I've been doing a lot of curriculum research lately. The Little Astronaut has grown a lot the last month and the some of the things that worked at the beginning of the year are no longer suitable.
One of the things that has been very exciting is that he is finding reading and writing a lot easier then he used to. He used to complain over writing every word, and now he's writing long words with joy. This is a HUGE change. We started some new workbooks that are kind of fun and I think that may have helped. Now that he's writing more, it's opened up the door to try new things that we couldn't do before.
This is an outline of what we are doing now and what we will start incorporating in the next few months leading into summer. My priorities for this term are Language Arts (specifically reading) and Math. I'm working hard to focus on accelerating his reading skills by the end of the school year. The challenge with math is going to be transitioning to Singapore which is fundamentally quite different from most math curriculum. I have a feeling he's going to catch on quickly. He likes math.
1. "All About Reading" Level 2
2. 6-Trait Writing Workbook by Evan-Moor
3. Language Fundamentals Workbook by Evan-Moor
4. Complete Canadian Curriculum Workbook Grade 2
5. More Read Alouds - Farmer Boy, Encyclopedia Brown, Little House in the Woods, etc.
6. Start doing a "Poetry Tea" at least a few times a month. A picnic inside or outside the house with bite -sized baked goods and reading poetry out loud.
7. Considering doing the "Jot it Down" program by Brave Writer (one main writing exercise per month)
We haven't been doing Handwriting Without Tears much cause his printing is very nice. We'll start cursive next year.
1. Math Made Easy Grade 2
2. Complete Canadian Curriculum Workbook Grade 2
3. Moving into a new math curriculum for Grade 3... leaning towards Singapore Math. This will include some new manipulatives to work with.
1. Finishing up "Beginner Geography" by Evan-Moor
2. Complete Canadian Curriculum Workbook Grade 2
3. Expedition Earth - not sure if we'll get much further into this one before the end of the school year, might save it for the summer.
4. Discovery Education
5. Daily Geography Grade 2 by Evan-Moor
Going to wait on starting "Story of the World" till the summer I think.
1. Complete Canadian Curriculum Workbook Grade 2
2. Discovery Education
3. A variety of Apologia texts with junior notebooks, haven't decided which ones but I want to focus on force and motion, animal habitats and hibernation, some plant studies... I was thinking of doing geology but will wait to start that later.
1. "Leading Little Ones to God"
2. Looking for more curriculum and haven't settled on anything yet, perhaps the Apologia "Who is God?" series.
Critical Thinking Skills by Evan Moor
Workbooks from the Critical Thinking Co.
Resources from Answers in Genesis
K'Nex motorized Sets
- A Childs History of the World (Sonlight)
- Strawberry Girl
- Little Pear
- Aesops Fables
- Frog and Toad Together
- Frog and Toad All Year
- Amelia Bedelia
- The House at Pooh Corner
- Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose
- The Llama Who Had no Pajama
1. Gymnastics Lessons
2. Swimming Lessons
1. Piano Lessons
2. Little Mozarts CDs
1. Projects from Deep Space Sparkle
Already done this term:
Winter Polar Bears with soft pastels
To do the rest of the year:
Homophone and Homonym Art Activity - based on "Cat Tales"
Snowman Collages (free)
A Perfect Day, Snow Angel Art Lesson
Fun with Portraits
Painted Paper Projects
Fun with Art Movements
The Little Ballerina's Preschool
Developing the Early Learner workbooks
Kindergarten Letters workbooks
All About Reading - PreK set
Handwriting without Tears - Kindergarten
Get Set for the Code workbooks - phonics
In the fall:
-Violin or piano lessons (if schedule allows, otherwise wait another year)
- Add a new dance, maybe Acro?
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Children's Picture Book Review: "Mirror" by Jeannie Baker and introducing World Geography to young children
This book had been on my radar for a long time. It intrigued me immediately the first time I read about it online. The premise of the the book is to show some of the similarities between two family's lives in two very different cultures on opposite ends of the globe. What makes this book unique is that it is two books in one, as when you open the book you have two sides that tell their own sides independently.
So for each page you turn on one side, there is a corresponding picture story on the other side. There are no words in the actual story besides the first page. The pictures themselves say everything that needs to be said.
The pictures run through a typical day from morning till night for a young family in Syndey Australia and another family who lives in a rural area of Morocco, North Africa.
The details in the pictures are mesmerizing. They were created using a collage method of artwork, on wooden panels. The artist incorporated things such as natural textiles, wool, fabric, plastic, tin, paint, etc. to create marvellous 3D art. It gives the sketches a more life like quality and draws you into the story. It is so inspiring! I think making art like this would be so fun.
Having been to Morocco myself many years ago, I was eager to share some of the sights I remember from my trip. My 7 yr old noted the lack of vehicles and how donkey's were used to carry things around. There is also a picture of a typical market place in Morocco, and he thought it was interesting that they even sold things like TV's and cell phones on the street, right along side the donkeys. Exactly how I remembered it.
