Monday, July 29, 2013

Support a good cause!

Part of my summer "homeschool" for my kids includes picking it a few DVDs on topics we're studying. However, it can be hard to find something with enough educational value to have it add to their learning. In our situation especially it is important for them to hear about the study topic in English from a native speaker other than me.
For years we have enjoyed the Signing Time DVDs and not too long ago when Rachel and the Treeschoolers came out we all got really excited! Treeschoolers comes with activities you can do beyond watching the DVD and covers a large amount of material in 30 minutes.
Two Little Hands, the company which makes Rachel and the Treeschoolers, has been looking to get the show picked up by a TV network but they've been repeatedly told that the show is too educational for TV. Does that make sense? It is entertaining, fun and educational. If you are going to let your kids watch TV why not watch something useful?
To try and bring the rest of the Treeschoolers episodes to market they have started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. Basically this allows us, the consumers, to have a direct hand in the creating of a wonderful educational series. Lending your support through pledging is risk-free. If you make a pledge and they don't raise enough money to support the current project then your money is not collected. If they do raise enough money your pledge is accepted and you will receive a return gift of your choosing.... Such as a copy of the new DVDs.
Why not hop on over to Kickstarter and take a look?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer of Homework - Preschool Version

Lesson: When the school year does not end before summer there will be homework.
Since Zilla is not yet in Elementary School the amount of summer homework is manageable but I still am not keen on the idea of having to do homework over summer vacation. Perhaps the reason for not being keen on homework from school is that I have my own planned for him?
To celebrate the start of summer break we had McDonald's Happy Meals for lunch. The toys were somewhat educational - a flute-like instrument and a microscope in boxes that can be turned into cars - so I guess it is a fitting start to a summer of homework!
The top, right picture is Zilla's calendar. Each day he has a sticker to mark the day, a sticker for the weather, a sticker for brushing his teeth and a sticker for if he pooped. Yes, that last sticker is real. Each culture handles bodily functions differently... Other areas in the calendar include making notes of what we do each day, an interview for at the end of summer and space for pictures, tickets, etc. In a few years we'll probably enjoy looking back at the calendar so I don't mind doing it.
I don't have pictures of it but Zilla also brought home a mini tomato plant so he is to care for it and has a chart to fill out as he picks the tomatoes. Again, this is not so bad... if you are planning to stay home during summer! We will be babysitting the plant of a classmate as they are going away for the summer.
The bottom, right pictures are "gifts" from the school (if that is what we'd call them...) that Zilla brought home. There is a book, sparkers and a bamboo water squirter. The book encourages reading and the water squirter is a traditional toy btu the sparklers? They don't see to be the kind of thing that preschoolers should be carrying around in their school bag.
I've heard that first graders often receive a pile of homework to do over the holidays - enough for an hour or so a day - so we are going to enjoy having less homework from the school this year as we may not have the same luck next year!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Early Morning Art

This week we've had a few days when Zilla was up and ready for school with an hour to spare. When he gets ready early I like to make the most of the morning hour as he is usually in a better mindset then than in the evening when he's tired. This week he filled the extra hours with art. We love our easel from Ikea because it is light weight so the kids can easily move it to where the light is right.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flag Bento

Zilla has taken a real interest in preparing his bentos recently. This morning he asked for one to celebrate the 4th of July. We had to work with items we had on hand but I think we did ok. I'm a little worried that the teacher will send home a note about the potato chips (a no-no for bento lunches here) but hopefully he will be able to explain them in a way she'll understand.
The top of the bento has a sandwich (the sandwich top went on when we closed up the bento) with berry jam, yogurt stripes and blueberries cut in half. The bottom of the bento is red tomatoes, white potato chips and blueberries mixed with grapes.
The potato chips are made with potatoes that Zilla's class harvested from the school garden yesterday. We made them in the microwave with a special tray that Grandpa sent. Zilla and Mega love homemade chips!