April 23, 2015

Quick & Easy, Fine-Motor working, Life Cycle of a Snake Bracelet

 Recently, my son asked to learn about the life cycle of a snake. He's had me reading (and re-reading) snake books for days! :-) Since, we greatly enjoy pairing crafts along with our favorite books, here is an idea I came up with.

A Quick & Easy Fine Motor working Life Cycle of a Snake Bracelet.

 We recently completed this fun craft pairing it along with the book  Life Cycle Of  A Green Snake by David M Schwartz

(Affiliate links included for your convenience. 
If you click through and purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.) 

You'll need pipe cleaners and white oblong pony beads and a pencil or pen to help shape the "snakes"

We chose to use one whole green pipe cleaner for our "momma snakes" and half a yellow pipe cleaner for our "baby snakes". This was a little due to recently reading a book that taught us some baby python snakes are hatched yellow and grow to be green adults and mostly due to my son's favorite color is green.  You can certainly use any colors your kids enjoy.

First, we made up our snakes by curling pipe cleaners tightly around a pencil then sliding them off to make a curled up bead of sorts. 

Then, we threaded our "Momma Snake" onto our base, a separate full pipe cleaner.

Followed by a couple white oblong beads to represent our Momma Snake laying her eggs.

Next, we added on our baby snake who hatched out of the eggs.

We repeated our patterned so that 2 sets/demonstrations of the cycle were on our base pipe cleaner. Then connected the two ends, by overlapping them a bit and twisting twisting twisting, to create our bracelet. I then slid a momma snake bead over the over lapping bracelet parts to help prevent skin scratching by the raw ends of the base pipe cleaner. They can be a little poky.

My four kiddos thought they were adorable even though they ended up being very loose bracelets.
I also repeated this project with a group of seven 4-6 year olds. They all seemed to greatly enjoy it as well. 

So if you know some little snake lovers, gather up a few supplies (you might even have these in your crafting supplies) and create these educational and fun bracelets. Bonus:they also work those fine motor skills!! :-) 

It's just a season we're having fun in it!

Let me know what you think of these fun bracelets in the comments below. I'd love to see a picture if you create some as well!

February 2, 2015

Michelle's Homeschool Day with 3, 5, 12, 13 year olds

I so greatly enjoy the homeschool day in the life posts over at Simple Homeschool
It's so much fun to take a little peak inside another homeschool family's day and to see such variety.

So when Ms Jamie posted today inviting everyone to link up their homeschool day, even though I haven't been blogging recently. (I do miss it and still hold on to a slight glimmer of hope that I might can find my way back one day) I just wanted to join in on the fun!! (Maybe a little hiding on the internet is involved... You'll understand as you read more ;) ) 

So here goes!

First, I'm going to share my middle of the night (you know the moments of peace and quite where one can actually think and dream and plan) dreams of how I hope our days go.

7:00/7:30 ish mom wakes up feeling rested and motivated. Enjoys the peace and quiet and gets a few morning things accomplished. Like maybe even a shower.

8:00/8:30ish every one else wakes up in a joyful mood. Gather downstairs with smiles sharing responsibility to make breakfast for all. Sit together eating, chatting, laughing. When finished eating, cleaning up quickly after ourselves then finish getting teeth and hair brushed, descent (comfortable. pjs are acceptable for staying home days) clothing on. Ready and motivated to learn and explore.

I throw dinner in the crock pot and don't worry about it until time to eat.

9:00 ish start schooling / learning time. I really like the idea of un schooling of sorts, largely self motivated and self directed.  I feel drawn to the organized self guided independent work of  Montessori. I love the carefree whimsical delight directed Waldorf vibe. I have a wide variety of ages / skill levels so unit studies seem like a practical approach for group learning. I'd like to set up stations or centers of sorts in our school / play room based on units or themes. Provide various hands on fun, engaging, inspiring  materials and my children just...go...learn... Easily, happily, and I just mingle amongst them answering questions, asking questions to inspire curiosity... Researching answers along side them. Sometimes working on my own projects that are easily interruptible so I'm available to help out when needed. (I tend to be very task orientated when I start a project I really like to focus and complete it. I get easily frustrated when distracted and give up. In my dreams I handle interruptions much better and still complete tasks) 

12:00ish easy carefree lunch together where kids just eat, food, because they are hungry and food is good for you. Maybe a picnic outside. Clean up after ourselves.

