Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back - A Look On The Year That Has Gone


Started this blog, had a blast in the snow, and did my first full and mini themes - Valentine's Day and President's Day

Had a blast doing some fun shopping for wish list items, two fun new games were born (the money game and pantry shopping), DIY play-dough and DIY Moveable Alphabet came in very handy for an Easter theme, and we spent LOTS of time at the library!

We had so many picture opportunities in May and June, including Spring Pictures, Mother's Day, and Baseball season! We also had an amazing weather unit, and some sensory fun with dyed rice and DIY sound bottles!

Summer came, and brought swimming, extra library trips, TONS of reading, fireworks, painting, and a mini-ocean unit!

We started the 2013-2014 school year in style, with half work days, park trips to ride the train, and bicycle riding. We also enjoyed new sensorial materials, a fresh classroom, a new little reader, TOT school (huge step!), and DIY experiences including a new hundred board and hands on science with milkweed plants.

November and December brought more TOT school fun, with yellow, green, orange, brown, pink, and purple weeks! We had new experiences with multiplication, addition and subtraction, and don't forget a little snow thrown in there! (6 inches - a lot for us down in the southern states, although your northerners might now be too impressed!). We also hit two wonderful milestones - my husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary, and we finally got family pictures made, after five children and so many years!

We have had an amazing year, with many ups and downs, but so thankful that God kept us protected and safe through it all! As I look back, I can't believe how fast time has flown, and how excited I am to see what 2014 holds for us!

If you follow me, my prayer is that you have a wonderful New Years, that the holidays have been all you hoped, and that your new year is one that will bring many exciting challenges and amazing memories to last when even 2014 is gone!!!

Happy New Year, From Amy@No Greater Honors

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tot School - Pink and Purple


Seeing as how these are such 'girl colors' (yes, in our house, they are still girl colors! We have enough girls that we have never had to tell our boys that they are girl colors - they figured it out on their own!), I wasn't sure how much Buddy was going to enjoy these colors.

In fact, oddly enough, I had the least of all for these colors, I think. I had a little of this, and a little of that, but nothing that screamed out for much creative genius in tot trays. So we went a little simple with the ideas - things that were easy to put together, which is a good thing since life seems to be extremely busy for us here lately.

Here are the trays:

Pink and Purple Sorting

Pink and Purple One-To-One correspondence - hand transfer

Pink and Purple puzzles: Purple Grapes and a Pink and Purple Elephant

Pink and Purple Sensory Bucket:
Pink Scoop - Target Dollar Spot
Pink Cup - Dollar Store
Pink Flowers - I honestly can't remember where these came from.
Purple Flowers - (same as above!)
Purple poms - Walmart
Clear gems - Dollar Store

Buddy Boy in Action:

The one and only picture I caught of him doing this work, although he did work on transferring several times, sometimes multiple times in one day.

The sorting work, however, was another story. With a great deal of coaxing, he did sort about half the objects in to the right bowls.

He did a whole lot of THIS...
(no that's not really a stretchy key chain, it's got to be some sort of wonky necklace, right?)

and THIS...
(yes, he said he was going to wear the shoe!)

and THIS on his own.... 

before deciding that the small purple puzzle piece erasers would fit nicely together - to make bowling pins. And he bowled.... 

(it's hard to see in the picture below, but he had just completed his first toss of the prickly *bowling* ball)

 He enjoyed the puzzles again this time, and wasn't the least bit confused that there were two of them - he was able to correctly match the pieces to the right puzzle board each time. 

I love the concentration!

The sensory bucket was so simple, I was pleasantly surprised that he enjoyed it so much. I guess there's something to be said for the joy in pouring and scooping!

That was our fun in pink and purple! We have one more color group to work on - black and white - which will happen after the holidays! I wanted to have all colors finished before Christmas, but sometimes our best laid plans have to be pushed aside for the sake of sanity and enjoying what's going on around you!

On Hiatus..... Temporarily!!!

