Saturday, May 31, 2014

F is for Frog and Forgiven

             I will never forget learning F is for Frog with my son, because it was in a middle of a this lesson that my son asked Jesus to be his Savior. There was a lot leading up to this decision, including Easter the week before, so I knew he was so very close... he just needed to know that he NEEDED Jesus. That idea is sorta hard for a kid who doesn't really know what real need is. He has never known true need in his life, and I am so glad he has lived such a blessed life, but it does make it harder to know that you need the Savior.
         What made the realization come was learning "I use my tongue wisely" during the frog unit. We were actually in the middle of playing a game I came up with:

I don't remember our exact dialogue, but the point of the game was to read different ways we can use our tongues wisely, like the frog. The game lead to talk about lying, which lead to talk about sin, which lead to talk about the fact that EVERYBODY sins so.....EVERYBODY needs God's salvation. I could almost see the little wheels in my son's head turning. He knew that he had lied before, he had sinned, and he finally understood that he needed Jesus to save him. His words were "I want to say the prayer so Jesus can save me, and I can go to heaven to be with Him." 
It took every bit of self-control I had to keep myself from screaming in joy! As I didn't want to scare my children, and I wanted to make sure he truly understood what he was committing to, I happily read bits of Romans and explained to Tobin as best as I could what it meant to be a Christian. Then we called my mom and listened to her scream with joy!!!!!lol!
We spent the rest of that day telling everyone the good news. My son wanted ME to tell EVERYONE! My neighbors now know all about salvation:). 
We did get back to school work... the next day. We added this devotional his Sunday school teacher gave him to our morning time:

We also played a math game learning our +9's with our frogs and lilypads:
Learning his 9's from Math-u-seeAlpha

His handwriting is so good now!
Teaching brother under the table:

We made a frog book of facts and he did his copywork (though he refused to use the lines for some reason)

We actually watched tadpoles turn into frogs (well, one made it that far) last year, so the frog life cycle was familiar already. tadpoles to frog, April 2013

At the end of this unit I realized I had less than 4 weeks left to reach 180 days of school, but I still had 7 units left! This wouldn't be a big deal if I planned on schooling year round, which might tempt me if I didn't need to focus on getting our house ready to sell and move. So, my bright idea... next comes "R for Rock" and "J for Jewel" at the same time. Living on the homeschool wild side, HA!

Monday, May 26, 2014

B for Butterfly/Bug, Take 2

We actually did "B" for "butterfly" a year ago. Follow this link to see my post about the amazingly, unforgettable experience we had with the Butterfly Garden...

The problem then was that my bug loving boy was so very eager to do the hands-on-fun of seeing catterpillars turn into butterflies, but he was not ready for the reading skills expected in unit #21 (almost the END of kindergarten). So we did the fun butterfly crafts and saved the worksheets for... now. 

Take #2 on unit #21: 
Since we already did the butterfly garden, I wasn't sure that I wanted to do it again. At least not two years in a row. Then, I got a really good coupon in the mail from Insect Lore for 25% off ANYTHING in their store. Those bug people know how to make this mom buy things:). So instead of butterflies I ordered a ladybug kit and a praying mantis egg sac (since I have the butterfly garden still to put it in). Tobes LOVES BUGS, and I wanted to make kindergarten an unforgettable, awesome year.Not to mention, get some cool mom points to outweigh all the boring school stuff I make him do.
We received the praying mantis egg sack and the ladybug larvae:

watched the ladybug larva double in size and then attach themselves to the wall:

 and then turn into adult ladybugs!

About a week later we decided to let them go out by the Tennessee River
 My boy loves his bugs. He talked to them and told them they were going to love their new home.

Goodbye Ladybugs!

 Hello, Praying Mantis nymphs:
 These little guys were so cool. So tiny and slow moving. They are my new favorite bug (yes, my six year old requires me to have a favorite bug).
We decided to let them go at our family's property on Lookout Mountain
And this is my new favorite picture of my boys:

coolest creatures ever:

PLUS, we learned that both praying mantises and ladybugs are helpful bugs that kill harmful bugs for plants:

They were so small it took a million tries just to get my camera to focus on them. 
Hopefully we will find some of them as adults in the future up on the mountain.

Oh, we did a lot of learning with this. We read a LOT of bug books, worked a LOT on "b" versus "d", read our favorite " Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar" book and got creative too.
This is a pinterest free, 100% percent me idea! (ha! That's a rare find nowadays)
Well, maybe not 100%, as the curriculum had under "additional activities" that you could make a paper chain caterpillar using alternate colors to make a pattern. I decided to instead, make it part of the story.
 As we read each day, we added a chain for the amount of food he ate. (for example, on Monday he ate through one apple- so we added one red paper chain, but on Saturday he ate through 10 things, so we added 10 white paper chains.) Okay, this is sorta hard to explain, but you get the idea, I hope.
We had lots of paper strips leftover, so I took the opportunity to make butterflies that show mirror image pattern, plus we learned the abbreviations for the days of the week.

