Earthworm Study

I decided that since L has been happily digging around in the garden as we move into Spring that we would do a short unit study on earthworms. L had been collecting earthworms in containers and I had been rescuing quite a few of them before they dried out, so thought she needed to learn something about them. We read the book Yucky Worms by Vivian French to start us off and then went out into the garden to find some worms. We have done this a few times, though never tried washing a worm and L was quite excited.

Yucky Wormsearthworm book

She also made a short “book” about earthworms – we first decided what questions about earthworms she wanted to answer and then she dictated the sentences to me in answer to her questions and I used them as copywork for her and she then drew a picture. We did this over a few days.

page 1page 2

Later on we discussed the life cycle of an earthworm and she cut and stuck the various pictures to fit onto a lifecycle sheet. We also discussed what a food chain is and she named the animals in a typical earthworm food chain and then insisted on painting them.

life cutout
life cycle

Finally we did an art project using cooked noodles to paint with as though they were worms. K enjoyed this activity too though the activity was interrupted by a lot of eating of “paintbrushes.” Because this was going to be messy I stuck to just the three primary colours and so we learnt about primary colours too. Our “Art lesson” was then extended to include painting telescopes and anything else they could fine – I should probably get the paint out more often.

primary colours
painting
final picture


STEM Mom

Kindergarten Common Core

With L about to enter the equivalent of Kindergarten here in South Africa, I have been looking at a number of scope and sequences for kindergarten. L is already ahead of most of the standards however I am keen not to miss things and came across the Kindergarten Common Core Workbook which is an American workbook covering the Common Core Standards – another term I have come across frequently. The workbook contains over 600 pages of worksheets, activities and posters related to the common core standards for Math and Language Arts – the two subjects that are most important in a elementary curriculum. I believe that it is a great resource for kindergarten teachers in America and I imagine it is also a great resource for homeschooling parents of kindergarteners.

common core

Day in the Life: Tuesday 4 September

We do not really ever have a typical homeschooling day here. I try to have some sort of routine, but am also working two mornings a week most weeks which means we just do what we can when we can. Nonetheless I thought I would like to document at least one day and write about it.

K slept reasonably last night only waking us about three times in the night (there have been nights she has woken 7 times before 3am!) L joined us in bed around 07:00 and I got up around 07:15 because DH was complaining that L would not let him sleep.

08:20 DH leaves for work. This is later than he should leave but it seems to vary a lot. I let him out, K waves goodbye and blows him a kiss. L also says goodbye. I make us some breakfast and we eat it and then do mailboxclub. I then get K and L to help with feeding the fish and the dogs before dressing everyone and having a quick shower myself.

Lfish
fish
Kdogs

09:00 L does some reading in her bedroom – she is not as independent as the photos make it seem and I usually sit next to her and help with unfamiliar words and also read every second page to her. L then does Horizons Math and K scribbles on a piece of paper.

reading
KandL
Unfortunately K’s scribbles are more interesting than Horizons Math today so Math takes a bit longer than it should.

09:30 The girls go swimming. We are busy refilling our swimming pool for the start of spring. L wants me to swim with her, but the water is really freezing and actually hurts when you get in it. K stays on the steps, but L gets in quite deep though walks around rather than swimming. K enjoys playing with the balls and is quite a princess ordering her sister to fetch the balls whenever they are in the water. Luckily L is happy to oblige. We dry off on the grass outside and get warm again.

pool

10:30 Snack time. K comes and helps me get some food and L plays outside and swings on her swing.

snack time

10:45 K does Little Reader – the photos are just there for blogging purposes as Little Reader is actually always done with K on my lap.

