Sunday, December 18, 2011

October and November Chicken Soup

Benjamin really likes his monthly Chicken Soup with Rice poems. Here is Ben reciting November's poem!

I also realized that I forgot to upload the October poem. So, here it is!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sneaky Christmas Activities

Like most kids, my kids LOVE Christmas time. We have been doing lots of Christmas activities including reading Christmas books and making cookies. We also recently made a gingerbread house. I cheat with that one... I get the premaid kits and then provide our own candy to decorate it with. It's just a lot easier than trying to get the gingerbread perfect on my own.

I am always looking for ways ton incorporate other subjects into fun activities. Kate has been recently working on patterning. I figured this was the perfect way for her to practice. It is also a great review on patterns for both of my boys, even though patterning is usually fairly easy for them. Take a look! 

I tried to include patterns all over the place. I made Kate figure out which one to put next to keep up with the pattern. She caught on really quickly. Ben and Andrew named the types of patterns that we used. More than anything, the kids had fun and learned something too (not to mention ate enough sugar for a month). 

Creating Christmas memories with the kids.
Other math activities that I did while working on the gingerbread house is asking Ben and Andrew how many more of a certain candy that we needed to make a certain total. For instance, "Ben, we have 2 Mike and Ikes on this row and we need 4, how many more do we need to get that many." After some practice, they quickly figured out the answers. This is a skill that Benjamin has really been having a difficult time understanding. I am trying to include as many real life examples into his teaching as possible in hopes that it will click.

We have also been working on crafts for the grandparents. Every year, my kids make ornaments to send to the grandparents for Christmas. Unfortunately, I can't post the ornament ideas on this blog right now because all of the grandparents read this blog and I want to keep them a surprise. Here's a sneak peek of Benjamin working diligently on the crafts. I will post the finished product once the grandparents get and open their ornaments. More to come!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing Time!

Benjamin's fine motor skills make writing exceptionally difficult. What I do for his journaling is have him dictate a sentence/paragraph based on a given topic. I write it on the white board as he is speaking. He then listens as I read it back to him and corrects it if he thinks there are any errors. He then comes up with a name. I rewrite it in his journal and then he has to illustrate it. I have really been amazed at his illustrations considering his fine motor limitations. He is also really proud of them.

Ben's drawing of Ben and Mommy holding hands.
Benjamin's drawing of a firetruck.
Today, I asked him to write a caption under his illustration. He wrote "presents!" I am so excited that he is starting to write letters on his own without having to trace them. More importantly is that he is gaining confidence with his writing.

The word "presents" and a picture of a present.
I am hoping that in the second half of the school year that I can get him to write more on his own. I also want to be more diligent with his journalling and make it a daily activity. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hooray for Handwriting!

At the beginning of this school year, Benjamin HATED handwriting. He would freak out anytime anybody wanted to make him write. He would get mad, throw the pencil, etc. My goal for the first part of the year was really just to make him feel successful with his schoolwork without pushing too hard on the writing. He gets frustrated easily when the letters or shapes don't come out perfectly.

After talking to his summer tutor, I decided that starting him in the pre-K Handwriting without Tears book was going to be the best way to go. It was all about making it fun and  building confidence. By about October, his handwriting time became what he wanted to do in order to avoid other schoolwork. He would negotiate with me regularly: "Mom, can I do handwriting INSTEAD of math?" Once he got over the frustration and started having success, he blew through the handwriting book. The result is that he is finished with his first handwriting book by December! We will be moving onto the Kindergarten book with hopes that he has gained enough knowledge to be successful there as well. If not, I will just order another preschool book and have him do it again. No harm... especially since the books don't actually say the grade level on them. I'm sneaky like that.

I made a huge deal out of the fact that he finished. He was so excited to finish it that he actually asked to do more pages so he could get it done quicker. I then gave him an award. It is our very first award during homeschool. He was so proud.