Friday, August 19, 2011

Days of Creation

On Tuesday, we finished reading Evan and Alan's Beginner's Bible.  It was priceless to see and feel Evan's sense of accomplishment!  He was so proud that we had read the whole Bible!  And perhaps the most exciting part of all was that he couldn't wait to start reading it all over again!  Everyday when I tell the boys that it is time to go 'read Bibles,' they drop whatever they are doing and it is a mad dash for the schoolroom.  They each have their own little easy chair that they jump in and sit and wait for me.  The moment I sit down to read, Evan always asks, "Mommy, I wonder what we are going to learn about today." 

Today, we started again at the very beginning - Creation.  After we read through the creation account once, we went back through and reviewed each of the six days.  By looking at the pictures, both the boys were able to tell me what God made on each day.  We sang the creation song for each day too and Evan sang right along and knew all the words.

Day One, Day One, God made light when there was none.
Day Two, Day Two, God made clouds and skys of blue.
Day Three, Day Three, God made plants and flowers and trees.
Day Four, Day Four, Sun and moon and stars galore.
Day Five, Day Five, God made birds and fish alive.
Sixth Day, Sixth Day, God made animals and man that day.
Day Seven, Day Seven, God did rest in His heaven.

After studying the creation account, we did a little Bible worksheet.  The boys colored the pictures that went with each day of creation, cut them out and glued them onto a piece of construction paper. 

I don't know if it is a boy thing or not, but at this point, Evan just has very little desire to try to stay in the lines.  When I encourage him to slow down and try he can do pretty good, but after a moment or two, he just goes right back.  Hopefully he'll figure it out one of these days!

He wanted to write his name on his completed picture.  He's getting a lot better at this!
We played with the number puzzle, and again reviewed the Days of Creation.  They love making a little game out of who can find the correct item, whether it is puzzle pieces or flashcards or whatever.  I'll say, "Evan, can you find the number 5?", "Alan, can you find the number 2?" and so on.  Today, we lined the numbers all up and I taught them the 'One, Two, buckle my shoe' rhyme.
These little Dollar Tree puzzles are great!  We use them ALL the time!
I reintroduced them to Timmy the Triangle.  Timmy is made out of craft sticks.  They played with him for awhile and then we had fun making different shapes out of pipe cleaners. 

Who needs a bunch of expensive toys, when you have craft sticks and pipe cleaners?!  Wish I would have known this a couple of years ago!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Aa is for Artist

Today, we continued our review of the Letter Aa.  Evan's writing skills are improving and he is really starting to enjoy writing!  We wrote the word 'animals' on the board and then made a list of some animals that begin with the Letter Aa.  Evan circled all the Aa's.  He then did a Letter Aa worksheet that also had these animals plus a few additional Aa words. 

Evan proud of his penmenship!

Evan finding the Aa's in all the animal words.

Completing his Aa Worksheet.
Then we moved on to the Number 1.  Both the boys practiced writing the number 1.  While they wrote, I recited the One Poem several times: "Down goes your line when you make a 1.  It's easy and lots of fun.  Just be sure your line is as straight as it can be.  One's like to stand up tall like a tree!"  Then I would strike a pose and ask them if my body looked like a number 1.  They thought this was hilarious and wanted to do it too.  We made lots of different poses, but ended by standing tall like a tree - just like the Number 1!

Evan making some ones.

Alan's attempt at making ones!

Evan posing like the Number 1!

Alan trying to stand up tall like a tree!
We reviewed the numbers 1-10 with the number flashcards.  Each flashcard has animals on one side and shapes on the other that they would count for whatever number it was.  The number 10 flashcard has 10 bluejays on it.  This reminded Evan of one of his favorite stories that also has a bluejay in it - "Play With Me" by Marie Hall Ets.  So we read it and talked more about all the different animals in the story.  Then we played with the number and lowercase letter puzzles.  Making tracks with the blocks came next and the boys made a really long track to look like a big number 1.  They each made one and then took turns going down their newly made 'road'!

Putting the puzzle together while singing, "1-2-3, Jesus loves me..."

Alan continually impresses me with his letter recognition ability!
"Mommy!  Our track looks like a number 1!"
Evan - "My track is the biggest Mommy!"

Taking a stroll down their new 'road'!
The boys then did a couple worksheets over the Number 1. 

Matching worksheet.  Notice how straight Evan's lines are.  He really is getting a lot better!  Alan - well, he's just getting started!!!

Evan cut out all of the numbers and then let Alan glue them on.

