- Batman costume
I’m going to get started on my Christmas gifts. I realize it is only May but December comes around very quickly when you are making presents.
The first project on the list is a puppet theater and some puppets. Though I would like to do something in the size of a small playhouse, I don’t have the room or storage space for that. Also, I want it to be relatively portable so I’ve decided to do one of the doorway hanging types. I don’t think I’ll buy a pattern though, not when there are plenty of free options for puppets/puppet theaters. Last Christmas I made a puppet each for Fin and Dul which were a big hit.
For the theater itself, I want it to be fairly elaborate, kind of like this paper doll puppet theater from Altered Artifacts on Etsy. Of course, it will be fabric, not paper, and will be a bit larger than the one pictured but I like the detail and the type of theater pictured in that link. I’m not big on circus themes as I don’t like circuses themselves (animal cruelty, etc.) and I don’t like the bold, contrasting colors. I’m thinking more along the lines of a theater that one might find in Medieval times (or the stereotypical type found in movies depicting that time).
I also want the kids to be able to take it down and put it up easily. I’m thinking of some type of hooks on the doorways, or perhaps something that can be pinned up in some (safe) way. I’m still working on that part of the idea.
I want there to be some sort of shelf-type thing where the kids can put up props and such. I also want there to be an option to change out the background scenery, thus enabling them to be creative and make their own backdrops. Another idea that I’ll have to look into a bit further.
As for the puppets themselves, I want to make a lot. Farm animals, sea animals, exotic animals, basically, if there is an animal, I want to make it. People of all types, from historic characters to present day occupations (mailman, etc.) are also on my list. Dragons and other fantastical creatures are on my list as well. I’ll buy some patterns such as these pond puppets from Rainbow Valley on Etsy.
I like the storage case that was made with this puppet theater. With as much work as I’m putting into this idea, I want to ensure that I have proper storage so it doesn’t get ruined just laying around.
Over at Craftster they are hosting a thread called Toybox Tuesday. I’m going to use that as my goal marker. The idea is that each Tuesday another thread will be started wherein people post pictures of toys they’ve completed over the past week. It seems like a cool idea and one that will help me keep on track.
In trying to ensure that the kids are ready for public school when it begins, I’ve revamped my teaching style.
Last week I gave Fin a list of fifteen words that I’d plucked from a children’s dictionary. I printed the words on a big posterboard and each day he went over the words with either myself or the Husband.
Dul did the first lesson from the preparatory curriculum from Letter of the Week. This week (I start our week on Saturday now, it is just easier for me) he’ll be doing lesson two. He really seems to like the lessons and is finally seeming to retain the information.
Awhile back I bought “Giant Basic Skills Preschool Workbook” somewhere and I’ve started Dul on it. I like the tracing work that it provides but it is really a backup kind of thing. I plan to buy the Kumon books that are centered on letter acquisition so that he can get more practice writing the letters with a letter model that he can trace. I may even have one or two already, I have so many books that I’ve yet to enter into LibraryThing that I’m having to use the old-fashioned way of finding books (read: search through my shelves and get distracted when I stumble upon books that I’d forgotten I had).
After making the decision to send the kids to school I ran out and bought “What Your ____ Needs to Know” for both kindergarten and first grade. I’ll be drawing from that as well to help make my lesson plans.
Of course, we’re using Starfall.com as the kids absolutely adore it.
Be sure to check out the “Links” tab at the top of the page. I’ll be adding some (mostly FREE!!) homeschool links over the next couple days.
I’m waiting on The Story of the World: Volume 1 and The Story of the World: Activity Book 1 to arrive in the mail. I had been using a copy of the book from the library but they only have one so it was a pain having to return it and reorder it. Also, my library doesn’t have the activity book so I was going to have to buy that anyway. I figured that while we were on a hiatus, I may as well place the order so that we could resume our activities with the books in hand as I had to return the library’s copy for another patron’s usage.
I really like the Kumon Addition book that Fin is using. So far he’s only done two sections in the book due to our unexpected hiatus but I really like it. So much so that I’m going to get a few more, both for him and for Dul.
Tomorrow we’ll work on math, reading, science, and Polish.
Yes, I’m testing the waters with Polish. I know, I know. I swore that I wouldn’t include any more languages until they were fluent in the ones they are exposed to right now. But Polish has always been close to my heart. It was the language that I intended to speak to my (future, at the time) children until I realized how hard it was to find Polish material in the United States. German was just a runner-up.
The links we’ll be using for learning Polish this week:
Polish dot-to-dot The numbers are spoken in Polish as you click them and in the end, the shape comes to life!
