Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tink's Balloon - a short story by Princess

Tink's Balloon
by Princess

One day, Tinker Bell was very excited.  She had just gotten a new balloon.  She had been flying around Pixie Hollow all day.  She was showing it to her friends Silver Mist and Fawn when a big gust of wind came.  Tink, not expecting this, lost her grip on the balloon.  "Oh no!" said Silver Mist.  "I w-w-was so excited about my b-b-balloon," said poor Tink.  "It's okay Tinker Bell," replied Fawn.  For the rest of the day, Tink sat on a tree branch searching the sky for her balloon.  That night, Tink was just about to lie down when a shine caught her eye.  She looked out of her window, to see her balloon in the sky.  And every night you can see it up there, too...The Moon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rainbow Train

Super Tot is 21 months old
Tot School
Trains are Super Tot's absolute favorite thing, so when Princess and I were reading about the Transcontinental Railroad in American History this week, I decided it would be fun to have a "Train Day!"    I had a few ideas in mind, but I knew it was going to be a lot of work, so I got Princess to help.

While searching for "train crafts" online, I found this idea to make an Animal Train.  I printed the directions and animals, and got Princess to help me color them.  While we were working, she asked if she could color the monkey purple.  A lightbulb went off in my head to make this a color matching activity, rather than just a fun train.  So, we colored the remaining animals to go with that idea, and they turned out really cute.  I made each train car in the color to match it's respective animal and did the engine as a rainbow.  I laminated everything and tacked it to the wall on a long piece of butcher paper from our easel.    

So what did Super Tot think???  Well, he LOVED it!  This will stay up in our schoolroom indefinitely.  He spent hours playing with it over the course of the day.  He loves to take the animals out and play with them, to put them back in the train (usually even in the right train car), and just to look at it.  He even tried to climb into it himself, and had to run and get his blankie to show it the train.  This is probably the best thing I have made for Tot School thus far!  

A Poem by Princess

'Forest of Magic' by Princess
'Twas a crisp and lovely night, 
with magic floating round.
First came a host of flower fairies
a'holding roses in their miniature hands.
Then arrived a party of elves fair.
They danced and sang in a circle, 
their golden hair streaming behind.
Out of the stream came a naiad, 
draped in beautiful silk.
Then, melting out of the trees came hundreds of mischief-making dryads, dancing round the clearing.
Fairies tossing flowers, 
The voices of elves,
The naiads giggling & the dryads dancing.
There was a forest of magic that night.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Save the Rainforest, an article by Princess

Princess is 9 years old

Princess has a passion for writing and a heart for caring for the Earth.  She is learning to type this year on an old-fashioned type writer, which she just loves.  She enjoys practicing in her spare time and has been typing up articles about "Going Green" and "Saving the Rainforest."  Below is one she wrote on Friday.  She is a gifted writer, but I continue to be amazed at her writing style and always love reading what she writes.  Whether it is a story, news article, or essay, her passion for writing is evident in everything she writes.  Enjoy!
Save the Rainforest!! by Princess
Did you know that animals’ homes are being cut down every day?  That is actually happening.  You may find the rest of this article hard to read.  But, don’t worry.  With your help, this may very well have a happy ending.  Well, take a deep breath and here we go!  I will start with saying that areas of the rainforest the size of baseball fields are cut down every second.  Can you imagine?  What if someone came to your house, tearing it down and taking all the materials used to make it?  Don’t worry, though.  Because you can help!  You!  Yes, that was not an error!  Y-O-U!  Here’s what to do:
You can donate money in lots of ways.   You can have a special jar called a “Giving Jar.”  In it, you can put spare change, or just money that you want to donate.  When the jar is full, you can donate the money to an organization that helps the rainforest.  You can also adopt a rainforest animal at  
Tell you friends all about everything you read in this document.  Tell them about the cutting down of the forests.  But mostly, tell them what they can do to help.
Remember, with a little money and lots of love, we can give this story a happy ending!!!
I will be posting more of her articles in the future and hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Workbox System

This summer, I learned about the latest trend in organizing your Homeschool…workboxes. While there are many variations of  this system, a homeschooler by the name of Sue Patrick is the originator of this concept and you can read about her system HERE
The Workbox System basically consists of 12 “workboxes” on a shelf. Each box has a number velcroed to the front of it, and the student’s daily work is sorted and divided into the boxes.  The student works through the boxes in order.  As a box is complete, the number is moved onto a scheduling strip or card (see photo on right). This gives the child a tangible way of seeing exactly how much work he or she has completed, as well as how much there is left to do.  The goal is that by seeing the work in this way, the child’s motivation and focus are improved. The organization reduces distractions such as looking for pencils and books or waiting for instructions on what to do next.  Additionally, fun activities are spread throughout the boxes, keeping the child enthusiastic and eager to keep working.
After reading about this system on hers and many other Homeschool blogs, I decided to share the idea with Princess.  She was so excited about it and we decided, along with my husband, that  it would be a great addition to our Homeschool, especially with Super Tot in the picture now.  However, like many other homeschoolers, I also knew that I wanted to personalize it and change it up a bit to meet our needs.  Rather than the plastic shoeboxes on a cart that Sue Patrick recommends, I opted for these lovely IKEA Trofast shelves that work perfectly for us.  They are just the right size and fit our schoolroom and taste perfectly. 
Princess loves them and is so excited to begin school each day.  While some kids like to sneak a peak in each box at the beginning of each day, Princess is all about the element of surprise and waits until she gets to each box to see what is inside. Princess has always loved school and been very diligent, but we have found that she is actually accomplishing more work in less time using this system.  This allows time for supplemental activities that we have often not had occasion for in past years.  Whether it is reading a magazine article, doing a craft or playing an educational game, we are thrilled to have time for these extra activities and know they are adding so much to our Homeschool.  By implementing this system, we have also been able to divide our primary academic work into 4 days, leaving Fridays available for projects, field trips and supplemental activities to enhance and further improve our educational and academic instruction.
To sum it up, we are thrilled with the addition of the Workbox system to our Homeschool and plan to use it indefinitely.