The Rest of the Alphabet Path

I’m never going to be able to blog about all the rest of the weeks of the alphabet path and we are getting ready to start a new program this summer, so we simply must move on!  If you’d like to find out what we did for the remaining weeks, visit Serendipity and read all of her wonderful plans and suggestions for Along the Alphabet Path and then hop on over to Catholic Icing with Lacy and check out her absolutely perfect crafts for pre-schoolers.  We’ve had such a great time this past year learning so many new things, reading tons of new books, and following our interests wherever they have led us.  We are looking forward to starting something new this Summer as we slowly settle back into our routine after a busy and very exciting Spring!

A little something to share…

I just had to share because Alex did such a beautiful job and he was so proud of both of these crafts.
I did the cutting ahead of time, but he did all the gluing himself on this one:

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He calls her “The Lady Who Works for God”

 

This one was a special treat because Granny stopped by to do it with him:
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Craft time with Granny 
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(Obviously I did the writing)
Thanks once again to Laci over at Catholic Icing for the great craft ideas!

H and I Week

We’re a little behind.  We keep getting distracted…by science, by Thomas the Train, by the beautiful weather outside (yes, that’s right – while the rest of the country is experiencing the joys of winter, it’s like spring here)…and by just about everything else.  So we are just finishing up H and I weeks.  Here are a few of the highlights:
Week H
As we continued along the alphabet path, we met Herb Twopence and learned a little about St. Helen.  As our Montessori exercise Alex learned how to wash dishes.  I thought it would only last a few minutes – I’m always surprised by how much children at this age want to help, even if it involves chores.  He loved washing dishes and continued to wash the same plates and cups for over 30 minutes.  It left the kitchen a bit wet and both of us soaked, but it was a great learning experience for him.
For science we learned about what food is for and what we should eat.  We also studied a little bit about light.
For math we played with pattern blocks again and used our 100s chart and color tiles to count by 2s.
For art we learned what art is about and we tried the foil squeezing activity from First Art.
For geography we talked about ice and snow and Antarctica and the Arctic circle.  He had a lot of fun exploring the kinds of animals that live in the cold regions.  We also looked for Hawaii and other words that begin with H on the maps.
Alex made the H is for Holy Spirit Dove craft from Catholic Icing.
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Our reading included:
  • Harry the Dirty Dog
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • How Birds Got Bright Feathers from Stories Around the World
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (we missed this one on G week)
  • Honest Abe from Children’s Book of Heroes
  • Help, Help from Dick & Jane
  • and many others!
Week I
Along the alphabet path this week we met the flower fairy Iris and learned about Saint Ignatius.
For language we spent some time learning signs for I words like ice cream and insects.  Of course we had a Do-a-Dot and he loves tracing letters in the sand so we reviewed the whole alphabet so far.
For practical life we practiced bead stringing and button stringing.  We also read a silly story about using the word please – it must have stuck though because I noticed him using the word please more than usual!
For science we talked more about food and the path it takes through your body.  I get asked this question a lot, so he was really interested in reading about it.  Alex and daddy studied more about light – daddy showed him all the things he can do with a flashlight and how to bend light to make a rainbow.  He’s been asking me every day now if I can bend light.
For geography we discussed deserts and the creatures that live there.  We also looked for Idaho and other I words on the map.
Other reading this week included:
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  • If You Give a Cat a Cupcake
  • Hero of Indian Cliff from Children’s Book of Heroes
  • The Ivory Wand from Stories Around the World
  • I Knew You Could
  • and many others!

F Week and G Week

I can’t find my camera.  I can’t find the pictures I downloaded.  I can’t find more than five minutes at at time to post our weekly homeschooling lessons from the last two weeks.  So this week you get Week F and Week G and you get no pictures.  Boring, but necessary since I will be working 26 hours a day every day for the next week in order to be ready for our Christmas Shopping in November Event at St. Albert the Great Parish on November 14th.  That means I’ll be somewhere in the vicinity of minus 14 hours at the end of this next week (hours that don’t even exist…which doesn’t make much sense).  Point is, I’ll be exhausted and posting on the blog won’t even be a blip on my internal screen until sometime after I get caught up again. Of course I’ll probably be well into the New Year before I am back on board with my boring old every day routine (I wish I could accurately convey my sarcasm here), so I hope I’ll think to blog again before that.
 No promises. 
(And for those of you here in Austin, don’t forget to come and shop on 11/14 at St. Albert’s! You don’t want to miss out on my super-awesome homemade crafts!)  Enough blabbering and advertising…on to our last two weeks of homeschool. 
If you are actually interested in following along with our homeschool curriculum (and you’re not just reading the blog because you love me and I’m such a hilariously funny writer) then email me for the real details of Week F and Week G so I can pass them along to you.

