Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pretending We're on an Island Instead of in Boxes

The last six weeks have certainly been amazing and yet painful. Painful in the physical way. I've loved moving into our new home but the constant pain of a kidney stone (a chronic issue for me) has put a damper on things. I battled it for SIX WEEKS because I'm stubborn and didn't want the most barbaric surgery that I've had three times before, but now it seems that I'm destined for that very surgery in five hours. 

I'm in the hospital and have been here since last night. I've been struggling getting my Mother Goose Time posts up due to the pain but thankfully I've been still doing them. During times where I'm in pain, I still need to mother and to teach...Don't we all? So I've done days of activities during the unpacking/kidney stone debacle and I think my children have really fared well during this time. The smallest bit of attention goes a long way with them.

Please forgive me if my next few posts aren't as eloquent as usual. 

We started with the Alphabet Island Day 1 to really introduce them to what an island is. 



We discussed that and did the Spyglass activity. I looove that they are more and more able to almost complete the project from beginning to end without me. They are almost 5 and 7. This is the end of our second year with MGT so it's taken some time, but that time was so well-spent. 




Because they were on a MGT crafting extravaganza, I let them choose another Alphabet Island Project. After these two years I'm feeling a lot of freedom to use this curriculum how it best suits us. Some days that means we do several of the art projects and let our creativity really have at it. 

They are making the crab shakers here. I love when they squeeze that glue--such fine motor practice for my girl.



They shook their shakers and danced in our new homeschool room. It was a beautiful day, despite my pain. I love these things that God gives us to make the days good even through a somewhat difficult time.


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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Crafty Day...

And we continued our crafty day....our Mother Goose Time Extravaganza. After the shaking of the crabs (in my last post), we moved on. 

This month came with a coloring book for the theme. This is a fun treat because usually I need to print off the coloring book from the MGT site. It's still totally easy, but this one was super cute.


Tiny B colored this which truly makes my mouth drop. This little girl was not able to make things look "pretty" in the sense of what would be pretty to someone who is not the mother of the artist. But this truly is pretty and she's learning what is asthetically pleasing to herself and others! It's probably what many young artists go through.


We  did an Invitation to Create, making a strum drum. This was 100 percent independently done.





Remember how in my last post I said that I'm now feeling comfortable to use MGT curriculum in the way that fits us? This summer that means loooking for the projects that totally interest them and that are mostly independent. 

We then moved on to a lei. 

Stringing the straws and flowers is so good for their fine motor practice, hand-eye coordination, and keeps their fingers nimble for writing which most kids lose a lot of over the summer. (I keep telling them that I don't want them to lose too many skills this summer. Every fall my students would come back with so many lost skills. That's really not the worst thing in the world, I promise. A summer of fun is really great and just as important as keeping their skills, but it would be nice to not have to try so hard in the fall!)


The cumulative of our day of crafts: 


A crab shaker, strum drum...


...a telescope and a lei!


And this is a "before" pic of my homeschooling room. I've got some pretty special paint to paint it with, which will obviously have to wait until after I'm released from the hospital and am done with the difficult recovery following this surgery. Ugh. I can't wait to have a summer!!!


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

Monday, June 12, 2017

It's Manipulative Mania

Anyone who doesn't teach or homeschool their kids will think this title is about something else. But those of us who do know that it's about the full-throttled mania that happens when kids get manipulatives in their hands.

We finally opened Mother Goose Time's Alphabet Island theme today. I have to be honest and tell you that I wasn't excited about this theme. I thought it was simply a review box with the only connection being the alphabet. Well, I was WRONG and it turns out that this theme is really about the alphabet and things on islands which is totally like my favorite thing ever. Ugh. I wish I had started on it sooner. Tomorrow we will hit the ground running with this one (and continue with our Bugs box because we are so not done with that!)

We are still in the depths of The Move. I'm starting to go a little cray-cray. I found an amazing dresser that shall henceforth be called "The Ultimate Homeschool Dresser" because it is. I'm going to chalk paint it white and it's going to look even more amazing. So I had to take out my old storage curio and move things around and let's just say that we are not there yet but we will be at some point this summer. Or I will go insane. 

I opened the box for them and the mania started. 

*see The Dresser?


This month included little foam letter mats and these cool peg things. 


The CD is filled with "Island-y" sounding songs and I loved it.


Tiny B asked for the bear manipulatives from a previous month so I got out the box in which I store these manipulatives. 


