Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homes Cool Pumpkin Day!

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet!  I am TOTALLY behind.  Sorry for the onslaught of posts, but it's now, or never, people.  And, I figure folks may be able to use this info for next year.  So here ya go...

Here are the pics from our Homes Cool Pumpkin Day, a day with our church's homeschool group to celebrate Halloween.  We had a blast!  

When he/she arrived, each kiddo got a little packet with different Halloween worksheets/printables.  A lot of these worksheets can be found (the links, anyway) in my Pumpkin Unit Study post here.  The books with the black covers were for the older boys (with age specific worksheets).  The color of the ribbon indicates the grade level of the booklet.  The orange booklets had a pumpkin printed on the top.  We used those pumpkins to make a pumpkin glyph (a picture graph).  

You can download the Pumpkin Glyph here.

While the bigger kids were making glyphs, the toddlers were putting felt faces on pumpkins.  Really, I need to devote an entire post to this project.  The twins and I used these felt pumpkins over and over during October to help them learn their shapes.  

I made print outs of different pumpkin faces with different shapes for their eyes, nose, and mouth.  Then, they used to the felt pieces to make the picture.  For the life of me, I can not find the blog where I got the printables.  If you are familiar with it, let me know.  They worked perfectly!

After making the pumpkin glyph, we had fun estimating the size of a pumpkin.  We talked about what it meant to estimate.  Then, we brainstormed about how we could measure the circumference of the pumpkin since a ruler wouldn't do the trick.  Then, each kiddo took the string and cut off a piece that he/she thought was the correct size.  We each took a turn wrapping our string around the pumpkin, then laid it on the floor next to everyone elses' and discussed whether the string was too long, too short, or just right.

Probably the most thrilling part of the day for the kids was learning that a pumpkin can indeed float.  We went around the room making our predictions (and, obviously, discussed the definition of "prediction").  Then, we went outside where I had a big bucket of water waiting.  

Of course, they had to see if they could push the pumpkin down...

After a few activities, we settled down for some lunch.  One Cool Mama made some spider web pumpkin muffins.  These things were gooooood, ya'll.  And, you know I don't ever use the word "ya'll" unless something is so good that it brings out the country in me.

I loved making these little ghost bananas.  They could not have been easier to make and the kids loved them.  I just broke each 'nanner in half, then added mini chocolate chips for eyes.  

Mummy dogs!  We have to make these every year for Halloween.  Just wrap a hot dog in crescent roll strips, bake at 375* for 13 - 17 minutes, then add mustard eyes when they've cooled!

Crazy faces for Pumpkin Day!

So sweet.  During lesson time, Sawyer went over and sat in his big brother's lap.  :)

After lunch, we played a little Pin the Face on Jack for fun.  

I made this quickly the night before by cutting up a large orange posterboard and gluing it to the white posterboard.  I recently packed this up with our Halloween decorations to play again next year.  The kids just had too much fun with it to throw it away.  Here's to hoping it hold up in the attic for a year!  

Hmmmm...somebody cheated a bit to get this perfect Jack-o-latern face....

One of my favorite parts was that everyone dressed up for the party!

A little pumpkin decor was in order, of course.  You can find this and other awesome Halloween party printables for free here at the Hostess with the Mostess.

These were our little party favors.  Martha Stewart was so kind as to personally design these jack-o-latern printables just for our party.  Don't worry.  I share them with you.  Just click over here.  

Do you have special events with your homeschool coop?

Spider Day!

Ahhh! Look out!  It's Spider Day!!!

I realize I'm posting this late in the game, but better late than never, right?  This is another fun little day we had during the month of October.  I hadn't planned on having a Spider Day.  Really, it was just a spur of the moment thing.  I noticed a few of my worksheets had spiders on them, and we went with it!  

Here are the fun things we did...

For phonics, we used the legs of a spider to write words that start with sound "ch."

I loved this handprint art/writing!  I let Merrick write any thing he wanted about spiders on his art  He wrote, "I do not like spiders!"  I got the handwriting paper here at Paging Supermom.

