First Art Lesson

Mr. Bluesky is an artist, I’m not saying that as a bragging Mom, that is what he says. Not only what he’ll be when he grows up, it’s what he is now. His favorite thing is to create art. Now, a lot of the time I don’t get his art but hey, I can say the same about a lot of art I’ve seen.

We do a lot of art and craft projects here but while I come from a family of artists, I myself am not very art knowledgeable and I wanted to have a little more guidance. After reading different reviews I decided to get Home Art Studio Kindergarten for us to use this year. While I was deciding, Mr. Bluesky saw a video about the program and was very negative about it. He was already an artist and didn’t need lessons, doing her art would mean he couldn’t do his art, on and on with his complaints. I went ahead and ordered the program anyways.

He was still really complaining about the program even as I was about to play the dvd for the first time. And then all complaints were gone. We watched the lesson once, got our supplies together, and then watched it again, pausing as necessary as we did the lesson.

Painting

Painting the background.

 

The first lesson is about primary colors. I did have to help him some, his ability to trace his own hand wasn’t great and when it came to painting he wanted me to do the part directly around the hand so that it wouldn’t get damaged. For the background paint the lesson has you mixing two primary colors to make a secondary color. Instead Mr. Bluesky chose black for the background. Once the painting for the lesson was done, he spent the next hour or so making different monster paintings and he was mixing colors for those.

Primary Hands

Primary Hands

He LOVED the lesson! I mean jumping up and down and shouting LOVED it! Can’t wait to do the next one. It was so nice to hear and I was so relieved that it was something he will enjoy and learn from (and not money down the drain!).

 

First Week Wrap-up

Our first week of Kindergarten is over and we both survived it! I think it’s going to take a while before we get a good routine going and we both need to work on our attitudes. :)

Tuesday:
Our first day of school was good and bad. We actually got through everything I had planned except our Poetry Tea.

2014-09-23 15.15.01-1

Kindergarten School Photo

Wednesday:
Lorax day, we read the book, watched the old animated movie, and then after dinner he watched the newer movie. “I speak for the trees!” was stuck in my brain and interrupted my sleep that night! We did our first science kit, making some little piles of compost and making recycled paper.

“Ewwwww, that is so gross!” “No, I am not touching that!” “It looks like sludge! Gross!”

Mr. Bluesky was NOT impressed with making recycled paper.

Pretending the pen is a shark.

Pretending the pen is a shark.

Wednesday was the day I realized that I had to put an end time to our school day. That if after a certain time stuff isn’t done it’s just not getting done. We’re not going to drag it out into the late afternoon and make ourselves miserable. Mr. Bluesky was complaining that doing school takes time away from his playing but everything takes SOOOOO LOOOONNNNGGGGG because he has to be goofy with every single thing. Like pretending the pen is a shark attacking. Silly boy.

Thursday:
Thursday morning was our emotional explosion. After doing some crying and talking we both worked hard to make the rest of the day go well. We had a blast painting with bubble wrap for a project that hopefully we’ll finish over the weekend. We finished off our day playing Zombie Dice.

Bubble wrap corn.

Bubble wrap corn.

Friday:
Our first Field Trip! I’m part of a local homeschool group that is going to do field trips and other activities together. This was our first one, going to a local Cider Mill. But it was raining in the morning and everyone else, except the family who gave us a ride, cancelled. We still had fun even though it was a very small group. :) We had been to the Cider Mill many times before but it was still fun walking around feeding the animals and getting tasty treats. Mr. Bluesky is still afraid of the goats but I had fun feeding them.

Yikes!

Yikes!

I insanely had school work planned for both before and after the field trip. Now I know better. No way will anything get done before a field trip, I’m too busy running around making sure we have everything ready. And it is highly unlikely that we’ll get stuff done after we get home, Mr. Bluesky is too amped up to do anything but run around and play and, honestly, I am too drained to do anything.

