Sunday, April 23, 2017

Art and Happiness

For anyone wondering: our tadpoles who turned into frogs most likely jumped out of our bowls and onto the grass and most likely are living a fabulous froggy life. Either that or they shriveled up and died and we just can't see them anymore because the water has become so darn murky. Darn it...I'm raising two children and homeschooling and am going to start working in my hubby's business soon...I don't have time to be raising tadpoles!

Anyway...Tiny B had an amazing IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting and an even more amazing orthopedics appointment today and my heart is full. She's worked so hard. Today I told her that she doesn't understand it now, but someday she wlll understand just how much of a miracle she is. 

Both Tiny B has been very insistant that we do every Mother Goose Time pond theme activity. I had the Snail Trail Invitation to Create sitting on the homeschool table for about three days and it seemed that she was asking to do it nearly every hour! I finally obliged even though it was  the evening and I was tired.

Strong B's face simply slays me. It is the sweetest. 


Tonight I was going through photos and found a side profile picture of me. The resemblance is striking. 


We opened up our Snail activity bag for Day 16.


The recent change Invitation to Create (MGT used include a lot of product based art and it has changed to about 50 percent process based) has caused me to become much less stressed during art. There is absolutely no pressure for them to produce a perfect project. I can sit back, talk with them, and really just observe how they choose to engage with the materials and what end product they want to produce. 

He decided to spread the sand with his finger and she used her fingers and glue. 


He then used glue as well, and probably decided on that when liked the look of his sister's work. We discussed the reason why snails have trails and got into some other snail facts.


We will be starting the Bugs and Crawly Things MGT unit tomorrow. My cue was when I saw Strong B catch a ladybug and they both fought over it all day. We took out the manipulatives for the month and looked through the Teacher Guide and talked about all the fun we will have in (amidst all of the packing for our new adventure). 


*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Snail and Frog Phonics Game with a Side of Is The Year Over Yet?

I'm trying to remember what April in my classroom felt like...And if I remember correctly this was when I started counting down the weeks until the school year was over! Spring Fever hit and along with bees and butterflies came children whose heads were filled with visions of pools and the zoo and FUN, not 'reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic. 

So tell me why, dear friends, it should be any different with my own two angels? They spent the day yesterday eating large amounts of chocolate (well, Strong B did) and doing two Easter egg hunts and managing all of the Dollar Store toys that had been lavished upon them. Church was held in a large amphitheater where they chased their friends and danced to the praise songs on the large grass area...

Today was unfortunately the first day "back at it" but also really a day of detoxing from all of the sugar and fun. By noon I wanted to call the public school down the street and enroll them but I had to remind myself that this is normal! I'm still a teacher after all, just of my own children.

We spent the morning working on Tiny B's kindergarten curriculum and simultaneously managing Strong B's time-outs in his room. We read "The Velveteen Rabbit," Tiny B cried (literally) with love for her stuffed babies, and then I ate chocolate eggs and napped with Strong B. 

After our nap I pulled out our Mother Goose Time game called "Snail and Frog." We are STILL doing the Pond theme because we are knee-deep in raising tadpoles and we just haven't done all of the amazing Pond activities that MGT has given me. 

I cut out the game pieces and put the letters in the cube. 

You roll the cube, read the word that is formed, and move your frog piece to the same word. This game was teaching the "og" word family. (Notice my red star...I star off the "must do" activities" when I first receive the curriculum for the month).

This game was perfect for Strong B's level. He knows most of his letters and sounds but still needs help with them. 

Here he formed the word "bog" and found it on the game board."


And then Jack the Standard Poodle walked right through the middle of it! Ugh! Contending with an eleven month-old puppy is as difficult as contending with tired children. 

Prior to starting the game, I explained to Tiny B that we were playing this game for her brother and that she was to let him do the reading by himself. She's already reading these words and as we all know, big sisters can be rather bossy...

The MGT Teacher's Guide gave a suggestion for children who need a challenge, and that was to have them read the word and then write the word. I promise that I was going to do this and I definitely should have, but I was OH SO TIRED. It really is a perfect illustration though of how kindergarten children can benefit from this curriculum.

So when we finished the game, I had her read all of the words on the game board.

I had him do the same thing. It was harder for him and he required a lot of help, but by the last five words he had gotten it. I was so proud of him. There is something to be said about teaching your own children to read.


I'm writing this blog post from a reclining position and simultaneously watching the kids in the backyard. I'm tired. We've been allowing God to lead us in discovering where our next home will be...where we will live. And that's tiring stuff, physically and mentally. 

Eight weeks of the school year are left :) 

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Story of a Grandpa's Love and Tadpoles

Oh boy, do I have a neat story to tell you...

One thing I dread is when a Mother Goose Time unit ends that we are really enjoying...

It's almost mid-April and we are still doing the Pond theme. We simply cannot stop. We are learning too much to stop and as a partial homeschooler, I love the freedom of being able to continue to learn and explore beyond a set amount of time. 

