October 09, 2015

I'm so over the rainbow ( this week's homeschool theme).

I wrote a post earlier this week about my low expectations after Justice is born-but what I may not have made clear is that my expectations PRE-Justice's birth have also taken a significant nose dive! hahah! I think you'll probably see a pretty radical downward spiral in regards to these Homeschool Theme posts in the weeks ahead. I actually think-without looking-that I may only have two more themes even remotely planned out before I just peter off into nothingness...so I guess that's about all the time we have left, folks ;-)

That said-we will have "completed" ( used in the loosest sense of the word) 9 weeks of school at that point which deserves some kind of extreme reward.....I'll allow for you to all come up with a suitable reward for me since it looks like Ransom will be getting his Light Saber and I have no need for one of those...

So anyway, this week our theme was Rainbows/Colors. I had grand notions of doing a color wheel and discussing color mixing and such-but NONE of that happened. It mostly had to do with my failure of a "science experiment" on Monday when I tried to do the Milk/food coloring/dish soap activity and it utter failed....twice! I still don't know what I did wrong. Here is Ransom trying to swirl the colors after they failed to do so on there own:

Anyway, I basically gave up at that point...hahaha! Which is kind of ridiculous, I know, but such is life sometimes...Anyway, maybe you'll have better luck with this seemingly "impossible to fail" project?! Here's the video: 

We did however do a couple of Rainbow themed things this week that DID turn out:

Activity One: At the end (and beginning) of the Rainbow

I found this really great printable  which I printed and then laminated so that Ransom could just use a dry-erase marker to write the beginning and end sounds of the words on the rainbow. Once again I found that Ransom's concentration was much to be desired and even though there were only 16 pictures that he needed to do we ended up having to do half one day and half another day. *sigh* And yet, these are the very reasons I am homeschool...at the age of 5 I'm all about him learning in lots of different ways than just stuck at the table doing a project with me....

You'll need:
laminator ( if you don't have one then just do the second half of the worksheet...its not as fun, but doesnt require the added laminating)

Activity Two: Taste the Rainbow:

Once again I found a great printable , and bought two bags  ( Ok fine, I bought three bags and ate one myself) of Skittles and then we set about practicing a bunch of great math skills using candy as an obvious bribe. Ransom had to sort and count each color of Skittle, then write the number into the chart. He then had to add certain colors together. It took him FOREVER. But he finally enjoyed the "fruits" of his labor. I realized as he was telling me what he thought each color flavor was going to be-that he had never HAD skittles before! Ha!

I also used some old stacking cups for Tabitha to sort her skittles by color which she looooooved doing. In fact, she didn't really even want to eat the skittles she was having so much fun moving them from cup to cup.

You'll need:
bonus: colored cups for sorting

Activity Three ( four and five): Balloon Rainbow

So this activity turned out to be the one that kept on giving! It started with an idea I had in my mind that only "sorta" worked when I executed it-which was to put sticky notes on the wall in the shape of a rainbow-each sticky note had a sight word on it. Then I had corresponding balloons with the same sight word on it for Ransom to then stick to the wall and once he was complete he would have made a pretty rainbow. Well, as you can see it did not look awesome or pretty AT ALL...infact, I think calling it a rainbow is a bit generous. That said, Ransom didn't seem to care and he got some good sight word practice in ( reading them first from the sticky note and then the balloon).

THEN as the balloons stuck horribly to the wall and started falling almost immediately, leaving my house looking the day-after-a-party like I came up with a new game for Ransom. The balloons had happily been kicked and moved about throughout the day by both my kids so I sat happily in a chair ( win!) and yelled out sight words and then Ransom proceeded to run around the house looking for the balloon with the right word on it! He had great fun! He got more practice...it was a win.

THEN...by the time Friday arrived all the balloons were collected in a sad pile in the living room, mostly deflated and sad, forgotten by my children. SO as a last I told Ransom that if he could read the word off the balloon then he'd get to pop it. BOY WAS THIS A HIT! He even let Tabitha pop some of them ( after he'd read the word) and he ended up only getting one word wrong out of 15! Hooray! I think he's got it!! BONUS: Tabitha then spent the next hour lovingly playing with the pile of popped balloon debris. Go figure.

You'll need:
Colored Balloons
Sticky notes
Permanent Marker


We ended up not getting to the library this week because we had an errand on post to do when we normally went: But aren't my kids cute with their Daddy?!

