Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Time for School Today - We're Making Banana Bread :)

Link has always helped me make things in the kitchen, and banana bread is a favorite.  I added a step this time just to give him a chance to do some cutting.  He wants to do it all the time, but there are so few things he can really cut, that he doesn't get the opportunity very often.  He enjoyed it, but his little hands got tired :)

See the look of concentration?

He'd rather not get banana on his hands, but he still managed to get the pieces into the bowl.

He tried cutting with his right hand, but it didn't work as well.
It was more like shredded banana.

Peeling the banana was also hard work.

It's a little easier from the bottom end :)

He had to put it down, his hands were getting too much banana on them!

Breaking the walnuts into smaller pieces.

He broke some, and ate quite a few :)
That's all the pictures I took.  After that we were measuring things and pouring them into the bowl.  He (usually) likes the hand mixer, once he gets used to the sound.

One of the activities I want to add to the schoolroom next week is leveling a measuring cup and spoon.  Getting the big measuring cup out of the bag is a challenge, making it level is even harder.  Wait, next week is tomorrow!  I guess I'd better go work on that now :)

Geometric Cabinet & Other Presentations

I've read things that say if you give a presentation and the child doesn't do it correctly, you just conclude the presentation and try again another day.  But there has to be some point you just let them use the material, right?  Link doesn't really do the presentation tray or geometric cabinet drawers correctly.  But after two presentations, he just said "I don't want to do that" (meaning trace the shapes) and he puts the pieces back.  I feel like I should just let him do the cabinet since he's interested, even if he's not doing right....

Then there's the red rods.  He has not tried to build the stairs.  I asked him if I could give him another presentation, and he said no.  Maybe I'll just do them myself one day and see if that helps.

Friday, October 28, 2011

School Week(s) Review

I've done a terrible job of taking notes lately.  As a result, I have no idea how often we've been going to the schoolroom.  Some days its only been 30 minutes before bed :)  I mentioned before that I had to switch things out pretty quickly, so there are some things that went in and out without mention of what Link did with them.

This is the post I made with new activities, but never got around to reviewing how it went.
One main note I want to make is that Link is not interested in doing activities that involve pictures printed on paper more than once.  There were a few I thought he'd just love doing - such as the dinosaur matching cards.  Nope!  He did it once and that was it.  So I have decided that I need to try not to have too many of these at one time, try not to put too much effort into making them since they won't get used much, and try to switch them out pretty quickly.  One thing he seemed to have difficulty with was the "What is different" cards.  He tends to put three markers on the things that are the same :)  Obviously he can tell the difference, but either doesn't understand the instructions, or choses to ignore them.  He seems to understand the Land, Air and Water cards, but was never able to complete it before he stopped attempting it.  He did like the "what goes together cards" and did them maybe 2 or 3 times.  The classification cards (ocean and farm) were way too easy, and he lost interest in that quickly.  All of these are off the shelves now.

In the School Room Setup post, I mentioned that I added some of my new materials.  I'll go through each activity (sorry if this gets long winded, but its the best way for me to record how he's doing with new works).

Pink tower - Link is really not interested in this work right now.  He did attempted it once after I gave him the presentation.  He is good at the size discrimination, but doesn't try to carefully center the pieces.  After the one time, he has not touched it again.  I've suggested it, but he just says "No thanks!"  I may try to give him a presentation on an extension and see if that peaks his interest... maybe.

Red rods - Link seemed really excited about these and asked for them before I even had them on the shelves.  However, after giving him the presentation, he wouldn't touch them for days.  Then when he did, he just wanted to build a building.  I asked if he remembered the presentation, but he would just say "I'm building you a tall building".  When I said "Well, they aren't really for building" his reply was "I'm building like the pink tower".  I just left it alone and decided to re-present another time.

Cylinder blocks - the first and second blocks seemed really easy.  However, he doesn't really mix them up when he takes them out, so I'm sure that helps.  The one time he has done each, he did them quickly then put them away.  I plan to introduce a new one each day, then start with two - I think that will be a bit more challenging and interesting for him.

