Friday, May 9, 2014

New Calendar Board

Normally I wouldn't think of doing a new calendar until a new "school year" started. But because our school room is in the sun room and it's not insulated, the change in temperature can be drastic between winter and summer. (Not to mention the crazy warm winter we had!) And because of that, some of the things on our calendar board were falling off! So I set out to make a new one. After lots of research and purchasing some things, I finally started on getting things done for it. I had to "laminate" (I use clear contact paper after things are printed on card stock) new things that were going to be on our new calendar board. And I had to "laminate" all the pieces too! This took quite a bit of time. Then I had to buy new velcro dots for things. I was debating on the actual calendar. I had space, but I really didn't want to recreate it again. So I had an idea. Our old calendar board was a blue piece of foam board.

I had an idea. I wondered if I could peel the foam board backing off of the blue paper on the front. So I scored where I wanted to get rid of with scissors and then proceeded very carefully to tear it off. Somehow this actually worked! Then I was left with the problem of adhering it to tri-fold foam board I had bought. I remembered I had a bottle of Mod-Podge. I had only ever seen Mod-Podge used as both a glue and an overcoat. When I read the bottle and it said it was a "glue" I decided to try it. I knew it would take WAY TOO MUCH double stick tape to adhere the calendar to the board so this was worth a try! After I traced around where the calendar was going to be, I set out applying Mod-Podge to the square. I put the calendar on it and then decided that around the edges, it needed more stick. So I put a layer of Mod-Podge around the edges. I let it dry and low and behold, it worked!

So this is our new calendar board!

So the reason it's on a tri-fold board is so that I can fold it up and put it inside the house so hopefully NOTHING falls off of it this time!

Here are some closer pictures of things. I'll list everything by each picture. And the links go to the page that each item was found on, even though they may list just the name of the website!

Prayer was found on Totally Tots. I had to copy the image and paste it into a document to print it.

Today/Tomorrow/Yesterday was found at: Royal Baloo. I would have liked it to be like our old one which was Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow, but this is a little more challenging for Little Man. I had lots of "I don't knows" when we did this. I guess it's been too long since we did calendar time!

Weather Chart and Graphics was found at: Homeschool Creations. This is exactly like the one on our old board and I didn't reprint the graphics for it. I just reprinted the chart.

Days in School Chart was found at: Homeschool Creations. I really like the connections this makes. Not only are we able to put the numbers up, but also break it out into expanded form AND word form (though for eleven through nineteen, the words are ten and one through nine, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there).

This is that calendar section I was telling you about. I made this entirely by hand. I didn't want to have to recreate it. All the pieces for it were made with Publisher. I was not looking forward to measuring and trying to make it again, especially when all I had was a 12 inch ruler! So I am very glad this was able to be salvaged!

What's the Season was found at: 1+1+1=1. I cut off the "What's the Weather" that was at the top because I already had our Weather Chart.

Make the Date was found at 1+1+1=1. Little Man LOVES change and I thought this would be a good thing. Again, there was lots of "I don't knows" when we did this so I guess we have to go back and review our money just to make sure he remembers. Man I wish our board hadn't fallen apart and this hadn't taken so long!

State of the Day was found at Royal Baloo. I loved the graphics for this and I thought it was a good way to introduce something new to Little Man. He loves coloring in the states on the map.

Letter of the Day was found at 1+1+1=1. This is the background. What's on there are Letter Movement Cards. They are from the My Body Lapbook at Homeschool Share. They're kind of hard to find in there, but since we are focusing on writing our letters, I figured this was a good thing to list on our board.

Bible Book of the Day was found at 1+1+1=1. It's from the Bible Lapbook.

Sight Word of the Day was found at Royal Baloo. This is just the background.

Skip Counting was found at Homeschool Creations. There are charts from counting by 2s all the way up to 15s! This is simply in a sheet protector.

To save on velcro dots (I LOVE them!) there is a paper clip attached to either the side or bottom of the background. This way the states, letters, books and sight words can be changed easily.

This is from Mama Jenn. I didn't put them on rings. Instead, I put velcro dots on them. I'm hoping this will transition to new pages in our Calendar Notebook, as Little Man has kind of outgrown the Pre-K ones we've been doing. The only problem is his handwriting. So we may wait just a bit until he starts writing a little better.

As for storing the pieces, I am so tired of looking for the ONE piece I need in a bag. So I've started to organize it. I'm doing it the way I found on Homeschool Creations. It is a work in progress, as I don't think I have enough velcro dots for everything. So I may be getting some more velcro sometime soon to get all this organized! Man, I think velcro is my friend!

The only thing that's NOT on our calendar board is our verse of the week. These are from Totally Tots. We are also still doing a "letter of the week." This is mainly for the verses and to finish out our Letter Journal. We just finished with T, so we are ALMOST done!

So some things we did with our calendar BEYOND calendar time.

Since we had a sight word of the day, I printed off the word from 3 Dinosaurs dot marker sight words and Little Man got to dot it. If I find other activities, we may do those too.

Also, to get us back into calendar time, we did this really great activity. Cassie over at 3 Dinosaurs blogged about another way to use calendar cards. I don't print new calendar cards every month because it would be a waste of ink. I'm trying to do this on a budget here! But the thing I hate about not having new calendar cards each month is the patterning that usually goes on! So when I saw this post, I figured we'd try it. It was really successful in that it was a little challenging for Little Man. He understood about the numbers but the pattern (which was an ABB pattern) kind of threw him. We'll definitely be doing it again in May!

