Monday, March 30, 2009

March Afterschool Report

March has been a fun month as I have tried an even less formal approach and allowing more input from Samuel.

Music - We have been listening to a Bach CD from our library, "The Essential Bach". It's a two disc set and we have listened all the way through twice (we only listen in the car) and we both have decided Bach is our favorite composer out of at least the last two. We also read a little about Bach's life from Mike Venezia's series of books.

Reading - I have been alternating between books that he can read with little or no help (mostly Level 1 and some 2)and books that require more help, with both the punctuation and words (mostly level 2 or "beginning chapter books" that are not graded). I don't know that the actual titles will be of interest to others. I try to find non-fiction readers about animals, because that's "his thing" or mysteries which he also likes. Lately he has started to read the "Henry and Mudge" books by Cynthia Rylant, which are at the comfort-zone level.

Literature and Poetry - We started "The Family Under the Bridge", but we find it difficult to keep more than two chapter books going at a time, so I took that back to the library for now. What we've been reading and will finish by the end of the week is another in the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, "Mike's Mystery". I personally do not like the sequels, but Samuel keeps asking for them, so every few months, I'll check out another one.

We also read a book of poems written and collected by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, entitled "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars" to go along with our impromptu study of the solar system (see the Science entry).

Finally, we read some of the old favorites from our very own bookshelves.

History and Geography - We finished up our thirteen original colonies study and began reading books about national symbols. So far we got to the White House ("If These Walls Could Talk" by Jane O'Connor), the Liberty Bell ("The Liberty Bell" by Mary Firestone), and began learning the Star-Spangled Banner (from the book by the same name illustrated by Peter Spier). I also downloaded a United States puzzle from Owl and Mouse Software and Samuel had a lot of fun and I think maybe learned a little.

Nature and Science - We finished up "The Adventures of Reddy Fox" and began "The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse", both by Thornton Burgess from a box set I gave Samuel for Christmas. Hubby planned a trip to the planetarium at the beginning of March to see a show designed for children called "Our Place in Space" and this what prompted enough interest for a small study on the solar system. We read "The Planets in Our Solar System" by Franklin Branley and "Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations" by Jacqueline Mitton, along with the book of poems already mentioned.

Life Skills - We did some more cooking in the kitchen, including some guided cutting, with my hands on his, and worked on setting and clearing the table. Clearing the table includes throwing away food and paper in the garbage and either putting the dishes/utensils in the dishwasher or sink. Also, I've had to work on th concept of "tone of voice" and the fact that how you say something is often more important than what you say. I think this is something most parents deal with on a daily basis!

I also found a good book at the library called "A Little Book of Manners for Boys" by Bob and Emilie Barnes which we have been reading about once a week.

And lastly, he began another set of swim lessons, which he also did last spring and summer to get ready for and practice during swim season. My secret hope is that one day he will want to swim on a swim team and I can be a swim mom (I will not push, I will not push, I will not push...)

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