pre-K: week 4

This week I was really looking forward to, because I planned to go blueberry picking to go along with our Blueberries For Sal book.  Only.... I couldn't find a u-pick farm for blueberries.  I did find a farm, but it was selling teeny tiny blueberries for twice the price of the grocery store.  No good.

But.  Connor had fun anyways.  I remembered the blue marbles I had bought at the dollar store, and he 'ker-plinked' those into his pail.

We talked about bears and people being afraid of each other, and how we store food vs how bears store food for the winter.

We talked of Noah and his obedience to God.  Connor made an ark craft.  Another day he floated little plastic animals in various tubs in a bowl of water.


We talked of Jesus and his obedience to God, and what that cost and what it means for us.

We talked of the 5 little monkey's and what happened when they disobeyed.  We 'performed' the story on our hands.

He creatively cut up a completed worksheet and taped it into a butterfly (his idea).


He was difficult to get interested in the more boring aspect of school this week (the worksheets and phonics).  Before I started I had decided that I wouldn't push him.  He's only 4 once.  And just that, he's only 4.  There's no award for reading and writing before Kindergarden.

Character Trait focus:  Obedient
Letter Review:  Ss
Bible Story:  Noah
b4FIAR:  Blueberries for Sal

Books Read:
Little Miss Naughty
Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam
Scaredy Squirrel
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Two by Two
On Noah's Ark


Resources:
Confessions of a Homeschooler
1+1+1=1
Hubard's Cupbord
Homeschool Share
Homeschool Creations
b4fiar











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pre-K: week 3

This week we focused on being "Teachable", the letter P, camping, and our book "rowed" was Play With Me. 

books read this week:
Play With Me
Maisy Goes Camping
Tiny Goes Camping
When We Go Camping
The Three Little Pigs

DVD:
Mighty Machines
Word World:  Pirates

Day 1:



The Bible story we read this week was how David Responded to Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-13).  To help Connor understand, I was ripping up little papers and making balls to represent the rich man's sheep and cattle compared to the poor man's one sheep.  I was acting it all out with my paper wads when Connor stood up and grabbed his stuffed lamb and said it was the poor man's one lamb.  That God I have a smart kid.  He saved the day from paper wad props.

I made a table tent which Connor promptly stocked with stuffed animals and baby dolls and books.  We climbed in and read our camping books during Emma's naptime.

We made a "campfire" from cardboard (as a base), rocks, sticks and tissue paper.  Connor went outside and came back with a dried up flower stalk that he used as a roasting stick for his mini marshmallows.

Day 2:

Emma had a doctor appt this day (well baby visit), so I decided to pack up lunch and some school work and do a picnic in a park afterwards. By the time we got there the weather wasn't looking great, so I checked my weather app on my phone and sure enough.... thunderstorms were listed.  I decided to try to go ahead anyways, so we ate our lunch then the kids played in the newly overturned wet dirt.  What a mess.  But they had fun.  We never made it to the pond since I got scared after feeling a couple drops of rain.  I didn't want to get caught so far from the car with two kids and a load of stuff.  We hustled, but it never rained or thundered all day.  Bummer.  So today ended up a free day.


Day 3:

Day 3 has no pictures.  We did some serious catch up today.  Or tried to anyways.

Day 4:

We made 'binoculars' for our pretend camping role playing.  Connor decided they made better jumping spider eyes than binocular.  He's terrified of spiders yet so intrigued at the same time. 

His favorite thing this week, I think, was graphing.  (the snail made it to ten first - we turned it into a race)

I lie.  It was the sensory bin.  I just randomly made one, for the first time, this week.  I hid some plastic dollar store animals on the bottom.  He didn't even know I had bought them, so he was having fun playing with the corn and pouring when he found his first animal, a rooster.  "MOM!  A rooster!!!"  And so on for each animal he found.



Day 5:

Today we made an "insect box".  Connor colored the bugs and matched the shapes to his box.  He did his two Kumon workbooks, folding and cutting.  Emma watched a Praise Baby DVD.

We caught up all of our work that got behind.

I had asked Connor before if he would play with any of the animals mentioned in Play With Me.  His answer was "No.  I want to play with the girl and mommy."  Today I asked again and he said no to all but the deer and the rabbit. 

