Dec 28, 2009

Sesame Street Free EBooks - Toddlers & Preschoolers

I was contacted and asked to review the new Sesame Street Ebooks site, I was a bit hesitant at first, but then I went on and saw that they had my all time favorite sesame street book - HERE - and I had a change of heart!

Here is a link to a press release regarding the new site that gives the ins and outs of it.

So far they only have the free content up and it looks really great. I don't know if it is great enough that I would want to pay for something like this or subscribe to it, but as a free resource that will be changing weekly, it looks fantastic.

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the new design on the Sesame Street website! I must say that since my daughter is 12 I have not been on the Sesame Street site in quite sometime, but I took a look around it with SC this morning and it looks great!

Here are my top picks for the site:
  • I love the playlist feature where you can choose one they have made or create your own based on subject, theme and content type!
  • My street - where you can customize a webpage with all your favorite aspects of the site.
  • podcasts - great for a little something to take on the go!
  • Parents section - and more specifically Media for Milestones section that has all the great developmental stages at the click of a mouse!
Really the only thing that I think could be improved was the fact that I couldn't find ANY printables! I am big on watch a video, do a color page and SC really loves this type of thing. I may have not looked deep enough into the site, but I couldn't find ANY! ~ with the exception of one of the ebooks, which was coloring book that could be printed off and I may have done that if I didn't already have the HUGE version of it!

I really think I will be using this site often in the future to gather things for SC - WHO LOVES ANYTHING on the computer.

Dec 23, 2009

Children's Museum -

I had some extra help this week, with CJ home, so I thought we would venture into the city with the Littles! We hadn't gone to the Children's Museum in over a year, so I thought that would be the perfect place to go. Looking back at those pics really hit me how much they have changed in the past year! Here are some fun shots from this trip -

KM was off with CJ most of the time, which great for her to not have to be tied to SC. GC was very content just looking at everything and playing with her dog/blankie in the stroller.
The next time we go it will be interesting to see what she will be getting into!

Dec 22, 2009

New Traditions!

Over the last few years, as our family lifestyle has changed and shifted, we have moved our holiday focus from Christmas to Yule. We have always celebrated Yule, but now it is more about OUR family and celebrating what is important to the three of us. Then we spend Christmas with our extended family. We had the Littles so SC and I made pancakes, bacon and sausage for breakfast and let KM & CJ stay snuggled in bed a bit later than usual. Then SC and KM opened up some presents for the classroom...

then played with the Moon Sand before heading out to the SNOW!!!

I have to clarify that SC is walking on about 18 inches, it was just so cold that she didn't sink... here is a picture of what CJ spent most of the day doing....
After the Littles went home KM and I made a cake to call back the sun:
and finished off a braid loaf - three strands coming together to make one - just like us!
Then we finished up with presents!!!
CJ's favorite gift was his Stewie shirt from KM....
KM's was her MP4 with touch screen...
and mine was my new phone for the classroom!
We had a fantastic day! It was so nice to all be together and have fun! Hope you are all enjoying your holidays as well!

Dec 20, 2009

Busy Weekend Catch Up!!!

We had a wonderful snow storm last night and into today! It made for the perfect weekend and allowed me to prepare for tomorrow's Yule fest!

KM's best friend - AM - got here Friday to go to Edaville Railroad with us!

We had a great time, but of course we had to pick the night that it was literally 12 degrees out!!! KM doesn't remember when we went when she was little and AM had never been so it was great for them to do that together for the first time! The lights were beautiful and the cocoa was FANTASTIC - and helped to keep us warm!!!

CJ napped yesterday and prepared for the storm to come. He got called out to plow at 11:30p Saturday night and has only pulled in long enough to plow half the driveway, pick up some food and snacks and drive AM home, before heading back out again.

The girls were in and out of the snow all day! They are loving the snowball makers, they made little forts for themselves and were waging wars on each other....luckily no one came out with any injuries!

I have been keeping the fire going and baking up a storm. That is my bread rising in the warmest spot! The bread always seems to taste a bit better when it rises near the fire! I think it is more in the symbolism of it than anything!

I have no idea what our snow totals are or will be but it will be fun to see how it measures up to SC tomorrow! If you are also enjoying this wonderful winter welcoming storm be sure to keep safe and warm!

