Kindergarten Shape Study Part 2: Kandinsky

Kindergarten Shape Study Kandinsky

I posted last week about our shape study we have been working through for math. I extended the lessons to art with a quick artist study of Wassily Kandinsky, especially his work “Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles.”

We started the lesson by watching this video and talking about the various shapes and line widths he used.

Then we watched this video:

I fast forwarded and paused the video as we watched so we could talk about the paintings. This video was great because it showed the progression from more realistic works to the very abstract. We identified the objects and shapes in the realistic and abstract works.

After we watched (most) of the video, I showed the bigs a picture of Kandinsky’s work “Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles.”


I had watched a lesson plan video earlier and decided, in keeping with my homeschooling on a dollar store budget, that we would use wet chalk instead of oil pastels. I folded a piece of black construction paper into quarters. This resulted in rectangles instead of squares, but you could easily trim a piece of paper down before you folded it.

We went outside for art because the littles woke from nap before we started and I didn’t want chalk all over the house. I kept a picture of Kandinsky’s work up on the laptop as a reference. I showed them how to wet their chalk before using it to achieve a deeper color.

2014-09-19 16.28.55

After we filled in two sections, I showed the boys how to blend colors to make new colors.

Judah's artwork

Judah’s artwork

Malachi's artwork

Malachi’s artwork

My artwork :)

My artwork 🙂

There were so many “lessons” in this simple activity: types of art, shapes, colors, color mixing, art mediums, textures, and on and on.


Kindergarten Shape Study: Part 1

shape study

I am not using a set curriculum for math this year. My plan is to use lots of hands on activities and then work through addition and subtraction using the cognitively guided instruction approach. I am excited about this approach as it is highly recommended by a long time elementary schoolteacher and teacher trainer. I will post more about that later in the year.

We are starting our kindergarten year with a unit on shapes. We will do two dimensional shapes first and then three dimensional right after or later in the year depending on where we are at the end of this study.

In keeping with my homeschooling on a dollar store budget I picked up some colorful flat wooden shapes on clearance at our local teacher store. There is a section where they have random sets of things that seem like pieces from games for super cheap. I have found some neat little manipulatives there and always make sure to check it out.

For kindergarten we will be doing math twice a week and last week we started by identifying basic shapes, counting sides and corners. They already knew circle, square, rectangle and triangle but the hexagon was new for them.

The first thing I did was have them sort the shapes. They did really well without any input from me.



After we had identified each shape and counted the shapes and corners, we played “find me a ___________.” They took turns finding the shape I called out and then each had a chance to call out a shape for the other to find.

Next up was the “shape detective” game. On their turn they chose shapes to put into a bag (I just used a paper lunch bag) and then I told them a shape to find. They had to find that shape using “clues” gathered by their fingers without looking and pull it out of the bag. We started with two shapes and moved up until we had one of each of the shapes in the bag. Again, they took turns telling the other what shape to find.

shape detective

shape detective

Today we continued the shape study by reviewing the shapes we talked about last week. I started the lesson out with the shapes colored side down. We matched shapes, talked about big and small, discussed how we knew the shapes were different (how is a square different than a rectangle and a circle different than a hexagon even though the shapes are very similar) and discovered that we could make a new shape by putting two shapes together.





After we talked about the shapes for a while, we played shape bingo. I took a plain piece of paper and folded it into 16 squares. They then filled their boards using the shapes and put a chip on each shape I called.




I won!

I won!

After a few rounds they each had a turn to be the “chooser” and I played one of the boards. The “chooser” had to call out the shape that he chose from the bag. They had a great time with this game and I have a feeling it will be requested again.

After math, we made shape collages for art. I made cutting strips on construction paper that they cut out and glued onto paper. Cutting the squares and rectangles was pretty easy and the triangles and half circles more difficult. It is quite difficult to cut a circle with scissors, so I decided to use half circles so it was challenging and used the same skills as cutting a full circle but not so difficult that they would become discouraged and frustrated.




They had lots of fun cutting and gluing and were so calm and quiet I decided to read the next chapter in our read aloud: The Mouse and the Motorcycle while they worked.





Judah’s finished picture:

judah shapes


Disclaimers: Yes, that is my dining room table full of dents, scratches, missing varnish and permanent marker stains. But it is solid and well built and will hopefully last 16 more years of homeschooling and I’m not afraid to mess it up. Also, yes, I know Malachi’s shirt is backwards AND inside out but he is participating so it’s a win. This is real life, my friends.

A Trip to the Heart {Rock}


heart rock
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

I have posted a little before about our journey to where we are now as a family and our commitment to homeschooling our children even before we were married. There were many years it seemed we would never see the desires of our hearts, but the Lord knew His plan for us, and following Him has allowed us to homeschool our children. We are so blessed.

