January 2-6th We had a very fun time with Corduroy this week. By the end of the week I was actually sad to end our time with this selection. I will always remember our time rowing this book anytime I see it in the future. This was the first row Jesse participated in. He has come a very long way since the beginning of December. He has gone from listening to only a few pages of our book(s), or listening from afar (at a nearby table while playing with trucks or trains), to running as fast as he can to the couch (while his chubby little cheeks and fluffy hair bounce) when he hears me say ‘it’s time for our book’ and listening to the whole story. He asks almost daily now for ‘cool stuff’—school stuff. This week it was wonderful to see my boys around the table together. Homeschool was truly all I hope it to be every day this week. It was a week where everything clicked and we had so much fun. We are able to do our school now in one session instead of a morning and late afternoon session and this is like new found freedom for me. I absolutely love having our school done and our late afternoons free for playing, outings, errands and so forth.
I used the Before Five in a Row manual for Jack’s and Jesse’s activities and a unit from Teachers Pay Teachers for Joe. This was perfect to bridge the gap for Joe and make this a unit I could use with all three boys at the same time.
We discussed feelings and the way they can change. We used Corduroy as an example and Joe wrote and illustrated a paper about Corduroy and how he changed from the beginning of the book to the end. There was a Teddy Bear Questionnaire and Joe got to use his very own Ted to complete this one.
Joe also completed a fact or opinion activity about bears in general. This was his first experience differentiating between fact and opinion. I thought he’d ace it, but it was actually quite challenging for him. We will be doing more fact and opinion activities very soon for reinforcement.
Jack and I spent time throughout the week talking about manners using examples of Lisa from the book. I always love it when we are out and about and one of our lessons from FIAR is remembered, demonstrated and/or talked about by one of the boys. Jack pointed out each time he remembered to say please, thank you, etc., all week long.
Jack, Jesse and myself spent time on simple math lessons from the BFIAR manual. I was so excited by how enthusiastically Jesse participated in each activity while we were still on the couch using the book. He is doing so well and his attention span has grown lots in the last six weeks.
Jack sorted buttons by color and then we counted them together. They also strung them on pipe cleaners. On a different day of the week they sorted and counted our counting bears. While they did this, Joe used our Education Cubes to play a place value game with the counting bears. First, he separated the bears into three different baskets—big bears (hundreds), medium bears (tens) and small bears (ones). He would roll a cube then choose the number on the cube for hundreds, roll again for tens, and one last roll for ones. He completed a place value worksheet to go along with the game.
Joe read several nonfiction books about bears throughout the week. I checked out a variety of bear books and let him choose his favorites. He chose polar bears and grizzlies. He completed a short writing prompt on polar bears. He did another sort on grizzlies, but I forgot to take a picture of it. We did a fun experiment with gummy bears. Before we conducted the experiment, Jack and Jesse did more sorting and counting and a little tasting too :-). I love these pictures of my handsome Jack. He looks so happy. Jack lasted much longer sorting and counting his gummy bears. I pulled out some lacing cards for Jesse and he was concentrating hard. I love the look on his face in these pictures.
We put one gummy bear in salt water and one gummy bear in plain water. Joe said he thought when we looked at them the next morning they would have both dissolved. Surprise! The gummy bear on the left was the one in the plain water and the one on the right was in the salt water. I explained to him that the salt caused the gummy bear to ‘dry out’ a bit even in water. This stopped it from being able to absorb water and expand. The gummy bear on the left absorbed water which made it grow. Jamie actually explained this to Joe, not me, and did a much better job than I’ve done here :).
Jack and Jesse did some simple arts and crafts making cotton ball polar bears and Corduroys out of cardstock. (Top Polar bear is Jesse’s and bottom is Jack’s. Left Corduroy is Jesse’s and right is Jack’s.) Joe drew a bear following instructions from an online art lesson at Art Projects for Kids. He did a great job! Savings and Paying Tithing
One of the lessons from the BFIAR manual was about saving money. Lisa used money she’d saved at home in her own piggy bank to buy Corduroy. I talked with Joe and Jack about saving money they earn and paying tithing on it first and foremost. We read about the importance of paying tithing in the scriptures and played a matching game about what our tithing is used for.
I gave each of them their own bank. Joe immediately got his money and counted it out to put in his bank in the right places—savings, fun money and tithing. Hanna has a bank similar to this and Joe was so excited to have one of his own. Jack has been asking to do chores and jobs all week to earn money for his little bank. I made a job jar for him over the weekend and will give it to him Monday so he can have real chores to earn money from. I know he’ll be excited about this. He told me he is saving for a new Build-A-Bear :).
We had a wonderful week learning together. It was a great start back to school after our Christmas break.
*Ideas, inspiration and printables for Corduroy can be found at:
- Before Five in a Row Manual
- What the Teacher Wants Bears/Corduroy Unit at Teachers Pay Teachers
- Draw a Bear Lesson from Art Projects for Kids
- Cotton ball Polar bears from Kids Soup
- Yummy Gummy Bear experiment from A Survival Guide to Middle School
- Polar Bear treat from Snacks and Stories
- Education Cubes and inserts from Mama Jenn