LR

11:00 L does a page of her grammar workbook before both girls go and play some more outside. I send them on a verbal treasure hunt to collect certain items – this is more a vocabulary lesson for K and a lesson for L in helping her sister and doing something for someone else (she would have preferred a written treasure hunt with proper treasure)

grammar
grammar2

11:30 I make lunch for K and a snack for L. L does Singapore Math – we are moving into the section on addition and subtraction of numbers up to 20 and she wants to do her own thing so I have to direct her to follow instructions.

lunch
touchtheline
L was playing “touch the line” – she never raises her hand except to grab the line above her head 🙂

12:00 I put K down for a nap and have some time on the computer checking emails and other sites. L gets a bit frustrated at having to entertain herself – I offer to read her a book but she wants to play active games outside and I remind her that this period around lunch time is usually a quiet time for all of us. She goes away to swing on her swing some more.

nap

13:00 L does spelling – basically she dictates a sentence and then writes it down with me helping with any spelling rules she does not yet know. I also let her choose certain endings as she has not yet memorised these but does recognise them (eg -ing, -sh, -th, -ch) She did very well today and I was very happy with her writing. We then went outside and looked at the children’s atlas and discussed and named the continents til K woke up from her nap.

spelling
continents

13:30 Give K a few cuddles and then they both get back into the swimming pool which is now a lot deeper than it was this morning. It is also colder now and the water is still very cold so I don’t let them stay in very long.

Kswim
Lswim

14:00 Take K inside and change her while saying some nursery rhymes. She gets a bit cranky a short while later. Later we do har flashcards and say some more nursery rhymes.

not so happy
The happiness changed rather rapidly, but luckily being unhappy didn’t last long.

14:45 Handwriting with L – she is not happy and has been having quite an attitude this afternoon. Eventually I give her a juice and tell her to stay in her room til she has drunk it. Her mood improves measurably after eating and drinking something but this is because she has not been eating well today at meal times. The girls and I play with modelling clay for quite a while.

writing

clay
clay2
clay3

15:30 We make popcorn and have some juice. My cellphone battery is now almost dead from taking too many photos so I plug it in to charge. I read a book with K and teach her colours using her sister’s hairclips that she is playing with.

popcorn

16:15 L puts on some TV and I start cleaning the house. K alternates between wandering around behind me and watching TV with L. I get both L and K to help clean up the toys in the lounge when I get there. K learns how to scramble up onto our dinigroom table and this has me a bit worried as it is a lot harder for her to get off than it is to get on, but she does manage. She emptys a box of tissues all over the floor.

17:30 Start cooking supper. Dh comes home around 18:00 and we bath the girls while the supper cooks and then have family supper before watching a TV programme together.

19:30 Get L to read the last chapter of her reading book to me and then read aloud a chapter of a new book to her before putting her to bed.

20:30 Get K to bed – I hope she will stay asleep most of tonight, but who knows?

And that was our day. As I said before, no day is really typical, though there are certain things we always try to accomplish. Tuesday is generally our stay-at-home day which is why I tried to capture it. Perhaps I will try to do another of these posts someday soon.

funny faces
Now where did these faces come from?

Winter is nearly over.

Tomorrow is Spring Day and L is very excited that she will soon be turning 5 years old. She came into the house recently with her hands behind her back and told me she had a surprise and could I guess what it was – she had picked a flower from our first flowering bush and brought it to show me.

A few weeks back however we had some snow – it has not snowed where we live since 2007 when I was pregnant with L and it even snowed at my work where apparently it has not snowed since 1968. I tried to get some pictures of my daughters running around in the snow but there was so little snow you cannot see it in the photos and none lasted more than a second after it hit the ground. Still L was very excited and had a wonderful time running around in the freezing air and looking at individual snowflakes that landed on our dogs.

snow
snow2

We started Bedtime Math recently and have had a lot of fun with it. One of the sums involved ten pin bowling so we spent some time setting up cups in the kitchen and bowling them down with a big ball. K even got involved in setting up the cups and we did some counting with her while doing addition sums with L (she rolled the ball twice and then added the two values) We have also used Bedtime Math to draw pictures on the bathroom wall in whiteboard marker to explain how salmon swim upstream, to discuss people falling asleep on aeroplanes and trains and to draw possums and rabbits and night vision goggles all in the name of maths.

