Monday, March 18, 2013

Who's bigger: an Emperor Penguin or one of my kids?

One of the best things about home schooling is that we have lots of hands on activities. As part of Eden's math assignment for Penguins, we got to take measurements to see who was bigger an Emperor Penguin or one of the kids.

 Here are our stats based on the measurement the kids took:

Emperor Penguin = 42 inches
Eden = 41.5 inches
Josiah = 40.5 inches
Titus =  32 inches

Emperor  Penguin = 90 lbs.
Eden = 39.5 lbs
Josiah = 41 lbs
Titus = 27 lbs 

The Penguin won by .5 inches,  and by 49 lbs!
Penguins  are some short fat creatures!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

100 Days of School

A few weeks ago we took the kids to the bowling ally to celebrate 100 days of school. 10 games of 10 pins=100. Good math lesson plus a first time adventure for the kids.

They eagerly grabbed balls and started hurling them down the ally. 

 Check out the look of concentration on her face! 
 Wishing the ball to stay in the middle lane.
 Yes! I hit a some!
 And the dancing begins!
 She's a better dancer than a bowler :)

Josiah used the dragon to launch his ball towards the pins. 
By the end of the game, he had figured out how to hold the ball at the dragon's head and would run from across the room and push the ball for added force.

He decided to sit for a while, sometimes the balls took a long time to make it down to the pins.

Overall, it was a great experience for the kids. They are looking forward to a visit from Grandma and Granddaddy. Grandma has skills when it comes to bowling, maybe the kids will inherit some from her :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fine Motor Skills

Last week I took Josiah in for his 4 year check up. They gave me a questionnaire to fill out to determine if he is on task in learning age appropriate behaviors. As I filled out the paperwork, Josiah bounced around the waiting area, reading books, and playing with toys.

I wondered if he knew some of the answer to the questions, and wanted to keep him from bothering other patients. So I asked him to help me answer some of the question. He got some of the basics quickly, What's your name? What's your last name? Are you a boy or a girl? Then I asked where do we live? And he said with a smile, "Africa!" The people in the waiting room responded with laughter, which just gets him going. We were studying Zebras and I read a book about an African Safari before we left for the doctor's office. He liked the book, so I guess he figured it would be cool to live in Africa! Yes, I'll work to make sure he knows where he lives.

Most of the test he was above average, but one section of the test he failed with gusto. I realized Josiah struggles with fine motor skills. When I thought about it I realized, I haven't really worked with him teaching him these skills. This thought can really unnerve a homeschooling mom!

Josiah is a neat kid! He started reading when he was two. He is super verbal and constantly surprises me with some of the things he thinks up. He also hates to write, and has short attention span for things he doesn't enjoy. I haven't made him do a lot of writing or zipping or the other things that were on the fine motor skills list, because I thought he was to young, typical boy, or it was just easier for me to do things for him than make him do it himself.

After talking it over with his doctor, we decided he's developing normally and I just needed to spend some time focusing on helping him develop fine motor skills. With this new information in hand, I do what any mom does when trying to help her kid develop a skill, I went to Pinterest and typed in "Fine Motor Skills" and got myself and Josiah to work!

Here is a list of things we've been working on:

1) Cutting.

Recently our local hardware store went out of business. I asked what they were doing with their paint sample cards, and the manager gave them all to me! So I'm always looking for a way to use them. I asked Josiah to cut the colors apart on the white lines. That's when I realized he didn't really know how to cut. He would cut and tear or pull the paper apart. I had never taught him to cut. Eden picked up scissors when she was young and just started cutting. I just assumed kids taught themselves. Wrong! I had to spend time explaining to Josiah how to hold the scissors and how to open and close his hand.

The other issue we are running into is that Josiah and I haven't figured out if he is right or left handed. Sometimes he hold scissors or pencils in his right hand, sometimes in is left. When he throws a ball or is practicing hitting, He throws and catches left handed. It might be that I can help him by learning how to teach him to be left handed. For now, I'm just watching and letting him take the lead. We'll figure it our soon enough.

2) Writing in paint with a Q-tip.

This was one all three of my kids liked. I would like to make a couple of suggestions if you try this. I had cheap dollar store bags that were kind of thin. So I took tape and ran it all around the sides and top to make sure they wouldn't bust. I would also sick to dark colors. The yellow that I let Titus use was hard to see through, there wasn't enough contrast. I changed his color and he was able to see his work much better. Also, make sure you tell your kids to push softly! Josiah's bag tore a little. He wasn't being rough, just a combination of a plastic bag and pressure can lead to small holes.

3) Golf tees and marbles in a foam block

My older kids really liked this. Get a foam block from the dollar store or the floral department at Wal-mart, a bag of golf tees and some marbles. Let them stick the tees in the foam and set the marbles on top. They have to level the tees so the marbles will stay.

4) Puzzles

This is a fantastic Melissa and Doug puzzle I checked out from Childlinks. It has 6 different kinds of locks. Not sure in the wisdom of teaching Josiah how to unlock things, but it is a great fine motor skill builder!

For those of you who don't know, Childlinks is a resource center for preschoolers. Think the library, but with toys. For a $20 annual fee you can get all sort of great educational resources, games, books, toys, theme boxes, die cuts and paper and a great staff to help give you ideas and support. Childlinks is an awesome resource for early education.

 Titus likes the puzzle too. He figured out how to open door knobs this week
.....hmmm I'm seeing a connection! :)

 5) Hammering Sight Words

We started hammering with the golf tees, but quickly changed them to thumbtacks when I realized they were scratching the table. For this activity you write a list of sight words (colors or shapes) on foam board, and let your child hammer the word when you call it our loud.

6) Writing his name with a pencil and on a magnetic board
7) Playing with Lego's
8)Using interlocking beads

I keep going back and forth with how much I should push Josiah to learn these skills. I've found my happy place in balance. I realize that all of my children have special and unique gifts and talents, and each will have areas of weakness. These will change over time. This was just one of many of my children's weakness I'll have an opportunity to help them grow. My goal is to provide a rich learning environment that is fun, so that they can excel in their giftedness and strengthen their weaknesses.

Josiah didn't know he was practicing fine motor skills. He was doing something new and fun. Most of these activities were a little frustrating for him, because he has to build those hand muscles. He enjoyed trying to accomplish a new challenge. That's one of the most important lessons I want to teach all of my children. Even when it's hard, or you might not be the best at something, You still try, and you still have fun!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Our kids love Dr. Seuss books, so we decided to celebrate his 109th birthday with 2 days of fun. This fun included lunch of green eggs and ham, reading Dr. Seuss books, watching The Lorax movie, and a party at the library with lots of other kids. 

Lunch of Green Eggs and Ham.

Eden wasn't sure she would like Green eggs and ham, but neither was the cat in the hat!

 But just like the cat, she gave it a try, and Say 
she did, she did like green eggs and ham, she did like them Sam-I-am! 
Both Eden and Josiah had two helpings of green eggs.

Josiah proclaiming this was the best Dr. Seuss day ever!

I think Titus is one of the cutest kids ever, 
especially in a Dr. Seuss hat and a super man shirt! 

I do believe this will have to become an annual tradition.