Working on recognizing words that begin with "B", "D", and "P".

 We made our bug paper airplanes (from Chick-fila kid meals) 
and buzzed around to Flight of the Bumblebee.

We made hand butterflies on the free printables from
 This is a great one to involve my preschooler with as he loves to draw 
(he just doesn't do the copywork part)

So hopefully I haven't lost all my readers at this point after posting a million pictures. 
  The cool thing about this unit, was that I was teaching it the week of Easter. So, as we learned that "God can make me new", I was able to tie in that Jesus died for our sins, so that we can be in his family and be new- just like the butterfly! This made a huge impact on my 6 year old. He is a deep thinker and feeler, and he had already been asking so many questions about heaven and Jesus. This Easter it finally made sense to him, and he understood his need for the Savior to make him new. On April 23rd, 2014, my son became my brother in Christ. He asked Jesus to be his Savior!!!!!! I will tell more about this as he actually made the decision in the middle of a "f is for frog" lesson. So, even though I'm busting at the seems to tell the good news (and I've already made a very long post), this shall be left as a "to be continued".....

Friday, May 16, 2014

X for Fox

I think it's brilliant that the My Father's World people decided to make it x for fox, and other words that end in "x", instead of saying "x for x-ray" like everyone else. Words just don't start with x! At least not words used by a 6 year old. There are plenty of CVC words to study that end in x...the most popular being "fox."
             I can't go without mentioning the ever popular song "What does the fox say?" that my boys LOVE! But that is not where the love began for my guys. Their love began at the zoo with these cuties...

and this FAVORITE stuffed animal purchased at the zoo gift shop:

Both of my boys have been BEGGING to learn about foxes. They are determined that they are going to catch a fox and make it their pet. Only problem is, I could not find a single informative book on foxes at our library. NOT ONE! There is an endless supply of storybooks about sly foxes tricking other animals, but I could not find anything helpful. Thank goodness for pinterest and
We made a lapbook from two different sources:

And I made the cover using the puppet template from this website:

We learned all sorts of facts, like a female fox is a "vixen" and a male fox is a "dog." We also learned that the fox actually has a lot of different sounds it makes, so the whole "what does a fox say?" question is rather complicated. We thought this video was hilarious in explaining that:

We read Fox in Socks, made a puppet, and enjoyed mommy's bright pj pants with crazy socks:).

 My 6 year old glued these pages to construction paper, and he wants to hang them on the wall in his room.

 Another pinterest find on

 Their paper foxes I made for fun:

We found this little gem at the library (spoiler alert, it is about Noah's ark):

And this was the best find of all:
They LOVED watching this film about a little girl who (like they DREAM of) befriends a fox. WARNING: Do NOT watch the last 10 minutes of this movie. Why they have to kill the beautiful friendship and have the fox mortally wound itself trying to escape out the window, I don't know. DON"T LET YOUR KIDS WATCH THE END. 

My boys also enjoyed the fox game given in our curriculum. Sing these words to the tune "The Farmer in the Dell": 
A hunting we will go,
a hunting we will go.
We'll catch a fox inside a box,
and then we'll let it go.

You are the hunter and everyone else is a fox. Walk in a circle (or in our case, crawl like a fox) and catch one of the foxes in your arms when you get to the word "catch, " and then let them go. Now he becomes the hunter and the game is repeated. My 6 year old would play this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The words to remember for this unit are "God's Word makes me wiser than my enemies." We talked about the armor of God, about obeying God and learning wisdom, and read many Psalms about how his commands make me wiser than my enemies. My boys love "Bibleman" so they could associate the spiritual enemies with the bad guy characters from that show. Bibleman uses bible verses as his "sword" to defeat enemies like The Cheater, the Shadow of Doubt, and Laziness. Without that show, these verses would have been a lot harder to explain to my little guys. The basic truth I wanted them to learn was that God is on our side, and God wants us to learn more about Him and be close to Him. 
So we skipped from Elephant (unit 15) to Fox (unit 23). Next, we will go to unit 21, B for Butterfly (and other bugs)! I find that now that Tobes has no trouble reading three letter words, it doesn't matter what unit we do. Even more importantly, if he gets to choose what we learn about, he is MUCH more excited and determined to learn. Win, win, WIN!