Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today's Library Loot

Some of these we have read before.  I'm getting less picky about that.

Arthur Babysits by Marc Brown (boardbook)
The Best Pets Yet: A First Book, Set 2 by Foster & Erickson, illustrations by Kerri Gifford
Busy Little Mouse by Eugenie Fernandes, illustrated by Kim Fernandes
Peek-a-Little Boo by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Laura Watson
Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon
One Ted Falls Out of Bed, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Anna Currey
A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Buster Goes to Cowboy Camp by Denise Fleming
Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Buster by Denise Fleming
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming
Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
Time for Bed by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer

" it's own time."

One of my favorite books from our latest library visit is Once Upon a Time, Upon a Nest by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Rebecca Harry.  I love this book!

The story is about a little duckling that is behind its siblings in everything right from the start.  Her daddy worries about it and wonders if she'll ever catch up.  But her mommy keeps saying, "She will, in her own time."  And sure enough she does.

I love the message of the book!  Each child will develop in their own time.  Don't get caught up in comparing them and expecting them all to develop at the same speed.  Relax and let them develop at their own speed.

Love it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Math turned into Art

I am sure Little One has an artistic bent.  Our walls are full of indications of this.  :)  Seriously, from a very young age she has loved to draw, color, paint, create and I have been amazed by many things she has done.

One day last week we were doing a page in the Kindergarten Scholar work book I picked up at WalMart a while back.  It was a math page on identifying geometric shapes.  There was a suggestion at the bottom of the page to use cans, bottle caps, etc, to trace around to make a bunch of different sized circles on a sheet of paper.  Little One loved doing this and we filled our paper with circles and that was that.  Instead of doing a whole lot of different sized circles we used just a couple of different sizes but we used different colored leads to trace around them  A little later in the day I found the page of circles sitting on the bench in the porch, but the circles now had faces in them.  I thought it was very cute.  She informed me that it is our family and the Reids, friends of ours that found come visit.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Palette knife painting workshop

This is what I created during a palette knife painting workshop that I attended today.  Doug Downey is a local artist that uses a palette knife to do his impressionistic style paintings.  He has started offering day long workshops to anyone interested in trying the technique and I was privileged to sit, well actually stand, in on a workshop today.

I say stand in because Doug actually encourages his students to stand, rather than sit, while painting.  I'm not used to being on my feet for such a long period of time and I'm also not used to having footwear on for such a long period of time.  My feet were burning by the end of the day, but it was worth it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today's Library Loot

We read all the books we had out and needed new ones so off to the library we went.  Here's what came home with us today:

Spot's First Easter by Eric Hill
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., pictures by Eric Carle
White if for Blueberry by George Shannon, pictures by Laura Dronzek
Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem by Ruth Ohi
The Queen's Feet by Sarah Ellis, illustrated by Dusan Petricic
Ben Over Night by Sarah Ellis, illustrated by Kim LaFave
Watch out, Little Wombat! written and illustrated by Charles Fuge
A Number of Numbers by bp Nichol, pictures by Michelle Nidenoff
Brady Brady and the Most Important Game by Mary Shaw, illustrated by Chuck Temple
The Boy Who Loved Bananas by George Elliott, illustrated by Andrej Krystoforski
Once Upon a Time, Upon a Nest by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Rebecca Harry
I Love You Always and Forever by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Daniel Howarth
Home to Me, Home to You by Jennifer A. Ericsson, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Thing-Thing by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Nicolas Debon
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak
Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert

Monday, September 20, 2010

I hate technology!

I know, I know.  In my last post I was gushing about how much I love technology, and it's still true, but it's one of those things where you have a love hate relationship at the same time.  Technology is wonderful when everything works right but it's a royal pain in the backside when it doesn't work.

Tonight I was reminded of the hate side yet again.  I had power cord trouble again.  I don't know what it is with me and power cords but I am on my 4th power cord in less than 2 years, and the one I'm using now my husband has had to repair 3 times.  Thankfully he was able to repair it again tonight.

