Saturday, April 6, 2013

This blog is moving :)

Please visit our new home at Sunflowerous Days. I'm still learning the ropes of the new blogging platform and I hope our new blog will be an exciting place to visit. There are just a couple of posts up so far and I will be posting there from now on. Please drop by !

This week:learning about Jane Goodall

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Last week of March

After a long winter, the spring finally came, we had the most crazy weather with hot sun and snow storm in the same week, now it is warm again, we'll see if it lasts...But first leaves appeared almost overnight, such a delight!

What have we been up to this last week of March? Let's see...

Monday: We repeated what we know about Italy, D. read a Magic Tree House book on the subject
We also learned about one point perspective using this helpful lesson from smArt class blog.

Tuesday: D. is currently raising shrimp for his science class at co-op and he's very excited to see how they will turn out. Kids received a microscope as a present from my sister and of course attempted to look at shrimp- alas, too small to see properly still, we did compare leaves and algae meant for shrimp food though, successfully. Kids were fascinated by the difference in texture.

Wednesday: The nature is waking up, we decided to repeat what we knew about plants' life cycle (new info for C. since she's old enough now to understand these things better). We read The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and planted a couple of seeds in egg cartons. Will they grow?

Thursday:We read up on endangered animals and watched Chipanzee movie from Disneynature. The movie was very sweet and interesting too. We did "finish the picture" art journal page, inspired by art projects for kids.

We also did a little Japanese language lesson (last two years' studies inspired us both to try and master it), which D. absolutely loved, he studies hiragana using workbook found here.

Friday was more or less uneventful, D. practiced his piano, he's preparing for a small recital and his special challenge is to play ensemble with his friend for the first time.

Saturday: We went to Barnes and Noble for the egg hunt, when we get home we decided to keep it artsy and made a decoration for our table. Russian Easter is still pretty far away  so we might do something else as it approaches.
Our first project was to paint blown-out eggs, inspired by a lovely post here. So we blew out three eggs, got our acrylic paints out and set to work. We had lots of fun, D. stuck to "Starry night" theme, C. painted pink and orange background and I messed around with putting spots in warm colors. The outcome seems to be pleasant enough.

C. also did some stamping with white acrylic paint over green construction paper to create a meadow for origami bunnies that we made. Instructions for these bunnies are extremely simple,  D. had lots of  fun folding.

We hung our eggs on some branches we cut off of the tree in front of our house.

Sunday: Today was calm, kids played a lot by themselves, read some, hanged out with grandparents...Taking a deep breath for a new week

Our reading highlights of the month are up at Our Bookshelf Blog, please stop by and check it out :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Before we knew it...

The spring has come, it means more time at the park, earthworms  waking up, birds singing...and new window display:-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The best season of all 2012- second week of December

Our quiet holiday preparations continue. As I've written before, I have toned down on crafts this year and try and vary activities. So the second week of December we:

Day 9: We read "Buying mittens" by Nankichi Niimi, since it became a holiday tradition for us of sorts. Kids traced their hands and decorated mittens using wax crayons.
D.'s creation:

Day 10: Christmas lights gazing. We drove around looking at pretty lights.
Day 11: Kids unwrapped new books in the morning. For C. it was "The Beasties by Jenny Nimmo, plus a chapter book for D.
Day 12: We went and bought our holiday tree. This year due to our home library (uncontainable) growth there was no room for a big tree, so we just got a tiny tree to put on a table

Day 13: Family movie night - Harry Potter! We also did some cute paper flowers for our trees with friends:

Day 14: D. and I tried our hand in origami again, and yet again were not quite successful. My dream of having a paper crane mobile in the kitchen is still far from reach it seems. We did have fun though (mixed with frustration) and managed two not quite pretty paper tables. We decided to make it our goal next year to master origami.

We listened to some holiday music, here is our favorite song of the week: Mika Nakashima-Yuki no Hana (Snowflakes)

Our books this past week can be found here, some holiday reads included.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Best Season of All 2013- 1st week of December

It's this time of year again!
This year we are continuing our tradition of activities-filled advent calendar.

This year even though I planned making something really stylish and unusual for a calendar, I ended up drawing a tree by popular request from kids. Under each ball there is an activity written for us to do. This year instead of mostly crafts I went for "special moments", this way none of us will be worn out by the end of the month.
Day 1: We made our traditional window display, coffee filters colored with metallic watercolors. This time we cut out gigantic snowflakes.
Day 2: We put some lights on the bush outside our window

Day 3: Baking cookies together!We made also out long time favorite chocolate cookies recipe here
Day 4: Lego Christmas trees:

