Thursday, December 22, 2016

Look what I made

I wanted to make some ornaments for my nursery class with their pictures, I had envisioned frames made out of felt or pipe cleaners, but I got the idea to use some old sculpey clay.  I didn't have a lot so I had to make a lot of different ones using different colors.  They are the cutest ornaments I've ever made.  I printed the pictures out and covered them with 3D mode podge which makes them look so professional!  For a last minute craft this was a winner.

Here is a super cute sleigh my daughter made at activity days, they also made faux stained glass nativity scenes.  Such a fun time of year for crafting.

Here is a big cheesy smile that he seems to have in almost all his pictures.  Happy boys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

P is for painting pumpkins preschool day

We did modge podge pumpkins first, using cartoon eyes and pumpkin mouths.  They painted the face area of the pumpkin white with regular modge podge, stuck on a face, and then painted over that.  If the paper wouldn't mold to the pumpkin I had some watered down modgepodge they could use to paint it flat.  You can draw faces or mouths with sharpie on paper and cut it out or use computer clip art.  ( I like to put a bit of orange around the eye and mouth clip art so I don't have to cut very carefully.)

SInce it was P day I had colored polka dots they could "paint" onto their pumpkins as well while I helped the other kids.  I cut out the mouths and noses and teeth in advance and did a quick cut on the eyes.  After they picked a set of eyes, I cut it a bit more carefully for them to glue on.  I stuck  them in my dehydrator to get them to dry faster, that is cheating, but I like to have things dry at the end when parents come.

the boys pumpkins were scary

the girls pumpkins were happy.

The Nursery Rhyme of the day was "This Little Piggy" and "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater" which have cute songs online.
We read lots of books, but these were the letter P books.  We have mostly girls, so I HAD to do pinkalicious.
Since this is the week of Halloween we talked about Halloween Costumes and watched my favorite halloween book
(it is a flash movie, so won't work on my iPad, so sad).  I always turn down the volume and narrate it myself to make it more entertaining.
Then we had popcorn for our snack.  

Here is our coloring page.

Friday, October 21, 2016

2nd grade homeschool curriculum reviews

What we use:

  • Second Story Window morning work and homework, daily 5
  • Adapted Mind math
  • Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool Reading-1, Modern History, Science (selections for all four years of study), and Math-2
  • Time4Learning (offline resources only) for 2nd grade Language Arts extensions
  • Piano Wizard, Reading Rainbow, and Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • LDS scripture stories videos

Second Story Window Morning Work and Math/ELA homework:  I love both of these resources.  They are the best worksheets ever!  I was able to print out a workbook for the entire year which covers all the common core for second grade.  (I plan to send him back to public school next year, so I keep in mind what he would be doing if he was there this year)  I can use this book as a thermometer to make sure my child is on grade level and to see what areas I need to supplement.  This resource is fabulous for homeschool because it is beautifully illustrated in black and white and puts 5 times as many activities per page of paper as most workbooks.  The problems are clever and engaging too which is almost unheard of in workbooks.  We start each day with this book. (In theory, it gives me a chance to do the breakfast dishes:)
My Second Grade Math Book contains:
Second Story Window Math/ELA homework
and the Easy Peasy Math-2 pdf.
My Writing book conatains handpicked writing assignments
from Time4Learning Language Arts Extensions and pages for spelling lists

Morning Work: Covers spelling, vocabulary, reading fluency
and comprehension, sight words, writing, grammer, and math

Daily 5: I love this concept which I found on the Second Story Window website and I try to do all five each day.
  1. Read to self (we call this stamina reading and on the first day he read 3 minutes and we are working up to 30-40 minute reading sessions.  On day 40 we are at 17 minutes) 
  2. Read to someone else (We do Easy Peasy Homeschool Reading-1 selections)
  3. Listen to Reading (I try to read two or three books a day to him)
  4. Work with words (vocabulary, spelling, grammar, etc)
  5. Write  (We are also working on handwriting, forming letters correctly, speed of writing, and forming smaller letters)

This is the Math/ELA homework, it prints with Math and Language Arts on every other
page since it was intended for public school homework,  but it works:)
Chunk Spelling:  I put blank spelling pages in the back of the writing workbook
and each week we generate a new spelling list to  study.
Our read to self is library books, Read to someone else is "Easy Peasy Reading -1", and Listen to Reading is library books that I can read to my 3 and 7 year old together.  We mostly use "Second Story Window ELA homework and Morning Work" and "Time4Learing language arts extensions" for the work with words.  I also do a chunk spelling list each week that we model after the Second Story Window chunk spelling lessons.  I have the Time 4 Learning second grade spelling list and I use that for inspiration on which chunks to teach and also challenge words, I also found some great lists by googling chunk spelling.  I like studying chunks in spelling because I am such a passionate proponent of phonics.  Chunk spelling is great for homeschool because it is so easy to tailor the difficulty level.