He summarized the story, with much prompting, and then I asked his favorite part of reading Play With Me.  His answer?  "Mommy".






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Resources:
Hubbard's Cupboard
Confessions K4
1+1+1=1 - sight words
1+1+1=1 - pond life preschool pack
Homeschool Share - Play With Me






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pre-K week 2

I had a bout of mommy brain when planning out this week.  I planned for a 4 1/2 day week, forgetting that Monday was a holiday.  So we are "behind" in our schedule.  Though I keep telling myself over and over, we don't have to do it all.

This week we focused on being "Attentive".  I didn't have, in all Connor's numerous kid bibles, any story to read that fit the suggestions that were laid out for me.  Since I didn't want to spend hours sifting through all his bibles, I just picked mine up and read from it each day.  I was very surprised that Connor actually sat and listened!  No pictures!  He seemed confused at first, but then his eyes got lost in thought when, I assume, he just made pictures in his head.

I had so many cute things planned for this week.  So many.  Too many.  In addition to just our normal routine curriculum I wanted to make him a "mush" breakfast, paint a night sky, make marshmallow men, role play mailmen and make a monkey tail.  None of that extra happened. 

I need to stop searching the internet for ideas.  I get so overwhelmed with ideas and "oh that's so cute!" and "oh this is cute too!"  Seriously, self, we can't do it all!  Now I just need to repeat that over and over again.

Monday, my forgotten holiday, we were on the road driving back from visiting family near lake huron.  Connor got (most likely) his last swim for the year.  This kid loves the lake.  Loves it.  Emma?  She loves it for about 2.5 seconds.  Then she's done and wants to go back.



Tuesday we went to a park where there was a picnic for Homeschoolers.  I was looking forward to meeting some people in our area, since I know nobody that homeschools, here.  Connor flipped out every time he lost sight of me, thinking I left him, so I met nobody.  We shall try again at some other gathering!

For the rest of the week I had chosen Goodnight Moon as our b4fiar book to 'row'.  From there I picked the nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle, and printed off some cute things from Homeschool Share. Connor loved the rhyme and actually colored the pictures, he doesn't color often anymore.

He absolutely loved the props I printed from KidzClub, his favorite is the dish, which he keeps calling the dishwash.

We did many many more things which I won't list.  I didn't get hardly any photos this week.  Only three!


The two right photos are two of the worksheets from Confessions of a Homechooler's K4 pack.

At the library I found a Leap Frog DVD that fit our theme, sort of.  Math Adventures to the Moon.


Resources:
Hubbard's Cupbord
Confessions of a Homeschooler
1+1+1=1 (for our sight word, see)
Homeschool Share
Kidz Club - nursery rhyme story props












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Monster Story


Connor, age 4
 
Yesterday we got done really early with Connor's schooling.  Like before 10 am.  I was looking for a little extra and remembered Homeschool Share's new Kindergarten Kits.  I went on over to see if anything fit our Goodnight Moon theme, attentive character trait, or the review of letter M.  I chose the Monster Mash kit, to fit our letter M review. 

In the kit there is a section for your child to tell his own story about what the monster's are doing, and you type what your child says.

Here is Connor's monster mash story:

Connor's Monster Story

One day the monster story had the blankie and taked a nap, and they lived by their they woke up and played play-doh and baby and Mr. Nezzer.

Papa Smurf monster is a robot.  Monster Robots is Papa Smurf.  He's bigger than a monster robot.  He gots a chainsaw.

The more - these monsters and the pink monster goes in the orange monster's belly.

One day the monsters taked a big big nap and hugged blankie.  They woke up in the morning.  They played cowboy sitting on the couch.  They played cars go in, army guy and transformers.

One day the monsters take a big BIG nap, 10 sleeps.  They woke up and finished eating their dinner.  Eating their apples, painting...... and played tools.  Then, the monster take a little nap.  One nap.  The monster had a loose tooth.

One day, the monster drinks some water, throwed Mr. Nezzer, throwed toys, played one more cowboy.  And it needs to put on the jump rope, and it doesn't play for a good long time, you know?

They played jump rope instead of cowboys sitting on the couch, and they said, "Cowboy!" and they answered, "turn around" making some big fussy noise, playing jump rope.

They don't play cowboy anymore.  They don't sleep with blankie until they throw the train, tie up the glasses, play the one more racing cars and hit the chocolate guy.

