Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!!!!!

Not school related, we just wanted to wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!!!! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Art Class- Connections Academy *Puppet Making*

We are technically still on Winter Break at Connections Academy, but my boys took some vacation days last week that we need to make up this week. So to make up some hours we are working on a few assignments that we are behind on, as well as working ahead on some other assignments. Today we worked on the assignment that is assigned for the first day back to school (January 5th). Making Puppets! I wish I could have gotten some pictures of my little guys working hard on their puppets, but the baby wanted to sit in my lap and "help", so my hands were a little tied up ;) BUT I did get some really cute pictures of the finished product, and let me tell you, these boys really put some imagination into their puppets!

Brandon's (blonde hair) puppet is "Toy Freddy" from Five Nights at Freddy's.
Jacob's (brown hair) puppet is his Daddy. 

And its NEVER to early to start baby out! 

We are trying out some Tot School activities with baby Ricky. Ricky is now 9 months old, nearing the big ONE, and we are ready to start having fun teaching while playing with Ricky! Of COURSE Ricky will be doing NO kind of official school work, we are simply playing with a purpose at this point! 5 minutes a day is all we are doing right now! :) 

Today we introduced foam Squares
Ricky thought that they tasted delicious! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Halfway through the year at Connections Academy

We are just about to finish up our first semester at Connections Academy. I cannot believe we are already halfway through the year! Time has flown by so fast.

How we are doing:
We are absolutely LOVING Connections Academy. We are SO happy with our decision to enroll. In the beginning we were SO unsure of our decision. We were all pretty sure that we would end up not liking it at all, especially after reading so many reviews about how rigorous the curriculum is.
For us, the scheduled lessons work well. They give us something to be accountable to, and even though lessons are due on a certain day, there is always the option of doing the lesson on another day (at least in the lower grades, I have heard different about high school). Our teacher is so helpful, and she has always been available when we have questions or need guidance. The lessons are fun and engaging, and they are set up with instructions on *HOW* to teach the lesson to your child. I could go on forever about all of the things we love about Connections Academy, but then this blog post would be like a million pages long.
I guess the ONLY negative I can think of so far is that the kids are not engaging with other kids their age on a daily basis. HOWEVER, that does NOT mean that they are isolated in ANY way. They have their friends that they get to visit, and of course they see other children when we visit parks, and other out of the house activities. We are looking forward to summer coming back so we can be outdoors more, as we are all feeling a little cooped up in the house right now.
I guess it goes without saying that we will be sticking with Connections Academy not only for the remainder of this year, but for all the years Connections is an available option to us! We hope to be able to stick with Connections all the way through High School!

We decided at the beginning of the year to use half of the living room as a school room since this was the ONLY available space for a school area. In the beginning of the year the school area was pretty bare and empty. That is definitely no longer the case, in fact, our school work/stuff is slowly invading the rest of the house, including the kitchen where we do most of our school work. Our area works for us though, and of course we don't mind our house looking like half house/half school!
Here is what some of our school areas look like (you can go back to the beginning of the year to see how it looked at the beginning of the year). I'm sure by the end of the year the school stuff will have taken up even more room in our house!

New fun added to our day:
I have also taken on the duty of watching my grandson during the day. At first it was a real challenge to school while taking care of a baby, but we quickly learned not to stress about staying on such a strict schedule. Once we learned to work around the demands of the baby, things got easier. Now the baby (his name is Ricky) is such a part of our routine, that on days that he is not here, we find ourselves lost!

Added Shelf to hall. We had to add a shelf to the hall area. We needed a place to store art supplies, busy boxes for the baby, board games, and toys to keep baby busy while we do school. 

 We have added a behavior chart for Jacob. (Jacob is working on impulse control. He has a diagnosis of Autism, and this is something he is struggling with right now). We also added some positive reinforcement papers. We wrote "I am proud of your today because:" on a piece of paper and then laminated the paper. Each night I write something that each boy did during the day to make me proud. Some days it is something HUGE, some days it is just something simple. The point is to show them that the things that they do make me proud of them. :) On the days that the boys are especially naughty, it takes a lot of thinking to come up with something to write, but I ALWAYS write SOMETHING ;) 

 We have added a bulletin board to hang art. (This is in addition to a couple of clotheslines we hung up to hang art from)

 The kitchen table (this is where to do most of our work). We have our paper tray that holds our assignments until the end of the week (Sunday) when I file them away for the year. Also I keep a pencil sharpener here,  also SOME of our dry erase supplies that I use to write on our laminated math aides (Hundreds Chart, Number Line, Part Part Whole Mat, Tens/Ones Chart, etc) are kept here. I keep the laminated math aides, listed above, on the bottom shelf of the paper tray for easy access while working on math assignments.  Each boy also has a pencil box here with the supplies we use every day such as pencils and erasers. We keep a high chair here in the kitchen right next to the kitchen table so that the baby can play with the attached toys while we work on school. 
Oh, and the clothesline, to hang art of course! ;) 

 Our computer area. As you can see the supplies have pretty much exploded since the beginning of school. It is still manageable though, and everything is easily accessible and organized. (You can see yet another clothesline of art here too lol) Each of us has our own computer and amazingly the three computers fit nicely into this area. Under the desk are two three-drawer organizers where we store art and craft supplies and paper. 