I think books like this are so great when introducing world geography to young kids. It can be hard for them to understand at first how different life can be in various places over the globe. This helps them gain some perspective.
Some other things we are using to introduce world geography are the book "Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World" by DK Publishing and "The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia" which are used as part of the "Expedition Earth" curriculum by Confessions of a Homeschooler.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Whew. I actually did it. Recorded an entire week of our lives. First time I've actually gone through with the entire week without quitting early. It can be tiring to record everything every day. So glad I did this! I know it will only be a month or two before I'll look back at this project and think "Wow, was that only 2 months ago?!"
This week documented summer slipping away into fall. It documented much of what our life is really like on an everyday basis right now, and for that I'm glad. Two things I want to document more in depth are how we do school and how both my husband and I work. I don't think those things really came across in this project. I think I may do a separate layout just for those two things at some point.
|Summer has left us. Fall weather is officially here.|
|Picking up groceries.|
|Enjoying the last bit of warmth on the deck.|
|Honeydew is hanging on.|
|Quadding is my husband's way of relaxing. When he needs a break, this is what he does. This time he went near our home with his friend Tom.|
|I stayed home and made fridge pickles. We harvested about 7 HUGE cucumbers this week!! These are all from our garden.|
|Rosemary Lemon Chicken pizza with leftover chicken. Turned out good!|
|Family time chilling out on the couch. Daddy and the Little Dancer watching YouTube videos about lions.|
|"Playing" the guitar. She loves it.|
|Reading a John Maxwell book from the library about personal growth.|
|Bedtime hugs. Toddler toys are still on the coffee table from when we had our little friend over yesterday.|
|Arranging stuffies before bed.|
Saturday, September 14, 2013
I started writing about today in yesterday's post which I wrote today. Confused much? Here is the link to yesterday.
The morning was dreary and cloudy and a bit hectic as I was running late and needed to get home so my husband could get to an important appointment. One of my favourite places to go when I'm stressed out is the garden center. I knew they would have some beautiful fall bouquets for cheap, and I was not disappointed. What's a girl to do when she's exhausted and stressed? Buy herself flowers and a Latte!
I came home to do some cleaning and get dinner and dessert ready for our friends who were coming over. I made Gingerbread Blondies with Molasses Buttercream - thanks Pinterest!
We had a wonderful time with our friends and their adorable little boy. The sun was shining, it was beautiful and warm - both outdoors, and our conversations. So thankful for good friends.
I ended the day with some organic peppermint tea and a head ache. Time for bed.
|My favourite candle which smells like fresh cut roses.|
I'm writing this on Saturday, in hindsight. I was a little bit too stressed out yesterday to write anything. I am not superstitious, but yesterday was Friday the 13th and it seemed like it was just one bad thing after another. I'm already trying to put it all behind me so I'm not sure if I'll remember all the details of everything, but I'll try...
The day started innocently enough. Harvesting cucumbers from the garden. A beautiful sunny warm day. Checking out some interesting science research (my little hobby/passion). Some online shopping for the kids. Getting ready for an afternoon of running errands....
As we drove out of our street to head into town my left wrist starts to kind of spasm and there is a sharp pain. This is not normal for me. I don't have arthritis or any kind of joint pain usually. Then I notice there is a spider web, a GIANT spider web, all across my windshield. The sun is glinting through it and it's making it very difficult to see. I run the windshield wipers but it's not working. Then I realize the spider web is actually on the inside of the car. I swat at the web, at this point going around a slight corner in the road, and my left wrist spasms and I am on the verge of heading into oncoming traffic. It's just a country road, not very busy, but there happens to be another vehicle going the opposite direction right in front of me right then and he happens to be driving a little too fast. Wow, was that ever a close call. And I really feel terrible for giving the other person a near heart attack. :( I had a lump in my throat all day over that one. I felt so dumb. I kept thinking how life can change in such a split second. Never take anything for granted. I can't remember the last time I felt so terrible. I'm so glad nothing bad happened.
So we make it to to the mall to get our passport pictures done. As we walk across the crosswalk a bee lands on both of my kids and is walking along their arms like it's going to sting, then it lands on me and tries to get into my hair. It was really weird behaviour for a bee, it is hard to describe but it was acting really strange and not like any bee I've ever encountered before. I kept telling my kids "WALK! Get across the street! Get inside the mall!" (like a crazy person, lol, oh man was I stressed). We finally get inside, I check my kids over, no bees. Okay. Make it to the photo place and I find out they are not doing passport photo's today cause they are short staffed. Alrighty then. Go to Walmart to get pics done instead. Find out there's not enough time to get them done before piano lessons so I drop my son off at his lessons and my daughter and I go get our pictures taken. My daughter is hungry so I buy her a box of crackers and she proceeds to spill almost the entire contents on the ground. Yay. Go pick up my son from piano and get his pictures done. Then we go to a drive through to get something quick to eat before my daughters gymnastics. Gymnastics goes off without a hitch, thankfully. We make it to my husbands birthday dinner, and by this point I'm slowly starting to decompress from this mornings incidents. All I want to do is go home and sleep. I realize now that it's the 13th. Friday the 13th. Should have just stayed at home today?
