Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Learning Day - Being Creative

We had planned to meet some friends and go to an amusement park but Miss K has been sick and J wasn't feeling that well himself. The weather was a bit cold not great for an amusement park so we stayed home.

I knew the kids would be excited to get out all our school books and have a normal schedule. I also thought it would be hard to have one day and then a two day break - J is going to build an English long bow. So I decided to do as unschool as I could possibly go. I called it a learning morning. The kids had two days of watching movies while they were sick and I knew that they needed some structure to the day.

Educational has come to mean a wide range of things in our house so I called it a learning morning. I said you decide what you want to do -- nothing electronic.

Miss K wanted to make a house. I got out the Houses and Homes book and we made a tent. We had some Sculpey that Grandma has given us and so then the kids decided to create with that. Yes, it does sound a bit like "If you give a Mouse a Cookie".

She wanted pink and the only pink we had was missing a corner but that was fine.

Then we got the animals out and found all the ones that belong in the ocean. It does look nice and colourful. I wrote all the names of the fish on paper but that was about as educational as we got with this exercise. I love the Toob animals thought I don't think my kids play with them as much as I wish they would.

Then the creativity with Sculpey began. It was hard but after a few minutes of kneading it the kids were able to create.

Miss K made a tank which I thought was clever. Okay it was a blob of clay with a toothpick. A giraffe, a ring and something else which I don't remember -- it must be modern art.

J made a chocolate donut, a dinosaur, an umbrella, and a mushroom. There isn't much different between an umbrella and a mushroom.

I think his creative effort was put into this one.

Then the suggestion was to play Jenga. I have to say that the kids both of them have Jenga skills. We built it as high as it could go.

I think it tumbled because someone bumped the table.

J had the idea of a drawing contest. I do not have much artistic ability but I was willing to draw along. The first theme was Sheep in the Field. Miss K's sheep had better ears than mine. My sheep's ears look like cat's ears.

Then we used pastels and drew a rain forest. J doesn't like pastels that much but I am glad that he tried working with them.

It was a fun morning of learning and creative. There were a few minutes of what do I do but I think we might need a few more days like this.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Therapy Thursday #9

Welcome to another week of Therapy Thursday. This is a place where we share ideas, resources and activities that we have done relating to therapy for your homeschooler. It might be physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or another therapy that you are using to help your child reach their potential.

One of the reasons that I began this was to stay accountable. I am not sure I am succeeding in that area but I am at least thinking about it more. I am trying to fit therapy into our activities of the day. As we do sight words with Miss K, I am listening to her say the words and making a list of what we need to go through.

This morning we played Topple together.

This is good for fine motor in so many ways -- holding the pieces and then gently placing them on the board while being careful not to topple the board.

What fun things have you been doing?

A few things to know before linking up:

  • Please link up to a specific post on your blog, not the main page of your blog.
  • The specific blog post linked needs to be related to therapy. Please note if the post is not therapy related it might be deleted. 
  • By including your blog on this link you are giving permission to have your post linked to other social media and graphics used in featured posts. 
The next Therapy Thursday will be 16 April as we are on Easter break somewhat for the next few weeks.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Five Things in the Kitchen

Five things I regularly use in the kitchen.

My Pyrex bowls - I love my Pyrex bowls. I have a set of primary bowls in storage and at times I miss them. I use these bowls for mixing and also for serving. My Public Service Announcement -- Hand wash Pyrex bowls -- please from all the collectors out there do not put them in the dishwasher.

The garlic press - This is a Zyliss garlic press. I use it quite a bit. If a recipe calls for one clove of garlic, I will probably add two or three. This makes it so easy to add garlic to a dish.

My ceramic knives - I might live in the stainless steel capital but I love my ceramic knives. I was introduced to these knives when I lived in Asia and that was before you could purchase them in the States. I stick with Kyocera brand knives. I have the first one I purchased and I am guessing that I have had it 15 years or so. It is dull but you only notice that after using the newer knives. These knives are amazing in the way they cut--tomatoes are so easy to cut. I have two nice sharp ones and one that I give to Miss K.

Yes, my green cutting board is used quite a bit as you can see from these photos.

The digital scale - I use this quite a bit. I use it to figure how much butter to a 1/2 cup or 1 cup. I used to ask Siri that quite a bit until I think she got tired of me asking and so now it is on a sticky note inside the cabinet. I have discovered that most of the recipes here are in weight so I will use my scale for that.

One more thing that I use on a regular basis - the coffee maker (insert a big happy smile while my mom is still trying to figure out how she has a child that loves coffee and hates coconut). I love being able to make one cup in the morning when I get up or as we are beginning school or when we are finished school or maybe a cup in the evening. No, I don't have it all those times every day just some of those times.

There you have Five Things in the kitchen that I use regularly. What are some of the things that you use regularly in your kitchen?

