Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Tree Craft

I found this idea from one of my favorite blogs.  Here is her post on this project 
(plus SO much more):

First, we dot-painted the ground (white construction paper) to represent the fall leaves.

Then we painted paper towel rolls to represent our tree.  This was the favorite part and the kids concentrated so hard making sure to cover every spot.

Love how Amada is "observing"

To finish it up I cut slits on the bottom of the paper towel tubes and glued/taped to their "ground".  I also cut slits in the top of the tubes and bent them for the branches.  I cut leaves out of construction paper using fall colors, then the kids glued them to their trees and ground.

Here is the finished product!  Theses turned out great and the kids had a fun time making them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Budding Photographer

Our oldest daughter, Adriana, is a senior in high school and has recently taken an interest in photography.  We invested in a REALLY nice camera and she is now in charge of taking family pictures.  Take a look at some of her recent captures while we were camping.  

Alex, 9

Amada, 2

Amada, look at those dimples

Dad, climbing a HUGE rock

James, 7

Johnathan, full of energy

mom, in camping mode
The kids found a fort on the beach made from driftwood.

Alex hiding.

Camping Trip to the Ocean

Our family recently returned to the community of campers with our purchase of a travel trailer. In my opinion, that is the only way to camp, especially with little ones who have special needs. We are able to go away from home and still have some level of sameness and predictability. It's already stressful enough traveling with children who NEED routine so it is nice that we are able to bring our own food and sleep in our own trailer every time we travel. Besides, when (not if) the kids have a meltdown we can close ourselves in our relatively soundproof trailer and watch a familiar DVD. The car ride is a little tricky as towing the trailer puts added stress on our van so we can't use the air conditioner, one of our children has anxiety when driving on the freeway, and a few of our children experience motion sickness on curvy roads. 

Our solution is to leave early in the morning when it is still cool and some of the children will sleep. When all else fails, we distract the children with the iPad, scenery outside the car, or treats. We discovered the Seabands for motion sickness and they work wonderfully without having to use medication.

Everyone in our family loves visiting the ocean and what better way to wrap up our homeschooling unit on the ocean than to visit one.  (This was a very private beach and we were the only ones there most of the time.)

The kids were able enjoy the full sensory experience of the ocean: the smell of the moist salty air; the calming rhythmic sounds of the waves; the feel of the wind and sun against your face and the sand in your toes (some of our children prefer to wear shoes and socks on the beach and that's ok too); the taste of eating a picnic lunch at the beach with a little sand mixed in; and the sights of sandcastles, driftwood, and sea life. We were very fortunate to see dolphins and seals jumping and swimming through the water.

Even though our children experience the world differently, and sometimes the world IS a bit scary, we still want them to have the opportunity of different experiences.  And we will be there right beside them.

Mommy & Johnathan

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Honor of Columbus Day

We didn't go into much detail, but we talked about who Christopher Columbus was and what he is known for.  We made ships out of egg cartons, play-doh (to hold the toothpick in place), a toothpick and post-it notes cut in half vertically (wrap the sticky end around the toothpick).  I assigned a ship name to each of the boys (Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria) to remember and quizzed them periodically throughout the day. 

We also made binoculars from toilet paper rolls and the kids went "exploring" throughout the house to see what they could discover.  It was raining outside today so we weren't able to do this activity outside.  I love listening in while our children are playing.  I overheard one of the boys say he spied an octopus.  Too funny!

Enchanted Learning also has ideas for more projects.  This is one website I subscribe to for homeschool activities and worksheets. This is where I downloaded the world map.  

I also found this rather short (3 min) video on National Geographic Kids which might be helpful for those children who are a little more attentive.

Homeschool Helps: Equivalent Fractions FREEBIE

 I know it has been a while since I have posted. Life is crazy, as usual. We are back to homeschooling two of our children this year. Becaus...