Polish Gwiazdy Make a Polish Gwiazdy much like a paper snowflake.
Polish thumbprint cookies Recipe
Polart Various Polish things to buy from toys to dvds.
Polish worksheets Very bland but helpful.
Polish Songs for Kids Mama Lisa’s World
Various Polish links that mention Christmas carols:
And for the adults: Polish Forum More than just learning the language.
We’re doing ancient Egypt right now. I’m going to buy Story of the World today (I’d borrowed it from the library previously) so that we can get started reading the chapters. I’ve ordered a million books on Egypt from the library and I believe I have a few laying around the apartment somewhere.
There is a fabulous blog, Run of the Mill, that has great resources for Story of the World Volume 1. I found it awhile ago and it has proved as useful as I thought it would be.
I went to Barnes and Noble on a book hunt for my schoolwork (one teacher assigned a book that is apparently unknown to man, besides her that is, but that’s another story) and after failing to find what I went for, I checked out the workbooks. I got an addition Kumon math workbook and a smaller math book with drills that the manager of the children’s section recommended to me after I expressed my regret at not finding the Singapore math book that I’d been looking for. He was a retired librarian and I could tell that before he even told me. His love for the books was truly authentic. I’m going to put a visit to one of their storytimes on the calendar.
Borders got a visit from me on another failed textbook expedition. Their bargain zone was full of so many great kids’ books and it was hard decision time at one point. I ended up walking out with two copies of 101 Things Every Kindergartener Should Know About Reading (one for each boy) and a Wee Sing Book that has four cds and over 250 songs. I saw a ton of books but I’m trying to budget my money wisely.
Today Dul worked on writing uppercase and lowercase As in the 101 book. He was also to draw a picture of an animal eating an apple. He decided that he wanted to draw a person eating an apple and I told him that was fine as people are animals too. He got a kick out of that. Since he’s in preschool and I’m treading lightly as he does not like workbooks or written work, I let him stop after that. I asked him, “Do you want to be done with schoolwork or do you want to do another page?” I was hoping he’d say no as he needs more practice writing letters. He yelled out “BE DONE!!!” So he’s done for the day.
Fin did the same page as Dul and he went forward a page and drew a picture of an ape wearing an apron. He decided to add apple trees to the picture as well. He then did the first two pages in his Kumon book where he traced numbers. I’ve decided to check out some Kumon books for letters as well, to help both the boys with legibility. I can read Fin’s stories but he is five and there is much room for improvement. Dul’s letters are nonexistant unless he’s tracing in a book so he needs a lot of work.
I believe we have a scanner somewhere that we got years ago as a gift or a freebie with another buy. We may have even just bought it. Anyway, we’ve never used it but this is the perfect time. If I can get it set up with my laptop, I’ll start uploading some of their work here to keep track of progress.
So today’s work in a nutshell (crossed out means done)
Fin (5 year old kingergarten/first grade)
Math: Section 1 and 2 in Kumon Addition, As in 101 Things, write a thank you letter to family friends (they were gifted a ton of toy cars and action figures along with some other toys), listen to Bible read aloud, listen to classical music during free play, read chapter 2 in DK History of the World, play Adventure in Art History (like one of those tell your own story books where you decide what decision to make/answer to give).
Dul (4 year old preschool)
One page of A in 101 Things.
So. I’ve officially decided not to homeschool the kids. With kindergarten looming, I was faced with a final decision. Months were spent going back and forth, arguing with myself, trying to decide what to do. This decision is so important, what I decide to do affects everything. So after going over it again and again, I’ve decided not to homeschool. Homeschooling is wonderful and great but really, though I didn’t love every moment of school, I liked most of it. I became a person in school. I met my husband in school. I met one of my best friends in school. Sure, school is about more than being social. But life is about more than learning. It is about the relationships you form, good or bad, and I want them to have that. I want them to be people, away from me. I want them to have the fun and excitement that I had in school.
If it turns out bad, then in a minute, in a second, I will take them out. But I want to at least give them a chance. Though I am worried out of my brain about it all, they are SO excited. Fin will definitely be going to kindergarten but I’m not sure if we’ll send Dul to preschool. He might benefit from another year at home where he can get the attention that is usually split between him and Fin. I think he’d do well being the oldest one at home. So we’re wavering on that.