Week F

This week we met Fuschia and St. Francis on our walk along the alphabet path.  St. Francis was interesting, but we just CAN NOT get away from St. Bernadette.  I’m going to have her picture hung right alongside the rest of the family on the picture wall.  We talk about her as if we are the best of friends.  (May her blessings be plentiful for this little boy who adores her).  We read some great stories this week:
  • The Fire Cat
  • Adventures of Dick & Jane
  • First Tomato
  • The Bravest Fish
  • Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm
  • Stories From Around the World – The Four Brothers
  • Children’s Book of Virtues – The Stars in the Sky
We created the Jesus Fish Craft from Lacy’s Catholic Icing crafts page.  We also made Squeezing Rainbows from First Art.  I thought this craft was particularly fun and easy to do and both Alex and daddy had fun squeezing the rainbow bags.
For our Montessori Lesson this week we practiced pouring rice.  It was really exciting to see how much better he has become at some of these kinds of skills.  I sometimes have a hard time remembering he is only 2 1/2 years old.
We are still studying the five senses for science so this week we covered touching and hearing.
For geography we learned about people in different parts of the world, and we found Florida on the map.
We decorated part of his classroom with a fish border and started putting up Halloween decorations around the house.
And guess what.  I found pictures for you!  Just a few of our Squeezing Rainbows craft, but now my post will not look naked.
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Warning: There really are no pictures of G week.

Week G

Week G was short and sweet.  Too bad it isn’t S week.
Alex had “g”ood times with his cousins during G week, so we didn’t complete everything on 0ur schedule.  But he’s only 2 1/2 and I’ve become fairly relaxed at homeschooling so I’m not sweating it.  Besides, he won’t remember years from now that he didn’t make Rubbery Flubbery Dough again (we made it earlier this year) or that he didn’t practice ordering things from shortest to tallest (he can already do this pretty well anyway).  He will notice that he did not do his G Week Do-a-Dot (but we’ll just add it in this next week) and he’ll get an extra Montessori lesson on how to set a table during another slow week.  
So what did we do for G week?  What we do best, of course!
We read.
About the Gorse Fairy and St. George and the Dragon.  About the Grumpy Goat and The Grumpy Morning.  About the Glorious Flight, and how George Shrinks.  And a story or two about Dick and Jane.
And then we read about Halloween.  17 books in total.  All about “g”hosts, and “g”oblins, “g”raveyards and “g”oo.
The highlight of this week for school?  Nothing related to G, naturally.  An introduction to It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.  I watched it just as many times as he did.  It’s not Halloween without it!
We did finish studying the senses this week.  I’m glad we only have five.  And we did learn a lot about the weather and the seasons.  Not bad for such a busy week!

“E”xciting “E” Week

It’s hard to believe E and F week have come and gone.  Oh, wait.  No it’s not.  I’m always behind on posts these days!  But we’re busy in a good way, so you must just wait patiently for me to get caught up.
This week we met the Eyebright Fairy along the alphabet path and were introduced to Elizabeth Ann Seton in our Saints book.  We had some fun reading Elves in the Shelves, East of the Sun West of the Moon, Planet Earth – Animals of Africa, and The Earth.  (It’s harder to find books for E week than you would think).  From the Children’s Book of Virtues we read The Tortoise and the Hare, and from the Children’s Book of Heroes we read The Little Hero of Holland.
Do-A-Dot and drawing in the red sand are always a big hit and this week was no different. 

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The highlight of this week was learning about the senses.  We spent several days talking about the eyes and the ears (and his elbow) but we learned about touching, smelling and tasting too.  The Flip Flap Body Book has been a favorite for all things senses.  He can now tell you that “when you use your senses, they send a message to the brain in your head”.
In our Look Inside Science this week we studied trees and plants and in the Picture Atlas we took a look at countries and cities.
We made a scarecrow puppet, found El Salvador on the map, and talked all about the number eight.  We gave estimating a try, though not entirely successfully, but then again, I’m absolutely terrible at estimating, so he might come by it naturally.

