Monday, October 25, 2010
D is learning about physical science this year and we decided to begin our year with simple machines. He decided to start with some LEGO education building kits, being the LEGO enthusiast that he is. He built a tractor to demonstrate how wheels and axels work, and a crane to learn about pulleys. In our homeschooling group we've been exploring bridge designs and D's class built a truss bridge. At home we've been using the book 'The New Way Things Work' by David Macaulay and Steven Caney's 'The Ultimate Building Book' to read more about simple machines. If you haven't seen either of these books, they are definitely worth checking out of your local library. They are awesome!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Ah, Kindergarten. Remember the naps? The snacktime with those little cartons of milk? Learning to raise your hand before speaking? Sitting up front on the bus so as not to be inundated into back-of-the-bus-mayhem at too young an age? I have fond memories of playing with the letter people in Mrs. Erikson's class, of striving to color inside the lines, of finding the courage to hang upside down from the monkey bars with no hands, and of dressing up as Ms. A in the Kindergarten play.
Kindergarten has most likely evolved since 1981, and kindergarten here in our house certainly differs from my kindergarten experience in many ways. First of all, J hasn't napped since she was 2. I often encourage her to color outside the lines just to shake things up a bit, you know, think outside the box and all that. I'm sure the concept of learning your letters at age 5 would seem absolutely ridiculous to her. However, our mutual love of snacks very much lives on. I mean, who doesn't love snacks? And the sweetness of early learning - the snuggling up while reading together, the crafts and creating, the wide-eyed wonder of learning something new, the pride in mastering a task, are things that are very much present here as J begins her Kindergarten year with much pride. I hope she holds on to that wonder and joy in learning in the years to come.
Monday, October 11, 2010
We kicked off our fall learning with two field trips to M.I.T. They offer classes for homeschoolers at the Edgerton Center for education and this year Dylan has been twice. He took part in a motorized LEGO car ralley and also made a quizboard, which helped him learn about circuits. The girls enjoy coming along for the ride, riding the T and running on the quad with their HSing friends.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
If blogging were a class entitled 'one more thing to add to your busy life that you will truly enjoy but eventually find you don't really have the time for due to your tendency to procrastinate and already very full schedule' we would pass with flying colors. I must admit that I am a bit embarassed that it has taken me so long to return to the blogosphere after our summer hiatus, but here we are, finally writing a new post! our school year is off to a great start this year. We have changed much of our curriculum which seems to be working very well for D. Here is a list of the resources we decided on for this year:
Math-U-See 4th grade
Learning Language Arts through Literature 5th grade
Winston Grammar Basic Level
The Story of the World Vol.4 and Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
The New Way Things Work, combined with lots of building kits and experiments to explore physics
J is now a kindergartener, a moniker she wears with great pride. She continues to work on her reading and writing and is very earnest in her endeavors! I've struggled with the idea of teaching reading to a young child, having been through it once before with D. It seems that they pick it up so much faster if you wait a bit longer, say around age 8. But she wants to read so very much! So we work on it a bit each day, and as long as she is enjoying the process I'm happy to go along with her on the journey. I've been using Houghton Mifflin's Reading for Meaning and Bob Books to combine a whole language approach to reading with phonics. We use math every day in our daily lives, and I also have Saxon Kindergarten Math for the days when she would like a formal approach to learning math. She has decided to learn about animals this year so thus far we have been focusing on insects, arachnids and mammals. We are using Around the World in 80 Tales to learn geography, along with maps, puzzles and crafts for reinforcement and fun, of course.
Of course with both children our curriculum continues to be a jumping-off-place, or point of departure for learning. I let their curiosity or interest in a subject or idea be the fuel that sets us on course, and that's when learning becomes a real adventure!