Friday, December 28, 2007

lapbooks... the Radtke way

Jessica... I thought I would just make a post with pictures in order to answer your question about lapbooks. But I'm going to start by saying that we don't do them as they are outlined in the instruction book. You are supposed to use file folders to make some sort of large fold out book. I didn't have any file folders on hand and didn't feel like buying any just for these types of projects so I opted to use some stuff I had on hand. A couple of years ago I bought a ream of slick yellow cover stock at Staples by accident. So, we used that as the pages of our book. When we're done, I'll three hole punch the whole thing and put metal rings through the holes. They could also be added to a three ring binder if you're doing more of a Well Trained Mind approach to organizing your child's work.

So, here is our cover to our "lapbook" on Snow from Hands of a Child. At this point, we work together on our lapbooks since there's quite a bit of writing that Clara just isn't ready for. I haven't tried any of the books for younger children so perhaps if we were doing one of those, she would be able to do her own. For each section in the reading, there is a cut-out project to fill out and assemble. For this one there was also a vocabulary project that we filled out as we came across the words in the readings (definitions are included with the pack... but if you are working on dictionary skills you wouldn't have to use the ones provided).
Clara listened in on everything and participated in the experiments that were included.... but as for the lapbook elements, I gave her the job of coloring and decorating them once Alex had filled them out.
The projects are a variety of little folded, turning or pop-up type elements. As you can see, I messed up the pink one... so we improvised. With the way I folded it, the text on the last star would have been glued to the paper. One element I couldn't figure out at all. It was supposed to be a pop-up, and I just couldn't reason it out and the instructions were a bit vague in my opinion. Again, we improvised and it still looked good when we glued it down.

There was virtually no prep work for this project. I was able to stay at least one element ahead of them by doing my cutting while Alex was filling out the previous project. Oh... the only prep was printing the whole thing out. I had the downloadable e-book so I printed the text on regular white paper and the projects out on various different colored sheets of paper (I had a ream of "brights" copy paper).

Ummmm... I think that's it! If I missed anything or if you have other questions, please let me know!!

another game review...

Money Bags Game

The kids LOVE this game! They played it over and over the other day. As you travel around the board you get paid for doing different chores. You collect your money from the bank... but before you do, you spin the arrow. It will point to a space that may let you use all coins or will not allow you to use certain coins. For example... you could earn $.22 for your chore, but the spinner lands on no dimes.... so now you're using nickels to get your pay. It works great for my kids who sometimes get stuck in their comfort zone with certain coins. Clara leans towards dimes because she can count better by tens than by fives... with the spinner, she's forced out of this habit at times.

The math curriculum we use doesn't spend a whole lot of time on money, so this has been a fun way to work on that skill.

Friday, December 21, 2007

a couple of games...

Yesterday we took some time out of our day to play a couple of "school games".

The first game we played was Great States Jr..
The kids LOVE this game. It is very easy for all of us to play together. When you roll you land on one of three colors and pull a card of matching color. One color is about state names, so for example you may be looking for 3 states that start with N. Another color is state shapes, they show just the shape of the state and you need to find it on the board. And the final color is state pictures (I'm not sure exactly what they call it), each state has a symbol on it referencing something that it is famous for. The card tells the fact and shows the picture, then you have to find the state on the map. The game is great for Clara (age 6) but, even though he enjoys it, Alex is beyond this one. This game is geared toward non-readers and if they are readers, I wouldn't recommend it. Here's my beef with it... they list the answers on the FRONT of each card! Yes, they are in small print and upside down but now that Alex knows that they're there and how to read them, there's no going back. Maybe if you want to play this game with a reader, someone other than the person who's turn it is should draw and read the card (the answer is easily covered with a thumb). The instructions have each person drawing their own card so we've played that way for a while now. Its hard to change the rules now.

The second game we played was Sight Word Bingo. Nothing terribly unique about this game, but the kids enjoy it. Yesterday they added to the challenge by having some of their stuffed animals play too. So between the two of them they were managing about 13 cards. I like that this set has a chart of all of the words. This helps Alex with the concept of alphabetization.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Around the World

My theme for this week is Christmas Around the World since I knew we were going to the Museum of Science and Industry yesterday to see the Christmas Trees from Around the World and the Star Wars exhibit.

The day before we went I downloaded the podcasts found here. They include brief 45 second to minute and a half descriptions of the Christmas customs of each country. They don't specifically describe the trees at the museum so if you're doing a Christmas Around the World homeschool unit study, it could be a fun supplement. I loaded them onto my iPod for the kids to listen to at the museum. However, the podcasts are in alphabetical order by country which is not at all how the trees were arranged at the museum. Alex tried it out for a couple of trees and then gave up. We just read the signs on each tree aloud.

Here are some photos of some of the trees....

(loved this little origami guy!)

And here was our family's favorite tree...the tree form Poland.

Today we continued our Christmas Around the World study. But first we worked on our Hands of a Child lapbook on Snow that we had started. Today we learned about the different types of frost and how artificial snow is made. The kids also started assembling their lapbook.

After that we listened to the podcasts about the trees we saw yesterday while the kids drew their favorite ornaments that they saw. Next we listened to the tape of the book The Legend of the Poinsettia. It was a great little book about Christmas in Mexico. And then we moved on to Japan and the kids worked on origami ornaments from ActivityTV.

Well... that's all we did worth writing about!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kitchen Science

YIKES!!! Now I've done it! I have a blog on which to ramble on and on about homeschooling. I promise I won't get on any soapboxes... this is just a place for me to share what we're doing, what works for us, and what doesn't.... my periodic curriculum quandaries I go through and those "ah ha" moments when something finally clicks.

I haven't had time to make the place pretty yet.... I just wanted to get started while I had something to chat about. I'll have plenty of time to give the place a makeover during the holiday break. :-)

So.... the title is kitchen science... so let's get to it!

We went to a great workshop today! I love it when local museums are open to planning activities for homeschoolers! Today we went to the Notebaert Nature Museum for Kitchen Science. It was a fabulous workshop! It really exceeded my expectations! I thought it would be fun, but I was expecting more of a kitchen concoction type workshop than an actual science workshop.

Here's the white board with the outline of the workshop down the right side:
Real science stuff, huh? I love it when I learn things too!

The kids started out learning about molecules and polymers by building models out of gumdrops.

Then we did the yeast experiment. Clara's group used hot water and Alex's used warm. That's his with the gold balloon. That group of balloons in the background are the cold water ones.After a break, we moved on to chromatography. After some serious experiments, the kids got to their own fun chromatography experiment with markers, coffee filters and water.

First they folded and colored their filters...
Then put the point of the filter into a cup of water and waited until the whole filter was wet.
Then they unfolded and dried their filters to see how the colors had separated.

The next step was to turn the filters into butterflies with clothespins. They turned out really cute (but my pictures... not so much).

It was a great day and I really hope that the Nature Museum continues to offer workshops like this!