Dec 18, 2009

MOS - Sound Field Trip

We went back to our all time favorite field trip spot - the Museum of Science - earlier this week to check out the Take a Closer Look and the Wild Music Exhibits.

Here is a clip of some of KM's favorite parts of each -

From Take A Closer Look-

Jamming Room in Wild Music

Frequency Waves in Wild Music

and an all time favorite - the Roomba Robot!

We also went to see a show in the planetarium - Winterlight : Stars and Symbols of the Solistice - before it closes for renovations.

Dec 16, 2009

Rolling Along...

I have not been feeling very well the last few days, but am pushing through this silly cold and trying to not think about it! Since I wasn't feeling so great I figured I would let the kids take something out of the closet, that hasn't been around in a while -

This is one of those things that only gets taken out once in a while and when it does, it always seems like a brand new toy! They had a great time experimenting with different heights, different weights of the cars, different angles of the starting point and more! Of course SC just thought it was the greatest thing when the airplane went shooting off and hit the cat...luckily the cat didn't mind that much!

Dec 12, 2009

Fall Session Completed -

All checks are in a row! All her work is completed! All papers are filed away! All plans and most of the prep is done for next month!!! Yippee 3 weeks off!

KM has been very productive during this past fall session. She has become much more independent over the last few months and we have seen some much need improvement in the areas of organization and time management! We pushed through yesterday and today to get her session completed and we will be taking a 3 week break over the holidays. I REALLY NEED a break and am trying to take the rest of this week to get our classroom in order and all the plans laid out for next session so that I don't have to touch or think about any of it until Jan. 3rd! At that time I want to be able to just prep what I need for the week and be ready to start on the 4th!

So though it might be a bit quiet, I will be popping in from time to time as I have some neat holiday and just fun things planned for us over our break! We will be busily finishing up some holiday gifts that I would love to posted, but will have to later as I don't want to give away any secrets! We will also be taking advantage of our library passes and the quiet time at the museums, so I will be sure to show off those adventures!

See ya in a bit and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Dec 11, 2009

Meet the Masters - Monet

KM's favorite Monet just happens to be the one that she has unknowingly been staring at a print of since she was quite little - as it hangs in my bedroom! I have always loved Monet's work, the fluidity of it all even though it really is nothing but spots. Here is KM's interpretation of his style -

Dec 9, 2009

Reindeer Day -

They watched Rudolph and The Island of Misfit Toys which inspired them to dress as Reindeer...
Learn about Reindeer

and color some Reindeer pictures
It was a very fun filled Reindeer Day!!!!

Dec 6, 2009

First Snowfall -

This truly is my FAVORITE season! I love love love love LOVE snow!

On the first snow fall each year KM gets a snow day present, so this year she got two new Snow Boogie sleds shaped like polar bears, two snow ball makers and a new inflatable snow tube. This was just enough snow to make everything look pretty for the day and she will be all set when the next one hits!

Dec 4, 2009

Winter Session 7th Grade Curriculum Picks

As we are drawing our fall session to a close over the next week, I figured it was time to look ahead and finalize the choices we have made for the upcoming Winter Session! Since we are always changing things around here, this is of course a rough guess of what we will be doing. Most of our picks for the fall session worked out rather well, but there are some areas that we needed to tweak a bit. Here is our "intended" outline -

We have swapped out our ELA system SEVERAL times in the past two years, but I do think that we have finally made a bit of progress in this area. KM worked through Levels 3 & 4 of Writing Strands rather quickly and decided to work through a few workbooks for latter half of this past session and the next.
  • She has been working through 5-Minute Daily Practice Grammar, she tends to do all 5 lessons for the week at once on Monday, but she is getting them all correct, so I guess I can't really complain can I.
  • Quick Practice Writing Skills is a bit more of a challenge for her - well it varies day to day. There are some things that she just needs a slight reminder on and others that have never been covered, so when we come to an area that needs to be covered completely we stop and cover it. It seems to be working and she is far less weary of asking for help.
  • For writing itself we have gone back to the 3 minute non-stop writing and are using 350 Fabulous Writing Prompts. Some of the prompts are not so fabulous in my opinion, but we just skip those ones and take those days to go back over and review or edit her previous days writings.
  • We will also begin working through the Grammar and then Writing on BrainPop.
  • For literature we will be using Teacher Created Resources for Tuck Everlasting and The Island of the Blue Dolphin. As well as a Scholastic Book Guide for Around the World in Eighty Days which will coincide with our Geography. KM of course will also be continuing her free time reading - not that I have to worry about that.