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All in all a good week, but quiet and somewhat uneventful as far as school goes.  F week up next…stay tuned!

“C”hallenging “C” Week

Our “C” week was one of those weeks where you find yourself glad you homeschool because nothing works out quite like you plan, no matter how hard you try to keep to a schedule, it just doesn’t happen, and yet, despite it all, your child learns everything you hope for simply because you can make it work however it fits best.
We read about the Columbine Fairy this week and Alex took a particular interest in the lovely illustration in the flower fairies book (first time he’s really looked at the book).  He loved it when we got to the part about this week’s saint, St. Cecelia.  He pronounces it “Ceeeee-sila”!  Funny because I know he can say Cecelia if you ask him.
He now starts his week with a request for his Do-A-Dot art page, even though we don’t actually color it until Thursday.  In fact, he is so insistent that I started printing him out other Do-A-Dot art sheets and he proudly hangs them on the wall with his letters.  Here is this week’s C Do-A-Dot art:
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I found a super-cute Ten Commandment’s Train Set at Christian Preschool Printables that I printed on milk filters for the felt board.  Of course if it goes on the feltboard, Alex loves it:
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We did a Montessori exercise of carrying a chair, which at first I thought would be a little silly since he’s been carrying around his little blue chairs for months.  It was very interesting to see how closely he attempted to lift and move his chair, just like I did, once I actually demonstrated the proper way to carry a chair.  It’s hard sometimes to remember that many of the activities I do around the house without much preparation or thought, are learning tools for little minds.
We did the Catholic Icing craft “C” is for Crucifix.  I found the cross for $1.00 at Michael’s Craft Store and Alex really enjoyed coloring and gluing the picture of Jesus onto the cross:
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We had a great time exploring a few of our new Usborne Books including the Picture Atlas where we learned about the Universe, and the Look Inside Science where we learned a little about what science is.  He did the lessons all over again with Daddy this weekend and without missing a beat he can tell you all the planets, in the correct order.  Maybe he’ll grow up to be an astronomer.
We had some great reads this week which included:
  • Curious George
  • The Cat Club
  • Castles
  • Inside the Castle
  • Clever Aisha (from Stories Around the World)
  • Camping Out (from Farmyard Tales)
  • Caps for Sale
  • Crictor
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (we’ll never get far away from this book)
  • … and the list goes on
We baked chocolate chip cookies, which Alex proudly proclaimed were for “when daddy comes home”.  He waited all afternoon to hear the garage door open so he could share a cookie!
And of course we couldn’t have finished “C” week without a few dinosaurs starting with C…we played the dinosaur fishing game and we haven’t quit since.  My version of the dinosaur fishing game was ridiculously easy – we have a sea creatures puzzle that comes with a wooden fishing pole that has a magnet attached to the end.  We have a dinosaur memory game that has a bunch of small cards with different dinosaurs on them.  Put a paper clip on the cards, take the wooden fishing pole, and Go Fish!
So ends our C week along the alphabet path…it was with great excitement that we opened our box of Scholastic books today, just in time for D week!