Why can't I get a cord that will last forever?!  I'm so fearful that one of these times the cord is not going to be fixable and I'm not going to be able to find a new cord that fits, or I'm not going to be able to afford to buy a new one.  So far so good, but how long is it going to last.  Hopefully forever, but I guess time will tell.

That's what's on my mind tonight.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I love technology!

I recently participated in my first webinar courtesy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  They are hosting an online homeschool conference called Schoolhouse Expo October 4th-8th.  The webinar that I participated in was part of their first preshow on August 24th and featured presentations by Jeannie Fulbright and Dr. Jay Wile. The next preshow is coming up September 21st and I can't wait for it!

Thanks to the wonders of technology I get to sit in my home in Newfoundland, Canada, and connect with other homeschoolers across the world and sit in on presentations by some veteran homeschoolers and experts in their fields.  I love it!

A few weeks back I listened to and enjoyed the interviews made available by Kerry Beck during her Homeschool SuperHeroes Week.  Every weekday, excluding weekends, from August 23 - September 3 she made available an audio recording of an interview with a homeschool superhero.  I missed the first day or two because I didn't find out about it until after then but I did manage to catch them all once I heard about them and I found them every inspirational and encouraging.  The recordings of the interviews are available for purchase and I was considering purchasing them to loan out to friends but when I asked if that was permitted I was told that they were really meant for single family use so I didn't get them because I had already listened to the interviews live and had notes taken from them.

I also participated in Kerry's Start School Year Right This Year webinar this week and once again I was inspired and took lots of notes.

Just this week I discovered something else exciting!  The Old Schoolhouse and have joined together and are offering a number of Free Classes!  There is a schedule of classes on the site and more are added to it from time to time. I participated in one this week and I'll tell you more about that in a bit.  I also discovered that you can check out classes they have done in the past on their Recorded Free Classes page!  This really is a great resource.  If you can't actually make the class during the actual presentation time you can always check it out later when the recording gets posted to this page.  I will definitely be checking out the classes that I missed.  Actually, I already did check out the "Level With Me About Math" - Can I really Teach It presentation and I loved it!

The Free Class I participated in this week was called Quizzy's World and Cram Stoppers.  The recording of the presentation isn't up on the Recorded Free Classes page at the time that I'm writing this but it will be there later and it is worth checking out.  During this presentation I learned all about Quizzy's World, Cram Stoppers, and Quiz Infinity.  The first two sites were created with the purpose of helping students learn how to study properly and to help them master their learning.  Quizzy's World is especially for grades pre k-8 and Cram Stoppers is for highschool and college students.  The idea is that students learn how to use material they are studying to make quizzes for themselves, thereby learning to master their material.  It really is a great concept.  Quiz Infinity is a site for teachers, including homeschoolers, and tutors.  There is a 30 day free trail to the first to sites but Quiz Infinity is free, at least at the present time.  It really is worth checking out, but you probably won't get to really understand it and appreciate how useful it could be until you see the presentation about it.  So watch for when that is available.

One advantage to participating in the Free Classes live is that they sometimes offer free giveaways during the live classes.  I actually won a lifetime free membership to Quizzy's World in the class I participated in.  :)

I just love technology!  That's what's on my mind tonight.  :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

How big is a whale?

Our local homeschool group went on it's first field trip of the year today.  We went to visit the newly opened whale pavilion in a nearby community. Hanging inside the pavilion is the complete restructured skeleton of humpback whale.  Everyone enjoyed the information shared by the worker on duty.  She shared information about humpback whales in general and also about all the work of volunteers that made the display possible.

I noticed a poster on the wall that I had seen before and brought it to the attention of the group.  The poster shows all the whales that are known to travel the waters around Newfoundland and the drawings are all done to size to compare to a drawing of a moose also on the poster.  Most everyone in Newfoundland is familiar with the size of a moose and when you see the size of the moose compared to the size of the whales it is very eye opening!  The moose was the size of the fluke on the tail of one of the whales.  Pretty amazing to think about.