Geometric solids - these have gotten a little attention, even if I have to jump-start it.  He explored them a few times before ignoring them.  So today I did the next presentation from Gettman, where you point out that you can match up the bases.  Of course it sparked the "I'm building a building" reaction.  But he didn't get carried away with it, and at least he was using them and noticing the shapes.

Globe - the sandpaper globe has been a hit.  He's gotten it out a few times and explored it.  He'll point out all the land and water, and we'll talk about things that live on land and in the water.  He likes to pretend that he's telling me where we live, and how we're going to the beach and jumping in the water.  Next week I'm going to bring out the continents globe and map.

Puzzles - also a hit.  He kept asking for others that I don't have out, so today I broke down and put all eight of them out!  Plus, he can't see them when they are stacked, so I spread them out on all the shelves that had space.  I will have to come up with a better solution since I will not have space for that once I start adding other works.

Sound boxes - I'm so excited about these!  I had the 'b' box and 'c' box out, but put the 'b' one away since he lost interest in it. Today at the library I found some great books to add to the boxes!  They are sound box books and Link really liked it.  I think its the fact that the little kid is putting things in the box, just like Link's sound box.  He went through it twice today.  I had been really wanting the Alphatales books, but they are $40.  Now that I know I can get these from the library, I will probably put off buying anything for a while :)  I plan on working up my boxes and having 2-3 out at a time.  I went ahead and checked out the 'd' and 'e' books.

Practical Life - I am really lacking in this area.  I plan on adding a few things for next week.  Rather than post my ideas, I'll just wait and post what actually gets done :)

The sound bottles have been put into new boxes and I'll give a new presentation next week.  For now, they are off the shelves.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School Room Setup

I mentioned that I've updated the schoolroom twice without posting much about it.  This was due to the fact that I updated it, and Link didn't find much he was interested in, so I had to update it again.  After that, I got my new material and had to add some of it.  Then, we went out of town and had company so he hasn't been back in the room since the second update.

I figured even if we didn't do much school time, I could at least show my setup.  I added a sorting activity with quarters, nickels and pennies.  Link really enjoyed this one.  At first he didn't realize that there was a difference between the quarters and nickels, but after repeating the presentation another day he noticed it.  He did this one several times, one of the few activities he's ever repeated.

The scissors are not supposed to be there :)
 This is the 'b' box.  First I did just objects, then the next day I added the pictures.  He's not that into repeating things if they aren't different, so I try to change what's in the box to get more use out of it.  I only put about 10 objects in at a time, even if I have more.

Matching objects from the box to the pictures

Below is an activity I made up on the fly.  I had this bag of shapes and I don't think he's ready to use it the way it is intended, so I just had him sort each shape into the little glasses.  He only did this one once, but he explored the objects for a while afterwards.  He put the round shapes back in the bag, then messed around with the rest.

These only lasted two or three days.  Then I had to completely change the room.  I moved the art supplies to the corner.  Then I put several pieces of felt on the shelf to lay the red rods on.  I tried to group the sensorial activities together here.  So just to the right of the red rods is the picture below.

When I was cleaning the closet out I found some dice.  I thought it might be interesting to have Link sort them by color, but also see if he could recognize the similar shapes.  Below that is the first cylinder block and the geometric solids.  The first time I put the solids out, I used the box they came in and put the bases and stands out as well.  It was very heavy.  Since he really just needed to explore the shapes, I decided to put just the shapes in a basket.

Right next to this is the pink tower, which doesn't fit right now.  I made some sound bottles, but did the presentation all wrong!  I guess I should have read up on that first.  I'm going to put them in two different boxes and try again.  I still have out the beginner pattern blocks.  I think I'll get the next step up soon and replace these.
I'm going to have to make that shelf taller for the pink tower.
I don't have a lot of practical life out right now.  A lot of what we do is done in the kitchen.  Plus, I don't have any good ideas right now.  I do have the dressing frames almost finished but there is no end in sight right now.  I made them a little small and need to find something to attach them to.  Maybe in the next week or so you'll see them.
The beans are missing for the sweeping...

