Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent!

Last year was the first year that I really tried to be intentional with my kids about how we celebrate Christmas in our family. We did advent activities for every day of the month leading up until Christmas. It was such a wonderful experience, and I felt like we really tried to grasp the meaning of Christmas for the first time. This year, we are definitely going to do it again. Here is a look at our advent tree this year

Aren't those tags adorable? They are a free download from this blog (click here).
Here is our advent calendar (each activity is written on the back of that day's tag--we are not doing Sundays, as I consider going to church our advent activity for that day!):
December 1: Listen to Christmas music during school
December 2: Craft day with the REACH group
December 3: Meet Santa!
December 5: Color Christmas pictures
December 6: Put money in a Salvation Army bucket
December 7: Make paper snowflakes
December 8: Go to the gas station and get a hot chocolate
December 9: Take Graham shopping for Isaac's present
December 10: Take Isaac shopping for Graham's present
December 12: Daddy takes Isaac and Graham shopping for mom's present
December 13: Mommy takes Isaac and Graham shopping for dad's present
December 14: TBA
December 15: Make Sugar cookies from scratch
December 16: Go to a movie as a family
December 17: Christmas at Aunty Mel's and Uncle Doug's
December 19: Make Jesus a birthday cake
December 20: Candle-lit bubble bath with Christmas music
December 21: Gingerbread houses!
December 22: Family game night
December 23: Go for a drive and look at the Christmas lights
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 25: Merry Christmas!

We will also be doing the advent activities from Impress your Kids (click here)

Each day, we will be doing a scripture meditation, adding a chain with the key word for that day's meditation onto a paper chain for the tree, and doing a corresponding ornament craft for the tree. I am hoping it's not too much to take on being almost full-term pregnant, but I have pretty much everything prepared and ready to go every day. In the month of December, we will be taking it pretty easy academically, with most of the emphasis on these Christmas activities.
By the way, don't you love the title of the website above? It does not reference impressing your kids as in "wow-ing" them with all the great things you do, but rather, impressing God's Word and Truth onto their hearts. After all, isn't that the most important thing anyway?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nano Wrimo

Isaac participated in the Nano Wrimo "Young Writers Program" (Click here to find out more about this program), which encourages students to write a novel in the month of November. We initially found out about this program through another homeschooling friend (thanks Brandi) For very young students, you can modify the number of words to be more attainable. Today, Isaac finished his novel. Because it was a creative writing assignment, I let things like proper punctuation and spelling go by the wayside. He honestly had lots of fun writing his novel. Isaac's novel was called "The Agent" and was a story about two heroes named Zach and Cody (Hmmmm, I think he stole those names from the Disney Channel perhaps?) that are secret agents. Zach and Cody travel the world performing martial arts defense moves on the bad guys as they search for the coveted Golden Watch.
Anyway, he got this nice web-badge, which will be hanging out proudly on my blog, as well as a certificate and T-shirt that will be coming in the mail soon. We will definitely participate next year!

Monday, November 28, 2011

This and That

We are wrapping up our Thanksgiving Five in a Row book this week. This book is called "Cranberry Thanksgiving" by Wende and Harry Devlin.

Today, we did our last lesson by discussing the chemical reaction that allows food to rise when we are baking. The boys took baking soda and combined it with vinegar. They loved watching the foamy bubbles rise to the top of the bowl.


Have I mentioned how much I love Five in a Row? Hopefully the kids enjoy it as much as I do.
On another note, I have noticed some real progress in Graham's fine motor skills, especially with coloring and holding a pencil. His attention span also seems to be improving (yay!), as he is able to sit and color for fairly long-ish periods of time. Here is an example of his coloring at the beginning of the year (this is from the front of the ABC book we are working on).

And today--he even traced the letter "J" accurately without prompting (this is a huge deal!) Good job Graham!