That's what's on my mind tonight.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today's Library Loot

Sally Goes to the Vet written and illustrated by Stephen Huneck
Wiggle by Doreen Cronin, Art by Scott Menchin
Daisy Gets Dressed by Clare Beaton
Goodnight, Me by Andrew Daddo, illustrations by Emma Quay
Please Say Please! Penguins Guide to Manners by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Please Play Safe! Penguins Guide to Playground Safety by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
I Already Know I Love You, by Billy Crystal, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles
A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Kady MacDonald Denton
Martha Speaks: Meet Martha, written by Karen Barss, based on characters  created by Susan Meddaugh
Silvery/Good Night, Good Night by Dennis Lee, illustrated by Nora Hilb (A board book)
Clap Hand by Helen Oxenbury (board Book)
Pinkalicious: School Rules by Victoria Kann
Clean Your Room, Harvey Moon! by Pat Cummings
I am Going! by Mo Willems

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My thoughts on dentistry

I am not a fan of dentists.  I had a very bad experience when I was a teen. I had dentistry work done without being properly frozen. I told the dentist that it wasn't frozen but he chose to ignore me and proceed.  It forever scared me and that is part of the reason for my dislike of dentists. But it goes beyond that.

I don't think that we are all meant to have the same perfectly straight, perfectly white teeth and it really bugs me that that seems to be the goal of dentists these days.  I think that the way your teeth are is part of what makes you unique.  I happen to have what is sometimes referred to as fangs.  Now days if you have fangs you are encouraged to have them removed.  I'm not interested in having my fangs removed.  They are part of me that makes me unique.

That is just some of my thoughts on dentistry.  I have many more, but I'll leave it at that for now.

That's what's on my mind today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little One is so Eager to Learn!

I thought we would start out slow and gradually introduce more learning into the day, but Little One just wants to get to it!  She flicks through my plans in no time, and leaves me scrambling trying to get more for her to do.  It's so exciting!

One of the things we did today was work on one of the readers. What's the Weather Like?, that comes with the Weather themed unit at Kinderplans.  We printed off the pages, colored them together, made them into a book, and then read the book together.  Later, when we had reading time, she asked me to read it to her again along with the library books that she had chosen to read.  When Dad came home she read the book to him all by herself!

Tonight before she went to bed I suggested that she read a book to me and then I would read a book to her.  One of the books that we got out of the library this week was All Fall Down by Helen Oxenbury.  It is a book of few words and I thought it would be a great one to work on her being able to read all by herself.  I read it to her the day we brought it home and the next day I typed up with words and printed off two copies, one to cut into strips and one to keep whole.  Yesterday I helped her match the word strips to the book and we read them together.  Then I showed her how they matched the words on the copy I printed and left whole and we read it again.  I put the book, along with what I had printed off into a ziplock bag.  She discovered that bag this afternoon and took it out and read the book to me with very little help, but she wasn't interested in matching the strips.  Tonight this was the book she decided to read to me and she read it with no help at all!

I know that at this point some of it is simple memorization of what is on the pages based on the pictures.  I also know, however, that some of it is actual reading because she is pointing out the words and correcting what she says based on the letters she sees.  I just love watching her learn!

That's what on my mind today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm so tired!

It's been a crazy busy day.  Little one was very demanding today.  She wanted to do school and I was doing my best to keep her happy.  We covered a lot of stuff.  It wore me totally out.  I lay down to read tonight and fell asleep and slept for about 2 hours!  Meanwhile she was still going strong.  There's something wrong with this picture.  I think tomorrow I'll try to find ways to wear her out so she'll want a nap.  :)

That's what's on my mind at this moment.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today's Library Loot

