Simply Summers

Simplified Chaos


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It’s Been a While…

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  As is usually the fact of my life, what I decided and planned to do gets railroaded and doesn’t work out so I create a bigger, better plan and this time, I’m going to stick with it.  I have decided that rather than start a new school year in April, I would wait until September and start fresh with our K4 curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  While I am sort of using her lesson plan that comes with the curriculum, I am supplementing with some other curriculum and lessons I have come across.  So I am sitting down and planning each week out adding in the other curriculum and things I have come across.  I am even planning out our arts and crafts for each day and science experiments for each week.

Over the summer I am going to do some preschool/kindergarten themes I had saved prior to getting the K4 curriculum and never used.  So we are just going to have fun during the summer, do a few themed lessons, do some arts and crafts and lots of playing!!

So on to what we have been doing…..

We have been working some puzzles:

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Cheyenne has never been a puzzle girl.  She has never liked puzzles even as a baby and toddler, she never expressed interest in them, gravitated towards them or even wanted to participate when I would get them out and do them with her.  But since I have packed away all of her baby puzzles and bought her some big girl puzzles over the last year, she still hasn’t really seemed interested.  So the other day, I showed her where I had put her puzzles in her closet on a shelf where she could get them whenever she wanted.  In the past, I had to keep them put up or all the pieces would be scattered all over the room or better yet, the entire house.  😦

So when I got a couple of puzzles out the other day for her, we sat and put one together and then she got a little more interested but I guess needs more work to get better at them.  Since she wasn’t that interested, I never pushed them on her, but wanted to reintroduce them to her and see if it sparks an interest.  Since that day, she has asked me to do puzzles again yesterday and today.  I’m hoping she will be a puzzle lover like her Mommy.  I remember as a kid and teenager, we would go to the Hallmark store at least once a month and get Springbok puzzles and we would sit and work the puzzles as a family in the evenings.  Some took no time at all and other took longer.  Believe it or not, those very puzzles are still all together, each one laid out on newspaper, brushed with puzzle glue and stacked on top of each other under our living room couch where they have been since we put them together and each one we completed would get added to the top of the stack.  I was thinking about that the other day and how much I would love to pull those out and see what condition they are in.  It’s been like 20 years or more, people, so there’s no telling.  But I remember one that was some teddy bears doing ballet and I thought that one would be cute to frame and put in Cheyenne’s room.  I would love to take some of them apart and do them again.  (I’ll just have to take pictures before I disassemble them since the boxes are long gone)

Anyway, what a fun trip down memory lane there, but we’ve been up to more than just reminiscing….

We also did a cute craft over a couple of days.  I bought a little simple wood frame and some wood letters at Wal-Mart last week and I decided we would do this as we had a lot of rain over a couple of days and then one (hopefully) last visit from Old Man Winter.  This is Texas ya’ll….winter should be long over by now.

I am running low on paint and didn’t see a color I really liked that would match her décor in her room, which is lime green and hot pink, so I went in and got the paint that I used to paint her entertainment center in her room.  So she painted the frame lime green and the letters hot pink.  Then I had a brilliant idea that I thought would be really cute…putting hot pink polka dots all around the frame.  Cheyenne did help, but I did most of the dots, but the rest of this craft, she did all by herself.  I think it turned out pretty cute!!

Painting a picture frame for her room

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Such a silly little girl. She went in the other room and came back in the den looking like this.  I couldn’t resist snapping a picture!

We also spent some time outside after the rain stopped and it warmed up a little.  Did I mention that Cheyenne has seemed to grow super muscles lately??  All of a sudden lately, she is doing things that she’s never done before, using her muscles to swing between the couch and coffee table, hanging and pulling herself up on everything using her own strength.  We were outside in the front yard and Cheyenne called me and when I turned around this is what I saw….

