Monday, May 31, 2010


Connor lost his first tooth today!

(Can you tell he has a habit of wiping his mouth on his sleeve after brushing his teeth?)

I can't believe he's old enough to be losing teeth.  Sigh.  Love that toothless grin, though!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Snake Lapbook

For science this year we're doing life science, studying animals, plants, and the human body.  We're currently learning about different animals; some are Connor's choices, some are mine.  He reeeaaally wanted to do a lapbook about snakes, and I must admit that I found it much more fascinating than I thought I would.  Plus it's fun hearing him spout off random snake facts that I didn't even know he knew.  *grin*

Here are some pictures of the finished product.  Most of the mini books are from Homeschool Share, although some of them we simplified a bit, and we used several books for our information.

This is the first time we've used two file folders glued together as our base.  In previous lapbooks, I've used clear packing tape to add in cardstock pages/flaps.  We'll probably use both styles in the future.

Left side

"What Makes a Snake a Snake?" mini book

"Predators" oval accordian book and "Snake Senses" layered book

"Fangs" triangle tri-fold book

"A-Hunting We Will Go" T-shaped book.

"Snakes Around the World" mini book.  I adapted the Homeschool Share idea--simplified it to continents instead of countries.  We left out Antarctica. *grin*

"Defenses" mini book and "Teeth" matchbook

"Venomous Snakes" mini book and "Skull" mini book

Right side

"Rattlesnakes" pentagon tri-fold book and "Scales" covered flap book.  I made the rattlesnake book--we had a little extra space and chose one kind of snake to feature.

"Snake Habitats" flag book (I made this one).  Flag books look really impressive, but they're not really that hard to make. Instructions here.

"Slither and Slide" covered flap book (idea was from Homeschool Share, but adapted to fit the book we used) and "Vocabulary" triangle fan book

"Shedding Skin" wheel

"Who Eats What?" fan book

Pop-up snake just for fun!

Books we used:

Snakes by Adrienne Mason (probably the most useful)

Snakes by Gail Gibbons (this one was really good--good info but not too much and easier to read)

Snakes by Barbara Taylor

Fun Facts about Snakes by Carmen Bredeson

Slinky, Scaly Snakes by Jennifer Dussling

Rattlesnakes by Julie Fiedler

We've also had a great time seeing some of the things we've learned first-hand at MOLA--Museum of Living Art, the herpetarium at the Fort Worth Zoo.  It opened in March--perfect timing!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

LENS Photo challenge: A Love of Reading

I came across Home Is Where You Start From today, and the blogger is starting the LENS photo challenge: the LEarning Never Stops.  When I saw that her first photo topic was the love of reading, I knew this picture would be perfect!

Brennan is just taking off with reading and is so proud to be able to read some of the early readers from the library.  Connor, who seems to be drawn like a moth to a flame whenever anyone in the house is reading anything out loud, wanted to see the pictures and climbed up behind him on the couch.  He occasionally coached Brennan on a word, which was nice to see, but the best part was when he interrupted him from time to time to tell him, "You're doing so good, bookworm!"  So sweet. *grin*

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beetles Concert

The other day, I heard Connor playing in his room, talking about bugs giving a concert.  I didn't really think much of it until I walked into the room and saw this:

I started to get onto him about playing with the bugs (real, but dead--he has a small collection of dead bugs that he keeps in a box.  I suppose we left out the part about not PLAYING with them when we started collecting them) and he responded, "But Mommy, the beetles are singing a concert!"  And they were.  Singing about Jesus at the top of their little beetle lungs (which sounded strangely like 5-year-old boy lungs . . . ), in fact.  Be sure to note the captivated dinosaur fans.

At that point it was all I could do not to fall down laughing, although I did have the presence of mind to get Aaron in there with the camera!

Of course, the funniest part is that he has absolutely NO idea who/what the Beatles are.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Katy No-Pocket Lapbook

I discovered lapbooking a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with the idea.  Luckily, the boys enjoy it too. *grin*  We've made 8 or 9 of them at this point (they're a lot of work, especially since I tend to get caught up in details . . .).  I'm finding that they work really well for science topics and Five in a Row-type book studies/activities.  They'd probably be good for history too, which we might try at some point.  Connor has done lapbooks on insects, turkeys, tornadoes, Noah's Ark, and he just finished one on snakes, which I'll be posting soon.  I've done lapbooks on obedience and Christmas with both boys, and Brennan just finished his lapbook on Katy No-Pocket, which was the second lapbook we've done that was ALL his.