A dry erase board for reminders. We keep Jacob's therapy appointments, Special Education appointments, and Respite appointments here. (We have another bulletin board in another area of the house for non-school related appointments)  

Another shelf for our stuff. Boys crafts, and more baby toys. 

 Another shelf, this one holds math manipulatives, Science Supplies, Workbooks, and more Dry Erase Supplies. Also, Time and Money Supplies, and Flash Cards. On the bottom shelf, letter tiles and books for school. 

Close up of one of the desk areas. This part of the desk holds crayons, markers, unifix cubes, and Misc. Supplies. 

 One of our doors serves as a word wall (that we could really use practice on keeping up to date) and a spot to hang school related posters. 

We are pretty sure that the second half of our year will be just as successful as the first half! :) 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two new projects!!

Things have been absolutely crazy around here lately (you will hear more about this in another post later this week), so I did not have time to post our Kansas Connections Academy Arts and Crafts Project from last week. I'm going to go ahead and post that now along with THIS weeks project LOL

Last weeks project was a lot of fun! A no heat lava lamp! The boys absolutely loved it. The boys kept adding more and more antacid tablets (a lot more than instructed) to see how high they could get their lava lamps to bubble! It was really cute watching their expressions! Click the second picture to enlarge it, and you will see just how excited Brandon was (blonde hair) to watch the lava lamp bubble up!

And this weeks project was just as much fun! A super cute Caterpillar! The boys really enjoyed creating these little creatures and they are an adorable addition to our art wall! 

Keep a close eye! I will be posting our "How Our First Year is Going" Blog post very soon! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Connections Academy Arts and Crafts Club Weekly Craft- Aquarium

Here is our weekly project for the Arts and Crafts Club at Connections Academy! We had so much fun working on this aquarium!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Connections Academy Arts And Crafts Club Project - Snowman

Here is this weeks Arts and Crafts club project! 
Look at these adorable snowmen!!! 

I am so glad that I signed the boys up for this club. We get to spend quality time together every weekend working on projects, and the boys really enjoy seeing their hard work come together! 
They are so proud of their creations! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pond Mural

The boys were working a science lesson today (its a Sunday, but we had make up work to do since we missed a day of lessons for our field trip), and as part of an enrichment activity we made a pond mural! The boys had so much fun working together to create the perfect pond! It was so cute watching them bounce ideas off of eachother and putting the perfect finishing touches on their mural!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kansas Connections Academy Field Trip - Tanganyika Wildlife Park

We had such a great time on our field trip to Tanganyika Wildlife Park! We got to meet our wonderful teachers, we saw some really cool animals during the demonstration, and we got to walk around the park and see and even FEED some of the animals! Such a great day! Thank you Kansas Connections Academy for another FANTASTIC field trip! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Connections Academy Arts and Crafts Club Bookmark Project

We really enjoyed this weeks craft project from our Arts and Crafts Club at Connections Academy!

This weeks project was BOOKMARKS! 

Brandon's Bookmark! 

Jacob's Bookmark! 

Awesome project using just a corner of an envelope and a piece of duct tape! So fun! 

Social Studies Project: My Country, Many Shapes Part 2

We, of course, do not post every lesson we complete, my goodness, this blog would be enormous! However, I do like to post some of our more exciting projects/lessons, and this happens to be one of them! 
My boys have really enjoyed the "My Country, Many Shapes" lesson. In part 1 of the lesson, the boys made a list describing a country that they would make up. They then drew a sketch of this country using details from their list. Finally the boys created a model of their country from the sketch that they made! We all had a lot of fun working with this lesson! 

Jacob's Country 
Jacob's list included that his country had some tall, snowy mountains. Villagers are the people that  lived in Jacob's country. Jacob's country was surrounded by grassy land. Some animals that lived in Jacob's county included Mountain Cows and Pigs. The Mountain Cows and Pigs were used for food. 

Jacob's Sketch:

Brandon's Country 
Brandon's list included that his country was mostly flat land used for raising crops which were used for food. The people in Brandon's country are farmers. Brandon's country is surrounded on three sides by ocean, and one side by land. The animals that live in Brandon's country are dogs, cats, and pigs. The cats and dogs are raised as pets, while the pigs are used for food

Brandon's Sketch: 

Here are some pictures of the boys creating their model! So much fun! 

 Painting the background for our countries. 

Pictures of the models completed! 

Brandon's Model

Brandon's completed assignment ready to turn in to his teacher! 

Jacob's Model

Jacob's assignment ready to turn in to his teacher! 

What a FUN assignment!