Adapted Mind: My son and I love this!  We came across ads for this curriculum while doing Easy Peasy Math 2.  My son had been wanting to do multiplication which isn't part of Easy Peasy, but is a part of the Adapted Mind second grade math.   He can also do third grade math when he finishes, which will be long before the school year is over.  We immediately fell in love with this highly user friendly program.  The cost is $10 a month which is steep for one child, but we are hooked, and the first month is free making it $9 a month.  Getting started was so easy and navigating was easy.  Previewing the year was easy.  I get an e-mail each day showing how my child is doing which helps me know how much he actually did.  The only problem is that there are no links to the instruction videos.  I can always find them by googling the lesson topic and Kahn videos.  I think this is intentional.  The program allows you to select any video explanation you would like off of youtube if you don't want to use theirs.  I like that flexibility.  There are also worksheets for extra practice if you want them.  The one thing this program lacks is daily basic addition and subtraction practice.  Easy Peasy offers that, so they pair well together.

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool:  I think it really is easy peasy.  If I were homeschooling multiple children I would love it even more because it is designed with that in mind!  When I first looked at the curriculum I thought "that doesn't look like enough!", but don't be decieved, it is jam packed with EVERYTHING you need and it is very up to date material.  It is fun too, which was important to me.  The kids learn so much and have a lot of fun doing it.  Navigating the site and planning your year is a breeze.  I couldn't be happier.  I started with Time4Learning and that is horrible to plan your year with.  Easy Peasy also update links often.  This is a 100% free curriculum worth a bundle!  I don't use the language arts for second grade, because I like Second Story Window and Time4Learning better.

Easy Peasy Math pages
Easy Peasy Math -2 I really like how it makes math fun and has more math facts practice than public school.  The concepts for the year are grade appropriate.  I added in the second story math homework 3 times a week because I wanted him doing written work for gross motor development and I like the applied problems so much.  This math is pretty close to what he would be doing in public school and with the Second Story math homeework supplement, he is right on target so he can go back next year.

Learning about Henry Ford was our favorite History lesson so far.  We made assembly line cars with Legos!
Easy Peasy History- Modern.  I chose this since I only plan to homeschool one year and I felt that the topics in this curriculum where what my son was least likely to cover in public school.

Easy Peasy Science I use their science curriculum, but I have picked topics from Zoology (insects, animal classification, ecosystems), Earth Science (earth layers, volcanoes, weather, water cycle, rock cycle), Physics (sound, light, flight), and Biology (plants).  I looked up my state science curriculum for second grade and pulled out the Easy Peasy Lessons that matched and it worked out almost exactly to 180 days.   I wanted to use the Easy Peasy Thinking curriculum, but honestly, our day is pretty full and I don't usually get to it.

Like I said, we use Reading-1.  I started with Reading-2 and realized it was really a third grade reading level.  I went back to Reading-1 and at the same time we did something similar to their Learn to Read lessons 137-212  (advanced phonics such as  sh, ch, oy, ow, oa, or, gh, alk, ight we did two a day) since he wasn't quite ready with the phonics skills.  On day 7, Reading-1 was challenging and I helped by reading a lot of the passages, but now at day 40 and done with the phonics unit, his skills have improved so much that it is perfect for him.  I LOVE Easy Peasy Reading 1.  The literature has a rich style, is interesting, clever, vocabulary building, knowledge enhancing, grammar building, and even seasonally appropriate.  I can incorporate any Language Arts Lessons that I want (listening for details, fact vs opinions, identifying main characters, morals in the text, etc) into what we are reading.

Time4Learning: On day 1 of home school I had intended for this to be our complete curriculum.  I had done my research and it seemed to be what my son would enjoy the best.  It followed our state curriculum very closely which I also liked.  I had a DIFFICULT time planning our year despite the lesson planner on the website.  It was challenging to scan and get a feel for what he would be learning in a lesson.  It wasn't broken into 180 days either and I had know way of knowing where the natural breaks were.  I couldn't print because the format would have taken reams of paper to print.  Also, I wanted to print out workbooks for the year, but to print all the pages from the curriculum (they were all in color) was cost prohibitive (even in black and white).  Also there was a crazy high monthly fee of $20 for using the curriculum.  When my son used the website, he also had a terrible time navigating.  Then we ran into problems with the videos.  They just didn't have play bars.  This was a problem because the videos didn't move fast enough and as a parent I couldn't tell what was in each video without sitting and watching the entire thing myself.  You couldn't skip to the parts you needed.  On week 2 of homeschool, we tried Easy Peasy for one day just to compare and loved it.  I didn't have to plan the year at all, it was already divided into 180 days and scanning content was easy.  I don't use Easy Peasy Language Arts 2.  It is very light which is fine since they do a lot of language arts with other subjects.  I prefer to do more language arts and less of the reading assignments with the other subjects though.  So I do Second Story Window ELA homework, Daily 5, and Time4Learning language arts extensions for our Language Arts curriculum.