A recent hike with the bigs to a local landmark, Heart Rock, offered reflections on homeschooling and life.  Here is what I hope to keep in mind as we begin our trip to the heart.

wpid-0906140956b.jpgSome will choose the easy path, some will choose the challenging path.

wpid-0906141000.jpgSometimes the best way to get where you are going is to slide.

wpid-0906141003b.jpgThe lowest point often holds the opportunity for the most growth.

wpid-0906141006.jpgWe can choose different paths to get to the same place.

wpid-0906140958.jpgLook for guidance along the way and keep moving forward.

wpid-0906141010.jpgTake risks but remember you may need to backtrack to find the path again.

wpid-0906141046b.jpgBeauty can come in unexpected places and seemingly impossible situations.

wpid-0906141107a.jpgTake moments to just be and soak it all in.

wpid-0906141107.jpgEvery experience is a chance to learn.

wpid-0906141114.jpgThere is a time to help and a time to ask for help.

wpid-0906141200.jpgFlexibility is key.

wpid-0906141152e.jpgFind the small moments of joy along the way.

wpid-0906141040b.jpgDon’t take your eyes off the final destination.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4, ESV

5 Solae Academy is Open: Our First Day

Before Cliff and I were even married, we knew that homeschooling was the right choice for our family for a variety of reasons. Fast forward 11-12 years and here we are.

Yesterday was the first day of school at 5 Solae Academy!


1st day of school signs

1st day of school signs

My plan was to have school during the Littles nap to prevent the chaos and destruction that comes with two year old twins, but the boys were so excited I decided to do part of my plan for the day in the morning.

First we sorted their new school supplies. I can still remember the smell of new school supplies and the excitement of a new school year that came along with it. I wanted to pass that memory on to my children so I picked up a few new things for them.

Judah sorts new supplies.

Judah sorts new supplies.


An unplanned lesson on magnets.

An unplanned lesson on magnets.


They each have their own pencil case with pencils, a white board marker, (both new), scissors (we already had),  a small pack of crayons and a short ruler (both free from the fire department at a recent community fair), a paper towel “eraser” for their whiteboards and a small letter line I made.


Malachi and his supplies

Malachi and his supplies


Judah and his supplies

They also got their own whiteboard and journal. The craft box (a wipe box) has new skinny markers, colored pencils, glue and a bigger box of crayons.


New supplies!


After we sorted our supplies, we prayed and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we jumped into reading which Malachi is very excited about and ready for. I am using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons  which is a phonics program. We learned the sounds “mmmmmm” and “ssssss.” Malachi said that  saying “mmmmmm” was making him  hungry so after the lesson we took a break for chips and salsa and my doctor’s appointment. While we were working on reading, the Littles were busy undoing all the work we had just finished despite Grandma’s best efforts to distract them.

After my doctor’s appointment, we did our first lesson on science. I am using Discovering God’s World (Abeka) for science. The first unit is “Discovering Myself” and we will be concentrating on the 5 senses. While I read the introduction of the unit, the boys colored pictures of themselves on the front covers of their journals, including brains and in Judah’s case other things 4 year old boys talk about (ahem).


Malachi draws himself


Judah draws himself

Judah draws himself

We ended the day making our 1st day of school signs. Judah wants to be a construction worker when he grows up and Malachi wants to be a pastor “to take my Dad’s place.”


1st day of school signs

1st day of school signs


We had a few hiccups along the way where Malachi got frustrated, but I found after a few sentences of encouragement, if I continued as planned he recovered and join us again. Shortly after we were finished, Malachi asked for more school work (yay!) so he practiced writing his name on his white board and did an alphabet puzzle with Grandpa.


Working a puzzle with Grandpa

Working a puzzle with Grandpa

Overall, it was a great first day at 5 Solae Academy.  We are looking forward to 16 more years.

If you homeschool, how was your first day?

Homeschooling & the Mommy Wars: What I Wish We Were Saying

One great thing about having a blog is when you have thoughts running around in your head at 1 am, you can dump them out on a “page” and then leave them there until the morning (well, later in the morning anyway). Then, hopefully, go back to sleep. Here are my 1 am musings.

Two things happened recently that prompted this post.

The first involves a conversation I had with a dear Christian friend. Her five year old was starting kindergarten at our local public school in a few weeks. I asked her how she was feeling about this. What I meant was “how are you, as a mother, feeling about your baby bird leaving the nest?” It became apparent during the conversation that what she heard was “why aren’t you homeschooling?” She shared her reasons for choosing public school and how others had questioned this choice. I was saddened that she felt she needed to defend her choice to me instead of finding a friend with an ear sympathetic to the bittersweet moments that are ever present in parenting.

The second is I joined a very large very active homeschool group on Facebook. The support this group offers is invaluable, yet  I am disheartened by some of the things I see there. There are several post everyday along the lines of “I am so glad my children don’t go to public school because….”  some of which make me cringe and hope they don’t share those thought outside of the private group. But even more disheartening are the posts (or comments more often) judging other’s methods of homeschooling as if there is a wrong or right way to homeschool.

What I wish we were all saying to each other is:

If you homeschool for religious reasons…I support you.

If your children attend public school for religious reasons…I support you.

If you homeschool for academic reasons…I support you.

If your children attend public school for academic reasons…I support you.

If your children sleep until 10 am and start “school” sometime between 11-12…I support you.

If you do the “get up before 6 am, get dressed, find your shoes, pack the lunch, pack the backpack, run for the bus” dance 5 mornings a week…I support you.

If you homeschool because it makes you a better parent….I support you.

If your children attend public school because it makes you a better parent…I support you.

If you spend $1,000 on curriculum for your homeschool…I support you.

If you homeschool using free resources and Pinterest…I support you.

If you homeschool in a designated classroom adorned in primary colors…I support you.

If you homeschool where ever is comfiest…I support you.

If you are an active, thoughtful partner in your child’s learning, however that looks for your family, I SUPPORT YOU.