Well, until he took the glue and said, "Here Alan, let me show you how!"
To go along with our review of the Letter Aa, we started to read "I Am an Artist" by Pat Lowery Collins.  This book is part of our Before Five in a Row (B4FIAR) Program.  The illustrations are just beautiful and the boys really enjoy it.  It is all about seeing art in nature and in objects all around us.  One of the lines talks about how you are an artist when you make something from the things that you collect.  The picture instantly reminded Evan of his 'nature art' that we made yesterday.  He got so excited, and said, "Mommy!  I am an artist too!"  I was SO proud of him for making this connection!  I had hoped that he would, but wasn't sure if he would or not.  We spent the rest of the day doing different things from the book, proving to him that he was in fact an artist!

The book talks about you being an artist when you find a face in a cloud.  Evan has been doing this a lot lately.  Especially while we are driving, he'll say, "Look - that cloud looks like a dog, and that one looks like an elephant!"  He's found some pretty interesting things in the clouds!

It also talks about how you are an artist when you find and/or make footprints in the sand or snow.  This went perfectly with Aa is for animals.  We talked about how each animal has a different footprint and how they each make different kinds of tracks.  I was really impressed because on the picture in the book, there is a beach scene with tracks in the sand.  I asked Evan if he knew what kind of animal made tracks like that and he knew right away that they were bird tracks!  There is not a bird anywhere on the page, he just knew it!  I was quite impressed and reminded him that he was an artist!  We got out some play-doh and some of their toys to see what kinds of tracks they could make and to see how they were all different.  They really enjoyed this!  Then I stamped each of their feet so they could see their own footprint. 

Making play-doh tracks with army men, dinosaurs, and various farm animals!

Alan making army men tracks.

Evan making horse tracks.
"Look at all the tracks I made!"
4 precious footprints!  (Evan was trying to hold up Alan's legs because he really wanted me to see the bottom of his feet!"
While Alan took a nap, I took Evan outside and we continued to talk about different animal tracks.  I had 4 different track molds - raccoon, coyote, beaver, and deer.  We wet the sand a little and Evan thought it was so cool to make the different animal tracks in the sand!  Then I stretched out a piece of paper and let him use fingerpaints to make all the different animal tracks.  He had so much fun!  Being the little artist, he couldn't wait to make his own tracks.  So he got paint all over his feet and took off!

Using the Coyote Replitracks to make tracks in the sand.

He really liked the raccoon tracks!

Fingerpaints + Animal tracks = LOTS OF FUN!

The beaver's back footprint was about as big as Evan's!  I never thought about a beaver's back foot being so big.  You can see the webbing and everything!  It was really cool!  I'm learning too!

Daddy helping Evan.  The plates were quite slippery with paint all over them!

Evan was so excited to make his own tracks!

Our front sidewalk is covered in little colored footprints!  A part of me is wishing the rain won't wash it away! 
Another part of the book talks about how you are an artist when you shoot water loops in the air with the hose.  I needed to wash Evan's feet off anyways so it was the perfect opportunity for him to express his inner artist...until the little stinker thought it would be hilarious to come after me with the hose!!!

Making water loops!

A little ornery...I think so!!!
Alan woke up, and Evan wanted to go on an animal hunt.  He insisted on wearing his raincoat and rainboots!  He also wanted to use toilet paper rolls for binoculars - only he kept calling them his 'antlers'!  We walked all around our yard and the neighbors yards in search of animals.  He walked almost the entire time holding his 'antlers' to his eyes!  He made sure that Alan had one and that I had two!  We spotted birds, a cat, a dog, horses, a squirrel, a rabbit, lots of bugs, a butterfly, and a bear in the cave (according to Evan)! 

My little animal explorers with their 'antlers'!

Evan got up in the fort and said he was going on a lion hunt!  He spotted one so he came down the slide to go after it!

Whew!  It wasn't a lion after all - only a bear in the cave, which Evan took care of with his stick!  :)

Our animal hunt wasn't complete until we went to see Rocky!
We had such a fun day!  The neighbor girls went to meet their teachers tonight and they were telling us about it when they got home.  Evan looked at them and said, "My Mommy is not going to be your teacher because she is MY teacher!"  Before going to bed, I asked Evan if he liked me being his teacher and he said, "YES!  You are the bestest teacher and I love you so much!"  Then he said, "And I am an artist and you love me so much too!"  WOW!!!  Talk about melting your heart!  What a precious way to end such a wonderful day! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to (home)school!!!

We were all very excited to start back to school today.  We've been 'playing school' with Evan for well over a year now and he has loved it!  We were excited to get Alan more into it and include him in more of the activities that we do.  He's always been along for the ride but it is so fun now that he is really able to participate in the fun with us! 

