Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Week 4, Part 1 November 3, 2014

It's November!!! It is November!! All I can say is "WOW" I am super glad that I've finished holiday shopping for everyone except my three kiddos, and those who are getting chocolates. (I've already put together "wish-lists" for each of them for relatives, and for me, so I can just go online, order and have everything shipped to Virginia. Thank you 어머니 for letting me use your home as as Christmas storage facility!) I had to wait to order the chocolates until they could be delivered somewhere without the risk of melt-age. So, with Christmas and New Years out of the way, it is Thanksgiving-almost-central.

It has been a long time since I have made a pie. Like about two years-long time ago.  When I first started freaking out about thinking about homeschooling was when I stopped baking. So I am putting my gluten-free baker hat on once again, breaking out that rolling pin, and tinkering up a few pies, just to make sure I don't fall flat on the big day. (We are hosting this year. It will be smaller than having my husband's family over a few years ago, but we'll still be 14 mouths strong, plus an infant. And some of those mouths are pretty big, counting the one that belongs to a certain 3-year old who's name begins with the "d" sound.) So, as I am writing this, I am sitting here not happy, waiting for the requisite 3 hours to pass so that my fabulous-smelling apple pie can cool and thicken up properly. I can feel it's apple pie eyes taunting me.

(If you are looking for a gluten-free pie recipe, go here. If you are wondering how in the world you are going to get all those crazy flours to accommodate that ONE person in your family who has an inconvenient gluten-intolerance, e-mail me and I'll see if I can send you a "flour-mix." Now, if you are wondering about gluten-free stuffing, you are on your own babe, because mine is spoken for.)

I am so turned around with this time change it isn't funny. I am waking up at all different times of the early morning, having nightmares that a friend's child is choking me when in actuality it is D's arm slung across my neck. On Monday I thought it would be a good idea to go do some shopping for Church pantry essentials. After I thought we had been in the classroom for a couple of hours, I pulled the kids together to go out...when I checked the other clock, it turned out that we had only been in the classroom for about 45 minutes. Oh well, S got in a lot of reading during out trip and T got in a lot of math and money work. It all turned out okay.

So, this is some of what happened in the first part of our week. (I seriously didn't get a photo of everything. Sorry.)

Sensorial: cylinder blocks - extension
Language: classified cards - Primary
Math: volume measurement, fractions, math facts - "ten-buddies"
Music: bells - the staff and pitch notation
Antics, dimples, and antics. Lately D has been a little resistant to go into the classroom and work. So I geared up for Monday and prepared to spend some time giving him new lessons. Here he is working on a cylinder block extension. We place the block on the table. We place a work rug elsewhere in the room, but not close to the table. (Here our rug is a little close to the table, but you can't see the cylinder block holes from the rug.) We remove all of the cylinders and place them on the rug. Then we examine the empty block, choose a hole, stick our place-holder-stick into it and go to the rug to find a matching cylinder. (The stick is the orange stick from the botany cabinet tracing activity.) If the first cylinder we select doesn't fit, we replace it back on the rug and select another to try. If the cylinder does fit, we take it out, and replace it on the rug. Then we choose a new hole, mark it with the place-holder-stick and go fetch the matching cylinder from the rug. A new hole is chosen at random, and we do not do this exercise in order. This is what is called open-ended work because the child is selecting from the entire set. 

This work helps the child develop his visual discrimination. And I'd add to this and say the exercise is good for gross-motor work too.

D didn't feel like doing the open-ended thing. He also didn't want to do the random hole thing. But he did want to do all four cylinder blocks. He filled the holes one by one, from smallest to largest (or right to left which is opposite of the direction we read...but who is nit-picking here.) By grading them he did pretty well putting the block back together. 
This is one way to pick up your cylinders from the floor if you are 3 years old and stand pretty close to the floor anyway. Having your mouth wide open definitely helps.

I also made some category cards for little D over the weekend. (These cards are from MPS.) This set is the cookware set. If you are a homeschooler, think about your set carefully!! If not, you could get yourself into the same trouble I did. 

I introduced the cards to D. He didn't remember the names of any of the utensils so we headed down to the kitchen and matched the cards to the real thing. And then we tried a few of them out. Here is where I got into a pickle. We have a y-peeler. The card set depicts a carrot peeler. These are the same, but not really. How do you describe this discrepancy to someone who has no idea what a peeler is? Also, my potato masher looked different from the card picture as did my kitchen scale. I have made up my mind that I need to re-do the card set.
 D's absolute favorite kitchen utensil was the turkey baster. So fun.

Late last week I received our volume measuring set. I got this because with all the baking I have coming up I didn't want someone small walking off with my tablespoon measure when I need to measure something for that maple bourbon sweet potato pie. So I got the kids their own set. 

I didn't have food-coloring, so I did a little thinking and dumped a small container of blue-sugar sprinkles into a couple liters of water and made that blue. Blue water was much more fun that plain water and now all of our cloth dinner napkins are stained blue. 

