Making a Game of Reading

Jonas is a hoot.  He wants to read so badly he can’t stand it, but he doesn’t want to learn or use any of the rules we are practicing.  He’d rather look at the picture in the book and tell a story.  He’d rather guess that “man” is mad, or mall, or monster, or any “m” word really.  It’s like the rest of the letters don’t matter to him. Now, he’s only 4 1/2 so there is really no pressure as far as reading goes.  He’s got plenty of time.  But we did start working on it this year because he always wants to know what the words say.

In August I pulled out our Hooked on Phonics curriculum.  We used it for Micah and it worked brilliantly. Micah loves to follow rules, so he breezed through it. Jonas is a different story all together.  He is a very kinesthetic learner.  He likes a very hands on experience.  So we started using letter cards to practice word families.  That was better then just using the phonics book.  But that eventually wasn’t keeping him interested either.

So, today I thought we’d play a game with magnetic letters.  Make words on the magnet board as fast as possible.  His letters started zooming all over that board.  They weren’t making words, they were telling stories. The “m” zoomed around and landed in a small village, etc.  So I said I’m going to draw a letter machine and you have to use your letters to make words so the machine can run.  He got so excited he started jumping up and down.  He said “I want to actually write the letters.”

I drew a little machine and left special spots for 3 letters.  I’d tell him a word and he had to write the letters before I counted backwards from 10.  If he didn’t make it the machine would explode, but if he did he got to push the button on the machine and make the word pop out.  Mind you, this is ALL happening on a white board.  But you know what?  Today, Jonas was excited about reading.  Today, he jumped up and down and smiled from ear to ear because his machines worked time and again.  He even created his own machine drawings.

The top machine was the first one I drew, the bottom one he drew.  His machine was MUCH more exciting then mine!

Thursday – My Favorite Day

I LOVE Thursdays.  Thursday is my Saturday.  It is the day I don’t schedule meetings, appointments, or errands. It is the day we stay home, wear pajamas all day if we want and take our time to do everything.  It is a day for extra big messes or maybe lots of cleaning.  It is a day to just be and I LOVE it.

Today we made some fall art, thanks to an idea from Pinterest.  We’ve also read lots of stories and finished school. Now for more reading and probably some tea.

Regarding our art project: You’ll notice Jonas added a turkey to his fall picture. According to him, it’s pecking the tree and the large rectangle around him is because he once ate a train and now has to run on this track.

I know that would have been your first guess, right?

It’s A Veggie Kind of Day

My 8 year old is an amazing young man.  He is genuine, compassionate, and full of life – most of the time. But every now and then something hurts him to his core and that is hard for this mama to handle.  It’s tough to know I can’t take those hurts away and that he has to learn to process them as he grows. It’s tough to see him question his value and worth because of words spoken to him.

Recently, a close friend of my son’s told him he wasn’t a very good artist.  It really hurt him.  I’ve tried to explain to him that art is whatever you make and that everyone does it differently.  He may not become an illustrator, but he can have fun making art. This week he’s been working on a project for school and this all came up again.  “Mom, I’m not a very good artist, I can’t really do this project.”

My goal is not to shield my children from negative comments (although as a mom that thought does pop into my head) but to teach them their identity in Christ.  I want them to know that they don’t need to carry the burden of another person’s hurtful words.  I want them to look to Jesus and see that they were created perfect, in his image.   I want them to know the truth of the Gospel – Jesus died and rose again so they could be forgiven and free.

So, we scraped the lesson plan for today and focused on matters of the heart.  We took a Veggie break and watched “A Snoodle’s Tale”.  This is by far my MOST favorite Veggie Tale.  The fact is it has no veggies at all, but Snoodle’s instead.  If you haven’t seen it, it is a must see.  It is a brilliant allegory about creation, redemption, and God’s perfect love.  Love that heals, love that takes our pain, love that lightens our load.

I know that life will bring hurtful words from time to time.  I pray that my children learn to give those hurts to their creator and hold on to the truth about who he created them to be.

Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Acids + Bases = Explosions

So today was science day.  I’ve gone back and forth with different science ideas over the past couple of years.  I think science is fascinating, but lets be honest it’s not my field of expertise.  The past few years we’ve used different resources and it’s worked out fine.  However, this year we are studying Chemistry and well, I just couldn’t explain a chemical reaction well enough to go it alone.  So this year I bought a science curriculum.

Here are the supplies we used today.

We started with a simple acid and base experiment.  Baking soda and vinegar – standard volcano ingredients.

So we added baking soda and vingar to a cup.  And we got some bubbles.  My boys weren’t too impressed.  So we did it again but tripled the amounts of our ingredients.

They thought the overflowing cup was much more exciting.  However, we opted to go for the gusto – bring on the diet coke and mentos!

We got the bottle prepped to drop in the mentos.  Now, we had to use 3 toothpicks instead of 1 because 1 wouldn’t keep the mentos from falling in.  We tested it before removing the lid 🙂  So we get it ready, the boys drop in the mentos, I get ready to pull out the toothpicks while they run away to stay dry and then well, science doesn’t always go as planned.

I did pull out the first toothpick, then the second and then, well it was all over.  We planned to take a picture of the fountain shooting up in the air.  I however, ended up with the fountain on my head.  That’s right!  The mentos fell in too soon and I couldn’t get out of the way.  The boys thought it was great.  I had pop on my hands, glasses, and hair.  They were all giggles.  I have no picture to prove it worked, but trust me it did.

He was standing over the bottle after it was done exploding, trying to make it go again.  He kept shaking it hoping that would make it work.  All in all, he learned what matter is, what can cause a chemical reaction and about acids and bases.  I’d say science was a success today.

We Are Buzzing Along

So a while ago my sister suggested I start a blog to tell my stories.  It seemed silly, because really who would want to read it.  But I signed up for one anyway and then never wrote a thing.  So, I’ve been thinking maybe this fall would be a good time to kick off my blog.  I’ll share some stories about my family, school, and projects I hope to do.  Really, just the journey we are on and where it takes us from time to time.

I love fall.  I know it’s not technically fall just yet, but it’s just around the corner. Today’s 95 degrees reminds me that summer isn’t quite over – I am however, counting the days.  I’m hoping for some slower, lazy days to come this fall.  Days to sit and read, play and just enjoy my family.

We are in full swing as far as school goes.  This year is 3rd grade and PreK for our kiddos.  Two boys – spunky and fun.  We homeschool and it’s a journey that is constantly evolving.  I love it!  Some days are more challenging then others, but overall it’s a grand adventure.

We are currently watching a caterpillar go through metamorphosis.  I have to say I’ve never seen a caterpillar eat before.  It is VERY noisy.  I think The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle does a great job describing it’s voracious hunger.  We could hear him eating away for 2 days, then all of a sudden today he’s hiding out under a branch with some silk wrapped around him.  Not sure how long the process will take, but we’re hoping for a successful result.