This is a recap of the past two weeks since I missed one. :) Putting it all down here, I see we did more than I thought! My parents came to visit for a week, and then this week it started snowing for the first time this winter so that was highly distracting. But we still still managed to learn a lot together. It helps that “school” only takes about 20-30 minutes total including all of our reading time! Well, that depends on our activities, of course. Sometimes learning to read/phonics takes longer because we play games. Here we go!
Bible: We memorized Hebrews 13:6, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”. This was a great choice for us because there are times I need to remind them there is nothing to be afraid of and Emma can be a little worrier (like her mommy who is working on that with the Lord’s help). We quote the scripture and pray together and it is really comforting to Emma’s little heart (and mine!). We also have read Every Day With God and watched Superbook for morning Bible time.
Literature: We finished up The Adventures of Buster Bear and began reading The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel (free text online here). I really love that these books feature animals that stay true to their natural behavior in the wild (you know, besides the fact that they all talk to each other and in the illustrations are wearing little jackets and hats). For instance, Chatterer the Red Squirrel starts out with Chatterer running for his life through the forest, chased by Shadow the weasel. Emma wasn’t quite sure what a weasel was, so we looked up images of one and then I was able to find youtube videos of weasels chasing squirrels! That was pretty cool. :) I love that we are learning about animals and their habits while reading these entertaining stories.
We also read On the Banks of Plum Creek, The House on Pooh Corner, and The Three Spinning Fairies from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We were greatly entertained by the fairy tale, which is the story of a young girl who refuses to spin and is beat by her mother for her laziness. The queen happens to be passing by and hears the girl’s cries, so stops to find out what is going on. The girl’s mother is too embarrassed to tell the queen that her daughter is so lazy, so makes up a story and tells her that she is beating her because she won’t stop working and spinning. Apparently she is too poor to provide the flax for all this spinning! So the queen says, “I have mountains of flax and love nothing more than to hear the sound of spinning, let me have her!” Okay, long story short (too late, I know) the girl is promised the queen’s son if she spins up three huge rooms full of flax. Three ugly fairies show up and offer to do the work if the girl will introduce them as her cousins and let them sit at her table when she is married. She agrees, they do the work, and she marries the prince. They come to her wedding and the prince asks how they became so ugly – one has a huge lip from moistening the thread, another a huge foot from the pedal of the spinning wheel, and another a big thumb and they inform him it’s because of spinning. The prince freaks out and says, “Then my wife will never touch a spinning wheel again!” – and they all live together happily ever after… I just laughed so hard at that ending! TOO funny.
Something fun to do – look up illustrations of your favorite books and stories. For instance…
Reading/Phonics: Emma improves in reading by leaps and BOUNDS! Yesterday she read me a chapter book and knew words like “whispering”, which blew me away. We are working on some things, like words with long sounds ending with “e”, but for the most part when she picks up a book she can read it. And we’re only halfway through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Of course we have been doing a lot of actual reading together, too. But really, I’m impressed at how much she has been able to teach herself.
This doesn’t mean we’re skipping phonics, though! I pulled out the McRuffy Kindergarten Phonics workbooks a very kind person gave me along with the McRuffy Math books. I had put all the parts of the program in a box in the closet and refused to look at them again because there were so many pieces to it – I was overwhelmed. Everything was already organized by lesson and clipped together, but it looked like it would take forever to get through. But when I pulled out the workbooks I realized they could actually stand alone and be used for the purposes I had in mind – beginning phonics and handwriting practice.
We are really liking them! Emma has so much fun she asks to do them on her own. And of course there is the hands-on element McRuffy is known for.
Math: In McRuffy Kindergarten Math, we did visual memory exercises with mini blocks and memory cards (she looked at the card for about 10 seconds or until she told me she “had it” and then tried to recreate the pattern from memory)…
…used “geoboard grids” to recreate the shapes shown (which was more of a challenge than it looked, especially for a little person who thought she could do it in 3.5 seconds by looking at the example once, ha!)…
…and there were many more activities involving patterns, number lines, learning greater and less than, and addition and subtraction.
Science/Nature Study: First of all, check out this beautiful Audubon Songbirds and Other Backyard Birds Calendar I found for us! I absolutely love it. :) Emma starts out every morning by telling me the complete date using the calendar, drawing the weather on that day (see that the 7th was blue skies?), and then tells me what today’s bird is.
In other nature news, Emma found a caterpillar! After much research on mommy’s part, we determined that it is not a butterfly but a moth caterpillar. We found it waiting out the winter buried in the freezing soil, and decided to make it a home in one of our large jars. We packed some soil in it and added some lettuce leaves to the top. Looks like I might need to find some moss as well to put on top but that’s kind of out of the question now that we have about 6 inches of snow in our yard! Yes, this happened just today. It’s really fascinating the way they burrow into the soil! And Emma figured out how to get him out to “play” by wiggling his curled-up little body until he woke up and crawled all over her. I put a stop to that so he could get some rest, though. ;-)
To go along with our little study of caterpillars, we read Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths. If you haven’t been introduced to Crinkleroot yet then you’re in for a treat! These little books are terrific! They are full of helpful facts, diagrams, and species names, but it’s all done in such a fun way that you hardly know you are learning. On the pages below, Crinkleroot is looking for the butterflies and doesn’t realize that they are in his beard. :-p
In this book, all of the butterflies and moths shown are actual size!
Art Study: We were able to fit in some art study this time! Emma studied The Nut Gatherers and I asked the questions in the book, Come Look with Me. Then we searched the internet for more paintings by the artist. We learned that he was often criticized for painting scenes that weren’t entirely realistic – for instance, the children in the painting are completely clean, not a bit of mud on their bare feet or hands, though they have been gathering nuts in the woods. To me, this is kind of a silly criticism as the paintings are beautiful. What an amazing artist!
And that was the last two weeks!
(If you’re wondering where Isaac went, he is going to get his own post!)
How did your school week go?
This post shared here at Weekly Wrap-Up