Monday, September 19, 2011

Pirates In the Classroom!

Avast ye maties! After rousing me swabs from their quarters and setting them to their vittles (freshly plundered from the Super1), we scuttled to the map room to set our course for intellect. We donned our finest piratey clothes and I (first mate and fine wench that I am) my favorite booty. We honored fallen mates by telling their tales through verse and song. We studied "The Code" to ensure smooth sailing for the day and no thought of mutiny would arise.

By midday, we were feeling a bit scurvy, and headed for the galley to feast on limeade and hardtack with peanut butter and jelly. We frittered about on deck while a squall raged outside, chasing the pup and crossing our swords for practice.

For our final lessons, we reviewed our special pirate speak, and made artwork. Tis was a fine day, and all the poor land lubbers who trugged home from the King's school, long after we were through with our lessons, who grubbed on about us fraternizin' in the fresh air during their hours of instruction, we simply gave the eye and laughed 'em to scorn. Arrrg!

Pirate Fun Links:
My Littlest Matey

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Handwriting Skills

    After watching both the boys struggle with their handwriting, every morning, and struggling to comprehend what was written in their journals, I decided daily handwriting practice was necessary. I started out by printing blank handwriting sheets and random ones that were appropriate for their age. Then I stumbled onto a great site that has many handwriting exercises as well as a program that allows you to create a handwriting practice sheet using any words you want. You could create a handwriting practice sheet using spelling words, or the student's name.

    So, after much grumbling, the boys have settled into practicing the art of legible handwriting skills. If you are interested visit TLS Books and check out their handwriting pages. There are many other printables that are all free. There is a link to donate, which I think they deserve a donation for offering such a great free resource!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Pledge of Allegiance

    On this day, in 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was first printed. So today, we have been learning about the Pledge and all week we have had an art lesson on the symbols of our country. I feel it is important for my kids to learn about our country and how it is meant to be respected and that we began with God as our foundation. I think this is especially relevant now, due to the disrespect being paid by so many, even our own president. So, here are some of the resources I used this week, if you need inspiration of your own!

    We discussed symbols by first defining what a symbol is. We listed what some of the symbols for our country are. Then, I had them create a booklet with construction paper and printed coloring pages. I had them color this flag/US image: US FLAG/US and put their name on one of the stripes, then cut it out for them (difficult shape). Then I had them paste it to the front of the construction paper book. Then I printed this flag image: US FLAG and had them color it and (I cut this out) paste it onto the back of the construction paper book.
    • A booklet I printed for them to cut and color. I then stapled it for them:
    American Symbols Coloring Book
    • Worksheets for further comprehension of the Pledge of Allegiance:
    The Pledge of Allegiance in pictures
    Understanding the Pledge of Allegiance  - Just have it print, pages 2-4.

    There are so many free resources out there, all you have to do is google search. I searched for free printables and free worksheets.

    We ended, with an excellent powerpoint presentation that I highly suggest you check out. It really got a great discussion going and the kids learned new terms and we went beyond just the pledge and talked about our country and government. If you don't have powerpoint viewer, it is a free download here:

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    First Day of Homeschool: Review

    Well, being realistic, I know that it's going to take time for the boys to recognize, that I am their instructor, and they cannot grin and get away with messing around. So, it was a slow start this morning, because there was a lot of hopping around and excitement. I chose to include a bible verse and instruction in the first part of our morning routine and chose Ephesians 6:1-3

    "Children, obey your parents in the Lord. For this is right. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise: so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."

    I explained that one of the reasons we obey our parents, is because it is a way to show respect. God even tells us, that when you obey, things will be good and you will live a long life. I explained this by telling them how I tell them not to play with something sharp, because if they disobeyed and played with it anyway, they could get cut, which would hurt. If they were to consistently disobey, it's possible they wouldn't live for long. For example, if I told them, "Don't play in the road!" and they did anyway, they could get hit and killed by a car.

    We did the pledge of allegiance, then it was journal time. This took longer than expected, because they had trouble following the instructions and I made them start over. Then, it was time for lunch and a run outside. We checked on the chickens, and tried to chase down Chloe (the kitty), but she was too busy hunting bugs.

    I had stayed up (too late) and printed worksheets with a "first day of school" theme that included coloring pages. This was meant to ease back into working. There was a word search, and decoding a message. Whoever finished first was allowed to read until the other finished.

    Next, we had art and music. I found a great site that gives really fun lesson ideas. First, we talked about how music can set a mood or make someone feel an emotion, depending on how the music is played. The example I gave was to play the selection "The Elephant" from "The Carnival of Animals". We talked about what it was about the song that made it about an elephant. Then, I had them get a blank piece of paper divided into four sections and numbered. I played four different pieces a few times over while they thought about what it made them imagine. Then, they drew the picture one of the boxes. When we were done, I played the pieces again, revealing what the composer what trying to help us see in our minds. The music I used was:
    When they were done listening for the last time, I had them each explain what their picture was about, while the music played. It was fun to see what the music made them think of.

    Next, we went on to another packet that finalized our lesson on "Parts of a Letter" and we talked about writing a friendly letter. It was a short exercise, but helped them learn how to write it neatly.

    We then had the final packet, that I photocopied from workbooks. It was a variety packet that had two sided pages of math, spelling, writing, and reading. This is taking longer, because each packet is specific to their ability, so I have to take the time to explain each page.

    Finally, I want the day to end with reading. Since Roald Dahl's birthday is coming up mid month, we are going to the library to pick up James and the Giant Peach. At the end of each day, we will read from that and at the end of Roald Dahl's birth week, we will watch the movie James and the Giant Peach. I projected about four hours for the day, and we ended up taking five and a half. Not bad!

    I got some really great ideas for the first day/week of school activities and lesson plans, from HotChalk's Lesson Plan Page. Fun resource, and where I got my "draw what you hear" lesson.