Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers

I was recently given the opportunity to review A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers by Melissa E. Craig and Maggie S. Hogan from Bright Ideas Press


I was excited to receive this product, as I have long wanted a comprehensive but easy to implement composer study program that we could do as a family.

This program is nicely written and well laid out. The book includes 32 weeks of lessons covering six periods of music and 26 famous composers. It is arranged chronologically and includes a brief introduction to each period of music followed by biographies for composers during that time frame. Each biography includes note-taking sheets and a review sheet.

My favorite part of the curriculum is the wide variety of activities that go along with the biographies including:

  • Composer information cards and game


  • Composer timelines
  • Printable mapping activities


  • Coloring sheets
  • Instructions and game cards for composer Memory, Go-Fish, Bingo, Jeopardy and a timeline game
  • Instructions and sheets to use for making folderbooks (similar to lapbooks)

There are also fantastic tips for what to listen for in each composer’s suggested music pieces, links to where the music can be found online, and even a list of additional resources in case you wish to learn more about a particular composer.

The fact that this is an e-book means that I can print only those activities we are going to use each week, but a hard copy of the book is available. This program is intended for grades 4-8 (ages 9-13), and I think the depth of the materials reflect that. However, the wide variety of additional resources allows us to include Miss M in some of the activities as well. I think you could adapt this curriculum to include your younger or older children very easily.

To learn more about The Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers visit Bright Ideas Press or the Timberdoodle Web site.

You can see what other reviewers had to say about A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers here.

And don’t forget to check out the many other music-related resources offered by Timberdoodle.  If you don't already receive their free catalog of fantastic Homeschool Resources, I suggest you sign up for it.

I was provided this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I was offered no other forms of compensation and the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Big Weekend

This weekend was a big weekend for J. On Friday, he turned 12 years old. It's hard to believe that my sweet little first-born baby has turned into a preteen. I remember when he was just a little guy toddling along like Baby B does now!



J has a little get together with his friends - which at this age involves lots of junk food and video games!


He ended the weekend with his Boy Scout Court of Honor on Sunday. He has only been a boyscout for 6 months, but he has earned six merit badges, advanced one rank, and earned two special patches in that time. It was nice to see him getting rewarded for his hard work.


It was a great weekend for J, and we are so proud of him!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BFIAR: We're Going On A Bear Hunt

Lately, Baby B has been interested in the book We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.  This has resparked Miss M's interest in the book as well, so we are taking a small break from dinosaurs and doing some book-related activities this week.

For math, we graphed gummy bears.  This was good practice sorting, counting and graphing all in one.  We worked on reading our graphs and deciding which color had the most and least.  I just made the graph very quickly in Excel using the color words for practice.



Next we made a 3-D map of the story (from Making Learning Fun).  First Miss M cut out the pieces and colored them:



Then she glued them onto our construction paper map in the order they appear in the story:


Then she practiced retelling the story using our map:


Finally she used the word cards to sequence the story on her whiteboard.  (I added the drawings afterward at her request.) 


We have many more fun activities planned for today for both Miss M and Baby B to go along with the book. Both Susana at Our Homeschool Fun and Michelle at Delightful Learning have fantastic posts detailing lots of great ideas for this book as inspiration, and Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations has a printables pack as a go-along as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Campfire Cones

J had a boy scout camp out this past weekend, and needed a simple dessert they could make in the woods.  After some searching, I found this idea for Campfire Cones over at Chef Jessica Bright

Miss M helped me fill sugar ice cream cones with chocolate chips, toffee chips and marshmallows. 



We then wrapped them individually in aluminum foil and when the time came, the boys just had to warm them in the campfire.  From all accounts they tasted great - even the adults enjoyed them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

First Day of Soccer

Miss M started soccer for the first time this fall.  She is on a coed Pre-K team and had her first practice yesterday.  Of course, she had to have all pink and purple soccer gear!


She looked adorable, listened well, tried hard and had a great time. 



Her first game is Saturday and she is VERY excited.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where In the World Were the Dinosaurs?

We are continuing to work on our dinosaur study and this week we have twelve dinosaurs that we are learning all about. Yesterday, Miss M worked on matching the dinosaur model and skeleton to the matching information cards (printed from Montessori Print Shop.) There were not cards for all of our dinosaurs we are studying, so we have to make up some of our own as well.