 And this is what's left, grouped together.  The orange box is now a 'c' box.  I have out the frog, horse and tree puzzles.  The sandpaper globe.  Melissa & Doug word puzzles.  I know, I need to work on this area.

That pretty much fills up the school room.  I plan on putting out the brown stairs soon. The geometric cabinet is already out, you may have seen it below the red rods.  But I have not given a presentation on it yet.  I plan on doing the presentation tray soon, then moving to the cabinet.  I'll have to review everything again to see if there is something lacking.  The room is filling up faster than I expected.  I'm sure that soon I'll have to remodel, move the computer, and adjust shelves.

I'm a little worried!  We'll be gone a week and a half in November and one to two weeks in December.  Then we'll all be staying with family for the entire month of January - until I have the baby.  Then we'll come home and I have a feeling that doing school time with a newborn is going to be very difficult!

Material Review

Both of my material purchases went very well.  I received everything I ordered, there was some damage, but I think it will be taken care of quickly.  I contacted both companies and they said to let them know which pieces were damaged.

First, my A Plus order:
The cylinder blocks, number rods, geometric cabinet and cards, large movable alphabet and knobless cylinders were perfect as far as I can tell.  The maps were a little damaged.  Some of the knobs came off and a few of the corners were pretty mashed.  I received shipping confirmation the day after I made the order and received the order about 7 days after it was placed.



IFIT order:
I ordered a lot from I fit, so I'll just say that almost everything was in great shape.  There were a few disappointments.  The metal insets had several pieces that wouldn't lay flat.  I could bend some back, but others were so deformed that when you put them down, there was so little surface contact they would spin and be impossible to trace.  The broad stair had two pieces that were dinged up.  I didn't like the imbucare box with the rectangular prism, but its not damaged.  I received shipping confirmation two days after I made the order and received the order about 6 days after it was placed.


I had a little helper to unwrap the small items for me.  The geometric solids were all wrapped individually.  Link also enjoyed doing all of the animal puzzles as I unpacked them.

Overall, I'm very pleased with both the quality and the customer service from both companies.  If the replacement of the damaged items ends up being difficult, I'll come back here and edit this post.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2 Week Review

My two firemen in training :)
We haven't had a lot of school time the past two weeks, I really don't know where the time went!  Two days were dedicated to landscaping and visiting contractors.  Bumblebee had a rough day once, and required my attention, so we didn't have school that day.  Two school days were dedicated to opening our orders from IFIT and A Plus, going through the packing slips, making notes and taking pictures.  (I plan to make a detailed post about it soon.)  I think we made blueberry muffins one day.  One of those days we spent at my Aunt's house making dressing frames and drawstring bags.  One day was dedicated to laundry and packing.  We did go to the school room once, but since I'm not at home, I don't have my notes and only vaguely remember how that went.  Then we left home on Wednesday and we'll get back home on Friday afternoon.  So there went two weeks!

I have updated the schoolroom twice, without posting about it.  But once I get home I'll be sure to take some pictures and explain whats going on.  I really had to reorganize things, take some unused things out, and clean some of my personal stuff off of the top shelves.  Hopefully when we get home Daddy will have his computer out so we have a bit more space.  In addition to getting our new material, I've also made a few things.

Since I let Link help me open all of the packages with his school supplies, he has seen most of the material.  He is very excited and has asked several times for specific material.  I have spent what time I could while I've been out of town reading back through Gettman to make sure I understand the presentations.  Once I get home I'll probably pull my Karen Tyler manuals out as well and get even more familiar with the presentations.  I feel like Link is a little behind in some areas.  For example, I think the pink tower will be easily mastered.  So I have to decide what to put out and in what order I should give the presentations and how quickly I should put out the "next" material.

I am a little confused about how the order should go.  Like, should he master the pink tower before I put out the brown stair?  Can I put out the brown stair and the red rods at the same time?  Is it okay to put out all three at the same time?