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After my heart went back down into my chest, I snapped this picture quickly before letting her know that that was extremely dangerous and urged her to carefully get down.  Especially since this tree’s roots come up above the ground and are very large.  She had completely used her arm strength to pull herself up there and stand up.  I was shocked.  She has tried for a while to climb up there, but hadn’t been able to do it.  I am constantly amazed by this little girl!  🙂

 

Asign

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Kindergarten A-Z Review Week

As I said in my last post, Cheyenne was not being challenged enough with the preschool lessons I was doing with her. Not because the curriculum itself wasn’t good, I loved it and was so excited when I got it and started it with her, but because it seems Cheyenne is destined to be exceptionally ahead of others her age. Before the age of 3, she was talking up a storm, using vocabulary that no 3 year old ever uses (not bad words, just grown up words and phrases), singing her alphabet, counting to 20, and had letter and number recognition down pat. So since she had most of the basic preschool skills down before we even started preschool, I thought I would go ahead and start her with preschool lessons and go from there. Over the break, I had been thinking, praying and talking with friends about our situation and I finally decided to go ahead and start her on Kindergarten lessons after the break. So I prepared, bought the K4 Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler and the You Can Read! program from 1+1+1=1, printed, laminated, cut, printed, laminated, cut and repeated that vicious cycle for about a week and finally, I got my organization under control (mostly) and have 5 weeks of lessons completely ready to go.

I also have signed up for a free trial month of ABCMouse.com and if it works out, will keep that.  So far, Cheyenne has played several games and done several lessons, which all seem like games to her and she is loving it and wants to play it for a little bit every day.  I started her out with the preschool lessons on there too, but have since upgraded her to the kindergarten level.  She loves it and I have a feeling we will be continuing this subscription.

So we started our Kindergarten lessons this week and the first week it A-Z Review week and Cheyenne did great.  I didn’t get a lot of pictures because I was so focused on her lessons, plus after such a long break, she’s having a bit of trouble getting back into our routine and wanting to do school.  So we did take it easy this week and still got almost everything done, but took breaks when she wasn’t feeling it rather than forcing her to do it.  I want her to enjoy school, not resent it.

All of the following lessons are from the K4 Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

She put together the alphabet puzzle without even having a copy to look at.  🙂

Putting together the alphabet puzzle

She matched up letter tiles.

Matching letters

Here she is using a new pointer we found at Mardel.  She loves this thing and was pointing to each letter as she sang the alphabet song.  Have I mentioned this girl loves to sing??  Yeah….she does!  🙂

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She loves any kind of mazes or hunt mazes and I came across this alphabet hunt at A Mommy’s Adventures.

All done!!

I have also decided to get Cheyenne into journaling and found this great storybook notebook at Mardel Christian and Education store.  Each day I have her draw a picture and then she tells me what the picture is about or tells me a story about the picture.  On some days, I will give her a topic and have her draw something related to that topic.

Cheyenne's first journal entry

We did an upper case letter recognition assessment and she did great!  As soon as I called out the letter, she immediately found and blotted the correct letter.  We also did a lower case recognition assessment a couple of days later, but I didn’t get a picture of that one.  The only letter she had a problem with on that one was q because it just looked like a backwards p.  It didn’t have the tail like pretty much everything she has seen up to this point.  But in other fonts she knows q.

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On Wednesday, after Mother’s Day Out, Cheyenne wanted to go to her friend Alexis’s house, which is pretty much across the street from the church.  Unfortunately my friend Julie wasn’t feeling well that day and when I told Cheyenne that, she responded “Well, can we go home and I can make a happy card for Julie?”  I told her of course we could, so here she is drawing a happy card for our friend Julie.  This isn’t really school related, but I used this as an opportunity to do a quick lesson on mailing letters.  After she drew her picture, we put it in an envelope, addressed it, put a stamp on it and put it out on the mailbox for the mailman to pick up the next day.  I explained each step and let her be involved and she even put the stamp on and did it perfectly!!   You gotta love these impromptu lessons that just creep into everyday life!!

Drawing with her crayons from her cousins

Here she is doing her journal this morning.  She is really enjoying this and sometimes draws 2 or 3 pictures before she lets me write the stories for it.  I’m trying to drive the point home that we journal every morning and make 1 entry every day.

