Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the Mood to Learn- Emma's Portfolio

Today was a wonderful lazy stay home day.

A bit of cleaning and organizing. Games are now next to the kitchen table for easier access.

Occasionally I feel that I should be doing more "structured" educational activities with Emma, as opposed to the random fun activities (like oobleck, magnetic dolls, barbie clothes, scrabble slam, I think you get the picture)  that happen to be educational. Of course, if we want to get technical, every moment of every day is educational. 

My latest project is updating Emma's portfolio. When Jared graduates, we have no idea where we will end up. Our hope is to be in a state (or area) where homeschooling laws are pretty low. On the off chance we end up somewhere that homeschooling laws are strict, I figure having a portfolio is a good idea. 

Of course having this blog will probably help as well. I would consider it documentation. 

Aside from putting Emma's work into the portfolio, I also use it to hold worksheets and such that I think she might like to do. As long as she is in the mood. I sat down with Emma today to explain the portfolio to her. I want her to be an active keep of her portfolio, so I explained what types of things go into it, and how it is organized. As we flipped through the math section, she noticed some math work sheets. "What do you do on this one?"

Counting dots on lady bugs and adding them. 

She went through this pretty quick (once the distraction of the camera was gone). 

I want the portfolio to be functional, but fun to look through as well. I thought that maybe a artsy cover and dividers would help jazz things up. 

Bubble letters- Printout with words, freezer paper, puffy fabric paint. The letters can be peeled off the paper once dry and glued down where we want them. I am think of doing some collage on cereal boxes for the dividers, and gluing the letters on. 

"Emma's Awesome Portfolio" 

Emma worked on the cover while I worked on the words for the dividers. 

Eventually the desire to paint herself took over, so I switched her to acrylics. 

Just as I was about to snap a cute photo of her engrossed in her work, she turned this face to me. Stinker. 

I finished working on the words for the dividers while Emma painted herself. 

Then I did some goofing around with the puffy paints. Before getting distracted, Emma did manage to finish one full word. 

I think that should work just fine. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Do List- Cloud Dough

We (mostly me actually) have a very long list of cool things we want to do thanks to Pinterest. Pinterest is very addicting. I gave up facebook, but I am worried that Pinterest may have taken it's place.

At least Pinterest is a more positive addiction (that's my story anyway). If you are interested in checking out what I am pinning, here is a link.

Today we tried out the homemade glitter. I was not super impressed with the results. We have made colored salt in the past, without having to use the oven. Turned out the same.

A few that we have enjoyed are the magnetic dolls. Here are a few updated photos (we have made the magnetic dolls on a few different days).

Another fun project was making cloud dough. The ingredients are just flour and baby oil. I wish I had read more of the comments before I had made it because I would have used vegetable or olive oil with some essential oils instead. The baby oil isn't super safe to play with, and it smells too much for me. Emma really loves it though.

(We added powdered tempra paint for a little added color)

(burying her unicorn)

(the excavation)

A few projects we might try to do this next week (when we are at Gramma and Boppa's) are dancing oobleck, fingerprint tree, shattered marbles, newspaper structures, and maybe the body double. Of course, we could end up doing something totally different, or just doing nothing. Time will tell :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Break Dance Baby!!

Emma is taking a class! With other people!

Occasionally I get antsy about Emma not really wanting to take classes or lessons that have other people in them. I am fine with her being shy, but I don't want her shyness to keep her from doing things she will enjoy.

So, we signed her up for a break dance class. With Jared (I signed up for adult tap).

Ever since we told Emma about the class, she has been apprehensive, asking often if she has to go, or if she has to actually do anything. I was pretty sure that she would enjoy the class, so I decided to be a mean parent and keep her enrolled and actually make her go. She would have Jared right next too her, so she wouldn't be alone and I would be there also.

I suspect that aside from being shy, she also has a major fear of failure. I wish I knew if that was my fault and if so, I wish I knew how to help her overcome that fear. She hates to try new things. Anything that she isn't immediately good at becomes something she hates and she gets very frustrated with it.

Anyway, tonight was the first break dance class. All day she was asking how long (in a timid voice) until class. A few times she wanted to cry when she asked if she had to go.

I told her she had to try class once. I reminded her that Da would be right there with her, and that I would be watching.

About an hour before it was time to leave, her apprehension turned to hesitant excitement. She was ready to go, bringing everyone else their shoes, getting on her coat, and doing other things to get ready while we still had a bit of time till we needed to leave.

We got to class a bit early, so we waited. Emma sat in my lap, Jared sat next to us. There were a lot of people milling around waiting for a different class, so we had plenty to watch. Emma seemed pretty relaxed. I got up to look around a bit, and when I sat down, Emma asked if she could look around too. So she wandered a bit on her own.