Saturday:
This morning actually was our best in terms of flow. I didn’t do a play break after the first 2 activities like I had other days. Instead we just did everything I had planned for the morning all in one fell swoop. I didn’t have any after lunch school plans because we are walking over to Grandma and Grandpa’s and playing with the cousins that are visiting!

I’m undecided about whether to leave out that morning play break or not. Adding in the break really drags out the day and he’s always much more reluctant to come back to the table. I guess I will figure out what schedule works for us as we go along.

Wrap-up:
Wow, we finished our first week! It was exhausting and terrible and energizing and wonderful! What worked for us? RightStart Math 2nd edition Level A. He likes doing the lessons and singing the song. He gets totally goofy and overexcited but settles down and is working too.

He is loving WriteShop Primary Book A. He is NOT a reluctant writer (as in dictation, he doesn’t actually write yet) or storyteller, so the lessons so far are very easy for him and he is adding in extra sentences to every lesson. But he is really enjoying the lessons and having fun with them.

What isn’t working? Reading lessons. This is NOT a fault of what we are using. He just really has a hard time with reading and it makes him very stressed. This article by Brave Writer creator Julie Bogart was very timely and I need, need, NEED to keep it in my mind as we work.

Take Pain Seriously

Thank you for stopping by and sharing our week. Please visit Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more Weekly Wrap-Ups.

Weekly Wrap-Up

 

First Day

I am all worn out. I admit it. Not sure if it was just first day jitters or what but I am just completely done in this evening.

Our first day went pretty well. Morning went very smoothly. He enjoyed being interviewed and really enjoyed the WriteShop lesson. In fact he enjoyed it so much we went off script and wrote more. :)

Kindergarten Interview

Kindergarten Interview (his self portrait is him wearing a red cape).

After a long break of playing in the backyard (him) we moved on to math. During our Right Start Math lesson he was super excited and being totally goofy and it was really hard to bring him back to the lesson and focus, but he was happy. Then we had a break for Nerds, his favorite part of the day!

Eating Nerds!

Eating Nerds!

Next thing on the schedule was a math printout that had 10 Frames (not Right Start). It was super easy for him but it was the first time he’s seen 10 Frames and I think the newness of it stressed him and he just lost it. Total fit. Took a break and came back to it later and quickly got through the rest of the page and then on to a game of Hi Ho Cherrio and all was good.

After lunch we went for a walk to our local park and played, then met up with Grandma and Grandpa and they came home with us to enjoy the Blueberry Corn muffins I’d made. After their visit I had planned to have our Poetry Tea but we were just both DONE by then and decided school was over for the day.

Edited to add: I meant to add how long our school day was. It went from morning until afternoon but that includes so many breaks to do other things. I tried to keep track of how much time we were actually on task. So I am removing the  nearly 40 minutes he was eating Nerds and doing math worksheets and then having a total meltdown– cause we definitely weren’t on task during that time. So removing that time the rest of our school time, just school work, not the video during lunch, not the walk, not the photo shoot, just actual sit down work, it took us a whole hour and thirteen minutes! Maybe I shouldn’t remove that time, maybe everyday is going to have dawdling and some meltdown. Even with it the school time would be one hour  fifty minutes. Which is still in the range I was aiming for, an hour or two.

Schoolroom

Thought I’d do a tour of our schoolroom. Also known as my office, our craft/sewing/art area, and oh yeah, the dining room.

Looking into the dining room from our living room/front door you are greeted by shelves bursting with art supplies, homeschooling materials, and a hodgepodge of other stuff. My desk is in the far corner.

Overloaded shelves.

Overloaded shelves.

Slight angle shift and you see our dining room table, a bookshelf that holds art supplies Mr. Bluesky can access whenever he wants, and our ever growing board game collection.

On our sliding glass door curtain rod is the word AWESOME! It is our theme for the year, it’s going to be awesome!

