little while.  Turned out it was that way until we reached the rocks. 

Why we didn't turn back when we reached the first rock face I don't know, with a LOT of help George managed to get to the top with hubby above and me below lifting him.  When we reached a 2nd rock face and manged to climb it I asked a couple going down how much further we had to go, only about 10 more minutes they said but they also told us that it only got worse.  This was enough for me, I barely made it up the last rock face with Grace on my back, I wasn't going to risk the kids just trying to get to the look out. 

George, Grace and I found somewhere to sit and sent hubby off to the top.  We were all hungry so I got out the morning tea only to find it was lunch time, we had been climbing for 3 hours and still had to get back down.  We made it back to the car 2 hours later. 

While it was fun and hard work next time I'll put in a lot more research into choosing what walk to do. 

At the start of the walk, both kids ready to go. 

View from the picnic area only 5 minutes from the carpark

My feet before we reached the mud.

This is what the walkway looked like for most of the walk.

Lunch on a rock face

The side of the start of one of the rock faces

George taking a rest

Daddy on his way back down after visiting the top without us. 

Homemade handheld blackboard

The below video is what sold me on the Handwriting without tears program, it looked simple and fun, plus I could buy it from a New Zealand company.

I still wanted to cut costs anywhere I could and as the slate boards are $17.25 each I decided there must be a cheaper way.  The Warehouse did have some cheaper blackboards but they were bigger than I wanted


As I already had some chalkboard paint I decided to have a go at making one myself, but I couldn't make just one for George so had to make another for Grace.  

I grabbed some cheap $2 wooden photo frames from The Warehouse, removed the glass and the stand from the back.

I gave the wooden back two coats of the chalkboard paint and while I was waiting for that to dry I decided to paint the outside frames with the kids favourite colours. 

They both LOVED them.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Curriculum planning

As George is nearing his 5th birthday which is the age children in New Zealand typically begin school, the pressure is building to get into some kind of routine with his education.  I also think it's time I spend some money on some material to use this year.

Letter of the week
We will continue with this curriculum from Confessions of a homeschooler and focus on a different letter each week to match the same letter we're learning in our other curriculum.

Alphabet Mazes
These are great to use to help reinforce the learning from the other curriculum we are using.

Handwriting without tears
I've watched several videos of teachers and children using this curriculum and have ordered it from a New Zealand supplier.  I'm hoping it arrives this week so we can start is ASAP.

Fitzroy Readers
A homeschooling friend introduced me to these reading series and I've ordered the Early Pack.  I already have several book shelves full of books including many early reader packs but nothing that builds up and reinforces previous learning as you work through the series as the majority of the books I own I got in clearance shops.

You Can Read
A homeschooler Mum or I should say Mom as she's American has put together this great program for her own children, working with sight words.  While you can get this for free I have to paid the small fee of $10US so I can access it early and support her work. 

R.E.A.D. I.T. reading journal
One of the schools my care kids go to use this reading journal, after dropping off the kids one morning I asked the office if I could buy one from them.  Since that day we've been using it every night with George, after his bath George and Daddy curl up on the bean bag and read a book or two.  George is excited about all the awards in this book which you achieve every 25 nights of reading. Now that I can buy them myself rather than getting them through the school I plan on using these journals every night.

Worlds greatest artists unit study
I got this unit study for free and not sure when I'm going to start using it with George but I will keep it in mind for later in the year.

Pinterest is full of art projects we can do together if we lack any inspiration, but to be honest we don't really have  any issues with coming up something arty or crafty to do.

I am still working out what I'm going to use for Math, I'm currently looking into Math-U-Seewhich I've read a couple of good reviews and I have found a New Zealand distributor.  I also like Right Start Math especially the use of a Abacus instead of rods, but I have yet to find a New Zealand distributor and it appears to have American currency in the program, if so it may not be worth spending the money to import it if there are parts which I can not use.  I've emailed them to find out more about this.   The last one I'm currently looking into is Singapore Math and found some of their work book at the Book Depository and as it's free postage I've ordered one.

Little passports
This has been my most expensive purchase to date, and I'm hoping it is worth the high cost.  This is a monthly subscription where your child is sent a package from two characters called Sam and Sofia as they travel the globe.  As I am not from America or Canada I couldn't purchase the monthly subscription but they did sell the 24 month product to me and it is being shipped to me in one lot.  One of the reasons this cost so much was the $90US shipping cost.

I plan to take George with me to Music 4 Kids at our church every week and when he shows some interest I will teach him the recorder and maybe piano, we will also dance around to play music.  I will wait until he's older before we do any real study on music.

Home Ec.  
I bake several times a week and spend time in the kitchen every day as I mainly cook from scratch and make our own bread, George sometimes joins me in the kitchen.  I used to let him choose something for us to bake, go shopping together for the ingredients and then we would make it together.  I hope to get back to doing this at least once a fortnight but would love to do it weekly.

Daily Calendar
1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 1 is a great blog and website for so many home school ideas and resources and here is another one I'm using with George.  I haven't been consistent with this but hope to change that as George enjoys this when I do get around to doing it with him. 

Well that's it for now. Will see how things go as everything I've order arrives and we start getting into it.