Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MFW Unit 22: Frog

The theme of Unit 22 of Mercedes' My Father's World Kindergarten was Frogs.

We read lots of books about frogs, and the life cycle of frogs.

The girls practiced hopping like frogs.

We made a frog out of play doh and googly eyes. Mercedes thought he was amazing.

Mercedes made a chart that shows the life cycle of a frog.

And we used pictures from an old calendar to make a giant frog collage all over our living room wall.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Veggie Stamping

This was a fun project we did during Mercedes' letter V/Vegetable unit for kindergarten. We cut open a pepper, an onion and a piece of celery and used them as stamps to paint with. They made really fun designs!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MFW Unit 21: Butterfly

Unit 22 of Mercedes' My Father's World Kindergarten was butterflies. This unit was one of her favorites. Mine too! The Bible theme was "God can make me new". We discussed 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" We talked about how Jesus can change our hearts when we put our trust in Him.

Mercedes picked out a beautiful butterfly decoration and the girls decided it belonged in their hair.

When they got tired of wearing it, we hot glued it to Mercedes' bedroom wall.

Mercedes also picked out a butterfly shaped bottle of bubbles.

We read lots of books about the life cycle of a butterfly.

Mercedes colored a monarch butterfly to add to our wall of badges.

The girls did butterfly paint stamping.

And they both made a butterfly life cycle chart by coloring, cutting and pasting pictures of each phase from a coloring sheet we printed out.

The most amazing part of our butterfly unit was actually getting to watch the butterfly life cycle by ordering caterpillars in the mail and watching them transform!

The butterfly garden kit came with a coupon to order our caterpillars through Insect Lore's website.

The tiny caterpillars came in a jar with the bottom full of caterpillar food. They ate and ate and ate, and we could literally almost watch them grow. There was a noticeable difference in size every morning from the night before, and even throughout the day as we checked on them.

For some reason it was super hard to get a decent picture of these guys in the jar...I apologize! After growing for about 10 days, the caterpillar attached themselves to the lid of the jar, and we got to watch them weave their chrysalises! 

After about a week, the butterflies came out of their chrysalises! It took them a couple of days for their wings to dry and stretch out to reveal their beautiful colors.

This was amazing. The girls loved checking on the caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies every day through the whole life cycle. We fed the butterflies fruit and watched them suck the juice with a long tube coming out of their mouths like a straw. It was so fascinating! To me, these hands on, real life experiences are what homeschooling is all about. It's more than just reading about different topics in a book. It's about seeing and touching and experiencing and enjoying it all firsthand! I love watching the girls excited about learning.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Yes/No Sticker Charts

Both girls just went through a phase (a very loooong phase) of telling Ben and I "no" when we asked them to do...just about anything. Put on their shoes, wait for us before heading outside, eat dinner, pick a story for bedtime, you name it. I'm pretty sure they never even heard the end of the request before deciding they weren't going to do it. There were lots of power struggles, lots of yelling, lots of threats and consequences and it seemed like the more consequences we gave the angrier the girls got and the more they'd tell us "no" and refuse to obey. It was quite ridiculous. 

About a month ago, I came up with a new system. I printed out a sticker chart with each of the girls' names on them. There are 25 spaces for the stickers. I laminated them with clear contact paper and stuck them on the wall. I told them every time I asked them to do something (or to NOT do something) and they responded with a happy attitude, "Yes, Mom" or "okay, Mom", I'd put a sticker on their chart. If they answered "no", I'd immediately walk over and take a sticker off their chart. No yelling. No threats. Just calmly walked over and removed a sticker. And OH how they HATE losing a sticker. SCREAMS and WAILS and "I meant to say YEEEEESSSS MOOOOOM please PUT THE STICKER BACK ON!!!!" They lost an awful lot of stickers the first few days, but I also gave them tons of stickers for even the slightest amount of cooperation. And just like magic, the "n" word completely disappeared from their less than a week! After that, the worst they'll say is, "No...I mean YES!" and run over to their sticker chart to make sure I hadn't removed one yet. 

They pretty consistently fill up their charts about once a week. When their charts are full, I give them a dollar. They like to pick out toys at the Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar, so it's a pretty easy way for them to understand the concept of the dollar. For them, $1 equals one toy, so that dollar is VERY valuable to them. It is plenty of motivation for them to try to keep those stickers on their charts! 

Lately since "no" has completely disappeared, I've been taking a sticker off for arguing with me, or fighting with each other, or plain being mean...grabbing a toy, smacking, or whatever. And adding stickers whenever I see them doing something kind. Sacrificing a special toy for the other person, helping me make dinner or clean up, getting ready to go somewhere or get ready for bed helpfully instead of whining or having to be reminded 17 times. I'm sure the novelty of the charts will wear off someday and I'll have to come up with something else, but this is a very effective system for now. Eventually it may evolve into a chore chart, where they get stickers for completing daily chores but they can still lose them for disobeying or having a bad attitude. There is lots of potential here, and I'm so relieved to have found an effective way to motivate the girls to be respectful and kind for now.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

MFW Unit 20: Jewels

Unit 20 of Mercedes' My Father's World Kindergarten was Jewels. The Bible theme was, "Jesus is more valuable than anything else".

We read some books about rocks, gemstones and minerals.

We visited a jewelry shop and browsed through the beautiful jewelry. We picked our favorites and I showed her what her birthstone looks like. Mercedes would have spent forever in there. 

I let her hold and examine my engagement ring. It has a diamond and two sapphires in it. She was so gentle with it, it was really cute!

I bought her some "ruby" rings at Dollar Tree and she wore her tiara with plastic gemstones around the house.

We made our own crystals using a crystal making kit, also found at Dollar Tree.

And the girls made their own "Queen Crowns" using "ruby" heart gem stickers.

Mercedes spent a LOT of time on hers! This was probably one of Mercedes' favorite units, because she loves all things shiny, glittery and girly.