Thursday, July 28, 2011

Close Call

A precocious baby...

A cat door...

The steep basement stairs...

Turns out, my mother was right and Baby Brother can fit through the cat door.

I went downstairs to grab laundry and as I was down there, the crying from above got very loud. I came around the corner to reassure him that yes, I was coming, when I saw Baby Brother completely through the cat door with his hands on the first gray step. In other words, he had already gone down one step, and he was head first and ready to roll. Fortunately, in the moment it took me to leap up to him, he didn't let go.

It makes me sick even 24 hours later to think what could have happened. The cat door is locked now and this weekend some changes will be made!

Thank God and Baby Brother's guardian angel (although I think this kid might need more than one)!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthday Party

On Saturday we had friends and family over to celebrate the boys' fifth and third birthdays. Despite the heat, it was a very fun day!

The highlight was LEGO cupcakes, made by a very talented local baker:

They tasted as good as they look!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Intro to Science

I've had my eye on Elemental Science's early years programs this spring, and a friend recently gave me her copies of the teacher guide and student pages for Intro to Science.

This program is a very gentle introdcution to science for preschool and early elementary students. It uses THe Handbook of Nature Study as well as More Mudpies to Magnets (both of which I already owned) and library books. A little push to actually get going with science play and nature study was what I needed and so far, I'm loving it!

The boys are having so much fun, and the concepts are illustrated in such a way that Little Brother can easily follow along (and he wants his own student pages to complete).

We just completed week one: solids and liquids. We read several books on matter and also completed these fun activities:

Making popsicles to demonstrate changing a liquid into a solid (and noticing that if we didn't eat fast, they became liquid again!).

(Note: these are pureed watermelon and splash of pomegranate juice. Delicious!)

A solid became a liquid when heated and then a solid again when cooled when we made crayon cookies:

A solid (baking soda) and a liquid (vinegar) combined to create a gas (carbon dioxide) and blow up a balloon!

We also melted ice in a saucepan and watched it change into water then water vapor.

Next week we'll be learning about solution and dilution and making lemonade (among other things)!

Monday, July 4, 2011


"Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher that turns you into the person you are supposed to be." -- Joan Ryan

Play at Home Mom is one of my new finds. Much inspiration to be found!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Around the World Introduction

We started our summer study with two weeks (not working every day) with an introduction to maps and mapping.

The "spine" for the first part of our study was Evan-Moor's Beginning Geography. Big Brother is still essentially a pre-writer, but we completed the first 16 pages of map skills as it's mostly coloring, drawing lines, arrows, etc. Little Brother was very interested too and "helped" with some of the pages.

After we had learned a little bit about the four directions, we labeled them on our wall map then went outside to try out our compass.

We walked around our backyard and mapped the four directions. We learned that there's a tree in the north corner, the swing set to the south, the porch to the east, and the sandbox to the west. After that we took a walk around the block and took note of the direction we walk.

Another day we labeled continents and oceans on our map. A bit later I plan to return to Beginning Geography to do more with continents and oceans. I also printed the World Map Kit from Montessori for Everyone and we're going to color and label continents, oceans, and directions on those.

We read parts of Maps & Globes and Geography from A to Z. We'll revisit these as we continue. I also pulled out one of our favorites- Katy and the Big Snow- as it also provides a fun introduction to directions and maps. The boys love to examine the city map in it and trace Katy's path through the city.

I have two more activities planned for this week before we move on to our first country: we are going to draw a map of our backyard highlighting the landmarks mentioned above and create passports for our trip around the world. Then it's on to China!

New Arrival

I love having the house ring with music!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Around the World!

In addition to continuing work on the 3Rs this summer, I thought it might be fun to do a geography/culture study. Big Brother has developed quite an interest in history and "other places."

My plan is to do this every summer and visit different countries each year. My original idea was to hit every continent once a year, focusing on a different country each time, but I'm having so much trouble narrowing down my ideas, that we're going to spend a few weeks in each place and stick to three continents/countries. This summer we are heading to China, France, and Australia!

I'm pulling ideas from several sources. I'll share our plans, and perhaps you'd like to come along!

Here are the core materials we're using (this list is subject to change):

Introductory plans coming this weekend!