Sunday, February 21, 2010

Turtles, Umbrellas, and Art

We're off to a great start and loving our new school room.  We've implemented our workboxes and working our way through the alphabet.  The workboxes really keep us on task and help us to get through our work quickly.  We usually spend about two hours on our workboxes and another hour on circle time and computer work. 

Our letter S week we played with shaving cream and even Eric was able to join in on the fun.  They both had fun and did a great job playing together.  Ella also made sand art, a collage snail, and is really coming along on her reading as she completed her Headsprout lesson for the week and is now reading 1st readers by herself. She is doing well with her phonetics and can read many books by herself or with little assistance from me.

Our little T for Turtles week was lots of fun.  We find most of our activities and projects online from other homeschooling families.  Ella had fun with our turtle graphing....

and Ella's favorite is always the craft for the day.  Ella was very careful and detailed in putting together or turtle with a bit of paint, glue, and tissue paper. 

Our letter U for Umbrella week Ella was able to go crazy splashing paint (rain falling).  She had so much fun and yes paint was splattered everywhere.  Thank goodness for washable paint.  It was so much fun to see her get so excited about creating her letter Uu page.

Ella loves art, so when the local rec center decided to offer an Abrakadoodle art class we signed her up.  She is really enjoying the class and loves circle time, where the kids get to show off their art to the group.  Here is her Valentine Art project where they studied the artist Jim Dine,

 and her Chinese New Years Art Project studying ovals, fans, and Sumi-e art.

We also found a wonderful art school nearby where she can learn some drawing and sculpting skills. She loves the class and especially is enjoying creating with clay. She looks forward to every Monday and we are happy she has all these outlets to really develop her artist within.  She says she wants to be an artist when she grows up and we definitely see her as one.  She loves to create!!

The Praying Mantis by Ella

Polar Bear at Dinner by Ella

In addition to art, we just enrolled Ella in a wondeful piano program at the Children's Music Academy.  My nephew has really enjoyed the class for the last year and after Ella visited a class, she decided she wanted to join to.  We love how child friendly and fun the classes are, making her piano classes so much more enjoyable than the one-one lessons she used to have.  We also like that Mommy gets to learn right next to Ella, so we get some nice one-one time together.  Ella had her first class this week and loved it.  There are four other kids in her class, so it gives her an opportunity to be with other children her age as well.

I hope to get into more of a routine of posting daily our activities and projects.  We cover so much in a day!  We're actually wrapping up our letter U week tomorrow, then we're on to V for Volcano's! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

School's in Session ......

A week longer than expected, but we managed to get our school room together.  My husband (Ken) threw down some nice Pergo flooring in record time and turned our Sunroom into an official school in just one weekend.  This was actually the first room in the house to feel complete. The kids love it and Ella was excited for school to start.  I tried my best to organize such a tight space.

Here's Ella's workboxes and workspace.  We are totally in love with the IKEA Trofast system and have maximized are space well with these. I still hope to get Ella a more traditional desk, but for now this little table works well for what we need.

Eric (15mth's old) is enjoying the play area I created for him.  He has a nice play rug, also from IKEA and lots of trains and trucks to keep him busy.  He is always in the middle of everything, so we'll have to look at adding a small table & chair for him as well.  He's really interested in crayons, so I don't imagine it will be long before he will be more hands on in our lessons for the day.

This is our daily whiteboard and circle time area.  We cover the Calender, Bible Verse, Song, and Math Activities  here.  We also have Ella's Headsprout (online phonics) goal chart here.

Every school room, aslo has a teacher's work area.   Well, this is "Teacher Mommy's" desk.  We'll be adding a flag to the room, but for now we pull up the american flag on the computer and say our daily pledge of allegience.  Ella also does all her online learning here, using programs such as Headsprout, Starfall, and we even enjoy some youtube and National Geographic when appropriate.

Organization is key with all our materials.

We were lucky to find a couple more IKEA Trofast shelving units on Craigslist and picked up two more units.  The room is finally packed, but at least it's organized. 

Our typical day might run something like this:

Circle Time (Calender, Song, Math Activity, Review Theme, Book)
Online Activity (Starfall, Headsprout)
Workboxes (we have 12)

A typical day has been taking about 2 hours with the workboxes.  Occassionally, we run over doing our art projects.  It's all fun though and Ella is really enjoying our learning time together. 

The best part is Ella can still enjoy other activities outside of the home too.  She is attending a Monart art class and Soccer on Fridays, Choir on Wednesday's and will be starting Piano soon.  I think she has much more well rounded education and she is a much happy kid, since we started homeschooling.

I hope to be able to write a weekly blog with what we've accomplished each week.