Anyways, I have a lot to catch up on and hopefully we'll have some good school days next week and Link will get to use some of his new material.  Unfortunately, I don't know if I'll have time to keep up with it all. Once I get home we're going to have company for two weeks.  Then, two weeks later, I'll be spending a week and a half away from home!

So, if it seems like I've disappeared, don't worry, I'll be back ASAP!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Materials Purchase

I finally did it!  I spent way more than I had originally planned, but I ordered everything I thought I'd need for the next year, plus some.  Thank you to everyone who posted comments and offered advice.  This was a big deal for me, so I took everything into consideration.

I ended up ordering from two companies - A Plus and IFIT.  Here's the breakdown:

From A Plus I was originally only getting the cylinder blocks and number rods since they were out of stock at IFIT.  But then IFIT went out of stock on their $18 Geometric Form Cards.  They wouldn't ship them separately for free, so that would have been an extra $12.  It irritated me a little that I was about to spend $761 at their store, and they couldn't swing the $12.  (It would be silly for me to pay $30 total to get them later, and if I waited they would probably go out of stock on something else.)  I really wanted to get both the cards and the cabinet from the same place.  So I ended up ordering everything from A Plus that was cheaper.  (It evened out - some things were more, others were much less.)  My total there was $481 (it would have been $507 at IFIT) plus, since I spent over $400 I saved about $30 on shipping.

Cylinder Blocks
Numerical Rods
Geometric Form Cards
Geometric Cabinet
Puzzle Map of USA
Puzzle Map of World Parts
Puzzle Map of North America
Wood - Large Movable Alphabet
Knobless Cylinders

Below is my order from IFIT.  As you can see, I threw in a few things I didn't plan on getting.  Since we're about to have baby #3, I decided to get a few infant toys.  My first two boys have LOVED the cylinder imbucare box and coin box that we've had for the past two years.  I think these three infant toys will get a lot of use as well, and the price was not too bad.  I bought a gift card from IFIT using a Visa Gift Card I got as a rebate on our appliances for $526 when I thought my order was going to be $761.  I was going to have to use two forms of payment and this was the only way I could see to do that.  Well, once I decided to move some items over to A Plus, I was sorta stuck using that balance at IFIT.  So I added some botany and zoology puzzles and the metal insets.  

Pink Tower Only (Beech Wood)
Geometric Solids With Bases (Beech Wood)
Sandpaper Numbers with Box
Sandpaper Letters, Lower Case Print with Box
Numbered Spindle Box with 45 Spindles
Sandpaper Double Letters, Print with Box
Broad Stair (Beech Wood)
Third Box of Color Tablets (Clearance)
Long Red Rods (Beech Wood)
Globe of the World Parts (Clearance)
Globe of Land and Water (Clearance)
Binomial Cube (Beech Wood)
Box with Bins
Object Permanence Box with Tray
Imbucare Box with Rectangular Prism (Clearance)
Tree Puzzle
Flower Puzzle
Seed Puzzle
Bird Puzzle with Skeleton
Frog Puzzle with Skeleton
Horse Puzzle with Skeleton
100 Golden Bead Units (Box not included)
100 Golden Bead Units, Wood Beads
Metal Insets with 2 Stands
Geometric Puzzle Board
Fish Puzzle with Skeleton
Leaf Puzzle

Once I get everything I'll be sure to follow-up with a review and my school room setup!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Spy with Two Sounds

We haven't been doing school the past few days because we've been working on the house so much.  Today I was unpacking a box that somehow contained a bucket with the I Spy photos I used to use with Link.  He saw them and wanted to do the activity.  So, even though we haven't throughly covered all the sounds, these were some we have briefly looked at in the past.  I put out two pictures and asked him which one began with a certain sound.  He did great!  It made me realize that he may be ready for sound sorting.  I'm not going to rush it though.  I think I'll continue with the single sound boxes until we cover them all, then start on boxes with two sounds and sort them with him.