Friday, September 26, 2014

Stamps Teach, Amazing Free Resource

Have you ever considered using stamps in your homeschool or classroom? This is an awesome free resource! Stamps Teach is a program through the American Philatelic Society. Their goal is to get young people interested in collecting stamps. They offer free worksheets and curriculum on their websites for all grades, but have a special package for grades 3-5.  The above picture is what came in the mail!  We were SO excited!  There was a huge bag of stamps, at least 2000!  Also, a world stamp album (my favorite), a huge stack of worksheets/activities/special stamps.  You can see activity mats at the bottom of the picture, and there were also activity cards to use for math, language arts, fine arts, science, and history! This will fit in perfectly with our study of world geography this year!

This was all free!  But they do ask that you give them feedback on how you used stamps.  You can also share your curriculum ideas.

So far we've only looked through the stamps to find ones we liked.  We found a Harriet Tubman stamp, which was exciting because we had just read about her that morning!

You can sign up to receive your stamps here:  American Philatelic Society: Stamps Teach.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

MFW ECC & 1st, Week 3 & 4, United States

We've finished weeks 3 & 4, and we're finally getting used to doing school again! It always takes a couple weeks for the kids to realize that mommy is the teacher, and yes, they do have to do work. You know, like write words! I think I will be doing my updates every two weeks this year instead of every week. Our curriculum is set up so that we "visit" a new country every two weeks, and I can't always find the time to get a long blog post up!

Our Bible time has been focused on the beginning of the book of Matthew. Caleb did some copywork and dictation of Matthew 1:23 and we also make bookmarks. Sorry, no pictures...  We've also been reading this book, and I LOVE it! There are short stories about real people that did amazing things, like Harriet Tubman. There are 3 short devotionals with character traits about each character. Caleb is supposed to copy the character traits for extra handwriting practice, but I decided to let him type them instead, which he loves.  But this is a great book!

These last two weeks we've been learning about the United States! We spent all of last year learning about the United States, so this was a good review, and map practice before moving on to other countries. Here are a few of Caleb's pages in his geography notebook: 

Our science topic was forests. These pages compare coniferous and deciduous forests. We spent some time at a park looking at trees as well!  (Below is Rebekah's.)

One of the books that was included in our curriculum was Exploring World Geography. It's a more advanced book, that focuses of research skills, like using an Encyclopedia at the library. Most of the pages are too hard for Caleb and Rebekah, but I wanted them to learn how to find things at the library. Kevin watched the little boys one evening so I could take them to the library. We did two pages, and I let them just write the first initial. My goal was to teach them how to find things in an encyclopedia, and we also found the other reference books in our library. I will try to take them once every two weeks, I enjoyed time with just the big kids too! 

Vocabulary words come from Geography from A to Z. Surprisingly, the kids LOVE making these cards! The bottom card is Caleb's tiny writing!

Art projects came from this book:

We made Navajo Coup Sticks, and Sand Paintings.  Our "sand" was actually salt colored with chalk.

This game is fun for reviewing the states. We play it a bit easier for Rebekah since she can't read yet.

Caleb's other subjects have been going well. He's been learning the 2 multiplication facts. He actually did a practice page with no crying or complaining, and he got them all right! He earned a sticker on his paper!

He read and copied this poem in our Language Lessons for Today.

I bought this spelling power workbook for Caleb and I really like it! Caleb loves doing the 10-step spelling worksheet to study his words, which makes me happy. However, he's having a hard time with daily spelling tests. He does not like to get ANYTHING wrong, and usually beats the table with his pencil in anger...  working on that! We do the spelling test first, and then he studies only the words he gets wrong. 

Rebekah LOVES learning to read, and she's doing a great job! Below are a few activities that weren't in the 1st edition of 1st grade. She had a lot of fun reading and doing the silly things on the paper strips. I had to give her a sticker too!

She's been doing her number of the day pages almost all by herself. She counts out the number of unifix cubes to help her write the equations. And she love doing her math workbook too. She's much different than Caleb was!

Joshua's done a bit of unofficial preschool too.  Here he is gluing beans. The first picture at the top shows him using one of the toys in the MFW preschool package.

That was our trip around the United States.  Next stop, Mexico!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Butterfly Birthday Cake

Rebekah had a birthday! She wanted a butterfly cake, and picked the colors pink, purple, blue and orange. I did the writing and butterflies, but she dictated what colors I had to use. I thought it looked perfect that way, but she wanted flowers around the outside too. She took a turn making those, but didn't quite have enough hand strength. She had fun, and was very happy with her cake!

Happy Birthday Rebekah!  My little princess is 6!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MFW ECC & 1st Grade, Week 2

This was week 2 of Exploring Countries & Cultures for 3rd grade, and MFW 1st grade. I will be real, and say that schooling with a 2 year old and a baby in tow, is hard work! Joshua sometimes gets into things, and demands my attention. But, I know that it truly is a blessing to homeschool them. I'm sure we'll get in a better routine as the year goes on!

Above, they kids are working on their stamp collection. I bought a bag of 300 worldwide stamps from Hobby Lobby (make sure you print a 40% coupon on their website). The stamps are still on the envelopes, so we had to soak them in water to loosen the adhesive before peeling them off. This was the fun part, of course. We laid them between sheets of wax paper and put books on top so they would dry flat. I also bought some stock sheets for stamp collecting that go in a 3 ring binder, so we sorted the dry ones by country and put them in the binder.

Week 2 continues introducing how God loves the whole world. The kids each made a chain of paper dolls from around the world. We also learned a lot about maps, things like scale, keys, and latitude and longitude. Below are pictures of their hand prints drawn half the size (to learn about scale).

We also drew a map of our neighborhood, but I didn't get a picture of it yet. They took it downstairs right away to play cars on it. It had roads!

On the last day, our curriculum recommended baking a cake and frosting it to look like a world map. However, because of a birthday in our family the next day, I opted to just have them decorate graham crackers with blue frosting and green sugar instead. In order to find the ingredients for their treat, they had to follow the treasure map I made of our living room! I made a key for them to read, with the last thing being "treasure", with the symbol of "X" of course! I hid the box of graham crackers, bowl of frosting, and the green sugar. They LOVED this! After their snack, I had to hid a few more things, then they hid stuff for each other to find using the map!

For science, we learned about cycles in nature, started a leaf collection. Last week, we learned about niches, and made a worm niche in a jar. Below are the pictures. The first one is on the first day, the second one is on day 3 and the last one is on day 7. We could see how the sand and dirt was mixed by the worms, which was neat. (Hard to see in the pictures though.)

I let the kids paint with watercolors one day while they listened to classical music. Rebekah loves art and says she wants to be an artist when she grows up. Caleb gets mad when his artwork doesn't look perfect, it's very frustrating!

We started our read-aloud this week as well, and are LOVING it! We're reading an allegory called Kingdom Tales. I recommend buying this book from My Father's World because they have added in some discussion questions.

Caleb started learning multiplication and division this week as we resumed Singapore 2A. Sometimes, he really seems to "get it", and other times he doesn't. I'm not sure if it's his attitude, or he's actually confused. Either way, we'll be doing a lot of practice! I found this little white board at the Dollar Tree, and it has come in handy a lot! We don't have a large white board on the wall, so I use this one when I need to explain something, and then I use it to put practice problems on.

Rebekah's math has started out with patterns! Joshua loves these cubes too.

Lastly, everyone helped to make applesauce! We bought a new attachment for my mixer that grinds and strains the apples (after they are cooked). It worked well, and we now have several quarts of applesauce!

Caleb used his cast to help him cut the apples! He was a really big helper this year.

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