Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Weeks of Kindergarten

Well, its not exactly like I'd thought it'd be, but I'm feeling more confident everyday that we've made the right choice to homeschool. I'm loving the time with my boys, learning in everything we do. So here's a quick look into some of what our schooling looks like. 

Phonics are not a favorite, so we try to do these in the morning. Caleb resists doing "school" when its in  workbooks, and I agree it feels less natural, so we try to get this out of the way. Doing it outside helps!     

Boy doing workbook outside on picnic table: STEM mom

With the (high school) boys at the Ranch, we've been doing a series of labs on Wind Turbines, so Caleb wanted a go at it, so he constructed one out of popsicle sticks, corks, and wooden skewers.  This activity tested our patience, as he thinks he has to get it to work the first time! I'm trying to instill in him that failure is part of the creative process, and that we celebrate having to do something more than once. Yeah...not working! 

Boy constructing a Wind Turbine out of popsicle sticks, corks, and skewers: STEM mom

We collected a great assortment of acorns while at the Grandparents over the weekend, and after deciding they looked like men wearing hats, Grandpa, Dad, and Caleb went about making different faces on them!

Faces on acorns: STEM mom

In Science we are learning about the earth's rotation around the sun creates different seasons, so we made a flip book to help remember the differences between the seasons. You should also notice the ipod docked there in front of Caleb. I cleared off my ipod and filled it with songs for school (days of the week, Bible memory songs, etc...), kids praise songs, hymns, and some classical music. I think Caleb likes having this to be his own, as I let him pick anything he wants!     

Boy doing craft, listening to ipod:

Our family schedule is such, that Dad does school 2 mornings a week, and he's been doing history/geography. Our topic is ancient civilizations, and its funny what part kids remember--when I asked Caleb what he learned, he mentioned that in the old days, people had to use fruit to dye their clothes colors. So on a whim (no planning needed), I put blueberries, strawberries, grapes, carrots, and kale all on a plate and gave Caleb some white cotton fabric to dye (yes, it was underwear!)   

Boy using fruit to dye fabric:

 We put a the "cotton fabric" over a larger rock and then used a small rock to mash the fruit. The strawberry made the best color, and blueberry was next!   

I found this really great handout from Our Little Monkeys called "My Name through the Year" that has a place for your kid to write their name each month. I love the idea of having this for posterity sake, and will make a great scrapbook page. 

Boy writing his name:

Also in science we were learning about our relationship in the solar system. So we made a "Me on the Map" flip book, based on this post from Creekside Learning.  I printed out images of the solar system, earth, North America, US, our state, and then for the city and street, I used Google maps; and of course photos for our house and of him for the top two layers.  Here is a free printable that includes the template for the season's flip book as well as this Me on the Map. (The download says "My continent, My country; not "Caleb") 

Me on the Map: varying sizes of

Me on the Map & Seasons Free Printable Activity Sheet: from

We've been doing Math using Singapore Math B, but I supplement with manipulatives. The teddy bear counters have been a big hit. I used the bears in a "baseball story" problem to talk out addition and subtraction. Ya know, "9 bears went to the field but one forgot his glove and had to go back home. How many bears on are the field?" And on, and on, and on, and on...he loved this. Then he made up the next 10 stories. Later in the day, he needed green paper to make an actual baseball field, and later still, 3 to make a football field! I love teaching boys! In this photo the "Bears" are playing the "Packers" and the blue bears are the coaches! 

Using Bear Manipulatives to Teach 5 year old math:

Mostly we do school when Corban's sleeping, but sometimes I can keep him happy playing while we accomplish something.  

Little boy with Feet up on Tricycle Handlebars: STEM mom


  1. What a great looking school week! Are you feeling more confident about it now that you're getting into the swing of things?

    I especially love the "name all year printable" and the acorn faces.

    1. Eddie, some days I'm confident, but other days I'm feeling like we don't get a whole lot accomplished. Luckily, something really cool happens, like he'll share something he learned with Dad, like its just part of life. He doesn't answer the question, "What did you learn in school today?" but tid-bits come out when we're just talking, and I guess that's the best way anyways, right?



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