Thursday, June 19, 2014

They whistle while they work:0) - Chores!

Wanna give you the run down on chores around this White House.  Seriously, they get it done, no whining, and BOY does it help this momma! 
When we first started chores, I had LOTS of whining.  But I keep the consistency and now it's just part of our daily schedule.  

Added bonus = you work hard, you get paid, you save, and you spend.  A great life skill in the works.  
(Thanks Jenny S. at for enlightening that topic for me)

Here's our works for us!  We've used this system for about 1.5 years. 
I printed these charts off this fabulous blog:

Each card has a squared piece of Velcro on it that attaches to the Chart.

Some cards we use, some we don't...I've even printed others to work for jobs I need help moping!  Yes!  Both boys love to mop!
Another Example: watering the 3 yr old LIVES for that job!  Yes, he comes in soaking wet, but done and had fun!
N = red (shorter); J = blue (taller) - hanging on pantry door bc we can see and everyday = consistency!
 While the boys are cleaning up the breakfast table, I slap these cards onto each of the kids chart.  Quick, easy and set up perfectly based on our schedule for the day.  If we have a busy morning, I only post 2 chores.  If we are headed out to dinner that night, we won't have time for "earn" chores.  They do get Saturday and Sunday's off.

*These boys have been "in training" since we moved into the house; and I can proudly say "I have released them!"  After showing and doing each chore; making sure they understand how I would like it done...these boys work together and get it done.  They know where their cleaning tools are and how to use them the right way!  Life is good...when you have good help!
(And of course they are rewarded...keep reading!)
J has brushed his teeth (ALWAYS the first morning routine)...he moved it down to #1 box.

I still have to help N brush up.  
J takes off sheets and N tosses them into the laundry basket.  Team WORK!

I have added an old belt onto our basket.  N pretends he is a horse pulling a cart!

Working on Mommy and Daddy's sheets

Chore done!  Move the picture card done.

N's afternoon chore is to put up the silverware.

If they get ALL their morning, afternoon and "earned" chores done, I pay them a quarter.  

Usually once a month, we all go spend that hard earned money.  They already do a great job saving it also!  Soon, we will get into donations and giving.

**I used a selfie picture system with J when he was younger.  If that interests you, take a peek back at this post**

And there you have it!  I would love to hear any ideas that you have about chores in your home!  Feel free to share in the comment section below!

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

J & Mommy "Share the Pen" - Video Blog

"Share the pen" is a great way to model writing for your lil learner AND get them in on the writing action.

Here's a quick "share the pen" lesson I did with J (5 yr old).  

My observational teaching points were:
*use of finger spaces to separate words in sentence
*letter formation
*uses knowledge of letter sounds to create words
*stays focused on our 5 word fact that J decides to write 

We were writing a fact about the planet, Mercury (we've been studying the Solar System.)

That morning, we'd read some books about Mercury.  Before writing, I asked what fact he had remembered about Mercury.

He said "Mercury has a thick core" - the book had a great diagram of this and we actually spent a bit of time comparing Mercury to the different layers of an apple.  TEACHABLE MOMENT!!  Love those:0)

This clip is after J used the book to copy the 1st word in out sentence, "Mercury", onto the sentence strip.  It's my turn to write the 2nd word "has".

The next clip is J's turn with the pen.  Notice he uses his "finger space" (YIPPY!) and totally can write the letter "a".


Our next step to complete our sentence was to write the word "thick".  It was my turn with the pen, but J had to use the sounds in the word to help me write it out.  
*Watch my Mommy recap to see WHY I didn't push for writing t-h-i-C-k*

This clip is our final step ...  Rereading the sentence and add punctuation.  
AND you get a little taste of how I handle a little 3 yr old interruption.

Here is a Mommy Recap on the Whys? and What's next in J's writing.

**Quick tip when teaching a lil learner to write using sentences**
Talk about what you will be writing, then count the words in the sentence that you are planning to write.  For example:
The sentence we decided on was... "Mercury has a thick core."  So using my fingers, I modeled, while counting out the words..."Mercury" "has" "a" "thick" "core" = 5 words in our sentence.
Not to long, not to short for this Share the Pen activity.

Happy Writing with your lil learner!  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Video Blog - Writing lesson

I asked and you responded!  Some of you said you'd like to see a Writing Lesson with J, some of you said with N and some of you said BOTH!

So you got me thinking!  Let me invite BOTH boys to write, just have 2 different focus' behind my teaching.  Some days it works, some days it doesn't.  But today it work well!

Here's a little background on our lesson:

We are currently in the process of creating a model of the Solar System to hang up in our Learning Room.  After we made Mercury, J and I "shared the pen" to create a sentence/fact.  (I'll post the video blog later)

Today, we needed to do some catching up on sentence/fact writing.  We needed to write 3 facts about Venus, Earth and Mars!  In this (and most) lesson, we "share the pen".  This simply means you write, I'll write, you write, I'll write.  Taking turns!  

My reason for this writing lesson:
Both *help me see what have the boys learned from reading/studying Venus, Earth, and Mars.
Both *Listen and write individual sounds for each word. 
Both *Use finger spaces (to show separation between words in a sentence) 
*Does J use his Word Wall?
*Letter formation for N
*Understanding of letters vs words for N

Before I started videoing, we had decided and started writing on this sentence...
We live on Earth.
I wish I had this part on video for you to get to see more of J and his writing.

Here's a video where N and J are helping me "sound out" the word "live".  N is using his finger as our "finger space" between the words "We and live".
*You get to hear and see me make a Mommy/teacher mistake*

The next video is N writing writing the word "on".
We decided he should write the word "on" because he has that small word in his name...then J screams "Hey!  I have that small word in MY name and SO does MiniM!"

To complete our sentence, J wrote the word "Earth" by copying it from a library book about Planets.   

Here's our final products!

Sharing the Pen is a fun and interactive teaching technique to use with writing.  

Happy Learning with your Little Writers. 

Our Unschooled Week in Welly

We had been pushing hard at home for a good 4 weeks. We finished up our BraveWriter Arrow book, Sarah, Plain, and Tall . We completed ou...