Saturday, September 25, 2010

B is for St. Bernadette, Bugle Fairy, Baptism, and Birds

We finished up B week of the Alphabet Path... it actually took us two weeks because I had two LLL meetings which cut into our mornings, so we took it slowly for B. :) We were able to do some math exploration during the second week, as I am not sure what we will be doing specifically for math yet - there is not a Master Plan for math, that is. Caroline has a good grasp on some of the basic concepts and had a blast arranging Cuisenaire rods to find as many different combinations as she could to get a certain number. We are also working on counting patterns: 5s and 10s first, since they are easiest.

New this week: a pocket chart found at the Target Dollar Spot. Can you tell I love that section?? I am using this one to display our poems for each letter: the saint poem from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and the poem from the book God's Alphabet. I printed them up using the Startwrite handwriting software, just like the theme words seen in the tabletop chart in the next photo.

Our themes for the week

Saint for Letter B

Saint Bernadette, the young French girl to whom Mary appeared at Lourdes, was our saint this week. In the photo two above, you can see the little Our Lady of Lourdes that I made earlier this year... I decided to use her too since she goes with St. Bernadette!

Work Activities

Some of the work activities this week included: stacking blocks, stringing beads, barn animal puzzles, bears dress-up puzzle, and Blues Clues Colorforms (somebody gave them to me when I was in college, I think as a gag gift...).

Cecilia strung the beads randomly on a pipe cleaner, while Caroline had some pre-made pipe cleaners with beads and completed the patterns using loose beads.

Cecilia enjoying her bears dress-up puzzle

Circle Time Songs and Rhymes
Going on a Bear Hunt
The Bear Went over the Mountain
Little Boy Blue
Little Bo Peep
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Hunting Bugs
bubble fingerplays

Foods for B Week

blueberry fruit leather and bunny crackers

berry smoothies

beautiful berry smoothie smile :)

breakfast for dinner, which included blueberry pancakes

These were poured into heart shapes to cook on the griddle and then pierced with cocktail swords on the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows (symbol of the Seven Sorrows of Mary).

blackberry breakfast bars (Kashi makes them)

buttermilk biscuits shaped like letter B, birds, and bells!

butternut squash soup along with the biscuits... my kids love this soup!

banana crunch cake (it's like a coffee cake)

eating the banana crunch cake

butternut squash and bacon pasta

Other B foods we ate: BLTs, baked kale chips, bread, peanut butter on bananas, baked chicken and rice, broccoli, chicken and bulgar, bean burritos, Korean BBQ, and bratwurst! Other fun foods would have been blueberry buckle and brickle bars!

We also had the first day of fall during B week, so we had some yummy maple leaf cookies from Trader Joe's!

These are soooo good, so when I saw them at TJ's back in August, I snatched up a box and hid it to save for the first day of fall!

Tea Time

We had chocolate bunny crackers and Bumble Bars for our B teatime!

Caroline loved the Bumble Bar, as usual...

Cecilia didn't eat her half this time, so Caroline did. Maybe Cecilia is taking after her daddy, who thinks Bumble Bars are the nastiest thing ever, ha ha.

Letter Formation

play-doh letter Bs

spelling Bernadette with play-doh

forming B and b in cornmeal

Something new I decided to start... cutting and pasting pictures beginning with the letter of the week into a large bubble letter (hastily hand-drawn by me ;). I decided to do this not because Caroline needs much practice identifying the beginning letters in words (although she did argue vehemently today that "tray" begins with "ch"), but for the practice of cutting and gluing. Hopefully the fine motor control will improve with regular cutting practice, and maybe by the end of Kindergarten she will be able to use a glue stick without getting it everywhere. For some reason, Cecilia controls a glue stick better at this point... so, this will provide the practice, and we will add to the wall each week until we have all the letters on display! The A page was put together during B week, too, and Caroline wrote down things for which she didn't have pictures.

Punch out the letter: B and b, showing more much more control than the A from last week. I am finding this to be excellent fine motor practice!

Flower Fariy: the Bugle Fairy

coloring the picture from this coloring book, which was done while listening to the Bugle Fairy song on the Flower Fairy CD

Saint Bernadette poem copywork

Illustrating Saint Bernadette

Caroline also wanted to illustrate the bugle fairy in addition to the coloring sheet

completed St. Bernadette illustration and copywork

Book Baskets

Here's Caroline with her completed parts of a bird diagram, a science project

Picture Study: B is for Boats

Using the book Museum ABC, Caroline's version of the Champion Single Skulls by Thomas Eakins

ABC Virtue of the Week: B is for Be a Blessing

You also see A's virtue here, Always Ask. These are virtue coloring sheets found here. Using the great idea of another Catholic homeschooling mom, I am reading Caroline a relevant story from this sweet little book full of stories with morals to them. I am choosing a story from Devotional Stories for Little Folks that reinforces the virtue for each week. Caroline loves these stories so far - she talks about the characters as if they are real-life friends of hers!

Art Project: B is for Binoculars

two toilet paper rolls taped together, painted with acrylic paints, with a ribbon stapled on for a strap!

Art Project: B is for Bead Bracelets

I used embroidery needles tied to embroidery floss for them to string the beads. Cecilia did about two before Caroline finished hers up for her!

Art Project: B is for Birdhouse

Caroline enjoyed painting this birdhouse with acrylic paints. Now to decide if I should spray it with a clear coat varnish and then hang it outside, or let it be an indoor decoration... I am leaning towards putting it outside.