12:30-45 ish -2:00 ish free time. Preferably outside. Running jumping get the wilds out time.

2:00-4:00 quiet rest nap time. None of my children nap anymore but I so still desire naps especially this time of day I'm just so tired. I'd settle for quiet independent play or learning time and me laying uninterrupted on the couch resting for at least 1 of these 2 hours.... 45 minutes?... 30? ... 20?

4:00-5:30 everyone helps major household chores / clean up time. I put finishing touches on dinner. Daddy comes home to a clean looking home. Washes up and we all sit down to dinner together. Kids share with daddy their day and impress him with mommy's wonderful educating children abilities. ;) and other highly inspiring family conversations.

Dinner finished and kitchen back to order by 7:00 maybe even a family card or board game squeezed in there.

7:00 free time / family time while kids one at a time start baths/ showers.

8:30 bedtime. Everyone to their rooms. Big kids are free to read, journal, draw .... any quiet activity in their rooms until 9:30/ 10 ish. Dad reads books to the littles. Hermit mom enjoys quiet time to herself.

9:00 ish littles asleep 

10 ish sleep time for everyone. Where no one gets up 50 times for the bathroom,  no crying, fighting, screaming, dancing, singing at various hours of the night.

So that's the dream. Doesn't it sound glorious? :) 

Here comes the reality. But this is just a generalization, our days are never any kind of predictable. Well there's lots of things I generally expect everyday but they come from different children, different  times, various degrees of severity, lengths of time.... Etc etc etc

6:30-7:00 ish mom wakes with daddy getting ready for work. Still feeling very tired. I often play on the internet (so that I don't fall back to sleep) until I just have to get out of bed (Once any of the kids are up) Could be 5 minutes or 30 ish minutes, occasionally I even get a full hour!?  Checking and responding to emails, Facebook and such. Sometimes searching for free printables I can print out and hand to kids so we can pretend we get some homeschooling done around here. (Well before our printer died) Wonderful hubby brings me an egg sandwich or such for breakfast. I'm extra grumpy when hungry AND sleep deprived.

6:30-8:30 ish kids start waking up. Sometimes some of them wake up mid meltdown... whining crying screaming. That sometimes wakes others in the same mood.

If any kids who stayed up half the night are not awake yet I make them get up usually around 8:30. Sometimes kids dont wake up mid meltdown, but meltdowns soon follow.

As they wake up everyone trickles downstairs for breakfast. Sometimes I make the littles, sometimes one of the big girls offers to make them cereal or a waffle. Theres yelling and screaming about we don't have the right cereal, or there's to much or to little milk in the bowl, or the toast is broken or too brown or we're out of waffles, or we only have chocolate chip and they only eat strawberry this week (or vice versa) They can't find their right spoon (we're all color coded. specific colored dishes for specific kids so it's easier to tell who broke theirs or left theirs out or tried to hide their dinner and to lessen the that ones mine!  no it's mine! stuffs) always something not right in the world. I'm trying to comfort sooth meltdowns, navigate negotiations, settle bickering fights.... Change morning diapers.... 

If it's a day we have to go somewhere (at least every Tuesday and Wedensday often at least one more day but not always) I'm trying to get littles dressed  ... Among meltdowns of no pants!! No socks!!! I can't find socks. I want my pink shirt!! I want my dinosaur shirt!! The tag is itchy!! 
Screams of I'm not going!!! You can't make me!! Where is the brush? Where are the hair bows? Where are the shoes? Trying to pack bags with spare clothes (we're potty learning) snacks, favorite can't live without toys books etc...

