Sunday, November 8, 2015

The End of the Orchard

What does a grumpy dragon and a clown have in common?  They both do math! (It will make sense when you get to the end.)

We had so much fun with the orchard theme this month.  As always we had fun learning about orchards while also learning our ABCs and 123s.  It's interesting, now that I am using some other curriculum to teach my oldest son 1st grade, it is even more clear the foundation that Mother Goose Time has set in so many areas.

For instance, here is a math play that Peter and I were doing while eating his snack (bread with butter and honey and sprinkles).  I got out a cup and filled it with fruit.  I would ask him to look inside the cup and tell me if he thought there were more than 4 or less than 4 pieces of fruit in the cup.  He would take his guess and then count out the fruit by placing them onto the number 4 counting card.

Here you can see he has guessed, he is now counting out the fruit and in this last picture you can see him showing me that he has 4 on the card and there are "more" in the cup.

Lachlan, now in 1st grade is doing Saxon Math 1 and in these beginning lessons they are focusing on most and least as well as more and less.  Having this ability to visually look at a group of items and to understand quantity is key.  Lachlan's worksheets for 1st grade math ask him to look at three rows of shapes and tell me which one is the one with the most and which one has the least.  They also ask him to fill in a column of squares with less than the column next to it.  Since he has had a lot of practice with this, it is quite simple for him.

I took a picture on this day of what our table looked like.  I had few trays out and the I Can Read book from October.  Peter is well ahead academically of where he needs to be so I don't really have to push him.  Sometimes he gets everything done and sometimes he does not.  Most of the time I get him started on something from MGT and he takes it his own way, which I love. But it leaves some crafts and activities undone.  I like to leave them out on trays for a day or two to give him an opportunity to do them.  
I do read with him daily, not because I think he must read by a certain age, but because he really enjoys it.  Most of the time we read an I Can Read book from MGT and the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons book.  So that's why those are out on the table.  Mother Goose Time always likes to out do themselves and this can be said about their early reader books this year.  I feel like they have improved on the readers from last year, if that's possible.

Here is Adam (20 months) doing his version of the math play.  He really enjoyed pouring the fruit from one cup to the other.  Such concentration there and some awesome fine motor abilities being strengthened.
While we were having fun with fruit Lachlan was sleeping with the sharks.  The homeschool charter school we are a part of had a field trip where they could spend the night in the shark tunnel at the aquarium.  He and Grandpa both got to sleep with the sharks.
This game from Mother Goose Time really helps to review all the letters we covered this month and the sounds they make.  Of course, knowing not only the names of the letters but the sounds they make is an important step in learning to read.  I took another wide shot here of the table so you can know for sure that school is not neat and tidy.  There is a lot going on here.  You can see my spot at the table has coffee and the Teacher Guide.  These two things compliment each other so well. :)
For this game the boys would spin the spinner and land on a letter.  They are color coded to give them a little help but we made sure to say the sound each letter made and then search the pictures for words that started with that sound.  The goal was to have one of each on each of the trees. 
 "Mom, really?!?!"
Here is our completed board.  What a great way to review letters in a non threatening way.  It made both of the boys improvement in letter recognition and phonics very clear.  There was no delay, when the spinner stopped they could immediately identify the letter and it's sound.  They didn't have to search the alphabet strip and sing the alphabet song to figure it out. 
This last set of lessons is brought to you by the grumpy dragon and the clown.
Oh man this picture makes me laugh every time.  This tray has the squirrel math on it.  It came with math story cards that instructed the squirrel to get 3 acorns from this tree and 4 from that tree, now how many does he have?  He did do this lesson and enjoyed it thoroughly, regardless of how these pictures look.
Here the clown is working on his Saxon Math worksheet.  At the bottom there are two columns like I had mentioned before.  One column already colored and the other blank.  He has to color the blank column to have more or less colored squares than the other.  It depends on the instructions for that day. 
This is just the worksheet version covering the same math concept as Peter covered in the fruit in a cup lesson.  Both versions are good and beneficial in the learning process.  And both math play and math worksheets can be done by grumpy dragons and clowns.


  1. I checked out "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" from the library, and I think I am going to have to buy it. I LOVE how it gives you complete scripts for everything. I got it for our 6 year old that can't read at all (which sucks for her in school) but have been going through it with Little Guy too. I don't think he is actually old enough to learn to read, but its good practice for all the things he will need to know to read, and he enjoys it (especially when I let him touch the balls under the sounds LOL). I will probably end up having to go through it with him at least once more, but its nice and snuggly so I don't mind at all!

    1. It is worth every penny! Of course, the best part is that it is really reasonable. I should dedicate a whole post to that book. It really has opened the door to reading for my boys. Lachlan has struggled with letters, it's just not his thing and I haven't pushed him. He is 6 almost 7 and has very basic reading skills. But they are growing quickly with the help of this book. I took one look at it the first time and was overwhelmed by it. I just closed it and put it down. But a friend of mine actually sat down and started digging in and raved about it so I gave it another chance. I am so glad that I did. Like you said, it's a great book to snuggle on the couch and read. Also, since I am using it for 2 kids I put a post it tab in two different colors to mark which lesson they are at. I find this work much better than book marks that just fall out. I also use a giant post it note pad page to cover the photos when you get the story part. They are supposed to read the words and then tell you what they think will be in the picture before seeing it. Again, I find the post it to be a better way to keep it covered with out the risk of it sliding out of place.