Art Project: B is for Braiding

I did most of the braiding for these anklets, but the idea of how to braid was introduced to Caroline, and she did some of her own. More good practice for those fine motor skills, a main goal for Kindergarten!

Baking Project: B is for Breadmaking

The girls helped with the foccacia dough to make the cross-shaped bread we had for the Triumph of the Cross.

Chores/Practical Life: B is for Baseboard Cleaning

This is one of the things I consider to be a real blessing of homeschooling... our learning is part of life, and it includes practical life skills. I want the girls to grow up learning some of the basic household tasks that they will one day use when they go out on their own. I am trying to come up with a relevant chore or task for each letter... couldn't come up with any chores for A.

They used old cloth diapers that I got damp for them and wiped down all the baseboards - boy, were they covered in dust - ick! And now, to vacuum behind the furniture where more dust was discovered during this task...

Some of Caroline's completed work from the week

More work from the week

Caroline drew this picture of a bird on our birdfeeder in her nature notebook. I am not entirely sure how we are going to approach nature study, although I know I want us to do it somehow, especially in the earlier years and when we focus on the life sciences. So, observing birds out the window was part of this week's science theme.

So, one thing that I am doing in addition to working on number concepts with Caroline is using this book, Number Practice for Little Folks. It is very basic - very, very basic. But, there are pages with number printing practice, and Caroline does not yet know how to form letters. So that is the main reason for using it. I like that it has a Catholic theme though - it reinforces religious concepts. For instance, the number seven includes information about the seven sacraments.

Here's Caroline's number 1 practice sheet

Outdoors: B is for Balancing

We set up boards in the yard to work on the gross motor skill of balance

Outdoors: B is for Bouncing Balls

Another gross motor skill we worked on - I bounced a ball to Caroline and had her catch it on the first bounce and then bounce it back to me. We also put a leaf on the concrete between us and practiced trying to bounce the ball as close as possible to the leaf.

Now we are on to C week. We will be going to Calloway Gardens at the end of the week and have lots of fun projects to do and feast days to celebrate before we go! It will be a busy week! :)


Karen said...

Did you find the pocket chart at Target this week? I check the dollar spot a couple times a week but I never saw those! I'm not homeschooling yet, but I would love to have one for when I do.

Looks like B week was a success!

Erin said...

Karen, I found it in a Target in Nashville in very late August, I think. Hope you can find one too!

Lisa said...

Wow, Erin! I am so impressed. You put so much work into planning your "B" time and it shows! Awesome!

Carrie said...

They have those pocket charts every year usually in the Dollar Spot.
I love all your letter ideas. I wish I had taken our first year a little easier, ha ha. Yours sounds tons of fun!

Tiny Actions said...

It looks like the girls had so much fun during Bb week! I really like the idea of the pocket chart...I'll have to keep an eye out for them. Great idea with the bubble letters too! I need to save that idea for Big Boy for the next year. How do you like the startwrite program? I really do need something that is user friendly. Currently I'm using, but it seems very limiting.

Erin said...

The Startwrite program is somewhat limiting too... for instance, I cannot center the lines of text that I type into it. It does have lots of fonts available, and I like that I can make the letters solid or dotted (to varying degrees) and that I can make them anywhere from solid black to a faint grey, which is good for tracing. They have a free trial on their website, and it is the full version - as long a you keep it open, you can keep using it to test out anything you want to try on it. Then once you close it, only parts of it work (you can't type all letters or use all features) until you buy a keycode from them, which it prompts you to type in to gain access to the full version again - so that is nice to be able to try it out. Oh, and I emailed and asked if they had a homeschooler discount (smart hubby's idea there ;), and they emailed back saying I could get it for $10 off. I will say that the customer service was a bit slow - like not answering the phone, slow to return calls, and I had a problem w/ my keycode (didn't know it had to be typed in all lowercase), and they said they would send a confirmation email w/ my keycode in it and then never did (I bought it over the phone in order to get the discount and they gave me the code over the phone), so I didn't know if I heard wrong or why my keycode wasn't working right. It sounds like it might be a very small business - I always talked to the same lady when I called and I could hear a toddler in the background, so it may be that she's a work at home mom.

So, to make a long story even longer... I am finding it useful although there are some limitations, and it was a bit of a process to actually get the software in the first place!

ViolinMama said...

Erin, you blow me Incredible work!!! I feel I do so much book work and you just embrace life! You never seem to have a bad day!

Thanks for posting this weekly! It helps me do better in my home school arena!

P.S. Do you just do a little ALL day, or parts of the day, etc?

Erin said...

Ah, we do have bad parts to our days... my 5 year old, while she enjoys school so far, has a somewhat challenging personality at times... and the girls argue very frequently lately, which I hope is just a stage due to their ages! I just don't take pictures of them arguing and post them on my blog, since I consider it to be a scrapbook of sorts and wouldn't put that sort of thing in my scrapbook (if i had a scrapbook, that is...). ;)

I do a little bit each day... mostly in the mornings. Afternoons are for outside, reading, and cooking dinner. I have a schedule and should take a photo of it and post it... I will try to get to that sometime soon. I also like to use the blog to keep track of my plans, because then I can look back when I am trying to remember what I did last year, or in three years when I will be doing Kindergarten again.