Last, we played Roll the Dice.  It is free at Teachers Pay Teachers.  You can get it here in Little Miss Kindergarten's store.    

To play this, we simply rolled the dice, added the number together, then colored in the number on the web.  The person with the most colored squares at the end of the game was the winner.  

Even Scout played along (Sawyer was sleeping).  

Woohoo for Spider Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our First Homeschool Field Trip!

We had SUCH a blast on our very first ACC Homes Cool Field Trip ever!  

There are 5 other families in our church that are currently homeschooling.  I say "currently" because I'm pretty sure we're going to do a good job of making a few homeschool converts this year!  I've even had a few non-parents come up to me and say, "You've inspired us to homeschool."  I thought, "That's great!  But, who you homeschooling, bro, the dog?!?"  :)

Anyway.  The coop.  We feel so blessed that at just the time we started homeschooling Merrick, God led four other families in our church to make the same decision (one family was already on that path).   During the three years that I researched and prayed to try to make this difficult decision, I felt pretty much alone in the effort.  Now, I feel I have companionship!  And, I LOVE every family in our coop.  Every single kid in the group is just so special and lovable in some way.  

We decided to call our little group ACC Homes Cool.  'Cause, come on, people!  We is COOL!!!

Here are the pictures from our very first field trip.  Since it was the beautiful month of October, we decided to go to a farm about an hour away from Austin.  There was a huge pumpkin patch, plus hayrides, animals to feed, strawberry popsicles to die for, corn mazes, and more.  

Here's our entire group (sans some Dads) in front of the smaller corn maze.  The older kids went through the ginormous Texas maze which took 2 hours to solve!

My incredible (and incredibly handsome!) hubby took a little time off work to join us.  Dog on.  Isn't he handsome as all get out?!?

Even Sawyer stood and let Mama take his picture in the giant candy corn!

Corn maze!  Sawyer took off.  I don't think he realized it was a maze.  His boy gene just kicked in and all he knew was that he could RUN!

Soooo adorable.  :)

When you found the giant candy corn at the end of the maze, you got to ring the bell!

There were great photo opps for family.  Sadly, this was the best one we took.  Four out of five of us have our eyes (mostly) open.  I count that a victory.

My precious pumpkin.  Scoutie's wearing a little pumpkin pillowcase dress I made for her last year.  This year, it was more of a long shirt but, hey, it still works!

My little stud Merrick loved sportin' his rad sunglasses everywhere.

Howdy, Farmer Bob!

Woo-hoo!  The kids loved feeding the goats.  Though, Scout thought they ate dirt and was covered with it by the time it was all over. 

Every man needs a little pink tractor.


Sweet Berry Farm

The ACC Homes Cool Mamas!  (minus one very special mommy)

(Oh, yes.  I did place a pumpkin in front of my belly for concealment.  I know how to rock it, girl.)

Fun times!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Marble Painting

Marble painting!  When I saw this idea over at 1+1+1=1, I didn't understand it at first.  All I knew was that the craft included marbles, and that was good enough for me.  Merrick is still crazy about marbles.  

This was a great craft for our Pumpkin Unit Study.  And, by "Pumpkin Unit Study," of course, I just mean that pretty much every thing we did in October had something to do with pumpkins (and Halloween).  

For directions and a pumpkin printable, visit 1+1+1=1.  

This was the simplest project.  By some miracle, I had some Crayola washable paint.  I simply put the fall colors on a paper plate, dropped a marble in each color, and we were off!

Check me out!  I'm painting with marbles!

Seriously?!?  Does it get any cuter than this?  

One thing I loved about this craft was that the twins could join in on the fun.

Scout loved marble painting!

I love how Scoutie is looking over, making sure her brother is getting it right.

