September 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Children Books

Top Ten {Tuesday}

I've seen this Top Ten Tuesday come through my Google reader for a few weeks now, and decided today was the day to join in.  Now, what to blog about...

Top Ten Favorite Children's Books:

1.  The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown - this was one of my absolutely favorite books from my childhood, Wink and Blink mix colors and cause a bit of trouble.  My kids aren't quite as thrilled with it as I was, but they let me read it to them, anyway.  I have a few copies around here.

2.  Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  Have you read this book?  I cry every single time, it's such a true story of a parents love for their children throughout their whole lives.  If you haven't read it, it's time - go find a copy!

3.  Count with Me by Shirley Barber.  I love the artwork in this book, and there are lots of colorful items to count. 

4.  Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  This one is a classic, don't you agree?  I really enjoy this book, the rhyming is great.  I love it, I do Sam-I-Am.

5.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  What a great book!  This was one of my favorites as a child, and it still ranks as a favorite in my mind.  I have re-read the whole series and it is awesome.

6.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.  I still cry during this story, and I know what's going to happen.  I love Charlotte, I love Wilbur, I love this book.

7.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.   All three of my children love this whole series of If you Give a ... books.  They are a great to read, and flow well - I love the cause/effect.

8.  Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  One of the first chapter books I remember reading and LOVING.  My kids are really enjoying Ramona books too.  It's fun to see them read these books that I enjoyed so much years ago.  And, Ramona is still a pest!

9. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald.  This is a book that I just recently encountered but it's a great book for kids.  My son (reluctant reader) has really been involved in reading this whole series of books.  It's set in Utah in the 1890's so it also has some history. 

and last, but not least
10.  Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt.  I love this touchy, feely book - it has simple text, great textures and my kids all enjoyed it.  In fact, it's a book I love to give as a gift for new babies or baby showers.

It was hard to settle on just ten books!  What books would you add?

Be sure to stop by the Top Ten Tuesday, and see what other people are writing about this week.

September 27, 2010

I wish

I wish we were unschoolers.  I've read the books.  I've done the research.  I have friends who unschool.
It looks so great, and organic and wonderful.  Some days, I want their life.

But, when left to their own devices, my kids only want to watch TV, all day long.  No, not educational TV, programs like Full House, Rugrats, Hannah Montana - over and over and over again.  I follow their interests, leaving fun and cool items strewn around, still the TV will call to them. 

Panic sets in - and I hunt for some curriculum, some interest to inspire them, something.

We are not unschoolers, and I'm okay with that.  We balance our days with some curriculum, some fun and games, some unit studies (somedays) and some child-delight-directed items and yes, some TV, too.  Okay, so we are eclectic, and I'm okay with that, too.

I want my children to work hard, love each other, follow God and have a lot of opportunities available to them.  Now and later in life.  My motto is work hard, keep those doors (opportunities) open, now, while we still are able to.  If they choose not to go through a certain door in the future, I'm perfectly fine with that, but wouldn't it be nice to have many options?  KWIM?

I wish we were unschoolers, but by being an eclectic home school family, we are able to pull from whatever philosophy fills our needs right now, today.   It's great being a homeschooler.

September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - September 24, 2010

Our week was fairly uneventful this week.   We actually got into a groove with our schoolwork (math, LA, writing, reading).  I feel like we're making some progress, here, finally.  I'm still waiting on books and materials for WinterPromise Sea & Sky - it looks like we probably won't start this until sometime in October.

We are really loving the game Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?  It is really fun to play and it helps develop our reading skills and US geography skills.

I spent a chunk of time this week organizing and re-organizing.  We have WAY too much stuff (homeschool and otherwise) - I need to really focus on decluttering an area each week.  Easier said than done, but maybe if I write it in my blog it will come true.  :)

We started reading The Great Brain Is Back by John D. Fitzgerald this week, just for fun (and for our current family read-aloud.)  My son (the reluctant reader) is really enjoying this book.  We ended up checking some of the related books on CD out of the library, and he is listening to them at bedtime, too.

