November 4, 2011

school update

A couple months in and the fruits of our schooling have been more than I could ask for. The kids have become best friends. We stay home more often and I schedule less, which means there's less stress for all, and my own relationship with the kids has improved dramatically. God's grace really is the root of it all, but I also know that giving them quality time and our days having structure is a key component, too. So far, we're loving it, and every time I check in with God about the choices we've made for this year, I feel a sense of peace.

The past few weeks we've been studying Autumn, Creation, Halloween, and All Saints/All Souls. Here are some pictures and activities from our time together...And just a reminder, I didn't think of all this myself. I'll try to link up to webpages when I can. In addition to the activities listed, we spent a few days each week working on handwriting, basic math concepts, reading our BOB Books, praying, and just hanging out.

-fall tree mosaics
-painting/drawing leaves
-pumpkin observation (science), carving, describing, estimating
-leaf hunt (science)
-and for the start of 40 Days for Life: ProLife Novena and our Life From the Womb DVD (suitable for children)

pumpkin painting

Max's favorite thing in the world: coloring (PS: thanks auntie shelley for the cards!!)

I will admit that my nerves were on edge for this one...

our finished pumpkins and working on our November calendars

leaf hunting/collecting

best buddies. he cries when she goes to Catechism every week :(

first, she picked her favorites and drew them. then we separated them into colors and estimated which group had the most/least. she counted each group, wrote the numbers, and checked to see if her predictions were right.


(most of the activities can be found here. Scroll down to Creation Parts 1/2.)

-Creation Mini-Book (to practice handwriting)

-Ordering the Creation Cards (days 1-7)

-Coloring Creation Pictures and making a book

-memorizing the order of creation

-talking about Sunday as a day of rest

Creation book, with corresponding Bible verses

practicing writing the word "day"

learning the concept of "more than"

HALLOWEEN WEEK: Break! We just did basic stuff and they were playing so well together that I didn't want to bug them...



-Saints Coloring Pages (she colors while I read from the "Our Friends the Saints" book)

-Handwriting, practicing the word "Saint" and learning the "ai" sound

-Writing a list of all the souls who have died that we want to pray for

-Making a "Saint Book" of ways we can become a saint

-Science: Float and Sink

our mini "word wall" on our white board. We focus on identifying and being able to write them. For the Novena, I printed, colored and laminated it. Each day we prayed a "Hail Mary" for all the babies in their mama's tummies, and especially for baby Mauss. Then we put a baby in Mary's arms (there are 9 total). Max was known once or twice to be found praying over by this picture...

Our Saint Book. (I have to take credit for thinking of this one!) The front is what Avila thinks Heaven looks like: a gummy house with rainbows. She listed all of us, with her, in heaven. The other pages, written by me and drawn by her, include (feel free to copy):

1) A saint is someone who is in heaven.
2) To be a saint we need to follow Jesus.

3) We need to listen to Jesus.

4) My favorite saint is _________.

5) My other favorite saint is __________.

Jesus is on the left, with the Crown of Thorns. The other one is an angel.

Mary, with a Crown of Flowers, a sword ("to help the soldiers") and the world in her other hand. To the left of her is Jesus, with a triple-scoop ice-cream cone.

A recommendation: put a picture of Jesus, Mary or an icon in front of your child as they are coloring/drawing/writing. For some reason Avila loves to color and I think it's her way of processing everything in her head. Because kids learn so much through their environment, surround them with beautiful, holy things whenever possible.

Coming up the next few weeks: Weather/Seasons, Virtues, Thanksgiving, and then a whole month of ADVENT!!!


Joe, Anna and baby Gus said...

Beautiful. Can I send Gus to your home school ;-)

Shannon said...

1. How do you get Max to sit willingly in a highchair without copious amounts of cookies?

2. I love that JC rocks the triple scoop. Go big or go home, right?

3. What's the plan for when little one comes along and sleep deprivation sets in? I'd love to hear the plan.

Michael and Kristine said...

Anna, bring him over anytime! Him and Max can some tot-school together :) And Shannon, you are right about the triple scoop. Jesus wouldn't have anything less.

I think part of the reason he sits so well is because he has an older sister who is sitting with him - I've noticed that a lot of things that were annoying with Avila are a lot better with him. It's probably because he has company and because he watches whatever she does. Also, we do "highchair time" (if you want to call it that) before/after lunch and dinner. They get to read books for a little while and then they just get used to it. When the little one comes, I'm sure there'll be a lot of trial and error but initially we will stick to the basics that I can handle on no sleep, do more independent activities that don't need a lot of prep, and simply they'll just have a lot more free play time. We'll see how it all works out!

Amelia said...

Great ideas, Kris! Jack is young, but I keep thinking something like that may be good for him....

Little Blogger said...

I love reading about your school adventures. You are doing such an awesome job!! I get ideas from you and have to admit I'm a bit jealous of the amazing curriculum you have put together. Our kids are very similar and same gender, do you know what you are having this time around?
Blessings to you!

Michael and Kristine said...

Yeah, Amelia. Just start small - like setting aside a few minutes everyday and doing a puzzle together or just having quality time. But you do that anyway!

And, Bev, no jealousies allowed! I was actually just thinking of all the blogs I read about homeschooling and how I get jealous of everything other people do and I wonder how I can fit it all in. But in all actuality, executing our work and time together only looks complicated - I kind of feel like I'm cheating by posting about everything because our lives have become "easier" since we've started homeschooling! I don't know what we're having - but I think it's a girl :) We'll find out soon!!

Blessings to you, too!