April 06, 2014

An Artsy March

Delaney's creativity was on high all throughout March. I didn't plan any art for the girls, because she had it all under control!


She taught Sophie all about painting rocks outside.

She put together a bakery with a cardboard box, and make lots of very detailed goodies out of construction paper.

The three of us were working on some watercolor scenes for our science story, and that evolved into an entire art gallery, which she is saving to sell for 25¢ each once the weather warms up a bit.

"Paintings for Sale, Real Beautiful. 25¢
Delaney has been showing a huge interest in making clothes and sewing, so I bought her a little starter canvas to practice learning how to stitch.
 

She was absolutely inspired by Fashion by Mayhem online and on Instagram (@2sisters_angie), and designed what I am sure is the first of many dresses. I was merely her taping/stapling assistant.
 

She has a bin full of flannel from some other project, and she designed a dress/shawl with it. She requested that I sew some of the pieces together. I am not good, not good at all, at sewing. but with her direction, it was a very cute piece, complete with a little buttonhole at the back to hold it just right. I think she is going to need this thing soon...
Sew Cool Sewing Machine
And maybe some sewing classes, too, if I can find a willing soul.

I never fail to be amazed by the amount of creativity that a lot of independence and a little bit of materials can bring about.

March 09, 2014

Strong and Courageous

This week, Delaney had an assignment for Girls Scouts. She was supposed to research a strong and courageous woman, write a little bit about her, and share it with the troop on Friday.

We just happen to have been studying about this at home, and have several good books around the house from the library right now, From Amelia to Zora, Outrageous Women of Colonial America, The Sky's the Limit: Stories of Discoveries by Women and Girls, to name a few. She was trying to decide between Helen Keller and Amelia Earheart, when she put down her book and stated that she was going to write about me.

I told her that was very, very sweet of her, but was she sure she wouldn't rather choose one of these other women? I am not very exciting.

She was very firm with me. "Mom,  you are VERY strong and courageous and I am writing about you."
"My mommy is brave and courageous because she acts calm even though she is afraid of spiders."
Then at Girl Scouts, while the other girls were sharing about Gracie Gold and Rosa Parks, Delaney told them that her mom always stays calm, even when there are spiders.

I do aspire to be strong and courageous for my girls, and teach them that they can be and do anything they want, to offer them many different opportunities to see what can be possible for them. It's moments like these that I know I am doing the right thing, choosing to stay home and teach my girls. ♥

February 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln

Delaney has a great interest in all things Civil War era, and especially Abraham Lincoln. She will tell you that he is her favorite president for many reasons...abolishing slavery, being an honest person, etc., but most of all because he loved to read like she does and learned most of the things he knew from reading on his own, which is her favorite way to learn as well.

*Funny side note: One time, we were at the library, and Delaney was reading a Magic Tree House book about Abraham Lincoln. She struck up a conversation with the woman beside her, who asked her about the book. Delaney told the woman how much she likes Abraham Lincoln, and that he was her favorite president. The woman said, "Yes, he was our first president, right?" 

Delaney looked at her, surprised, and said (very politely, thank goodness), "No, that was George Washington." The woman stammered for a moment, and then just got up and walked away. 

When I told her about Presidents' Day, and reminded her of Abraham Lincoln's birthday on February 12, she decided it was time for a celebration.

We read books about Lincoln, talked about Lincoln, and researched his favorite foods. History tells us that he did not like fancy and rich foods, but preferred eggs, which were often difficult to come by, and bacon. He enjoyed honey quite a bit, and many times just nibbled on fruit during the day, apples being his favorite.

Delaney made us an Abraham Lincoln Lunch, and has made the same lunch for us every day this week. She takes her history seriously. :)
 

She made an Abraham Lincoln house out of legos. 
 
 

 
 
Delaney also found a new Lincoln biography at Bookman's, and bought it to celebrate his day.