One day, the monster played one more baby, throwed it up in the garbage bag, loose up the box, throw the racing car, run up the stairs, run down and jump like a hero down the stairs, rock the basket down and throwed one more time.

The end.

After several re-readings back to the author, Connor, he wanted to do more, so I opened up a fresh sheet and typed away again as he spouted off another story.


Connor's Monster Story, the sequel

One day the monster make a mess with swords then tied the twisted rope, tied the boots and they make a very very big mess with the wagon twisted up and the necklace throw-did.

They make a VERY big mess.

They trashed blankie up.  Smashed the pillow up.  Bash the toy tractor and kick the door.

Smash into the bathroom.  Smurf the toilet, and the monster truck.  Broke up the couch, nastied up the tool.  Complete throwed the tractor!

They watch 'complete the show'.  Smurf the bowl.  Began to break the glass of water.  Punch the apple.  Shoot the dinner up.  Take off the door, throw it in the toys.

They throw blankie in the wagon, and bunch the pillow and glasses behind the baby.

One day the monster twitched the wagon under the control pillow. 

Smear smurf turfied the garbage.

Bunch daddy's computer, smash Mommy, Daddy, Connor and Emmmie.

And they talked to the phone and say, "buh-bye", and throw that piece of trash, and bunch the trash and throwed the monster's watch.  Break the vacuum down, paint again and break the paint.

Then tornadoes open and closed the door.  Then smashed anything.  And throwed anything!  And be like Jillian Jiggs.

The end.

He was very amused after realizing I was typing all he said and he would have went on for hours, but I had to end it there.  Maybe he'll do a 3rd sequel today.  lol.





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pre-K week 1

I have made the difficult decision (difficult for me) to homeschool Connor for his junior kindergarten year.  I don't know yet if I will continue.  The reason I finally made the choice to do so this year is for another post.  After I get my thoughts organized.

So.

This is his first week.  I started one week earlier than planned, because when his curriculum arrived at the door, I was that excited.  I'm a nerd.  What can ya do.

I chose b4FIAR (before five in a row) as his main curriculum, and I'm using Hubbard's Cupboard for their character trait/bible study.  Then lastly I'm using Confessions of a Homeschooler for the phonics printouts.  After just a week of doing this mixture I think it is too easy for him.  Which is great for him to be ready for a Kindergarten curriculum, but maddening for me as I have put a lot of time into planning his JK year.  lol.

Anyways, for Connor's first week I chose the ABC Bunny as his first book to "row", since it makes for a nice review of letters.  It also fit our character theme nicely, "Orderly"

Books read:  ABC Bunny           
                 5 Little Monkey's with Nothing to Do
                 Jillian Jiggs
                 The Very Busy Spider
                 First Message Bible- creation story

DVD's watched:  Critter Quest!

highlights:
Week 1 Day 1:


Our curriculum arrived and I was humored that it had a sticker on the box that said "Bless You".  Very nice touch, I thought.

We began by reading the ABC bunny, then watched the video/song on youTube.

We read from Connor's bible the story of creation, talked about being Orderly, then sorted cereals from Day/Night.

He played on his LeapPad, and I guided him to use the Kindergarten phonics book we have for it.  He practiced being patient with his sister, and practiced sharing with his sister.  With much reminding.  lol.

He learned about physics and gravity from sister's wild hair do.  Kidding.  Except about her wild hair.

Day 2:


After our everyday routine (bible, calendar, weather, etc) I drew some stars and a moon with white crayon and had Connor paint it so the shapes would show through, to make something from "nothing".


We read our Bunny book again, then counted hail stones (marshmallows).  He was very pleased with that.  "Can I eat them!?"  We read a bit about weather and hail in a book we have.

Day 3:


Today we deviated from the plan and spent 4 hours at the Ontario Early Years Centre.  When we finally reappeared back home, Connor put on some jammie pants (don't know why) and we did a few things like stamping the first letter to the picture cards.  Much to easy for Connor, I found.

Day 4:



After our normal everyday activities and a re-reading of ABC Bunny, Connor on his own grabbed a book and wanted to learn about bugs and spiders.  He went through the book no less than 4 times, pointing out something new each time.  While I'm pleased he led an activity on learning, next time I can do without the huge pictures of spiders.  So digusting!  Boys.  Ugh.

