Monday, April 9, 2012

Things we've been doing lately

Learning to Read: 
Decklin has asked me to teach him to read. He learned the phonics sounds from playing Starfall online which he began playing at about age 3. Back when we did seat work for the older girls that's what he enjoyed doing. It wasn't my intent for him to do anything beyond have fun and have something that would keep him from grabbing his sisters things off their desks.  I'm really glad he enjoyed it though. He's asked to do some Starfall again lately. And has asked me to do "his reading book" as he refers to it, with him. The reading book he is referring to is Alphaphonics. I grabbed that last year I think it was and it's just an option if/when he wishes to do it. We do it whenever he asks for it. It's on the shelf next to our fireplace in the family room in easy reach for him. Ember likes this book too so sometimes she grabs it and asks that she and I do it together. And she just recently began playing Starfall. She's not yet adept at the mouse use so we do it together on my Mac book while snuggling on the couch together. She is so cute when she says the letter sounds out loud like the folks on the Starfall videos. Today she was playing Pocket Phonics on the Iphone while she sat with me on the sofa. She also made me a cupcake in her cupcake game and asked how I'd like it decorated. She put lots of M's for Mom on it. : )
Decklin is really into Star Wars right now. At the library the other day I grabbed him some of the graphic novels and comics to look through and have read to him if he wanted. So far he likes the General Grievous one the best. From Amazon I purchased some of the Star Wars DK leveled readers as something I or the older girls can read to him, when he wants. And we purchased him the Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary - The Ultimate Guide to Characters and Creatures from the Entire Star Wars Saga, The LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia and a Lego Star Wars Sticker book. He looks at his books every night. And we have read them when he's asked or when I've asked him if he'd like me to read any of them to him. 
Ember is reading the Elephant and Piggy books from memory. She and I also read them a lot together. Often if everyone is reading, she will grab a pile of her books and read them too. And we've read some of the Bob books together also. 

Math Concepts:
The kids cover this so much in varying games they play. Be that from buying new lego figures in Lego Star Wars or other Lego games we have. Or the girls in their Harvest Moon games, which involves money savings and spending and time management. And we've been playing Uno quite a bit lately. We are showing Ember how to play. We also played Princess-opoly where everyone took turns being the Fairy Godmother - or God Father Monster (which Decklin preferred when he was the banker). I think the older girls and I are going to start up playing regular Monopoly this week. That's a game I think they'd enjoy. I've been playing a DS game that involves me needing a certain amount of money or points to be able to buy certain plants to play. They have been playing along with me. 

The older three children (10, 8, and 5) all get an allowance to spend how they wish. Next Friday is Bry's birthday so they want to buy him something with money they have saved up. They all received gift cards for Easter from my parents and would like to spend those tomorrow.

And then there is the library which we recently got a card for Skylar to use there. She can take up to 50 books out at a time! Whoa. So all the kids got books out on her card and we noted on the calendar their due dates. So this would have covered counting (counting up the books they got, how many more they could get) and time management, (how long it might take them to read the amount of books by the date they are due), oh and money because we talked about the fines that would be required if we are late with our return.

The kids pulled weeds today while they were out back playing. This was something they did on their own, not something I asked, hinted about or even mentioned. I picked them up four little shovels from the Target dollar bin and strewed them near the back door for easy access just for digging and playing a few weeks back. They did a fantastic job on the weeds. They even swept the patio with the broom when they were done. (this could fall in a chore heading too if we did chores anymore : ).
They also picked some roses, observed and fed aphids, looked for ants, picked some plants that we tried to identify and made their own container gardens using things they were digging up out there. We talked about how some seeds spread when they blew the "flowers" that they picked. And they let Ember blow the seeds all over. This should give them plenty of things
And I've been playing Plants verses Zombies so some of them have sat and played with me and we've talked about the plants together.

Skylar recently read a biography of Jane Goodall that she picked from the library. Which led to us looking up Diane Fossey and looking up things about them online. I think she wants to Watch Gorillas in the Mist also. And we were talking about a machete (which is what they say killed Jane) and her beloved Gorilla Digit that died. I actually began to cry when reading to her out loud about what happened to Digit and Jane. I guess she got to see empathy there if I were to say it was a teaching moment. But she knows stuff with animals or kids being treated badly gets me really emotional. She is much the same as me if she watches things on say Animal Planet, but reading the items she is able to handle.