The kids had their Recycled Runway art class again on Thursday.  This week they worked on their tops to go with their fashion design using repurposed items.  One girl in the class made a very cool dress, using black & white fabric and Monopoly money glued on - it was neat.  A-Doll made a great sailor-style top.  J-Guy is still working on his, he will be using playing cards for his vest.  I love the creativity all the kids display.

Be sure to check out  Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more Weekly WrapUps.

September 17, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - September 17


Our week was great this week. Here are some highlights.

Monday:  We held our very first Around the World Cooking Club meeting at our house.  The kids cooked Mexican cuisine and it was yummy.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves, and the food was quite good.  We are definitely excited about this club over the year.  Our next cooking experience will be from France - we might go heavy on desserts.  S-Doll had a friend stay after cooking club, so we had a leisurely afternoon.  We spent a good chunk of time at the Cincinnati Nature Center, taking a hike, feeding the fish, checking out tadpoles in the stream.  All in all a great day.

Tuesday:  We were back to working on our measurement unit study.  We focused on probability and statistics and played with Skittles.  Our favorite part was buying the big bag of Skittles, then we each randomly drew 20 skittles from the bag.  We tallied what colors were pulled.  Both girls (and mom) pulled the most purple Skittles.  J-Guy pulled the most red Skittles.  We hypothesized that purple must be the most prevalent in a package of Skittles.  Nope, not in our bag - red actually outnumbered the other colors by 10 skittles.  We were very surprised.   This exercise was also good for counting by 5's and 10's practice.

Wednesday:  First morning back at our favorite homeschool enrichment school, Leaves of Learning.  J-Guy is taking Simple Machines, S-Doll is taking Art and A-Doll is taking Arts & Crafts from the Time Machine and Sign Language.  Great place - fun morning!

Thursday:  Regular school and art class for A & J.  They are taking a cool art class - it's called Recycled Runway.  They are taking regular items and re-purposing them into outfits/costumes for a "green" fashion show.  I wish I could take it, awesome class.

And today, we have our first meeting of Review club, followed by a park day.  Then, I'm headed to Half-Price books to search for some of the books for WinterPromise Sea & Sky.  We're excited to get started with that program.

Have a great weekend!  Make sure you head over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for additional Weekly Wrap-Ups.

Family Friendly Halloween Dance

What:  4H Family Halloween Dance
When: Friday, October 22, 2010 7 PM to 10 PM
Where:  Clermont County Fairgrounds 4-H Hall 1000 Locust St. Owensville, OH 45160
Who:  You, your family, your friends
Hosted by:  ALIVE 4H Club

Tickets: Preorder:  $2 per person or $8 per family.  At the door: $3 per person or $10 per family.  Preordered tickets can be paid for the night of the dance but must be reserved by 10-21 by contacting our dance coordinator,  Amy Monaco at or (513) 544-8459

Snacks:  Light snacks and beverages will be provided by ALIVE 4-H club.

Raffle Tickets:  $1 each or 6/$5 or 15/$10.  Raffle items include but are not limited to theme baskets (pets, dog, sports, family games, cookies, automotive, natural baby, rubber stamping/card making, bats, Christmas, Pamper Me) and items from and gift certificate to local businesses . We will also be drawing door prizes throughout the night.

Pumpkin Carving Contest: Bring a carved pumpkin with you and you could be named “Pumpkin Carver Supreme” and win a prize! FREE!

Costume Contest: Open to EVERYONE! We will award prizes for the cutest, scariest, most creative and best costume overall! FREE! Please keep costumes tasteful!

Silly Bands for sale: Join the craze! Collect Silly Bands throughout the evening and you could end up being the king or queen of the dance. You can send bands to your friends throughout the night for $.25/2 bands.

Need more info or to pre-order tickets: contact Amy Monaco at or (513) 544-8459

Any questions, please let me know!
Kim & Amy

September 16, 2010

September 13, 2010

Great Curriculum Giveaway

Looking for curriculum?  You have to check out what Laura is doing over at Heavenly Homemakers today.  Awesome beyond belief.  Go. Check. Now.

I am even giving away a couple items.  And, yes, I've asked for more than a couple items, too.  Hope I'm chosen.

September 11, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - September 10

Our week went well, we did take Monday off since hubby was home.

Here are some of the highlights of the week.