Hopefully as we do more with our new calendar board, I won't get so many "I don't knows" on things I KNOW Little Man knows. It's also probably a good chance to go back and review.

Homeschooling Update

So I have been WAY too lax on schooling Little Man lately and it shows! He can sometimes be a crazy little man driving me and everyone else in the household crazy! Well, back in February, I realized that the drastic changes in weather and the change from hot to cold in our school/sun room was just killing our calendar board. So I started on the project of making a new one! (Post coming soon about it now that it's finished!) So between about the middle of February and about the middle of April, there was WAY TOO MUCH time off of schooling! I think part of it was I didn't really know what to do with him. He is SUPER smart and doing kindergarten level work. I don't want to push him too much as he still lacks the socialization and emotional development that he needs. So we've signed him up for a preschool Bible club that meets once a week. We also try to do story time at the library once a week. And I've found a mom's playgroup for us to attend. So that's really nice. Well, unfortunately, the Bible club is taking the summer off, so I've signed him up for some things through the recreation department. This seems to be helping with his socialization and emotional issues.

Now that I have a calendar board done, we've been doing "Playschool" about 3-4 times a week. It just depends on what's going on. I've decided to focus on his handwriting, as that is one of his weaknesses. I expected as much as he is a boy and his fine motor is not as advanced as it would be for a girl. We've primarily been working on lowercase letters, as I did a homeschool newbie big bad and taught him all his uppercase letters first. But then again, he didn't have the fine motor skills. So we've been doing centers with our letter writing. I haven't focused a whole lot on the uppercase letters lately, because the first few letters I KNOW he knows how to write. I've seen the idea for handwriting centers on a few different blogs I follow and we've done it before. But this time I'm focusing more on writing. So here are some of the things we are doing:

To help him manipulate the letter, Little Man has made the letters with playdoh on mats. We did this for A-D so far because he loved it!

 I also found Alphabet Lego Cards on Wildflower Ramblings. (Specific links will be at the bottom.) He has really liked these!

To help him with his pincher grasp and pencil grip, Little Man got to do some q-tip painting.

We also used dot-marker pages, except instead of a dot marker, he got to use dot stickers.

We then start working on actually writing the letter. We use letters of all sizes and simple handwriting pages from The Measured Mom.

He then sometimes writes them in one of his notebooks.

I also found a couple apps that work on his handwriting skills. So sometimes he gets "tablet time."

We've also been working on Word Families. The article on The Measured Mom (link below) was about learning to spell, but I've used it to increase his reading vocabulary. And boy has his reading gotten better! He cold read a Level 2 Thomas the Train book and only had to ask for help on like 3-4 words!

And we added in an actual journal. I got this idea from The Measured Mom. The link to her blog entry about it is below.

Now, I bet you're wondering what Princess is doing while I'm doing this. Well, being she is over a year old. I have introduced "Baby Play." These are simple things that she doesn't get to do ALL the time that will keep her busy as I teach Little Man. Granted, these things only keep her busy for about 10-15 minutes. But as she gets older and develops more skills, the Baby Play items will get to be more than just toys.

So now that I have an idea of what I want to do with both kids, as long as things don't explode again, we should be getting lots done with PlaySchool.

Links We've Used

ABC Dot Marker Pages (3 Dinosaurs)
Alphabet Lego Cards (Wildflower Ramblings; you have to sign up for her newsletter for the lowercase ones)
Journal Writing (The Measured Mom)
Letters of All Sizes (The Measured Mom; Uppercase, Lowercase and Numbers!)
Playdoh Mats (123 Homeschool 4 Me)
Q-Tip Painting (1+1+1=1; found towards the bottom of the page)
Simple Handwriting Pages (The Measured Mom; also has uppercase letters)
Word Family Dictionary (The Measured Mom, but written by This Reading Mama!)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blog-Keeping Post

So I decided to do this Blog Every Day in May thing to hopefully get me back into blogging!

There has been SO MUCH that has happened that I want to update about, but I haven't gotten around to doing it! Mainly because I don't get a whole lot of time to blog. I'd love to be able to write my entries after Princess goes to sleep, but then again there are nights like tonight where she doesn't want to go to sleep. Usually this happens because she takes a late nap. Not tonight. Tonight she coughed so much she puked. So now she's wide awake. She's had this cough for a few days now. I'm giving her "honey cough syrup." It's literally dark honeys and vitamin C. I've also been dong the humidifier at night. It doesn't help that I truly think this is allergy related. There's not much I can give her except Benadryl. And the Benadryl makes her sleepy. (Why didn't I give that to her tonight?)

Okay, so here's the list of things I need to update on here:

1. Clinic Visits
2. Crawling
3. First Birthday
4. 6 Month Goals
5. Homeschooling
6. Playgroups
7. Formula NIGHTMARE!
8. Beach Trip

I'm sure there are other things that need to be updated, but those are things that come to mind right now.

Anyway, I must go corral Princess and see if she's going to go to bed any time soon. I'm hopeful but I doubt it seriously! Okay, so that's the blog update for today. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some more written about something that's more substantial than this rambling blog-keeping post!
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