Day 5: T-shirt decoration, I bought some white cotton t-shirts in Michael's (adult size too :D) and some fabric paint. We did our best painting some holiday pictures on them, kids had lots of fun and now wear these tees to bed and around the house.
Day 6: We attended Polar Express Story Time in local bookstore
Day 7: We made an attempt to create a snow jar. I was inspired by this pinhowever, kids didn't want to use any of their small animals and by the time they made up their minds it was too late to go hunt for new ones :) So D. just made a penguin out of playdough (weird color is due to the fact that all black dough was gone for some reason), a small fir was picked outside. Just add Epsom salt and here we have a snow jar (rather a candidate for "nailed it" meme I think) that kids pronounced "weird, but Christmassy"
Day 8: Snow!, so much snow outside! Kids are looking forward to rolling in it and cleaning the sidewalk. We are supposed to attend a concert today too, but I'm no sure about driving so far away, so we might not go after all 
We ended up going to see Denver Young Artists Orchestra and we had a marvelous time! Harry Potter suite was wonderful and put us in a holiday spirit.

We are reading books from Holiday List I made last year. So far kids watched "Chronicles of Narnia: the lion, the witch and the wardrobe" and Russian "Snow Queen" movie.

Happy Holiday Season to all!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's been a while...

Wow, I haven't touched my blog in a long long time it seems. But here I am again, and I will try my best to keep it up. We have started our third year of homeschooling, 2nd grade for D. I was going to start "serious" pre-school for C., but since she's not due to start K until 2014 anyway I decided to let her grow like a weed for maybe another year or so :) Somehow I  want to keep her "a baby" a little bit longer. Especially since she picks so much up from our lessons with D. anyway. So far our school year (all 2 months of it) was pretty busy. We went for a few hikes, D. and I saw a ballet and Denver Young Artists Orchestra performance for the first time, it seems that classical music becomes much bigger part of our life. D. finished his first hip=hop dance class and is asking to let him take it again. He's also preparing for his second science fair along with other homeschool students in our co-op. It's so beautiful outside, we can't get enough of these crisp, autumn days, when there's so much gold outside....

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our May at a glance

We had and incredibly busy May, finishing 1st grade, sorting various troubles at home etc. Nevertheless we had fun too. Here are our activities at a glance: We made candles using kit by Shure. Nice, calming activity, although there was some struggle for who gets to hold the blow dryer to warm the wax:

We learned about Japan

We visited giraffes:

Created pinball machine for marbles (Thanks to my amazing friend for hosting this activity)

We started our Ancient Greece unit, D. is absolutely mad for myths and heroes. His passion may be best seen in his M.O.C. -Minotaurs'  labyrinth:

We read a lot, check out our May round up post for reading at my book blog.

We made another summer-y window display

We planted a container garden, our caterpillars from Insect Lore have arrived and now we are eagerly awaiting their transformation.

Looking forward for fun June!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Learning about Japan- 2012

In 2011 we learned a lot about Japan, the time has come for us to refresh some of the information and learn some more. So last week it was all about Japan in our house

Our activities:

  • We read and wrote some haiku.

our otedama

  • We played math game called Shiritori math game, which basically consists of making up new number sentences using the answer from the previous number sentence.

  • We made some oregami (yay! this year it was much easier that last), we listened to the music (great tracks from Orange Range: Hana, Kizuna, Silent Night , some excellent stuff by Joe Hisaishi , lullabies)
  • We read some great books, check out our Reading about Japan book list over at our "bookshelf" blog.
  • Finally, we tried some Japanese food, kids are definitely warming up to miso soup, but still wouldn't eat sweets, oh well, more for me :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

First Grade is finished

Well, almost, anyway. There are two more weeks left to co-op lessons. D. insists that we have to "learn" through the summer too (which we will, our days just will be even less structured). We learned a lot this year, I especially learned a lot about my own capabilities and I certainly have better idea of what I can and can't do, how to organize and mostly what NOT to do. I can tell that this year was much more challenging and that I was definitely too naive thinking that I got it all together jsut because Kindy was so smooth and easy for us. Now, about curriculum. Our co-op lends us books for the year, but this year I noticed that I rely on my own resources mostly. What we used:  


Coursive Writing worksheets generator for handwriting 

We played games

First Word Bank by Ruth Thomson, as well as Thesaurus helped us a lot.

You Can Write Awesome Stories really breaks down writing process for kids and gives exercises to practice each element.


We used
Primary Mathematics 1b Textbook (Singapore Math)

Grade 2 Word Problems by Kumon are great but really repetitive, so I had to pick interesting bits from the book.

Our home library as well as public library is an endless source of great books.

I mostly followed whatever they were doing in co-op and supplemented with various books from the library. I got  Activity Book Teacher's Guide (Scott Foresman Science, First Grade) from the co-op, but we hardly touched it.

Again mostly my own resources, such as a number of websites and books, Core Knowledge Series were of some help, but I didn't rely on them too much.


The Usborne book of art ideas and variety of art albums are our sources this year. Geography National Geographic Atlas Of The World and Not for Parents Travel Book helped us with our culture/geography studies. So here we are, having had a nice year, ready for summer.
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