tenpinbowling
settingup

We found a homeschool group recently so L gets to play with a good number of children close to her age on Friday afternoons now and she is making new friends. I also took her to visit friends of ours during their school holidays and she had fun jumping on a trampoline and lying in a hammock.

trampoline

L has clearly been learning and taking in all sorts of things during homeschooling – recently she drew a picture of our family, putting her baby sister on Daddy’s shoulders. And then she went on to place us all on the grass before adding the soil under it and then the underground rock and water underneath that. After that she drew a borehole so we could water our grass.

picture

Tonight when she was tired and I was running the girls a bath she said: Mom, you can’t go and get that now, you are too busy downloading the bath! She definitely comes out of a technologically based family!

K is growing bigger and bigger. In the last week I night weaned her and also got her to stay in her own bed all night – I was exhausted as she has been waking up every two hours every night and since she is now 18 months old, I am feeling like I need more sleep and so does she.

I started some sight word flashcards with her, but she seems to say everything is “Mum” We are still using Little Reader with her and the vicabulary she understands is huge and she will point to whatever I ask in a different books we read her, but she is not speaking much – I am picking up new words often though it is only really Mum and hello where she says the full words – the rest is usually the first part of the word (“dar” for dark, “ba” for balloon etc)

I do try to make individual time for K everyday when we play with blocks, read books or play outside. She is developing quite a personality and will fight with L for anything she has. She also knows how to explain what she wants even without words and can get quite demanding. However it is also becoming possible to tell her she must do something and actually get her to do it.

blocks

As far as homeschooling goes, L is continuing with Horizons K for Math and we are nearly finished Singapore 1a – I decided to do the measurement chapter before addition and subtraction to 20 as there are a few concepts I wanted to make sure L got before we dive into that chapter. MEP we are not doing very often, but this seems to be how it goes here and I am sure we will be back to it sometime in the future. She is getting better and better at addition and the facts are starting to stick though we still have some way to go with them. She can now count in 10s, 5s and 2s to 100 and is solving the word problems in bedtime math with ease (we are still using the wee ones section although occassionally I ask her the little kids questions when she is not too tired)

I have started a grammar programme with her – today she was analysing sentences for subjects (who?) and predicates (telling part of the sentence) and had to draw a picture of The fat cat sits on a mat. This was clearly not interesting enough and I got a picture of the cat on the mat and then got told that the house had gone up in fire and that the cat had to escape through one of multiple flaps that she drew. The firemen then arrived, but they couldn’t get to the cat and finally the cat escaped through a trapdoor below the mat to be rescued by L and her mother waiting outside – and all this was drawn with great glee while telling me the story. Needless to say grammar was interesting and fun, but took longer than I had expected.

cat

I am also working a little on spelling with L and she is starting to write and label her pictures now when I am not around with more than just her name. Basically for spelling she dictates a sentence to me that she wants to write – sometimes that is exactly what we write and sometimes I adjust it a little as long as she is happy in the end and then I get her to try to spell the words unless they are sight words in which case I just spell them for her. I do also explain any spelling rules to her as they come up and if we have covered the rule before then I ask her to name the rule herself so that she can figure out the word for herself. Occassionally I will give her a choice of different sound spellings (eg if spelling “rush” – sh, th, wh, ch – which one says Shhh – ok that is the what you must write)

Her reading continues to develop. We have worked on a few things in the past 3 weeks – she read book 11c of Ladybird Key Words where I taught her the -tion phonetic sound and also worked on sounding out multi syllable words. We also spoke about a few prefixes while reading this book and since the book is about multiple topics we got to discuss all sorts of other things too. I then gave her “Owl at Home” to read which is a much easier book, but now I told her she had to read a whole page at a time and hold the book herself which is not something we have done up til now – I have usually kept her place for her while she jumps on the bed and she has been reading one sentence and me the next sentence. She actually managed very well and we read the whole book in 2 days. She is now reading East of the sun, west of the moon which is more difficult in its vocabulary but has the correct amount of writing per page for her to again manage to read it by herself (we are still doing one page each though and reading one chapter per night)

