Wednesday, September 30, 2009

There once was a...


Recently while surfing through our channel guide on PBS, I discovered something wonderful...The Electric Company is back on TV! It's actually an updated version and after watching the first episode we could DVR, I think it may even be better. It has some of the old favorite bits like the shadow people sounding out words. That doesn't really describe this, but if you are a fan, you should know what I'm saying, and if you aren't a fan, then just trust me :-)

But it's got some real characters with a short story running through it and phonics rules set to rap music. One of the favorites we've seen a few times now is the "Bossy R".

Anyway, back to my post title. The very first episode we watched had one of the characters accepting a dare to enter a limerick battle, but she didn't know what one was. Samuel loved the sing song rhythm so of course, I had to check out a couple books of limericks from the library. The first one is "There Once Was a Very Odd School" by Stephen Krensky with poems all about being in school. We are now ready for the second book titled "The Hopeful Trout and Other Limericks" by John Ciardi. We've also tried our hand at composing a couple of limericks together. We're not that great at it. I'm not ready to post one of our joint efforts yet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Fun Living Math Book

This fun living math book was too advanced for Samuel, but this one does offer a lot that he can do without my help and some that he can understand with my help.

Zookeeper for a Day plays into Samuel's love of animals as well as his love of math. The premise is that the child gets to walk in the steps of a zookeeper for a day and see how they use math in their jobs. Some is mental math and some needs a pencil, paper, and sometimes ruler. It's part of a Math Adventures series so I will have to see if we can find additional books.

So that's my share of the day! Hope you find it useful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Homeschooling Dreams

There's a lot less time for homeschooling in first grade. I love Samuel's school, but I still hold on to that illusion that I am a homeschooler. He's in class 3 days a week, plus chess club and Awana. On Thursdays, he gets enough homework for Friday and Monday, but it's the school's homework, not mine.

I love his school. If I were a full time homeschooler, my curriculum would be very similar to their's. I still view myself as a homeschooler. I can't help it. I still faithfully read homeschool blogs and Yahoo groups. When will I give up my delusion?

I still have a booklist I put together for bedtime reading. This is fluid and other "fun" books get slipped in there. For instance, right now, we are reading the Burgess Animal Book, Story of the World, The Jungle Book (Kipling, not Disney), one of the A to Z Mystery series (Ron Roy), The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Cleary), and The Van Gogh Cafe (Cynthia Rylant - we love this). We don't read from each book every night. I let him choose which books, but not the same one two nights in a row, except for the A to Z Mystery which has very short chapters.

Also, periodically we will bring home another cool non-chapter book from the library (like a living math book or biography from Mike Venezia) or we read an old favorite in our home library. He also reads to me probably 4 nights a week.

So, I'm homeschooling, right? I'm homeschooling, but I'm not.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun Living Math Book

I'm not sure if this find was discovered because I saw it on someone's blog (if so, let me know and I'll give you credit and a link) or if I did some weird search on my library's web site, but this book came in for us and I LOVE it! The math is a little too much for my first grader, but I could see him being able to do some of the problems over the next few years.

The book is called Arithme-tickle by J. Patrick Lewis. There are 19 rhyming riddles that ask you to solve a problem. Here is and example using on of the short (and one of the easiest) riddles:

Dr. Nast said, :I'll give you three shots
to get rid of those hideous spots.
One shot every half hour." Goodness sake!
How long did those nasty Nast shots take?

The answer key is at the bottom of each page, but you need a mirror to read it!

When I see something cool, I like to share it, mostly because I [steal] get so many good ideas from reading other blogs. It's my "pay it forward".

Monday, September 14, 2009

First week complete

Despite the fact that we learn year-round and had already begun some books from our first grade list, this past week constituted Samuel's first week of first grade. His school does require a parent signature promising 11 hours of home instruction per week (due to the shortened school week/school year, even though they provide a full curriculum). Because we are parent-directed, child-led around here, I was a little worried about the homework/seatwork. Last year was really tough, getting him to sit still to do the work. It would often take him over an hour (split up by many breaks, but an hour total doing the work) to do work that I believed should have taken only 15 to 20 minutes. His attitude was much better this past week, though not perfect.

We've been reading several chapter books (including Story of the World, which is not really a chapter book) at bedtime in the tradition of CM-style savoring. One of those is The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, which we had listened to on CD on a vacation one and a half years ago, but he didn't remember it. Just last night, he decided to have me start reading The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (parent-directed as this was among the choices I provided, but child-led because it was his choice).

I've also checked out some living math books which we'll look at this week. Tomorrow he starts an after-school chess club. They learn for the first half hour and then play for the second half hour. He's really excited.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New School Year

In July, I posted my final first grade curriculum plans. Hah! I should know better than to put the word "final" on anything. My outline is more of a fluid document and always has been. Well, anyway, Samuel begins Latin School (although they don't actually learn Latin until the 2nd grade) next week. Here is what we began last week in order to ease us into my plans for the home part of his education.

Christian Studies
He signed up for Awana Club. He will also be reading from "The Beginner's Bible". There is a strong Bible component at his school with most copywork and memory work relating to the Bible in the early grades. And, we attend church as a family.

I still don't have a real plan for this because the living math way has been working for us. His school curriculum is Rod and Staff.

We heard George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on the radio on the way to the library so we checked out a CD and the Mike Venezia book on Gershwin. At school, he will have music twice a week for lessons in basic elements of music, including ear training, note reading and choral performance. We are debating whether to also join the elementary choir at church.

Finished up two books on his summer reading list, "Floss" by Kim Lewis, and "Wind in the Willows" adapted from Kenneth Grahame.

We began "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary.

I had not planned to do Ancient History; however, I found The Story of the World, Volume 1 on ebay for a good price (remember me mentioning fluidity in my plans?). This past week, we read the Introduction and the chapter on Nomads. I did a search for books to supplement this and hopefully some of them will come in this week. Tonight, I am reading him the story of Jericho from "The Beginner's Bible" because when the book mentioned Jericho as one of the first cities, he did not know about it.

We have been going back and forth between reading books from the library about African animals and reading "Poor Mrs. Quack" by Thorton Burgess. We also made a trip to the zoo last week and the week before.