October 06, 2015

October baby thoughts.

October is a strange month for me this year. This year it's the month I'm more than likely going to have a baby...now, I suppose Justice could surprise us all and be super late and arrive in very early November-but either way we're talking October is the month where we get really really real about having another baby.

I think its mostly strange to me because there once was an October where I spent the entire month trying NOT to have a baby. ( Here's one of my favorite posts from that month). Putting two years worth of perspective between then and now has taught me a lot. There is nothing like being able to "forget the pain" of a certain scenario to give you some new insight....so that said I've been thinking about how incredible it is that next week I'll be at 38 weeks....which is incidentally how many weeks Tabitha miraculously made it to in her own gestation....just because it is happened 2 years ago does not make it any less miraculous ( if you are somehow unfamiliar with what I'm talking about-check out the "Tabitha/Priscilla tab at the top of my blog to catch you up). It was truly incredible.

I don't really know what to expect from the upcoming months- I think I've mentioned a couple hundred times already that I plan to have incredibly low expectations of myself and my kids during this upcoming season. We're going to all try to stay alive and I'm going to try and not scar my children with any major freak-outs or extended periods of time when I haven't showered
( well...definitely the first one.) and that's about it. If there is anything I've learned from having two other children it is that there is often too much pressure put on those first months of having a baby...and the pressure usually comes from the inside!

So here are the three things that are weighing on my mind the most about the upcoming season:

1. Sleep. Oh my word! I love sleep soooooo much! It is basically Jesus, my family and then sleep in the list of my favorite things. I also do not do well without it. I remember being SHOCKED after Tabitha was born that I could fall COMPLETELY asleep with Ransom wide awake next to me ( I never thought I'd fall asleep with my kids basically unattended)-but it turned out that with the glorious babysitter of Daniel Tiger and an iPad I did in fact do so quite frequently. I'm just really worried about what levels my child-care is going to reduce to now...with not one, but two children who will still be getting there full 11 hours of sleep each night and who will be rearing to go at 7:30am every morning. Ugh. I am not sure how I'm suppose to swing this season....seriously. How's it done?!?!

2. Tabitha. Holy moly. Girlfriend is attached to her mommy. Unlike Ransom, who-thanks to the craziness of our circumstances-had already learned the hard truths that Mommy was not the end-all for love and attention by the time Tabitha came along.
Tabitha has not learned said lesson. She's got some serious territorial issues to sort through and I have a feeling the fallout is not going to be pretty.

3. Colic. Ransom was not a happy baby. And sure, it was 5 years ago but you don't forget things like that. You just DO. NOT. FORGET. the screaming. So much so that in a lot of ways I fear the possibility of colic more than actual labor. ( Because labor does not last for months) . I am praying every moment that I think of it, that Justice will NOT be a colicky baby. I know there are worse things in the world, but honestly, when it's happening to you, you'll be hard pressed to think of one.

So that's where we stand as I look the end of this pregnancy in the face. I am still in awe of how beautifully and completely the Lord has answered my "healthy pregnancy, healthy baby" prayers and I am trusting in Him fully that He will carry that through into Justice's life outside in the world! Here's to the last few weeks of being the parent to 'only' two kids! EEK!!!  I can't wait to look back at this little list of "fears" in a few weeks time and laugh at them all....because whether it is these three things or-more than likely a whole new set of crazy....like say, BAT BITES , we will somehow get through it all!

October 02, 2015

Teeth week!

Monday started off like this:
Me ( in a fake perky voice) : "Ransom, this week our school theme is "teeth!"
Ransom ( in a grumbly voice): "All there is to know about teeth is: BRUSH YOUR TEETH! That's it. Done."

So yes, this week was a bit rough- I had to carry my spanker around in my back pocket for a certain 2 year old and I got a bad cold that has not helped my awesome pregnancy tiredness. But we pushed on and some schooling did happen.

Also, if you're wondering about this week's theme: it came thanks to my kid's dentist appointment on Wednesday. That's right, I used a dentist appointment as our "field trip". *high fives all around*

Activity One: Good foods for teeth

Even though Ransom insisted he had nothing to learn about teeth, it turns out he didn't know everything ( shocker) so after a quick lesson in cavities he did this cutting and gluing exercise where he glued the "good" sugars on the happy tooth and the "bad" foods on the sad tooth. ( something like this printable here)

You'll need: 

Activity Two: Shark Teeth #1 Game
Ransom really liked this "game" which I played with him. First he would spin the spinner ( I got a package of spinners at the Dollartree) and then he would have to write the number on his paper and a plus sign. Then he would stick the proper number of corresponding teeth on the top part of the shark's mouth.
Then I would do the same and he would have to write my number as the second part of his equation, while I put my shark teeth on the bottom of the sharks mouth. Then Ransom had to count all the teeth and put an equal sign and finish off his equation. Hopefully this taught him more about the making of addition problems.