Come home, watch some movie previews, do some research on track and field clubs for little kids, and go to bed.
The string of annoying/unfortunate events continues the next day. I find out the next day that my husband was also nearly in a serious car accident the same day, and that my brother-in-law actually was in a car accident that day (he's fine, his car not so much). I find out my pay cheque for this month is 1/4 of what it normally is, because of slow sales. I find out we lost thousands of dollars in my husbands company because of some employee mistakes so now my husband is super stressed, which is really no fair cause it's his birthday tomorrow. I end up waking up the next day realizing we are all out of coffee and steel cut oats and the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away.... I make the trek only to realize the town is practically shut down as the fall parade is going on right that minute and I'm in the middle of it .... I feel stupid cause I should be down here with my kids celebrating with the other happy fall-fair-loving families and instead I'm grouchy and stressed and looking for coffee.... COFFEE!!!! why isn't there any coffee anywhere?! ... I drive to the next town, grab a Latte for the road, pick up some groceries, then proceed to spill coffee all over the strawberries I just bought. I'm driving extra carefully and slow right now cause I thought, "Wouldn't it just be ironic if I end up getting a traffic ticket of some kind now?"... just my luck.... on the drive home, the sun opens up and clears the cloudy skies away. I turn up the Hawaiian music CD in my car and hope the relaxed vibes somehow rub off on me. They do. I start cleaning up and getting dinner ready for our friends coming over tonight. I'm excited to see them. Dinner goes off without a hitch. My mom calls as we are finishing up with the news that my grandpa just died. She is at peace about it, she says. It was time. I never really knew him, but the circle of life and death is just that - a circle. One day things are bright and cheery and hopeful, the next day they aren't. And round and around we go.
Part of me wanted to skip over this day in my Week in the Life project and not bother. Why would I want to "immortalize" a bad day in a scrapbook? Bah-Humbug! But C'est La Vie. Bad days happen, such is life - yes? It's a fact of life. Days are rarely all good or all bad. It's a constant weaving of better moments and not so good moments, up and down they go. I drew solace in the fact that no matter what happened, I do have a Heavenly Father who knows me and has a plan for me. Yesterday was not my day to go, but today was my grandpa's day to go. This doesn't surprise God, He knew it. He prepares the path in front of me, and I trust him. So rain or shine, I still have hope. In the afternoon as I was tense with a lump in my throat, the verse kept coming to me "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1.
These are all the photos I managed to take for this day:
|Started the morning with some reading on one of my favourite subjects: biochemistry. Especially interested in research on the pathogenic yeast Candida Albicans right now.|
|A little online shopping.|
|Waiting for my son to finish up at piano lessons.|
Thursday, September 12, 2013
|My morning "face" routine. I only do foundation for make-up if we are staying at home. Most of it is Jane Iredale stuff.|
|The supplements I am currently taking.|
|Getting used to the sight of this truck in this spot every morning. We have a contractor here this week putting in a new fence extension for us.|
|School work begins. My son is obsessed with geography right now and is working on memorizing the States, capitals, languages of each country. I'm just glad he finally figured out all the continents. I thought it would never click!|
|The connecting rods we sometimes use for math.|
|Our reading program.|
|Some math review before we get our new program.|
|Some printing review before we start our new book.|
|The Little Dancer does various things while the Little Scientist and I work on school work. Today she was learning about telling time from this book.|
|Practicing word cards.|
|She can't live without her braid. She is seriously obsessed with it. Also the hair bows. She won't even let me take it out at night!|
|The magnet board for our reading program|
|Review of phonics.|
|"Handwriting Without Tears" printing program|
|"Look mama, I make my hands just like a princess!"|
|Reading books outside.|
|Mail from yesterday I forgot to take a picture of - used gymnastics leotards I bought of Ebay. Thankfully they fit perfectly! I was worried they'd be too small.|
|Books I need to return to the library today.|
|Off to the post office to send off his very first pen pal letter!|
|Off to the library and then a stop to gas up.|
|Our contractor left us an Inukshuk.|
|The new fence gate.|
|Tons of gravel got delivered today to finish off the job.|
|"Hi mama. Can you see me?"|
|Late lunch of chicken & cheese pita's and cranberry juice.|
|"I can help you mama!"|
|Flowering Moroccan Mint|
|Watching the Easter story DVD "Read & Share Bible"|
|Cleaning the kitchen.|
|Late dinner of Rosemary Lemon Chicken and brown rice for my hubby.|
|We watched the Creation Astronomy DVD in the evening. This is one of the most interesting things I've seen on Astronomy. It doesn't have lots of flashy graphics, but this guy knows his stuff and has tons of experience as a professional in the field of Astronomy and he presents some very fascinating things. Like especially on the twin moons of Saturn and their strange orbit pattern as well as evidence of active volcanoes on our moon in the not so distant past. This is his website: http://www.creationastronomy.com/|