Then class started. I sat on the floor near the door, Emma and Jared went out into the middle of the room. There was the instructor (a guy named Andy) and one other girl, who is about 10 or 11. That was it. Emma started to get upset, cried a bit, but Jared talked to her, held her hand, and she settled down.

He is such a good dad.

The instructor was teaching some simple steps, and Emma was pretty relaxed and following along, watching her feet in the mirror, and a boy walked in. And stood next to her. Emma moved closer to Jared and looked like she was going to get upset, but she seemed to gather herself in and continued to follow along.

And the class went along with out any major hitches. There were a few spots where she got upset, but overall she did really well. And she had fun :)

Watching Da's feet too see what to do next.

Listening to Da explain about doing headstands.

Thinking about tickling Da (which she did shortly after I took this picture).

Needless to say, Emma and I were very impressed with Da! Emma has plans to start practicing tomorrow all the things she was taught today. She might even be excited about the next class!

Magnetic Dolls

Oh how I love Pinterest. So many cool ideas floating around. With so much homework to put off, I am always needing something interesting to do. If that something interesting involves Emma, even better. (I have been feeling guilty about neglecting her to do homework lately).

So, when I came across this on Pinterest the other day; I repinned with the intention of fitting it in sometime this week.

Today ended up being the day.

We went to this website to print out the dolls. We printed the pages as 5 X 7 pictures (on paper that had already gone through the printer once) so that the dolls would be small enough to fit on business card sized magnets (we have some to upcycle). 

Once the dolls were printed, we sent them through our sticker maker. Emma then cut out each of the dolls as well as all the accessories. 

I always catch her while she is talking. 

Or singing. 

Once all of the pieces were cut out, we stuck them to the business card sized magnets, and cut them out closer to the line. 

Once we cut everything out (which I didn't take a picture of), we realized that the magnetic clothes over the magnetic bodies on the sheet metal that is our magnet board did not work out so well. 

Our fix was to reprint and stickify (it could be a word) the bodies, and adhere them to some cool backgrounds. The backgrounds are held up with regular magnets, and the clothes now stay nicely where they are placed. 

( I could not get good pictures of these)

Boy doll with no clothes.

Boy doll once Emma was done dressing him (and the goat) up. 

Here is our fancy magnet board with our fancy paper dolls. Someday we might frame it, but I won't hold my breath :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Barbie Clothes

So last year, when Emma was having some digestive issues, she was seen by a pediatric GI doctor (the gastro type, not the military type).

There ended up being nothing wrong (that they could find). I still have my doubts. Anyway, the point of me telling you this has nothing to do with Emma's tummy. It has everything to do with her introduction to Barbie.

For almost 5 years I was able to keep Barbie out of our lives. I thought (and still do) that Barbie was anatomically incorrect and gave girls an inappropriate idea of what the female body should look like.

I also just like to steer clear of massively commercial toys, clothes, etc.

Well, on our first visit with the GI doctor, she was given a Barbie as her treat for doing a good job. Great. She was immediately intrigued by the doll, which of course made me feel like a bad mama for keeping them away from her for so long.

Anyway, once the door was open, Barbie started showing up in all areas of our lives. Barbie movies and books from the library, more Barbie dolls and clothes from Gramma, and requests for Barbie stuff. We now own a few Barbie movies and books. We have recently discovered Barbie movie soundtracks at the library, and I can see those also becoming a permanent part of our lives.

Really, I can't complain too much. Other than Barbies unrealistic measurements, the rest of what she represents is pretty good. All the Barbie movies portray Barbie (or the character she is playing) in a strong female roll. She teaches kids about friendship, adversity, perseverance, gratitude, and so much more. The music is awesome (yes, I will sing along whenever I can) and the imaginary play that Barbie opens up is fantastic.

Lately, Barbie has needed some new clothes.

As well as some other dolls...

 And some of the unicorns needed new saddle blankets.

I made some clothes, 
the dress and sweater thing I made

But Emma improved on my designs. The dress with the red stitching was originally a tube top type thing. Emma wanted to stitch the fabric above the shoulders to make it warmer for the coming winter. I wanted the dress to be able to come off, so we dug up some snaps and here was the result. 

I think, from the look on Barbies face, that it is a success. Emma added the scarf and bracelets. 

The rest of the outfits Emma sewed up herself (with help threading the needle and knotting at the end). She did a great job. She even took most of the photos. 

Here are a few photos I took

All these Barbie clothes were made while listening to The Runaway Dolls by Ann M. Martin. We love audio books. And Barbie.