Once that was done, we talked about where the fossils for each dinosaur were found. Hugg-A-Planet came in handy for this, and Miss M placed the models on the appropriate parts of the world as we learned about each.



She discovered that Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, and Corythosaurus all lived in the same area of the world, all ate plants, and were all about the same size, so they MUST have been friends!


Her favorite dinosaur so far - the Seismosaurus.  After all, who doesn't love a 140 foot dinosaur who weighed as much as 10 elephants and could shake the earth when he walked!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Dinosaurs

Somehow the week snuck by without me managing to get one post up, but that doesn't mean we weren't busy.  September is a big month for us with our anniversary, my birthday and J's birthday all during the month.  Miss M is also starting soccer for the first time, and J is back into his after-school activities as well.  With all that said, we are studying Dinosaurs this month, and did do school every day this week.

We did a bubble map to recap all the facts we learned about dinosaurs this week.  This was Miss M's first time doing a bubble map, but she did great at recalling facts.


We practiced spelling the word dinosaur using our boggle letter dice, and later Miss M wrote and drew a dinosaur into her writing journal.




For math we played a dice game



and did a size sort



and did a puzzle putting numbers 1-10 in numerical order


We did a lot of work with our Dinosaurs Nature Tube.  We used them in our estimation jar, sorted and classified them, and just had fun playing with them.



We also did some non-dinosaur activities as well.  This backpack project was a great practice at coloring and cutting from Kindergarten Crayons.


We spent a lot of time on our core curriculum as well, including using Zoologic (one of Miss M's current favorite games).


All of the printables we used came from:
I am linking this up with Preschool Corner over at Homeschool Creations.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tot School - Straws, Boxes and Paints

Tot School
~15 months old~

This week Baby B's favorite activity was putting straws into a jar.  I just punched holes in the plastic lid and he slid them in over and over and over again.  He chose this activity every day, all day long.  (This idea came from Carisa.)


He spent one day this week enamored with our Geoboard.  It was actually out for Miss M to use in her math workbox, but he took it and spent the longest time putting the rubberbands on and off.  He didn't have tension on the bands, but he knew they had to go around several of the small posts and was very intent on doing it.

We tried finger painting for the first time this week.  He was NOT a fan at first, but eventually he got into it.



Baby B continued to work with his stacking blocks this week.  Both by themselves,

and with balls added in.  He really enjoyed trying to figure out which boxes the ball would fit into, and which it wouldn't.
That was our week in Tot School.  For more ideas, check out 1+1+1=1.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kindergarten Weekly Wrap-Up

Miss M had a very busy week this week in school.  While we continue to use our main curriculum, she also had many other fun activities in her workboxes.


We have begun learning about money, and Miss M had fun sorting coins this week.


We started using ClickNKids this week as a supplement to our phonics program.  Miss M loves it, and has requested to do her computer time first every day this week.


We did a "Math About Me" page in our math journals.  She really enjoyed this, so I will have to think up more questions we can add to this.


We wrapped up our month-long study of space by making our own constellations.  She drew what she wanted her constellation to be (here is a dog) and then punched out "stars" using a thumbtack.  The original idea for this came from over at Quince and Quire.  I helped her label each constellation and folded them into a little book for her.


We have been working on our Europe GeoPuzzle in August, and it is another huge hit that gets done daily here.  Miss M has learned over half the countries in Europe by name and sight.  We will be doing country studies on some of her favorite ones during the month of September.

I am linking this post to Preschool Corner at Homeschool Creations.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gluten-Free Playdough

Baby B has reached the age where he loves to play with playdough, but he is still young enough that he tries to eat it on occasion.  Both store-bought playdough and our regular homemade recipe contain gluten.  This is an issue for us, since even the tiniest bit of gluten can make Baby B very sick for several days.  After some experimenting, I found a gluten-free playdough recipe in one of my cookbooks that works as a great alternative. 


Miss M helped me make it, and we added some red food coloring and cinnamon to give it a fall scent.  (It's hard to think of fall here when we are STILL over 100 degrees every day.)


 The recipe worked great - it feel just like regular playdough!


For those who want to try it:
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup salt
2 TBS cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tsp vegetable oil
Food coloring and scents as you wish.

 Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan.  It will appear very watery, don't worry.  Cook over low heat, stirring, until it starts to form a ball.  Turn it out onto a piece of waxed paper.  Let cool completely before storing.  We just use a ziploc bag or a tupperware container and it keeps well for several weeks.