Resources:

Hubbard's Cubboard, preK for 4 yr olds








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my kid is a genuis!

Last night I was trying to give Connor some school work to practice/play that wasn't too easy.  He kept getting bored with everything I gave him because it was too easy.  So I gave him some copy work to practice his handwriting instead, while he also played around with his clay.

I wasn't really paying attention, then I seen his clay figure next to his can of markers.  He told me it was Optimus Prime.  So I looked at it and thought to my self, "Wow!  My 4 year old is AWESOME at forming things out of clay!  He's really getting good!"  (because just the day before he was still making things that looked like various lumps to me, and this actually had arms and legs!  What progress he made in just a day!!)

I had visions of his future, maybe in clay animation, because his recent most favorite things to watch revolve around just that.  Like Gumby and Pingu.  And his favorite activities are making things out of clay.

I thought, wow, he is just so advanced for a 4 year old!! 


Connor's clay "Optimus Prime", under the arrow, and "Barricade" in his hand

Then our conversation went something like this:

Me:  "Connor!  Is that Optimus Prime!?!?"
Connor:  "Yeah!  And this is Barricade!" (showing me the lump in his hand)
Me:  "Wow, Connor!  That is a great Optimus!!"
Connor:  "Yeah! And this is Barricade!" (again showing me the lump in his hand)
Me: (I was trying to get him more excited about how great he did)  "Connor!  Did you make Optimus!!"
Connor:  "No.  Daddy did.  I'm making Barricade.  See Barricade?"

This is the part where I need to insert a photo of a blank stare from me, my pride deflated.




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Boundaries

Disclaimer:  This is lengthy and NOT a normal thing of West Word.  This is just something (a huge something) I have to get off my chest so I can move on and continue on with sharing our stories again.

I have been almost entirely missing from blog land for 6 months now.  Something happened to whole heartedly hurt me, and I walked away from a lot of things that I loved.  Photography.  Blogging.  Reading Blogs.  I withdrew.  I became depressed.  Sometimes I'd sit down to write and would instead stare at my screen as an hour went by.  Sometimes two hours.  Unable to put anything to words.  Sometimes for fear I'd hurt feelings.  Sometimes for fear the person that hurt us would be pleased to get an update on us or see the kids faces.  Petty I know.

The hurts all boil down into one issue.  Boundaries.  I decided I'm going to talk about some of it, in hopes to maybe open others eyes, and because I want to move on.  I want to start sharing again and I can't seem to move on without speaking my mind. 

Bullying.  That's where it starts.  When you're a child and you're bullied by an adult, you retreat into yourself, and for the most part you're smart to do so because an adult can quickly over power a child if they are further angered.  You learn to cope, you learn to avoid, you learn to withdraw inside.  You also DON'T learn to stand up for yourself, so you are an easy target for boundary issues when you become an adult.  Then the same reactions take place, as that's all you've learned.  You cope, you avoid, and you don't speak up.
 
That can only happen for so long before something snaps inside and you say "ENOUGH is enough."  It's good to finally stand up for yourself, except you often look like a lunatic.  Formally quiet, soft spoken, easy going person now out of now where goes 'ballistic'.  Or so it looks to others, especially the abuser.  Then questions come up.  "Why can't you let 'Aunt Matilda' be herself, why do you have to be so angry?"  "Why do you have to be so unfair?"  "Why are you always thinking of only yourself?"  All false acquisitions. 

Everybody deserves to be able to say no.  To draw lines.  To say enough is enough.  The word "no" isn't a challenge.  And that's what we have been feeling, like we're being challenged on our "no".

I was recommended to read a book, Boundaries , in it boundaries are explained in the form of a yard/property.  People have their yards, their fences, their gates.  There's correct ways to enter a property, like a gate, and there's incorrect ways. Jumping a fence or bulldozing down the fence.

Our fence keeps getting bulldozed.  And then we're made to feel bad if we get upset our fence is now gone.  We get ignored, we get excluded, we are given the "silent treatment" by many people all rallying around the bully until we apologize or enough time has passed that all parties just ignore what has happened.  Love is withdrawn from us unless we accept this person as is.  Manipulation.  Let's look at that definition.

To manipulate somebody you skillfully influence them in an unfair way.  You falsify against them to your own advantage.  You use tactics to get what you want, like threats or as a parent, will withdraw your love from a child.

