Monday, April 27, 2009

April Afterschool Report

Well, this month has two holidays that we spend quite a bit of time on. I already blogged about Easter and Earth Day, but we also did quite a bit that was not tied to a holiday.

Math - Mostly we are just practicing addition within 7 and subtraction within 5. I have also had him practicing counting nickels, dimes, and quarters. My find of the month is Sudoku puzzles. Here is a website that has some sample puzzles for kids. There are 6 altogether that are 4x4 in size. The first two I walked him through, asking him for the answers after leading him there. By the third puzzle he was leading me through the "logic". Then I printed out the second sample page of three puzzles and he did the first two all on his own, asking for one hint on the third one. I'm going to see if I can find more 4x4 puzzles before moving on to 6x6.

Music - We spent some time earlier in the month on Sergei Prokofiev and "Peter and the Wolf". Our library has a book with CD and a DVD of a ballet. We had fun trying to pick out the instruments and move like the animals.

Art - Because the first Saturday in May is the Kentucky Derby, which is like a two-week holiday where we live, I chose Degas for his "Racing Horses" painting. We also read "What Makes a Degas a Degas?" by Richard Muhlberger.

Also, I found this wonderful blog called ART PROJECTS FOR KIDS. It's awesome. Samuel did this project, except his chameleon had stripes and polka dots and his background color was orange. It was his first time doing a watercolor resist and he was so amazed at how his crayon marks showed through the paint. We put it in a frame and put it on his art gallery wall in his room (it's just three dollar store frames in a row on the short wall next to his window).

Reading - I've moved into some challenging books for his reading aloud time, mostly level 2 and 3. He's doing very well. I always have a fairly large choice, but he gets to choose which ones he reads. For his "fun" reading time he usually chooses easy picture books, which is good too. Just recently we started a reading journal, where he records the books he reads and draws a picture from the story. I'll blog about that more later, after we've had a chance to develop it more. Here are the challenging books he has read for me:
"Dolores and the Big Fire: A True Story" by Andrew Clements
"The Berenstain Bears and the Tic-Tac-Toe Mystery"
"The Case of the Puzzling Possum" by Cynthia Rylant

Literature/Poetry - We are reading Charlotte's Web" by EB White and poems from "The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry". We'll probably finish up both of these in May. A la Charlotte Mason, I usually only read one chapter from the 2 or 3 books we have going at any given time each day or two, plus one or two poems each day, in order to "savor" them. We also have two chapter books going that fall in the Nature Study category.

Geography - We are listening to "Paddle to the Sea" by Holling C. Holling once a week in the car (although we usually listen to 2 to 4 chapters at a time). I also checked out the book and we look at the pictures and use our US placemat map (I really need to get a bigger map!) to see where he is. A really fun thing we've been doing geography-wise is singing "The Fifty States That Rhyme" song. There are several versions on Youtube and I wrote down the words to the one we like and we listen and sing along. It's very hard. I don't think he's learning anything from this, but it's just showing how learning can be fun. Here's the version we like:

Nature Study - This is one of our bigger areas of study just because it's so much fun. We finished up Thornton Burgess' "The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse" and began "The Adventures of Grandfather Frog". We have also been reading from "The Tarantula in My Purse" by naturalist Jean Craighead George. Strangely enough, we haven't heard one word about a tarantula! We also visited the Louisville Science Center and spent a whole afternoon exploring, learning, and having fun. Of course, the weather has been nicer and we've spent countless hours outdoors, exploring the effects of our winter ice storm on our little patch of trees we watch. We lost our tree that was home to a pair of mourning doves, but we have still seen them around.

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