Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

March 20th was the official first day of spring. Here in the Lone Star state we never have a real winter where everything dies off, spring is just high allergy alert season. Do not get me wrong it is beautiful with the wildflowers and the eighty-degree days. However, when you have a child with reactive airway asthma that is triggered by almost every plant, tree and grass known to man, spring is not greeted with open arms. In fact, the last three spring seasons have meant doctors, midnight ER runs and lots of medication. God seems to moving differently this season and with a little planning, we are enjoying this spring.

How do you keep the five year old inside during allergy season. You do not and you really do not want to deal with energy level of a kid who feels trapped inside.

So how do play outside with a kindergartener with severe allergies?

Again, the great benefit of homeschooling is setting your own schedule. To lessen chances of allergic reactions, we go to the park in the morning or late afternoon when pollen is higher in the sky, or on cloudy or cool days when it is not as prevalent. I also check for daily accurate reports.

After we come back in from playing, we change clothing, saline his nose and bath. We also keep his hair cut low so we do not worry about trapped pollen from rolling (he is a boy after all) in the grass.
I know God created this beautiful world to enjoy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Only when homeschooling........

Only when homeschooling can a five year old create his own prehistoric world.

After reading My Big Dinosaur Book, My First Dinosaur Board Book and Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp TS requested a to go digging for Dinosaurs at the local Dino Pit. Since it was raining, I had to get creative. TS really wanted to be a paleontologist, so we decided to make our own Dino Dig. I searched the handy dandy craft closet (I have got to stop watching Blues Clues) and found the following:

  • A small bucket of dinosaurs bought at Target last September during clearance for less than $1

  • A bag of Crayola playsand

  • An empty flat plastic sweater box. (Since I decluttered I have many empty plastic containers.)

  • A plastic table cover leftover from his last birthday party

Instant Dino Dig

This provided almost 3 hours of play and learning. He (without any prompting) also wrote the names of each dinosaur in the sand which is one activity recommended by HWTS.

Somehow, the dump trucks ended up in Dino World to which he explained was just his way of "using my creativity."

Let us recap:
· He used his problem solving skills to help create a new activity
· He practiced handwriting
· He practiced spelling
· He worked fine motor skills
· He learned a lot about dinosaurs like their eating habits and size

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Language Lab Part 1

We have been working on expanding our understanding the meaning of words. Most kindergartners’ have about 2,000 word vocabulary according to our Pediatrician but truly understand about half of the words they use daily. Through social situations (talking to peers, teachers and parents) they gain more working knowledge of words.

When you have an early reader, it is essential that additional context be given to the language they read and use through directed language assistance.

HUH? Simply put help them color their world with words.

We started with the basics: Sweet and Sour

I started with what is sweet. I gave him sugar and a gingerbread cookie man. TS loved this assignment.

Me: What do you taste?
TS: Feels good and yummy.
Me: What you are tasting is called sweet.
TS: Sugarery ….it makes my mouth smile.

He then proceeded to name other things that were sweet and how they tasted different but the same sweet taste.

Then we explored with what is sour. I gave him a lemon and a pickle.

TS: Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Me: What do you taste?
TS: HMMMM…taste hard…almost likes its biting my mouth.
Me: What you are tasting is called sour.
TS: Ughhhh.

Boy did he have a list of sour, including Auntie Pat’s cooking. LOL!

Next step was showing how sweet and sour can come together and make something good. Lemonade, his favorite drink.

We also talked a lot about colors and textures, giving more definition to everyday objects. The positive side is he is more descriptive when talking about things. The downside is sometimes too descriptive. “Mom, the turkey meatloaf feels rubbery and grainy and smells like kale.” Sometimes a simple “No thanks it is yucky” will do.
Be Blessed

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Small Stuff

TS (The Student) loves songs and music so I thought it only logical to introduce poetry. You know the silly little diddies that every five year old should have in the backpack of life.
For example we started September by reviewing Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin. The book is itself is a great poem. We found a teaching unit online for the book and it included this poem:

Coconut Warning

Now, here's a little warning

So listen to me

Never ever sit beneath

A coconut tree

They're great for drinking

They're fine for percussion

But if one hits your head

You'll get a concussion. ~ Author Unknown ~

TS (Super Kiddo) was tickled as could be with this little ditty. So as we started our unit on Fall, I started looking for similar ditties. Much to my surprise while we were cutting up construction paper for leaves and jumping in them.
(Hey it's homeschool we can do that and practice cutting.)
He said "Hi Mom we need a poem for Fall. I got one." So here it is TS first poem.