AWESOME

AWESOME

On the half wall that separates the dining room from the living room we have a cubby unit. This holds school supplies and toys. I plan on putting Mr. Bluesky’s schoolwork on top each day. Above it I have a board with clothespins to pin art and school work to display.

Our cubby shelf unit.

Cubbies!

One more day to get everything ready!

Kindergarten Plans

Sigh, not a single post last school year. I’m going to try to blog our Kindergarten year but no promises, this is not something that comes easy to me.

So last school year was our last preschool year. I started out the year with grand plans and they kind of fizzled. Not that learning didn’t happen, or even planned learning didn’t happen, there just wasn’t as much structured book work as I had thought. Mr. Blue Sky just wasn’t ready for it.

I’m hoping that he is more willing to work on stuff this year. I have a what seems to be an unbelievable amount of stuff planned but I’m not planning on getting to everything every day or even every week. I just want to have a lot of options to bring in to our days and keep it interesting.

This post is just going to be a quick overview of what we’re thinking of using.

For Language Arts:
Ready2Read by the Moffat Girls
Progressive Phonics
Handwriting Without Tears
WriteShop
Poetry Teatimes
Journaling

Math:
Right Start Math

Science:
Young Scientist Kits 
A few other companies kits for different subjects.
Unit studies based on themes he is interested in or we’re doing for our scout group.

Art:
Different art/craft projects found online.
Sketch Tuesday
SQUILT Music studies.
Home Art Studio

Geography/History:
Every few weeks I am doing a unit based on a different country. We’ll learn a little (this is Kindergarten) about the country, geography, people, animals. I’m mainly focusing on famous artists from that country, because art is Mr. Bluesky’s thing. So for Germany we’ll be learning about Paul Klee and listening to Bach. And then to add some fun and because I like to cook we’ll be eating something related to the country. So for Germany we’ll be having pretzels. For this study I am using Expedition Earth as a framework, leaving out the religious materials and we are visiting a variety of countries that she didn’t cover. So, mainly I’m using her passport. :)

In the spring I am hoping to start Story of the World: Ancients. I am planning for it to take about a year and a half.

Additional:
Lollipop Logic
First Time Analogies
Dr. DooRiddles
Math & Literacy Packets from the Moffat Girls
Variety of printouts/unit studies/ activities from Teachers pay Teachers or found online.
Unit Studies created by me around a theme, I often use my Pinterest to plan these.
I’m looking at adding Speekee Fast Track, a Spanish program, next month. I’ll at least do a trial month of it.

So, that’s my plan for this year. On one hand I feel like I’m missing so much stuff and on the other hand I think I have WAY too much stuff planned. We’ll see how it goes. As always our school year starts on the Autumnal Equinox, so next Tuesday is our first day!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Wednesday Workbox

We’re studying dogs this week, though we’ve still had some insect and Valentine’s day activities mixed in. Our first workbox today had the dog ears we made yesterday, some Valentine’s decorations, and our dog books.

Box 1: Books.

Box 1: Books.

Not really sure why but he wanted to roar like a lion!

Not really sure why but he wanted to roar like a lion!

Our second box had our letter sound review cards (Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise), some letter and sound recognition and rhyming worksheets (from Homeschool Creations Dog and Angus Lost Units). This is the first time we’d done first sound cards (he put a clothespin on the letter that makes the sound in the picture). He did a really good job.

Box 2: Letter sounds.

Box 2: Letter sounds.

Our third box had our magnet number cards (from 1+1+1=1) and a dog graphing game from the Homeschool Creations dog unit. We’d done the game yesterday and he asked to do it again so I printed out more copies. Strangely our paper die NEVER lands on the dalmatian, very odd.

Box 3: Magnet numbers and graphing game.

Box 3: Magnet numbers and graphing game.

Filling in the graph.

Filling in the graph.

We did some pre-writing tracing practice and then cutting practice using sheets from the Angus Lost unit for box number four.

Box 4: Tracing and cutting.

Box 4: Tracing and cutting.