This is what we're dealing with.  I can't take it anymore.  I can't stand as more and more people exclude us or refuse to see our kids for fear of "upsetting" the manipulator.  For then they too will get silent treatments.  Or because they are starting to believe the lies about us.  I get it, it's hard to be a target.  It's hard to stand up and say "hey, this is wrong."  It's hard to potentially hurt someones feelings.  You can't change a person.  It has to come from within.  BUT, you can say you will no longer stand for this treatment.  You can say to your bully that you can do these "things", but I'm going to walk down a different path.  With or without you.  You can form boundaries.  But being an enabler doesn't help.  Ignoring doesn't help.  Being scared doesn't help.  Others need to speak up too. 

I liken the whole start of this situation to this analogy.... I have a blueberry bush.  I work and work and work with it until it is harvest time.  I invite people over to share in my hard work.  I go inside to tend to a few things, and when I come out my guests have harvested and ate all my berries.  My berries!  I am not able enjoy what I, myself, have worked so hard on.  When I show some upset over this I am made to feel bad about myself.  I'm told I'm selfish and think myself the center of the world for even thinking that my guests should have waited for me, and that furthermore, I deserve it because of trivial things.  Like I didn't eat a slice of cheesecake at a gathering.  Or I interrupted my guests one time.  And for the simple ‘fact’ that I am selfish and think myself the center of the universe.  I'm diseased, I'm horrendous, I'm hostile and I need to suck it up buttercup.  And my husband needs to suck it up princess.  To even be upset that I missed out on the fruit of my labor is ridiculous.  I need to share and quit being self-centered.

Sound a little off?

I can't take it anymore.  I will no longer stand to have a bulldozer in my life, bulldozing down my fences.  It's unhealthy. It isn't fair to my children to have people they love dearly in and out of their life because of "silent treatments" because their mommy is standing up for their family.  Because their mommy is saying "no you can't call my son names" (we do have that one on video – the name calling of my son), no you can't be a bully, no you can't be a manipulator.  In our life anyways. 

Love withdrawal from children is a manipulators tactic.  It is an abusers tactic.  Name calling is a bully tactic.  It is an abuser's tactic.  I will not stand to have my children watch as their parents are bullied, called names, humiliated, and they themselves are called names.  I will teach my children how to draw boundaries.  I will stand up for myself.  I will say no.  And I will mean no.

I have drawn my boundaries, and they will stay.  I will no longer play the victim or watch as my husband plays the victim, hanging his head in shame as he is told he is a worthless man.  We will hold our heads high.  We will walk a different path.  We will no longer feel guilty for being humiliated, made to feel like we deserved it.

We don't deserve it. 

Saying "no" isn't what we were told as 'unprofessional'.  It's mature.  It's mature to say no,  or to say I don't like this - vs ignoring and pretending everything is fine.  It's mature to try to talk things out like adults, not lash out and call each other names.

I've withdrawn for 6 months because I had to mourn the loss of what my kids are missing.  What we are missing.  I cared that much.  This "selfish, horrendous, hostile and virulent" person cared so much it took 6 months of mourning what could have been.

I still mourn, and will still mourn so long as I have to look my son in the eyes and not know what to say when he weekly asks to see these people.  For he doesn't know nor understand how they hurt his mommy and daddy so bad.  He doesn't understand how badly he himself can be hurt if it further continues.  For you tell a child one time he is an idiot, and he will believe it as true, for you are the adult authority.  I.  Will.  Not.  Stand.  For.  It.  You bully and/or manipulate an older child, and it affects them for a very long time.
This little boy who loves so freely, so innocently.  He was hurt too when a related person refused to see him for fear of hurting the manipulator.  He cried and I had to hold him and tell him it would be okay, that he is still loved more than life itself.

That's when I decided I wouldn't relapse into the absused mentality of "forgive and forget."  We will and have forgiven, but won't forget.  We won't ignore and pretend nothing happened.  Not at the cost of an innocent child's feelings and self worth when things go wrong again. 

To withdraw your love to your loved ones as punishment to get what you want is manipulation.  In turn, to avoid being exposed to an abuser over and over again, that is safeguarding.  It's nothing to feel guilty over.  It's a consequence to a boundary not being respected. 




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