Sunday, September 21, 2008

Five In A Row (FIAR) Rowing Week 1: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Leaning and labeling the parts of a steam shovel (HSS) and FIAR Science Section 47

Mike Mulligan Math Homeschool Share (HSS)
Building Numbers (Hardcover)

Introduction to Lapbooking and Notebooking

Social Studies
FIAR Social Section pg 43

Language Arts
FIAR pg 45

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, for narrator & symphony orchestra London Philharmonic Orchestra

FIAR-BS pg 14

Read Alouds

Fieldtrip or Outings
There is so much construction in our area we were able to visit several construction sights and take pictures of the machines doing there jobs. We are go back to three sites once a week to take pictures of their progress. So we get to see a building built from ground clearing to completion.

Fine Motor Activity
Using sand toys to dig a square “neat and clean” as Mike and Mary Anne. Drawing shapes in the sand with fingers and scooping with spoons.

Lapbook Resources

Key Learnings (forgive the phrase it is a throw back from work)

  • The music CD gave the experience a new dimension and prevented bored since we just read this book earlier in the year.
  • The music CD was educational because it taught us about the parts of an orchestra.
  • The theme song has become a household favorite.
  • We also learned why the composer chose the certain instruments to convey specific feelings.
  • Explored the concept of stewardship.
  • TS found that he loved lapbooking and chose one to present at our Orators club.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricanes and Humbleness

Last week central Texas was hot and the usually stoic Texans were very anxious because of Hurricane Ike. We knew he was out there but did not know where God would place him because it was changing by the minute. By Thursday public school were schedule for early release, University of Texas cancelled its big football game, co-op activities were cancelled and people were scrambling for safe harbor. Our lives would change, but to what degree and when was unknown.

We waited and prayed for those in the path of this storm.

Earlier in the week, I was so caught up in lesson plans not going as plan, financial issues and providing social outlets for TS. It all seem so daunting until you look into the sky and see the awesome power of nature.

Our city was spared but as a nation and state, we will be feeling the effects of Ike for a long time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Science with Sid: Reversible Change

This week our friend Sid the Science Kid discussed Reversible Change or in kindergarten speak: “Why does my popsicle melt?” TS was transfixed the entire 30 minutes and then wanted to do the experiment ASAP. Do I have time for learning? You bet!

So off to the dining room table or as Sid calls his area The Super Fab Lab. Setting up and conducting the first half of the experiment took less than 10 minutes. The instructions for this experiment can be found by clicking here Sid’s Frozen Fruit Experiment. The hardest part of the entire experiment was the kindergartener running to frig, opening the door and asking constantly: “Is it ready yet?”

The frozen fruit

The melting fruit aka “Great Snack”

TS had a great time, rave about the cool snack he made and he voluntarily wrote it in his journal. THANK YOU SID!

New Words Defined




Reversible Change

New Method: Observations
When you used your eyes, nose, hands and taste (if Mommy says it okay) to get information or learn about a thing.

(Now if I can just get the little “Looking for My Friend” tune out of my head.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Row, row, row books

Okay we are officially Rowing….Five In a Row (FIAR) that is. So far so good for both student and teacher. I thought going in that reading the same story five days in a row would be rough, but good classics seem to hold a special appeal. The additional resource books help shore up his interest in the main book. We are a month into the program and nothing but good things so far. In addition, I have been incorporating music and Lego building based on the book we are reading. This provides us with an opportunity to move and use our hands while rowing. We are learning a lot.

At the beginning of each book I give him the option of notebooking, journaling or lapbooking our quest. So far, lapbooking has won out every time. TS has become addicted to lapbooks, because he says he can find everything he learned in one place. I am surprised how much he has taken to the method. He is even cutting and gluing without a fuss.

Here are the books we are rowing this Fall:




Mike Mulligan


Papa Piccolo


Harold and the Purple Crayon

Pumpkin Free

A Pair of Red Clogs

Grandfather's Journey

The Glorious Flight

If I Ran For President



Space Shuttle

Make Way For Ducklings

How To Make An Apple Pie

Digital FIAR-Christmas

Cranberry Thanksgiving

Digital FIAR-Birthday


(Holiday Vacation)

Not all of these titles are FIAR, but I now have enough time to develop at least a couple of unit studies to address specific issues and fieldtrips this fall.

Wordless Wednesday: Turtles Tanning

Maybe they are suffering a little post nacho heartburn?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homeschool The Very Social Only Child

Today was a great day. I actually stayed at home. Normally we do work in the mornings, have lunch and are out the door from 1pm until about 4pm. This leads to rushed dinner preparations, piles of unwashed dishes, undone chores and inconsistent quiet times. Logic would dictate that I stay home, but I am praying through Super Social Singleton guilt. I felt like I had to get him in the presence other children everyday.

Some may ask “So why not send him to public school?” Because he is not a public school kid, he has been blessed with a curiosity, energy and intellect that does not thrive in a public school environment. He is his best in a homeschool environment, after much prayer, we know that to be the truth.

I was not an only child, far from it in fact. I grew up with a sibling, a younger cousin who lived with us most of the summers and enough first cousins within walking distance to put the Duggers to shame. I use to hide in my bedroom closet on the phone just to have a private conversation. I do not really understand the only child life style. TS is so social that he wants to see kids other kids every hour or every day. We do not have many kids his age in the immediate neighborhood and most of his other Singleton friends are school kids or recently got new siblings. (That is has brought on a major case of sibling desires.)

However, I cannot successful homeschool in a chaotic household. Therefore, after much prayer I have instituted “Home Days”. These are the days we bless our house (dust, sweep, fold), do the experiments and just enjoy each other.

After three weeks, I feel less rushed and so does he. We are making progress on learning; schoolwork, self care skills, discipline and enjoying each other. It makes the other 3-4 days that we go out a lot less hectic and more relaxed because we have things done at home. Plus the weekends are jammed with birthday parties, kid concerts, church and friends.

Today we took an hour walk together, just observing (TS’s new word for Sid The Science Kid).

We saw ducks, turtle, geese, tadpoles, leaves, funny rocks and cranes. It is great to slow down and enjoy homeschooling my only child.

Monday, September 8, 2008


We got a flyer from the library about a new show on PBS called Sid the Science Kid. TS though it looked cool and wanted to check it out. Since TV is limited at our house I knew he was serious we he traded his 30 minute block of TV normally reserved for Super Why or FETCH!

So, we catch the first show and are blown away. TS was impressed that:

  1. This kid asks as many questions as he does.
  2. This kid has the coolest songs. (Such as “My Mom is Cool” rap or the “Science Kid is in the House.”)
  3. Sid’s class only has FOUR kids in the class that are in TS “Are special, different and not trying to be like each other.”
  4. The coolest teacher on the planet Ms. Susie.
  5. Sid’s friend Gerald is very much like TS. They describe him as “The perfect run-on sentence to describe Gerald would be: "Total instant gratification - boundless boy energy - raises his hand on every question even if he doesn't know the answer - gotta do it right now!"”

Today we learned for Sid about observing using our hands, eyes, ears and nose. TS spent the day writing observation in his journal.

That is right folks TS voluntarily wrote in his daily journal and drew pictures! Before Sid, this was a fight that I had given up on and just let him dictate his entries. Today he picked up his journal by himself and drew and wrote his “observations.” Then he asked if he could decorate his journal with his picture and some of Sid and team. You have never seen a mom run for the printer and glue so fast.

I am writing a big “Thank You” to PBS and The Jim Henson Company tonight.