Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Friday

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We ended the week on a strong note, and are heading into the weekend in a state that has slightly reopened. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy Memorial Day!

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9-9.30: Letter L. After completing a workbook page that focused on letter L (writing out L words, coloring in L pictures), we played “Last to the Lake”: our fish playing pieces moved from sight word to sight word in a race to the lake at the end. He loved it so much that he wanted to play longer after winning!

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9.30-10: Math. His workbook page involved combining numbers from the tens and ones column. This was new stuff and he tackled it well. We then got silly, thinking of other groups of 10. How many fingers live in our house, if 4 people each have 10? 40! How many fingers and toes were there? 80! We counted out tens with a pretzel snack, too.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. (Little sister was getting good and messy on the patio, in the meantime!).

10.30-11: ELA. Travis 20 minutes on Lexia, proudly reaching a new level in the program.

11-11.30: Social studies. After learning a bit about the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, Travis made a simple craft: we cut the centers from paper plates, then glued on red and blue stars cut from construction paper.

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It was a simple but patriotic decoration for our door!

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We also talked about gallant actions we can take for the holiday, like laying flowers on veteran’s graves.

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Honestly, we began the long weekend early, thereafter. It was a gorgeous day to get outside to a local pond for some sand and water play, and he had a social hour with his high school buddy over Zoom.

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Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Thursday

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I’m so happy to report we had a successful day. Travis was focused and motivated on his lessons in the morning, so much so that the afternoon was very light on schoolwork, everything already accomplished.

9-9.30: Math. He started with a workbook page counting up summer vegetables. I then gave him a few challenges. What would the number be if he added 10 to each (hint: a number in the teens). Then we made a number line and used it to answer simple equations. What was 1 more than 16? Three less than 16? Two more than 18? I could tell the visual number line really helped him think.

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9.30-10: ELA. He did a page in his Star Wars writing workbook, and laughed so hard when we made up silly answers to fill-in-the-blanks. A proud 20 minutes on Lexia followed (while little sister drew with cars).

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10-10.30: Snack/art/free play.

10.30-11: Music. Travis recorded himself singing high and low for the music teacher.

11-1: Lunch/free play.

1-2: Science. After reading an encyclopedia page about cameras, we headed outside (in gorgeous weather!), to take pictures.

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I let Travis play around with settings, especially the zoom function. His photos were actually quite artsy! This counted as great fresh-air time for the day, too.

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2-2.30: Spanish. There was a live Zoom today, a fun chance to go over familiar songs and watch a Spanish puppet show of the Three Little Pigs. I had hoped to engage him with an activity on fast and slow animals (rapido/lento) but it was late in the day and we called it quits.

Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Wednesday

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I’m hitting a nice stride now where I touch on the concepts that Travis’s teacher sends each day, but we learn them in our own way. This method keeps Travis’s skills up to state standards and keeps him focused. Please share how your home school journey is going in the comments!

9-9.30: Math. After a quick Star Wars workbook page introducing the notion of tens place and ones place, Travis was left with a string of numbers all in the teens. We ordered these from least to greatest on a sheet sent home from the teacher. We followed it up with a game of War which is fantastic for teaching kids to recognize the greater or lesser number quickly.

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9.30-10: STEM. After reading about boats in his encyclopedia and watching a QR video, Travis tested how he could make play dough float. If he shaped it into a ball, it sank!

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But once we hollowed it out like a real boat, it floated (though you can see that it was far from water-tight). Little sister got in some boat play, too!

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10-10.30: ELA. His workbook pages focused on J and K, and he did 20 minutes on Lexia.

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To add to the J lesson, he traced his name in jelly, then got in some quick exercise for each J verb (jump, jog etc.). Then we headed outside with a kite for…

10.30-11: Recess/snack. He tried hard to get that kite up in the air!

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11-11.30: Library. His teacher read a yoga book and sent videos of sample poses. Travis wasn’t interested, but we did dot-color a spring picture together as we watched.

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11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2: Zoom. Travis is getting the hang of sitting still for this half hour with his teacher and classmates, and even shared that he’s thankful for his sister.

2-3: Outside. The best part of the day was a trip to a local farm for strawberries, both to celebrate National Pick Strawberries Day and as a nice follow-up to yesterday’s lesson on living and nonliving resources.

His bedtime story was Separate is Never Equal.

Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Tuesday

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The word of the day, my friends, is beleaguered. If I wasn’t wrangling a reluctant Travis into doing his lessons, I was calming toddler tantrums (the classic kind, like throwing all the crayons because she wanted a marker instead). But we made it through and carved out pockets of fun! Here’s how:

9-9.15: Social Studies. Travis did a quick workbook page on living versus nonliving resources, drawing examples of each on a farm. I didn’t extend the play, but was proud to see him think carefully before drawing.

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9.15-9.30: STEAM. After reading about submarines in his encyclopedia, we made one! It was so complicated it merited its own blog post.

9.30-10: ELA. Travis preferred to practice handwriting in his Star Wars workbook instead of a school assignment about persuasive writing and ice cream. I did have him talk me through how he would persuade someone that lemon ice cream is the best flavor, and hit on the main points of persuasive writing (tell your opinion, tell a story, etc.). He finished with 10 minutes on Lexia.

10-10.30: Snack/recess.

10.30-11: Math. After a page skip-counting droids by 10 and filling out a chart that counted by 10s to 100 we extended the play by making droids out of play dough.

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11-1: Lunch/free play.

1-2: Social/emotional learning. Travis watched a read-aloud of Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler and then we headed off on a walk to leave kind notes on a bench! Here Travis has spelled out “Be brave.”

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Tuesday is his short day, so we ended there.

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His story tonight was The Napping House, a silly favorite.


Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Monday

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Week Ten? I had to do a double-take typing in that title, but I’m happy to report that things feel… good. We’ve settled into a nice rhythm and I dare say we’re all getting the hang of it. There even was a magical moment for about 5 minutes today, with both kids learning from screens, when nobody needed me for (gasp!) just a moment.

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9-9.30: STEM. After a summer workbook page about drawing and labeling the parts of a plant, Travis and I turned it into reality; a ripe avocado was all we needed. Pit the avocado, then pierce it with three toothpicks (they’ll poke in more easily than you think).

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Fill a glass jar with water nearly to the top. Position the pit, broad side down, so it just touches the water, then place on a sunny windowsill and wait! We hope to see the roots growing within a couple of weeks. (Meanwhile, little sister was planting seeds of her own!).

9.30-10: Math. Travis did workbook pages counting the number of animals (or Star Wars creatures!) in a group. This involved topics like greater than/less than, as well as skip counting by 5’s. Then we made a “Star Wars space train”. We pretended our train was arriving at a new planet and made up a math problems for each stop. “Two people got off, so 20 minus 18 equals…”) and so on. Needless to say, then it was time for…

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10-10.30: Recess/snack. Travis needed time to play with all those Star Wars toys (and little sister’s birds!).

10.30-11: ELA. He did a page in his writing workbook, then drew a picture to go with it using 5 colors for his age, 5!

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11-11.30: I tried to interest Travis in his Spanish teacher’s video about big and small (grande and pequeno). But after pointing out to me drums that were big and small, Travis told me the kids were having “brother/sister time” and they were having so much fun I let them be and made muffins!

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11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2: Zoom. The time with his class did not go well today. Travis was rudely making faces the entire time. I’m reminded that our kids learn a lot more than “learning” in a classroom, and there will be a bumpy ride getting back into a routine in 1st grade.

2-3: Outside. This portion of the day, on the other hand, was glorious. Nixing any lesson plans, I just watched the kids run around in a meadow filled with butterflies and dandelions.

3-3.30: P.E. To get moving for his Monday special, we danced to a favorite song (the Imperial March of course) and then Travis did Star Wars-themed yoga.

We finished with a bedtime read of This is Me: A Story of Who We Are & Where We Came From.

See you tomorrow!

Kindergarten Home School Week 9: Friday

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Life threw us a curve ball today with baby sister under the weather. Honestly I’m amazed any school work got done with Travis at all, but we squeezed in a little.

9-9.15: Social Studies. After a workbook page about different stores in a neighborhood, I invited Travis to set up the store of his choosing. He opted for a toy store, and loved setting up baby sister’s toys to “sell”.

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9.15-9.30: Math. He did one math workbook page that skip-counted Ewoks, so then of course we needed to play skip-count hopscotch. (Simply make a hopscotch board where each jump is worth 2 points).

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9.30-10: Snack/free play.

10-10.15: Science. After an encyclopedia page and QR link about dinosaurs, we repeated an old favorite activity: visualizing how big dinosaurs really were with masking tape. Because we played indoors, we had to cap ourselves at the 30 foot stegosaurus.