Here are the finished products!  I let the twins finish one (the bottom one) together.  Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Attentiveness Unit Study

Since the beginning of school, I have been pretty frustrated with Merrick's inability to pay attention during "class".  At first, I thought, "Oh my goodness!  Maybe my kid has ADD!"  But, when it came time to play Hot Wheels or make a marble run, his ability to focus was uncanny.  

It was during this time that I had one of those, "I'm so grateful we homeschool!" moments.  With just a little bit of research, I was able to put together a unit study on Attentiveness.  Though it was very tempting, I knew I didn't want to punish Merrick during his times of inattentiveness during school.  I didn't want him to associate school with bad feelings or experiences.  Instead, I tried to find a way to put a positive spin on the situation.  Instead of going the "Stop getting distracted!" route, I decided to say instead, "Are you paying attention like a monster?"

Here are some of the things we did during our Attentiveness study:

Bible Scriptures

- Here are the main scripture we focused on during the week:

Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise.
Proverbs 19:20

To help Merrick remember the scripture, I made a little handwriting worksheet for him to copy.  You can click here to download the copywork.

And, since we're on the roll of giving away worksheets, here is a Read it, Trace it, Glue it worksheet I made.  To download this printable, click here.

Monster Day

As I mentioned before, bringing monsters into the picture at any time helps draw Merrick's attention.  I found a free (!) monster packet on Teachers Pay Teachers that really helped us with this theme.  The packet was written to help with first day expectations and manners.  We used the many monster pages that focus on listening.  

During the week, we constantly talked about what it means to listen with our whole bodies.  Here's the definition we came up with:

                        - We listen with our brain by thinking about what the speaker is saying.  
                        - We listen with our eyes by looking at the person speaking.  
                        - We listen with our heart by caring about what the speaker is sharing.  
                        - We listen with our mouths closed.  
                        - We listen with our hands in our lap.  
                        - We listen with still bodies.  

To download your free packet by Kathleen Pederson, click here

To go along with this packet, we played a game we made up called Monster Freeze Frame.  I put on music while Merrick walked around like a monster - as crazy and loud as he could be.  When the music stopped, he had to stand completely still, hands by his side, and face me (I would stand in different places each time) with his mouth closed.  What a simple game, right?  It's crazy how much he enjoyed it.   

Here's Merrick acting like a monster:

And listening with his whole body:

Yes, his shirt is actually that dirty.  Don't ask.  I have no idea.

A great book that went well with this monster-day-attentiveness-theme is In One Ear, Out the Other by Michael Dahl.  We found it at our local library, but you can check it out here.  What a cute book!

Craft Idea

For a craft, we made telephones!  Thankfully, I had a few green bean cans onhand.  I simply bought a roll of thin string at the hardware store for around $3, got a hammer and a nail and voila!  Instant phone!

To make the phone, hammer a nail through the top of each can to make a small hole.  Cut a 10 - 12 foot piece of string.  Thread it through the hole in each can.  Tie a know on the inside of the can.  Make sure the string is taut when "using" the phone.

I tried to use this craft to teach Merrick that you can't talk and listen at the same time (it's impossible to use the tin can telephone this way).  As always, however, he proved me wrong.  "Yes, you can Mommy," he declared, "Look."  He proceeded to talk into one tin can and listen to himself through the other tin can.  Darn.

Treasure Hunt

- Another fun activity was having a treasure hunt.  I bought a couple of very inexpensive prizes and placed them around the house.  Merrick had to listen to each of my directions (hop like a bunny 6 times, then turn left) to find his prize.  


You can find other game ideas like this one on the Kids of Integrity Attentiveness Page.  This is where we found most of our ideas.  Another great link is the attentiveness study at Hubbards Cupboard.  She also has studies on bring orderly, teachable, and obedient.


Here are some books we found helpful during our study:

- Listen and Learn by Cheri J. Meiners M.Edu
- Listen, Buddy by Helen Lester
- Just Listen by Minifried Morris

I hope this helps!  Let me know if you use any of the ideas or if you have some different suggestions!  I'd love to hear them (because I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to do this unit again soon with my other two kiddos!).