Sunday, October 10, 2010

A fall wreath...

Since one of my New Year's Resolutions was to decorate for each of the holidays, and since we haven't decorated anything since Valentine's Day...  we are going all out for fall/Halloween.  And one of the things I deemed we needed was a wreath for our door.  We started by gathering pine cones and acorns.  I bought a grapevine wreath and some silk leaves and we were ready to create.  The boys started by fancying up the pine cones.  We painted them with glue and dropped them into ziploc bags, sprinkled glitter, sealed and shook.  Even Vin got in on the action...

I didn't get any pics in progress - I feared for what would happen with all three boys working together...  We let those dry overnight and the next day we put the wreath together.   One glue gun, two boys (Vin was happily playing by himself while we worked) and some INTENSE concentration later...

We have a beautiful wreath for our front door...

The boys were so proud, but then thought it would be hysterical to make faces while I tried to get a group shot. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Morning Calendar Time

I'm really trying to get into a morning groove with the boys... Ideally, this is what I'd like to see happen. The day starts after I shower (before dh leaves for work).

  • Breakfast
  • Upstairs for chores (clean bedrooms, make beds, brush teeth, get dressed -- eventually by themselves while i clean up from breakfast)
  • Back downstairs for morning calendar time. Right now, we just do the calendar -- what day it is, count up to the date (the boys insist we count the whole calendar AND the date... I let them use a hand pointer which they love!), we sing a "today is" song, talk about what we're doing that day and each boy writes the main thing (nic does it himself, joe gets dotted lines to follow, but he doesn't quite get that idea yet. He's learning a few of his letters all on his own anyway)

  • Eventually I want to follow that with a few more formal things -- count out the date in money, telling time, etc. but I haven't gotten that board made yet.
  • Also eventually I want to follow this with independent, Montessori-ish type activities that they can freely choose from. So far, we do the activities, but I'm leading them and not leaving them out on shelves. One day I will trust that they can handle options and not just make a huge mess with it.
  • Snack time
  • Nap/quiet time
  • Lunch time
  • Free time -- usually a trip to the park, errands, crafts, etc.
And that should take us up til dh gets home, dinner, and bedtime :) Of course, it rarely happens like that and I have a hard time saying no to certain things... so we're scheduled for Goodsports ( a sports program for Nic) on Tuesdays at 11 (screws up naps, we fit in calendar time but then we're out the door). And we have brainstormers, our homeschool coop on Thursdays from 9-2 (we barely get out the door for that one). We have playgroups scheduled for 1:00 on Wed and Fri... and Mondays are usually good for a homeschool field trip... But... that's what ideals are for... something to strive for... not necessarily to maintain ALWAYS...

Til then... we're having fun along the way and that's got to count for something, right?

Countdown to Halloween

Inspired by almost unschoolers fall tree bucket list, we decided to make our own. The boys helped me pick out some leaf shapes online, we printed them and picked 4 colors of construction paper (ok, so they were coached... it helped that we didnt have purple construction paper!) ... and I cut out a bunch of each shape. The boys eschewed cutting out leaves in favor of just cutting... I was in a bit of perfectionist mode, so it worked. :) I cut out a tree shape and the boys helped me tape it to the wall. Then we brainstormed the fun things we wanted to do this fall... our leaves include:
  • go on a hayride
  • drink warm apple cider on the deck
  • explore a corn maze
  • pick apples
  • go to a pumpkin patch
  • see changing leaves on a nature walk
  • explore one new park
  • jump in a pile of leaves
  • decorate for thansgiving
  • make and send flats (flat stanley project)
  • go on a fall scavenger hunt
  • go to fright fest at great adventure
  • go to a car race (for monkey and dad)
  • make thankful thanksgiving turkeys
  • rake leaves
  • go on a squeegee hunt
  • roast pumpkin seeds
  • bob for apples
  • read a Thanksgiving story
The boys hung up all the leaves using blue tac (their favorite part) and then I decided we needed a Halloween countdown, so we printed out a ghost. I cut 31 ghosts out, and Nic helped me add eyes and a mouth. Then we brainstormed things we wanted to do specifically for Halloween -- most of them are crafts to decorate the house/outside with, and some of them are just blank.
  • Make a scarecrow
  • Make a wreath for the front door
  • Convince daddy to wear a halloween costume when trick or treating
  • Make pumpkin luminaries (both painted and tissue paper versions)
  • Decorate foam pumpkins and ghosts
  • Make tin can luminaries
  • Decorate a foam pumpkin garland
  • Make yarn spiders and tape webs
  • Make coffee filter bats
  • Make a Halloween totem pole
  • Decorate wooden Halloween houses
  • Go trick or treating
The boys added the ghosts to our tree. At that point we were done for the day. But, we came back to it the next day because we needed a haunted house for our ghosts to fly to as we ticked off the days towards Halloween. Every day as part of our calendar time - one ghost flies over to the Haunted House and we can see how much closer we are to trick or treating!