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10.15-11: ELA. Following his teacher’s recommendation, we listened to two versions of the Three Little Pigs: one from the pigs’ point of view and the second from the wolf’s!

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Travis did a compare and contrast (what was the same, what was different). We then sequenced the story and made little puppets to act it out.

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For a little STEM extension, the idea was to build the house of bricks from Legos….though you may notice he veered off into Star Wars direction. Finally, Travis also did about 10 minutes on Lexia.

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That was it for the day; Travis enjoyed a movie, which was well-earned. He also had the special treat of an online session with a local high school student through a new town initiative. This was fantastic, and we were so thankful to our new buddy!

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Kindergarten Home School Week 9: Thursday

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I actually had to rein Travis in today! He was eager to forge ahead on his 1st grade writing and math books that arrived, but I really intended to use these in the late summer and early fall on the off-chance school is still not in session (sob!). Once I brought him back to age-appropriate Kindergarten materials, we had a productive day.

9-9.30: ELA. His summer workbook page focused on letter I. To extend beyond the handwriting, I had him name a rhyming word for each “i” word on the page. He also did 20 minutes on Lexia. Yes, in the living room, in a “ball pit”.

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9.30-10: Math. The summer workbook page featured adding 10 soccer balls + X more balls, for a number in the teens. We knew how to make this hands-on!

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First we made up math problems with our bag of ball pit balls, and then of course just enjoyed silly play with the balls. Then…

10-10.30: Recess. We extended the soccer theme with real soccer outside. A laundry basket made a handy goal.

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10.30-11: Science. We read Travis’s encyclopedia pages about birds, and watched three QR video links in conjunction. I made things hands-on with a simplified version of an old bird beak experiment. Which bird beak was meant for which food if I gave him: tweezers, a pipette, and a slotted spoon. (Answers: the tweezers are for a sparrow to eat seeds, a hummingbird uses the “pipette” to drink up flower nectar, and a pelican is the slotted spoon for scooping up fish.

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11-11.30: Spanish. This week’s video was about counting fruit. Travis was disappointed it wasn’t very silly and lost interest quickly.

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11.30-12 – Lunch/free play.

12 – Friendship Day. There was a special Zoom “assembly” on the theme, an annual event at his school. Travis lost interest quickly, which made me sad, although I understand that it was hard to feel connected via computer.

1-2: Outside. We headed to the park, both for play and a shape hunt.

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2-2.30: Specials. Travis had to record his voice for the Music teacher. We capped our day off by doing a kind deed: drawing pictures to mail to our cousins!

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Tonight’s bedtime story was the fantastically illustrated What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

Kindergarten Home School Week 9: Wednesday

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It was such a busy Wednesday that we never even got around to daily routines like the Lexia ELA platform online. But innovative ideas prompted by Travis’s K-to-1st summer workbook kept things fun and tantrum-free.

9-9.30: Math. Travis’ workbook page involved coloring in shapes (both flat like a square and 3-D like a cone), on an ice cream truck image. We made it hands-on with an ice cream playset the kids have. Travis even turned baby sister’s food truck into his ice cream truck! I had hoped to use the opportunity for more math (like addition or subtraction problems), but he just wanted to play. Not worth a battle…

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9.30-10: STEAM. After an encyclopedia page on bugs (creepy-crawlies!), we watched the QR video and then made a firefly craft. We also pulled out an old bug set with a magnifying glass for further exploration.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. Travis got involved with some of little sister’s tube play.

10.30-11: ELA. Travis loved writing in his Star Wars book, thrilled that he was forming complete sentences. There was also a quick page on letter H in the summer workbook.

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11-1: Lunch/free play.

1-1.30: Outside: In honor of National Frog Jumping Day (yes that’s a thing!) we played “jump like a frog” hopscotch.

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Veronika learned to ribbit and hop, too!

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1.30-2: Class Zoom! The class went around sharing what they are thankful for, and Travis thanked the bees and pollination.

2-2.30: Counting. We finished the day with a return to math because his 1st Grade Star Wars math workbook arrived and he was so excited. (I hadn’t even intended to open this up until summer!) After filling in numbers up to 120, we played “Light Saber Interrupted Counting”. One person started to count, but if tagged by the opponent’s light saber, the tagger took over. This was a great way to trick him into counting so high, purely for fun!

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After that we traded in lessons for cooking! His bedtime story was a video of his teacher reading Peter’s Chair.

