Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Fun

We celebrated the first day of Fall, which was September 22, by covering up some of our bare wall space with this fun Fall Tree.

I got the idea from my membership at

I used lunch bags for the branches. And for the leaves I made my own template. Each leaf has a green side and a "fall side" that is either red, yellow or orange. The green sides are numbered and help us count down to Halloween. Each day we flip a leaf over so we can watch the tree turn colors and it helps cut down on the "how many more days to Halloween mom?" questions.

Once all the leaves are turned, we'll drop them one or two down to the base of the tree as we watch the seasons turn to winter.

Maybe when winter hits we'll put snow on our tree and decorate it with lights for Christmas. It could be a really fun way to celebrate each season.

Then we read some really cute Fall stories: the Biggest Pumpkin Ever
The Scarecrow's Hat

I love Fall. It's my favorite.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How Did You Remember 9-11 This Year?

In the past I had never really been sure how to remember or commemorate 9-11. I usually put out a flag, say a prayer, and go about my day. I always remember the rush of feelings I had on 9-11-01.

At the time I was a newly wed, living in Brazil and teaching English to business professionals. I was in the teacher breakroom, catching up on email when a fellow American teacher approached me and said, "The World Trade Center was hit." I thought she meant the one in Sao Paulo. I had driven by it several times. I was concerned but not devestated.

Then she continued to explain as she took my hand and let me to a small TV propped up on a small stand in the upper corner of the room. I watched the planes hit the towers, over ....and over....and over...

I was speechless. The other Brazilian teachers and staff made kind comments like, "I'm so sorry Kelly." or "It is terrible what happened to your country today."

Never have I missed my homeland like I did at that moment. I wanted so badly to be "home" and grieve with my countrymen. I felt so alone in my sadness at what had happened. My Brazilian husband, while supportive and caring, just couldn't relate to the sense of loss I felt. I went home that night, and searched our little apartment for the small American flag that I had packed before returning to Brazil after our honeymoon. I removed it from the pole and carefully sewed it to the backpack I used for lugging all my teacher supplies around the city with me every day. As I sewed it on to my backpack, I wondered if I was making myself an international target by identifying with a country that was the aim of so much hate and anger. But I didn't really care. I remember feeling oddly proud and yet slightly apprehensive as I walked the streets with my American flag sewn on my backpack. When ever I crossed a fellow American, they would notice my flag and offer encouraging words.

Anyway, a lot of healing has happened since then. And this year I just felt like it was time to my 6yo in on some of what happened that tragic day, but in a non-feaful way.

So, on the recommendation of some great moms that belong to the WorkBox yahoo group, I got hold of a book called The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
It was a great book and a fun way to introduce the twin towers to my girls. Then we read September 11: A Primary Source History (In Their Own Words)
for the information I needed to help explain what happened on 9-11.

We did this during table time (the group time we have before doing workboxes). Of course, I was crying as I shared some of what that day had meant to me. My 6yo seemed interested, but not deeply concerned and a bit puzzled at my emotion. I didn't really go into it a whole lot or explain my tears in great depth.

But I am glad that I opened her eyes a tad to the reality of 9-11 and I'm sure we'll touch on it again in future years.

By the way, reading this book inspired my husband and I to watch the movieMan on Wire

It was great! My hands were sweaty the whole time watching this tight rope walker! Lots of history to be learned in this movie. There was one small part that was TOTALLY inappropriate for kids and it completely blindsided me. I was NOT expecting it. So...beware.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of School Pictures And .... Stuff

Yesterday was our first day of school! Hurray! It went really well.

We've got a 2yo, a soon-to-be 4yo, and a 6.5 yo.

Well, since we made a last minute switch in our plans to attend WAVA, we don't have official curriculum to follow yet. We withdrew from WAVA at the last minute in favor of a home school program available through the Quilcene district (thank you Chari for telling me about it!). This program reimburses WA home school families up to $1500/child/year for approved materials and activities. BONUS! And you get to keep your home school status. AND there is only minimal contact with the school district. AND you are in control of the flow of the work and which classes you take. Wow, what a great partnership between the state and the home schooling family. We jumped on the last possible minute. Which means our books won't be here until next week. So in the mean time, we're just having fun reviewing concepts from last year.

It's actually been really nice to just follow my gut and give my kids work that I know they'll enjoy (mostly) and that gets my creative juices flowing too.

So, while we're waiting, here's just a peek at some stuff that has gone in the boxes recently:

for the 2yo:
Digging puzzle pieces out of rice. He loved it.

So now we'll try digging magnets out of the rice to arrange on our magnet wall that is about 2 ft. x 3 ft. and located right next to my desk where I can keep tabs on the mess.

Have you ever played with wedgits? They're fun.

Matching eggs that have been filled with various things from around the house (rice, nails, chocolate chips, paper, spools of thread, beans, etc)

I got these colored chips at Staples. He drops them into a yogurt container that has a slit cut in the top of it. Keeps him busy for about....7 minutes or so.

I got these blobs of colored glass at the thrift store. He sure likes putting them in this bead organizer.

For my preschooler:

She punched holes in this foammie stuff and then sorted the colored dots.

Then we saved teh dots to decorate our Letter I the next day:
Above: Finger paint from the dollar store. Don't forget the apron...

Above: pattern blocks are from discount school supply. The printouts are from I think.
ABove: number quantity. holes are punched in trimmed yogurt lids and little fingers put pony beads in the holes.

More number quantity work.

You know what...I need to get to bed. I'll finish this post tomorrow! Enjoy