We are doing more of Story of the World now and L has been enjoying it – she does sometimes complain when I bring the book out but after we have read it and especially after we have dug in the dirt outside of acted out the scenes she tells me she wants to read more of it. We did a bit of map work and history review this morning when we made the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the garden, plotted Babylon and Assur with toy blocks and discussed Kings of the areas (we had a sad dolly to act as the abused people in Northern Mesopotamia) and of course water, sand and mud always goes down well.

map

We have been using http://www.mailboxclubonline.org/ for our devotional time though L has already finished all the sections that are age appropriate for her – the activities now are getting a bit too difficult. She does however enjoy the stories and asks to do it. K likes it too and yells “ba, ba” (for balloons) every time L finishes one of the activities. I am considering buying a new devotional book for her soon and in the meantime we will probably go back to reading through a children’s Bible.

K gets to scribble on paper while L does either her spelling or grammar. She builds with blocks or does a number puzzle while L is doing Math (or she tries to scribble in L’s Math book) and after L does her reading I show K Little Reader. During their play and snack time they both swing on the swings, ride their motorbikes/cars and run around the garden.

K
K2
two
ring

Updating

Its been a really long time since I last posted here – its clear I cannot keep up with multiple posting every week and even once a week is too much so whoever is reading this will have to put up with whatever I get around to.

My girls are growing so fast. Kirima is now 17 months old – she is running around everywhere and communicating a lot though using few words. Laurana does a fair amount of talking for her – after listening to Kirima yell Mum, mum, mum, mum this morning I got told by Laurana exactly what it was she was asking for and Laurana was right, however that is not going to help Kirima talk. Despite this though we are getting some words out of her and she understands almost all of what we say.

k

Kirima has been going through Little Reader almost daily and is nearly finished the first semester. I have also been teaching her the phonetic alphabet. I have started reading her more single word books and she has shown a lot of interest in picture books and will point to whatever we ask her to point to. She is still listening in on anything I read to Laurana though whether she is taking anything in from that I have no idea.

painting
paint

She loves swinging on the swing outside, has spent a lot of time scribbling – I have to bring out paper for her every time I want to do anything that involves paper with Laurana – is helping us dress and undress herself. She likes to clean up so if we are baking then she usually lands up helping to clean up as she’s not quite old enough for breaking eggs or dumping flour (ok she can do that, but I am not so keen on the mess – I do let her pour a few things in though and she put some smarties on some cookies this week. She also likes driving her car and Laurana takes her on the toy motorbike with her which I am not so sure is very safe though they have never had an accident.

carnival

I really like this age that Kirima is at – she’s discovering so many things and loves it when we point new things out to her. Today it snowed and while she has no idea how unusual that is around here, she did pick up on her sister’s enthusiasm and had fun running around in it. She’s getting more active and has had a lot of fun at the Urban Market playing on the equipment. She’s slightly more independent about it than her sister was and more willing to try things by herself before she asks for help.

slide

Laurana has also developed a lot lately. She’s grown quite a bit and her conversations with us have developed a lot. I am really enjoying some of the conversations we are having about Christianity with her – she has a very good understanding of many of the central themes of Christianity – today she even tried explaining the trinity to me at bath time though it has been months since I discussed that with her. She has a very good memory about a lot of the things we have touched on in homeschooling – particularly the scientific things and its always nice to hear her explain things to me that I haven’t read or discussed with her for months.

urban

earthworms

Her reading is going very well. She has fewer issues with fluency though that can still improve. We are reading The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl together at the moment and she reads it with ease though I still have to place a piece of paper under the line she is reading as most of the time she is jumping up and down on the bed inbetween her turns and cannot keep her own place that way, but I no longer have to point to the word she is on as she can skim the line and find her place.

can't sit still
Laurana can’t sit still when reading or when playing which is why its hard to get a non-fussy photo!