The boys knew that today we starting back to school and that we were going to celebrate by making special pancakes for breakfast.  They were so excited and couldn't wait to get downstairs this morning for breakfast. 

Evan was so excited about his E-v-a-n pancakes!

Alan - "Do my letter!  Do my letter!"

Evan - "Make Mom and Dad pancakes too!"

YUMMY!  Evan LOVED his pancakes!

And so did Alan!!!
After breakfast, the boys couldn't wait to start 'playing school'!  I figured on a special day like this, that the dishes could just wait, so we headed straight for the school room!
Posing with their backpacks on and ready to start school!
We did our 'normal' start routine by changing the day magnets, singing the days of the week song, reciting the pledge of allegiance and all of their memory verses (which Alan now recites, "Jesus wept."  So cute!), singing 'Around the circle we will go', giving airplane rides, and of course, getting dinosaur stamps!  They didn't miss a beat!
Changing the day magnets.

I asked Evan last night what his favorite thing to do in school was, and he said, "Getting dinosaur stamps!"  HA!
We started with our Bible Lesson talking about how God made the whole wide world for us!  I figured if we were going to start school over with both the boys, that we would just start again at the very beginning!  We talked about how Daddy does special things for us all the time, and that our Heavenly Father also does very special things for us.  The first thing He did was create the world for us!  The world is a very special gift from God.  And as a matter of fact, there was something very special from God...and it was outside in the mailbox!  They couldn't wait, they grabbed their shoes and we all ran outside! 
The boys couldn't wait to see what special gift was waiting for them!

It was a letter from God!

The letter told each of them that God had made the whole wide world for them because He loved them so much!  Inside was a picture of the world for them to color and enjoy!

After coloring the world picture, they cut it out and glued a craft stick between the 2 images so that they could carry their world that God gave them.
We talked about all the wonderful things that God created for us - the sun, moon, stars, grass, trees, flowers, clouds, etc.  Then we played with our 'weather' puppets and sang songs about how all these things show us God's love. 
"The rain is falling pit, pat, pit...showing us God's love!"
"The rainbow is so beautiful...reminding us of God's promises!"
We talked about different ways that Daddy shows us that he loves us.  Evan said that he knew Daddy loved him because Daddy gave him presents, and helped him clean up his toys, and plays with him.  Both the boys drew a picture of Daddy.  Then we looked through magazines and found pictures of other Daddy's.  Evan cut them all out and then glued them onto a piece of paper - he insisted on using pink paper!

Evan drawing a picture of him and Daddy.

Alan drawing a picture of him and Daddy!

Evan cutting out other Daddy's from the magazine.

And then gluing them all onto his pink paper!
The boys watched a Character Building video on Love and then Alan went down for a nap.  While Alan was sleeping, I took Evan outside to play with the neighbor girls.  We went on an acorn hunt and they glued them all down to spell out the word 'acorn'.  They had a blast! 

Going on an acorn hunt!

Gluing down the acorns to spell it out.

Proud of their finished project!
Since we had been talking about God's wonderful creation, it seemed fitting to go on a nature hunt.  We pretended that we were astronauts who had landed on a new planet and were on a search to see what we could find.  The 1 bucket that I had to collect our findings wasn't big enough, so conveniently, our 'helmets' doubled as buckets too!  They had so much fun!  We found all sorts of things!  After a good hour or so of nature hunting, we dumped our new treasures out onto the driveway and created art masterpieces with them!  They thought this was the coolest thing ever!  The girls kept asking if we could do this every week! 

My little nature explorers - Megan, Evan, and Haley.

Proud of all their nature treasures!

A couple more neighbor girls came to see what all the fun was about and helped create the art masterpieces!

Evan wanted to write his name on his - so we did our best!  I didn't get a picture yet of the finished project.  He added several more flowers to it. 
Back inside, we reviewed the letter Aa.  We talked about several Aa words and he practiced writing it.  His penmenship is getting much better.  He doesn't know it yet, but we are going to talk about Aa is for art this week.

Review of the Letter Aa.
Even though Evan doesn't really need a backpack, he wanted one so badly.  So we told him it would be perfect to take his library books back and forth.  He was so excited about this and couldn't wait to go to the library with his new backpack.  So after Alan woke up, we went to the library and they found lots of books they wanted - mostly Thomas and Curious George books!  But they also found a video they wanted called 'Baby Van Gogh'.  Perfect!  This will go great with my plans for the rest of the week! 

We had such a fun first day back to school!  Tonight, I asked Evan if he had a fun day.  He said, "Yes!  Can we make number pancakes again tomorrow?!!!"