She "let" Strong B play with the letters. (She can be a bit of a bossy big sister). 


She began categorizing by color and she soon had a whole imaginative scenario going in her head. 


Strong B joined her in the scenario. 


So thankful for this box of manipulatives which I've collected over almost the last two years with MGT. It gave me two solid hours of unpacking/organizing and it gave the kids a whole different world in their heads. 

*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.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Love Theme-Based Learning


This is a little girl who is completely engaged in the world of bugs. Because our theme for Mother Goose Time last month was "Bugs and Other Crawly Things," her and her brother have devoted so much of their energy to finding bugs, asking me to find them information on specific bugs, reading about bugs, and creating bug habitats. They are completely engrossed with bugs. And this is why I absolutely love theme-based learning. 

When I first began teaching third grade in 2000, public school education was very much going away from the form of theme-based learning, where you teach your students everything there is to know about a certain subject. I understood why the leaders were against this. Teachers had been teaching about topics such as "butterflies" or "the desert"  but the real work that was necessary to learn the objectives wasn't being focused on. The students were walking away knowing a gigantic amount of information about butterflies but not how to correctly punctuate a sentence. They knew all of the different deserts of the world but not how to read four syllable words. 

I've always been so grateful to the themes that I've taught over the years, because these themes have always been a vehicle in which to learn the objectives. Most of the time our themes came from our social studies and science curriculum. In 4th grade I taught about the pioneers and had my students write pioneer journals. Through this they learned how to write creatively and how to use "voice" and good "word choice." (This was through a writing program called the 6 + 1 Traits of Good Writing). 

In public education (in the younger grades) the thought is still that the lamguage arts and math objectives are the most important thing and that the social studies and science objectives come in second. As a now homeschooling mom...I can now say that I think they are equally important. Without a theme that grabs a child's interest, they don't have anything exciting on which to build their writing. This is okay for students who don't struggle, but the struggling ones need themes that grab them! And even for the students who don't struggle, learning how to indent at the start of a paragraph is far more exciting through writing about a sarcophagus!!! 

I want my children to love learning and the actual content of "bugs" and "deserts" and "farms" is just as important. This is what fuels the love of learning. And this is why I love that MGT bases their program around themes. They teach important content through these theme about the actual subject matter and they use the subject matter to teach math and language arts objectives. I love it. 



I'm not kidding you when I tell you that they were searching all day for slugs. 



They found their slugs and created the ultimate home for them. 

Strong B pulled out our Storybook of the Month and tried to identify bugs he had found throughout the day. Reading, researching, exploring, searching...all beautiful things accomplished through a theme. 


*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.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Learning Sportsmanship Through Educational Games


This is the face of a 4 year-old boy who loves playing games and learning all things. It's also the face of a boy who is competitive and doesn't quite know how to have good sportsmanship while playing a game. This is typical for child though, and he really is almost there. Sweet B didn't have as fiery of a personality and therefore I didn't really have to work on this with her when she was four. But now that she's almost seven and her little almost five year-old brother has got a competitive streak...I'm realizing that I need to get to teaching these kids how to win and lose!

This Mother Goose Time game was called "Bug Family." It focused on the "ug" word family. Strong B is starting to read (eek!) which is so exciting and Tiny B is already a reader (double eek!) so this game was definitely playable for them and fun.


They took their respective turns and the game started out very sweet.


As Strong B started winking there was a lot of gloating on his part. 


Even Jack the Standard Poodle got in on the action and showed his competitive side. 


Oh boy...When the arm goes up to spin the spinner you know that some sibling rivalry is going down!


And here is where the pictures abruptly end. Strong B was winning. Tiny B was whining. Lots of whining.  There were tears from both. And because I've chosen to never put any pictures up that might embarrass them in the future, you'll have to take my word for it. Strong B decided that he was done playing the game, and that was where I put my coaches hat on (don't all mamas wear different hats?) and gave them a lesson on having good sportsmanship. We talked for a long time. We talked about how their daddy was a big sportsman and how much he respects players who play with integrity. We acted out different scenarios and defined "respect" and "kindness." 

I am confident that we will be having this conversation multiple times over the next thirteen years but I am also confident that they learned a lot from our conversation and it impacted their mind and future behaviors. They are both such kind and well-behaved children (oh boy, I lucked out on that one!) and I feel that this won't be a very hard skill for them to master.

*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.