Friday, December 26, 2008

December 2008 Review

I'm always amazed when the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and I am looking back over what we did that could be considered educational. In my mind, all I am doing is making lists, cleaning, shoppings, wrapping, and cooking. Of course, we have church and reading the Christmas story and such, but I really don't realize how much we are actually learning.

In the area of Math, in addition to helping me measure and cook in the kitchen, he is beginning to understand large numbers, counting by 5's and 10's to 100, but also took it upon himself to figure out counting by 100's to 1000 and 1000's to 10,000. He got a Scooby-Doo pinball game as one of his Christmas gifts and so he is also now learning how to read numbers with a 100 place value. It is cute how he started by asking, "Mom, what is 8-2-3?" which would be his score, moving on to "Mom, is 8-2-3 the same as eight hundred twenty-three?". It wasn't something I tried to teach, but when he needed the information, and wanted to learn it, I helped him.

We read a lot of Christmas picture books: "The Crippled Lamb" by Max Lucado; "The Little Drummer Boy" illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats; "Allie the Christmas Spider" by Shirley Menendez among others. We also read a chapter book by Ruth Graham Bell titled "One Wintry Night". It is the story of a young mountain boy who gets caught in a storm and seeks refuge at a nearby cabin. While waiting for the storm to end, the woman in the cabin tells him the Christmas story, except she begins with the beginning of the world (Genesis) and ends when Jesus arose from the tomb. Our other Literature picks were "A Bear Named Paddington" by Michael Bond (listened to on CD on a car trip) and "The Apple and the Arrow" by Mary and Conrad Buff. This last book is part of Sonlight's list for this age and I actually thought it might be too advanced, but Samuel liked it because we had recently had the William Tell Overture as our musical selection. We also looked on the map for Austria and Switzerland.

We made a fleece blanket for my mother. Samuel picked out the fabric and then I cut strips around the edges to tie into fringe. I used this to show Samuel how to tie a knot and he did one whole side with my help. I count this as Life Skills.

While we learned some History and Geography from reading "The Apple and the Arrow", our main lessons in this area was Colonial America. I found a great series in our library published by The Library of the Thirteen Colonies and the Lost Colony. We had already covered Virginia from our Pocahontas books, and Massachusetts from our Mayflower books, so I started with Roanoke and moved on to Mew Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, and Delaware. I have the others on order now. I also found a black line map of the thirteen colonies and he is coloring in the colony after we read each book. This was not on my original "Curriculum", but I'm all about being flexible when you find something that works (or changing it when something does not work).

Our Science and Nature study has probably been the most lacking. However, we did take a short trip the the Great Smoky Mountains and saw several deer, some wild turkeys (we think) and some wild horses (again, we think they were wild since they were actually in the National Park area and not on some farm). For one of his Christmas gifts, I purchased a set of Animal Stories from Thornton Burgess. They are more story than fact as in his Animal Book, recommended by Ambleside Online, which we own, but sometimes get a little lost in. So I plan to read through those to get him more interested in the characters again and then try the bigger book again.

I continue to have him Read aloud to me almost every night before bed, teaching Phonics rules as needed. Since he is advanced in this area as in Math, I do not have a curriculum here except to offer opportunities to practice both.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Book Review - Level 1 Appropriate

We have checked out two Christmas books recently that Samuel could read. He is currently reading Level 1 readers with minimal help. Both are secular.

"Christmas Mice" by Bethany Roberts is a cute story of how some mice prepare for Christmas, decorating, baking, wrapping presents, singing, etc. There is also a sweet surprise.

"Claude the Dog: A Christmas Story" by Dick Gackenbach tells of a dog who receives some presents from his family and then meets a homeless dog and ends up giving all his presents away because his family is the best gift of all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

November 2008 Review

The following is what we accomplished in November. Based on availability of library books, some changes were made to the Kindergarten Curriculum. The edits to that post are that books I added in are in green and books we didn't get to are in red.

· Memoria Press Copybook I - Stories from Genesis

· Counting by 2’s to 20
· Addition – 4’s, 5’s (all combinations where the sum is 4 or 5)
· Counting change in groups of ten; learning to identify different coins; and being introduced to the concept that I don’t know the name for, but an example is that 5 pennies equals 1 nickel.

· William Tell Overture by Rossini – defined what an overture is
· Listened to selections from Handel’s Messiah
· Read some of Mike Venezia’s book on Handel

· Grammar – “a” vs. “an”
· Fred and Ted Like to Fly by Peter Eastman
· Big Dog…Little Dog by P.D Eastman (read aloud to two preschool classes for former preschool teacher)
· Diving Dolphin by Karen Wallace (a DK reader)
· Fred and Ted Go Camping by Peter Eastman
· Honey Bunny Funnybunny by Marilyn Sadler
· Turtle and Snake at Work by Kate Spohn
· Monkey See, Monkey Do by Marc Grave

· Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
· The Elves and the Shoemaker retold from the Brothers Grimm by Jim LaMarche
· The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold
· The Market Square Dog by James Herriot (we had already read this once in the James Herriot Treasury, but this was a picture book we found in the library)
· The Cow-tail Switch and Other West Africa Stories by Harold Courlander and George Herzog

· Pocahontas: Peacemaker and Friend to the Colonist by Pamela Hill Nettleton
· Pocahontas by D’Aulaire
· If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma
· Geography for A to Z by Jack Knowles
· In conjunction with the Cow-tail Switch book, we are also doing some map work of Africa

· We took a nature walk to look at leaves, berries and pinecones. We collected some items and together with a partially eaten (by birds?) corn on the cob we found in a harvested field and some fresh water mussel shells from an October trip to a farm, Samuel made a “cornucopia”. It wasn’t fastened together by anything, so we took some pictures before it fell apart.
· Zoo trip to check out the armadillo (because we read the Just So story about how the armadillo came to be), which led to reading several books on and about armadillos from the library.
· I Love Whales and Dolphins by Steve Parker.
· I Love Crocodiles by Steve Parker
· I Love Dinosaurs by Steve Parker
· Pages in his zoo/animal notebook on manatees and meerkats.

· Mary Cassatt – The Boating Party
· Read through Mike Venezia’s book; then paged through a second time to pick out his favorite – Girl in a Blue Armchair. He imagined she was reclining watching TV just out of sight until I told him TV hadn’t been invented yet!

Life Skills
· Cooking - Corn Pudding
· Learning empathy and funeral conduct (we miss you Nana)