I usually have to send the big girls back upstairs to change clothes several times because they don't understand it's cold outside (or it's super hot outside ....real lack of understanding dressing for the weather around here) and you can't wear a tank top and shorts and sandles in 40 degree weather.... Or you can't wear the same shirt you've been wearing for 3 days straight... Yes I know it's pretty yes I know you think you're a fashionista but really honey please go get dressed appropriately ....like I know you know how to do because we've had this same discussion 4 thousands 2 hundred and 11 times now...... Did you remember to brush your teeth? brush your hair? Well go do that please. You need an undershirt on... Were is your coat?...... Do you have everything you need packed? We are going XYZ. We will be there about XZY time frame. I think XYZ will be there. You need to take XYZ... Snacks, lunch, water bottles..... Etc etc etc (and yes if I know the night before we need to leave in the morning I explain everything then and tell them to pre pack and lay out their clothes it still has very little affect on our morning getting ready) 

And ALL that...lists and schedule and questions gets repeated a couple hundred times..... Each and every time we have to get ready to go somewhere...... (Deeeeeeep breath) then we go and have still forgotten 10 things. 

If it's a stay home day most often I skip the getting dressed battles and leave everyone in their pj's. Sometimes we still practice so that hopefully at some point at sometime in the prayerfully near future all that gets easier..... and on occasion I have the gumption to practice.... Yes to go through all that crazy even though this particular day we don't have to....

After breakfast they fall into trying to play / free time mode.... These days I often let them slip into that....until they start to bickering / fighting to much. Then I start yelling (I'm working on my yelling less I'm very proud to report progress!!.... But little disappointed I have much more progress to make.... Seems to be the case for all of us here in Chelles house) what are you suppose to be doing??? And going over those lists with them. 

Months ago (years now?) we all sat down and made a list and schedule of daily responsibilities.... Such as get dressed  (and listed all those steps) brush teeth, brush hair, clean ears, make breakfast, clean up after your breakfast, morning chores (detailed step by step lists) morning school work. We made these lists  all together, explained each step, they had full input ..... In theory all they need to do is wake up and start checking off their lists..... In reality it  just doesn't happen.... And every morning they completely forget everything... How to do everything... Where to find the things they need ...to do the things they need to do.... Can't find their books, can't find their pencils, can't find the laundry baskets, laundry detergent, cleaning clothes or cleaning spray..... All amid fighting and bickering with each other.... 

I have 4 children (well 3 really my youngest is the easiest most helpful most independent child. she needs help on occasion but not nearly as often as the rest...)  that need me to hold their hand through each and every step of each and every thing... Each and every interaction with a fellow humans.... At least it feels like each and every step.... But truthfully we've made progress!! 

And I'm just one very very very tired momma.

We aim to eat / snack every two hours. So 10 ish 12 ish we try to stretch the afternoon until 3 ish then dinner 5:30 ish and snack before bed. Eating times always comes with it's challenges. My boy especially has a very ....struggling .... relationship with food and eating.... Others need help to not to gorge themselves sick.... And clean up after ourselves is always a big BIG struggle....

And so goes our days.....

On my best days I'm up and I'm guiding them walking them through constantly moving from one child to the next and step by stepping them through.... Calm ish and handling it. Rocking my TBRI inspired Theraputic parenting techniques****

 On most  days... I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off putting out the most urgent fire of the moment...
On not so proud days.... I'm hiding on the internet or in a craft project of mine and the chaos carries on around me and I just keep them from killing each other. To make my hermit crab retreat mode sound more "proper" I could say I'm giving them opportunity to practice all those skills I walk them through on all the other days hoping today is the day they have it figure out and use all the knowledge I've worked so hard to impart unto them and observing what skills they are making progress on and what skills they need more practice help with.... Yeah yeah that's what I'm doing! I'm totally not hunkering down in retreat trying to preserve  my last drop of sanity. ;) ;) 

So homeschooling.... Yeah..... That.... 

I have great grand plans for that.... They just keep not working as planned....