Math -
  • We will be finishing up The Complete Book of Algebra and Geometry this next session so that she can feel confident when she goes back to the Teaching Textbook for Algebra in the Spring.
  • I also thought that it would be fun and interesting to take a look at Women Mathematicians during this session. This book features 15 women and we will spread them out covering one or two a week for the 10 week session.
Science -
  • We have decided to put off Story of Science again as KM wanted to slow down a bit on her Physics so that she could really investigate each area more closely. So for the next session she will continue with her Physics Workshop Kit from Thames & Kosmos. She will also continue to supplement with Brain Pop.
  • We are also going to revisit Chemistry. She had done a bit of it last year at our co-op, but I think we will try to dive a bit deeper this time around. I have gotten a light textbook - Chemistry of Matter - from Paperback Swap and she has agreed to try it. I have the Periodic Table from Basher Science Books - WHICH SHE LOVES! - as a stand by in case the text flops. I have a lot of projects and kitchen chemistry things to add in as well as BrainPop - AGAIN!

Social Sciences -

Health -
KM really likes the Learn to Be Healthy site - though some of the content is a bit below her level, most of it seems to be sinking in and she is moving right along through it. They do have a high school level, but I don't think she is ready for that set just yet. She is also working through the Health topics on Brain Pop.

Electives -
  • Staying with our strong Science focus - per KM's request - she will be studying weather and meteorology this session. I will be listing our resources for this in a separate post.
  • For her foreign language she is going to be doing Spanish. We were lucky enough to get a FANTASTIC deal on Tell Me More by Auralog through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op last summer and she is REALLY enjoying the program. The voice recognition software is great and the homeschool edition has worksheets that you can print off to supplement with. I will be supplementing with two workbooks - Let's Learn Spanish Grades 7 & 8. I also picked up to sticker books that I thought KM & SC could do together. This would help reinforce the basics for KM and would introduce SC to a bit of Spanish as well.
  • Music Alive! is still a big hit and we will continue with this through the next session. We also will be taking a look at some opera pieces from Opera for Everyone and will be going to the Boston Lyric Opera's presentation of Barber of Seville.
  • Piano Adventures is working incredibly! She will be starting on Level 2 and I am amazed and awestruck by how well she is playing with no outside instruction. There was talk of an interest in Flute, but I am not too sure how serious that was...
  • She will be continuing with Drama at our co-op and they will be working on another Shakespearean play with music and dancing, but the title has not been disclosed yet!
  • We will be continuing to work through the Meet The Masters for our art practical and theory section. She will also continue on her cross stitch work and may start some sewing as she interested in working on her costume for the play this spring.
Again I can't stress enough how much of a guideline this is and it is in NO WAY set in stone. I am very open to changing things that are not working and try to make sure that KM feels that she can be honest with me about how she feels something is going.

Dec 2, 2009

Update on the Littles

Our lesson schedule has changed around a bit lately so I realized - after quite a few emails - that I hadn't mentioned much about the Littles lately.

SC is doing very well - she is working on her alphabet, can count to 10 and is working her way through the teens at the moment and LOVES to color. She has started to color more of the actual picture - of course she still scribbles, but if you ask her color the pumpkin orange, she can - which is helping with her color recognition as well.

GC is really getting a hang of sitting, rolling and scooting. She has also started eating a bit here and there.

Our biggest challenge recently has been that GC is grabbing EVERYTHING which is causing SC to have to really learn to share more than ever! She loves her sister though and seems to be okay as long as she doesn't take her BINKY!!!

Nov 30, 2009

Meet the Masters - Picasso

This unit's artist was Picasso and KM's favorite of the pieces that were covered was the Blind Man's Meal.

She did a great job on her abstract musical instruments in chalk pastel...