Box number five was a salt box with some pre-writing tracing cards. This was the first time we did this activity and MBS did really well with following the cards. Afterwards he just wanted to play in the box which of course made a big mess, but relatively easy clean up.

Box 5: Sandwriting practice.

Box 5: Sandwriting practice.

Our final box of the day had Play-doh, some playdough letter mats, and a chapter book. I read several chapters while he made some letters and then while he just played with the Play-Doh. I’ve tried several times to read chapter books to him but this was the first time he seemed to be engaged in the story.

Box 6: Play dough letters and read aloud.

Box 6: Play dough letters and read aloud.

Working hard to make the letter.

Working hard to make the letter.

Thanks for stopping by.

Workbox Wednesday

MBS and today's workboxes. He loves sticking out and waggling his tongue for the camera.

MBS and today’s workboxes. He loves sticking out and waggling his tongue for the camera.

Our first box had our books, a nice one about Ladybugs, a cute Valentine’s day book, and a book about going potty. Sadly his response to the end of the potty book was, “I’m not a big boy!” Sigh, I so want to say goodbye to diapers. The box also had these cute little ladybug antennas.

Box 1: Books.

Box 1: Books.

He liked having antennas and super beetle powers but honestly Mommy ended up wearing them the most.

He liked having antennas and super beetle powers but honestly Mommy ended up wearing them the most.

Our second box of the day had several letter work sheets all from Confession of a Homeschooler’s K4 Curriculum.

Box 2: Letter recognition work sheets.

Box 2: Letter recognition work sheets.

Our third box started out with the Leap Frog Letter Factory dvd and when we finished watching it we reviewed our letter sound (all short vowels and up to letter M) index cards (Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise). Then we listened for short vowel sounds and matched picture cards to the vowels using a Valentine’s Vowels printout from Make, Take and Teach. When he said and raised the right heart on a stick the picture heart would kiss it and then give him kisses. He was just cracking up over this. It was fun letter sound practice.

Box 3: Practicing letter sounds.

Box 3: Practicing letter sounds.

Our fourth box had some work sheets, games and puzzles. We started with a Ladybug grid game from Mama Jenn, then some counting and tracing pages from Confession of a Homeschoolers K4 Curriculum, and finally a 10 strip ant puzzle from 2 Teaching Mommies.

Box 4: Counting and numbers.

Box 4: Counting and numbers.

Our fifth box was a Kiwi Crate. It was the second part of January’s crate which had a theme of family game night. When the crate first arrived we made the board game and today we made the Comet Toss game. We played in the hallway with the help of our dogs.

Box 5: Kiwi Crate.

Box 5: Kiwi Crate.

MBS and Worf checking out where the comet landed.

MBS and Worf checking out where the comet landed.

Our final box had Hi Ho Cherry-O in it. MBS loves playing the game and it’s good counting practice. Unfortunately this was too many games in a row (Ladybug grid, Comet Toss, and this) and his sportsmanship limit had run dry so when Mommy won (again) he totally lost it. Not really the way I thought the day would end when I put a favorite game in the last box. Now I know better, not too many games in one day!

Box 6: Hi Ho Cherry-O

Box 6: Hi Ho Cherry-O

Even ending with a tantrum I still feel we had a good day. He was not interested in doing any careful tracing– just scribbled all over– but he did well with the letter sounds and with counting and number recognition. Just a few weeks ago he couldn’t tell you a 2 from a 6, he’s gotten so much better.

Thank you for stopping by and seeing what was in our workboxes.

 

Friday’s Workbox

The end of our first week using workboxes. They definitely kept us more organized and our days moved smoothly. It really gave us a beginning and end to our school day, instead of activities just dragging on all day, leaving me feeling unsure whether we accomplished anything at all. In the past I’ve planned activities and not gotten to them just because I didn’t have everything set up; this system is really helping me get my act together. As MBS gets used to the system I can see him being able to move on through the boxes much more independently. We will be continuing to use the workbox system but I will not continue to do a post about each day, while it is nice having a record of how every day went it really isn’t necessary and the posts take me way to long to do.