I think they will benefit from the socialization. I’m bad at socializing. By that, I mean I am practically a recluse. I am bad at answering emails (which reminds me, I need to go check my email), I abhor talking on the phone, it takes a lot out of me to make plans and *gasp* follow through. I’m trying to become better than that. My friends deserve more from me than promises to get together and then me flaking out. I’m pretty sure that’s not the way to keep friends. My two best friends are both wonderful women who I love to death and I want to spend more time with them. But that’s the thing, I can barely make myself socialize, it is even harder to do the playdate thing. At the park I smile and nod but I studiously avoid playdates. When I can tell that a mom is trying to “ask me out” (playground lingo for setting up a playdate for those of you whose world doesn’t revolve around sticky kid hands and sand in your shoes), I avoid it. Unless asked outright I act as though I don’t get the hints. If asked outright I mostly decline. I’m just not interested in hanging with someone just because our kids happen to share well together.
There are many other reasons behind it but that’s a big one for me. So, my kids will be going to school next year. Weird.
I’m totally joining the PTA.
With a kid update. I was making some (coal black, could pass for tar) coffee and the boys were watching me. Dul kept asking “What are you doing? What are you making? Why are you making that?” with his normal four year old vigor. When I told him it was coffee he denied such (I’m trying a new brand). I ignored the accusation (I really can’t defend myself against such slanderous statements prior to my first caffeine of the morning) while opening the package. I closed my eyes and took a deep whiff which caused Fin to proclaim:
“It IS coffee!”
I completely missed Children’s Book Week this year. I knew it was close, knew it was coming, and then the next thing I knew, it had passed me by. So I’m going to celebrate by adding a bunch of new children’s lit blogs to my blog roll. We already read a ton so it isn’t like I can say, “Let’s read a book to celebrate Book Week!”
Speaking of which, I know that I need to be better about keeping track of the books that I read to the kids. I’ve started keeping track on LibraryThing of the ones we read for school but it is much harder to buckle down and enter in the ones we read just for pleasure. However, I’m going to make more of an effort. I’ve decided that I’ll put the books in a stack and then when I have the time I’ll take the stack and enter it.
I’ve ordered a bunch of books with a library theme from the library to celebrate Children’s Book Week. Those are going to be our “fun” books this week. Though they, especially Dul, are loving the dinosaur books. “Rocks and Fossils” was a bit dull for them but they enjoy most of them overall.
Today was extremely busy as I spent most of the day looking for a new job, so we didn’t get any schooling done. Tomorrow the plan is to read another five school books. Fin has a loose tooth (his first!) so I’m going to pick up some books about that as well. I want to get science, math, history, Spanish, German, English done tomorrow. I’m thinking of doing a little geography as well but I’ll see if I have time to fit that in.
On my next payday I’m going to buy the Story of the World: Volume 1 Activity Book. I think it will be worth it to have the extra activities all laid out for me.
Some random conversations:
“My brain is fuzzy?” Dul said when I asked him a question.
“Yeah, it melted.”
“Hey Super Ultimate Robot, why is Daddy being mean to me?” (Said in jest to the robot Fin built with some building toys)
“Because your brain’s not working.” Fin croaked in his Super Ultimate Robot voice. (By the way, he name it himself as well.)
“Hey, dude, no!” (I’m not very articulate when rushing to stop a kid from hurting themselves.
“I not.” Belle protested.
“Yeah, you are. Stop it.”
“Down.” She said as she sat down.
I have callouses and blisters on my hands. I just spent about two hours scrubbing the floor in the boys’ room. Every month or so I clean their room while they’re sleeping and then scrub their floor. I would really like to get a carpet cleaner but then, why get another appliance that wastes energy when I can do the same job with my hands, some cleaner, a bucket, and a scrub brush?
So this evening I decided that it was past time and got to work. I only cleaned the main areas, I’ve still got to clean under their beds and in the closet. But the overall appeal of the room is a lot better now. I’ve got to scrub down the walls and paint again because they somehow got markers and wrote all over the walls, again. The upkeep required with keeping things status quo around here quadrupled with the birth of Dul. But I love it. I love cleaning up after them and the fact that I have painted their room more than I’ve ever painted anything in my life. I love that they get so dirty when they play outside that I have to give them a bath, let the water out, and give them another bath in clean water. I love that they scream like banshees when they get a shower instead of a bath (seriously, they scream like I’m killing them even when I try to rinse their hair in the bath).
Because you know what? One day they aren’t going to want me in their room. One day they are going to put away their shoes without me having to ask them again and again. One day they’ll take showers by themselves and there will be no screaming about the water. They’ll paint their own rooms in their own homes. One day they won’t be my little boys anymore, they’ll be my grown up sons. So I’m going to treasure and love this time while I have it.
I have callouses and blisters on my hands. And I love it.