Wednesday, February 29, 2012

40 Days Of Easter: Day 5 & 6

Day 5's craft was pretty quick and simple, after all that has been the theme around here. Seriously though, this craft was incredibly quick and simple, exactly what we needed because the last three days around here have been totally chaotic.

We actually did this craft yesterday, but I was just to busy & worn out to care about uploading photos for it last night. Do you have any idea how exhausting a trip to the library can be? No, seriously we had a rather busy day yesterday.

Anyway, Tuesday's parable came from John where Jesus spoke about vines. I was tempted to drive up to one of the many vineyards in our area and ask for a bit of vine, but considering I wouldn't have made a purchase of their wine they might not have appreciated my boldness.

Instead, we raided the craft box for pipe cleaners. Apparently someone used up all the greens & browns so we settled for what we had. No one seemed to mind getting the orange, so it worked. All you need is a pipe cleaner per child and a pen or pencil.

Wrap the pipe cleaner around the pencil. There's no exact science to this. The kids did it several times because they felt the craft was too quick and simple for them.

Pull it off gently & give a slight bend in the middle. That's it. See, super easy here! All though Jayden did keep referring to it as his "weed". We heard exclamations all day of, "What happened to my weed? Who took my weed!" Yeah, there were a few snickers...

Today, Day 6, was discussing what the fruit Jesus refered to in John might have meant which led to reading the scripture in Galatians about The Fruit Of The Spirit. A quick google search pulled up this freebie. Color, cut, glue. The boys did all of it themselves while I read our read aloud today to them. Had I thought it through a little more, I would have reduced the size before printing, but that's okay. The kids were happy with it as it was.

Monday, February 27, 2012

40 Days Of Easter: Day 4

File Four in our Mission Possible book was about Judas I. & his selling out of Jesus. The boys both remembered that there was silver exchanged, before reading today's scriptures. It was Morgan who remembered that there were 30 pieces that exchanged hands.

I debated a couple of ideas here for Crafts, but in the end went with an idea for making 30 simple pieces of silver & a small bag to hold them in. It's not a "flat" craft, but could be affixed to paper to be flat when we're done with it.

When completed it's actually quite lightweight and easily hung on our Art Display String so that was another bonus.

Best of all the boys were really into this craft and are still making more "silver" for use in various games they have well planned out.

For today's craft, which is really simple, all you need is some lightweight cardboard {We used Mr S's weet*bix box}, a circle cutter {or you can free hand it}, & some aluminium foil.

Cut out 30 circles per child. Again, I used my nifty little 1" circle punch that goes with my scrapbooking goodies. Was quick and simple.

Next, take small strips of aluminium foil {half of what you see in the photo above} and wrap it around the small cardboard discs. Perfection is not important. The boys felt the less perfect & smooth it was the more realistic it looked.

The wrapping can take a bit of time, so I took advantage of this and read todays passage while the boys covered their coins in silver. I did end up helping Jayden after we finished reading, but Morgan finished all of his on his own.

If you want to make a quick and simple money pouch all you need is thread, a needle, and a piece of material cut into a circle per pouch. These are really easy to make!

Quick running stitch all the way around the circle. Nothing exact, we just went with it, & as you can tell I didn't bother to iron the material either. No one complained.

We left a long tail when we were done, pull this as much or as little as you want to close the bag up. This bowl shape was just right for the kids to drop all their coins into without worrying about them spilling back out.

Then we pulled the string all the way to lock our coins inside! Easy Peasy craft that the boys haven't stopped talking about since we completed it!

Weekly Wrap Up: Week Two

We're still slowly adding back in all our subjects as we return full force to school. This week wasn't much different. Our morning routine seems down pretty pat as the boys get back into their maths, Bible, & reading.

We were quickly able to move Bible verses farther back in our Memory Box this week. I'd kept ones from last year up towards the front. This box seems to collect dust unless we meet at the learning table. I'm not sure it use to, but now that we don't school in the dinning room it's not out in the open for us to see.

The boys are also back in the groove with their multiplication facts which is nice to see. They were a little rusty when we first started out, but picked up where they left off very quickly. I'm sure the picture clues from Times Alive! helped considerably.

While we wait on the new math curriculum to arrive Morgan did Life Of Fred all week. He was tickled pink to spend that much time with Fred, and while it's great review still as of Chapter 10 in the Fractions book it's pretty much all review for him. He did, however, learn to reduce fractions this week something I hadn't tackled with him yet but he was clearly ready for. I was a bit annoyed with the book this week as they gave the children 2 problems to do & then don't tell them, until they check their answers, that there are 3 rules for reducing fractions. I do not admire, enjoy, or applaud anything/one that chooses to trick children, in that manner, when they are trying to learn. I feel those rules should have been stated from the get-go.  So, if you're up to Chapter 10 {or was it 11} you might want to read those rules from the answer page for your children.