Starting with books again, all of the day’s selection were by Eric Carle.

Box 1: Books.

Box 1: Books.

MBS was excited about today's books.

MBS was excited about today’s books.

Our second box had MBS sorting Groundhog’s and big G’s and little g’s into containers and us reviewing letter sounds.

Box 2: Sorting letter Gg and letter sound practice.

Box 2: Sorting letter Gg and letter sound practice.

Our cookie sheet had a few fun printouts to use our glass bead and pompom magnets with.

Box 3: Cookie sheet with magnets and worksheets.

Box 3: Cookie sheet with magnets and worksheets.

He had fun decorating the big B's and little b's on the butterfly.

He had fun decorating the big B’s and little b’s on the butterfly.

Number practice and adding pompoms to a caterpillar.

Number practice and adding pompoms to a caterpillar.

Putting magnets on number cards.

Putting magnets on number cards.

Box number four had us painting. First we painted groundhogs (and later in the day we added shadows to them), and then I just put out watercolor paper and MBS painted for as long as he wanted.

Box 4: Groundhog painting.

Box 4: Groundhog painting.

MBS painting.

MBS painting.

Our groundhogs.

Our groundhogs.

Our fifth box had Groundhog worksheets that practiced tracing and cutting.

 

Box 5: Groundhog Day worksheets.

Box 5: Groundhog Day worksheets.

Labeling the groundhog.

Labeling the groundhog.

Friday’s final box had a insect gathering set. After getting everything out of the box we went for a walk around our property. We saw some insects, worms, a snail, and spiders but sadly I was unable to capture any insects for us to look at close up.

Box 6: Insect catching set.

Box 6: Insect catching set.

Every time I flipped over a rock Poppy Seed was right there to investigate.

Every time I flipped over a rock Poppy Seed was right there to investigate.

Thanks for stopping by.

Workbox Thursday

Our first box Thursday was filled with books and an action card. I highly recommend the book Bubba & Trixie, not for it’s scientific accuracy about insects, but for it’s message of being a good friend and being yourself and accepting differences. However MBS’s favorite was Adios, Oscar! and he asked me to read it multiple times since we did the workbox.

Box 1: Books.

Box 1: Books.

Our second box of the day had letter recognition, tracing, cutting, gluing, and color match worksheets in it. He needed help with the cutting, and we had to look up whether crickets have wings (they do) for the wings/no wings sheets. The color find one was still a favorite.

Box 2: Worksheets.

Box 2: Worksheets.

Finding all the C's.

Finding all the C’s.

Sigh, this is a Mommy issue that I'm not sure how to handle. He can be careful and trace well, but he usually just goes crazy. Not really sure how to handle it.

 He can be careful and trace well, but he usually just goes crazy. Not really sure how to handle it.

Careful cutting.

Careful cutting.

The rice sensory bin with A pictures hidden in it was our third workbox again. He really had fun finding all the cards and then we said what everything was.

Box 3: Sensory bin with ABC Find It.

Box 3: Sensory bin with ABC Find It.

Box four had several Bob books from their My First Alphabet set and my index cards with the alphabet sounds and poem from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise.

Box 4: Bob books and letter sounds practice.

Box 4: Bob books and letter sounds practice.

Bug Bingo and an ant life cycle puzzle was our fifth box. This was the first time either of us had ever played bingo and oh my, he did NOT want to quit. Game after game after game. I had to help him with his strategy and I’ll admit I started to purposefully go in bad squares so that he’d win. He really liked this game, well worth the 1 buck at the Dollar Tree.

Box 5: Bingo!

Box 5: Bingo!

Our final box of the day was a dvd from the library. It had 3 episodes all about insects from The Magic School Bus show. He really enjoyed watching this and it was amazingly informative. First time I’d seen the show and I was definitely impressed, I’ll have to check out which other ones the library has.