He looooved this game.

You'll need: 

Shark Printable 
sheet of white foam paper to cut into teeth
spinner or dice

Activity Three: Shark Teeth #2
Since Ransom seemed to gain the understanding of equations we moved on to this printable where he did more "shark teeth" addition.  since I realized he had only been doing equations where he read the problems from left to right not on top to bottom. This was good practice for that concept.

I say that but it took FOOOOOREEEEEEVER to get Ransom to concentrate long enough to finish this one worksheet. *sigh*

You'll need: 

Activity Four: Tooth Brush Stamps
To continue our work on sight words I found this printable of tooth brushes with sight words on them: Printable here.  However he already knew quite a few so I got the idea to download the printable and then use photoshop to erase some of the words and put in different words. It worked great!

Then Ransom just had to read the word and then use letter stamps to put the word on the tooth brush. It was a pretty fun way to learn some new words. Here is Ransom thinking hard about what a word is...

You'll need:
letter stamps
Possibly photoshop unless you want to use the words already on their worksheet

Activity Five: Lost Teeth
With our same sight words I printed off some little teeth images that had happy little faces. I then wrote the sight words on them and hid them around the room. Ransom then had a piece of paper with the words listed. I told him that the dentist had lost some teeth and he needed help finding them. Ransom then had to read the word on the paper and try to find that word. It ended up not working that way....instead he went around finding the words, so I just had him read the words when he found them. I think we could have just gone without the paper listing all the words. Ah well, such is life.

You'll need: 
tooth printables

Teeth Books: 

In terrible news we learned that our Play N' Learn story time at the library lost its funding. MAJOR BOO! Luckily we've found an alternative story time at a different library for next week. I'm still majorly bummed about this development. *sigh*

As for our trip to the dentist?! Well, my kids had a GRAND OL' TIME!!! With all the iPads, play stations and TV screens everywhere they hardly realized that the event had anything to do with teeth at all. Kids these days....

September 25, 2015

Fall Theme Homeschool edition

Well friends, apparently it is FALL....you wouldn't know it if you got dropped into San Antonio TX and just went by the weather. It was very much in the 90s and muggy all week. I barely went outside, being all giant and pregnant and suffering from my own brand of hot flashes as it is...and knowing that I'm facing yet another flaming day at the Soccer fields tomorrow I pretty much have a bad attitude about this week being the first week of fall.

I tell you all this to say that when I planned for this week's homeschool theme to be "Fall" I really thought I would be able to pull it off in style just through shear will and the use of well-placed fall decor. I think I was wrong.

Sure, we got off to a pretty good start-the kids and I put out our fall decorations and they "scattered" all my fall gourds in...one spot. In a pile. Seriously, we need to work on their decorating eye.

After that we did get started on a few Autumn themed homeschool activities but honestly, my books were a bust this week....and one of my activities I didn't even have the heart to attempt-so I'll start there:

If you happen to live in a part of the country where the change in seasons is ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Then I'd totally do this cool Leaf Science Project, its just three pages mostly about observation and I think it's perfectly suited for the 4-6 year old set, and maaaaaybe in like December when "Fall weather" hits San Antonio we will actually get to do this one. BOO. *Pout*

Now to the activities we DID do:

Activity One: Leaf Sight Words

The idea is we are working on sight words in such a way that it is not "work" or involve flash cards of any kind- This "game" required Ransom to identify sight words that were written on leaves that I had printed out on colored paper ( I used this printable) on red/yellow/orange/brown construction paper), and if he got the word right then he got to attach it to his bare tree.
We did this activity twice this week and it definitely seemed to be a painless way for him to work on his words!

Tabitha also enjoyed putting the leaves on the Tree and Ransom was sweet enough to let her attach some of his leaves. I suppose I could have once again done some letter leaves for her, but I had already written up all my words and I really wanted Ransom to work on all of them....neeeeext tiiiiime.