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

21.3 World Down Syndrome Day

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

What does it mean to have a child with Down Syndrome? What does it mean to have a child? Each child is unique. Each child has different gifts and abilities.

Miss K keeps us laughing. The funny things she does or the things she says. She will talk about her old grandma that lives in Australia. (She has no relatives there nor has she been there.)

Miss K keeps us learning as we work to teach her and help her to grow to be all that she is able to do and be. She wants to work and McDonald's and Starbucks.

Miss K loves her routines. She has a bedtime routine that includes daddy reading Heidi after she has turned the crank on the flashlight. Then there is the need for the drink of water.

Miss K loves to read. I think that started early in life as we read to her even when she was a newborn in the NICU. Now she is reading books herself.

Miss K loves her cousins and friends. She talks all the time about her cousins and is planning a sleepover the next time we are visiting them. Today she is enjoying an outing with her kids club friends.

Miss K loves animals. She will say hi to the dogs she meets along the way. She loves to hold the guinea pigs. A pet store is a favourite place. She will ask for every pet even though you tell her no every time.

That brings up the fact that she is stubborn which can be a good thing. She works hard and will push herself to do things.

She has an incredible memory. She can remember what she had for dessert at someone's house especially if it is ice cream. She knows that Switzerland has cheese and chocolate.

Miss K keeps us guessing. Sometimes her speech is difficult to understand and so we are trying to guess what she is saying. Often her brother can translate. She is a good sport and keeps trying.

She loves to sing along with her piano songs. She is excited when she learns a new note.

That could describe most children. How does Down Syndrome impact her life? Her speech might be difficult to understand at times. She is smaller than children her age. She is slower in learning. She is developmentally delayed. Her muscles might get tired because they don't have as much strength. Her fingers are stubby and so some things are harder to do. Her life is a testimony of God's love and grace to spare her life that night in the hospital when the doctors said she would not make it.

I am thankful for you, Miss K. I love you and pray that through your life others will come to know the one who gives and sustains life.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Shakespeare Week

This week was Shakespeare Week. A few weeks ago Sarah had posted about Shakespeare week. I took the opportunity to send away for the passports and wrote it in my calendar reminding me. I spent some time looking for ideas on Pinterst. It fit a bit late with our history as we had read about Shakespeare the other week but this was still a good opportunity to have fun with Shakespeare.

I got collected all the Shakespeare books that we have including our Passport to Shakespeare which was a nice cute book with fun illustrations.

After sitting on the shelf for years, I finally found a use for my Shakespeare book from university. I actually took a course on Shakespeare for my English minor. Don't ask me what I learned in that class. I have seen a number of Shakespeare plays all part of the culture from university.

Here is Miss K doing some copywork. She was very impressed to learn that "green-eyed monster" came from Shakespeare. She knows it from the Bernstein Bears. Notice her eraser or as she is now calling it, her rubber.

J did it! He build the Globe Theatre from paper. This was something that I had found on Pinterest. It really is small about 3 inches at the most. We worked together to cut it out and then with lots of tape we were able to put it together.

J wanted to try to do a stop motion of MacBeth. He started it but decided it was a bit more of a project then he wanted. He was using his Scottish accent at times.

Slowly our home education things are moving to more and more of the house. This is the hallway which became our Shakespeare wall this week.

Miss K enjoyed doing all the copywork and I decided it was good writing practice.

J enjoyed some colouring.

I pulled from opening lines and we tried to match them to the play.

1. When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightening, or in rain?

2. Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York

3. Who's there?
Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.

4. Hence! home you idle creatures, get you home!
Is this a holiday? What know you not,

5. Now far Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in another moon;
but O, methinks, how slow

It was a fun week and we did study Shakespeare just a bit.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Therapy Thursday

Life is just a bit busy and packed full right now so I have decided to do Therapy Thursday on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. So the next one will be next week, the 26th.

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Climbing the Walls

J loves to climb. He climbs trees and can get so high that people are nervous looking up at him. He will climb on the roof if we allowed it. The best thing for him is a climbing wall. One of the advantages of living near a national park with hiking and climbing areas is that there are climbing walls. 

J went a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. Then I found a Home Ed group that goes fortnightly. (Did you have to look up that word?) Here he is climbing the wall.

I learned some things about climbing. Basically you have to stick to one colour. So if you are doing green, you only use green.

He said that they timed him and it took him 40 seconds to get to the top. I don't this it was the climb that I video. The fun things home schooled kids do and we call PE.

There is a whole certification scheme. I am not sure if J is ready for that not so much climbing but the disciple and structure that requires. There are certain climbs that you need to do and some other requirements.

It takes quite a bit of upper body strength to climb as well as reaching and pushing yourself up. I don't know if I could do it but I do enjoy watching him.