So I have been totally MIA from the blog lately. I haven't written anything, haven't kept up with my  normal reading, and have barely begun to draft ONE tot school post. Life sometimes just smacks you in the face, doesn't it? I have never wanted to take an 'unschooling' approach at all, because I feared that just wouldn't be enough, and yet we've done so much more *life school* the last month or so than usual. I don't know where it started, or exactly when - I just realized last week that it had been probably three + weeks since we have had a completely productive day in our actual lesson plans.

*whew* Now that I've gotten that confession out of the way... Enter the unplanned unschooling that has gone on during this unplanned break. 

Little Mama declared a few days ago that she knew what decimals were all about, since she understood money, she knew what half of 7 would be, because half of $7 was $3.50, so half of the number '7' would have to be 3.5. BOOM. Decimals, abstractly, and I've totally missed my chance to teach her first - can you tell I'm totally NOT disappointed? I love that she has been thinking on it herself - especially when it comes to something in Math. 

Hoss is in love with multiplication, and I have to admit to considering not going through every exercise with the memorization charts if he shows good mastery of how and why with multiplication (I haven't made that decision just yet - I am waiting to see if he stays excited, or begins to lose interest towards the end. I would rather stop sooner than make him complete every single exercise and lose joy).

Miss Priss has begun subtraction - I did manage to snap some pictures of her first concrete presentation - and she LOVES it.

How we set up her work - 2 glass bowls, one with 20 glass gems, one empty.

I did the first two or three equations with her, explaining that in this particular work, the largest number we will have is 20. We did a quick oral review of how an addition equation is set up, and the commutative rule of addition. Then I showed her that in subtraction, we are starting with the largest number (the glass bowl of 20 gems) and taking away (subtracting) a smaller number from the largest number. I showed her that we couldn't start with a small number and take away a larger number, because, as she could see, there wouldn't be enough. So it was easy to understand that you have to start with the largest number.

With the first equations, I used slips of paper (shown above) and wrote the number 20, then took a small handful of gems away  myself and had her count them. I explained that this was the number we were *taking away-subtracting*, and was the second number in the equation. We took them away and placed them in the second bowl, and removed it from the  mat. Then, she laid the remainder out on her mat, and counted what was left over - the difference.

Afterwards, she wrote the answer to the equation on her slip, and laid it to the upper right of her mat. After about three assisted equations, she wanted to do it on her own. I am honestly not sure how many little slips of paper I grabbed before this presentation - it was fit in to about an hour or so of time we had one morning to devote to work alone. However many there were, however, were used up. She decided that she would work through equation after equation until she used them all up - a safe guess would be around 20, give or take a few. She has since repeated this work on her own some. I haven't pushed any of it - we truly haven't had the time - but I know that when school starts back up in January, we will be quick to return to this, and move forward with subtraction with the bead bars.

Bug, well - she's doing good to take care of herself :) . We are still working on good work habits in school. She did, however, find something new that she loves. A fun extension to the sandpaper letters - letter rubbing!

Buddy Boy is moving along at his own pace, and some changes to our tot school will be going on in the beginning of the year 2014, but I will talk about those in a separate post. He does, however, LOVE to follow along and do as much as he can of what the bigger kids are doing.

I am in the middle of moving things around and trying to prepare for even more updates and changes in the school room for next year. I will also admit to being a bit overwhelmed as our family got busy, and I realized that I needed to slow down a little bit or I would end up not being good for anyone (not my children or my husband). Just writing this post has been refreshing, however - it gave me a chance to realize time hadn't been wasted, and remember that it never is wasted when we are together, doing things together. Truthfully, there is SO much I want to do and so much I want to introduce to them, and I am hoping to get a good jump in to the second semester in January.

With Christmas upon us, and my husband having most of the next two weeks off work, though - I will probably not be around on the blog. I hope to enjoy our time together, and have time to work on setting up a solid work plan of my own, something to help me get on track, and stay on track.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Years, and look forward to updating you after the New Year on what's going on around here and where we will be going with the first part of our 2014 school year!

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