Friday, August 31, 2007

Our First Lapbook: Ants

We created our first Lapbook today! I am very excited about it and its usefulness in reviewing lessons taught. I wrote down all of G's narrations for the past 3 weeks and used those to caption the pictures.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thoughts on The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading

When I discussed my anticipation here, Nina commented that she would be curious as to how I liked The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading by Jessica Wise. Well... I have mixed reviews. The first 26 lessons of this 231 lesson book start with the short vowel sounds and moves on to the consonants. I like this method, it is what I was doing before I ordered the book. I also like that she suggest teaching children alternate printing of some letters such as what I call fancy a vs ball and stick a because some books will use different styles. What I do not like are the little "poems" to peg the sounds. For example: A is the first vowel we will say. /a/ is the short-vowel sound for A. or Y stands for /y/ in /y/, /y/ yip. Ms. Wise does not want you to peg your letters to pictures of apples or balls but does want you to repeat her poems 5 times a day in their entireties (aeiou, b-z). I skipped the poems and went straight for sound and sight recognition of the letters. My favorite tools for learning letter sounds are Leapfrog's Letter Factory Video, our homemade game Letter Hide and Seek, and creating an ABC book by cut & pasting pictures from magazines.

The remaining lessons are basic phonics lessons and I am very pleased with them. After the first two lessons (27 & 28) Gabe was able to Slo-wl-y read the first Bob Book :Mat. You can move as quickly or as slowly as you need through the lessons. We are going slow and spent a week on these first lessons just to build confidence. Each lesson starts with a review of the last lesson, teaches a new component, and offers follow-up activities. I am very pleased so far.

I had planned for 153 lessons this year but we will not get that done.... there is no hurry. I want G to enjoy learning to read not run the other way. So we will probably spend a few weeks on each short vowel rather than 3-4 days.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

MMMMM--AAAAA---TTTTTT: We're Reading!

picture from

We started formal reading lessons this week... and we can READ!
I am so excited. G is amazed. Daddy is so impressed and Nana & Papa are beaming.
This is a huge step. I can't wait to find out what those silly Mat & Sam do next.

Week Two Math

We started our Math U See lessons this week. They are going really well. The topic is place value... we build , write and read numbers. If you are not familiar with MUS it is a mastery approach rather than a spiral approach to math. So rather than touching on a topic now and moving on to eventually touch on it again, students work on one topic until they master it. By their definition of mastery... able to do the problems independently and correctly, and teach the concept to someone else... we could be done with place value but I think we will stay with it another week to try to work on fitting one and two digit numbers into the Hundreds, Tens, & Units diagram and transference of knowledge. Oh, by the way, the one G is teaching back to isn't me... it's SuperRock pictured there is the bottom corner.
We also started graphing objects this week. G is good at more/ less and sorting. I just need to remember to keep my skill levels on his level and not my old teaching level. It can be tough to be a Kindergarten teacher after teaching 2nd grade and up for so many years.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Carnival of Homeschooling #86

Buzz on over to Homeschoolbuzz for a magical installment of the Carnival.

Friday, August 17, 2007


We have been reading and learning about ants and bugs this week.
Today we did some observations outside.

One -take a cracker

Two- crumble it up

Three- wait... we ended up with 3 piles. The first pile took 2 minutes and 12 seconds to have any takers. The last two piles didn't have any after 20 minutes. So we discussed the difference in spots and decided that the first was in the shade. So G gave the second pile some shade. After 30 minutes we decided to go in and do some reading for a while.

A while later the feast was on! The pile that got the first quick response was untouched.

Fun at School

As we started school this week I really started to feel bogged down. We were just doing school at home. I know I want to establish a routine and flow but that does not have to be dull. So today we played with our learning a bit. It felt so much better!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Carnival of Homeschooling # 85

Stock up on your school supplies and head over to the Treehouse to compare finds!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Welcome to Our Dining er Classroom

We took the leaf out of our dining room table this week to create a place to call school. I think that must be important for me while I create my rhythm because I couldn't get past the need. I included a few creature comforts that I felt really worked with my classroom kids so we went to Lowe's and bought 2 sheets of Georgia Pacific Wainscoting called Mark R Board and 3 pipe insulators to create a wall length bulletin/white board. The board includes...
  • The Pledge
  • Teaching Calendar
  • Place Value Straws
  • Teaching Clock
  • Money Pics and Plastic coins
  • Magnet Board
  • 100's Chart
  • ABC chart
  • USA map
  • Continent map
  • Room to Write schedules & memory work, etc.
We are also using window clings for weather, days, months, color words,
special topics.

I took a bulletin board and put it on top of a student desk to create a discovery space for our special topics (ants & insects this month). The walls are lined with book baskets. It is pretty exciting.
G really loves the Weather Duck and the dry erase markers.

Now to just find that rhythm! I know it's around here somewhere.

First Day of School!

