August 21, 2014

Christmas in August

At least that's how it felt when we got our math curriculum in the mail today. The kids tore into that box and had all of the manipulatives broken in within the hour.

We ordered the Saxon K-3 manipulative kit and Saxon K meeting book from Rainbow Resource. I ordered the teacher's manual used from Abe Books, and we're all excited to get started once it arrives.

August 18, 2014

Beginning Our Journey (Part 3)

I already wrote this post once and somehow it disappeared!! So here is my less-detailed version of what we plan on using for all of the other subjects for Kindergarten this year (I wrote about our math and reading curriculum here). I believe that Kindergarten should still be very informal, so aside from reading and math, we won't be using any real curriculum. No matter how much the world tells us the opposite, I don't think it's important to cram a 5 yr old full of information in hopes of creating a mini-expert in as many subjects as possible. Children naturally learn about and seek out information on the things that capture their interest. At that point, it is up to the parent/teacher to provide the resources that will help the child explore that topic, whether it's through books, videos, experiments, toys, etc. I have no doubt that through her natural curiosity, we will touch on aspects of science, geography, history, etc., and she will probably retain more than if I tried to teach her what I thought she should know. 

I've made a list of books that I want to add to our library throughout the year. Many of them could probably be found in our local library, but the nature of these books will make them useful for many years, and for all of our children, so I feel they'll be worth the investment. Each of the books introduce a large variety of topics that I feel that would inspire further learning. For instance, Mollie might become fascinated with a particular time period that we read about in A Street Through Time, so we'll research it further. She's already decided she wants to visit China, so we'll look at it in our Atlas' to learn more about it, and maybe read some historical fiction. She might have more questions about something she sees in Look Inside Your Body, so we'll look for the answers together online. I really do believe that learning can be as simple as that! Yes, it's not the popular opinion, and it's not what many of us are used to. We're used to being told what we must learn, but at 5 years old, I don't think that's necessary.

Mollie is always asking to do a science "experience" (experiment), and I usually do something simple involving baking soda and vinegar, or I let her mix some things together. I'm so excited to use these books because the activities are super quick and simple, and use household items, or items found in nature. Nature in a Nutshell has activities broken down my seasons, and Science in Seconds is broken down into categories like colors, gravity, light, water, etc.

The illustrations in Outside your Window are beautiful. Each page introduces a nature topic with an illustration and a short poem.




The kids do a lot of free-art already since I keep most art supplies out in their playroom, but I think we'd all enjoy exploring some new mediums and techniques together.

I thought I'd add the bibles we use to this post. We normally read them at bedtime, but I'd like to make it part of our morning routine instead.

August 15, 2014

Lincoln's Superhero 1st Birthday Party

Mollie and I were talking about birthdays and she said that she didn't remember the Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday party we had for her 3rd birthday. So yesterday the girls and I went through our blog and looked through pictures and read about their past birthday parties! It reminded me of why I have this blog and motivated me to keep it up. So before I forget about it, here are some details from Lincoln's 1st birthday party.

If you know about Lincoln's heart condition and the things he's been through this year, you'll know that reaching his 1st birthday is cause for celebration!! We wanted his birthday to be as special as he is, and we decided on a superhero theme. There are so many awesome ideas on the web, thanks to Pinterest and a lot of creative moms, and it was a lot of fun to plan and put together everything for this party. 

Below is Lincoln's birthday cake, made by Skye Pletcher of Legacy Cakes. We used Icing Smiles, an amazing organization that "provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child." We love the way it turned out and are so thankful for organizations like this, and bakers like Skye who volunteer their time and talent.

I found Lincoln's adorable shirt on clearance at Zara, and the girls' at Walmart.

Another shot of our beautiful cake. In the background you can see some framed pictures of 'Super Lincoln' that I'll share soon. You can also see the city backdrop that Stu made. He volunteered to make the city, and as always, he went above and beyond. It's wooden and each piece is hinged together.

I had fun making these layered jello jigglers. It took some time, but I love the way they turned out. I decoupaged comic book pages onto a paper mache letter 'L' from Joann's. Who knew it was so hard to find comic books?! I looked in Walmart and the grocery store with no luck. My dad ended up finding some for me in an antique store.

I made the hanging medallions out of tissue paper and comic book pages, and the banners out of comic book fabric I found at Joann's.

I ordered foam superhero masks and foam stickers from Etsy, so that the kids could create their own superheros! 

I didn't expect them to be a hit with the adults too, or I would have ordered more!

Mollie was taking her character as "Super Mollie" very seriously..

Lincoln wasn't in to opening presents for long, but he got some great new toys that all three of the kids have been enjoying, and also some adorable clothes.

We held Lincoln's party in a park right next to a swampy pond. There was lots of frog catching going on! I have never seen a tinier frog!!

Finally time to cut that cake!

Singing "Happy Birthday"..

We gave Lincoln the fondant emblem from the cake.

Burning off some energy as the party winds down..

It was a great party, but this about sums up how everyone was feeling by the end of the night :)