Sunday, September 7, 2014

Adventures in First Grade....

  So it begins, I now have a FIRST grader!! I can't believe that Chickadee is ready for first grade work!! She has been working all summer on improving her reading and every time she picks up a new book, I am blown away by how well she is reading it! (My favorite though, is when she really does come to a big word she doesn't know and she just turns it into one she does... it makes for some funny sentences!)

   We have been working back into our routine slowly and have pretty much gotten it set as we just finished up our 4th week of school. Here are some pictures of our first day!

    On her first day of school, we buy her a cheap "I'm proud of you" type card and each of us writes a short message to her. Seeing as how one of her love languages is gifts (which is the LEAST of my love languages so I really have to work at this) she adores these cards and keeps them sitting on her desk ALL year! She still has last years card on her desk as well! Its a "cheap" but invaluable way for us to express how proud we are of her and show her how much we love her in a way that really speaks that to her!

A few activities from our first day: 
Calendar time

Writing sight words in shaving cream!

All About Me poster!! I love that we can fill this out each year, take a picture of it and compare it to previous years! (We NEED to get a current picture of her printed to hang up with it!) 

We are well on our way to learning and loving first grade! We have already done many exciting things and several more are coming up! Stay tuned for more great adventures, the Wright way!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pirate Adventures!

Ahoy there, Ye Mateys!   

   This month's theme for the "Poppins Book Nook" hosted by Enchanted homeschooling Mom was PIRATES! Chickadee loves this theme anyways as she likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates from Disney Jr. and also loves to visit the pirate exhibit at our local museum! She also loved the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride last year when we took our first trip to Disney. We had to ride it several times and each time she pointed out new things! We had fun this month reading different pirate books and creating an activity to go with our theme!

  First, we read "How I Became a Pirate" and its sequel "Pirates Don't Change Diapers" both by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon. Chickadee and her Dad loved cuddling up and reading these books! We read a few other books too like "Exploring We Will Go" (a Backyardigans book), Little Einstein's "Pirate Treasure," and "Pirates: Adventures in Treasure Island" (a dollar store book). Chickadee loved reading different pirate themed books and using some of our old pirate theme packs from preschool.

 After reading the book we completed our lapbook component pieces for this months theme. The above is a picture of her completed ones from this month. You can find the FREE printables here.

  The activity we chose to do was to go on an actual, real life, pirate adventure!! We just happened to find one right in our own backyard (wink, wink). My husband helped me out by drawing a pretty accurate map of our backyard then I crinkled it all up and tore the edges (to make it look old) and then added a "path" with a great big X! 

  We told Chickadee that she had to follow the map exactly in order to find various tools to help her on her treasure hunt. I had also added small "X's" throughout the map at different locations where she would find these tools. (Really, I didn't want her to just open the door and go straight to the location of the biggest X). Along her journey she found a pirates hat, some swords, a bucket, and a shovel- all important treasure hunting tools! 

  When she finally reached the treasure, Chickadee had to dig it up from a large dirt pile in the corner of our yard! She had a blast and the laughs and giggles were well worth the work! 


  After she was finished, Chickadee INSISTED that Daddy to the treasure hunt and made him go inside so she could put everything back. It was a fun morning with lots of family laughs! :) (Although, I'm not sure who enjoyed the treasure hunt more... Chickadee or Dad!)

After we went inside, we took out the puppets that were included in the treasure "chest" and put on puppet shows for each other making up great pirate adventure tales of sailing the high seas and finding buried treasures! I loved hearing Chickadee use her imagination as she made up these great tales of adventure and giggle at the stories her Dad and I told. What a fun day and theme! "Yo ho, Yo ho, A pirates Life for me!" 

Until Life's Next Adventure,


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Adventures in Summerland...

 Wow! What a busy, but oh-so-fun, summer we've had around here! I cannot believe that August starts in less than a week and that means school starts in 2 weeks! We have had quite a few visitors this summer, fun little trips, and adventures of our own around town. Here is a recap of what we have been up to:

  The end of May was my middle sisters wedding... we had a great time helping to celebrate her celebrate this wonderful time in her life and we were all part of the wedding party. Chickadee's favorite part of the day was the dance floor during the reception... I'm pretty sure of it!  (Although, she did take her flower girl duties VERY
Getting ready...

Family picture!

Fanning the bride!!!

Time to drop some flowers... look at her determination!

One of my favorite pics of the night!

Dancing the night away....

In June we had our church's Backyard Bible School!! It was one of the best ones we have done and we had a great turn out! The following week Andy was gone for Children's camp and Chickadee and I decided to do some rearranging of our living room/family room! It was quite a task, but we managed to get it finished and Daddy approved when he got home ;).  The same week, we also had a garage sale in which I was able to sell a fair amount of "stuff" and Chickadee made some good money selling popsicles! 

 July hit full swing and stated off on a sad note. Our 15 yr. old nephew passed away on the 1st after battling a disease called ALD for over 8 years. It was a bittersweet time as we were all glad he was no longer suffering and instead enjoying a healthy body celebrating his healing in Heaven! However, it doesn't take away the loss we feel here on earth. Andy officiated the funeral, which was hard, but God got him through and it was a beautiful service. 
Coleton (before he got sick) and his Grandpa!

  During July we also headed to my grandparents for the 4th of July and were able to spend a few days with my parents who were also visiting for the weekend. We headed to my old elementary and middle school to watch the fireworks. Chickadee got to play on the playground at my old elementary school while we were waiting. She was excited to see my old school and I thought it was pretty neat how although some things had changed, some were still the same..

  We also had a lot of visitors in the month of July: some of my cousins and their kids, my sister, my parents, some of Andy's family.... we joked we were running a hotel, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything! We also managed to head to our Museum 3 times in 3 weeks (due to all the visitors wanting to check it out!) It was great and I know for sure that we definitely got our money's worth out of our membership this year! 

