Another day of some great experiences with homeschool/unschool under our belts! Yesterday we studied the following…
Folk tales = Bust
I was disappointed to realize that my American Folklore book is way too advanced for the kiddo right now. As we ate breakfast, I rifled through it and concluded that it would be best to wait on looking at it for a couple more years. She so enjoyed the Hawaiian folk tales that I was hoping to find more for her. I’ll need to locate a book on folk tales written with her age in mind, because she enjoys them immensely.
I picked this book up randomly off of our homeschooling bookshelves. I think I mentioned that I’m adding in random books on a nearly daily basis in order to get some flavor, to gauge what catches her interest, and to keep ourselves open to doing new activities and learning paths. This book included some cool activities (dot-by-dot counting by 2s, letter replacement to learn names of desert dwelling animals) along with the information I read to her.
We enjoyed doing the letter/number substitution and sounding out the words for the different desert dwellers. Among them were chuckwalla and sidewinder – not average animals!
This led to…
Video of Sidewinder snake and another snake video
In order to illustrate WHY sidewinder snakes are called sidewinders, I pulled up a video on YouTube that showed Emily exactly how they move through the sand. This of course led to another video on boa constrictors and pythons and we discussed how these animals kill and eat their prey. Em considered the prospect of being suffocated to death and then eaten whole and looked rather round-eyed at the prospect.
The other day I talked about Em’s terrible printing (http://www.bubblews.com/news/9058740-writing-practice-and-proper-nouns) and how we discussed the need for more writing practice. I wanted it to be fun for her, so we came up with a fun sentence to write which she dictated to me and I wrote in her composition book. Her job was simply to write the sentence once.
I resisted the urge to suggest she write it several times. After all, if she does it once today, without complaint, and again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, she will get better. However, if I insisted on 2-3 repetitions every day, and she resists and hates it, and fights it, how long will it take (and how much yelling and impatience and sadness and frustration) for her to learn?
As it was, the one repetition yielded one very proud little girl. She made a ‘c’ and an ‘r’ a little big, but recognized it for herself, without me having to tell her. And she worked very hard to make the letters like I had. She WANTS to do well. I see that in her. More than the urge to please, I hope that draws pride in her ability to learn and grow. It is what I continue to emphasize throughout our days together.
Life of Fred
Next came Life of Fred and a chapter with a leaking boat. The situations are impossible and bizarre – rain and flooding when it is February and not only had been snowing earlier but was still freezing temperatures. Tiny boats that have at least three floors underneath the surface with bowling alley, library, and a kitchen. Impossible physics! But she loves the stories and is happy to continue to do the questions at the end. We did one chapter and then moved on. I highly recommend the Fred books, she is really, REALLY enjoying them.
Story of the World – Roman Gods
After a brief visit to the ancient Americas we are back in the Mediterranean and discussing Rome and the Roman empire. This part of the book focused on how the Romans used the Greek gods, but gave them different names, Jupiter instead of Zeus, Neptune instead of Poseidon, etc. It also tied back to how many of the planets in our solar system are named after Roman gods. Em continues to enjoy this book.
A New Treasury of Children’s Poetry
I have had this book since Dee was a tiny baby. It’s suffered water damage and seen better days, but the poems are all still readable. As we ate lunch I read from this book and Em enjoyed the poems. She loves for me to read to her, but it is so gratifying to see her trying her best to understand the words herself.
This might not seem like a school like experience, but it was. Em had $100 total to spend, money sent by her grandparents for her birthday and she had also brought her purse with the $20 from my husband’s cousin, along with the $5 a week profit-sharing (similar to an allowance) she has been squirreling away and not spending for several months now. I explained to her that all sales had a tax of around 8%. So not only did we have to add up the prices of the toys, but also add up how much tax would cost so that she didn’t go over her allowed amount.
She was very intent on staying under a certain amount and looked through many toys, games, and books. Picking up, and then setting down, many of them. She really loved this stuffed bear, but decided that she wasn’t willing to spend $30 on one stuffed animal (good for you, kid!) and ended up settling for these little birds that came with a roost and cage. When you pet their backs they tweet and sing a song and you can record your voice by pressing a button and they will repeat it back. She also bought a bath toy that came with its own aquarium and bands to weigh it down to different depths. She also bought a bag of Pez candies for her many dispensers.
They weren’t things I would have chosen, but they made her happy, and these choices she makes will turn out to be good ones or bad ones and she will learn from them. We spent about an hour in the store and while I did most of the adding, she was keenly aware of the growing total as we navigated the store.
In the end we left with those purchases and one extremely happy and excited little girl!
And that’s a wrap for homeschooling for yesterday!
Today is LEARN Math and Science Club and then she is going to a campout with Scouts for the night. She is very excited!