Week 1 of Homeschooling – D is for Dinosaur

As of July 1st, I have started tracking our homeschool hours for the 2014-2015 school year. Things are going pretty smoothly so far. We are currently working on getting in a new routine with the morning focusing on schooling.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 3.01.55 PMThis week we are practicing the sound of the letter D, “duh”. I am sure you are wondering why letter D; we are using the Progressive online reading program and that is where they started. The program is pretty cool and a fun way for learning to read. Eden and I sit together with my computer and read the online books (you can print them out to have hard copies for free too but we already print so much that I thought I would save a few trees). I read the words that are in black, pointing to each word as I read it, and she reads any word that is in red. The first book introduces the letters and sounds for: d, o, and g.

IMG_5243We spend a good hour each day reading, usually while Eli is napping. We curl up on the couch together and enjoy the peaceful closeness. We start with her practice and then move to me reading to her.

Our library just last month moved to an online database (I was shocked that they were still using the card catalog system when we got here) IMG_5239which means we now have access to all the Missouri public libraries and their library loan system. We were able to get some pretty cool books to go along with our dinosaur theme and even a dinosaur counting puzzle book.

I am not sure our librarians love the number of books we are ordering each week, but it is going to greatly increase our learning resources.

IMG_5651The rest of our learning often takes place through hands on activities, games, and play time.  Most of the time Eden doesn’t even know she is learning.

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With a few simple supplies, we made dinosaur eggs with tiny plastic dinosaurs hidden inside. Eden helped with the whole process; and while we worked, we talked about how we know things like the size and coloration of dinosaur eggs. We talked about baby dinosaurs and how some dinosaurs grew up in herds with their families and others were left alone as an egg to raise themselves.

IMG_4926While Eden’s cousin was with us, we built an example of one type of dinosaur nest. The girls liked pretending they were mommy dinosaurs taking care of their eggs. Eden learned in a book that instead of sitting on the eggs to keep them warm like a chicken most dinosaurs would cover their eggs with leaves and branches. She was very disappointed when I wouldn’t let her cover her eggs, as the area where we built the nest was to be planted with tomato plants the next day and I didn’t want extra things growing in my garden.

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The most fun was letting the girls break the eggs open.

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Another fun activity we did was measure out the size of a Brachiosaurus’ foot.

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And the girls used every pair of kids shoes they could find in our house (thankfully Ella brought a few pairs with her for her visit); notice the girls even took off their shoes and then used their feet to count as another set. They counted up 58 kid feet to equal 1 Brochiosaurus’ foot. I think this is a low estimate as we ran out of kids shoes.

IMG_5261I think Eden’s favorite activity from the week was creating a dinosaur costume and acting out a few of the different stories we read. She had so much fun doing this that I found a few different songs with dinosaur actions and she moved along with them.

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Eli’s favorite activity was the simple dino sensory bin I created for him to play in while I worked with Eden. I filled it with a mix of different beans, a few large cabbage leaves, and a bunch of plastic dinosaurs. He loved moving the beans around with his hands and putting them in and out of containers. He would take all the dinosaurs out and then put them all back in again. By the end of the afternoon, he also had learned how to climb in and out of the container and was pretty proud of himself.

IMG_5686  IMG_5674  IMG_5670To practice our numbers, I laminated a bunch of life size dinosaur teeth that were numbered 1-20 and also by 10’s. We played “Seek the Teeth” as simple egg hunt style game. She put them in order and then brought them to me as I called out their name. On the dino foot prints I wrote out the sight words we are currently working on and she would jump to the correct word as I called it out. Sight word practice has been the one area that Eden has had no interest in learning and will often be resistant. She loved this game; I think I will make up some similar types for next week.

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I found all kinds of ideas on Pinterest for crafts and snacks related to dinosaurs, but the only one we really tried was the “Dino Dig” snack. We made it with layers of pudding and a candy topping. Each cup had a hidden dinosaur surprise (a plastic dinosaur) that we dug up as we ate.

 

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