Friday, January 25, 2008

Counting by Fives

This is an activity that my son enjoyed a lot, so I thought I would share. We started using this when he was five years old, doing kindergarten work. He could count by fives perfectly, but I wanted to make sure that he could recognize the numbers as well. I printed out the numbers 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100 fairly large on cardstock paper. I then cut them into little squares. I gave them to him all mixed up, and had him put them in the correct order. For beginning learners, you can start with half of the numbers, and then add the second half once your child gets those down. I cannot stress how helpful this is when learning about money, and counting nickels! We coincidentally did this shortly before the "nickels" section in his time and money book came up.
We also used the same concept with recognizing the months and days of the week. Simple enough, and it's fun, too!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fa La La La La, La La La La

My son, Thomas, participates in choir, which is a small group from nearby Liberty Academy, along with other homeschoolers. Liberty Academy is a small private school that uses ACE curriculum and it's a great, affordable alternative for parents who work and can't (or don't want to?) homeschool. The choir teacher, Patricia, is a DEAR, SWEET friend that Thomas absolutely adores. I learned this because I noticed that after each choir practice, he would talk to her. About anything. One day he told her about his loose tooth. He just isn't like that with most people at ALL. So she is a very special person. As a matter of fact, it is Patricia's church that we visit at Christmas time to see their special choir/orchestra program, "Rejoice! It's Christmas!" And it was this program that helped my son learn about the plan of salvation. (She bawled when I told her about him accepting Christ!)

Anyway, Thomas is the youngest singer by a year. He looks so little up there. Anna, who is even smaller, was supposed to sing, but after being sick in the fall she decided to wait until spring to join the choir and perform. (The truth is that she doesn't like sharing the stage with others, so we will see what happens when she is asked to perform this spring!) They both love singing, and even though they sometimes say, "I don't want to go to choir!" they find themselves giggling when I catch them singing their songs around the house. They are not children's songs, so it's really neat that they have the opportunity to learn these songs and get to sing them with other children/ young adults.

This picture shows Thomas and who he calls his "best friend," Nolan. Nolan is eight years older than Thomas, and another homeschooler. The age difference doesn't matter, though, and they have learned a lot from each other!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Five Year-Old Genius

My daughter just turned five in November. She has always had incredible insight, even on things that I did not "teach" her. So we started kindergarten when she was 4, and take it slowly since we aren't stuck in "grade levels." In her math book yesterday, she had this problem:

If you have 4 pennies, could you buy all of this candy? (Five pieces of candy are shown.) "No," she says. (It is already stated that one piece of candy costs one cent).

"How many could you buy?" I innocently ask.

"Well," she responded, "you could get none, or 1, or 2, or 3, all the way up to 4."

My face just froze and I dropped my head and laughed. Another great answer from my insightful five year-old. And THAT'S why I homeschool!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Christmas Eve

Since the kids are 5 and 6 now, we are able to do more things together and start Christmas traditions that they are involved in. Of course, we went to the Christmas Eve candlelight/communion service. This was Thomas' first communion after asking Jesus into his heart so it was a special moment for that reason as well. When we got home, we made cookies with the Christmas cookie cutters so that we could leave Santa fresh, homemade cookies. (They were organic as well!) We had fun decorating them with different colored frosting. In this picture, you can tell how excited the kids are that it is Christmas Eve and Santa will be coming soon!!
P.S. My daughter decided one day to put a tattoo on her head, so imagine how delighted I was that all of her pictures have a mark on her forehead! :o(

Santa Claus Came to Town!

Every year in Anthony, the city puts up the "Santa House" in front of the shops on Main Street. It's just a little house that looks like a living room inside where Santa sits and waits for children to visit. Every year since his birth, it's been the same ol' thing... my son won't go near Santa. Well, I take that back, we got a picture of him one year, but he looked terrified in the picture. So this year I had no idea what would happen. I knew how excited he was to see Santa, but I figured he would balk once we set foot in the house. He even knew what to tell him he wanted: Star Wars Legos.

So one afternoon we went, and he went right up to Santa, sat on his lap and had an entire conversation with him! I was dumfounded. I was in tears as I took pictures. This is a huge milestone for him, and just another sign that he is growing up FAST!

Now, my daughter was another story. While SHE is usually very friendly and talkative, she took the back seat this time and wouldn't go up to Santa. We left the little house, and she decided once she knew what she wanted, she would go back and visit with him. So a couple of days later, we returned with a card for Santa that told him exactly what she wanted. Also, Thomas wrote down the specific Star Wars Legos he wanted: the Imperial Landing Craft.

Since this was a HUGE milestone and I was SO proud of him, of course I HAD to make sure he got the ONE thing he asked for. I also got what my daughter asked for, and both turned out to be their favorite gifts. It's ironic, considering this is the year that we started to wean them from Santa. This is probably the last year for my son, as he will be 7 next Christmas. And I'm sure once we tell him about Santa, he won't be able to keep the news from his little sister. They each got a couple of gifts from Santa, and the rest were from me. Usually almost all is from Santa, and I can never remember what is from Santa and what is from me. What a mess!

Snow, Snow, Snow

Since my internet went down for well over a week (thanks AT&T) I'm behind on posting, but we have lots of fun stuff to share. First of all, the SNOW we have gotten in KS so far! Holy moly! Our first snow fell on December 15, 2007. Before that, we had ice that was kind of a pain for a few days, but nothing catastrophic. On December 21, it probably reached 60 degrees that day. We went in to my son's choir program around 6:30 pm, and when we came out, we could tell that the temperature had dropped a LOT. I had planned on making the hour long drive to Wichita the next morning, but lots of people grumbled about the snow forecast and said I would probably end up in a ditch- along with them- because they had to go to Wichita as well.

Now, when you live in Georgia, and they forecast snow, they are about 20% correct. But in Kansas, when they say it's gonna snow- it's gonna snow. I think this is because there is nothing really stopping a storm from plowing through our flat lands, but in GA they deal with the gulf stream air and never know how it will play with the other weather systems coming in.

I went to bed that night, and something woke me up. I could hear the wind howling outside. I just kept hoping it was JUST wind. I would not get up to check. I kept waking up. The wind was MAD. Finally, when it was a decent hour, I looked out the window. Not only was the snow coming in sideways- it had already covered everything in sight. The snow did not stop until 5 pm that day- just as predicted. It went from coming down sideways, to nothing. Absolutely peaceful. But cold. The snowdrifts were over four feet, and there were patches that barely had anything. Dogs lost their legs in the snow! Our screened porch on the second floor did not keep the snow out- it was covered as well. Luckily, they are pretty quick to clear the roads in Kansas, so I was able to make it to Wichita the next day. I HAD to. Santa was not done shopping, and this was a VERY important year as you will read in our Visit to Santa coming up next!

P.S. Two days after Christmas we got a beautiful snow that fell peacefully from the sky. It was so pretty. Now THAT is the snow we need!