Box 6: Magic School Bus.

Box 6: Magic School Bus.

Thank you for stopping by.

 

 

Workbox Wednesday

Day three of our new workboxes did not get off to a good start. MBS was very excited about starting school and wanted to get going as soon as he was up, but like Tuesday I told him it had to wait until after our regular morning routine. However when I came in after feeding the animals I found out we had no power, and that just set everything going downhill. We actually did our first box, the books, fine but MBS was too amped up sit for anything else. He was full of explanations about why we had no power and ideas about how to fix it. So I just called a halt to school for awhile. The power came back on before the hour was up but the MBS was deeply involved in his play so I just let school wait until he was ready. Once he was ready school did go pretty well and any problems were just Mommy’s grumpiness and nothing to do with the actual schooling.

Box one had our books and an action card.

Box 1: Books

Box 1: Books.

Our second box of the day had several worksheets, letter finds, tracing the number 1, cutting, and another color find. He enjoyed them all and did well, though the cutting one was torturous for me to watch– he really needs scissor practice and I was terrified he was going to cut himself.

Box 2: Worksheets.

Box 2: Worksheets.

Tracing the number 1. Love the tongue!

Tracing the number 1. Love the tongue!

He really enjoys these sheets but he wants to put an X through any of the wrong color even if it's on the same picture as the right color. I could not convince him that it didn't matter.

He really enjoys these sheets but he wants to put an X through any of the wrong color even if it’s on the same picture as the right color. I could not convince him that it didn’t matter.

Please don't cut your finger!

Please don’t cut your finger!

He likes to get really goofy while doing these, pretending to put the dots on the wrong letter.

He likes to get really goofy while doing these, pretending to put the dots on the wrong letter.

We interrupt your school day with mail! He was so happy to get a card!

We interrupt your school day with mail! He was so happy to get a card!

Our third box was the cookie sheet with our pattern blocks, he immediately just wanted to play with them. At first my stress level started to rise and then I reminded myself that he is 4 and I want school to be fun, I need to be flexible! I decided to just have him do one pattern sheet. I let him choose which and then I took the other and we did the sheets. Then we just played with the blocks. He kept making different dragons. He asked what I was making and I said I didn’t know. He kept pestering me but I really had nothing in mind and told him so. After a moment he shouted, “you’re doodle building!” I just LOVE that term.

Box 3: Pattern blocks.

Box 3: Pattern blocks.

Happy over my butterfly.

Happy over my butterfly.

Adding "wings" to my doodle building to make it into a dragon.

Adding “wings” to my doodle building to make it into a dragon.

We did patterns again in box number five. I used some bugs to do color match, thinking that manipulative would make it more fun for him. No. He still does not like this and really doesn’t seem to grasp it, which I don’t understand, I mean it’s just an ABAB pattern. Is it really that he doesn’t see it or is it just that he doesn’t want to do it, like singing the alphabet song?

Box 4: Ant patterns and caterpillar manipulative.

Box 4: Ant patterns and caterpillar manipulative.

Box number five was a huge hit! The printout is actually for spinning and graphing but what I did was use a matching color dice for each ant and then we “raced”, I used a different color pen for each race. MBS loved this, he just wanted to go again and again. Strangely even though we would switch who was doing what colors the yellow ant won most of the games, I wonder if the die is weighted wrong.

Box 5: Ant race.

Box 5: Ant race.

Our final box for the day was based on a project in Janice VanCleave’s Play and Find Out about Bugs: Easy Experiments for Young Children. It was to build an insect. Obviously the modeling clay called for in the book is much lighter than Play-Doh, my ant’s chenille stem legs couldn’t hold it up but it sure was cute! MBS had fun making his ant and then attacking mine. After that he spent another hour just playing with his Play-Doh and having a blast. The day got off to a bumpy start but it ended well.

Box 6: Build an ant.

Box 6: Build an ant.

Building ants.

Building ants.

Thanks for stopping by.