If you are looking for some good resources, these are some of Delaney's favorite books about Mr. Lincoln, all of which we were able to find at the local library:

Abraham Lincoln, Mary Pope Osborne
Civil War on Sunday, Mary Pope Osborne
Abe Lincoln at Last!, Mary Pope Osborne
Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President, Kathleen Krull
Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln, Judith St. George
The Abraham Lincoln You Never Knew, James Lincoln Collier

Happy birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

February 17, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

The girls renewed their love for art during this Valentine season. It's been there, lurking, but there has been much more pretend playing than sitting with markers and scissors during the last few months.

I found some very cute Valentine animals at this website, and we made several.

Delaney preferred to follow the directions herself, and made an adorable dog.
 
 

Sophie did all of her own cutting, and surprised me with her skills.
 
 

Once Sophie made her first animal, a cat, she was addicted.

She also made a bee, a fish, a ladybug and a lovebug.

 
 
 

A homeschooling friend organized a Valentine's Party this year, and we made plans to go.

Delaney and Sophie had fun signing their first Valentines.

Delaney illustrated most of hers.

Sophie got tired of writing her name after about five cards. She decided to draw cute little guys on each card instead, and added a heart sticker.

The party was fun. Lots of families attended and the girls had a good time.

Delaney enjoyed watching the older kids play checkers. She told me later that the oldest boy had tried to shoo all of the little girls away so they wouldn't wreck the game, bribing them with cookies and candy. She said she didn't want to leave the game, and told him, "I am five years old! I am not a little girl like them, and I WON'T wreck your game." He relented, and she behaved herself as she had promised.

Haha...I am glad she is not afraid to stick up for herself. ☺

After Delaney and Sophie finished exchanging Valentines, they rummaged through their bags, finding all sorts of goodies and cute cards.
 
We hope your Valentine's Day was filled with love and sugary goodness too. ♥

February 04, 2014

Oh, Library. How Can We Resist You?

The kids love Mondays, because that is our Library Day. Delaney has learned where to find her favorite books, and lately I have been so happy to see her branching out and looking for other books that she might like. She still tends to gravitate toward fairies and magical creatures, but she has brought home some other interesting books of her own choosing, too.

We skipped our Library Day yesterday, because we both have several books left to read from last week. We are book-aholics, though, and by today, we had to go feed our addiction. I only meant to stop in and pick up the three books they were holding for me. We didn't even mean to go to the kids' section. But 45 minutes later, our book bag felt really heavy!

She looks so tiny in the library.
She often stops to chat with the librarians, or other library patrons. Once she has amassed a good stack of reading for the week, she finds her favorite rocking chair and reads until we have to leave. This might be her favorite part. Some days we are in a hurry, and have to pick out books and go. Some days a school is having a field trip and her reading area is noisy and busy. Her favorite days are the ones in which she gets to enjoy a nice, quiet reading moment all by her self.

Sophie walks around with me for the most part. She picks out her own books from the little kids' section, and helps me find non-fiction for her and Delaney. She knows where Delaney's fairy book section is, and likes to look at those books too.

When we are finished picking out our books, she enjoys pulling a rocking chair up beside Delaney and we read together for awhile.

Delaney is very interested in Abraham Lincoln and Shakespeare right now, so she has several biographies of Abe, and a copy of Beautiful Stories of Shakespeare for Children, by E. Nesbit. I love this book. According to the book, E. Nesbit's children loved the stories of Shakespeare, but found the plays extremely difficult to read. She felt the same, and put them into story form so she and her children could read them together. It's lovely.


Our library has a wide selection, and a great inter-library loan online request available. I really appreciate that...I find so many books that I want to read, and the online system lets me find and request them without feeling like I am bothering the librarian every other day.

Just a small "to read" stack, right?

Once we have all collected enough reading material and have taken some time to bask in the library's quiet, we check out all of our books.  Delaney has her own card and PIN for the self check-out, so she takes care of her own books. Sophie knows how to scan all of our books, so once I enter my info, she takes care of the rest. Cullen went to the library with us a few weeks ago, and was impressed with their independence in this area.

 

The only drawback of Library Day is that once we get home, nothing else gets done...The laundry stays in baskets, the toys stay on the floor and math is completely forgotten. A small sacrifice, I say. :)

I love the library...I love its quiet calm, the endless shelves of books, the smell of all the paper...I am glad my girls do too.