Fall to the ground



All around

{by ST}

It was at this moment that it hit me again this is the beauty of homeschool. He got to create and move without being stifled. Thank You God!

A Cookie Sounds Good About Now

I read this blog article called "If You Give A Homeschool Mom A cookie" at and could so identify with it.

TS has lead me to learn some very interesting things during this adventure and homeschooling allows us to go deep into a subject. Like who knew how to say” why" in five different languages.


Por Que - Spanish
Perché- Italian

Pour quoi - French

Warum - German

Last Fall I bought the Wondertime magazine and found an insert that had variety of tree leaves with pictures and fun facts.

We cut them out and pasted them (working with different medium) into our own construction paper (fall colors of course) and then used the single hole punch to make binder holes (working a fine motor control).

Then as we traveled through our week we kept and eye out for the types of leaves in our book (observation skills).

As we found them, we collected them and taped them into our book (science with magnifying glass and learning how to use tape as well as matching).

We learned about the different variety of trees in our area (all of which we are both allergic) and that leaves in your pocket make a crunching sound when you walk. Mommy learned to check those pockets for acorn and leaves before doing laundry.

Cost of Magazine: $2.50
Cost of construction paper: $1.00
Cost of Leaves: $0
Cost of tape: $.50

Time Spent Exploring Nature with TS :PRICELESS


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If First You Don’t Succeed…Wing It

The most important thing I have discovered on this journey is that perfection is not only overrated but it will hinder all progress. The first few weeks of homeschooling, I would stay up late putting together everything for tomorrow’s lessons, searching the local library database online requesting all the associated books and printing off mountains of supporting documentation. I was armed with knowledge, enthusiasm and material for the subject.

I became so frustrated when THE STUDENT (TS) did not share my focus for the day. Then the frustration turned to self-doubt, which lead to re-examining the entire decision to Homeschool. The result was a confused and frustrated child with a self-conscience depressed mom.

A veteran Homeschool mom gave me the best advice so far.
  • This is not about YOU, it about the child.
  • If you are not enjoying it, then the child is not either.
  • Step back, get prayer focused and relax.

She was right. So, I stepped back and prayed and prayed and prayed….. The next day I asked TS what he wanted to learn if he could pick the subjects in school and his list was a revelation.

  1. Play (but of course), but play more frequently to get the wiggles out.
  2. Learn about trains…everything how they are made, how the move and what is in them.
  3. I want to play music. (Very focused and very clear.) I want to know about the kinds of music. I want to know what music there is in the world.
  4. Art…more painting please.
  5. Who are my family? Why are we a family?
  6. Planets, stars and countries…all the world stuff.
  7. I want to make friends.

Okay that list alone was enough for the first year with any Kindergartner. In each item, I saw the opportunity to put in the basics like handwriting, self-care, math and science. Reading is in sustaining mode as he reads on 1st grade level.

Due to a horrible, Montessori experience handwriting, cutting, pasting and art where areas he avoided. Imagine someone telling a 4 year old that he has terrible cutting skills, HE IS 4! Way to build the old self esteem.

So that is how we came up with the plan.

At A Google Loss

Bare with me this is my first attempt at blogging. I have read many interesting and witty blogs of in the last two years. During daily moments, I haven often thought of witty, thought provoking and intelligent entries. However, as I sit down to write this my very first blog entry, I am at a loss. Seriously, the National Anthem is playing in my mind and all the channels are off the air.

Why again am I putting my virtual self out here? What do I have to say that is different? Is anybody going to read this? It has been years since I have had to sit down and put together coherent thoughts passed a grocery list or lesson plan. Are my grammar skills still intact?

Then I remember what my first college English professor told me…”Write what you know and how you really feel. Real writing is not about the technical it is about the feeling. You can edit the grammar but you can’t fake the feeling.” So, I shall begin with what brought me here.

When I first started searching for resources for homeschooling an only child, I did not find a lot of information in blog form. There were the standouts like
Milk and Cookies as well as One Child Policy Homeschool. All of which are great sites but I was looking for more…

Being a technical person, I wanted the details. I wanted to know what does a day with only one child look like. How do I give a preschool/kindergarten child that important opportunity of peer play? How do a encourage skills like listening, sharing and cooperation?

Also as an African American (AA) homeschooler, it is hard to find cultural support for the singleton journey. The vast majority of AA homeschoolers have more than one child. Several online support groups have provided great advice but most are geared toward multiple children.
This is a place where I share what we are doing and how we go about doing it. This blog is a work in progress much like our journey. It will change as we grow. We are a work in progress...

Be Blessed