Last week Jayden busied himself with the Times Alive! programme. While he's sat in on every lesson Morgan had with it, he was eager to be able to do the lessons himself. It's funny because I didn't think he'd be that excited about it, but he was. He use to cry if he missed out on a lesson Morgan did and then to please him Morgan would do the lesson again. I guess he really loves the programme!

Lots of reading happening around here. I pulled Klondike Kid off our bookcase for Jayden to read. I was sure he'd be happy with my choice, but when I told him what it was about he laid on the couch and read through the first small chapter. In fact, that particular day I was laying on the lounge room floor reading Rebecca {how come I've never read this before?} & Morgan was in a recliner reading his Hardy Boy book. There was much chatter from the Peanut Gallery as they discussed their books every few paragraphs. Morgan is about  halfway through his book & still giving me daily updates on the story. Apparently the name calling only comes from one character. And, for those that asked, this is one of the newer Hardy Boy books written for younger readers, not the originals.

We started our Zoology this week as well, & there was much rejoicing. The boys were very eager to get going on their Science Journals that I purchased to go with the book, & honestly I'm so glad I did! Not only is there notebooking pages, lapbooking bits, & other goodies inside, there's a nifty schedule for using Zoology 1 all laid out for you in the journal! I tore the front few pages out of both boys journal because those pages were written to the teacher & includes tips and hints as well as the actual schedules. The schedule has us spending 2 weeks on a chapter, so we're halfway done with Chapter 1. The boys tried out an air pressure experiment & learned all about lift, thrust, & drag. Angry Birds hasn't been the same for them since.

Overall, not a bad week around here, especially since we only did Easter Craft on Friday as the boys Nana was staying with us. We also wrapped up our New Testament Grapevine Bible study which was both exciting & sad at the same time. The boys were delighted to finish it up so we can move on to the Old Testament, but goodness it's been such a huge part of our lives for the past 24 months it's kinda sad to think we're done with it and ready to move back to the Old Testament. We're going to take a small break and do some studies revolving around the events of why we celebrate Easter before jumping back in with Grapevine. At least that's the plan for now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

40 Days Of Easter: Day 3

Today's lesson was the Parable Jesus told to the Pharisees about the Rich Man with the vineyard who rented it out only to have his servants & son killed.

I went with a cluster of grapes for this craft which would keep things simple. I like simple, & considering my mil is under the weather and staying with us I love simple even more!

This craft & Bible reading took us about 20 minutes, or the same length of time it took for my mother-in-law to engage in a very interesting phone call with my brother-in-law! I like quick too, did I mention that alongside simple?

Today's supplies are pretty simple: Glue sticks, green & purple circles cut from construction paper. You'll need to google for a grapevine pattern if you're not up to drawing one yourself.

I cheated with the circles & went the quick and simple route and used my 1" scrapbooking punch. I love that thing, & have another one a bit bigger. Anyway, it works really well and was just the right size. Just sit and punch a few out.

Trim your free printout as desired. I removed the reference to Mom & trimmed the sides down a bit. I wanted to keep things small and simple to fit into a notebook when they were done. Most likely many glued to a piece of paper and then slipped in. This worked for us.

Have your crafters color the grape leaves and vines. Mine did this while I read the parable to them directly from my Bible & then read them the clues & facts from our Mission Possible book.

Cover your paper in glue from your glue stick and arrange the circles as desired to make a nice large cluster of grapes. I don't recommend laying out your grapes first before spreading the glue on because little crafters get frustrated when they can't reduplicate it exactly as they had it. Remember quick & simple.

That's it, just hang it up to dry!  On a side note, we won't be sharing anymore crafts until our Monday again as we won't be doing any this weekend. We have a party & outing scheduled for the weekend & I'd like the devotional to last them until Easter.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

40 Days Of Easter: Day 2

Today's Fact File was based on the traditional Palm Sunday lesson with Jesus' final journey into Jerusalem. The boys are pretty familiar with this particular story, and finding a craft to go along with it was very simplistic.

We decided on making a donkey that was walking across palm leaves. Now to be completely realistic we should have thrown some cloaks or shirts or some form of clothing on the ground, but we were going for simplistic and quick, & a quick donkey pattern, a few craft sticks, & some tape had us pretty much set.

