The Learning Room

March 1-18th, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve had a moment to really sit down and list what we’ve been studying. I’ve been trying to jot it – very rough hand – on a piece of recycled paper that generally floats somewhere around my computer. So I’m going to try and make heads and tails of it today and put it into a list. I want to get it down in a permanent place before officially starting our Audubon study. Sorry if this is long-winded.

History

We have been wrapping up the Colonial & Revolutionary War period. I keep thinking we’re done and then I find another great book to read on the topic. I just recently got a paid membership (because I live outside city limits) to the Omaha Public Library and am so excited to be able to resource their books now as well as the Bellevue Library’s.  We also worked a bit of seasonal history in with the study of St. Patrick.

  • Read Katie’s Trunk by Ann Turner (a wonderful story from the oppositte viewpoint of a “Tory” – a heart tugger and written in beautiful literary style)
  • Lily did a narration of Katie’s Trunk and drew a picture to go with her narration.
  • Read Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz (delightfully funny and kept the kids interest despite the longness of the book – wonderfully written.)
  • Gabe read What’s the Big Idea, Benjamin Franklin? independently (also by Jean Fritz) and did a narration.
  • Gabe copied the Preamble to the Constitution in cursive for penmanship and filed it under the proper time in his Book of Centuries. Lily did the same, but only copied the title and date and did it in manuscript.
  • Both copied the title and date of the Declaration of Independence and filed it in their Book of Centuries.
  • Worked some more on colonial paper dolls but they kind of petered out on this.
  • Read, as a family, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de Paola and discussed the reason we celebrate St. Patrick’s.
  • Reviewed through their Book of the Centuries notebooks.

Literature

  • Read The Last Snake in Ireland: A Story About St. Patrick and discussed the literary style of a legend versus fictional and nonfictional work.
  • Started reading I Samuel from the Old Testament with Dad this week. He wants to take the kids personally through a Bible Study of I & II Samuel and I & II Kings so they can hear the many wonderful stories that most kids don’t hear in church to broaden their view. The kids are enjoying this because daddy makes storytelling come alive and seem adventurous that just doesn’t work when I read.
  • Dug out all the Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit series for the spring/Easter season and the kids have been requesting them regularly. I’ve only collected them when I can at thrift stores because I want the tiny handheld size that the kids cherish. I could easily get a big anthology book of them at any discount bookstore but there is just something about them being pint-sized that the kids adore. Also listening to the collection on audio.
  • Started Funny Frank by Dick-King Smith.
  • Read Winnie the Pooh’s Easter by Bruce Talkington
  • Read many, many poems from My Poetry Book about spring, mud, birds…a little of everything.
  • Gabe and Lily have been doing lots of reading on their own. Gabe is currently on a Roal Dahl kick and picked up BFG and James and the Giant Peach for this week as well as finishing a “Choose Your Own Adventure” that dad has introduced him to as well as rereading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Lily is practicing hard in any spare moment on whatever book interests her. I see her reading improving everyday and she is wanting to be more grown up and read chapter books like Gabe. Her top pick for the week: A Pickle for a Nickel by Lilian Moore (a chapter book she borrowed from a friend.)
  • Gabe has been reading Where the Sidewalk Ends and memorizing his favorite poems.

Grammar & Writing & Phonics

  • Gabe and Lily both did copywork to improve penmanship (see History above). Lily also finished her Kumon: Uppercase Letters book and worked some in her Kumon: Lowercase Letters book. Gabe is doing extremely well with his cursive. Although, he has naturally good penmanship.
  • Lily also used the Kumon letter cards and practice paper to particularly work on the capital ‘N’ (as she is still doing it backwards) and the lowercase ‘g’ (getting the tail below the line).
  • Gabe worked in his Language Lessons book with sentence combining and how to break up run-on sentences.
  • Lily worked in her Language Lessons book with more phonics work, copywork, reading practice, sentence practice, and poetry with picture narrations.
  • Luc worked on phonics intensively. He sat down and practiced Hop on Pop with me and we also played a phonics game together. He worked with the Kumon letter cards and short word vowel cards almost daily. Him and Delilah both watched Talking Words Factory several times and are enamored of the sticky-icky-rama vowel machine.
  • Gabe was asked to do a short essay by dad on 6 things that he will not be mastered by.
  • Gabe dictated to me a first draft narration for his independent history reading and we will be using next week as a chance to practice editing, using editing marks, when to use pronouns, and when to break up paragraphs.
  • Both Lily and Gabe started Commonplace books this week. They are notebooks that the kids can write special book/poetry/music/inspirational passages in, journal in, take notes on nonfiction books in, draw pictures in, etc. It is a pretty open-ended project. We will be doing it officially on Friday afternoons but they spent most of the night with them and then took them to bed to sleep with. What I am hoping to accomplish with this is twofold: 1) to encourage writing, penmanship, grammar usage, spelling practice and promote higher level thinking skills of reading comprehension at pulling and assimilating information from books (a study skill that will benefit them in all walks of life) and 2) to do purposeful work – that is, have a place where they can record or write about things that are not required of them but that they think is important or worthy enough to be recorded on paper. Gabe has already made a science diagram summary after reading a new science book and Lily has recorded two poems and drawn several pictures.
  • Lily has been writing her own poetry and drawing pictures to go with them.
  • Lily and I used a new system to help practice her reading. Will write about soon. She used the system with much success with the book Red Fish, Blue Fish.
  • Lily read Word Bird’s Spring Words and decided to make her own word flash cards (spent 3 hours on this project of her own choosing!).