You'll need:
A large piece of paper ( for your tree)
Brown marker
autumn colors construction paper
tape ( I used sticky tac for my leaves and it worked waaaay better)

Activity Two: "The" tree picture

I noticed that one of the words Ransom was struggling with last week was "The" so this week we did a little picture story where he got to glue scraps of colored paper onto a tree, I had written a sentence below it with all the "the"s left out and Ransom had to write them in. This ONE little activity totally solidified the word in his mind! Now, if I can just come up with a sentence and a picture for every sight word and we'll be golden! haha!

You'll need:
White paper
glue stick
autumn colored construction paper for ripping

Activity Three: Acorn Addition
So I found these fake acorns in the Dollar section of Target and I was all excited about using them for Ransom's addition problems this week...but when it came down to him doing his addition problems he chose to use little plastic action figure men ( also from the Dollar section at Target...oh how I love you, "One Spot"!) instead. So, in the end my Fall theme went out the window...but he did his addition no problem. So....win?!

You'll need: 
fake acorns ( that don't get used)
addition worksheet

In the end Tabitha L-O-V-E-D the acorns and played with them all week...so....I suppose it was still worth my $1.

As for my book recommendations...like I said, pretty much ALL my fall books were major fails. All accept the one I already owned and it is truly a gem, I have loved it since my own childhood- GO FIND THIS BOOK:

So, in other homeschooling news: This week we came up with a new "plan" to deal with a rather bad attitude Ransom was getting when doing his piano practice and I decided to just go ahead and extend it to ALL his schooling. It's rather revolutionary and also quite controversial and its called "Bribery"
Ransom is "earning" a light saber that he saw ( YESS!!!! IT WAS IN THE ONE SPOT AT TARGET!) and was begging for-so now he knows that if he does all his school activities without complaint and with a positive attitude he gets a sticker on his earning chart. We're on day 5 and it's going great. I am not above bribery. Period.

September 18, 2015

Dino Week!

This week was a really crazy week mentally for me- we had something going on nearly every evening until late-and that was hard for this pregnant mama. I am feeling the end of this pregnancy more and more. But, in the midst of all that busyness we had some really good homeschool times! In fact, some of our very best, I think! If anything as the week continued and we got busier with all our extra activities we had less time to do cool stuff and the week kinda got harder. Where is my happy middle ground?! It is so hard to find sometimes!

This weeks theme was Dinosaurs!!! Definitely a fun one! And there was SO MANY good resources for Dino activities and SO MANY Dino books that it was really hard to choose! But this is what we did at the Wilson House:

Activity One: Craft Dinosaur Egg/Dinosaur search

So, I sadly threw away the packaging but basically a few weeks ago when I was buying other homeschool supplies in the glorious Dollartree I found the rare "non dollar item"...I almost didn't buy it because it was $2.48 and that seemed super pricey surrounded by all the $1 items but the cool factor won out and I purchased this little "dinosaur excavation kit" -it looked like an egg made out of hard sand that came with a little paint brush and I was curious to see how fun it would be....but turns out it was a GREAT success! And a great introduction to Dinosaurs being extinct and how Scientists learn about them today (by their bones!). Bonus: it took Ransom FOREVER to chip away at that egg! hahaha! Inside was a tiny rubbery dino skeleton and he loved it. "Totally worth $2.48!" Said the cheapest mother in history.

While Ransom was working on his egg ( so glad I didn't get one for Tabitha too! It would have been waaay too hard for her to get into and it would have been frustrating! I definitely recommend this for the 4+ set.) Tabitha found little dinosaurs that I had hidden in our Sand Box.

If you have not purchased yourself some Molding Sand you need to do it right away! I love it so much, I really want to buy more! Thankfully the sand that was gifted us well over a year ago is STILL going strong! ( Thanks Aunt Donnave!) And while I plan to get some more for one of my kid's "need" present for Christmas we really are doing surprisingly well with the stuff we have ( even though you inevitably lose a little bit to the floor every time you play with it!)

You'll need:
Dinosaur Egg ( I saw these at two different Dollar Trees so I feel like they are definitely excessible) but here is a much more expensive one on Amazon.
A baking tray
Dollar store dinosaurs.
A Broom-because your sand clean up is gonna be extensive. Trust.