So currently we're mainly focusing on our relational skills, our coping skills, our how to talk respectfully to people skills, how to clean up after ourselves, how to dress ourselves, how to ask for things we need / want with our words and less with poor behaviors skills, how to put bodily waste in appropriate places.. all the time.... (Insert pee song link*****) how to understand / accept we cannot control the whole entire world by our little ol' selves, learning we are still children and not adults,  how to trust adults so that next we can work more on obeying authority skills,

We get lots of reading in. (Huge breakthrough progress!!! It used to be huge battle to get 3 of them to read or sit and listen to reading now they all like and ask to read!! Woo hoo happy dance!!) 

We get some living math in (when I'm in the frame of mind to recognize the potentional learning moments.  I ask them to figure our our total at the grocery store or how much change I should get back or I only have this much money and need dinner what can we buy? Oh you like those 100 dollars shoes great! if I gave you chores to do and pay you X how long would it take you to save your own money to buy those shoes?.... You're playing with 5 dinosaurs if 1 of those dinosaurs ate 2 of the others how many dinosaurs are left? How many Minnie Mice do you have? let's count them!.... And the like) we recently started reading Life of Fred. 

I'm currently planning and gathering materials to attempt interactive notebooks for at least science maybe math as well. 

I know we're doing a lot but I don't see a lot done and we all hate worksheets and workbooks so need another way for them to "produce" something to help me see they are understanding / learning something. They like drawing and painting so I have huge hopes for interactive notebooking. ;) (though this is only homeschool plan J or K or maybe even L? So we'll see I guess) 

We watch a lot of educational shows. Wild Kratts a BiG favorite. We have several Rock N Learn DVD's, the whole Magic School Bus Series, The Liberty Kids as well. We randomly watch documentaries on Netflix ...we just started How the States got Their Shapes*****

When any of my kiddos express a desire over a certain subject I try my best to round up educational things on that subject and throw them around the house (that is kinda very literal) so one girl was stuck on horses for a bit.... Horse movies, horse books, horse lapbooks, horse trail riding for her birthday etc... My son has been Dinos and whales for a couple years now... Tripping over lots of those. Recently we've gotten in some snakes stuff... My youngest is stuck on Minnie Mouse... She's 3 ....so well, she has lots of toy Minnie's ;) and we count them or discuss which one is biggest? smallest? How do they look different?

But there's just not much of a consistent schedule. I tried tried tried but we just cannot stick to it. It's all just swirled around amists the crazy. I was spending to much time and energy trying to tame the chaos....we were getting even less done ...so....  Now I'm just trying to roll with it and trying to pull out as many learning opportunies as I can. moments here and there all through out the day..... And night....

Daddy gets home 5:30 ish and joins in the crazy. We attempt bath / showers 7 ish and we try to head to bed 8:30 ish. All with the same challenges as described above in our morning.... I can't find my..... I want my.... Pink pj's .... Green underwears.... It's too tight... It's too itchy.... She looked at me.... He has my.....

I'm scared, I gotta pee, I'm thirsty, I can't sleep with out my... I heard a noise... A tornado is coming... Someone's trying to break in my widow.... Is that pee?!?!??! In an apple juice jug...under your bed??? Wwwhhhhhhhhyyyy???? 

2:00 a.m. momma yelling.... It's time for sleep it's not karaoke time!!!!! 

And NOW.....  
We're moving!!!!! We bought a house, we've started repairs and will be moving in the next month ish..... So crazy homeschool is currently packing and measuring and hammering (nails walls NOT each other!!)  painting, calculating math on clearance bin tiles for a kitchen back splash... And how many square feet do we need? How many boxes of tiles is that? 20% off is... 

So yep.... We're still Having Fun At Chelle's House ;) 

Be sure to go check out some others homeschool days over at Simple Homeschool ;) 

****** (I'd really like to provide links to some things throughout this post but I haven't blogged in so long and I no longer have a laptop I can't figure out how to link words in this darn blogger app???) ****** 

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