Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marigold Necklaces

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El Dia De Los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Mexico to honor the dead (for a more detailed description of this holiday click here). Marigold garland is traditionally made to decorate alters and homes because it grows wild in Mexico. The festive orange blossoms look great when strung together. For our El Dia De Los Muertos Party, we had the kids make marigold necklaces. Marigolds were one of the last things still growing in my garden, so I picked all the marigold flowers the morning of the party and put them in a bowl for the kids. We took yarn and taped a toothpick to the end to make a child friendly needle, then we had the kids string the flowers on the yarn. The girls at the party were very into this activity. The best part about the activity was that it was very frugal because I already had everything in my house.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How I Taught My Preschooler How to Multiply

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Little BBQ has been asking to learn multiplication, so I decided to give it a shot. Little BBQ already has a good grasp of addition and subtraction so multiplication seemed like a logical next step for him. Little BBQ seems to have a way with numbers; he can quickly pick up a new concept if I teach it to him visually and hands on.
Little BBQ in some ways is your typical child. He wiggles all the time and his attention span is short, but when he focuses his attention he can learn a lot in a short period of time. I taught him to multiply by using what I call the bucket system. I told Little BBQ that he has a choice: (a) the first number can be a bucket and the second number can be the number of beans or (b) the first number can be the number of beans and the second number can be the number of buckets.
He told me that he preferred option ‘b,’ so from here my example  will use the second number in a problem as a “bucket” and the first number represents the number of beans needed.
For this simple method a child sets up buckets that need to filled with a certain number of beans. For example, 4 x 5 would require 5 “buckets” filled with 4 beans.

Little BBQ used a tablespoon to fill up his buckets because he is a very hands on learner.  After working several different problems he quickly began to pick up a pattern. Within 20 minutes he was able to deduce all of the twos times tables and recite them.  We have used this method with numbers up to 13 successfully.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 10/21/2011-11/4/2011

In my life this week…

We have been doing lots of partying lately. I love this time of year with all the fun parties that the kids get to attend, and we even hosted a party ourselves! We very rarely host parties, so this was a fun treat. We hosted a Halloween/El Dia De Los Muertos party. The kids had a blast. We did sugar skull decorating and made marigold necklaces from flowers from my garden. To prepare for the party I did a deep fall scrubbing on my house. I washed the floors, baseboards, walls, and cabinets. Even my oven is clean right now! I am loving having a super clean house. Now I just need to get a little more organized, and I will be a happy woman.

In our homeschool this week…

We have actually been picking up some history which is great. We got a cool nonfiction book from the library called, Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson. Little BBQ for once has not been fighting me on history. I am working on easing him into history lesson for awhile now, and he has resisted, so I decided to change strategies and teach history about things that he found interesting. I figure in our pre-k year we can splurge and spend time on odd and fun history.

I am inspired by…

We went to our friend's El Dia De Los Muertos party, and I was really inspired by her cool decorations and pinata. I did not decorate much for our party, but it was neat to see her interpretation of the holiday especially since the holiday has so much meaning for her because her first daughter was still born on El Dia De Los Muertos. As she elegantly put things in her facebook status, her baby has her own special holiday.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We were suppose to be a field trip today, but Little BBQ is sick so we stayed home instead. We have, however, gotten out of the house a lot lately. We went on a nature hike a few weeks ago which was a lot of fun.  We have also been bowling with our homeschooling group twice which is another fun every other week event. We also did our Halloween tradition with one our friends. We bring over a big turkey to their house and enjoy a big meal together after a full night of trick or treating. Little BBQ was a tree fairy. I made the costume myself. Miss Bubbles was a pink dinosaur. Both kids looked so cute.

My favorite thing this week was…

My favorite thing this week was our Halloween/El Dia De Los Muertos party. I made all the food vegan friendly since we have so many vegans in our homeschooling group. I loved seeing all the sugar skulls that the kids decorated.

Things I’m working on…

I am working on a care package for two friends right now. One of my friends just got divorced, and the other found out that her baby has an enlarged heart. Both will be getting a care package soon.

I’m reading…

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Issacson. I am really enjoying the book. I never knew that Einstein had a daughter out of wed lock with his wife before they got married. I am surprised by the great length that the scientist went to keep this a secret.

I’m cooking…

As usual I am cooking lots of things. I made four different types of Povitica, which is a Eastern European bread. I made the traditional walnut filling, chocolate strawberry filling, pear apple butter filling, and raspberry filling. I also made lots of vegan goodies that I am working on blogging about in my cooking blog as well. Currently, there is an excellent smelling roast in my crockpot which is perfect for a day with a sick kid.

I’m grateful for…

I'm grateful for my healthy family.

I’m praying for…

I am praying for my friend's sick baby. Her daughter has been transfered to a hospital in a larger city where I am hoping that the doctors can figure out what is going on with her daughter. I am praying for my mom to a new job as a public school teacher. She went on two interviews this week, so I am hopeful that she will get a new job.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Our vegan Halloween party!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Thursday, November 3, 2011

El Dia De Los Muertos Toddler Craft

This year our family threw the annual homeschool Halloween party at our house. To add a twist to the party I also made the party an El Dia De Los Muertos party as well since there are always tons of Halloween events every year. For a very brief background on El Dia De Los Muertos please visit my other blog here.

Since the party had toddlers to high school students, I wanted to include some toddler crafts at the party as well. I decided to make Q-tip skeletons from the blog Bee in Our Bonnet that I originally saw on Pinterest. No one at the party actually completed a Q-tip skeleton, but I did do the project later with Miss Bubbles. This was one of her first experiences with glue, so it turned into a messay affiar, but we had a lot of fun.

For the Kids Friday
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