A few weeks back the girls opted to buy some plants for their bedrooms with their allowance. So they have been keeping up with care of the plants. We are going to try and see if one plant we got will go dormant until next spring, and come back again next year.

Summer read 4 of the Magic Treehouse books we grabbed at the Library.

Skylar has been reading lots of history books. She read a book of biographies on several people and a few of them she wanted to read more about. From the Library she got a book on Eleanor Roosevelt and one on Harriet Tubman, both books she picked out.
She had read about both of them in the compilation biography book. She reads a lot of the Dear America books and quite a few of them have been from the view point of a slave and the things they had to endure. Those books really hit an emotional chord for her. And she finds it frustrating and incomprehensible that humans could be treated in such a way when God made us all exactly the same inside. She's also very interested in women's rights and has followed the timeline of changes for women in America. She recently finished a book on True Stories of Children of the Holocust. And is interested in the Great Depression. My Grandparents lived during the Great Depression and I did a report for college on my Grandfather (on which I received an A+). And she has enjoyed reading that as well as the Dear America books covering the Great Depression era.

Summer read through some of the Twilight movie guides I picked up at Big Lots the other day. I'm a huge Twilight Fan. We have the Graphic Novels, the Novels and of course all the movies and some of the songs on Itunes. One of the songs is even my ring tone on my husband's phone and his on mine. For any Twilight watchers it's the baseball scene music from Twilight. : ) Every once in a while I'll invite the kids to have a Twilight movie marathon with me. I know some Christians have issue with this series. But we find it to be a beautiful story that we have no problem sharing with our children. 

Today we had an Easter egg hunt in the house. Which also covered math I guess since they each got to find 12 eggs, counted them out and counted out and identified what was inside them by type. 

We played a game of bowling inside using a mini soccer ball and 4 duplo blocks as our pins. And then we played balcony frisbee (which is where I stand downstairs and try to throw a disk like flyer similar to a frisbee but soft) up through our Romeo and Juliet type windows to our second floor loft. I have no idea if they are really called Romeo and Juliet windows but we had a house guest here the other day who toured the house and called them that. : ) 

Friday night Bry stopped by so we could meet a new squad member of his. Ember got a kick out of seeing a female police officer all in her uniform dressed like her Dad. 

Last Monday we went and watched Bry take part in a skit he did for our Pastor at church. They are showing the video today, Easter sunday and tomorrow (which is the service we attend). So we had fun watching the filming and can't wait to see it in person.
After the filming we went and got ice cream. 

Today we looked online at bounce houses and ball pits. We are going to put our own ball pit together using a cheap pool from a local store and balls from Amazon. 

We dyed Easter eggs last night and watched The Chronicles of Riddick which Bry thought Decklin especially would enjoy. He did and he'd like some books on it. I hope they have a movie guide with pictures or a graphic novel, that's something he'd like. 

Tonight we watched Transformers while having ice cream cones. And then the kids played outside for a while. 
Summer and I played Uno in Ember and Skylar's bedroom on the floor while Ember was falling asleep in her bed. (She didn't want us to leave)
When we came down Skylar and Decklin finished up their Lego Star Wars game and joined us for a bit. Then the girls and I were making up a bare bones routine because Skylar expressed thinking we all should have an hour of quiet time each day. And we were looking at the day to see where it would fit good for everyone. We figured at 2 Pm when Bry leaves for work we'd do it and then I could sit with Ember to put her to bed while we have quiet time. And then we looked at Star Wars costumes on the internet.
Summer went up to bed and read a new book she got in her Easter basket. One of the baby sitter's club books. She finished the whole book in like an hour. 
Skylar had been reading on and off all day of a new book she got called Cinder and Ella. 
I read to Ember earlier from a Golden book collection that was in her basket. 

This week the kids used one of the art links I have on the Natural Learning Fun page. They took turns making pictures and printing them until we ran out of printer ink that is. 

We made Bryon a mini putting green, complete with golf club, golf balls and basket to hold the balls when not being used. We made it from Crayola Model Magic. This is something they'd like to give him for his birthday along with whatever they opt to purchase for him. 

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