In fact, this went together so quickly I had to ask the boys to stop permitting the donkeys to race around the room, especially with their "shortcut" through the sticker maker which, thankfully, had no paper in it.

All you need for this particular craft is: black yarn {optional}, glue sticks & tape, wooden clothes pegs or craft sticks, crayons,  a free donkey pattern {unless you're awesome at freehand drawing and up to it}, & some green foam cut into palm leaf shapes. Have your kids color their donkeys as desired. We have one grey donkey & one rainbow one, it all works.

Lay a piece of sticky tape sticky side up and have the kids arrange their leaves no it. 

For any leaf that doesn't directly lay or sit upon the sticky side of the tape just make a tape loop to hold it down. You could use the glue stick, but I find that this funky craft foam just doesn't like the glue sticks.

Laminate your donkeys if you want, & then put glue on the main & tail areas. Cut small snips of black yarn to cover the glue. You don't have to do this step, but we thought it would be fun & add more texture to our craft.

Someone snitched mini-wooden pegs for their donkey feet, but I took them back. They have ladybugs {birds} on the other side & we seem to have lost half of them in our move so I was being stingy. Lazarus clearly enjoyed taking a ride on the colt there.

Legs, in my opinion, could really be optional, but the boys were pretty set on them, so we made some.

We cut a craft stick into four pieces. The boys colored them as desired and then we put a bit of glue on the top half and stuck them on the donkey. Then we used sticky tape to hold them down as well. I figured it would take a bit of time for the glue to dry and the tape would hold them in place until then.

Tape your donkey to it's palm leaf path. We did this in the same way we made the palm leaf path. Easy Peasy, at least way more so then gluing craft foam to anything. 

Then hang it up before your kids can hold donkey races across the house again. No, seriously, trust me on this one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Days Of Easter

This past Christmas as we dutifully added our ornaments to the Jesse Tree the boys mentioned how fun it would be to do something similar for Easter. I agreed, whole heartedly.

After all, in this house my kids know that Easter is not about the bunny. Unless you consider the ever running debate about ears or tail first when it comes to consuming the chocolate ones.

Anyway.. I'd hoped to make an Easter Quilt similar to our Jesse Tree Quilt, but life happened and I never got to it. Today, we happened to wrap up our New Testament study with the Grapevine Curriculum. I didn't want to jump right into the Old Testament yet because I'm not quite ready for it. Then I remembered I had this nifty book called Mission Possible on the shelf. It was an Easter Present for Morgan a couple of years back when he was into spies. Such a timely little book considering the Easter Season is close upon us! I decided this little book would be our Easter Journey, and we'll just do a craft for each lesson. Maybe afterwards I can turn the crafts {or the ideas of the crafts} into a quilt. We'll see..

Today's story was about Lazarus, and the craft was pretty simple. We used some Paperkins {left over from my American stash of scrapbooking goodies}, a small strip of white material, a glue stick, & some scissors.

This was just a cheap piece of white cotton that was in my scrap basket. I cut slits at the top and then tore the strips down the length of the material. It gives it a nice frayed look that just seemed right for this craft. Nothing too exact mind you. When I was done the small strips were a bit curly. I wasn't about to haul out the iron, I just ran the flat edge of my scissors along the edge of the material to flatten it out enough for our project. Easy Peasy!

Here's our strip of materials all cut out, some of it had been flattened at this point some of it not. Some of it I didn't flatten out because I had eager children who couldn't wait to wrap up Lazarus. Next we just started wrapping. It took about 3 strips per paper figure. I started on a foot. Put a smear of glue down just to hold your starting piece in place. Then wrap. If a piece is a bit to long, just snip it and glue the end down. We used the small snipped bits to piece in where the children felt Lazarus was a bit too naked.

See, it's not an exact science! Can you spot Lazarus' toe sticking out there? Or the top of his head? It all works. The boys were really intent that his eyes should be visible, but perhaps not his mouth. They felt that he wouldn't be quite so happy if he was dead. Of course we kinda laughed about that afterwards considering he comes back to life, but anyway...

We hung our Lazarus up on our art string where he'll most likely remain until after Easter. The idea is to do 40 crafts over the next 40 days {the length of the devotional}, all based on the life of Jesus. We'll see how it goes. The plan was to only do the crafts/devotional on school days, but we'll then be left with 3 days of devotionals & crafts when Easter arrives, so we'll have to figure that out. In the mean time I'm looking forward to the whole adventure!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

NBTS: Our Learning Area

Our Worldwide Classroom
This week's All Aussie Not Back To School theme is Your Learning Area. I've shared our learning area, which seems to be ever changing, recently, but I thought I'd share it again now that we've put it to use a bit. Some areas still aren't completed, mostly in regards to wall decorating over desks, but we're still getting our daily use out of the room.

