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.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very glad to hear that "The Apple and the Arrow" fit so well into your studies.

    Keep up the good work, and may your life settle back down a bit now that the Christmas season is wrapping up [smile].