Katy No-Pocket is a sweet children's book by Emmy Payne (illustrated by H. A. Rey, who also illustrated the Curious George books).  Katy, a mother kangaroo, has no pocket to carry her baby.  After trying to imitate the ways other animals carry their babies, Katy goes to the city to see if she can find a pocket.  A man generously gives her his apron full of pockets, and Katy happily hops home carrying her baby.  Here's our lapbook!

Front cover

Back cover: an imitation of Australian Aboriginal dot art found at DLTK.

Inside, with "apron flap" closed

A mini book about Australia, including a map and flag to color and pictures of animals unique to Australia.

Flap book: How animals move.  On each flap is a way that animals move, and he listed animals that fell into each category.  For the next week or so, he'd come up with a new one out of the blue and we'd have to go write it in: "Oh!! Mommy!!!  Giraffes walk!  We need to write that in the lapbook!!"  (Yes, all the exclamation points are necessary for an accurate quote!)

Each pocket has several cards.  For the top pocket, he told me things he'd put in a pocket if he had one.  For the bottom pocket, I wrote a profession on each card and he told me something that a person in that profession would have in his/her pocket (i.e., he said that a doctor would have medicine in his pocket).

The apron with real pockets took forever to make (remember what I said about getting caught up in details?), but I think it was worth it.  In one pocket are matching cards for animals and their habitats from Kizclub, another pocket has story sequence cards, and the bottom two have tool matching/memory cards (the man who gives Katy the apron dumps tools out of his pockets before giving it to her).

View with the apron page opened.  The yellow item is the result of random cutting and gluing he did one day that happened to look like a kangaroo.  When I pointed this out, he added a tail (the bump on the right) and wanted to put it in the lapbook.

Animal Families trifold book from Homeschool Share

"K is for . . ." letter K tracing book

"What do you see in the country?/What do you see in the city?" flap book.  I printed and cut pictures for each category and he sorted and glued them under the appropriate flaps.

Kangaroo maze printed from . . . somewhere!

"All About Kangaroos" shape book.  I was so impressed by how much he remembered and could tell me after reading a book about kangaroos!

"What does the Bible say about sharing?" circle book with 1 Timothy 6:18.  He drew a picture of Connor sharing a snack with him.  I thought it was interesting that he was the one being shared with instead of the one doing the sharing!

The pictures of kangaroos throughout the lapbook are ones we found online and printed onto address labels and then cut out.  I also meant to include a mini book on the other books we read related to kangaroos while we worked on the lapbook, but I totally forgot until just now.  These are some of them:

Pouch by David Ezra Stein

Heart in the Pocket by Laurence Bourguignon

Polly Hopper's Pouch by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud

He had a lot of fun making his OWN lapbook, and I was really impressed with how much he remembered.  We're getting ready to learn about farms, and I'm planning to have them each do their own lapbook as we go (some of the things will be the same in both).  I really think as we continue Brennan's preschool "career" that lapbooking will be a big part of what we do (in addition to phonics and math).  It's fun, it's manageable chunks that I can easily fit in between doing things with Connor, and we can tailor it to what he's interested in learning about.  Now to go renew our library books about farms . . .

SOTW Chapter 4: The Old Kingdom of Egypt

Mummies and pyramids--probably the most fascinating parts of ancient Egyptian history for kids.  I was kind of surprised, though.  Connor was interested, but not as fascinated as I thought he would be.  I think part of it is age, though.  We'll see when we come to ancient history again in a few years!

For anyone reading this who is familiar with SOTW and the AG, I hope I'm not disappointing you in confessing that I did not have the guts to tackle the mummified chicken.  Sorry.  Maybe it will seem a little less intimidating (and worth the hassle!) in a couple of years when the boys are older!  Our activity for this chapter didn't actually have anything to do with either section of the reading specifically.  We've been reading other books about ancient Egypt, so I chose an activity from The Ancient Egyptians: dress, eat, write, and play just like the Egyptians by Fiona MacDonald.

We used bendy straws to make models of the reed boats the Egyptians used on the Nile river.  They LOVED it, and so did I.  It was easy, quick, and did not involve chicken guts. *grin*

Connor making his boat:

What Nile river would be complete without crocodiles???

Adding passengers

When Brennan realized what we were doing, he had to get in on the action!

They spent a good 20 minutes playing with their boats in the sink, and they were eager to take baths later when I mentioned they could play with them again.  Definitely a fun project!