January 09, 2014

...And the New Year Begins

We've settled back into a nice rhythm for school since taking some time off around the holidays. I think we were all ready to get back to a regular routine. It was definitely good to have a few weeks to read as much as I wanted and for the girls to play as much as they wanted. I feel like all three of us have renewed creativity and excitement to learn again.

Sophie wants to do her "math facts" every day...which currently means learning to write her numbers.



We count random stuff all the time, and she counts to about 20 independently now. I am reading a book called "Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math", which has ways to integrate math into every day activities for ages 2-8. It's a little dry when "Divergent" is calling to me from the next room, but back to school, right? :)

Delaney is on her fifteenth math facts set, working hard to learn all her addition facts. I try to mix it up a little. Sometimes she writes the answers, some days she tells me the answers, some days she uses the Mathtopia app to practice instead.



Delaney is still enjoying Dreambox. She is getting much better at the problem solving section, and her favorite game is Frog Race. She is about 1/3 through the second grade section, and she amazes me every day with the concepts she picks up with relative ease.


We've been playing lots of board games...Scrambled States of America, Princess Monopoloy, Connect Four, etc. Delaney used Connect Four to teach Sophie about patterns this week. Big sisters are the best.

 

Delaney continues to learn how to be a chess master with Cullen in the evenings.


I love listening to Sophie's commentary during the games. Last night while "helping" them play, she said, "Wow. Looks like I winning!" and "Aaaargh, don't put me in check!"

Sophie has been practicing initial sound recognition. Her stack of sight words that she knows is getting bigger, and we've started playing with sounding out small words.

Our new year has begun quite nicely, and I am so pleased with my girls and their excitement to learn!

December 03, 2013

Inspired

There have been bounds of creativity running around here lately.

Delaney has been filling her days with art. She gets even more creative and full of ideas when I mention that we should probably work on some math...haha.

I had some art picked out for the girls to do for Thanksgiving, but instead they created their own turkeys. Delaney made hers independently, and Sophie just needed a little help drawing her feathers before she cut them, and a little bit of gluing assistance.



Delaney drew the Mayflower.
Over the weekend, Delaney wrote several "word" books, to "teach Sophie how to read". They start out easy and then increase in difficulty.

I especially like that she included "barf" and "puke" on her "words to know" list, as well as the girls' favorite word to yell, "gaggle". Who doesn't laugh hysterically when yelling that silly word?

She also made some visual math problems, several crowns and some rings...This equation has something to do with the time at which Delaney is hungry.

A game, in which we have to jump over lollipops and only land on the safe spike...

And a self-portrait...

I found the "What Shall I Draw" book, and Delaney spent the morning drawing a princess and a sea monster, and writing a little story to go with it.

"Once upon a time, there was  sea monster who said the next one to touch him would be his dinner. No one ever touched him ever though."

We go to the library most Monday mornings, and I encourage Delaney to chat with the librarians in the kids' section and practice her "speaking with grown ups" skills. She brought her picture to the library to read to them, and they hung it on the wall. She was so proud. I am a bit annoyed at my self for forgetting to take a picture...it was a good drawing and a cute story!

Sophie watched Delaney drawing all of her fun pictures with the drawing book, and wanted to try to draw her own creation. With just a little help, she made this cute little tiger.

Sophie also made an owl with me. She liked him so much that she asked me to hang him up in her room.

Delaney has been experimenting with fashion design. She made Sophie this dress out of some flannel and yarn...

And a belt out of craft foam for me.

Next, I will get out the sewing kit and teach her how to stitch a little bit. She will probably surpass my sewing abilities pretty quickly, since I know how to sew on a button and that's about it. :)

I taught her how to play checkers a few weeks ago, and Cullen is now teaching her to play chess. Sophie likes to help Cullen, and she knows the names of all of the chess pieces now. Delaney is learning to play Battleship with me, and is picking it up pretty quickly.
Now we have to get planning and working on all of our December crafts and goodies. I love the holiday months!