So now he has something to climb that is a approved -- he has a harness so it is a bit safer then climbing to the top of a tree. It is not the walls at home.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

GPA LEARN - Review

Math and Miss K do not go together. It is the cause of me pulling out my hair or banging the table or some days just laughing so I don't cry. Basically, math is a challenge. I have tried various programs. I am not giving up. I continue to look and see what might help her learn math. So when I was given the opportunity to review GPA LEARN's math program, GPALOVEMATH I jumped at the opportunity knowing that Miss K loves working on the computer and thought that maybe math on the computer would be something that would help her learn math.

Critical Thinking Company Review

GPALOVEMATH is a web-based math program. It can be used on PC, Mac, and tablets. We used it on the Mac.  It is for grades K-5. Each grade has an animated character that serves as the "Learning Coaches." There are over 150 lessons and more than 10,000 problems -- that should keep Miss K busy for a long time.

Miss K is working on Grade 1 math. When you login, the first thing you see is the Dashboard, which gives you a summary.

Here Miss K has completed 15 lessons and attempted 52 lessons. Each time a lesson is begun but not completed it is considered an attempted lesson. Based on the results from the quiz the student gets a Rockstar, Excellent or Nice Job.

The section, Learn, gives the lessons. The lessons are in three areas: Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations in Base 10, and Measurement and Data and Geometry. The lessons are locked until certain lessons are completed so that concepts are learned in proper order. In order to unlock a lesson you need more than 6 correct.  Each lesson has three sections an instruction section, practice, and then a quiz. Each level has a character. We were in Grade 1 with Pi, the penguin. His accent took a bit to get used to though I don't think it distracted Miss K.

I set up Miss K's account and for the most part let her work on this as her math time.  I am normally in the room while she is working so that I can watch what she is learning and then work to review and reinforce the learning.

Miss K is able to do things on the computer. She is able to read the lessons and if she can't it is easy to just click on the words and the character will read the words for you.

I love getting progress emails. Even though I am there and watching for the most part it is nice to have the report that gives me what lesson she was working on as well as if she completed the lesson or needs some more help. I am also able as the parent to go through the lesson without it recording it as her attempt at the lesson. There are rewards that you can set so that when the child has completed so many lessons or earned so many points they get a reward.

The lessons took about 30 minutes to complete. I noticed as she had done this for a few weeks that sometimes it was just a bit long for Miss K to sit and do math. I was unable to find a way to bookmark where we were in the lesson. So if we stopped the lesson and began again it began from the beginning and would count as another attempt.

Working with a special needs child I did find that I needed to know what she was learning so that I could review again and look for ways to reinforce what she is learning. She needs the learning from different approaches. There were times that problem was shortest to longest and then it was longest to shortest. While I understand that is to help in thinking skills, it does make it more challenging for the special needs learner.

Overall Miss K liked it. She looks forward to doing math. I will say that this was a help and something that we will continue to use as part of our math learning. As we walked home today, she was looking at all the house numbers and we were counting by 2's. Numbers are beginning to make sense.

GPA LEARN offers an entire year math curriculum including grades K to 5 for $129 per year per child with the promo code GPAINTRO15. This is regularly $149. It is also available for $12.99 per month per child.

GPA Learn Review

Crew Disclaimer

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Five Things that Make me Smile in the Kitchen

I needed some inspiration for things to blog. It has been cold and grey so we are not going out for outings. We are doing the same thing day in and day out for school or at least that is what it seems like. I just feel like it is the same old. When I can't think of anything else to share, I will share Five Things. This time it is Five Things that make me smile in the kitchen.

The Pig - It is just known as "the pig". Put the pig on the table. Do you want the pig? The pig is a cutting board but don't use it as a cutting board through if you look you will see that at times it has been used as a cutting board. It was made by my grandfather.

The wooden plate and the chicken. The wooden plate was made by my father. I think I have one other bowl that he made but not that many pieces. The chicken is one that I found at a thrift store. The rooster is across the room. I remember deciding to buy them and putting them at the cash register while I was looking and someone else was interested. Yes, that made me want them just a bit more. They have some chips which give them character.

My vintage coffee can - It is another thrift store find. I love coffee and this is just great to hold the capsules for my Nesspresso. Yes, there is a theme of thrift store items that make me smile.

The blue and white bowl of fruit. This did not come from a thrift store but from Thailand. Years ago when I worked in Asia, I traveled to Thailand regularly and if I was there on a weekend I would often visit the weekend market and see what blue and white dishes I could buy. This is a very traditional Thai pattern and dish. It is usually full of fruit. I have some other dishes in storage.

There is a window leading to the utility room and up on the top I have space for some Menno art and some milk bottles from Hong Kong. Menno Shirk was a folk artist who lived near where I grew up. I think these are the only pieces that I have. I would love a few more (hint, hint) but I am not willing to pay eBay prices. This is an interesting collection -- a bit from where I grew up and a bit from Asia all mixed together.

There you have Five Things that make me smile in the kitchen.

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