We are half a worksheet short of finishing Book 1 of Horizons K and she has learnt a lot and is a lot more confident often handling the entire worksheet with almost no assistance. I plan to do MEP with her after she finishes the first Horizons Book and then come back to book 2 at a later stage. She is starting to get many of the addition facts into her head – so far she knows how to add 0 and 1 without a problem and can also do most of the doubles, can add a single digit number to ten without a problem and knows a fair mumber of the other facts too but we will continue to work on those as we move on.

graphing
An extra graphing activity we did near the beginning of winter

She is getting more confident with her handwriting and is forming all letters correctly now. We do copywork daily though lately she is narrating a sentence to me and then I write it down for her to copy – this has taken the form of journalling for her so today’s sentence was: It was snowing today! I did have her writing yes and no on the table she sits at the other day in defiance about something – she spelt them both correctly so I wasn’t too bothered 🙂 She also likes to paint big pictures and then label them – we have done a tree and bird one and she keeps asking to do more.

tree

Recently we went to Mozambique where Kirima learnt a lot of things – she ate at the table with the big girls and did very well. She was unfortunately quite sick one night which kept us awake til 04:30 in the morning and made us go through numerous changes of bedding but she recovered very quickly. Laurana loved being in Mozambique – she got to play outside on the street and find lots of treasures, went to a very strange zoo, loved seeing the puppies her aunt’s dog had given birth to just before we arrived and she and her cousin had a lot of fun playing together. She did tell me that it takes a long time for the lights to come back on when the electricity fails in Mozambique because “You have to go and buy your own electricity! They don’t just turn it back on.”

Mozambique

Laurana loved the snow today and ran around wildly in it – she seems to have a very high body temperature as she does not like to be dressed warmly so I was very glad to see she had shoes on today though they didn’t stay on after we came inside. She told me she wants snow everyday and preferably not as light as she wants to build a snowman!

While I am sure I have left endless amounts out from this post, I will have to stop here. Hopefully I will post again in the near future.

Kirima

Autumn with K

K seems to be growing up so fast – I really should be posting more than I do. Her speech is slowly developing and she is answering yes/no questions by nodding her shaking her head rather violently. She loves pulling L’s clothes out her cupboard and climbing into her toy box and physically she is getting more and more active.

running

Running with her sister.

swinging

Having fun on the swings

She does Little Reader usually once a day and joins L for any hands on activities – anything else she grabs whatever she can and runs off with it or tries to scribble with anything she can write with.

She is still showing a lot if interest in books and is starting to recognise quite a few pictures in the books she looks at and will point to them.

Today we looked at all the autumn leaves and the children sat in a huge pile of leaves we have in the back garden. K seemed to like playing in them.

Pile of leaves

She likes to copy her big sister in almost anything which makes getting her to brush her teeth much easier but she also wants to use adult forks and of course koki pens are far more exciting than crayons.

big fork
copying L

Painting her own turtle.

K hears more counting than L did at this age because I often use the swinging time to count to L – we do skip counting and couting to big numbers so it is natural to count to K also. Here she is on the staors counting biscuits (which did not get eaten!)

counting biscuits

dominos

More math – playing with dominos

farewell wave

A farewell wave from K.

Homeschooling activities

I have been working more than usual lately and so homeschooling has had to go on in a more limited fashion. L’s reading is coming on nicely – she finished book 10a of the Ladybird Keyword reading series and has since read Peter’s Good Idea which was a shortish story with more challenging vocabulary. She still needs some help with sounding out new words though if expected to do it she almost always gets it right – I think it is just a case of practice now. She seems to remember any word she sees only once however so I will have to keep giving her new words for her to practice sounding them out.

