Ora et labora
~St. Benedict

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tie Buddy

Recently we found out that although Little T learned how to tie his shoes at the beginning of the school year, he became weak at this skill because not enough practice was given.  Okay, his Converse got too small and velcro shoes were bought in a pinch...there you have the confession.

Right now we are in a tying frenzy and it has been fun experimenting with different things around the house.  We always have plenty of paper towel rolls, so the Tie Buddy was born.

Yarn from our craft closet was used as the laces.  Once punching holes in the tube with the back of a paint brush, the yarn was threaded through and then knotted (nearest to the holes) and set with white craft glue so it would not pull out when tying commenced.

Tying laces helps a child improve upon fine motor skills, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, confidence, and independence.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Unleash the Jello!

Today 3 sheets of jello (red, purple, & blue) were unmolded and given to TnT.  They asked if it was for eating, all the while their eyes were as big as silver dollars.  One could sense that these little boys wanted to touch the gelatin more than anything.

Nothing was said to them, except "do what you will with it."  Big T immediately ran into the pantry and grabbed a large container housing oodles of cookie cutters.  They cut out various animal shapes and marveled at their creations (for about 8 minutes) and then the creatures met their squishy demise. 

Artist at work!

Let the happy deconstruction begin!

Texture & color one can taste.

Jello survivors: snake, fish, & gator.

Even out of destruction, a jello puppet can be born.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let Your Kids Play

Have you ever been stressed out running your child from activity to activity or keeping up with commitments you enrolled your child in weekly?  Well, our family certainly has and we consistently review our schedules and scale back when needed.

For some reason I used to feel guilty if my boys did not get "involved."  Ha, I finally came to my senses and realized that "playing" is what my children needed most and much to my delight, it can be done at home most of the time.

A fellow homeschooler passed this link along pertaining to "play," and I wanted to share this article with others:  Effort to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum

It talks about what I just touched upon and a little more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Milk Mustaches

In honor of Milk Day (yes, you read right), the boys and I came up with a fun and silly craft.  I took photos of TnT's faces, plus their dad's too.  We printed them in black and white, and then used crayon to color in the eyes, eyebrows, and hair.

The photo on the left has some of the crayon added to it.

Next, I sprayed some plain white shaving cream onto a paper plate and let the boys use it as their milk medium.  They really enjoyed squishing it around, as well as creating their own signature looks.

Here are the finished products!  They have already asked for me to print out more faces, so they can do it again. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Another Newton experiment that can be done with the kids involves coins.  Big T used a stack of nickels, while Little T wanted to use pennies; both types of coins worked for our simple experiment.

We just stacked a bunch of like coins and then flicked a lone coin towards the bottom of the stack.  The "flick" has to have a little power behind it to work properly, but through some trial and error, we managed to figure it out and have fun in the process.

In the video, I say that this looks like a good boy experiment, but it
 was referred lovingly towards my boys.  Girls can have fun doing
 this experiment as well.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Discovering Isaac Newton

It was Isaac Newton's birthday on the 4th and TnT have had a great time learning about the man behind the science all this week.  Their favorite video showcasing Sir Newton was made using Lego animation and called The Laws of Sir Isaac Newton

Other great videos emphasizing the laws include:

Newton's Three Laws of Motion, animated at M.I.T.

Ignite Learning

Steve Spangler Science


TnT also conducted an experiment in the backyard depicting the Third Law of Motion:

Materials used for experiment: fishing line, drinking straw,
balloon,and Scotch tape.

Experiment great for ages 3+

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Turning Around an Aversion to Reading

Okay, so we have one child in our house that loves to read and the other not so much.  In fact, Little T has such disdain for reading that when it is mentioned, he runs in the opposite direction and whining ensues.

Instead of forcing him to sit down and sound out words and put together sentences, I have to be a bit more creative with this child.

Today I took some neon colored index cards and started writing out labels for things in our backyard.  My intention was to go out beforehand and put up the cards on each appropriate item and then have Little T come outside to see the correlation of each marker with its object.

However, a wonderful thing occurred!  Little T picked up the stack of cards and started sounding out each one and affixing them himself.  He is so pleased with the cards and wants to make more.  He asked if he could write the word "stone" to place on one of the pavers.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Free Printable Calendar Pages

I am feeling the need to be better organized!  So, here is a thought...start simple and move forward with small successes. 

One calendar will not do these days, so instead of relying on the one hidden under my computer keyboard, I printed out January-December 2011 pages from Waterproof and added them to TnT's assignment binder.

After reviewing several free printable calendar pages online, these were chosen because 1.) format and scale 2.) preprinted names of holidays and seasons      3.) simplicity.