Journal time

Cheyenne has never been really big on tracing letters, but it’s really the only thing she doesn’t have down solid, so she needs to work on it.  Suprisingly, she was excited to do this one this morning, although when she finished the first side, she wanted to be done.  So I told her we would finish later after another exercise.  Later, she didn’t want to do something else and actually asked to finish tracing her letters, so I whipped that baby out and let her go to town.  Even though she really hasn’t wanted to do any letter tracing and really hasn’t done it much at all, she did pretty good tracing her letters and I was amazed at how many letters she actually wrote correctly without me telling her ahead of time which direction to go or how to follow the lines.  She has been really interested in writing lately and most of the time it just looks like squiggles, unless you maybe squint and turn your head, you might could make something out, but she has been writing her name a lot lately.  Well, at least her nickname…Cheyenne is pretty long so she writes Chey.  I am impressed with how well she did on her letter tracing since she doesn’t ever want to do it.

Alphabet tracing

The finished product!!  Way to go Cheyenne!!

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She also did a Letter Sound Matchup and matched the beginning sound to each picture and did a great job. She is in a phase right now where she will be asked what a word starts with and she will sound out the word and either focus on the middle or ending sound.  So I let her know I am looking for the beginning sound, then she will usually be able to tell me.  She is so eager to learn, and I am having to learn how to teach her and I am loving every minute of it (almost).

Letter sounds matching

So we had a fun first week and I am looking foward to next week which is Numbers and Colors Review week!!  Lots of fun in store for next week!!  I think we are going to do a fun craft tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!

Asign


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Halloween Week

We took a break from the Letter of the Week to do some Halloween themed activities.  Cheyenne has yet another cold, so we took it easy this week, but she had fun doing some of the Halloween activities.

I found this cute Halloween Pack from 3 Dinosaurs.  It is huge and we didn’t get to do all of it, but we did get several things done.  This is a huge pack and has tons of fun Halloween activities.  I have just recently discovered this site and I love it.  It has definitely become one of my favorites for finding preschool lessons and activities.  I will be adding a lot of their printables to our weekly lessons. All of the printables this week are from their Halloween pack linked above.

She started out by doing some pre-writing pages from 3 Dinosaurs.

Shadow Matching:  She loved matching the shadows to the pictures and did a really good job.

There are several dot paint pages in this pack so she was in dot paint heaven!!  This is the only one I got a picture of, but she did several.

Cheyenne loves pretend play and is doing it so much more often now.  She loves to be a little mommy and I just couldn’t resist snapping this picture of her putting her babies down for a nap. I love how careful she was and how she took her time covering them up just right and getting them all comfy.  🙂  What a sweet little girl!!  🙂

She is getting more into mazes, so I love finding alphabet mazes for her to do.  She also does some each week that follow a certain letter through the maze to the end.

She’s really good at matching and she did great at this Halloween Matching page.

Number matching puzzles are always a hit and I’m glad this pack had one!  She loves counting the pictures and matching up the number with it.

Then came Halloween night and my little Minnie Mouse was so cute.  You can read about our Halloween fun here.

Clip cards are a huge hit as well.  She loves clipping the clothespins on the letters.  She does such a good job telling me the picture, sounding it out and telling the what letter the word starts with.  I laminated these for better durability like I do most of the printables so they can also be used again.

We had lots of fun this week, despite Cheyenne being sick with another cold. She had a couple of days where she just wasn’t feeling school and didn’t really want to do anything but play.   I don’t force her to do preschool if she doesn’t want to because I want her to enjoy it, not feel like it is a chore.  She really enjoys doing preschool and often times comes to me and asks “Mommy, can we go do some preschool?”  Now how can you turn that down?  So usually I will go ahead and go back to her room and we will work on some stuff for as long as she wants. Sometimes it’s only 5 minutes, other times she will sit down and do several activities over 3o minutes or an hour.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween week!  We’ll be doing Letter E next week and will start working in some Thanksgiving and Fall activities as well.

I love comments, so please let me know what you think or share some of your activities for the upcoming Fall/Thanksgiving season.


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Letter D Week

We just finished up D week (or so) and as usual, Cheyenne loved it!  We are still getting used to our new routine now that she has Mother’s Day Out 2 days a week, but I think it’s working out.