Activity Two: Dinosaur Bone Classification ( measuring)

While my kids were working on Dinosaur excavations in the dining room I was throwing together the ingredients for your classic Salt Dough. (Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water and stir until almost fully mixed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. )
 So when Ransom was ready later in the morning he and I created our own Dinosaur bones. He had a lot of fun molding them into "bone" shapes and it was my job to make sure that they were varying in sizes and shapes.
We then threw those suckers in the oven at 250 for about 2 and half hours ( my oven runs hot so maybe close to three?) and then Ransom was VERY excited to see his "play dough" creations turn into BONES!

After the bones had cooled I wrote a letter on the back of each Bone with a Sharpie and then Ransom set to work "classifying them" like a real scientist.
Using a little measuring tape Ransom had to measure the length of each bone. He then had to write the Letter and then the number ( in inches, and we rounded heavily) on his piece of paper.

Ransom: Practiced both Letter and Number handwriting without evening realizing it. ( HIS LEAST FAV activity) and worked on some measuring math skills. Score, double score.

Tabitha: Surprisingly had a HUGE blast playing with the dinosaur bones when we were done with our activity. She pretended to measure them and she spent a lot of time identifying the letters on the back of each bone as she took them on and off of the tray.  Bonus! I didn't even see that coming as far as a learning opportunity for her too! Hooray!

You'll need:
Baking Tray
Measuring tape/ruler ( I think, in hindsight a ruler would have been easier)
TIME ( you'll have a break between making your bones and doing your "learning" activity. Either do it on separate days or factor in your time)

Activity Three: Sight Wordosauras

This was my favorite activity of the week! I knew it would be and I was way excited about doing it! First I taped different colored dino foot prints ( different colors for each kid) on my floor. Ransom's foot prints had 5 different sight words that I wanted to work on this week ( I repeated each one 3 times). And then on Tabitha's I had letters that I thought she might be having trouble with ( turns out she knows all but one letter now...girlfriend is picking things up!)

I gave each kid a Dinosaur Hat to wear ( just for fun! picked up at the Dollar Tree, obvi)

Game 1: Say each word/letter as you STOMP through the footprints
Game 2: I yell out a letter/word and they have to LEAP to the footprint with the corresponding letter/word.

Both kids LOVED this activity. Ransom did it several times even though he had a hard time with two of the words ( as I suspected ).  To help him take the time to stop and think about the words he didn't know I had him ROAR like a dinosaur before reading the hard words. That helped a lot.

Ransom worked on: Go, It, Is, The, And
Tabitha mastered her whole alphabet

You'll Need:
Construction paper and the ability to draw a Dino Footprint ( which I didn't so I cut out this printable as my shape). I was able to fit two prints per piece of paper.

Bonus: Dinosaur Hats.

Activity Four: Sightword Gems ( not really dino related....oops! If you can think of a connection let me know! haha!)

Using this awesome Printable site that has a TON of early sight words ready to print off, I printed off the 5 sight words for the week that we had already worked on. Ransom then had to write them and then find them and place a "gem" over the correct sight word. He could easily see through the "gems" and tell if he'd made a mistake which was nice, and it was way more fun then doing flash cards!

You'll need:
Flat marbles ( found at the Dolla Tree, per usual!)

* After we had already finished, I remembered that I had some great sleeves I could have used so that I could not only re-use the bottom but also the tracing part! Therefore I'll be doing that in the future and using dry-erase markers

Activity Five: "types" of Dinosaurs
Before you think we finally started to get technical with this week's theme, forget it! hahaha! Instead, I re-used my sand box with the dinosaurs with Ransom this time. He had to find all the dinosaurs and then "classify them" into groups. He chose to do by color so after he had grouped them all he then had to graph them on his graph paper.

You'll need:
Dinosaurs of various shapes, sizes, colors
Sand ( optional, but fun)
Graph paper

Activity Six: How Many Dinosaurs? 

I wrote about 6 ( the attention span of my 5 year old is shocking) small addition equations on a little white board ( more fun, save paper) and then I showed him how he could use his dinosaurs to help him do the addition equations. He was very quick with this activity and is definitely mastering his addition concepts!

You'll need:
Dinosaurs for counting
Paper or white board with equations


WOW! Looking back at that post I'm really pretty proud we fit so much in! And to think I was lying awake at 4:30am this morning thinking about how little time we seemed to have to do homeschool activities! Hehe! Silly me! Anyway, I hope you will have fun with some of these activities in your own home-Dinosaurs are SUCH fun and I almost feel like we could have done another week!! I think this is a week we'll have to repeat in the future :-)