My Little Readers is a place where you can learn about our family's learning adventures, techniques to help build literacy, and ideas for activities to engage in with your children.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Let's Get Reading!!

Ok, so I told you last month that Snootz will most likely participate in one of the Summer Reading Programs.  Well, he is super excited about it but we actually chose two programs with LESS structure, rather than MORE structure which I had said "we" needed.  I was probably just feeling overwhelmed that day and thought I'd need more structure in order to help Snootz follow through.  But after I thought about it I decided that Snootz doesn't need more structure.  He loves reading and we should have no problems going to the library to pick out ANY books that he wants to read and then I can help him keep track of them.

Sooooo, I talked to Snootz yesterday and he decided to participate in the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program and the Half Price Books Kids Summer Reading Program.  The Barnes and Noble Program looks to be for children as young as first grade but I have read comments on some blogs and it seems like it won't be a problem that Snootz is younger.   He's reading independently and should be able to fill out the form (with help).  If it turns out they won't accept his form then I'll just purchase the book that he has already decided he wants as the reward book.  Barnes and Noble provided a short list of books to choose from that the child receives free once they read and record 8 books they have read on their own and take it to their local store.  Snootz already looked at the list and decided which book he wants!

The Half Price Books Program tracks the number of minutes read each day.  Children need to read at least 15 minutes each day and once they reach 300 minutes they can take their completed form to Half Price Books to receive a book voucher for $5.00.  The nice thing about the Half Price Books program is that they allow children who are learning to read to participate.  So they allow 15 minutes of reading OR being read to per day.

We will probably also participate in our local library's program but first I need to look into that more so that I can understand the requirements.  But we are definitely planning on the Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books Programs.  We printed out the tracking forms yesterday, we have them posted on our refrigerator and we are ready to go!!

Math with Unifix Cubes

This week Snootz worked on math using Unifix cubes and he did really well.  Sitting down to read a book, complete a writing worksheet, or work on math problems is very calming for him.  He really enjoys it which is awesome!

Snootz picked out a worksheet on the KidZone website and chose Addition Math Tables with a picture of a dinosaur on the page (he was really excited about the dinosaur).  So, I printed it, pulled out our Unifix cubes and got to work (we purchased our Unifix cubes preowned from a seller on eBay).  I explained how the math tables were set up and then we started counting out some Unifix cubes to put into groups.  Then Snootz added the number of Unifix cubes so that he could find the answers to put into the tables.  He did so well!  For the last two tables he asked if he could add an additional number and find the answer.  Well, of course!  So he added 5+6+6 as well as others.

This was our first time using the Unifix cubes for a guided math session and they are exactly what we needed.  Using wooden blocks for math was good but these are even better because they snap together and don't tumble over if you accidentally knock into them (well, the whole row might tumble over but they probably won't break apart).  Snootz was also able to put them on the table horizontally or vertically and he could pick up the groups and compare their lengths (i.e. a set of 6 Unifix cubes is taller or longer than 5 Unifix cubes).

And yes, Snootz is still wearing his pajamas at 2:00pm in the afternoon.  That's the beauty of being able to learn at home.  If you are having a tired day, you can just stay in your pajamas :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Homeschool? and a Glimpse into the Past Couple of Weeks

Stacie at Motherhood on a Dime did a wonderful post today on her reasons for homeschooling.  I think it is beautifully written and includes several of our own key reasons for deciding to homeschool next year.  I would encourage you to read it if you are interested in knowing more about homeschooling and why someone would choose to do it.  I plan to do my own post on our reasons for homeschooling at some point in the future.

On another note, here is a glimpse into some of the fun things we've done the past couple of weeks.  Many have been great learning experiences for the children.

Two weekends ago we took a family trip to the zoo.  Tootsie Pop & Kitty Cat took their first ride on the zoo train.

This was the closest I've ever gotten to an elephant.  The children were fascinated as this elephant balanced on the edge of the structure and reached out with his trunk to pull leaves off the bushes right in front of us.

Then a little over a week ago Snootz and Daddy built a rocket together!  Snootz learned a bit about chemistry and physics along the way.

We went to the park to launch the rocket but Daddy shook it too much and the baking soda and vinegar "popped" too quickly.  Unfortunately, it resulted in an unlaunched rocket.  Oh well, everyone had fun anyways and we'll try launching it again soon.  Plus, now we know not to shake the bottle!

Since we were at the park we decided to have some fun on the playground.

And play some tennis (without rackets) after Daddy found a tennis ball.

Kitty Cat is such a loving little mommy and had to make sure her baby was taken care of before we left to go home.  She insisted on pushing her baby in the stroller for part of the way home.

As for this week, it has been a very good week so far since our recent sicknesses have passed and everyone has been happier.  On Monday, Snootz and I had an opportunity to bake some Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.  Yum!

Baking and cooking has been great for Snootz as he's been learning how to read and follow a recipe, and he's also been learning about measurements and various ingredients.  In this case he also enjoyed eating the result of his hard work!

Kitty Cat & Tootsie Pop have recently grown in their love for their babies.  I often see them feeding and putting their dolls to bed.  It's a lot of fun to watch them be so nurturing.  Of course, there is the occasional temper tantrum which results in baby getting flung onto the floor.  :)

I love this picture of Tootsie Pop.  She looks so happy holding her little doll.  (I really need to cut her bangs though.  The poor girl has her hair hanging in her eyes.)

And we also played dress up.  Well, that didn't go so well....... But Kitty Cat looked pretty even though she really didn't want to wear the dress.

I look forward to more fun days this week as we get together with friends and celebrate Mother's Day this weekend with our families. 

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms!