Sunday, February 24, 2008

The BIG SIX! Party

The cake

Amelie's birthday is on the 25th, Monday, but we had a party for her on Saturday, the 23rd. Our great friends, Miriam, Michael, Elana, Layah, Jacob and Ruthie came. Our neighbors, Julie and her two children Clarissa and Josh, and one of thier friends came, as well as some new friends we met through the homeschool group: Faith, and her daughters Finley (6) and Darria (12), and Darria's friend Morgan. We had a full house! Blowing out the candles It was a lot of fun. I think everyone had a great time. The kids played in Ami's room, and all over the house, and after some creative indoor activities, and cake, and gift-opening, everyone ended up outside in the chilly damp air (it had rained a bit and the ground was very wet), Chris gave everyone swing rides on the rope swing pushing them really really high--and everyone came in absolutely soaked and muddy. Opening her gifts with Noah, Elana, Jacob, Ruthie and Layah
Ami thanks everyone for the gifts she has recieved so far: from Finley a Littlest Pet Shop game, from the Fauths: a violet long maned pony head with brushes and curling irons and barettes, and a book about flying horses, she also got a certificate for "being a great friend" :o) ; from Julie's family: art supplies; from Grandma Alice: 4 new books and a $6 check :o); from Nana: 3 unicorn books; from Oma and Opa: a pizza game and phonics books; from Grammy and Grandpa Bill, a pink razor kick scooter, and from mom/dad/noah&eden: a playmobil unicorn fantasyland set. She insisted on a horse cake, and really wanted to play "pin the tail on the horse" but we forgot all about that when everyone showed up cause all the kids were just having such a fun time playing. Amelie and her new friend, Finley.

Noah Update

So Noah is a two year old with a capital TWO! Here he is after an afternoon of playing with his sister and dad--they were pretending to be injured and fixing each other up with tissue paper casts and slings and bloody noses. Well, maybe you read before that Noah might need glasses, we find out in 6 weeks. Meanwhile, his secret weapon against his sister is a lightning fast swipe of her face which swiftly removes her glasses sending them winging across the floor. Thankfully they havent broken yet. He is OBSESSED and I mean OBSESSED with Buzz and Woody. He loves dancing ("Come on Ami, wet's dance"...."Lemme dance"...."I gotta dance..."..."mama, dance. Dance! DANCE!" He's like a prison wardon with the dancing orders.).
He LOVES going outside with his daddy, and playing with his train set. He pretends he is making soup, and kee-coos (cookies). When he says his "thank you's" at night he says "tank you for all our fwends, and famwie, and kee-coos, and daddy, and keecoos, and mama, and Jacob, and keecoos..." He is adorable! And goofy. We call him goober sometimes, cuz he is just a huge hugable goober boy!

Lapbooking-The Happy Horse Book

Lapbooking is our latest discovery and we are having a blast. Basically, a lapbook is a creative format to showcase what a child has learned in a unit study. So, here is what we do. Ami chooses a subject to study. Since we started lapbooking two weeks ago (and we do one book per week), she has done two so far. The first was a frog book (My Fun Frog Book). The second is what you see here. Next week we are going to do Chimps. Ami decided that the title of it is going to be "My Charming Chimp Book."

So, we usually find a coloring page online and make that the cover image. Ami does 90% of her own handwriting in the books. She writes an ISBN # on the back :o)

We focus on as many aspects of whatever subject we are studying. This part of the book has a mini-book of horse face markings and what they are called (blaze, snip, stripe, etc). Ami read all the words and matched them with the faces (which she colored), and glued the book together. Another mini-foldout was "other kinds of horses" which folds out in flaps and you see a unicorn, a zebra, donkey, mule and pegasus. She drew and colored each one and read the names which I wrote. We made a math measuring activity of measuring different kinds of horses (draft, riding horse and pony), using a tiny hand on the end of a popsicle stick. Also, as you can see, we covered horse vocbulary words in a mini-book, and another flap file of what horses eat, which she drew, colored and spelled each thing (carrots, apples, oats, barley, etc...).

Next, you can see there is a flap which folds up and we have colored a horse which we used as a labeling diagram--things like "girth," "withers," "mane" and "rump" are labeled. Ami also colored and wrote names of horse colors (palomino, gray coat, chestnut, etc). Finally, we cut out pics from a horse supply catalog of all the things one would need to ride a horse, and glued and labeled those. She also wrote a poem--all by herself without me asking her to do it. She just presented it to me, and then she typed it out on the computer by herself. She decorated the book with unicorn stickers that her Auny Kathy gave her (she's been saving those up for something special).

We love these lapbooks because they represents a weeks worth of work, and it can always be referenced and added to. She feels proud of the work and ownership of it in the end. She wants to show everyone what she made. Besides the lapbook creation, we also read books about the subject throughout the week, and maybe watch a video on the subject matter. This week we watched Black Beauty. When we do our Chimp study she will watch a Jane Goodall video (and hopefully have her book signed by Jane when she comes for a visit).

Amelie's update

Ami is doing really well. She is 6 now (I will post her bday pics on another post)--boy has she been waiting to be six! I hope she is really feeling it! Anyway, we took her to the eye dr to see if her glasses are doing the trick. When we took her 7 weeks ago for her first exam, the refraction in her left eye was 20/100....thats pretty bad....well, a few days ago when we checked it was up at 20/50! So thats great--dr says as long as she keeps improving in this way she wont have to have any further treatment (such as patching her good eye). Down side to the appt was we asked the dr to recommend whether we should have Noah a full eye exam. I thought maybe I had seen his eyes having trouble focusing up close. Dr confirmed it and said he probably has what his sister does--we will have him examinied in 6 weeks. We wont cross that bridge til we come to it, but boy it wont be easy to keep glasses on him....
Ok back to Ami....she is enjoying schooling---and doesnt even realize it! She asked me the other day why we hadnt done schoolwork lately. Thats because we went from worksheets and writing practice on lined paper to doing fun and creative lapbooks! I will show you one of Ami's lapbooks on a separate post. Right now Ami is really into horses and unicorns, and playing with her friends. The weather here has been really nice and I have been sending her outdoors to play. She is having fun at her dance class. She did a science fair with her b/f Jacob (about seeds germinating/growing plants). Shes a great big sister and loves fawning all over her Eden. The other day she told me out of the blue that 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12. And we haven't done math more than adding or subtracting two numbers (whats 1+5,whats 25-5, whats 30+7 and so on...) so i think that is pretty insightful for a kindergartener! she loves math and can count to 1000.
Her reading is coming along nicely. It's still not her favorite thing to do--she'd rather have us read to her--but she seems to have passed some developmental milestone and it now comes more naturally for her to read. I think maybe its because she has got a handle on a decent number of sight words.

Eden is 3 months old!

Well Eden has hit the big 3 months. She is chubby and round and smiley. She sleeps well at night, and still sleeps a lot during the day. She is starting to think things are funny. Like when you hold onto her legs and kick her feet and tell her she has chubby chubby frog legs. That gets her almost every time. :o) Oh, and she drools a lot, and poops only every 3 days. Ooooh thats a fun job cleaning that up yep.