We have been continuing to read the Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia and have covered a variety of animal groups. We made a picture of a turtle with sand and leaves to imitate the shell and scaly skin. Doing this with an enthusiastic one year old however was quite a challenge.

L's turtle
L’s turtle
helping sister
Helping her sister finish her own turtle

I have been reading a large number of chapter books to L since getting a card at a much better library than the one closest to us – its a long trip out there to get books but every time I do get there I am so glad I went. She is enjoying Dick King-Smith’s books at the moment and luckily he writes enough that it will take some time to get through them. She is also enjoying Ramona stories (Beverley Cleary) and enjoyed watching the Ramona and Beezus movie too.

We have not done much writing recently as I need to organise some copywork for her and decide where to go from here – she seems to need more exciting sentences than we have been doing and also seems to want them related to exciting reading sections which means more work for me. I will have to make some decisions about this in the near future.

Maths has also been a bit of a concern for me lately. She is resisting Horizons a bit and seems distractable so I put that on hold. We moved forward with MEP but lately it seems too easy for her as they are drilling early addition facts and she knows them and does not even seem to need to think to answer them anymore so I need to decide what to do about maths too. I may return to Singapore for a while as we started a new section and she seemed more interested in that. I also think she just needs a bit of a change in presentation to get her interested.

Other than that we have been having fun just playing around – getting outside a lot more now that the weather is a little cooler, playing plenty of pretend games and having endless tea parties. L has a wonderful imagination and loves putting on plays and making up games – I think she just wishes her mother and sister would oblige her more and do as she says.

digging for rocks
Digging up stones
pretend
One of many pretend games with soft toys
dogs

K the last two months

My camera is working again and I have been taking a few photos after a long rest – I found it was disturbing our time together so I am trying to find a better balance now but I have a feeling I will never quite get a true balance. So here is an update on K in the last two months.

Physical Development:
K is walking well and very quickly and attempting to run. She climbs on chairs, rides motorbikes and likes swinging on both our swings (not just the baby one). She is enjoying climbing on jungle gyms and had a wonderful time at Wyndford keeping me on my toes by trying to climb high jungle gyms by herself and prevent me from catching her. She was too scared of the horses for me to get her on one even for a quick photo and shoved the bunnies out the way when the sniffed at her, but she loves cats even though one of our house cats scratches her if K tries to pat her. She loves playing peek-a-boo and finding items we hide under blankets or anything else for her to find.

balloons

climbing

naughty

Social:
K is still not happy when I leave her with anyone though she does eventually settle down. She knows the routine in our house and yells “Dadda” when she hears the gate opening in the evening. She always comes running to greet me when I get home from work the days I am out. She was enjoying Moms and Tots group activities more recently though that is closed until schools start again in the next week or two. She is also starting to notice babies and children more now and is fascinated watching them. She watches more than touches though and is very visual (even if you show her an ordinary item she will observe it well first before touching it which is quite unlike her sister.)

Communication:
K is understanding almost everything we say now. She will fetch things for me when I ask, points to things to get them and looks at whatever it is we are talking about. She is saying very few words though I have heard “kitty,” “hello,” “mama” and “dadda” and she is making animal noises a lot lately. She is starting to realise that the pictures in books are referring to real objects and if she sees a picture of an animal she will make the sound the animal makes, but she does get more excited seeing the real thing of course. The other night she woke at 03:00am and insisted there was a light on outside the curtain in the neighbours house. It took some persuading to get her back to sleep again! We are still using Little Reader with her though not as regularly as I would like. She likes word flash cards even more than her sister did and gets very excited when it is a word she understands. I showed her the word “tummy” the other night and she lifted her shirt and rubbed her tummy though this is a word I have seldom said around her. She is showing increased interest in stories now and will listen to most of a book now (though often she gets distracted bringing me the next one before the first is finished) – she is always around when I read to L so is hearing a lot of stories second hand too.

reading

words

Fine motor:
K has quite good motor control. She loves to draw and whenever I am working with L she gets herself busy taking lids off kokis and drawing on her own paper (and often on L’s paper which frustrates her sister).