Finally, Chickadee took some basic swim lessons. Our community pool offered a 2 week session and she was ready! She had some really incredible teachers (and a few COLD days- like 60 degree air temp) and totally grew in her swimming abilities! At the end of the week, she even got to jump off the diving board (into 12 ft deep water!!!) and swim to the side all by herself! We are so impressed and her hard work and excited with her for her new accomplishments!! 

And that brings us up to the end of July... Chickadee and I will be taking one more trip in 2 weeks to go visit my sister in GA and then we will be starting school! I can't believe we are almost ready to start first grade, but we are! Exciting time ahead!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Adventures in The Great Outdoors with Poppins Book Nook

 This month's theme for the Poppins Book Nook (more info here) was "The Great Outdoors"

Chickadee and I had a wonderful time reading books about the great great outdoors and doing our activity together! Some of the books we chose to read this time included the following:

Curious George goes Camping 
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
Birds (a nature book all about Birds)
Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee
 .... and several others!
    After we had read several books, we chose one book to focus on for our lapbook components that go along with each month's theme. Chickadee and I chose "Curious George Goes Camping" for this aspect. Chickadee filled in the answers to each booklet or colored pictures as it suggested. She is really liking making this large lapbook so far and we like to look back at each month's themes each time we pull it out! It will be a great keepsake for our school year!

After we had finished that, I gave her the activity I had created. I made up a "Nature Scavenger Hunt"  and she was so excited!  This is the scavenger hunt I created:

   We read over the list together first so that she knew what she was looking for, then Chickadee and I headed outdoors! As soon as we opened our front door she exclaimed: "I hear birds chirping!" and checked that off her list. We walked around our neighborhood for a bit and found the things we could there. The next day we headed to our local nature park to find a few of the harder things. 

Here you can see her "Smelling something Beautiful; finding a cool stick; wildflowers; 2 different types of leaves;  feeling something smooth (a rock); and something rough (tree bark)"
We had a wonderful time enjoying the great outdoors and spending time together as a family! We also headed to a local campground with some friends for the day during this month and enjoyed a hike on one of the trails and just being in "The Great Outdoors" for awhile! We had a wonderful adventure this month exploring this topic and are excitedly looking forward to next months Pirate theme! 

Until our next adventure,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Adventures in Summer Learning!

   This summer I created a "Summer Learning Basket" for Chickadee. I wanted to give her things to keep her mind active, but also let her dictate what and when she did these activities. I wanted it to be pretty laid back and fun for her (and not too stressful for me as it is my summer break too!) :)  

  I really enjoy doing thematic unit studies throughout the year so I decided to stick with that to create her summer basket. The first week of summer I kept it really light and just put in some books about summer, a few art projects, look and find books, a puzzle, etc., and her Summer Bridges K-1 Activity Book.  I told her I would like for her to do a page a day in this workbook (very easy, but keeps her mind active).

  Starting with the second week of our summer break, I included 3 Dinosaurs' Jump In To Summer Learning  activity sheets and she completes one set of these a day for the week. The first week was space themed worksheets so I included books about space, art/science projects about space, space themed games, toys, a leapfrog math DVD, and a sensory play box. 

I gather all the materials I need for the week on Sunday night then place them all in a big blue crate I found at wal-mart last summer. The crate sits in our living/family room so its close enough to find an activity and do and theres no need to go find supplies or other things. Chickadee loves this set up and likes looking through the crate each day to pick out something new she didn't see before! My favorite activities from space week were the games (from Mailbox) and the 2 projects. 

We made our own paper mache' moon lantern from a trial Babba Co. (no longer available) box I had gotten 2 summers ago and just saved the projects until Chickadee could truly participate and enjoy them. 

(I love her face in the first picture!)

We also made rockets from a trial Kiwi Crate that we got in the mail just a week before! The timing couldn't have been more perfect! 

This is just a peek into what our summer learning adventures look like. Other weekly themes will include Ocean/Beach, Dinosaurs, Pond, Robots, etc. We look forward to sharing those summer adventures with you as well! 

Until Life's Next Adventure...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The end of an adventure...

 Our first official school year (Kindergarten) has come to a close! It has been a crazy fun adventure this year as Chickadee and I (and my husband) waded through the waters of homeschooling! We had many ups, a few downs, and lots of fun memories! Here are a few highlights from our year:

August: First Day of Kindergarten! 
September: Trip to Disney World!
October: Charlotte's Web Unit Study
November: Learning to Read!
December: Truth in the Tinsel Christmas Study!
January: 100th Day!
February: Animal Secret's Homeschool class at the Children's Museum!
March: Fairy Tales Unit Study!
April: Road Trip USA study (begin)


I can't believe that I have a first grader now, but I know that beyond a doubt, homeschooling her this year was the right choice! We have all learned so much from this experience and are excited to see what the next year holds!  Overall I was pleased with our curriculum and only had to make a few tweaks. Along with literature studies, a social studies magazine, and resources from our library, our Core Curriculum we used this year included:
Horizons Math K
All About Reading Level 1
Starfall Learn to Read
Elemental Science- Exploring Science
Home Art Studio
Writeshop Primary Book A
A Reason For Handwriting K
What's In the Bible with Buck Denver? (complete series)

We have now wrapped up our school year, are in the process of reorganizing and cleaning our school room to get ready for next year, and we are enjoying the summer!  We have already made a trip out of state (for my sisters wedding!), gone swimming at our local pool, played in the sprinkler numerous times, read many many books, joined our library's summer reading program, and done some cool science/art projects! Summer is in full swing and we are living it up!

Until life's next adventure,

*If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask. I would be more than happy to answer them!

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