Here's out nifty little learning space. Actually it's not little at all, it's considerably more roomy then any other learning space we've ever had. Our first learning space was the lounge room of a two bedroom apartment. We had a timeline hanging on our lounge room wall, a globe sitting above the tv, & our bookcase was full of school books. It worked for us. Since then we've schooled in dedicated rooms, lounge rooms, decks, libraries, bedrooms, dining rooms, & even in the back of the car. However, most often our learning happens right here in this really beautifully sunny room. In fact, sometimes when the weather is luring us we just step out onto the patio and sit out there to do our learning.

This is where the majority of our learning happens, right here at this table.  The boys each have their own dedicated chair which is clearly marked by the backpack hanging on it. Their chairs are ugly & came with the first dining set we bought when we moved here. We've since tossed all but those two chairs. We start our days at this table with our Memory box & Bible. From there the boys might disperse to their own desks, the computer {math}, or to their bedrooms {reading}. It just depends on the day. We do have a general schedule because the boys are on separate levels for reading & math, & so I have to balance the time so that I'm available for one-on-one time for certain subjects as needed. For the most part all their morning studies are done independently, which can leave me feeling lost at times. Do I get involved in something or do I wait until they need me? I'm not the only one, right?

The computer station & student desks flank one wall. The boys current math programme {Teaching Textbooks} has them using the computer, when we change math programmes next month that will change a little. But for now, this is where they go for their math.  My kids honestly don't use the computer for much other research type topics. Not because it doesn't occur to them, but because their first inclination is to find the information in a book, & their second inclination is to have Mom google the answer for them. Last week we did a Mystery Geography book. Morgan picked up every clue in the book and had it narrowed down to 3 US states. He scanned the map & when he couldn't find what he was looking for actually googled the answer himself which I found quite impressive.

We have this absurdly small section of wall in our school room which is just perfect for the calendar station. When Jayden was at the preschool/kindy level I made these fun little Thomas Train calendar cards. He use to love getting up every morning and racing to them to change what he could. We even had a little thing for him to put the day of the week on for  "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" as he was learning his days of the week. Honestly, I think I'm the one who moves the arrows now, it's sorta sad, but Jayden doesn't want me to take them down. Apparently he still uses them to make sure his calendar isn't tricking him. Yep, he cracks us up all the time. {Between you and I, I think he just doesn't want to see another Thomas Train item packed away. Which is more then okay by me.}

Of course we have our wall length bookcase which is all broken down by topics. If we ever get all our books shipped from the US we'll have to double the size of this shelf. The top shelf boxes hold many of the books we'll be using this year. It's much easier to tell the boys they'll find the book they are looking for in box a, b, or c rather then on the left hand side of the second science shelf. The Magazine Boxes are holding various Teacher Manuals that are ebooks or bound books. I find i's easier to keep them upright that way.

The boys notebooks & lapbooks are all kept on this side of the shelf which L's around the corner. This does not include their Timeline notebook which is kept beside each desk. All though, I should probably make room down there for it it move the lapbooks to another space. Those timeline notebooks are crazy heavy and need support to stand upright! The top shelf holds many of the Teacher Manuals I'll be using this year, and a few for next year too.

There's this infamous Blue Cabinet, which is only infamous in our home. When my mil moved the first time last year we had to clean out her shed. Inside were many pieces of furniture that my father-in-law had made. This was amongst them. We snapped up a few pieces, but as is the case with many things that my fil made they are heavy. I dropped this big old thing on my foot and was rewarded with a beautifully purple bruise for a week from it! This cabinet happens to be our current printer stand and inside the cabinet holds various art supplies all tucked away out of view.

Then there's the art & map wall. This is behind us when we're sitting at the table. The maps gets used frequently, and the art line usually does when the kids draw & paint pictures. I disposed of, in many ways, what was hanging on it before we moved house. As you can see from the emptiness of our art line we've not attended to much art since we've moved into the new place!

And that's it, that's our learning area. Of course, we do a good bit of our reading on the couch or sprawled out in some way in the lounge. I often sit icing my bad knee while reading our books while the boys either work on a corresponding project {notebooking page, mapping project, etc.} or building things out of lego. I don't know I'll do when they decide to read the books themselves.