Two days ago we went to my parent's home. They have a pond which has recently been filled with quite a bit of water due to this year's rains. The kids begged grandpa to go fishing. (There is no fish in this pond but they desperately wanted to believe there was). 

Grandpa took them down to the pond in his tractor. Strong B "drove" it on the way down. 

Grandpa (my step-dad) has a deep love for fishing. He still has his fishing-themed office and I'm sure that his daydreams take him back to the lakes where his father taught him how to fish. 

This was my step-father many years ago.


I have very fond memories of him teaching me how to fly fish in Wisconsin in Rice Lake. The smell of the water and the feeling of the sun on my back has stayed with me for 29 years now. I went with him for the first time at 12 years-old. Rice Lake was a foreign country to this California girl. 

Needless to say, seeing him with his grandchildren gave me a lump in my throat as I saw him with excitement in his eye as he taught them how to fish. I don't know if he'd imagined this moment, but I do know (even if he's not enough of a softie to admit it) that it probably felt like a dream come true and I had to wonder if it made him think of his departed father teaching him how to fish. 


Seeing him give the instructions to them and noticing how graceful he was at whipping the line back and forth reminded me of my awkward early teen years and how he had done the exact same for me. 


He even taught me how to drive the boat. Someday I'll write about how he taught me to sail a sailboat which we did for many years in Santa Barbara. Those sweet memories will always be nestled into my mind and I often long for those days of a beautiful sail, sunburnt skin, and the barbecue he'd always make afterwards. 


Memories lead us to more memories and all of a sudden it's as if all of these years haven't  whirled past you and you are right in the middle of it...But then you come to and realize that years have passed and new memories are being created for the next generation of life...and you realize how fragile time is.

There is just something about a grandpa teaching his grandson to fish...


After they "fished" they realized that there were literally hundreds of tadpoles dancing beneath the water. See that black? Those are lumps of tadpoles.


And because Tiny B so sweetly asked, grandpa braved the swarming bees and mud to try to get some tadpoles using a tiny net--the only net they could find. 


He caught two--one for each child. Here they are fiercely holding onto the tadpoles, fighting for their own, as only siblings can do. 


"Its mine!" "NOOO!!! It's mine!!"


Grandpa took the fishermen back up the hill to decide what to do with their catch. 


They decided they wanted to keep them, so we researched how to care for tadpoles, discussed it, and found the components for their home around the ranch. 

And then they watched them all day. 


Here's where the story speeds up and then takes us to today.

Strong B "loved"  his tadpole a bit too much and ultimately squished him, I think. Tiny B wanted to make sure they were fed so she made me boil lettuce for them. This is definitely a 4 year-old boy compared to a 6 year-old girl. I love it.

Grandpa took them fishing the next day and got them several tadpoles, of which are now living in containers on my front lawn. Today we will make them an appropriate environment and boil some lettuce, of course. 


Thank you for walking through my memories with me. I'm moving soon and I'm looking forward to pouring over the pictures from my life in the photoboxes in my closet. It's a hard task, to decide which photos to keep (I'll probably keep them all) and to simply allow my mind to go back to those places that I would give a thousand dollars to venture to again. 

My hair is turning gray in spots and my mind is so full of my children that I barely take the time to remember my previous life...what everything once was and will never be again. It's sad but it's happy. Time passes us by and we are blessed to be here and blessed to be continuing the circle of life...passing the memories on to my children. We are hoping that grandpa takes the kids to a real lake to fish. I don't think we'll have to twist his arm...When they are older they will look back on fishing with grandpa with fondness and love. It's all about love.

Mother Goose Time Workbooks and An Invitation To Create

I have loved watching my children grow academically purely through their brains maturing and nothing that I have done. It interests me greatly because with Tiny B, I have learned that she will often do things (eat, use scissors, roll over...) in her own timing. Sometimes the therapies have helped her (I highly believe that her OT kept her from being completely orally defensive) but sometimes I see that nothing has helped her but time. 

Strong B is four and a half. He has not been very interested in the Experiencing More Math and Experiencing More Literacy Workbooks from Mother Goose Time (MGT) until now. Tiny B loved them and they were her primary written work for transitional Kindergarten. 

In the past month, after watching his sister do her work for two years, he has suddenly become very interested in these workbooks and I'm overflowing with joy! 

I had some of the workbooks from before and so I had him work on them.


Writing his numbers. A note: I've been having such difficulty having him hold his pencil with the correct grip so my friend gave us the purple contraption below and it's totally working!


Tiny B did her numbers and it looks beautiful to me. The decision to pull her out of OT this year to save my sanity was worth it!!

It's all in her own time.


After they did their book work, they did a MGT Invitation to Create and made a snake. The MGT snake and MGT turtle got along fabulously.




I have loved watching them play with their MGT creations. I'm loving watching how they are best friends. 

Watching them become interested in subject matter over time as well as just plain mastering things on their own, has been one of the great joys of homeschooling.