Tuesday:  Continued work on our measurement unit.   We worked on measuring and a little bit about the history of standard measurement.  We all went outside and measured fifteen of "our feet" vs. fifteen feet on a standard ruler.  It was an eye-opener for my kiddos, and me too.  Good thing we use a standard measure :).  It would be quite difficult to give directions otherwise.

Wednesday:  Spent a beautiful day at a local State Park lake.  My kids swam and socialized with some fellow homeschool friends.  I visited with some homeschool mom friends.  It was great fun.

Thursday:  More measurement.  We also had centers today (my first grader LOVES centers).  We pulled out our TOPS science lentil kit - everyone ended up playing with it, so it was able to stay out until Friday.

Friday:  Cleaned the house - we are hosting an Around the World Cooking Club and Monday is our first day.
We're excited.  Next month, maybe I'll clean the house a little more regularly, so it's not a marathon clean.

We might be switching to WinterPromise Adventures in Sea & Sky.  As much as I love putting together our own unit studies, the idea of having a plan is making me VERY happy, and less stressed.  I did buy the program guide, I still need to see if I can pick up books at Half-Price books... there were also some available at my local library.  On paper it looks like the perfect program for my family.

Next week will still be measurement (with a focus on graphing), but after that, we might be making the big switch.

Be sure to check out what other families did this week.

September 5, 2010

Free books (sort of)

Just in case you haven't heard of Paperback Swap yet, you need to check it out.  It is a homeschooler's best friend for obtaining free books.

If you haven't checked it out - stop on by now, I highly recommend it.

(I might get a credit if you sign up and list ten books onto your bookshelf - but hey, you get a credit too!)


Measurement Unit Study

I wanted to share the basics of our Measurement unit study, feel free to use any of our ideas.  Some of our learning objectives are:  learning / reviewing place value, large number values (million +),  standard vs. non-standard measurement, and a healthy dose of probability/statistics.

First of all, here are the books that we are using:

And some of the fun things we are going to do:

Estimate how many pennies fill up a 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup.
Estimate how many m&ms fill up a 1/3 c, 1/2 c and 1 c measure.  (then eat m&m's, yummy)
Play with place value with manipulative blocks and craft supplies.
Measure our feet to see why the foot became the "standard" measure.

Measure, measure, measure -everything and anything.
Enjoy math centers that teach addition, subtraction and fraction practice.
Do a blind-draw of skittles, then tally a bag of skittles to see if our blind draw was an accurate sampling.  Create a variety of graphs related to our Skittles tallies.  (then eat Skittles, yum)
Make a math game that helps us remember our measurement conversions.

I'll share more soon - I need to go measure something.

September 1, 2010

Our day

We'll mark today as somewhat successful for baby-stepping back into the school groove.  We did practice some math facts (yeah!)  S-Doll did her math assignment with a smile.  A-Doll rocked on her math challenge work.  J-Guy actually asked to do math - and worked diligently for about 2 minutes before he was bored.  We switched to a "game" format for him, more entertaining, I suppose.

We enjoyed our poem of the week - something new I'm attempting to incorporate into our week this year.  This week's poem is Good Company by Leonard Clark.  I found it in our copy of Classic Poems to Read Aloud (Classic Collections) .  My plan with this is to work through one poem a week just to introduce the different styles of poetry, and to introduce the names of some poets.  Perhaps in the spring, we'll even incorporate some poetry writing - we'll see.

We also played a homemade math game that A-Doll created this morning.  It was fun until S-Doll had enough - then she pulled the pieces, the dice and some of the playing cards.  We decided to put it up until tonight.

The worst part of our day was during our unit study work, I had selected a perfectly cute book How Big Is A Million? (Picture Books) (cute book, right???) to read to discuss the size of a million, and S-Doll and J-Guy immediately starting complaining.  It ended with me looking up the phone number to register them into public school.  After I took a few deep breaths, and pulled myself together, we had a little family meeting about polite behavior vs. impolite behavior.  We'll see how the rest of the week goes, hopefully better than my afternoon.

On a great note, J-Guy has been working on his Lego Book for about an hour now - this is a project he decided to pursue, and it's wonderful to see how carefully he works on it.  I'm proud of him and his effort.