Wednesday, November 02, 2011

October School Recap

Meg in one of her favorite hide-out spots under her desk.

So here's a tour through our October school adventure. (This is obviously another post that is mostly for my own benefit, but maybe the grandparents will be interested too.) I can't believe we're in our third month already!

In October we...

...enjoyed our first two co-op days with three other families who all have kindergarten- and pre-K-aged kids. On our first day out, we took a nature walk through the autumn woods and logged our findings. Then we made collages with the items we brought home: leaves, berries, nuts, flowers, ferns, pine cones, pebbles and much more. Two weeks later, we about learned about photosynthesis and why leaves change colors when cooler weather and shorter days arrive. We read a great book, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (love her books!), and created our own leaf creatures with more gorgeous findings from the great outdoors. (Two of the mommies in our co-op previously taught in the public elementary schools. It was super fun for me to see all of the great organizational skill and "teachery" touches they brought to their lessons. Most inspiring!)

Meg's "Leaf Princess," with dress, hair, and crown--I love this!

...took two field trips. The first one was to Butler's Orchard for their pumpkin festival, and it was pretty much pure fun. We cruised down giant slides carved into a big hill, played in mounds of loose hay and jumped off hay bales, visited with chickens, pigs, rabbits and goats, took a hayride, and got to choose our own pumpkins from the patch. Our second field trip took us to the Montgomery Village Post Office, where we went behind-the-scenes to learn all about what happens to our mail after we drop it through the slot. The postal workers were so kind. I loved learning more about their jobs. (Pics from the Butler's trip below...)








...kept building our "My Body" science projects. Throughout the month we learned about and added bladder, spleen, pancreas, gall bladder, reproductive organs, bones and muscles. (We also learned about cells but, since they are too small to see, they're not pictured on our body cut-outs.)


I'll tell ya, this curriculum has been great for me! I honestly can't remember whether I even learned about the function of some of my smaller organs, like the spleen and gall bladder. (If I did, and I am inadvertently slighting my seventh grade Life Science teacher, Mrs. Burr, she has my sincere apologies. She was a very nice, very patient woman who really helped me love biology, and I do have very vivid memories of the earthworm and frog dissections in her class, among other things!)

...continued learning about very early American history, or rather, the navigators, explorers, and adventurers who first traveled here and started claiming land for their own European nations. We're reading slowly through a lovely, old library book, America Begins, by Alice Dagliesh, and reinforcing some of the names, facts, etc. with the Veritas Press history cards. As Meg will proudly tell you, her favorite history factoid so far is that classic two-liner:

In fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

I wish all history was written in rhyme!

...successfully completed all of our scheduled Saxon math lessons for October. I go back and forth on whether or not the level K curriculum is challenging enough for Meg. She enjoys it, but it's very easy for her, and I'm sure she could handle one step up. Then again, I don't want to miss any of the skills she's getting now and have to fill in gaps later. This level is definitely dead-on for Matthew. And both kids love how all of the work is manipulative-driven and hands-on. My biggest challenge (pretty much daily) is teaching the two of them together. At ages five and four, of course, self-control is one of their weak spots and, for whatever reason, math time seems to be one of the lowest moments of the day in that department!

...continued Spell to Write and Read with Meg. After learning the cursive alphabet and basic phonograms last month, we launched right into some simple spelling and made it through the first 3 lists (or 60 spelling words) in the curriculum. Some days Meggers is easily discouraged (i.e., when she finds she can't write every word perfectly the very first time--mostly related to the logistics of connecting one letter to another rather than lack of spelling know-how), but in reality, she's doing beautifully and is rapidly becoming a much better, bolder, more self-sufficient speller.

This is one of Matthew's "Sticky Mosaics" that he worked on during Meg's phonics lessons this last month. He loooooved these things.

...ripped through The Spettecake Holiday as our Mommy-and-Meg read-aloud. This is a sweet children's novel from 1958 by Swedish author Edith Unnerstad. I picked it up at a used book sale when I was a little girl and have loved it ever since. Now we're about halfway into Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.

...started a new read-aloud-to-Mommy book for Meg: Sarah, Plain and Tall. I was slack in having Meg read aloud this month--think I need to switch where this falls in the day to make sure we get it in! acquainted with both jazz and classical music, listened and danced to some of both, and talked about some differences between the two.

...learned about and created our own color wheels. Played with watercolors, twice. Killed approximately 30 trees with our endless crayonlust. (Like wanderlust, only... with Crayola products.) (Oh, and by the way, we use all of our paper twice, back and front. I'm not really that flippant about killing trees.)

And that's my summary of the Wilcox Home School, October 2011, complete with my stream-of-consciousness, notes to self, parentheticals, and asides!


Sandi said...

So FUN! I want to be 4 & 5 at your house. I really enjoyed seeing what you guys are doing. I love homeschooling (most days) and the younger years are so fun. Next year Eli will be 4 so I get to learn and grow with another one. Can't believe he will be my last to teach to read. I so enjoy teaching them to read.
Are the sticky mosaics a kit or did you make that. It would be a great idea for Eli right now but with a more simple picture. Eli loves puzzles and this would involve glue...he'd be SO over joyed.

Cara said...

Hey, Sandi! I found the My First Sticky Mosaics (by The Orb Factory) on Amazon. They have a bunch of different sets, and you actually don't need any glue. The patches are stickers. Great for fine motor skill development, with all of that peeling off and carefully sticking on.

I have yet to actually "teach" anyone to read, as Meg only needed a little phonics instruction before she was off and running. I will probably be coming to you for advice about Matthew next year though! :)