Kindergarten Home School Week 9: Tuesday

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Technically today was Travis’s half day, but we were incredibly busy!

9-9.30: STEM. Both of Travis’s workbook pages today inspired lots of hands-on play. The first was about mapping, specifically with an ant colony. He colored in the picture according to directions, and then I surprised him with… a real ant farm! I’ve had this in my back pocket (so to speak) for a while, but have always been nervous about it. Well, the time seems right. Our ants are actually still on their way in the mail, but Travis helped set up the sand for their habitat and we can’t wait for this science project to begin!

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The second workbook page counted toward the E in STEM: imagining how to reuse boxes. After he drew ideas on the page, I surprised Travis with a collection of boxes I’ve been saving. What could we make them? A robot was up first with toilet paper tubes for arms.

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But then the robot turned into a rocket with a little help from tissue paper and a coffee filter cone!

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This was perfect for blasting toys into space. Travis also colored a few boxes to be background sets for play, like a fiery volcano in reds and oranges.

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9.30-10: ELA. Travis did 20 minutes on Lexia. I asked if he wanted to write a story for Writers Workshop about our box play, but he said no. Instead he happily did a few pages of his Star Wars writing workbook.

10-10.30: Snack/recess.

10.30-11.30: Science. We read two pages in his encyclopedia, on electricity and sound, with a QR code video to watch about each. Both pages featured balloon experiments! For electricity, I demonstrated the classic balloon-on-sweater static electricity trick.

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For sound, we held a balloon in front of a speaker to feel the vibrations.

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This prompted Travis to remember his old record player, which led to almost an hour of musical fun!

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11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2.30: Outside. We turned an afternoon in the park into a lesson on spring poetry! Plus we played shadow tag.

2-2.30: Social/emotional learning. There was a nice prompt from Travis’s teacher to read the book In My Heart and begin to fill in a self-esteem worksheet.

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To get moving real quick, I asked him to do 10 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, and run in place for 20 seconds.

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2.30-3: Every school specials teacher will have a Zoom with the class now, and today was Library! This was a good reminder on how to sit and pay attention for a full 30 minutes. The librarian led them through Simon Says, a read-aloud, and a song before Travis got to share a favorite book.

His bedtime story was the non-fiction I’m a Caterpillar, a cute book about the butterfly life cycle that doubles as a great easy reader.

Kindergarten Home School Week 9: Monday

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The first thing to note about the day is how Travis needed me. Beyond all the school lessons I had planned, he wanted me in his games every time there was “recess” or “free play”, reminding me how sorely he misses interaction with other kids. It is hard to be there not just as a teacher and mom and chef, but also as playmate! Luckily, the constant need for my attention was woven through with lots of fun, and here’s what we did:

9-9.30: Letter F/Food. After completing a workbook page on letter F with a focus on food, we set up a restaurant!

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Using an old play set, Travis thought it was just a riot to be my waiter, including menus to look at and guest checks to fill out.

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This doubled as our math lesson for the day because everything had prices. If my check was $28, which bills did he need?

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We also had an adorable waitress, when she wasn’t busy with math of her own.

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9.30-10: Letter G/Games. After a workbook page on letter G, we switched over to a game of “golf”.

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I had hoped for this to count as his P.E. for the day, but it was short-lived. He much preferred selecting a board game. Taking the time to sit and play a few rounds together really mattered to him.

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10-10.30: Snack/free play.

10.30-11: ELA. Travis did about 20 minutes on Lexia. Little sister learned about emotions!

11-11.30: Science. Our encyclopedia page today was about magnets, prompting me to pull out an old magnet set. It turned out to be the hit of the day! Travis wanted to go through all of the experiment cards, plus just had exuberant fun with the set.

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11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2: Zoom. From now on his teacher will lead the class in circle time songs every Monday. It was really hard for Travis to sit still for this; he’s out of practice when it comes to following teacher rules. Something to work on…

2-2.30: Writing. Travis opted to do a few pages in his Star Wars book instead of writing an “Over the Weekend…” assignment.

2.30-3: Spanish. This week’s silly video was his teacher asking her niece what foods she likes and doesn’t like. Travis then went through the food from our earlier restaurant play and gave a big thumbs up “si me gusta!” or thumbs down “no me gusta!” to each one.

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Lessons ended there, and it was time to make a batch of homemade lemonade. Too rainy for a walk, so we’ll need our exercise and sunshine tomorrow!

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His bedtime story was the non-fiction Wild Ideas.