 I do like the concept of Time4Learning, but the worksheets and navigation were not user friendly.

I downloaded the Time4Learning Language Arts Extensions guide and printed out every single writing assignment, about 60 of them and made a second grade writing workbook.  We use these in combination with Second Story ELA homework and chunk spelling for our Language Arts.  We do the other worksheets in photoshop, so we didn't have to sink tons of money into printing costs.  The language arts extensions was one part of Time4Learning I could easily scan through in advance, so I liked it best.  The Language arts extensions cover science and social studies topics.  I have set up my year so that the Time4Learning science and Easy Peasy Science topics overlap.  Time4Learning Language Arts extensions has lots of picture book suggestions and when I google them there are usually videos of the books on youtube, this is good addition to our Daily 5 "Listen to Someone Read".

Other resources I like: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Reading Rainbow, and Story Bots when they apply.  I am constantly checking.
For music we use Piano Wizard which is about the only kind of music education my kids will tolerate from me.

Art: This year my son is learning Photoshop and drawing.  We use photoshop for Language Arts extensions, science and history projects.  For drawing we do drawing tutorials on Youtube of whatever sounds fun to draw or whatever we are learning about in Language Arts.  He surprises himself by what he is able to do.

LDS Video Library: Book of Mormon Stories, Old Testament Stories, New Testament Stories, and Doctrine and Covenants Stories: My younger kids watch about three stories a day during breakfast to start their school day.

P.E.: Weather permitting we go to the park for at least 30 minutes a day, I'm still trying to figure out how to keep my 3 and 8 year old physically active during the cold days of winter, but the 30 minute a day requirement comes from a specialist my son is seeing for health reasons and is one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool, so we are pretty committed to this. We also do speech and vision therapy every day.  So much therapy!  Without homeschool we would never get it all done.

Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker:  My son seemed to be really, really struggling with writing.  Each letter was painfully slow and very hard to read.  We've been doing a page a day of d'Nealian paragraphs (seem easier to make these letters so we went with it) in the smallest size letters and it seems to be helping a lot.  I've timing how fast he can complete a page and his speed is increasing.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Teaching the Art Merit Badge

Requirement #4
sketch paper, water color paper, brushes, water jars, paper plates/palettes, pencils, erasers, acryclic paints, water color paints, charcoal (or pastels).  Simple objects to draw like fruit, or basic drawing tutorials.

Render a subject in four different mediums:
pencil, acrylic, watercolor, charcoal!

Requirement #1a
What is art?
1b the importance of art to humankind...

1c "How does art make you feel?"

Requirements #2 and #3 see the free ABC's of Art booklets at
I also love this poster!

Requirement #5
Design a Logo, explain what it means, put it on Scout equipment, furniture, ceramics, or fabric.

Our boys put logos on ceramic mugs, drawstring bags, t-shirts, camping pillowcases, and even a binder.  We used acrylics, fabric marker, and sharpies.  The notebook was done with vinyl.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Arrow of Light Awards

We just finished our first year on the new program and we have two Arrow of Lights to award. I wish we had done this last year when my son got his, because they look really cool.  We started the year with 6 boys and one den and now we are up to 13.  We have a Webelos/Bear den and a Wolf den.  Because we were combined, our Webelos earned their Arrow of Light in about 9 months because they were doing Wolf and Bear stuff the first few months, I am so impressed with the boys and their den leaders for getting everything done!

Color bands:
purple or light blue=bobcat
green or navy=webelos
yellow, tan, blue=arrow of light

How I made my arrows:
I cut the dowel in half with a saw and then notched the ends for the arrowhead with the pocked knife.  I glued the jute and the arrowheads on with wood glue.  I cut the duck feathers in half with the exacto knife  to make fletchings and glued them on with hot glue.  I added more jute to the end of the arrow.  I painted the colorbands on paper and then mode podged them on, the advantage of paper is that I could have used marker instead of paint and I can get the lines straighter.  You could just thin out white glue if you don't have modge podge to accomplish about the same effect.  The fletchings were the hard part since they aren't straighte and don't want to be glued into a straight line, maybe I needed two people for that part.  Oh well, they look nice now they are all done.

arrowheads=$4.99 (for five on amazon or just find a flat rock and make your own)
duck feathers=$4.81(for 22 on Amazon, not all the feathers were usable this was probably enough for 4 arrows)
dowels=$0.59 at Hobby Lobby

I had everything else at home, so these arrows cost me about $5.50 each.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Youth Arts Festival 2016

Here are a few pictures from the Artist Reception on the last day of this years arts festival. I taught the Lego classes!  Here you get to look at all the fun projects and dream for a whole year about what class to take next year.  Unless of course you would rather dance, be in the play, learn to play ukulele, or learn to perform magic tricks and then your art will be on stage...
  The Lego pictures are my students, I think they did a great job!