drawing

“Schooling”
K is around for every activity I do with L so I try to include her when possible and she loves the outdoor activities. Since L learns to count in 10s while being pushed on the swing often, I usually count in 1s for K beforehand – she’ll probably learn them both simultaneously that way. We do have quite a lot of fights since K is so into everything and L wants her things to be left alone, but mostly it works out alright and I can give K her own activities to a certain extent. K likes animals though not as much as her sister did at the same age but will spend time outside patting them during “school time.” She is also enjoying outings more now and had a lovely time at Irene Dairy Farm recently – she was thoroughly interested in the calves and didn’t want to leave.

touching barktrees
Learning about trees with L

dog

cows

climb in
I’d climb in with the cows if I could.

Favourite activities:
K is still unpacking everything all the time – any cupboard or bookshelf is easy pickings for her. She is actually very good about packing away however provided someone is there helping her. Helping with anything is still fun be it mopping or sweeping the floor or washing the car! And playing peek-a-boo or running away when Mom says 1-2-3 is always fun.

unpacking

washing car

fun

happy

Tot School

The last two months with L

I haven’t been very good with my camera in the last two months which is partly why I haven’t updated this blog and then when I did decide to it took quite a bit to get the camera to download the photos. (and they were supposed to be downloading automatically so I am not sure what was happening there) They are finally on my computer and so I thought I had better do a quick update with highlights of what we have been doing.

Language Arts:
I have been giving L choices of books for shared reading – she still seems most comfortable with the levelled readers so we are now tackling Ladybird Key Words book 10a though we have also read some other shorter books – Androcles and the Lion, The Ugly Duckling and a few others inbetween. Her stamina has increased and she will read short books aloud to her sister in the car occassionally. We have done a tiny bit of spelling though I am not worrying about this yet as she is still just copying things for handwriting practice – she has learnt all the small letter formations and a fair number of the capital letters too and is copying a sentence a day. Every now and then (when she asks) we do Read, Think and Do – part of picture is given to her and then the instructions which she reads independently tell her what to add to the picture and what to colour. I have introduced this to get her colouring a bit and also to follow instructions since most commonly I hear: Why must we do it blue? Why not pink? – and the only reason is because it says so – I do not care if she colours it pink but if she starts school next year she needs to be able to follow pointless instructions.

writing

Math:
We have been continuing cycling three math programmes – Horizons K, Singapore 1 and MEP 1 – we do one or two a day depending on how much time we have and whether she is in the mood. She is counting in 10s and has since shown an interest in higher numbers so we have counted in tens and hundreds and thousands (etc) all the way to a million and beyond. Her favourite programme is MEP – she seems to like the problem solving and also it uses smaller numbers which gets her competent with these first and I like that it is free!

MEP

Science:
We do not have a formal science programme – I read to her often from Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia and if we read something that really interests her we look it up further. We were also “studying” some wild animals which she choose to learn about and doing some related art activities. We have started talking about science experiments and how to set one up – we decided to try to see whether grass could be used as a natural colourant for smarties (she wanted to study smarties in school when asked: “Because then we can buy some and eat them” – she decided that grass probably wasn’t a good idea cause it would go brown – it took a lot longer than we thought it would to become brown and because it was in glass jars she found it fascinating that water formed in the jars. We will probably try a few more science experiments in the near future. We also learnt about rings in trees when they cut down a dead tree in our back garden.

logs

cow
Hand milking cows

dolphin art

History: I am reading her The Story of the World Volume 1 (Ancient History) but very slowly and only when she asks for it. We have built a “Nile River” out of mud in the back garden (and added in some geography about hills and ricers), made playdough tablets and wrote both cuneiform and hieroglyphics on them (and then turned them into cupcakes), visited the rock paintings at Wyndford Farm, read a lot about mummies which really fascinated her and also looked at numerous pictures of pyramids and spoke about all the treasure they hoarded with the pharoahs. We try to take library books out before covering a section as she likes to see it in lots of pictures.

writing history
Writing in playdough

Geography: we have not done much of this besides talk about certain countries when they come up in novels we are reading or when we speak about animals that live in different areas.

