Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homeschooling Day Three

Don't worry! I'm not going to post every single day on here!

I'm mostly trying to get things going this first week or two before I'll start just posting BIG ideas, crafts and experiments and things, as suggestions. Maybe the occasional short post about how things are going. Like I said, right now, I'm just trying to get things together and most importantly KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED.

I feel like my failure with a lot of things is my tendency to slack off and think "I don't need to write that down"....."I don't need to put that in the right folder"....aaaand then all of a sudden I've forgotten what I have and haven't done or what I wanted to do and everything gets all higgely piggely.


On Day three we started talking about Rivers, which we will continue to do for the next two weeks or so.

  • We did all of the typical things on the computer.
  • However, we did decide to read Danny and the Dinosaur instead or rereading Bedtime for Frances like we were supposed to. As usual, she wrote a synopsis and answered a few questions like "What was your favorite funny thing that the dinosaur did?"
  • Our big project for the day was to go to Sebald, take a hike to our favorite beach, and dig out rivers and bays and lakes using only buckets of water and a water pail. We're talking about erosion and how water shapes the land.

An absolutely beautiful day. And we were lucky to enjoy it!

  • The creek here has many huge exposed cliffs. Perfect for talking about how powerful water can be.
  • After we got home we watched a Magic School Bus episode on water erosion. It mentioned how it's not just the pressure of water but all of the little dirt particles that erode and smooth things.
  • We also checked on our water cups and surprise of all surprises the cup in the cupboard is evaporating faster! My daughter thought this may have something to do with the temperature in the cupboard but when we took their temperature, they were the same. I think we just uncovered a mystery!

I have to say I am really pleased with the progress both of my children are making...already! I have seen a noticeable difference in how confident my daughter is in reading, or attempting to read, anything and everything she sees. She's even starting to read the instructions on her worksheets, and is able to "sight read" a lot of words I know she doesn't know. Reading is starting to become second nature to her. Even my son is getting better at recognizing sounds and letters, and both of them are really sharp when it comes to making hypotheses and exploring during our experiments. I don't think I could be happier with them.

Homeschooling Day Two

Day two was even better than the first day. We had some plumbing work being done in our basement, and since plumbing does involve water, I thought this would probably be a great first hand lesson on plumbing. Got to take the opportunity when you see it.

  • We started the day off with math, which I'm starting to realize may not be a good idea because, after all, who really wants to be attempting math when your brain is still mush from trying to wake up?
  • Counting by 2's is something she hadn't learned before in school and so it was a challenge trying to get her to understand (I had to pull out the number blocks), but she eventually got the hang of it and we both we really happy and proud of ourselves for getting over the first "challenge" we've had homeschooling. 
  • We completed the K12 work with reading Bedtime for Francecs and practicing writing. I usually have her write a short synopsis and answer a question or two in her english book about the story she read. 
  • We played the Water Leaks Game, which was a bit hard for her, but still fun.
  • We read How Stuff Works: Plumbing, and watched the Dirty Jobs episode that was on it. There was a point where Mike asked the plumber what the number one rule of plumbing was. His answer: "Don't bite your fingernails." The children thought it was hilarious.
  • We watched this short film on Roman plumbing, and looked at some pictures of Machu Picchu's fountains and sewage systems.

  • Then we read this hilarious article from Popular Science about how Space Station toilets are getting clogged. 
  • And finally, before bathtime we made a hotwheels car car wash out of bendy straws and tape. It wasn't terribly successful, mostly because the tape wasn't very good at keeping the water in, but my daughter found how to increase the pressure in the "plumbing" by blowing into the air vent. I love being impressed by how sharp my children can be haha.

All in all, another great day. I feel like we struck the right balance between learning and enjoying ourselves. It was even better because we got to peak downstairs and watch real plumbers at work, soldering and hammering.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homeschooling Day One

As I mentioned in previous posts I've decided to follow a basic unit division for my daughter's homeschooling. I've recently read Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis, and loved his descriptions about creating elaborate imaginary worlds with his brother so much, that I thought this would be a great year long project for the kids to work on.
But because creating a world can be so potentially challenging, I've divided the year up into four courses based on the four ancient elements:

I created a basic rubric for every day that consists of at least one "activity," math or science experiment, day trip, craft, special books to read, that fits each theme, which she can do on top of her online schooling. I'm hoping this will help build her education, while still giving her most of the day to just play or read or whatever.

We're starting with Water, and today was a very rainy day, which seemed almost too good to be true. Here's the rundown of our day:

-My daughter got online and did three reading lesson on her K12 school.
-We took a break to watch Bill Nye: Water Cycle
It's not letting me put the video in here so here's the link: Water Cycle
- Bill Nye brought up the word "hydrological," so we went over the root word "hydro." We thought about some common words that she's heard before (although didn't necessary know), like hydroponics, hydroelectric, carbohydrates, and hydrated. Here's a great website with many more of these words: hydro and hydra
-She then went back online to do 2 math lessons.
-We had to go to the grocery store so while we were in the car we turned up the heat and exhaled out of our mouth to make the car foggy. There was supposed to be something about condensation there but it was mostly just fun to doodle on the windows. And we sang a bit of the evaporation, condensation, precipitation song. Ok, we sang it a lot.
-She watched this video on Khan University about Caillebotte's Rainy Day. It was a bit advanced for her, but she knows about impressionism, and I asked her to write how Caillebotte was different from other impressionists ("He drew more serious" was her answer) and a sentence saying who the artist was and the title of the piece. She said she didn't care for it because it was in the city and too gray, not a "pretty rain."
-We ended our day with April Rain Song by Langston Hughes
Here is the link to a video and recording of the poem.

We have two more nighttime activities that we haven't done yet
-Taking a cursory look at the night sky. Tonight Venus should be out.
-Bedtime Math.

And one ongoing activity:
-We put two cups of water out, one in a shady area, and one in the sun. We're keeping track of how long it takes for the water to evaporate.

Today was a rainy day and so we spent a lot more time on the computer and inside than we probably normally would. So far I'm pretty satisfied with the K12 program. She is able to do most of it herself, meaning I can do other things and just help when needed, and while it's easy, repetitive, and a bit boring, it's pretty much an interactive version of the worksheets she's constantly doing at school. And she really loves that kind of stuff. To be honest, so do I. I just like filling out forms and filling in spaces and things. I guess she gets that from me. She has been so excited about coming up with her own ideas about what we should do, I had to curb her from working further ahead on K12 and to stop the experiments and crafts and kick her out the door to go play. And best of all, her brother gets to join in and interact with her learning too. He's been calling rain precipitation now, and she counts aloud with him while she's doing her math.

We're really happy to have her home :)