Math

  • Gabe did chapter 17 and started chapter 18 in his Math U See book (multiplication of 6’s and 7’s).
  • Gabe independently read (3 times at least that I saw – and it’s a chapter book!) Do You Wanna Bet: Your Chance to Find Out About Probability by Martha Weston. He greatly enjoyed this book as it expanded on his dad’s conversation of what statistics are.
  • Lily did her Math U See Primer book about solving unknown equations in addition problems and learning place value with tens and one hundreds. We used her new Montessori number tiles with the place value exercises and these helped out SO much! Loved them!
  • Lily practiced her Kumon Number Flashcards (numbers 1-30 with extra emphasis on 2, 7, 9) in order to master writing the numbers the proper way and to help with number recognition. Still having a bit of trouble turning around numbers like 12 and 21.
  • Lily finished her Kumon: My Book of Numbers 1-30 book and recieved her certificate. She worked really hard at this and did about 20 pages (4-6 hours worth) in two days time of her own accord. This just clicked for her and she wanted to really work on accomplishing the book. She wants to start the Kumon: Easy Telling Time book next so I think that was her motivation.
  • Luc read (with me) Can a Dinosaur Count & Other Math Mysteries by Valorie Fisher – a great living math book that we will come back to. Depending on child’s ability, this book can be used at multiple levels.
  • Luc has also read the How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? book almost daily and practicing counting on all the pages.
  • Gabe and Lily watched Cyberchase videos: Equations ~ A Battle of Equals and Patterns ~ The Poddleville Case

Latin

  • Gabe learned new words: navigo, memoria, fortuna
  • He also practiced his flashcards (with new words and dipthong sounds) every school day.

Science/Art/Music/Gardening – interchangeably life!

  • Gabe has been reading Rocks and Minerals and collecting rocks outside with a specific interest in the softness or hardness of rocks and whether they can write or not (all based on a question he had one day about his pencil).
  • Lily had me read certain portions of Pandas: A Portrait of the Animal World after getting a new stuffed panda with her own money at the zoo gift shop. We learned that there are only 9 pandas in all the zoos and only one of those is in the U.S.!
  • Luc has been collecting “fossils” outside – basically any rock he finds that is jagged, not smooth that looks bonish-sorta-colored.
  • We’ve not really ‘officially’ started our bird study, yet birds seem to be abounding everywhere. We’ve been listening to bird sounds for identification (through some birding CD’s we have and googling those we don’t have). We’ve been reading field guides galore on our favorites (more the kids doing this…especially Luc). The little ones have been playing with our Audubon stuffed birds (Did I say playing? I meant fighting!) from morning till bed time. We’ve taken walks and listened to see what birds we could identify (so far only a Mourning Dove, a Cardinal, and a Woodpecker). The balcony windows have been another flocking place for the kids, especially first thing in the morning, as they are shouting for me to come look and see what bird it is (mainly cardinals – the kids favorite right now – the stuffed bird most fought over). The kids are going crazy with drawing birds, especially Lily. And I haven’t even introduced the watercolor/colored pencil sketching we’re getting to with that. And we’ve been reading lots of bird poetry and listening to songs about birds which inspires more bird drawing. Even made a mixed bird CD (will tell about in the Audubon Study – Part II post)!
  • Read chapter 4: The Robin of Birds at Home by Marguerite Henry (one of the best living books on birds we’ve found. This has been their favorite so far…comes out and stays out all day along with the field guides) and Lily did a volunteer narration and picture of it.
  • Been starting work in the garden, uncovering mulched beds, looking for new perennial growth, planting seeds indoors (our broccoli is the first to sprout).
  • Been looking through DK’s Visual Dictionary on Skeletons (not just human, all kinds!) which is an amazing book and is hard to tear your eyes away from! Will have to own this one…is going on my Amazon wish list. Must see what the others in the series are like.
  • Gabe and Lily have officially taken the sketchbooks outside to start capturing spring.

The Project Room

Gabe and Lily are loving using their project room. They have been in there almost every second of the day making and crafting. The only time they emerge is to eat, play outside, or (for Gabe only) to get his computer time (Lily is more than happy to give her’s up for more craft time). Things they have made:

  • Day One: made goody bags for each other with cards and homemade toys specific to the others interest. Was very sweet really and I tried not to cringe at how much tape was used. That’s what the Dollar Store is for, right?
  • Using recyclable bin to refurbish into new uses.
  • Making caterpillars and “squirmels” out of pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and pom poms.
  • Making mosaic pictures out of the dried beans (suppose to be used for preschool math counters!).
  • Scrapbooking.
  • Reading.
  • Journaling in notebooks.
  • Drawing and coloring pictures.

Field Trips

  • The Henry Doorly Zoo (exhibits: the cat complex and the aquarium)
  • The Rose Theater to see There’s An Alligator Under My Bed (a play adaptation of several of Mercer Mayer’s books).

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