“B”eautiful “B” Week

I wish I had “b”eautiful pictures to post of our “B” week, but I do not.  I do not even have a good excuse for not having pictures, other than the fact that I am still learning, and I am simply not able to whip out my camera with a half second’s notice and take a “b”eautiful shot of my “b”oisterous little “b”oy.  Enough of “b” already!
While our second week of school truly was fun and filled with many new things to see and learn, it was also disastrously disorganized (thank goodness it’s not “d” week yet!) and hence no pictures, and no inspiring words or amazing moments to share for those of you ready to tackle a “b” week Along the Alphabet Path.
I’m sorry.  
I’m also mind-numbingly tired and frazzled and I can’t keep anything straight this week, so for someone with no good excuse, I am obviously full of really bad ones.
Enough about me.  Here’s just a tiny little snapshot of our “b” week:
We read Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree.  I loved it.  Of course I grew up with Berenstain Bears, didn’t you?  Apparently my little student needs some time to warm up to the Berenstain Bears.  He kept saying, “Maybe later, Mommy.  Maybe.”  Huh.  (I still made him listen to the Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. Cruel and unusual punishment, I know.)
Daddy made him a pulley system, which grew in interest exponentially when he discovered the great joy of placing dinosaurs atop the spools so they could spin (pictures to come soon, I promise).  Thank the Lord dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.  There are days I cannot imagine getting through life without them.
We followed Catholic Icing’s B is for Bible Bookmark Craft with a few modifications in materials since I couldn’t find the beads I wanted in smaller quantities than 200 for each color (and I cannot imagine using 200 beads for anything any time in the next 100 years. I don’t care if they only cost $2.00 a bag).  He loved stringing the beads, but the bookmark quickly lost favor when he couldn’t take the beads back off and do it again. 
We’re back to stringing buttons.
We learned about Benjamin Franklin, baked Banana Bread, and discovered Belgium on the map.  We couldn’t leave “b” week without finding a few dinosaurs that start with “b” – brachiosaurus, brontosaurus….the list goes on and on and on….
One of his favorite activities this week?  Putting together a Veggie Tales’ Bob the Tomato craft.  He spoke of Bob as though he knows him personally, even though he refuses to watch an entire episode of Veggie Tales (which again, I love.  Why doesn’t he?).
I’ll be more organized for “c” week.  I’ll be on top of the whole picture thing, because I know it’s just more interesting if you can see it.  I’ll get my to-do list done.  I’ll be super-woman this next week.  
Or, maybe later.  Maybe.

“A” Walk “A”long the “A”lphabet Path

Week one of homeschool at the homestead is just ending and I am listening to the gentle sounds of happiness and busy activity as we prepare to fix lunch and spend some quiet time this afternoon reflecting on what we’ve learned this week.  After much cajoling and convincing from my sister, we decided to follow Elizabeth Foss’s Along the Alphabet Path for our homeschool curriculum this year.  I am homeschooling a boy, so I did spend many nights considering the fact that fairies would be a part of our core curriculum, but in the end, the beauty of imagination won out, and because our home lives and breathes fantasy, it became very easy to add some dragons and knights and before we knew it, a beautiful year lay ahead of us.
We’ve made a few changes to the materials to tailor it to Alex’s learning style and what works best for him, and we’ve supplemented books from our own library in place of many of the recommended reading lists, but for everything else we are following along with Serendipity’s plans and already we have found the excitement and wonder of imagination taking hold.  Here are just a few highlights from our first week of school.
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Each of us got to choose one figurine for the first day of school.  If we’re going to read about fairies, of course I’m going to choose a fairy (with pointy ears and all).

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My hard-working husband took some time away from work to play…and chose a knight to join the ranks.

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My little student chose a dragon because well, dragons are a little like dinosaurs.  And they’re just awesome.  Like him.

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Just a few of the books we are using this year…there are more.  Many, many more.  (and many, many, many more on the way)

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A is for Angel – A beautiful craft idea from Lacy over at Catholic Icing.  In this house, fairies are often mistaken for angels, and angels for fairies (they do share wings in common after all), but this little angel has been lovingly gazed upon and proudly declared the “A” angel many times this week already (no chance of mistaken identity here).

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We’re exploring the highly addictive fun of Do-A-Dot art this year and Alex absolutely loves it.  DLTK’s Crafts for Kids has some great templates for Do-A-Dot or Bingo Dauber Art.  There’s nothing better than a marker that is made to be stamped without risk to destroying the lovely pointy tip on the end of the marker (we’ve been through many, many markers that sadly have no point left at all).

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Alex’s favorite subject in the whole entire world is Dinosaurs.  We eat, sleep and breathe dinosaurs in this house.  And what could possibly be more fun than making fossils as we learn everything known to man about the dinosaurs?  And as we quickly decided, why stop at dinosaur fossils when you can have airplanes and snakes and turtle shells and even some kangaroo feet too?

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We’re enjoying a nice weekend after a busy first week of school, but I find myself smiling each time I hear my little student ask, “are we going to do school now?”  I only hope I can continue to foster such a love of learning as he grows older and we find more exciting things to study.  For now, he seems quite content to search for dinosaurs that start with the letter “A”.