Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BOZ The Green Bear - Imagination

We decided to sample one of our curriculum choice for fall this week and it was a hit. I had received a teaser DVD of BOZ, The Green Bear Next Door from mops just after Rhea was born. My kids were too young for it at the time, but we finally bought the whole curriculum this year. The DVD's and books are for purchase (and stuffed animals, toys and other stuff you don't REALLY need), but the curriculum activities are free to download from their website.

So, I proceeded to burn through another ink cartridge after falling in love with BOZ all over again. Oh yes, I did take it for a test drive first by allowing Stephen to play some of the games and see a few samplers on the website. The only problem was when he saw all of the other "stuff". He used every manipulative begging/whining tactic before I caved and bought two of the small bears. Instead of standing in the checkout line thanking God for giving me such a wonderful curriculum, I did steam a bit about having to actually buy stuffed animals. I guess I didn't "have" to buy them, but I was not up to enduring the six months of whining while trying to enjoy this awesome way to bring God into our home. I put these cute green bears in their hands and stopped steaming about it when started to see their minds open throughout the week.

Every preschooler has an imagination, but this unit blew theirs wide open. The video has three 15 min. segments which is just about the right amount of time for them to calm down after a long day and for me to get dinner on the table. We also purchased all of the books including the two workbooks. The first one is much easier, so we do hand-over-hand with Rhea, while Stephen works out of book 2. The content is much different in both books, but it is still BOZ and we save the lesson teaching text for quiet times when we have the kids separated. The other pages in the book are written activities revolving around the text and scripture reading. Stephen listens very quietly to his lessons and then talks about them later while Rhea receives her lessons before nap time. Her favorite one was pretending with the sock puppet. We talked about how God gave us our imagination followed by creating a puppet with his own name, favorite food, color and sound effects. She has asked for her new "bear" every time I put her in bed now. She pulls my socked hand close and cuddles her pizza loving bear while he sings her our new bible songs. Actually, the songs are from when Tom and I were kids during our Joy Bible days so I guess that makes them a few years old.

The workbook pages included writing, stickers, dot-to-dots, art, sequencing and cut/paste. I was really impressed with the variety of activites. The activity below is from their website. The kids cut BOZ out along with other objects to help them pretend with this new friend.

In addition to the workbooks, a free online curriculum is offered for the other DVD's. Each unit will take us more in depth with additional hands on activities like we were doing with Five in A Row. For now, we just had fun with the topic of Imagination. By day two, both kids were working their brains extra hard to use this new imagination. Stephen told me on a bike ride that he was going to use him imagination to help him ride across the street without peddling. I knew then that we need a little work on our vocabulary since he knows that we stop and wait before crossing the street. I didn't, however, want to squelch this moment by adult thinking, so I said "alright". He came to a stop, laughed, and said "never mind".

Later in the week while we were all playing outside, I was in the sand box with Rhea while Tom was fixing an ant infestation. Stephen proceeded to move the play slide all the way across the deck to the back rail as I observed him without him noticing. He then climbed up the slide to the top, stood up, raised his arms, and commanded "HORNS UP". Now, it has been eight months since he has seen Daddy conduct, so it was humbling not only to see his imagination come to life, but that it vividly reflect what he sees. You guessed it, our back yard turned into a marching band. He kept having the need to go and talk to the flute section for reasons that we couldn't figure out since the flutes are typically at the very top of the stands behind the brass. Tom stepped in after a few minutes to play with our new backyard band until Stephen insisted that we needed to decorate for the concert. I think this part comes from the Little Einstein's series, but we all had fun putting up imaginary balloons and streamers until dinner time.

Our Library Book List:
The Paper Airplane by Fulvio
Dreamland by Kevin Hawkes
I had a Hippopotamus by Hector Viveros Lee
My freight Train by Michael Rex
I pretend by Hedi Goennel
It's Funny Where Ben's Train Takes Him by Robert Burleigh

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Stephen's Soccer Class

Stephen just finished his final soccer class of the year. He really enjoyed both classes but was driven more by the second session, more challenging class. Half of the class is dedicated to skills while the last half is a small scrimmage. As you can see, Stephen did really well and was never shy. He ended the season strong, but has decided to do something different in the fall. The fitness center offers a homeschool class for both of the kids, so I think we will begin that in September followed by a free Karate class offered by a near by church. Stephen will be old enough for rock climbing on his 5th birthday, so we are looking forward to tons of active fun this coming year!

Here are some video's of their final "games". I call it organized chaos. Stephen is in yellow and dominates the ball most of the time, but I guess that it is part of the game. They didn't actually work on passing the ball and were lucky enough to get each group of kids to run in the right direction. Have fun viewing!



We decided to step away from Before Five in A Row for awhile and do some simple unit studies. Almost all of the lapbook content came from This is a wonderful website offering TONS of free lapbook content.

The first segment covered both Stephen and Rhea's all time favorite subject of trains. We did a huge lapbook and read dozens of books. There is no shortage of train books at the library. The second segment included other vehicles and modes of transportation and another dozen books from our wonderful library.

The big family adventure to conclude this unit was to Blackberry Farm. The kids are finally old enough to appreciate the 1840's atmosphere and slightly grasp the concept of how people might have lived back then. They had a small warehouse of old horse carriages and we talked about how they were pulled by horses and people used them like we use our cars. Stephen found an old two seater sled that would have also been pulled by horses and was trying to figure out how that would have worked. We were also able to go into some buildings that we haven't seen before including a simulated street of old downtown Aurora. The kids saw a barber shop, pharmacy, photo studio, music house, bar, hotel, dress shop, and general store. Rhea kept wanting to go into the shops and was upset that all of the doors were locked. She finally gave up and said "let's get out of here". From there we went over to see the animals, Blacksmith, and Weaving House. This of course lead us right up to the carousel and train station!

Lapbook #2


Book List:
Choo Choo Clickety-Clack by Margaret Mayo
Little Louie Takes Off by Toby Morison
The Little Engine That Could by Waty Piper
Train Song by Diane Siebert
Train Song by Harriet Ziefert
Fire Truck to the Rescue by Steven James Petruccio
Freight Train by Donald Crews
A Ride in the Crummy by Gary Hines
If I Could Drive an Ambulance by Michael Teitelbaum
Boats on the River by Peter Mandel
The Train by David McPhail
Cars, Cars, Cars by Grace Maccarone
Hello Frieght Train by Marjorie Blain Parker
Train by Chris Demarest
Train Stories by Heather Amery and Stephen Catwright