We started school today!!!
It was an altered version but it was school. That is the beauty of homeschool... you can mix it up easily. I was not prepared for the Math U See lesson so we did some number games and a couple simple worksheets. I can't find my phonics text so we placed site word Post-its all over the place. So with these alterations today looked like this...
  • Meeting Wall
  • Memory Work - phone number
  • Placed sight word Post-its (english/ spanish) everywhere
    • Math story & coordinating game
    • 2 counting worksheets
    • Listened and followed along to "I Can Read About Creepy Crawly Creatures"
    • Narrated things G remembered about ants
    • Read Aloud Countdown to Kindergarten and Donavan's Word Jar ch1
All in all a good first day! Oh, by the way, we started the day at the Eye Doctor for check-ups so it was also G's first eye exam and he learned a lot about pictures taken of the outside and inside of our eyes. BONUS Lesson!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Local Boys Making It Big!!

Join the Flynnville Train Fan Club Here!

I went to High School with one of these guys and am so excited for their growing success! It has been a long time coming! They are touring with Toby Keith this year. WOW! Way to Go Brent & Flynnville Train!

If you love country music or know someone who does go get their album Sept 11, 2007. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, August 10, 2007

100 Children's Books

My Friend at Painted Rainbows and Chamomile Tea has found a new book list posted by the NEA. The list is the result of a 2007 parent and teacher survey. Painted Rainbow has invited others to play along by highlighting the ones we've read. Here's my key Me- green, G-purple, Own but Not Read Yet- red, Favorite- Bold Also, I have added some of my favorites at the end.
  1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  4. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  5. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  6. I Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
  7. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  8. Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
  9. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  10. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  11. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
  12. Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
  13. The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss
  14. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  15. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  16. The Mitten by Jan Brett
  17. Crunching Carrots, Not Candy by Judy Slack
  18. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willlems
  19. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  20. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  21. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  22. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
  23. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  24. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  25. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  26. Tacky the Penquin by Helen Lester
  27. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  28. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  29. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  30. Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type Doreen Cronin
  31. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  32. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  33. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
  34. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  35. Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  36. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  37. Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
  38. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  39. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone
  40. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  41. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  42. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  43. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  44. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  45. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  46. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
  47. Olivia by Ian Falconer
  48. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  49. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  50. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  51. The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  52. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  53. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  54. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  55. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  56. Bunnicula by James Howe
  57. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  58. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  59. Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise
  60. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  61. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
  62. Frederick by Leo Lionni
  63. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  64. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  65. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  66. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
  67. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
  68. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
  69. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  70. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
  71. Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino
  72. Jan Brett’s books
  73. Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr.
  74. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  75. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  76. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  77. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  78. My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
  79. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  80. No David! by David Shannon
  81. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  82. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  83. Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch
  84. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  85. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  86. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
  87. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
  88. The Empty Pot by Demi
  89. The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop
  90. The Giver by Lois Lowr
  91. The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  92. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  93. The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
  94. The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
  95. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  96. The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
  97. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  98. The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
  99. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  100. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Here are some books I would add to this list:
Did You Carry The Flag Today, Charley? by Rebecca Caudill
Holes by Louis Sachar
Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen and Mark Buehner
Harriet and the Promised Land by Jacob Lawrence
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner and Greg Hargreaves

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Carnival of Homeschooling #84

The Nerd Family is hosting this weeks Carnival and discusses why they homeschool.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Battle for the Toy Box Contest

The Battle for the Toy Box Contest!
I entered the Battle for the Toy Box Contest
on the HSB Company Porch. I hope to win
over $100 worth of, Tales of Glory, Bible-based toys

Take a look at this great contest!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Open House 2007

Tiany over at Less of Me ~More of Him is hosting a Homeschooling Open House from August 1- 15. What a great idea! When I was teaching, I loved open house time. I relished this time to share my plan and objectives for the year. Sooo... Welcome to my dining room er classroom, please help yourself to a snack and feel free to wonder around and take a look while I answer a few questions...

  • Hello, I am Teacher of One, a former public school teacher (15 years! Art & 2nd Grade) who is setting out to educate my one and only G (5). This will be our first "official" year of homeschooling but as he has never attended daycare or preschool I suppose I have been homeschooling him since birth.
  • Our days will be quite relaxed... as they are already. The "goal" is to work from 10-12 on basic lessons but we will use as little or as much time needed to accomplish the lessons. As we have not officially started school, the following are the topics I hope to cover each day. You'll have to check back to see if it really works. LOL
Over here are the resources and curricula I plan on using with G this year.

We'll start each day with a Math Meeting, similar to this one, to build skills that are not a part of the MUS concentration.

Math U See will be our spine this year but I also plan to break up the instruction with short unit studies.

Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading & Simple Readers like Bob Books and Starfall will help us learn to read.

Book baskets filled with Read Alouds, Old Friends, & Resources

I hope to cover Community and Holidays in Social Studies this year.

Science will really be G led... nature, experiment books, animals, insects

Gym... play, Y sports, & gymnastics

Games... I plan on breaking up book lessons with play lessons to reinforce skills.

Music and Art will be thrown in at various times throughout the year.

  • Advice? Support, support, support! Whether your support is virtual or breathing I cannot say how much it means to connect with those in similar shoes.
Thank you for stopping by Boys+ Academy... it was a pleasure meeting you. Make sure you stop by Tiany's for a list of (100+) other classrooms to visit. Oh and she's having door prizes for participants. Bonus!