Our big news at the McGaugh Academy this week is twofold! First, we were officially assigned our Education Specialist (ES) through River Springs Charter for the upcoming school year. We are meeting with her soon, and then all the fun begins of prepping for Katie’s Kindergarten year. I am so excited!

Also, we moved around our living room furniture (again) and have made a second “school area” for both kiddos. I brought the little table and two chairs down from the play room and set it up by our calendar. Katie and I will still use our space in the kitchen (last month I ordered a storage cabinet which fits under the kitchen bar next to the bookshelf and the play kitchen, so many of our materials are in that space); however, this new space makes access to learning much easier for Eric. Eric, at 21 months, is ready for more deliberate and focused learning activities. He has been working at the big kitchen table…but this new set up is better for all of us. I might move our Montessori trays into our new space, because Eric always joins us in the morning school session.

When they got downstairs, they went immediately to their new learning space to see what I had prepared for them last night. In this picture, you can see our calendar (which we had not done for the day yet when I took this), and you can see the play cottage has now been moved over to the window. That means the couch is now parallel to the wall with the hutch and the calendar, out of range of the camera. The whole space feels more contained, and yet with the coffee table moved, there is plenty of “circle time” and play space. The coffee table is now in a “trial position” elsewhere by the stairs with some of our instruments (keyboard, xylophone top) on it.

Today, they had their journals waiting for them. I love their journals, and Eric especially does, too. Some of their pages contain the same activities; some of their pages have differentiated work. Even on pages that have the same activities, I differentiate the instruction a bit or I extend the discussion with Katie later. In my mind, even though Katie starts Kindergarten next year, Eric still needs the same enrichment I was giving her at his age. This is going to get interesting in a few months!!

So I found this telephone printable online (the templates are at the bottom of the instruction page). Nevermind that telephones/cell phones really look nothing like this now, LOL! I cut out the numbers that came with it last night (one set for each kiddo) and had the numbers in bowls. They had to find and glue down the number in the spaces below the telephone as I called out our phone number. Then we put our phone number into a song (I used “Wheels on the Bus” as our tune).

After breakfast, we read the lyrics to Kermit’s “Rainbow Connection”—a song about the power and optimism of imagination and believing in beauty. One of our guiding thematic questions for the “Monsters and Imagination” unit was about the positive and negative qualities of imagination, and Katie and I discussed that question more as we talked about this song. We found two clips of Kermit singing this song (the movie, and then a TV special) on YouTube and played them through our Apple TV. Technology is an awesome homeschool tool. The kiddos loved that. Eric pointed to Kermit and said, “More that. More that.”

Then we went back into the new school space and they made tissue paper rainbows in their journals. Last night I cut out and pasted the lyrics into their journals and then drew a rainbow on the opposite page so that they could remember the order of the colors as they pasted.

Katie, of course, did all of her rainbow by herself. I did help Eric, uh, shall we say—substantially? He did glue a few… We also looked at his “Counting Colors” book as Katie finished each arch.

Eric tears some orange tissue paper.

There have also been projects galore going on at our house! I finished sewing Katie’s dress today after lunch, and Bethany’s baby shower gift is also all sewn and ready to go. Katie and I also worked on a Mother’s Day project for my mom this afternoon, and I finished making a “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” themed felt set for our felt board. (Palm tree, coconuts, and all the uppercase and lowercase letters—I am planning a mini lesson for the kiddos, mainly for Eric, tomorrow).

We’ve also been experimenting with new recipes: baked kale chips (kiddos scarfed them, and I did, too—thanks, Mom, for the recipe), Nutella fudgesicles (thank you Pinterest), water flavored with lemon, cucumber, and mint, and for dinner: coconut tofu curry over basmati rice and served with zucchini bread.

I want to blog/post about resources for some of these discoveries…I am so enamored of Pinterest right now, I must say. Constant inspiration!