For Anna:
Animal Song, adapted and illustrated by Marcia Sewall
All Fall Down by Helen Oxenbury
Later, Rover by Harriet Ziefert, pictures by David Jacobson
Animals should definitely not wear clothing written by Judi Barrett and drawn by Ron Barrett
Seal is Lost by Priscilla Galloway, pictures by Karen Patkau
Rat-a-Tat, Pitter Pat, sounds by Alan Benjamin, pictures by Margaret Miller
Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews, illustrated by Ian Wallace
Mother Hen's Canada by Kenneth M. Mercer, illustrated by Clara (maher) Dunne & Danielle Dunne
Father Fox's Pennyrhymes by Clyde Watson, illustrated by Wendy Watson
Look! I Can Read by Susan Hood, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Clifford's Busy Week by Norman Bridwell
Henry and Mudge and the Funny Lunch by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken
Arthue Writes a Story by Marc Brown
Brachiosaurus text by Lucie Duchesne and Andrew Leitch

And renewed for me:
Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year by Laura Brodie

I wonder will I get a chance to read any of my book this time.  Since we've been home from the library we've already read the first 6 books in Anna's list, and if I'd listened to her we would have read more, but my throat needed a break.  :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Last Week's Library Loot

I've decided to start recording on here the books that we get out of the library so there will be a Library Loot post every once in a while.  We've read all our books from our last visit and most likely we'll be off to return them and get some new ones tomorrow, so I figured I'd better get them listed tonight.

Books for Anna:
Brave Heart, by Heather Kellerhals-Stewart, illustrations by Werner Zimmermann
Tigress by Nick Dowson, illustrations by Jane Chapman
Lucy's Big Plan by Bob Kerr
Feelings by Joanne Brisson Murphy, illustrations by Heather Collins
A Giant's Cake and other poems selected by Anne Hanzl, Yevonne Pollock, and Diane Snowball
Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower by Peggy Parish, pictures by Fritz Siebel
Beach Ball by Peter Sis
Emma's Cold Day by Margriet Ruurs, illustrations by Barbara Spurll
Billy's Shoes by Gen LeRoy, pictures by Winslow Higginbottom
The Stray Dog by Marc Simon
Emma's Yucky Brother by Jean Little, pictures by Jennifer Plecas
Pig and Crow by Kay Chorao
Muddle Cuddle by Laurel Dee Gugler, art by Vlasta van Kampen
Annie and Snowball and the Dress-up Birthday by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
Two Messy Friends by Barbara Bottner
Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move by Cynthia Rylant, pictures by Sucie Stevenson
Yeah, I'm a Little Kid by Darryl Borden, art by Lynn Smith
Franny and the Music Girl by Emily Hearn, illustrated by Mark Thurman

and one for me that I haven't even turned a page in yet so I'll be getting it out again:
Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year by Laura Brodie

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Scheduled/planned learning versus Natural Learning

I have found that the longer I homeschool the more aware I become of the natural learning moments that come up and it's caused me to question as to which type of learning is more effect - the scheduled/planned learning or the natural learning.

I didn't really have anything in particular planned for little one's learning today.  Her Dad is still off and she likes spending time with him and often doesn't get to spend a lot of time with him so I'm letting her make the most of this time.  We'll catch up on the planned learning later.  In the meantime, I'm sure that she's learning lots while she's following him around all day.  On top of that, I make the most of the moments that she does come spend with me during the day.

Little one loves to read - well, she loves being read to because she's not actually reading on her own yet.  At one point today she came to me and asked me to read her a book.  We make regular visits to the library and always have a big batch of books on hand. 

The book that little one chose for me to read to her today - I always let her choose which books to read - was Brave Highland Heart by Heather Kellerhals-Stewart, with illustrations by Werner Zimmermann.  What a lovely book!  The illustrations and writing seemed to engulf us today as we took our time and read through the book discussing different things that came up while we read. 

The book is about a little girl who wants to stay up and celebrate the ceilidh with her family.  We talked about the bag pipes featured in the story and about the kilts.  This led us to decide that once we finished reading the book we would search on youtube for videos where we could listen to the bagpipes and see the people dressed in the traditional dress and doing the traditional dances.

This has become a ritual for us lately.  Something in a book that we've read sends us searching the internet for more information and we've traveled some amazing bunny trails of learning.  Little one loves it, and so do I.

Aside from our internet search, we also checked out her inflatable globe that we have sitting at the top of our watercooler and I pointed out to her where Scotland was and what continent it was on.  Of course we also talked about where it was in relation to where we live.