We start off each day with the Pledge of Allegiance.  We’ve been doing that all along and Cheyenne picked it up in less than a week and has been saying it all by herself for a while now.  She tends to leave out the word “indivisible” even though she can say it, she is just so excited to say “with liberty and justice for all” so we’re working on making sure indivisible gets in there.  🙂

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Cheyenne does her day of the week chart and weather chart.  She loves looking outside to see what the weather is.  I don’t have a more current picture, but here’s what they look like.  Cheyenne loves doing these each morning.  These charts are from Confessions of a Homeschooler and you can find them here.

After she does her charts, she sings the alphabet song at least once.  Sometimes she will sing it 2 or 3 times.  This girl loves to sing!!

We started out with scissor skills this week.  Cheyenne was having a hard time getting into it this week, so I started with one of her favorite things..cutting!  She loves cutting paper and is getting really good at following the lines.  Sometimes she will then cut the paper into a bunch of tiny pieces because isn’t it so fun?  This is also from Confessions of a Homeschooler, but I can’t find a place to download it on her page.  It is part of the Letter of the Week Curriculum, though and it will be there if you purchase the curriculum for $10.  It is well worth the money to me, rather than downloading and printing each page individually.  🙂

 Handwriting Practice:  Cheyenne is getting more into writing and loves to get paper and “write” or “write” on her whiteboard or chalboard.  So she is getting practice every week on writing the letter we are working on. I usually have several different pages for her to work on handwriting, but usually have to break them up and we work on one each day because she gets bored with handwriting pretty quickly.

One of her other favorite things is the Letter Hunt Worksheets. I will read the short story to her and then she has to find all of whatever letter we are working on that week.  Since this was D week, she circled all of the Ds that she found.  After that, she ended up tracing D is for Dinosaur at the top of the page.  🙂

These are from Confessions of a Homeschooler and can be found here.

Letter Mazes:  She followed all the letter Ds through the maze to help the duck get to his pond.

This is from 1+1+1=1.    I love her site and use a lot of printables from there as well.  You can find the Alphabet Letter Mazes here.

She worked on some more pre-writing by tracing the lines.  She is getting better at the wavy and pointy lines.  She always does well on the straight lines and circles.  You can find these here.

She did her upper and lower case sorting dinos.  You can find these here.

She loves her dot pages and I usually try to find a couple of different ones for her to do.  This one is from Confessions of a Homeschooler and can be found here.

Her absolute favorite is the Poke Page.  I give her a toothpick and she sits or lays down and pokes along the lines with the toothpick on the carpet. This page can be found here.

Dino Size Sort:  I had her put them from largest to smallest and then I had her put them from smallest to largest.  These can be found here.

One of her other favorites is the Magnet Page. I laminated this page and put it on a cookie sheet and she loves to get her magnet gems I made her and put them on each circle.  This is great practice for fine motor skills.

Dino Puzzles:  I laminated these and then cut them in half in different directions and patterns and had her put them together.  She loves the puzzles!!  You can find these here.

We did Dino Clip cards this week and she enjoyed using the clothespins to clip on each card. This is also great for fine motor skills. I also had her put them in number order as she counted to 10.

She was really enjoying the clothespins so she picked up a string from her beading blocks and started clipping clothespins to it.  More fine motor practice.

I didn’t get around to a D lunch this week, but I did sort of give her a D breakfast.  She wanted toaster streudels so I wrote a D with the icing and she thought that was so neat!

This is another writing practice page I came across last week from 3 Dinosaurs and decided to add to her lessons every week.  It is individual writing pages for each letter of the alphabet. You can find it here.  I laminate most of her work, other than the dot pages and coloring pages so that they can be used again.  Sometimes we will do a page more than once and it’s better than printing out multiple pages.  I also want to have them able to be used again for review throughout the year.

We did so much more this week, but I had left my camera at a friend’s house after our Halloween party and couldn’t get any pictures the next day, but this is a nice round-up of what we did.

Next week, we are going to take a break from the Letter of the Week and go with a fun Halloween theme for our lessons.