Play: I try to get L outside as much as possible especially now as the weather cools down a bit. We made musical instruments out of bark and played them outside. She has been playing a lot of Indians and Cowboys after reading about children playing these games in various books she read and I read to her. We have played endless animal games, princess games and follow the leader games.

Motorbike

music

play

dog

Social: Art class has finished and I am not sending her back next term because she didn’t want to leave me and it became too stressful. She has been to play with a few friends and on our holiday played with a lot of new friends – in fact she ran off with them alone a fair amount of the time and it was nice that she could safely be so independent. She also goes to The Urban Market once a month and plays with many children there – Clmaber Club brings its equipment and she loves playing on the aparatus. We also took the children to the Irene Dairy Market where they really enjoyed seeing the calves.

Face painting

Waiting in line to get her face painted at the Urban Market

Fierce tiger

The fierce tiger

waterfall at urban market

cows

walking

waiting in line

cow

two

Holiday Time: We took the whole family to Wyndford Farm at the end of March and it was lovely. L played with a lot of children, went on a zip line all by herself twice, rode horses, went on a few walks where she did very well, went to see the rock paintings and played to her hearts content. It was lovely to get away for a short time. On the way to the farm we stopped at a game reserve and L liked seeing a lot of wild animals there. She also spent a lot of time playing with the bunnies and feeding them.

horse riding

zip line

end of zip line

Cathryn and Laurana

bunny

at church

horse

Weekly Wrap Up

I did not take any photos this last week so you will have to excuse the photoless post and because of this I decided just to post a weekly wrap up for both my girls.

This week I spent reading many books to L because we had a few arrive in the post and of course neither of us wanted to wait to read them. We read: The Runaway Pancake, Androcles and the Lion, Rumpelstiltskin, Stories of Dogs, Hill of Fire, The Chalkbox Kid, East of the Sun west of the Moon, Nate the Great, Sarah’s Story, This is my Book, Owl Babies and many more that I cannot remember now without raiding her room while she is sleeping and I would rather let her sleep!

L herself read a lot of The Runaway Pancake and Androcles and the Lion as well as reading more of The Beginner’s Bible. We continued with phonics though I have taught her some phonics that we have yet to reach in the book I am using simply because she was starting to ask to spell words that used rules she has not come to yet. So she covered the long O sound (we must still do OE, but we did OW and OA), the AR sound and OY and OI.

For Math we took a break from Singapore and started MEP Level 1. She has had no problem with this so far, but I will probably take it slowly and alternate with Singapore 1a. She has also showed more interest in counting to 100 now and also in recognising bigger numbers – if I call a number on the 100 chart she can usually find it, but does struggle to read some of the higher numbers herself. She found a huge snakes and ladders game I had forgotten we had and played with the numbers on there so I may take it out again at some stage while she is still learning the numerals.

We continued with some writing from book 2c of Ladybird Key Words, but towards the end of the week I also got her to write with her whole arm – apparently this helps children write more fluently later and with L being so hands on she actually enjoyed this more than having a pencil in her hand.

L and I have been reading The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia in the evenings doing a page or two a day and she enjoys this. We discussed planet earth and night and day recently and she spent the time spinning balls in the light from her bedroom bulb.

K has given up on walking for now and will stand for ages but will no longer take anymore steps though she was taking quite a few earlier. I guess she just wants to do things in her own time. She had fun putting bottle caps into different containers this week. She is showing more interest in books and listening to stories again now and loves paging through books. She also appears to be understanding more now and will respond to a few commands (some of the time). L was away at her Nana’s house til Tuesday this week and K missed her – in fact they both missed each other quite a lot.