While we were reading I also took the time to explain to her the meanings of words that were new to her and pointed out to her words that she is starting to recognize and asked her to help me sound out some others that I knew would be easy for her.

Later tonight, just before bedtime, she came to me asking me to read to her again.  This time the book that she chose was Beach Ball by Peter Sis.  Though this is a book of few words we found ourselves lingering over the pages and we only made it through the first few pages before our reading time was up.  She begged for more but I promised we'd come back to the book tomorrow.

This book is one of those books where you search the pages for all that things that are hidden in them.  I'm not usually a big fan of those books but I like this one. 

One of the spreads that we did manage to get through tonight had us searching for things that began with the different letters of the alphabet.  Unbeknownst to little one while we were doing this I was checking out to see if she recognized the letters and the sounds that each of the letters made.  I wasn't the least bit surprised to discover that she did. 

Another spread had us looking for things of different colors and patterns.  Once again, unbeknownst to her I was checking to be sure that she recognized and could name the different colors and types of patterns.  Once again I wasn't surprised to discover that she could. 

The next page had us looking for numbers of things and of course once again I was taking advantage of the chance to see if she recognized the numerals and could estimate the number of items and then check by counting.  Once again no problem. 

And we had so much fun as we went through all this.  We're looking forward to doing the shapes, opposites, and animal pages tomorrow.

So, while there wasn't any scheduled/planned learning for today, it doesn't mean that learning didn't take place.  There was lots of natural learning taking place and I sometimes wonder if that kind of learning doesn't have a more lasting impact than the scheduled/planned learning.

That's what's on my mind today.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

First Day of School

Today could have been little one's first day of school.  It felt kind of weird to read all the facebook statuses about how sad or excited everyone was to be sending their kids to school.  It made me glad that I got to sit and cuddle with my little one as we continued the natural learning processes that we have been doing since the beginning.

That's what's on my mind today.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I love playing with information!

I've recently taken on the job of updating membership information for our provincial homeschool association and I am having so much fun doing it!

DH had the day off today and little one announced that she had to help Daddy so she spent the day with him and I enjoyed playing with information.  I inputted a bunch of stuff into a master spreadsheet so that I could see what we were missing.  I then made a number of information specific spreadsheets from the master spreadsheet so that we could more clearly see how we were doing in certain areas.  It really was a lot of fun.  Then I sent out a bunch of emails requesting updates for information we were missing and I got so excited when replies started coming in.

I can't wait to play with the information some more.  I know I'm weird.  :)

That's what's on my mind today.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Changing Focus Yet Again

I can't ever seem to settle on a focus for my blog, but then again, right in the heading I say that "this is a place for me to share whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment".  My mind changes it's focus often, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, so that would explain why the focus of the blog changes so much.  I'm going to stop worrying about finding one particular focus and I'm just going to do what my heading says I planned to do in the beginning, use this place to share what happens to be on my mind at the moment.

What happens to be on my mind right now is homeschooling, though I really hate that term.  Maybe that's a blog post for another time.

My baby is 4, turning 5 in November.  Everyone is always commenting to her about her starting school this year.  It drives me crazy!  And it's causing some confusion for her.

In our province children can be enrolled in a public school in the year that they turn 5, so that would be this year for my little one.  You are not actually required by law to register a child for school until the year they turn 6, and even then there is always the option of homeschooling.  An option that we took advantage of for our 3 older children, who are all now over the age of compulsory education and are in the workforce.

Why would everyone just assume that I am going do anything different this time around?

Maybe part of the reason is because, well, I am older.  I had my baby when I was over 40 so if I continue to homeschool her right until she is past compulsory school age I will be homeschooling until I am almost 60.  That does sound old but I think there are at least some older teachers in the public school system.

Maybe part of the reason is because little one is, in a way, like an only child.  All her siblings are basically young adults and she has nobody close to her own age to interact with in our home.  It's the old "socialization" concern again.

Either way, I wish they would stop, but I know they won't.

In the meantime I am gearing up and starting to get excited about starting over again.