The kids had a wonderful time exploring this material. The turkey baster was put into use too. I am waiting for our ETC measurement task cards to come so that they can get a little more scientific about this volume measure activity. (Make sure that you order the "conventional" measurement card set and not the "metric" card set like I did. I called the company the next morning to ask if I could switch them, which they did for me very graciously. Thank you ETC!!) Oh, and these are called task cards, according to ETC, not command cards.
D also did the dollar board as a sensorial activity. he filled the entire board and then put it away pretty satisfied. When the child is a little older, he/she will be able to see that 100 pennies equals $1.
T has caught the fraction fire. Here he is writing down his simple fraction addition problems (with like denominators, and sums less than 1) without manipulatives. He did 32 problems in one sitting. He NEVER likes repetitive work. Maybe he likes it this time because he feels really confident about how "easy" this work seems, and isn't at the boredom stage yet. 
Last Friday he finished 22 problems in a row and he told me that he wanted to continue the work on Monday. It told him to write a note to his Monday-self in his journal, reminding his Monday-self that he should do fraction addition. Is this what the work journal is ultimately for? 
T and S and I also worked on addition facts. Here we are working on ten-buddies. T is pretty visual, so we established that 1 is 9's ten buddy, 2 is 8's ten buddy, 3 is 7s ten buddy, 4 is 6's ten buddy and 5 is 5's ten buddy. With this information we can tackle the addition problems with sums in the teens. 

For example, T and I were working on 9+8=. He knows that 1 is 9's ten buddy, so he chops 1 off of 8 to make a ten, then knows what remains is 7, so 9+8=10+7=17. After we worked with the beads, making ten buddies and chopping, we moved on to the flash cards and T just did all the chopping in his head. I think he needs a bit more practice, but he came a LONG way in this memorization sequence. 

A side note about these flash cards, I got a box set. It has two subtraction sets, and no multiplication set. REALLY? CHECK your set if you are going to purchase these, before you code anything, so you can return it because the company messed up.
T is writing down everyone's ten buddy in his work notebook.

S also did this ten-buddy work. I had her make ten buddies over and over. She'd make them, her "butterfly baby" would mess them up, and she'd have to put them back into their ten-buddy pairs. Then I added a few extra bars and she figured out which ones were extra and paired everyone else up with their ten-buddy. Then I took away a few bars and she figured out which ones were missing and paired everyone appropriately. And then we added the cards for only the ten-buddy combinations and she used the beads to illustrate each card problem. S hasn't done as much bead work as T, so I hope that this will help her be able to identify each bead bar by quantity. 
This is S plugging away at her frustrating-to-her Daily Math Word Problems. Oh, that terrible thumb wrap, and incorrect pencil grip. That is the "butterfly-baby" that messed up all her ten-buddies.
This week T got to the next bells lesson. T learned the parts of the staff in about 3 seconds. These cards are from Jenn on the KotU message boards. (Thank YOU!!) He matched the name with the picture very easily and we took a look at the bells staff boards. We also went over the numbers that correspond with the lines and spaces, and he figured out that there are five staff lines and four spaces.
 Our signs and notes set for the bells is from Nienhuis.
We skipped the number board because the KotU albums said that elementary generally doesn't need this lesson. So, we took out the c-major scale control chart (I just made this with a Google image) and got to work placing the notes on the staff board.
He ALMOST has this down pat too. We turned over the discs so the white side was up and the name-side was down. T picked a single disc, checked the note name, sang the pitch, played the corresponding bell, and then placed the disc on the staff board on the right line, or in the right space, name-side-down. He proceeded to do the same with all the white discs and placing each name-side-down on the boards. Afterward, he turned over all the discs on the boards and "checked" his work. All of the middle-c's are on the ledger line below the staff, all the d's are in the space just under the 1st staff line...etc. He got just one wrong and he needed the control chart for only the first half of the exercise. (MBT blogged about her oldest doing this exercise here.)
This is what you get when your bell table is 19" high and you are 8 years old. Poor T. He has pretty good relative pitch, meaning he can hear "c" and then sing "b". He is also great at remembering pitches. T can hit "g", have a short conversation with me and D, and then sing "b" before he hits "b". I wonder where he'll be with some more practice. He said he wants to start "writing" music on the staff boards next.

So I think this is signing-off until next week. My parents are coming into town and will be here the remainder of the week. Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend, see you next Tuesday.


  1. DONE with Christmas shopping already! So envious! Haven't even thought about it.

    Cute post, darling kids :)

    1. I started planning early because I knew that I'd be up to my eyeballs laminating things at this time of the year and I din't want to be caught just before leaving for an international vacation with 100 people to get/make/find gifts for. So I did it in September and haven't looked back.

  2. So weird to see something I made on someone's blog! I'll need to talk to you about posting all my stuff on my blog. It needs lots of work! And yes, I'm envious of the Christmas shopping too! I did start my list in my "notebook"! Anyway, everyone looks like they are having fun! I need to get started on the word problems too...so much to do!

    1. Take a look at my books before you decide to order stuff, if you were thinking of Daily World Problems, or Challenge Math. MBT is right, looking through the material before you buy is really helpful.

  3. Now I feel better!!!LOL I did my shopping too!!! Its always a joy read your blog Abbie (long time no blogging time!!LOL). Amazing jobs as always!!! Beautiful Niños!!

    Hi from Puerto Rico!!