Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Homeschool Thursday: How to make a song

A collection of far too many photos depicting some schooly and unschooly learning from the past couple of weeks..... 

Last summer a friend and I planned that our families would gather once a month or so throughout the year for our kids to present research projects to a small, familiar group, over dinner.  The request came from her girls who were new to homeschooling, and said they would miss the research projects and presentations they had been doing at their Montessori school.  It hasn't worked out as regularly as we hoped, but Juniper did finish her Blue Jay project a few weeks ago, and was excited, though a bit nervous to share her work with our friends.  

This was her first experience presenting something to a group, and it was so fun to get to see her in that role.  She was clear and loud in her presentation, and remembered to look at the audience as she presented the information.  The other kids were patient and respectful, and asked questions about blue jays at the end. 
Kale was not to be left out.  He brought along his favorite book, a small collection of jokes and limericks (which he has memorized) and "read" through the book with great animation and appropriate timing.  It was a hoot.  He repeated his performance the following week on stage in front of our homeschool group (of about 40 people) during a potluck/coffee house.  He's already planning his presentation for the next one; either a group collaboration of his second favorite book, "Borrowed Black", or a solo performance of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" from Frozen.  (Our kids are crazy about the music from this film).   
We'll definitely be continuing with this tradition of presenting formal projects and may even branch out and include other friends and relatives to get more practice at public speaking. 

We continue to work regularly with RightStart Math.  I have liked this program from the beginning, and is the only curriculum we have stuck to throughout the years. (am I starting to sound like a commercial?  I swear I'm receiving no sponsorship--but maybe I should look into it!)  Kale is working on very early visual math, recognizing groups of 5 and 5+ numbers--when he wants to.  I would never push school work with kids this young.  For older kids RightStart introduces new concepts, but continues to emphasize practice of older skills as well.  So, while she's working on multiplication some days, she's also still building and adding 4 digit numbers in her head and on the abacus.  The other day I realized she had never done any graphing, so we took a 1/2 hour in the morning to graph all the measurements Kale was busy taking around the house (he's really into the tape measure right now).  She still wanted to do more, so we moved onto pie charts and line graphs.  When it was time to go to piano she cried because she hadn't had time to finish her line graph.  I guess we'll be doing more of that soon, and maybe we can figure out how to incorporate graphs into her next research project.   

In history we are slowly working through Story of the World, Ancient Times.  Kale loves the coloring activities.  Here he is in a tiger mask from ancient India.  We are also using history to introduce some geography lessons.  We keep the atlas and globe handy, and start at Maine when reading about any other country, and travel by finger over to that country, while naming the continents on the way.  
Kale isn't so interested in this, but Juniper enjoys it.  

As I've mentioned before, "school" work takes up only a small part of about 4 days each week.  Otherwise there's all kinds of good stuff going on without me.  Last week Juniper decided to put together an activity book as a gift for a friend.  It includes a coloring/cutting page, learn to draw pages, and this page on "How to make a Song".  The book required more writing than I had asked her to do in the past week, and she did it all on her own accord, asking only for spelling advice.  I love it.  

Wylie picked up on her enthusiasm, and got right to work on his own paper work, a DIY inspired project in which Juniper could complete certain tasks to earn her "bookmaking badge".  He sewed the badge himself with some scrap felt.  

Another day involved disassembling a remote control car and mounting his iPod to the top to take videos as it drove.  Pretty fun.  (Don't worry Mimi, the car still works fine--even better depending on who you ask).  

This guy, who I call Hank, was an out of the blue gift I couldn't resist.  Some friends had received this puzzle for a Christmas gift, and when we played with it at their house I knew I had to order one for another little friend whose birthday was approaching--and get another one for ourselves.  We ordered him on Amazon, but I think some toy stores carry him too.  He comes with a great booklet that tells about all his parts, and he can completely disassemble/reassemble.  Our friends have a brain model too.  Also super cool.  We haven't done a formal Anatomy study since Wylie was very small, but Juniper took a class with our homeschool group recently. Hank however, has inspired a few "know your body" videos (by Wylie and Juni) and we are all learning a lot from just hanging around with him.  

What day is complete without a bit of Hula?

The dramatic play around here has been non-stop and over the top ridiculous.  Juniper and Kale spend half the day in their underwear pretending to be "pinchampeez" (as Kale calls it).  Then they are cannibal kings (don't ask), followed orphans, veterinarians, and some game that involves walking in the snow in their socks.

Playmobil guys continue to be a staple in most play.  I love them because they are so willing to be a part of any game, be it Jenga blocks built into a tree fort, parachuting with handkerchiefs, a skate/surf club with shape sorter blocks or sailing in the bath tub.  These little guys are so versatile and cooperative.  And they always have a smile on their faces.

This was Juniper and Kale's handiwork.  

If this doesn't make you sing, I don't know what will.

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